SITKA GLOBAL WARMING GROUP NEWS RELEASES: 

June 16, 2016

New Developments for the Sitka Green Business Awards

Today, Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG) announced two new developments for their Sitka Green Business Award program.  First, two Sitka businesses were added to the 2016 “Sitka Green Business Award” list and one business was upgraded for their green business practices.  And second, the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce will begin partnering with SGWG to expand the green business awards program.

Allen Marine and Youth Advocates of Sitka were recently awarded the highest recognition, the Platinum level award.  Ludvig’s Bistro was upgraded from Bronze to a Gold level award for 2016.  This brings the full list to 15 award winners in 2016.  The full list of award winners and their green efforts can be found on SGWG’s website at www.sitkaglobalwarming.org under Green Businesses.

And as SGWG moves into its 8th year of presenting the awards, they are adding an important partner to the program, Sitka’s Chamber of Commerce.  Rachel Roy, Executive Director for the Chamber stated, “We’ll be working together to find ways to partner with SGWG on this program.  We are excited to encourage our members to think green and make small changes that add up to big results for our community.”  

Michelle Putz, coordinator for the awards and SGWG leader is also excited.  “When we started these awards we recognized that “green” and “business” didn’t typically come up in the same sentence together.  Yet we knew that local businesses were doing positive things for the environment and Sitka’s economy.  Past award winners have appreciated being recognized and have used our list of best practices to find further opportunities to save money and resources. We hope that this partnership strengthens the bond between sustainability and good business and provides educational and financial opportunities to more local businesses in Sitka.” 

The awards recognize leadership in sustainability in the local business community.   SGWG started this program in the fall of 2009 to recognize, encourage, and thank local businesses that are doing positive things for the environment and Sitka’s economy.   They recognized that many Sitka businesses were engaged in practices such as carpooling, recycling, composting, installing bike racks, re-using items, and energy conservation.  SGWG believes that these and other positive, “green” actions benefit the environment, save money, and increase the community’s sustainability and resilience. 

SGWG bases awards on the current list of locally tested “green” best practices. Businesses that are recognized receive a “Sitka Green Business Award” certificate that they can display in a business’s window or service counter to identify it as a green business.  Green businesses are also listed on the SGWG website at www.sitkaglobalwarming.org  (at Green Businesses).  “We help businesses increase their web presence by including their link in our website and help them link up with customers who are looking to reduce their environmental footprint” said Putz.  SGWG also provides businesses with the “Sitka Green Business Award” logo to place on their print advertising and websites.  

More information about the award winners and the program are on the www.sitkaglobalwarming.org website. 

 

Date:    April 14, 2016                           

Contact: Michelle Putz, Sitka Global Warming Group

13 Local Businesses Identified as 2016 Sitka Green Businesses

Today, 13 Sitka businesses were awarded the 2016 “Sitka Green Business Award” for their green business practices by the Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG).  This year, 11 Sitka businesses received the highest recognition, the Platinum level award.  One business received a Gold level award and one business received a Bronze Level Award. 

SGWG started this program in the fall of 2009 to recognize, encourage, and thank local businesses that are doing positive things for the environment and Sitka’s economy.   They recognized that many Sitka businesses are engaged in practices such as carpooling, recycling, composting, installing bike racks, re-using items, and energy conservation.  These and other positive, “green” actions benefit the environment, save money, and increase the community’s sustainability and resilience.  The awards recognize leadership in sustainability in the local business community.

Michelle Putz, coordinator for the awards and SGWG leader, is pleased to see Sitka organizations, agencies and businesses supporting the environment and each other.  “Participating businesses are enthusiastic and continue to add new and better ways to do their work in a way that contributes to community, environment, and the economy,” says Putz.  “Sitka Global Warming Group is proud to recognize these local businesses and hopes that efforts to ‘Buy local’ can help keep our community healthy and vibrant.”

Putz pointed to an interesting development in 2015, “This year we did not receive any nominations for ‘special recognition’ awards in either the “Ongoing Projects” or “New Projects” category.  We don’t know if that meant that environmental initiatives were on hold in 2015 or if people simply weren’t aware of what was happening around town.  We hope that if Sitkans know of a large scale effort happening in 2016 that supports the environment and community, they will let SGWG know!   We’ve already heard some ideas for 2017 awards, but it would be great to have some competition.”

SGWG bases awards on the current list of 35 locally tested “green” practices. Businesses that are recognized receive a “2016 Sitka Green Business Award” certificate that are displayed in a business’s window or service counter to identify it as a green business.  Green businesses are also listed on the SGWG website at www.sitkaglobalwarming.org (at Green Businesses).  “We help businesses increase their web presence by including their link in our website and help them link up with customers who are looking to reduce their environmental footprint” said Putz.  SGWG also provides businesses with the “Sitka Green Business Award” logo to place on their print advertising and websites. 

