Eco-Friendly Driving Habits: A Win for Everybody

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These days, it’s not difficult to reduce the carbon footprint while on the go. Not only is the global market for hybrid and electric cars expected to grow through at least 2015, but car makers are coming up with all kinds of ways to inspire eco-friendly driving. For example, Chevrolet is equipping all 2013 models […]

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Why Electric Driving is an Affordable Reality in Britain

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Ford, Renault-Nissan, and Daimler have announced that they are joining their knowledge, technology and resources to create the world’s first mass-produced, affordable fuel cell car. The big three have set themselves a deadline of 2017 to have the model and its technology up to scratch and ready for the market.

This news brings with it the proof that the auto industry are finally becoming more environmentally aware, working with governments and scientists to create a green driving experience that doesn’t have its revolution lodged firmly in a space-age future.

Fuel cell cars work by replacing petrol with hydrogen. The fuel cells convert the chemical energy produced from combining hydrogen and oxygen in the engine to electrical energy to power the motor. You may be surprised to learn that fuel cell cars are not a new concept. In fact, the first fuel cell car came about in 1959. Unfortunately, due to the cost of developing the technology, fuel cell cars have never really become much more than a distant ideal…

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‘Round Town Rides: The Green Commuter Bike Revolution

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog, Economy, Front Page, Slideshow, Transportation

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Getting to and from work without driving a car or an SUV has become the new green anthem. According to a National Household Travel Survey, done by the U.S. Department of Transportation, 75 percent of commuters commute alone. Because of this high amount of solo commuters, some are opting to ride alone differently: via a […]

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Green Is In at the 2013 Dallas Auto Show

December 17, 2012 by  
Filed under 2013, Blog, Car, Diesel, Electric Cars, Front Page, Hybrid, Slideshow

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The 2013 DFW Auto Show in Dallas may be months away, but anticipation is already growing in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Dozens of automakers including BMW, Ford, Audi, Scion and Jeep have announced their participation in the event, and DFW Metropolitan New Car Dealers Association has opened the Dallas Convention Center showroom to eco-friendly businesses looking to sell their products or services. For as little as $200, sustainability-conscious businesses can promote their “green” initiatives in a dedicated booth.

Automakers’ recent releases have added a “green” tint to the market, and fuel economy could be the defining element of the 2013 Dallas Auto Show. Toyota’s Prius, a hybrid, has inspired the next wave of fuel-efficient technology. Clean diesel technology, all-electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cells could all be on display in Dallas from March 13-17, 2013.

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VW Feels the Force of Greenpeace — Time and Again

December 1, 2012 by  
Filed under 2012, Blog, Car, Carbon, Europe, Front Page, Industries, Slideshow

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With Star Wars back in the news, thanks to the recent Disney purchase of Lucasfilm Ltd., it looks like the intergalactic legend will continue somewhere in a galaxy far, far away. Somewhat closer to home, the Star Wars iconography has been effectively used by environmental campaigners Greenpeace to launch their own assault on the lack of eco-credentials of many car manufacturers, with Volkswagen firmly in its sights.

What could be called the “Car Wars” saga began as a Superbowl ad in 2011. VW premiered a Star Wars themed commercial for the Passat packed with cute kids in the costumes of Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, C3P0, et al. Greenpeace was, at the time, involved in campaigning against VW’s continued opposition to proposed changes to CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) regulations in the States and to European laws seeking to impose stricter limits on the C02 emissions of new vehicles. Greenpeace claims that VW and other car manufacturers are lobbying against worldwide initiatives to reduce emissions and, whilst boasting of their latest eco concept cars, are failing to bring truly accessible greener cars to market….

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Top-Rated Eco-Friendly Cars

December 2, 2011 by  
Filed under Blog, Car, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Hybrid, Natural Gas, Slideshow

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Between rising gas prices and the ever-present issue of climate change, there’s never been a better time to consider environmentally friendly cars. Once relegated to only a small sliver of the population, improved technology means eco-friendly cars are beginning to overcome many of the typical stereotypes they’re associated with. Here are three of the best choices to help you minimize your impact on the environment.

