Tag Archives: Eco

Being a green minority…

The concept that people who are green or eco-concious are actually a minority came up at the Lake Tahoe Eco Symposium on Friday.  It’s a concept that at the time I heard, kind of had a hmmm…, aha moment, but as I’ve thought about it and resonated on it, I’m wondering if it is true.

I am so used to being surrounded by environmental awareness and constantly running across books, posts and conversations about sustainability and the green revolution, but is this only me?  Am I really a green minority?

This is a real issue, as I discussed with a colleague at the symposium.  An event titled Eco Symposium is really only going to draw people already interested in the environment.  Most of the people in that room had probably heard about the topics discussed at the event; many were probably experts on the subject matter.  So, how do you get people that are ungreen to turn green?

The idea continued onto Saturday at Earth Day.  I saw many of my eco-concious revolutionaries at the event, but many people that were walking through the Village at Squaw had no idea it was Earth Day – they were simply going skiing as they do every Saturday.

Maybe some of them saw a incandescent light bulb or a blue bag, and thought what is that for?  But did they ask, or keep walking on by…

How can we make being green the norm instead of a minority?

Climate Change – What is 350?

Jamie Hinn from 350.org reported on climate change.  He said that 350 is evidence that ideal temperature for the planet is 350 parts per million of CO2, the safe upper limit in atmosphere.  The question he presented to the Lake Tahoe Eco Symposium:

How do we make getting back to 350 fun?

Check out this video to find out!

Hinn discussed the POWER of presenting the 350 message through video, photography, events, music, sports.  The number 350 was put in as many creative places as possible, both on and off the grid, in locales around the world.  He noted the power of the individual, as well as the success of groups, both large and small.  From China to Iran to New York to Lake Tahoe, the message 350 was reiterated again and again to become prominent in the minds of people around the world.

Green Business in the Sierras

Sierra Business Council

Sierra Business Council President Steve Frisch focused his presentation on the challenges facing sustainable business.  He persuaded moving past talk into action.  “We need to balance between regulatory approach and market drivers,” said Frisch.  “The piece driving change currently is non-profit and government non-regulatory.  We need this to flip. We need the courage to lead.”

What drives a better economy?

What is the right thing regarding green business and green development?

What is the new voice of business?

“Restoring resources from beginning to end.  We have to embed this in everything we do.” – Steve Frisch

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Many Shades of Green by Tracey Grose –  NEXT 10

California per capita energy usage has decreased while the rest of the nation has increased energy use.  Why is this?  According to Grose, California leads in innovation and forefront in green technology – it is diverse, growing faster than local economy.  Employment in green business has grown 36% compared to 13% growth in total economy.  A vast array of green economic growth exist – to learn more, download the presentation here.

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Lake Tahoe Prosperity Plan

Trish Kelley presented on the Lake Tahoe Prosperity Plan.  This is a lake-wide collaborative plan to promote economic growth and environmental protection in the Tahoe region.  The Tahoe basin is losing jobs compared to the rest of the region; the existing aged development is contributing to environmental degradation.

“There is a need for a transformation and revitalization of the economy,” said Kelley.  “If we make the right policy to allow business innovation, we can change the trajectory of the economy in the basin.”

“Unfortunately, the basin is not very sustainable,” said Kelley.  “Someone recently said the basin was the brownest green area that they had ever seen, so that is our challenge.”

Read an article about the prosperity plan published in the Sierra Sun.

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“We Can Do This – How Greening CA Businesses will make money for CA Businesses!”

Presented by Hank Ryan – Small Business California

“This room is not full.  This room should be overflowing with people who have these attitudes,” said Ryan.

Small biz must be proactive by being energy smart.  This requires 3 basic tools:

  • energy savings = easily measured
  • access to capital that allows business to invest in energy savings
  • regulations that encourage business to earn profits by saving energy

Ryan discussed “smart meters” – ping information about energy devices in order to save.  This is projected to cut use by 5-10%.  Are you paying the right energy rate as a business? Websites and devices being created to help us power down.   Can computers help in the revolution of energy savings?

Lake Tahoe Eco Symposium – Green Development at Homewood Resort

Vice President David Gemme welcomed everyone to the first annual Lake Tahoe Eco Symposium presented by Sierra Green Building Association (SiGBA).  He said the mission of SiGBA is to educate and promote environmental building and business practices for a sustainable lifestyle in the Sierra Nevada communities by:

  • Advocating resource efficiency in all phases of the design, construction and operation of homes and businesses
  • Providing educational resources and support in the areas of site development, energy, building materials, air, water and waste
  • Coordinating networking opportunities and community events

Gemme noted the importance of community effort, especially ski resort development in Lake Tahoe.  The first panel is led by JMA Ventures, the company that owns Alpine Meadows and Homewood Mountain Resort.  Executive Vice President David Tirman discussed the principles and blueprint of the new Homewood Resort development master plan.  The principles are to elevate environmental thresholds; become stewards of sustainable growth and enhance the resort for community development.

Infill development

  • goal to decrease overall coverage
  • redevelop areas that are already developed
  • recycle existing infrastructure (building, asphalt, concrete – SmartGrowth)

Land Restoration

  • Re-establish slope – 97% reduction in sediment
  • Restored over 240,000 sf of restored dirt roads
  • Re-introduce native vegetation
  • Increase infiltration

Renewable Energy Sources

  • Wind – micro turbines
  • Solar – sun power
  • Earth – geo thermal
  • Water – micro hydro electric

Alternative Transportation

  • Give guests options! Dial-a-Ride, water taxi, shuttles, hybrid electric fleet (like Zip Cars!), bicycle fleet (gaudy colors, so they don’t get stolen!)

Socio-Economic

  • 200 full time jobs
  • Workforce housing
  • Cultural & Community Center

Environmental Restoration

A big problem in the past was runoff from the resort across Highway 89 into Lake Tahoe.  Restorations have been made to reduce the runoff issues.  Another issue was forest fuel management, an issue surrounding the Lake.  Today, nearly 500 acres of forest have been treated which will improve the threat of wildfire in the region.

Public Outreach

JMA Ventures began the plan with public outreach.  Major concerns were:

  • providing affordable/workforce housing – JMA will provide on-site housing & child care.
  • public access – There will be open access & community center.
  • density and scale of the development – JMA has reduced the amount of land that will be developed in the master plan.

The proposed North Base area will have underground parking to improve the aesthetics of the existing landscape.  The plan pays much attention to working with all existing space, making sure areas, such as rooftops, are utilized in the development.  There is a new proposed mid-mountain lodge – 14,000 square foot footprint.

Learn more at www.skihomewood.com/masterplan.