A second round of 2016 awards is planned for later this spring.  New nominations from other Sitka businesses will be considered if sent by May 15. Nomination instructions are on the www.sitkaglobalwarming.org website.    

 

February 26, 2014

20 Local Businesses Identified as 2014 Sitka Green Businesses

Today, 20 Sitka businesses were awarded the 2014 “Sitka Green Business Award” for their green business practices by the Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG).  This year, 11 Sitka businesses received the highest recognition, the Platinum level award.  Three businesses received a Gold level award, one business received a Silver level award, and four businesses received Bronze Level Awards.  Special Recognition award were awarded in two categories.  In the “Ongoing Projects” category, ALFA-Alaska Longline Fisherman’s Association received a Special Recognition award for their ongoing boat fuel efficiency project.  In the “New Projects” category, the Hames P.E. Center received a Special Recognition award for their work to transform their building and their organization into an energy efficient operation.

SGWG started this program in the fall of 2009 to recognize, encourage, and thank local businesses that are doing positive things for the environment and Sitka’s economy.   They recognized that many Sitka businesses are engaged in practices such as carpooling, recycling, composting, installing bike racks, re-using items, and energy conservation.  These and other positive, “green” actions benefit the environment, save money, and increase the community’s sustainability and resilience.  The awards recognize leadership in sustainability in the local business community.

2014 award winners by category are:

Platinum (15+ green practices)

·         Alaska Airlines

·         Alaska Computer Center

·         ALFA - Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association

·         AMSEA-Alaska Marine Safety Education Association

·         City of Sitka - Facilities Dept.

·         Daily Sitka Sentinel

·         Down to Earth U-pick Garden

·         Shelter Cove Publishing

·         Sitka Soup

·         US Forest Service-Sitka Office

·         Youth Advocates of Sitka

Gold (10 to 14 green practices)

·         Petro Marine Services

·         Sitka Food Co-op

·         Stereo North

Silver (5 to 9 green practices)

·         SeaMart Grocery Store

Bronze (1 to 4 green practices)

·         AC Lakeside Grocery Store

·         Alaska Marine Highway

·         Sitka Pioneer Home

·         SEARHC – Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium

Special Recognition

·         ALFA - Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association for continuing to support their boat fuel efficiency initiative [ongoing]

·         Hames P.E. Center for transforming to an energy efficient operation [new projects]

 Michelle Putz, coordinator for the awards and SGWG leader, pointed to an interesting development in 2013, “This is the first year that one of our award winners was also nominated for and selected to receive a ‘special recognition’ award.  We are delighted to recognize ALFA for both their everyday actions and their large scale project to improve fishing boat fuel efficiency!”

 ALFA - Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association has been a Sitka Green business Platinum award winner off and on since 2010.  In 2012, ALFA and its Fishery Conservation Network began their fuel efficiency initiative. This initiative provides technical assistance and focused research to improve fuel efficiency in the southeast Alaska fleet.  “ALFA is helping our fishing fleet in multiple ways with this project,” states Putz.  “They are helping fishermen to reduce costs.  At the same time they are helping fishermen reduce carbon dioxide emissions which, in turn, reduces the impacts of climate change and ocean acidification on fish and fish habitat.  ALFA’s fuel efficiency initiative is a great example of one organization supporting both the environment and the economy.”

Hames Center was recognized for its large-scale energy renovations.  Brant Brantman, Sustainability Strategist & Building Project Manager, reports that over the last three years, dozens of volunteers have been working specifically on the mission of turning the Hames Center, historically one of the heaviest energy consumers in Sitka, into an energy efficient operation. Through weatherization, replacement of heating and hot water systems, lighting upgrades, and controls that are optimized for user needs, both oil and electric consumption have been cut to less than half of what they were before this massive community effort.  The Center also recycles extensively and teaches green building techniques to many volunteers.  “It's not only kept massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere, but allowed a Community Center to exist that was once thought to be too expensive to operate, serving thousands of Sitkans affordably,” says Brantman.

Putz is pleased to see Sitka organizations, agencies and businesses supporting the environment and each other.  “This is the fifth year we’ve given these awards and our local businesses continue to add new and better ways to do their work in a way that contributes to community, environment, and the economy,” says Putz.  “Sitka Global Warming Group is proud to recognize these local businesses and hopes that efforts to ‘Buy local’ can help keep our community health and vibrant.”

SGWG bases awards on the current list 35 locally tested “green” practices. Businesses that are recognized receive a “2014 Sitka Green Business Award” certificate that are displayed in a business’s window or service counter to identify it as a green business.  Green businesses are also listed on the SGWG website at www.sitkaglobalwarming.org (at Green Businesses).  “We help businesses increase their web presence by including their link in our and help them link up with customers who are looking to reduce their environmental footprint” said Putz.  SGWG also provides businesses with the “Sitka Green Business Award” logo to place on their print advertising and websites. 

