July 5, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on Golden Pinecone Awards 2016

Golden Pinecone Awards 2016



GREENevada Hosts Community Environmental Awards Event

— Golden Pinecone Awards 2016 to be Held at PepperMill on November 1


Reno, NV. – June 8,  2016.  Local nonprofit GREENevada announced that it will host the Golden Pinecone Awards 2016 to honor outstanding organizations and individuals for their achievements toward improving and sustaining the environment.


The Golden PineCone Awards is a legacy event initiated by Environmental Leadership and run for more than 25 years by Environmental Leadership, Nevada EcoNET and more recently greenUP!  The Golden PineCone Awards 2016 and dinner are being hosted by GREENevada and will take place on Tuesday, November 1, 2016, at the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino in Reno, Nevada.


GREENevada is seeking nominations for the Golden Pinecone Environmental Awards.  Winners will be chosen in each of the following eight (8) categories:

  • Individual / Volunteer
  • Nonprofit Organization or Federal/State Agency
  • Small Business
  • Medium to Large Business
  • Public Figure/Servant (elected or appointed official)/ Agency Representative
  • Youth Leadership
  • Educational Programming
  • Educator


Nomination forms are online: http://survey.constantcontact.com/survey/a07ecs4mfgsip1q0n0z/start .  Winners from the past 5 years are not eligible, but updated resubmissions are encouraged for previous nominations.  The same individual or organization may be nominated for more than one category.  Nominations must be received by 12 p.m., on Tuesday, August 30.


The awards recognize individuals and organizations for their efforts to make our community environmentally healthy and safe, and to promote sustainable living practices.  Awards will be presented on November 1 at the Golden Pinecone Awards 2016 Ceremony.  Winners will be selected by a panel composed of community environmental experts and leaders.

For more information:


June 30, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on Social Science with Discovery

Social Science with Discovery

Social Science: Urban Sustainability

With urban populations growing, exploring ways to make cities more livable and yet sustainable is key. At Social Science, you’ll investigate how citizens and cities are working together to improve quality of life by looking at food, housing and growth, with sustainability in mind.

About Social Science
Social Science is adults-only, brain building fun featuring intriguing science demos, clever art projects, a live DJ, and beer, wine, and sweet and savory bites from Whole Foods Market Reno.


July 16, 2016

6:00 – 9:00pm




Members: $15
Nonmembers: $20

Ticket price includes hors d’oeuvres, two drinks and a commemorative cup. Must be 21 or older to enter. I.D. required.


June 6, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on Man’s Garbage To Have Much More Significant Effect On Planet Than He Will

Man’s Garbage To Have Much More Significant Effect On Planet Than He Will


PEORIA, IL—Explaining that the waste he creates today will still be affecting society in significant ways centuries from now, experts from Northwestern University confirmed Tuesday that local resident Aaron Jacobson’s garbage will have a far greater impact on the world than he will.

The research team told reporters that, unlike his personal relationships, his career selling inventory management software, and his jigsaw puzzle and euchre hobbies, which will leave only the faintest and briefest trace on the planet, the items disposed of by the 39-year-old will go on to have profound effects on humanity and the natural world for hundreds of generations to come.

“Within just a couple decades of his passing, Aaron Jacobson and all his achievements in life will be completely forgotten and never spoken of again, while the refuse he produced, on the other hand, will exert a profound influence that will endure for millennia,” said head researcher Kevin Wright, who confirmed that each of the everyday items Jacobson regularly tosses into the garbage—including soda bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers, and the like—will be considerably more important in determining the future of the planet than his roughly 80 years of life will be. “For example, while his recent promotion to senior sales associate had a modest impact on his company and, perhaps, a minor impact on his community, it will certainly not change the course of human civilization in any sense. However, the mobile phones he leaves behind will still be leaching toxic metals into the soil and groundwater thousands of years from now, impacting entire populations.”

“And just think: That’s one small part of his trash,” Wright added. “This man’s waste is going to shape our world for a long time to come.”

Researchers noted that while Jacobson has visited a total of just nine U.S. states and one foreign country during his lifetime, the influence of his trash has already spread far and wide, leaving its mark across the globe. Over the past four decades, experts stated, the raw tonnage of refuse produced by Jacobson—a man who interacts with, at most, 12 people in an average week, and whose most recognized personal accomplishment is making pretty good lasagna—has crossed oceans and begun bringing about significant changes in marine ecosystems as distant as Asia, South America, Europe, and parts of North Africa.

