I'm headed to Kona this weekend to compete in the upcoming Ironman World Championships. As much as I'd love to drive the Green Athlete bio-diesal van....this is obviously not an option. So instead I'm going to buy carbon offsets from TerraPass which is a great organization helping to make a difference. Its really easy to do and makes me feel better about my upcoming trip. You can learn more about TerraPass and buy your own carbon offsets at their web site.
What is a carbon offset?
A carbon offset is a certificate representing the reduction of one metric ton (2,205 lbs) of carbon dioxide emissions, the principal cause of global warming. Although complex in practice, carbon offsets are fairly simple in theory. If you develop a project that reduces carbon dioxide emissions, every ton of emissions reduced results in the creation of one carbon offset. Project developers can then sell these offsets to finance their projects.
There are hundreds of different types of carbon reduction projects. For example, a wind farm generates clean energy, which reduces carbon emissions from coal-burning power plants. In order to finance its operations, a wind farm can sell these reductions in the form of carbon offsets.
The Interbike Expo is 100% wind powered and uses 25% recycled carpet.
What is the Green Steps Program? It’s simple: It’s reducing our negative impact on the environment—one step at a time. There are two components of this program. The first is what Interbike does to make a difference and the second is what you, the exhibitors and attendees, do to make a difference.
The History of Green Steps: Green Steps began three years ago when Interbike became aware of the negative impact that events can have on the environment. Minimizing that impact quickly became a priority of our business. We soon realized that there was so much that we didn’t know and that there was an incredible opportunity to make a difference. We decided to take “Steps” toward the three R’s—Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – with the belief that anything we did, no matter how small, would have a positive effect.
What Steps does Interbike take?
Our first Step was to offset the energy used to operate Interbike by purchasing REC's (renewable energy certificates). This is equivalent to taking approx. 30 cars off the road for an entire year or planting 20 acres of trees. See page 2 for a detailed description of RECs.
Work with the Sands, the City of Las Vegas, GES and other service providers to find out what they are doing and how we can work together to drive initiatives and support additional steps toward a healthier environment.
Introduced recycled aisle carpeting.
Offer recycled booth carpet to exhibitors.
Switched to recycled paper badges printed with soy ink instead of plastic.
Implemented “Yellow Bag” recycling program to collect cardboard off the show floor.
Reduced use of paper printing with increase in use of electronic communication.
Examples: online registration, online exhibitor service manuals and e-newsletters.
What’s new for this year? The newCarbon Neutral Travel Program. Whether by plane, train or automobile, the CO2 emissions of your travel have a negative effect on the environment. You will now have an opportunity to offset those emissions by calculating your carbon footprint for travel to Interbike and purchasing REC's. Carbon offsets allow you to ensure that in the future, clean alternative wind energy is produced in lieu of carbon-intensive coal fired energy. You are offsetting the carbon that you have already emitted, reducing future carbon emissions, and helping to grow the availability of clean energy by supporting new wind energy projects.
OutDoor Demo Green Steps:
Organic food and biodegradable foodware.
Exhibitors provided with biodegradable trash bags.
Recycle bins throughout event and "green teams" collecting trash around the event for recycling.
Since I installing Sungevity solor panels (link to Sungevity) on my house I have started thinking more and more about making my home Green. I’m certainly no expert so I may go check out the West Coast Green home conference and expo. More than 400 exhibitors will be sharing planet-friendly ideas at the third-annual event, from zero-VOC paints to roofing tiles made from reclaimed materials. This year's focus is innovation.
www.idealbite.com/wannatry/0903wcgreen West Coast Green's Homeowner Day; Sep. 27, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.); 408 Almaden Blvd., San Jose (800-724-4880). Homeowner day pass, $20; with admission to Al Gore's keynote address, $84.
With Triathlon continuing to grow at a steady pace it has become increasingly evident that we all as athletes need to become aware of our consumption and traveling habits. Kelly Dunleavy of Bohemian.com recently took a look into the growing pains and changes taking place in the triathlon community.
The article focuses on the growing sentiment for sustainability and emphasizes the measures that Chris Lieto is taking with The Green Athlete.
"Chris Lieto, a professional triathlete from Danville, has become a poster boy for environmentally conscious training and racing. Lieto has been a pro for six years, has won some of the sport's top races and placed sixth in last year's Ironman World Championships. And he's using his visibility to launch a new challenge, the Green Athlete.
"I don't want it to just be a wasteful time. I want it to have some purpose, to leave it better in some way," Lieto says of his sport.
