Tag Archives: alternative

“Riding the Green Wave” – Live from Lake Tahoe Eco Symposium

Do you know where you food comes from?  WHY NOT?

Mark Estee, owner of several local Truckee, CA restaurants- Moody’s Bistro, Baxter’s Bistro and Burger Me – discussed ways to go green locally.  He said the number one way he has become eco-concious as a Truckee restauranteur is to go green by purchasing produce from local farmers.  He presented the question:

Do you know where you food comes from?  WHY NOT?

Estee promoted the Slow Food movement – he helped start the Lake Tahoe chapter.  He said it is important to keep business green and sustainable even if it doesn’t make fiscal sense in the beginning – don’t give up.

“Success does not mean it was easy,” said Carlo Luri of Bently Biofuels.  He reported on the history of the formation of Bently Biofuels in Minden, NV.  He gave information regarding biofuels and biofuel conversions.  Learn more at the Bently Biofuels web site.


“Feed Your Mama”

Mark Ofarrall from  Hungry Mother Organics in Carson City, NV began his presentation by asking members of the audience a variety of questions…

What did you have for lunch?  Chicken Caesar Wrap.

Do you know where it came from? No.

Do you know how the wrap is made?  No.

What type of car do you have? A Subaru.

Do you know where it came from?  Indiana.

How does it run? Gas.

The point is we know where our cars and fuel come from, but often we do not know where the food we put into our bodies comes from or how it is made.   Ofarrall showed off his hanging lettuce basket, as well as a snow pea/lettuce ensemble. “The tagline for our company is Feed Your Mama,” said Ofarrall.  “We hope people will want to go home and grow their own food.”


“We have two electric vehicle charging stations that have been in place for over a year,” said Sierra Nevada Brewing Company Sustainability Coordinator Cheri Chastain.  “They have never been used.”

A collective gasp from the audience.

Chastain expanded on the importance of getting to know your farmers – Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (SNBC) has a relationship with local barley farmers.  She also discussed sustainability.  What does sustainability mean to you?

SNBC leads by example by being sustainable in everything they do from energy efficiency (heat recovery, lighting, etc.) to generating their own electricity through a fuel cell installed on site, as well as using solar panels.  They reuse as much as possible, and then recycle everything else.  Currently, SNBC is working on creating a composting facility.


Climate Change? A Green Economy?

In my CHS 725 Environmental Health class, we have been discussing the atmosphere and air pollution, along with quite possibly the biggest debate question of my time – does global warming exist and have humans contributed to it?  It seems the majority of people, including scientist and the media are constantly going back and forth on this question, coming up with new evidence and then countering that evidence with yet newer and more complete evidence, only to be countered again and again.  The cycle continues.  I am not a scientist or an economist, and I have in no way ever claimed to even be very good at science.  As my undergrad Public Relations class like to say, “we are not math majors.”

Yesterday, a student in my CHS 725 class presented this article by Paul Krugman from the New York Times about climate change and creating a green economy.  This is my response to his article.  I encourage you to not only read Krugman’s article, but also the comments section.  Please feel free to add your own comments to this post.

One piece of advice that I heard somewhere a few years goes something like this… we hopefully will never be in a car accident, but we have insurance on our cars.  It is not all that likely that our house will burn down, but we still buy insurance for our houses.  Doesn’t it seem like we should put insurance on our planet?

This question really goes beyond political parties.  It doesn’t matter if your Republican or Democrat, the earth is still our planet.  There is scientific evidence that we have increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.  To me, this seems obvious.  All the emissions from our automobiles and factories do not just disintegrate into thin air.  They rise into the atmosphere, causing smog, air pollution, ozone, nitric oxide, sulfuric oxide, particulate matter, along with CO2.

Whether or not you believe global warming is fact or fiction, whether or not your believe it is indeed caused by humans or it is just another cycle of nature, it makes sense to buy into the insurance.  The insurance can be seen in the form of jobs – installing alternative energy and promoting alternative energy equals jobs and economic boosts.  The insurance can be seen in the form of new industry that meets environmental standards or improves existing infrastructures to create less emissions.  The insurance can be seen in the form of creating sustainable agriculture through local owned and operated sustainable farms.  The insurance can be seen in the form of reducing, reusing, recycling, composting.

The what ifs can really be turned into let’s just do this, and everything is connected to the point that there would not only be a boost in the economy, but also in human health and environmental health, along with increasing the insurance policy on our planet – how can that be debated?

Air Force bases booming with green biz

SACRAMENTO – As military bases close because of realignment, many are becoming nothing more than wastelands and Superfund sites. But not in northern California. McClellan. Mather. George. Castle. March. All names with a military past and all on the EPA’s radar to clean what was left behind after years of government service. But the good news is green news, as in the former Air Force bases becoming magnets for green business. Especially true with McClellan, where everything from solar panels to net-energy housing to newspaper recycling has become part of a once-busy landscape filled with aircraft and the machines of the military. This is certainly great news for Northern Nevada too, as the economy begins ramp up and investment money thaws. See the article at http://www.af.mil/news/story_print.asp?id=123192413

UNR’s Bonnefant says foreclosure cycle key to recovery

On one of many weekend morning talk radio programs, UNR’s Brian Bonnefant (who is with the Business Services Group) kind of told it like it is with regards to Northern Nevada’s economic turnaround: clear out the glut of foreclosed and existing homes. That, said Bonnefant, will allow the construction industry to fire up their hammers and get to work. He said that basically the area is getting hammered – or not, pun intended – because the average home price dropped from $350k to $179k today. Along with all the unemployment, that left a lot of upside-down folks walking away from their mortgages – that led to a 40 percent loss in construction jobs and people getting denied loans.

Many homes on the market are new homes – environmentally updated and ready to go – but few takers. Many published articles seem to suggest that the more environmentally “green” a home is, the better the chance it may have with buyers. Any opinions on that?

As for Californians coming across the border and screwing everything up? Don’t worry, Bonnefant said, they’ll come when the prices go back up – not now. And that’s good, because someone needs to buy the glut of homes on the Nevada side of the down market. “We need to get through the foreclosure cycle first,” said Bonnefant.

As for jobs? He stated on the AM talker that 44 percent of businesses surveyed in the Reno are will likely be hiring within the next 12 months. How’s that for optimism?

Reno’s fall from Inc.’s list – that’s so 2005

Just a few years ago, Reno grabbed some coveted attention by ranking as one of the nation’s best bets for building a business. In fact, the rave by Inc. Magazine (and others) was all about Reno’s low cost of living, awesome outdoor lifestyle, and Nevada’s low-tax environment. The cherry on top, back in 2005, was a booming gaming economy and population that continued to drive feet and dollars through business doorways – brick-and-mortar and virtual. The party, it seemed, would never end.

But then came the bust. Goodbye gamblers. Goodbye start-ups. Reno’s ranking as a fave place to do biz is now somewhere between a Virginia City mineshaft and grandma’s cellar. But not so fast. Nevada is one of the world’s premier alternative energy hotspots, with innovation and incentives that bring the world’s top inventors and investors up, down and across the state. While gaming and tourism may be getting kicked in the butt, Nevada is still the place to be for the emerging alternative energy business. NV Energy will likely build the 235-mile electric grid from south to north, allowing feeds from future wind and solar generation. Geothermal is apparently heating up (yes, an easy pun – sorry!) and federal and state tax incentives will likely remain magnets for businesses and homeowners to get on the alternative energy bandwagon. Nevada is a great place to start/bring an alternative energy business.