terra, not terror

sharing ideas about a simpler way to live

Transportation Ease January 22, 2009

Filed under: cars, local, reduce — terra @ 7:00 am

The Akron Metro RTA system has completed the new hub! It’s a fantastic place with heated floors, schedule monitors, free wifi, and security. Akron’s commitment to the Metro, and to making our city bike-friendly is outstanding. Ohio.com has great photos.

If you don’t take the bus, you can text Google for directions and save paper by having them sent to your phone. Simply text your starting address “to” and the destination and Google will send directions to your phone.

 

Upcoming Events August 2, 2008

Filed under: education, local, social consciousness — terra @ 8:41 am

Do not miss these fantastic upcoming events in NE Ohio.

Farmers Markets

… are in full swing in August! Choose from Lock 3, Stan Hywet, Mustard Seed, and so many more.

Great Lakes Burning River Fest

Besides having a really cool name, this is seriously the best festival ever. You’ll find great food, education, activities for the kids, music, and fun!

Saturday, August 9 from noon to 11 p.m.
Nautica Entertainment Complex, Cleveland
$8 online preorder, kids Free

Green Energy Expo

by Green Energy Ohio. Meet local green energy companies, learn more about what you can do to reduce your impact, maybe even find a green collar job!

Saturday, August 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
John S. Knight Center, Akron
Free

 

Video Friday: Rocket Stove June 27, 2008

Filed under: alternative, food, local, reduce — terra @ 7:00 am

This video is from the Aprovecho Research Center, which created a “rocket stove.” A rocket stove is made of sturdy materials, such as cans, with a place for air circulation and tinder to start the fire. A rocket stove can be used to cook meals, even saute vegetables. This can really come in handy when you want to keep your house cool this summer – just cook outside!

Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen of Homegrown Evolution have built a rocket stove out of bricks. In West Akron, a lot of homes have a brick fireplace in the backyard, which is perfect for cooking. I think I’ll clean my off this weekend and use it to cook meals this summer.

stove

- BoingBoing

 

Home Depot will recycle your CFLs June 26, 2008

Filed under: education, energy, local, recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

Home Depot announced that all of their stores will have a collection point for compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). This is great news for those of us who have made the switch to CFLs to cut down on our carbon output, and our electric bills!

CFLs contain a small bit of mercury, which poses a problem when the bulbs are improperly disposed of.

Home Depot will accept any maker’s bulbs, no matter where you bought them. There are plans in place for other recycling systems for CFLs, but this convenient option offers a consistent drop off point and removes the burden from the consumer to find another solution. (75% of the nation’s homes are within 10 miles of a Home Depot – yikes!)

So, take your used CFLs to Home Depot when they burn out (in about 7 years) so they can be recycled.

 

Metro Building Tour June 25, 2008

Filed under: alternative, conserve, environment, local, reduce, solar — terra @ 7:00 am

IMG_1091I toured the Metro Parks Green Building on Saturday. The building is brilliant, but not many people came. That was unfortunate because people should see how easy it is to save on energy. Plus, they had really great cookies!

The new Metro Parks Rangers building features just some of these features:

  • Outside: Rain barrels, solar panels, solar film, green roof, rain garden, smart pavers which allow rain drainage, and native greenery.
  • Inside: Recycled materials for countertops, reclaimed lumber for furniture and structure, recycled carpet, recyclable office furniture, waterless urinals, low VOC paints, motion sensors for lights, bamboo floors, reused technology, original bricks and floor tiles.
  • Basement: Composting toilet machine, geothermal heat system, and Hybrid car.

This building demonstrates how easy it is to reduce our impact on the planet, be healthier, and save money on energy costs. And live comfortably at the same time. The lockers were made from recycled milk jugs and the marble-looking kitchen counter top was made from newspapers!

The tour was well-staffed with cheerful and helpful volunteers. I look forward to the next Metro Parks event. They are truly leaders in our community, setting an example for all of us to leave a light footprint.

 

Akron Metro Dump the Pump June 15, 2008

Filed under: cars, conserve, local, reduce — terra @ 7:00 am

Thursday is National Dump the Pump day, and Akron Metro has events planned all week, so ditch the car… dump the pump… go “green” and take the bus next week.

June 16-20

Note: I will be out of town for a few days.

Upcoming posts:
Germany is Eco-Responsible
How to beat the Summer Heat
NEO Rail
… and more.

 

LEED Metro Building Open for Tours June 9, 2008

Filed under: conserve, education, energy, environment, garden, local, social consciousness, solar, water — terra @ 7:00 am

The Metro Parks, Serving Summit County building is having an open house June 21-22 from 1-4 p.m. each day. This building was recently renovated, and includes these wonderful, sustainable features:

  • geothermal heating
  • waterless toilets
  • solar panels
  • a green roof
  • lumber from downed trees
  • recycled carpet, furniture and cabinetry
  • porous pavement to let rainwater through
  • a rain garden
  • rain barrels
  • and native landscaping.

