Monday, December 29, 2008

Slow Down Sammy Hagar!

"I can't drive 65!" is my new motto. I've been slowing down ever since I read that 55 saves more than lives; it saves on carbon dioxide emissions!

It isn't easy to slow down - and yet, it feels strangely pleasant, like visiting an old hometown in the Midwest, where the people are peaceful and friendly, and the air is clean, and the sky is........

Yes, it's downright pastoral to be the lone, unrushed driver on the freeway.

It's helpful to use my cruise control on the long stretches, because otherwise there is a certain anxiety about tootling along at a speed 20 miles per hour slower than everyone else. It's made me really think about the importance of where I'm going and how long it takes me to get there. It lets me remember that my personal schedule isn't reason enough to contribute extra emissions to our environment.

Dropping down to 55 mph isn't a big thing - it's a small thing, really, but it's one of many small things anyone can do to be a friend for a green world. It won't even cost you anything - except a little time.

Join me, experience the nostalgia of the '80's and make this small, but thoughtful contribution to sustainable living.

Here's some more info that will hopefully inspire you too.

Green Energy News, July 4, 2008 – Vol.13 No.15

Finally, someone in Congress is considering a bold step to cut the cost of gas. Senator John Warner (R) of Virginia is suggesting that Congress might consider bringing back a national speed limit.

Warner has sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Samuel Bodman asking the department to look into what speed limit would provide optimum gasoline efficiency given current automotive technology. Warner also wants to know if the administration might support efforts in Congress to require a lower speed limit.

In 1974Congress set a national speed limit of 55 mph because of shortages caused by the Arab oil embargo. The speed limit was repealed in 1995 when crude oil was $17 a barrel and gasoline was $1.10 a gallon.

The Senator noted in his letter that studies had shown that the 55 mph speed limit saved 167,000 barrels of oil a day, or 2 percent of the country's highway fuel consumption. Up to 4,000 traffic deaths a year were avoided as well, with the lower maximum speed.

From the Green Daily:

In an effort to cut Spain's dependency on foreign oil, the government has decided to enact a speed limit of 80km nationwide -- that's just below 50mph. According to a statement from Spain's industry minister Miguel Sebastián: ""Every time we lift our feet off the accelerator, we are improving GDP and employment."

Remember, doing a little and doing it slower is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Joy of Skoy!

From our friends at

A paper towel replacement for the holidays and beyond.

 This new product is an economical and environmental alternative to disposable paper towels. The use you get out of one SKOY cloth is equivalent to 15 rolls of paper towels! The SKOY cloth is made from cotton and wood pulp, is non-toxic, produced chlorine free and is made using only water based colors and inks.

You can use it as you would a paper towel or sponge and when it gets dirty it is durable enough to throw in the dishwasher or the washing machine. In between washings to keep it germ free you can immerse your SKOY cloth in water and microwave it for 1-2 minutes - no more germs! When your SKOY cloth has met its end it can be safely composted either in your back yard compost bin or in a commercial compost facility.

The RPC proudly gives SKOY cloths two thumbs up as a new, innovative, resource saving, waste stream reducing product!

Thank you Recycled Products Cooperative for all the work you do. Readers, don't forget to order all your sustainable office and home products from this worthy group. Just browsing the catalogue is an education.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Even Gamers Can Be More Green

If you or someone you love is a gamer - Wii, Playstation, XBox - the NRDC has published a study on the impact gaming is having on our nation's energy consumption and the accompanying greenhouse emissions that results from it.
Why is this important?  Well, it turns out that current energy usage for gaming is "roughly equal to the annual electricity use of the city of San Diego." (page 4)
Having recently become one of the '4 out of 10' households with a gaming console, I was relieved to see that by mere chance we had chosen the most energy efficient console, the Wii.  It hadn't occurred to me prior to our purchase that I should even check to see what the efficiency was.  We'd do it if it was a frig, a tv, a car, but the energy conscious part of my brain was, until now, disconnected from my playing brain.  No excuse, but enlightening.  It is making me wonder what my other 'green blindspots' might be.
For owners of the less efficient consoles the NRDC has recommendations for reducing energy consumption (page 24) - and this will save you money - while you lessen your carbon footprint.
This very helpful section of the NRDC website is a wonderful place to begin or continue your education - who knows what I'll learn next.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter - make one small change, learn one new thing about sustainable lifestyle and you will educate and inspire those around you.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Eco My Brain

I've learned about an interesting website, I've found far too many interesting titles in just the first few minutes of looking. Here's their story from their site:

"EcoBrain: Our Story
EcoBrain was started by two families living across the continent from each other - one in Canada and one in the US - who were both passionate about learning to live green and setting an earth-friendly example for their children.

