Friday, June 23, 2006

Power Shift

Are you interested in doing something significant for the global climate problem? Ask your power utility to switch your energy supplier to a green energy provider. Visit Green-e to find out what your regional electric choices are.

“Most electricity in New York comes from power plants that use coal, gas, nuclear energy and large hydropower. This kind of traditional electricity production takes a severe toll on our environment. In fact, electricity production is the leading cause of industrial air pollution in the United States. By choosing power produced from renewable resources, you will be taking a step towards a cleaner environment.”


“According to the World Watch Institute in Washington, DC, electricity generation worldwide produces more pollution than any other single activity. In the US, electric power generation accounts for more than a third of the carbon dioxide emitted.”

From FAQ

If you’re one of my neighbors, I’ve already done all of the research for you. We have the ability now through the Energy Choice program to purchase 100% clean energy. See below for Green Energy Options for Central Hudson Customers

If you can’t purchase clean energy in your region, look into Tradable Renewable Certificates, also known as Renewable Energy Certificates

These companies provide residential Green-e certified Tradable Renewable Certificates (TRCs), or Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) in New York:

Power Score Card rates these:

a. Community Energy

b. NativeEnergy

c. Renewable Choice Energy American Wind

d. Sterling Planet Green America

Green Energy Options for Central Hudson Customers

What can local families do?

Purchase Green Energy Electricity

1. Currently, for Central Hudson customers the only option is Energetix. You can purchase 50%, or 100% clean energy.

2. Another option may be coming soon. Econnergy says that a program for Central Hudson customers is on the table with the Public Service Commission and they have to wait for review, before they can make it available to consumers.

3. For the choices we have, what do the Environmental Disclosure Statements show? See:

How to switch energy providers:

Because NYS deregulated the power utilities, the Energy Choice program allows customers to choose their electricity supplier. Central Hudson will still deliver the electricity and is still responsible for making repairs and you will still receive a bill from Central Hudson for your electricity.


1. Call Central Hudson at Customer Choice and EnergySwitch programs Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (866) 763-8593. Ask to switch to Energetix. You will then receive a packet from Energetix, which will have forms for you to fill out and you can specify whether you wish to purchase 50% clean energy or 100% clean energy.

They are currently offering a promotion of 7% savings over the 1st two months. They charge $0.12 per KW for regular energy with an additional charge of $0.007/KW for 50% clean and $0.015 for 100% clean.

Central Hudson’s current rates are comparable.

Phone numbers:


NYS Public Service Commission—1800-342-3377

Central Hudson—1-877-444-2443

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Climate Neutral Travel

Or how to relieve the guilt your jetting across the ocean or driving across the country generates.

I don't think it's a coincidence that I've been active with a small group of moms in my area who want to do what they can about global warming, just as I'm about to contribute several tons of CO2 to the problem myself.

We're all worried about how our children are going to fare as adults in a world that will have changed in ways we struggle to imagine.

NativeEnergy offers a program called Climate Neutral Travel. You can use their energy calculator to determine how you can offset your trip through the purchase of Green Tags.

I've calculated that my trip to Prague will contribute about a ton of CO2. A one-ton block of "Earth Cooler Credits" costs about $12.

The money that I give to NativeEnergy then goes into the development of a wind farm in South Dakota and a methane project in Pennsylvania.

I know this doesn't solve the problem, and that it's really just a panacea, but at least it brings something good out of the waste, and does indirectly keep some CO2 out of the air.

NativeEnergy also offers programs for offsetting the gas you burn each year in your car--Cool Drivers--and the electricity your home or business uses--Cool Home and Cool Business.

I've signed up for the Cool Driver program, in addition to offsetting the fuel we'll burn on our cross country trip. We'll get a bumper sticker that advertises the program and we'll talk it up at all the campgrounds we visit this summer.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Thompson Pond Essay

My first creative essay was published by the kind editors at and I thought I'd share a little of the process involved in creating that piece.

The essay began as an exercise in a course on nature writing that I was taking with Teresa Vilardi at Bard College. This was part of a continuing education program, which they unfortunately no longer offer.

In the beginning of the course, we wrote a lot of shorter pieces from prompts such as "write about a landscape that you have a particular affinity for." I wrote about the coast of Maine. But, the longer piece which we were to write about for the second half of the course had to be about a place in the Hudson Valley.

The essay had its birth as a free-write at the beginning of one of our classes. I often found the writing that came out of those free-writes magical, as if channeled from a spirit who writes much better than I do.

After the free-write, I took a trip to the Bard Library to research Thompson Pond. I had e-mailed Professor Kiviat who had done a great deal of scientific research on the pond and he suggested that I look up an article he had written in 1976 titled "The Wetland Flora of Thompson Pond, NY." In that article, I found answers to most of my questions about which category of wetland Thompson Pond fell into.

The rest of the piece came from a couple more walks around the pond and two other prompts--1) What's the spiritual journey that you are on in deciding to write from or into this landscape? and 2) Method acting of plants in your landscape. "Be" a floating mat or bog raft.

I did over 12 revisions of this essay. Linda Mussmann gave me a great deal of help with the final version. I can easily see myself continuing to work in this form, because the outside world offers so many different stories and symbols for us to connect with and lose ourselves in.