Blog : Activism on the Seacoast
The story of the Post-Landfill Action Network (PLAN) begins with a small group of students at the University of New Hampshire who noticed a problem on their campus. When students moved out of dorms and campus apartments for the summer, they threw away everything they couldn't pack or didn't want, which amounted to 80 extra tons of furniture, school supplies, dishware, clothing, and toxic electronic waste all to be added to landfills. Then, in the fall, students bought many of the same items new at local big-box stores. This small group of students decided to take action and came up with an ambitious solution called Trash 2 Treasure.
Trash 2 Treasure (T2T) is a fully student-run program started by the UNH Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC) to reduce UNH's contribution to landfills. The program collects all of the stuff that students would normally toss into dumpsters during their move-out process in May, and then stores the usable items, to be re-sold at a huge 3-day yard sale during move-in weekend in late August. However there are still many items unable to be reused, but T2T makes the extra effort to ensure that each of these items are responsibly recycled. When the year is over, the profits from the yard sale are used to sustain the program for the next year; thus creating a sustainable program that is full circle.
In 2013, the students behind T2T set to work bringing their model of self-sustaining, sudent-led waste-reduction programs to other campuses; and PLAN was created. PLAN is a nonprofit combining micro-financing, franchising, and consulting services to reduce campus waste and help students become the leaders of new paradigm sustainability.
PLAN's activities will be threefold. First, PLAN will provide start-up funding and individualized advising to student groups to help them start campus move-out waste collection programs. Second, PLAN will provide sustainability consulting and education services to student groups and universities, which will benefit from their expertise, but have no need for funding. Third, they will form a national network of university programs, business, and artists through which they can continue to divert waste away from landfills and instead put it into aggressive reuse, repurposing, specific resource recycling, upcycling projects, and more.
Though in its start-up phases, PLAN is already in full gear and is looking for community support. It will be launching an online fundraising campaign in the coming weeks and is looking to offer their donors special giveaways in exchange for larger donations. It will be working on a number of its own projects for giveaways, however its goal is to incentivize bigger donations with enticing giveaways from local businesses.
If you are a local business willing to donate to and support PLAN, please either contact Alex Freid, the founder, at PostLandfill@gmail.com or visit its site by clicking the link below.
To volunteer, learn more, and help support PLAN, please click here!
"Like" PLAN on facebook!
PLAN is a proud non-profit friend of the Green Alliance.
While gray clouds and a hazy fog shrouded the city of Portsmouth the morning of this past Saturday, May 11, Strawberry Banke Museum had a much brighter glow that even Mother Nature herself could not fade.
It was the morning of the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure—a 5k held each year in honor of the millions of women and families affected by breast cancer in order to spread awareness of the disease while raising significant funds to help in the fight against it. May 11th’s was the second annual race ran in the state of New Hampshire and had an amazing turnout from Portsmouth’s surrounding communities.
The hundreds of runners, walkers, and supporters at the race sported pink ribbons, knee socks, t-shirts, head bands, and even tutus—not to mention hopeful and motivated smiles—to brighten Strawberry Banke that morning, representing the light the Susan G. Komen organization brings to all the lives darkened by breast cancer.
Among these runners and supporters were Nathan and Danielle Johnson from Visions Kitchens & Design, a Hampton-based kitchen and design company, and Megan McCann from Green Alliance, a local collaboration of sustainable businesses and consumers.
Danielle Johnson ran the race in honor of her mother and cancer survivor, Donna Canney-Marcotte, and brought her and Nathan’s sons Jesse and Gavin for support. After cheering on Danielle as she crossed the finish line, the family was able to enjoy the wide range of snacks provided as well as the kids crafts tent, silent auction, free t-shirts and water bottles, and various vendors at the event.
Man’s discovery of plastic was much like that of fire—it was immediately a developmental marvel, spread like wild, and changed the way life was lived around the world forever.
Just in the 50 years since 1960, the United States’ generation of plastic has risen from 0 to about 32 million tons per year, sparking a societal addiction that infected every household, institution, and industry almost entirely unnoticed.
