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[1THING] Blog: Archive for March, 2012

[ Whole Foods is changing things up on Earth Day… ]

Jerry sent me a heads up on this and I wanted to share it with you.  Whole Foods is stepping things up in the sustainable food /fish area starting April 22nd… EARTH DAY! Check it out!

Whole Foods Market said Friday that it will stop selling fish caught from depleted waters or through ecologically damaging methods, a move that comes as supermarkets nationwide try to make their seafood selections more sustainable.

Starting Earth Day, April 22, the natural and organic supermarket chain will no longer carry wild-caught seafood that is “red-rated,” a color code that indicates it is either overfished or caught in a way that harms other species. The ratings are determined by the Blue Ocean Institute, an advocacy group, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California.

Among the seafood disappearing from Whole Foods shelves will be octopus, gray sole, skate, Atlantic halibut and Atlantic cod caught by trawls, which can destroy habitats. The company will stock sustainable replacements like cod caught on lines and halibut from the Pacific.
Click here for more!

We can look forward to 2 new Whole Foods locations soon:
-The Bee Cave store in the Hill Country Galleria will open May 16,
-Arbor Trails shopping center at MoPac Expressway and William Cannon Drive will open June 19

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[ Got plans for Earth Hour? ]

Tomorrow /Saturday 3/31/12 is Earth Hour day. At 8:30p ,everyone’s time around the world, it should be dark for an hour. Nice way to conserve energy and show some respect to Mama Earth! Happy Earth Hour!
Things you can do for an hour  of darkness..

1.) Play board games by candlelight
2.) Have your sweetie give you a nice massage
3.) Grab a glass of wine and just chill
4.) Take a nap/sleep
5.) A family sing – a -long

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[ Organic springtime color… ]

If you’re feeling a bit pasty, and would love to get some Spring/Summer color going for the cute sundresses and shorts breaking out! I’m a big fan of the Sun, but to much exposure isn’t nice on skin. Well, Mana Culture Boutique can get you the kissed by the sun look with their 100% organic solutions. It’s a double bonus, you get the awesome tan without any harmful chemical effects or to much sun has on your skin. Actually it’s a triple bonus, since Mana Culture uses organic solutions, that’s Great for Mama Earth too! BIG YOU ROCKS!!!

Sara/JB & Sandy Morning Show  got her ‘Mana Tan’ on for her Sexy Photo Challenge!

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[ Dispatches from the DC Environmental Film Festival ]

Dispatches from the DC Enviro Film Fest

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Photo: Bruce Guthrie / DCEFF

When the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation's Capital kicked off 20 years ago, it was attended by 1,200 people. Now in its 20th anniversary, the festival draws crowds of over 30,000 at venues around the city. This year's festival which wrapped up last weekend was the biggest yet: 180 films; environmental leaders and big name filmmakers like Ken Burns; packed movie houses around the city. We saw only a small fraction of the movies, but even these few generated lots of exciting discussion. Here’s a run-down of what we saw:

 

Revenge of the Electric Car



 

Synopsis: Large automakers (GM, Nissan) and small upstarts (Tesla, Greg Abbott) alike roll out their electric vehicle offerings in the face of dwindling oil supplies and a fluctuating economy. The film focuses on the leadership of these companies, their unique, sometimes over-the-top personalities and their reasons for betting their chips on electric vehicles.

Take Home Message: It was neat to see former GM CEO Bob Lutz, long known for producing gas-guzzlers, embrace the Chevy Volt as his company’s crown jewel. Panelist after the film explained that Revenge captures a specific moment in time and that battery and alternative fuel technology is moving at an even faster pace than the movie portrays. Ultimately, though, the design of our cities will be more central to the future of mobility than the design of our cars.

EarthShare members working on the issue: Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (Mark Gorton kicks off “Re-thinking the Automobile” in Delhi); NRDC (Broad coalition shows electric cars can bring relief at pump); Environmental Defense Fund (Timeline: cars and the environment).

 

Cape Spin



 

Synopsis: A proposed wind farm off Cape Cod, Massachusetts (Cape Wind) sets off a firestorm of local and national political debate, legal wrangling, media coverage and strange bedfellows for and against the project. A case study of American politics in action, the film gives each side of the debate equal coverage, revealing the difficulty of reaching consensus on environmental and energy issues.

Take Home Message: It’s important to have good communication with local people when planning energy projects. Other coastal states around the U.S. are considering their own projects – will they be as contentious as Cape Wind was? Meanwhile, Europe churns out energy from its own 53 offshore wind farms.

EarthShare members working on the issue: Oceana (Why We Believe in Offshore Wind); Sierra Club Foundation (Sierra Club Applauds Opening of Leasing Process for Offshore Wind).

