Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Simran Sethi: Life Cycle: Kernels of Wisdom about Popcorn The moral of this story? Avoid store bought microwave popcorn and buy your popcorn from local farmers by the bag. I have seen popcorn at farmer's markets. Click here for an easy recipe on homemade microwave popcorn, I would advise mixing the olive oil with the popcorn, versus pouring the oil directly in the bag.
Dave Burdick: 8 Movies Featuring the Environment: Time to Hibernate with DVDs This post includes video clips.
Cultivating a Green Focus Among Your Office Mates - WSJ.com My campaign to senior management to go green at work started roughly around the time that the financial industry went into free fall, and thus has been overshadowed by the banking crisis (I am a banker), so I was thoroughly excited when about two weeks ago I started seeing signs around the office printers and faxes, requesting that papers be recycled and carefully used. Upon recently discovering the author of said signs, I am re-energized to take on a green initiative at the workplace, though I am going to have to do so efficiently and creatively, given that our group has seriously shrunken in size and I remain as the sole defender of client relationships. Wish me luck!
Just in time for today's principle of creativity, I have been introduced to the work of Amber Gordon. Ms. Gordon's art reflects feminine theme's, with an emphasis on African woman. Check out her site.
ecofabulous: Eco-chic Shopping Is So LA If you live in or traveling to Los Angeles, check out DecadesTwo, a store that sells celebrity clothing that has been rarely worn. Apparently as more celebrities go green, we can benefit from the recycling of their fashionable sustainable attire.
Kuumba or Creativity is interpreted for Kwanzaa to mean the following -"To always do as much as we can, in the way we can, to always leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it." I love this principle for it's simplicity and potential. A beautiful, clean and orderly environment has such a positive impact on our mental, physical and spiritual energy. Why not take some time this year to volunteer at a community center to teach or assist an art class using recycled or natural materials? Now is also a great time to start gathering information about community gardens in your city. Or if you want to, how about doing some guerrilla gardening to address local eyesores? If your gift is cooking, how about inviting neighbors over for a vegetarian, locally sourced meal or baking a batch of sesame aka benne cookies using organic and fair trade ingredients (be sure to note this on the gift tag) for your family and co-workers? Are you a musician? Gather a group to join you at your home or a friend's home for a candlelit (soy candles of course), no TV evening of music and conversation. Be sure to include a few young people, so that they can be introduced to the concept of a great time without electronics! Do you have no artistic skills whatsoever? Use your creativity to develop a novel business idea? There are actually business plan tools for creative leaning folks that can assist you with this endeavor. Just do something!
Have a great and creative New Year!! Kuumba.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Green Really is the New Black Check out this article from Empower News Magazine for a summary of how green jobs can stimulate the economy. Recently there has been some debate over the allocation of dollars for the upcoming stimilus package. Should the investments start with infrastructure (roads, schools, bridges, buildings) or alternative energy? I say we can do both. Buildings need power right? Any new infrastructure projects that are going to be funded with our dollars need to be as energy efficient, healthy and environmentally friendly as possible. The initial costs may be slighty higher than traditional construction, but are often paid back within a few years. We simply can't afford to continue doing things as we have in the past and expect a better result.
Habari gani?! Ujamaa! To build and maintain our stores and other businesses and to profit from them together. The idea of the black entrepreneur has always intrigued me, from the very first time I picked up a discarded copy of Black Enterprise magazine at my campus student union to the vast array of green business opportunities presenting themselves to our community at this moment. At Ohio State University, while working for the Office of Black Student Programming, I put together a seminar titled "Black and in the Green" (sound familiar?), which served the purpose of introducing the student and surrounding community to the idea of entrepreneurship. Two businesses were birthed as a result! As I think about it, I may just recycle that concept with a green twist, "Go Green, Black Businesses, Go Green." I have written on this topic in the past and profiled black and green businesses. I would love to profile more in 2009. A few projects that I want to highlight today:
- Ananda Leeke, founder of Go Green Sangha Radio and BAP Living, has authored a new book, Love's Troubadours. The novel chronicles the life adventures of a Bohemian, Black African Princess. It is part one of an exciting and intriguing series. Copies are selling fast! Get one today!
- blackEnergy, a triple bottom line business, owned by Dr. Sonja Ebron, offers a wide variety of energy saving products and services in addition to utility services. Lighting, power generation, fans, weatherization - you name it you can find it at blackEnergy.
- Van Jones, well known black and green, environmental justice/economy guru has also written a book, The Green Collar Economy, which highlights the opportunities that the green economy can provide for the black community, especially the economically disavantaged.
- Black and Into Green has an amazing eco-friendly portal for purchasing green products of all kinds (including those of the featured authors), via the Amazon Shop Green widget found on the site. Click here for some end of the year deals!
So in the spirit of Ujamaa, recycle your hard earned dollars with these entrepreneurs and buy black, green and local.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Top-Ten-Green-Gifts-for-Teens-(That-Theyll-Totally-Love)! - Greenopia Green News I know it's a little late for this, but there are some great products featured you can buy for yourself or a teen's birthday or graduation.