Honda Civic GX

Although hybrid and electric vehicles garner most of the public’s attention, Honda’s natural-gas-powered Civic GX leads the pack in emission standards. The Civic GX has won the American Council for Energy-Efficient Economy’s “Greenest Vehicle of the Year” award for eight consecutive years. Since it is fueled entirely by natural gas, the GX is the cleanest internal combustion vehicle ever tested by the EPA, and meets federal zero evaporative emissions standards….

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There’s a Lot to Love about Denver

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I fell in love last weekend. Oh, it was a rash thing to do, I know. But love at first sight isn’t particularly logical. It doesn’t require scrutiny and deep consideration. And love at first sight is exactly what I experienced as soon as I entered Denver.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m quite attached to my own hometown, Iowa City. It’s a lovely place, full of the culture and history of famous writers who’ve lived here and walked the same streets I walk. Iowa City has a lively pedestrian mall that hosts concerts and street fairs. It’s friendly. And it’s a great place to meet like-minded environmentalists. I love living here. Yet, I have to admit, I am tempted by the charms of another city….

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Beyond the River Banks – IRR Annual Conference April 30 – May 2

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If you love Iowa’s rivers, you won’t want to miss the 5th annual conference hosted by Iowa Rivers Revival at the end of this month. The conference will be held from April 30 through May 2 in Cedar Falls and Waterloo. This year’s theme is “Beyond the River Banks: Celebrating Iowa’s Cedar Valley.”

As Iowans — and those who followed the severe Midwest flooding of 2008 — know, the Cedar Valley experienced historic water levels, reaching beyond the 500-year floodplain in Cedar Rapids and other places along the Cedar River watershed. The conference “emphasizes a watershed approach that recognizes that rivers and streams need space to expand and recede, coexisting in harmony with the communities and habitats they shape,” according to IRR’s executive director, Rosalyn Lehman.

“The floods of 2008 and threats of future flooding have many Iowans talking about a new vision for Iowa’s waterways to ensure the safety of river communities and to preserve and enhance Iowa’s natural heritage,” Lehman says….

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Green Campus Project Wants Your Vote

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Have you ever had a dream about a great project that would benefit humanity? Maybe it was little more than an idea. Or maybe you actually got to the stage where you had it all planned out and ready to go, but the funding just wasn’t there.

That’s where Marty Leenhouts finds himself today. He has an idea about a Green Campus Project that will benefit college and university students, reduce emissions and traffic congestion, and make the world a little greener. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have the funds to make his vision a reality.

But PepsiCo does. And Pepsi has invited people with vision to submit their own project ideas to the Pepsi Refresh Project, to compete for some pretty hefty cash prizes each month. Here’s the story of one of those projects, in the Planet category. As visionary Marty Leenhouts says, “The fulfillment of the Green Campus project will only happen with the winning of the contest.”

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Leenhouts to tell us about his vision and what he hopes to accomplish with the Green Campus Project….

LEENHOUTS: I’m an educator by heart and by trade for many years, and so my interest has been with students for a long time. My involvement with electric transportation began with an interest in doing something good for the environment. I started it when gas was over $3 a gallon — about a year and a half ago.

People needed a different way to get around that was economical, clean, quiet, easy to ride. Nothing deluxe. Just to get from point A to point B. That got me involved in electric transportation….

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Watch Out for the Green Police!

February 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Diesel, Eco-Friendly, Front Page, Marketing, Slideshow

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It’s Friday, snow is falling again, and I’m in the mood for a little lighthearted entertainment. Since Joe and I don’t have a television (by choice, thank you very much), I rarely see the ads that the rest of the world sees. Today, our friend, Gregory Johnson sent us a link to the Audi “Green Police” ads, and I enjoyed them so much that I thought I’d share.

