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GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

What’s in this issue ...
4 10 14 16 24
Change is coming
All around the city of Memphis activists are seeing a shift in attitudes toward sustainability.

The green path
One writer’s foray into the world of recycling


Bang for the buck
A little goes a long way for a greener household

Taking the temperature
Arkansas documentary filmmakers try to gauge state’s view on climate

First solar housing project for Miss. U.S. falling behind in clean tech biz?

20 30

Main street to green street Recipe for a meatless Monday

Going Green is a special online publication of The Commercial Appeal. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Follow Going Green on Twitter at Editor: Kim Coleman, 529-5243, Community Editor: Emily Adams Keplinger,
On the cover: Illustration by Shane McDermott/The Commercial Appeal

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The Green Page
Go Green Initiative
Associated Press

The term “go green” seems commonplace today, but the genesis of its mainstream appeal began when Jill Buck, mother of three, started the Go Green Initiative in 2002, according to a May 28 article by researcher Rebekah Richards of “Back in 2002, the term ‘go green’ was researched exhaustively before I named my nonprofit organization,” says Buck. “Believe it or not, you could Google ‘go green,’ and nothing came up. I looked in every corner of marketing, advertising, academic and nonprofit sectors to ensure we had an original concept ... and we did.” Since then, the Go Green Initiative has become one of the top “green” sites in the world, with over 9.6 million hits in 2009. Participants in the program come from 36 countries around the globe, and network with one another on numerous social media platforms offered by the Go Green Initiative. “My motto has always been that it is not good enough to prepare our children for the future; we must prepare the future for our children,” says Buck. “Fortunately, there are millions of people worldwide who share this view, and are getting involved with the Go Green Initiative.” About the Go Green Initiative The Go Green Initiative is the world’s fastest-growing fully comprehensive environmental action plan for schools, businesses, organizations and homes. By promoting environmental stewardship on campuses from preschools through universities, the initiative works to involve families, businesses and local

governments in the common goal of protecting human health through environmental stewardship. Since its inception in July 2002, the Go Green Initiative has been endorsed by the National School Boards Association, National Recycling Coalition, adopted by nine state PTA boards, implemented in all 50 U.S. states, 36 countries and on five continents. The Go Green Initiative reports that it has kept more than 10 million pounds of recyclables out of the world’s landfills, conserved 25.7 million gallons of water; reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 3,800 metric tons; conserved 34,500 barrels of oil; and saved over 67 billion BTUs of energy. These accomplishments were achieved voluntarily, with no mandates or legislation. There are currently over 2.2 million students and teachers in registered Go Green schools. For more information, visit


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Brandon Dill/The Commercial Appeal files

Marco Granados swings into position a suspended section of bridge which will become part of the new Memphis Greenline over Cypress Creek.

green line
Roadmap in place for a sustainable Memphis but policy is still missing piece

Walking a fine

By Barbara Bradley

MEMPHIS has taken hits

this year. It’s been called “miserable,” by Forbes; ranked near the bottom for quality of life by, and dubbed one of the worst cities for cycling by Bicycling Magazine. This is in addition to perpetual low marks for having

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obese citizens.

Environmental activists agree we deserve many of these criticisms, yet they see new attitudes and progress toward a healthier, more sustainable Memphis. “What’s missing is city, county and regional policy,” said Sarah Newstok, program manager for Livable Memphis. “We have a roadmap.” It’s Sustainable Shelby, she said, a collection of wideranging green strategies initiated by A C Wharton with a lot of citizen input when he was county mayor. “But nothing has come out of it yet,” said Newstok. “If someone were hired to implement those policies, then we’d be getting somewhere.” “We’re way behind compared to our peer cities in things like parks and greenways,” said Keith Kirkland, former director of the Wolf River Conservancy. St. Louis, for example, has 77 miles of bike lanes and is working on a 600-mile regional web of parks and greenways. Memphis has about two miles of bike lanes and about six miles of greenway trails, he said. Yet change is afoot. Construction began this year on what has been called Memphis’ most ambitious green project: the $28 million Wolf River Greenway, a 22-mile nature corridor that will one day allow Memphians to walk, jog, bike and skate on a 10-foot pathway all the way from the eastern border of Memphis to Downtown. Kirkland predicts we’ll have it in 10 years. “There’s too much excitement about it and too much at stake if we’re going to be a successful city.” When segments go down expect a clamor from nearby neighborhoods to be connected, said Kirkland. Then we’ll have green corridors branching

Mike Maple/The Commercial Appeal

Sarah Newstok, program director for Livable Memphis, advocates for change that supports the idea to “live where you live,” which means to live, shop and play in your own neighborhood and not let it deteriorate to go build something new. everywhere, quality of life will improve, diverse neighborhoods will be linked, property values will rise and the image of Memphis will move up with it. Memphis will get a taste of what a greenway can do soon when the $2.4 million Shelby Farms Greenline officially opens with fanfare October 9 offering 6 1/2 miles of mostly paved trail from Tillman to Shelby Farms along the old CSX railroad.


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Jim Weber/The Commercial Appeal files

To address the demand for bike lanes around the city of Memphis, Mayor A C Wharton pledged that 55 miles of bike lanes would be added over the next two years. In addition, the city hired a “bikeway/pedestrian coordinator,” a new position intended to encourage alternative transportation. “I think among the public there is a growing consciousness for green issues,” said Newstok, “ and it includes recycling, pollution and litter. But it also includes people’s willingness to stay committed to where they live — the opposite of urban sprawl.” To “live where you live,” a local slogan of Livable Memphis, means to live, shop and play in your own neighborhood and not let it deteriorate to go build something new, she said. In August, the city and county approved the first major overhaul of zoning regulations in more than two decades. The new Unified Development Code aims to encourage walkable neighborhoods and reduce hallmarks of urban sprawl; encourage the building of more dense neighborhoods, which planners say are more sustainable; make it easier to establish farmers markets; allow more widespread neighborhood gardening; improve conditions for cyclists and more. There are other reasons for optimism. In July Wharton announced that 55 miles of bike lanes would be added

