22 October 2007

results of "lights out sf."

see the visual effect created by lights out sf saturday, october 20th between 8.00-9.00p.

thank you to all that participated.

(order of before/after pictures: bay bridge, golden gate bridge, coit tower, transamerica building, palace of fine arts, san francisco city hall)















































18 October 2007

do your part: lights out san francisco.

if you live in the san francisco area, join me and the rest of the city in a citywide act toward environmental awareness and energy conservation.

lights out san francisco estimates that turning your nonessential household light off for one hour on a regular saturday night from 8.00-9.00p--peak times for lights to be left on--we can save about 15 percent of the average amount of energy that would have been spent.

that's just for one hour. imagine what could happen if we were more aware of lighting needs and turned them off when they weren't being used.

in that one hour change your lightbulb(s) to compact fluorescent lightbulbs (cfl).

15 October 2007

blog action day.

today is blog action day.

bloggers everywhere are making their voices heard (or the sound of clicking keyboard strokes) on the hot topic of our day--the environment.

we're blogging as a critical mass to raise the awareness and urgency of the situation. if we all participate, we can make a difference.

so what are you doing to lessen your carbon footprint? what are you doing to save your planet? what are you doing to do your part in the fight of our lives--saving our mother earth? what's your action plan?

take a stand. be an activist.

start refusing plastic bags at the grocery store.

limit your use of paper and plastic products.

turn the lights off when nobody's home.

recycle.

compost.

leave your car parked--take public transportation.

all it takes is one person. that person is you.



note: this blog is dedicated 100% to the overwhelming issue of global warming. browse through the other entries for tips on how you can lessen your carbon footprint with simple and easy measures.

12 October 2007

congratulations al gore and the u.n. intergovernmental panel on climate change.

al gore was awarded the nobel peace prize last night alongside the u.n. intergovernmental panel on climate change for their efforts in bringing attention to the global warming issues plaguing the planet.

some quotes and statements from the article:

the nobel committee praised gore for being "one of the world's leading environmentalist politicians."

in the announcement, the committee cited gore and the ipcc "for their efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change."

president bill clinton, gore's ex-boss, praised gore saying this award was well-deserved and "he saw this coming before others in public life."

gore said he was "deeply hounoured" and stated "the climate crisis is not a political issue, it is a moral and spiritual challenge to all humanity."

11 October 2007

set your tivo.

if tivo is really your friend, he'll be sure to record the special investigation featured on cnn called planet in peril since it conflicts with gossip girl and grey's anatomy--among other popular shows--the kind you hover around the water cooler at the office discussing.

with the tagline "the story the world can't afford to ignore" heading up the advertisements maybe you could catch one of the two nights it's broadcasting: tuesday, october 23rd or wednesday, october 24th, both at 9p eastern time.

don't miss this.

10 October 2007

don't be an eco-litterbug.

while shoveling my organic walnut oatmeal in my mouth, i filtered through some of my eco-emails that come every morning and came across this one from grist that i like very much. i'm guilty of the occasional eco-littering. read the article and then imagine the effect of spitting your gum out into the bushes has.



Into the Wild: On tossing food waste

question

Dear Umbra,

I am a college student. I eat a lot on the go. Not fast food or boxed meals, but when I leave my dorm I usually grab an apple, banana, or other fruit/veggie to eat as I walk to my destination. I don't compost, instead I just throw the banana peel or apple core into the bushes. I like the thought that maybe one day my apple core will become an apple, or that my banana peel will help nourish that piece of ground/animals in the area over ending up in a landfill. To me this eco-littering is an opportunity for new life. I know that it takes a long time to biodegrade as a piece of fruit tossed in the bushes, but I think that, on a smaller scale (not all of society throwing their food scraps into our green places), it's not a bad thing. But I've heard that this eco-littering isn't terribly good. I don't really know and I kinda like my fantasy world where it is. Is my eco-littering OK? Should I start to properly compost my food?

Brendan
Moscow, Idaho

answer

Dearest Brendan,

Many angles to consider here -- or, there's more than one way to peel this apple. Is that the expression? Am I conflating skinning a cat with peel me a grape?

We'll sort through the peelings, but let's start with the end and say: It would be better to properly compost your food.

Partly this has to do with citizenship. What you are doing is just plain old littering, and from a civic standpoint, it's improper. Mind you, I think most people throw food into the bushes one way or another. My mother threw apple cores out the car window into roadside woodlands, I throw plum pits under the apple trees in my back yard. But one is not meant to do it in either frequented public places or in remote locales; other people who encounter your litter may find it repulsive. It may spoil their pleasant bush-side jaunt, they may feel the need to clean up after you, they may be gardeners maintaining the bushes who find your rotten leavings. We vote, and recycle, and drive less, because we believe that one person has an impact. By this logic, one person's litter makes a difference. Not a good difference. There should be all types of activism in the environmental movement, but I don't think fruit rinds send a clear enough message to count as activism.

At an ecological level, discarded fruit leavings are not the cat's meow either. Almost none of the produce you discard will sprout new life. An apple seed or a plum pit might, because these grow in your area, but due to the unpredictable nature of sexual reproduction in domesticated tree fruit, the resultant tree would likely be a weird, unrecognizable, and less tasty fruit. If you live in a human-dominated landscape, it will be torn up. Any animals that eat the fruit will be scavengers who have other food sources, because no animal could build a life on waiting for banana peels. In a worst-case scenario, an innocent animal would eat your garbage and suffer indigestion or death. (I'm kind of making the death part up, but it doesn't seem utterly out of the question.)

Those are some of the reasons why we should stop throwing our produce bits about. True, one alternative is to throw them in the garbage, where they will be interred for centuries. But the other alternative, composting them, fulfills almost all the aspects of your fantasy world. If you were to compost your pits and peels, they would transform themselves into nourishing plant nutrients. Composted material isn't just more aesthetically pleasing than rotting banana peels, it has a chemical and structural difference that is beneficial to plants. If you then threw this material under the bushes -- oh, happy bushie day.

Luckily for you, basic information about all sorts of composting is just a click away, on this very website. May your fantasy life simply improve as you change your leftover hummus into humus.

