A gift to the Alliance from Team GoLite



Our friends at GoLite with their Adventure Racing team, Team GoLite, shared some holiday cheer with The Consevation Alliance.  As part of the team's promise, they pledged to give back 10% of 2008 sponsorship money to an organization that truly makes a difference and can continue to help protect the open spaces.   The Conservation Alliance Legacy Fund is the recipient of this donation. 

Team GoLite is a multi-sport team participating in mainly adventure racing, trail running, and mountain biking events.  They care about the areas in which we're able to play, as well as the environmental impact they have in those areas, and do their part to lessen the impact, educate, and represent the sustainable ideals of GoLite.  The team is also sponsored by Native Energy, who offset the travel and CO2 emissions for their 2008 racing season. 

You can find more information about Team GoLite at their blogsite:

Thanks Team GoLite!!!



From Local Harvest:

Most of us start the New Year with good intentions of sticking to our ‘resolutions', but few of us actually ever do. Typically it seems that New Year's Resolutions center around large nebulous topics such as losing weight, getting healthy or increasing our net worth.

This year try making some simple, yet life changing New Year's Resolutions that will benefit you, your family and the environment.
   1. Reuse shopping bags, or better yet, get a durable bag to carry with you to the grocery store and on all your shopping trips.
   2. Take up Organic Gardening using no pesticides. Organic gardening is the perfect way to get fit, save money and grow something new from seed. Growing your own fruit, vegetables and plants in the garden is proven to help reduce stress and you will benefit from the increased wildlife from birds to bees to butterflies in your garden. Digging deep in your garden is good exercise and therapeutic at the same time. Start composting. It minimizes landfill waste and recycles it back into the earth. To buy sustainably grown herbs, perennials and shrubs grown with organic methods, visit
   3. Buy locally made and grown products. Support local agriculture and rural economies by shopping at your local farmers market if possible. As an added bonus, locally grown products usually require less packaging and helps to eliminate the environmental costs of long-distance transport. The added bonus is that local fruits and vegetables are often fresher, higher in nutritional value and locally produced goods help support your own community.
   4. Say NO to fast food. Start cooking your own healthy meals and not only will you loose weight, be healthier but you will be saving money while supporting local small farm agriculture. Visit our sister website Farm Fresh Living for healthy, fresh recipes developed at our farm. Know what you eat and where your food comes from!

To read more click here 


That’s One Way to Halt BLM Gas Leases

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

"He didn't pour sugar into a bulldozer's gas tank. He didn't spike a tree or set a billboard on fire. But wielding only a bidder's paddle, a University of Utah student just as surely monkey-wrenched a federal oil- and gas-lease sale Friday, ensuring that thousands of acres near two southern Utah national parks won't be opened to drilling anytime soon.

Tim DeChristopher, 27, faces possible federal charges after winning bids totaling about $1.8 million on more than 10 lease parcels that he admits he has neither the intention nor the money to buy — and he's not sorry.

"I decided I could be much more effective by an act of civil disobedience," he said during an impromptu streetside news conference during an afternoon blizzard. "There comes a time to take a stand."

Click here for the full article.


Obama Chooses Sen. Salazar as Interior Secretary

President-elect Barack Obama nominated Colorado Senator Ken Salazar to serve as his Interior Secretary. This appointment will have the greatest impact on the land and water conservation efforts over the next four years. The only other position that rivals the Interior Secretary's importance to conservation is Forest Service Chief. The Interior Secretary oversees the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and US Fish and Wildlife Service. (The Forest Service is under the Department of Agriculture). Salazar will play an important role in the fate of our public lands.

Salazar is a strong champion of Wilderness, supporting efforts to designate most of Rocky Mountain National Park as Wilderness, and pushing efforts to protect Dominguez Canyon on the state's Western Slope. In his capacity as a Senator, has fought BLM efforts to open Colorado's Roan Plateau to energy development. In my experience he is thoughtful, smart, and informed. He understands that every issue has many stakeholders, but he's not afraid to take a stand for conservation.

Salazar is no stranger to the outdoor industry. The photo above was taken at a meeting in 2007 when representatives from several Colorado-based Conservation Alliance member companies met with him to voice support for Rocky Mountain National Park Wilderness, and for the protection of other key wildlands in Colorado. His staff understands the outdoor industry, and has always made time to meet with our representatives.

