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New England Insurance Businesses Staying Green

By Katelyn | Sep 2, 2015 | in

By John Brescia

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance (PAI) is an independent insurance agency operating throughout most of New England, and serves 2,000 clients in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont. PAI offers localized experience with options to suit their client’s specific needs, such as life, auto, health, and home and renter’s insurance, as well as financial services. The company recently celebrated its 10th anniversary this past June.

PAI not only covers costs, but also sustainability. As an insurance agency, PAI acts as an intermediary by purchasing policies from larger insurance companies, for their clients. While some believe they would spend less money by forgoing the insurance agency and buying the policy directly from the company, most save through working with PAI. This is because PAI gains the majority of their clients through word-of-mouth referrals, so their costs for customer acquisition are very low. However, their efforts to be green are very high

Portsmouth Atlantic Insurance utilizes a paperless agency management system, uses 100% recycled paper products and biodegradable plastic bags, and recycles all printer and toner cartridges. The business also digitizes all documents as PDFs, and uses 7th Generation products, which are environmentally-safe cleaning products. On Earth Day, PAI employees are given the day off to instead work for an environmental concern of their choice. In the future, PAI plans to incorporate soy-based inks, Energy Star office equipment, and chlorine-free paper.

But PAI is not limited by their own sustainable responsibility; they have chosen to work with insurance companies who also incorporate environmentally-conscious practices. And that is why PAI partners with Hanover Insurance, a business that is taking its own strides to stay green.

Rett's Roost To Be Sanctuary for Cancer Families

By Katelyn | Sep 2, 2015 | in

The goal of Rett’s Roost is, at its core, a simple one: to be a sanctuary—a source of rest, respite and repose—for families with children fighting cancer.

After a wildly successful inaugural retreat, held two weeks ago in Western Massachusetts, the young organization is setting its sights on a trio of events closer to their Seacoast roots.

First up: another retreat at Shilo Farm and Eco B&B in Eliot, Maine, slated for the weekend of September 11. The second “Roost” will include many of the hallmarks of the first: home-cooked meals, creative activities for kids, educational workshops, games and—perhaps most important of all—a chance for families to share and connect with one another in a relaxing, peaceful setting.

Shilo Farm will once again be at the fore on September 27, when Rett’s Roost will host their Harvest Moon Gala dinner, the organization’s first official fundraiser.

With the purchase of a $75 ticket ($60 for Green Alliance members), attendees will enjoy a four-course meal rife with local fare, including beer from Smuttynose and Great Rhythm Brewing Cos., wine from Andrew Bevan Wines and meat from Kittery-based Maine Meat (MEat).

Additionally, Rett’s Roost will be auctioning off a slew of items—a list that includes everything from locally made goods and services to an all-inclusive African Safari—to help raise money for future retreats and programming.

“While we hope Rett’s Roost will reach families all over the country, we want it to be an organization that values its local roots,” says Deana Cavan, the organization’s Executive Director. “That’s why the Gala is such a big deal for us. We love our local community, and want it to be an integral part of who we are and what we do.”

Green Collar Careers: Green Alliance Director, Sarah Brown

By Katelyn | Sep 1, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

Efforts to become a more green and sustainable culture proliferate the news these days, but often that information is lost amongst the headlines. Though political coverage of climate change and rampant ecological disasters make the front page, seldom were stories about companies incorporating greener business practices given top-billing. Sarah Brown noticed this lack of attention in the media and decided that it had to change if communities were going to become more sustainable. In response, Brown established the Green Alliance, an environmentally-conscious business union, that raises the awareness of sustainably-minded businesses and helps connect them with green-minded consumers.

“We decided from day one that we wanted an outlet for people, whether they were business owners or consumers, to put their money where their values were,” Brown said. “And we wanted people to realize that going green didn’t have to mean going broke; that going green could actually save you a little of it too and for businesses it could increase their profits.”

Brown, who has worked for CNN, at the New York bureau, NBC, as a Moscow bureau assignment desk editor, and for Associated Press TV, as a Moscow bureau producer, started The Green Alliance in the living room of her Kittery, Maine, home in 2009. When it started, The Green Alliance had two Business Partners, Simply Green Biofuels and Purely Organic Lawn Care. Now, the Green Alliance, headquartered in Portsmouth's historic Franklin Block Building, boasts upward of 100 Business Partners and nearly 4,000s individual community members.

