by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: News
at 12:13 PM | Permalink
Accolade adds to zoo's arsenal of sustainability accomplishments
The Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden added to its ever-expanding list of green accolades this week when its Base Camp Cafe was named the "greenest restaurant in America" by the Green Restaurant Association, a welcome but not-so-surprising accomplishment from the same locale that calls itself the "greenest zoo in America." According to the zoo's website, its sustainability push kicked off in 2006, and since then they've been in the news almost constantly for different initiatives, innovative ideas and successes in the world of green. Makes perfect sense particularly in a zoo, where the main mission is already, you know, dependent upon preservation, conservation and respecting nature. The Base Camp Cafe apparently earned the highest sustainability score the Green Restaurant Association has ever given out, which makes us wonder what else the zoo possibly has in store to keep up prized No. 1 title. Right now, the cafe is fueled partly by solar power, offers a full recycling (and composting!) program, uses some local produce and most of the tableware is compostable, including plates, bowls, cups and utensils. The zoo also recycles chip bags and candy wrappers (normally landfill material) through upcycler TerraCycle. Today, you can find the zoo's obsession with sustainability lurking around pretty much every corner. By resource saved, here are some of their other greatest hits, by no means a comprehensive rundown: Water Since 2006, the zoo's water consumption has been reduced by one-third, thanks to fixed leaks, low-flow water pumps and behavioral changes. Pervious pavement cuts down on water pollution and flooding green roofs (roofs covered with live plants) and raingardens make use out of rainwater and cut down on runoff, which can cause erosion and pollution. Solid WasteIn 2012, the zoo made a commitment to work toward becoming an zero landfill facility, which would mean that less than one percent of their total waste stream would be sent to the landfill. Almost every area composts in some way — old food, bedding, animal waste — around eight tons of material every week. Recycling bins are paired up with every trash can. EnergyThe solar energy panels at the zoo are perhaps its most recognizable green achievement, having garnered national attention particularly for the panel canopy structure over the Vine Street parking lot, which is the largest urban, publicly accessible panel in the U.S. The zoo also uses wind turbines, geothermal wells that help naturally regulate the temps inside zoo buildings, and, potentially, an anaerobic digester that would use elephant poop to produce power.Congrats, Cincinnati Zoo! We can't wait to see what you have in store next.
Native plant specialist Abby Artemisia leads weekly walks to help identify edible and non-edible plants
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 17, 2013
House Farm’s Native Plant Specialist Abby Artemisia for her weekly
“Friday Frolic in the Forest” in LaBoiteaux Woods in Northside for a taste of a combination of culinary wonderland and Mother
Nature’s medicine cabinet.
by Hannah McCartney
at 10:15 AM | Permalink
Sometimes good things happen where you least expect them.Mac’s Pizza Pub is a pizza joint renowned by college
kids for its greasy fare, noisy neighborhood bar feel, late hours and a good 'ol happy hour. The walls are splattered with offbeat photos and paintings, and its karaoke nights are enough to make one wish they'd turn the sports announcers up louder. Despite its college atmosphere, Mac's has embraced more progressive ideas in the past — its vegan pizza has won awards — and has taken a decidedly proactive approach to installing environmentally-friendly methods of operation that make the pizza joint something more than just ... a pizza joint.
Mac Ryan, owner and the brains behind Clifton's Mac's Pizza Pub, recently had a power charging station installed in the parking lot at the rear of the restaurant, near the patio, where patrons with electric or hybrid vehicles can "top off" their cars while they spend time at Mac's, according to a press release."It's very simple
to install, requiring only a dedicated circuit. I'm not sure why other
restaurants in Cincinnati aren't doing this — it's quite popular in other parts
of the country," said Ryan. Ryan currently uses a Chevrolet Volt (a hybrid electric car) for Mac's delivery and catering services, which will be charged at the station during off hours. In 2010, Mac's instituted a recycling program that drastically reduced the restaurant's waste output and trash pickup frequencies. In the future, Rutan homes to install solar panels and wind turbines to supplement his green efforts.
