Blog : February 2015

University Students Fueled with Fervency on Global Divestment Day

By Corey | Feb 19, 2015 | in

It’s been two years since members of the University of New Hampshire's SEAC (Student Environmental Action Coalition) delivered 1,000 signatures from students and faculty alike to petition against the University’s investment in fossil fuels. The divestment is a call for action to end investment in environmentally dangerous companies and to move the three million dollars the University currently invests in fossil fuels toward renewable energy.

Despite the passionate effort from rallies to letters, all the University offered in return was an addition of an ESG (Environmental Social Governance portfolio. This portfolio allows University donors to contribute money to help companies and organizations invest in sustainability. This attempted compromise has not solved the issue of the University investing money into environmentally damaging companies, and it certainly was not going to stop students from protesting against it.

With students unsatisfied by the University’s solution, SEAC decided to re-launch the discussion on divestment. On Global Divestment Day (Feb. 13), SEAC hosted an event to inform the student body and public about the University’s involvement with fossil fuel companies and the urgency to divest. Three workshops were held in the morning: Investments 101 – focused on how investments work and where UNH can invest in the future, Elevator Pitch – discussing what divestment is, why it matters, and why to care, and Story to Self, an open discussion on why divestment is important on a personal level.

NH EATS Wine and Cheese Affair Benefits Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Manchester

By Corey | Feb 19, 2015 | in

In support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Manchester, NH EATS (New Hampshire Entertainment and Tastes of the State) is hosting A Wine and Cheese Affair at the most prominent dining and entertainment establishments in downtown Manchester. Held at The Palace Theatre, NH EATS is showchasing signature cheese-themed dishes from their founding partners and delicious wines from around the world. Attendees can enjoy their local and delicious meals to the music of Godspell and other exclusive theatre tours. The mission of NH EATS is to provide the public with the most enjoyable and most reliable hospitality opportunities in downtown Manchester. The NH EATS founding partners whose food will be featured at the event include Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House, Hooked Seafood Restaurant and Raw Bar, Ignite Bar and Grille, N'awlins Grille and All the JAZZ, Palace Theatre, Red Arrow Dinner, and 900 Degrees Neopolitan Pizzeria. 

900 Degrees creates pizza as they were originally conceived in Naples, Italy with daily-made dough, wood-fired brick ovens, and fresh, local ingredients. Not only does this New Hampshire pizzeria keep their Italian traditions alive, but they also keep their business green. In addition to their use of local, organic ingredients, 900 Degrees uses a comprehensive recycling program, keeping recycled paper throughout the premises and reducing their waste by over 50% since opening. The building itself is also sustainable, with LED and motion sensored lighting throughout the restaurant, with paint and finishes all containing low-VOC (volatile organic compounds). 

A Legacy of Sustainable Change

By Katelyn | Feb 18, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – A local downtown establishment is up for sale, but the current owner's legacy of bringing green and sustainable products to the Seacoast is expected to live on. Holly Landgarten, the owner of Prelude “purveyors of imported soaps, fine jewelry & gifts” on Market Street, is putting the store up for sale and she is confident that much of its value lies in the community building and local focus the store has exhibited for over 25 years.

“I've been here nearly 26 years, which is wonderful and it's the longest time I've ever worked anywhere,” Landgarten said. “I would love to still work here as an employee but I need not to work as many hours or have as much responsibility.”

Prelude is a different store than when Landgarten first bought it from Florence 'Fa' Vereen in May of 1998.

Prelude was founded by Thom Lager in April of 1983, who also founded many candle shops in the seacoast. Prelude was different from his candle stores since it carried bath, body and gift items. He also opened a second Prelude in Newburyport, Massachusetts, that closed about 15 years ago.

“He loved to start stores,” Landgarten said. “He was very creative that way and he also loved people but he just didn't enjoy standing still and solely doing retail.”

Local Business to host Extreme Weather and Business Preparedness Forum March 12th

By Mike | Feb 18, 2015 | in

By Mike Bizier

PORTSMOUTH- In 2005, Hampton fire chief Chris Silver surveyed local businesses on whether or not they had an extreme weather plan. An astounding two-thirds of all businesses surveyed had no plan, while five out 10 said their business operations couldn’t afford to be down for more than five days without suffering significant loss to profits and employees.

It’s clear that extreme weather is a serious issue especially for business. It’s also clear that more frequent and severe storms have now become a fact of life in the region and are a result, at least in part, of climate change.

