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Nov 262008

Green Right Now

California this week honored 21 companies and organizations with the Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards, the state’s highest prize for contributions to environmental issues.

The Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Awards program was established in 1993. Recipients are selected by a large panel of evaluators and the Secretaries of Cal/EPA, the Resources Agency, Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, the Department of Food and Agriculture, the State and Consumer Services Agency, and the Governor’s Office. It honors projects in nine categories.

Here are the 2008 award winners in each category with comments from the California EPA:

Climate Change

  • University of California, Irvine — Sustainable Transportation Program
    Irvine’s Sustainable Transportation Program seeks to change the commuting culture by raising awareness of environmental impacts and encouraging the use of green alternatives. The program uses incentives, infrastructure improvements, policies and educational outreach to develop a culture of environmentally conscious commuters, whose lifestyle changes help preserve the natural beauty and quality of life in California. This comprehensive program eliminates over 39 million vehicle miles traveled, 18,600 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and saves the University more than $21 million each year.
  • Dixon Ridge Farms — Energy Self-Sufficiency by 2012
    The goal of Dixon Ridge Farms’ energy self-sufficiency plan is to eliminate all types of outside energy use by 2012, while also being carbon and nitrous-oxide negative from using nonfood sources for energy and maintaining its strategic and sustainable growth. The farm pioneered Biologically Integrated Orchard Systems to reduce pesticide and fertilizer usage in walnut production, re-circulate irrigation water runoff and embrace alternative sources of energy. In 2007, Dixon Ridge set an ambitious 5-year goal for energy self-sufficiency and became the first on-farm user of a 50kW co-generator that converts walnut shells into renewable energy. To date, this is the farm’s largest step in moving “off the grid” and “off the pipeline” as this new, green technology will supply 40% of the farm’s overall electricity needs.
  • Marin Sanitary Service — Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
    A family-run business, Marin Sanitary Service has pioneered state-of-the-art recycling methods,
    technologies, and programs resulting in a 75% recycling rate. They also recycle more than 547 tons of waste water per day — saving the equivalent of 2 million trees and 900 million gallons of water. Since 1990, the company has recycled over 2.2 million tons of waste, representing a reduction of almost 4 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Marin Sanitary Service has created new recycling technologies, and effectively worked with residents and businesses to create partnerships and education programs to further reduce waste and greenhouse gas emissions.