#GivingTuesday is upon us, think about #Riverkeeper

Giving Tuesday is less than 24 hours away! As you think about which organizations you’ll support tomorrow, we hope that Riverkeeper will make your list.

Giving Tuesday is a critical day when you can fight for a healthy Hudson River and safe drinking water in 2019. We’ve made it easy for you to participate and encourage your friends and family to become Riverkeeper members, too!

1. Donate at Riverkeeper.org/GivingTuesday
2. Create your own #GivingTuesday Fundraiser for Riverkeeper on Facebook (Facebook does not charge any fees on donations made through its platform, and has pledged to match the first $7 million in donations starting at 8am EST on 11/27)
3. Share our fundraiser with  your friends and family on Facebookand Twitter

From contacting your elected officials and reporting Hudson River pollution to volunteering for the Riverkeeper Sweep or sampling water quality, everything you do makes a difference for the Hudson.

It would mean so much if you would support Riverkeeper in the fight for a resilient Hudson River on Giving Tuesday.

What Can You Do to Make Your Business More Environmentally Sound?

These days there are so many different things that business owners need to be aware of. It takes a lot of work in 2018 to develop a successful brand, but it is also important to think about sustainability. Always keep in mind the fact that you have to think about the future and consider how the business will be impacted over the years. This needs to be something you have a plan to help your brand grow effectively over the years.

There are a lot of things in the world of business that can have a bearing on the future. One of the key concerns in 2018 should be looking at how the company can be greener and more sustainable. Working toward an eco-friendly business is really important because this is something that is going to have positive impacts for the future, and for the world in general too. Here are some things you can do to work toward a more eco-friendly company.

 

Lean Manufacturing

 

One of the best ways of working toward being more conscious of the environment is to embrace lean manufacturing. The principal goal of lean manufacturing is the practice of reducing the amount of waste that your business creates, without reducing productivity. You can take courses to help make you an expert in this, an apply it to your business as well as possible. This is so important for the future because it helps the business be more eco-friendly.

 

Energy Efficient

 

There are a few things you can do that will help you make your company more environmentally sound, and one of the big ones is to become more energy-efficient. There are plenty of ways of achieving this, and it is important to look at the amount of energy you’re using in the company. Make sure you turn off the power as much as possible, switch to eco-friendly lighting, and make changes that are going to improve this throughout the company.

 

Electric Cars

 

If you are in a position to be providing company cars, it is really important to look at getting a fleet of electric cars. These may not be ubiquitous quite yet, but they are an excellent way of making sure you reduce your company’s carbon footprint. Electric cars don’t use fuel, so they cause much less damage to the environment as a result.

 

Upcycle

 

Another excellent way of improving the brand and taking things forward is to make sure you upcycle. This is something you need to make sure you are doing within the offices as it will really help you get a good handle on this. Think hard about the furniture you’re going to be using in the business, and consider how you can upcycle and make the most of what you have at your disposal.

Setting your business apart from the competition is so important, and these are some of the best ways of helping you achieve that. By running a company that is more environmentally sound you will be very well placed to ensure you can be a success. What’s more, you are going to make the company much more appealing to customers and investors in the future as well.

EPA Announces New Funding for Water Infrastructure Projects in New Jersey

Funding will leverage public and private investments to keep lead and other contaminants out

of drinking water and upgrade aging water infrastructure

(New York, N.Y. – April 5, 2018) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of funding that could provide as much as $5.5 billion in loans, which could leverage over $11 billion in water infrastructure projects through the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program. Prospective borrowers seeking WIFIA credit assistance must submit a letter of interest (LOI) by July 6, 2018.

“Thanks to the President’s leadership, this WIFIA funding will spark new investments to repair our nation’s crumbling water infrastructure,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “EPA will play a key role in the President’s infrastructure efforts by incentivizing states, municipalities, and public-private partnerships to protect public health, fix local infrastructure problems, create jobs, and provide clean water to communities.”

The WIFIA program received $63 million in funding in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018, which was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 23, 2018. This more than doubles the program’s funding from 2017. Leveraging private capital and other funding sources, these projects could support $11 billion in water infrastructure investment and create more than 170,000 jobs. This year’s Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) highlights the importance of protecting public health including reducing exposure to lead and other contaminants in drinking water systems and updating the nation’s aging infrastructure.

“New Jersey knows all too well the costs of storm damaged water and wastewater systems. All of us have witnessed just how vulnerable our infrastructure is,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Funding critical repairs and improving resiliency in our wastewater treatment and drinking water distribution systems remains a critical priority. We need investment to protect and promote our communities, our local economies, and public health.”

