Improve Your Home – and Save Taxes – with a “Green Mortgage”

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Energy-efficient mortgages (EEM), also known colloquially as green mortgages, are still relatively unknown among homeowners. Perhaps it’s due to a lack of information, or perhaps even due to mismanaged marketing, but green mortgages, started by the Federal Housing Administration in 1995, are a great way to improve one’s home, finances, and health.

Few homeowners know that energy-efficiency upgrades can get them tax credits. Fewer know that with an energy-efficient home, they lessen their carbon footprint and contribute more to making their communities sustainable. An EEM makes both of these possible.

The New York Times reports that less than one percent of all mortgage loans are green mortgages, quoting industry stakeholders. Over the past few years, more and more people are getting concerned about the energy performance of their homes. Environmentalists and industry stakeholders alike hope that green mortgages increase to prop up the already weak mortgage market….

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Words of Warning

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In an online article in The New York Times posted today, writer Elizabeth Rosenthal reports on the worldwide loss of small animal species due to climate change. She writes,

Over the next 100 years, many scientists predict, 20 percent to 30 percent of species could be lost if the temperature rises 3.6 degrees to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the most extreme warming predictions are realized, the loss could be over 50 percent, according to the United Nations climate change panel.

The article sparked a response from professional storyteller and Ph.D. candidate Chris Vinsonhaler. Vinsonhaler is a river activist and the founder of Iowa River Call, a group dedicated to connecting fourth graders to the Iowa River. Her goal, and the goal of her co-founders, is to instill children with a love of the Iowa River and of nature….

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The Devil You Know

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It is a sad fact
that many of the women
in domestic violence shelters,
at any point in time,
will go back to their abusers.
(yes, it is true)

In fact, a large percentage will go back.
and many will go back more than once.
that means, of course,
that they leave and go back and then
find it necessary to leave again
and go back again
and leave again…

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Notes from New Mexico – Documenting Ecotourism

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From Albuquerque, highway 25 sprawls northeast to Santa Fe and Taos, alongside vast mountain ranges, beside pastel-red adobe homes and flashing casino lights, past cholla cacti and ranching supply stores and tribal reservations. The Rio Grande River Gorge cuts through the landscape, quietly winding south under a brilliant blue sky.

New Mexico is a place of converging cultures, a state where ranch lands border Native American reservations; where filmmakers, skiers, and artists flock; where Hispanics and descendants of Spanish conquistadors live together, along with 19 sovereign Native American nations. The topography is just as diverse, from sprawling deserts to high mountain ranges and pine forests.

I was in New Mexico with Green Living Project, a media production and marketing company that showcases sustainability initiatives around the globe, to check out the state’s ecotourism initiative….

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