Blog : Activism on the Seacoast
By Mike Bizier
On February 3 the New Hampshire chapter of the Surfrider Foundation’s Rise Above Plastics (RAP) coalition proposed a reduction of single-use plastic bags to the Portsmouth City Council. The ordinance, which aims at reducing plastics pollution, is currently awaiting votes before it is brought before the council for final ruling.
Formed in 1984, the Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit, nation-wide organization aimed at protecting the world’s oceans, waves, and beaches, The NH chapter was formed in 2007 and is involved in monthly beach clean-ups, removing anywhere from 50-90 pounds of trash from the shoreline. In March 2013, the NH chapter formed the RAP coalition with several groups and businesses including Green Alliance, Zero Waste Portsmouth, Seacoast Science Center, Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation, and The Gundalow Company. Both The Gundalow Company and the Blue Ocean Society are Business Partners with the Green Alliance, a union of businesses and consumers educating the public about the goods and services they use, and encourage more sustainable choices. The GA represents over 100 local green-leaning businesses and has put its weight behind the ordinance to reduce single-use plastic bags in Portsmouth and is using its bullhorn to educate and advocate around the issue.
On Monday, February 9th at the Public Hearing, The Stratham Board of Selectmen voted in favor of the Warrant Article. This Short Property is a 38-acre piece of land loacted off Scramman Road and adjacent to the back of the Barker Farm and near the Gordon Barker Town Forest. This property has many trails that connect with locations on town land, such as Stratham Hill Park. The next step is for Stratham's traditional Town Meeting to vote on it on March 13th at 7:00 pm.
There are several reasons why we shold vote to conserve this land. The Short Property is located near and adjacent to the other town-owned properties, one being Stratham Hill Park, which entails an extensive trail system. This proposal will confirm that continued public access will be granted now and in the future for the several hikers, bikers, cross country skiers, and others who enjoy this land. The conservation easement on this property ensures that the land would be forever conserved, as well as prevent new access right being granted for the development of the adjoining parcels. By conserving this land now, the town will restraint the costs associated with community services that would result from development of the property as well as be consistent with the Town's Master Plan. Also, protection of the land will preserve the existing wildlife and the area identified by New Hampshire Fosh and Game as the "Highest Ranking Habitat in the State".
Josh Denton is a guest blogger who is very active in environmental activism in Portsmouth as well as a member of the Green Alliance. Join Josh as a member of the Green Alliance, right now the winter snow special reduces the price of individual membership to $25, but act fast the discount only lasts until the end of the day Friday February 6, 2015. Click here to join!
My dogs get off-leash exercise at Pierce Island almost daily. The only thing out of place between our working port's ships, the South End's picturesque view, and Fort Washington's historic remains is our wasted bi-product being trucked off the island to a Rochester landfill.
"Fossil fuels are history, and renewable energy is our future" is the message that fossil fuel divestment supporters from all around the world are working to spread to as many people as possible. Internationally, renewable energy is cheaper than ever and the climate movement is on the rise. Global Divestment Day is intended to spread the word about taking action and demanding individuals and businesses as a whole to stray from the use of fossil fuels. The goal is to encourage people and institutions to move their public money away from fossil fuels and directly challenge the social license of the fossil fuel industry. College students are expected to hold flash-mobs, vigils, rallies, and sit-ins about their intentions to end their use of fossil fuels and support and participate in the movement of renewable energy. Faith leaders, administrators, business leaders, and individuals in general will work together to show the world that we are serious about the divestment movement and won't stop until we see results.
Film on Dependence on Fossil Fuels and the Military's Move to Renewable Energy to Screen on Seacoast
The Truman National Security Project will be presenting a screening of the film “The Burden: Fossil Fuels, the Military, and National Security.” The documentary, directed by Roger Sorkin, shows why the U.S. dependence on fossil fuels is the greatest long-term threat to national security and how the military is trying to move to renewable energy. Join The Truman National Security Project for the screening of this educational and important film. The website for “The Burden” states, “The film presents in stark terms the urgent need to accelerate our transition from oil in the name of strengthening national security. While many elected officials privately express concern about our environmental and energy challenges, many refuse to do so publicly for fear of the political consequences. 'The Burden' hopes to change this equation.”
