BE Green South Sound's Blog

Jan. 28, 2011 at 12:14pm

Congressman Norm Dicks signs on for BE Green South Sound/Shift Happens

It is confirmed. Congressman Norm Dicks will be a featured speaker and honored guest at BE Green South Sound/Pecha Kucha Vol.9/Tacoma Shift Happens, January 31 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

Prior to Pecha Kucha Vol. 9, at 3:20 p.m., Congressman Dicks will help drive the day-long celebration with a short speech, outlining his efforts on federal sustainability initiatives and the importance of partnering with local businesses.  The Congressman's address will be free and open to the public, and will be followed by a very special Pecha Kucha, showcasing sustainability resources, practices, success stories, and local, independent business.

For more information, visit

To get your BE Green tickets and to RSVP for Pecha Kucha Vol. 9 and Shift Happens, visit

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Jan. 27, 2011 at 9:36am

Tacoma pledges to become first-ever Life Cycle City

Leaders from the City of Tacoma and the Institute for Environmental Research, via its flagship program the American Center for Lifecycle Assessment, have announced that Tacoma is slated to become America's first Life Cycle City.

City of Tacoma officials have committed via public resolution No. 38188 to integrate life-cycle accountability into its daily operations and purchasing, publish a life-cycle assessment inventory data for its local utilities, and contribute time, energy and resources to educating its employees and the public about life-cycle thinking and leadership.

"The passing of this Resolution is a true milestone for Tacoma, says Colleen Hall Barta, director of development for IERE. "When you have a City Council that chooses to lead by example, administration, staff and citizens in general feel confident that change will actually take place. I have lived in Tacoma all my life and see the level of confidence in our elected officials is at an all time high. This sends the signal that it is prime time for public/private partnerships that encourage real sustainable growth.This marks a new chapter in the history of our city."

The concept of a Life Cycle City is derived from a practice known as life cycle assessment, a science that has been in practice for more than 40 years, but has re-emerged as an increasingly important business concept during the past decade. Life cycle assessment is the practice of measuring the environmental performance of products and services from cradle to grave. A complete assessment involves capturing the materials, energy and wastes involved in each phase of the product's life cycle, measuring their environmental impacts and looking for opportunities to improve.

In a Life Cycle City, government leaders, in partnership with the business community, are able to show by example they are dedicated to the highest possible standards for evaluating environmental impacts of their products, services and operations. Companies participating in LCA and Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) development, in turn, are provided with a powerful tool they can use to market their products and prove they are truly green, with science backing their claim.

"Business is all about opportunities - being able to see one coming and then actually moving
on it while it is hot," says Rita Schenck, IERE executive director. "All activities surrounding this new life cycle platform are meant to benefit our local business community. Tacoma has taken a leading position, creating a partnership between business and government that will merge environmental benefits and economic growth, and using life cycle science to guide that growth."

Four companies from Tacoma have been chosen to participate in a pilot program that will demonstrate the unique benefits of conducting a Life Cycle Assessment and
obtaining an (EPD) for their product. Those companies will be introduced by Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland Jan 31, 2001 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center during BE Green South Sound/Shift Happens, an all-day celebration and educational seminar focused on sustainability, local living economies and recent successes in the South Puget Sound.

For more information, visit

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Jan. 25, 2011 at 1:17pm

Take Next Monday Off

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Jan. 21, 2011 at 3:57pm

The double-edged sword of organics gone mainstream

It's a question that gets ignored too often - what good is the organic food revolution if only bo-bos (bourgeoisie bohemians) can afford to eat it? It may not be that simple, but as the economy continues to falter, purveyors of so-called organic foods are being forced to face the facts - it's time to cut prices and spread the nutrition around. Is it possible?

This article from Tripple Pundit offers some interesting commentary on the move to make organics more affordable....

"While much of the conversation at the Sustainable Food Summit focused on tools, resources, information-sharing and partnerships to help companies bolster their sustainability efforts, the old David vs. Goliath scenario inevitably reared its ugly - but organic - head.

Safeway, the national grocery chain, continues to develop its own brands to compete in the organic and health and wellness categories.

The recognizable O Organics line contains over 300 products and Eating Right ("nutritional") and Bright Green (home care products) are also part of the healthier mix. In the last 90 days, the retailer has introduced two new green-minded product lines: In-Kind (+90% natural personal care products) and Open Nature (100% natural meats and poultry). Although the term "100% natural" is not a true certification (and, frankly, doesn't carry any weight with the converted), many consumers don't know any better. It is these less savvy shoppers to whom the store caters, as Safeway learned through research that 90% of consumers acknowledge a link between diet and health. And so it continues to pursue market share."

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Jan. 21, 2011 at 3:39pm

Is Your Company Prepared for Gas at $5 a Gallon?

In case you haven't noticed, fuel prices are on the rise again. Of course, it would be hard not to notice. Even those among us that have chosen to travel exclusively on other forms of transportation likely find it hard to miss the rote commiserating from the rest of us every time we have to pay a dime more at the gas station. Multiply your sense of resignation at the gas pump by a thousand and you'd have a sense of how corporate fleet managers are feeling these days.