As of now, Ryan knows of no other restaurants in the Cincinnati or Tristate area that offer such a service, which he expects will appease current and future customers as electric and hybrid cars begin to become more popular.
by Hannah McCartney
at 12:38 PM | Permalink
Inaugural meeting open to all
Ever thought about jumping aboard the electric car train? Do your research and communicate with others also seeking more sustainable methods of transportation. The inaugural meeting of the Cincinnati Electric Car Club will be held at 6:30 p.m. May 10 at Cincinnati Hybrid at 6403 Madison Road. The meeting is open to all community members, especially targeted to those thinking about buying or building an electric vehicle seeking a support group, anyone who wants to further advocate the use of electric cars in Cincinnati, or current hybrid or plug-in electric cars hoping to network with other owners. If you own a hybrid or an electric car already, you're encouraged to bring your car along so it can be put on display along with others. Because the club is a recent development, the first meeting will discuss strategies for future meetings and the club's purpose as a whole. Here is an itinerary, according to a press release, for the first meeting:6:30-7 p.m.: Examine hybrid and fully electric vehicles on display and chat informally with the cars' owners. 7-7:30 p.m.: Brief presentations by Duke Energy about their electric fleet and charging infrastructure and Cincinnati Hybrid on maintaining and servicing electric vehicles. 7:30-8:30: The first organizational meeting will seek input on the group's goals, how it should be organized, future activities and meeting frequency. RSVP to Steve Johns at email@example.com if you'd like to attend. Be sure to indicate if you have a hybrid or electric vehicle you'd like to display.
10 reasons Cincinnati is greener than you think
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Cincinnatians just love to joke about
that old, clichéd quip often attributed to Mark Twain: “When the end of
the world comes, I want to be in Cincinnati because it’s always 20 years
behind the times.” The colloquialism is used to exemplify anything
considered remotely backward, from legislation to fashion to potholes.
Signs of life, though, are sprouting up around the city like a canary
dandelion through a crack in the cement.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Installing solar panels is one way a
household can help the environment while saving money in the long term.
In Cincinnati, one company offering the service is Solar Earth, a
start-up founded by Julie Jones and Jennifer Wolford that installs solar
panels on both businesses and homes.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Events
at 01:40 PM | Permalink
Celebrate a clean, green Cincinnati at events all around the city
Sunny skies and warm breezes make April a pretty convenient month to celebrate Earth Day — it gets everyone in the celebration mood. Saturday, April 21 marks the worldwide celebration of Earth Day in an effort to promote environmental consciousness, spread awareness and cherish Earth's natural beauty among diverse populations 'round the globe. Following is a very non-comprehensive list of some Earth Day happenings around the city. Satisfy your green thumb and pick a way or two to celebrate his year. For more greenie-friendly events, check out the events calendar at greenumbrella.org.
• Staples stores around Greater
Cincinnati are holding a limited-time
binder recycling program. Shoppers will receive $2 off the purchase of a
new binder for every binder that they bring in to recycle. The used binders
will be sent to TerraCycle for recycling. Through June 30.
• The Cincinnati Zoo hosts Party for
the Planet from 4-8:30 p.m. on April 19. E-waste recycling will be available
and organizations from all across Cincinnati will be available to talk about
how to live green.
• Northside hosts “Reduce, Recycle, RUN!”
on Earth Day, Sunday, April 22. The 5K race kicks off at 7:30 a.m. at Spring
Grove Cemetery. Bring old running shoes to recycle of donate your cell phone
for recycling and receive a coupon to the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.
• The 42nd annual Earth Day
Celebration takes place Saturday, April 21 from noon to 5 p.m. at Sawyer Point. Enjoy a number of hands-on exhibits, free swag and tons of kid-friendly entertainment, including a rock climbing wall and a kayak paddle safety pool. Limited quantities of batteries and other electronics will also be accepted for free e-recycling. • Marvin’s
Organic Gardens hosts Parade
of Plants a free event that will showcase a
number of new, unique plants.• The Hamilton County Recycling and Solid Waste District kicks off its annual free Household Hazardous Waste Drop-Off Program on Saturday, April 21. The program, open only to Hamilton County residents, accepts a number of odd items for safe recycling, including fluorescent bulbs, propane tanks, car batteries or antifreeze. For a complete list of accepted items and location and time information, click here. • Although it comes a bit late, Building Value's ReUse-apalooza celebration doesn't miss out on the Earth Day fun. Diversions include live music, games and a silent
auction featuring handcrafted items made from reused materials. Light
appetizers and cash bar will be available throughout the night. 7-11 p.m. April 27. $20-$50. • Park + Vine hosts the Second Annual Earth Day Kombucha Keg Party on Friday, April 20. Visitors can sample Fab Ferment’s kombucha on tap and vegan appetizers including vegan
maple bacon donuts, vegan jerky and peanut and almond butter cups. 6 to 8 p.m. • Cocktails for a Cause will be held at Bartini's downtown on Friday, April 20. This celebration marks Aveda and the Sierra Club's annual fundraiser for clean water. Twenty percent of the bar
and food sales will be donated to support clean water. The evening will
include music, a fashion show and a silent auction. Tickets $20 at the door, $15 in advance. Don't feel like leaving the house to celebrate? That's OK too. Plant a tree, turn your lights off for an hour, unplug your electronics or start a compost pile. Do something!