According to Audi’s “Green Police” YouTube channel, the commercials are intended as an entertaining way to make several points about how we harm the environment in our daily lives:

“As part of the lead up to their third consecutive Super Bowl ad, Audi has created a fictional Green Police unit that are caricatures of todays [sic] green movement. The Green Police are a humorous group of individuals that have joined forces in an effort to collectively help guide consumers to make the right decision when it comes to the environment. They’re not here to judge, merely to guide these decisions.” …

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Donate Vehicle –> Help Charity –> Get Tax Deduction

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Hundreds of thousands of people donate their junkers — and even, good, used vehicles — each year to benefit their favorite charities. One company that helps make that possible is the Vehicle Donation Processing Center (VDPC), owned and operated by Harvard E. “Pete” Palmer, Jr. of Oakland, California, and his business partner, John R. Learned.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with Palmer by phone from his California office. We asked him to tell what happens when consumers gift their vehicles through his program and to explain the advantages for all parties. In the process, we also learned some interesting facts about charitable tax deductions. — Publisher

PALMER: It would be lovely to say that everybody thinks about car donation as a tremendous way to help a charity of their choice, or charities in general. That may well be a part of everybody’s thinking, and certainly it is the big part of what we believe; but for most people, that’s the minority thing. For the great majority, they are looking for a one-time garbage-removal service. …

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IC Ecocabs — These Ecopreneurs Are on a Roll

October 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Bicycle, Blog, Ecopreneurs, Front Page, Iowa, Slideshow, Youth

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Imagine that you’re a student at the University of Iowa, living not too far from campus. Running late, you find yourself in need of getting to downtown Iowa City in a hurry. Maybe you have a date, and it’s the first date. Or maybe it’s that last class of the day — the only class of the entire week that takes place at night. Regardless, you need to get moving. What are your options?

Driving? That takes too much effort. Walking? You surely won’t get there soon enough. Calling a taxi? After the wait and the expense, that’s completely out of the question. So what are you to do?

Call my friends, Vik and Veena Patel, who operate a pedi-cab service. They’ll pick you up and quickly get you where you need to go — all at no cost to the environment. …

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Chicago Hosts First Annual Carbon Day Festival

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Chicago-area environmentalists gathered in Lincoln Park on September 15 to celebrate Carbon Day, which the Illinois state legislature designated as an official state holiday earlier this year, as reported on Blue Planet Green Living. The festival was ideally sited amid a beautiful stand of shade trees and conifers adjacent to Lincoln Park’s Farm in the Zoo. The event featured demonstrations, educational booths, speeches, and activist organizations. In addition, visitors learned about sponsoring companies and area businesses committed to the goal of reducing the national carbon footprint and making a positive impact on the environment…

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Car-Sharing – Good for the Environment and the Budget

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Car-sharing is an emerging transportation trend that can reduce both your carbon and cash emissions in a single card swipe.

Interested?

We thought so.

The concept originated in Switzerland in the late 1980s and migrated to North America by way of Quebec City in 1994, according to Kevin McLaughlin, publisher of Toronto-based CarSharing.net, an industry resource website. “Car sharing offers city dwellers who don’t require a vehicle to get to work an alternative to owning a private car,” he explains. “About 80 percent of the expense of owning a car is fixed cost that you’ll pay whether you drive or not. If there’s a car sitting out front, you’ll find yourself using it more to justify the expense — even if it’s just to go a few blocks. Car sharing makes it possible to kick the car habit. If you drive less than 5,000 miles a year, this is going to save you money. Also, if you no longer own a car, you’re going to walk or ride your bike those few blocks. So you end up living a healthier lifestyle.” …

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Join the Fun – Help Plan Chorlton’s 2010 Big Green Festival

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The wheels are in motion once again for the second Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, which will take place on Sat 27 March 2010.