A second round of 2014 awards is planned for later in the spring.  New nominations from other Sitka businesses will be considered if sent by March 30, 2014. Nomination instructions are on the www.sitkaglobalwarming.org website.  

 

February 8, 2013

26 Local Businesses Win Sitka Green Business Awards

Today, 26 Sitka businesses were awarded the 2014 “Sitka Green Business Award” for their green business practices by the Sitka Global Warming Group and Sustainable Sitka (SGWG/SS).  This year, 19 Sitka businesses received the highest recognition, the Platinum level award.  Four businesses received a Gold level award and one business received a Silver level award. 

SGWG/SS split the Special Recognition award into two categories.  In the “Ongoing Projects” category, Sitka’s fishermen received a Special Recognition award for donating fresh, healthy, locally caught salmon to the Fish to Schools program run by Sitka Conservation Society.  In the “New Projects” category, the Sitka Community Development Corporation (SCDC) received a Special Recognition award for starting the Building Reuse Center.

SGWG/SS started this program in the fall of 2009 to recognize, encourage, and thank local businesses that are doing positive things for the environment and Sitka’s economy.   They recognized that many Sitka businesses are engaged in practices such as carpooling, recycling, composting, installing bike racks, re-using items, and energy conservation.  These and other positive, “green” actions benefit the environment, save money, and increase the community’s sustainability and resilience.  The awards recognize leadership in sustainability in the business community.

 Award winners by category are:

Platinum (15+ green practices)

·         Alaska Computer Center

·         Alaska Airlines

·         ALFA - Alaska Longline Fishermen's Association

·         AMSEA

·         Aurora Business Supply

·         City of Sitka - Facilities Dept.

·         Down to Earth U-pick Garden

·         One Island Energy

·         Raven Radio - KCAW

·         Russell's

·         Shelter Cove Publishing

·         Sitka Economic Development Assoc. (SEDA)

·         Sitka Maritime Heritage Society

·         Sitka National Historical Park

·         Sitka's Eagle Bay Inn

·         Sitka's Secret

·         Sitka Soup

·         US Forest Service-Sitka Office

·         White's and Harry Race Pharmacies

Gold (10 to 14 green practices)

·         Sitka Food Co-op

·         Sitka Office Services

·         The Junk Trunk/Party Ranch

·         Youth Advocates of Sitka

Silver (5 to 9 green practices)

·         Petro Marine Services

Special Recognition

·         Sitka's Fishermen for donating to SCS's "Fish to Schools" [ongoing]

·         Sitka Community Development Corporation (SCDC) for starting the Building Reuse Center [new projects]

Michelle Putz, coordinator for the awards and SGWG/SS leader, is impressed by Sitka’s business community.  “This is the fourth year we’ve given these awards and our local businesses continue to add new and better ways to do their work in a way that contributes to community, environment, and the economy,” says Putz.  “It was the businesses that suggested we increase the number of green practices needed to reach the higher award levels. And Sitka’s businesses proved they are up to the challenge!  Nearly everyone who was awarded previously retained their platinum status despite the need to do more green actions!”

SGWG/SS’ current list has 35 “green” practices that are used to determine the green business awards.  The list grows when businesses bring up new practices and the group agrees upon them.  The most recent additions to the list recognize larger efforts such as upgrading building energy efficiency and “right sizing” the business’ vehicle fleet (reducing vehicle numbers, and using smaller, more efficient vehicles).

Businesses that are recognized receive a “2013 Sitka Green Business Award” certificate that can be seen in business’s windows or check out counters to identify it as a green business.  Green businesses are also listed on the SGWG website at www.sitkaglobalwarming.org (at Green Businesses from the Contents bar).  “We offer the businesses the opportunity link their website to our green business page to help increase their web presence and help them link up with customers who are looking to reduce their environmental footprint” said Putz.  SGWG/SS also provides businesses with the “Sitka Green Business Award” logo to place on their print advertising and websites. 

The group split the Special Recognition award into two categories this year after a vote by the group led to a tie between a new project and an ongoing project.  “We always have many projects going on in Sitka that contribute to our community.  This year, voting was heavy and the group voted equally for two great projects,” said Putz. 

SCDC and their Building Reuse Center were recognized for fulfilling the goal of “reduce, reuse, recycle” and providing Sitkans with a great opportunity to reduce garbage and imported materials.  “We also recognized SCDC for its mission of providing affordable housing in Sitka…a goal which contributes to the sustainability and resilience of our entire community,” stated Putz.

Sitka’s fishermen were recognized for helping to provide healthy, delicious local food to children in our schools in cooperation with Sitka Conservation Society.

The Special Recognition award winners were surprised by the recognition.  “It’s great how the community of Sitka has together to help with the Reuse Center project,” said Greg Reynolds, Reuse Center Coordinator.  “We look forward to taking more material out of Sitka’s waste stream and growing with the help of partners like the solid waste group, Americorps volunteers, and SCDC.  It shows the strength of partnerships.”