Painfully,
Umbra

02 October 2007

going green. why?

with the upcoming presidential elections we've seen many of the candidates "go green." some may think the candidates' reasoning is because it's trendy nowadays and the people want answers. others may see it as a legitimate platform of concern and want for change.

what do you think?

why are you going green? is it because you truly believe in the cause and the want for a better tomorrow? are you going green because it's trendy and all your friends are doing it? are you going green because it feels like the right thing to do? are you going green because that's just the way you live? are you going green because you've been doing it since you were a youngin'?

why are you going green?

are you a green voice encouraging those around you to go green? are you a stalemate? do you practice your green ways but keep them to yourself because you're embarrassed others will counter your beliefs?

going green may be the first bandwagon for people to jump on, the first trend for people to follow, that could positively affect everyone on this planet.

27 September 2007

america's next top model: going green.

don't be embarrassed.

i'm not.

i love america's next top model.

it's classic girl-on-girl drama and without any drama in my life it's amusing to see some in an entertainment fashion.

i was pleasantly surprised last night when mr. jay introduced a green van for the models to travel all around town instead of several vans or suvs. even their mansion in los angeles is eco-friendly.

likely they're doing this simply because it's trendy to be "green" these days but eventually it'll become the norm.

so good for you tyra and mr. jay for being on top of the green wave and thrusting such awareness upon your little ones.

21 September 2007

results of the paper challenge.

my paper usage for thursday, september 20, 2007.

straw paper from starbucks
1 grande paper cup from starbucks
p-touch tape backing
1 q-tip
1 napkin
1 small paper bag
7 toilet seat covers*
10 handfuls of toilet paper (roughly 4-6 squares)
9 sheets of paper (1 used twice; printed on both sides)

*i wonder about toilet seat covers. are they really necessary? do we all fear germs from the toilet seat enough to cover them up? do we even think about it anymore? if everyone puts down a toilet seat cover than are they really being useful? i mean, if everyone is using them then does the seat even get dirty at all?

19 September 2007

paper challenge: how much paper do you use in a normal day?

you've heard of the clock-watching test, right? you jot down a tick mark every time you look at a clock throughout the course of a day. or the diet one where you write down everything you've eaten?

let's try a new one.

a paper trail one.

for tomorrow or another full day this week, write down every piece of paper you use*. everything from toilet seat covers to that 45 page powerpoint presentation you printed out for your boss.

report back.

i'll do it too.


*i'm speaking of paper that is used and disposed of; not your daytimer or notebook at work unless you're ripping pages out and tossing them.

07 September 2007

be a water saving hero!

you can be a water saving hero too!

if you're a california resident, this is definitely worth a look-see.

taking shorter showers conserves water.
sweeping instead of using a hose conserves water.
watering the lawn in the morning conserves water.
full loads of laundry conserves water.
fixing running toilets conserves water.
turning the water off while brushing [your teeth] conserves water.

06 September 2007

penguins: suited up for disaster.

it's just really sad. so many creatures are affected negatively by global warming. while the effects are difficult still to see on the mainland they're evidencing themselves clearly in places like antarctica and the arctic.

penguins are running out of space to mate. such a wonderful creature.

don't be silly and think because they're so far away and in an environment very foreign to most of us that our efforts can't help them.

everything we/you can do from changing our lightbulbs to boycotting the plastic bag will have far-reaching effects.

maybe seeing the danger this adorable creature is in will encourage you to try just a little bit harder to minimize your carbon footprint. i hope it will. it wells my eyes with tears.

20 August 2007

al gore: where's the truth?

many of you have commented (thank you) on the entries in this blog about al gore and the claims that he's an energy hog--preaching something different than he's practicing. i would love to provide both sides of the story but having a difficult time nailing down anything more than just hypocritical claims or information on personal blogs toward the environmental prophet. if you have details, i.e., links, papers, please pass them along to me as i strive to keep this blog educational so we can all make our own decisions about the environment's direction.

keep the comments coming. whether positive or negative, we welcome them all.

16 August 2007

be green in your sleep.

focused on giving back to her community and managing her environmental responsibility, denise stevens shares luxurious comforts for home--home, baby, pets, body--through lush comforts.

"do as i say, not as i do."

today is madonna's 49th birthday. happy freakin' birthday.

for the most part, i like madonna.

but then i learned how un-green she is and it all changed. she's truly a material girl--seeming more focused on investments financially than following the lead of her celebrity associates and large money donors to preserve and save our earth.

she sang at the live earth show earlier this summer and spoke as if she truly believed in the cause. maybe she does. but her actions suggest otherwise: she has invested about $2.7 million in companies that damage our environment instead of save or preserve it. (article from fox news below.)

she and jennifer aniston should join forces. together they could be trailblazers in destroying any environmental resources we have left.

===

Friday, July 06, 2007

'Green' Means Money, Not Environmentalism to Madonna

Madonna had better clean up her business before she starts cleaning up the world.

The Material Mom is the headliner at tomorrow night's Live Earth show from London's Wembley Stadium. But guess what? For her, the word green means money, not the environment.

Madonna, who seems to be on top of all her many business endeavors, has actually invested about $2.7 million dollars in companies that are creating the destruction that Live Earth is trying to raise awareness about. She has invested in several companies named as the biggest corporate polluters in the world.

It's a cruel irony that Madonna's Ray of Light Foundation owns blocks of shares in companies that folks like Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio would like to see punished and rehabilitated for their attitudes toward global warming, climate control and basic pollution.

The companies include Alcoa, Ingersoll Rand, Weyerhaeuser, and several others associated with oil exploration, digging, and refining including British Petroleum, Schlumberger (a chief competitor of Halliburton), Devon Energy, Peabody Energy, Emerson Electric, Kimberly Clark and Weatherford International.

In 2002, the University of Massachusetts' Political Research Institute ranked Alcoa No. 9 on a list of all-time toxic American companies. And I don't mean toxic as in toxic bachelor. This is toxic as in air pollution.

The same UMass PRI study ranked Ford Motor Company at No. 7 on the Toxic Top 10. Northrop Grumman was No. 17. Weyerhaeuser was No. 42. Emerson Electric was No. 56. 3M Corp was No. 70. Kimberly Clark was No. 96.