by Mike Breen
R.E.M. release sophmore album and Carl Perkins' would've-been 80th birthday
On this date in 1984, Athens, Ga., "College Rock" favorites R.E.M. released its second album, the fantastic Reckoning. The album — featuring the singles "So. Central Rain" and "(Don't Go Back to) Rockville" — was well before the band reached superstar status. The band were pretty big for a cult band, but it wasn't until 1988's Green that R.E.M. became worldwide Rock stars (and only got bigger after that).Green will be the subject of an upcoming local benefit for Northside's Building Value, Inc. Following BVI's annual fundraiser, ReUse-apalooza, on April 27, Cincinnati rockers Messerly & Ewing will head up a Green tribute concert at the Northside Tavern at 10 p.m. The Messerly & Ewing band will become a Rockestra that night, joined by several local musicians as they play the seminal AltRock album, including Jazz pianist Chris Comer, singer/songwriter Mike Fair and members of The Ass Ponys, Wussy, Seven Speed Vortex and Eagle to Squirrel. The show will also include a raffle of R.E.M. merch and memorabilia, donated by the band thanks to a friend of M&E's from the R.E.M. camp. Keep an eye on M&E's Facebook page for updates. And since we're talking about two great R.E.M. albums, enjoy a song from both below.Click on for Born This Day featuring Gerald Way, Hal Ketchum and Carl Perkins.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Environment
at 01:57 PM | Permalink
Membership to help Cincinnati support regulations for healthier air
Cincinnati is the latest city to join the Clean Air Cities campaign, according to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity, who spearheads the campaign. As a member, Cincinnati joins the likes of dozen other cities, including Seattle, Wash., Berkeley, Calif., Tuscon, Ariz. and Cambridge, Mass.Cincinnati City Council passed a resolution on Wednesday to join the campaign as part of council's "Green Cincinnati Plan," which has also initiated the use of SORTA's hybrid buses, the Cincinnati Energy Alliance, implementation of LEED-certified buildings and the Electric Car Parking Initiative. The Clean Air Cities campaign is a nationwide effort to urge cities to be proactive in speaking to the Obama administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to use the Clean Air Act to make worthwhile reductions in greenhouse gas pollution and slow global warming. The Clean Air Act is a federal law passed in 1970 that's designed to make sure U.S. citizens are breathing safe air; it requires the U.S. EPA to set forth national air quality standards to protect against harmful pollutants like ozone, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, lead and particulate soot. With the standards, state governments are responsible for developing plans to meet the health standards by a given deadline. The Act also sets nationwide standards for other sources of pollution, including vehicles and power plants. Recently, large-scale polluters have lobbied for Congress to amend the Clean Air Act to mandate less stringent regulations on global warming emissions, and legislation introduced in the House and Senate frequently fight to prevent the EPA's efforts to achieve healthful levels of pollutants in our air. “We are making great strides toward a ‘greener’ city with our Green Cincinnati Plan. To continue to work tirelessly for improved air quality, we must also send a strong message of full support for the Clean Air Act to the EPA,” said Cincinnati City Council Member Laure Quinlivan in CBD's press release. The EPA projected that in 2010 the Clean Air Act would save 23,000 lives and prevent 1.7 million asthma attacks and more than 68,000 emergency room visits and hospitalizations. According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the act created benefits valued at $22.2 trillion in its first two decades; that's 42 times the amount invested in its regulations. A 2011 report from Environment Ohio ranked Cincinnati the 16th smoggiest city in the United States, and a report commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force attributed 1,221 deaths in Ohio each year to pollution from coal plants.
by Hannah McCartney
at 02:45 PM | Permalink
The Cincinnati City Council met on Monday to discuss the energy aggregation policy for the city, which, if implemented, could mean big changes in the way residents’ homes are powered. In the meeting, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls introduced a motion outlining the possible use of renewable energy credits (RECs), also known as renewable energy certificates, through an energy aggregation program that could be put into place as soon as this June or July. The motion was passed unanimously by the Budget and Finance Committee, meaning that the city will be preparing to send out requests for proposal (RFPs) to power suppliers within the next few weeks. In November, Cincinnati voters overwhelmingly approved Issues 44 and 45, which gave the city the authority to negotiate aggregation purchase rates of natural gas and electricity for residents and businesses. Wondering what exactly energy aggregation is? In Ohio, communities are allowed to pool funds together and purchase natural gas and electricity as a group. Because a community pools together, that means it can access the lowest rates — think of it like a trip to Sam’s Club. The more you purchase of something at one time, the lower rate per unit you can access.