Moreover, Jacobson’s discarded cleaning products, batteries, and takeout containers will reportedly have a considerable effect on the political landscape, eventually serving as the source of heated policy discussions and debates—even spurring vast movements of entire civilizations—thousands of years after everything the man has ever said or done has been erased from human society’s collective recollection.

Seeking to further elucidate just how profoundly impactful the man’s garbage will be in relation to Jacobson himself, experts noted that the Styrofoam packing peanuts that the local resident unthinkingly dumped into his trash can earlier today will still be on earth, altering the environment, dictating wildlife population numbers, and consequently upending food chains a million years from now. By comparison, they pointed out, the man’s years of productive work will effectively pass in the blink of an eye, as will any positive contributions that he makes stemming from his bachelor’s degree in communications, his Microsoft Office Specialist certification, his participation in online Star Trek forums, or any other areas of personal or professional interest where he sought to make a difference.

“And it’s not just Jacobson’s trash that will have profound effects on the planet—the emissions that result from him routinely leaving his car running while he waits in parking lots will influence the climate worldwide for an eon and will eradicate not just one, but scores of species from the earth’s surface,” Wright said. “If you put that next to the most notable goals in his life—running a 5K in less than 25 minutes and sealing his deck by himself without the aid of a professional—the two legacies aren’t even comparable.”

“Basically, when the last person on earth with any memory of him dies—which by our calculation, is little more than 50 or 60 years away—the paint cans and single-serve coffee pods he’s thrown out will just be getting started,” Wright continued. “Future generations won’t know the name Aaron Jacobson, but rest assured, his garbage will leave a mark on each and every one of their lives.”

Source: http://www.theonion.com/article/mans-garbage-have-much-more-significant-effect-pla-52985


May 31, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
Comments Off on A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods



Photo: Sonja Thomsen

a few years AGO, I visited Southwood Elementary, the grade school I attended when I was a boy growing up in Raytown, Missouri. I asked a classroom of children about their relationship with nature. Many of them offered the now-typical response: they preferred playing video games; they favored indoor activities — and when they were outside, they played soccer or some other adult-organized sport. But one fifth-grader, described by her teacher as “our little poet,” wearing a plain print dress and an intensely serious expression, said, “When I’m in the woods, I feel like I’m in my mother’s shoes.” To her, nature represented beauty, refuge, and something else.

“It’s so peaceful out there and the air smells so good. For me, it’s completely different there,” she said. “It’s your own time. Sometimes I go there when I’m mad — and then, just with the peacefulness, I’m better. I can come back home happy, and my mom doesn’t even know why.” She paused. “I had a place. There was a big waterfall and a creek on one side of it. I’d dug a big hole there, and sometimes I’d take a tent back there, or a blanket, and just lay down in the hole, and look up at the trees and sky. Sometimes I’d fall asleep back in there. I just felt free; it was like my place, and I could do what I wanted, with nobody to stop me. I used to go down there almost every day.” The young poet’s face flushed. Her voice thickened. “And then they just cut the woods down. It was like they cut down part of me.”

I was struck by her last comment: “It was like they cut down part of me.” If E. O. Wilson’s biophilia hypothesis is right — that human beings are hard-wired to get their hands wet and their feet muddy in the natural world — then the little poet’s heartfelt statement was more than metaphor. When she referred to her woods as “part of me,” she was describing something impossible to quantify: her primal biology, her sense of wonder, an essential part of her self.

Recently I began asking friends this question: Does a child have a right to a walk in the woods? Does an adult? To my surprise, several people responded with puzzled ambivalence. Look at what our species is doing to the planet, they said; based on that evidence alone, isn’t the relationship between human beings and nature inherently oppositional? I certainly understand that point of view. But consider the echo from folks who reside at another point on the political/cultural spectrum, where nature is the object of human dominion, a distraction on the way to Paradise. In practice, these two views of nature are radically different. Yet, on one level, the similarity is striking: nature remains the “other.” Humans are in it, but not of it.

The basic concept of rights made some people uncomfortable. One friend asked, In a world in which millions of children are brutalized every day, can we spare time to forward a child’s right to experience nature? Good question. Others pointed out that we live in an era of litigation inflation and rights deflation; too many people believe they have a “right” to a parking spot, a “right” to cable TV, even a “right” to live in a neighborhood that bans children. Do we really need to add more “rights” to our catalogue of entitlements? Another good question.

The answer to both questions is yes, if we can agree that the right at issue is fundamental to our humanity, to our being.