You get the picture. Madonna's Ray of Light Foundation has stock in each of these companies. Her last published tax statement claims $4.2 million in corporate stock, and only $620,000 in donations to other charities including her pet project: the Kabbalah Center.

Madonna even has 175,000 shares of Ford Motor Company, which in 2005 — the last year for which Ray of Light Foundation's tax form is available — had only one hybrid SUV in its fleet. Even now, but certainly then, Ford was/is not known as a green company. The only obvious thing Ford and Madonna have in common is Detroit — although it could be argued that only Ford has retained its Midwest accent.

Take Weyerhaeuser Corporation, a "forest products" company that is basically in the business of killing trees for paper and wood for housing. In 2005, Madonna owed roughly 1,100 shares valued at an average price of $63. Since then, the share price is up to around $80. If her number of shares remained constant, she's made a nice profit over the last two years.

But Weyerhaeuser is no friend of the green community. A story posted on the Rainforest Action Network details Weyerhaeuser's ongoing fight with environmental activists who call the Seattle-based corporation "a bad investment" and "one of America's worst environmental performers."

Even if more than half the Network's characterizations of Weyerhaeuser are hyperbolic, one has to wonder why Madonna has put even a penny into the company if she has any feeling for environmental causes. But that's an inconvenient question for the material girl as she prepares to close the Live Earth show live from London.

Worse — public relations-wise — than Weyerhaeuser is Madonna's investment in Alcoa, the Aluminum Company of America. Alcoa is under fire all over the world, especially in Iceland, for building aluminum smelters that some feel threaten the environment.

The Ray of Light Foundation's Schedule of Realized Gains and Losses is revealing in many ways. It shows that Madonna, while eager to espouse politically correct beliefs, simply does not put her money where her mouth is. The Ray of Light Foundation, for example, has only a few hundred shares of one media company: Viacom. Madonna didn't even carry an investment in Warner Music Group, the company that releases her music.

15 August 2007

address the mess

You've probably seen this already, perhaps even taken the quiz or watched The Convenientest Truth. But just in case you aren't hip to Comedy Central or haven't read TreeHugger yet this week, here's Address the Mess -- showing you how to clean up your act....

02 August 2007

breathe in, breathe out, breathe clean(er) with plants

With so much discussion about green and about carbon footprints, I thought I'd take this opportunity to promote a few of my favourite things (cue song from Sound of Music here). Plants. Or more specifically, houseplants. I grew up in a house with houseplants, and to me and my siblings, a house isn't a home without a few well-placed, well-kept plants. Have you heard the saying "the air inside your home may be more polluted than the air outside?" Think of all that carbon dioxide and water vapor you exhale in your house every day -- into rooms with poor ventilation and into air with poor circulation. Offset those greenhouse gases and help clean the air with a few lovely leafy plants. Let them drink in and enjoy some of the bi-products of your existence. (And of course, you can always plant a few bushes, flowering shrubs, or garden plants outside your house to add to the effort.)

If you want to do even more with your plants, feed them. And I don't mean with chemicals! You know those grape tomatoes that go squishy in your veggie drawer? or the strawberries that turned a grainy shade of brown before you ate them? or the rest of that mouldering head of lettuce that didn't quite get made into salad? Don't dump it! If you're not already composting, pour your old fruits and veggies into a blender, add enough water to sodden the mix, and blend it to a watery pulp -- then use that to feed and water your plants -- it's full of vitamin nutrition and it's a way to cut garbage! (Of course, you may find that a few baby tomato plants spring up where you don't expect them....)

So head down to your local garden center and pick up a few plants that catch your eye. They'll look great strategically placed around your home, and they'll be a friendly welcome to anyone who breathes.

(At my count while sitting here typing, I have 9 plants hanging out in my apartment -- and I'm looking forward to finding another addition in the near future.)

01 August 2007

recycle your computers san francisco!

so we all know it's important to recycle. way important. but there are just certain items that either seem un-recyclable or pose the question and wonder of where to recycle them? living in san francisco i've become blind to noticing all the computers and monitors and other electronics that litter the street. when I first moved here i found it to be so strange. like, why don't they just dump it in the trash? why leave it on the street? is it that difficult?

welcome to green citizen. green citizen is a self-proclaimed one stop shop for properly recycling your old computers and electronics--serving san francisco and silicon valley. no more leaving them littered on your neighbourhood sidewalk.

they provide everything from destroying your hard disks in a way that will protect your confidentiality to recycling batteries to providing you with collector boxes for those little electronic items. see their full list of items.

most items are free to recycle while a select few cost a couple bucks. that tiny cost is worth it. better than batteries oozing goop in landfills around our world.

be sure to read the scrolling list of comments on the right hand side from green citizen clients.

27 July 2007

science idol 2007: uncovering the truth.

















science idol 2007. and the winner is jesse springer of eugene, oregon.

leo's biking to save the planet.

leo's saving the earth...
one fannypack at a time.

al gore: another look.

this may surprise many of you but last night i finally watched al gore's an inconvenient truth.

if you haven't watched it, please do. rent it. borrow it from a friend or the library. buy it.

in spite of al gore being an energy hog and trying to justify it by saying he has lots of carbon credits, the man is doing a great thing with this movie he's made. he's a great speaker/presenter, and will have you crying and laughing the entire way through the startling and jaw dropping content.

i've gotta hand it to him. he's taken it upon himself to fight this troubling reality by sharing it with as many people as will hear him. now we have a responsibility to act on it. make a change today.

24 July 2007

great minds thinking alike. finally.

it's never anything short of a miracle when heavy-hitting political players are thinking along the same lines. now add in that they were thinking the same about conserving energy as it relates to better protecting our planet and our energy security and you've got something larger than a miracle on your hands. as a final twist, toss in the fact the players are international leaders.

whoa. i knew they had it in them.

this miraculous event occurred just yesterday between mexico, canada and the united states.

the 5-year deal was signed after a meeting on canada's pacific coast. the countries agree they should encourage practicing joint research in areas like nuclear energy and renewable fuels.

now look at that: a baker, a butcher and a candlestick maker--all working together. isn't it lovely?

u.s.a., canada, mexico vow energy tech co-operation
abc news

canada, u.s.a., mexico sign trilateral energy accord
cbc news

canada signs energy pact
toronto star

conserving water

I love water, adore it -- oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds, streams, rain....
But we are generally water hogs, it's true -- long showers, running toilets, lawn sprinklers, dripping sinks -- wasted water practically defines us.

