Blog : Miscellaneous
He’s been missing in action for upwards of a month, minus a few brief teases. But now it appears that he’s ready to take up residence – for at least a few weeks – and his stay affects our commutes, our plans, our landscape, our municipal budgets, and a lot of other things about our lives.
He is, of course, “Old Man Winter”. And while he was nary to be seen in December, meteorologists insist that he’s making a slow but sure return to New England, whose major population centers have seen little more than a dusting or two of snow all Winter. His first stop was this past week, when 6- 10 inches of snow fell across fell across interior Northern New England. That includes the ski resorts of New Hampshire and Maine, who received a welcome dollop of “white gold” to augment the herculean efforts their own snowmakers and groomers have staged since mid-December.
On top of maintaining an always pristine run of slopes and trails, the folks at the Bridgton, Maine ski resort are currently gearing up for the next in a long line of creative program: SnowSports Adventure Camp.
Needless to say, these aren't your grandfather's ski lessons. With a schedule that includes on-mountain scavenger hunts, obstacle courses, lessons on park skiing, and freestyle tutorials, the camp promises a program as fun as it is informative. Each camp session will run for three days (February 20-22, 23-25, and 26-28), with daily sessions being conducted from 9am to 3pm. All sessions are open to kids age six and over, regardless of ability or experience. Luch and snacks will be provided.
The SnowSports Adventure Camp is just one example of the many unique programs offered by Shawnee Peak, who's out to remind you that -- despite the mild weather -- ski season hasn't gone anywhere.
“When I tell people that we’ve got 80% of our skiing terrain open, they’re astounded,” noted Rachael Wilkinson, Director of Marketing for the Shawnee Peak resort. “They usually say, ‘but there hasn’t been any snow!’ And they’re right, but our snowmaking capacity is now so extensive that our guests consistently tell us they can’t believe how good their skiing and riding experience was.”
It used to be that when Habitat for Humanity ReStore Manager Doug Willey would accept a large donation – be it a discarded door or heirloom dining room set – he’d have to think long and hard how to best fit the new addition into his 10,000 square foot Dover showroom.
“There were times when we couldn’t accept a delivery because the showroom was too full, or other times where we’d have a trailer unloading that was blocking three parking spaces,” recalls Willey of his store’s halcyon Dover days. “It always felt like we could do a lot better if we just had more space.”
That all changed on October 1st of last year, when the ReStore officially opened its new Newington showroom.
Located in the old roller skate rink, the new-look ReStore managed to double the floor space of its old quarters. Not only that, but having the showroom housed on one floor – a majority of the old ReStore’s space was located in the basement – made arranging and rearranging the myriad tables, chests, and other, smaller household fodder all the more safe and seamless.
“It makes it relatively easy to move materials in and out, and to shuffle materials around as necessary,” says Willey. “And partly because of that, donations have increased dramatically these last few months.”
Whereas their Dover home’s limited parking and driving space led to constant receiving logjams, ReStore now boasts a drive-thru style drop-off center, complete with a retro gas station bell that rings every time a new car approaches.
Drive in, drop off, grab a donation slip for any tax deductions, and you’re on your way – simple as that.
And lest you think the items brought through ReStore receiving constitute little more than landfill fodder, think again: For every half-used can of paint, there is a gorgeous heirloom desk; for every used tool, a perfectly usable, sleek appliance.
Attention Yogis and Yoginis!
The Green Alliance is excited to share this news about our Green Business Partner, Zev Yoga.
Zev Yoga, located in Exeter NH, is now offering a fantastic new class- Yoga for Athletes. Lead by Yogacharya Julie Yonker, this series promises to help good athletes become even better but also calls on those who are simply looking for a dynamic way to cross train.
Yonker focuses on maximizing your competitive edge, improving flexibility, strength, efficency, and power. Her course on Thursday evenings (from 6:00-7:15) aims to restore muscle balance and reduce the risk of injury as well as provide enhanced recovery for those who currently experience pain.
