Sustainable Blog

5 Climate-Friendly Actions You Can Take Today

Big changes start with individual actions


Thousands of people have convened in New York for this weekend’s People’s Climate March in advance of the UN Climate Summit. If you can’t be there, there’s no better way to support the climate change issue than by taking action in your own daily life. Here’s a quick list of things you can do every day to help curb dangerous emissions that are changing our climate.

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Our Latest Investment: eNow

Clean-tech company eNow aims to reduce truck idling with a solar-powered system

eNow solar panels for trucks

A large segment of the driving population in the United States has to idle to do their jobs properly: truckers. How can we reduce the fuel that gets wasted to refrigerate their trucks and keep their cabs warm in winter? Fortunately, there are smart and dedicated entrepreneurs out there trying to solve this problem through technology. We’re proud to announce that we’ve just made an investment in one of these companies: eNow, Inc., a Rhode Island-based clean technology company that integrates thin-film solar panels and auxiliary power management systems into long-haul and delivery trucks, reducing the need for those trucks to idle their engines to power auxiliary functions.

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“Pump The Movie” Takes on America’s Oil Addiction

A new documentary about fuel choice opens this weekend

Pump, the movie

How can we end our addiction to oil here in America? Many people—electric carmakers, advanced biofuel researchers, public transit advocates—are working to answer this question from different angles. But a new documentary boils it down to a simple equation: Give Americans a choice at the pump and watch the market do its work.

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It’s National Drive Electric Week!

Parades, tailgate parties, test drives and more are happening nationwide Sept. 15 to 21

National Drive Electric Week

If you’re in the market for a car — or just curious about what’s new in electric vehicles — you need to know about National Drive Electric Week happening September 15–21. There are 146 events scheduled throughout the week, all offering the opportunity to experience a wide range of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars, trucks and motorcycles. Here’s how to find one near you.

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Why We’re Investing in Sustainable Ranching

Learn more about our latest investment: Conservation Capital Fund

Cold Creek Ranch

If you’ve been keeping up with Sustainable America, you know that we believe in the power of entrepreneurs and markets to effect positive change, and that we make early-stage investments to help spur the development of sustainable food and fuel businesses. Local and sustainable agriculture is one of our focus areas, and we’ve made a small investment in the Conservation Capital Fund that we’re excited about.

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Join Us at the Boston Local Food Festival

On Sunday, Sept. 14, enjoy local food, free music, and learn a little something about composting

Produce at the Boston Local Food Festival

On Sunday, Sept. 14, from 11 to 5, Sustainable America will be at the Boston Local Food Festival teaching festivalgoers about food waste issues and solutions, including home composting and the Grind2Energy Technology. Stop buy and pick up a free guide to composting!

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How a Uniform Company Saved $25K by Helping the Environment

By educating drivers about vehicle idling, fleets can cut costs and save fuel


We’re proud to announce that Crown Uniform and Linen is the first member of Sustainable America’s Idle-Free Fleet program. This family-owned uniform company rolled out an idling-reduction pilot program with just 20 trucks this spring and is already on track to save more than $25,000 a year. Here’s how they did it…

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7 Ways to Take Action on Idling

Reduce your idling impact and inspire others to do the same

Anti-idling bumper sticker

Most people don’t realize how much gas they’re wasting by idling their cars. But once they learn the facts about idling, they’re usually more than willing to change their behavior. With that in mind, we’ve put together seven steps you can take to raise awareness about this important issue. Help us make turning off your engine rather than idling as commonplace as wearing your seat belt!

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Fair Food Fund: Closing the Farm-to-Table Gap

A new local food financing fund seeks to support the "middleman"

farmer harvesting sweet potatoes

A new crop of businesses is developing that utilizes the food local farms produce, whether they are processing it for resale or using it as ingredients to produce new products. The Fair Food Fund, a new program from Fair Food Network, is hoping to help these businesses thrive by providing financing and business support for this often overlooked sector of the burgeoning local food system. We talked to its program director, Alex Linkow, to learn more about how the Fair Food Fund works and why it’s important to support the “middleman.”

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The Compostable Cup Conundrum

Cups made from corn are a great idea, right? Yes and no...

Compostable PLA cups made from corn

In theory, compostable cups made from corn seem like a great idea, but in practice they’re not aways the environmental boon we’d like them to be. Find out why in the latest blog post from Executive Director Jeremy Kranowitz.

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10 Ways to Use Extra Garden Vegetables

Got a bumper crop of veggies on your hands? Here's how to make sure none of it goes to waste.

Big tomato garden harvest

If your garden did well this year, there’s only so much tomato sauce you can make and so many zucchini breads you can freeze before you realize there’s just no way you’re going to be able to eat your garden’s bounty by yourself. Thankfully, there are many of ways to make good use of the surplus. After all, the average American wastes over 20 pounds of food each month – don’t let your overflowing garden add even more to this number!

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Meet the Man Who’s Asked Thousands of New Yorkers to Stop Idling

George Pakenham's vigilante approach to environmental justice

George Pakenham, producer of Idle Threat: Man on Emission

“Excuse me for bothering you… but are you aware that it’s against the law to idle your car engine in NYC for more than 3 minutes?”

Those are the words George Pakenham, a New Yorker who works in finance, has used to start thousands of discussions though car windows on the streets of Manhattan. What started as an impulsive act on his Upper East Side block in 2005 evolved into a full-blown citizen activism campaign that went all the way to City Hall and is still going strong. We caught up with George to find out more about his vigilante approach to environmental justice and “Idle Threat: Man on Emission,” the award-winning documentary he made about it.

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This Weekend: Visit Us at Boston GreenFest!

Free film screenings, entertainment, hands-on learning and more

Boston Greenfest 2014

If you’re in the Boston area this weekend and you’re interested in the environment, then you won’t want to miss Boston GreenFest 2014. This free, three-day festival, which brings together greater Boston’s green community to share ideas and learn about how to build a healthy and sustainable future, is happening Aug. 15-17 at Boston City Hall Plaza. Sustainable America will be there hosting screenings of “Idle Threat: Man on Emission,” educating about clean transportation and zero-waste events, and showing off innovative alt-fuel vehicles. Here’s where you’ll find us:

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How Much Can You Save with an Electric Vehicle?

New tool lets you compare real costs based on your car and commute

Charging an electric vehicle

If you know anything about electric vehicles, you probably know that they cost less to operate than gasoline-fueled cars. But the savings get harder to discern when you’re trying to figure out which car to buy. Will a used plug-in electric hybrid get better mileage than a new fuel-efficient gas-powered car? How do the electricity rates in your area affect the costs? A new tool called EV Explorer can answer those questions.

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Good Growth: Farmers Markets Still on the Rise

The U.S. continues to add farmers markets, but can the growth continue?

National Farmers Market Week

If it seems like farmers markets have sprouted from every vacant parking lot in the last few years, you’re not imagining things. According to the latest data from the USDA, the number of farmers markets in the United States has grown by 76 percent since 2008. In honor of National Farmers Market Week, here’s a look at the future of farmers markets.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.