Solar Power Lights Up Amazon Communities Fighting Dirty Energy

September 19, 2017 — Three indigenous communities on the front lines of the Amazon rainforest’s most emblematic rights and resources struggles now have solar energy generation capacity and internet hubs thanks to a partnership between Amazon Watch and Empowered By Light.

While Trump administration denies the impacts of climate change on the disastrous weather events in recent weeks, indigenous communities in the Amazon are leading us toward a brighter future as they embrace clean energy while defending the living forest, as demonstrated in the new video released today by Amazon Watch and Credo Mobile.

“These communities are true climate leaders,” said Leila Salazar-López, Executive Director at Amazon Watch. “Lighting the way for our climate and our forests, these indigenous earth defenders know that the solution to climate change must include stopping the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.”

Solar micro-systems and radio communications infrastructure now power five Sápara communities in the Ecuadorian Amazon as they resist oil drilling on their lands; two Munduruku communities in the Brazilian Amazon as they demand legal recognition and protection for their territory; and four U’wa communities in the Colombian cloud forests as they defend their sacred sites. More installations are planned for late 2017 and 2018.

The astoundingly biodiversity of the Amazon is home to hundreds of distinct indigenous peoples whose futures are threatened by this resurgent wave of resource exploitation, often living in remote areas where they are vulnerable to violent repression. The solar power and communications systems being installed are critical for these communities to assure their safety and communicate their stories as they defend their traditional practices and territories. In the past, protecting themselves and their territories has meant using polluting and unreliable diesel and kerosene generators, with fuel being brought in from the outside at significant expense.

Photo credit: Amazon Watch

The solar and communications equipment allow these remote communities to communicate internally to improve their safety and engage in cross-community dialogue; tell their own story to the broader world directly through new communications technology and training, subsequently further increasing their visibility and safety; and have access to reliable, clean energy for other community needs without relying on dirty energy sources like kerosene or diesel.

“We hope the introduction of clean, renewable solar power will not only help these communities protect the Amazon rainforest, which is critical for climate stability, but that it will demonstrate to their governments that similar remote or off-grid communities can leapfrog fossil fuels,” said Moira Hanes, co-founder of Empowered by Light.

Collaborative project planning, along with maintenance and communications trainings, are integral parts of all of these projects in order to maximize both system longevity and impact. These projects, all of which were specifically requested by the communities, provide critical external and internal communications capacity, thereby allowing communities to increase both their personal safety and visibility for their emblematic campaigns.

For more information:

Amazon Watch: www.amazonwatch.org/solar
Empowered By Light: www.empoweredbylight.org

Most Families Make These 4 Eco-Unfriendly Mistakes When Moving House – Is Yours?

Most people don’t think about the environment when they’re moving. Maybe you’re moving into a place with solar power and more efficient plumbing, and that will do wonders to reduce your carbon footprint in the future. The issue is often that the act of moving itself does a great deal of damage to the environment. A lot of waste is generated, and a lot of fuel is burned up in the process. The best way to reduce your impact on the environment starts with changing the way you move.

Using Boxes You Don’t Have to Use

If you find yourself packing your reusable grocery bags into a box, you’re doing something wrong. Every bag and bin you have can be used in place of a cardboard box. When you bring it to your new home, unpack your stuff from your reusable containers, and all is right again.

Some moving companies offer reusable plastic bins on wheels that can serve as the perfect substitute for boxes. If you’re using a moving company, ask them if they have any alternatives available to you. If you aren’t using a company, you might still be able to rent these containers from movers. They’re large and sturdy. They can be used hundreds of times, saving countless cardboard boxes.

Generating Waste From Packing Materials  Wrapping your valuables in things like clothing saves money, waste, and packing space. If your glasses and your t-shirts are in the same container, that’s one less container you’ll need to use. Everything will still arrive at your new home safely. Things like blankets and towels can be used to add shock protection to boxes full of things you don’t want bouncing around.  If you absolutely must purchase packing materials, make sure you’re choosing eco friendly alternatives. It’s easy to spot biodegradable packing materials because they’re usually colored green. They’re made of plant fibers, and they won’t sit in a landfill for too long before they’ve broken down.

Generating Waste From Packing Materials

Wrapping your valuables in things like clothing saves money, waste, and packing space. If your glasses and your t-shirts are in the same container, that’s one less container you’ll need to use. Everything will still arrive at your new home safely. Things like blankets and towels can be used to add shock protection to boxes full of things you don’t want bouncing around.

If you absolutely must purchase packing materials, make sure you’re choosing eco friendly alternatives. It’s easy to spot biodegradable packing materials because they’re usually colored green. They’re made of plant fibers, and they won’t sit in a landfill for too long before they’ve broken down.