To register, please contact Zev Yoga directly, specifically, Julie Yonker: RunnerJolie@gmail.com. This class is being offered begining January 5th. The cost is $75 for the full four-week session, drop-ins are $20 per visit. Zev Yoga is located at 175 Water St, Exeter NH (on the second floor).
Deadline Extended to March 1, 2012
York County Audubon Society (YCAS) is seeking an educator or community leader to participate in a one-week program on famed Hog Island off mid-coast Maine in July 2012. YCAS will sponsor one participant who can benefit from the Hog Island experience and use it to teach others.
Complete information is available at www.yorkcountyaudubon.org and applications are due March 1, 2012. The program is entitled “Sharing Nature: An Educator’s Week” and will run from July 19th through July 24th. Program details and descriptions are available at www.projectpuffin.org/OrnithCamps.html.
The YCAS scholarship will pay 70% (up to $700) of the recipient's cost for program tuition, room and board. Hog Island is celebrating its 75th anniversary as a leader in environmental education.
Since 1936, some of the world’s most well-known and highly respected naturalists have inspired thousands to learn about and protect birds and the environment. Roger Tory Peterson was among the first teachers on the 335-acre island. Rachel Carson described her visit to Hog Island in her landmark book, Silent Spring. Kenn Kaufman, only nine years old when he read Peterson’s account of Hog lsland, is now an international authority on birds and one of the program instructors.
York County Audubon Society fosters understanding, appreciation, and conservation of the natural world through the education of present and future generations. YCAS is a chapter of Maine Audubon and the National Audubon Society.
The Green Alliance is excited to share this fun, beer filled event with you! It's beer! It's pie! It's beer and pie, together again, on January 23 at 6pm, in the LaPanza Lounge (the lower level of the Portsmouth Brewery)! Why beer and pie? They've got plenty of good reasons:
- Beer and pie, who doesn't love them both?
- They pair very well with each other.
- Charlie Papazian, President of the Brewers Association and founder of the National Pie Council and the American Homebrewers' Association, created National Pie Day while teaching elementary school in the mid-1970's. You can read more about it here.
- Last year's was really fun.
Here's this year's menu:
New Hampshire Cheese and Vegetable Platter presented with their Winter Dunkelweizen.
A Savory Ricotta and Farro Tart paired with their Munich Dunkel.
Venison Pie or a meatless option of Porcini and Local Potato Pie with lingonberry mustard, accompanied by The Stone/Smuttynose/Portsmouth Brewery collaboration beer, Cluster's Last Stand.
Peach Clafouti with fresh thyme, served alongside their Saison l'Hiver.
Chocolate Caramel Tart matched with their Coffee Milk Stout.
Remember, all the pies are made in house!
Remodeling Project was the Start of a Beautiful Friendship for Little Green Homes and two York Residents
“I think Deb was born green,” says Mary Campbell. Deb Chase confirms, “We're almost as green as Kermit!” So when the two women hired Little Green Homes to renovate their house in York, Chris Redmond, who runs the design side of the company, didn't have to sell them on efficiency. While many home owners are more focused on cosmetic features than structural ones, Deb and Mary were already so green-savvy that they even suggested a couple of sustainable features that the builders hadn't thought of. The renovation project was truly a collaborative effort, and the partnership between Little Green Homes and York residents Deb and Mary shows how exciting it can be when green businesses and green-minded consumers actively propel each other toward their sustainability goals.
Deb and Mary have worked at Mass General Hospital for more than ten years, Deb as a respiratory therapist, and Mary as a nurse practitioner. They moved from Boston to Maine in the mid-1990s and settled into their post-and-beam house in York, which had been built about a decade before. Then recently they decided it was time to improve the efficiency of their home, and they wanted to put additions on the house at the same time.