If you want to tour the Metro building, you can pick up a shuttle at the Metro RTA Park-and-Ride lot at 530 Ghent Road, or you can park along the path and walk. The building is located on the corner of Sand Run and Revere Road.

The cost of the environmentally sustainable features cost an extra 15%, but that will be recouped by energy savings throughout the year, as the building won’t have to pay for their energy use. Most of that extra cost is also paid for through grants and donations. It really makes a lot of sense for public buildings (including college and university) to become more environmentally sustainable.

-Akron Beacon Journal

 

Windy Future June 5, 2008

Filed under: alternative, energy, local, reduce, social consciousness, wind — terra @ 7:00 am

Wind power is getting really exciting! As new designs emerge that are more practical, less expensive, and safe for birds and bats, wind is becoming a more viable source of power. Check out these innovations:

Oregon Wind

windThe Oregon Wind turbine is compact and designed for urban and rural areas. It has less noise and vibration, and birds view it as a solid object, so they avoid it. These turbines can be linked, stacked, or mounted on a building in clumps to form a “wind forest.” They hope to have these available in 2008 for less than $1,000!

Cities could even use these to generate power at the top of LED streetlamps!

Community Wind Farms

National Wind is a company that helps put wind farms into community’s hands. They provide the supplies, and help the community come together to generate their own power – out of corporate hands. They’ve been successful with farming communities who have a cost advantage to create their own power. National Wind is active in 7 states. We all win when we work together as a community to help each other. -EcoGeek

Don’t forget about solar. The price of solar panels is expected to plummet! Nothing but good news today.

 

Aeros Recycle June 4, 2008

Filed under: energy, local, recycle — terra @ 7:00 am

The Akron Aeros are encouraging fans to recycle this season! You can recycle aluminum cans and plastic bottles at the Canal Park Stadium, in partnership with Summit Akron Solid Waste Management Authority (SASWMA), the city of Akron and the Portage County Solid Waste Management District.

Many sports teams are taking the lead on reducing our impact on the planet. Stadiums across the country have added solar panels to provide power to themselves and the surrounding community.

Next time you’re at a game, check out what efforts have been taken to be environmentally responsible.

 

All the Way Home May 24, 2008

Filed under: local — terra @ 7:00 am

All the Way Home: Raising a Family in a Falling Down House comes out on Tuesday, My 27. This must-read by David Giffels is about his family’s restored Tudor home. David writes about the process of starting a family in Akron, and finding their dream home – a falling down house on Portage Path – and rebuilding it. Don’t miss it!

bookI love the way David salvaged so many materials for their home. The Giffels’ see beauty in other people’s discarded bricks, railroad ties, and other building materials, and turn them into treasures. Reuse to the max!

Here is an early press schedule:

Tuesday, May 27: Release date for All the Way Home, on sale wherever books are sold.

Wednesday, May 28: Live appearance on the CBS ‘Early Show,’ time TBD.

Saturday, May 31: Feature story and book excerpt in the Akron Beacon Journal.

Monday, June 2: Feature in the June issue of Northern Ohio LIVE

Monday, June 2: Live interview on WCPN 90.3 FM ‘Sound of Ideas,’ 9-9:30 a.m.

Tuesday, June 3: Live interview on WAKR 1590 AM, with Ray Horner and Bob Ethington, 8 to 9 a.m.

Wednesday, June 4: ‘Official’ book launch at Akron-Summit County Library, Main downtown branch, in the auditorium with talk, reading, Q&A and book signing. Books will be available for sale. Begins at 7 p.m.

 

Neighbors Day Akron May 21, 2008

Filed under: local, social consciousness — terra @ 7:00 am

This Saturday is the 2nd annual Neighbors Day Akron. The purpose of the day is to get to know your neighbors. People used to know their neighbors like family. That’s less common in recent years.

The theme is “Living Together Better.”

Neighbors Day can help create a more closely knit community that can mean a healthier environment for children to live and learn, while lowering crime rates.

Residents are encouraged to plan a neighborhood event, or just talk to a neighbor you don’t know. So, take that extra step this Saturday and get to know a neighbor.

Speaking of neighbors and Akron… David Giffels’ book All the Way Home comes out in a week. Don’t miss the book that GQ calls “the book people should be talking about this summer.”

 

Bike to work day May 14, 2008

Filed under: alternative, cars, local, reduce — terra @ 7:00 am

Thursday is Bike to Work Day, so get on those 2-wheelers and get pedaling.

Actually, it’s Bike to Work Week, so any day will be great!

 

World Fair Trade Day May 10 May 5, 2008

Filed under: local, social consciousness — terra @ 12:00 pm

World Fair Trade Day is May 10, and NE Ohio is celebrating! A World Fair Trade Fashion Show is being held in Independence from 5-8. The event is sponsored by the InterReligious Task Force on Central America (IRTF), and by Catholic Schools for Peace and Justice.

