Saturday, August 14, 2010

BEN - August 15, 2010 #333

Some of this edition's "eye-openers":

* Both Gubernatorial candidates to speak at Auntie Litter's Take Pride Statewide Conference
* 88,000 Birmingham Residents Out of Reach of Grocery Stores
* ADEM Gives Out $1.7 Million in Recycling Grants
* Heat Wave Damaging North Alabama Cotton and Corn Crops

Links & Videos

Alabama's Organic Milk

Sequatchie Cove Farm (they will be selling their organic meats in Bham. August 21st Pepper Place

Higher Ground Roasters - The Wilderness Society


Long Term Impacts From the Oil Spill Predicted

Transit Needed: 88,000 Birmingham Citizens Out of Reach of Grocery Stores

ADEM Announces 15 Recycling Grants Totaling $1.7 Million

Chief Ladiga Trail Draws Record Numbers

Heat Wave: Cotton and Corn Withering Away in North Alabama

Mobile Register Examines Smart Growth

BEN Calendar

3rd Annual Conference for Litter Prevention – August 18-19 @ Samford /Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Featuring Gubernatorial Candidates Dr. Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks

ARA & AEC Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Series – August 19, 5:30, Birmingham

Green Building Focus – 200 Exhibitors - in Birmingham

Events at Landmark Park - Dothan in August and September

Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama’s Moon Over Three Caves Dance – September 18 in Huntsville.

23rd Annual Alabama Coastal Cleanup - September 18th

Cahaba River Society “Fry- Down” – September 25, 10:00am to 4:00pm

Southern Environmental Center's EcoFest 12 - October 7th, 6:00-9:00 at WorkPlay

7th Annual John L. Borom Alabama Coastal Birdfest - October 14-17

Sweetwater Brewing Company Raising Monies for Mobile Baykeeper from August to Labor Day

Jobs Available

NWF Southeast Regional Representative

Gulf Coast Regional Coordinator - Waterkeeper Alliance

Monday, August 09, 2010

Bama Environmental News - #332

Bama Environmental News

August 9, 2010 #332


Note: New Website for Bama Environmental News -

Barefoot Green Ecoscaping


Birmingham News Gulf Oil Spill Commentary by Pat Byington

Montgomery Advertiser Gulf Oil Spill Commentary by Pat Byington

Birmingham News Climate/Polar Commentary by UAB’s Dr. James McClintock


Coalition of State Environmental Groups Develop ADEM Scorecard{7192725C-48BD-4F1A-90AF-D6C7F7517012}&DE={F7662A03-79A4-4851-B248-99BA49B0BCF5}

Where is the oil? A breakdown with graph from the Mobile Register

Republicans for Environmental Protection has released their latest Environmental Scorecard

Alabama Forestry Commission Announces New Champion Trees for 2010

Forestry Commission Report: Alabama lost 225,000 Forest Acres from 2000-2008

Legacy Creates the Alabama Gulf Coast Environmental Recovery Fund

Discovery Alabama Wins Emmy


WBRC’s Power to Save: Life the Green Way


Black Warrior Riverkeeper and Hurricane Creekeeper Unite – August 12 @ Museum of Natural History, University of Alabama

3rd Annual Conference for Litter Prevention – August 18-19 @ Samford /Birmingham Botanical Gardens – Featuring Gubernatorial Candidates Dr, Robert Bentley and Ron Sparks

ARA & AEC Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Series – August 19, 5:30, Birmingham

Green Building Focus – 200 Exhibitors - in Birmingham

Land Trust of Huntsville and North Alabama’s Moon Over Three Caves Dance – September 18 in Huntsville.

Cahaba River Society “Fry- Down” – September 25, 10:00am to 4:00pm

AWF and Walmart – Help Raise $100,000 for Nature Education

Barefoot Green Ecoscaping

A fellow classmate of mine from Sheffield, Alabama, Glenn DiNella has launched a new eco-friendly lawn and garden service, Barefoot Green Ecoscaping, that addresses several of the environmental problems he’s seen over the last 18 years he’s spent as a landscape supervisor, garden designer, and garden editor for publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Southern Living, and most recently a landscape trade magazine entitled Total Landscape Care.