They didn't know exactly what they wanted when they decided to remodel, but they were sure they needed a building company that was focused on sustainability. “We found Little Green Homes through the Green Alliance web site and discovered a shared interest with Chris through our participation with the group MOFGA (Maine Organic Farmers and Growers Association)” says Deb. They felt a great connection with Chris right away. They didn't have to look any further for green builders because they knew that Little Green Homes shared their principles. Their project with LGH in turn led them to join the Green Alliance, a green business union and consumers’ co-op that has helped Mary and Deb feel more connected with the green community and made sustainable options much more visible.
It's easy to get stuck inside in the winter and forget about all the great ways we can engage with nature sustainably. But you don't have to let it happen to your kids—or to you. Prescott Farm, a business partner of the Green Alliance, has many exciting events planned for the rest of the winter to get your family outdoors and loving it.
Prescott's WildQuest Winter Camp plants the seeds of green thinking by educating and inspiring kids about nature in a non-competitive, community-minded environment. Most of the day is spent immersed in nature, learning about local plants and animals and various sustainable ways that we can enjoy our environment. Not just facts, but hands-on, experiential learning activities foster a life-long love of the natural world, which gives kids an impetus to live green into adulthood.
Office and communications manager Kimberly Drouin says it's not hard getting kids excited about the outdoors. “The kids that come here usually already enjoy nature and outdoor activities, but if the interest wasn't there before, they certainly gain it here.”
Prescott Farm's WildQuest Winter Camp will run from February 27th through March 2nd, 9am till 3pm. But if the WildQuest camp doesn't fit your schedule, Prescott Farm has other exciting programming planned for the next few months. On the docket for Janruary 9th is an exciting full moon snowshoe hike that will include constellation identification and discussion of the nocturnal habits of animals.
“Since we're really community focused, we don't just educate kids—we have programs for people of all ages,” says Kimberly, who encourages adults to check out the moonlit snowshoe hike and other workshops at Prescott Farm.
Here on the seacoast we're able to enjoy the freshest and most local seafood. Eating local and supporting the local economy are both important aspects of green living—they strengthen the community and save on fuel for shipping food. Besides being responsible, eating local is healthy and delicious. But producers of local food come up against all sorts of challenges. Recently, the quotas of local fishermen were cut, making it more difficult to earn a living through fishing. To help them continue to provide the freshest local food, all you have to do is enjoy the finest seafood available!
Now you can order fresh, unprocessed shrimp online and have it delivered straight to your home or business. What's more, you know exactly where your food is coming from; all shrimp is caught in the Gulf of Maine by NH fishing vessels Rimrack and Sweet Carolyn. It's fresh, delicious, nutritious, and sustainable! Order online at www.nhiaf.org to get shrimp delivered to you from “NH Farm Fresh,” a service of The New Hampshire Institute of Agriculture and Forestry.
The NHIAF is a New Hampshire charitable organization that supports sustainable agriculture, forestry, and food production. NHIAF works on behalf of farmers, fishermen, and food artisans to enable them to continue their local, sustainable work.
Fresh shrimp is available now exclusively at www.nhiaf.org. You can order a 5 pound bag for $25 or a 5 gallon pail for $100, but why not stock up on 100 pounds to freeze so you can continue to enjoy fresh seafood all year long! When you buy one 100 pound shipment, you save $2 off every pound, so bigger orders are better for you and for the fishermen. Order now and keep our seafood local!
Order shrimp and learn more about the NHIAF at www.nhiaf.org
It is with a combination of pride, sadness, and endless wishes well, that we at the Green Alliance bid a fond adieu to Assistant Director Scott Szycher, who recently accepted a position at the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) in Boston.
I first met Scott on the 2010 Green Alliance Summer Cruise, held aboard the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company’s Thomas Laighton in July 2010. Our Director, Sarah Brown, had mentioned Scott as a possible candidate to fill the Assistant Director position. Right away, I was struck by both his enthusiasm for all things green, and his sense of humor.
Eighteen months later, it’s tough to imagine we’ll soon be losing both.
During his short but pivotal tenure at the GA, Scott was instrumental in helping double the size of our young organization – both the number of Business Partners, as well as our now 3,000 strong consumer base – all the while lending an air of equal parts expertise, levity, and humility.