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during the next 24 months, and the city has recently hired a “bikeway/pedestrian coordinator,” a new position intended to encourage alternative transportation. Also in July it was announced that Memphis Bioworks Foundation would make Southwest Tennessee Community College its principal partner in a program to train students for green jobs including in alternative energy such as solar and wind power. The program will be funded with $1.4 million of a $2.9 million grant that Bioworks received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Less showy but just as important are the number of grassroots groups that have sprouted like mushrooms in the last two or three years. They include Clean Memphis, which organizes community cleanups; Green Hope Foundation, which provides entertainment events for sick children in a clean environment; Project Green Fork, which encourages green practices by restaurants; and GrowMemphis, administered by the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, which has helped create urban community gardens all over Memphis. Change is coming. In the meantime, citizens can take heart that at least one Memphis institution has

Brandon Dill/The Commercial Appeal files

Susan Pratcher helps her daughter Sarah, 4, plant tomato seeds at the Midtown North community garden on Heard Ave. Grow Memphis promotes hands-on education about sustainable, organic farming and the positive impact it can have on the local community.

Brad Luttrell/The Commercial Appeal files

Memphis Grizzly O.J. Mayo (left) grabs a bag of leaves and hoists it onto a truck at a vacant lot on Vance Avenue as a part of Clean Memphis's Annual Downtown Cleanup. Clean Memphis aims to clean the city one section at at time.


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Talkin’ ’bout my generation
Consumers at opposite ends of age spectrum are strong advocates of green living, moms in the middle are practical
Associated Press

Matthew Craig/The Commercial Appeal files

A decal is posted in the window of Tsunami restaurant in Cooper Young to show it has been certified by Project Green Fork, a nonprofit community initiative that assists Memphis restaurants in reducing waste, lowering overhead and decreasing their impact. received green accolades this year. In April, The University of Memphis was acknowledged as one of the country’s most environmentally responsible universities by The Princeton Review, which included the U of M in its “Guide to 286 Green Colleges.” Among its achievements is the new Living Learning Complex, a student residence complex that opened August 26 . It is, according to the university, the most sustainable public building in Tennessee.
—Barbara Bradley, 529-2370.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. — When it comes to their approaches to green living, the youngest and oldest consumers are advocacy-oriented, while Gen X and Gen Y moms are more likely to take action and adopt green habits for their households, according to analysis compiled from J.D. Power Tribe Intelligence(SM) Reports. The report focuses on consumers in five demographic groups: teens, early careerists, Gen Y moms, Gen X moms and boomers. According to their findings, teens, early careerists and boomers primarily take an advocacy approach to living green lifestyles through educating themselves about environmental issues and legislation and supporting causes. However, they often stop short of adopting green habits, but display fervor in advocating for green policies. While these groups have this advocacy approach in common, their motivations for taking the stance differ. Teens and early careerists embrace the green cause as a method of establishing their identities. Among boomers, supporting green causes pro-

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vides an opportunity to share their point of view and their experiences for creating change. “Boomers, early careerists and teens are less focused on the everyday application of green living due to their concerns about convenience, cost and functionality,” said Emily Cushman, manager of consumer insights and strategy for the Web Intelligence Division at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, identifying with and supporting green causes is vitally important to their personal image. In targeting these segments, brands need to be mindful of how their product can help bolster these advocate consumers.” In contrast, Gen X and Gen Y Moms take a functional approach to green living by applying green behaviors within their households. For Gen X Moms, being green is motivated by a desire to be less wasteful and more frugal. In applying green behaviors such as gardening, composting and recycling, they have found that living a green lifestyle brings the benefit of saving money. While buying products that are perceived as green is not a primary goal for Gen X Moms, they are willing to do so as long as the products fit within their budgets. Much of the sentiment expressed by Gen X Moms concerns the balancing act they face: “It’s hard to live this ‘green’ lifestyle sometimes when you don’t have a lot of money coming in, but at the same time if I’m smart and look for coupons, it’s not so hard.” Gen Y Moms take a do-it-yourself approach to applying green behaviors by developing their own cleaning products and baby food in an effort to provide pure, quality products for themselves and their families. They actively avoid potentially

Gen Y Moms take a do-it-yourself approach to being green: making their own cleaning products and baby food; avoiding potentially toxic products; and supporting greener brands. toxic cleaning products and support brands that provide greener alternatives. For many Gen Y Moms, being thrifty can be an added bonus to going green: “After every dinner, I’d stick the leftovers in my food processor, blend them up and spoon them into ice cube trays. I had homemade baby food ready to go! It’s a totally rad way to avoid all the preservatives added to most jar baby food and use up leftovers at the same time.” Green topics that are discussed online most frequently by these demographic segments follow similar divisions. For boomers, early careerists and teens, climate change is the most commonly discussed topic. For Gen X Moms and Gen Y Moms, recycling is the most frequently discussed green topic of conversation.


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010


One person can make difference

Photos by Suzanne Thompson/Special to Going Green

Alex Thompson helps dispose of a week’s worth of recyclables at the recycling center in Bartlett at 5890 Stage Road. The center is open 24 hours a day. Assistance is available Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
By Suzanne Thompson
Special to Going Green

When I first started writing for Going Green, I must confess, I wasn’t much of a recycler. I had always given clothes to Goodwill, and my daughter, Sarah, and I had a history as thrift shop junkies, but I didn’t really think that counted as recycling.