Following are several articles about the appointment:

Salazar urged slow moves on West's shale
Obama picks Salazar as Interior secretary
A Conservationist for the Interior Dept.

Obama Closing in on Key Environmental Cabinet Picks

President-elect Barack Obama will soon announce key appointments including Lisa Jackson as EPA Administrator, Steven Chu as Energy Secretary, Nancy Sutley as head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, and Carol Browner as his "Energy Czar". Click here for more information on these choices.

Still up in the air is the key Interior Secretary appointment. Grist gives a good rundown of the current candidates.

More detail on these picks from the Washington Post.

EPA Eases Restrictions on Mountaintop Removal Mining

From the New York Times:

"The White House on Tuesday approved a final rule that will make it easier for coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys."

Check out the full article.

Mountaintop removal is one of those issues that sounds like science fiction. But it is very real, and communities throughout Appalachia have been dealing with its impacts for years. Basically, mining companies take the tops off mountains, and plop the debris in nearby river valleys. Conservation groups — including Conservation Alliance grantees Appalachian Voices and Coal River Mountain Watch — have argued that the practice violates the Clean Water Act. EPA — an arm of the Bush administration — disagrees. I haven't read their rationale, but it sounds like their argument is that if the disposal of waste completely buries a stream, there are no water quality issues because there is no longer any surface water. The US really needs to confront this issue. In our push for energy independence, the easiest — and most destructive — path is to increase our use of domestic coal. Of all fossil fuels, coal emissions have the highest level of CO2, and extracting coal has an enormous impact on local communities and the mountain landscape.

Eating less meat to reduce your carbon footprint

Here is a great article that discusses the impact eating meat has on our carbon footprint.  I noticed a lot of Nexters have pledged to eat less meat this year to help reduce their negative impact on the environment, so I hope this article helps to strengthen your resolve!

As More Eat Meat, a Bid to Cut Emissions

By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL Published: December 3, 2008

Meat Consumption and CO2

Meat Consumption and CO2

STERKSEL, the Netherlands – The cows and pigs dotting these flat green plains in the southern Netherlands create a bucolic landscape. But looked at through the lens of greenhouse gas accounting, they are living smokestacks, spewing methane emissions into the air.

That is why a group of farmers-turned-environmentalists here at a smelly but impeccably clean research farm have a new take on making a silk purse from a sow's ear: They cook manure from their 3,000 pigs to capture the methane trapped within it, and then use the gas to make electricity for the local power grid.

Rising in the fields of the environmentally conscious Netherlands, the Sterksel project is a rare example of fledgling efforts to mitigate the heavy emissions from livestock. But much more needs to be done, scientists say, as more and more people are eating more meat around the world.

What to do about farm emissions is one of the main issues being discussed this week and next, as the environment ministers from 187 nations gather in Poznan, Poland, for talks on a new treaty to combat global warming. In releasing its latest figure on emissions last month, United Nations climate officials cited agriculture and transportation as the two sectors that remained most "problematic."

"It's an area that's been largely overlooked," said Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel Prize-winning United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He says people should eat less meat to control their carbon footprints. "We haven't come to grips with agricultural emissions."

The trillions of farm animals around the world generate 18 percent of the emissions that are raising global temperatures, according to United Nations estimates, more even than from cars, buses and airplanes.

But unlike other industries, like cement making and power, which are facing enormous political and regulatory pressure to get greener, large-scale farming is just beginning to come under scrutiny as policy makers, farmers and scientists cast about for solutions.

High-tech fixes include those like the project here, called "methane capture," as well as inventing feed that will make cows belch less methane, which traps heat with 25 times the efficiency of carbon dioxide. California is already working on a program to encourage systems in pig and dairy farms like the one in Sterksel.

Other proposals include everything from persuading consumers to eat less meat to slapping a "sin tax" on pork and beef. Next year, Sweden will start labeling food products so that shoppers can look at how much emission can be attributed to serving steak compared with, say, chicken or turkey.

"Of course for the environment it's better to eat beans than beef, but if you want to eat beef for New Year's, you'll know which beef is best to buy," said Claes Johansson, chief of sustainability at the Swedish agricultural group Lantmannen.

But such fledgling proposals are part of a daunting game of catch-up. In large developing countries like China, India and Brazil, consumption of red meat has risen 33 percent in the last decade. It is expected to double globally between 2000 and 2050. While the global economic downturn may slow the globe's appetite for meat momentarily, it is not likely to reverse a profound trend.

