Green Items in the News this Week

Avalanche in Juno, Alaska leaves city with less power

An avalanche took out over 1.5 miles of power lines that supply power to Juno, Alaska this week. The city has 20% less power capacity that it usually does. Residents are all hanging their laundry out to dry on clothing lines and people are saying that city is darker and you are seeing less lights on in peoples houses. The Mayor is hoping that this change sustains even after they are back at full capacity. He feels that this shows that people can act fast to make a significant change in energy consumption.

Commentary: I was in Juno, Alaska just about a year ago and my impression of the town is that they are used to harsher conditions. Most of their food and other supplies need to be flown or shipped in and sometimes they run out. I remember my tour guide on our mountain bike tour telling us about the day McDonalds opened up in Juno, everyone went there and they ran out of food, they did not get more food for a few days. Now not that running out of food at McDonalds compares to losing power but this shows that when people are forced to make do with what they have they can do it. We could all probably live with 20% less power, but think about it if this happened in LA, NY, Chicago really anywhere this would be a huge news story.

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Houston ranked #1 in the country for CO2 pollution

Houston beat LA as being the number 1 CO2 polluter in the US. The explanation for some of this is they have a shipping channel that handles that largest tonnage in the US and they have oil refineries in the area that emit alot of pollution. The city of Houston is looking to change its ways, currently the entire city fleet is hybrid vehicles and city council is looking at instituting a green building ordinance. The city is hoping to be at the forefront of the cap and trade system that many experts believe will go into effect in the next 5 years and they are hoping to be part of the future of change for greener cities across the US.

Commentary: It is fantastic that Houston is looking to change its ways however it is a sad statement that it takes being the worst in the country to be an encouragement to start looking an environmental policies in more serious way. I am curious will they do just enough to move lower on the list so they are not number 1 or will they continue to look at ways they can continually reduce their usage. Since their city has all these pollution issues, especially with shipping, they need make a serious commitment to change.

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