I also reused plastic bags from the grocery store, but let’s face it, when reused as lining in a bathroom trash can the end result is the same — the bag still winds up in a landfill. Since I began researching my articles for Going Green, I have learned so much, not just about global recycling efforts, but also about what a difference one person can make just by implement-

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ing small changes in their lives. The first change I made was to purchase biodegradable detergent. This was after I wrote an article about the new Sun Chip compostable packaging. There’s a big difference between biodegradable and compostable, and that’s when I learned what it was. Compostable is better, and who cares if the bags make more noise. Eating chips is a noisy proposition, so if the sound of the crinkly bag is bothersome, you’re probably somewhere you shouldn’t be munching on chips anyway. One of the reasons I didn’t recycle, I rationalized, was because I live in an apartment and recycling is not picked up from apartment complexes in the city. This meant, of course, that recycling would require extra effort on my part. Another writer friend of mine, in backing my lack of recycling said, “Oh, yes, you have so much extra time on your hands to run to the recycling center.” My guilt assuaged, I still didn’t recycle, with the added self-rationalization that because I am a single parent, between writing and conducting a small public relations consulting business, my time was at a premium. In the fall of 2009, I did a story about the recycling efforts at the local CocaCola bottling plant. It was the tour of the facility that really motivated me to start recycling at home. I was astounded by how few things went to waste in that massive facility. With only one industrial waste bin, kept under lock and key, I could not believe how such a huge operation could reuse, reduce or recycle virtually every bit of its products that didn’t go into bottles for sale.

Setting up a recycling center at home is as easy as organizing a few bag or containers in a discreet location.

Send us your story
If you’re trying to go green, we want to hear your story so e-mail Going Green at goinggreen@commercial, and let us know what’s happening at your business, or home, because we’re always looking for stories that might inspire someone else to start down the green path.

After the tour, we all shared lunch in the conference room, and when I looked around for a trash can for my paper plate, there wasn’t one. “We’ll handle it,” said Larry Krebs, successfully easing my confusion. Before I left, the kind Coke folks gave me a large reusable tote bag which contained, along with lots of informational material, a smaller tote bag and several T-shirts made from recycled plastic bottles, which by the way were incredibly soft. My 17-year-old son, Alex, wears his constantly. After I unloaded the bags, they were


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

stowed away in a corner, and I wrote the article not thinking much about actually using the bags. After quoting so many different sources about how much difference one change can make, like say, not buying bottled water, but using an aluminum container instead, which keeps the water much colder, I couldn’t with good conscious continue to spout facts about saving the planet when I wasn’t doing anything beyond buying some gently worn clothes, cleaning out my closets, and reusing plastic grocery bags. So, I set up a modest recycling center in one corner of our apartment, where I separate cans and plastics, glass bottles and paper and cardboard — the three things accepted by the nearby recycling center in Bartlett. I put Alex to work loading up our weekly run to the recycling center, and I was happily surprised that when we got there, it was staffed with the people who had everything out of the car in a matter of minutes. After doing this for a couple of months, and with my “plastic bag,” drawer stuffed to the brim, I decided to try out the reusable tote bags. During a recent trip to Target, I put my reusable bags in the cart and started shopping. The bags, which are bright red, have the word “Please recycle, in huge letters along the side of the bag. I was practically a walking ad for recycling, I thought, mentally patting myself on the back. When I got to the check out, as the cashier started to bag my items, I said, “Oh, that’s OK, I can do it, I’ll use these,” removing the bags from the cart. This led to a brief discussion with the cashier about recycling, him sharing that

few people brought their own bags. “I wish all my customers were like you,” he said. I beamed with pride. I managed to fit almost everything I had purchased — $75 worth of groceries and other items — into the bags and walked out with only one plastic bag. I was surprised at how much the bags held and how sturdy there were. Since the 17-year-old has an uncanny ability to disappear before I get home from the store, I found an added bonus of using the bags was that they held so much — I managed to carry everything inside in only one trip. I won’t lie and say I take the bags everywhere I go, but I find that leaving them in the car reminds me to take them in the store. Or, when I don’t want them in the car, adding “Take bags,” to the grocery list helps me remember. I realized, and I’m sure the same is true of many of you, that it’s not that I don’t want to use these nifty bags, but I’m just not trained to do it. I grew up in the 70s, before the first recycling bin hit Tennessee. So unlike people of younger generations, who are growing up learning the importance of recycling, we neophytes have to re-train ourselves to take our bags with us and to to ask for paper bags, even though many times they don’t ask anymore which you prefer. Naturally, I only purchase Coke products, though I’ve been trying to curtail my Diet Coke habit and drink more water, which I keep stored in a glass milk jug in the fridge.
Suzanne Thompson is a freelance writer, public relations consultant and working mom. She is a regular contributor to Going Green.

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Measure your impact to get biggest green bang for buck
Not all green behaviors are created equally. Some make a huge difference in your environmental impact, and others do very little. Some cost a bajillion dollars; others are nearly free. So how does a “going greener” decide what to do? I use The website ranks green behaviors on a 100-point scale. One hundred points is an average household, DEANNA and 70 is a low-impact CASWELL household. So, the average household that Practically wants to be green is trying Green to knock 30 points off its score. Now, unless you are going to stop driving completely (20 points off), match your yearly usages in green power and carbon offsets (20 points off), or buy enough solar panels to support your energy usage 100 percent (14 points off), here are the top three behaviors to knock a bunch of points off your score: 10-15 points: Maximize your recycling. If you recycle sometimes, it’s 5 points off. If you recycle most of the time, it’s 10 points. And if you recycle everything you could possibly recycle, it could be upwards of 15 points off. Cost: zero. 10-13 points: Retrofit your toilets with a piston-powered dual-flushing

system. One flush for liquid, another for weightier matters. A dual-flusher can save 68 percent more water than a conventional low-flow toilet. Cost: $35 per toilet. 7-9 points: Install low-flow shower heads and sink aerators. Sink aerators ($3-$4) are easily found at any home improvement store. Good low-flow shower heads are a bit more difficult to find. Oxygenics is one I’ve seen. Cost: $30 per shower head. Just to give you perspective, here are a


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

few really expensive choices that make only a 1- to 1.5-point difference: Replacing a conventional car with a hybrid (if you drive 15,000 miles per year). Replacing your dishwasher (if you do five loads per week) and refrigerator with Energy Star appliances. Replacing clothes washer and dryer (seven loads per week) with Energy Star models. Installing an Energy Star airconditioning system. Installing an Energy Star heater. Not that I’m discouraging hybrids and Energy Star appliances, but for those who can’t afford those changes, there are much less expensive ways to rack up some 1- to 1.5-point differences: Drive 1,000 fewer miles in your car. Do two fewer loads a week in the clothes washer. Compost your vegetable waste. Change all indoor bulbs in 1,000 square feet of your house to CFL bulbs. Insulate your hot water heater and pipes. Reduce the hot water temperature in your house. Install a programmable thermostat. Install a below-ground composter for pet and food waste. Dig a rain garden, a low-lying flower bed near the downspout or driveway that keeps runoff out of the sewer system. Fly 20 fewer hours this year.
Deanna Caswell is a local writer who blogs at Her first book, “First Ballet,” was released in October by Hyperion. Caswell and husband, Jeff, live in Collierville. She practices eco-friendly living and raises their three children, along with pygmy goats and chickens.