Of the more than 2,000 projects supported by the United Nations' "green" financing system intended to curb emissions, only 98 are in agriculture. There is no standardized green labeling system for meat, as there is for electric appliances and even fish.

Indeed, scientists are still trying to define the practical, low-carbon version of a slab of bacon or a hamburger. Every step of producing meat creates emissions.

Flatus and manure from animals contain not only methane, but also nitrous oxide, an even more potent warming agent. And meat requires energy for refrigeration as it moves from farm to market to home.

Producing meat in this ever-more crowded world requires creating new pastures and planting more land for imported feeds, particularly soy, instead of relying on local grazing. That has contributed to the clearing of rain forests, particularly in South America, robbing the world of crucial "carbon sinks," the vast tracts of trees and vegetation that absorb carbon dioxide.

"I'm not sure that the system we have for livestock can be sustainable," said Dr. Pachauri of the United Nations. A sober scientist, he suggests that "the most attractive" near-term solution is for everyone simply to "reduce meat consumption," a change he says would have more effect than switching to a hybrid car.

The Lancet medical journal and groups like the Food Ethics Council in Britain have supported his suggestion to eat less red meat to control global emissions, noting that Westerners eat more meat than is healthy anyway.

Producing a pound of beef creates 11 times as much greenhouse gas emission as a pound of chicken and 100 times more than a pound of carrots, according to Lantmannen, the Swedish group.

But any suggestion to eat less meat may run into resistance in a world with more carnivores and a booming global livestock industry. Meat producers have taken issue with the United Nations' estimate of livestock-related emissions, saying the figure is inflated because it includes the deforestation in the Amazon, a phenomenon that the Brazilian producers say might have occurred anyway.

United Nations scientists defend their accounting. With so much demand for meat, "you do slash rain forest," said Pierre Gerber, a senior official at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Soy cultivation has doubled in Brazil during the past decade, and more than half is used for animal feed.

Laurence Wrixon, executive director of the International Meat Secretariat, said that his members were working with the Food and Agriculture Organization to reduce emissions but that the main problem was fast-rising consumption in developing countries. "So whether you like it or not, there's going to be rising demand for meat, and our job is to make it as sustainable as possible," he said.

Estimates of emissions from agriculture as a percentage of all emissions vary widely from country to country, but they are clearly over 50 percent in big agricultural and meat-producing countries like Brazil, Australia and New Zealand.

In the United States, agriculture accounted for just 7.4 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in 2006, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

The percentage was lower because the United States produces extraordinarily high levels of emissions in other areas, like transportation and landfills, compared with other nations. The figure also did not include fuel burning and land-use changes.

Wealthy, environmentally conscious countries with large livestock sectors – the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and New Zealand – have started experimenting with solutions.

In Denmark, by law, farmers now inject manure under the soil instead of laying it on top of the fields, a process that enhances its fertilizing effect, reduces odors and also prevents emissions from escaping. By contrast, in many parts of the developing world, manure is left in open pools and lathered on fields.

Others suggest including agriculture emissions in carbon cap-and-trade systems, which currently focus on heavy industries like cement making and power generation. Farms that produce more than their pre-set limit of emissions would have to buy permits from greener colleagues to pollute.

New Zealand recently announced that it would include agriculture in its new emissions trading scheme by 2013. To that end, the government is spending tens of millions of dollars financing research and projects like breeding cows that produce less gas and inventing feed that will make cows belch less methane, said Philip Gurnsey of the Environment Ministry.

At the electricity-from-manure project here in Sterksel, the refuse from thousands of pigs is combined with local waste materials (outdated carrot juice and crumbs from a cookie factory), and pumped into warmed tanks called digesters. There, resident bacteria release the natural gas within, which is burned to generate heat and electricity.

The farm uses 25 percent of the electricity, and the rest is sold to a local power provider. The leftover mineral slurry is an ideal fertilizer that reduces the use of chemical fertilizers, whose production releases a heavy dose of carbon dioxide.

For this farm the scheme has provided a substantial payback: By reducing its emissions, it has been able to sell carbon credits on European markets. It makes money by selling electricity. It gets free fertilizer.

