Blog : September 2011
In the latest installment of ReVision Energy's Solar Road Tour, Fred Greenhalgh spends some time with Portlandian Paul Ledman, whose new 3-unit dwelling in Portland showcases exceptional insulation and smart mechanical systems.
Think you can’t build an apartment building in Maine without depending on fossil fuels? Think again.
The Seacoast Science Center will hold its 9th annual BioBlitz! on Saturday, September 24th. BioBlitz! is a dawn-to-dusk species scavenger hunt, where you can explore Odiorne Point State Park alongside scientists, field naturalists and backyard enthusiasts to record data on as many different species in Odiorne Point State Park as possible in one day.
Bring your boots, binoculars and butterfly nets; families are welcome. BioBlitz! is a great way to excite children about science and a rare opportunity to meet many passionate biologists working together.
Meet at the Seacoast Science Center to join a team. The exploration schedule is as follows: 6am Birding, 8am Insects, 9am Freshwater Pond, 10am Mammals, 11am Plants, 1pm Salt Marsh, 2pm Seaweed, 3pm Tide Pooling, 4pm Species Overview. Additional guided field programs and special activities take place throughout the day and will be announced during the event.
It may say September on the calendar, but some New Hampshire students are still heading for the beach. Students from all over the state will gather at Hampton Beach State Park, North Beach, Foss Beach, Ragged Neck State Park and Wallis Sands on September 16th to participate in the New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup. The Portsmouth-based organization Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation is coordinating the cleanup, which is expected to involve over 500 students.
Students will pick up trash on the beach and record their findings on data cards for further study by Blue Ocean Society for Marine Conservation and the Ocean Conservancy as part of their efforts to learn more about marine pollution, both locally and internationally.
This is no ordinary day at the beach. Before heading out to the cleanup, students will learn about the environmental problems related to marine debris, including the dangers to marine mammals, fish, and birds from entanglement or ingestion. Through their participation in the cleanup, students will have a hands-on experience with scientific data collection. Their data sheets will contribute important data to ongoing research concerning the worldwide sources of marine debris. Ultimately, the trash that these students collect will help us to learn how we can prevent more from showing up in its place. Last year, 687 students, teachers and chaperones participated in the cleanup and collected 956 pounds of trash. The number one item collected was cigarette butts - close to 11,000 were collected by students alone.
The Children’s Museum of NH is challenging the creative minds of young engineers with a new workshop all about vehicle design. The Legos in Motion Workshop at the Children’s Museum is set for Saturday, October 8 from 10 am – noon. The suggested age range to participate is 5-9 years old. Children will take home lots of new ideas and fun memories, but not their Lego creations.
Workshop participants will be able to make all kinds of vehicles, from fast-moving cars to super-sized trucks. Challenges will include making vehicles that travel the furthest across the floor, go the fastest off a ramp, go the slowest down a ramp, and pull the heaviest load.
All vehicles will be constructed with guidance and materials from Lego Your Mind, an organization that offers fun and enriching programs on simple machines and robotics in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Lego Your Mind will be bringing lots of Lego building elements including axles and wheels of all sizes. All materials remain the property of Lego Your Mind.
The Legos In Motion Workshop fee is $23 per child for Children’s Museum members and $25 per child for non-members. Pre-registration is required. Registration for members begins on Thursday, September 8; non-members may register beginning on Monday, September 12. All registrations are taken by phone by calling the museum at (603) 742-2002.
The Green Alliance has joined the growing ranks of New Hampshire businesses who are standing beside working families by asking our state legislators to oppose so called “Right to Work” legislation that would hurt the middle class.
Join the Green Alliance in supporting middle class families by signing Protect New Hampshire Families’ Business Petition:
Text of the petition:
Our businesses depend on a strong middle class. We believe that, if passed, the current legislation to cut social services, weaken collective bargaining rights and turn New Hampshire into a Right to Work for Less state will drive down wages, erode health care benefits and weaken the middle class.