A native of Lynnfield, Massachusetts and graduate of Tufts University (BA, 1990) and Northeastern University (MBA, 1997), Scott has long maintained a keen interest in environmental policy and green issues. After years working in various sales and marketing capacities for a number of high profile regional companies, Scott had most recently served as a marketing writer for the Environmental Services division of AECOM, a global consulting and engineering firm.
Scott first caught wind of the Green Alliance when, in February 2010, he attended a home show at Portsmouth’s Frank Jones Center, at which the GA had a display booth. Intrigued by the unique structure of the organization, Szycher kept an eye on this organization, and its Director, Sarah Brown. By springtime, Brown was looking to fill the position of Assistant Director, and immediately thought of Szycher.
“It’s funny for me to admit now, but I honestly never even looked at Scott’s resume,” Brown laughs, remembering the two’s early correspondence. “But every conversation and interaction I had with him proved how knowledgeable he was, and how positive of an asset he could be to our company. Luckily, my instinct was more than right.”
This coming Monday, the Memorial Bridge connecting Portsmouth and Kittery will be closed to all pedestrians and cyclists, the last who have been able to enjoy the bridge since it was closed to vehicle traffic in July. To give the bridge (pictured right in a painting by local artist Suzie Goodwin) an affectionate send-off, Green Alliance business partner Papa Wheelies has organized one final group bike ride across the bridge into Kittery.
Cyclists will gather in the Papa Wheelies parking lot at 653 Islington Street in Portsmouth and depart at 8am for a last ride across the river. Once the bridge closes this coming Monday, it will be impossible to ride a bicycle across the Piscataqua until the new Memorial Bridge is completed in July of 2013.
Papa Wheelies invites everyone to join them for the Memorial Bridge farewell ride this Saturday! And once you're across the river, be sure to visit Beach Pea Baking Co., another Green Alliance business partner, for the last time by bike and celebrate the life of the Memorial Bridge with some fresh baked goods!
Recently, Mirjam IJtsma, owner of new Green Alliance Business Partner Cultural Chemistry, was in the market for a stylish Winter jacket. She knew she wanted to get the "Fullmoon Jacket" (pictured at left) from Earthtec; her only question was whether Earthtec's new store in downtown Portsmouth had the jacket she was looking for in her size and preferred color.
She quickly emailed the address listed on Earthtec's website, inquiring about jacket's availability in Portsmouth. Shortly after sending that email, the folks at Earthtec let Mirjam know that not only had they spoken directly with the store manager, but they had set that coat aside for her! "I just wanted to let everyone know what great customer service Earthtec offers; it's not every day when you get such personalized service!"
And as for the jacket? Well. Mirjam has been wearing that jacket extensively since purchasing it...including during this week's cold snap. "I was wondering how the jacket would perform in really cold temperatures with high winds," she admitted. "But it's been great! The jacket does a great job of protecting me from the wind. I feel like I can wear this no matter what the weather is!"
That's Earthtec for you: combining style, function, sustainability, and a healthy dose of customer service. Remember, Green Alliance members get 10% off all Earthtec merchandise at their downtown location at 96 Congress St in Portsmouth.
It’s like a lot of other cabins you may have rented across the hilly expanses of northern New England: it’s got a gas-powered fireplace for heat, a kitchenette with a propane gas stove for cooking, two bunk beds, a sofa, and a natural outhouse and fire pit just steps away.
But there’s one thing that makes this cabin somewhat unique: it’s located at the top of Pleasant Mountain, otherwise known as the Shawnee Peak Mountain Resort. And it’s new this Winter for outdoor sports enthusiasts, as well as folks just looking to take a break from the stresses of modern life, without the enduring frigid overnight temperatures that plague Winter camping.
“When we came up with this idea, we envisioned a rustic cabin that still has the basic necessities to attract families,” said Rachael Wilkinson, Shawnee Peak’s Marketing Director. “The Pleasant Mountain Cabin is a great way to connect with nature and the alpine spirit while still maintaining comforts like heat and beds for a good night’s sleep.”
