Sustainability and Environmental Education

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SUSTAINABILITY by Chris Sanders
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Corn and Fossil Fuel Usage


Fossil-fuel energy is used to produce corn, with the largest consumption involving nitrogen fertilizer production and grain drying. Analyses show that the energy output:input ratio with corn - i.e. amount of energy contained in harvested grain relative to the amount of fossil-fuel energy used for its production, including the production of inputs and equipment - is approximately 5.5:1 in Ontario (calculated using data pertinent to 1990 published in Cemcorp, 1992).

This ratio continues to improve. The ratio was calculated at about 4.95:1 in Ontario in 1974 (Stevenson and Stoskopf, 1974). It is expected that the ratio will increase to over 7:1 by 2000 as the trend to higher yields and lower tillage and pesticide usage continues (Cemcorp, 1992). Even greater energy efficiency ratios should be possible in the future through reductions in nitrogen fertilizer usage per tonne of corn produced, and improvements in grain-drying efficiency.

The present energy ratio for corn compares favourably with that of other crops (see, for example, Hamilton, 1977).

B I O M A S S

What is Biodiesel?

Biodiesel is the name for a variety of ester-based oxygenated fuels made from hemp oil, other vegetable oils or animal fats. The concept of using vegetable oil as an engine fuel dates back to 1895 when Dr. Rudolf Diesel developed the first diesel engine to run on vegetable oil. Diesel demonstrated his engine at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900 using peanut oil as fuel.

Properties of Biodiesel:

Today's diesel engines require a clean-burning, stable fuel that performs well under a variety of operating conditions. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that can be used directly in any existing, unmodified diesel engine. Because it has similar properties to petroleum diesel fuel, biodiesel can be blended in any ratio with petroleum diesel fuel. Many federal and state fleet vehicles are already using biodiesel blends in their existing diesel engines.

The low emissions of biodiesel make it an ideal fuel for use in marine areas, national parks and forests, and heavily polluted cities. Biodiesel has many advantages as a transport fuel. For example, biodiesel can be produced from domestically grown oilseed plants such as hemp. Producing biodiesel from hemp and other domestic crops reduces the United States' dependence on foreign petroleum, increases agricultural revenue, and creates jobs.

Advantages of Biodiesel:

  1. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel in the US to complete EPA Tier I Health Effects Testing under section 211(b) of the Clean Air Act, which provide the most thorough inventory of environmental and human health effects attributes that current technology will allow.
  2. Biodiesel is the only alternative fuel that runs in any conventional, unmodified diesel engine. It can be stored anywhere that petroleum diesel fuel is stored.
  3. Biodiesel can be used alone or mixed in any ratio with petroleum diesel fuel. The most common blend is a mix of 20% biodiesel with 80% petroleum diesel, or "B20."
  4. The lifecycle production and use of biodiesel produces approximately 80% less carbon dioxide emissions, and almost 100% less sulfur dioxide. Combustion of biodiesel alone provides over a 90% reduction in total unburned hydrocarbons, and a 75-90% reduction in aromatic hydrocarbons. Biodiesel further provides significant reductions in particulates and carbon monoxide than petroleum diesel fuel. Biodiesel provides a slight increase or decrease in nitrogen oxides depending on engine family and testing procedures. Based on Ames Mutagenicity tests, biodiesel provides a 90% reduction in cancer risks.
  5. Biodiesel is 11% oxygen by weight and contains no sulfur. The use of biodiesel can extend the life of diesel engines because it is more lubricating than petroleum diesel fuel, while fuel consumption, auto ignition, power output, and engine torque are relatively unaffected by biodiesel.
  6. Biodiesel is safe to handle and transport because it is as biodegradable as sugar, 10 times less toxic than table salt, and has a high flashpoint of about 300 F compared to petroleum diesel fuel, which has a flash point of 125 F.
  7. Biodiesel can be made from domestically produced, renewable oilseed crops such as hemp.
  8. Biodiesel is a proven fuel with over 30 million successful US road miles, and over 20 years of use in Europe.
  9. When burned in a diesel engine, biodiesel replaces the exhaust odor of petroleum diesel with the pleasant smell of hemp, popcorn or french fries.
  10. The Congressional Budget Office, Department of Defense, US Department of Agriculture, and others have determined that biodiesel is the low cost alternative fuel option for fleets to meet requirements of the Energy Policy Act.

