Environmental Inspiration: Finding It or Not

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Maybe another environmentally conscious brewery will help me find my environmental inspiration.

It’s been 2 1/2 months since my last post. That’s my longest drought without writing. I wondered if I’d lost interest in writing and creating. No. I wondered if I’ve been busier. Not really. The only reason is that nothing has inspired me to write. It’s that simple. I haven’t found any “environmental inspiration.”

Writing this blog is about telling stories from the perspective of an environmental professional that excite, entertain, or educate me. As a science communicator, it’s important to me tell the stories of the environmental profession. If I can find my environmental inspiration, or tell of someone else’s, that will hopefully be conveyed to the reader.

There’s been plenty I could have written about: lack of climate or science discussion in the election coverage, pipeline protests, environmental art, science education, or Nobel Prize winners. But none of it brought me here.Why? There’s several reasons I thought about: family, vacation, work, maybe even football season. No. All of those things have inspired me to write in the past. Well, not exactly football, but other sports.

Of course, it is odd that I’m writing about how I couldn’t find something to write about. That’s the idea. I hope this will reinvigorate my writing and help me find my environmental inspiration. I’ve heard several professional writers give similar advice; “If you want to be a good writer, write every day.” There’s also countless stories and advice about creating small daily habits to achieve big goals. I don’t plan to write every day. But I am setting a goal of 10 posts over the next 5 months, November through March.

Until then, here’s 3 of my favorite articles from the past few months.

The World’s First Fully Solar-Powered Beer Fest

img_9450I had the pleasure to attend, and sample, a very fun beer fest in Grand Lake, CO. It was part of the Spirit of the Lake Regatta and Grand Lake Brewfest, Aug 13, 2016. Finding a beer fest during a vacation is good enough. Then I saw that it was a fundraiser for youth outdoor environmental education programs. It also claimed to be the worlds’ first fully solar-powered beer fest. Even the live band was powered by solar panels. Hosted by Infinite West, it was a net-zero, zero waste event that was the perfect example of the environment of beer! Continue reading

What are HCFCs and Their Connection to Costco and International Diplomacy?

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) are liquids or gases that are most commonly used in refrigeration and air conditioning. Break it down and it’s a compound made of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon. They were developed for and are used as a less ozone-depleting substance (ODS) than chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). You’ve probably heard of CFCs, the ODS that were phased out years ago. HCFCs are considered Class II ODS, which means they have less potential to destroy the ozone layer than Class I ODS, such as CFCs. HCFCs are being incrementally phased out, leading to a complete HCFC phase out by 2030.

HCFCs are a problem when they leak into the atmosphere during manufacturing, use, or disposal. They are a very powerful greenhouse gas, which contribute to climate change. Continue reading

Environment of Beer: Coors Brewery Tour

Coors Brewery, Golden, COThe Coors Brewery Tour is known for 2 things: 1) seeing behind the scenes of the iconic brewery in Golden, CO, and 2) the free beer in the Tasting Room. But there are several environmental related topics presented throughout the tour. I’ve highlighted several of them here, along with some information from the MillerCoors Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship pages. I’ve toured several breweries. Each time I’m reminded of the industrial process involved in brewing and packaging. So I also have on my CHMM-hat looking the environmental, health, and safety of the brewery. Continue reading

Taking the Proper Environmental, Health, and Safety Training

Good or bad? A garbage can full of oil.

The proper training could have avoided this garbage can of used oil.

Warning: this article might test your knowledge of environmental, health and safety training abbreviations and acronyms!

As professionals in the environmental field, we may be exposed to hazardous work conditions, possibly radiological, chemical and/or physical. For some of us it’s a routine part of our jobs. If you are working around hazardous conditions, there is most likely a required environmental, health, and safety (EH&S) training course you’ll need to complete. Unfortunately, people often get inadequate information or misinterpret the course(s) they need. Depending on your job, the required course could be from a federal regulation, state regulation, a requirement of a client, and even individual job locations may require a specific course or more. Continue reading

Joy of The National Parks In Photos

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Getting lost in a metasedimentary cirque in Glacier National Park. Remote, but accessible.

Filmmaker Ken Burns called the National Parks, “America’s Best Idea.” I don’t know if I’d go that far. See: cheeseburgers and basketball. They’re still a wonderful idea. In honor of the National Parks 100th birthday on August 25, 2016, here are some of my favorite photos and locations from exploring the parks. They have shaped who I am as a person and environmental professional. Growing up and going to school in the eastern U.S., I was in awe of the photos of the majestic National Parks in the western U.S. I wanted to see these huge landscapes and get lost in the mountains and deserts. I’ve been able to do just that over the past 20 years. Continue reading

Environmental Art: Cold War Horse

Cold War HorseThis is part of a series where I explore interesting pieces of environmental art.

Cold War Horse is a creepy, powerful, thought-provoking statue in the expanding suburbs of western Arvada, CO, northwest of Denver. It’s a beautiful part of the Denver metro area at the base of the Front Range Mountains. The setting and expanding suburbs is part of the reason it is displayed here. If you were driving along and only paying casual attention, you’d think it was merely a red horse statue, and probably wonder, “Why is there a red horse statue out here?” and go on with your day. If you look closer, or better yet stop and get out, it’s chilling. Continue reading