CCNNE: Small Changes, Big Sustainable Results

By Craig | Sep 1, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

Ray Dube of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England likes to call sustainability innovations “no-brainers,” because one never knows how even a small act can evolve into something special.

But Dube knows. As the sustainability manager at Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England (CNNE), he’s seen it happen many times and never takes it for granted. CCNNE is known throughout the region and in the industry for the depth and breadth of its sustainability initiatives including recycling, energy efficiency and better resource management.

The widespread sustainability measures at CCNNE’s state-of-the-art bottling plant in Londonderry, its 10 distribution centers (in New England and upstate New York), and its fleet of more than 500 vehicles have added up.

But sometimes it’s the little things that give one pause. During an educational event at a Vermont middle school, Dube, who’d logged over100 similar presentations in 2014, discussed the value of the half-dozen syrup barrels he brought with him.

Integrated Fitness Introduces the Weight Loss Challenge to New Epping Location

By Katelyn | Sep 1, 2015 | in

Looking to make a transition to a more healthy lifestyle that goes beyond just dieting or a boring and endless gym workout? Check out Integrated Fitness at the Grand Opening of their new Epping Location on September 12, from 9 - 2. Integrated Fitness offers a unique and holistic exercise program that builds both strength and community!

Driving to work each day, it is hard not to notice the countless gyms that keep popping up in each town. While large, corporate fitness facilities offer cheap monthly memberships, there is no personal connection and very little focus on customer service. However, Integrated Fitness of Dover was launched in 2010 with exactly that in mind. The team of personal trainers helps clients live a more sustainable lifestyle by working with them one-on-one and in a group setting to lose weight, build muscle, and eat healthier for a more balanced lifestyle.

The Integrated Fitness holistic health model has been so successful and well received that they are expanding with another location in Epping. On September 12, IF of Epping opens its doors with fun fitness activities from 9 - 2; all are invited. Find out whats on offer with the personalized and community based Integrated Fitness approach at the September 12 Grand Opening.

In addition to strength training, body building and dietary programs, Integrated Fitness also offers its widely popular Weight Loss Challenge. This fall, the popular Weight Loss Challenge starts anew at their Dover location, as well as the new Epping location. The Epping facility will provide the same customer focus and a comfortable atmosphere dedicated to personal training and group classes

The ten week Weight Loss Challenge will begin at both the Dover and Epping locations on September 14, right after the Epping facility is set to open. Classes are taught with a mixture of cardiovascular and resistance training to help tone the body and build muscle, no matter the current fitness level. In addition to the exercise regimen, the program includes nutrition education for overall whole body health. Since the program began, Integrated Fitness has helped participants lose more than 4,250 pounds!

Highland Hardwoods and Seacoast Energy Team Up for Unique Solar Project

By Craig | Sep 1, 2015 | in

By Michael McCord

When Rick and Wendy Lang of Highland Hardwoods saw their new solar systems go on line at their facility, they watched with a feeling of accomplishment, checking off another sustainable goal for their company.

“We have always appreciated nature’s wonderful resources and tried to be environmentally responsible business owners,” said Rick Lang about the specialized lumber supply company he started in 1986 on Route 125 in Brentwood. “Going solar reinforces our commitment to manage our natural resources, not only for ourselves but for future generations as well.”

Seven months in the making, Anne Holliday, the lumberyard’s CFO of 20 years, working with Highland Hardwoods to expand its sustainability, first conceived the installation project. After researching state grants, rebates, and looking for local solar installers, Holliday chose Jack Bingham of Seacoast Energy in Barrington for the project.

Bingham installed solar panels on the Highland’s two roofs covering large lumber storage areas in April. Bingham and his crew finished installing the last of the 550 panels a few months later.

It was important to Holliday to reduce the company’s dependence on fossil fuels.

“Fossil fuel is running out,” said Holliday, “and we sell a product that must be sustainably harvested. Any way you look at it, green is important.”

Target those Ticks!

By Rich | Sep 1, 2015 | in

As we are well aware, ticks are more than nuisance insects, as carriers of Lyme disease, they can be extremely harmful. Ticks aren’t only present in woods and marshes, they often hitch themselves onto small rodents and make their way directly into our own backyards, where they can reach out to our children and pets right in our own home. With the threat of Lyme disease, controlling them is critical.