A growing body of scientific evidence identifies strong correlations between experience in the natural world and children’s ability to learn, along with their physical and emotional health. Stress levels, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, cognitive functioning — and more — are positively affected by time spent in nature. “In the same way that protecting water and protecting air are strategies for promoting public health,” says Howard Frumkin, director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “protecting natural landscapes can be seen as a powerful form of preventive medicine.” In October, researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine, Indiana University–Purdue University at Indianapolis, and the University of Washington reported that greener neighborhoods are associated with slower increases in children’s body mass, regardless of residential density. Such research will be immensely helpful as we rethink our approaches to urban design, education, and health care, in particular our societal response to childhood obesity.

Yes, we need more research, says Frumkin, “but we know enough to act.” To reverse the trends that disconnect children from nature, actions must be grounded in science, but also rooted in deeper earth.

In 2007, the National Forum on Children and Nature, an impressive collection of mayors, professors, conservationists, and business leaders, met in Washington DC to explore the disconnection between children and nature. The conversation was enlightening, at times passionate, but as the hours passed several of the attendees began to ask about quantification. Some were looking for a business model to apply to the challenge of introducing children to the natural world. Most saw the obvious need for more research. “I appreciate this discussion, but I’d like to say something,” announced Gerald L. Durley, Senior Pastor at Providence Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. Durley had helped found the Afro-American Cultural Organization and worked shoulder to shoulder with Martin Luther King Jr. He leaned forward and said, “A movement moves. It has life.”

Like every successful movement, the civil rights struggle was fueled by a strongly articulated moral principle, one that did not need to be proved again and again. The outcome of the civil rights movement might have been quite different, or at least delayed, had its leaders waited for more statistical proof to justify their cause, or focused on the metrics of lunch-counter sit-ins, Durley added. Some efforts proved successful, some were counterproductive. But the movement moved.

“When making a moral argument, there are no hard and fast rules, and such arguments can always be contended,” according to my friend Larry Hinman, professor of philosophy at the University of San Diego. “But most moral arguments are made based on one or two points. These include a set of consequences and a first principle — for example, respect for human rights.” Science sheds light on the measurable consequences of introducing children to nature; studies pointing to health and cognition benefits are immediate and concrete. We also need to articulate the underlying “first principle” — one that emerges not only from what science can prove, but also from what it cannot fully reveal; one that resists codification because it is so elemental: a meaningful connection to the natural world is fundamental to our survival and spirit, as individuals and as a species.

In our time, Thomas Berry has presented this inseparability most eloquently. A Catholic priest of the Passionist order and founder of the History of Religions Program at Fordham University and the Riverdale Center of Religious Research, for the better part of his ninety-four years on the planet Berry has been prescient. Berry incorporates Wilson’s biological view within a wider, cosmological context. In his book The Great Work, he wrote: “The present urgency is to begin thinking within the context of the whole planet, the integral Earth community with all its human and other-than-human components. When we discuss ethics we must understand it to mean the principles and values that govern that comprehensive community.”

The natural world is the physical manifestation of the divine, Berry believes. The survival of both religion and science depends not on one winning (because then both would lose), but on the emergence of what he calls a third story, a twenty-first-century story. Speaking of absolutes may make us uncomfortable, but surely this is true: As a society, we need to give nature back to our kids. Not doing that is immoral. It is unethical. “A degraded habitat will produce degraded humans,” Berry writes. “If there is to be any true progress, then the entire life community must progress.”

In the formation of American ideals, nature was elemental to the idea of human rights. Inherent in the thinking of the Founding Fathers was this assumption: with every right comes responsibility. Whether we are talking about democracy or nature, if we fail to serve as careful stewards, we will destroy the reason for our right, and the right itself. Those of us who identify ourselves as conservationists or environmentalists — whatever word we prefer — nearly always have had some transcendent experience in the natural world, usually in the form of independent play, with hands muddy, feet wet. We cannot love what we do not know. As Robert Michael Pyle puts it so well, “What is the extinction of a condor to a child who has never seen a wren?”

We must do more than talk about the importance of nature; we must ensure that children in every kind of neighborhood have everyday access to natural spaces, places, and experiences. To make that happen, this truth must become evident: we can truly care for nature and ourselves only if we see ourselves and nature as inseparable, only if we love ourselves as part of nature, only if we believe that our child have a right to the gifts of nature undestroyed.

The little girl in Raytown may not have a specific right to that particular tree in her chosen woods, but she does have the inalienable right to be with other life; to liberty, which cannot be realized under protective house arrest; and to the pursuit of happiness, which is made whole by the universe.

