Sarah Brown, Director of the Green Alliance recently completed a story on climate change and its impact on the maple syrup industry in the Northeast for National Geographic's 'The Plate'. Check out the intro below and read the full story on 'The Plate'.
The polar bear is a powerful symbol of the effects of climate change in the Arctic. Here in New England, our symbol may soon be the sugar maple tree. Tapped for syrup for centuries and famous for its fall foliage, the sugar maple is stressed to the point of decline and many scientists studying this beloved tree believe rising temperatures are the cause.
Maple syrup’s use as a food was first recorded in the early 1600s, when French writer Marc Lescarbot noted that Native American tribes “get juice from the trees and distill it down into a very sweet and agreeable liquid.” The syrup lore goes like this: A chief threw a tomahawk at a tree and noticed the rich syrup dripping from it. His wife cooked that evening’s venison in the sweet syrup, and the rest is history.
But what is a uniquely North American product is also an exceptionally picky one, dependent on a narrow and highly specialized climate of freezing nights and mild days. In the 1950s and 60s, eighty percent of the world’s maple syrup came from the U.S., 20 percent from Canada. Today it’s the opposite.
With each passing year, retailers become increasingly audacious in their quest to exploit the holiday season for profit. Come Halloween signs of Christmas abound, and by the time Black Friday rolls around, the yuletide shopping season is already in full flight. But what began as a well-orchestrated marketing ploy of the early 2000s, Black Friday has seeped into Thanksgiving Day as a time when families across the country dart away from their turkey dinners to join the herds in search of discounted prices.
Ironic as it may seem, we have successfully displaced one of the rare occasions for family gathering and reflection (Thanksgiving) with the chaos that comes with shopping for another rare occasion for family gathering and reflection (Christmas). I can hear the Grinch turning in his grave... "What if Christmas doesn't come from a store?" he thought, "What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?"
But who is really to blame here? The big box retailers who are simply accommodating an insatiable demand for crap, or rather the crazed, group-thinking public who are more than willing to claw over one another for holiday shopping deals. While some may offer a curmudgeonly sneer to the Wal-Marts and JC Pennys of the world, it is really no different than blaming oil companies for climate change as we steer our SUVs toward the nearest Exxon station to fill up on two-dollar gas. "EPA LOL" as one license plate in a nearby town so aptly put it. "BLK GLD" reads another. Oi. Never mind the "L."
Every year, millions of shoppers swarm to big box stores, on a mission to score the best deals for everyone on their list. Aside from the documented stampedes that have occurred, the frustration of finding a parking spot, and so on, there are a number of great reasons to ditch the lines this Friday.
With that said, we propose "Green Friday" in place of "Black Friday." For the next week, purchase a Green Alliance Membership for only $20, (regularly $35), through our Green Friday promotion! The GA Membership allows you to visit some of your favorite local shops and eateries, (to refuel for more shopping, of course), while enjoying discounts at nearly 100 local, sustainable businesses.
Going Green this Friday not only supports the local economy, at a time when your fellow community members could use the business the most to support their family, but ensures that you are getting great, quality products that are truly unique. Whether you opt to become a GA Member and take advantage of these generous discounts this season, or are just looking to score the best products available, we urge everyone to think locally.
By Kristyn Lak Miller
Don’t wait until the New Year to make a resolution to lose weight.
“We’ve created a unique and effective way to kick-start good health, before 2016 even begins, with our 6-Week Fat Burner Classes,” said Jon Arnold, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Dover LLC. “Imagine, you can be healthier, and weigh less, by New Year’s Eve.”
Offered at both Integrated Fitness’ nontraditional gyms—on Dover Point Road in Dover, NH and at Epping Commons on Calef Highway in Epping, NH—this 6-week program consists of two weekly group workouts that challenge participants with a variety of exercises including cardio, body weight exercises, and resistance training; they also employ a combination of newer training methods which help fire up metabolism.
Classes begin November 30, 2015, with weekly schedules and class options that differ between both locations. “Here in the Epping studio, for example, our classes will change weekly to challenge everyone and to offer variety,” said Susan Brisson, owner and CEO of Integrated Fitness of Epping. “We’ll rotate through strength training on the Swiss Ball, Boot Camp-style workouts, and TRX Fitness routines.”