Filmmakers try to gauge Ark.’s view on climate
By Jordan Grummer
Southwest Times Record

FORT SMITH, Ark. — Three documentary filmmakers from Little Rock are determined to find out how people in the state feel about climate change. The three environmentalists work with a nonprofit environmental group that is based in Little Rock, Earth Cause Organization, and they said they are trying to tell the true story of how Arkansans feel about the environment. “Part of our motivation comes from seeing polling numbers that show many people don’t believe in climate change in Arkansas,” said Rob Fisher while working from Creekmore Park in Fort Smith. “I think it’s really inaccurate and a little bit jaded.” The project is only in the beginning phase — they say they plan to work for more than a year — but they believe they’ve discovered a consensus: People in Arkansas have experienced changes in the climate. H.L. Moody said he has been surprised with the older generations. “I kind of expect younger people to get it, but the older folks are the main ones that, if you can pull the politics away, and get them to talk about what it was like when they

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were a kid and what it’s like now, they get it. They understand,” Moody said. Separating the politics from the issues is one of the group’s goals, and it’s the main way they get people to open up. “If you ask somebody a couple of questions about climate change or global warming, they recoil,” Moody said. “If you ask them a couple of questions about the environment and lead with openended questions, they immediately start talking. That’s what we’re looking for. It goes back to relating personal stories.” “We try to stay away from the politics and polarizing the issue because it’s not about politics, and, unfortunately, some people think it is,” Fisher said. Claire LaFrance, 26, echoed those sentiments. “When we tell them we want to talk about the environment, people think it’s something they need to know a lot about. They think they need to be scientists, which isn’t the case at all,” LaFrance said. The most interesting experience for Fisher so far has been the related ex-

periences of different generations. “There really is no distinction about what people’s experience and knowledge are,” Fisher said. “We’ve interviewed 12-year-olds that have an interesting story to tell, and we’ve interviewed 95-year-olds that say they’ve never seen anything like this.” LaFrance said the project is important to her because it’s a story that hasn’t been told. “The story about the changing environment around us is something that maybe has been touched on at a globallevel, but not on a micro-level like certain communities in Arkansas,” LaFrance said. “It’s when we get down to that one-on-one storytelling level that we can actually relate to each other.” Moody said he is also dispelling certain beliefs about climate change. “The most frustrating part about global warming and climate change is people think it’s going to be like a Kurt Russell movie where it all happens in one afternoon,” Moody said. At its heart, this is an educational work, Moody said. “It’s not at all political, and, really, we just want to show that people really do get it here.” It’s also about the story, and not whether people agree or disagree with global warming, Fisher said. “At some point in history, it’s going to be an interesting story to tell that Arkansans actually feel this way,” Fisher said. “I think what we’re wanting to do is really get a true perspective on how Arkansans feel. The point is getting an accurate assessment of what people’s knowledge is, and their opinion on this issue.” The group plans to travel the four corners of the state, but they are hitting northwest Arkansas first.


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Mississippi plans first sustainable housing project in Jackson

Photo courtesy of Duvall Decker Architects P.A.

Sustainable housing units plus site and infrastructure improvements mark Phase 1 of the new Jackson, Miss., North Midtown Neighborhood development.
Associated Press

JACKSON, Miss. — The city of Jackson and the Jackson Housing Authority broke ground on a multiphase project to provide healthy housing opportunities and contribute to neighborhood revitalization in May. The event marked the beginning of Phase 1 of a development planned as part of the North Midtown

Neighborhood Master Plan. The Master Plan was completed last year by the neighborhood residents, the North Midtown Community Development Corporation and the Jackson Housing Authority. The $3.49 million project is comprised of 16 new sustainable housing units (eight duplexes), and includes additional site and infrastructure improve-

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ments. Funds for the project were made available through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The new 1,600-square-foot, one- and two-story housing units being built in Phase 1 are sustainable, liveable, secure and economical. The project planning, by Duvall Decker Architects P.A. with the Jackson Housing Authority, sought to include sustainability, energy efficiency, durability and livability improvements while remaining economical. The project is expected to create approximately 110 jobs during the 12 months of construction. “We’re very excited about this new housing development and its contribution to Jackson. In addition to providing needed durable, sustainable, affordable housing, we’re pleased that the project will also provide new jobs in Jackson, “ said Sheila Jackson, executive director of the Housing Authority. “We’re also proud to be building the first solarpowered housing development in the state.”

Neighborhood not new to green
Shasta Place, an enclave of eco-minded residents, plans the ultra-green house
By Kate Ramsayer
The Bulletin

For more information

BEND, Ore. — On a cliff above Northwest Shasta Place, overlooking the Deschutes River, Tom Elliott and Barbara Scott are planning to build a super-efficient green home. Their 3,000square-foot home is designed to use only water collected on-site, get all its power from solar panels and wind turbines, and be built only with environmentally friendly materials. But living green is not a new thing on Shasta Place. The street just south of downtown Bend has drawn residents involved in the local conservation community and those who like to live simply in the bungalows on small lots originally built for millworkers. While several homeowners said they are intrigued by and supportive of what Elliott and Scott are planning for their double lot at the top of the street, many have found different ways to shrink their environmental footprint for years. “It’s an interesting little neighborhood, that’s for sure,” said resident Brad Chalfant, executive director of the Deschutes Land Trust, which works to preserve natural areas in Central Oregon. “Over time, it’s kind of attracted an eclectic group of folks that value those sort of old-style neighborhoods.” Chalfant remembers going to a presentation before NorthWest Crossing was developed, where the speaker expounded on planned communities,


