Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Good Day to Help Mother Earth

Thanks to my crew today for helping dive into the muck and mud to pull out 25 bags of trash and recyclables, 4 tires and an industrial sized propane tank. All in all it was a good day since the rain held off, but there was alot of mud and alot more trash and junk than I had imagined! It definately felt good to know that what we pulled out will not deteriorate in the stream and marsh, and will be disposed of properly. Well worth the sacrafice of 3 hours on a Sunday AM. There is actually another section of the marshy area still left that we did not get a chance to hit because of alot of poison ivy, so I think we will be back in the fall.

Thanks again to Ainslie (my wife), Dave, Mike and Mike for pitching in!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

THIS Sunday May 17 Clean up day in Herndon: Starts at 10AM

Hi all,

Last time I will bug you about this. Hoping everyone can turn out! We will start at 10 AM at the site on Sunday morning (see map on the link below. I will have bottled water and donuts, and I picked up gloves and trash/recycling bags from Fairfax County so we should have everything we need. I have also scheduled VDOT to come by on Monday and haul away the trash we pull out.

Weather for Sunday as of right now, is calling for showers (40%), but this is a stream we are talking about, so we would get wet anyway. Wear boots if you can as the area could be muddy.

Thanks in advance to everyone for helping out!!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

2 weeks to go until Dulles Greene Clean Up

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks to go until the May 17 clean up day at Dulles Greene Apartments in Herndon. Looking forward to getting out there and cleaning up the trash and debris that litter the creek/stream and the stormwater run-off area.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day at AOL

This morning AOL employees were treated to a re-usable green bag on our chairs, along with a note wishing a Happy Earth Day 2009. Also of note, on the internal employee website, it says that AOL recycled 150 tons of materials last year and won the Green IT Data Center award for greenest internet data center.

AOL also launched a Green toolbar for your browser today. Download it at

So Happy Earth Day everyone, plant a tree, clean a stream, change a bulb or use reusable bags. Then, don't just do it today, do it everyday!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Volunteer to clean a creek

I have attached some pictures in the picture gallery on the right side of the page to show the area where we are going to clean up on Sunday May 17. After taking a close up tour of the area, I am very glad we decided to do this, and excited to help clean up this area. As you can see from the before pictures, the area is full of trash, old tires, construction debris, etc.. From walking the trails made by some animals (I could see some deer tracks and maybe something else), the animal inhabitants of the area will be glad to see this stuff out of there!

So, I encourage everyone to look into volunteering and helping clean up the environment.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Dulles Greene Clean Up Day May 17

I will be coordinating a clean up of a stream and stormwater run-off area in Herndon, Virginia on Sunday May 17 from 10 AM to 1 PM. I have been driving past this site for some time now, and it as now become my mission for the spring to clean up the area and remove the trash, debris and other stuff floating in the storm water run-off area and lining the creek that feeds into it.

Here is a map of the area, and I will post some before (and then after) pictures of the site as well.

We will be coordinating this effort through Fairfax County and the Alice Ferguson Foundation, and they will be providing the bags, gloves and other clean up materials.

Please join us if you are in the Northern Virginia area

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Green Tech

Working in the Internet technology sector, I wanted to highlight a couple of companies that are putting their best foot forward for Green tech. Of course, Google is putting alot of effort, money and resources behind coming up with green technologies including helping the make the "smart grid" a reality. By creating an "energy Internet" all of your appliances and electronics can talk to the network and the electric utility, and turn on and off depending on energy consumption and pricing factors.

Article Here

AOL is also doing its part as well. AOL is a finalist for the Uptime Institute's 2009 Green Enterprise IT (GEIT) Awards for Data Center Energy Efficiency Improvement. The 2009 GEIT Awards program honors organizations that have distinguished themselves by reducing energy consumption in their data centers and beyond. GEIT Award finalists have gone beyond instituting established industry best practices to implement cutting-edge green IT systems. The Institute introduced the GEIT Awards program in 2008 to create institutional awareness that IT energy efficiency can enhance bottom-line profitability while meaningfully reducing overall corporate carbon footprint.

Article Here

Sunday, February 22, 2009

One Household at a time

I finally just finished reading last week's Washington Post Magazine cover story "Can One Household Save the Planet?" by Liza Mundy, and I hope that people read it and realize it is harder than you might think to change behavior that has been engrained in us from childhood. But that it is also well worth it and imperative that we all make an effort to do the things that are in our control to help get energy consumption under control. If we start by doing these small daily things like change to CFL's, unplug un-needed vampire electricity drainers, and make our homes more energy efficient, they all start to have a daily impact, as more and more of us do it, but as we all start changing behaviors, energy conservation becomes closer to the front of our minds instead of in the back of our minds. And the change can become infectious, as we get friends, family, neighbors to start doing their part, and most important, we begin to instill these behaviors in our children from day one, and they will grow up and take up where we leave off.

