Tag Archives: green

Renewable Roundup and Green Living Fair 2013

Mark you calendars everyone. The Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair of 2013 is just around the corner. This event is set to begin Friday, September the 27th  in beautiful Fredericksburg, Texas and plans to live up to the title of the largest all-sustainable event in the south, and the best!  This fair is a wonderful opportunity to have a great time with the family and see the newest up-and-coming developments for our environment.  The focus of the event is to present the latest information and technology concerning renewable energy, alternative transportation solutions, sustainable farming, and new efficient building technologies. As such, you can learn how to create and save your own energy, attend informative talks from a variety of green living experts, learn about the next generation in personal transportation technology, talk with the vendors about cutting-edge green living and sustainability practices, and – of course – take home or order some of the many products and services offered at the fair.

The fair will be taking place over the course of three days, Friday, September the 27th through Sunday the 29th and will be located in the MarketPlaza (100 East Main Street, 78624 Fredericksburg, Texas). If you’re curious about what you will be experiencing on any given day be prepared for exhibits and on-going demonstrations, fun learning activities for the kids, local and delicious eats, live musical performances and dozens of speakers all neighboring the beautiful Fredericksburg shopping district. For those who want to be closer into the action you can volunteer and contribute your time and skills all while earning a weekend pass and a one of a kind commemorative t-shirt with a unique design created by artist Hunter Ratcliff especially for the fair. You can choose to join and be alongside the hundred plus companies, agencies, and non-profit organizations spread out across the fairgrounds presenting this one of a kind event. You can also apply for an opportunity to speak at the fair and join the talented speakers who will be featuring hands-on information for consumers, the latest in green technology developments, and much more. There will be a wide variety of speakers giving presentations such as “Help Secure Your Future with a 100% Life Sustaining Capable Home,” “Waste to Water For Texas,” “Honey Bee Rescue and Rehabilitation,” “Growing Organic Vegetables all Winter,” “Saving Water through Solar Living,”  “Shifting our Economy by Investing in Local Food Systems,” “Air, Water, and Solar Power on the International Space Station,” and many more.  For more information on how to volunteer, have an exhibit of your own, or be a speaker you can go to theroundup.org to learn more. And for those who care to partake, there will be new Belgium, 100 percent wind-powered brewery’s beers and ales for sale. Also please remember to bring your own reusable water bottle to keep with the theme of the event as filtered water stations will be provided throughout the grounds.     

Not only is this fair a chance to get out of the house and have a fun time with the family, but also a chance to learn something new and take a step towards a healthy environment at the same time. This event fosters greater self-reliance and a more sustainable Texas for a growing population. For more details and information you can visit the official Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair website and be sure to come out for a fun and informative good time.

Written by: Christina Farrell


Seafood Watch

For special occasions, we turn to a nice sushi dinner or some good salmon. When we’re on the beach in Hawaii or sightseeing in San Francisco, we like to finish off the day with shrimp cocktails and fresh crab. Sometimes when we’re visiting exotic places, we’re introduced to enormous Tiger Prawns, shark fins, and conch. Admit it, seafood is usually an interesting and delicious twist to our everyday lives. For some people, avoiding things like shark fin, dolphin, and sea turtle is obvious. But it’s not just the exotic seafood choices that are the most harmful. In fact, it’s often the things we eat every day.

Bluefin Tuna

Seafood can be considered unsustainable for many different reasons. Some species, sea turtles included, are already endangered, often due to environmental strains other than fishing such as habitat loss and climate change. However, many other species such as the prized Bluefin Tuna (shown above) are on their way to endangerment simply because of unsustainable fishing practices and overfishing in the wild. This often makes fish farming seem like the most sustainable way to produce seafood, but unfortunately, this practice can also have downsides, such as drinking water pollution and natural habitat destruction. This makes eating seafood in general look grim. So should you be eating seafood and if so, how do you know?

The Bad News…

Location is everything with a lot of seafood out there, so it isn’t always as easy as saying yes or no to a certain type of fish. In some cases, sardines for instance, regulations or safe practices from one source make them a great option, where another source without safe practice should be avoided at all costs. The good part is, even though this is a tiny bit of effort on your part, you can always ask a restaurant or grocery store where that fish is from, and they’ll usually have an answer for you. If not, it’s up to you whether or not you want to buy it.