Following is an article by Glenn about his innovative company that has set up shop in Hoover, Alabama. Please check out this informative article, and more importantly, if you are searching for a lawn and garden service that is environmentally sensitive - contact Barefoot Green Ecoscaping at 205/616-2924 or


You might think that small, gas-power push mower cutting swaths across your yard doesn’t emit a lot of pollution, but when you multiply it by 44 million—the number of gas mowers the EPA estimates are in use in the U.S. —and you have a serious air quality issue, especially in urban areas such as Birmingham that are already struggling. Older mowers are particularly bad for the environment. Bill Becker, the executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies estimates running a typical 3.5 hp gas mower not equipped with a catalytic converter creates as much pollution as driving a newer sedan from Washington D.C. to Boston.

I have a battery-powered push mower that will run for about 2 hours per charge. I admit I have to plug it in and charge it and pay Alabama Power for that, but it’s still producing a lot less air pollution and also less noise pollution than a gas mower. For smaller yards, I even use an old-fashion push reel mower that works great, gives a cleaner cut, and of course emits no pollution and is whisper quiet. Plus it’s great exercise. I have my sights set on purchasing a self-propelled propane-powered push mower that should be available in Alabama this summer. I already own a propane-power string trimmer and think I just purchased the first propane blower in Alabama.

According to the California-based LEHR Company that manufactures a line of propane-power mowers, string trimmers, and blowers, gasoline-fueled lawn equipment produces up to 30 times more hydrocarbons than a typical automobile emits in an hour. Propane equipment is also quieter, which is appealing to many hospitals, doctors’ offices, churches, and retirement homes, as well as average homeowners looking for a little peace and quiet.

Running on propane means equipment lasts longer. The gas/oil mixtures in many string trimmers and blowers turn to sludge and shellac inside your engine when they sit for long periods. Propane does not. Gallon for gallon propane might cost more than gas, but propane burns more efficiently, so it’s more economical. According to Bernardo Herzer, president of LEHR, 30 percent of the fuel from a 2-stroke motor goes out the tailpipe unburned. So people are breathing those particulates and that leads to various health problems, especially for lawn care operators who are using this equipment all day long every day. The 2-stroke models with gas and oil mixed in the tank are loud and have a lot more particulates. Propane equipment uses a 4-stroke engine like a car, where the oil and gas are separate and these models are inherently quieter and burn less oil. Also it doesn’t deplete the ozone. The American Lung Association is teaming up with LEHR because they see the benefits of propane. Herzer reports propane equipment produces 97 percent less particulates and 96 percent less carcinogens than gas. The only negatives I’ve found are propane is not available on every street corner, propane equipment costs a little more because you’re paying for new technology, and you lose a small percentage of horsepower, but for 99 percent of the jobs people are doing that’s insignificant.

The EPA estimates 17 million gallons of gas are spilled every year by people filling up their lawn equipment. Propane is in sealed containers, so there is no evaporation, no spills, and it doesn’t seep into underground aquifers like spilled gas and oil. About 80 percent of propane is produced in the U.S. and another 10-15 percent comes from Canada, so running on propane can reduce our dependency on foreign fuel.

I also offer integrated pest management, organic soil amendments, and organic weed control. There is a preemergent weed control product made from corn gluten I started using that is completely safe for people and pets. We need to think about our kids running around barefoot and rolling on the lawn and what chemicals they’re absorbing and breathing. A lot of veterinarians think lawn chemicals are linked to cancers and other health problems in pets because dogs and cats spend so much time so close to the grass.

I think too many lawn care companies are focused on how fast they can mow, blow, and go, so they don’t want to give up 1 or 2 miles per hour with a propane mower or spend time figuring out the least toxic way to get rid of pests. But I’m focused on doing the work better, not faster. I’m also focused on making the world a better place for our kids—one yard at a time.

To sign up for DiNella’s lawn and garden service, Barefoot Green Ecoscaping, contact him at 205/616-2924 or

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Birmingham News Gulf Oil Spill Commentary

Here is an excerpt from my latest commentary about the Gulf Oil Spill in the Birmingham News.

"One of the questions within Rotary's four-way test, the guiding principles members ask of each other, is: "Will it be beneficial to all concerned?" We need to start developing strategies and solutions that will benefit all the residents of the Gulf and our delicate environment."

Read the entire commentary - here

BEN Publisher Pat Byington