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Jan. 21, 2011 at 3:31pm

Mayor Marilyn Strickland to deliver first-ever "State of the City" address January 31, 2011 at Tacoma Shift Happens

Celebrate the accomplishments of 2010 and dream of possibilities for 2011 and beyond when Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland makes her first ever State of the City Address at Shift Happens, January 31 at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center.

The State of the City Address is a look at the recent past and near future of Tacoma, with an emphasis on celebration.  

Make no mistake. Amidst all the doom and gloom in 2010, Tacoma has found plenty to celebrate, including national honors for local projects for youth and sustainability, renewed efforts dedicated to improving the quality of local education, and the emergence of a groundswell of new small businesses in the city.

The State of the City Address will cap a day-long celebration of sustainability, local living and local business happening at three events  - BE Green South Sound, Pecha Kucha Vol. 9, and Tacoma Shift Happens. Pecha Kucha Vol. 9, Shift Happens and the State of the City Address are all free to attend. Everyone is encouraged to attend daytime seminar sessions at BE Green South Sound for just $10.

For more information, visit and

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Jan. 20, 2011 at 10:57am

New Mission for U.S. Military: Breaking its Dependence on Oil

When it comes to energy consumption, no single part of the U.S. government comes close to the Department of Defense. Military operations account for about 80 percent of the federal government’s total energy use; last year, the energy budget for the U.S. armed forces reached $13.4 billion.

Pentagon leaders say this staggering reliance on fossil fuels is not just expensive. It’s a threat to U.S. troops, they note, as supplying an increasingly energy-hungry army exposes fuel supply lines to attack and makes frontline troops more vulnerable to energy disruptions. For these and other reasons, U.S. Marine Corps General Jim Mattis has said, “Unleash us from the tether of fuel.”

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Jan. 20, 2011 at 10:47am

Clean Energy's Big Challenge? Scaling up

To shift the global economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy will require the construction of wind, solar, nuclear, and other installations on a vast scale, significantly altering the face of the planet. Can these new forms of energy approach the scale needed to meet the world’s energy demands?

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Jan. 19, 2011 at 11:11am

National Geographic Report: 100% Renewable Energy by 2030?

In a world where fossil fuel provides more than 80 percent of energy, what would it take to go completely green? Could the world switch over to power from only the wind, sun, waves, and heat from the Earth in only a few decades?

The question seems a fanciful one, when world leaders are stymied over proposals for far less dramatic cuts in the carbon dioxide emissions from global burning of coal, oil, and natural gas. But two U.S. researchers, a transportation expert and an atmospheric scientist, decided the time had come to apply blue-sky thinking to one of the world's greatest challenges.

"We wanted to show that wind, water, and solar power are available to meet demand, indefinitely," says study co-author Mark Delucchi, of the Institute for Transportation Studies at the University of California Davis. He and Mark Jacobson of the civil and environmental engineering department at Stanford University began to tally the build-out that would be needed to supply renewable energy for all the world's factories, homes, and offices, as well as all transport�cars, planes, and ships.

Their argument that such a revolution was both possible and affordable by 2030, first explored as a thought piece published in Scientific American before the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks, is detailed in a study published last month in the journal Energy Policy.

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Jan. 19, 2011 at 10:00am

10 (relatively) easy ways to cut your energy use in half

When an avalanche knocked out the hydroelectric power system that provided relatively cheap energy to Juneau in 2008, energy costs skyrocketed when the city switched to a backup diesel system.

Using recommendations from Berkeley Lab scientist Alan Meier (author of How to Save Energy in a Hurry) residents quickly brought their costs under control. Within a month, the entire city had cut its overall energy use by 40 percent.

You can too.

Check out Green America's recommendations of the ten easiest ways to bring your own costs under control.

Download '10 Easy Ways to Cut Your Energy Use in Half'

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Sustainability isn't a trend anymore. It's basic business. It's the next great phase of economic evolution. And while many companies are cashing in on sustainable business trends, it's not enough to just talk green and look green. Businesses have to BE Green.

Like many business people, you may be intrigued by sustainability. You may be enticed by the savings offered by lean operations. You may want to know why your clients or customers are spending their money on green products and services. Maybe you want to save the planet. Maybe you plan to start small, and see where it goes from there.

Whatever compels you, the BE Green South Sound Blog will provide you with all the tools, information, free and low-costs resources, connections, and inspiration needed to propel your own sustainable business initiatives.

You'll learn what the heck a carbon footprint is, and how to manage it. You'll learn about transportation and energy-use alternatives that any business can use. You'll learn simple strategies that will save you money, sell products, be more productive, drive profits and, most importantly, contribute to a sustainable business future.

Whatever you're interested in learning or achieving, we're going to help you make sense of it all. Be Green. It's easier than you think.

January 31 at the Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center


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