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Monday, January 14, 2008

From the Desk of Ann Berman

The following is a newsletter created by Environmental Concerns Coalition President Ann Berman

ECC NEWSLETTER
JANUARY 2008
ECC Meeting January 17th, Parsons Complex, Conference Room B at 7:30 PM

All the best wishes for the New Year!
The weather is jumping all over the place; issues and activities are popping up as fast as dandelions in the spring. Our ECC meeting on January 17 will be in Conference Room B, (please note the change, it will be in B just this month, which is upstairs on the City Clerk side, and in Conference Room C the rest of the year) in the Parsons Complex at 7:30 pm.
This meeting should be very exciting, as we have never seen a product scanned for toxicity and have the results emerge in seconds. We are fortunate to have Sarah Uhl, from Clean Water Action speak with us and demonstrate this new $35,000 gadget that can detect toxic substances.
The recent recalls of millions of toys with dangerous lead levels are highlighting the fact that toxic chemicals are in consumer products, including those marketed for children. Consumer products are increasingly made of a complex array of materials, using processes that can involve many different chemicals. X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) can be used to accurately measure the atomic composition of a material, including the components of children’s toys and other household products.
You are invited to bring up to three products for on-site testing with a hand-held XRF analyzer. Suggested items include:
Anything made of vinyl such as children's toys, shoes, raincoats, lunch bags, handbags, backpacks, painted toys
children's jewelry, pillows, foam cushions, stuffed animals, children's PJ's, and ceramics such as flowerpots, dishes, or coffee mugs.
Bring your friends and family to test those things that may set your mind at ease as being safe.
The news about toxic substances is spreading like wildfire, and the more it spreads it seems to be touching everything we know and use in our homes and work places, not just children’s toys. Oh yes, also be sure to bring in packaging material also as that may contain these harmful chemicals. Diane Vasseur said, “If you buy bones for your dog, bring in its packaging if it is vinyl, for a test.”
Really close to home is my computer keyboard on which I am typing this very moment. The latest news is telling me that it is “100% sure of containing a brominated flame retardant (which is on all keyboards). This category of chemical is a neuotoxin and it is also
bioaccumulative, meaning that multiple low-level exposures add up over time and the chemical builds up in a living body. No one is sure how much exposure is safe. The good news is that manufacturers are taking a


