The weather is beautiful in Savannah this week. It’s hard to imagine a better way to enjoy it than spending this Friday afternoon outside volunteering for the Savannah Tree Foundation:
“Volunteers are needed to help young trees as they mature into an urban forest at the Westlake reforestation site by staking and mulching. This afternoon event will entail some hard work, but promises to be a fun afternoon and will help Savannah’s newest urban forest. Refreshments and community service credit provided. Tools and gloves also provided for volunteers who don’t have them. Please wear closed toe shoes, long pants and long sleeves. Gloves and eye protection are helpful, too. Meet at the Westlake site by the service road at the south end of Oriole Road at 2 p.m.”
Call 912-233-8733 or email karen [at] savannahtree.com to RSVP for this volunteer opportunity.
The Ogeechee, Altamaha and Savannah rivers have the dubious distinction of appearing first, second and third on the Georgia Water Coalition’s Dirty Dozen report. It’s aimed at “exposing the worst offenses to Georgia’s water.” A press release describes why coastal rivers were selected:
“Topping the list is the Ogeechee River where a textile manufacturing plant in Screven County is blamed for a fish kill earlier this year in which 30,000 fish perished. Rayonier’s pulp mill in Jesup, the proposed Savannah River Harbor deepening project…”
The group identifies a lack of regulation as a key cause of pollution in Georgia Rivers:
” The Coalition blames continuing funding cuts to Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and a lack of political will to aggressively enforce state and federal environmental laws and implement state policy that better protects and manages Georgia’s water.”
This is the first year the list has been compiled. The complete report can be viewed here.
Early adopters of reusable grocery bags probably remember the reactions of confounded cashiers and baggers, who weren’t sure what to make of shoppers who wanted neither paper nor plastic. But the practice has become so commonplace, shoppers rarely have to ask a bagger to stop shrouding their groceries in plastic before placing them in a reusable bag. Pretty much everyone’s gotten with the program, at least from the store employee side of the equation.
On the way out of the Gwinnett Street Kroger store earlier this week, I noticed the cling decal, right, on the window. By saving bags, in this case, Kroger means not giving so many away and fitting more into the bags they do, according to the 2010 Kroger Sustainability Report.
Curious about how the 138,825 bags figure was tallied, I called Kroger headquarters and got the answer. Nationwide, Kroger claims to have saved 159 million plastic bags.
“The way we account for bag savings is pretty simple,” said Keith Dailey, Kroger’s director of corporate communications. It turns out that the 159 million bag figure is derived from some 80 thousand cases of plastic bags the company did not order, based on the previous year figures. “It’s likely they did the same calculations at the store level,” he said, to arrive at the 138,825 bags saved number for Gwinnett Street. Dailey confirmed the reduction in bag use was achieved by promoting (and selling) reusable bags and training baggers to be more efficient.
Kroger’s sustainability report also describes the company’s efforts to reduce its energy and carbon footprint, improve transportation efficiency and reduce waste. While the word “bicycle” does not appear anywhere in the 32 page document (I hoped to see bicycles mentioned in the “Enabling Customer Sustainability” section), it’s worth noting that the Gwinnett Street Kroger provides more bicycle parking than any other store of any kind in Savannah. And it’s right at the front door, not out by the loading dock or on the side of the building. Providing ample and convenient bike parking clearly enables customers to make sustainable transportation choices. They should put that in the next sustainability report.
The Savannah Tree Foundation needs volunteers to help with invasive species removal and trail maintenance at its Bacon Forest walking trails. The event begins at 9 a.m. on April 16 and volunteers should come prepared:
“Volunteers should be sure to wear long sleeved shirts, long pants and closed-toe shoes with socks to help protect from sun, bugs and plants, and may bring work gloves, bypass pruners and pruning shears if they have them. Refreshments, community service hours and tools will be provided.”
More information is available on the Savannah Tree Foundation website.
“Energy Underground” in the Dec. 7 issue of Connect Savannah surveys geothermal efforts underway in the area, including one particularly interesting project:
The recent, and under-reported, symbolic groundbreaking of what will be the Savannah Gardens neighborhood redevelopment of Strathmore Estates, unearthed the city’s game plan to provide geothermal energy to 150 single family homes. According to Martin Fretty, city director of housing, “We’re trying to find ways to put in both Smart Meters and geothermal.” If the city succeeds in this Eastside development, it will be the largest residential use of geothermal in the region.
Read more here.