Biodiesel Impact:

An important factor that is not usually considered when calculating the costs and benefits of industrial feedstock materials is the macroeconomic effect associated with domestically produced, renewable energy sources. Economic benefits of a biodiesel industry in the US would include value added to the feedstock (oilseeds or animal fats), an increased number of manufacturing jobs, an increased tax base from plant operations and income taxes, investments in plant and equipment, improvement of our trade balance, and reductions in health care costs due to improved air quality and greenhouse gas mitigation.

Biodiesel has positive impacts on the state economy. An Iowa State University study concluded that three economic benefits would accrue to state from biodiesel. First, biodiesel expands demand for soybean oil, causing processors to pay more for soybeans, In addition, soybean farmers near the biodiesel plant would receive slightly higher prices for soybeans; and third, the presence of a facility that creates energy from soybeans would add value to the state's industrial and income base.

Dr. Hayes concluded that, "If the state of Iowa were to mandate the use of a 20 percent biodiesel blend in its state vehicle fleet where feasible, the total additional cost of this policy would range from $400,000 to $500,000. If it could be shown that this policy would result in a new five million gallon biodiesel plant in the state, then the policy would create more new tax revenues than it would cost and would clearly be in the best interest of the state."

Biodiesel has positive implications for production agriculture. A 1996 economic study published by the USDA Office of Energy predicted that a modest, sustained annual market for biodiesel of 100 million gallons in the US would contribute approximately seven cents to the price of each bushel of soybeans produced in the US. Based on last years harvested crop, the increase could have resulted in more than $168 million directly to the use of biodiesel.

Biodiesel has a positive impact on the US balance of trade.A 1998 biodiesel lifecycle study jointly sponsored by the US Department of Energy and the US Department of Agriculture concluded that increased use of biodiesel and biodiesel blended fuels such as B20 would substantially benefit our economy. The report concluded that national spending to import petroleum sends significant amounts of dollars out of our domestic economy every year. Biodiesel offers the potential to shift this spending from foreign imports to domestically produced energy. The report notes: "With its ability to be used directly in existing diesel engines, biodiesel offers the immediate potential to reduce our demand for petroleum in the transportation sector."

Biodiesel contributes jobs to the local economy. Economic work conducted at the University of Missouri estimated the benefits of producing biodiesel in a metropolitan region. This study concluded that 100 million gallons of biodiesel production could generate an estimated $8.34 million increase in personal income and over 6,000 additional temporary or permanent jobs for the metropolitan region.1


References:
  1. National Biodiesel Board

We can covert any vegetable oil into diesel fuel 
below are my basic instructions
1. Simply add NaOH (lye) to vegetable oil (corn, hemp, jojoba, and peanut oil.)
(This combination of elements separates the glaciered molecule)
You will have two by-products a high quality soap at the bottom and a kerosene base liquid on top
stir until it will take no more NaOH
2. Add Methanol or even Ever clear.
3. You now have diesel.
If you are using used cooking oil you will first need to filter your oil.

There are many directions available on the internet. Here are a few of them below.

 The Alliance for Sustainability

Links

Sustainability and Environmental Education

ACTION
Sustainable Jobs
Sustainability and Environmental Education
Food Safety, Organic Food and GMOs
Green Business
Green Products
Spirituality and Sustainability
Judaism and Sustainability
Alternative Energy and Bio-diesel
 
Directories
Other Sustainability Sites and Organizations Hemp
Composting
Green Building and Design
Government
Pesticides and Chemicals
Tools
Minnesota
International
Miscellaneous

Take Action!

  • 20/20 Vision
    www.2020vision.org 20/20 Vision empowers citizens to speak out for a clean environment and a world free of nuclear weapons with new actions each month
  • ActForChange
    www.actforchange.com ActForChange makes it easy for people to become online activists and speak out on behalf of progressive issues. By combining progressive news with opportunities for citizen action, ActForChange is a powerful and far-reaching catalyst for social change.
  • Campaign Finance Reform
    http://www.citizen.org/congress/reform/refhome.html Visit Public Citizen's site to learn more about the McCain-Feingold-Cochran Campaign Finance Reform Bill. Fax your senators urging them to support the bill and oppose any effort to prevent the bill from being heard.
  • The Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods
    www.thecampaign.org Send letters to Congress, government agencies and grocery stores. Send e-mail to the media. Get updates about where your participation can make the biggest difference now.
  • GiveForChange
    www.giveforchange.com Make on-line donations to a wide range of social change organizations.
  • GreenCar.org
    greencar.policy.net Take 30 seconds to jump start American automakers -- send them the message to find a new direction today!
  • No Downers - A Farm Sanctuary Campaign
    www.nodowners.org Write to the Food and Drug Administration to urge that they grant a petition to prohibit the slaughter of downed animals.
  • Save Hemp
    www.SaveHemp.org Send an updated pre-written letter to all of your elected officials and the DEA telling them that you oppose a ban personal care products made with hemp