And the resort makes connecting with the mountain easy for all families. “Skiers and riders can look forward to making fresh tracks on our slopes, and having lunch back at the cabin, but the cabin is great for non-skiers, as well,” noted Wilkinson. “Guests can enjoy miles of beautiful trails near the summit. Or just relax, read, and reflect in quiet comfort.”
As far getting up to the cabin at the resort’s summit, typically guests would ride the chairlift with their belongings in tow, although the resort can make arrangements for people unable to use a chairlift. The cabin is available for rent during entire ski season, with special rates available for full-week rentals.
Visitors to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire, a Green Alliance business partner, are in for a special treat on Satrday, Janruary 21st: the museum’s popular Books Alive program will be hosting a visit from the cute costumed mouse from the book “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” from 10 am – 2 pm. Since the mouse’s adventure starts with a cookie, the museum has teamed up with Stonyfield Farm and Late July Organics to serve milk and cookies to all during the mouse’s visit, along with samples of other healthy dairy snacks.
At the Books Alive event, museum staff will be reading “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by author Laura Numeroff out loud throughout the day. The friendly mouse will be popping in and out to greet children, exchange a hug or high-five, and pose for photos. There will be a variety of mouse-inspired literacy, math and creative activities for children in the museum’s large classroom, and refreshments will be served in the small classroom.
Adding to the family fun, children’s entertainer Steve Blunt will be performing family concerts at 11 am and 1 pm. Steve is a New Hampshire singer/storyteller whose fun, upbeat performances delight audiences at schools, libraries, and concert venues throughout New England. He began writing kid-friendly songs in the 1990’s while raising a young daughter and working as a middle school English teacher. Steve’s CDs “Hang On, Henry!” and “Outta School!” are Parents’ Choice “Approved” Award Winners. More information on Steve is available at: www.steveblunt.com
All Books Alive activities are included with regular paid admission to the museum: $9 for adults and children over the age of 1 and $8 for seniors. Museum admission is free for Children’s Museum of NH members and children under 1 year old.
The not-for-profit Children’s Museum of New Hampshire is located in the center of Dover and offers two floors of hands-on, interactive exhibits for families to enjoy together. Visitors can explore a wide range of interests, from dinosaurs, music and aeronautics to world cultures, art and natural history. Open year-round, the Silver LEED-certified museum works closely with schools, social service agencies and educators. The museum also hosts a variety of live performances, workshops, classes and special events.
By Andrew Jacoma
Making smarter consumer choices is just one aspect of being a Green Alliance consumer member. As the Lukens-Rumscheidts recently discovered, other benefits of a Green Alliance membership include the opportunity to meet green business owners face to face, the chance to socialize with other green consumers, various ways to celebrate and support local business, great parties and substantial discounts at nearly 100 local green businesses!
On August 26th, 2011 Nancy Lukens and her husband Martin Rumscheidt attended the Summer Green Alliance BBQ Bash at Seacoast Volkswagen, where in addition to live music and great green company, the local green car dealership sponsored the 2012 Passat Rollout Party. It was “a very nice affair,” Nancy explained; everything one would hope for in a Green Alliance gathering.
“The majority of people weren't there just to look at cars, but also to meet Green Alliance Business Partners, and to help celebrate local green businesses in general. In addition to meeting some innovative green business leaders and socializing with like-minded folk, we also eyed the 2012 Volkswagen Turbo Diesel Passat. We went back two days later to test-drive it; in December we were able to purchase that demo vehicle at a discount,“ explains Nancy.
Seacoast Volkswagen, a Green Alliance business partner, is known as one of the greenest car dealerships in the region. The business has utilized the services of Waterline Alternative Energies, another partner of the Green Alliance, in establishing some of their sustainability initiatives. So far they have installed a Helix wind turbine and are in the process of installing a 19.2 Kilowatt solar PV array capable of generating 30 percent of the dealership's electricity. They are also planning to replace all of their parking lot lighting with energy efficient LED lighting, which could further reduce the dealership's energy usage by 75 percent. Seacoast Volkswagen implements a comprehensive reuse and recycling program. They reuse waste water from their car washing bay to decrease their water consumption. They have recently switched to single-stream recycling, which has increased the amount and variety of materials they can recycle, and it has saved them money to boot!