The Good News…

Seafood is great! And you can absolutely still eat a ton of it. You can still eat the following delicious seafood treats (and more) without worrying about sustainability:

  • Mussels
  • Clams
  • Mackerel
  • Catfish
  • Oysters
  • Scallops
  • Squid
  • Tilapia
  • And more!

Sometimes being sustainable isn’t the easiest choice, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California has an easy to use Seafood Watch List that you can look up online or through a phone app. The best thing you can do in this case and in any environmental matter is to keep yourself informed and inform others, so please visit the links to learn more.

-Morgan, Sierra Club Intern

Finding Out What the Term “Organic” Really Means

A typical day of grocery shopping is more complicated than one may think. When looking for peanut butter, for instance, one has to consider several things. Is the brand affordable? Does it have a lot of fat and sugar? If it’s healthy, will it still taste good? Is it natural? And most importantly, is it organic?


Too many people walk into grocery stores and associate anything labeled organic with the sometimes expensive price tag attached to it. Some people just buy organic either way simply because they’ve heard that it’s better. I mean, if it’s more expensive, that must make it good for you right? The sad part is, most people don’t really fully understand what the term organic means or why it is beneficial in our foods. So welcome to your crash course on organic shopping 101.

  1. Organic and all natural are not the same thing. “All Natural” is a term used on labels that is not regulated by the government in any way (other than some meat products) and could mean something as simple as just not using synthetic sugar. Organic, however, is a heavily regulated term that cannot be used on labels without official USDA certification. Also, while “All Natural” refers more to what is in the food, organic is referring to what is in the product and how it was made.
  2. A lot goes in to being USDA Organic Certified. USDA agents are in charge of visiting farms, etc. to see how the product is produced and how it affects the environment. Organically labeled products may not use genetically modified organisms (GMOs) or chemicals as fertilizer or pesticides. Antibiotics are also not allowed to be given to animals. They have to constantly maintain separation between organic and non-organic foods (sometimes from nearby farmers) and have to be inspected spontaneously. This is a problem especially now with the controversy of patents on GMOs by companies like Monsanto.
  3. Organic food is better for the environment. DDT, a pesticide used in the 50’s and 60’s, became banned because led to a rapid decrease in nearby species where it was used, particularly in birds. Pesticides today have a similar effect, but span out over longer periods of time. Chemicals used in those pesticides and in fertilizers also have a negative effect on water quality, which effect ecosystems nearby as well as people who use that water source for drinking.
  4. Organic food is better for you. Every time a person takes in antibiotics, bacteria becomes more immune to them. This means that every time you eat meat that has had antibiotics, you ingest some too, and become more resistant to them when you need them most. Similarly, eating produce that has been sprayed with pesticides can lead to a build up of toxins that can prove harmful for pregnant women, children, and the elderly.

Overall, organic food is a worthwhile payoff. A few cents extra on the price tag is much less than the medical bills or taxes to fix the environmental or personal harm that often occurs.

For more information, visit the following links:

Tips for Shopping for Organic Foods on a Budget

Organic Labeling Fact Sheet

Organic Certification Process Fact Sheet 

-Morgan Faulkner, Sierra Club Intern

Make Your Halloween Green

It’s that time of year again. Halloween brings joy to us all as an excuse to get together with friends and family and have a little fun. The holiday is not known for being especially “green” however. This year, let’s make it different.

Here are a few tips on how we can each make Halloween a little less scary for the environment:

1. Walk when trick-or-treating

  • There seems to be an increasing amount of families commuting to different neighborhoods to go trick-or-treating these days. I’ve even seen parents drive from house to house to avoid having to get out of the car while keeping an eye on the kids. The idling of vehicles emits a large amount of CO2 through exhaust fumes. Avoid this by staying local and leaving the car at home.

2. Give out environmentally friendly treats

  • We all know halloween candy isn’t all that environmentally sound. This year try giving out treats that won’t create as big of an impact. YummyEarth does a range of organic lollipops that are bound to keep the kids happy. Choosing chocolate wrapped in foil is also a great idea as it reduces the amount of plastic use and manufacturing required.