Expect a fantastic fashion show, speakers, poetry slam, food, energetic tables, and loads of information on how you can buy fair trade products.

Saturday, May 10 5-8pm
Independence Civic Center
6363 Selig Drive

In Akron, you can find Fair Trade goodies at the Market Path, Brueggers Bagels (coffee), Hattie’s Cafe (near UA).

 

Conference call with Sherrod Brown April 30, 2008

Filed under: alternative, energy, environment, government, local, solar, wind — terra @ 1:00 am

Media Update: Sherrod Brown Press Release
Tiffin Advertiser-Tribune

I was fortunate enough to be included on a lunchtime conference call with Senator Sherrod Brown, who was announcing his new comprehensive energy bill. Senator Brown has participated in a series of “green” energy roundtables across Ohio. Anyone in Ohio knows that we have the potential to utilize our manufacturing base, and our educated workforce to create renewable energy. We can be the “Silicon Valley of Alternative Energy.” I’ve summarized his speech, and his answers to the press questions below.

Summary

Senator Brown introduced the Green Energy Production Act as a jobs bill, an energy bill, and an environment bill. Its purpose is to turn research into products, and put people to work in production of renewable energy technology. Our economic future depends on our ability to move to renewable alternative energy. If we take this step, we’ll attain the global leadership that America is accustomed to. This will would utilize the potential of this state, and other manufacturing states to expand businesses like solar & wind entrepreneurs.

Currently, Germans lead the world in solar technology because they made a decision to invest in it years ago. China is investing in wind production technology (building windturbines to sell to other countries)

While we’re debating whether to punch more holes in the ground, the rest of the world is passing us by.

This bill would encourage the commercialization of renewable products. There are too many great ideas left on drawing board or produced overseas because America hasn’t invested in renewable technology yet. Ohio would benefit from this because we have the potential. Our green energy manufacturing future should build on our manufacturing past.

The bill creates a Green Markets Program, and a Green Redevelopment Opportunity and Workforce program. It seeks to explore as many ideas and inventions as possible, and to encourage internships and apprecticeships to help our students learn the critical skills to meet the demand of the renewable energy future.

There is an efficiency grant program which would match energy companies dollar for dollar to develop renewable energy and to encourage energy savings. Currently, coal-based energy companies have an incentive to misinform the public about the benefits of solar and wind. This bill would help energy companies develop clean technology, so they don’t go bankrupt, but they can do the right thing for the environment.

Senator Brown said we need to build green energy here. It’s inevitable. Importing renewable energy technology like we do oil doesn’t need to be inevitable. It’s not in our country’s best interest.

Essentially, this bill will create good-paying jobs here at home.

Questions

Funding… over 5 years. This is a $36 billion bill, which incorporates a gradual increase ($1 billion the first year, $5 the next, and then $10 billion the following 3 years). It will make grants & proposals available. Some money comes from climate change legislation, which may include carbon credits.

We currently give oil companies $18 billion in subsidies per year. Perhaps some of that money could be used to fund the bill that creates jobs here in America and makes us energy independent. That idea would make it hard to gain the support of some Republicans, because they like to call the removal of oil subsidies a tax hike. Oil companies are the most profitable they’ve every been, and are more profitable than any other American company. We also spend billions of dollars in Iraq.

The bill creates an “investment corporation” to take it out of political process. There will be 7 members on the board, appointed by the president, confirmed by senate. Eligibility is based on criteria in the bill, which emphasizes business, labor, environment, and manufacturing.

Senator Brown doesn’t support the Lieberman-Warner climate change bill, and he doesn’t think it will pass. (I honestly don’t know much about the bill b/c I’m out of politics, much to my delight) Brown’s Green Energy Production Act is not an amendment to a climate change bill. This bill stands alone.

Is clean coal or nuclear included? No. This is about solar, wind, fuel cells and other new tech. “Clean coal” and nuclear power are not called “green” energy by most because of their harmful byproducts. They are not renewable sources.

Ethanol is not specifically mentioned in this legislation. As we look at food prices, Brown said, more technology will be developed to create energy from renewables other than food, such as restaurant waste.

What are the chances of it passing in this cycle? This bill is so different and innovative that it will take a long time to pass, so he is entering it into the public debate this week. It has potential. There are two other energy bills left to be debated this term.

This bill will get economic development off the ground by building solar panels, fuel cells, wind turbines, etc. Not necessarily producing the energy, but producing the technology. (The solar panels at Oberlin College came from Germany. They should come from Ohio.)

This bill gives me a little hope that, if we can get something like this started, we can swing ourselves out of the recession. We need green jobs, green manufacturing, and renewable energy that is inexpensive for the consumer. We can achieve this by producing the technology here at home. It’s the responsible thing to do.