Richard Louv is the author of Last Child in the Woods and The Nature Principle, chairman of Children & Nature Network, and recipient of the 2008 Audubon Medal. Louv is also a journalist and commentator, he has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Times of London, Outside and other newspapers and magazines.  He lives in San Diego.

Source: https://orionmagazine.org/article/a-walk-in-the-woods/ 


May 20, 2016
by Celeste Tinajero
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Just How Much Power Do Your Electronics Use When They Are ‘Off’?
Once upon a time, there was a difference between on and off. Now, it’s more complicated: Roughly 50 devices and appliances in the typical American household are always drawing power, even when they appear to be off, estimates Alan Meier, a senior scientist at the Department of Energy’s Berkeley Lab.
It adds up. About a quarter of all residential energy consumption is used on devices in idle power mode, according to a study of Northern California by the Natural Resources Defense Council. That means that devices that are “off” or in standby or sleep mode can use up to the equivalent of 50 large power plants’ worth of electricity and cost more than $19 billion in electricity bills every year. And there’s an environmental cost: Overall electricity production represents about 37 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, one of the main contributors to climate change.

In the name of scientific inquiry, I tested about 30 appliances from friends’ houses as well as my own by plugging the devices into a Kill­a­Watt power meter, which can track how much power (in watts) is being drawn at any given moment.

Many Appliances Use Just as Much Power When Off.
My cable box drew 28 watts when it was on and recording a show, and 26W when it was off and not recording anything. Even if I never watched TV, I would still consume about 227 kilowatt­hours annually. To put it in context, that’s more than the average person uses in an entire year in some developing countries, including Kenya and Cambodia, according to World Bank estimates.

Always leaving a laptop computer plugged in, even when it’s fully charged, can use a similar quantity — 4.5 kilowatt­hours of electricity in a week, or about 235 kilowatt­hours a year. (Your mileage may vary, depending on model and battery. My computer is a few years old and a few readers have written to say their MacBooks use far less power.)

Many Appliances Are Always On
In 2014, 73 percent of American households had a high­speed Internet connection, which usually entails at least one modem and router.
While neither one draws a lot of power, in most homes, they’re never switched off. The same is true of many TVs.

To turn a TV on with a remote, it has to be on to receive that signal. If it’s a “smart” TV, it has to be on to stay online. And if your TV is in quick­start mode – to avoid the pain of waiting 15 seconds for it to boot up – it’s drawing even more power.

Lots of traditional household appliances – things your grandmother owns – are also moving online, just like your grandmother. Light bulbs, ovens, refrigerators, coffee makers – even mattresses — can now connect to the Internet, so they also draw power all the time.

Workhorse appliances like dishwashers or laundry machines have gotten much more efficient over time, but many models now have digital displays, which mean they always draw a little bit of power, too.

There Are Lots of Small Energy Hogs
Even as appliances get more efficient, we have more of them: In 1966, the average American used about 5,590 kilowatt­hours every year, according to the World Bank. As of 2013, that number had shot up to about 12,985 kilowatt­hours annually.

Some of this increase comes from electronics: Almost two­thirds of the population has a laptop; half have a tablet or an e­reader; 64 percent have smartphones; 36 percent have all three.

But some traditional kitchen appliances, around long before the Internet, draw a lot of power when they’re on, even if they’re not on that often. My test revealed that my coffee maker, mid­percolation, draws more than 900 W, although it’s only on for a few minutes at a time. If a coffee maker takes 10 minutes to brew a pot, and it brews one every day, it comes out to about to about 50 kilowatt­hours every year, or a little more than what someone in Niger uses every year.

The Simplest Way to Reduce the Hidden Power Drain
Many utility companies will provide hourly data for electrical energy consumption, and utilities in some parts of the country are installing smart meters, which allow you (and the utility) to track how much energy your home is consuming on an hourly basis.

Perhaps the simplest way to curtail energy use is to use a power strip to
group appliances — TV, gaming console, powered speakers, DVD player, streaming devices — so you can turn them all off at the same time. However, Dr. Meier warned that since some of these products have clocks or Internet connections, that connection, the time, or other information could be lost if you turn off the power strip.

And if you use your gaming console to stream movies, well, don’t. They can use 45 times more power than streaming consoles, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, mostly because they aren’t good at using only as much power as the task at hand requires.

Correction: May 9, 2016
Because of an editing error, an earlier version of a chart with this article misstated the state in which the reporter’s MacBook uses 27 W of power. It is while it is plugged in, open, and fully charged, not closed and fully charged.)

Source: (and to see charts go to link below)