Blog : January 2012
RAM Printing has been using sustainable practices since 1989, long before the current green trend. But resting on laurels simply isn't RAM's style. RAM has held its own on the cutting edge of sustainability through tireless work and constant innovation to improve efficiency and reduce the company's already-low energy use and waste production. At the same time, RAM manages to continually increase the variety, convenience, and affordability of their products.
RAM's newest offerings include short print runs with no minimum order, as well as digitally printed packaging, including personalized and promotional packaging. “In a nut shell, we're now providing additional solutions for both short and long printing runs and packaging,” says account representative John Sobczak. “Short runs and digital packaging are new options in the printing industry, and not many companies are offering them.”
As always, RAM combines their commitment to green business with their passion for customer service. “Sustainability is always our top priority,” says Sobczak, “but that's not the only reason we've added these services. Shorter printing runs and personalized packaging save time and energy, but they also allow us to provide the customer with more choice, more printing solutions, and lower cost.”
One of the great things about joining the Green Alliance is the sense of meaning that comes with being part of a growing community of people who care not only about protecting the environment, but are also always willing to help out a neighbor in need.
It was a typical Monday in early January when GA Director Sarah Brown received an email from Diane and Peter McDonald, two GA members living in Dover, NH.
“Hi Sarah! We have some firewood that we'd like to donate to someone in need if they can pick it up. Do you have any leads?” the couple inquired.
Quick as a jiff, Sarah sent out an email to Mary Doyle of the York County Shelter Programs (YCSP). Headquartered in Alfred, Maine, YCSP operates a network of emergency shelters, transitional housing, and food pantries for families and individuals in need.
"We would definitely be interested in a donation of firewood,” Doyle responded. “Two of our Shelter houses use wood so it would be wonderful to receive such a donation."
“Yes, we would love to donate this wood to you!” Diane chimed back in.
Even better, John Bubar, Chief of Housing and Maintenance at the Shelter, lives in Dover and offered to pick up the firewood on his way to work.
“We are always very concerned about conserving fuel at the Shelter, so it was exciting to learn that John would be already driving by where the wood was located,” Doyle said.
“Diane and I loaded the truck with a half cord of hardwood in just a few minutes,” Bubar reported after his visit to the McDonald abode. “Talk about a couple of woodchucks chucking wood!”
In a society dominated by huge corporations, it's heartening to know that businesses don't have to be purely self-interested. Especially for the green movement, businesses who care about the welfare of their communities can be an important driving force for positive change. Luckily, more and more businesses are discovering that social responsibility can be directly tied to profitability—a win-win for everyone. New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility (NHBSR) is a network of businesses committed to socially responsible business practice, a group that continues to explore how kind business and good business can spur each other forward.
Every spring, the NHBSR holds a conference to interrogate how social responsibility relates to the workplace, community, and environment. The conference features a prominent, respected leader in the world of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) to deliver an opening keynote address, and continues through a series of educational workshops, with CSR discussion circles during lunch. The conference also allows plenty of time for networking. This year's NHBSR conference, "Walking the Talk: The Profitability in Values," will continue to explore the integral link between social responsibility and the bottom line.
"CSR is clearly an important issue in today's business climate as evidenced by the number of leading NH companies involved with the event," said Jill Wurm, conference chair and director of public relations at Fairpoint. "All of the speakers we've brought to the conference were helpful in outlining how employees can drive CSR and the benefits to having employees involved in CSR."
The benefits of chiropractic for adults is well established – almost 20 million men, women, and children visit licensed chiropractors annually as part of their health, wellness, and pain management regimens.
But now an entirely new and potentially unlikely group is experiencing the drug-free benefits of chiropractic: infants and young children. And Dr. Seth LaFlamme, founder and owner of South Berwick-based Great Works Chiropractic, has been strongly advocating for infant chiropractic care for several years. “Our birth rituals are often unnatural and cause harm,” noted Dr. LaFlamme. “It’s very important to get an infant checked, as injuries are common during delivery.”
Newborns can benefit immensely from chiropractic adjustments. The birth process, complicated by a constricted uterus, a breech presentation, or a difficult delivery, can result in unintended spine or nerve damage to a vulnerable infant. For example, a study of 1000 babies found that of the 17% suffering from vomiting, hyperactivity, and sleeplessness shortly after birth, 95% showed signs of spinal injury and dysfunction.
Fortunately, chiropractic treatment for these maladies was found in the study to demonstrate success rates that “overshadow every other type (of care).” And the benefits extend beyond the child’s newborn stage: chiropractic care has been shown to assist breast feeding, nervousness, sleep disorders, colic, and even ear, nose, and throat infections.