See article here

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paper or Plastic Part 2: New tax on bags proposed in DC

I heard this AM on the news that Washington DC is considering taxing all shoppers that get a paper or plastic bag at grocery, convenience and other stores in the District. The 5 cent tax would go to help clean up the very dirty Anacostia River. While I generally support this to a) help clean up our local waterways, and b) to help promote the use of re-usable bags, alot of people may not bring their re-usable bags with them for an un-planned small purchase at the local CVS or Rite Aide, buying another re-usable bag is just more waste, so would force many to pay the tax anyway.

How about getting some more R/D on better ways to make a bag for practical use that is not so harmful on the environment, and in the mean time, along with a modified tax on paper and plastic bags, offer a 2 or 3 cent recycling bounty for plastic bags collected, just as some states do for bottles and cans?

Article Here

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Night The Lights Went Out in Vegas

On March 28 at 8:30 PM, many cities across the country will turn out the lights in honor of Earth Hour, including Sin City. 74 cities in 62 countries will participate this year, but none are as symbolic as Las Vegas. For all its glamor and over-the-top night life, it is refreshing to hear that the strip will look very different on this day (at least for an hour).

We can all do our part as well, so on March 28, 8:30 PM, turn off those lights, and get a candle or two ready to join a symbolic hand across the world.

Article Here

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Energy Efficiency Google Style

Google has been saying for a while they want to help turn the world green and empower citizens to help do their part. Now comes news of a new prototype of a Google product called Google PowerMeter, where houses that are connected to energy grids via the Internet, can be monitored to determine how much energy the house is currently using and identify potential offenders of energy use when it is not needed. So you will be able to remotely determine if you left the lights or computer on when not home, and can also identify the biggest energy hogs in your household.

Every little bit counts!! Hopefully this will be something that can be used sooner than later, although it may depend on getting houses tied up to a smart energy grid to take advantage of the technology.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Found: Long Lost White House Solar Panels

For a while now I have been researching the idea of putting some solar panels on my house to generate power for hot water or heating a room or two. I have had solar exterior lights for a couple of years and even tried a solar powered water fountain in my back yard last year (but the angle of the sun in my patio is poor, so it only worked a couple of hours each day).

I ran across this blog post from Google the other day about President Carter's solar panels he had installed on the White House, that Ronald Reagan later removed. The panels were found in the GSA warehouse by a college in Maine and put to good use. Now one of the panels is located in Google's Reston, VA office and the rest are powering the college's hot water for their cafeteria.

Now, lets see if Obama can get some of these re-installed pronto!

Article Here

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Plastic or Paper?

One big impact we have is at the grocery store, when we decide if we want plastic or paper. Or, better yet, utilize the reusable bags that many stores offer for a small fee. That is what I am going to start doing. But, from time to time, I do need plastic bags to clean up after my dog in the park or in the back yard, and we do use paper bags sometimes to collect our old newspapers for recycling. So, the best answer is neither (use reusable bags so you don't create any more waste), but below you will find some very interesting information about paper and plastic bags.

Energy Efficient Homes

One thing we can all do that will help the environment, and our own bank accounts, is to make sure your house is as energy efficient as possible. My wife and I live in a 1950's rambler in Northern Virginia. And as older houses settle and out of sight means out of mind, there are lots of places where heat (and AC in the summer) is flowing right out of the house.

So I started thinking about windows, doors, attic insulation, sealing/filing cracks, etc..and found a great resource at the government's Energy Star program website

More specifically, there are PDF documents you can download and print that will walk you through your own mini energy audit that you can do yourself, or they point you to local Energy Consultants. For me, I used the PDF documents to seal my drafty doors/windows, and add insulation to my attic myself. So far, I am adding about 2 degrees to the indoor temperature of our master and guest bedrooms, which you can definately feel when waking up each day.

Article Here

Great read: Thomas Friedman's Hot, Flat, and Crowded

I am currently reading a great, thought provoking book from Thomas Friedman; Hot, Flat and Crowded. Have not finished it yet, but so many topics to think about from the politics of oil, to over-crowding of the planet, to CO2 emissions and melting ice caps. It really makes you want to do your part to try and help, but also illustrates the incredible challenge all people and all countries have to try to reverse the effects. Below is a link to the book.