 

Surviving Progress



 

Synopsis: Most of us take the word “progress” for granted, particularly technological and economic progress. This film, produced by Martin Scorsese, proposes that conventional notions of progress are actually putting us on a collision course with environmental disaster. Based on Ronald Wright’s best-selling book, A Short History of Progress, the film is grand in scope and visually stunning.

Take Home Message: The technological solutions that we create to address environmental problems often cause new problems. In the end, the most important changes should come not from technological innovation, but changes to our cultural values. Start by asking yourself what the most important things in your life are (loved ones, strong communities, health, purpose) and build solutions from there.

EarthShare members working on the issue: Friends of the Earth (Global coalition calls for oversight of synthetic biology); Earthjustice (Engineering an Environmental Disaster); Physicians for Social Responsibility (Technology and toxics).

 

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom



 

Synopsis: Shortly following Japan’s devastating 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster, director Lucy Walker travels to the ravaged Tohoku region to interview survivors about their relationship to the country’s steadfast symbol: the cherry blossom.

Take Home Message: Nature’s persistent character provides solace for those suffering under even the most horrible circumstances. To hear survivors talk about their personal reflections on cherry blossoms while in the midst of tragedy captures the sorrow and remarkable tenacity of the human spirit.

EarthShare members working on the issue: American Forests (Signs of Spring); Restore America’s Estuaries (Storms, Tsunamis, Coastal Wetlands, and Carbon); Arbor Day Foundation (Japanese Flowering Cherry).

 

Waking the Green Tiger: The Rise of the Green Movement in China



Synopsis: A film crew and domestic journalists visit rural villages in China to help local people find their voice in the fight against dam projects. The film also looks at the history of environmentalism in China from its dark days under Mao’s Zedong’s Cultural Revolution to today's glimmers of democratic protest.

Take Home Message: Stories about environmental issues in China tend to focus on global competition for energy resources (where China’s growth is often used as a scapegoat for inaction elsewhere), factory conditions or pollution. Waking the Green Tiger interviews some of the strongest voices in China’s domestic environmental movement, providing a different and hopeful perspective on the country’s challenges. Also shows how closely cultural survival is linked to environmental concerns in places like China’s wild and beautiful west.

EarthShare members working on the issue: Rainforest Alliance (Community Forestry in China); American Rivers (Making Hydropower Dams Work Better); The Jane Goodall Institute (Beijing: Dr. Goodall’s Gombe 50 Tour of Asia).

 

A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet



 

Synopsis: Providing much-needed historical and global context to today’s environmental challenges, A Fierce Green Fire charts the origins of the modern environmental movement along with its major players, its setbacks, victories and future challenges.

Take Home Message: Whether it was the Sierra Club working to prevent dams in the Grand Canyon or homeowners fighting for their family’s health during the Love Canal crisis, environmental activists have always had to work against great forces to get their voices heard. Still, contemporary issues like global warming and the rapid loss of biodiversity present an even greater imperative to work together for the future of the planet. Inspiring.

EarthShare members working on the issue: Everyone!

 

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[ Green Tips: Sustainable Investing ]

Green Tips: Sustainable Investing

NesteggPhoto: Benny Lin/Flickr

So you volunteer and make responsible purchasing decisions and give to environmental charities through the EarthShare @ Work program, but is it possible your retirement fund and other investments are undermining those efforts? How can you ensure that your financial investments aren’t hurting the planet? Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Impact Investing offer ways to finance businesses that are doing good while securing your financial future.

Here are some tips for getting into green investing:

  • Examine your holdings. Have you ever taken a careful look through the holdings in your mutual funds? Surprised to find some industries in there you find distasteful?  The first step in green investing is understanding how your money is being used and asking if your personal financial gains are worth the cost to the environment or society.
  • Ask your financial advisor if they offer socially responsible mutual funds. Most of the common financial companies now offer such options. In addition to environmental concerns, they may also screen for human rights, product safety and more. Make sure you understand the methods used to screen the companies in these funds.
  • Consider green investment companies. Besides the major financial companies that offer SRI options, there are many well-established companies that specialize exclusively in SRI funds. These include Calvert, Pax World, Winslow Green, and Domini among others. Check out socialfunds.com to learn more.
  • Do some research. Read the fine print to find out about fees you might have to pay. Decide whether you’d like to invest in small or large companies, domestic or international, or some mix. SRI funds have slightly underperformed their less scrutinizing counterparts historically, so plug your fund’s code into a website like Morningstar to get a sense of potential returns.
  • Invest in the community. Investing doesn’t have to be a dry, distant process. Many sites like Kickstarter, Kiva and Acumen Fund allow you to interact with the people benefited by your investment and stay engaged with the results. Whether you want to help someone set up an urban farm in North Carolina or run a small textile business in India, small-scale investing is rewarding beyond a financial statement.
  • Go beyond mutual funds. Have a friend who’s trying to start up a clean tech company? If you’re savvy enough, you might consider buying individual stocks in companies you care about. Find a green financial advisor or read books on the topic for advice on this trickier, but potentially more rewarding, domain.
  • Get active. As a stockholder, you have more sway with a company than the average person, so use your position to advocate for sustainable change. Known as “shareholder activism” stockholders can attend annual meetings, participate in proxy votes, communicate with management and more to suggest changes to company policies. Shareholders at ExxonMobil, for example, petitioned the company to take stronger steps to address climate change.

