energy efficiency, sustainability, green buildings, solar, hybrid cars and alternate fuels.

"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

10.15.2009

GREEN TALLAHASSEE, CLIMATE CHANGE AND BLOG ACTION DAY


In September 2006, Green Tallahassee published its first posts on a biodeisel speed boat and carbon emissions. Over the past three years, have things significantly changed in Tallahassee to reduce the impact of climate change?

The green energy certificates no longer exist, but the City of Tallahassee utilities has committed to an home energy audit and insulation program that residents, both home owners and renters should by now have utilized. We have solar credit, solar tours, solar panels on churches, banks and Habitat homes as well as a solar working group through Sustainable Tallahassee.

The jury is still out on Smart Meters and recent concerns over privacy as well as the spike in electric bills following the meters installation continue to raise questions about their adoption. We can now receive our City utilitiy bill electronically and pay our bills online.

Our area has constructed a number of varying levels of LEED certified homes and commercial buildings, including ones for state and local governments. Commissioners in both local governments and our state government talk about energy conservation, but then, we site approve and build new Department of Revenue offices and refuse to consider permeable surfaces for its massive parking lots off Capital Circle Southeast. Will the temperature surrounding this land be consistently higher as a result of the heat permeating off its asphalt surfaces?

Our City is a designated GOLD green city and was the first city in Florida to receive this designation from the Florida Green Building Coalition.
Yet, it appears the City of Gainesville and its early adoption of feed tariffs continues to surpass Tallahasssee in its commitment to making a difference in reducing energy consumption and lowering its citizens' carbon footprint.

Leon County was an early member of ICLEI, the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives and
held two climate change forums.

Preceding November's election the Big Bend Environmental Forum and our local governments hosted a
well-attended candidates' forum. The Village Square hosted some civilized conversations about energy production and the future of nuclear power. We've had two fantastically educational energy expos in Wakulla the past two years, each attended by hundreds of people from around the region eager to learn more about all things green.

Our eat-local efforts have been furthered by the amazing work of Dr. Jennifer Taylor of
Florida A&M University's Cooperative Extension Service's StateWide Small Farm Programs. Her successful establishment of not one, but eight (!) sites for grower's markets in the Big Bend area has connected an eager market with small farmers. Slow Foods Tallahassee continues to provide a network and support for us to learn more about eating naturally and locally. The emerging Bread and Roses Food Cooperative will open this month and local gardening programs continue to flourish.

October 24 will see the International Day of Climate Change partner with the 350.org local movement to raise awareness in the Tallahassee community about the impact of climate change and the importance of reducing emissions below the 350 number.

Our friends at Green Drinks Tallahassee bring a variety of speakers and resources monthly to our community. The number of people coming out for this event continues to grow and every presentation has been informative and inspirational. The networking opportunities at this event are unlimited. It is, by far, the easiest way to get connected into what's happening in the area. If you haven't attended, put the last Wednesday of the month on your green calendar!


Most importantly, have we as citizens dramatically reduced our carbon footprint over these past three years? Over 1,000 households signed up for CONA's energy challenge which ends October 31. Neighborhoods from across Leon County pledged to reduce their energy consumption.
The City has given away hundreds of CFL bulbs. If every household served by city utilities replaced just one conventional light bulb with a compact fluorescent bulb (CFL), the reduction in harmful greenhouse gas emissions over the life of the CFL, would be equivalent to taking 10,000 cars off of our roads for a week.

Thanks to Blog Action Day, for providing
a moment to think back over the past three years of maintaining the three green blogs: Green Tallahassee, Green Food Tallahassee and the Green Calendar. We'll raise our cup of fair trade organic coffee this morning and plan for our future year together with green readers and further committing to move climate change from a problem to its solution.


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