The WIFIA program will play an important part in making vital improvements to the nation’s water infrastructure and implementing the President’s Infrastructure Plan, which calls for increasing the program’s funding authorization and expanding project eligibility.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation’s water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.
WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including:

  • drinking water treatment and distribution projects
  • wastewater conveyance and treatment projects
  • enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities
  • desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling project
  • drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects

EPA will evaluate proposed projects described in the LOIs using WIFIA’s statutory and regulatory criteria as described in the NOFA. Through this competitive process, EPA will select projects that it intends to fund and invite them to continue to the application process.

In 2017, for WIFIA’s inaugural round, EPA invited 12 projects in 9 states to apply for more than $2 billion in WIFIA loans.

For more information about WIFIA and this funding announcement, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/eparegion2.

5 Ways to Make Your Home More ‘Green’ and Save Money

The crazy weather and horrid hurricanes and storms plaguing the entire planet are more than enough proof of the climate change. Scientists have yet to determine whether we are past the point of no return. However, one thing is perfectly clear now and it’s that reducing the carbon footprint of your home is essential. It’s the contribution everyone can make into the fight for preserving our planet’s health. It’s also a wise way of saving a bit of money, as making your house more energy-efficient will cut down your bills. To make your home more ‘green’ you’ll need to replace some appliances with a solar installation companies like Sun Rock Solar and do some minor but effective changes to the décor.

5 Steps to an Energy-Efficient Home Everyone Can Afford

Forget about your clothes dryer

There are energy-efficient variations of all important house appliances. You can check the Energy Star website to choose the best devices for your home. You’ll be able to find clothes driers there. However, the truth is that this particular appliance is never worth the energy it uses. Regardless of how little of it the device consumes.

A washing machine with a high RPM (rotation per minute) rate can ensure your clothes come out nearly dry. Therefore, unless you are living in a place where air-drying is a complete impossibility, using a dryer is always a waste of money as well as a major addition to the carbon footprint of your home. Note that it’s also not good for the majority of fabrics.

Reduce your use of an AC unit

Fans are over a dozen times more energy-efficient than air conditioning systems. The Huffington Post also brings to light some important research on how AC units can be a cause of sickness. Therefore, the best way to keep your room cool in the summer is to get a high quality stand fan. This particular type of device allows you to cool a specific area and offers you something an AC cannot, meaning a pleasant breeze.

Ceiling fans are also more efficient than air conditioning and require less maintenance. They can make an entire room cooler, but overall, their ‘effect’ is less pronounced than that of a pedestal fan.

Make your house ‘leak-proof’

The most ‘leaks’ your house has, the more energy you are wasting when cooling or warming it. If you can’t afford to renovate and add another layer of insulation or replace your windows, you can look up DIY options. There are affordable kits that will allow you to reduce the waste of heat through the windows and doors. You can find many cheap insulation materials and cut the costs further by looking for discounts. Also, don’t forget about simple things, like sealing off your chimney when it’s not in use or finding some thick curtains.

Reorganize your home (if necessary)

Sometimes, to make your home more energy-efficient you only need to move the furniture. Make sure none of the vents are obstructed by anything. Lift the curtains up or away from the radiators. Place big pieces of furniture near the walls so they don’t obstruct the air circulation.

You also need to make sure that your fridge isn’t located anywhere near the stove. Even if your kitchen is very small, try to have at least one cupboard between them.

Get a dishwasher

Even when you are on a tight budget, you should consider buying a dishwasher as soon as you are able. Studying your water bills should inspire you to do this as using this appliance. Think that washing a load of dishes by hand might use up 27 gallons of water.

An Energy Star approved dishwasher will need about 3 gallons per one load. This difference easily makes up for the bit of electricity used by the appliance and still allows you to save money in the long run.

Goodbye Old Bag – Travel With Your Eco-Friendly Bag

With so much luggage moving from point to point all over the world, you would think that we have the situation covered as bag manufacturing is concerned. There are plenty of companies making travel bags and you will certainly see the advertising in the airports. While you are inundated with the staggering choices, focus on one particular aspect.

Consider eco-friendly bags for travel. This actually is not as big of a step as you might think. You will find that these travel bags are sturdy enough for certain belongings, particularly heavier items which need to be kept cold.

Cold Travel Bags

When you are traveling with cold foods, you will need to get a special kind of bag and, preferably, it would be eco-friendly. The material of the bag does matter. You want to make sure that it has a high rating for long-term traveling.

