January Newsletter, 2012

February 18, 2012

Hi SEEDS Folk,

Looking back over last year some obvious and not so obvious observations come to mind.  First, conserving energy saves money. Might seem like a “Duh” thought to you, but for those who might not be as convinced, take a look at  the Optimal Energy report on the effect of PA’s Act 129.  As you might recall, Act 129 was passed in PA in 2008 requiring utilities to develop cost-effective plans to reduce electricity consumption by 1 percent by 2011, and by 3 percent by 2013. Additionally, the Act requires a 4.5 percent reduction in peak demand by 2013. Optimal Energy found a yearly savings of $278 million for PA electric ratepayers, or an expected savings of $2.3 billion over the life of the efficiency measures employed—the overall cost of which was $281 million, an investment which which will soon be paid off through savings.

To back that info up, a nationwide study by the Edison Foundation  found that in 2010 “Overall, electric efficiency programs saved over 112 TWh (yes, that means “terawatt hour” tera meaning 1 trillion, our note)  in 2010, enough to power over 9.7 million U.S. homes for one year, and avoided the generation of 78 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.” Pretty convincing eh?

Unfortunately, not so much.  And that’s the second observation.  While a lot of people see the statistics and care about the environment and their wallets, they’re not doing anything to conserve.  This year SEEDS is really trying to figure out how to engage these folks.  We are fairly certain it’s not that they don’t care about the environment. Perhaps, like many of us, they just don’t relate to facts, especially facts leading to feelings of a gloom-and-doom, insurmountable situation. Most of the research on conservation and change indicates this; and to find out more so that we can be more effective in bringing sustainability to our community, SEEDS sent Doni Hoffman, and Energy Corp Member, Kayleigh Cornell, to the national Behavior, Energy & Climate Change Conference in Washington DC in November.   They were 2 of 650 scientists, university researchers, energy professionals, planners and students at this Stanford University sponsored conference—and BTW your contributions to SEEDS paid their way, so keep those checks coming in (see address below).  For some more ideas on changing behavior, go to http://www.climateaccess.org/resource/what-it-means-be-green.

So, now we ask you, how do we reach the majority of energy users—your neighbors, family and friends?  These are people who deep down care about the planet and our future, and who value the adage “Save and Have” but who at the same time are  caught up in growth, plenty, and over consumption.  Your thoughts?  Until we figure that out…..read on.

The Lackawanna College, Ecological Sustainability Degree program is entering it’s 2nd semester.  The two year degree program at the Hawley Silk Mill campus of LCCC, prepares graduates to gain entry level positions, go on to a four year college degree program, and excel in a focused career of choice, including environmental education, business, renewable energy, agriculture, culinary, design.  For young people looking to make change in the world and older people looking for a change in career, contact Jaime Reeger at 570-226-4625 or ReegerJ@Lackawanna.edu to enroll.

Are you one of the 99% and want to take your money out of the big banks and put it in a credit union where money works for depositers, not corporation profit? John Jose of Beach Lake suggests the Pennsylvania State Employee Credit Union, open to any PA permanent resident. It’s an online service with a debit card for purchases and withdrawals from local ATM’s (no fee within a certain limit), free basic checking, plus credit card availability.  And, their current auto loans are 1.49%.   If you are not a PA employee, you will need to join the PA Recreation and Parks Society ($10 net)—not a bad idea in itself.  Also, check out John’s site http://www.ottercreekenved.com/schoolyard-habitat-development.html

Transition Honesdale DIY Cleaning Products Skill Share Saturday, January 28, 2012, 3 pm – 5 pm Grace Episcopal Church, 827 Church Street, Honesdale, PA Come make healthy and environmentally friendly cleaning products that really work. Suggested donation $12. Everyone who comes will leave with a sampling of products. Please RSVP to skillshare@transitionhonesdale.org

Also, the latest Transition Honesdale newsletter is just out with juicy articles on money, running for local office and grease cars, among others—and I ask you to come up with a slogan!   Pick up a colorful copy around town, or go to www.transitionhonesdale.org. You’ll also find the full Spring 2012 skill share schedule there to help you plan ahead.

PPL Wallenpaupack’s Saturday Winter Programs have begun:  January 28, Close Encounters with Birds of Prey;  February 4, Annual Winter Eagle-Viewing Trip;  February 11, Family Ice Fishing Program.  All programs are free but registration is generally required.  To register or get more info, contact Jenna at (570) 253-7001 pplpreserves@pplweb.com. or click on Calendar at http://pplpreserves.wordpress.com/

For your winter reading pleasure, before you get hooked on seed catalogs,  SEEDS member, Jack Barnett, suggests this book: Low Carbon Diet – A 30 day program to Lose 5000 Pounds by David Gershon.

For more SEEDS of thought, visit our facebook page.   You’ll find recent posts including energy education & video games, CFL recycling, packaging from mushrooms, sustainable pet keeping, and where to get your beer! Make sure to “like” us when you visit.  And if you really like us, send a few bucks to the address below, made out to SEEDS of NEPA and/or tell us your interests and we’ll try to hook you up with a SEEDS circle to suit.

Happy Martin Luther King Day,


Michele Sands
Chair, SEEDS
1023 Main Street
Honesdale, PA 18431