Tag Archives: Donna Hoffman

Missed the Gulf TV Documentary? Watch it Online

Although exact numbers are still being tallied, all indications are a large audience saw TPWD’s TV documentary “The State of the Gulf: America’s Sea” on PBS last week. For those who missed it, the entire program can now be viewed online at www.texasthestateofwater.org, where anyone can see the show’s various segments posted as separate short videos, or download an order form to buy it on DVD. Among those who saw the PBS broadcast was House Appropriations Committee Chairman Jim Pitts, who asked Executive Director Carter Smith to tell committee members about the documentary at last week’s budget markup meeting. Smith told legislators the show is part of a 10-year TPWD water communication initiative that culminates this year. One of the largest PBS stations in Texas, Houston’s KUHT (Channel 8) has added three more air dates for the documentary: Friday March 25 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, March 27, 5 p.m. and Wednesday, March 30 at 10:30 p.m.

Posted by Donna Hoffman

Sunny day in Houston!

Pasadena ISD Superintendent Dr. Kirk Lewis is happy with the solar project at Sam Rayburn High School.

Hippies and Presidents have been asking for solar power since the 1970’s.  Now, we’re making it so.  Today in Houston in the shadow of one of the world’s largest petro-chemical complexes — Pasadena ISD, the Houston Advanced Research Center, and Ignite Solar took one of many giant leaps forward in Texas’s buildout of solar power.

With funds from Sierra Club’s settlement with Shell of a citizen’s suit under the Clean Air Act, the Pasadena partners have installed the largest solar array on a Texas school.  The project involves students in studying the ways different types of solar technology work.  And…it produces power!

Ken Kramer, Director of the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club

Here’s what Ken Kramer had to say this morning at the ribbon-cutting ceremony:

Today’s celebration in Pasadena marks an accomplishment that the Sierra Club hopes will become a commonplace event – the completion of a solar power installation that not only benefits the environment but also enhances our ability to educate students in a way that saves tax payer money and teaches practical solutions to society’s pressing problems.

We face a number of serious challenges in Texas at this moment in our history. One of those challenges is the ongoing air pollution that plagues many of our cities for long periods of each year, despite the progress that has been made in addressing a number of emissions sources. Another equally vexing challenge is the severe funding crisis that is being felt in school districts around the state as a result of economic conditions and state government’s revenue shortfall.

The amazing thing is that right here at Sam Houston High School in Pasadena today we are witnessing the implementation of a clean energy solution that speaks both to cleaning up our air and stretching our education dollars. The use of solar energy avoids the serious pollution and public health impacts of powering our society through the burning of dirtier fuels such as coal and tar sands. Moreover distributed solar power installations such as the ones being employed here allow the Pasadena Independent School District to save approximately $15,000 each year in energy costs – money that may be spent directly educating our youth.
That’s the kind of long-term investment that pays dividends in so many ways.

The Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club is proud to have played a role in securing a significant part of the funding for this solar power initiative. That funding came as a result of a settlement in a major citizen suit filed under the federal Clean Air Act with our partners at Environment Texas. We wish that Sierra Club and Environment Texas did not have to step forward to do the job that state environmental officials ought to be doing themselves to clean up our air and protect the health of our citizens. But my organization is pleased that our citizen enforcement action in this case has had benefits far beyond the direct reductions in air emissions that are resulting from that settlement.

We’ll have more to say about those direct reductions in air pollution in the next several days, but right now we’re thrilled to join with HARC, the Pasadena school district, Ignite Solar, the State Energy Conservation Office, Environment Texas, and others to celebrate another milestone in the bright new age of solar power in Texas.”

Statement by Ken Kramer, Post by Donna Hoffman

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Gulf CAR SPILL Update #1

I sold my 1999 Nissan Altima the week before taking off on a jumbo jet for a two week vacation – my virgin visit to the Pacific northwest.  I got a round trip ticket to Seattle for $150 using points from my credit card. 

Seattle Space Needle from the ferry coming in from Victoria

 Swinging such a good deal,  I felt icky about capitalism and happily grown up and clever at the same time. 

 The Altima was wrecked.  A danger to me and the environment.  That’s why I didn’t want to return from my trip to begin driving it again.  Thus the car spill.  I got rid of my car.  I spilled it. 

 You, too, can have a car spill if you’re ready to go there with alternative modes of transportation.  That’s what this Gulf Car Spill series is about!  We ask the question, “Can you really get out of a car in the Summer in Texas?” 

The front end of the wretched Altima – a generous gift from my mother — was hanging together by a thread.  I’d been hit twice in the rear, once by a huge truck.  I’d rear-ended a pleasant, forgiving Mexican immigrant in his work truck.  So the Altima was just plain ugly with scars and too many bumper stickers to be cool in No Longer Weird Austin.    I had to let it go. 

Thanks Clark Little for this awesome image

Beside the realistic fear of an imminent personal tragedy on the Ben White flyover, I also no longer wanted to be a part of the petroleum problem. ( If you’re patient with that website, you can see the Eva Mendes video all about that sticky wicket, the petroleum problem.) 

For me, the BP oil disaster put the final nail on my childhood fantasy of being a dolphin diving into pristine waves on the shore of my native north Padre. 

Tim sez -- Its fun to ride the train in Austin!

I grew up the child of oil and gas in the sparkling city by the sea, Corpus Christi.  My beloved Coastal Bend probably beats the Golden Triangle (Beaumont-Port Arthur-Orange) for second largest petro-chemical economy on the Texas Gulf Coast – after Houston’s  number one position.  Because I cherish my memories of baking like a 1980’s rock lobster on the sand every weekend of my high school years, the oil spill and then that small problem of global warming have made it hard for me to put the pedal to the metal and let the juice flow anymore, without thinking twice.  And three times?  You’re out!  Of the car. 

Light Link from Seattle Seatac Airport to Bell Town downtown

 So I had a car spill.  During the hottest month of the year in central Texas, I sold the Altima to my beautiful Syrian friends at High Tech Auto on South Congress for $700.  Not bad for barely running. 

Then, I got a ticket to ride, to practice riding the ample public transportation in Seattle and Portland.  Now, I’m home, have no car, its hot outside, and I’m doing fine — sharing cars, taking the bus,walking, sweating, riding my bike.   

 Wanna know how to car spill?  Stay tuned for the next Gulf Car Spill Update with revelations of more smart transportation solutions… 

Molly at Portland's City Bikes Workers Cooperative

  • How you can participate in the TxDOT Sunset Review or We can change I35
  • Clean Electric Vehicles on a Solar-powered grid — my favorite way to go!
  • Alas!  I under bid  my dream NEV
  • The ins and outs of Austin’s car-sharing  experiment with those cute, cute Smart Cars
  •  Car sharing with friends and lovers
  • Walking to work at 100 degrees and looking fresh when you arrive to do b’ness.
  • How to ride the bus!!!
  • Scooting to lunch on the electric scooter
  • Bike lanes, Bike corridors, Bike fun 

I love the public art at this Portland Train Station

 Brrreeeeng!  Brrrreeeeeng! 

(That’s the alerting  sound of the cruiser brass bike bell.) 

Donna Hoffman, Lone Star Chapter Sierra Club