The Green Alliance, a local organization that works to promote and unite sustainable businesses and individuals across the region, will be hosting a free and open Business Preparedness Forum on March 12 from 6-8:00 PM at their office on 75 Congress St, Suite 304 to discuss some of these issues. The forum will be held in conjunction with the American Red Cross and the NH Coastal Adaptation Workgroup, an organization that works to help communities learn about and use existing resources to prepare for extreme weather and the effects of climate change.

Local Group Proposes Ordinance on Single-Use Plastics

By Mike | Feb 18, 2015 | in

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.

New Green Housing Development Replaces Decayed Public Housing

By Sarah Mahoney | Feb 17, 2015 | in

By Ken Johnson

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. – A decayed public housing development has been replaced by a new affordable green town house and apartment complex thanks to Petersen Engineering; a Portsmouth-based engineering firm that specializes in energy efficient mechanical engineering.

Built in 1951, Fairfax Gardens was a 150 unit public housing development in Taunton, Massachusetts that had fallen into disrepair. The development was cramped, not accessible nor energy-efficient. The units were overrun with mold and pests, and their finishes were severely deteriorated. According to an evaluation prepared by The UMass Dartmouth Urban Initiative, drug sales and use were also a large problem at Fairfax Gardens. Shortly after this evaluation, under a HOPE VI Revitalization Grant, the complex was demolished and, along with undeveloped land Parcel 6-A a mile away, was rebuilt into a green affordable housing complex.

There is Green and Then There is GREEN

By Sarah Mahoney | Feb 17, 2015 | in

By Heikki Herb Perry

It may not come as a surprise to some that one of the seacoast-area's greenest homes belongs to Ultra Geothermal, Inc. owner, Melissa Aho. Aho's company takes sustainability nearly as far as it can go, enabling homeowners of new and existing properties the opportunity to heat and cool their homes with clean, renewable — and ultimately affordable — geothermal energy.

Ultra Geothermal, located in Barrington, New Hampshire, has installed more than 750 geothermal systems throughout southern Maine, coastal New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. Aho's home in Strafford, which can only be described as “over-the-top green," is the finest example of Ultra Geothermal’s sustainability ethos.

Cleaning Caution: When “Keep Out of Reach of Children” Isn’t Enough

By Corey | Feb 17, 2015 | in

By Kristyn Lak Miller

PORTSMOUTH – “Keep Out of Reach of Children” is a familiar warning label found on most conventional cleaning products because of the harmful chemicals they contain. Yet keeping these common cleaners out of children’s reach may not be enough.

From laundry detergent to liquid cleaners for floors, sinks and stovetops, each is a hazard that can adversely effect the health of adults and especially children.

According to a series of studies, exposure to the chemicals found in common household cleaners – even exposure through the skin or respiratory tract – is linked to childhood maladies like autism, asthma, allergies, ADHD and cancer. And exposure can start before a child is born. A recent study in PLOS One journal reveals pregnant women with high levels of exposure to commonly used chemicals di-nbutyl phthalate and di-isobutyl phthalate gave birth to children with significantly lower IQ’s; according to the study, by age 7, children with higher exposure levels had IQ’s more than six points below children with lower exposure levels.

But there is an increasingly large consumer migration away from these types of products and services in favor of safer, more environmentally conscious alternatives.

“As a father to three children [ages 10, 14, and 15], this insight is infuriating,” says 44-year-old Gavin Barbour of Kittery, Maine. “Innocent children shouldn’t be harmed, possibly for life, by cleaning products. Parents need to take action. Use green cleaning products or professionals. My family uses Green Maids, and it’s comforting to know our clean house is honestly clean.”

Get Outdoors and Enjoy

By Corey | Feb 17, 2015 | in

...and this from GA Director, Sarah Brown

I know that those close to me might be tired of hearing my exuberance for the snow and cold but I really can’t stop raving about it. There is something just so energizing about that crisp, cold, clean air and everything covered in white - the way our streets look entirely different and the woods are like a wild world of wonder and light! Since our first snowstorm in the form of Juno 2 weeks ago, I haven’t stopped fully taking advantage of what our wondrous outdoor world has to offer. After a nearly 15 year hiatus from cross country skiing, all this snow has gotten me back in to it. I used to cross country ski almost every weekend when I lived in Russia (maybe that’s where my love for a strong winter really solidified!), but with the 3 kids and work, and a lack of good consistent snowfall, I had forgotten just how much I love this outdoor sport!