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The Bulletin files

Barbara Scott hugs a ponderosa pine on the site of her new home in Bend, Ore. To make way for the construction, the tree may have to be removed but the wood would be milled from the tree into lumber that could be used for the new house. small lots and walkable neighborhoods. “I remember walking back home and thinking, gee, that’s my neighborhood, but it’s kind of an older, funkier version,” he said. Chalfant is able to walk or ride his bike to work, but what drew him and his wife, Brenda Johnson, to the neighborhood is the chance to live simply, he said. That way, he can do work that he finds meaningful at the Deschutes Land Trust. “It’s not just about saving the Earth, it’s about a simpler lifestyle and having the options to do things you want to do,” Chalfant said. The couple are doing some renovation work, he said, and they are trying to use the greenest materials and upgrade to efficient appliances. But sometimes, the green options are just too expensive. “You can spend an obscene amount of money doing that sort of thing, and that’s great if you’re trying to make a

Dean Guernsey /The Bulletin

Forest Ortiz, 18, of Madras, and Jamal Hernandez, 16, of Redmond, right, remove nails from lumber that will be reused for a new home. statement,” he said. “But that’s not what we’re trying to do.” Simplicity is the goal of his neighbors as well. Maureen Sweeney and Peter Geiser, who helped found the Environmental

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Center in Bend, go by the motto, “Living grew vegetables in part to have organic simply so others may live,” Sweeney said. food for her now-grown children, since it wasn’t available in local stores. They have a small, 1,100-square-foot “I think we’re headed in the right home, and Sweeney started an organic direction, as far as I’m concerned,” vegetable garden as soon as she moved Williams said. “It’s just delightful to see into the house in 1976. The family also it becoming more mainstream. It’s not heats water with solar panels, and got rid some weird hippie lifestyle.” of a polluting, wood-burning furnace Williams hopes Elliott and Scott can years ago. use their project as a way to show Across the street, Bonnie Lamb, who people what can be done — even if it’s works for the Oregon Department of beyond most families’ budgets. Environmental Quality, planted a veg“That’s quite the unetable garden in her dertaking,” Williams front yard this year. “It’s not just about said. “And I’m hoping it “I actually ripped out saving the Earth, it’s will inspire people to my front lawn because I see what can be done.” just hated the idea of about a simpler Sweeney said the idea spending the water and lifestyle and having of building a house to energy on grass,” she such strict environmensaid. the options to do tal standards seems like Now, she has raised things you want to do.” a good thing, since it beds with tomatoes, could encourage others potatoes, peas, greens BRAD CHALFANT to try some of the smalland raspberries, and Resident and executive director of er efficiency projects. waters it with rainwater Deschutes Land Trust “Most people are not collected in an old going to do what they’re garbage can. doing, especially from Lamb’s next-door scratch,” Sweeney said. “But a lot of neighbors, Harl and Linda Williams, people may do some of it.” have lived on Shasta since 1976 — There are different approaches to conwhen it was still a dirt road, Linda servation, Chalfant said, adding that it’s Williams remembers. not like there are right or wrong ways to They share one car, Williams said, live in an environmentally friendly way. and her husband rides his bike to work. “In a society that really gets excited “I do see other people just walking by new technology, it’s fascinating to and riding their bikes,” she said. watch what they’re trying to do there,” She said she’s thrilled that people are he said. “But it’s also in a community starting to pay attention to living green that values smaller, simpler, maybe not again — the couple started recycling in college in the 1970s, and Williams remem- as expensive. You can buy the hybrid bers saving up her tin cans to take to Port- Prius, or you can take a few less trips and ride a bike occasionally, and probland before Bend had a recycling center. ably have the same impact and do it a She has been gardening organically lot more cheaply.” for about three decades, she said, and


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

In Allston, Mass., a formerly paved area was converted to a walkway linking the rest of the densely urban community to a park. Permeable paving stones replace asphalt and help prevent runoff.

Main street to green street
By Renee Loth
The Boston Globe

The words “urban” and “forest” would hardly seem to belong in the same sentence, but urban forestry is a growing field that recognizes the value of trees to the physical and social life of cities. Boston Mayor Tom Menino recently dedicated a strip of reclaimed parking lot in Allston, Mass., that has been transformed into green space, helping the environment and — though he might not phrase it just this way — contributing to a new urban aesthetic.

This tiny bit of unpaved paradise — like the Joni Mitchell song in reverse — is on Everett Street in North Allston, a residential neighborhood hemmed in on all sides by industrial or institutional encroachments. At only 2,500 square feet, the lush little park will hardly reverse global warming. But with seven new trees, a rain garden of native plants, new water-permeable pavestones, and several interpretative signs, it is an ideal demonstration project for the benefits of greenscaping in a heavily urban area. The park is the fruit of a two-year collaboration between environmentalists