There is yet another effective and viable option in our arsenal of tricks to combat the spread of these nasty disease carriers. Instead of broadcast spraying the entire yard with pesticides, there is a targeted system of control that is both inventive and effective. Called a “bait box,” the small unobtrusive plastic contraption holds a food source that is irresistible to rodents, and when strategically placed in and around a homeowner’s property can intercept the critters who may be bringing ticks back to the property from foraging trips. As they enter to reach the food source, the rodents move through a wick that places a small amount of low dose insecticide on their fur, killing off the ticks in all stages and (hopefully) eliminating them from spreading through your home turf. It does not harm the animals, so is much more ecofriendly than trying to eliminate the rodents themselves. Being targeted, it also prevents beneficial insects (bees) from being subjected to chemical sprays. 

This form of treatment can also be used year round, and uses low doses of effective insecticide similar to that we use on our cats and dogs that can be used to treat large areas easily.

Save the Date: Maine Walk for Peace

By Katelyn | Sep 1, 2015 | in

Peace groups from across New England including Veterans for Peace, Peace Action Maine, and Seacoast Peace Response are organizing a peace walk from Ellsworth, ME to Portsmouth. This march will span most of the Maine coastline beginning in Ellsworth on October 9, and ending in Portsmouth on October 24.

The focus of this two week journey is on militarization of the seas, the impact of the United States military on sea life and climate, and the need to transition from the military to alternative energy production like wind turbines. The organizations hope to bring awareness to the impact the government and military have on our oceans and educate citizens about the overall costs of war.

All are welcome to join for part or the entire walk. Local sponsors are also needed to provide meeting space and overnight accommodations in Portsmouth on the night of October 23.

Sustaining Member Fall Foliage Sunset Cruise

By Katelyn | Aug 31, 2015 | in

Sadly, summer will soon set sail, but the good news is that autumn is on its way and bringing with it vibrant colors, crisp weather and pumpkin flavored everything. Fall foliage is at its peak for only a few short weeks, and the Green Alliance wants to get on the water to take advantage of this short lived beauty.

On October 15 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m., sail the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth Harbor with the Gundalow Company and Green Alliance. Join the Green Alliance as a new Sustaining Member and get four free tickets aboard the Fall Foliage Sunset Sail!

A Sustaining Membership is a lifetime individual membership and gets you unlimited GA Business Discounts, Green Alliance events and cutting edge environmental information. Sustaining Members never have to renew and are telling us and the world that they believe in the power of a local green economy.

Great Bay Stewards Hosts Community Suppers at Robert's Maine Grill.

By Rich | Aug 27, 2015 | in

The Great Bay Stewards, a non-profit, hard-working environmental and conservation organization benefiting the Great Bay Estuary, will be hosting two separate community suppers at Robert's Maine Grill, Wednesday, October 7 and Wednesday October 14th. A community supper is a simple way for nonprofits to raise funds quietly, a portion of the proceeds of meals will go directly to help fund the good work the Great Bay Stewards does for the Estuary around us. No conferences, no committments, no speakers, just eat, realx and Robert's Provides GBS with a monetary portion of sales for that evening. So if you're headed out to eat that week - mark the dates!

Robert's Maine Grill
October 7th and October 14th
326 Route 1
Kittery, Maine (in the heart of the Kittery Outlet District, adjacent to Spruce Creek)

The Great Bay Stewards have been working to prevent shoreline erosion, invasive plant growth, and increased nitrogen levels for decades and is still fully committed to protecting Great Bay for plants, animals, and people alike.

No More Biting Flies Thanks to the Fly Cage

By Katelyn | Aug 26, 2015 | in

With the end of summer nearing, many seacoast residents find themselves stuck between wishing the season lasts forever and excitement that pesky bugs will begin dwindling away until next year. One local who is no longer worried about biting flies in his yard is Charles Forcey.

As Chair of the Durham Energy Committee, Forcey is at the forefront of energy and environmental issues in town. He is also the newest Sustaining Member of the Green Alliance and celebrated joining as a lifetime member by choosing a free Fly Cage from Ecotech Pest Control as his new member gift!

Tom Pray, owner of Ecotech, invented the Fly Cage, which mimics the appearance of a four-legged animal and is 100% environmentally-friendly. It is a buoy-like visual trap for biting flies such as green heads, deer flies, and horse flies and draws the flies in, capturing them in a way similar to lobster traps.

Completely collapsible, owners can hand-wash the canvas and mesh netting when storing it for the winter season and the Fly Cage is made of materials that are 100 percent recyclable, from the metal legs to the canvas and mesh.