That’s because during the birthing process, a newborn’s neck vertebrae can become misaligned, and affect the Eustachian tube. This may lead to fluid buildup in the middle ear, causing recurring ear infections. However, a study in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics found that 90% of children who received chiropractic adjustments did not experience another ear infection within six months of their initial visit – a success rate that’s music to the ears of parents struggling with their kids’ chronic ear infections. “While no medical condition is specifically treated by chiropractic care, it’s been shown to benefit the immune system, because of the close relationship between the human nervous system and the immune system,” Dr. LaFlamme explains.
4:00 to 4:30 outside the Alfred County Courthouse
The York County Shelter Programs' Food Pantry has recently suffered a $31,000 budget cut, while tough times continue to force more and more people to rely on the vital social service the pantry provides. At the last county Budget Committee meeting, the motion was made and passed to reinstate this desperately needed funding. David James, the committee member who made the motion, explained that he has seen poverty first hand through his work delivering Meals-On-Wheels, and that the Shelter's Food Pantry does a good job of giving out food to needy folks in all of York County.
The pantry currently distributes an average of 39 food boxes per day, and the need has been increasing drastically. Three years ago, the York County Shelter’s Food Pantry provided 9,251 food boxes—this past fiscal year they provided 13,792. A $31,000 budget cut while the pantry's work is increasing in urgency every day would be tragic. “We want to let the York County Commissioners and the general public know that the $31,000 cut in the county budget for the Food Pantry is simply not acceptable,” says Mary Doyle, who manages public relations for the York County Shelter Programs.
It's vital that the local community show their support for the Food Pantry's indispensable work of caring for our friends and neighbors. Today is your chance: a peaceful demonstration will be held from 4:00 to 4:30 outside the Alfred County Courthouse in support of reinstating the $31,000 back into the county budget for the York County Shelter Programs' Food Pantry. A county budget hearing will take place inside the courthouse at 4:30 p.m. after the demonstration. There will be an opportunity for public comments about the Food Pantry funding.
Staff, residents, volunteers, and local high school students have been working tirelessly to prepare for the demonstration making posters, banners, and “Fund our Pantry” scarves. Hot cocoa and cookies from the Shelter's Bakery will be served during the demonstration. The demonstrators hope you can spare thirty minutes today to join with them and show your concern for the critical issue of hunger.
Houses are built to endure the changes of the seasons, but not without regular maintenance. Gutters need scraping, windows need caulking, and decks need refinishing. Maintaining a house may come easily to some but for those who can’t find the time or aren’t able-bodied, easy fixes can fester into expensive problems.
So if the neighborhood handyman won’t work for baked goods anymore, it might be wise to call in the professional handymen at Ridgeview Construction.
Ridgeview Construction, which specializes in building ultra-efficient, ecologically responsible custom homes, now offers a home maintenance plan to plug up leaks in your house without poking holes in your pockets. An annual payment of $495 buys three visits – spring, summer and fall – of up to two hours each, which is plenty of time to take care of those seasonal jobs people tend to neglect.
Operating near carbon-neutral is something ReVision Energy has been able to do in its Maine facilities for quite some time. The renewable energy contractors have striven since the company's inception in 2003 to help people and businesses transition to renewable energy, and have modeled this transition in their offices. The combination of gasifying wood boilers, solar hot water, and grid-tied photovoltaic systems in all of ReVision's workspaces has provided a showcase of renewable energy to educate the community, in addition to achieving an impressively minimal carbon footprint for their operations. So ReVision's recent move to Exeter, with ambitions of bringing NH its first carbon-neutral solar energy showroom, was just the next step in ReVision's proud history of working to reduce the nation's dependency on fossil fuels.
So why the move? Office manager Heather Fournier says that ReVision wanted to be more accessible to their already committed customer base in the granite state, and to make their services visible to new customers as well. Besides being more convenient for ReVision's New Hampshire friends, the Exeter office will greatly decrease the amount of fuel required to transport products to local customers, greening ReVision's services even further.
“Starting in about 2008, New Hampshire residents really began finding us on the internet as we invested in search engine optimization,” says company co-founder Phil Coupe. “Once we started landing a substantial number of projects across the border, it became obvious that we should open a branch in NH to properly respond to the demand and to eliminate the inefficiency of the long drive.”