Both families also have publishing backgrounds. They love books, but they are also familiar with the environmental costs as well as the actual production costs absorbed by the publisher. So how can people learn more about the environment from the experts while helping reduce waste and costs? By selling books and other media in a digital format!

EcoBrain knows it isn't always easy to get published. And the costs can be staggering. But by publishing in an eBook format, new publishers can produce and publish their material much more quickly, cheaply and profitably. Publishers who are going green can and should be rewarded for their efforts by earning more, while reducing both their own costs and environmental costs as well. EcoBrain makes it possible for publishers to get the green word out in a cost effective and environmentally friendly manner!

The two families are proud of how EcoBrain has come together and how its conception has helped their children learn about new ways to help the environment. EcoBrain is becoming the green community destination and resource and continues to be a great success not only for publishers and authors, but for the environment. And that is how it should be.

Best wishes from EcoBrain."

I've wishlisted quite a few titles already, but this is the one I want to start with, since healthy homes are my passion as well as my business: Homes That Heal (and those that don't): How Your Home May Be Harming Your Family's Health.

You can find more information about the why's and how's of creating a healthy home - a company called Nikken offers a Wellness Home - I encourage you to view the videos and learn how simple the tools can be. Every illness you prevent for you and your family translates directly into a healthier environment.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't make a difference.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Burning Questions, Hot Answers

The December issue of Mother Jones is titled "how to RESCUE THE ECONOMY and SAVE THE PLANET" and offers alot of interesting news on the climate change/sustainable living front. One particularly useful segment offers answers to "20 econundrums". Here are a few for your consideration and implementation. Painless, simple, effective - small actions that are bricks to begin building an entire sustainable living home. Go to the link above for the entire article.

Laptop or Desktop? Laptops remain more energy efficient than desktop systems, but they're harder to upgrade, and it's usually better to replace individual parts than to buy a brand-new computer. Smaller desktops get better energy performance: Apple's Mac Mini has been estimated to draw about a fifth as much power as a Mac Pro when both are in idle mode.
Netflix or Video Store? The mail carrier takes the same route every day, so a few dvd envelopes add little to his carbon footprint. Online rentals' computer use and packaging create a small amount of carbon, but the video store—and the schlep there—generates about 65 percent more emissions.
Wash Your Car or Keep It Dirty? It's true that a wash 'n' wax can reduce your wind resistance and boost your fuel economy. On the other hand, a layer of filth might even mimic a golf ball's dimples, encouraging air to follow a car's contours and minimizing the energy-sapping zone in the wake.
Disposal or Trash Can? Disposals use less water all day than a single toilet flush and increase electricity usage by only 0.1 percent—and that's more than offset by the savings from flushing waste instead of trucking and dumping it. New York's Department of Environmental Protection found that ground-up kitchen scraps didn't clog sewers or treatment plants; another study suggests that trash collection produces four times as much greenhouse gas as disposals. Composting is best, but if your backyard pile isn't aerated—by a fistful of worms, for example—noxious bacteria will churn out more greenhouse gases per pound of waste than filthy city dumps.
Death: Buried or Burned? When a conservationist croaks, what's the greenest way to say goodbye? The average cremation releases more than 35 pounds of carbon (burials generate fewer than 9), and high temperatures can vaporize dental fillings—in the UK, cremations create up to a sixth of the country's annual mercury emissions. Mowed and fertilized graveyards are hardly carbon neutral, so some cemeteries now recycle old plots; others are considering vertical burials. Swedish researchers have figured out how to freeze-dry bodies in liquid nitrogen; the resultant corpsicle can be ground into ecofriendly dust. But for now, best to splurge on a biodegradable coffin and plan on pushing up daisies.

