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Archives for April 2011

Oklahoma Wind to Power Google Data Center

Google is making a commitment to green their energy supply and as part of this effort they have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with NextEra Energy Resources for the next 20 years. The Minco II wind facility will be built as a direct result of Google’s commitment. It will be a 100.8 megawatt facility and should be operational later this year. The power will be used for their data center in Mayes County, Okla, which should be operational later this year as well.

Google has stated they are committed to reducing their carbon footprint to zero, this is just one step in that plan. In their recently published  white paper on renewable energy, Google said “When we started out on this path, we realized that we had a lot of learning to do. We had basic questions, such as:

  • What types of resources are most appropriate, and from where?
  • How do we get the electricity to our facility to use?
  • How can we make such a purchase economical, and how can it be leveraged to protect us from higher prices in the future?
  • How can we maximize the impact of our green power purchases on our carbon emissions and global emissions?”

As Google stated in their recent blog post about this agreement, Oklahoma is a great place for wind power. Western Oklahoma has ranked as fair-excellent for wind power with large areas of good and excellent. With this potential we are likely to see a lot more growth in wind power in Oklahoma in the coming years.


 


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

Photo Credit: smeurrens

 

 

Disneynature’s African Cats


Disneynature started in 2008 and on Earth Day 2009 released their first movie, Earth. Earth is a stunning look at the planet we live on and the many plants and animals we share it with. Last Earth Day they released Oceans, which takes you on a journey through the world’s many oceans. And this Earth Day they released their latest film, African Cats. African Cats follows a young lion cub named Mara and her mother, Layla, and Fang, a pride leader. As well as Sita, a mother cheetah raising five newborn cubs.

These films are meant to help bring a part of nature we otherwise wouldn’t see to the big screen. Keith Scholey, one of the film’s directors, feels the film helps teach us lessons. “The first most import thing is, I think, to value nature, you have to experience these animals in a way that really excites you. That you really get to understand how beautiful they are but also their way of life but more the challenges wild animals have to face to be able to succeed in the wilderness… I think after than what happens after that is you say build up a sense of value for the animals. And value is the starting point of anything that follows in term of conservation.”

African Cats is playing in theaters all over Oklahoma, to find a theater near you click here. If you see the movie before April 28th, Disneynature will donate a portion of your ticket cost to the African Wildlife Foundation for the Amboseli Corridor project.

 



About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 

OKC Zoo Welcomes Baby Elephant

On April 15th, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden welcomed their first baby elephant born in the zoo. The elephant is the baby of Asha, a 16 year old Asian elephant and a 39 year old Asian elephant that resides at the Tulsa Zoo, named Sneezy.

The new baby elephant is a healthy 304 pound female. Baby, mom and aunt are currently off display while they get to know each other. You can give the new mom and baby a gift by checking out the elephant registry. Prices for the gifts range from $5 and up. Some items include: Boomer Balls, Blow Up Pools, Home Depot Gift Cards, Lowe’s Gift Cards, Target Gift Cards and several other items which you can find on the zoo’s website. The gifts can be dropped off during regular office hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gifts are tax deductible.

There is one more very important thing the new baby needs, she needs a name. The zoo wants your help naming this new baby. You can vote on the website and the name will be announced on Mother’s Day. The choices are:


Malee: Pronounced “MAY-lee,” this is the Thai name for “flower” or “jasmine.” This name is the keeper’s choice, meaning it’s their personal favorite!

Annika: Pronounced “AH-nik-uh,” is a Dutch name that means “favor” or “grace.”

Hanako: Prononced, “HAH-nuh-koh,” is Japanese for “flower girl.”

Be sure to go vote and watch for updates on the baby elephant on the zoo’s Facebook page.

 


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

 

Photo credit: Oklahoma City Zoo & Botanical Garden

Oklahoma Green Schools Program

Check out this video from OK Horizon about how schools in Fletcher, Oklahoma are going green and the Oklahoma Green Schools Program.

Photo credit: Cast a Line

 


Oklahoma Native American Tribes Fight for Water Rights

Two Native American tribes, Choctaws and Chickasaws, are currently fighting for water rights to Sardis Lake in Pushmataha County and Latimer County. With clean water becoming more scarce, water rights are becoming the subject of much debate.

The two tribes, that were exiled to the area 175 years ago, claim that they should be recognized as joint owners. “Using the debt owed by the state to the federal government as an excuse to make a deal that ignores the two tribes’ historic water rights and the environmental and economic interests of all of Southeastern Oklahoma just doesn’t make sense,” said Chief Gregory E. Pyle of the Choctaw Nation. He went on to say “Further, it is essential before any decisions are made that the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, which have historical rights to the water, and representatives of the Southeastern Oklahoma community are a part of any such discussions relating to the future of Sardis Lake.”