“The Exeter office helps us expand our reach into New Hampshire,” continues Heather. “Our Maine offices were already providing people in New Hampshire with sustainable energy systems, but the Exeter office helps us be more local for them. It also helps the NH economy,” Heather notes, adding that ReVision was excited to be able to bring new green jobs to the state.
Eat, drink, be merry, and help local green businesses raise money to end childhood hunger, all at the Polar Grill Fest 2012!
Green Alliance business partner Redhook is hosting this year's Polar Grill Fest, where New Englanders can celebrate their winter-grilling mettle with outdoor bars, heated tents, fire pits, live music, great people, and tons of food. Watch New England's best grillmasters demonstrate their skills, pick up cooking tips, and taste the results for yourself for only $5 per plate! Throw in a $5 Redhook Beer for a delicious and well-balanced meal.
Have fun with friends, food, and live music, with the satisfaction that you're also supporting a worthy cause. All proceeds from Polar Grill Fest 2012 will benefit Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign to end childhood hunger. This national campaign aims to end childhood hunger in American by 2015 by ensuring that kids in need are enrolled in effective federal nutrition programs, by investing in community organizations that fight hunger, by teaching families how to cook healthy and affordable meals, and by building public-private partnerships to end childhood hunger at the state and city level.
Community outreach is an important part of sustainability, so it's no surprise that three Green Alliance business partners—Redhook, Favorite Foods, and EcoMovement—are joining together to sponsor this fundraiser. By sharing their resources to support the No Kid Hungry Campaign, these three businesses are demonstrating their commitment not only to green living, but to investing in the strength of the local community.
Since 2010, Greenovations has provided the seacoast area with exclusively green building supplies produced by companies that live by principles of environmental justice. From carpet lines made from hemp and cotton materials, to zero-VOC paints and coatings, to FSC-Certified and recycled content hard finishes, owner Christopher Ring selects products for Greenovations to carry with a discerning eye. Greenovations has also proven over the last few years that building a green, healthy home can be affordable.
Right now, Greenovations is making green building even more affordable with a variety of discounts—especially for Green Alliance consumer members. From now until March 31st, Green Card holders can enjoy a new Rais stove for $400 to $500 off the normal price. Greenovations is also offering a smaller discount for a limited time to those who aren't Green Alliance members yet.
For everyone, Greenovations is offering significant reductions on Eco Timber pre-finished flooring including woven poplar solids, muir woods select grade maple, woven engineered bamboo, and dye woven engineered bamboo, all from $0.35 to $1.21 off per square foot. All Bambu coiled bamboo bowls are now 25% off as well.
Greenovations is making it more affordable than ever to build green, so come take advantage of these deals and check out what else is stocked by the most selective green building supply business in the area!
Anyone who says the green movement lacks leaders hasn’t been to a Bill McKibben event in New Hampshire. Hundreds of people packed into the South Church to hear the author and climate activist from neighboring Vermont speak during his 2008 visit to Portsmouth.
McKibben returns to New Hampshire on January 26, 2012 for a Climate Change Awareness Lecture at the Congregational Church in Exeter, UCC, located at 21 Front Street. The event starts at 7:00 PM, but judging by past crowds at McKibben events around the Seacoast, attendees should plan to arrive a little early.
Since my freshman year of college, I've known that after graduation I would pursue a career in environmentalism. Now, as a second semester senior, that impending step into the 'real world' is getting much closer, and I've realized that along with drive, great knowledge and experience are going to be invaluable when trying to be successful. It is because of this that I am so excited about being the new Sustainable Business Development Intern at the Green Alliance for my last semester. My greatest interest is the connection between the society and the environment, which is why I am eager to help Green Alliance to further develop a green community and support for local sustainable businesses. I’ve been aware of the work Green Alliance does for a while now, and am glad for the opportunity to learn from such a great organization.
I’m currently studying geography at UNH, and a member of the Student Environmental Action Coalition there. I was previously the Programs & Services intern with New Hampshire Businesses for Social Responsibility, and just returned from a semester abroad in Denmark, studying Sustainability in Europe. I enjoy everything about the great outdoors, a new-found love for cooking, and spending time with my dogs Stella and Hudson. I’m looking forward to meeting and getting to know members and friends of the Green Alliance, working to spread its message about sustainability, and becoming a part of the environmental community that the seacoast is so well-known for.
Today, as the nation pauses to observe Martin Luther King Day, the Green Alliance honors Dr. King's historic contributions to the civil rights and environmental movements.
U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder put it best when he said that Dr. King “…helped to plant the seeds for what would become our nation’s now thriving environmental justice movement.”
Indeed, the very concept of environmental justice is based on the idea that all people have the right to breathe clean air and drink clean water. To live, work, and play in a healthy and safe environment.