With the rate at which we run through water, it only makes sense to list out a few simple ideas to save it:

  • Place a dam in your toilet tank to reduce the fill and the flush; a couple of water bottles or a bag of rocks in your tank will displace the water just as well.
  • Water your garden or your lawn before sunup and after sundown, reducing the evaporation into the air -- and only water when you need to.
  • Don't leave your faucet running while brushing your teeth.
  • Limit shower time -- if you shave in the shower, turn the water off while you lather up and shave; turn it back on to rinse.
  • When letting water run to get hot, capture the water in a pitcher or a watering can and use it for plants or drinking water.
  • Adjust the load size on your washing machine.
  • Only run a full dishwasher.
  • When handwashing dishes, don't let the water run between rinsings.
  • Drop leftover or dirty ice on a plant instead of in the sink.
Need more water conservation tips? Here are 100!

thoughts on the plastic bag

The push lately has been on recycling plastic bags (from groceries, retailers, etcetera) and to use totes whenever shopping to reduce the waste of plastic bags. But truth be told, some people can't escape the plastic plague -- so they take their old bags to be recycled and get new bags at every store. Therefore the question has been lurking -- is it better to recycle the old bags or to actually reuse them? Comment on this, if you would, but it makes sense to me to reuse old bags until they're no longer usable (ripped, torn, shredded), thus conserving the energy and resources needed to recycle the old and turn them into new. The fewer bags we're sending through factories, recycled or new, the better off we'll be in the long run.

Check out this link from the Grassroots Recycling Network in 2005. They seem to support my opinion on reuse.

Can't figure out how to stop getting bags you don't want or need? Simply make the request. Though store employees have been trained to bag every little item, they're happy enough to fulfill a request for no bag, even if they don't understand it (I have gotten a few funny looks when I've asked for no bag). I was taken by happy surprise this weekend when a checkout person actually asked if I needed a bag for what I was purchasing -- and I didn't.

Yes, yes, bags are only a part of the problem, but everything small thing we can do helps -- figure it this way: if you get 8 bags from the grocery each week on average, and replace those bags with 2-3 totes instead, you're saving 416 bags a year -- that's almost 20 pounds of bags. Multiply that by friends, family, coworkers... you get the idea.

23 July 2007

harry potter: going green.

even harry potter is going green.

scholastic announced the printing of the seventh and final book in the series of harry potter, harry potter and the deathly hallows, will be printed on 30% post consumer waste fiber. additionally, 2/3 of the paper will be fsc (forest stewardship council) certified.

from the nytimes: a bid for harry potter's green fans.

al gore: energy hog and hypocrite?


apparently the truth is too inconvenient for even al gore, the guy who told us we have 10 years to shape up or our planet will be sent free-falling. you know, the guy at the front of the documentary an inconvenient truth.

according to the article below, actions speak louder than words and he's being called an energy hog.

===


Al Gore's Mansion Described as Energy Hog
By Susan Jones

CNSNews.com Senior Editor
February 27, 2007

(CNSNews.com) - Former Vice President (and global warming aficionado) Al Gore deserves an award for hypocrisy, says the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

The group, which studied Gore's electric and natural gas consumption, says his mansion in Belle Meade area of Nashville "consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year."

In his documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, Gore urges Americans to conserve energy by reducing electricity consumption at home, the group noted.

"The average household in America consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours (kWh) a year, according to the Department of Energy. In 2006, Gore devoured nearly 221,000 kWh-more than 20 times the national average," the Tennessee Center for Policy Research said in a news release.

Last August alone, Gore burned through 22,619 kWh -- consuming more than twice as much electricity in one month as the average American family uses in an entire year. Gore's average monthly electric bill topped $1,359, the research group said.

Likewise, the natural gas bills for Gore's mansion and guest house averaged $1,080 a month last year.

"As the spokesman of choice for the global warming movement, Al Gore has to be willing to walk the walk, not just talk the talk, when it comes to home energy use," said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

In total, Gore paid nearly $30,000 in combined electricity and natural gas bills for his Nashville estate in 2006, the Tennessee Center for Policy Research said.

===

Gore isn't quite as green as he's led the world to believe
updated 12/7/06 @ 5.45p ET

Al Gore has spoken: The world must embrace a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." To do otherwise, he says, will result in a cataclysmic catastrophe. "Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb," warns the website for his film, An Inconvenient Truth. "We have just 10 years to avert a major catastrophe that could send our entire planet into a tailspin."

Graciously, Gore tells consumers how to change their lives to curb their carbon-gobbling ways: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, use a clothesline, drive a hybrid, use renewable energy, dramatically cut back on consumption. Better still, responsible global citizens can follow Gore's example, because, as he readily points out in his speeches, he lives a "carbon-neutral lifestyle." But if Al Gore is the world's role model for ecology, the planet is doomed.

For someone who says the sky is falling, he does very little. He says he recycles and drives a hybrid. And he claims he uses renewable energy credits to offset the pollution he produces when using a private jet to promote his film. (In reality, Paramount Classics, the film's distributor, pays this.)

Public records reveal that as Gore lectures Americans on excessive consumption, he and his wife Tipper live in two properties: a 10,000-square-foot, 20-room, eight-bathroom home in Nashville, and a 4,000-square-foot home in Arlington, Va. (He also has a third home in Carthage, Tenn.) For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself.

Then there is the troubling matter of his energy use. In the Washington, D.C., area, utility companies offer wind energy as an alternative to traditional energy. In Nashville, similar programs exist. Utility customers must simply pay a few extra pennies per kilowatt hour, and they can continue living their carbon-neutral lifestyles knowing that they are supporting wind energy. Plenty of businesses and institutions have signed up. Even the Bush administration is using green energy for some federal office buildings, as are thousands of area residents.

But according to public records, there is no evidence that Gore has signed up to use green energy in either of his large residences. When contacted Wednesday, Gore's office confirmed as much but said the Gores were looking into making the switch at both homes. Talk about inconvenient truths.