We strongly support the true New Hampshire advantage: a highly trained and skilled workforce and a vibrant middle class. We oppose any efforts to weaken this, the foundation of our state’s economy.
Last week, we offered free subscriptions to Taste of the Seacoast and Coastal Home magazines to the first 100 Green Cardholders to respond. And the response was terrific!
So terrific that the editors of those great magazines are allowing us to do another promotion: the first 20 folks who renew their Green Card will also get free subscriptions!
And it's a great time to renew! We've recently added businesses like EcoMovement Consulting and Hauling (who are now getting into residential composting!) and Eco Firebox, who make fantastic, beautiful heating units that use use wood to safely and cleanly heat your home! And don't forget that if you want 20% food and drinks at the Portsmouth Brewery in November (and some other months where it's nice to be inside), you'll need a valid Green Card!
Between the great discounts, free offers, and sense of community, you can't go wrong!
Because every one of our Business Partners is in some way connected to sustainability, and they are ALL businessmen and women that we would personally recommend. If we wouldn't do business with them, we're certainly not going to recommend them to you. We're like a green Angie's List!
So renew, save money, help create the kinds of communities we want for ourselves and our kids, and get a chance at free magazine subscriptions!
We just wanted to pass on the great news that NH's premier electric bike dealership, Ezee Bikes, has announced a fantatstic end-of-the-Summer discount: Tom & Teresa Hemenway are giving Green Cardholders $300 off the purchase of a new electric bike!
And Fall is a fantastic time of year to be out on a bike in our region; the hot Summer isn't beating down on the pavement, the roads become less travelled, and the leaves start putting on a fiery display of beauty. And an electric bike is one of the best way for folks to enjoy Fall's splendor at an unhurried pace, with the ability to alternate between leg power and motor power.
So head on over to Exeter, pay Ezee Bikes a visit, "test drive" an electric bike, and put a mile-wide smile on your face!
Officially opened this past April, the Music Hall Loft, located on Congress Street in downtown Portsmouth, constituted the continuation of a two-year long effort which began with the rehabilitation of the late 19th century across-the-street landmark.
As with the Music Hall itself, the construction of the Loft was conducted with the goal of helping jumpstart a cultural renaissance here on the Seacoast.
And, as with the much-lauded renovation of the Music Hall itself, TMS architects – a firm known for their dual commitment to style and green ingenuity – served as the structural linchpin behind it all.
Training a well-honed green eye on a space in need of more than a little tender love and care, TMS succeeded in transforming the abandoned loft in ways that were equally as cost effective: In lieu of costly replacement, the concrete floors were instead exposed and polished; for the expansive bar, aluminum cans were cut down and repurposed as a counter to house loft libations.
Meanwhile, Paperstone – a hardened resin made from 50-100% recycled materials – serves as rails and shelving throughout the 124-seat auxiliary theater, which has hosted everything from independent films to cabaret to NPR author readings.
Perhaps most impressive, the space utilizes a state-of-the-art energy recovery system, which – aided by super-efficient insulation – takes heated air that would otherwise escape wasted, and reheats it, helping to curb significantly the Loft’s fossil fuel use.
Guest blog from Jamie Murphy of Earth Healing Products on Vaccines, Informed Consent, and the Religious Exemption
We at the Green Alliance aren't afraid to take on controversial subjects, whether it's politics, the economy, public health, and so on. And the issue of vaccinations - particularly when it comes to vaccination requirements for entry into public schools - certainly falls in that category.
With schools across the region having started up again, I've invited author and speaker Jamie Murphy of Earth Healing Products to guest blog about the issue of vaccinations and "Informed Consent", which deals with the issue of whether or not parents have a right to refuse vaccinations for their public school children. It's interesting to note that two Informed Consent bills in Maine may go to the floor of the Maine legislature for a vote at some point.
Guest Blog from Jamie Murphy on the issue of Vaccines, Informed Consent, and the Religious Exemption.