There is so much to enjoy about this winter we are having and one of the main things is our natural world and how it is rendered by all this white. Whether it’s the ocean or the woods, please make an effort to get out and experience it with friends and especially your kids. This is how it starts; we plant the seeds in the next generation, an appreciation for the outdoor world and the adventures and joys it provides us.

To read more posts like this from the Green Alliance staff, become a member here!

Protecting The Stratham Trails

By Sarah Mahoney | Feb 16, 2015 | in

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". 

Meet a Green Alliance Business: Climate Counts

By Sarah Mahoney | Feb 16, 2015 | in

Who: Climate Counts

What: Originally germinated as an idea from Stonyfield Farm's co-founder Gary Hirschberg in 2007, Climate Counts has become an internationally recognized nonprofit committed to bringing consumers and high-profile companies together to address the negative effects of climate change.

The founding principle behind the cutting edge organization has always been the concept of an informed and engaged public. Because climate change is widely debated politically, Climate Counts decided the best way to bring change to the private sector was to showcase those companies that make a focused effort to be more environmentally conscious. To that end, Climate Counts scores some of the world's largest, most recognizable companies, like Coca-Cola, Nike, Amazon and more, to bring the consumer a transparent look at the efforts these companies make to offset their carbon footprints.

RiverWoods joins Green Alliance to encourage sustainability

By Ken | Feb 16, 2015 | in

One of the goals of the RiverWoods Environmental Sustainability Committee is to continually learn about new ways to maintain a healthy environment for generations to come. In light of that, RiverWoods became an official business partner of the Green Alliance (GA).

This means that RiverWoods will will undergo a sustainability certification, a process that evaluates how eco-friendly a business is. This independent analysis will give the Environment Sustainability Committee and staff a baseline, and an in-depth look at where RiverWoods excels in sustainability, and where more attention needs to be paid. The end result will be a Sustainability grade on a scale of 1-10, which will be published as part of a report.

Happy home away from home for your dog

By Ken | Feb 13, 2015 | in

Do you love dogs? So does Mary Doane! Doane runs Mary's Dogs Rescue & Adoption and Mary's Dogs's Inn. Mary's Dogs Inn is currently bustling with 31 dogs in residence. Right now, the inn has a skiing special offering skiers, who are going on skiing trips, 15% off when they have their dogs stay at the inn.

Mary's Dogs Inn, located in rustic Northwood, New Hampshire, offers day and overnight care for dogs. At the inn, your dog will stay in a spacious antique home with lots of free roaming space and shaded outdoor areas, making them feel at home during their time away from home. Doane caters to dogs who may not be used to being away from home, giving them lots of love and patience. Older dogs and dogs who are recovering from surgery are welcome at Mary's Dogs Inn. A limited number of dogs can stay at the inn, ensuring that all the dogs in residence get all the undivided attention that they need. As a result, reservations are needed to ensure there is space available for your dog and that your dog can be accommodated at the inn.

Put Your Business on the Map

By Katie | Feb 13, 2015 | in

Learn more about the benefits of becoming a Business Partner here

Obama Limits Drilling in the Arctic, Opens It Up in the Atlantic

By Corey | Feb 12, 2015 | in

A writer for the Green Alliance, Corey takes current environmental issues that are occurring in the news and breaks it down for our readers to summarize the problems. Her goal is to explain how these issues can affect our country, our environment or you as an individual.

It has only been less than 16 years since the Exxon Valdex oil spill in Alaska and 5 years since the Deepwater Horizon oil spill – the largest spill in US waters and one of the most devastating environmental disasters caused by humans. Therefore, it may shock some people that the Obama administration is already outlining another coastal energy development plan involving offshore oil and gas drilling in order to appease a soaring demand for domestic energy production.

A proposed five-year plan, known as the OCS Oil and Gas Leasing Program, is defended by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell as a “balanced” proposal that allows for nearly 80% of the undiscovered technically recoverable resources, while protecting areas that are simply too special to develop. Not surprisingly, the plan isn’t pleasing either sides of the issue. Environmental advocates are stating that the Atlantic Coast drilling is exposing the Eastern Seaboard to the hazards of drilling, putting oceans, wetlands, and coastal communities in potential risk of accidents and spills. Unsafe seismic activity could potentially harm whales and other marine animals, and the presence of the oil rigs themselves can cause detrimental displacement and destruction of marine life. Conservationists would rather see this time and money to be invested in renewables rather than in the direction of fossil fuels.