Fisherman Fred Fayette and other Sitka fishermen are just glad to help local kids eat healthy food that is locally produced.  “Hopefully the ‘fish to schools ‘ program will grow,” said Fayette.  “I’d like to see more people doing it, see more kinds of fish available at the schools, and more recipes that kids like.  I want to know how they like it.”

Nominations from other Sitka businesses will still be considered for a second round of 2013 awards coming up later in the spring; SGWG/SS said they will take nominations through email for additional awards, either from businesses themselves or from customers (instructions are on the SGWG website).  

 

News Release

September  10, 2012

2013 Sitka Green Business Awards Kick-off With an Open House

Businesses in Sitka are saving money and going green.  And they want Sitkans and other Sitka businesses to know about it and join in! 

The Sitka Global Warming Group/Sustainable Sitka (SGWG/SS) are heading into their fourth year of awarding Sitka Green Business Awards.  And this year, the organizers and participants are throwing a big kick-off to 2013 award nominations.

SGWG/SS will once again be working with local businesses to provide information and education on ways to save money and conserve resources, and then recognizing and thanking local businesses that are using these green business practices through 2013 Sitka Green Business Awards. 

“During the final Sitka Farmer’s Market on Saturday, September 15, two local businesses will host open houses to show off their “green” construction and business activities and to kick off the 2013 Sitka Green Business Award program,” announced Michelle Putz, Green Business Award organizer for SGWG/SS.

Sitka’s Baranof Island Housing Authority (BIHA) and Sitka Office Services (SOS) will provide tours, snacks, and information at their locations on Katlian Street beside the ANB Hall. 

Both businesses were awarded Sitka Green Business Awards in 2012.  For BIHA, this was their first award.  They received the special recognition award for constructing a LEED-certified office building in 2011. BIHA will give tours of their new LEED-certified – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – 4,000 square foot office building. 

Features like Light-Emitting Diode (LED) lighting and strategically placed window glazing minimize lighting costs in hallways and office spaces in the new BIHA building.   Also, "Green Building" materials and methods used in the project benefit both the earth's environment and the users of the facility.  Environmentally friendly caulks and "green" insulation batting help maintain excellent indoor air quality for BIHA staff and visitors.  And storm water runoff from the parking lot and filters through a landscaped "bioswale" before entering an oil-water separator.  All of this helps to ensure a high-level of water quality before leaving the property and returning storm water to Sitka Sound.  The combination of these design and construction features and several others qualified BIHA's new office as Sitka's first commercial building to be LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.  Signs and information will show visitors some of the features of the building that help to save energy and water, and reduce waste.  More about LEED and the building’s LEED certification will be available at the open house.

SOS will feature many of the actions businesses can take to reduce their waste and improve energy efficiency. “Coming from Dallas, Texas, one of the things that attracted me to Sitka was the close relationship of Sitkans to nature,” says Ann, owner and proprietor of SOS.  “Our relationship with the sea, the mountains and the seasons is an important part of living in Sitka; however, with that comes a strong responsibility to care for our environment.  That’s why, when I started SOS, I made a commitment to be a good steward of our resources, function as “Green” as possible, and to recycle and conserve.”

SOS received their first Green Business Award in 2011.  They received a Platinum award in 2011 by taking 13 of the listed actions.  In 2012, they received their second platinum award and added two more green actions to their repertoire.   “Ann [Wilkinson]’s business is very strong in the waste reduction category,” Putz said.  “She reuses things that might otherwise get thrown away, prints on both side of the paper, recycles, and does marketing and billing via email and the internet instead of printing everything on paper.  Her points also come from energy and fuels saving behavior, like turning off lights and computers at the end of the day and consolidating errands when driving.”  Putz added that SOS also promotes community sustainability by supporting buy-local and local foods efforts.  “All of the actions SOS is taking are helping to reduce business cost and/or helping to make SOS a “good neighbor” to other local businesses and the community.”  

“The award program is a continuation and upgrade of this ongoing program,” said Putz.  Last year, 23 local businesses were awarded the 2012 “Sitka Green Business Award” for their green business practices by SGWG/SS.  Twenty-one of Sitka’s businesses received the highest recognition, the Platinum level award.  One business received a Gold level award, while BIHA received the Special Recognition award. 

Since the program’s inception in 2010, 62 total awards have been presented.  Michelle reports that businesses are reaching higher levels each year with 16% at platinum in the first year, 75% at platinum in 2011, and 95% at platinum in 2012.

SGWG/SS developed this local “certification” process to determine those businesses and practices to promote and recognize through this program.  Using energy/money-saving recommendations from local businesses, the group now has a list of over 35 green practices that local businesses are already using to save money.  These practices also determine the “winners” of the green business awards.  The program’s four levels recognize different levels of commitment towards green practices.  The more actions that a business does to help the environment, the higher the recognition level they received.  A special recognition category was set up for a business involved in a one-time, major environmental initiative. 

