Saturday, January 31, 2009

Green running articles

I have my foot in two camps here on Blogger (sorry for the bad pun): I'm also writing a blog about training for the Dublin Marathon this October (here). I, like many others before and after me, consider running as a way to have fun and remain physically fit.

So when someone like me -- one who invests an interest in both things green and things running -- finds a whole section of articles on Runner's World's Web site about trimming your eco-footprint, or recycling old shoes, or scientific studies about running's impact on the environment -- well, that just sounded novel enough to give a look.

Now you can find out where the top 10 greenest races are in the world (apparently Austin, TX?), or the annual carbon impact of an average runner. 

But some of the things they refer to in the list aren't necessarily devoted solely to running. Whether you're a runner or not, we all wear shoes. Why not recycle them when you've moved on? If you organize events that need registration forms, why not cut the paper out of the equation and use some form of e-registration?

It's neat how the idea of being more eco-friendly tends to start these "organic" brainstorms.

And I swear, that's the last of the bad puns from me today.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

While we're at it...

The group I mentioned below, Keep Mobile Beautiful, is the premiere authority on eco-awareness in Mobile. Their website is rather empty, but you can find all the important city recycling information here.

Recycling in Mobile

Recycling has become one of those issues where, if local governments don't get it right, the private sector eventually will. It may take a lot of money and a lot of support on behalf of the surrounding communities, but the idea of recycling has ramped up to the point where cities have embraced it as a way of life.

I wholeheartedly believe Mobile's no exception to that fact. The city itself doesn't give much back by way of recycling -- sure, there's the main recycling center on Government St. near Ann, but the city doesn't provide a means for people to transport their materials. God forbid someone from West Mobile should have to recycle.

Private groups throughout Mobile, however, have taken a stand on this issue, and it may be working. Over the last decade groups in the mainstream have been gaining more press coverage (see the latest Lagniappe issues and archives from the Press-Register to get a sense), and the popularity of recycling has reached many thousands of homes in the metropolitan area. There are even new paper recycling bins all around the city, thanks to local environmental group Keep Mobile Beautiful.

But Mobile's size has also grown considerably over the last decade, and along with the rest of the United States, businesses in Mobile are not immune to the harsh effects our economy is taking on everyone’s wallets. Private-sector groups lose funding after people stop investing in their services.

Adding insult to injury, the green sector hasn't seen very good business in Mobile. The nation’s crushing economic situation has put a lot of local businesses wary of any ventures that won’t immediately produce strong profits. It’s enough to make any young enterprising green-lover shy away from the idea entirely!

Some people are fighting the urge to go out quietly into the good night. Such is the way with a lot of local groups like Earth Resources, Mobile's only curbside recycling program. According to co-owner Frank Modarelli, the program has been operating at a loss since its conception 15 years ago -- in order to keep fees low and to encourage participation on behalf of the community.

“I got into this because I am a recycling advocate and was irritated that there wasn't more going on when I moved back here,” he told me. “It would be nice to make modest living off what I do, but I will be satisfied if I can at least feel like I have moved recycling forward in Mobile.”

Now, after having joined forces with fellow environmental group Keep Mobile Beautiful, they have spread their pickup routes to over 10,000 homes in the West Mobile and Spring Hill areas and over 35 area businesses. Hoping that their crushing financial situation would garner more public support -- and thus, a longer-lasting, positive impact on the community -- they've been looking to promote themselves through corporate sponsorships.

As a follow-up to this entry I plan to speak with Frank personally and find out more, and perhaps do some research on brainstorming the logistics of this issue. There is still a lot of work ahead, but it can be done!

In the meantime, you can find out all about their business and services here. View their services and see if they’re available for pick-up in your area. If not, let Frank and the others know you want to invest in their services. I’m more than certain they’ll accommodate your area.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Hello, everyone in Cyberland.

I'm starting this blog as a method for me to jot down green news and research happening in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama. I must admit, I'm particularly new to the blog scene, but the idea to start this blog came from a combined effort between my own frustrations with the local news job market (newspaper media and otherwise), and the lack of a green publication/news source in Mobile.

The Port City has long been known as the most rapidly-growing city in the state of Alabama, yet it's been lagging in the eco-friendly ranks in terms of the United States at large.

With this blog I hope to produce some evidence of Mobile's green conscience and, hopefully, send the message that we care as much about our environment as we do about our lovely city. Efforts along the Alabama Gulf Coast play an important role in conservation, not to mention the environmental research conducted by Mobile scientists on sea animals' habitats in Mobile Bay and drinking water content, to name just a few examples. There's also more domestic responsibilities I would like to see Mobile undertake: gaining a cost-efficient, accessible system for recycling in Mobile; switching to energy-efficient streetlamps and traffic lights; powering all public transit on fuels that use less (if not zero) carbon; the list goes on.

I may start out slow, as I'm only beginning to gather content, but I aim to update this blog as often as 2-3 times per week, so stay in touch!