Tue, 30 January 2007
Yellowstone National Park is a national and international treasure. Though it is a park, it's had some major "greening" up to do. Thanks in large part to Jim Evanoff, Yellowstone's Environmental Manager, this national park is leading the way on major green initiatives, and setting the bar higher and higher for innovative approaches to sustainability.
Recently Evanoff visited Pittsburgh to give a presentation on the history of the park and the many environmental projects they've undertaken, thanks to sponsorship by southwestern Pennsylvania-based Concurrent Technologies and Steel City Biofuels, together with support from PennFuture and other area organizations and businesses including REI and the East End Brewing Company. PennFuture's Heather Sage was there to capture the presentation.
Evanoff described the endless ways that Yellowstone is minimizing its impacts within its own boundaries, and going beyond its vast expanse to develop partnerships throughout the region and the country to improve the environment. They have created a major commitment to using alternative, renewable fuels in nearly all of their transportation operations; they are diverting more than 65 percent of their solid waste into recycling and reuse operations (and are striving to get to 95 percent); and they have completely overhauled their custodial services so that fewer than a dozen cleaning products are now in use, and all are non-toxic and environmentally-friendly. Yellowstone was among the first in the nation to build a LEED-certified building. They initiated the reintroduction of the federally endangered gray wolf. They've even turned a contentious problem with polluting snowmobiles into an opportunity for colleges, universities, and manufacturers to compete to develop "green" snowmobiles-- and the competition has been fierce.
While a trip to Yellowstone is surely something we all hope to experience, a small sampling of the best the park has to offer, from a sustainability point of view, can be heard in this podcast.
For more information on innovations on environmental issues in Pennsylvania, visit our Web site. We welcome your comments, questions, and suggestions on our podcasts. Leave a comment below, or e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Fri, 26 January 2007
If you could have a conversation with a wild animal, how would it go? That was the organizing question behind a creative collaboration in Pittsburgh recently. The broader goal was to consider how conserving green space and protecting wildlife might be more successful if people, especially children, are better able to connect on a personal level with animals living around them.
Local Pittsburgh artist, Connie Merriman, students and teachers at Winchester Thurston School in Pittsburgh, and the Audubon Society of Western Pennsylvania collaborated on a fascinating project called "If Animals and Children Could Speak." The endeavor was part of a broader conservation effort, Connie and Tom Merriman's Community Forest: Hays Woods Project. The collaboration asked fourth and sixth grade students at the school to think creatively about wildlife in Pittsburgh's urban neighborhoods, and got them thinking about conservation from a new point of view.
PennFuture has been working together with the Merrimans, both artists and fellows with the Carnegie Mellon STUDIO for Creative Inquiry, in an effort to conserve a 635-acre forest in Pittsburgh called Hays Woods. Along with citizens living near the site and organizations including the Allegheny Group of the Sierra Club and the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), we've worked to prevent deforestation, strip mining, and elimination of the important headwater streams on the site, and continue to do so. Hays Woods served as a backdrop for the project with the students, as they learned about the sorts of animals that can and do live in urban green spaces there and elsewhere in Pittsburgh.
Listen in on the conversations students imagined they'd have with animals like fox, bears, and birds. Imagine the habitats and habits of our wild neighbors, like the Eastern Screech Owl that attended the exhibit with Audubon's Gabi Hughes. See through children's eyes how they discover the importance of being good neighbors to all creatures. And consider how expanding partnerships to include artists, children, and diverse interests can promote more sustainable communities.
To learn more about how you can get involved in saving Hays Woods, or any of PennFuture's projects, visit our Web site or e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Fri, 19 January 2007
In this podcast, Sustainable Pittsburgh's executive director, Court Gould, gives a presentation entitled "Business of Sustainability," demonstrating that every environmental victory grows the economy. Gould details how sustainable business practices and corporate social responsibility are becoming the norm among leading U.S. and international corporations.
"Doing well by doing right" is a credo that many businesses are adopting, especially in light of the impacts of global warming. Notable companies that are taking steps to cut their contributions to global warming, while increasing their efficiency and profitability at the same time include: Wal-Mart and La-Z-Boy, both installing numerous solar energy projects at new stores; General Electric that unveiled its Ecomagination campaign in 2006 to cut greenhouse gas emissions; and John Deere that is now investing in wind energy development.
PennFuture recognizes businesses, leaders, and organizations who recognize that clean, renewable energy is a critical piece of sustainable development each year at our Green Power Awards. To learn more about our Cool Pennsylvania Campaign to stop Pennsylvania's contributions to global warming, visit our campaign online. For more information or to get more involved, please e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Direct download: PFuture07_BusinessSustainability101_WithCourtGould.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:13 AM