look now at ways to meet fire hazard standards without using such toxic chemicals.”
Another would you believe fact, “that besides the “toxic” effect, that is in the manufacturing processes and measuring the contents of their materials, the results shows that it takes nearly 600 pounds of fossil fuel and 6400 megajoules of energy to make a single Pentium III computer with monitor. This tells us that typical information technology equipment is approximately ten times as “dense”, in terms of the relative amounts of material to make it, than an automobile.”
According to a forum we attended at Yale, there are now more companies seeking advice about how to go green. They want their product to be green. and to make the manufacturing process more efficient and to measure up to green standards, thus to reduce their carbon foot print. However, we still must be vigilant about how transparent they are about some of their practices. For instance if a company says their cotton is green, it just so happens only about 10% of cotton is grown organically, that is without the use of pesticides.
It is interesting that more companies are touting the green tag and it would appear that green is becoming cool and more desirable. Let’s hope this will continue.
On Saturday, January 26th there will be an Energy Fair at the Library, from 10:00 to 2:00. It is being sponsored by the Library, Clean Energy Task Force, Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and the ECC. Special guest, Sarah Uhl will be there to test items for toxicity. The other exhibitors will be Clean Energy Providers; Electric & Gas Utilities; Solar Energy Companies: representatives; Green Building Specialists and Loan and Grant Program; Energy Efficient Appliance vendors; Clean Energy Advocacy Groups; Environmental Education Resources and Energy Conservation Advisors.
Jean Tsang will bring out all the library books and newly ordered books that pertain to energy efficiency, green construction and how tos for recycling. This is a wonderful opportunity to meet with companies that are dealing with saving energy, conservation and why and how we must do a better job of recycling. Not only can we save money, we can help our environment and cut our carbon footprint.
Diane Vasseur reports from the Recycling committee:
We are creating a newsletter promoting green business and recognizing businesses that are making improvements. We want to encourage and support businesses that are working towards more sustainable practices. We would like access to products manufactured in the U.S. that conform to the REACH standards. REACH means Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals. The Europeans passed these standards on June 1, 2007. U.S. companies must meet REACH standards to sell their products in Europe. In many cases they have two manufacturing processes, one for Europe and another for the U.S. market, ours being less protected.
We want to be the ZAGAT of green business with our Green Shoppers guide and green shopping tours. Volunteers are needed, contact ddmiddens@gmail.com
Our Waste Reduction & Recycling Committee believes XRF screening is an intelligent investment of time and money. Perhaps health departments, schools, warehouses, incoming ports and businesses might consider renting or sharing a Portable XRF analyzer and periodically test incoming goods for safety. XRF scanners appear to be able to be taken to almost any location. The XRF has rapid measurement times, is said to be a non-destructive test method with low detection limits. I predict in the future that XRF analysis of all consumer products will be done. It takes very little time and will help insure safer products, packaging and Garbage. Being green is good for business.
Future Savers: Soon to be more affordable, will be systems to let people configure lights, security and entertainment devices from single control points. They are not new but as the demand increases, the price will become more affordable. The purpose is to increase efficiency and help energy conservation. The Home-automation maker Control 4 Corporation is testing ways for electricity providers to subsidize “smart” meters that help people recognize expensive peak power times when electricity reductions are most beneficial.
Another idea being tested is to give people a “utility channel” on their TVs that shows their homes real-time energy consumption and how the monthly electric bill would be trimmed by certain tweaks—like turning up the fridge a few degrees.
Listening to all the candidates, one wonders where does our Earth rank among all those issues? It doesn’t seem to be ranking very high on their radar screens. Like in Ellen Goodman’s editorial title, “War between mankind and Earth heats up, but gets scant attention”. The environment was twelfth on the Democrats list and fifteenth on the Republican’s. All the issues are issues to be discussed, but none of the magnitude of what must be faced with our environmental issues. Just take WATER and not OIL (which has peaked in supply in 2007), which is very high on the scarcity list. Water is our very basic necessity for survival and look at how much is needed not just for us to drink, but for producing our food and manufacturing necessities. Some of these figures are mind boggling, taken from the book, When the Rivers Run Dry, “We drink approximately no more than one-half gallon of water a day, for washing and flushing, and we use about forty gallons a day. Suburban Australia, per capita uses ninety gallons, while the US uses about one hundred gallons. We can easily control this amount when necessary, but when we consider the amount used for food and drink that we buy; the numbers are mind-boggling. For instance, it takes 250 and 650 gallons of water to grow a pound of rice. It takes 130 gallons to grow a pound of wheat and 65 gallons for a pound of potatoes. Looking at the wheat going to livestock and it rises, to 3000 gal to grow feed for a cow to produce a quarter-pound of hamburger and between 500 and 1,000 gallons to fill a cow’s udder to produce one quart of milk. It takes 650 gallons to produce a pound of cheddar, brie or Camembert.
With rivers being damned and siphoned off for agriculture, these are reasons why many of our large rivers are running dry, the Rio Grande for one.
Put on your Calendar: There will be a showing of a thirty minute film, “Connecticut’s Plan to Fight Global Warming” February 23 at the Milford Library Program Room at 10:30 am with a Q & A and another showing at 11:30 am. It is being sponsored by the Library, the Connecticut Fund for the Environment and the ECC. Here is the link to the film, which you can access on your computer: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6774024632432221429
The ECC’s goal is to improve our recycling and save Milford money. Diane Vasseur is working very hard on the Recycling Committee; we think we can make a big difference; we have the support of the DEP and we have state mandates, but we need more volunteers. In addition we need better public communication, all of which is very necessary to make this successful.
The ECC wants to get more volunteers to support these committees for transportation, trails and communication. It wants to be involved with legislative issues and after consulting with our Representative Richard Roy, he tells us of some of the items he will be needing assistance for passage in this short legislative session--Global Warming and emissions and a bill that will be designed to increase recyclables. Volunteers are needed to participate in this process.
On Wednesday, January 19 at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, there will be a forum on how to guide bills successfully through the legislative process. Please call 878-0910 so we can register you and car pool. Those interested in Climate Action, please contact Diane Lentakis: deerspirit@sbcglobal.net and ask about the 2% Solution showing with reactive TV on January 30.