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the proposal, saying that the EPA itself — especially those concerned with the should fund the project. health of the nearby Charles River — The Allston experiment shows that and community development activists greenscaping not only reduces pollution concerned about the livability of neighbut enhances the community by creborhoods. ating cool, peaceful, pedestrian-friendly “The neighborhood is severed in a buffers. couple of places,” said Gustavo Quiroga Curt Spalding, the EPA’s regional adof the Allston-Brighton Community Deministrator, emphasizes that the agency velopment Corporation. “We wanted to isn’t requiring every business to install create a green corridor to connect resa costly wastewater treatment plant. idents to the largest open space in our community, which is the Charles River.” “We are talking about restoring the natural environmental function of the The rain garden and permeable paveland,” he said. Greening ment aren’t just attracthe so-called hardscape tive, however: they pro“We wanted to also replenishes natural vide a crucial filter for create a green groundwater and guards storm water runoff, preagainst flooding, a growventing it from flushing corridor to connect ing problem in many into the Charles. Think residents to the communities. of it as traffic calming Cost estimates to meet for the rain. The runoff largest open space in the proposed requirecontains phosphorus, our community...” ments vary wildly, but which comes from fertilRobert Zimmerman, diizers and car exhaust. It GUSTAVO QUIROGA rector of the Charles Rivcollects on asphalt surAllston-Brighton Community er Watershed Associafaces, washes off and Development Corp. tion, said the Allston chokes the river with alexperience suggests that gae, starving it of oxylarger projects will yield gen and killing fish. The to economies of scale. “I’m sure we could green space allows the water to filter get it down to $5,000 an acre,” he said. slowly and safely into the ground. The Allston project did benefit from sevThe project also positions the city to eral grants. address proposed new EPA regulations Urban forestry is about more than that would eventually require phosphojust managing trees. The Allston inirus reductions near the Charles. Under tiative involved several community the proposed regulations, businesses meetings and opinion surveys to edwith more than 2 acres of impermeable ucate the public and gather suggestions. surface would have five years to reduce Kate Bowditch, a hydrologist with the their phosphorus pollution by 65 perwatershed association, says the green cent. Towns would also have to come streets effort also connects into broader up with phosphorus reduction plans on environmental issues. “It ties into peomunicipal land. ple’s interest in climate change adapLast week at a public hearing, local tation,” she said. officials and business owners blasted


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Michael Bryant/The Philadelphia Inquirer

Katherine Gajewski, director of Philadelphia's Office of Sustainability, on the roof of 1515 Market St., where the reflective white color saves money in energy costs. White roofs and other programs contributed to the city winning the Siemens Sustainable Community Award.

Philly garners national award
Greenworks initiative deemed a success for sustainability efforts

By Diane Mastrull
The Philadelphia Inquirer

A year ago, Philadelphia launched a sustainability plan aimed not only at improving environmental stewardship and energy efficiency, but also at converting the old industrial city into a clean-technology hub. The ambitious initiative known as Greenworks Philadelphia picked up what city officials are considering a

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substantial credibility boost. Philadelphia was named winner of the third annual Siemens Sustainable Community Award in the large-community category. The plan edged out sustainability efforts by a more modern city — Dallas — in a national contest organized by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The other finalist was Atlanta. Green initiatives are more commonly thought of as a West Coast passion, said Katherine Gajewski, director of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability. “I would really like Philadelphia to start to redefine this green thing a little bit,” she said. “It’s not about just making new stuff and building stuff; it’s also about investing in your existing assets.” As winner in the large-community category, Philadelphia becomes host city next year for the conference, attended by 300 representatives of some of the largest U.S. corporations. “I’m hoping Mayor Nutter will show people how Philadelphia has changed and is embracing change,” said Stephen Jordan, executive director of the Business Civic Leadership Center, the corporate citizenship affiliate of the U.S. Chamber. The award is intended to highlight successful public-private partnerships and showcase national models for sustainable development. Jordan said Greenworks seemed to “have been designed with award criteria in mind” in that it calls for participation from a range of companies as well as neighborhoods, and demonstrates “real concern with balancing the environmental interest with economic and social interest.” Greenworks’ plan calls for 15 measurable targets and more than 150 specific steps identified to reach them by 2015. It is a program that considers sus-

In the works
Some of the projects Philadelphia will fund with federal energy-efficiency grants and matching money. Traffic lights: Provide 85,000 signals with LED lights. $6.1 million. Bicycle parking: Install 2,600 bike racks. $375,000. Litter baskets: Install 260 solar compacting baskets, and 115 on-street recycling units. $973,000. Loans: Offer to industrial sites for building retrofits. $9.3 million. Water treatment: Develop solar pollution control. $1.3 million.
Source: City of Philadelphia

tainability through five lenses: energy, environment, equity, economy and engagement. Goals include lowering city government energy consumption 30 percent, diverting 70 percent of solid waste from landfills and providing park and recreation resources within 10 minutes of 75 percent of residents. Gajewski identified a few achievements, including the city’s having secured $14.1 million in stimulus funds to help finance several projects. Last month, the city also was awarded a $25 million grant from the U.S. Energy Department to fund residential and commercial building retrofits. Now, an economic recovery is needed so that family-supporting green jobs can be created, Gajewski said. “Can we make Philadelphia the cleantech hub in the Northeast?” she asked. “If we work hard enough, we think there’s a real opportunity.”


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Clean energy
China charges ahead, investors concerned U.S. falling behind

AFP/Getty Images

China’s rush to dominate clean energy is on display at the Shanghai Expo, where one of six “sun valleys” looms near the red Chinese pavilion, at left. By day, the giant funnel-shaped canopies direct natural light to the levels below.
By Kristi Heim
The Seattle Times

SHANGHAI — Inside China’s massive, $220 million pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, exhibits charting that nation’s path toward modernization start with the humble transistor radio and end with electric cars and homegrown tech-

nology powered by sun, wind and algae. The largest Shanghai Expo in history has drawn more than 30 million visitors. It showcases the country’s ambitions to become not just factory to the world but a global leader in technologies of the future — particularly green energy. For a visitor from the Pacific North-

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west, it’s hard to escape the parallels with the Seattle World’s Fair of 1962, when American ambitions pointed skyward with the Space Needle, and Boeing helped propel aerospace technology to new heights. The Shanghai Expo, like the Seattle gathering nearly 50 years earlier, seems a watershed event, in this case heralding a leap in China’s imagination and a shift in global economic power. A Chinese consortium is building a commercial jet to rival the Boeing 737. Chinese car and battery maker BYD (“build your dreams”) is launching an all-electric car this year. But nowhere is China’s competitive push more evident than in its rush to dominate clean energy. Environmental disasters and China’s reputation as a prime polluter have driven some of that urgency. The country has become the world’s largest energy consumer and its biggest carbon emitter. Now it’s investing billions of dollars in greener, more efficient energy production. Recent incentives and policies encouraging alternative energy

Cash pours into green-energy industry
The amount invested in China’s renewable-energy industry has skyrocketed in recent years. In 2009, $34.6 billion was invested, compared with $18.6 millions in the United States. These figures include not just government funding, but also private equity, venture capital and other sources.