As long as instructions are followed and you have the proper insulated bag, it should all be fine.

These bags can also be used for the transport of other belongings. It is just that they are built for insulation. This also comes in handy when shopping in the city.

Promotional Cooler Bags

Surely you have already read about reusable bags to use in retail sales. You can also sell the cooler bags to customers and sometimes give them away. If you make sure that the company logo and some other affiliate logos are all on the bags, they start to catch the interests of many potential customers and clients.

Such bags can be used to promote special events, particularly annual or bi-annual events. When people get a functional and flashy bag from a venue, they tend to reuse it over and over again. As it happens, this is the whole point of using the bags in the first place.

Happy Travels

When you are in the situation of traveling with good frozen fish or other cold delights, you truly want your cargo to make it without spoiling. This is a fine line for many travel coolers to live up to. Click here to learn more about the different bags you can order. Ideally, you want to get bags that live up to their reputation.

Colorful Exteriors

When you are traveling by plane, remember that it can be difficult to see your luggage and especially the cooler bags as they come through the luggage area. To prevent this, be sure to get reusable, eco-friendly cooler travel bags with incredible colors on it. That way, you cannot miss them.

Some of these bags are made sturdier than others. Others are fine for many, many uses, but can become worn down after some time. Choose whatever works for you, considering all of your needs and the needs of your family.

You want to make all of your adventurous travels great while taking home interesting rewards. Go salmon fishing in Alaska and bring home some fine, wild fillets. Do the same with Perch or cold-water Bass. Or, just transport your refrigerated items while out on picnics.

Sustainable Forest Management: kratom & coffee

Many major commodities that we use every day are often responsible for deforestation and ecosystem destruction. Coffee and palm oil production are widely known to result in forest clearances that amongst other things, may wipe out the last wild orangutan apes. It doesn’t have to be this way – let’s look at two examples of how farmers in South East Asia are managing to look after their natural world while making a living from cash crops.

Kratom

Mitragyna speciosa (also known as kratom) is a tree that grows in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. It has been used for Millennia by the peoples living there as a medicine for treating ailments such as diarrhea, inflammation and opium addiction. It is also known for its stimulant properties and is used at social gatherings instead of marijuana (indeed, it is more socially acceptable to chew some kratom than smoke a joint), and has stimulant properties so manual laborers can toil in the fierce jungle heat.

Kratom products have started to be sold in the West in the last five years, and scientists have become quite excited as to this cheap, safe and readily available alternative to medical treatments for opiate addiction. As the industry has picked up, so different harvesting techniques are coming about. One kratom blog explained, “some kratom trees are destroyed when harvested by irresponsible farmers, which can cause terrible damage to the rainforest and jungle. Some cut branches down from the trees and then pick the leaves, whereas the responsible farmers pick the leaves from the tree without cutting the branches down.”

Not all firms do this. The same company above stated, “All the leaves sourced by us, including those used in our legally approved cosmetics, are taken from the tree without cutting down branches. Our farmers do not kill the trees or bring fertilizers into the jungle that destroy the ecosystem.”

While coffee was once the big cash crop, farmers are looking for new markets to sell forest products at a premium, and the leaves from the Mitragyna tree are one very important source of income for many. In the North America and much of Europe it has become increasingly popular to buy kratom powder online in recent years.

Coffee

Coffee is another major cash crop that is essential to many developing world economies. Traditionally coffee bushes were grown under the rainforest canopy with the trees above sheltering the coffee leaves below. High yield strains were developed that needed full sun and as a result coffee production has become synonymous with rainforest destruction.

The Rainforest Alliance has come to the rescue of some communities and forests. The organization shows how they prevent forests from being clear cut: “On Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, coffee grows in harmony with nature: soils are healthy, waterways are protected, trash is reduced or recycled, wildlife thrives and migratory bird habitat flourishes. In addition, hundreds of farms we work with have adopted climate-smart techniques that sequester carbon. Most importantly, farm communities learn the importance of protecting their natural resources, and they acquire the tools and resources to do so.”

Unlike their mass production rivals, coffee farmers can sell their beans at a premium and can make more money from less work. They live better lifestyles as a result.

In harmony with the environment

The take-out from this article is that it often makes more sense to look after the environment than to destroy it for money. You can’t eat money, and in destroying the planet you destroy the very thing that feeds you. Do look at the ethics of the ingredients of coffee before you buy – paying a little more may mean that someone can work fewer hours and still get their kids an education while living in balance with the forests in which they live.