PLEASE FILL OUT OUR QUESTIONNAIRE AND
send your $10 fee contribution. If you want to add an extra gift, we will put it towards publishing our new edition of Milford’s Favorite Walking Book, due to come out this spring.

THANK YOU.
Ann Berman, Chair of ECC

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2 Comments:

Blogger DD middens said...

Milford Greendrinks

We get together every 4th Thursday. The time is 5:30 - 8:30 at Stonebridge Restaurant in Milford.

We call it a Green Get Together,
It's a wonderful opportunity to hear what's going on in the environmental community. Recharge your green battery with some excellent company. Over 80 people have attended each event.

No Cover Charge
Free online Green-Business Bulletin Board
Free Perpetual Business Card Bulletin Board.
We want to help build a green economy in CT.
We are having a green Business Expo in Milford please sign up

email ddmiddens@gmail.com

July 10, 2008 at 4:59 PM 
Blogger DD middens said...

Milford’s Board of Alderman and Mayor boldly passed a resolution on January 3, 2005 to support clean energy! They passed a resolution committing Milford to purchase 20% of its energy by 2010 from clean energy sources. We are very proud of our Mayor and board of Alderman for taking such a progressive step. It is time to honor this resolution, please sign up for clean energy!

July 23rd Making History The Clean Way

Milford's Clean Energy Revolution Getting You Plugged Into Civic Action

(((Milfords Clean Energy Competition Kicks Off Officially! Come Celebrate)))

In a bid to foster some friendly competition, Milford's ECC has issued a clean energy sign-up challenge to all of Milford: clubs, non-profits, organizations, businesses, city boards, committees, commissions, citizens, etc... Pledge to sign up a minimum of 10 or more. Our goal is to make buying clean energy the norm in Milford not the exception. Sign up for clean energy online or at our celebrations - www.ctinnovations.com/communities/Milford.php
Master of Ceremonies ( TBA )
Come Celebrate Phil Russel's Birthday, and discuss putting free solar panels on our schools.

Unshackle Our Country! Come Sign Our Declaration Of Clean Energy Dependence. It's 12 ft long, with plenty of room for everyone's John Hancock!

Looking for volunteers who love wearing American Revolutionary Costumes!Fife and Drum Corps welcomed

July's - Green Toast Of The Town - Milford's Two Market Masters
Sabrina Santoro of www.sunflowerfarm.com
and
Annalisa Chapman of Woodmont, woodmontfarmersmarket@gmail.com

Please join us in paying tribute to some very special local heroines.
Thanks for enriching our community and way of life!

To Milford's MarketMasters!

------------------------------------------

August 27 Milford's (((BIG EASY)))

Light Up the Night For Clean Energy

Be a Star & sign up for clean energy it is so easy…

MILFORD'S 1st Annual "BIG EASY" Celebrating Clean Energy New Orleans Style. We are calling it the (Big Easy) because it is so easy to sign up for clean energy. Join the fun, wear festive clothing or costumes, bring noise makers, and pirates welcomed! Bonus: free solar panels to put on our local schools, illuminating their world! Local businesses are sponsoring fun festive costumes!

Unshackle Our Country!

Come Sign Our Declaration Of Clean Energy Dependence and get plugged into civic action.

August -Green Toast Of The Town Award
Please join us in paying tribute to some very special local Green Citizens.
Thanks for enriching our community and way of life!

Milford Residents Ann & Harry Garafalo, Shop Rite Supermarket

and
Alderman Barbara Lambert, D-2 for her clean energy work

To Ann, Harry and Barbara!

July 18, 2008 at 4:14 AM 

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