Gore is not alone. Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has said, "Global warming is happening, and it threatens our very existence." The DNC website applauds the fact that Gore has "tried to move people to act." Yet, astoundingly, Gore's persuasive powers have failed to convince his own party: The DNC has not signed up to pay an additional two pennies a kilowatt hour to go green. For that matter, neither has the Republican National Committee.

Maybe our very existence isn't threatened.

[...]

The issue here is not simply Gore's hypocrisy; it's a question of credibility. If he genuinely believes the apocalyptic vision he has put forth and calls for radical changes in the way other people live, why hasn't he made any radical change in his life? Giving up [...] one of his homes is not asking much, given that he wants the rest of us to radically change our lives.

Peter Schweizer is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and author of Do As I Say (Not As I Do): Profiles in Liberal Hypocrisy.


practice safe protesting.

exercise caution and be wise when protesting for what you believe.

protester killed in "neo-nazi" attack on eco-camp

you can't control what your actions will stir in others, but the more careful you are the safer you will be.

this is sad and unfortunate.

20 July 2007

green cities. did yours make the cut?

grist names the 15 green cities worldwide.

congratulations u.s.a., you received 3 mentions!

  1. reykjavik, iceland
  2. portland, oregon, u.s.a.
  3. curitiba, brazil
  4. malmo, sweden
  5. vancouver, canada
  6. copenhagen, denmark
  7. london, u.k.
  8. san francisco, california, u.s.a.
  9. bahia de caraquez, ecuador
  10. sydney, australia
  11. barcelona, spain
  12. bogota, columbia
  13. bangkok, thailand
  14. kampala, uganda
  15. austin, texas, u.s.a.
if your city didn't get listed, you can plead your case in an email to grist.

19 July 2007

robert redford: green.


what's not to love about robert redford?

a remarkable actor, filmmaker, entrepreneur, activist, creative...the list could continue.

and now he's going green. he's created a television channel through sundance solely geared toward green thinking--the green. the website links browsers to local community activities and shares other critical information.

we love you and all you do robert redford. you're a pioneer in your day.

caring for our oceans.


going green isn't only about changing light bulbs and taking public transportation. it's also about caring for our oceans--they're part of this earth too.

while taking a stance for our oceans may be a bit more difficult there are still plenty of little things you can do.

beware of your plastic bags. so often they end up blowing in the wind; floating off to an ocean and joining the ever-expanding trash vortex. they'll float upstream and downstream attracting sea animals who think it's plankton.

the same goes with other plastic containers--water bottles, the plastic netting that holds your 6-pack together, etc. if we're not careful, the plastic will end up in our oceans contaminating our fish supply and the overall food chain.

we as humans need to be more aware of other creatures on this planet. we may be the supreme being, but drought and hunger doesn't choose favourites. in the end, we're all part of the food chain. what we shove down some poor animal's mouth could very well turn toxic and kill us in the end.

read the greenpeace ocean defenders blog.

note: a close friend of mine works for greenpeace and went to the northern shore in hawaii and assisted her co-workers in gathering all this trash within only 100 yards of the beach.

18 July 2007

"and to my children i leave..."

powerful message from flex your power.

watch their ads nearly begging everyone to be more energy efficient.

we must take better care of this earth.

who was at dick cheney's table to discuss his energy policy?

the energy task force: who was at the table

a lovely graphic demonstrating who at the table at what time.

see for yourself.

dick cheney. the name says it all. (boo. hiss.)

from behind closed doors, energy lords and other environmental-swindling players met together with vice president dick cheney to discuss and formalize his energy policy.

that was 6 years ago.

is anyone shocked that the majority of voices read in the plan are from companies that are major bush contributors or interested solely in their monetary dominance?

i'm not, really.

the question of surprise lingers when asked if we, the american people, are truly surprised that 1. it was discussed in secret; 2. major energy industry players were involved behind the closed doors; 3. when the environmentalists were finally welcomed to chime in about 40 meetings with interest groups, a.k.a. energy-producing industries (mostly), had already come to pass.

the reasons why the meetings were held in secret could be a handful. it could be that cheney was simply practicing his right to discussing policy without outside opinions bogging him down--understandable to a certain degree. it could be as easy as he knows he's not writing a policy that the majority of the american people will support--some may not even understand it. or it could just be cheney acting in secret because he can. ("the vice president has respectfully but resolutely maintained the importance of protecting the ability of the president and vice president to receive candid advice on important national policy matters in confidence, a principle affirmed by the supreme court," spokeswoman lea anne mcbride said by e-mail.--see link to the story below.)

when environmentalists were finally called in to meet, the plan had been in the works for 6 years; they'd all missed out on talking with cheney directly like other lords did in the beginning stages of the writing (cheney was absent from the meeting that included the environmentalists); bush had already been briefed on the course of the policy writing.

here's the full story: papers detail industry's role in cheney's energy report

note: while i truly try to stay bi-partisan on expressing my opinion on this blog, it seems too clear that this is the work of a man/party/group looking toward his/their best interest in terms of monetary gain. they don't seem to care about anything else.

17 July 2007

twinkies and vitamins.

My first post on the go-green blog!

I recently started the book Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger, and it's full of interesting information about the creation of processed foodstuffs. Now, we all know the importance of eating organically (rid the earth of pesticides, rid our bodies of poisons, eat healthier foods, etcetera), and here's another reason (as demonstrated by information in the book): Organic and local foods retain a much higher vitamin and mineral content than processed foods or foods that have to be stored for long periods of time -- and many processed foods have to be enriched with vitamins to replace nutrients lost during processing (enriched flour, anyone?). The manufacturing of vitamins is such an intense process that it creates heavy pollution and takes huge tolls on the environment. (Many vitamins are being produced overseas now, b/c of stricter pollution laws in the USA.)

Moral to the story? Eat organic, skip your engineered vitamins, save the environment.

Disclaimer: I'm not endorsing skipping your vitamins altogether--just be careful to determine what you're getting from other sources, and reconsider all those processed foods that had to be enriched with synthetic vitamins. Vitamins are good for you and manufactured vitamins do have important qualities to them.

13 July 2007

my parents. self-sustainable and going green!

an email from my mother today telling me how she's doing her part to prolong the life of our planet. (i made a few comments and wrapped them in parentheses.)