Sources: The Pew Environment Group, Pew Charitable Trusts

have helped Chinese companies leapfrog over competitors to lead the world in areas such as solar power. As a result, much of the manufacturing for photovoltaic cells and panels has gone to China. Politicians and investors are touting clean tech as the growth opportunity of the future. But they worry that American companies are already falling behind. “Many of these technologies were invented in the U.S., but they have since migrated overseas

because there has never been much of a market in the U.S.,” said Peter Brehm, vice president of business development and government relations at Infinia, a solar-power company in Kennewick, Wash. Overall clean-technology investments in China reached $34 billion last year, more than any other country and almost double the U.S. investment of $18 billion, according to the Pew Environment Group. This year, China has attracted more clean-tech financing than Europe and


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

Associated Press files

Workers hunch over solar cells as they help produce solar panels in a factory run by Suntech Power in Wuxi, China. Government ministries subsidize half the investment cost of solar-power systems connected to the public grid. the U.S. combined, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Financing for wind turbines, solar panels and low-carbon technology in China rose 72 percent in the second quarter to $11.5 billion, compared with U.S. investment of $4.9 billion. The size of the market and a sweeping array of incentives are acting as magnets. Chinese utilities are required to buy up all renewable energy generated in the country and sell to consumers at discounted rates. It helps that China’s energy sector is largely stateowned. Government ministries subsidize half of the investment cost for solar-power systems. That doesn’t mean China’s growth will be clean. “A lot of manufacturing is very dirty,” said Christopher McNally, a fellow at the East-West Center in Honolulu who studies China’s system of state-managed capitalism. “But the policy thrust is very clear. And that is actually what we lack. We don’t have a very clear policy of where we’re going.” Washington clean-tech companies are staking their future on how well they can both sell to China’s growing market and maintain their own edge. But that’s getting harder to do as the U.S. lags in investments and policies that foster development of clean-technology products and build market demand for them, many business leaders say.

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“China has a problem with pollution,” said Robert Roche, the chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai. “They’re addressing it from a national view. Our government hasn’t decided there’s a problem yet.” Recent Chinese actions include a cap on carbon, aggressive fuel-efficiency targets and a plan for $700 billion in investments over the next 10 years, said U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Wash., who met with Chinese environment officials in July. Without a bold U.S. strategy, money will go elsewhere and domestic enterprises will lose out, he said. “It’s pretty amazing, our lack of performance relative to Chinese aggressiveness in trying to seize these jobs,” he said. John Evans, an Asia-based business consultant, has been watching the growth of China’s clean-technology industry and advising the Washington state Department of Commerce and local companies on strategy. “China is going to be both a competitor and an opportunity,” Evans said. “When the Chinese decide they’re really going to push forward with something, they do it quickly and put a lot of money into it.” That means opportunities for U.S. companies with cutting-edge technology, such as software to manage smart electricity grids, to sell into the Chinese market, he said. But they may eventually be competing with companies in China. “China is putting in place incentives, such as tax reductions for investment, to attract companies from across the globe,” he said.

Portugal makes leap to renewable energy
By Elisabeth Rosenthal
New York Times

LISBON, Portugal — Five years ago, the leaders of this sun-scorched, wind-swept nation made a bet: To reduce Portugal’s dependence on imported fossil fuels, they embarked on an array of ambitious renewable energy projects — primarily harnessing the country’s wind and hydropower but also its sunlight and ocean waves. Today, Lisbon’s trendy bars, Porto’s factories and the Algarve’s glamorous resorts are powered substantially by clean energy. Nearly 45 percent of the electricity in Portugal’s grid will come from renewable sources this year, up from 17 percent just five years ago. Land-based wind power — this year deemed “potentially competitive” with fossil fuels by the International Energy Agency in Paris — has expanded sevenfold in that time. And Portugal expects in 2011 to become the first country to inaugurate a national network of charging stations for electric cars. “I’ve seen all the smiles — you know: It’s a good dream. It can’t compete. It’s too expensive,” Prime Min-


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010

The New York Times files

Like some U.S. states, Portugal has for decades generated electricity from hydropower plants on its raging rivers. But new programs now combine the power of wind, sun and water. ister Jose Socrates said. “The experience of Portugal shows that it is possible to make these changes in a very short time.” The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico renewed questions about the risks and unpredictable costs of America’s unremitting dependence on fossil fuels. President Barack Obama has seized on the opportunity to promote his goal of having 20 percent to 25 percent of America’s electricity produced from renewable sources by 2025. While Portugal’s experience shows that rapid progress is achievable, it also highlights the price of such a transition. Portuguese households have long paid about twice what Americans pay for electricity, and prices have risen 15 percent in the past five years, probably partly because of the renewable energy program, the IEA says. Although a 2009 report by the agency called Portugal’s renewable energy transition a “remarkable success,” it added, “It is not fully clear that their costs, both financial and economic, as well as their impact on final consumer energy prices, are well understood and appreciated.” Indeed, complaints about rising electricity rates are a mainstay of pensioners’ gossip here. Socrates, who after a landslide victory in 2005 pushed through the major elements of the energy makeover over the objections of the country’s fossil fuel industry, survived only as the leader

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of a weak coalition last year. “You cannot imagine the pressure we suffered that first year,” said Manuel Pinho, Portugal’s minister of economy and innovation from 2005 until last year, who largely masterminded the transition, adding “Politicians must take tough decisions.” Still, aggressive national policies to accelerate renewable energy use are succeeding in Portugal and some other countries, according to a recent report by IHS Emerging Energy Research of Cambridge, Mass., a leading energy consulting firm. The United States, which last year generated less than 5 percent of its power from newer forms of renewable energy, will lag behind at 16 percent (or just over 20 percent, including hydroelectric power), according to IHS. To force Portugal’s energy transition, Socrates’ government restructured and privatized former state energy utilities to create a grid better suited to renewable power sources. To lure private companies into Portugal’s new market, the government gave them contracts locking in a stable price for 15 years — a subsidy that varied by technology and was initially high but decreased with each new contract round. Compared with the United States, European countries have powerful incentives to pursue renewable energy: Many, like Portugal, have little fossil fuel of their own, and the European Union’s emissions trading system discourages fossil fuel use by requiring industry to essentially pay for excessive carbon dioxide emissions. Portugal was well poised to be a guinea pig because it has large untapped resources of wind and river power, the two most cost-effective renewable sources. Government officials say their