Lieto's sustainability initiative is focused on bringing together different environmental programs and bringing more attention to the issue. Many of his sponsors already have their own programs, such as Trek's One World, Two Wheels bike-riding project and the Soles4Souls shoe recycling venture. By working with his sponsors, with other athletes and with local races, Lieto is spreading the word about simple things triathletes can do, such as commuting to races, buying in bulk and with less packaging, and using reusable bottles and water filters. "
Pro triathlete, Chris Lieto, recently started a campaign called The Green Athlete. The Green Athlete provides resources and ideas that support athletes in their effort to live green. The Green Athlete campaign encourages athletes of all levels and abilities who lead busy lives and want to make small changes that add up to big results. A core component of the campaign, The Green Athlete Blog, provides weekly tips that cover everything from where to recycle your running shoes to what food choices will help make a difference. We hope to bring together athletes of all levels and abilities to make proactive environmentally friendly choices and changes, a part of their athletic lifestyle!
I recently had a chance to pull Chris away from his busy training schedule to ask him a few questions about The Green Athlete. Here is what he had to say.
We know the basic idea of what The Green Athlete is all about. How did this come into being….was this an idea that you came up with?
Yeah, I came up with the idea. I thought this would be a good way to do what I can to bring awareness and educate people on being more green. In the process I have learned a lot and have seen more things that I can do to lessen my impact. Before I started the project I was a bit wary of doing the Green Athlete because I am certainly not the perfect “green” person. But you have to start somewhere and just do the things that you can do. There is a learning curve as you get more involved in being green. Through the Green Athlete I have been learning more things that I can change and have changed my thought process as a result. For example when you go to the coffee shop. Sure, the cups they use are from recycled material and you can recycle the cup but the better option would be to bring your own coffee mug and forgo the paper cup altogether.
Have you been a big supporter of recycling, composting, basically being “green” even before now?
I have always recycled and have learned since starting the Green Athlete that it is more about reusing and reducing instead of recycling…..which should be the last option of the three. For example I don’t buy bottled water. I use a filter on the tap instead. I am trying to get my sponsors to think along these lines as well, which many of them have already been doing. My sponsor BASE Performance Nutrition has a product that comes in concentrate form and it makes 8 gallons when mixed with water. So, rather than buying a bottled drink I can just mix it up using my water bottles, filtered water from the tap and the concentrate.
So you’re driving around to races in a bio diesel and solar powered van? How is that? Do you have problems finding places to fuel up?
It has been great. We are pretty much self sufficient in the van. We have a kitchen, fridge, microwave and of course a flat screen TV with a Sony Playstation III.
I don’t have much of a problem finding a place to get biodiesel. There are websites that list stations that have biodiesel. So before I take a trip, I just have to map out where we are able to fuel up. We drove up to Boise for the 70.3 race there and we were able to fill up in Truckee and then again once we got to Boise. The van will run on diesel if I run out of biodiesel. Of course that is certainly not something I want to do and would rather run 100% on biodiesel. But, like I said I’m not the perfect green person and if I am able to use biodiesel 80-90% of the time then I am still making a difference.
The idea of having the van is twofold. The first obviously being to reduce carbon emission and be more green. The second is to use the van to be the catalyst to draw people in and peak their interest in the van and in biodiesel and solar and being green and get them to start asking questions. I like being around people and am a very social person so at races we have a bunch of chairs set out by the van. So people can come and just hang out, check out the van and ask questions about green issues, talk about racing, about gaming...
**Chris will have his van set up at the Vineman Ironman 70.3 expo on July 19th so stop by and say hi and check out the van!
What kind of changes have you made when you go to races?
Well the van is equipped with a water filter so I don’t have to buy bottled water. I also bring gel flasks and use those during a race instead of gel packets. I don’t take anything from the bike aid stations because I make sure I have everything I need with me. This helps reduce the garbage out on the race course. As I mentioned before the van has everything we need so that really helps. I think it’s not enough that races themselves are going green. We, as athlete’s need to do our part at races that are green to help them in their efforts.
What other kind of changes have you made at home or in your daily life?
Well, I already mentioned that I have a filter on the tap and use that instead of bottled water. I try and ride my bike to the pool. I stop at the store at the end of a bike ride rather than making a separate trip. I also use my scooter to go places and run errands. We are in the process of having solar panels put on our house. I have been working with a Berkeley startup company called called Sungevity, http://www.sungevity.com/. They have been great to work with! (Sungevity also helped Chris to add solar to his biodiesel van)
What has been the reception from athletes/spectators at races?
