Hot Green Handbag

Practical environmentalists can declare their love for the Earth and for fashion following the U.S. release of British designer Anya Hindmarch’s “I’m not a plastic bag” bag.

This anti-excess statement is available online for $15 at www.anyahindmarch.co.uk, or at select Whole Foods stores on the East Coast.

A Today Show blogger reports that she talked with a couple girls who’d traveled to NYC from Taiwan to buy the bag.

Hmmm… flying to NYC from Taiwan to buy a plastic bag replacement? I’m not sure they were doing it for the Earth.

Nevertheless, replacing, reusing or recycling plastic bags is without a doubt good for the environment.

Environmental Victory: Bald Eagle No Longer Endangered


Photo from Flickr.

Officials have declared that the bald eagle, previously dwindling in numbers, has expanded its population such that it no longer needs the protection of the Endangered Species Act.  They have become particularly at home in Florida.

From the New York Times 6/29/07:

Bald eagles, aloof centurions of the wild, seem to have discovered their inner Updike and moved to Florida’s ever-expanding suburbs. They can be found nesting in cellphone towers and raising chicks near landfills and airport runways, along highways and high up in the pine trees of the state’s upscale developments.

This news is welcome following reports from earlier this month about the overall dwindling bird populations around the country.

From USA Today 6/14/07:

A new study by the National Audubon Society shows that 20 common American birds, such as whippoorwills and the Rufous hummingbird, have declined by more than half in the past 40 years.

“The sound of the meadowlark singing was the sound of summer; now it’s not,” said author and naturalist Scott Weidensaul, who joined the Audubon Society in announcing the study Thursday.

Some bird species experienced more drastic declines, such as the northern bobwhite, whose population declined by 82%, and the Eastern meadowlark, which had a 71% decline.

Dallas Baptist mega church gets serious about energy efficiency

Prestonwood Baptist Church

Today’s Dallas Morning News writes about the Dallas mega-church, Prestonwood Baptist, and the work it has done to decrease energy consumption. With 700 people on staff, 26,000 church members and around 1 million square feet of space, they were getting some serious utility bills of around $240,000 a month!

But they hired an energy audit firm and a full time staffer to work on the issue, and they saved $815K in utilities in the past year after implementation.

Mr. Buster said that under the consultants’ advice, the church with nearly 1 million square feet of space began zoning parts of buildings where gatherings could be held, keeping other areas free of people and temperatures adjusted accordingly. Fluorescent light bulbs were installed and energy audits done. A full-time employee was hired to oversee the program.

But at the heart of the effort was changing behavior. Church and school staff were asked to be more vigilant about turning off lights, computers and monitors.

The movement aligns perfectly with the church’s religious beliefs.

“There are biblical principles that teach us to be good stewards of all that God has given us,” said Mike Buster, executive pastor, citing the passage John 6:12, in which Jesus commands that his disciples “let nothing be wasted.”

Prestonwood Baptist Church.


People Making a Difference: An Interview with Andy Kruse of Southwest Windpower

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For this installment of our series on People Making a Difference, we are very pleased to present an interview with Andy Kruse, the co-founder and Executive Vice President of Southwest Windpower. Southwest Windpower is the World’s leading manufacturer of personal size wind energy systems. Southwest Windpower makes the Skystream 3.7, which is a small wind generator designed specifically for the grid-connected residential market.

Mr. Kruse has been involved in renewable energy since 1986. He has worked in over 70 countries promoting wind energy. He has a background in Management and International Marketing.

Kruse is the author of various articles about renewable energy and has won several awards for export development. He also sits on several advisory boards for renewable energy.

We thank Mr. Kruse for taking the time out of his busy schedule to do the interview!

1. First of all, tell us about yourself and how you began working in the alternative energy industry.

I don’t really like writing about myself so we will leave that part to an interview. : ) I got into the renewable energy business just over 20 years ago. I was living on a ranch in Northern Arizona that had no access to grid electricity. I thought there must be a better way than rebuilding the Ranch’s diesel generator every couple of years. At that time, we were spending as much as $300 a month in fuel. I then decided to build a small solar PV system to supplement the generator. I also thought it would be great to have a small wind generator that could charge the battery bank. After trying and failing to build one myself, I learned about a neighbor that live several miles to the north who had built several machines for friends. His name is David Calley. I inquired about his machines. After having seen his invention, I thought this would make a terrific business opportunity. The ranching business never proved profitable so after leaving that life, David and I built Southwest Windpower.

2. People have a lot of misconceptions about wind power. What would you like to share with our readers about the benefits and potential issues associated with this technology?

Popular Mechanics Covers the Energy Bill

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Check out Popular Mechanics magazine’s special report on the new energy bill. They’re focusing on the following issues:

“4 Ways Detroit Can Hit New MPG Laws” and “7 Steps Senators Missed on Our Clean Coal.”

Here’s the basics of what happened with the bill to catch you up:

After contentious debate on Capitol Hill and lobbying from the industry, new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards will jump to 35 mpg for all cars and SUVs by 2020, up from the current 27.5 mpg for cars and 22.5 mpg for trucks.

I won’t be able to afford a new car for years to come, like many people in the U.S., so it’s still going to take several years to get thousands of gas hogs off the streets unfortunately…