Always remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rock, Paper, ...... Dioxin?

According to an article from, loss of forests isn't just about the trees.  What I mean by that is, the absence of the resource isn't the only bad news when it comes to America's paper habit.  Those trees we just ran through our printers now can't filter out carbon dioxide, CO2, the most prevalent global warming gas.

As I read over a variety of websites:  Union of Concerned Scientists, Arbokem, Environmental Health Perspectives and others I was struck by the idea that paper, one of the tools civilization has been made wildly prolific by, has become one of the greatest sources of environmental threat.  You see, once the trees are cut, the greenhouse gases increase and the pulp for the paper is processed in a highly toxic manner.  According to Jim Motavalli, "the pulp and paper industry is the third largest industrial polluter in both Canada and the US, releasing more than 220 million pounds of toxic pollution into the air, ground and water each year."

The chlorine used to bleach conventional paper creates a deadly waste called dioxin.  This highly cancerous chemical is now found in humans the world over.  It is found in breastmilk - this means every new born is given the gift of this poison all in the name of bleaching paper products.  There are alternatives - whenever you buy any kind of paper product make sure it says its been produced with a chlorine-free bleaching process.  This isn't just good for those babies out there - the dioxin created is ending up in your groundwater and fish.

What can you do?

Join the Recycled Products Cooperative.  Order your paper, school and office products from them.  This can include tissues, copy paper and more.  Tell your school, church and local government offices that you want them to buy recycled paper goods.  Tell them you want them to change the margins on their documents.  Then change the margins on your documents.  Make a commitment to using only recycled paper goods - this will make an impact.  You will make a difference.  Tell others your story - let them see that change doesn't always have to be difficult and making changes now may mean less difficult changes later.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Words of Wisdom

"It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself." – Rachel Carson

There are a number of ways our oceans are currently threatened - by pollution, climate change and human plundering.  For two of these three outcomes we cannot argue our culpability.  Some still argue our influence on climate change.  Regardless of that argument, we can agree that sentient, evolved beings are ones who see the consequences of their actions and make choices accordingly.

I read a book a number of years ago, Ishmael.  The author, Daniel Quinn, has come up with a unique viewpoint about how and why the human community, as we know it, has rationalized the taking of nature for our species' benefit.  It's a viewpoint that is worth taking a look at because it raises questions that each one of us would benefit from answering.  It's viewpoints like this that inform our character and subsequently shape the way we live our lives.

"The world today will either be stepping forward into an era where conservation and the environment really matter, or it will be stepping back into the Dark Ages, where the people of the world think that the slaughter of whales using grenades, electric lances and shooting them with rifles is something that we should accept."
Ian Campbell, Australian Environment Minister - 57th IWC AGM, Monday, June 20, 2005

Take an action this week - read a book, question the status quo, send a letter, fund a group that works to heal our environmental sores.

Always remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Healthy Home Candles

If you love the ambiance of candles and you are interested in a healthy home environment you will want to check these out:

I met the founder, Ally, and learned that she developed pretty serious asthma from her exposure to unhealthy candles.  This personal experience led her to develop a product that is healthy, beautiful and environmentally friendly.

Burning unhealthy candles puts poisons into your home or office air - things like lead, petroleum, zinc.  It may seem like a small thing, but if you are concerned about a green world, even the small things matter and each time everyone makes a small difference, it adds up.  These seem like excellent holiday gifts - pretty, aromatic, useful and clean for your home.

Always remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't make a difference.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

What happens when Dr. Who meets Captain Kirk meets Greenpeace?

This video

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wikia Green

Another great resource for making sustainable lifestyle choices and a place to share what you know - Wikia Green.

Here's an article on Sustainable Storytelling.

Always remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Greenpeace Green Piece

This past Friday as my daughter and I left our downtown bookstore I spotted a young volunteer with a clipboard.  Now, I'm involved, I believe in walking my talk, and yet when I saw that clipboard I veered off to the right (how Freudian) in order to not be spotted.

