Thursday, May 12, 2011

Going paperless? read this...

Here's an excellent article from CNN Money with tips and cautions on how to switch to e-bills without losing any important information.

Article By Karin Price Mueller, Money Magazine
May 5, 2011

(Money Magazine) -- You may have noticed that the appeals to go paperless from banks, credit card issuers, and brokerages have reached fever pitch lately.

While the marketing often plays up the environmental benefits, the push to accept online statements is really all about saving a buck -- the company's buck, that is. Banks in particular are trying to make up for revenue lost due to recent credit and debit legislation, says Lauren Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center.

Despite the hard sell, only 24% of bank customers have gone digital, and more than a third say they'll never switch, Forrester Research found.

Among the latter? Maybe you should rethink: "Besides the feel-good story about saving trees, there are many advantages to going paperless," says Riverdale, N.J., financial planner Michael Gibney.

Statements are available sooner, transactions are searchable, and the risk of your ID being stolen through the mail is lowered. But if you're going to do it, do it right.

Create an e-filing cabinet

The top reason people give for not choosing e-statements: fear they'll need paper copies. But that's the wrong anxiety. A statement printed at home has the same legal value as one you get in the mail, Gibney says.

Of greater concern: Many institutions keep only one year of records online. To save yourself from last-minute scrambles for documents, download key statements.

Create folders on your hard drive for proof of deductible expenses (save for seven years); proof of major purchases (for insurance and warranties); bills (delete once paid); and purchase slips and end-of-year statements on investment accounts (for tax reasons).

Set up a review system

One legitimate risk of going paperless is that it's easier to ignore the statements and miss wrongful charges, term changes, or due dates, notes Saunders.

Stay vigilant by signing up for e-mail alerts notifying you when a bill or statement is available. (Just be sure to add the institutions to your "safe senders" list, so that they don't get tagged as spam.)

Keep the messages marked "unread" until you act on them.

Protect your data

In the Forrester study, consumers also expressed concerns about what would happen if their computers crashed. Indeed, you'd have to chase all the documents you'd downloaded.

Avert this annoyance by backing up the folders onto a CD or external hard drive.

Finally, while going digital protects you from dumpster-diving ID thieves, saving documents on your hard drive can open you up to other privacy risks, says Ondrej Krehel of Identity Theft 911.

So keep your computer's antivirus software up-to-date, and, if you use a laptop, make sure it's password-protected and that the files are saved with encryption.

(Image credit: from "Running the Numbers: An American Self-Portrait (2006 - 2009)", this image depicts 30,000 reams of office paper, or 15 million sheets, equal to the amount of office paper used in the US every five minutes.

Another rain barrel & compost bin sale

Lots of local organizations are offering discounts on rain barrels and compost bins this season!

This week's Towson Times paper included a flyer for a sale Saturday May 14th from 8am to 2pm at the Towson United Methodist Church, which is located right off the beltway at the Dulaney Valley Road exit (501 Hampton Lane, Towson).

Systern Rain barrels for $59.99 and Earth Machine composters for $49.99

Other groups hosting sales you may want to check out...
Blue Water Baltimore native plant sales on May 21, June 5 & 11
Oregon Ridge Nature Center:  native plant sale this Saturday

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sustainable summer internships

Looking for a green way to spend your summer and help the planet at the same time?  Read on for some good ideas!

Internship information posted below from the sustainable_hopkins enewsletter by Johns Hopkins University Office of Sustainability.  Subscribe here:

Summer 2011 Sustainability-Related Job and Internship Opportunities

Summer Job Opportunities with the JHU Office of Sustainability

Part-time Data Analyst and Assessment, Design and Research, and Community Ambassador jobs available to “Green Baltimore City nonprofits”

Location: Johns Hopkins University Homewood campus

Description: Student employees will be trained to identify opportunities for energy conservation and other environmental sustainability improvements within area community non-profit organizations. After training, student employees will work together in teams to assess building energy use and organizational operations, formulating recommendations for making each participating non-profit more sustainable. Employment will be for 9 weeks from June 5-August 6, with a $10/hour compensation ($2,250 for the summer).