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are favorite days of the year for avid shoppers and holiday gurus alike. These two days are focused on big box stores and online retailers; however Small Business Saturday aims to bring holiday shoppers to local retailers. Shopping with small and local businesses keeps money in the community and helps grow the local economy.
900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria is grateful for its customers and growth in the past eight years at both the Manchester and Epping locations and encourages residents to shop at small businesses like 900 Degrees. To celebrate Small Business Saturday, 900 Degrees invites you to share a selfie in front of your favorite small business to show your support. Just post your Shop Small Saturday selfie to the 900 Degrees Facebook for your chance to win a $50 gift card to either of their locations.
The restaurant offers a variety of gift ideas for the holidays, like their famous chocolate rocks, 900 Degrees wine glasses and shirts, and gift cards. Additionally, from now until December 15, buy $25 in gift cards and receive a $5 voucher for yourself or buy $100 in gift cards and receive a $25 gift card!
In an industry progressively moving toward chemical-free products, Minute Men Painters leads the charge in using environmentally friendly paints, varnishes and finishes. Co-owners Sean Sturk and Chris Tufts made the decision to switch when a co-worker started to lose his sense of smell after being exposed to the harsh chemicals in oil-based paints.For Sturk, it was an eye-opening experience and one he didn’t want to subject his customers to.
According to the EPA, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea and can also damage the liver, kidney and the central nervous system. With little difference in cost to the homeowner, Minute Men Painters uses water-based, no or low-VOC paints as a default.
Containing anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent water, the environmental impact from water-based paint is significantly less than oil-based paint. Minute Men not only paints the interior and exterior of buildings and homes, they've expanded their scope of work to include finish work on cabinets as well as fine furniture painting and antique glazing.
As we prepare for family to arrive to celebrate Thanksgiving, our friends at Maine Interfaith Power and Light have put together a few tips for a more eco-friendly and healthy holiday.
EAT LESS MEAT
Consider replacing your traditional meat dish with creative, vegetarian alternatives. The New York Times recently published its annual roundup of tasty vegetarian fare for Thanksgiving. Also, find fabulous Tofurky recipes courtesy of Farm Sanctuary (Turkey rescue). See what a vegan holiday menu looks like, courtesy of Robin Robertson — one of America’s bestselling vegetarian cookbook authors. Yum!
CHOOSE ORGANIC AND HUMANELY RAISED
If you eat meat, look for free-range organic options at your grocery store using the Environmental Working Group’s Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change. These are from animals that are fed grains or grasses that are organically grown and free of synthetic pesticides, and thus require less fossil fuel energy.
A USDA Organic label ensures that the meat was not produced with pesticides, irradiation, hormones, antibiotics, or bioengineering and a Certified Humane label ensures that the turkey was raised in humane conditions. Find a grocer near you that carries Certified Humane meat. You can also consider a heritage turkey, or choose from a variety of sustainable fish.
By Kristyn Lak Miller
NEWMARKET, N.H. – “For many years, people built their homes on two or more acre lots,” says Steve Fournier, Newmarket Town Manager. “People wanted privacy and green space around them. The problem is that, by doing so, people did not know their neighbors. Rockingham Green creates the neighborhood atmosphere again.”
A few miles from downtown Newmarket, adjacent to Rockingham Country Club, Rockingham Green is a lifestyle community designed and built by Chinburg Properties, the 30-year-old development and construction firm based in Newmarket.
Set on 25 acres, with 40 acres of conservation land, this expansive space might have become a Wal-Mart if the town hadn’t stepped in. “We wanted to preserve our natural resources and wetlands,” says Diane Hardy, Newmarket Town Planner. “We asked Chinburg if they’d be interested in working on a community. Thankfully, the answer was ‘yes’.”
Comprised of 52 lots, none bigger than .47 acre, Rockingham Green’s custom homes are inspired by classic craftsman style; each, sized up to 2,300 square feet, is conceived in collaboration with project architect Wendy Welton of Art Form Architecture.
“The homes are chosen to complement the layout of the lots, designed to be efficient with space, and built to Energy Star standards to decrease energy costs and increase air quality and thermal comfort—they’re also have great views and are really beautiful,” says Jen Chinburg, the company’s Marketing Director.