Luckily for me, Brenna hailed me down.  Turns out she was visiting our sleepy burg on behalf of Greenpeace.  Wow, haven't thought about them for awhile - I'm all NRDC,, solar, geothermal.........

After we spoke, I happily pledged my $15 and signed on as a sticker sporting Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior and then came home. This morning while cleaning out my bag I came across the pamphlet I'd received and decided, yeah, I'll write about Greenpeace, see what they're up to now.

There's plenty of material on YouTube and the video above is a great trip into history - remember when those people put their lives in danger to protect whales, seals, oceans, forests, you and me?         I do. 

I just haven't thought about them because today's activism happens more in a courtroom than jumping from a dinghy onto the harpooned body of a whale out in the deep international waters of our oceans.  Today, I sign up online, blog online, join in the petitions online.  All good things to do.  It's given me a pipeline to activism that lets me keep my day job (or would, if I had one).

So, while you and I are making our uncomfortable and inconvenient sustainable lifestyle choices, let's remember two things:

The early pioneers of Greenpeace and

Doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Thank you, Kris in Indiana

Check out this very good blog by Kris in Indiana about CFL's.  We've heard about 'em, we've read about 'em - they make alot of sense, economically and environmentally.  In San Luis Obispo County the Integrated Waste Management Authority has a unique "SLO Take Back Program".  If your local waste management agency doesn't offer this, forward this on to them and inspire them to get started.

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I'm contacting our local waste management agency to see what headway I can make in our local government agencies converting to sustainable water for their offices and sustainable trash bags.

Meanwhile, I read that San Francisco, a miracle of sustainability-minded government, announced a challenge on September 30, 2008.  According to, Mayor Newsom challenged SF businesses to go solar by this time next year!

If you thought Al Gore's challenge was, well, challenging, take a look at SF's plan to make it not only possible, but attractive for businesses to get on board. 

According to the release, the 1,500 businesses who have been invited to join the Solar Founders' Circle "have the potential to install 170 megawatts of solar on their roofs - more than 30x's the amount of solar currently installed in SF, and enough to power 42,ooo local households."

It sounds like an exciting initiative and I'll be checking in to see what's become of this.  This is exactly the kind of sustainability leadership that will make Al Gore's 10 year goal achievable.

What can YOU do? Send us YOUR story. What choice did you make today to live a more sustainable life? Send your first name, last initial, general locale, and what the greentech was. You will educate and inspire others to make the changes they can and more that they may have thought they couldn't.


Friday, October 10, 2008

Renewable Energy and Efficiency Tax Incentives Renewed

It wasn't perfect and it wasn't pretty, but the renewable energy industry got the boost from Congress we all need it to have.  The tax incentives for installing renewable energy technologies were extended as part of the $700 Billion bailout.  

Greg Wetstone, senior director of governmental and public affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement, "We salute Members of Congress in both parties who fought under difficult conditions to keep the renewable energy production tax credit and small turbine investment tax credit on the agenda until the very end, and then pushed them across the finish line." "These tax credits are essential to the continued growth of wind energy, to the economic and energy security of the United States, and to a successful beginning in the fight against global warming," said Wetstone, as reported by the Environment News Service on October 3.

I also spoke with a representative from Solarponics who felt this was definitely a cause for celebration.  The tax incentives for the consumer will boost the ability of the middle class American to invest in renewable energy technologies.  I was told it would increase what had been a maximum of $2000 tax credit to approximately $9000.  This is a sizeable chunk of the low estimated cost for a 3 bedroom residence at $25,000.

Al Gore has lain a bold challenge before us in his speech, Repowering America, A Generational Challenge.  Our elected officials are slowly and surely moving toward making it possible.  We can all do our part to answer this challenge with a strong, loud - YES, WE CAN!

What can YOU do? Send us YOUR story. What choice did you make today to live a more sustainable life? Send your first name, last initial, general locale, and what the greentech was.  You will educate and inspire others to make the changes they can and more that they may have thought they couldn't.

Always remember: doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

An easy, free way to reduce your consumption that's sure to feel good is to take your name off of mailing lists you don't want to be on.