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Sustainable Jobs

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Sustainability and Environmental Education

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Food Safety, Organic Food and GMOs
  • Center for Food Safety
    www.foodsafetynow.org/ Includes editable e-mail letter to the FDA Commissioner demanding labeling for GMO foods (Do something!)
  • Consumers Union
    www.consumersunion.org/food/food.htm Lists press releases, letters and discussion papers on the topic of genetically modified foods and more
  • Friends of the Earth Real Food Campaign
    www.foe.co.uk/realfood/index.html A family guide to choosing healthy, GMO-free foods with information from around the world
  • International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM)
    http://www.ifoam.org International organization promoting sustainable agricultural systems worldwide
  • Local Harvest
    www.localharvest.org Searchable database of organic farms, CSAs, farmers markets and more across the US
  • National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture
    www.sustainableagriculture.net
  • Organic Consumers Association
    www.purefood.org/ Includes info on the BioDemocracy Campaign, a public interest organization dedicated to building a healthy, safe, and sustainable system of food production and consumption
  • OrganicHub Search
    www.organichub.com/ All organic search engine
  • Organic MD
    www.organicmd.org Health education web site presenting clear, straightforward advice from a physician
  • True Food
    www.truefoodnow.org/ Greenpeace’s site devoted to the campaign against genetically engineered foods
  • "Why Labeling Genetically Modified Organisms is Pointless"
    www.ratical.org/co-globalize/labelingGMOs.html A call to ban GMOs altogether from an EarthFirst!er in the UK
  • Willing Workers on Organic Farms
    www.wwoof.org WWOOF is dedicated to helping those who would like to work as volunteers on organic farms internationally

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Green Business

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Green Products

  • Acorn Designs
    www.acorndesigns.org Recycled and tree-free notecards, stationery and journals, and organic cotton t-shirts
  • Conservatries
    www.conservatree.com Looking for information on environmentally-friendly papers? Let this nonprofit web site be your guide.
  • Eco-Artware
    www.eco-artware.com Practical and pretty art pieces crafted from reused and recycled materials
  • EcoMall
    www.ecomall.com "Earth's Largest Environmental Shopping Center"
  • GreenPeople
    www.greenpeople.org The world's largest searchable database of eco-friendly products.
  • ShopForChange
    www.shop4change.com A percentage of the sales from ShopForChange go to progressive social change organizations nationwide.

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Spirituality and Sustainability

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Judaism and Sustainability

  • Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life
    www.coejl.org COEJL engages Jewish institutions and individuals in bringing the moral passion of Jewish tradition and social action to environmental stewardship in order to preserve the integrity of creation, advance social justice, protect future generations, and strengthen the Jewish community.

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Alternative Energy and Bio-diesel

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Directories

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Other Sustainability Sites and Organizations