One of the most revered set of principles guiding the practice of medicine is the doctrine of informed consent. Basically, informed consent outlines that a physician must disclose to the patient all the risks and benefits of the medical procedure at hand. He/She must also disclose the benefits and risks of alternative treatments including the benefits and risks of no treatment at all. Additionally, the physician must obtain the patient’s permission in writing, in most cases, thus establishing acceptance for the procedure. Most importantly, informed consent includes the right of the patient to withhold their consent i.e., to refuse medical treatment.
Presented by Business NH Magazine, the Lean & Green Awards recognize innovative New Hampshire companies that save money and reduce their environmental impact by going green. This year’s ceremony, held at the beautiful, LEED-certified Portsmouth Harbor Events & Conference Center (a proud Green Alliance member), will take place on Tuesday, September 20, from 8:00 – 10:00 AM, and will feature former Ambassador and NH Congressman Dick Swett, who’s currently the CEO of Climate Prosperity Enterprise Solutions.
New Englanders love their wood, and for good reason: it’s a renewable resource that can provide us with a heat and cooking source without the use of fossil fuels.
But there’s a downside. When wood is burned either inside a furnace or a wood stove, it releases emissions that harm air quality, such as carbon monoxide and creosote. Some New England towns, as well as some states in the western United States, now have restrictions on wood stoves and boilers because of the problems they create, as wood smoke can be as harmful to air quality as second-hand cigarette smoke.
However, Les Veilleux’s new product, the Eco Firebox, is allowing area residents to leverage our abundance of wood through a European combustion technology that’s actually been around for centuries. But to call the Eco Firebox a technology is misleading; it can be a magnificent work of art that not only heats homes with extraordinary efficiency, but also turns an ordinary fireplace into a home’s gorgeous epicenter that consistently amazes friends and family.
Veilleux, who has been installing Eco Fireboxes for the past 2 years in New England, is one of those people who succeeds at just about everything he touches: at various times in his career, he’s been a software executive, masonry business owner, as well as a commercial photographer. Now, he’s combining his technological acumen with his masonry roots to tap into the enormous potential the Eco Fireboxes offer.
“My family has a deep background in masonry, and the Eco Firebox uses the ability of stone to store heat, which traditional fireplaces simply can’t do,” Veilleux explained. “And it uses much less wood than a wood stove does, so once it’s installed, your wood consumption, and your need to store wood, drop dramatically.”
It was a busy Labor Day weekend at Hampton Beach as a wave of humidity and 80+ degrees temperatures hit the Seacoast region, driving local residents and tourists to seek relief in the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
For many elderly and chronically ill seniors, escaping the heat is not so easy. Too often, seniors at risk of heat related illness or even heat related death forego the luxury of an air conditioner because they can't afford it, or simply don’t know where to turn for assistance.
It’s a problem that one Green Alliance Business Partner is helping to solve.
“We donate money to a group that buys energy efficient air conditioners for the elderly,” according to Bradley Lown, an Attorney at Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy and Lown, P.A.
The group is Area Home Care & Family Services, a nonprofit organization that has been providing non-medical services to help the elderly and disabled stay in their own homes longer since 1972. Launched in 2000, their Project CoolAir program has provided air conditioners to over 500 individuals in need living in Southern New Hampshire.
It’s just one of the ways the partners at Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy and Lown, P.A. are giving back to the local community. The firm is represented on the boards of a number of local nonprofits, including Birchtree Association for Children, Cross Roads House, and Prescott Park Arts Festival.
Coughlin, Rainboth, Murphy and Lown, P.A. was also the first law firm to join the Green Alliance as a Business Partner.
“We live in a beautiful part of the country,” says Lown. “I want to minimize my impact as much as I can.”
For more than 20 years, the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company’s M/V Thomas Laighton has been connecting Seacoast residents and visitors with the ocean environment. On a typical cruise from Portsmouth Harbor to Star Island, passengers may be treated to sightings of Great Blue Herons, Harbor Seals, and even the occasional whale.
“A lot of kids have their first experience with the ocean on board our ship,” according to Rich Ryzman, Marketing Manager for ISSCO.