“The program has grown and evolved,” says Putz.  “We asked for our participants’ suggestions and have been moving forward on many of the suggestions we’ve received.  Based on many businesses’ current actions we revised some of our practices and added new ones to this year’s list.  Also, based on suggestions and the high level of participation we receive, we are increasing the number of green practices needed to reach the higher award levels.”  Award levels will be as follows for 2013 and future awards: Businesses using:  1-4 green practices – Bronze Award; 5-9 green practices – Silver Award; 10-14 green practices – Gold Award; 15 or more green practices – Platinum Award.  Puts said, “It will make reaching the higher level awards more difficult, but we hope it will encourage stretching out and trying new things.”

Nomination forms can be picked up and dropped off at the open houses on Saturday from 11 am till 1 pm.  The list of green practices and method for nominating a business can also be found on the SGWG/SS website at: http://www.sitkaglobalwarming.org/green_practices_nomination.html

Nominations for the first round of 2013 awards will be accepted until December 1, 2012.

 

May 1, 2012

Sitka Joins Global Demonstration to “Connect the Dots” Between Extreme Weather and Climate Change 

Hundreds of Events around the world show the evidence that climate change is a clear and present danger

SITKA, ALASKA —

Have you thought to yourself, “Wow!  There are a lot of scary weather events happening around the world!”?  Or maybe, “I wonder if Sitka will be affected by climate change or ocean acidification?”

Starting on Saturday, May 5th, in a two part event in Sitka being called “Connecting Climate, Weather, and Oceans,” you will learn that you are not alone. On 5/5/2012, Sitka will participate in its 5th annual worldwide day of climate action.  This event will be one of hundreds happening in communities across the globe connecting the dots between climate impacts like extreme weather and global warming, fisheries impacts like ocean acidification, and the causes of the crisis. The events will dramatize that climate change and ocean acidification are no longer a problem for the future, but an immediate crisis that is already effecting millions of people around the world.

Sitka Global Warming Group/Sustainable Sitka are inviting all Sitkans to join them at the Crescent Harbor Shelter on Harbor Drive from 9 am to 10 am on Saturday, May 5, 2012 and to bring two things to the event:

1)      oyster and clam shells to help make Sitka’s “dot”  - the pile of “dead” oysters and clams is meant to provide a visual reminder about the effects of carbon dioxide on ocean acidity, and

2)      recent (2011/2012) articles about ocean acidification and extreme weather, and weather-related events worldwide (events like intense and numerous tornadoes across the Midwest, forest fires in the West in times of year never-heard of before, floods and rising waters, droughts, etc.).  These articles are meant to remind Sitkans of our humanity and connection with the rest of the planet.  Between these items members of the Sitka Global Warming Group and Sustainable Sitka (SGWG/SS) will create an exhibit to show that climate change and ocean acidification are here NOW. 

“Our plan is to bring this exhibit to venues around Sitka to help Sitkans connect the dots between climate change and extreme weather and ocean acidification, “ said Linda Wilson, one of SGWG/SS’s members.  “Ocean acidification is affecting oyster farms in other locations in the Pacific Northwest.  And it is beginning to affect the food that salmon eat [pterapods].  The increasing acidity of the ocean and its effect on fisheries is probably the biggest ‘dot’ for Sitka when it comes to the effects of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Wilson continued.

The large pile of shells will signify that our oceans AND OUR FISHERIES are being affected by high levels of CO2 (oyster farming has been severely affected in places because young oysters can't grow shells due the acidity of the ocean water) and numerous headlines and articles will remind us of all the extreme weather events that have taken place in the last year, will help connect us to those events and those affected people, and help us to educate others on what is going on.

Businesses, organizations, schools, and others who would be interested in showing an exhibit about recent weather, climate change, and ocean acidification are encouraged to contact the organizers of this event.  Contact Michelle at 747-2708.

Climate Impacts Day is hosted by 350.org, an international grassroots climate campaign. Visit www.climatedots.org for more information.

Date:    February 17, 2010                               

Contact: Michelle Putz, Sitka Global Warming Group

Sitka “Garden-match” offered

Do you have a planting bed that you don’t have the time or energy to cultivate? 

Do you wish you had spot to grow some vegetables, but no place to put them?

Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG), in conjunction with the Sitka Local Foods Network, is offering a garden-matching program to help people who have garden space get matched up with people who want to plant and tend a garden in an effort to increase the amount of food grown and eaten locally.  SGWG is asking Sitka residents who have garden space to share or want a garden space to contact them at info@sitkaglobalwarming.org.  Provide your name, email address, phone number, size of the spot available or wanted, and the location of either the spot that is available or the address of the person who wants the spot.   SGWG will collect this data over the next month and then work to match garden spots with a nearby person who would like to plant and tend a garden. SGWG will also be collecting names and garden locations at the March 14 “Let’s Grow Sitka” event taking place at the ANB Hall from noon until 3:00 pm. 