It has been great. People have been asking lots of questions. They have said that they really like the name (the Green Athlete). There have been some pros that have stated an interest in The Green Athlete. We’d like to be able to have them do some blog entries on the website to tell people what they are doing to be green and give some ideas that they have and changes they have made. We’ve got an idea where we can have people sign a pledge of some kind to get them more committed to making changes.
Now that it is the height of race season I don’t have a lot of time to work on the campaign and website and expand on it but I hope to do more down the road. We just started on this project so I’m not sure what direction it will take but so far we’ve had good response to it.
Are you finding a lot of racing coming on board with green initiatives like Vineman is doing and like Barry Siff has done with 5430 in Boulder?
Yes. In just this race season I have seen a lot of races making changes. WTC is getting on board and North America Sports has voiced some interest as well.
You’re involved with a program called Soles for Souls. Tell me a little bit about this. And, you have a link on your website for people to find out more about this right?
Soles for Souls collects and donates used shoes to people in need all around the globe from victims of hurricane Katrina to those of the tsunami in Myanmar. If the shoes that they collect are no longer wearable the shoes are then ground up and turned into turf and material for playgrounds. We have been collecting shoes at various races (and will collect shoes at Vineman Ironman 70.3). The Green Athlete has teamed up with K Swiss and when someone donates a pair of shoes we’ll give them a discount coupon for a pair of K Swiss shoes.
Well, Vineman will certainly get the word out about Soles for Souls and encourage athletes to bring their old running shoes to our race expo on July 19.
Thanks Chris for taking some time out to have a chat about The Green Athlete! We’ll see you in a couple of weeks at Vineman where you’ll be taking part not only in the race on the 20th but also the Athlete Welcome Reception on July 18th at 7pm and at the expo on July 19th.
Best of luck with the campaign and with the rest of your 2008 race season.
To find out more about Chris and his efforts check out the following websites:
As most of you have heard, Vineman is going green this year. We'd like to let everyone know what to expect while you are here for the race and ask that you do your part to make our event as "green" as possible!
All of the information is included in this email or you can click on this link and it will take you to the information on our website.
What Vineman is doing to be a "greener" race.
On the course:
Recycle all plastic one use bottles.
Collect, wash and donate all other water bottles.
Recycle all cardboard boxes.
Recycle all energy bar wrappers (through TerraCycle's "wrapper brigade").
Compost fruit scraps from fruit used on the run course.
Around the race sites:
At registration your "goody bag" will be a reusable shopping bag; so be sure to take it home with you and keep it in your car and use it when you go shopping!
Did you know your run bib is recyclable? That's right. They are made out of Tyvek which can be recycled. Also made out of Tyvek is the wristband you will receive at registration and must wear for the entirety of the race.
Notice a change in your bike number? We've switched from a large paper placard style bike number to smaller sticker number that gets placed on the top tube of your bike. This reducing the amount of paper used and eliminates twist ties.
We have redesigned our signage in the transition areas. Not only is it more visible but it is reusable, instead of single use.
You won't find any bottled water at the finish line this year. Instead we have 5 gallon jugs of filtered water along with paper cups for your use.
All plates and napkins at the athlete food tent are from 100% recycled material and the utensils are made from corn.
Composting at the food tent. We will be composting all of the fruit scraps and peels that come from our finish line food tent and from the run aid stations.
Recycle your swim gear bag. Our bags are recyclable and made from 65% recycled plastic and printed using water based inks. There will be a bin set up adjacent to the swim gear claim area. So, if you no longer need or want your bag, please drop it in the recycle bin or any recycle bin!
The bags come from EARTHPACK, a company in Irvine, CA that has been making recycled bags since 1990.
Akeena Solar will be at the race to power both our expo and finish line.
What you can do to help us and help the planet:
Carpool to the event and/or the race sites when possible and calculate and offset your carbon emissions through Bonneville Environmental Foundation, http://www.b-e-f.org/index.shtm
Bring a reusable water bottle with you and use it throughout the weekend.
Be sure to put recyclables, garbage, and compost in the proper bins at the race venues.
Help us out with the "wrapper brigade" and recycle your energy bar and granola bar wrappers in bins provided and marked as such. To find out more about the wrapper brigade go to: www.terracycle.net
Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you all this weekend.
The Vineman Staff