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.

energy to create.
pollution to dispose.

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

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

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.)