Archive for August, 2006

McDonald’s gives Hummers to our nation’s children – WTF?

Posted in ethical consumerism, sustainability on August 11, 2006 by theseep


We’ve seen McDonald’s enviro press range from indirectly deforesting the Amazon to selling organic coffee to being awarded for environmental responsibility. Whatever they’ve said or done in the past, their new summer Happy Meals take the wind out of their ecosails by giving plastic Hummers out to kids. Horaay! Let’s give one of the most useless and mind-numbingly wasteful vehicles on the market to small children! Nice work MickeyD’s, I smell a boycott coming.

via treehugger

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Asking for CO2 Offsetting as a Wedding Gift

Posted in ethical consumerism, sustainability on August 10, 2006 by theseep


I just updated our wedding site, under TheSEEP.com, requesting a carbonfund personal CO2 offset as a possible gift option. Hopefully we can get a few ecoconverts if everyone goes to see “An Inconvenient Truth” and starts looking at their own footprint.

Here’s to CO2 Neutrality! – a mini CO2 offset review

Posted in conservation, ethical consumerism, green energy, solar, sustainability on August 9, 2006 by theseep


With all the hype on CO2 offsetting, it’s a little tough to weed through all the options and whether or not it makes a difference at all. The burdgeoning CO2-O (CO2 offset) industry has yet to be of any proven benefit, although it seems to be both good intentioned and likely to be beneficial overall.

After installing our solar system and our biodiesel production reactor, we started down the CO2-O trail with Terrapass, offsetting the CO2 of our Honda Element and Volvo wagon and now our flights. Terrapass offers varying offsets depending on the size of your car or the length of your flights. Although we like Terrapass quite a bit, this is a for profit organization and does not give you any tax deduction for your investment. They seem to be fairly transparent and show what is done with your offset contribution, making you feel somewhat warm and fuzzy inside. They have a nice package with stickers for your car to let everyone know how envirosweet you are (we got a license plate frame too!) Cost for 2 cars for 1 year: $100
Next was carbonfund.org, which offsets ALL of your estimated CO2 production on a yearly basis (clothes, food, electronics, etc.) and is a non-profit, making the contributions tax-deductable (sweet!!!). They don’t currently offer flight offsets but their auto plan is cheaper and the “Individual Zero Carbon” option provides a VERY warm and fuzzy feeling. They also detail their offsetting projects and have recently updated their site. Cost for Individual Zero Carbonitude – $99/yr, Family plan – $396/yr
The latest and last carbon neutral effort is green energy credits. Although we have a 4.5 kW solar system, it has shade for part of the day and runs about 3.4 kW max, providing us with around $150/day worth of power! We run over this by $30-50/month and use energy from the grid and since PG&E is useless as far as consumer-level renewables, I needed to find another alternative. Green-E.org has a database of local green energy providers as well as national green energy credit vendors. I went with Nativenergy.com to purchase green energy certificates for the remainder of our use.

So, what is our CO2-O plan? Use our solar, brew our biodiesel, and keep trying to reduce our consumption. We’ll then probably be using carbonfund.org to offset our overall CO2 production, Terrapass for our flights (until carbonfund has a good flight offset plan), and nativenergy.com to purchase green energy certificates for the remainder of our power! This comes out to around $240/year for two people plus flights (29.95 to offset 20,000 miles) which is actually pretty reasonable if indeed the CO2-O concept proves to be effective!

NativeEnergy: Green Energy Credits for Your Home!

Posted in ethical consumerism, green energy on August 9, 2006 by theseep


NativeEnergy: Helping Fight Climate Change

So I contacted PG&E again and finally talked to someone who seemed to have a clue on their renewables policy. Their policy is that they don’t have one. They seem to be calling for subcontractors to expand their use of green energy as documented here, but there is no consumer program whatsoever and none in the works.
With a little more googleing, I found Green-e.org, a renewable electricity certification program that I’ve heard about before. Green-e has a database of all local power companies that provide green energy options to their customers (PG&E is not one of them – suprise) and then has links to national dealers of green energy certificates.
For many of us, depending on where you live, purchasing green energy certificates is the only way to pseudo-sign up for renewable energy – sort of.
So with our 4.5 Kw max solar system providing most of our power, we overflow avout 300 kWH or so from the grid, so I purchased the 5000 kWH “remooable energy” option from Native Energy to offset our remaining power usage.
Sweet!

Another letter to PG&E Renewables

Posted in ethical consumerism, green energy on August 9, 2006 by theseep

Hello,
I have been trying for some time now to get green energy for my home. We have a corporate account because we recently had a grid-tied solar system installed and would like to purchase the remainder of our power from renewable energy sources.
I know that PG&E has this capability and is looking to expand it’s renewables program (see http://www.pge.com/renewableRFO ). I have already made a dozen phone calls and wasted a great deal of time on hold trying to talk to someone at PG&E who can help me with this issue and thus far nobody has known about a PG&E renewables program nor has anyone known who to refer me to for more information.
Please pass this reqest along to someone who can contact me and help me get renewable energy for my home.
Thank You,
Clint Slaughter, M.D.