The screening will be at The Music Hall Loft in Portsmouth on February 18th starting at 5:30 p.m. with the reception. Senator Jeanne Shaheen will give the opening remarks. The screening itself starts at 6 p.m. and is followed by a panel discussion of the film with Michael Breen, executive director of The Truman National Security Project, Hon. Sharon Burke, former assistant secretary of defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs, and Rear Admiral Jonathan White, director U.S. Navy Task Force on Climate Change.
Interested in taking a stand in the fight against climate change? A "Reject Keystone XL - Now" rally against construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline will occur in Market Square in Portsmouth on January 13th, 2015. Rallies against the pipeline will take place throughout the country on the same night, with the rally in Portsmouth being the only one scheduled in New Hampshire. There are many contrasting views of the projected pipeline, comprising of individuals as well as environmental organizations. The main concern is the high risk of oil spills that could follow the construction of the pipeline, as well as the contribution to the already existing problem of climate change.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is an anticipated extension of the pipeline that extends from Alberta, Canada to Cushing, Oklahoma, and then to the Gulf of Mexico. TransCanada, a Canadian company, has came up with the solution of building a larger-capacity and more direct link to the existing pipeline from Alberta, which is now known as the Keystone XL.
Rallies have taken place across the country in opposition to the Keystone XL Pipeline for several reasons, with the main concern being the risk of dangerous leaks along the 1,700-mile route. Despite objections from property owners, this pipeline will most likely intrude on property rights and runs the risk of leaks at any given point.
As a community-centric organization, we strive to make our community a pleasant, safe, happy, and green place for all to enjoy. This community encompasses a lot of people, from all walks of life. Some of whom are less fortunate, and could really use some generosity this holiday season.
We know our GA community is full of giving, caring individuals. That is why the GA is setting up a food donation bin at our headquarters in downtown Portsmouth. All food donations will go to Footprints Food Pantry in Kittery, which serves families without the financial means to provide meals and necessary goods to their family on a consistent basis.
Items that are always in high demand at Footprints include: peanut butter, canned vegetables and fruit, pasta, pasta sauce, macaroni and cheese, cereal (low sugar please!), oatmeal, canned tuna fish, dog and cat food, first aid supplies, and more. A bin will be set up in GA headquarters at 75 Congress St., Suite 304 in downtown Portsmouth from December 2 to December 23. We will also be exchanging a drink ticket (good for one free beer) at our December 23 Holiday Party at the Portsmouth Brewery (5:30 - 8 p.m.; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org now)!
Here in New England we love to spend our summers by the water, taking in the beautiful sights, sounds, and smells that the coast has to offer. We take pride in protecting our shores and the marine plants and animals that inhabit them, keeping them healthy for future generations.
Off of the coast of New England, there are currently crucial areas that are protected from harmful fishing practices of dredging and bottom trawling. These zones provide marine species with a safe place to reproduce and feed, and are essential in sustaining populations in the New England waters. Marine plants and animals, such as whales and cod, rely on the areas for their survival, and would be in danger if the protected zones were removed. From recent studies, it has been determined that only a mere 3 percent of the Gulf of Maine cod population is considered healthy. This is an all-time low for the species in this region and it demonstrates the population is in dire need of protection to have any chance of recovery.
Green Alliance Members, make time tomorrow (10/31) for this exciting informative event! Check out the Green Alliance office while also listening and discussing current issues with notable environmentalist Tom Steyer! A GA Membership exclusive event, register now!
Join Tom Steyer, philanthropist and founder of NextGen Climate Action, for coffee and a discussion on climate change issues and the effects on small businesses with other Green Alliance members at the GA Headquarters at 75 Congress Street, Suite 304 in Portsmouth. The event is on Friday, October 31 at 10:30 a.m. This event is exclusive to the GA community, and is a great opportunity for folks to discuss climate change (and hang out in the GA office) with a reputable environmental activist.
