Posted on November 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
‘It is clear that the way we are managing the environment is unsustainable for many of our most familiar species’
Bird populations across Europe have experienced sharp declines over the past 30 years, with the majority of losses from the most common species, according to a new study from the University of Exeter (UK).
The study documented a decrease of 421 million individual birds over 30 years. About 90 percent of these losses were from the 36 most common and widespread species, including house sparrows, skylarks, grey partridges and starlings. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: biodiversity, bird conservation, bird population declines, Birds, Environment, sustainability, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 29, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A raceway pond used for the cultivation of microalgae. The water is kept in constant motion with a powered paddle wheel. Photo courtesy the Wikimedia Commons.
Water availability, nutrient use seen as key challenges
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Algae-based biofuels have been touted as the next big thing in renewable energy. But based on existing technologies, production on a significant scale — for example enough to supply 5 percent of U.S. transportation fuel needs — would put unsustainable demands on energy, water, and nutrients, according to a new report from the National Research Council.
But those concerns are not a definitive barrier for future production, the report concluded, emphasizing that technical innovations could change the equation.
Biofuels derived from algae and cyanobacteria could help the U.S. meet its energy security needs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Potential advantages over biofuels made from land plants, including algae’s ability to grow on non-croplands in cultivation ponds of freshwater, salt water, or wastewater. Continue reading
Filed under: energy, Environment, renewable energy | Tagged: algae biofuels, biofuels, renewable energy, sustainability, United States Department of Energy, United States National Research Council | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 25, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Grassroots group strives toward sustainable ski industry.
Mountain Rider’s Alliance partners with sustainable engineering group to refine vision
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Mountain Rider’s Alliance vision for a sustainable ski industry is about to grow some flesh and bones, as the grassroots group partners with a well-known engineering firm to develop specific plans for carbon-neutral, net-zero-energy ski areas.
The partnership between MRA and the Brendle Group with forge toward a new model for sustainability in the ski industry, focused on alternative business models for small and medium-sized resorts.
For starters, the Brendle Group will develop and test a model for sustainability at Mt. Abram that can be replicated elsewhere, starting with comprehensive assessments of energy use, land use, procurement, and community sustainability to identify options for net zero carbon, energy, and water operations as well as integrating sustainability and local economic development. Continue reading
Filed under: business, Colorado, economy, recreation, ski industry, skiing and riding | Tagged: Environment, Mountain Rider's Alliance, ski industry, Ski Resorts, sustainability | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 23, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
The Colorado ski industry has done very little to address its massive environmental impact, including significant greenhouse gas emissions and unsustainable use of water.
Colorado tourism industry lags on environmental front
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — In an era when reducing greenhouse gas emissions has been targeted as a critical priority, it’s more challenging than ever to reconcile tourism with environmental concerns.
Some parts of the tourism industry are big contributors to climate change, including energy use in lodging facilities (think of all the laundry and dishes being washed on a daily basis), as well as transportation, especially automobiles and passenger jets.
In the face of those impacts, some of the minor efforts by the industry seem almost insignificant, but at least on a global scale, tourism leaders are thinking about how to boost the use of sustainable and renewable energy in the sector.
The World Tourism Organization has faced accusations of trying to greenwash tourism, but the global body has taken a few concrete steps toward promoting sound environmental policies. Continue reading
Filed under: business, Colorado, economy, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Maspalomas, sustainability, Sustainable energy, Tourism, World Tourism Day, World Tourism Organization | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 24, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A new future for skiing is dawning at Mt. Abram. Photo courtesy Mountain Rider’s Alliance/Mt. Abram.
Sustainability, and people before profit, will be the guiding principles for a partnership between the Mountain Rider’s Alliance and Mt. Abram
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — The Mountain Rider’s Alliance is one step closer to manifesting its long-term vision for an alternate model for ski resort ownership and operation.
This week, the organization announced an agreement to partner with the Mt. Abram ski area in Maine to try out a new ownership and management model aimed at boosting regional visitation, increasing awareness of sustainability issues, and focusing on the core values of skiing.
MRA is currently raising funds for the deal through crowd-sourcing and social media with the Support the Future of Skiing campaign at indiegogo.com.
When the details are finalized, potentially next spring, the ski area will sell membership shares to the public, loosely based on a co-op business model. The membership shares will offer a variety of benefits and privileges. Members will hold elections and be represented in a dialog with ski area management. Continue reading
Filed under: business, economy, Environment, recreation, ski industry, Ski Resorts, skiing and riding | Tagged: Maine, Matt Hancock, Mountain Rider's Alliance, Mt. Abram, ski industry, skiing, sustainability | Leave a comment »
Posted on August 18, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Groups claim agency can’t base planning on ecological sustainability
Industrial users challenge national forest planning rule.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Timber, ranching and off-road motorists are suing the U.S. Forest Service over a recently adopted national planning rule. The groups claim that the Forest Service illegally adopted ecological sustainability as a primary purpose of forest management, and that rule includes an unlawful mandate to provide ecosystem services.
Careful readers will hear the faint echoes of the paranoid black-helicopter crowd in the background, for example when the lawsuit mentions a UN-sponsored report that discusses forest ecosystem services such as carbon storage, along with “educational, aesthetic, spiritual and cultural heritage values.”
That’s all apparently a bit to touchy-feely for the hoof and chainsaw crowd, who have asked the federal District Court for Washington, D.C. to overturn the rule. Read the lawsuit here. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Environment, public lands, US Forest Service, White River National Forest | Tagged: Blue Ribbon Coalition, Environment, logging industry, National Forest planning rule, public lands, sustainability, US Forest Service | 5 Comments »
Posted on July 9, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Visitor center construction incorporated salvaged materials
The Dinosaur National Monument visitor was recently awarded the Gold LEED certification. Photo courtesy National Park Service.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY —Skylights, low-flow restroom fixtures, photovoltaics and efficient utility systems at the new Dinosaur National Monument visitor center all helped the National Park Service gain Gold-standard LEED certification for the facility.
The new Quarry Visitor Center boasts new “green” energy saving aspects, including increased water efficiency, reduced CO2emissions, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts,” said superintendent Mary Risser. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, national parks, public lands, renewable energy | Tagged: Colorado, Dinosaur National Monument, Energy conservation, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED gold certification, national parks, sustainability | Leave a comment »