Michelle said that SGWG is not setting any expectations of either the people who offer garden space or who want a garden space.  Sharing of produce will be encouraged, but won’t be an expectation.  SGWG also does not know how many participants to expect.

“This is the first year that we will do this.  We’ve seen plenty of people who want to grow their own food but don’t have space to do it, and we have seen a lot of planting beds and garden spots that go unused during the summer because people are too busy or lack knowledge or experience in growing a garden.  This is a great way to match those unused gardens with someone who will make them productive and increase the amount of vegetables being grown in Sitka,” said Michelle Putz from SGWG.  Michelle continues, “Growing food locally has many benefits.  For our group, the benefit is reducing the miles that food is shipped [thus reducing fuel use and carbon dioxide emissions).  But that also makes the food cheaper and improves the quality and healthfulness of the vegetables since they are fresher.  Growing food locally also improves our “food security” making a food shortage less likely in case of high fuel prices or bad weather.  And it tastes really good!” 

 

 

  November 6, 2009

  Michelle Putz, Sitka Global Warming Group

Over 1,400 Fossil Fuel Free Miles Tracked this Summer in Sitka

People pulled out their bikes, walking shoes, bus passes, and dinghies, or conducted work over the phone and internet to reduce their use of fossil fuels in Sitka this summer.  Over 1,400 miles of no-gas/shared gas travel were tracked by 46 participants in the “Freedom from Fossil Fuel Fridays” or FFFF program which ran from July through the end of September this year. 

The FFFF project was started as a 1-month pilot project in 2008 by members of the Sitka Global Warming Group, Sustainable Sitka, and Sitka Bike Friendly Coalition.  It was an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, improve health, and save people money by using less fossil fuel and more human-powered/shared ride options.  The FFFF project challenged community members to get out of their cars one day per week and to get to work, school, events, or even just to lunch by walking, riding bikes, carpooling, riding the bus, or telecommuting instead.  This year’s FFFF project included more sponsors and cooperators including The Ride ( Sitka ’s community bus program), Sitka Conservation Society, Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop, and Balanced Practice. 

“This is the second year that we organized FFFF and we are very happy with the final results”, said Michelle Putz of the Sitka Global Warming Group.  “We had 46 people participate, many of them on a regular basis.  Similar to last year, biking was the most popular way to get around without using gas.” said Michelle.    

The sponsors report that almost 840 miles of the no-gas total was by bicycle for an average bike ride of 5.5 miles in day.  Walkers logged the second highest mileage total with almost 145 miles.  The value of electric vehicles as a fossil fuel free option in Sitka was reflected in the 100+ miles logged by electric cars this summer. 

“We were glad to take part in this project and to see the great participation by bicycle riders in Sitka,” said Doug Osborne, a representative of the Sitka Bike Friendly Community Coalition,  "Forward thinking programs like the FFFF campaign encourage bicycling for transportation which has big benefits for individuals, schools, workplaces and for the community as a whole; to top it off programs like this will help us reach the goal of retaining our nationally recognized designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community. "

Carpooling and bus use had fewer participants, but substantially reduced the miles driven.  The average carpool distance was 8.5 miles.  Many people used two or more modes of no-gas or shared-gas travel.  Over 200 miles were logged in 40 total trips by people walking and then biking or carpooling, walking to and riding the bus, or some other travel combination.  Telecommuting was another no-gas option used this year. 

“The most interesting travel method this year was a dinghy ride with several people sharing a no-gas ride,” said Michelle Putz, “There are lots of options for using less gas while on the waters of Sitka Sound.  While Alice [Machesney] did not sign up for FFFF, she was a great model of fossil fuel free travel for Sitkans and could have been our cover girl!”

This year’s efforts resulted in about 1,380 pounds of CO2 reduced (at 20 m.p.g. fuel efficiency).  That’s roughly one pound of CO2 reduced for every one mile of no-gas/shared-gas travel.  Add to that the cost savings of gas, the health benefits of exercise and/or some shared time with friends/co-workers/community members, and the prizes, and the FFFF program really benefited everyone involved as well as the environment.

 

News Release

September 30, 2009

Michelle Putz, Sitka Global Warming Group


Sitka to Support 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action with Energy Conservation and Education

Sitka Global Warming Group (SGWG) and Sitka Conservation Society (SCS) announced today that they will officially support the October 24, 2009 International Day of Climate Action, a global event led by www.350.org.  The groups will offer educational opportunities and photo documentation of the 350 event at SCS's Wild and Scenic Film festival at 6 pm at the Sitka High School New Auditorium on October 24.
    