Sure, the emergence of this ever-adaptive substance has created positive change in terms of health and sanitation, economic growth, product development, and even the ease at which day to day life can be lived. Plastic can be turned into virtually anything we want, whenever we want, and at a relatively low cost.
There is one difference between the development of plastic and fire, however, that contrary to some views, is not necessarily a good thing—once it gets out of control, you can’t simply “put it out.”
This difference is one that has caused an environmental nightmare around the world. Plastics take over 450 years to biodegrade, are a challenge to identify and recycle (if they can be at all), and all too often end up polluting water ways, wildlife habitats, and, eventually, the food chain.
In an effort to reduce New England’s contribution to the U.S.’s plastic waste production, a number of initiatives have sprouted up around the Seacoast.
Maine State Representative Paul McGowan has proposed a bill that would require retailers to add a 10 cent fee to every single-use plastic bag used by customers. The money collected would then go to support plastic recycling efforts.
Legislation such as this has already been established in eight other states with much success. Washington D. C., for instance, experienced a significant drop in plastic bag usage after enacting a law banning non-recyclable plastic carry-out bags and setting a 5 cent fee on all other disposable bags.
Jerry Monkman is a conservation photographer and filmmaker from Portsmouth. He has worked on more than 120 land conservation photo projects since 2000 and is the author of 9 books about the region. His most recent book, The AMC Guide to Outdoor Digital Photography, won a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award. He lives virtually at ecophotography.com and @jerrymonkman.
Sustainability can be a complex concept. Seemingly positive development can have hidden costs that can make it less desirable for society as a whole. One such development that I've been watching for more than two years is Northern Pass, an electricity transmission line project proposed by Northeast Utilities and Hydro-Quebec. The utilities plan to build 180 miles of new transmission lines that will come over the Canadian border in Pittsburg, New Hampshire, and then cut a swath through New Hampshire forests from the Great North Woods to Deerfield, New Hampshire. Along the way it will pass through the White Mountain National Forest and cross the Appalachian Trail. While New Hampshire doesn't need the power, Northern Pass will provide a low-carbon electricity to markets in southern New England.
On the surface, this sounds like New Hampshire is the extension cord for green power that will help mitigate the effects of climate change, but like I said sustainability can be a complex concept. When you factor in that the electricity from Hydro-Quebec won't replace any existing fossil fuel sources, and that there is a relatively flat growth in electricity needs due to efficiency efforts, it becomes less clear that it's a good idea. The people in northern New Hampshire definitely don't think so, and there is strong opposition up there to this project, which they see as an affront to their way of life.
The Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate of the renowned Susan G. Komen organization will be holding its NH 5k run or walk on Saturday, May 11 at Strawbery Banke Museum in Portsmouth. The race is held each year in honor of the millions of women and families affected by breast cancer in order to spread awareness of the disease while raising significant funds to help in the fight against it.
Since its inception in 1982, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has raised over $1.9 billion for breast cancer research, with the Vermont-New Hampshire Affiliate raising more than $8.1 million since its first race in 1993. Attesting to Komen’s “local” mission, 75% of all of the money the VT-NH Affiliate raises is distributed via grants to regional non-profit organizations, health care providers, hospitals, educational institutions, governmental agencies and breast health advocates for breast cancer education, screening and treatment programs. The remaining 25% goes to breast cancer research.
In addition to all the trappings of a wildly successful fundraising event; NH’s Race for the Cure has a decidedly local and green flavor.
This concentration on the local community is an integral part of the Komen Race for the Cure model, so it only makes sense that sustainable initiatives will be incorporated into the event as well. When asked about aspects of the race that make it “green,” race co-chair Allison Brownell immediately lists strong collaborations with local companies including Dave’s Septic, a Manchester-based septic service.
“Dave’s is handling the ‘dirty work’ of the day, but keeping it green!” Brownell jokes. “The toilets are all certified green with non toxic deodorizer in the holding tanks, 100% recycled paper, and, after use, will be cleaned and sanitized with non toxic chemicals.”
Further, vendors at the event are encouraged to incorporate green ideas into their race-day activities and give-aways. Komen’s “I Am The Cure” program has already paved the way by planning to hand out reusable water bottle to participants who stop by their booth.