Five Reasons to go Fairtrade

Fairtrade is a form of ethical and sustainable production, ensuring that the producer is given a fair price for what they produce.  This means that the communities that are in areas where the produce is grown, or the product has been developed have money going back into the communities, helping to sustain them, giving them a fair price in return for their hard work.

Fairtrade is not just a badge, or a unique selling point, used by companies to tick a box to demonstrate “we care”, it is a symbol that as a company, they are standing up for workers rights, preventing exploitation. As consumers, this would mean that you are supporting such causes and also making a demonstrable statement to less ethical companies that there is a need to consider pursuing such ambition.

The problem is that Fairtrade products are often more expensive than other brands, not necessarily a difference in quality, but the influence and the boost for us as consumers is that we are doing out bit, it demonstrates to other brands that if you do support Fairtrade then so should we.

Whilst Fairtrade doesn’t necessarily mean better quality there are some product categories that by default end up producing some excellent products, the money that gets invested into these communities helps to create and generate improvements in products.  Whilst on occasion these can cost a little more than some of their counterparts, this is wear a little more spending can give you rewards. Most major high street retailer stock Fair Trade produce now.

On example where Fairtrade has really been a progressive has been in the coffee and chocolate industry. In fact, many people associate Fair Trade with coffee, Fair Trade’s highest selling product. Cocoa is Fair Trade’s second leading product in terms of sales and volume and major chocolate companies have recently added Fair Trade product lines. What’s more, coffee pods are even Fairtrade now, Gourmesso is a quality coffee brand that produce Nespresso compatible tea and coffee capsules that are Fairtrade and USDA Organic.

In summary five reasons to make fair trade swaps and feel good about your shopping.

  1. Many farmers and workers who work involved with coffee production do not get to have breakfast themselves, over eighty percent of the world’s coffee production is produced by farmers with smallholding who earn less than $1.95 a day. If they are in receipt of a fair price, then during the tougher times, these farmers are able to protect themselves against some tougher times.
  2. Fairtrade, equals fair prices for farmers in those developing communities. Famers get a fair price that can be used to continue to invest in their communities.
  3. Farmers get a price that ensures that they can work toward reducing poverty in the community.
  4. It doesn’t always have to cost more. But it really is well worth shopping around, you may find a Fairtrade alternative, that matches price, quality and taste of your preferred brand.
  5. If you buy a product with the Fairtrade logo, you are buying a product with the confidence that you are addressing the inequality of trade in the world. You are demonstrating that you believe in a a fair price for fair work, sending out a message that you care about what you are buying.

 

Ford CMax Hybrid- Save on Gas, Save Money #DriveOnEnergi #ILoveEVS

The new Ford C Max makes you a master of the road.  With tight steering and many safety features like the SOS post crash alert system and seven standard airbags, its easy to take for granted that the CMax is a hybrid. As cars go, you are actually doing a good thing by driving it every day- better then driving a regular car, anyway.  The CMax is one of the 10 most fuel efficient cars under $25,000 in 2016. (There are rain sensing wipers available as well, one of the many upgrades available. Fun things to think about.)

hybrid cars

The SmartGauge with EcoGuide helps drive and use your vehicle as fuel efficiently as possible.  To begin with, the car sips fuel.  The CMax also sports regenerative braking and brake coach.  This not only helps it to stop when you want it to, but also to do so in the most efficient way possible.  It saves fuel by conserving momentum while also charging up the batteries a bit as well.

There are a lot of settings and readings which you might not be used to having in other vehicles, but once you learn how to read them all and understand what they are saying to you, you will learn quite a bit about your vehicle and driving style.  To this point, you will actually drive differently to try to beat your previous score if you are the competitive type.  It sounds very game-like but its actually fun in an odd way.  This is also a good way to pass time while doing a long haul road trip.  What we like best about the CMax is that its a nice car with a smooth ride, and its fuel efficiency is difficult to beat. I also like that it is better for the environment- and yes, it drives like a “regular car”, and is still “built Ford tough”, LOL.

It’s super easy to charge as well, and there are apps you can use to keep track of where charging stations are along your route and in your area.

The Ford CMax is available now at a dealer near you, so be sure to check one out today.  Your wallet (and the environment) will thank you.

(And it does just as well as the “luxury” vehicles and SUVs when it comes to wintry roads and unpaved situations- no problems at all.)  You can follow along on twitter with our handle @HaveSippy using the hashtags #DriveOnEnergi #ILoveEVS to see what else we are up to. Travel on.