Seed Bombs: Walk-By Guerrilla Gardening : EcoLocalizer Wow! Check out this passive-aggressive way of beautifying ugly urban or suburban areas. Basically it involves tossing homemade seed balls into areas in need of a little landscaping love. I would advise that you choose to go this route, to use native non-invasive plant seeds and not toss on residential or landscaped properties.
Will Environmental Justice Finally Get Its Due? The American Prospect It appears that the timing is right to get involved with community and national environmental justice issues given the slate of environment related appointments in the Obama administration.
Center for Diversity & the Environment- Organizations I found this site as I was researching the previous post. Included are such organizations as Young Environmental Professionals of Color, Center for Whole Communities and African American Outdoor Association. Fascinating!
Ujima or Collective Work and Responsibility, is one of my favorite Kwanzaa principles as I feel it relates well with the mission of Black and Into Green. The official Kwanzaa site defines Ujima as follows "To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together." I was fortunate enough last night to participate in an annual Kwanzaa celebration (though I missed the ceremony) organized by one of my favorite family clans. There was good food, great conversation and fantastic company at this event. Most of the members of this family live the principle of Ujima through their chosen occupations- healthcare, education, advocacy and the law among just a few examples. On the environmental front here are five actions we can take to "build and maintain our communities."
- Educate - Hone your knowledge of environmental issues that impact community health and quality of life
- Get Involved - Join organizations that support environmental and health initiatives. Many of these are sorely lacking a black, asian or latino perspective
- Speak Up - Raise awareness among your family, friends, neighbors and politicians
- Buy Green - Support businesses that pursue a triple bottom line strategy
- Jobs, Jobs, Jobs - Fight to ensure accountability for and equal access to green jobs and other infrastructure improvement opportunities in your community
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Utility doubles estimate of Tennessee ash deluge - Yahoo! News The facts are changing already in this not so clean coal drama that has been playing itself out in Tennessee over the last few days. Of course the TVA has determined that the health risks are minimal and the water should be fine to drink. Some folks are having a difficult time getting the TVA to respond to their needs. (Sound familiar?) Many of the residents had no idea of the risks posed by having such a plant nearby. Unfortunately they found out the hard way after their homes were destroyed by the moving sludge. This incident should make us all more conscious and knowledgeable of what kinds of health and environmental risks exists in our own backyards and create an action plan to advocate for safety measures and an emergency exit plan. Click here for a map of potentially toxic sites in your neighborhood. Be patient, it takes a minute or two to load, but is worth the wait. Kujichagulia! Self determination!
McClatchy Washington Bureau 12/26/2008 Economic crunch hits market for recyclable materials Don't be surprised if your city's recycling program is put on hold temporarily. The global economic crunch has reduced the demand for consumer goods, which in turn has reduced the need for recyclable materials. Many cities received hefty payments for the recyclable goods we placed in curbside bins and bags, however some processors are refusing to accept any more of these goods, reducing that income stream for already tight city budgets. What we need is a modern day George Washington Carver to invent 400 ways to use recyclables. Until then, we need to focus our efforts on reducing our consumption of products with excess packaging, purchase heavily used items in bulk and practice reusing as much as we can.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Prius: It’s Not Just a Car, It’s an Emergency Generator - Green Inc. Blog - NYTimes.com With all of the frigid weather we have seen over the past week, having a Prius sounds like a good investment. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday week!
Monday, December 22, 2008
Warming could doom white Christmas Environment Reuters "When I was little we used to have this white stuff called snow in the winter......"
Hollywood rolls out the green carpet csmonitor.com Green-coming to a theatre near you.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Chinese drywall fears widen in SW Florida news-press.com The News-Press I hate to sound like CNN's Lou Dobbs, but dag, is nothing being made in America anymore? I have gotten used to checking clothing, food, toy and consumer product labels to determine country of origin, but it appears that now even homes are being constructed with materials made from countries with questionable environmental and regulatory practices. Let the buyer beware.
Making Hospitals Greener — and Patients Healthier - TIME I can truly relate to this article, the topic is one of my very first posts as a black and green blogger. As a treehugger, it is a very painful experience to witness the waste at the hospital and doctor's offices and to read the labels on some of the products they give you. Paraben this and paraben that. Hello! I think I will be using my aloe vera plant whenever practical. There needs to be some consumer backlash about doctor's being more selective about the products they use. In C-Town (Cleveland), Ohio, the Cleveland Clinic has a sustainability director that is making some serious progress on reducing waste and being more responsible. It appears that more hospitals are taking sustainability seriously, we should encourage them to continue to progress in this area.