Socially responsible investment is a means to interact with your money beyond mere numbers. With SRI, you can harness the power of your investments for the betterment of society and the planet.

[The content here is provided for your personal information only, is not intended for trading purposes, and cannot substitute for professional financial advice. Always seek advice of a competent financial advisor with any questions you may have regarding a financial matter.]


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[ In Conservation, Youths’ Actions Speak Loudest ]

In Conservation, Youths’ Actions Speak Loudest

by Dale Penny, President, Student Conservation Association [cross-posted at the SCA website]

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SCA students volunteer in the Everglades

A recent study purports that, based on four decades of youth surveys, Millennials are less inclined than Generation X or Baby Boomers to protect our environment. 

I frankly have a hard time buying that.

When comparing generations, it must be noted that 40 years ago, Earth Day was brand new and the idea of being an “environmentalist” was considered rather radical.  Since then, views and practices have changed significantly.  We no longer take for granted resources like clean air and water, and most Americans practice at least some degree of conservation.  It’s part of a modern lifestyle and young people often don’t feel the need to report these actions – they just take them.

Ironically, as this new study broke, SCA was hosting a record number of college students in nationwide “alternative spring break” programs at national parks across America.  The leadership example set by these and other outstanding young stewards provides an important counterbalance to the Millennial study.

At Joshua Tree National Park in Southern California, 30 college students spent their spring break reforesting a burned-out hillside and pulling invasive plants “as big as Saint Bernards” according to one participant.  “During one particularly miserable dig,” recalled Jonathan Shafer, an Auburn University grad student, “two of us took turns hewing our way through what felt like solid rock. After half an hour’s work, we managed to dig a hole 18 inches deep, just big enough to settle a new Joshua Tree. As a group, we repeated this task 105 times over several acres of the burn site.

“None of us really wants to go back to school,” Jonathan continued.  “But we return home with a new respect for natural spaces, our impact on them, and the importance of maintaining them for future generations.”

Taylor Holan is a first-year student at John Carroll University in Ohio, who joined an SCA crew in the Everglades to remove noxious Brazilian pepper plants from the park’s infamous Hole-in-the Donut.  In our wired world, Taylor believes conservation service prevents nature from “getting lost among all those gigabytes floating around.”

“I’m here,” she notes, “to learn as much as I can in the Everglades – about ecosystems, threatened species, restoration plans, and more – and share that knowledge with anyone willing to listen.  When someone has a passion for something, it’s contagious, and I plan on infecting everyone around me.”

In an op-ed column in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, SCA’s Timarko Mitchell, a student at UA Pine Bluff, wrote eloquently about why he applied to NPS Academy, a workforce diversity program jointly sponsored by SCA and the National Park Service designed to prepare underrepresented students for park careers.  “Our national parks, monuments, battlefields and historic sites are permanent gifts to our country, touchstones of a common legacy. In many ways, they represent the soul of America. I look forward to helping other people—young and old, of all colors and cultures—celebrate our diverse national heritage.”

Timarko closed his column by noting the newest national park is the memorial in Washington, D.C. to Dr. Martin Luther King, and then quoted King as saying “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?”  Timarko’s message is hardly that of a disengaged Millennial.

As national service surges in popularity thanks to waves of young adults who seek only to only give back, conservation is consistently among their top priorities. When federal officials conducted their recent America’s Great Outdoors listening tour, they asked young people what they most wanted from government.  The answer: more service and career opportunities in national parks, forests and other public lands.  And as summer approaches, SCA is looking at yet another all-time high in applications.

I’m sure there is much to be learned from those 40 years of surveys but over the past 55 years, more than 65,000 young men and women have protected nature through SCA and many more have served with other corps. 

Young people’s actions speak for themselves. 

 


 

We agree! Want to learn more about how today's youth are preparing to be the conservation leaders of tomorrow? Check out Preparing for A Green Economy with SCA.