By Michael McCord
Since its founding in 2008, Yankee Thermal Imaging has helped hundreds of residential and commercial clients reap maximum benefits from energy efficiency efforts. Recently the New England based company has been working on compiling hard numbers to quantify their financial and environmental effectiveness.
The numbers are in, and the carbon footprint reduction they have helped their customers achieve is impressive. “Collectively, we’ve saved our customers about 1.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions annually since we’ve been in business and counting,” said Cara Eisele, Yankee Thermal Imaging’s business development manager. “We started compiling the data about six months ago, and we are really excited to let our customers know the impact they are making.”
Eisele said the money savings for their customers who follow through with enhanced insulation upgrades and energy saving measures have also been significant. Depending on current fuel prices, she explained, “we estimate customers have saved on average $850 annually on their utility bills, some are higher, some lower.” Translated into a pollution saving metric, Yankee Thermal Imaging estimates the combined CO2 savings achieved is the equivalent of taking between 220 and 240 automobiles off of the road each year.
Every Green Alliance business undergoes a three part Sustainability Certification. This certification serves to show what each business has accomplished and what they are still working to accomplish when it comes to green business practices. The final part of the evaluation is the Green Story. Check out Integrated Fitness's Green Story below.
Integrated Fitness Offers a Sustainable Approach to Fitness
Jonathan Arnold is in the business of changing people's lives. At Integrated Fitness of Dover and Epping, Jon works with clients to help them lose weight, build muscle; eat healthier and meet personal goals for a more balanced lifestyle.
To lead these comprehensive, and sometimes rigorous, classes, Integrated Fitness's trainers are specially certified to help clients reach their individual health goals. In addition to Jon's expertise, Integrated Fitness has four personal trainers and two group exercise instructors on staff for private, one-on-one training, as well as group sessions that include the Weight Loss Challenge program, Strength Training classes and more. And the trainers at Integrated Fitness go beyond just the physical workout at the studio, with one-on-one nutrition consulting and a nutrition class as part of the Weight Loss Challenge program.
It was a meeting with a nutritionist as a teenager that changed the way Jon thought about what he ate, and helped to build his confidence. That fateful meeting influenced the way Jon continued to think about wellness into his adult years. As a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, Jon maintained an active, healthy, regimented lifestyle. But when his tour of duty was over, and he returned to civilian life, Jon became complacent and unhealthy.
By Mike Bizier
It’s never too early to start planning for your future. It’s a common saying that rings true in the financial world and certainly applies to those planning for retirement. That’s one of the reasons investors and financial advisors alike agree that when planning for your retirement one of the best things you can do is set up an Individual Retirement Account (IRA).
Locally, Mike Smith, a Financial Advisor with the Progressive Asset Management Group’s (PAM Group) Newmarket branch, notes that setting up an IRA account is something people should always consider when it comes to long-term financial and retirement planning. Since their introduction in 1974, the Individual Retirement Account has provided numerous tax advantages to individuals planning for their financial retirement.
If you’re not familiar with the IRA it is a type of investment account that encourages an individual to save for retirement by allowing the assets held in the account to grow tax-free. IRA’s can hold most types of traditional investment vehicles including stocks, mutual funds, bonds, exchange traded funds (ETF’s) and even real estate. In addition, there are many different types IRA’s that are broken down into subgroups providing different advantages available to each subgroup.
Start your weekend off right with the Saturday morning yoga series led by Jennifer at Integrated Fitness of Dover. She will guide the six week series beginning on November 21 through January 2 (no class December 26) at 9:00 a.m.
Jennifer Lake, an experienced yoga instructor and personal trainer, is the most recent addition to the Integrated Fitness team. She is an Ace Certified personal trainer and certified Yoga Teacher 200 E-RYT. She has over 6 years of experience providing professional, customized training sessions and coaching for her clients. Lake is a long time yoga practitioner (over 10 years), teaches yoga therapeutically, and released her premier DVD Active Chair Yoga in 2012.
Lake’s area of specialties includes: weight loss, functional training, core training, meditation/ relaxation techniques, personal development and yoga; but whatever the focus may be, Lake’s main goal is to help clients transform their relationship to themselves; body-mind-spirit.