If you are anything like me and are just too busy living to shop, you probably have about half of your Christmas/Chanukah, Kwanzaa, New Year's shopping completed with just three days to go. Ahh! The thrill of meeting a deadline! At least I do have a list and a pretty good idea of what I am going to give to my loved ones. Here are ten last minute budget friendly ideas for green gift giving:
- Green Starter Kit - Reusable bag ($.99 at grocers), stainless steel water bottle/coffee mug(bookstores, Starbucks), Brita or PUR water filter, soy candles (Target), cloth napkins
- Subscription to green living magazine - There is one to fit every type of personality and interest. Look for, BOHO, Green Guide, Natural Home, Positively Green, E/The Environmental Magazine and Body + Soul
- Vegan or Vegetarian Cookbook (Check out Amazon Green on this site) - I really love The Hippy Gourmet's Quick and Simple Cookbook for Healthy Eating.
- Movie Night Kit - Inconvenient Truth DVD, organic popcorn and fruit, ceramic bowl (you kind find this stuff at your local grocer!)
- Safe Cosmetics - Burt's Bees starter kit (Amazon Green, Borders Books or CVS drugstore)
- Green Cleaning Kit - Homemade cleaning products or full array of commercial green cleaning products and a coupon for one hour of your time to clean
- Coffee or Tea basket - Fair trade coffees, teas, chocolates, your favorite homemade cookies and a vintage coffee or tea cup (maybe two for sharing)
- Bundle of Love - Organic sheets, blanket and/or towels from JCPenney with soy candles and natural massage oils
- Wooden toys or Legos (BPA and Phthalate free) for the kids in your life
- Mental and Physical Flexibility - Purchase admission for two to a Yoga, Dance or Kickboxing class (It's fun to play at the Y-M-C-A!)
You can give these items in a cool reusable canvas bag or reused shopping bag from your favorite retailer. Use outdoor plant materials as decoration and cut up Christmas cards from last year to use as gift tags. I wrapped my bosses' gift using paper saved from staff meetings, a ribbon from another gift and a sprig of pine. Anyway, HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!
This stuff is the bomb and purely decadent as its names implies! That is saying a lot, coming from an ice cream elitist like myself. It is not only delicious, but lower in fat and much higher in fiber than its soy and dairy cousins. Soy is cool, but I have to limit my intake, due to it's estrogen mimicking traits. A low-fat, high fiber diet is very important to the cancer survivor and anyone else trying to avoid cancer, heart disease or obesity.
10 Great Green Opportunities (By Brita Belli, Kathryn Gutlebar, Julia Hirsch, Jesica Knoblauch, Shawn Query) This is one of the best green jobs articles I have seen. It works for those seeking entry level opportunities as well as more experienced folks like myself. It references careers in the creative and service industries and careers requiring graduate school degrees, such as attorneys, MBAs and urban planners. Many of the new jobs coming our way via the next economic stimulus package will be green jobs, so we need to be ready to take on new industries as older industries fade into obsolescence.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Amandla! -- African Americans and Energy Now that winter is upon us, my thoughts are on energy daily as I tend to the needs of keeping my house warm and turning off the trail of lights that my son leaves behind me. I encourage you to Amandla! to your RSS feed or email subscription for some great tips (including building your own heater out of soda cans-you never know....) and thoughts on energy.
Monday, December 15, 2008
Thunder Road: Likely EPA pick hit for Jersey record - Joaquin Sapien - ProPublica - Politico.com Well you can't please everybody. There is a growing group of environmentalists that are openly communicating their concerns over Lisa P. Jackson to head the EPA, one group going so far as to write a letter to Mr. Obama. Mrs. Jackson is being criticized for her lack of enforcement on key regulatory issues, not keeping some of her promises to improve the climate, as well as being to close to big business. New Jersey environmentalists, however, continue to praise the pick and insist that the fault is that of Governor Corzine and the lack of adequate staffing at her agency (Perhaps they are really keeping their employment options open). Let's see what she what she will accomplish now with a manager (President-Elect Obama) that has made climate change a core competency of his economic platform and more than adequate (though controversial) FTE at the EPA. I am willing to give Ms. Jackson a chance, before lambasting her abilities and will for change. Hey! It's hard out here for an environmental official!
The Spoils - Battle in a Poor Land for Riches Beneath the Soil - Series - NYTimes.com I am so tired of reading about resource rich African governments that allow western and now eastern cultures to rob them of their resources, exploit and endanger their citizens and steal any monies received as payment. Apparently, many young college-educated citizens of these countries are now fighting against this type of economic injustice, though in a controversial manner. The resource featured in this article is uranium, which is highly sought after to generate nuclear energy and the government is Niger. As is the case with the drug on war, we must hold the users (power companies), accountable for ensuring that they consider the triple bottom line (people, place, profit) as they negotiate with historically corrupt governments. Email your power company today and ask them about their policies in these situations and write your legislator (contact info found on Black and Into Green) to insist that U.S. companies operate ethically in foreign lands.
This image is courtesy of the NY Times. Check out the green roof and the hot red boots. I'll bet Majora is kicking some environmental butt with those boots! (Do you think they are vegan boots?)
