Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Climate Change and Sustainability Webinars Updated!

Check the link on the right for new webinars, as well as the Archived webinars from 2010 and 2009.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

And the Green Award goes to...

...Bob Kluz! 

Bob is North Cascades National Park Complex Headquarters Mail Room extraordinaire.  He was nominated and won the Green Award for his commitment to reusing shipping supplies, office materials and other household items that would other wise end up in a landfill.  Bob also has been collecting shredded paper form the North Cascades National Park Headquarters in Sedro-Woolley, WA.  Along with the mail, it gets hauled up to Marblemount to be composted, instead of ending up ina garbage dump.  Bob has offered many suggestions to the park on greening our facilities, however, his thoughts on ways to improve the efficiency and energy usage of our Greenhouse in Marblemount are worth noting here.

Bob and his wife Shelley have been working on improving their home, with the goal of producing tier own energy.  Whidbey Sun & Wind will be doing work on their home, once again, this time installing Photovoltaics. 

"In times like this, it just makes sense to put down the money, do the right thing and come out ahead a few years later.  Pretty soon, with the system we're putting in, we'll be pumping kilowatts back into the system and getting paid for it!" says Kluz.

We hope Bob and Shelley meet all their green goals and keep inspiring others to always look towards improving what we have.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Green Award for North Cascades National Park

Our Green Team has created a new award for North Cascades National Park!  Park staff and visitors alike can download the nomination form here.  Please fill it out electronically, save it, then email it by August 15th, 2010 to noca_green_team@nps.gov.

Park staff, volunteers and visitors are all acceptable nominees.  Please read the Nomination form for details.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Compost Diversion

Another little success story in the making here at NOCA are our compost operations.  In an attempt to reduce the amount of cardboard sent 50 miles down valley for recycling, we are composting a portion of it on site.  Recycling is a wonderful thing and it is also a process that has heavy green house gas emissions.  One way we at North Cascades can reduce the emissions from cardboard recycling is to limit the amount of cardboard that comes into the park, initially.  Asking our vendors to ship less packages, less often is ideal.  But like any business, we need "stuff" and we need it fast.  Perhaps a more realistic idea, is to compost as much of it, on site, as we can.  This will mitigate not only the emissions associated with the 50 mile haul to the nearest recycling center, but the many hundreds of miles it will travel thereafter (not to mention emissions from the recycling centers).  Did I mention that the compost will have local applications, such as use in park landscaping projects, the native plant nursery and as fill?

Now, by no means am I saying we ought to not recycle.  I am trying to show, however, that we ought to think about emissions diversion.  Can we decrease the amount of trips down valley to the recycling center by composting more on site?  Can we reduce our emissions in the process?  Thinking critically and analytically in this manner is the first step, in my opinion, towards true emissions reduction.  We ought to challenge and question the mitigation actions we are familiar with and experiment with our own.  What's the worst that will happen?  We'll have more compost than we'll know what to do with?

Step 1: Shred Cardboard.

 Step 2: Weigh Cardboard.

Step 3:  Transport Cardboard (using a zero emissions vehicle, of course)

Step 4:  Mix thoroughly with plenty of fresh horse manure and yard trimmings.  Cover.  Lather.  Rinse.  Repeat.

To date, nearly 200lbs of cardboard have been diverted from the trip down valley.  Nearly 60lbs of shredded office paper have also made their way into the compost process, primarily as feed for worms in our vermicompost bins.  The office shreds are non recyclable and up until today, have been thrown in the trash, in a plastic bag.  Not anymore!  We have a primitive, yet sophisticated process for collecting, transporting, inventorying and storing shredded office paper from Park Headquarters in Sedro-Woolley, Administration and other buildings on Marblemount as well as the Visitor Center in Newhalem.  All office shreds are accounted for, diverted from landfills and will be a part of a tangible, usable and Earth friendly product.  Compost!!!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Lessening Impacts.

Greetings!  Much has been going on here at NOCA to speed our efforts in reducing emissions and making smarter choices in our everyday actions.  Figured it be time for an update.

 As a park and a part of the global community, we can no longer deny our footprint, contributing to human forced climate change.  We are here to preserve and protect the cultural and natural resources the North Cascades contains and our actions ought to reflect our mission statement.

 As the summer season is right around the corner, perhaps revisiting our Climate Action Plan will help you gain insight into what kinds of steps we here at the Park are taking.

 Feel free to take a look at the North Cascades Climate Action Plan, download, print it on 100% post consumer recycled paper with organically grown, soy-based ink and take it on the commuter bus to work. 

Our goals in the Action plan are simple, yet challenging. 
  • Reduce greenhouse gas emissions that result from activities within and by the park.
  • Increase climate change education and outreach efforts.
  • Develop and implement a plan to adapt to a changing climate.
  • Continuously evaluate and improve performance in the Climate Friendly Parks program.

As you can see from our emissions source breakdown, the majority of our emissions come from visitor transportation.  So how can visitors reduce their emissions?  Certainly, we want to encourage park visitation, not discourage it.  Here are some simple behavior modifications we can all take part in to lessen our impact while at the park and in our (hopefully not) everyday driving.

  • Plan your trip before leaving home.  
  • Offer rides to friends or folks you know will be visiting the park the same time as you.
  • Drive efficiently and drive the speed limit.  Limit sudden stops and avoid peel-outs.
  • DO NOT IDLE - THIS INCLUDES RVs (See "The Idle Idol" from February)
  • Ask others to not idle if you see them, including park employees!!!


There are new webinars listed in the 2010 Climate Change Webinars link in the right hand column, below.  If you missed any that were of interest or want to see some that were held in the past, go to archived webinars - you can stil  either download them or view/liten to them online.