The race also recently solidified a sponsorship with EcoMovement, a weekly composting service from Dover, to handle the event’s waste, recycling, and composting streams. This is to ensure the smallest amounts of waste possible on race day be sent to landfills as well as no impact be made on Strawberry Banke.
It's that time of year again, finally! This Saturday, May 4th, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company is throwing its season opening Cinco de Mayo party from 6:30 to 10:00 pm.
This year, the party will not only be celebrating the start of a great season, but will also be supporting a great cause. Twenty percent of this year's ticket sales will be donated to the local chapter of Make-A-Wish Foundation, and party attendees will also have the opportunity to make cash donations to the foundation after the cruise.
The party will include a free photo booth, drink specials on Corona, Corona Light & Jove Cuervo 1800 Tequila, and dancing! Entertainment will have old school jams and Top 40 songs by DJ Terry Moran.
Tickets are $15 each, and all attendees must be age 21 or older.
Tickets will go fast, so be sure to get yours today!
To learn more or to buy your tickets, please visit www.islesofshoals.com.
Green Card holders: Remember you can buy one adult ticket and get a FREE ticket for one child, or buy one "Party Ship" ticket and get the second one FREE all season long! Also, save 15% on private charter bookings!
Since their inception in 2008, SEA Solar Store, based in Barrington, has solidified it's role as the flagship business of renewable home energy products and solar systems in Southern New Hampshire. Gaining much of his experience in his eclectic work history before turning to solar full time, owner Jack Bingham, soon to be 59, brings a broad range of affordable alternative energy choices to the table. SEA offers everything under the sun of environmentally pragmatic products; ultra-insulated hot water storage tanks; waterless, composting toilets; even a zero-emissions electric scooter that goes 30 miles on a single charge.
But what has made SEA a force to be reckoned with in the green world are their prominent alternative energy systems – everything from solar hot water and electric systems to on-demand hot water heaters, small wind turbines, and more. Yet while SEA offers both electric and hot water systems, it is the solar hot water technology that has introduced a viable, affordable first step in renewable home energy use. High fuel prices have raised electricity and oil costs so much that most residential solar hot water systems pay for themselves in 5-6 years, resulting in 25 years of “free” sun-powered hot water.
“No matter how you cut it, you’re paying for energy; either continue to pay the electric or oil companies monthly, or pay for a 5 year block of hot water upfront and then get 25 years for free,” explains Bingham. “What used to be for the committed environmentalist has become a very realistic and competitive energy solution.”
The Tech Age is upon us.
From cell phones to laptops to battery-powered gadgets, technological innovations have advanced rapidly over the years. Given the continuous improvements in technology, the turn over for old electronics has experienced a high increase. The growing amount of electronic waste, also known as e-waste, brings to light the importance of proper e-waste disposal, as the toxic materials in electronics have extremely harmful environmental and health effects.
In an effort to provide a simple and convenient e-waste disposal service for seacoast residents, Metalwave and the Green Alliance have implanted a FREE electronics collection program at the Green Alliance office in downtown Portsmouth. The program extends to Green Alliance members, in recognition of their ongoing support to advance sustainability through responsible business practices. A list of accepted items is detailed below.
KITTERY, Maine — Friday, April 26, was Arbor Day, and what better reason for local tree companies to honor Arbor Day than through volunteering to take care of the city’s green giants?
The Seacoast Arborist Collaborative, a four-company group that includes Cornerstone Tree Care and Piscataqua Tree Care, celebrated Arbor Day by donating services— which it has done for the last five years — to help care for trees in a public park. This year’s event took place at Fort Foster, in Kittery Point. Eight internationally certified arborists from the four companies were present and available for questions throughout the park that day.
People attending the event watched the work unfold and learned something about the newest techniques and information in the field of arboriculture and the diverse trees that scatter our coastal landscape.
Started in 1872, nationally celebrated Arbor Day is a time to recognize the beauty and importance of trees, prompting both individuals and organizations to not only plant and care for trees on that day, but also all year-round.