The Green Power Broker - NYTimes.com This is an interesting article. Many of you by now are familiar with Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, co-founder of Green for All and a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient. Van Jones, another prominent black and green activist and author, is calling her the Rosa Parks of the green movement. Rosa Parks? I had to pause for a moment to reflect on that powerful comparison. After pondering on the actions of Rosa Parks, I agree that there are definitely some similarities, though I think the stakes were a lot higher personally for Mrs. Parks. Majora definitely did put herself out there and became a strong voice for environmental change and action in the South Bronx. She has since extended her reach way beyond the boundaries of New York, having recently returned from Stockholm and the Artic (with former President Jimmy Carter). Her acting and film degrees have paid off as well, as she is also making the rounds on network and cable television. You go girl! Interestingly enough, it was her stint with unemployment and return to living with the parents that led to her involvement as a volunteer with South Bronx community groups. Talk about making lemonade out of lemons! What is funny, is that on a CNN piece this morning, it was suggested to volunteer during times of unemployment to avoid gaps on resumes. Anyway, Ms. Carter has expanded into the for profit arena with her new consulting firm, The Majora Carter Group. As is customary with any success, there are detractors, aka "haters". The rumor is that she has taken credit for projects that were truly team efforts or projects that have yet to come to fruition. To this I say "Bah Humbug!". I don't know Ms. Carter, but I wish her and her team the best of luck and think that it''s great for the country to have another African American woman adding her unique qualities and voice to the green movement. Hey Majora, you might want to give Lisa P. Jackson a buzz!
Friday, December 12, 2008
LIBERIA: Rubber Workers Charge Slave-Like Conditions Where the rubber will hit the road is when you don't buy Bridgestone tires until they change their policies.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I recently posted about how difficult it was for me to shop at my favorite retailer, Anthropologie, these days. The source of my shopping angst has been the wide variety of products for sale that are made in China. Charming as these items were, I just have a difficult time justifying a purchase. I decided to share my concern with the retailer via an email which expressed my concerns and asked for more eco-friendly and conscious selections. Although my email has yet to be acknowledged, when I visited the website today, featured on the home page was a grouping of products titled "Gifts with Presence". Hmm. I wondered if this was Anthropologies' way of responding to my request. Sure enough, as I clicked through the assortment of items, I found that many were indeed conscious, thoughtful, eco-friendly and unique. There was a cool skirt that was made out of recycled vintage pants and made in Canada, a pair of earrings created from vintage fabrics, a tea service made in Cape Town, South Africa and a dress made out of vintage scarves. Now if only I had a million dollars to afford some of these items. When that skirt by the Canadian clothier Preloved, goes on sale, it's mine. I do want to support retailers efforts to sell these more earth friendly items. Look for my post on Preloved to learn more about their use of vintage fabrics in fashionable clothing for men and women.
Environmental fugitives get own most-wanted list - Yahoo! News Have you seen these criminals wanted for crimes against the earth?
I also like this photo of Mrs. Jackson at Ramapo College in New Jersey at their environmental center. I don't know what person was responsible at the NY Times for selecting photos for the announcement, but they could done a better job based on what I am finding on the web. You know what I'm thinking.
President-Elect Barack Obama, with the announcement of his top environmental picks, just gave life to the term "green diversity". It was announced yesterday that 46 year old Lisa P. Jackson, currently leader of his EPA transition team and chief of staff to New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine, will head up the Environmental Protection Agency, making her the first African-American to hold that position. Click here for more information on Mrs. Jackson. I suspect we will be learning much more about her in the next week. Steven Chu, an Asian, will lead the Department of Energy, Nancy Sutley, a prominent member of the gay and lesbian community will lead the White House council on energy quality and Carole Browner, a white woman and former EPA director under the Clinton administration, will be his energy "czar". Now this is the kind of change that I can believe in.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Hey! Can't find enough eco-conscious gifts for the holiday? Tired of going from store to store and having to select items from the very small eco-friendly section? Wouldn't it be great to have a "Green" Target type store, where you can buy almost everything you need at a great price? Well guess what? There is a great way to efficiently do your holiday shopping and buy green until your heart is content, all in the comfort of your own home. Do some one stop shopping on Black And Into Green, via Amazon Green. It is a special site created by Amazon to meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly and human safe products. I will be posting this week some ideas for sneaking in fun green gifts for the uninitiated. Stay tuned.
Every day large corporations and small businesses announce hundreds to thousands of layoffs-even lawyers aren't immune in this down economy. Should your job survive the recession, it may not make the productivity cut once it is discovered that someone in India will do it with a smile and for a fraction of your salary. Customer service jobs were just the start, now radiology, publishing, accounting, engineering and financial analysis jobs are being outsourced. President-Elect Obama met with Al Gore today and I am sure they discussed ways to stimulate the economy while getting our planet out of peril. If you are interested in learning more about green job opportunities, check out this list of green career websites provide by About.com.
When Picky Eaters Grow Up - Well Blog - NYTimes.com It really mystifies me when a parent tells me that their kid won't eat vegetables. Who is in control here? No wonder kids are blowing up these days and suffering from all kinds of adult diseases. Poor babies. Their parents need to grow a pair. This article outlines what can happen to a child as an adult, but offers hope that as a responsible adult, the picky eater can make wide food choices.