==

i'm canning green beans and beets today--supporting my local farmer. (my parents have a huge garden. a couple actually. and an orchard.) all the "waste" from the veggies is recycled through the helens. (the helens are our 22 chickens.)

my window are open and the air conditioner is off.

i don't have a clotheslines, yet. am working on that one. (i remember growing up mom would regularly hang laundry on the clothes line at our old house. a matter of where to string up at this house.)

there are no unnecessary lights on right now. (my parents have always been sticklers when it comes to leaving lights on that weren't being used at the time.)

==

way to go mom!

my parents moved to a 95.5 acre farm a couple summers ago. the property has a 2 +/- acre lake loaded with big fishies, a fresh water well, and livestock--chickens, a.k.a. the helens, goats, and cattle. (we rent our grassy hills and valleys to a cattle farmer.)

since my folks moved, they've been planting like crazy. they have a couple large gardens and a wonderfully sprawling orchard.

all produce waste is recycled through the helens which is then recycled through my family from the eggs we collect and intake.

the main living area in the house has skylights and the sun just pours through them. this is particularly great in the summertime but can make for chilly nights in the winter. luckily they picked up a couple wood burning stoves.

my father is constantly clearing out fallen and dead branches from the woods. not only does he chop it for the wood burning stoves but he uses it to build/support fences and miscellaneous properties for the animals.

12 July 2007

girl power. does it come in green?

apparently not.

at least, not for the spice girls anyway.

as they embark on their 11 concert reunion tour (gag me with a spoon!) each spice girl will be flying across the world in their own private lear jet. the estimated carbon emission from their flights will churn out nearly 10,500 tons of carbon dioxide, according to alex lambie, who runs the london-based website helping consumers compare energy options, greenhelpline. he continues by stating that it's everyone's responsibility to help preserve our planet.

so why do some celebrities feel they're above the rest? this question relates to all celebrities. i mean, does everyone need their own driver? or 10 cars? it's a tad aggravating.

boo. hiss.

more celebrities need to follow in the footsteps of their eco-friendly celebrity colleagues. celebrities like johnny depp, ashton kutcher, jack black, brad pitt, maggie gyllenhaal, larry david, cameron diaz, leonardo dicaprio, tim robbins, susan sarandon and sting, to name a few, are pioneering the way.

11 July 2007

mtv: thinking green.

music fan?

love your mtv?

i do.

and now i love them even more!

i don't know how long they've had their activism page up (must be very recent) but i just discovered it a little while back.

click on it and browse to learn the ways you can take better control of your life and move it the direction you want. whether it's changing the environment, letting your voice be heard, discovering the job made just for you, figuring out your higher education or even getting details on being tested for HIV, mtv.com is a great one-stop-shop.

a couple of my favourite links from mtv.com.

break the addiction: chock full of environmental links, education, support in changing your life, etc. you can even read what others are doing in their neighbourhoods and lives to change their daily impact. to break their addiction.

they even have a 12-step program (the steps are listed below; go to mtv.com for more details and information relating to each step) to help you along your way to reducing your carbon footprint. if you're an mtv viewer (like me!), you've likely seen the commercials--a bicycle moving slowly across your screen with green letters punching the date in the upper left hand corner asking you to break the addiction. (the program identifies a simple step for each month starting in may and finishing up in april with a celebration on earth day.)

1. examine yourself
2. choose wisely
3. become independent
4. re-energize your space
5. transport better
6. get political
7. go paperless
8. shop smarter
9. go healthy
10. love, protect, and preserve
11. consider an alternative
12. celebrate your impact

grist suggests reading environmental journalism can be as bad as eating your vegetables boiled without butter. while that's a bit of a stretch for me, it's nice having an alternative that will shoot me the gist of the news story with a link to the source. that way if i don't have time or energy to read the entire story, i at least can stay abreast of the issues. their unique technique is based upon the doom and gloom of the planet with a humourous kick in the pants. based out of seattle, they're free and dependent upon contributions, grants, and a sprinkling of advertisements here and there to get their word out.

"grist: it's gloom and doom with a sense of humor. so laugh now--or the planet gets it."

sign up today!

==

click. read. educate yourself.

10 July 2007

bottled water understood. part 2.


do you know where your water is really coming from?

this time the education is in video format from abcnews. bottled water, wasted energy?

bottled water is currently banned in 3 cities across our country: ann arbor, michigan; san francisco, california; salt lake city, utah. a ban is proposed for minneapolis, minnesota.

take the pepsi challenge on your bottled water. can you differentiate between your tap and the bottled water?

apparently jennifer can. she reportedly invested in the bottled-water brand smartwater and will appear in posters and print ads for it. (parent company of smartwater is glaceau, maker of vitaminwater, vitaminenergy, and fruitwater.)

turns out, jennifer co-created a limited-edition smartwater label available in stores across the country this month and the ads are already out.

for the full story: jennifer aniston's latest role: bottled water pitchwoman.

on the flip side, sex and the city star sarah jessica parker is putting her face out there for unicef's tap project to save lives by providing safe drinking water to children around the world. mark your calendars: march 22 of every year is the world day for water declared in 1992 by the united nations general assembly.

american's spent more on bottled water last year than they did on ipods or movie tickets: a staggering $15 billion.

read the entire report on america's indulgence: message in a bottle. the heart-stopping facts will turn you back around and return the bottled water to the shelf.

==

related postings.

bottled water understood. part 1.

is san francisco's city water better than bottled water?

09 July 2007

light's on but is anyone home?

greenpeace has done it again. they've taken a simple step toward changing the environment and made it even easier to relate to--and it's claymation.

if einstein was still around (may he rest in peace), surely this would be his new bright idea.

any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. it takes a touch of genius--and a lot of courage--to move in the opposite direction. -- albert einstein

03 July 2007

little thoughts.

three things to think on and remember.

one.
energy to create.
pollution to dispose.

two.
the more i use the more that has to be created.

three.
from edmund burke: nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little.

act.
change how you characteristically think about your day and in the end you will change the world.