Join Tom Steyer, philanthropist and founder of NextGen Climate Action, for coffee and a discussion on climate change issues and the effects on small businesses with Green Alliance members at the GA Headquarters at 75 Congress Street, Suite 304 in Portsmouth on Friday, October 31 at 10:30 a.m. This event is exclusive to the GA community, and is a great opportunity for folks to discuss climate change (and hang out in the GA office) with a reputable environmental activist.
Tom Steyer has enjoyed a successful career as an investor, Tom retired from the private sector to focus on philanthropy and advanced energy advocacy. He founded NextGen Climate, and currently serves as President of the organization which acts politically to prevent climate disaster and preserve American prosperity. Tom continues to be actively engaged in climate politics and works to promote economic development and environmental protection throughout the country.
Breweries and community giveback, may not seem to be synomynous. Breweries and local environmental protection organizations may seem even further apart; yet, Redhook Brewery combines all of these components effortlessly. Aside from making bold, flavorful beers and equally great foods, Redhook Brewery has made community support a part of its mission. Aside from the great things the Portsmouth-based brewery does to make the community greener, they also play host to the 10% Tuesdays program. Every Tuesday Redhook donates 10 percent of its profits to a local, New Hampshire non-profit organization. The recipient of this charitable giving this month is a fellow Green Alliance partner, the Blue Ocean Society.
Founded in 1996, Blue Ocean Society has become an indespinsible resource for researchers, environmental advocates and citizens of all ages thanks to a bevy of engaging and educational outreach programs. In 2012 alone, Blue Ocean Society headed 219 beach cleanups - all in an area extending from York, Maine to Salisbury, Massachusetts - in the process collecting 12,477 pounds of trash.
How do you renovate and rebuild a century-old home for sustainability, but keep its historic properties intact? It takes a lot of planning. In an effort to preserve the city’s rich heritage, Portsmouth has strict standards about renovation in the historic district. Those standards established the framework for how one family is renovating their early 1900s, South End house into a high-performance home that marries energy efficiency and sustainable building materials with a dedication to preserve the historic integrity of the house and the neighborhood.
“This project showcases how houses that have existed for centuries can be updated to make them more comfortable and energy efficient without losing their historic character,” says EcoSound Builders' Ethan Korpi.
We can not get enough of these essay contest submissions! We have another preview for you of some of our great entries!
This one comes from Nicole Allen, age 11. She has a hilarious anectdote of how an annual week with her Grandmother has taught her to go green!
We go to the movies, buy popcorn, a soda, and maybe a box of candy. When we’re done, we throw it out, to be carted away to a landfill. But, who cares. These landfills won’t hurt our generation; let the next generation deal with the results of our family activities. Back in the olden days, people didn’t do that; they saved things and reused things. Leftover food! It never happened. Unused objects? Just the thought of buying something then not using it was a shock. If they wanted to do a family activity they wouldn’t just go to the store, but some colorful paper, sparkly stickers and glue and make a scrapbook. They would use things they already had and make things like cornhusk dolls and daisy chains. They were better at being green then us. But we can still try and sometimes, the people who are the greenest will be found in unexpected places. My grandma is one of those people and I figured that out the first time I went to her house. Her house is a place where I'm pretty sure sweating should be a family activity because without any air conditioner it happens a lot in the summer. (And in the winter you should probably bring your footie pajamas because a she rarely turns on the heater.) My sister and I spend a week at her house every summer, just my Grandma, Grandpa, Great Grandma and us, and the experience we have there. . . let’s just say that it doesn’t happen to many people!
Thank you, Nicole for sharing your green experiences with us! The drawing also comes from Nicole, who said her Grandmother drives so infrequently (often opting to ride her bike around town) that seeing her grandmother's car should be a game, comparable to "Punch Buggy".
We have been so thrilled to receive a number of great responses to our children's essay question, "What activities did your family do this summer to better the environment"? If your kids are interested in sharing their thoughts with us (and winning great prizes just for submitting), please note the deadline is tomorrow, August 23rd at midnight.