Redesigning the system
A nationwide supply of renewable power requires a grid that can move electricity from windy, sunny places to the cities. As in many places in the United States today, power companies owned transmission lines and those companies had little incentive to welcome new sources of renewable energy. So Portugal’s first step was the purchase of all transmission lines. Those lines were then used to create the skeleton of what has been a regulated and publicly traded company that operates the national electricity and natural gas networks. Next, the government auctioned off contracts to private companies to build and operate wind and hydropower plants. Such a drastic reorganization might be extremely difficult in the United States, where power companies have strong political sway. energy transformation required no increase in taxes or public debt, precisely because the new sources of electricity, which require no fuel and produce no emissions, replaced electricity previously produced by buying and burning imported natural gas, coal and oil. If the United States is to catch up to countries like Portugal, energy experts say, it must overcome obstacles like a fragmented, outdated energy grid poorly suited to renewable energy; a historic reliance on plentiful and cheap supplies of fossil fuels, especially coal; powerful oil and coal industries that often oppose incentives for renewable development; and energy policy that is heavily influenced by individual states.


GOING GREEN | Sunday, September 5, 2010


Break out of the burger routine
By Peter Berley

Get inspired by the meat-trimming steps of SimpleSteps’ CO2 Smackdown. Step 1: List how often you eat red meat and in what dishes. For steaks, stuffed Portobello mushrooms are an option and fish can be another, but because the carbon footprint of fish is much higher than that of poultry you’ll get a bigger CO2 reduction if you don’t make fish your main source of protein. Step 2: Investigate cookbooks and experiment with recipes at home. Mark Bittman, Deborah Madison, Mollie Katzen and the Moosewood Collective have all written classic cookbooks with meatless dishes, but also turn to Jacques Pepin, Julia Child, the “Joy of Cooking” and others for suggestions on cooking poultry to help break away from the shake-and-bake routine. In this tailgating season, it may be hardest for you to forgo grilled steak and beef burgers. Wendy Gordon considers alternatives in “Local Bar-B-Q” and in The New York Times Mark Bittman provides literally “101 Fast Recipes for Grilling” with many vegetable and fruit options. Draw up your list and go shopping. As with all cooking, if one experiment falls flat for you or your family, try another. Step 3: When you eat out, experiment in your choices and make se-

Tempeh can be used as a meat substitute in a variety of ways including these kebabs with zucchini, yellow squash and Chermoula marinade. Chermoula features fresh herbs like cilantro and mint, a citrus tang from lemon juice and zest and an array of ground spices. lections with an eye towards seeing what you might try at home. To be sure, shy away from steakhouses — there’s no point tempting fate — and take whatever opportunities you can to try new cuisines and broaden your palate. has a list of vegetarian menus to try so you’ll never be uninspired (look under “past menus” and select “vegetarian”). Here is a meatless recipe as adapted from “Fresh Food Fast” by Peter Berley.
For better health and sustainable living tips, articles and how-tos, visit SimpleSteps at

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Chermoula baked tempeh with vegetable couscous
1 pound carrots 1 medium red onion 1 /2 pound cremini or white button mushrooms 1 /2 pound asparagus 1 /2 pound sugar snap peas 1 bunch cilantro 1 bunch mint 3 lemons Dried currants 1 pound tempeh Couscous Black pepper Cayenne pepper Coriander seeds Cumin seeds Extra-virgin olive oil Paprika Sea salt

Prep 1. Peel and coarsely grate the carrots. Peel and thinly slice the red onion. 2. Trim and thickly slice the mushrooms. 3. Trim and cut the asparagus into 1 /2-inch lengths. 4. Trim and remove the strings from the sugar snap peas. Coarsely chop them. 5. Rinse and pat dry the cilantro. Pluck 1 /2 cup leaves. 6. Rinse and pat dry the mint. Pluck 1/2 cup leaves. 7. Squeeze enough lemons through your fingers until you have just under 1/2 cup juice. 8. Measure out 1/3 cup juice into a small bowl. In a separate medium-sized bowl measure 2 tablespoons lemon juice. 9. Cut the tempeh into 1-inch squares. Grind 2 teaspoons cumin seed and 1 tsp. coriander seed in a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Whisk them into the 1/3 cup lemon juice, along with 2 teaspoons paprika and 1/2 teaspoon (or to taste) cayenne pepper. 10. Whisk in 1/2 cup olive oil and 1 1/4 cups of water. Start cooking 1. Arrange the tempeh squares in a single layer in a heavy skillet. Pour the spice mixture over the tempeh and set the skillet over high heat. 2. When the liquid boils reduce the heat so it is simmering. Cover and

simmer until almost, but not all, of the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. If it gets dry, add a little more water. 3. While the tempeh is cooking, make the couscous. In a medium saucepan over high heat, warm 2 tablespoons oil. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 6 minutes. 4. While the mushrooms are cooking, bring 1-1/4 cups water to a boil. After the mushrooms have cooked for 6 minutes, pour the boiling water over them. 5. Stir the asparagus and the peas into the mushroom mixture and return it to a simmer. Stir in the couscous and 2 teaspoons salt. Stir, cover and remove from the heat. Let sit so the couscous plumps for 5-6 minutes. 6. Check the tempeh to be sure there is enough liquid in the pan. 7. While the couscous is plumping and the tempeh is cooking, make the carrot salad. Mince the mint and the cilantro leaves and whisk them into the 2 tablespoons lemon juice, along with 1 tbsp. olive oil. Add the grated carrots and the currants and toss well. Taste for seasoning. 8. Check the tempeh. It should be hot, plump and fragrant. 9. Uncover the couscous and fluff it with a fork. Divide it among 4 plates. Top each serving with an equal amount of tempeh and serve, with the carrot salad alongside.