Seacoast Volkswagen was a perfect match for Nancy Lukens and her husband Martin Rumscheidt, who have always been green-minded. Prior to their recent purchase they had been sharing a 6-year old Toyota Prius, which they love for its 48-50 mpg hybrid efficiency, but find the seats hard on their backs. Additionally, too much of their income was going toward rentals when one of them needed to be out of town or in Canada, where Martin’s family are. They decided they needed a second car that was not only fuel efficient, but more comfortable for the long haul.
Nancy and Martin had been looking around for a second car ever since Martin moved here from Nova Scotia. When they learned that the Green Alliance was hosting an event at the VW dealership, it was the impetus they needed to go see what was on the lot. They were also pleased to meet representatives from many of their favorite Green Alliance business partners. Upon arriving at the BBQ and Rollout Party, they were immediately drawn to the new Volkswagen. The Diesel Passat not only met but exceeded their criteria for comfort and fuel efficiency. Since Seacoast Volkswagen is a business partner of the Green Alliance, Nancy and Martin received $250.00 in free accessories with their car purchase by presenting their Green Alliance Green Card. Additionally they will enjoy 15% off parts and service for as long as they remain GA members.
Long before Nick Wright was promoted to Pub Manager of Redhook Brewery’s popular Cataqua Pub, he had quite a track record with the organization.
It started during his days at UNH, when he was pursuing an undergraduate degree in Business Management and Sociology: he would come for the brewery tours, fascinated by both the brewing process, and the management of the operation.
After graduation, he started working for Redhook as a server. Within a year, he was promoted to a joint position of bartender and pub supervisor. Then, after three years with Redhook, he was promoted to Pub Manager, helping make 2011 the Pub’s most successful year on record. But his current management responsibilities haven’t dampened his infectious enthusiasm for reporting to work.
“I still get to constantly meet great new customers, which is the most fun part of my job,” said Wright. “I find a lot of our customers share similar interests with me, and creating relationships with them not only helps the Pub’s bottom line, but also gratifies me personally.”
As for the challenges associated with managing a growing business, Wright takes it all in stride. “As far as problems go, it’s a good one to have!” he chuckles. “The biggest challenge is keeping up with our growing level of business. But seeing our customers relax with great food and beer, and walking out with smiles makes the challenges and hard work all worthwhile.”
Papa Wheelies Savings through Limelight Deals--save even more with two Green Alliance business partners!
Now, when you save 53% on a pro tune-up at Papa Wheelies, you won't just be supporting Papa Wheelies, a Green Alliance business partner that sells new and used bikes and bike equipment, as well as providing maintenance service and rentals. You'll also be supporting the Seacoast Media Group, another GA business partner, which owns and administrates Limelight Deals.
Through Limelight Deals, Papa Wheelies is now offering a profession tune-up for only $35 dollars. Usually the same tune-up costs $75!
If you need more reasons than incredible savings to take advantage of this deal and support two Green Alliance business partners, consider this:
Papa Wheelies advocates bicycling as a form of transportation with incredible energy. They aim to get people enthused about the joys of biking for its own sake, as well as promoting biking as an alternative to gasoline-powered transportation. The business recycles aggressively—with so much success that they don't need a commercial dumpster! They use natural service products, and have plans for installing solar power.
The Seacoast Media Group, whose publications include the Portsmouth Herald, the Hampton Union, and the York Weekly, has been working for years to deliver the news more sustainably. SMG has been offering online news for 15 years, but they've also greatly reduced the impact of their tangible newspapers by using recycled paper and soy-based ink, and delivering many national papers in addition to their own to reduce fuel emissions from formerly overlapping paper routes.