Below is an excerpt from Eben, age 10, who has been very busy this summer helping his family go green!
"For starters we recycle. Every Wednesday we drop our recycling off at the end of our driveway so the recycling truck can come and pick it up. The main materials that get recycled are paper, plastic, and metal. To recycle basically means to reuse, so the paper, plastic, and metal can be made into other items. Sometimes recyclables get placed into the trash, where the recyclables eventually gets stuck in a landfill. Not only will the recyclables stink, but when the rain falls on top of the landfill the water will drain into the ground collecting chemicals. The chemicals can then poison habitats. Recycling is great for the environment and is a very smart thing to do.
With summer slowly winding down, back to school sales are filling stores as teachers and students prepare for another school year. Why not help the kids get in the school mindset with a earth-friendly essay contest?!
We are thrilled to announce our first ever children’s essay contest (entrants must be 13 years old or younger). We have received a great amount of support from business partners for this contest, allowing us to offer great prizes to all entrants, with an excellent grand prize for the chosen winner!
To enter please respond to the following topic in a minimum half page essay (accompanying pictures or drawings encouraged but not required), by Friday, August 22nd by emailing email@example.com or mailing to 75 Congress Street, Suite 304, Portsmouth, NH 03801 (essays submitted by mail must be post-marked Thursday, August 21st or earlier):
“What activities did your family do this summer to better the environment?”
Who: Little Green Homes
What: Since the housing bubble burst in 2008, a growing demand for down-sized environmental homes has flooded the market. Luckily, Little Green Homes is ready to deliver.
With a focus on sustainable building in all aspects of a project, Little Green Homes’ founders, Chris Redmond and Jeff Stacy, build homes with lower energy costs, a smaller environmental impact, and a better resale value. In 2009, Little Green Homes was part of the first Platinum LEED build in Portsmouth and has since watched its business grow.
Redmond and Stacy believe using LED lighting, cellulose-based insulation, “concrete foam” foundations, and laying out a projects “bones” for maximum efficiently, make a quality building.
The other aspect is education. Both Redmond and Stacy make it part of their job to understand the latest innovation green technology, sharing their knowledge with clients on every project.
Many of you have heard of the famous Isle of Shoals cruise boat, the M.V. Thomas Laighton, but there’s a new ship in town! Meet the Celia Thaxter, a smaller, nimble vessel that is allowed to get closer to the islands. Each boat runs daily and has cruises out to the beautiful Shoals Islands as well as around the timeless Portsmouth Harbor.
Just a few days from today on August 9 you can have the opportunity to cruise through Portsmouth Harbor and listen to the history and lore of one of New England's very oldest ports. Stories of Paul Revere's ride to Portsmouth, the daring espionage of a young German U-boat commander during WWII, and the eerie history of the castle like "Alcatraz of the East" to name just a few. You'll also see present day port operations first hand including a modern Coast Guard rescue station, lighthouses, several historic forts, a naval shipyard and possibly a fast attack nuclear submarine, colonial architecture, wildlife and much more.
This August, the Green Alliance is celebrating the 2nd birthday of the Green Alliance Green Families Club! On Wednesday, August 27th from 4 – 7 p.m. the Green Alliance will be hosting the Green Families Club Celebration and Farmer’s Market.
The Green Families Club (GFC) was created in July 2012 with the goal to inspire a young generation of environmentalists, or “future environmentalists” (as our GFC t-shirts proudly boast). The GA has over 4,000 regular members, and well over 500 GFC members, with over 115 local business partners.
Green Alliance businesses will have booths with family-friendly, hands-on activities and goodies for kids to enjoy. Kids can design a t-shirt with the winner’s design being printed as a t-shirt in a contest hosted by Get it Going! Or, stop by the Coca-Cola booth for free samples and a demonstration on their extensive recycling program. Get your family together for a free, fun portrait by Lenka Flaherty Photography! Check out the many more booths with great activities, too!