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Green Resource HubThe Green Resource Hub of the Finger Lakes now offers a calendar of all events sustainable for a wide region. As their tagline states, “Expanding the Regional Marketplace for Sustainable Living,” they now have program listings of great events in the greater Ithaca region. They cater to four focus areas: Energy efficiency, Renewable energy, Green building, and Green purchasing.

Other programs run by the Green Resource Hub volunteers include in-home gatherings to show energy efficiency in the home with power monitoring devices, and workshops on consumer education of what green goods are worth buying, and which can be made easily at home such as cleaning products.

I’m looking forward to seeing this calendar fill up with events. There are already many in Ithaca, and many more in the surrounding areas. The GRH also accepts suggestions of other events not listed, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this calendar grows fast. Non-profit organizations such as this one are going to be increasingly popular as prices for consumer good increase while demand for alternative options soars also. There are so many programs, products, and people touting all things green, but without any guidance it is difficult for the general public to know which are simply scams and which are truly looking at a more sustainable future. I’m glad to see a resource hub which can help consumers find the answers they need towards living better.

The website for the Green Resource Hub is: http://www.greenresourcehub.org and a link to their calendar is available from there.

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Credit to Aaron Munzer in the Ithaca Journal:

CAROLINE — Foot soldiers in the fight for an energy independent community talked up bright ideas about saving energy and handed out reusable cloth bags stuffed with an efficient compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) to each of Caroline’s 1,400 households Saturday.

Approximately 90 volunteers from Cornell University, Ithaca College and the surrounding communities walked, biked, drove and even rode horses around Caroline, distributing the bulbs with a friendly message: help make the town a model for other rural communities seeking to control their energy costs.

“We’re trying to take energy independence into our own hands,” said Dominic Frongillo, a council member in the Town of Caroline, deputy supervisor, and a member of Energy Independent Caroline, the group behind the distribution. “This is our future.”

The project was funded by a $5,000 grant written with money from the Cornell Community Partnership Board, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, and an anonymous local donor. The colorful cloth bags were made by Sew Green, an Ithaca-based sustainable sewing group.

Frongillo said he and the other residents are taking sustainability into their own hands because the federal government isn’t.

“Things are going so slow to address climate change,” Frongillo said. “I came back from the (United Nations) Climate Change Conference in Bali and realized it’s up to us. We’re the leaders we’re looking for.”

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lightbulb.jpgCredit to Rebecca James in the Syracuse Post-Standard:

You can build a better light bulb – one that uses less electricity and saves money – but how do you get people to use it?

Environmentalists from Cornell University, Ithaca and the nearby town of Caroline are betting that if you deliver a free compact fluorescent bulb to each person’s door, tucked into a reusable fabric bag, people will see the light.

On April 19, a team of more than 100 volunteers on bikes, on foot and in cars plan to deliver the bulbs to all 1,400 households in the town of Caroline, a sprawling, rural community in Tompkins County.

<!– if (parseFloat(navigator.appVersion) == 0) { document.write(”); } –>”We’re trying to show how a small, rural town can take matters into our own hands and say: This is up to us. Our international leaders and national leaders are not moving fast enough to protect our future,” said Dominic Frongillo, a Caroline town board member.

A Cornell junior from Pompey, Shawn Lindabury, wrote a grant that helped fund the project, which is aimed at increasing awareness about how people can live greener lives.

“A lot of people aren’t aware of the benefits of these bulbs,” Lindabury said. “We’re saying, hey, you can save $55 over the course of the lifetime of the light bulb and help reduce energy use in Caroline.”

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bilde.jpgCredit to Linda Stout in the Ithaca Journal:

ENFIELD — Meghan Murphy figures she’s one of the only people she knows who’s happy to see petroleum diesel jump in price. She’s a member of Ithaca Biodiesel, a cooperative that turns old French fry oil into fuel. “It makes it easier for us to compete in the market,” she said.

She said petroleum diesel and gas were previously artificially low-priced because taxpayers subsidized infrastructure like fuel pipelines.

“There’s no infrastructure like that for biodiesel,” Murphy said. “These companies have huge advantages.”