  • Center for a New American Dream
    www.newdream.org "More fun! Less stuff!"
  • Center for a Sustainable Economy
    www.sustainableeconomy.org Non-profit, non-partisan research and policy organization that promotes innovative tax and other market-based approaches to achieving a sustainable economy -- one that integrates long-term economic growth, environmental quality and social fairness.
  • Co-op America
    www.coopamerica.org Non-profit helping consumers and investors use their power for social change.
  • Communities by Choice
    www.communitiesbychoice.org Living sustainably is not a choice . . . it's a lifetime of choices.
  • Consumer's Choice Council
    www.consumerscouncil.org Non-profit dedicated to protecting the environment and human rights through ecolabeling. Has info on a variety of policies relating to consumer choice including a fact sheet, proposed regulatory legislation, correspondence with leaders, positions of other countries and lots on WTO involvement.
  • Earth Charter
    www.earthcharter.org Sets forth fundamental principles for a sustainable way of life. Get involved in their efforts to spread the word.
  • EcoTalk
    www.ecotalk.org Listen to It's Your Environment! with host Lynn Landes on Mondays, 5:00-6:00 PM Eastern. Lynn is the founder of Zero Waste America and is the volunteer host of this enviro-talk show broadcast from WDVR-FM in New Jersey. Hear the show live or peruse the archives including an interview with Alliance for Sustainability President, Terry Gips.
  • Environmental Research Foundation
    www.rachel.org Subscribe to the popular publication Rachel's Environment and Health News and more.
  • Friends of the Earth US
    www.foe.org "Friends of the Earth is a national, non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the planet from environmental degradation; preserving biological, cultural, and ethnic diversity; and empowering citizens to have an influential voice in decisions affecting the quality of their environment -- and their lives."
  • Hudson Valley Sustainable Communities Network
    www.hvscn.org
  • PopSustainability
    www.popsustainability.org Non-profit organization promoting more sustainable lifestyles through the tools of popular culture--the means of mass media and the arts
  • Raventalk
    www.raventalk.com Resources for a sustainable planet future
  • Rocky Mountain Institute
    www.rmi.org "...Fosters the efficient and restorative use of resources to create a more secure, prosperous, and life-sustaining world"
  • Sierra Club
    www.sierraclub.org The US's oldest environmental advocacy organization - "Protecting the Environment...For Our Families, For Our Future"
  • SunNetwork
    http://www.sustainableusa.org Issues calendar of events and news on sustainability. Also includes chats, videos and audio interactives.
  • Sustainability Institute
    www.sustainer.org A think-do tank dedicated to sustainable resource use, sustainable economics, and sustainable community.
  • Sustainable Harvest International
    www.sustainableharvest.org Sustainable agriculture training program working with populations in four Central American countries
  • Union of Concerned Scientists
    http://www.ucsusa.org Scientific discussion of a wide range of topics from agriculture to arms control including briefings, case studies and an FAQ page--all in easy to understand terms.
  • Worldwatch
    www.worldwatch.org Dedicated to fostering the evolution of an environmentally sustainable society--one in which human needs are met in ways that do not threaten the health of the natural environment or the prospects of future generations.
  • Zero Waste America
    www.zerowasteamerica.org ZWA promotes the recycling of all materials back into nature or the marketplace in a manner that protects human health and the environment.

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Hemp

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Composting

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Green Building and Design

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Government

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Pesticides and Chemicals

  • National Coalition Against the Misuse of Pesticides
    www.beyondpesticides.org/ Features news, alerts, reports and more.
  • Northwest Coalition for Alternatives to Pesticides
    www.pesticide.org NCAP works to protect people and the environment by advancing healthy solutions to pest problems.
  • Our Stolen Future
    www.ourstolenfuture.org This web site (and book of the same name) examines the ways that certain synthetic chemicals interfere with human functioning
  • Pesticide Action Network North America
    www.panna.org/panna Explore PANNA's extensive resources, find out about the organization and work, and join them in the fight to reduce the use of hazardous pesticides.

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Tools

  • Envision Sustainability Tools
    envisiontools.com/splash.htm Produces sustainability software for environmental modeling.
  • Hart Environmental Data
    www.sustainablemeasures.com/ Hart Environmental Data develops indicators that measure progress toward a sustainable economy, society and environment. Good set of links.

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Minnesota

  • French Meadow Bakery and Cafe
    www.frenchmeadow.com Mouth-watering organic breads are French Meadow's specialty. We extend our warmest thanks for their food contributions to our events over the years!
  • The Green Mercantile
    greenmercantile.com "Healthy products for a healthy planet for healthy people." Retail a wide range of recycled and natural products including clothing, paper, toys, and home and office supplies. Located in Duluth, Minnesota.
  • Living Green Expo
    www.livinggreenexpo.org Join us on April 27, 2002 for this first time event at the St. Paul Armory and State Capitol Grounds to learn about practical products, ideas, resources and motivation for living more sustainably. Volunteer opportunities available
  • Minnesotans for an Energy-Efficient Economy
    www.me3.org ME3 is a coalition working to improve the quality of life, the environment and the economy of Minnesota by promoting energy efficiency and the sound use of renewable energy
  • NextStep
    www.nextstep.state.mn.us Sponsored by the MN Office of Environmental Assistance, NextStep is a comprehensive, interactive sustainability web site with a focus on Minnesota
  • Organic Foods, Inc.
    www.organicfoods-inc.com Organic Foods has long been a generous contributor of delicious organic wraps, dips and more at our events. Look for them around town!

  • www.leeweb.com/progressive
    Directory of Twin Cities area Internet sites that advocate progressive social change. Includes charitable, educational, arts, religious, and social/fraternal organizations working for social change.

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International

  • EarthTrends: The Environmental Information Portal
    http://earthtrends.wri.org World Resources Institute's searchable environmental data on countries around the world in a range of categories
  • Electronic Green Journal
    http://egj.lib.uidaho.edu/index.html Provides peer-reviewed articles, book reviews, news, and information on current printed and electronic sources concerning international environmental topics.
  • EcoSTEPS
    http://www.ecosteps.com.au/ Australian based triple bottom