Nobody could have predicted the success of April’s festival, which brought in more than 1,500 festival goers, and saw the likes of a bicycle parade around Chorlton, wheelie bin displays, a solar/wind powered sound system, swap shops and a foot stomping ceilidh, as well as guest speakers, eco workshops and live entertainment…

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Product Review – Lucky Earth Waterless Car Wash

August 20, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Car, Consumer Goods, Events, Front Page, Reviews

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Way back in June, I got an email from someone representing Lucky Earth products. She wanted to send me a sample of Lucky Earth’s Waterless Car Wash. “Sure,” I replied. “I’ll give it a try.” The sample bottle arrived a few days later, along with a packet of two “Super Cool (TM) Microfiber Towels.” By then it was early July. The items sat on a shelf until today. You can probably see where I’m going with this: I’m not a fan of washing my car.

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GE Requests Stimulus Funds for Advanced Batteries – and Green Collar Jobs

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General Electric’s proposed $100 million battery manufacturing facility was probably just the kind of project President Obama had in mind when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) passed in February.

If funded, GE’s sodium-battery producing facility will create 350 new green-collar jobs. The facility is to be built at a still-to-be-determined location in upstate New York. These batteries will power hybrid locomotives, mining trucks, and tugboats. They will also provide back-up power for stationary applications like telecom, which needs an uninterrupted power supply…

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Spinning Tires – Biking Out of Town

July 2, 2009 by  
Filed under Bicycle, Blog, Events, Front Page, Iowa, Travel

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, usually. Sometimes it begins with a stroke of a pedal. My ambition was not to reach nirvana, so it may be more appropriate to change the adage to something like, “A trip of 65 miles begins with a stroke of a pedal.” It was early June, and I had a three-day break from work. This was still the season when the days get longer, the nights are chilly, not cool, and storms are more prevalent than afternoons at the beach. The perfect time for vacation. A much needed one, at that. Work was beginning to wear on me, and my routine wasn’t allowing the peaceful thinking that helps me enjoy going to sleep and look forward to waking up.

A vacation doesn’t need to be a faraway place. Thoreau and Emerson both thought one should only travel as far as his own means could take him. In this way, he stays connected to himself. With my shoes in the straps of my newly purchased bicycle pedals and my tires on the pavement, I looked forward to a long and adventurous day, one that I had been preparing for by bicycling a few hours every week in the largest hills the region has to offer. The air was clean, the sun was shining, the wind like a scarf wrapped around my neck. We began, my two friends — Joe Scott and Colin Kraemer — and I on a trip from Iowa City to Fairfield…

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Green Living on Wheels – Take a Spin at a Bike Library

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Joe’s post last week about riding a bicycle reminded me that I’m a bike-riding wannabe. I look with envy at friends, who ride with ease down our city streets, then cruise 50 miles down country roads in a single day. I’m awed by people my age — and older — who train for and ride in RAGBRAI (Register and Gazette Bike Ride Across Iowa), the annual bike trek across our state. While a trans-Iowa ride is not on my list of things to do before I die, I hear it’s a lot of fun. But that’s not what I dream of.
All I want is to cruise downtown to the library, ride to my local coffee shop, or zip over to a friend’s house like I did when I was a kid. (My office is a 20 step commute from my bedroom, so biking to work is out.) So what’s stopping me? I don’t have a bike.

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The Green Commute — Bike to Work

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It’s a beautiful spring day. What shall I do to save the planet from self–destruction today? My superhero suit is at the cleaners, so maybe I’ll just ride my bike to work. Hey, let’s bike together!

What do you mean, “Why bike?” I can answer that: It saves gas, reduces my carbon footprint, and doesn’t pollute. It builds muscle and controls weight. (Hey, check out these glutes—you can’t get those sitting in a bucket seat.) It’s even good for my heart. What’s not to like?

Oh, I see. You’re one of those people who has to find something to complain about. Have at it. Nothing you can say will phase me. You’re not talking to just anyone, you know; I’m the Green Commuter!

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