Dr. King lived this ideal during the final days of his life. He traveled to Memphis in 1968 to join more than 1,100 African American sanitation workers on strike for safer working conditions, fair wages and benefits, and union recognition. It was a protest that began with storm. Two black sanitation workerss were crushed to death by a garbage truck compactor while working during a heavy downpour. That same day, more than twenty black sewer workers were sent home without pay while their white supervisors were allowed to stay on the job and collect pay.
On the day of his assassination, Dr. King was in Memphis fighting for equal rights for those who earn their living disposing of society's waste.
He left behind many important questions still worth pondering today:
“Why are there 40 million poor people in America?”
Today, 46.2 millions Americans live in poverty, representing 15.1 percent of our nation’s total population, according to the U.S. Cenus Bureau.
As one of Limelight's first test cases, the GA offered $10 off its yearly membership. The results were instantaneous: By the next day, we had customers rolling through our downtown Kittery doors, eager to score their Green Card.
With the new year officially upon us, we here at the GA have decided to up the ante on our previous Limelight Deal. Now, for just $22, you can become a GA Green Card holder, and enjoy access to exclusive discounts to over 100 local green businesses!
But that's not all! (Always wanted to say that.) Not only will you receive a discounted GA membership; you'll also score a $10 gift certificate to one of four Green Alliance Business Partners: Acorn Organic Salon, Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, Robert's Maine Grill, or the Habitat for Humanity ReStore!
Click here (or on the graphic to the left) to take advantage of this incredible Limelight Deal, and join our growing community of eco-conscious consumers and businesses doing their part to strengthen -- and green -- the local economy!
In 2008, local journalist and activist Sarah Brown launched Green Alliance (GA) with the aim of connecting sustainability-minded consumers with businesses committed to reducing their environmental impact.
Nearly 100 businesses and close to 3,000 consumer members later, Brown and the GA are well on their way to making that dream a reality.
Now, the fast-growing organization is setting its sights on helping their partnering businesses more effectively connect with one another and garner the tools necessary to maintain a successful green business.
On January 25th, the GA will host the first in a series of unique educational events at their new 75 Congress Street headquarters. The workshops – which will include wine and light appetizers – are free for existing Green Alliance Business Partners, just $25 for Green Alliance Community members and $50 for any business owner or employee that is not a Green Alliance Green Card holder (this fee includes a one year GA membership).
Designed to help foster idea-sharing and creative marketing strategies, the workshops promise to add yet another unique wrinkle to an already unique GA tapestry.
“We’ve always been very effective at being a kind of clearinghouse for green businesses and consumers in NH, ME and Ma,” explains GA Director Brown. “But we’ve realized lately that the businesses themselves are an enormous wealth of knowledge, and that we should be fostering the sharing of that knowledge for the benefit of everyone.”
Truth be told, Brown’s idea for a fresh, new take on the traditional business-to-business workshop wasn’t hers alone.
This past summer, Brown – eager to put a fresh pair of eyes about the GA model – was introduced to Bridget Sprague. With over 10 years of high profile marketing experience – Stride Rite, General Motors, and Green Alliance Business Partner Pixels & Pulp being just a few examples of past clients – Sprague struck Brown as the perfect person to help take her growing but still infant GA to the next level.
This coming Thursday marks a very special -- and unique -- Portsmouth Green Drinks, as former Portsmouth Poet Laureate Mimi White will be on hand to share some of her renowned verse, as well as her opinion on green issues, and what the Seacoast community can do going forward.
Things will kick off with networking and drinks at 6:00pm, with White taking the floor shortly thereafter.
Organized by GA Business Partner Tim Gaudreau of Tim Gaudreau Studios, Portsmouth Green Drinks offers area greenies a chance to come together and hear from local business leaders, academics, experts, and other community members.
For the past two years, Two Ceres Street -- another GA Business -- has played host to the monthly gathering, held on the third Thursday of each month.
Stop by and enjoy drink specials and engaging conversation, while Two Ceres' beautiful fire helps keep the winter freeze at bay.
Portsmouth's Poet Laureate from 2007-2009, Mimi White has worked in a variety of settings including schools, libraries, prisons, residencies for the elderly, and universities. Additionally, White has been a member of the faculty at the University of New Hampshire, Northern Essex Community College, and Lesley University.
White's work has been published in dozens of journals, including Poetry, Harvard Review, West Branch, The Seattle Review, Yankee and Rivendell. Her book of poems, "The Last Island" was published in 2008.