Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Why Sustainability is Good For Business

I came across a good article today I thought I would share: The ROI of Going Green: A CEO's Rationale for Adopting Sustainability.

Since it is written by a company CEO, it probably has more gravitas among business owners than my own greenie ramblings. I would like to see more numbers associated with the article, but there you have it.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

City Trails

As I said in a previous post, the Wichita Falls city trail system is an underutilized resource. It's nice for me because I can take a quiet walk most any time.

The city has added trail system maps to its website at The trail is being added to in portions, with a goal of having a trail system that circles the city at some point. As with anything, money is a factor.

Get out and enjoy the trail.

Great Morning for Invasives Observations

A beautiful morning for a walk. The weather was clear and in the 50's.

I decided to walk one of the city trails and make some Invaders observations. I chose the Falls Trail between the entrance to Lucy Park and the pedestrian bridge behind the MPEC.

The picture to the left is of a mimosa tree, one of the 134 species of plants the Texas Master Naturalists are helping to document in Texas. I made 25 observations in just this short section of trail. I am sure I would have made more if I was better at plant ID.

If you haven't discovered the city's trails system yet, it is one of the best-kept secrets in the city. This particular section is not as heavily used as some of the areas, probably because of concerns for safety. Personally, I have never had a problem, but I have had others tell me they don't walk that stretch as a portion of it goes through a run down area of town. But it is a very scenic stretch of the river (as scenic as the Wichita River gets anyway) except in the winter, when the vegetation dies back and you can see all of the trash.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day for Climate Change

Today is Blog Action Day for Climate Change.

The idea that climate change is bogus has a lot of traction in Wichita Falls and many conversations about improving sustainability have gotten side-tracked on the "climate change is Al Gore's personal campaign to stay in the spotlight and make piles of money" argument. Although sustainability and climate change are related, there is a lot more involved in sustainability than the issue of climate change (although that's a big one.)

I really don't care about whether we're getting hotter or colder. I am not overly concerned about the arguments about how fast the climate is changing and the precise impacts. What I am certain about is that people are using resources, many of which are finite. I am also certain that not all of the changes in the climate (or other environmental factors) are good. If past history proves out, some of them will have far-reaching and as yet unknown negative impacts.

Finally, I know that if Al Gore and the majority of climate scientists are right, we have to tame the climate change monster. If we act and there is no climate change issue, then we have some severe economic shifts we will have to cope with. As resources dwindle (especially oil), we will have to make these adjustments anyway. If climate change is indeed coming upon us quickly, then action is a matter of life and death for many.

There's the bottom line. It's a matter of doing a risk analysis. Likely neither side of the argument is 100% correct. If we could be certain, we would know what we have to do. We don't. So where is the greater good? It is in working toward a sustainable lifestyle that ensures our children and grand children have access to the resources they need for a healthy and happy future.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Stop the Spread!

On September 19, I attended an Invaders of Texas workshop. This is a citizen science project to document the range of invasive species in Texas. As usual our area has not been well studies and many invasive plants are not noted as present in our area.

Travis Gallo, our instructor, said the training would ruin our walks, because we would notice all of the invasives. I can't say my walks have been ruined, but I will agree that I never realized just how much of our local flora shouldn't be in Texas (and often, not in the US.)

If you missed the Invaders training, you can still participate in this project by taking the on-line Voyager training (guess what sci-fi program the person who came up with these names is fond of.) Then with digital camera, GPS, pen and paper, you're on your way! You can learn more about this program and sign up for the on-line program at If you take the training and want to sign up to upload observations, our satellite is the Rolling Plains Invaders.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yesterday's EcoFair

I had to teach class yesterday, but managed to get by the EcoFair at the very end of the day about the time the rain started. In talking to several people there, River Bend had a steady stream of visitors for this event. I didn't have my camera (I finally broke down an bought a small camera and haven't gotten into the habit of carrying it with me) to take pictures, but there were some good ones in the Times Record News this morning--in fact, if you hurry, one of them is posted on their website this morning.

Good job to Samantha McMahen and the rest of the River Bend folks for continuing this worthwhile and fun event.

Vote for Green Initiative

I received an interesting e-mail from Ashoka about an initiative from Google. Called 10 to the 100, Google is promising to spend $10 M to support some social entrepreneurship ideas. Check out and vote for your favorite idea by October 8.