Trying to Recycle Things That Can’t Be Recycled

Recycling everything seems like the best plan, but dumping materials that cannot be recycled at a recycling facility only causes logistical nightmares. They’ll have to get rid of it, and two trips will have been made for nothing. Lightbulbs, anything with a CRT tube, crystal, mirrors, heat resistant dinnerware (like Pyrex glass), ceramics, or glass that’s become dirty (from food or actual dirt) can’t be recycled.

The things that can’t be recycled might be able to be donated if they’re in great condition. If they’re not in great condition (such as broken televisions with CRT tubes, cracked mirrors or damaged dinnerware), they need to go to an actual waste facility. Make sure these are included with the non-recyclable things that cannot be donated, and set them aside for when you call a removal service to pick them up.

Making Tons of Trips

Most people think it’s a good idea to save money by renting a smaller moving truck. If everything doesn’t fit, you can always make a few more trips. When you do that, you’re putting tons of fuel pollution into the environment – especially if you’re moving far away. Before you even rent your truck, do a dry run. See how big or small of a space all of your stuff can fit into.

If possible, get a truck that, when packed tightly, can accommodate everything in one load. If you have a little too much for one trip, think about what will fit into the cars you’re taking with you. Not only is moving in a single trip better for the environment, but it’s also less work for you. There isn’t any back and forth if you’re only going one way. You can unpack and settle in sooner.

If you do wind up using things like cardboard, make sure you recycle it once you’ve arrived. It’s not always easy to do a perfectly green move, so make sure you’re offsetting some of the less eco-friendly choices you’ve made with positive ones once the move is over.

Author’s Bio:

Elizabeth Lee is a staunch supporter of green living and sustainability, currently residing and working in Sydney, Australia. Writing for a transportation company PACK & SEND, Elizabeth often shares her suggestions on how both businesses and individuals can work and live with lesser negative impact on our planet. Feel free to follow Elizabeth on @LelizabethLee86

Elon Musk Tells Governors About Solar Power plus US Gigafactories

Speaking to the National Governors Association summer conference in Rhode Island last week, Elon Musk gave the state solons their money’s worth. He told them that it would be possible to supply every electron needed to keep America humming by covering just 100 square miles with solar panels.

“If you wanted to power the entire U.S. with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah. You only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States.”

July 19th, 2017 by Steve Hanley   Speaking to the National Governors Association summer conference in Rhode Island last week, Elon Musk gave the state solons their money’s worth. He told them that it would be possible to supply every electron needed to keep America humming by covering just 100 square miles with solar panels.  “If you wanted to power the entire U.S. with solar panels, it would take a fairly small corner of Nevada or Texas or Utah. You only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States.”
Of course, some grid storage capability would need to be included. Musk has an answer for that, too. “The batteries you need to store the energy, to make sure you have 24/7 power, is 1 mile by 1 mile. One square mile. That’s it.”
For the entire story from CleanTechnica on July 19th, 2017 by Steve Hanley 

“Drive and Shine” at Marbletown 

Community Center, Main Street/Rt. 209, Stone Ridge

Saturday, July 15, 1:00-4:00. Free admission

Community Center, Main Street/Rt. 209, Stone Ridge  Saturday, July 15, 1:00-4:00. Free admission    Join the Town of Marbletown's Environmental Conservation Committee for a two-part event focusing on sustainable energy. The first half of the program is a solar energy workshop, part of Solarize Rondout Valley, a joint project of Solarize Hudson Valley and the ECCs of the towns of Marbletown, Rochester & Olive. Find out if solar energy is right for your home or small business. Come meet solar energy installers and receive 10% off of solar energy systems and installation. Also, sign up for free, at-home/business solar energy assessments and energy use audits. The second half of the program includes the ribbon cutting by Town Supervisor Michael Warren for Marbletown's new electric vehicle charging station, also located at the community center. This will be followed by presentations on electric vehicles by The Sierra Club and Drive Electric Hudson Valley. Come by for a free test drive of an electric car! For more information, contact Eric Stewart, Town of Marbletown ECC, at 845-687-0407 or at elsgreenman@aol.com.
Join the Town of Marbletown’s Environmental Conservation Committee for a two-part event focusing on sustainable energy. The first half of the program is a solar energy workshop, part of Solarize Rondout Valley, a joint project of Solarize Hudson Valley and the ECCs of the towns of Marbletown, Rochester & Olive. Find out if solar energy is right for your home or small business. Come meet solar energy installers and receive 10% off of solar energy systems and installation. Also, sign up for free, at-home/business solar energy assessments and energy use audits. The second half of the program includes the ribbon cutting by Town Supervisor Michael Warren for Marbletown’s new electric vehicle charging station, also located at the community center. This will be followed by presentations on electric vehicles by The Sierra Club and Drive Electric Hudson Valley. Come by for a free test drive of an electric car! For more information, contact Eric Stewart, Town of Marbletown ECC, at 845-687-0407 or at elsgreenman@aol.com.

