At the request of our members, we are starting an electronic newsletter to keep you up to date on our various initiatives and to inform you of opportunities for environmental activism. Unlike some environmental charities, we're not going to be hypocrites and put out some glossy hard copy monthly magazine that is made from some poor trees.
The newsletter is always under construction. If you have articles or ideas for articles, please drop us a line. Even better, if you want to help put the newsletter together, we could certainly use some volunteers.
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Progress in Afghanistan April 2009
In celebration of Earth Day, Afghanistan's National Environment Protection Agency announced the establishment of Band-e-Amir as the country's first national park. High in the Hindu Kush mountains of central Afghanistan, Band-e-Amir is a series of six lakes deep blue lakes separated by natural dams made of travertine, a mineral deposit. The national park covers 56,000 hectares (215 square miles) of land in central Bamyan Province near the Bamyan Valley, where the 1,500-year-old giant Buddha statues destroyed by the Taliban once stood. The Nature Initiative wishes to express its gratitude to the Afghani government for making this contribution to out world's environment. As we all know, environmentalism should know no borders.
San Francisco says no to "Paper or Plastic?" April 2007
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to make San Fran the first U.S. city to ban plastic bags from large supermarkets. The move is intended to promote recycling and conservation. Under the bill, large supermarkets and other stores will not be allowed to offer plastic bags made from petroleum products. Though this is believed to be the first such bill in the U.S., there have been cities in foreign countries that have similar laws. The city's Department of the Environment said San Francisco uses over 180 million plastic grocery bags annually. The ban, if signed into law by the mayor as expected, would save 450,000 gallons of oil a year and remove the need to send 1,400 tons of debris to landfills. The well-tailored rules would, however, allow recyclable plastic bags, which are not widely used in San Fran today. NI applauds San Fran and encourages you to seek similar laws in your neck of the woods.
Hats off to Adobe Winter 2007
Adobe Systems, a leading software company and parent of the ubiquitous Acrobat Reader, recently gave their San Jose, California headquarters a million dollar enviro-friendly makeover. Among the changes, Adobe installed automatic bathroom faucets, waterless urinals, timers for lighting, compact fluorescent bulbs, an automated drip irrigation system, and motion sensors for interior lights. Adobe also offers secure bike parking, and an $80 monthly subsidy for employees that don't drive to the office. Workers also have special composing trash bins for food waste in addition to trash and recycling bins. So far, the company has invested over $1.1 million in 40+ energy-efficient projects, yielding nearly $1 million in annual savings. Many of the energy-saving measures paid for themselves in only a matter of months. For example, replacing incandescent bulbs with fluorescent ones cost $11,000, and yields $105,000 in annual savings.
The Nature Initiative thanks Adobe for showing that big-business and environmentalism can go hand in hand. And in fact, a little green around the office can add some green to the bottom line.
Hybrid Car Advisory Oct 3, 2006
Though the Nature Initiative has not taken an official stance on hybrid cars (hybrid engine cars contain large amounts of chemicals, copper and lead and the environmental impact that will result when their massive electric batteries are discarded is uncertain) we understand that many of our members have hybrid cars and thus would like to keep you informed of current matters that concern you. Specifically, the $650 to $3150 tax credit that benefits the owners of these vehicles may phase out sooner than you think. Though the tax credits are supposed to stay in effect until 2010, they may phase out sooner because of limitations on the number of vehicles covered by the law. Most purchasers are unaware that the hybrid car tax credit is phased out for a particular manufacturer after 60,000 vehicles are sold. Toyota recently hit the 60,000 limit. Any Toyota (or Lexus) hybrid purchased after 9/30/06 is not eligible for the full tax credit. If you are in the market for a hybrid, you may want to consider other manufacturers. Check out for more info on tax credits and incentives.
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