Long Trail Brewing Co. might not be the first name you think of when it comes to Vermont craft breweries, as others have more widespread distribution (Magic Hat) or craft cache (Hill Farmstead). However, the brewery is one of the State’s oldest craft breweries, designing microbrews since 1989. After outgrowing their initial space and moving into their new one in 1995, Long Trail has attracted close to 72,000 visitors each year, enough to be considered one of Vermont’s top attractions. Like many breweries nestled in a precious ecosystem, Long Trail understands its role as an environmental steward, and adopts its business practices accordingly. Using a number of eco-friendly brewing processes over the years ultimately culminated in Long Trail being selected as the recipient of the 2009 Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in Resource Conservation.
I’ve started a little research project. Most mornings while I stand on the corner I count the number of cars that pass by as I wait for my bus transfer from downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul. Here are my results:
Tuesday I counted 50 cars passing by as I waited for the bus, 5 had 2 people. 0 had 3.
Today I counted 38 cars, 6 had 2 people. 0 had 3.
The following Tuesday: 37 cars with one person, 5 with 2 (as a side note, I saw 2 Priuses both with 1 only person)
Wednesday: 98 cars with solo drivers, 12 with 2 (including a couple city vehicles), 1 with 5 people (all adults), 3 bicyclists, 1 empty (see the note below) hybrid
Some weekday: 53 empty (that’s what I’ve taken to calling the ones with only the driver), 15 with 2 people, 2 with 4 or 5. 1 bicyclist 1 empty Prius (my counting got thrown off this time, more than previously, but the ratio is about right, 3-3.5/1)
Wednesday: 23 empties 3 multiples (30+ min earlier than normal)
Friday morning: 43 empties 7 doubles (30+ min later than usual). Now, I was on the phone and trying to count, so I may have missed a few, but you get the gist.
I’ve included a handy bar graph as a graphic representation.
One thing that scares me about our food system is the use of antibiotics. It scares me because it seems to be causing problems that weren’t originally foreseen, such as superbugs and resistance to antibiotics. This is along the same lines as superweeds. We are using drugs and pesticides to increase production without thinking about the negative outcomes, such as health issues for consumers.
Antibiotic use is out of control. While they were created with good intentions and still serve very useful means, they are also being used in many unnecessary agricultural practices. This is a problem because it is causing the following issues:
Increasing America’s domestic energy production is something most of us can agree on, but it seems there is a fork in the road as to how to get there. Some argue we should rely on the United States’ vast deposits of shale, coal and other natural resources, while others believe renewable energy from wind and solar is a better alternative. But, will either of these energy sources, or any combination of the two, actually make America truly energy independent? The overwhelming answer is no.
The snow has finally melted in Minnesota (though another round of flurries falls as I post this). Nothing signifies spring in the sustainability world quite like the season’s first Tour de Fat. In Atlanta’s Piedmont Park, New Belgium’s annual celebration of bicycles returns after its winter hiatus.
Today and tomorrow an exciting event is taking place in one of our favorite locales, Santa Barbara, California. The 4th annual Summit on Energy Efficiency is taking place at the university, home to 2nd Green Revolution writer Noelle Phares, who is a graduate student in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management. The summit will feature former Energy Secretary Dr. Stephen Chu as one of the keynote speakers.
The city of Eindhoven in the Netherlands has literally gone above and beyond in their quest to make bicycling convenient and yet compatible with car travel. With one quarter of transportation in the region done by bike, it was important to find a way that people could bike while not clogging up the A2, which is one of the most traveled highways in the country. Since slower bicycle riders can cause traffic jams, engineers found a way to avoid a major intersection by building a 30 degree floating crosswalk above the fray of traffic. It is estimated that
Although written in 2008, Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent feels like something that could’ve been written yesterday. Extremely biased and one-sided, at times bordering on vitriolic, Andrew Nikiforuk, Tar Sands’ author, makes a strong argument against the development of the Athabaskan tar sands. While this is a losing battle if there ever was one, ignoring his warnings will only further his point that humanity has rushed ahead of itself in search of more oil.
Nikiforuk points out that the tar sands are by no means new sources of energy. However, the technology to extract oil from them is fairly new.
I feel like everywhere I look these days, all I see is excessive consumption, even when it’s not necessarily the case. On the bus, the person sitting next to me reads a magazine and my mind goes directly to the paper needed to produce it. The next step in my thinking is a tablet and how that may displace paper use, it needs a constant supply of electricity and lots of nonrenewable inputs for the device itself. I see a Prius driving down the street and think, “Wouldn’t you be better off without a car?”
This is what worries me. I’m getting to the point where I can only see the negatives, it’s harder and harder to see the strides.
I was thinking the other day how people try to make sustainability and environmental thinking an easy task. People like to come up with easy tasks to do your part. This is done to make it seem easy to be “green” and encourage people to change their ways. While these steps are helpful, in the big picture they are not going to add up to make necessary changes. Being truly sustainable is not easy and this needs to be understood. I feel the more we make it seem easy the farther we are from facing the truth. Some steps will be easier to face, like adding solar panels to your roof to create your own energy. Other steps not so much, like eating less meat as a society, having our food systems become more local, eating in season, changing our energy consumption,and changing our transportation system. The list can go on and on.
I have written a couple posts about my VW Golf TDI, noting its fuel efficiency, practicality and the relatively engaging driving experience. While I have no regrets deciding on the diesel-burning hatchback, I’ve been longing for a hybrid—or rather, the fuel efficiency of one—now that my commute is almost entirely within the city.
That is not to say the Golf’s fuel economy has been disappointing. Just the opposite; since moving to Alexandria, Virginia, a somewhat hilly suburb of D.C., the tank average has hovered around a very respectable 36mpg (30mpg is EPA’s city rating). Probably 90 percent of my driving is in the city, with the vast majority of trips being less than ten miles. On the highway, it doesn’t take much to creep past the EPA’s 42mpg rating. In fact, the car displayed 49mpg after a light-footed, 25-mile round trip to Maryland last weekend. I also averaged 47mpg on a 1,115-mile trip from Florida to Virginia last year. Compact oil burners like the Golf do well in the city but spectacular on the highway.