Upcoming Workshops with Zev Yoga Studios

By Katelyn | Aug 24, 2015 | in

Zev Yoga Studios offers yoga sessions throughout the week, catering to every level from beginner to expert. Aside from the weekly schedule, the three studios offer unique workshops to help yogis focus on specific practices and exercises. Zev Yoga instructor, Ankati, will host two targeted classes in September at their Dover studio.

On Saturday, September 12, from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., Ankati will lead Flow to Detoxify. This workshop will focus on practices to stretch, compress, and twist toxins from the muscles, organs, and spine to create a more balanced and clean body.

Ankati will also host a session titled Flying Beyond Fear on Sunday, September 13 from 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. She brings arm balance practices to the Zev Yoga Studio to help fellow yogis move from fear into trust. This workshop incorporates a strong, flowing asana practice, emotional and energetic awareness, and breath work for a deeply empowering yoga session.

Meet a Greet Alliance Business: Taste of the Seacoast Magazine

By Craig | Aug 24, 2015 | in

What: Since successfully launching Taste of the Seacoast magazine in 2003, publisher Keith Lemerise has watched the publication grow from a once-a-year local menu guide found in hotels into a sophisticated bi-annual magazine with feature-length articles, extensive recipes, cooking tips and reviews. Taste of the Seacoast is now the region’s go-to resource for diners, wine and craft beer enthusiasts, and foodies. Anchored by editors Lisë Stern and Jo Donoghue DeCenzo, it was important to Lemerise that the publication be committed to environmental stewardship and offset its carbon footprint. To achieve this, he uses Cummings Printing – a local, Forest Stewardship Council printer – to print each issue on recycled, post-consumer paper.

The magazine is also printed with eco-friendly soy-based ink, which degrades more completely than petroleum-based ink and is easier to remove during the process of paper recycling. In addition to its food and restaurant coverage, the magazine features green-related stories from across the industry. These stories cover restaurants and restaurateurs who have taken strides to ensure their business runs sustainably, from energy-efficient kitchen equipment, to on-site composting, recycling and working with local farmers. Taste of the Seacoast also advertises with local, sustainable restaurants, breweries, farms and food suppliers to get its readers to think differently about their dining options.

Support the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund in the Climate Ride

By Katelyn | Aug 24, 2015 | in

The Climate Ride Northeast is a five day, 390 mile bike ride beginning September 17 in Bar Harbor and ending September 21 in Boston. Climate Ride is a nonprofit organization that organizes events to raise money and awareness for environmental issues across the country.

This summer, the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund has joined the Climate Ride Northeast to raise funds to support the work that grassroots groups are doing. The organization has created a team, the Grassroots Fun(d) Riders, to raise money and will be represented by Bart Westdijk, Program Director at the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund.

The Grassroots Fund supports local efforts to create and maintain healthy, just, safe and environmentally sustainable communities. The organization is able to do this by providing small grants, trainings, and resources to grassroots organizations that are working on issues from local food system development to climate resiliency and land/water conservation to environmental justice projects.

The Grassroots Fund is currently supporting a community investment club in White River Valley, VT where members can invest in projects that matter to them in their own community. Additionally, they are identifying and raising awareness about natural gas leaks in Boston and working with city government and utilities to get them fixed and the organization is working with female inmates at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institution to learn agricultural skills through caring for a vegetable garden.

Climate Jam: Concert for Climate Action

By Katelyn | Aug 24, 2015 | in

NextGen Climate is a community organization focused on bringing climate change to the center of discussion in politics. The organization supports candidates and policy makers across the country who take a stand against climate change to prevent climate disasters and create a safe environment for future generations. NextGen was founded in 2013 by Tom Steyer, an investor and philanthropist, and in just a few short years NextGen has made ground breaking progress in advancing climate action in politics.

The New Hampshire chapter invites all to come learn about climate in politics and participate in demanding action on climate change now. The organization will hold a climate action concert on Thursday, August 27 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Henry Law Amphitheater in Dover. This event will feature three local bands, Pardon the Spins, Harsh Armadillo, and Amulus who will provide music for the evening. Speakers Clay Mitchell, an expert in environmental law and energy projects, and Jackie Weatherspoon, a former member of the New Hampshire Legislature, will discuss the importance of climate action.

The Juice Burger food truck from 7th Settlement Brewery will bring local food to the concert and environmental groups from the area will be present to educate concert goers. Don’t forget to stop by the Green Alliance booth at the event!

Click here to learn more about the NextGen Climate Concert.