“It’s our way of giving back to our community,” said Chris Kemp of Piscataqua Tree Care. “We formed the group called the Seacoast Arborist Collaborative. We all live and work on the Seacoast. Yes, we do all compete against each other. But most importantly, we share the same passion for trees, a passion that has helped forge a friendship among the companies. And above it all, we have a healthy and respectful competition.”
Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter will be holding a Public Forum next week on the Future of Great Bay. The date is Tuesday, April 30 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm and will be held at the Great Bay Reserve’s Gregg Center in Greenland. A copy of the agenda is below. Please note that EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spaulding will be discussing the permit process.
For any community members who are not familiar with the issues facing Great Bay, this Forum is an excellent opportunity to learn about the progress that is being made and how we can most effectively move forward in cleaning up the estuary. It also is a chance to let the Congresswoman know the importance of protecting Great Bay and to express support for these efforts.
Please circulate to your friends and family and encourage them to participate!
5:30 PM Doors Open and Sign-in
6:00 PM Opening remarks from Congresswoman Shea-Porter on the importance of Great Bay and her role in helping local communities in Congress
6:10 PM Cory Riley (GNBERR) presentation on current state of Great Bay ecology and water quality.
6:20 PM US EPA Region 1Administrator Curt Spaulding presentation on NPDES permits (highlighting their willingness to work with local communities and be flexible)
6:35 PM Peter Wellenberger, Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper (CLF) Newmarket presentation on success story of working with the EPA
6:45 PM Jamie Houle UNH Storm Water Center presentation on non-point source and innovative solutions for communities
7:00 PM Q&A
Exeter and Stratham are continuing their discussions to potentially share water and wastewater infrastructure. You can read about their efforts here.
REMINDER: The next Rescue Great Bay Meeting is Wedensday, May 1. Please contact Peter Wellenberger, Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper at email@example.com for further details.
Dover, N.H. — A local environmental advocate and green entrepreneur will be a featured speaker at a cutting-edge conference focusing on how disruptive innovations will fundamentally change how the world works.
On May 11, TEDxYouth@IFTA will sponsor a regionally hosted version of the popular TED conference at the former McIntosh College in Dover. TEDxYouth@IFTA is a vibrant, youthful group made up of New Hampshire students ages 12 to19 dedicated to discovering and developing "ideas worth spreading."
Organized along the theme of “Disruptive Innovations — Game Changing Ideas,” the conference will be divided into four sessions, featuring 13 of the region’s most out-of-the-box thinkers and ideas of our generation. TEDxYouth@IFTA chose the speakers from a variety of industries, backgrounds, and ages representing such diverse fields as technology, entertainment, design, politics, music, ecology, and education, among others.
Sarah Brown, an environmental advocate, green entrepreneur, former international journalist and director of The Green Alliance, will present a talk titled “Green Entrepreneurs: Money Makers and World Changers!” during “Social Disruptions,” the fourth session.
In previewing her talk, Brown said: “As our local green economies grow across the country, young people need to think out of the box when it comes to green careers; there are sustainable paths in commerce all around us — from the five-star restaurant that is composting to the green dentist to the environmentally-aware landscaper. If sustainable entrepreneurs are properly paired, empowered and supported by the green-leaning consumers that support them, then the green economy can blossom in every single industry sector.”
The Green Alliance is a union of local sustainable businesses promoting environmentally sound business practices and a green co-op offering discounted green products and services to its members. It is the only organization of its kind in the United States, aiming to spread its influence across the country and engage young people in pursuing green careers.
From the start, Chris Meyer, 40, was aware of how influential rising oil prices were going to be on the housing and commercial real-estate markets. By the mid 2000s, he decided to start educating himself on how to make their properties more efficient. The result of years of research led to the inception of Yankee Thermal Imaging in 2008, with the goal of providing the most advanced, reliable and cost-effective residential and commercial energy audits.
Today Meyer heads a company that is trying to redefine the way we look at efficiency. Before, people mostly concerned themselves with such things as when to replace the windows and roof, while they paid relatively little attention to the “envelope” of the building or important issues such as insulation and foundational cracks. YTI uses a high-tech approach called “thermal imaging” with cameras, “smoke pens” and blower door tests – which help calculate the rate of heat loss in a given space – being their go-to tools. By helping tenants better understand how their energy usage is being compromised, YTI helps them save time and money on their monthly bills.
