Saturday, November 7

Talkin Trash and Fulfilling a Mission

Talking Trash
I just got back from an afternoon walk after hanging out at an Augie football game. The beautiful weather and attraction of people to the outdoor game could only mean one thing: it was time to "talk some trash." Through the organization I'm interning with, the Sioux Falls Green Project, we've started a new program through the city called Trash Talkers in order to educate fans at events about recycling and the things they can do to be green while having fun.

This summer we've spread the green message and kept events clean and green at Jazzfest, Hot Summer Nites and Automania. A new chapter of Trash Talkers has started on Augie's campus in collaboration with the environmental group Augie Green, and fans can be sure to find us starting conversation by the recycling and landfill bins while sporting our Trash Talker t-shirts. Our mascot Ole the Viking even got involved, moving through the masses with a sign that says "Please Recycle." We've had a great response from events fans, and it's been a great way to open
conversation with the community about practicing sustainability wherever you're at.
*photos courtesy of Karin Costin

Mission Accomplished
On another note, our delegation has just finalized our mission statement! This is everything our delegation represents for the Midwest; I find it to be very inspiring. Check it out:

"We are U.S. Midwest youth advocates working to fulfill our global responsibilities by teaching and empowering climate action through local collaboration and international partnership. We seek an equitable global climate treaty that catalyzes clean energy opportunities and reduces climate impacts in the Midwest, promotes just sustainable development everywhere and builds bridges of collaboration between our region in the wider world."

Friday, November 6

SD on the Smart Grid Map

President Obama's recent announcement of federal investment in a national energy grid has resulted in two SD energy cooperatives starting smart grid systems. Black Hills Power and Sioux Valley Southwestern Electric Company will begin installing smart meters for 92,000 members in SD, MN, and ND. Meters will allow residents to monitor their electricity usage, thus giving them the ability to choose when to run appliances based on the times when rates are lowest (and there is less load on the system). Scientific studies have shown the potential to reduce the strain on times of peak loads by 15% and result in an average 10% decrease in electricity bills per household.

While the project begins for system installation, Augie Green members (a group of environmentally-minded college students) are busy writing letters to show their support for this transition to energy alternatives that allow individuals to be more aware of their energy consumption and make choices that benefit not only the environment but their checkbooks.

For more information, read: PARKS, NOREEN. Environmental Science & Technology, 43, 9, 2999-3000, 2009.
also: Gabrukiewicz, Thom. "S.D. energy gets $9 million boost." Argus Leader. 27 Oct. 2009.