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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Tell Enterprise to quit Dirty ALEC

From Climate Truth: It turns out that Enterprise, the world’s largest car rental company, is a dues-paying member of ALEC. ALEC is an extreme right-wing lobbying group that denies climate change and blocks climate action. I’ve signed on to this petition calling on Enterprise to cut all ties with ALEC immediately and live up to its own values of sustainability. 

As we prepare here in La Crosse to (we hope) help roll out an Enterprise  community car share program, we want to make sure new enviro-conscious members' money is not being spent to work against climate progress.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Sustainable La Crosse Commission meeting

The Sustainable La Crosse Commission will be meeting Thursday, August 18th, 4:00 PM in City Hall’s 5th Floor Conference Room

To discuss the following Agenda items:
  • Approval of July 21st, 2016 Minutes
  • Public Comment
  • Staff Report & Information Updates (Limited to ten minutes)
  • Discussion & Possible Action on Rules of Procedures for Election of Chairperson & Vice Chairperson, Citizen Member Appointment Dates, and Terms of Office
  • Review of Commission Activities and Expenditures Over the Last 5 Years; Consideration of Goals and Expenditure Requests for 2017FY
  • Discussion and possible action on an urban food growing policy – Pam Hartwell, HUAC


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Healthy Climate Solutions Tour - D.O.G.S. Puppet Show for ALL AGES!

Doctors and medical students from the group Climate 911 are touring the Mississippi River valley in August with a puppet show about climate solutions. The physicians and their puppets will perform in 14 river towns between Minneapolis and St Louis. In order to practice what they preach, the doctors are traveling by bicycle. Shows in our region include:

Wabasha (at River Rider Cycle & Specialty) - Saturday, August 6, 5:00
Winona (Lake Lodge) - Sunday, August 7, 7:00
La Crosse (Myrick Park) - Monday, August 8, 6:00
De Soto (Community Center) - Tuesday, August 9, 7:00
Prairie du Chien (Public Library) - Wednesday, August 10, 6:30

The show's title, D.O.G.S.. stands for "Dozens Of Good Solutions". The main characters are two dogs who train their humans to cut climate pollution in half in “a dog's life” (14 years). This aligns with scientific consensus on what we must do to keep global warming below 2 degrees C.

“We want people to know that not all good medicine tastes bad”, says Dr. Wendy Ring, the family physician who created D.O.G.S. “The clean air, walkable communities, and healthier diets which are spinoffs of climate action will save hundreds of thousands of lives by reducing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, and asthma.” Dr Robert Byron, an internist/puppeteer from Montana, adds: “Good medicine isn't always expensive. The health savings from climate solutions are many times greater than their cost.”

Climate action has broad support from American medical organizations including the American Medical Association, National Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Practitioners; American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology; American College of Physicians, American College of Preventive Medicine, American College of Chest Physicians, American College of Sports Medicine, American Thoracic Society, National Association of County and City Health Officials and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

About Climate 911
Climate 911 is a national network of health professionals and students who educate and advocate for policies which decrease greenhouse gas emissions and improve public health.  For more information about the group, the health benefits of climate solutions, or their Healthy Climate Solutions Tour, visit

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

New opportunity to GO SOLAR

An article in today's La Crosse Tribune details Gundersen Clinic's participation in the Geostellar Solar Clinic program. "Geothermal and Solar.Clinic create a profile for homeowners to discover what solar systems might cost and their projected benefits." They then, apparently, do the installation for those who decide to move forward.

This sounds similar to the Sierra Club/H&H Solar program to put solar on people's rooftops. That program provides a free solar site assessment, a detailed proposal that shows costs and payback times, and, for those who follow through, installation of the system with a discount on solar panels and a donation to the Sierra Club.

Last year's PSC decision to increase fixed rates, and previous decisions to decrease the payback (how much and how often solar homeowners are paid) for energy they generate and feed back to the grid  slowed the number of people going solar because the payback period became too long.

The Solar Clinic program is a grid-tie with option for battery "backup" which adds considerably to the cost of a system (especially if you want enough "backup" to store all the energy you'll use) which means you will run up against the same problem - paying more than you should for the privilege of providing cheap clean energy to Xcel while they have every opportunity to up your rates at their convenience. The Solar Clinic program appears to charge up front and guarantee your current rate for the lifetime of your system which does insulate you from ever increasing electricity rates (even as the cost for solar continues to plummet).

If the Solar Clinic might offer a battery/off grid option, and IF your home is suitable for solar (sadly, the H&H people say that most of those who are motivated and get a solar assessment are not well-sited for a solar installation), then it would be wonderful to generate your own clean power and no longer be tied to the utility company.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Learn More About Rain Gardens!

The County and City of La Crosse and UW-Extension are hosting a rain garden workshop at the YMCA on August 9 at 6:00. Learn what a rain garden is, how to make one, and how to choose appropriate plants. Discover how a rain garden can save you money on your stormwater utility credit and how it impacts your neighborhood! The workshop goes from 6-7pm with a walking tour of local rain gardens to follow.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Sustainable La Crosse Commission meeting

The Sustainable La Crosse Commission will meet on Thursday, July 21st, 5:00 PM in City Hall’s 5th Floor Conference Room 

Agenda items:
1.       Approval of June 16, 2016 Minutes
2.       Public Comment
3.       Staff Reports and Informational Updates
4.       Discussion and possible action on Rules of Procedures for election of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson and citizen member appointment dates
5.       Consideration of Sustainability program goals for fiscal year
6.       Discussion and possible action on an urban food growing policy – Pam Hartwell, HUAC

There was recently a La Crosse Tribune article noting that La Crosse's sustainability future is "bright."  The city/county goals made in 2009 require reductions in energy and fossil fuels and generation of renewable energy.

Interestingly, the article did not note any sustainability goals regarding transportation even though vehicle use makes up more than one-quarter the greenhouse gas emissions in the US. In light of the fact that the city of La Crosse continues to commit millions of dollars to build and expand parking ramps and there don't seem to be any moves to make driving personal vehicles less attractive (by raising parking prices, for example), this might be an issue that could be brought up before the commission during the public comments.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

La Crosse CCL meeting this week

The local Citizen's Climate Lobby chapter will meet this Wednesday, July 13, at 6:30. Meetings are at the UU Fellowship of La Crosse (401 West Ave S, La Crosse, WI). Discussion topics will include the CCL July conference call with the director of the National Audubon Society’s Climate Initiative. A recording of the call can be found here. Please email if you have any questions.