The operation in Ithaca is still tiny, making about 100 gallons of biodiesel for those who pay a $25 lifetime membership.

But it’s a start, she said. Biodiesel manufacturing from waste oil potentially helps the local economy keep the money local in comparison to petroleum fuel, where only 2 percent, she said, is made locally. For instance, the money the cooperative spends goes to Bishop’s, a local hardware store, or into the pocket of the local welder working on the manufacturing equipment.

Murphy said that creating biodiesel from used restaurant oil keeps waste oil out of sewers and landfills, which she said accounts for 40 percent of sewer backups.

Diesel prices are up because of the relatively low value of the dollar and supply and demand, said Clayton Boyce, vice president of public affairs for the American Trucking Association.

In addition, he said, “Speculators are betting the dollar will continue to weaken in the future, and they’re buying with the hope of selling at a higher price in the future.”

Truckers are trying to improve fuel efficiency, he said.

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Credit to Emily Cohn in the Cornell Daily Sun:

Yesterday at noon marked the end of a 40-hour fast for a group of local activists, including Fil Eden ’10, Carlos Rymer ’09, Stephanie Knight ’09 and Molly Bryson ’10, who participated in the event organized to advocate for local hotel workers’ rights. About 30 Ithaca residents gathered outside of the Hilton Garden Inn Hotel in Ithaca for the end of the fast, which coincided with the release of a settlement from the National Labor Relations Board regarding files charged against the hotel in defense of workers’ rights.

The settlement, released yesterday by the NLRB, upheld the charges of unfair labor practices filed by the Tompkins County Workers’ Center against the Hilton, which accused the hotel of violating federal labor law by disregarding workers’ freedom of association.

The charges were filed on behalf of Michelle Lopez, who was fired from her job as a housekeeper for the Hilton after advocating for the formation of a union. According to Pete Meyers, co-founder of the TCWC, which helped organize the fast, the hotel’s management threatened to fire workers who discussed Lopez’s dismissal.

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Credit to Wendy Wang in the Cornell Daily Sun

McMansions may be eye-pleasing at first glance, but to an architect they can become design and sustainability eyesores. In an effort to steer green-conscious Ithaca citizens away from such quick-fix housing solutions for building comfortable homes, local architects Ernie Bayles and Megan Nedzinski gave a talk last night at the First Unitarian Church on architectural design with a focus on sustainability to an audience of about 30. This seminar was the fourth in the Green Building Seminar Series created by the Ithaca Green Building Alliance.

Bayles began the seminar with an overview of the idea of sustainability, admitting that “green” houses often fall under the stereotype of a grass and brick cottage that looks environmentally conscious but is hardly comfortable. Instead, he defined the actual concept of sustainable design as a “functional, durable, healthy for occupants, energy-efficient and designed to work with exterior environment and location to optimize comfort and utility.”

Most importantly, he emphasized the importance of remodeling current residential homes in carefully laid out plans.

“Building quality smaller spaces can enrich life more than larger ones. One of the most sustainable things we can do is to build less,” he said.

However, he did admit that “design takes a lot of work, which needs to be done by a team of people: the designer, owner and builder. Somebody has to come to the table with some ideas of sustainable goals.”

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green-basics-cfl-white.jpgCredit to Brian Karlovitz in the Cornell Daily Sun:

In the latest step toward achieving energy independence from traditional fuel sources, the nearby Town of Caroline will receive compact fluorescent lightbulbs as part of an initiative called Energy Independent Caroline. EIC participants are planning to distribute one bulb to each of the town’s approximately 1200 households in April.

The Carbon Flourescent Lightbulbs last eight to 10 times longer than the average incandescent bulb and consume 75 percent less energy than conventional bulbs. Ithaca College and Cornell students, along with other community members, will help distribute the bulbs.

Founded in 2005 when Caroline became the state’s second municipality to purchase wind power for 100 percent of its electricity use, EIC’s ultimate goal is for the town to generate its own wind power instead of purchasing it from outside sources. The light bulb campaign is just the newest initiative taken on to achieve this goal.

One of the group’s leaders, Dominic Frongillo ’05, a Town of Caroline Board member, explained that the group grew out of worries about dependence on fossil fuels.

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