Tag Archives: Greenhouse gas

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

SAVE THE DATE: September 29th-30th The 12th Annual Renewable Roundup is Back!

Renewable Roundup 2012!

At a Glance…

WHAT?!?!: The 12th Annual Renewable Roundup is a sustainability symposium centered around green living, alternative energy education, family festivities, and sustainable lifestyle practices for our future. This event wouldn’t be complete without it’s A-list of Guest Speakers, Hands-on Workshops, Eco-friendly Vendors, Progressive Exhibitors, Tasty Food Demonstrators, and Supportive Sponsors.

WHERE?!?!: Fredricksburg, Texas

WHEN?!?!: The last weekend in September. Saturday September 29th 9:00am – 6:00pm and Sunday September 30th 9:00am- 5:00pm

HOW?!?!: For more information on how to get involved with the Roundup as a either a participant or patron, visit http://theroundup.org/.

WHO?!?!: Everyone and anyone is invited! We encourage all individuals and families to come out to this great event looking to learn about sustainable living practices. This event is proudly brought to you by a joint effort from TREIA, Texas Center for Policy Studies, and The Texas Sierra Club Lone Star Chapter.

Learn How, Here!

In Depth…


Great News!  The annual Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair will be taking place again this year in the beautiful and historical town Fredericksburg, Texas! Organized by the Texas Renewable Energy Industry Association, in collaboration with the Texas Center for Policy Studies and the Lone Star Chapter, Sierra Club, Renewable Roundup is a collaborative event centered around individuals, organizations, and companies passionate about sustainable living.  The event planning committee is working hard on making this year’s show the best ever. The underlining theme of this weekend event strives to promote cleaner and smarter ways of using our resources while educating the public about “Greener” lifestyles and options. This event serves as both a conference and festival, as it enlightens, entertains, and publicizes those interested in a brighter greener future. We would love to have you at this extraordinary event the 4th weekend in September (Sept. 29 &30). Please check out our website http://www.theroundup.org/ to find out more or contact Event Coordinator Laura Rice at info@theroundup.org.


  • Attend!
  • Apply to be a Guest Speaker
  • Host a workshop the Friday before the gates open on Saturday morning
  • Reserve a booth or exhibit space to advertise and or promote a sustainable idea or product
  • Advertise
  • Sponsor the event
  • Volunteer at the event
  • Come to the VIP kick-off party Friday evening

Can’t Wait to See Everyone There! 🙂

-Danya Gorel Sierra Club Intern

~Special Thanks to Mentor and Conservation Director Cyrus Reed~

Weather Forcast at Big Bend: 100% Chance of Haze!

If you’re like most born-and-raised Texans, you’ve visited Big Bend National Park at least once in your lifetime. My first experience with Big Bend was at five years old, when my parents took me over the summer. We hiked Panther Park and all through the Rio Grande Valley. My parents still talk about how I couldn’t get enough of that park. I would demand we go just a few more feet on the trial so I could find a new plant or catch that roadrunner. Big Bend called me back for many more trips, including one Spring Break where my friends and I climbed South Rim and Emory Peak.

We felt like we were on top of the world.

Unfortunately, Big Bend is being threatened in a very serious way. Nearby coal plants are causing a severe amount of haze pollution that is not only obscuring visibility in an area that thrives off of its breathtaking vistas, but is causing a health hazard to visitors.

Haze is the visible pollution emitted from the smokestacks of coal plants. It is caused by fine particulate matter made up of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrous oxide (NOX) and ammonia; you know, the same stuff found in cigarettes and cat pee. Haze can be responsible for serious respiratory illnesses and can trigger asthma attacks, something that is not particularly fun when hiking in the middle of an arid national park.

Apart from the health side effects that we experience and the encroachment on our scenery, haze is also responsible for acid deposition and eutrophication, when minerals and nutrients build up to unnatural levels and can kill animal life.

In short, haze pollution is not only killing us, it’s killing our park!

What can be done about this serious problem? How can we preserve Big Bend for our children and grandchildren? First, we have to understand the emissions rules set in place for these coal plants.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in a transition process of determining the best method of reducing pollution from these power plants.