Recipes for Health - Cabbage, an Inexpensive Nutritional Powerhouse - NYTimes.com Cabbage and it's relatives, collards, kale and chard are cancer fighters. You can always shred cabbage and make coleslaw or chop it and stir fry it in sesame oil with onions and garlic. Good with rice too!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Fast Workouts That Really Work! on Yahoo! Health I am a big proponent of exercising. Regular rigorous physical activity contributes significantly to preventing disease, managing stress, improving your energy levels and reducing stress. I like this article because it shows how you can get significant calorie burn from a 20 minute investment in movement. Even better, you don't have to exclusively work at an intense pace during those 20 minutes. This is known as interval training and is a great calorie burner for those aged 30 and over. If you haven't exercised in a while, you should talk to your doctor before pursuing a rigorous routine. You don't have to consult a doctor to go for a walk or tussle with the kids for 30 minutes.
Just do it!
Organic T-Shirts, Blank T-shirts, Cotton T-Shirts - EDUN LIVE, from Ali Hewson and Bono Support African entrepreneurship, buy gear from EDUN LIVE, an organic clothing business founded by Bono of U2.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Speaking of giving closer to home, remember the victims of Hurricane Katrina? Brad Pitt started a project called Make it Right, which has a goal of building 150 homes in the devastated Lower 9th ward of New Orleans. Several homes have been successfully constructed and all are LEED Platinum certified, which is the highest rating green building certification. Brad hopes to use this project as a template for housing development projects around the nation. You can donate directly to the organization or buy green gifts from the website. All proceeds benefit the Make it Right Foundation.
Kiva - Loans that change lives After stuffing myself with some good food this Thanksgiving, my thoughts turned to "Black Friday" and the impending non-stop three week buying spree for gifts that often don't last through the year. Not looking forward to this traditional display of consumerism, I started thinking about what I could do to be more impactful in my giving. I decided that I would focus my giving on two major areas, 1) introducing friends and family to the eco-friendly lifestyle and 2) giving gifts in the name of relatives to individuals that really need help. The latter will be accomplished through purchasing gift certificates through organizations like Kiva. Kiva, through the use of micro-loans, helps individuals in developing countries to reach for their dreams. Talk about sustainability! You can lend a budding entrepreneur the entire amount of capital needed or you can contribute as little as $25 towards the total needed. Gift certificates can also be purchased in the name of a relative or friend. Want to give to an organization a little closer to home? Check out Guidestar or your local United Way for a list of non-profits in need of a little love in this tough economy.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
You Grow Girl™ - » Things You Can Compost That You Didn’t Think You Could If you are a vegan, you won't have much to throw away, once you start composting. If you are anything like me, you hate the chore of taking out the trash! Wouldn't it be great if you could reduce your trips to the garage, incinerator or tree lawn? This article points out a whole new range of items that can be turned from trash into black treasure for your garden. Gum, paper towels and cotton balls are just a few of the compostables mentioned. Compost on!
You Grow Girl™ - » The Fantastic Craptastic Compost Bin Since I started composting last winter, the amount of trash that makes it to the curb has dramatically declined. Not being one to spend much money on anything that doesn't involve clothes, shoes, home decor items, plants or chocolate, I couldn't bring myself to pay much for a compost bin. So what did I do? I converted an old plastic trash can that had the bottom eaten out by raccoons to my version of a compost bin. Using the KISS (keep it simple stupid) method, I just dump my food and plant waste into the trash can, mix it up with a big branch from the garden, cover it up with a big sheet and head back in the house. Sometimes, I will collect the compostable waste in a brown paper bag, fold it and throw it right in the bin. The brown bag acts as the brown material that needs to be mixed with green material. This article has photos of crude, but effective compost bins or piles that show you just how easy composting can be. Not enough room for a full blown compost bin? Check out this link for tips on how to create a bin for small spaces.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
celebration: eco thanksgiving filled with healthy thanksgiving recipes: Party Ideas: dominomag.com Already purchased your Thanksgiving ingredients? These ideas can be extended to your Christmas menus as well.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Free People Clothing Boutique Blog > craft > winter craft swap: the art of giving This is a great budget gift idea. Do a craft project swap with some friends encouraging them to use recycled materials around the house. A fun way to introduce them to reducing, reusing and recycling. Cheap too!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Closet Couture -> Accessory Report: Eco-Friendly Totes by Ali Rapp Let's face it. I'm an Anthropologie woman at heart. I absolutely love that store, the colors, the smells, the distractions, the one of a kind nature inspired products. It's sensory overload and I love it! My mother says it reminds her of Atlanta in the seventies. How cool is that? Anyway, I have had a hard time making purchases there this year, because almost everything is made in my favorite place - China. Again the images of child labor and toxic dyes seeping into the rivers, can't stay out of my head. Someone please correct me if I am over-imagining conditions there. So while I certainly have made a few purchases this year, I have passed on many more. In my internet search for an Anthropologie replacement, I came across this post, from the Closet Couture blog. These are bags are pretty nice. Very Boho chic. Then I saw the price....$68 bucks. I started thinking about the collection of bags that I have around the house. Heck, with a little fabric paint, glitter, crystals, ribbons, and my collection of individual buttons, flowers and earrings, I can make my own one of a kind Boho bags. So can you! Talk about reduce, reuse and recycle. If I can find the time to explore my creative side, I will post the photos online. I'll show you mine if you show me yours!!
