Monday, October 17, 2011

Green Market Exposition Showcases the Green Technology Behind Sustainable Communities

MetroCrops, CT Green Building Council and Bridgeport Land Trust headline this year’s Green Market Exposition, Thursday, October 20th at City Hall Annex, Bridgeport, CT and will provide presentations on green technology that support Bridgeport’s growing sustainable infrastructure. Other presentations include a roundtable on Building Sustainable Communities, Creating and Supporting a Sustainable Food Infrastructure and Indoor Air Quality. More than 25 Connecticut organizations and green businesses are exhibiting at the Third Annual Green Market Exposition. GreenTowns, new to the Green Market Exposition this year, will feature it’s CT Campaign for Sustainable Communities and will invite people to join town pages, share local initiatives, and connect with sustainability leaders, mayors, green businesses, non-profits and community members who want to work together to build awareness and support each other in the “greening” of Connecticut. GreenTowns is designed to facilitate and accelerate these connections. The faster people connect around green, the quicker Connecticut will become sustainable. Returning to the GME this year, is St. Vincent’s Medical Center who will also be exhibiting and sharing their commitment to sustainability with the community.

Other exhibitors include Sunlight Solar Energy, Hometronics Lifestyle, Easy Care Energy Solutions, Gumdrop Swap, BGreen 2020, and Recyclbank. Media sponsors include E Magazine, CT Environmental Headlines, Fairfield Green Food Guide and Natural Awakenings-Fairfield County.
“The beginning phases of a sustainable infrastructure are becoming to become a reality in towns throughout Connecticut. Single-stream recycling, EV charging stations, farmers’ markets and community-supported agriculture are all part of our communities. And this is just the beginning,” said Green Market Exposition Co-founder Daphne Dixon.

The Green Market Exposition is open to the public and there is no fee to attend. All are welcome and encouraged to come and learn about sustainable communities.

For a complete list of exhibitors and schedule of events, please visit

Sunday, October 2, 2011

EarthTalk®: Banks That Fund Mountaintop Removal

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E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I understand that mountaintop removal as a way of coal mining is incredibly destructive. Didn’t a report come out recently that named major banks that were funding this activity?    
-Seth Jergens, New York, NY

Yes it’s true that many major banks invest in companies that engage in the environmentally destructive practice of mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining, whereby the tops of mountains are removed by explosives to expose thin seams of recoverable coal. The wasted earth and other materials are either put back onto the mountain top in an approximation of their original contours, wreaking havoc on local ecosystems and biodiversity, or dumped into neighboring valleys, polluting lakes and streams and jeopardizing water quality for humans and wildlife.

According to the non-profit Rainforest Action Network (RAN), this dumping—especially throughout Appalachia where MTR is most prevalent—“undermines the objectives and requirements of the Clean Water Act.” The group adds that some 2,000 miles of streams have already been buried or contaminated in the region. “The mining destroys Appalachian communities, the health of coalfield residents and any hope for positive economic growth.”

This past April, RAN teamed up for the second year in a row with another leading non-profit green group concerned about MTR, the Sierra Club, in publishing a “report card” reviewing 10 of the world’s largest banks in regard to their financing of MTR coal mining projects. The new 2011 version of “Policy and Practice” takes a look at the MTR-related financing practices of Bank of America, CitiBank, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, GE Capital, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, PNC, UBS and Wells Fargo.

What did they find? Since January 2010, the 10 banks reviewed have provided upwards of $2.5 billion in loans and bonds to companies practicing MTR. While some of the banks—Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC, UBS, and Credit Suisse—adopted policies limiting their financing of MTR, few actually pulled funding in place from any such activities upon adopting such policies. Citibank, despite announcing publicly in 2009 that it would limit its involvement in MTR, doubled its investments in the business in 2010.

RAN and the Sierra Club are also keeping a close eye on UBS which, soon after stating that it “needs to be satisfied that the client is committed to reduce over time its exposure to [MTR],” went ahead and acted as a paid advisor on the merger of Massey Energy, which operated the West Virginia mine where 29 men died last year, and Alpha Natural Resources. This merger created the largest single MTR company in the country, now responsible for some 25 percent of coal production from MTR mines.

The report card grades each bank based on its current position and practice regarding MTR investments, and calls on the banks to strengthen their policies and cease their financial support for coal companies engaging in MTR. “The ‘best practice’ a clear exclusion policy on commercial lending and investment banking services for all coal companies who practice mountaintop removal coal extraction,” says RAN.

RAN and the Sierra Club hope that by exposing the impact these banks are having on the environment through their financing programs, they can help alert the public and policymakers to the need to outlaw MTR coal mining altogether.

CONTACTS: Rainforest Action Network,; Sierra Club,

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