“Climate changes. It always has and it always will,” says Cameron Wake, an associate professor at the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space at the University of New Hampshire.
Wake will be delivering a talk on January 31st on the issues surrounding climate change, specifically as they relate to us and our future in New Hampshire. His talk will discuss new research into this field.
Many different indicators of climate change agree that the northeastern US has been warming over the last forty years. This change has had obvious impacts on both ecosystems and economic sectors.
“The decisions we make over the next decade regarding how we produce and use energy will determine the future climate of New Hampshire,” says Wake.
The extent to which we may inadvertently change the climate is scary enough. But issues of sustainable energy are directly related to our financial security as well.
“Improving our energy efficiency and developing local sources of energy can improve our economy and our energy security, and reduce our vulnerability to price spikes for oil and gas in the future,” says Wake.
The talk will be held at the Rye Library on Tuesday, January 31st, at 7:00pm, and will be free and open to the public
A Green Alliance Green Card is the perfect date—you can take it to any of nearly one hundred places, and it pays for itself! How long does it take for the money you spend on your Green Alliance membership to come back to you? Sometimes only one purchase.
Green Card holders can save up to 30 percent off yearly subscriptions to the Portsmouth Herald—as much as 45 dollars. And a Green Card only costs $35. Green Alliance Director and cardholder Sarah Brown recently renewed her yearly home delivery subscription to the Portsmouth Herald, and what would have cost her $233.40 cost only $196.30 with the help of her Green Alliance membership card.
“Of course being the Director of the Green Alliance, I am always singing the praises of the GreenCard but I personally reaped the benefits last week when I went to renew my daily home delivery subscription of the Herald. I was pretty excited with how much I saved! I love getting the local paper but it is costly to have home delivery; my GreenCard made it more affordable!” exclaimed Brown.
The Portsmouth Herald is excited about the deal as well—through its partnership with the Green Alliance, the Herald is able to attract subscribers who might otherwise get their news elsewhere. These readers are drawn to the Portsmouth Herald because of the paper's commitment to issues of sustainability. It's a symbiotic relationship.
Customers concerned with sustainability want to patronize companies who share their concern; and local businesses who put effort into green company ethics need to have a fighting chance against national corporations who sacrifice ethics to lure the masses with cheap products. That's why the Green Alliance is vital. The GA connects green consumers with green businesses, allowing customers to align their choices with their values and save money at the same time. In turn, the extra business that companies receive through Green Alliance promotions allows these businesses to continue reducing their environmental impact and giving back to the community through sustainability education and charitable donations.
Many of us, both individuals and businesses, already want to do the right thing. The Green Alliance's work of telling the stories of sustainability, educating the community, connecting people and businesses, and of making green choices feasible and desirable for both, is key in the path toward a greener future.
By Ann Stromgren, a student at Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN, spending winter break at home in Portsmouth volunteering with the Green Alliance.
The commitment to living sustainably can be a difficult one to maintain, not only because of the logistics involved. In some cases, traditions, values and personal convictions make the ideal of green living complicated to pursue. For example, it's greener to go paperless than relying on tangible documents, but any passionate lover of books—not just publications, but physical tomes—will fight any green activist who tries to pry the pages from her hand and replace them with a Kindle. For many, the digital alternatives to printed materials offer only a depressing shadow of the experience of reading.
And what of those who love hand-written mail, the kind decorated with endearing stamps, that comes in the mailbox, the kind that can be saved in a shoebox for generations? The carbon footprint of a letter, Berners-Lee informs us in his book How Bad are Bananas?, is 140g CO2E, that is, if it's written on recycled paper and recycled by the receiver. Compare that to the 4g CO2E required to send an email, and the choice seems obvious. But although the greener way to correspond is digitally, this is one sustainability choice that isn't simple for everyone.