350.org is an international campaign dedicated to creating an equitable global climate treaty that lowers carbon dioxide below 350 parts per million.  350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide--measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 ppm--it's the number humanity needs to get back below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

350.org is coordinating an international day of action on October 24, 2009 at hundreds of iconic places around the world - from the Taj Mahal to the Great Barrier Reef - to spark a global movement that will unite the public, media, and our political leaders behind the 350 goal.  Organizers of more than 1,600 actions in 125 countries will find creative ways to show the importance of the number “350” as it relates to climate change on October 24, 2009, as millions of people from all corners of the world unite in a call for global action on climate change.

Organizers have already announced plans—they’ll be school children planting 350 trees in Bangladesh , scientists hanging banners saying 350 on the statues on Easter Island, 350 scuba divers diving underwater at the Great Barrier Reef
In Sitka, people can support the “350” events by turning in and exchanging incandescent light bulbs for energy-conserving compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) and by attending the Wild and Scenic Film Festival.

During the month of October, Sitka Global Warming Group will be collecting incandescent light bulbs and exchanging them for CFLs to support 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action.  “We will offer one free CFL to people that turn in/replace 3 incandescent bulbs,” said Michelle Putz of SGWG.  “Our goal is to gather 350 incandescent bulbs and replace them with more efficient CFLs or LED bulbs to reduce our electricity (and diesel) use.”  Incandescent bulbs should be dropped off/exchanged right away at Old Harbor Book Store or call Michelle at 747-2708 (the sooner the better SGWG organizers say since supplies of CFLs may be limited).  SGWG will display those bulbs and teach people about the importance of "350" at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival at 6pm on October 24, 2009.

“We are a group of people from around the planet—young and old, scientists and writers and activists—who have one thing in common…We know the most important number on earth: 350,”  said 350.org founder and author Bill McKibben.  “A year ago, our NASA climatologist James Hansen and his team produced a landmark series of studies. They showed that if we let the amount of carbon in the atmosphere top 350 parts per million, we can’t have a planet “similar to the one on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted.” continued Bill.

“The bad news is we’re already past that number—we’re at 390 parts per million, which is why the Arctic is melting, why drought is spreading across the planet, why people are already dying from diseases like dengue fever and malaria in places where they’ve never been seen before.

The good news: that number gives us a target to aim for. When the world’s leaders meet in Copenhagen in December to reach agreement on a new climate treaty, we need them to go farther than they’ve planned to go: we need to make sure they’ll pay attention to the latest science and put forward a plan that gets us back to safety.”

“Sitka is doing many great things locally to reduce our carbon dioxide emissions and our impacts on climate change,” said Michelle Putz.  “Supporting 350 by conserving our energy and marketing that conservation is one way that Sitkans can spread the word at the State, National, and even Global level that climate change is an immediate global problem and that each and every person’s efforts to reduce and conserve energy do matter.” 

Members of the Sitka Global Warming Group, SCS, and other groups will be turning in their incandescent bulbs and attending the 350 events on October 24 at 6 p.m.  They invite you to join them.  “Bring us your bulbs,” Michelle said, “you’ll save energy, reduce Sitka ’s CO2, and help reduce impacts on our climate.” 


To see images and stories from 350.org: http://www.350.org/map

News Release

Date:    September 21, 2009                            

Sitka delivers wake-up call to world leaders

About a dozen Sitka residents, as well as two visitors from Florida , gathered at the intersection of Lincoln Street and Lake/Harbor Drive today for an event that could change the course of global climate negotiations.

As synchronized phone alarms sounded, people came together in “flash mob” style to take a photograph before making phone calls to President Barack Obama, and Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski urging the government to take bold action to help achieve a fair, ambitious and binding global climate pact.

Kerry MacLane managed to get through to Senator Begich’s office. "They listened to our message about taking action on climate change and promised they would pass the message on to the senator," he said.

Some 2,682 events in 134 countries sounded the alarm in advance of a meeting of world leaders meeting in New York (September 22). A UN climate deal in Copenhagen in December risks failure unless world leaders revive bogged-down negotiations.

A broad coalition of major environmental and anti-poverty organizations as well as faith, civic and youth networks - called the TCKTCKTCK campaign for the ticking-clock urgency of climate change - is backing the campaign effort.

Ricken Patel, executive director of campaign network Avaaz.org which created an online hub for its 3.6 million members to organize events said:

 

"The idea of a global climate wake-up call got going just a few weeks ago, and it's snowballed into a massive mobilization of millions around the world who want leaders to do more to stop runaway climate change."

 

"Climate change is not just a dire problem, it’s a massive opportunity to unleash a new green, clean economy. Sitka residents have joined people around the world in sending an unmistakable message. Our leaders need to wake up and smell the opportunity," he added.

   

News Release
September 4, 2009

Sitka Global Warming Group and Sustainable Sitka to Recognize Green Business Practices

 

The Sitka Global Warming Group and Sustainable Sitka (SGWG/SS) is working on a project to recognize and thank local businesses that are doing good things for the environment while also doing good things for our local economy.  