And, in a small country where farmers are required to have manure trucked away, it saves $190,000 annually in disposal fees. John Horrevorts, experiment coordinator, whose family has long raised swine, said that dozens of such farms had been set up in the Netherlands, though cost still makes it impractical for small piggeries. Indeed, one question that troubles green farmers is whether consumers will pay more for their sustainable meat.

"In the U.K., supermarkets are sometimes asking about green, but there's no global system yet," said Bent Claudi Lassen, chairman of the Danish Bacon and Meat Council, which supports green production. "We're worried that other countries not producing in a green way, like Brazil, could undercut us on price."

BLM Backpedals on Proposed Oil & Gas Development Near Utah National Parks


From the Salt Lake Tribune:

"In the face of intense opposition from the National Park Service, members of Congress and a top official from President-elect Barack Obama's transition team, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management backed down Tuesday from its plan to sell oil and gas leases near national parks and wilderness-quality areas in Utah on Dec. 19."

It's good to know that the BLM can admit when they've made a serious blunder. But, people who care about Utah's wild places should keep an eye on this one. None of these lands are truly safe until Congress withdraws them from future leasing.

Read the full article.

How to Go Green: Gift Giving

[by Team TreeHugger]


Is anything more wonderful than finding the perfect gift for someone, or receiving the present that's just what you needed? How about gift-giving accompanied by the knowledge that your gift is also a gift for the planet? There's more to green giving than just switching to the stuff with the "green" label, however. Here are some pointers for finding the right gifts that make everyone happy.

  1.  Be sure your material gift will get used
    It may be the thought that counts, but a gift that the receiver does not use is simply wasted: not a very nice thought. Give material possessions only if you know the recipient well enough to pick out something they were on the cusp of getting for themselves, or which they really need and will certainly enjoy using.
  2. Give a consumable gift
    Your friend will love your consumable gift twice: once while enjoying the organic teas, fair trade coffee, fresh flowers, fresh or dried fruits and nuts, or other consumable gift; and again when they appreciate that your gift leaves them with no guilty conscience about a gift left unused in the corner of their closet.
  3. Share a piece of yourself
    Avoid material consumption altogether. Instead, offer your services to baby-sit while your friend enjoys a cozy date with their partner, give a gift certificate for a relaxing massage, or a winter's-worth of driveway shoveling (in which case you just save that massage for yourself).
  4. Make a gift of a green service
    If your time is prioritized elsewhere, you can buy a green service. Consider a gift of carbon offsets for a commuting colleague or a Zipcar membership for a friend who more frequently must turn to taxis to supplement their public transport lifestyle.
  5. Make a gift of any service
    You will still reduce material consumption by giving a service of any kind. Especially heart-warming are humanitarian services, such as making a gift of a micro-loan (for example via Kiva).
  6. Give a gift where it is needed on behalf of someone better off
    Make a child smile when they get a card describing the child in another part of the world whose life will be improved by the gift of a llama or a sheep on their behalf (for example via World Gifts or Heifer.
  7. Creative gifts show you care
    The baby sweater you knit yourself is more likely to become a family heirloom, extending the life cycle of the materials in your gift.
  8. Buy a local gift
    A gift made or grown locally can tell a story or share a unique product you have discovered on your own stomping grounds. Your locally-sourced gift will save the environment from the emissions involved in shipping.
  9. Buy high-quality goods
    Sometimes a little extra care or money invested will result in finding a high quality gift that will do justice to the materials consumed in the manufacturing by a long lifespan. Try flea markets or vintage and second-hand shops for quality goods you can afford: then make the gift "new" with a personal touch like a special paint job, or some ribbon around the edges. Your friend will enjoy your perfect high-quality gift much longer!
  10. Think about your packaging
    Use packaging that will not go to waste. Your packaging may be part of the gift itself, such as wrapping the gift in a scarf or enclosing it in a box that can be reused for collecting life's odds and ends. Reusable wrapping, such as a gift bag, will pass on the fun. For family and close friends, consider the Sunday funnies instead of commercial gift wrap.

Gift Giving: By the Numbers

  • 25 percent: Increase in the trash generated during the holiday season.
  • 86 percent: TreeHugger readers who say their kids have too much stuff.
  • 97 percent: Of restaurant gift certificate receivers who say they would like to receive a restaurant gift certificate again.
  • 83,000,000: Square meters of gift wrap which winds up on the U.K. rubbish heaps after the holiday season.
  • $300 million: Dollars spent in the U.S. on mass market women's bath gift sets.

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