Sarah Brown of the Green Alliance records “green tips,” which are broadcast daily on 92.5 River, a Green Alliance business partner. These tips offer listeners ideas about how individuals can decrease their footprint. Approaching the holidays, one of her suggestions was to send Holiday e-cards instead of paper cards. An innocuous enough suggestion...for anyone who doesn't think e-cards are tacky. Then Sarah received an email from Elissa Donnelly, a letter carrier who has been performing this vital but thankless job for two and a half decades. Elissa was upset that Sarah's green tip had seemed flippant toward the postal service and dismissive of letter writing as a form of communication. In addition, Elissa emphasized the personal and social value of writing real letters, cards, and thank-yous, and the detrimental effect that the wide-spread push toward digital media and communication is having on children.
There's no comparison between an online note and a real piece of mail, says Elissa, especially around the holidays. Elissa and her husband love receiving Christmas cards and dressing them up on the mantle. “You can't do that with e-cards,” Elissa says. While receiving e-mail can seem like work, even if it's personal, getting mail is always exciting. “There is nothing so wonderful than to get home from work and get a Christmas card from someone,” says Elissa. “Hopefully it has a picture of your grandchild in it, or a niece that you don't get to see, or the children from a friend from high school. People are so wrapped up in their electronics, I fear for my grandchildren. They probably will never turn a page on a book or play with a puzzle. No more toys for them, they will all be on an iPod or an iPad. They will never write with a pen or pencil...they will never write or mail a letter or send a thank you card.”
“Letter writing is really a lost art,” says Elissa. With everything becoming digital, Elissa fears that “there's going to be a lot less personal interaction” in the future. iphones aren't even made for talking, she notes, but for texting, which serves to separate people even further. Another problem with the current digitization of communication is that “kids aren't being taught handwriting.” With the prevalence of spell-check, they're not learning proper spelling, either. As someone who is meticulous with words but has grown up coddled by spell-check, I often lament my own inability to spell even words I use every day—it's embarrassing.
Although I am also a child of the digital age, I love everything about real personal mail. I love sitting down with a notebook and a pen to immerse myself in a long letter to a far-away friend, only really discovering through the process of forming the characters by hand how I feel about the events I'm relating and about the relationship that my letter will strengthen. I love choosing postcards and carefully pairing each image with each note. I love putting stamps on paper. I love the fact that it only takes a name and a couple of words and numbers for my mail to reach its recipient, something that still strikes me as quaint and improbable. I love checking the mailbox every day to be disappointed by nothing or junk mail—it's worth it for that one day when there's a card or a letter. I love unfolding the pages and working to discern the scribbles and noticing when changes in penmanship align with changes in the writer's mood. I can more than relate to Elissa Donnelly's concerns about respecting mail as a form of communication, and acknowledging the often grueling work that she and other postal workers put into transmitting my correspondence.
The Holiday Season offers many an opportunity to reflect on the past year – its lessons learned and disappointments, fond memories and accomplishments.
For businesses, the exercise is much the same. And if your business is really lucky – like A Perfect Move – you can count in your favor far more of the last two than the first.
Last Tuesday, the Kittery-based moving company hosted a year-end wrap-up event at their headquarters just south of Route 1.
Joined by a group of senior health care providers – with whom they’ve helped host similar events in the past – A Perfect Move gave all in attendance the opportunity for a 60-second “year in review,” either as a speech or by way of PowerPoint presentation.
There was just one, small catch: Each company had to pay for its 60-second spotlight with canned and boxed goods , which were given to the Footprints Food Pantry.
For Genevieve Benton – who along with daughter Erin and son James own and operate APM – the event marked the end of a busy year for the three-year-old company.
“Our goal was to illustrate what a group of people with good hearts and a desire to do good, could put their hands together and do something great,” said Benton. “We felt like we ended the year on a strong, positive note.”
Of course, APM took time to highlight their own accomplishments for 2011 – a year which saw the company move their headquarters from York to their much more visible Kittery locale – by way of a multi-slide PowerPoint presentation, complete with photos.
Just weeks after opening their new home’s doors, APM launched Gentiques, a non-profit repurposing store which donates 100% of its profits – earned through selling furniture and other materials donated by customers and other community members – to various local charities.