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Blog Category: Earth Day

US Postal Service unveils new Earth Day stamp celebrating NOAA Climate Science

Global: Sea Surface Temperatures Forever® Stamp (credit USPS)

This morning, the U.S. Postal Service celebrated Earth Day by unveiling a new Forever international rate stamp inspired by a simulation of sea surface temperatures from a NOAA model of the Earth’s climate. The round stamp depicts the globe with North America in the center, surrounded by vivid bands of blue, green and red, signifying the varying temperatures of sea surface waters.

"This stamp is a fabulous tribute to the NOAA scientists and partners who develop models that help us understand changes in our climate and weather," said
Mark Schaefer, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for conservation and management and NOAA deputy administrator. "These global models are key to understanding changes in our dynamic planet over both the short- and long-term, and they are major sources of the environmental intelligence NOAA provides each day.  Armed with this kind of information, decision makers can help communities plan for and take action to become more resilient in the face of Earth's changing climate."

The image was chosen through the Postal Service’s public process that begins with suggestions from citizens to the Citizen Stamp Advisory Committee.

“Our citizen stamp advisory committee looks to the public for stamp subjects that celebrate people, ideas and events that are important to American history and culture,” said Joshua Colin, Eastern Area vice president for the U.S. Postal Service. “This year’s Earth Day stamp celebrates the important role that science is playing in our understanding of the Earth, the oceans and our climate.”

Several months ago, Postal Service representatives contacted scientists at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., to ask about a sea surface temperature animation on NOAA’s Science On a Sphere website. The sea surface temperature image came from NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J., where teams of scientists have been modeling the behavior of the oceans and atmosphere since the 1960s.

Commerce Renews Commitment to Environmental Stewardship with Awards Ceremony and New Green Store

Celebrate Earth Day Every Day Sign (photo credit: Dana Paul Franz)

As part of administration-wide efforts this week to commemorate Earth Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce held an award ceremony to recognize the 22 winners and runners-up of the Department's sixth annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards yesterday. In accordance with President Obama’s Executive Order 13514, the awards recognize individual employees and teams across 13 categories for energy and environmental stewardship, including those that exemplify exceptional energy and/or environmental performance within their program, career field, or organization. Winners are selected by an award selection committee appointed by the Associate Director of the Office of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Programs, and then forwarded to Commerce's Senior Sustainability Officer for approval. The committee used degree of difficulty, cost-effectiveness, innovation, and results as criteria to evaluate the record 37 nominations received this year, up from 26 last year. Ellen Herbst, Senior Advisor to the Deputy Secretary performing the duties of the Chief Financial Officer, presented the award certificates to the winners in the Herbert C. Hoover Building (HCHB) auditorium.

Some examples of this year’s award winners include the U.S. Patent and Trademark’s Telework Team for aggressively implementing a telework program that has cumulatively saved 6,247 employees from driving over 51 million miles, avoided nearly $6 million in fuel costs, and eliminated 30,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, all just in fiscal year 2012. The National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Net Zero Team won for outstanding organizational achievement in design and construction of a net-zero energy residential test facility that attains net-zero energy consumption. Another individual with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Marine Fisheries Service won for leading by example in minimizing his carbon footprint around the office and in commuting by bicycle in all weather, inspiring numerous colleagues throughout his nearly 20 years with NOAA’s Fisheries Service.

The Department of Commerce also held the grand opening and ribbon cutting for a Green Store at HCHB, as part of its ongoing commitment to both environmental and financial stewardship. The store will operate under the concept that excess office supplies can be re-used by other offices. The concept came from a member of the HCHB Green Team, which led to a toner cartridge recycling program that has saved over $120,000 since it was implemented approximately a year ago. Following the success of the cartridge recycling program, the Green Team expanded to start collecting other unused but still good office supplies from offices Department-wide. All office supplies will be free to all Commerce offices within HCHB and offices are being encourage to donate their excess supplies to the Green Store. Volunteers from HCHB’s Green Team will initially staff the Green Store, but the longer term vision is for area high school student interns to operate the store to gain valuable work and business experience, while maintaining the zero net cost of operating the store.

4th Annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards at the Department of Commerce

The winning team from NIST. From left to right:  Brian Dougherty (NIST), Dennis Campbell (NIST), Frederick Stephens (Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer), Daniel Gilmore (NIST), Stella Fiotes (NIST Chief Facilities Management Officer), and Jatin Patel (NIST).

The Department of Commerce celebrated Earth Day this week with its 4th annual Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards ceremony.  The department’s Energy and Environmental Stewardship Awards honor outstanding efforts in promoting environmental stewardship and energy conservation across the department.  This year there were six winning teams:

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology, honored for sourcing more than five percent of its energy from renewable sources in FY10;

  • The Herbert C. Hoover Building Green Team, honored for implementing a toner cartridge recycling and reuse program whose savings are estimated at $50,000 annually;

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service’s Coastal Services Center in Charleston, S.C., honored for installing an innovative rainwater harvesting system to redirect stormwater from roofs into native planting beds and a rain garden;

  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, honored for reducing use and increasing recycling of toxic chemicals;

  • Members of the department’s Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan development team, honored for their success in drafting the department’s first Strategic Sustainability Performance Plan and establishing a dedicated sustainability communication network at Commerce;

  • And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, honored for implementing a suite of projects ranging from the installation of innovative solar power technologies to the selection of alternative products for vessel maintenance that together have significantly reduced grid energy consumption, water consumption, and fleet petroleum use.  

The department’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Administration and Senior Sustainability Officer, Fred Stephens, presented the awards to the winning teams during the Herbert C. Hoover Building’s Earth Day fair on April 20, 2011.  Congratulations to the winners! 

Earth Day Stats from the U.S. Department of Commerce

Wind turbines on a wind farm (DIS photo)

In honor of Earth Day, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Census Bureau has pulled together a sampling of green data on green initiatives being taken to protect the environment.

According to the American Community Survey (5-year estimates):

  • 0.5% of Americans bike to and from work. More men bike to work than women (0.7% vs. 0.3%).
  • 10.5% of U.S. residents carpool to work. Men are more likely to carpool than women (11% vs. 10%).
  • 5% of U.S. residents take public transportation to work. Women are more likely to take public transportation (5.4% vs. 4.6%).
  • About 36,000 households in the United States rely on solar energy to heat their homes.

In 2009, according to data from the American Community Survey, the New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island metropolitan area led in the nation in the percentage of workers who used public transportation at 30.5%, followed by the San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont metro area, at 14.6%.

The Census Bureau’s 2011 Statistical Abstract is an excellent source for additional green stats, including on solar and renewable energy (PDF), emissions from power generation, air quality, threatened and endangered wildlife and plant species, and emissions of greenhouse gases by type and source (PDF).