3. Compost your scraps

  • Pumpkin is full of nutrients so instead of letting your Jack-o-lantern rot on your front door step, add it to a composting pile. Mixing the pumpkin in with autumn leaves and other food scraps will create a concoction your garden will love.

4. Keep the neighborhood clean

  • While trick-or-treating, encourage your children to keep all opened candy wrappers in a reusable bag. This will reduce the amount of trash on the streets that could fly away and end up in environmentally sensitive areas.

5. Gather treats in reusable bags

  • Probably the most obvious of idea on the list. Give your children reusable buckets or bags to stow their candy in. Pillow cases work great for this as well!

There are many ways we can all make a difference this Halloween. Be part of the movement!

Helpful links:

Natural Candy Store


How To Compost

The Annual Renewable Energy Roundup

If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend look no further! The Annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair is this Saturday and Sunday, September 29th and 30th in Fredericksburg. The festival highlights the latest eco-friendly technologies, green energy sources, and environmentally conscious products for our daily lives. It’s two full days of great speakers, demonstrations, and exhibits.

The event is completely family friendly. There is even a build-your-own RC solar car race for all ages, so bring the whole family for a weekend of fun!

The Roundup is being held at The Market Square, 101 West Main Street in Fredericksburg. Gates open at 9 AM and stay open until 6 PM on Saturday and 5 PM on Sunday. Please visit the Renewable Roundup Ticket Page for advanced tickets. For your convenience, you can also get them at the gate day-of.

For more information visit The Roundup Website. We hope to see you there!

Map of The Event Location- 101 W. Main Street

Going Green, Literally?

With today marking the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, its time to dig through your drawers and pull out your green attire in celebration of the holiday, but also to avoid those pinchers on the prowl. To me, St. Patrick’s Day is one of those holidays that’s clearly not on the same tier as Christmas, Thanksgiving, or even Halloween but more of a day that is excusable to sit back and enjoy the televised parades or reach for that Jameson or Bailey’s bottle and enjoy a drink or three. On the other hand, I know people with Irish blood pumping through their veins will disagree and say that there’s a lot more to it. Each year, March 17th strikes the day of celebration of Saint Patrick, who many centuries ago brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle, also known as Ireland. It’s said to be told that St. Patrick used the shamrock to break down the Christian fundamentals of the Holy Trinity. The Holy Trinity, which refers to the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. One of the largest celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day in our home country is taken place in Chicago, Illinois. As a matter of fact, every Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day the city dyes the Chicago River green, which many decades ago was fused from an environmental issue.

The Chicago River is dyed green every Saturday before St. Patrick's Day.

Up until the 1960’s, all the industrial garbage the Windy City had produced over the years heavily polluted the Chicago River. Eventually, environmentalist put their foot down and got the city to pass pollution regulations protecting the river.  A man named Steve Bailey was one of the business managers of the Plumbers Local Union for Chicago at this time. Bailey, nonetheless, was also a voice for the St. Patrick’s Day plans for the city.One day in late 1961, a plumber walked into Bailey’s office with splashes of green all over his overalls. Amused and curious about these green stains, Bailey was eager to hear the story behind it.  As it turned out, the stains were from dye that had been put into waste lines to see whether or not buildings were still dumping out into the river. In other words, the plumber placed the dye into these building’s waste systems and observed near the end of the river for the emerald green dye in the water. It was suddenly then when a tradition had been born.

The White House fountains were also dyed green last year. The idea came from Chicago native, Michelle Obama.

Over the years, people have made pushes to make the dye substance more environmentally friendly.  They now use vegetable dye instead of the original outdated fluorescein dye that was also used during WWII to find soldiers in the ocean after their plane had been shot down. Water pollution issues in the U.S. have been addressed for over fifty years and in certain cases can indirectly aid other causes such as St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago. Here’s to a wonderful and safe St. Patrick’s Day, cheers.

Related Links : 2012 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade, St. Patrick’s Day history, St. Patrick’s Day clothing, Chemistry World Blog, The City of Chicago’s Official Tourism Site, Dying of The River

– Jarred Garza, Beyond Coal Sierra Intern