In the meantime, please share your favorite eco-friendly fashion websites. One of my favorites for accessories is Latrice Designs. Maybe, because she actually has handbags made out of recycled Antropologie catalogs! You are a good woman Latrice.
President for 60 more days, George Bush tearing apart protection for America's wilderness | World news | The Guardian
President for 60 more days, George Bush tearing apart protection for America's wilderness World news The Guardian This my friends, is not the change we need. We may need to get our pens out next year to encourage our legislators to support Obama in undoing these dangerous efforts to restrict environmental protections, workplace safety rules and product safety requirements. We see what deregulation has done to our economy and wallets to date, let's not wait to see what deregulation will do to our ecology and health.
Click here to write your representative.
Epoch Times - 'Recyclers' Illegally Exporting Electronic Waste Our love for the latest and greatest in electronics, gadgets and appliances is spreading death and destruction in the form of chemical poisoning and cancer throughout Asia and Africa. How are we going to complain about Darfur and the Congo, while contributing to misery ourselves, through our greed. We need to do the following to avoid these electronics from getting in the wrong hands:
1) Be content with what we have right now
2) Take good care of your stuff-it will last longer and you will be more satisfied
3) Recycle electronics by donating items to organizations that could use them
4) Return old products them to original retailers and manufacturers
5) Ask recyclers how products will be re-purposed
6) Insist that "planned obsolescence" be a scam of the past-vote with your wallet and your internet voice
Check out Earth911 for reliable recycling sources and ideas.
Peace on earth.
Toys with phthalates can be sold after U.S. ban takes effect - USATODAY.com Okay, you are getting ready for the excitement and thrill of Thanksgiving and then a round of some major Christmas shopping right? In your mad rush to buy the coolest presents for your loved ones, please avoid toys (for any age group) that are made of rubber or plastic this season, as these are more likely to contain the hormone altering, emasculating group of chemicals called phthalates. These chemicals won't be banned for toys for kids under 12, until next February. The USA Today article highlights some of the issues with phthalates and provides links to sites with healthier toys. Keep in mind phthalates are also found in many products for adults as well and are absorbed into the body, so if you are planning a family or trying to avoid carcinogens, stay away from products likely to contain phthalates and BPA. These would be plastics, rubber, lined food cans and many fragrances.
Big Green Brother I found the concept of Wal-Mart employees having personal sustainability plans (PSP's) to be pretty amazing. The employees seem to derive a sense of purpose and satisfaction, while the company benefits from this new found thriftiness of it's workforce. Initially, my reaction was one of surprise that Wal-Mart is making an effort to become more sustainable, but now that I think about it, sustainable behaviors can significantly reduce costs, improve employee moral and generate community goowill. It all makes sense now. If Wal-Mart, with its detestable reputation can pull this off, there is no excuse for our companies! I am going to check out both the ghetto Wal-Mart (even though it's in the suburbs) and the white bread Wal-Mart to see if these behaviors are being exhibited by both stores.
GreenWorks Book Club GreenerBuildings Construction workers, builders, developers, city planners, interior designers, janitorial business owners, architechts, landscapers and suppliers to these professionals - check out your reading assignments for the year. You do want a piece of the $150 billion that was promised by President-Elect Obama to jumpstart our green economy don't you?
Your Role in the Green Environment GreenerBuildings This article goes out to all of my nice construction workers out there. I'm looking at you and looking out for you!
Greenbuild365 Want to know more about the green economy and how it is affecting all levels of our society? Want to know how your future may be impacted? Schools, governments, universities, small business, big business, manufacturers, sports teams - all have a stake in the green building boom. If you can't make it to the Greenbuild conference in Boston this week, you can view speakers live via the link provided in this post.
No sweat: Obamas work fitness into daily routine - Yahoo! News As a cancer survivor, health and fitness buff and overall "Mom" to everyone, I just love the fact that President Elect Barack Obama and his first lady, Michelle, are all about taking care of themselves. If they can squeeze in workouts with their busy schedules, surely the rest of us can. Perhaps that is why they always look so cool, calm, collected and fantastic!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Green Resource Online: Top 25 Shopping sites : CleanTechnica Green companies, green products, green building, green shopping, green product reviews. It's snowing here in Cleveland, this is great weather for some green online window shopping. This article provides great resources from budget friendly to budget busting eco-friendly products.
Inhabitat » 7 Bad Habits of Eco-Design Driven Consumers In keeping with the shopping theme today, I thought this article hit on some great points.