By Michael McCord
The terms sustainability and golf don’t easily mix well. Golf courses have been known for decades for their excessive use of water and pesticides to create pristine green playing conditions. But Richard Luff, the president and co-owner of Sagamore Hampton Golf Club in North Hampton, is part of a family tradition stretching back to the late 1920s that set itself part – so much so that Luff co-authored book on using ecologically sound methods pioneered by his father Peter.
“The variables we face in maintaining a golf course provide continual challenges on a daily basis,” Luff explained. “Coming up with alternatives to conventional methods that consider the short and long term sustainability of the golf course and surrounding ecosystem is very rewarding.”
The Luffs opened their first public golf course Sagamore Springs in Lynnfield, Mass. in 1929 and the second in 1962 in North Hampton New Hampshire. Richard Luff has been in the family business “all his life” and returned to his native Seacoast area after graduating from the University of Vermont. He said his father had decided long ago to apply the lessons of organic gardening to golf course management – in part because he saw the dangers of excessive chemical use that was becoming the norm in the 1950s and 1960s.
Going against the grain, the senior Peter Luff used a minimal amount of chemicals and focused on nourishing the ground to produce quality grass. Richard Luff has picked up the mantle and advanced it further through extensive use of organic fertilizer, natural applications to replace pesticides, and the use of a small wind turbine to offset some energy costs.
A few years after Peter Luff’s death in 1998, Luff co-wrote the book “Ecological Golf Course Management” with Paul Sachs, a longtime friend of Peter. “Paul was the real force (behind the book) but we wanted to preserve and share what my father practiced for decades,” Luff said.
New Hampshire the Beautiful Partners with the Laconia Area Community Land Trust for America Recycles Day
Laconia Area Community Land Trust (LACLT) has been recognized as a NeighborWorks Green Organization for its comprehensive commitment to sustainable operations. To achieve this designation, LACLT was required to demonstrate adherence to a rigorous set of green business practices across its operations and all program areas.
A few of LACLT’s green achievements include 32 LEED certified units in Meredith, 47 EnergyStar® certified units in Tilton with PV electrical generation and solar hot water, 48 units in Wolfeboro with 20 solar arrays for hot water, and 6 EnergyStar® certified units and 6 panel solar electric system at Mechanic School in Laconia.
Currently under construction is the River’s Edge project that will have many green features. Located in Laconia this 32 unit project will include a community river walk that will connect to other paths in the city, Filterra boxes, green design elements, and the use of hydropower. LACLT is proud of its green accomplishments and looks forward to doing even more with future projects and as an organization.
To celebrate this accomplishment, to continue their commitment to being green, and to celebrate America Recycles Day on November 15th, LACLT initiated single-stream recycling at Lochmere Meadows in Tilton and Pinecrest in Meredith. Six information sessions were held at the properties with tenants and each household were given a recycling bin to aid in their recycling efforts. Bins were provided to LACLT at a discounted price by New Hampshire the Beautiful.
By Anne Twombly
With chilly weather rolling into the state, New Hampshire residents are spending more time inside, so it’s no surprise that many homeowners start interior renovation projects this time of year in order to make their personal spaces more comfortable and efficient during heating season. But before siphoning cash from your nest egg, consider the social and environmental effects or your home renovation. We have compiled a list of tips to consider when improving your home.
1. Conduct a Professional Energy Audit
If you’re considering making any structural renovation to your home’s interior to increase heating efficiency, the first step should be getting an energy audit from a reputable source. Yankee Thermal Imaging is a Rochester-based company that specializes in implementing thermal imaging techniques when conducting comprehensive energy audits. Identifying temperature fluctuations around a home is the first step in addressing energy and insulation efficiency.
“Thermal imaging is just one of the techniques used in a comprehensive energy audit,” Chris Meyer, Yankee Thermal’s owner and founder, explains. “But it’s not the only thing we use. We have a wide range of tools to figure out where energy is being wasted and then more importantly, the expertise to implement upgrades and retrofits to improve efficiency.”
Meyer says the program results in substantial energy savings without significant investment. Implementation can be completed in a day and can pay for itself in less than two years. For the cost of approximately two oil deliveries, homeowners can dramatically reduce their annual heating and cooling costs, as well as their carbon footprint.