Don't use the grocery store circulars because they don't feature organic and non-toxic products?
Catalogs you instantly recycle?

Go to and you can remove your name and mailing address from each specific type of junkmail provider.

The results take awhile, about 90 days, and Greendimes says to check weekly to confirm the removals. There are trees that will be planted in addition to the trees you'll preserve by not letting unwanted junkmail to come to your mail box.

Another free and fun way to plant trees - go to The crew at Jogogreen have created a fun way for anyone to help them in their mission to plant trees. Answer 10 environmental questions and a tree is planted. You can also contribute questions. Watching the tree icons grow at the bottom is rewarding and motivating. Have fun!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

The History of Hemp

Okay, not to belabor the point, but here is a brief history of hemp in the US. This crop has the power to help our country make the transformation to sustainable energy with the 10 years set out by scientists and called for by Al Gore in his speech, Repowering America.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Hemp, hemp, hemp - Nature's miracle

This is an interesting video that gives insight into the benefits of hemp - economically and nutritionally. Why hemp in an environmental sustainability blog?
Besides offering a complete, healthy alternative to animal products, legal hemp farming and processing in the US would create thousands, possibly more, green jobs. Hemp is also a fantastic source for plastic and materials used in the construction of automobiles. It is non-toxic and biodegradable (not while you're driving around, mind you).

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A Sustainable Diet

At first blush this title sounds like it might be the holy grail of dieting - you know, sustaining that diet that made you drop 30 pounds in 2 months.

It also sounds like the latest nutritional best seller - The Sustainable Diet. I checked Amazon, nothing yet. Maybe I can write it.

Although I'm not a nutritionist, dietician, chef or even a 'foodie', I've had an awareness of my diet since childhood. My mom was the only one I knew who gave her kids Royal Bee Gelly and Ginseng Tea (no sweeteners!). We were the only ones without white bread and Hostess was completely absent from our home. We still had occasional treats like cheesecake, but candy bars and nutritionally empty snack foods laden with preservatives were never available. Sodas and junky breakfast cereals? No way!

I don't think my mom thought of herself as progressive, but lucky for me, she had the right instincts about nutrition. It gave me the ability to think outside the mainstream when it came to food.

Earlier I talked about the amount of oil used in the production of beef. Letting go of eating beef seemed very doable for me, and all the findings suggest that it's actually more healthy. Will I ever eat beef? Sure, if my host or Hostess has graciously prepared it, or if the restaurant I'm patronizing has free range, organic, psychologically happy, humanely slaughtered beef.
But what about all the other animal food products? The hardest core environmentalists (in my opinion) assert that to be a true one you must be vegetarian, vegan, even. This is such an extreme concept to most people and even with my awareness about it, to me, that at first I rejected it utterly.

Deep breath.

Didn't I just read that Hemp Seeds provide all the proteins necessary for human nutritional needs? Yup, but how can a bunch of little seeds possibly be as satisfying as chicken? I decided to give them a try and have been pleasantly surprised. They taste good and I actually feel satisfied after eating them on my salad or yogurt. I've also experimented with the Organic Hemp Milk, how crazy does that sound?

So, that takes care of the poultry, now what about those morning eggs I had grown to love and count on. I've always believed eggs were a terrific food, even when everyone wanted me to give up the yolk. However, in my experiment with a sustainable diet I had to try a vegetarian alternative. I chose OPTIMUM POWER BREAKFAST cereal. The box is impressive and empowers me just by looking at it. It also does a fantastic job of keeping my energy level up until lunchtime.

I encourage each of you to try to substitute one thing this week - be bold, you never know what you might like. Just like Mikey.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kermit The Frog Isn't The Only Green Celebrity

Installing a home solar system is pretty pricey. The estimates for an average 2,500 square foot home which probably requires a 3 to 4 kW system are $25,000 to $36,000. It isn't something many average home owners can upgrade to. Industry wisdom says it's always better to include it in the original design. That's if you can invest in designing and building your own home.