Qualifications: Must have excellent attention to detail, writing skills, and ability to work productively as a part of a team. Helpful but not necessary to understand principles of sustainability and environmental stewardship, energy technologies, and conservation practices.

To apply: Send an electronic letter of interest indicating which position(s) you are interested in and a resume to no later than Friday, May 13. You will also need to apply through the

Student Employment Services website. Instructions will be sent in response to the e-mail submission of your application.

For more information, visit

Local Internship Opportunities

General Internships:

Baltimore Green Works

Part time intern for a program assistant position
Location: Baltimore

Description: Intern will work with the board and staff and be exposed to various aspects of a non-profit organization including: volunteer management, fundraising, marketing, communications, program development, administrative duties, and logistical planning. Projects of focus will include Ecofest (which was rescheduled), the Sustainable Speaker Series, and other organizational developmental projects.

Qualifications: Word and Excel necessary; Adobe Creative Suit appreciated. Internet research and multitasking capabilities, excellent writing skills, attention to detail, ability to manage large groups of volunteers during events. Ability to be timely and commit to a schedule as well as work some evening and weekends according to BGW’s event schedule.

To apply: If you are interested, please send your resume to with a short description (3-7 sentences) of your interest in working with Baltimore Green Works.

Island Press

Part time Internships

Location: Washington, DC

Island Press is a source of environmental information and solutions, publishing up to 40 new books on topics including conservation biology, marine science, land conservation, green building, sustainable agriculture, climate change, and ecological restoration. For more information, visit: Although it lists Spring internship positions, this also applies to summer positions. For listings for Island Press, click here. Postings include editorial, production, programs, events, marketing, development, and executive internships. Interns will receive a $60/week stipend, flexible scheduling (10-20 hours/week required), and an employee discount of 50% on all Island Press titles.

Policy and Communications

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Three to four month unpaid internship on environmental and public policy issues
Location: Washington, DC

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) is the nation’s leading advocate for trails and a national champion for active transportation, having a significant voice in federal legislation related to creating bikeable and walkakble communities.

Description: Collect data on transportation spending from State Departments of Transportation; work on a new Open Governance project related to transportation funding, prepare new analyses in preparation for the annual spending report; research and write up material for the new series of best practices briefs; and respond to requests from professionals, policy makers, agencies, the media, and the public. Hours are weekdays 9 to 5, but can be flexible to accommodate class schedule(s)/other commitments.

Qualifications: Bachelor’s degree in Planning, Economics, Public Policy, Social Sciences, or a related field. Applicants should be task-oriented, highly organized, and possess a strong interest in the topic of health, environment, sustainable transportation, pedestrians, bicycles, or trails. Some graduate coursework desirable.

To Apply: Submit a resume and cover letter noting how you learned of this position announcement via

For more information, click here.

Alliance for Biking & Walking

Part time paid communications intern position
Location: Washington, DC; 1612 K St. NW, Ste 801

The Alliance for Biking & Walking, a national nonprofit, is seeking a communications intern to assist to create, strengthen, and unite state and local bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.

Description: Regular editing and writing for web and print communications (including the Alliance’s blod and monthly e-news), administering and editing an online resources and photo library, outreach and research for Alliance publications, assistance with promotion and execution of national photo contest, outreach to sponsor and partner groups, and other general communications tasks. The position would need a 15-hour-per-week minimum commitment for three months and will include a stipend of $1,500.

Qualifications: Excellent writing skills; strong attention to detail; familiarity with web 2.0 strategies; blogging and social media; aptitude with digital design tools like Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator; track record of working well on team projects; cheerful, friendly, upbeat outlook. Familiarity with biking and walking issues and commitment sustainable transportation is helpful.

