NOLA GBRC July 2010 Newsletter

Greetings from our New Orleans Green Building Resource Center

The Future is Ours to Create

With the worst oil hemorrhaging of the BP disaster apparently behind us, and a complete end hopefully here soon, the time has now come to carefully consider our future, and what part we - as Louisianans and Americans - intend to play in it. This future will come, of course, whether we participate in shaping it or not. But we now know all too well what happens when citizens do NOT actively participate in protecting our future. 

Catastrophic corporate negligence and grossly insufficient government oversight are destroying thousands of coastal families' livelihoods, food supplies, and way of life, killing vast numbers of endangered species, fish and other sea life, and smothering our struggling wetlands in deadly oil and dispersants. The damage will last for many years, if not decades, and, although we all hope and pray that our precious estuaries will prove to be incredibly resilient and self-restoring, we must come to terms with the fact that Louisiana will never be the same. 

We cannot change this regrettable past and present, but we do have absolute power to change the future - but only if we join together to demand that citizens have true participation in the decision making that will shape this future. But how, you ask? New Orleanians have already created a model that can help guide us forward, of course, as our city's amazing renaissance of the past five years was driven largely by our citizens' incredible civic engagement and activism.  The oil disaster is a far larger and far-reaching challenge, and one that will require us to take our engagement and activism skills and expertise to the state and federal level. In the coming months, Global Green will be working with other stakeholders to help provide meaningful, concrete steps that each and every one of us can take to act, empower and advocate for a healthy, resilient, and prosperous Louisiana. 

Step one is to act in our personal lives to reduce our energy dependence, and to encourage and help our friends, co-workers and family members to do the same. But in doing this, as our new mayor is fond of saying, we must remember always to "be hard on the problem, but not on the people." I have yet to meet a single person who doesn't use oil and gas every day, which means that we are all part of the problem, and that we must all join together to be part of the solution. Any action to reduce your energy usage is meaningful, however small - and you might just find that it inspires you to take additional actions. Visit Global Green's website, or call or visit our Green Building Resource Center to help you make smart changes to join the solution, and start to create our future.

 

~ Beth Galante, Director Global Green New Orleans Office


TONIGHT: GBRC Monthly Panel

Global Green USA is proud to partner with the AIA, New Orleans Chapter and the USGBC - Louisiana Chapter to present a monthly panel series on issues of sustainability and environmental responsibility in our region.

This month's panel discussion, hosted by the AIA, New Orleans Chapter, will featureChevron Northpark, a 280,000 square foot complex in Covington, Louisiana that was the first LEED Gold certified office building in the state of Louisiana. This new office campus, including conference, cafeteria, and fitness center  integrates energy efficient and sustainable design while still being built at competitive market rates. This office facility incorporates sustainable principles from the site design down to its furniture, focusing on the health and well being of their employees and visitors, and successfully transitioning a majority private office environment to 99% open office environment. 

Wednesday, July 28th
Tulane University, Richardson Memorial
St. Charles Avenue, off Gibson Circle
New Orleans, LA

This event provides one hour of Sustainable Design Continuing Education Credit. 

Global Green events are free and open to the public. Special thanks to our good friends at Whole Foods for their generous support.

Richardson Memorial is located on St. Charles Avenue off of Gibson Circle. Parking is available along St. Charles and surrounding streets.


Lights. Camera. Help.
 
"Voices from the Gulf: Shell Beach Fishermen" is an official selection of the 2010 "Lights. Camera. Help." Film Festival. Out of a pool of 235 documentaries, PSAs and short films, 33 were selected to screen in the nation's only festival dedicated to cause-driven films. The festival runs fromJuly 29 - 31 in Austin, TX. As an official selection of the festival, the film is now eligible for one of three jury prizes to be awarded at the conclusion of the event.

Filmmakers Gary and Kristin Schillinger moved to New Orleans from the San Francisco Bay Area just weeks before the catastrophic oil spill threatened the wildlife, marshlands, beaches and communities of the Gulf Coast. They teamed up with Global Green to produce a series of online shorts that would help shed light on the human toll of the country’s worst environmental crisis.

View the film here, and for more information about the film festival, visit: http://lightscamerahelp.org/


Build It Back Green in Our Community:

Case Study: Ms. Shirley Johnigan
 
New Orleans homeowner Shirley Johnigan was distraught over high utility bills, which averaged nearly $400.00 a month, even though her income was 80% below the Area Median Income (AMI).
 