What about someone living in low-income housing? There is a fantastic partnership between the Enterprise Foundation, BP Solar Neighbors and the Environmental Media Association that is worth checking out. It's the brainchild of actor, Edward Norton who, when installing his own system proposed an idea to BP Solar. For every celebrity who joins the BP Solar Neighbors program and purchases a system (every 6kW qualifies) a matching system is donated to a low-income family. The Environmental Media Association's purpose is to link "the power of celebrity to environmental awareness, EMA believes that through television, film and music, the entertainment community can affect change in a positive way. EMA’s work is widespread, from subtle messaging on the screen to promoting sustainable lifestyle choices and educating influential people on the power of “green,” our goal is inspiring the path to a healthier planet."

Here's an excerpt from an interview with Slate.

"Edward Norton: I can't give you a total number of panels. We're getting close to having donated over 100 kW worth of free systems to low-income families. About 50 families have received systems and we've done two large systems on affordable housing rental buildings or homeless SRO projects. This doesn't count the celebrity participation which is probably another 100-200 kW worth."

This is an example any community or any high profile group of people can follow - it isn't just actors and musicians who can create this kind of positive change. What if each community negotiated with a local or national solar company to work out some form of donated system to benefit everyone? What if government buildings, schools, or large chain retailers invested in solar with the promise that their purchase would ensure the installation for a low-income family?

Things to think about.

In the meantime, send us your story. Include your first name, last initial, general locale and what YOUR sustainable choice was today. Make your voice heard; educate and inspire. The effects of your choice will be magnified and made more powerful when you share it with us.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Future of Greentech

Now, greening our world is about more than, well, being green. It's about a thriving economy; it's about 2 or more million new jobs in greentech. There are challenges, to be sure. Those who lose jobs in obsolete fields won't necessarily be the ones getting the new jobs. The new greentech jobs may not all be the highest quality. Fortunately, these aren't issues that need to stand in the way of this multibillion-dollar growth industry. These are concerns to be monitored and addressed with foresight and forward thinking.

There are serious issues at stake and as ILO Director-General Juan Somavia says, "As the report makes clear, building a low-carbon economy is not only about technology or finances, it's about peoples and societies. It's about a cultural change to a greater environmental consciousness and opportunities for decent work." Read more at Environment News Service's website.

Even more exciting is a recently released report discussed at the Center for American Progress. The findings give one a great deal of hope, and, motivation to be involved in whatever way one can to bring about this greentech revolution.

Here is an excerpt:
The $100 billion fiscal expansion that we examined in this study provides the infrastructure to jumpstart a comprehensive clean energy transformation for our nation, such as the strategy described in CAP’s 2007 report, “Capturing the Energy Opportunity: Creating a Low-Carbon Economy.” This paper shows the impact of a swift initial investment in climate solutions that would direct funding toward six energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies:

* Retrofitting buildings to increase energy efficiency
* Expanding mass transit and freight rail
* Constructing “smart” electrical grid transmission systems
* Wind power
* Solar power
* Advanced biofuels

This green recovery and infrastructure investment program would:

* Create 2 million new jobs nationwide over two years
* Create nearly four times more jobs than spending the same amount of money within the oil industry and 300,000 more jobs than a similar amount of spending directed toward household consumption.
* Create roughly triple the number of good jobs—paying at least $16 dollars an hour—as spending the same amount of money within the oil industry.
* Reduce the unemployment rate to 4.4 percent from 5.7 percent (calculated within the framework of U.S. labor market conditions in July 2008).
* Bolster employment especially in construction and manufacturing. Construction employment has fallen from 8 million to 7.2 million over the past two years due to the housing bubble collapse. The Green Recovery program can, at the least, bring back these lost 800,000 construction jobs.
* Provide opportunities to rebuild career ladders through training and workforce development that if properly implemented can provide pathways out of poverty to those who need jobs most. (Because green investment not only creates more good jobs with higher wages, but more jobs overall, distributed broadly across the economy, this program can bring more people into good jobs over time.)
* Help lower oil prices. Moderating domestic energy demand will have greater price effects than modest new domestic supply increases.
* Begin the reconstruction of local communities and public infrastructure all across America, setting us on a course for a long-term transition to a low-carbon economy that increases our energy independence and helps fight global warming. Currently, about 22 percent of total household expenditures go to imports. With a green infrastructure investment program, only about 9 percent of purchases flow to imports since so much of the investment is rooted in communities and the built environment, keeping more of the resources within the domestic economy.