Shopping list - Bottle/Thermos washer, blankets, large toaster oven, glass storage containers, tissue, vitamins, broom. Appears to be a pretty straightforward list. A time starved person could purchase all of these items at Target or a similar retailer, right? Wrong. A time starved person who is carefully scrutinizing her purchases will probably bepretty frustrated, if she is looking for BPA free plastic, organic materials and products made somewhere other than China. I started with the blankets, thinking that Target, which promotes it's sustainability initiatives and has some organic products online, would at least have a small selection in stores. Well, most were either non-organic cotton or micro polyfiber and were made in China. I looked around in frustration and confusion for about ten minutes, then left, figuring I would check out a retailer next door. Then I looked for a bottle washer for my difficult to clean thermos. I have been getting disposable cups all week, because my thermos has been difficult to clean thoroughly and I haven't had the heart to throw most of them (cups) away (a local coffeehouse recycles these). Anyway, there were a myriad of dish washing implements, but only one lonely item that looked like it could take on the bottom of my thermos. Then there was the issue of BPA, so what to do? I weighed the advantages and disadvantages and purchased it anyway, figuring I would use cold water when scrubbing. Guess where it was made? You got it! China. Next. Glass storage containers. After looking in the storage container aisle, with no success in finding glass, I finally found glass containers in the cookware section. I was pretty pleased with the exception that the lids were all plastic. Toaster Oven -found one that didn't have any kind of teflon interior, but couldn't get around the made in China issue. It was pretty surreal, almost everything was made in China! No wonder we have so many people out of work in this country. What are we doing to ourselves?! What are we doing to China? I know it's economy is booming (or was until recently) but I always have images of women and children toiling away in unsafe conditions, making these products for a $1 a month. I was encouraged to see a selection of soy candles and natural cleaners, but couldn't find recycled tissue paper products. I eventually ran out of time and decided to get my vitamins from Whole Foods during my next shopping trip there. Lessons learned:
- We have sold our souls to China and for what? Cheap stuff. What cost? Jobs, our planet.
- It takes time and careful planning to be a conscious shopper
- You save money buying consciously, because shopping just becomes exhausting physically and emotionally
- We need to speak up and ask for the products we want
- Retailers are slowly acknowledging the demand for safe products, but need a push
How do you shop consciously? I would love to promote any websites that make shopping for safe products a simple experience.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Tainted Chinese Imports Common - washingtonpost.com Thought only clothing, appliances, toys and other household products were made in China? Many food and drug products commonly sold around the world are also made in China and other countries with lax regulation and supervision. So now, in addition to reading food and vitamin labels for nutritional content, you want to determine what country they were produced in. In some cases, only specific ingredients were produced outside of the United States, so you just have to be more careful about what you put in your body, because big brother has fallen asleep on the job.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
The Disappearing Male - Doc Zone CBC-TV This special which highlights the plight of males in a chemical oriented world, aired this weekend, but you can view the film in this link. There are some other interesting links on environmental toxins located to the right of the article.
Obama Positioned to Quickly Reverse Bush Actions - washingtonpost.com I posted an article last week on some last minute moves by the Bush administration to reduce rules and regulations that could have a negative impact on our health and the environment. According to this article, President-Elect Obama's team has been evaluating and monitoring these actions and he plans to swiftly overturn many of these after January 20, 2009. Look for to significant changes in climate change policy over the next four years as this administration seeks to make the United States a leader in reducing global warming and environmental toxins.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Meet the people who might fill top environmental jobs in an Obama administration | By Jonathan Hiskes | Grist | Grist Feature | 29 Oct 2008
Meet the people who might fill top environmental jobs in an Obama administration By Jonathan Hiskes Grist Grist Feature 29 Oct 2008 Looking for the right people to start sucking up to..er.. start networking with to land a spot on their agencies employment roster? Check out this article on leading environmental candidates in Obama's administration. Never has there been such a great opportunity to add some color and diversity to the green movement! (Though this is not reflected in the picks highlighted in this article)
Off and running Gristmill: The environmental news blog Grist Check out the latest issue of Runner's World for 30 tips on how to green up your daily (or weekly) run. As I runner, I felt compelled to buy this particular issue and was pleased to find some great ideas. Click here for fantastic informative links to tips, eco-races, metrics and gear.
Everywhere, the signs Gristmill: The environmental news blog Grist This article offers lots of great ideas for reusing and recycling your campaign signs. Worth clicking through.
Six-Figure Green Jobs - Forbes.com Now that the future for green jobs has strengthened considerably, check out this article for ideas on how you can leverage your existing skill base to "work green" and even afford to shop for groceries exclusively at Whole Foods. This is a good article for mid-career changers and parents with kids heading to college. Some of the jobs profiled:Environmental Lawyer,
Sustainability Director (management,marketing),
Number Crunchers (mathematicians, accountants, statisticians) and
Environmental Scientist (duh)
Election 2008: A Big Win for Green Real Estate Leanne Tobias on GreenerBuildings Today is a good day for the future of our planet! In so many ways. From an environmental and economic perspective, President-Elect, Barack Obama's plan for energy alternatives and $150 million commitment to green jobs are exactly what we need to re-energize our economy, workforce and pocketbooks. Buildings, with all of the resources required to construct, maintain, and support the humans and businesses that occupy them, are one of the biggest contributors to global warming. Check out the above article for a link to Obama's energy plan and it's impact on green buildings and communities.