02 July 2007

sparing the air in the bay area.

in a time when using public transportation is chic (smart and sassy), the air district and mtc (metropolitan transportation commission) are partnering with 29 transit operators to offer four free commute days between june 1 and october 12, 2007. spare the air affects bart, caltrain, ace train, and all bay area ferries until 1.00p and all bay area bus systems all day.

for more details visit 511 sf bay area.

the summer 2007 spare the air season runs from june 1 through october 12. during the summer months ground-level ozone (formed when pollutants combine on hot summer days accumulating when there is little wind) is the pollutant of concern. (i noticed this morning the mobile hanging from my bedroom light was still--the air in my room was very stagnant and stale.)

in order to protect public health, the air district issues spare the air advisories on days when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy due to high ozone levels. people who are especially sensitive to pollution are advised to limit their time outdoors, particularly in the afternoon hours. (advisories are posted on the spare the air website, recorded on the 1.800.help air forecast phone line, announced in local newspapers, and broadcast on local tv and radio stations.)

on spare the air days, bay area residents are asked to fight pollution (and protect themselves) by making clean (or cleaner) air choices. these simple everyday actions include driving less, taking public transportation, trip-linking, walking, biking, choosing non-gasoline-powered lawn and garden equipment, and avoiding polluting household products.

the spare the air program was established by the bay area air quality management district in an effort to educate people about air pollution, and to encourage them to change their behaviour to prevent it.

this website is chock full of answered faqs about air pollution and how various communities and employers are working to prevent it, health effect descriptions, clean air tips, and a variety of other educational resources.

last but not least, the site also provides you a forecast of the air quality conditions in your region of the bay area.

(for more details, visit spare the air.)

29 June 2007

kleenex: giving you something to cry about.

greenpeace goes undercover in times square on march 24, 2007, for an intervention on a kleenex commercial shoot.

watch the entertaining sting: kleenex gets punk'd!

kimberly-clark, makers of kleenex, refuse to use any recycled content saying their virgin fiber makes the tissue softer.

that's no excuse.

they're single-handedly responsible and successful for the deforestation of the northern boreal rainforest in canada.

visit the nrdc website to see pictures and read the insane claims from kimberly-clark.

educate yourself.

28 June 2007

the bald eagle: soaring again.

Newsroom > WWF Press Release

Statement on Removal of Bald Eagle From Endangered Species List

For Release: 06/28/2007



WASHINGTON – Carter Roberts, president and CEO of World Wildlife Fund, issued the following statement in reaction to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne's announcement that the bald eagle will be taken off the list of protected species under the Endangered Species Act. Scientists attribute the bird's recovery to a 1972 ban in the United States on DDT, a pesticide that ruins the eggs of many birds, and strict protections under the Endangered Species Act and other environmental laws.

"The removal of the bald eagle from the endangered species list is a cause for tremendous celebration. Just thirty years ago, this majestic bird was in danger of sliding ever further towards extinction, a state that so many other creatures remain in today.

"But because of the diligent work of scientists and good stewards of both public and private lands, this noble bird is with us today and people in every state except Hawaii (where the bird has never occurred) can readily see our nation's symbol in the wild. I have seen bald eagles many times throughout the nation and even in urban parts of Washington, D.C. right near my home. It never fails to inspire me.

"The delisting of the bald eagle is also a strong message about the effectiveness of the Endangered Species Act. By nearly all measurements, the law has been a success. It has reversed the drive towards extinction for hundreds of species and been an inspiration for species conservation throughout the world.

"Unfortunately the Endangered Species Act is itself endangered. Today's news should give everyone confidence that the act is indeed working and we should commit to improving the law's implementation rather than pursuing wholesale changes that could threaten the recovery of hundreds of other species still awaiting delisting.

"The need for the ESA has never been greater. Scientists tell us that the Earth is experiencing a ‘mass extinction' of species that is almost entirely caused by human activities such as habitat destruction and poaching. Today animal and plant species are disappearing 100 times faster than a century and a half ago. For now, the bald eagle, the great symbol of our nation, has escaped this fate and we should all cheer its recovery."

27 June 2007

bottled water understood. part 1.

i'm guilty. i love my bottled water. but i reuse my bottle time and time again until it starts to smell. does that help offset my consumption? probably not...

==

Snagged from Project Censored, top 25 stories censored by big media
in 2007: http://www.projectcensored.org/censored_2007/index.htm

#20 Bottled Water: A Global Environmental Problem

Source:
OneWorld.net, February 5, 2006
Title: "Bottled Water: Nectar of the Frauds?"
Author: Abid Aslam

Faculty Evaluator: Liz Close
Student Researchers: Heidi Miller and Sean Hurley

Consumers spend a collective $100 billion every year on bottled water
in the belief—often mistaken—that it is better for us than what flows
from our taps. Worldwide, bottled water consumption surged to 41
billion gallons in 2004, up 57 percent since 1999.

"Even in areas where tap water is safe to drink, demand for bottled
water is increasing—producing unnecessary garbage and consuming vast
quantities of energy," reports Earth Policy Institute researcher
Emily Arnold. Although in much of the world, including Europe and the
U.S., more regulations govern the quality of tap water than bottled
water, bottled water can cost up to 10,000 times more. At up to $10
per gallon, bottled water costs more than gasoline in the United States.
"There is no question that clean, affordable drinking water is
essential to the health of our global community," Arnold asserts,
"But bottled water is not the answer in the developed world, nor does
it solve problems for the 1.1 billion people who lack a secure water
supply. Improving and expanding existing water treatment and
sanitation systems is more likely to provide safe and sustainable
sources of water over the long term." Members of the United Nations
have agreed to halve the proportion of people who lack reliable and
lasting access to safe drinking water by the year 2015. To meet this
goal, they would have to double the $15 billion spent every year on
water supply and sanitation. While this amount may seem large, it
pales in comparison to the estimated $100 billion spent each year on
bottled water.

Tap water comes to us through an energy-efficient infrastructure
whereas bottled water is transported long distances—often across
national borders—by boat, train, airplane, and truck. This involves
burning massive quantities of fossil fuels.

For example, in 2004 alone a Helsinki company shipped 1.4 million
bottles of Finnish tap water 2,700 miles to Saudi Arabia. And
although 94 percent of the bottled water sold in the U.S. is produced
domestically, many Americans import water shipped some 9,000
kilometers from Fiji and other faraway places to satisfy demand for
what Arnold terms "chic and exotic bottled water."