For the full article visit the Center for American Progress's website.

What can YOU do? Send us YOUR story. What choice did you make today to live a more sustainable life? Send your first name, last initial, general locale, and what the greentech was.

Always remember: doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Power To and From the People

I hear far too many people argue that solar power is too expensive, impossible to store for any length of time without toxic batteries and unreliable.  I really want someone to tell me HOW it can be done, not argue for our current situation's limitations.

This is why I was so grateful to read an article in the most recent issue of Ode Magazine, entitled, 'Talkin' 'Bout My Generation".  The lights have come on!  This isn't your grandpa's centralized power system - it's a power grid remade in the image of the internet.  

"Can you imagine the generation that grew up on file-sharing, Wikipedia and MySpace surrounded by coal-fired or nuclear power plants?" asks Jeremy Rifkin, alternative energy activist and advisor to the EU and many European governments, in this article.

This future includes what are known as energy positive buildings - good guess - it means that these buildings make enough power to cover their own needs plus give back energy to the system.  These building are being constructed now!

This future also includes energy distribution that mimics the internet - a smart grid that senses where the energy is needed or not needed, where it is in surplus at any given time and how to shift it to places with a deficit.  Rifkin notes, "We can take IT to the power grid, too, and it will exceed anything you could produce with centralized coal-fired or nuclear power plants."

There's alot more good stuff in this article, more than I can quote here, so I recommend you visit the Ode Magazine page and read the entire thing.  Then I highly recommend subscribing - the magazine's tagline is 'for intelligent optimists'.  Wouldn't you like to be one of those?

Then, send us YOUR story about your sustainable choice today!  Include your first name, last initial, general locale and what your choice was.  We list you among our Friends For A Green World and believe that by joining together we can educate, model and inspire others to join us in Repowering America.

Join us.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recycling Does Make A Difference

In my search for information about recycled paper products I came across a great website.  This group has terrific products and the prices are excellent.  I will be recommending this co-op to my school, local government offices, local non-profits and others.  I encourage you to check them out, too.  In just a few months they have made a tremendous difference - join them.

Recycled Products Cooperative 

As of 6/30/08, RPC members have purchased over 415,068 cases of 30% and 100% post-consumer recycled paper, saving:
* 91,655 trees
* 26,754,371 gallons of water
* 15,661,122 kilowatt hours of electricity
* And preventing 228,546 pounds of air pollution!

copied from the Recycled Products Cooperative homepage

Additionally, the NRDC has a useful, easy to read and take shopping list.  It gives brand names, recycled content info and bleaching info.  Recycled paper products are equal in quality to those created with virgin materials.....wait.......I'm wrong......they are superior due to the low environmental costs associated with their production.  You can find them at most mainstream stores now and if you're into online ordering you can buy any quantity you need at places like Recylcled Products Cooperative.

If you have a site that you currently use for this type of product - send us the address.  We'd love to highlight them, too. 

Remember, doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't matter.

Send your first name, last initial, general locale and what YOUR sustainable choice was today!

Join us.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beef -It's What's Using Oil

In learning about sustainability and ways to achieve the energy independence described by Al Gore, I've come to understand that my food cannot be left out of the equation.  I've been reading Michael Pollan's, The Ominvore's Dilemma and have learned some very interesting facts.   A young steer who follows the conventional range to feedlot life path will, upon reaching a weight of 1200 pounds, have consumed in its lifetime the equivalent of 35 gallons of oil - a barrel of oil holds 42 gallons.
This page,, has an interesting graph 3/4's of the way down, called, What's In a Barrel of Oil, that shows where each part of the barrel goes.
I already had made a decision to leave beef and pork out of my diet (unless I was at a social gathering and it was the only choice available).  Then I read the latest issue of E, The Environmental Magazine.  I also visited, whose ads are in this issue and the latest issue of OnEarth, the NRDC publication.  
Needless to say, my decision just became more weighty and difficult.  Am I really ready to convert my entire eating style to one that matches my sustainability desires?  As Pollan writes, "Eating industrial meat takes an almost heroic act of not knowing or, now, forgetting."
Stay tuned.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


This blog is dedicated to spotlighting the green pioneers who are making a difference - one car, one bag, one water bottle, one solar install at a time - whatever it is YOU do let us know.  The choice you make today to create a green world benefits us all - letting people know about it gives us all a chance to be empowered and inspired by your example.

Doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little doesn't make a difference.

Here is a fantastic website to help you do a little!  You and yours can learn more about sustainability and the environment while raising money for Jogo's tree planting programs.  Answer 10 questions correctly and a tree is planted.  The growing icons at the bottom are rewarding and inspiring.  Children love being part of helping Nature, while having a great time playing a game.  We all share in your gift; so let us know how many trees you've helped plant.

ps - the story of this organization is inspiring and affirming, too - check it out under "Trees".

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What's Good for Coral Reefs is Good for Us

What do National Geographic, Environmental Working Group and have in common?
They all reported on the ill-effects of certain types of suncreen on our coral reefs back in January and February of '08.  This is information that we all need and it should be highlighted again.
Live in a sunny part of the world and swim in the waters that support coral reefs?  You need to choose a sunscreen that won't poison the coral reefs.  Live in a part of the world where a winter vacation to a sunny part of the world is a welcome relief?  You need to choose a sunscreen that won't poison the coral reefs.
Oh, do you wear sunscreen, ever?  You need to choose a sunscreen that won't poison the coral reefs.......or you.
According to the Nat Geo site:
"..researchers estimate that 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off swimmers annually in oceans worldwide, and that up to 10 percent of coral reefs are threatened by sunscreen-induced bleaching."
Fortunately, EWG reports:
The good news? "We don't need to choose between protecting our skin and protecting coral reefs," says Celia Ferreira, Ph.D., formulator of Caribbean Solutions sunscreen products in Orlando, Fla. "In my experience, sun products without petroleum derivatives actually protect the skin better."
The harmful ingredients to avoid include octinoxate, oxybenzone and 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, and the preservative butylparaben.  These also happen to be linked to cancer, allergic reactions, endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity and reproductive harm in humans, according to the EWG.
Once again, what's good for our environment is really most good for ourselves.  Preserve and restore the habitat in which we thrive - this is the deepest essence of sustainable choices.

And always remember...... doing a little is more fulfilling than thinking that a little won't make a difference.

Share your story with us..... send your first name, last initial, general locale and what YOUR sustainable choice was today.  Your choice will be magnified and made more powerful, you will educate and inspire, and others will join you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Why Friends For A Green World?

A short while ago I watched Al Gore's speech - A Generational Challenge to Repower America. It changed me. It moved me to take action - many small actions - to begin to be a part of this transforming of America.

It occurred to me that many people have already taken actions to begin this transformation. We don't hear about them, unless we know them personally, and even among our circles of friends it may not be brought up.

I want to hear about everyone in this country making choices to live a sustainable lifestyle. I want to host this honor roll of courageous pioneers who make these choices, sometimes against economic good sense, but for the good of the whole. I want to laud each and everyone who chooses non-toxic cleaners for their homes, who buys biocompostable trash bags, who gives their child water for school in a reusable bottle, who buys a hybrid, rides a bike to work, installs geothermal or solar.

There are a thousand ways to be a part of this revolution - tell us who you are and what your choice was today. Send an email, send a pic or a link to your video about how you are part of the change we all wish to see.

When others see your example, they, too, will be changed - it is a seed that may bear fruit tomorrow or next year, but they will be changed.

Wayne Dyer talks about a study in which the serotonin levels and immune function were monitored in subjects performing acts of kindness. When that person performed the act of kindness his/her levels went up - giving them greater health and wellbeing. Then it was observed that the recipient experienced an increase in both as well. The best part for me was that the study revealed that those who simply observed the acts of kindness received the same benefits to immune function and serotonin levels as the two people directly involved.

Choosing environmentally sustainable technologies is a communal act of kindness - please share it with all of us - your gift will be magnified and your choice made even more powerful.

Join us.