Monday, November 3, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Being Green Will Cost Us Some Green Views TheRoot.com Check out this disturbing post from a representative of a group called Project 21, a group of black conservatives. I wonder how much the author was paid by the coal industry to write this. Unbelievable. The comments that follow are interesting as well. Does anyone know anything about this group?
How to green your Halloween Grist From A to Green 14 Oct 2008 I don't celebrate Halloween (though I do miss some elements), but this article provides some great tips to "green your ween". Included are ideas on decorations, costumes, makeup and treats.
B-W: Sustainability Symposium, October 20-21, 2008 This is where I am off to tonight. Tell you about it later.
Western Diet Boosts Global Heart Attack Risk 30% - Yahoo! News One more reason to eat your fruit and veggies. Raising cattle and other animals for meat and dairy production also contribute significantly to global warming and requires a significant amount of water resources. In many countries, meat is used to season meals or sparingly on the side. In western countries too often the veggies are used almost as a colorful garnish. Ideally your meal should consist of fiber rich grains and/or beans, two servings of veggies, a small portion of meat (if you just can't give it up) and fruit as a dessert. This is also a pretty cheap way to eat, especially if you eat in season produce.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
I have admired the graceful, simplicity of this garden for years. The landscape features neatly groomed trees and shrubs, punctuated with grasses and low maintenance plants. A garden like this requires minimal chemicals and time. Fortunately for me, I get to drive past it five days a week on the drive to my son's school.
blackenterprise.com - Dr. 'Green' House Planning a move to North Carolina, the new "mecca" for black professionals? Consider purchasing a home from former neurochemist turned green real estate developer, Mr. Freeman Ledbetter of Durham, NC. Mr. Ledbetter's homes are friendly to the health of its owners as well as the planet. His business has been insulated from the current housing downturn in large part to this unique niche in green housing that is growing exponentially. Mr. Ledbetter has been approached by FEMA for his unique flood resistant designs and has plans for a senior housing development. He expects to generate $2 to $3 million in revenues in 2009. Not sure if given the current state of this economy, that is still realistic, but anyone selling any homes in this environment is likely to continue to succeed in the future. Let's wish him all the best.
Looking for information on green homes? Click here to get contact information for a Green Building Coalition in your area.
Organic farm blossoms in Kenya's largest slum World news The Guardian This is the kind of initiative that our friend and environmental justice activist, Van Jones heralds in his best-selling new book, "The Green Collar Economy - How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems". If gardening is your thing and you want to serve your community, learn how you can do both with the information provided on the American Community Garden Association website. For my friends in the United Kingdom, go to this website of the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens. I'm going to work on a community garden next spring of the Hitchcock Center for Women in Cleveland, Ohio.
Let's all get our hands dirty like our family in Kenya and clean up our planet!
Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor - Heroes of the Environment 2008 - TIME Check out this African brother who is taking the lead on enviromental issues that impact his country of Liberia. Silas Kpanan'Ayoung Siakor evaluates environmental issues from the perspective of human impact. Many complaints have been lodged against environmentalists for forcing sustainability initiatives down the throats of citizens with no effort to balance with the practical realities of survival. This is known as "eco-colonialism". The most sustainable solutions benefit both people and the planet. Mr. Siakor's two year old organization, Sustainable Institute of Liberia, seeks this balance.
You go Mr. Siakor!
Atlas reveals how you are likely to die Society The Observer I know this is a pretty morbid concept, but I thought that having this information could actually produce a positive outcome, simply by raising awareness and spur residents to take action. I wonder if such a map exists in the states?
I know that the government bailout package, officially known as the "Emergency Economic and Stabilization Act of 2008" has been thought of as a welfare hand out to Wall Street, but to my surprise, some benefits for alternative energy have been tossed into the mix. Many of the "green pork" initiatives are going to directly benefit big business and start-up energy businesses, but there are a few wins for the little guy (or gal). Check them out:
- Credit for residential solar, wind and geothermal energy investments
- Tax credit for plug-in electric drive vehicles ($2500-$7500)
- Support for employers that support bike to work efforts of employees
- Tax credit for energy efficient improvements to home and commercial property
- Accelerated depreciation for recycling equipment
- Accelerated depreciation for smart electric meters and smart electric grid equipment
Please talk to a tax advisor to get more information about how these changes could impact your green efforts.
If you are a resident of the west coast or planning a visit to San Fransisco, a must see is the largest public green building in the world. The new California Academy of Sciences recently opened its 10 year, $500 million LEED Platinum building. Some of the green features of the building:
- