Greenpeace at ELF? We got the Power!posted Tuesday, July 12 by Andrew Moreno
While you may be familiar with most of our sponsors and their presence in the local food campaign, we would like to take a moment to introduce you to a not-so-typical sponsor for the Farm-to-Street Party, and that is Greenpeace! You may be asking yourself what Greenpeace has to do with our local food campaign, so we thought we would take a moment to introduce you to our new friend, the Greenpeace “Rolling Sunlight” truck! This year, Rolling Sunlight will be providing the much needed electricity for our Farm-to-Street Party, and we are very excited to have them on board with our programs. To learn a bit more about the truck and some of its missions, we contacted our friends at Greenpeace and got some answers:
So tell us about the truck…
The Rolling Sunlight made its official debut at the Ralph Nader’s People Have The Power rally at the Masonic Center in San Francisco,October 11, 2001. The Sunlight then traveled throughout California to power up events and provide information on how we can take advantage of our cleanest fuel source, the sun. Since then, the Sunlight has traveled throughout America and around the world promoting and demonstrating clean power alternatives.
It is designed as a CO2 neutral vehicle with abuilt-in power plant of 2.4kW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power as well as an on-board storage facility. The 256 square feet of PV cells will produce power for the next 30 years or more with no emissions. However, we continue to update with new technologies as they become available and perhaps more importantly, we work to continually increase efficiency in the truck to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
How does it work?
The Sunlight has both a truck component and a power plant component. It is designed as a carbon neutral vehicle, but also as a demonstration of the average amount of power utilized by an American household. The power plant has a 2.4kW of photovoltaic (PV) solar power and two smaller wind turbines as well as an on-board storage facility to power anything we might need to power at night. These batteries are continually charged and recharged.
The truck has an internal combustion engine that powers the vehicle that can run on both diesel and bio-diesel. As its a nine ton truck, we try as much as possible to lighten the trucks burden and continually increase efficiency.
What are the advantages of using Solar Power?
There are a number of advantages to using solar and alternate power sources. Solar power is an abundant resource, a reliable resource and environmentally advantageous resource. Solar can be utilized in such a variety of climates and applications (residential, commercial, industrial) that it is a common sense solution to our energy needs. Solar, like wind power and other renewable energy providers, does not have a negative impact on our public health and environment, unlike coal and other fossil fuels.
Why is it important to shop locally?
Every day, the decisions we make either positively or negatively affect the pattern of our development as a civilization. We chose our environmental alternatives with our fork and our wallet. By sourcing and shopping locally, we are building in resiliency and empowering local communities to make decisions about the resources that are utilized within the community. This benefits not only the local community, but also allows other communities the opportunity to develop without the added strain of centralized food and consumer product production. Another enormous benefit in local sourcing is to cut down on our own carbon and nitrogen footprint, as food and products need to travel less to get to the customer — thus further helping to save our planet from catastrophic climate change.
What’s the best thing about working in DC?
Working in DC is great for a number of reasons. DC is easy to bike in, there are plenty of local food options, tons of local culture, and a great distance to both the beach and the mountains. Each time I receive a CSA or enjoy food grown at one of the several urban farms, I am reminded of how much of a privilege it is to work here.
What challenges is Greenpeace facing?
As an organization, Greenpeace is doing very well. We are growing both nationally and internationally, but we can always do more. Fundamentally, we are trying to prevent catastrophic climate change — and as the situation in the Gulf, mine disasters in Appalachia, and the weather events of this year has shown, we’ve still got a long way to go. That said, we’ve really expanded our reach and have had some amazing victories this year and look forward to many more.
What excites you about the Eat Local First campaign?
The concept, implementation, location, and synergy from this event inspires me. We live and eat in this community and any way that we can vote for local and organic food with our forks, we are definitely in.
Have an interesting personal anecdote you’d like to share?
I could not be more excited to be involved in this campaign, to be assisting with the power generation, and moving forward towards truly sustainable food selections for all members of the DMV.
What upcoming events is Greenpeace working on?
We’re working to shut down a coal plant in Alexandria that is poisoning residents of the 8th Ward, so, you’ll hear a lot from us coming up.