A few years back, YTI started working with local cities and towns on a unique efficiency program, which works somewhat like a credit plan. Instead of having the towns pay for the building retrofits up front, YTI invests the money and then receives payments during each billing cycle. Doing so can potentially help save some cities tens of thousands of dollars a year and also create a greener environment for all of their inhabitants.
a) What do you like most about your job?
I really like the idea that we are helping people save money, especially during such a tough economic time as we have experienced since 2008. Most of our clients really understand and value the capital improvements we specialize in, and the cost savings captured as a result often times have a substantial impact on their family or business budgets.
An Arizona native and lawyer by training, Clay Mitchell, 44, launched Revolution Energy in 2008 aspirating to change how large-scale alternative energy products are managed. As a result, Revolution offers innovative financial packages that help reduce the up-front investment costs of alternative energy systems.
The financing model, at least on its face, gave its competitors an infectious case of “why didn't I think of that?” Instead of being hassled with having to shell out 100 percent of the cost for a state-of-the-art solar array up front, now businesses and other entities can “go green” and only have to worry about paying the monthly bill. The whole arrangement – called a Power-Purchase Agreement – makes what was once a Holy Grail status of luxury, for only the most economically blessed clients, accessible to anyone.
"It's funny, we get this question all the time when we talk to people about what we do,” Mitchell says. “They say, 'Why isn't everyone doing this?' And our only real answer is, ‘We don't know!' It’s truly baffling.”
In late 2009, Revolution directed its expertise to help finance and install one of the state's largest solar array systems at Exeter High School, a system that also hosts one of the first micro-turbine installations in the state, which also uses a Capstone unit (a brand of turbine). Since then, Revolution has tackled a number of similar projects in both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Also in 2009, Revolution was awarded a stipend through Green Launching Pad, a grant consortium that includes UNH, the state of New Hampshire, and the New Hampshire Climate Change Action Plan.
Each year, Portsmouth’s “Crown Jewel,” otherwise known as Peirce Island, holds a clean-up day dedicated to both preserving the island’s beauty and preparing it for scores of summer visitors.
The cleanup is sponsored by the Peirce Island Committee, which works to protect the land and heritage of the 27-acre island.
Last year, while on one of her frequent trips to the island with her dog, Seacoast resident and Senior Manager of Environmental Stewardship at Timberland Betsy Blaisdell came across this cleanup and it sparked an idea.
“Even though there were a ton of volunteers, there was enough work to keep a hundred people busy for days,” Blaisdell explained.
As it turns out, Timberland’s “Path of Service” program, which gives full-time staff an annual benefit of (up to) 40 paid hours and part-time staff an annual benefit of (up to) 20 paid hours for community service, happened to be on the search for Earth Day projects its employees could get involved with.
Blaisdell believed Peirce Island would be the perfect place for Timberland employees to lend a helping hand, while enhancing the beauty of an island so close to her heart.
Members of the Committee, including Co-Chair Richard Smith, owner of Portsmouth-based Cuzin Richard Entertainment Associates (CREA), as well as Co-Chair Steve Marison, worked with Portsmouth’s city manager John Bohenko, Steve Parkinson from public works, and other Portsmouth city officials to submit a proposal for Timberland’s services, which was granted shortly after.
“The Committee has a great vision for the island,” said Blaisdell. “We knew the committee was passionate and resourced enough to sustain the work that Timberland could bring to the island.”
New Hampshire residents and visitors alike are blessed with an incredible diversity of natural landscapes -- from the snowcapped mountains of the White Mountain National Forest, to the rocky coastlines of the Atlantic Ocean, there is much to enjoy and appreciate in the Granite State. With so much at stake, it is critical that New Hampshire’s natural resources are protected – and that they remain so for generations to come.
The Green Alliance will host the Clean Air, Water & Land Roundtable & Social on Thursday, April 18th from 5:30 – 7:30pm at its downtown Portsmouth, New Hampshire office. More than just a discussion, the event offers attendees the opportunity to engage personally with leaders in the environmental community, who are actively working on a number of issues that directly impact New Hampshire’s environmental health.