More fossil fuels are used in packaging the water. Most water bottles
are made with polyethylene terephthalate, a plastic derived from
crude oil. "Making bottles to meet Americans' demand alone requires
more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel some
100,000 U.S. cars for a year," Arnold notes.

Once it has been emptied, the bottle must be dumped. According to the
Container Recycling Institute, 86 percent of plastic water bottles
used in the United States become garbage or litter. Incinerating used
bottles produces toxic byproducts such as chlorine gas and ash
containing heavy metals tied to a host of human and animal health
problems. Buried water bottles can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade.

Worldwide, some 2.7 million tons of plastic are used to bottle water
each year. Of the bottles deposited for recycling in 2004, the U.S.
exported roughly 40 percent to destinations as far away as China,
requiring yet more fossil fuel.

Meanwhile, communities where the water originates risk their sources
running dry. More than fifty Indian villages have complained of water
shortages after bottlers began extracting water for sale under the
Coca-Cola Corporation's Dasani label. Similar problems have been
reported in Texas and in the Great Lakes region of North America,
where farmers, fishers, and others who depend on water for their
livelihoods are suffering from concentrated water extraction as water
tables drop quickly.

While Americans consume the most bottled water per capita, some of
the fastest collective growth in consumption is in the giant
populations of Mexico, India, and China. As a whole, India's
consumption of bottled water increased threefold from 1999 to 2004,
while China's more than doubled.

While private companies' profits rise from selling bottled water of
questionable quality at more than $100 billion per year—more
efficiently regulated, waste-free municipal systems could be
implemented for distribution of safe drinking water for all the
peoples of the world—at a small fraction of the price.

UPDATE BY ABID ASLAM
Consumer stories are a staple of the media diet. This article spawned
coverage by numerous public broadcasters and appeared to do the
rounds in cyberspace. Perhaps what seized imaginations was our
affinity for the subject: apparently we and our planet's surface are
made up mostly of water and without it, we would perish. In any case,
most of the discussion of the issues raised by the source—a research
paper from a Washington, D.C.–based environmental think tank—focused
mainly on consumer elements (the price, taste, and consequences for
human health of bottled and tap water), as I had anticipated when I
decided to storify the Environmental Policy Institute (EPI) paper (in
honesty, that is pretty much all I did, adding minimal context and
background). However, a good deal of reader attention also focused on
the environmental and regulatory aspects.

Further information on these can be obtained from the EPI, a host of
environmental and consumer groups, and from the relevant government
agencies: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for tap water and
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for bottled water.

Differences in the ways these regulators (indeed, regulators in
general) operate and are structured and funded deserve a great deal
more attention, as does the unequal protection of citizens that results.

Numerous other questions raised in the article deserve further
examination. Would improved waste disposal and recycling address the
researcher's concerns about resources being consumed to get rid of
empty water bottles? If public water systems can deliver a more
reliable product to more people at a lower cost, as the EPI paper
says, then what are the obstacles to the necessary investment in the
U.S. and in poor countries, and how can citizens here and there
overcome those obstacles?

Some of these questions may strike general readers or certain media
gatekeepers as esoteric. Then again, we all drink the stuff.

==
amy, thanks for forwarding the article. good stuff. enlightening.

happy whale.


help keep this whale happy. eliminate using plastic bags--take a tote with you to the supermarket and mass retailers. recycle your trash and compost your food leftovers.

while it may seem like doing those things on the mainlands might not make a difference, it does. by recycling our trash and ridding our hands of plastic bags, we're minimizing the chance of those materials ending up floating for miles in the ocean or with the trash vortex.

don't let these actions seem insignificant. if we all participate, change will happen.

learn more about protecting our oceans.

26 June 2007

live earth.

this just in from itunes:

"got a pen? mark down this date: 7/7/07--the debut of live earth, a go-green extravaganza boasting more than 100 genre-jumping artists, plus a worldwide, 24-hour broadcast audience of two billion. and not just any old lineup, either: we're talking nine overstuffed bills spanning all seven continents, featuring everything from hot-ticket reunions (the police, smashing pumpkins) to block-rocking rap (kanye west, ludacris) to household names like madonna and the red hot chili peppers. and it's all in the name of raising awareness about crucial climate issues like energy conservation, carbon emissions, and global warming. speaking of lowering carbon emissions, we've got the perfect alternative to boarding a plane to check out one of the live earth shows in person: our live earth playlist, packed with a hot track from every artist on every bill. get ready, earth: your axis is about to get rocked."

visit live earth for more details.

visit itunes for the entire playlist.

25 June 2007

end your paper trail.

if you bank with washington mutual, sign up to be paper-free and they'll donate $1 to the arbor foundation to plant a tree.

what an easy way to save on clutter—and a tree.

live simply.

is san francisco's city water better than bottled water?

as reported by the associated press, san francisco's mayor gavin newsom decided it's so. he's issued an executive order banning city departments from buying bottled water, even for water coolers. the ban takes effect july 1, and will extend to water coolers by december 1.

when the mayor announced the decision, he cited the environmental impact a single plastic bottle has on the environment, not to mention that most end up in the state's landfills each year. the cost of making, transporting and disposing the bottles is extremely damaging.

click here for the rest of the developing story.

do your part. go green.

reduce your carbon footprint:

consume less.
share more.
live simply.
do your part.
learn how.



Ten Things You Can Do to Help Curb Global Warming
presented by the sierra club—10 things you can do to help curb global warming and in the end, save you money and create a safer environment for the future.

Ten Things to Do
10 simple things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. it even tells how much carbon dioxide you can save if you practice any of the suggestions. inspired by "an inconvenient truth."

Top 50 Things to Do to Stop Global Warming
a series of global warming awareness pages listing facts and we can do to help our planet.

The Global Warming Survival Guide

published in a special edition of time magazine it lists 51 things everyone can do—both complex and simple ideas.

Cargo Plant Love
visit their website and learn more about their lipstick that could change the world.

Treehugger
how to green your gifts.

Greenpeace Energy Saving [R]evolution - first 7 steps
sign up and help the revolution with practicing a step a day! together maybe we can change the laws.