Despite the opposition from the tribes, Oklahoma agreed to sell storage rights to 90% of the lake for $42 million. In February the tribes sent a cease-and-desist letter to state leaders. The tribe’s attorney, Michael Burrage, wrote that continued action on the lake deal risked triggering “complex federal law litigation.”

The Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board have signed the lake contract. However, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has not yet approved the plan and will have final say.  The city has also already paid off the lake’s debt of $27 million and has started designing a pipeline to take the lake’s water to central Oklahoma.


The tribes both believe that caring for our natural resources and sustainability are very important. They have launched campaigns to make people aware of the water rights issues. One way they are doing this is with videos like theses.

“We are evaluating all options, but the tribes are continuing to ask that the water transfer process wait for the appropriate studies to be completed, reviewed by experts and shared with all of Oklahoma’s citizens. Our water is precious and worth fighting for.” said Chief Pyle.

 


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

Photo credit: FreeWine


 

Reducing Sulfur Dioxide Emissions in Oklahoma

Last month the EPA rejected Oklahoma’s sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions reduction plan. The plan would have had power plants switch to a low-sulfur coal and gradually switch the aging plants to natural gas. The EPA has proposed its own plan which requires Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. (OG&E) and Public Service Co of Oklahoma (PSO) to install scrubber technology or switch immediately to gas.

Sulfur dioxide is a major air pollutant. It’s a precursor to acid rain and can harm our health as well as plant and animal life. The plan includes three Oklahoma coal-fired power plants that were built more than 30 years ago and is expected to reduce SO2 emissions by about 95 percent.

Not all in Oklahoma are happy with the EPA’s plan. Governor Mary Fallin believes the plan would harm the industry and is overbearing.  Oklahoma’s attorney general, Scott Pruitt, agrees with Fallin and has vowed to sue the EPA. OG&E has stated they believe that the EPA’s plan wouldn’t have any large improvement over the plan the EPA rejected. OG&E believes the plan will bring increased costs to the company and consumers.


Two hearings are scheduled to allow people to voice their concerns and support for the plan. There will be one in Oklahoma City on April 15th and one in Tulsa on April 14th. You can find more about the hearings and the EPA’s plan on the Sierra Club’s website.

 


About the Author


Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.

 

Photo credit: Mrs. Gemstone


 

Local Woman Takes the Litter Problem to Heart

 

Karen Miles at the first clean-up.

Six years ago Karen Miles heard about LitterBlitz – an event in Oklahoma that encourages people to clean up their neighborhoods – and wanted to get involved. She enjoys walking her dogs around Lake Overholser and the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge so she decided that is the area she wanted to clean up.

She knew she couldn’t clean up the area’s alone so she started asking others to come help. She also asked local businesses to donate items to giveaway to those who came to help. She finds this to be an added encouragement for people. The first year she had around 12 people and each year it has grown, last year the count was 125. In addition to the increase of people participating each year, there has been a decrease in the amount of waste they find. This is a very positive trend that Karen and other participates hope to keep seeing.

Volunteers digging out a piece of metal on the North Canadian River.
Karen says the first year she wasn’t very well prepared. She now plans the event in advance for the month of April, which is also the Great American Clean-Up. She is able to get supplies through organizations like Oklahoma City Beautiful and Keep Oklahoma Beautiful. She even has national sponsors that have helped like Waste Management and Pepsi. Last year Boulder Chips sent chips and t-shirts for the participates. Karen hopes to continue to see this grow but says she needs help.

“Eventually, I would like a group to take ownership of this clean-up so I am not having to do everything by myself each year. Other lakes have “Friends” such as “Friends of Lake Hefner”, “Friends of Lake Arcadia”, “Friends of Lake Thunderbird”. Overholser doesn’t have “friends” like this even though I personally think the Overholser/Stinchcomb area has so much more to offer than other areas. Most people have never even heard of the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge. It is a rare jewel that we need to protect. “

Sorting out recyclables, it’s important to Karen that as much as possible is kept out of the landfill.
Oklahoma needs more people like Karen that not only care about the areas around them but take action to protect them. There are many ways to help this great state of ours and one is to help Karen and her clean-up of Lake Overholser and the Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge. To find out how you can get involved please click here. The upcoming LitterBlitz – the event that motivated Karen – is also coming up, click here for more.
All ages get in on the clean-up
Photo Credits: Lake Overholser and Stinchcomb Wildlife Refuge Clean-up/Karen Miles


About the Author

Lisa Sharp is passionate about green living, organic food, animals, and natural medicine. She is an environmental activist, green living expert, and consultant. In addition to being the founder and editor of Green Oklahoma, Lisa has a green living blog, Retro Housewife Goes Green. You can follow Lisa on twitter @Retrohousewife5 and Facebook.