To apply: Send a cover letter, resume, examples of related work, and references to with “Summer 2011 Communications Intern Application” in the subject line. Applications due by May 6. Start of work will be late May or early June.

For more information, click here.

Environmental Research

Earth Policy Institute Internship

Full time research intern position

Earth Policy Institute (EPI) is an independent environmental research organization that strives to provide interdisciplinary analysis and information to policymakers and the public through its print and on-line publications. Additional information on the institute’s activities and publications is available at

Description: Responsibilities may include identifying and tracking environmental trends; following scientific literature; collecting, analyzing, and organizing data and information; reviewing and fact-checking manuscripts; contributing to institutional outreach efforts.

Qualifications: Background and interest in environmental issues; computer proficiency (MS Office, especially MS Excel); strong research skills (computer and library); acute attention to detail; ability to analyze issues across a variety of disciplines; innovative thinking; strong writing ability; willingness to learn new concepts and skills; and capacity to work independently with minimal supervision and also as a productive member of a small team.

To apply: The application consists of a cover letter, resume, contact information for three references, and a short writing sample (not exceeding 4 pages). College transcripts will be requested from final candidates and may be submitted with the initial application. Send via e-mail to and use “Research Intern” as the e-mail subject line.

For more information, click here. For the listing, click here.

Food and Farms

World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOF)

WWOOF is a loose network of national organizations that link volunteers with organic farmers and help people share more sustainable ways of living. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF hosts offer food, living accommodations, and opportunities to learn about organic lifestyles. WWOOF organizations publish lists of organic farms, smallholdings, and gardeners that welcome volunteer help at certain times. Volunteer helpers choose the hosts that most interest them and make direct contact to arrange stay, usually living as part of the family. For more information on the semantics of the program and a listing of participating farms, visit

Red Wiggler Community Farm

Part time Farm Intern position
Location: Clarksville, MD

Red Wiggler Community Farm creates meaningful jobs so that adults with development disabilities can succeed at work, growing and selling high quality, organic, farm grown vegetables, herbs, and flowers.

Description: Assist in everyday farm needs including planting, harvesting, composting, weeding, pest management, tending to chicken, CSA and Farmer’s Market staffing, while keeping a positive attitude and maintaining an inclusive environment.

Time Frame: Ideally June to October, 5 days a week, 20 hours/week, but the Farm is willing to work with an applicant’s schedule and timing needs if contacted for discussion

Qualifications: Interested in working with adults with development disabilities, able to keep a positive attitude and work both in a team and independently, dependable, comfortable working with volunteer groups including youth, ability to perform demanding physical labor, ready to work outdoors in all weather

Training: Red Wiggler staff and growers will provide training through hands-on-participation, readings, and partaking in Chesapeake Regional Association for Farmer Training (CRAFT) programs. No prior farm experience or knowledge is necessary, only a desire to learn

To apply: Submit a letter of interest and your resume to Kara at Include examples of experiences that demonstrate your ability to work with diverse populations and why you believe Red Wiggler is a community you would like to become part of. Applications will be considered and offers will be made on a rolling basis. The last day to apply is May 16. For more information, click here.

Our Daily Bread

Unpaid internship, 3 hours/week
Location: Baltimore

Description: Manage intake of fresh produce delivered by Hamilton Crop Circle every Sunday, manage volunteer team in intake, cleaning, and refrigeration of all produce received.

Qualifications: minimum of 21 years old, confidence in the kitchen, basic understanding of fresh produce (names and uses of many fruits and vegetables), ability to follow instructions and give direction, strong communication skills, positive attitude.

To apply: Contact Rebecca Horner or Doris Franz-Poling for an application and interview at 442-986-9031. Include with the application a two to five paragraph essay answering: “What is your experience with farm fresh local produce and why is serving fresh fruits and vegetables to Baltimore’s underserviced important?”

For more information, click here.