But one doesn’t need to stray far from shore to enjoy close encounters with marine life. Each summer, ISSCO plays host to a dockside touch tank run by the Blue Ocean Society at its Market St. location in downtown Portsmouth, NH.
This year, visitors got up close with lobster and hermit crab while also learning about more obscure marine life like the periwinkle and mummichog. The touch tank closed a bit early this year in preparation for Hurricane Irene, but that hasn’t put a damper on ISSCO’s efforts to protect these natural resources.
“We’re always trying to make an effort to be as green as possible,” says Ryzman.
Litter remains a big problem for Seacoast communities – and for ocean life. Volunteers participating in last year’s New Hampshire Coastal Cleanup picked up more than 6,000 lbs of trash. At least 267 marine species are impacted by plastic pollution, according to a 2008 study published in the journal Environmental Research. Oceanographer Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation found that 44 percent of all seabirds ingest plastic discarded by humans, as do sea turtles.
A popular party ship, the M/V Thomas Laighton goes through its fair share of beverage containers on any given night. But onboard recycling containers make it easy for passengers not to litter.
“It is not very often you go in a bar and see recycling containers everywhere,” notes Ryzman.
Anything that helps a planet also helps the creatures living on it, which is why St. George’s Episcopal Church in York hopes to tackle issues ranging from energy efficiency to domestic violence at their upcoming, first-annual Social Justice Fair.
The fair will be held on Sunday, October 2 from 11:30 am until 2 pm in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis. Although commonly hailed as the patron saint of animals, St. Francis was also known for his compassion for marginalized peoples and believed it was the duty of humankind to protect nature.
In keeping with that spirit, St. George’s will host a variety of organizations such as the Animal Welfare Society, Habitat for Humanity, Seacoast Eat Local, and GLAAD (the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).
“There are a lot of groups doing good stuff and we just want to make sure we let people know what they’re doing and how they’re helping,” said Susan Mullens, who is helping to plan the event. “I think it’s important to be a good steward of our Earth,” said Mullens. “It’s in the spirit of St. Francis.”
The Green Alliance (GA), a seacoast organization that offers discounts to its members at dozens of local environmentally friendly businesses, will also attend the fair.
“It seems like it’s right in line with our mission,” said Sarah Brown, owner of the GA. “A big part of what we’re doing is getting out into the community and making sure people know they have better choices.”
Some kids won’t eat veggies, while others won’t touch fruit, leaving parents frustrated and worried that their children are not getting the right nutrients for growth. The Children’s Museum of NH is partnering with Hannaford Supermarkets to address the issue of picky eating with a hands-on FoodWorks workshop for parents and children.
The Trying New Foods Workshop will be held on Saturday, September 17 from 10:30 am – noon at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire in Dover. Hannaford nutritionist Dr. Karrie Kalich will offer parents and caregivers helpful hints and strategies for getting children to try new foods at 10:30 & 11:15 a.m. Dr. Kalich is a Registered Dietitian and Associate Professor of Health Science at Keene State College, and co-author of Early Sprouts. She will be available to answer questions at the end of each session.
At the same time, museum staff will be encouraging children to “play with their food” in a variety of ways. Young visitors will be able to create and taste edible art, play a fruit and vegetable guessing game, and make their own “produce people” to take home.
All activities are drop-in with no pre-registration required, and included in paid museum admission ($9 children/adults, $8 seniors, no charge for children under 12 months old).
“We know picky eating is something most parents deal with at one point or another, so this workshop seemed like a natural fit to develop with Hannaford,” said Jane Bard, Director of Education at the Children’s Museum of NH. “We want to be a resource for families and give parents new tools to address common childhood issues. We hope this workshop will introduce creative ideas on how to tackle food aversions and meal-time struggles, and give children a positive experience with a variety of healthy foods.”
Throughout 2011, the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire has been partnering with Hannaford on a series of six FoodWorks programs and events that promote good nutrition. The year’s final workshop at the Museum will be The Challenges of Food Allergies on Sunday, November 13 from 11 am – 2 pm.