Most pollution from coal plants had never been regulated until this past year, when EPA finalized its landmark mercury health protections and set targets for reducing pollutants like soot and smog. With EPA’s proposal for haze pollution, ALL coal plants within a certain proximity to national parks like Big Bend must reduce their haze emissions. Requiring these plants to reduce their pollution is extremely important. The degree of reductions is also important – EPA must ensure that the pollution reductions are meaningful.

The alternative to CSAPR (In actuality, some are considering CSAPR  alternative to this) is BART, or Best Alternative Retrofit Technology. BART would require ALL coal plants within a certain proximity to Class 1 National Parks to reduce their haze emissions down to a specified degree. Sound like a good idea? That’s because it is. BART will ensure the haze factories near our state park will be required to eliminate a certain amount of haze emissions from our sky.

Here’s how you can help. The EPA is taking comments on these standards until February 23rd. Submitting a comment to the EPA is fast, easy, and meaningful. Tell the EPA that we want to keep our national park as beautiful as the day we first visited.

I want Big Bend to remain as beautiful as when I was five years old, as aw-inspiring as when I felt on top of the world that one spring. I’m betting you feel the same way.





Here’s how you can help:

  • Go online and send in a comment to the EPA telling them that you don’t stand for lax haze pollution standards. Be sure to personalize your message!
  • If you want to send pictures of your trips at Big Bend to the EPA, here’ the snail mail address. Show them how important this landmark has been in your life

EPA Docket Center, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode 6102T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, Washington DC 20460

  • Tell your friends! Get others to send a comment to the EPA, share the comment link on facebook or twitter and get everyone you know involved!

The Last Mountain

The Last Mountain (click to see our poster about the movie!)

If you haven’t heard yet, today (July 21st) is the LAST day to see The Last Mountain in Austin at the Regal Arbor Cinema at Great Hills. It’s a film that has it all- explosions, drama, and a happy ending.

Showtimes are: 2:50 pm      5:20pm     7:50pm     10:20pm

 This is an inspirational film in which community joins together to prevent their mountain from being destroyed by the coal industry.

But it’s not just about saving the mountain, it’s also about protecting democracy. Moreover, at stake is the health of everyone in the community which has already been compromised by previous mining operations.

Learn more about the movie and see the trailer here.

But coal doesn’t just affect this community, it affects YOU too. See how coal affects you and come out to see the movie and support the movement for cleaner energy solutions!

Say it in Star Wars: Dismantling the EPA

Lately, it really does feel like The Empire is Striking Back. Our Big Kahuna Mike Brune (that’s our executive director, y’all), after the difficult election back in November, wrote that “The Dirty Energy Empire broke all campaign spending records and used their financial Death Star to target any politician who took a stand on clean energy and global warming.”

True story. And now, we’re about to see what that Empire looks like. Who will be the metaphorical Alderaan? Which communities will the Empire stomp all over in its quest for dirty fuel? And most importantly, who will be Han Solo? All these important questions, answered:

Dark politics approach as this Congress starts picking up speed.  To protect health and environmental quality, normal people establish laws, guidelines, and standards. Lords of the Dark Side get rid of these laws, guidelines, and standards.

This is how they do it:

1) Disapproving, through legislation, rules established by the scientists at the EPA, using the Congressional Review Act (similar to Senator Lisa Murkowski’s bill (R-AK), from last year).

2) Appropriations riders to defund EPA rules. (Appropriations riders allocate money for federal programs. No funding for EPA rules means no rule enforcement.)

3) Delaying EPA’s authority to clean up greenhouse gas emissions. H.R. 97 introduced by Rep. Marcia Blackburn (R-TN-7) would amend the Clean Air Act to stipulate that greenhouse gases are not subject to the Act. We also expect Rep. Upton (R-MI-6) to craft a bill that inhibits EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions.

In the 40 years since Americans demanded its creation, the EPA has saved millions of lives by enforcing clean air and water standards. More than 1.7 million asthma attacks and $110 billion in healthcare costs were avoided in 2010 alone, thanks to the agency’s efforts.

Dismantling environmental protections would be catastrophic for our health and for the quality of our environment.

I’ll say it in Star Wars: Dismantling environmental protections would be like giving Chancellor Palpatine emergency executive powers.

Are you willing to leave your moisture farm and go fight for justice? Get started. Send a letter to the editor. Sign up to volunteer with us. And buckle up, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

-Flavia de la Fuente, Conservation Organizer

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