There are a lot of great businesses in Sitka that are recycling, carpooling, composting, installing bike racks, encouraging use of reusable cups/bags/plates, etc. These and other positive, “green” actions benefit the environment, save money, and increase our sustainability.  SGWG/SS would like to recognize and thank those businesses, encourage others to start “greening” their business, and help local businesses take advantage of a green marketing strategy.  In this economy, green is a good selling point. 

SGWG/SS has started a list of local businesses with their observed green business practices.  But they want to give green businesses the opportunity to “toot their own horn.” SGWG/SS is asking businesses that feel like they have green practices to contact them via email at info@sitkaglobalwarming.org with the name and address of their business and a list of all of their green practices.
SGWG/SS will be developing a local “certification” process to determine those businesses and practices that will be recognized.  SGWG/SS expects to recognize businesses with a certificate which can be placed in the business’s window or check out counter, through a letter of thanks, and through local media announcements.  The recognition is expected to have four levels – bronze, silver, gold, and platinum – to recognize different levels of commitment towards green practices.  The more actions that businesses are doing to help the environment, the higher their recognition level will be.

Lists of green practices should be sent to the email address by September 30.  Those wanting more information or interested in helping on the project can contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708.

 

Sitka Declares Independence from Fossil Fuels

July 2009

One day a week, Sitka will declare it’s independence from fossil fuels this summer by participating in “Freedom from Fossil Fuel Fridays” or FFFF for short.  FFFF is designed to get people to …something they may not have tried before.  

FFFF challenges the community of Sitka to get out of their car one day per week and to get to work, school, events, or even just go to lunch by walking, riding bikes, carpooling, riding the bus, or telecommuting instead.  The idea is to get people to try a no-gas or shared-gas travel method, and make it a habit at least one day per week.

Why join in?  Lots of reasons.  Not only can Sitkans save money on gas, help the environment by emitting less CO2, and get some exercise and health benefits by participating in FFFF, they can also have a chance at monthly prizes!  The FFFF project was started as a 1-month pilot project in 2008 by members of the Sitka Global Warming Group, Sustainable Sitka, and Sitka Bike Friendly Coalition in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions, improve health, and save people money.  FFFF was so successful that the groups have expanded the program and decided to bring it back for most of the summer!  

“One of the other goals we’d like to accomplish this year is to share the program, and the idea of the program, with other Alaska communities,” said Michelle Putz, a representative from the Sitka Global Warming Group.  “We are already communicating and working with Ketchikan , Juneau , and Homer on other conservation projects.  Why not add another one that takes very little work or money to organize, but has some great benefits?”

Several sponsors and cooperators have joined the original sponsors including The Ride ( Sitka ’s community bus program), Sitka Conservation Society, and Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.  The sponsors hope to entice new folks into trying out a new way to get around with prizes like gift certificates, bus passes, and energy efficient lightbulbs. 

While “Friday” is in the title, the sponsors say they’ll enter folks into the drawing no matter what day of the week people try out a new travel option.  So if Friday’s forecast is not so sunny, the sponsors say make it FFFT (Freedom from Fossil Fuel Tuesday or Thursday)…they still want to record your participation and your miles of no-gas/shared-gas travel.

Last year, 69 Sitkans participated in the 1-month program with a total of 674 miles of individual vehicle driving saved.  Biking was the most popular method of transportation with 16 to 19 participants weekly logging a total of 284 miles of no-gas travel.  Walking was second most popular with 12 to 19 participants weekly totaling 132 miles of no-gas travel.  Carpooling and bus use had less participants, but really reduced the miles driven…while the average bicycle ride was 4.2 miles, the average carpool distance was almost 7 miles.  Many people used two or more modes of no-gas or shared-gas travel, 31 total participants traveled 109 miles often by walking and then carpooling, walking to the bus, or some other travel combination.  A few people worked from home and saved gas that way.  The most interesting travel method was by kayak and bike…I’d sure like to know how they strapped the bike on the kayak!

The sponsors hope to bring in a lot of new no-gas/shared-gas commuters this year at least 1 day each week.  The goal is to get over 100 participants this year and bring the no-gas/shared-gas miles up to 3,000 miles for the summer.  Last years efforts resulted in about 659 pounds of CO2 reduced (at a 20 m.p.g. fuel efficiency).  That’s roughly one pound of CO2 reduced for every one mile of no-gas/shared-gas travel.  Add to that the cost savings of gas (gas was almost $5 per gallon last year when the program was going on), the health benefits of exercise and/or some shared time with friends/co-workers/community members, and the opportunity to win some great prizes, and the FFFF program really starts to look beneficial to everyone who gets involved!

People can get signed up by sending an email to SITKAFFFF@yahoo.com. Mile tracking and prize drawings are coordinated through the email site.  Each week people participate, they’ll be added to the drawing for monthly prizes.  The sponsors will report on the results after the formal project ends in September.