 

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[ Green Quiz Challenge – Film Industry Footprint ]

Green Quiz Challenge – Film Industry Footprint

800px-Hollywood_Sign_PB050006Lots of movie stars get press for their commitment to environmental causes, whether it’s Leonardo DiCaprio for his work with tiger conservation, Mark Ruffalo for his fight against gas fracking or Cameron Diaz’s involvement with environmental books, concerts and film. But making movies carries a heavy carbon footprint with its demanding electricity needs. LA’s film industry, in fact, is the second-largest polluter in the city, next to the oil industry!

For April's Green Quiz Challenge, we’re testing your knowledge of green films. 

Some producers are stepping up to change Hollywood’s dirty image. Which big studio film was the first to be produced carbon neutral?

A. The Matrix, 1999  
B. Erin Brockovich, 2000  
C. Syriana, 2006
D. Slumdog Millionaire, 2009

The correct answer is C. Syriana. Congratulations to our green quiz winners: Julie E. Gabrielli, Randy Baranczyk, and Lisa Siniscalchi!

Syriana, a political thriller about the global oil industry was a natural candidate for carbon offsetting. The plot follows a cast of characters including a CIA agent, energy analyst, refinery workers, and the prince of a Gulf country as they clamor for the world’s dwindling oil supplies. Warner Bros. Pictures and Participant Productions offset 100% of the film’s production emissions (travel, hotel use, generators, shipping, and more) by helping to fund the construction of a methane generator and wind farm on native land in the Midwest through NativeEnergy. The production company chose to offset the film’s emissions because “Participant exists to use films as a means for social change and this is one more way we can lead by example and help to bring awareness to the industry that offsetting carbon dioxide emissions is a viable option.”

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[ Thumbs up on this…. ]

McDonalds will test new paper cups in around 2,000 of its stores. They want to try to get rid of the styro foam cups for paper cups that can be recycled. Since McDonalds serves billions, that would be a huge reduction on their waste products! Mama Earth gives THUMBS UP on this idea!

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[ Stop ‘Phantom Loads’ and save $$$… ]

Sandy from the JB & Sandy Morning Show has a great tip to save money on your electric bill.

If you pay the bills at your house like I do, then you probably hate the day the power bill comes.  I hate it, but I refuse to be like my dad and scream at the top of my lungs “Why is every light in this f$*%& house turned on.” or “Why are we air conditioning the entire neighborhood?”  Well, generations have had this fight in there homes for years, and honestly, I don’t think it will ever go away.  So what if I told you that I found something that will shut things off that are wasting power and electricity that you didn’t even know about.  Is that something that you may be interested in?  Take a look around your home, more specifically take a look around your home at everything that is plugged in.  You see at least 2 TVs, a DVD Player, a computer, maybe a stereo, maybe speakers, a lamp etc.  You think they are turned off but they are still drawing “Phantom or Vampire Loads.” That is wasting electricity and costing you money.  In comes the “Smart Strip”  they look just like the power strips that you are currently using but they are different.  When you shut off a TV or computer that is plugged in to a Smart Strip, it cuts power to all the peripheral devices.  It also knows when you turn something on to power up all the other devices.  It stops the “Phantom Loads”  We are using them in our home and I highly recommend you do the same.  Here is a link for ordering https://earthaidkit.com/buy/cat-smartstrips.php

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[ Reclaim your space… ]

Planning to do some remodeling? Thinking about what you want to do to the kitchen, bathroom, living area… What about reclaming your space making it awesome and Mama Earth friendly too.  Reclaimed Space can take care of it!

Reclaimed Space story:
The Reclaimed Space concept all began in 2007 as a special projectfor Austin-based DIRTCOConstruction. Between jobs, DIRTCO founder, rancher and environmentalist Tracen Gardner began constructing a portable building using some reclaimed materials; this portable structure soon became the foundation for what was to be a revolutionary model of modern sustainable living. In the Summer of 2008, Reclaimed Space was born.

Reclaimed Space is about constructive building. We’re focused on reversing the impact new building is having on our natural environment, resources and society. Achieving this goal starts with providing alternative energy capabilities and fully sustainable living, while building with reclaimed materials. Along with our commitment to forward-thinking and eco-responsibility, Reclaimed Spaces are always visually appealing and affordable.

With over 25 years of building experience, our spaces are not just a product of function; they’re built with a guarantee of unrivaled quality. Reclaimed Space is proud to deliver custom,masterfully built Spaces for sustainable living…anywhere.

 

What materials are used?
It starts with where we get our materials. By reclaiming wood and metal from old barns and homes we are able to preserve their embodied energy; the energy required to cultivate and  mill or form all this wood and metal. It preserves landfill  space and relieves us all of unsightly and potentially  dangerous old structures.
CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT RECLAIMED SPACE CAN DO FOR YOU & OUR FAMILY!
CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO(S)

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