Solar Accounts for 1 in 50 New U.S. Jobs in 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 7, 2016 — The American solar workforce grew at a historic pace in 2016, a year when one out of every fifty new U.S. jobs was in the solar industry, according to the new National Solar Jobs Census 2016, the seventh annual report on solar employment issued by The Solar Foundation.

The National Solar Jobs Census 2016 found that solar industry employment growth outpaced the overall U.S. economy by 17 times as it increased by over 51,000 jobs, for a total of 260,077 U.S. solar workers. The solar workforce grew by 25 percent over 2015, the largest annual growth percentage since The Solar Foundation’s first National Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010.

The number of solar jobs increased in 44 of the 50 states in 2016, showing that solar industry growth is truly a nationwide phenomenon. The state with the highest total number of solar jobs in 2016 was California, followed by Massachusetts, Texas, Nevada, and Florida. A complete list of the number of solar jobs by state, along with state growth rates over 2015, can be found at SolarJobsCensus.org.

“With a near tripling of solar jobs since 2010, the solar industry is an American success story that has created hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs,” said Andrea Luecke, President and Executive Director of The Solar Foundation. 

“In 2016, we saw a dramatic increase in the solar workforce across the nation, thanks to a rapid decrease in the cost of solar panels and unprecedented consumer demand for solar installations. More than ever, it’s clear that solar energy is a low-cost, reliable, super-abundant American energy source that is driving economic growth, strengthening businesses, and making our cities smarter and more resilient.”

Solar job growth in 2016 took place in all job sectors, including a 26 percent growth in manufacturing companies to 38,121 jobs nationwide. Installation jobs increased by 14 percent to a total of 137,133 jobs. Project development jobs increased by 53 percent to 34,400 jobs, while sales and distribution jobs increased by 32 percent to 32,147 jobs.
“Solar is an important part of our ever expanding clean energy economy in Massachusetts, supporting thousands of high-skilled careers across the Commonwealth,” said Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker. “Through the continued development of solar incentive programs, Massachusetts is positioned to double the amount of solar for half the cost to ratepayers and maintain our position as one of the best states in the country for energy diversity.”

“More and more business leaders and investors recognize that climate change presents both risks and opportunities, but they need better information to make informed decisions. The Solar Jobs Census helps provide that,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg L.P., philanthropist, and three-term Mayor of New York City.

Nine percent of solar workers nationwide are veterans, compared to 7 percent in the overall U.S. workforce. Census 2016 also found that the percentage of solar workers who are women increased from 24 percent in 2015 to 28 percent in 2016, the percentage of African-American solar workers increased from 5 percent to 7 percent, and the percentage of Latino/Hispanic solar workers increased from 11 percent to 17 percent.

“It’s really a wide range of people that get hired into this industry, everybody from certified and licensed engineers to those who first learned about a solar project when we were building one in their area,” said George Hershman, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Swinerton Renewable Energy. “A great aspect of this business is that it isn’t an exclusionary trade. It’s a teachable job that can create opportunity for people and give them a skill.”

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“Renewable energy use translates to bottom-line benefits such as lower and more stable energy costs for GM in the long term,” said Rob Threlkeld, Global Manager of Renewable Energy at General Motors. “With more than 67 megawatts of solar housed at 24 facilities across the globe, we see the power of sunshine as an integral part of becoming a more sustainable company.

“As one of the world’s largest owners of rooftops, Prologis is committed to leveraging its portfolio and capabilities to host solar and other clean energy technologies,” said Matt Singleton, Vice President for Global Energy and Development at Prologis. “As of year-end 2016, nearly 165 MW of rooftop solar is hosted within our global portfolio of modern industrial real estate assets. Increased solar deployment is one important tool in working to address climate change, and one that simultaneously spurs job creation, as shown by The Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census.”

“As part of our commitment to sustainability and goal to be energy independent by 2020, IKEA is proud of its 44 MW of solar arrays atop 90 percent of our U.S. locations,” said Lars Petersson, IKEA U.S. President. “We are thrilled that our solar investment has helped contribute to rapid growth in the clean tech and renewable energy industry ¾ and the creation of quality jobs and a low-carbon society as a result.”
The complete National Solar Jobs Census 2016.

Source: The Solar Foundation