Green Alliance Founder and Director, Sarah Brown, believes in the impact that community events have on environmental advocacy. As an organization that works with over 100 local, green businesses, the Green Alliance provides outreach opportunities to educate the community on environmental issues and initiatives.
“The community is a powerful resource,” notes Brown. “Education is a way of encouraging the community to recognize the businesses that do the right thing and to want to be involved with efforts to build a more sustainable, healthier place to live.”
The event will lead off with a discussion of clean air initiatives. Despite highly publicized concerns associated with air pollution from coal-fired power plants, including health and economic issues, as well as their contribution to global warming, these old, inefficient plants – including Schiller Station in Portsmouth --- continue to operate in New Hampshire today. Discussing region-wide efforts working to make New England coal-free by 2020, Christophe Courchesne from Conservation Law Foundation and Claire Miller from Toxics Action Center will engage attendees with a discussion of ways in which the community can support efforts to transition to cleaner, safer energy alternatives in the Granite State and all of New England.
At the Green Alliance, we maintain the belief that every day is Earth Day—but we are happy to celebrate the occasion in full throttle! In honor of our green planet, the Green Alliance is offering a special $20 GA membership or Green Families Club membership through Tuesday, April 23rd!
Recognizing the value of a GA membership is not just to stand by the amazing work that our Partnering Businesses do to practice environmental responsibility but also to demonstrate the importance of being a knowledgeable consumer and support businesses that do the right thing.
With a GA or Green Families Club membership, you are privileged to discounts at all 115+ of the Green Alliance Partnering Businesses as well as access to GA events, special promotions, and news. Join our efforts in making every day Earth Day with a GA/GFC membership for only $20! Offer is for new members only.
Visit here to get your new GA or Green Families Club membership!
Celebrate the blooming of spring and Earth Day this year with Stonyfield Farms!
On April 20th, Stonyfield is sponsoring a 5k run/walk, including a kid’s race and toddler trot, followed by a free Earth Day Fair at their facility in Londonderry, NH.
Stonyfield sponsors this event each year with the hopes that a fun, healthy, and educational Earth Day celebration will help emphasize the importance of sustainability and the beautiful environment that surrounds us—all while bringing communities together from all over New England.
On race day, the gun will shoot off at 10:00 am, indicating both the start of the race and the start of the free festival! While enjoying live music from the Adam Payne/2ADAM12 band, all attendees can sample wholesome food products for the whole family, check out earth-friendly product demos, get their face painted, participate in other celebratory activities, and, last but not least, meet and learn about some Green Alliance Business Partners!
The attendance list of GA family members at the event is thus far: EcoMovement Consulting & Hauling, Smuttynose Brewery, Healing Hands Community Chiropractic, AutoBeGreen, ReVision Energy, Green Maids, The Green Cocoon, Conservation Law Foundation, and of course, the Green Alliance themselves!
EcoMovement Consulting & Hauling will be responsible for making the event as close to zero-waste as possible by providing compost bins for all food scraps and compostable containers, recycling for paper, plastic, and glass, and waste bins for everything else.
Smuttynose Brewery—new to this event—will have a beer tent! Allowing all runners over 21 to replenish those carbs after a tough race, and all non-runners to simply enjoy a cold, locally brewed beer in celebration of Earth Day.
It’s not often that a one-time journalist and former computer security executive join forces to create a cutting-edge green product. But that’s precisely what happened when Patrick Lucci and Gerard Kiley worked together to create Lynnfiend Green Technologies, creating a multitude of cleaning and sanitizing products that not only work better, but also are affordable and earth-friendly as well.
The flagship product of the Massachusetts-based business is the Toucan-ECO, an “electrolyzer” that produces a harmless yet effective cleaning and sanitizing solution created from table salt, tap water and a small charge of electricity. Requiring no more than a few minutes of activation time and 1.5 liters of water, the product creates a sanitizer that is more effective at 50 parts per million than chlorine bleach is at 200 parts per million, yet remains harmless to humans and pets.