The year before Hurricane Katrina struck and flooded her house with 10 feet of water,Ms. Johnigan lost her husband. While living in a FEMA trailer next to her home after Katrina, she suffered a minor stroke that left her face partially paralyzed. On top of all these burdens, she now had to cope with high utility bills.  
 
She sought help from Global Green’s Build it Back Green (BIBG) program. Our BIBG team members Andrew Spaulding and Myron Warden visited Ms. Johnigan’s house and performed a Home Energy Assessment, finding a total lack of insulation in her attic, and substantial points of air leakage in her attic floor and ductwork.  
 
Using a limited pool of weatherization funding available to assist select low income clients, BIBG performed small scale weatherization upgrades on Ms. Johnigan’s home.
 
After the work was performed, diagnostic testing showed a 40% average improvement in the energy efficiency of Ms. Johnigan’s home, which will have a significant impact on her ability to manage her monthly finances and live independently.
 
Sitting at her dining room table with hands on her chin smiling, she said, “My kids said I should move into a senior citizens home. I said, well you know, I raised my children here, I love it here, I feel safe here, I love this neighborhood. It means a lot that Global Green would help me be able to stay here.”

For more information on Global Green's Build It Back Green program, please click here: BIBG in NOLA; and visit Global Green’s blog to follow our work: http://globalgreen.org/blogs/

Become a fan - check out Build it Back Green on facebook!


Who Cooked the Planet?
Paul Krugman, NY Times

Never say that the gods lack a sense of humor. I bet they’re still chuckling on Olympus over the decision to make the first half of 2010 — the year in which all hope of action to limit climate change died — the hottest such stretch on record.

Of course, you can’t infer trends in global temperatures from one year’s experience. But ignoring that fact has long been one of the favorite tricks of climate-change deniers: they point to an unusually warm year in the past, and say “See, the planet has been cooling, not warming, since 1998!” Actually, 2005, not 1998, was the warmest year to date — but the point is that the record-breaking temperatures we’re currently experiencing have made a nonsense argument even more nonsensical; at this point it doesn’t work even on its own terms.

But will any of the deniers say “O.K., I guess I was wrong,” and support climate action? No. And the planet will continue to cook.

So why didn’t climate-change legislation get through the Senate? Let’s talk first about what didn’t cause the failure, because there have been many attempts to blame the wrong people.

First of all, we didn’t fail to act because of legitimate doubts about the science. Every piece of valid evidence - long-term temperature averages that smooth out year-to-year fluctuations, Arctic sea ice volume, melting of glaciers, the ratio of record highs to record lows - points to a continuing, and quite possibly accelerating, rise in global temperatures.

Nor is this evidence tainted by scientific misbehavior. You’ve probably heard about the accusations leveled against climate researchers — allegations of fabricated data, the supposedly damning e-mail messages of “Climategate,” and so on. What you may not have heard, because it has received much less publicity, is that every one of these supposed scandals was eventually unmasked as a fraud concocted by opponents of climate action, then bought into by many in the news media. You don’t believe such things can happen? Think Shirley Sherrod....

Please continue reading here: Full NY Times article 


Women's Solar Webinar: July 29th

A recent poll found that 43 percent of women say that moving to clean energy is their most important goal, but the solar industry still aims its messages squarely at men, favoring a gear-centric, "size matters" approach. This refreshingly different webinar will highlight the many practical benefits of solar, from utility bill relief to increases in home value. 

FREE Women's Solar Webinar
Thursday, July 29th, 9pm CST

For more info and to register, please see here: 
1BOG.org

This webinar will serve as a friendly forum for women to ask questions about solar energy, find out the basic steps to going solar, average savings for solar-powered homes, rebate and incentives for going solar, and much more - answered by an all-female panel of solar experts! Learn how to tap into this free, clean, source of energy for your household today. 


Global Green and The Green Project - Green Squared

While out and about on August 7th, why not take a cool break from the crowds on Julia Street to experience the green side of White Linen Night - join us just around the corner for green squared- a sustainable, artistic event brought to you by Global Green USA and The Green Project.  

Enjoy light organic refreshments and wines as we showcase sustainable art using reclaimed materials by Salvations designers past and present. Stop by Global Green's Green Building Resource Center at 841 Carondelet Street, and add a little green to your white linen evening!


Your support makes the difference!

Please consider becoming a part of rebuilding a more sustainable Gulf Coast with your membership support here: Support the Gulf Coast

Thank you.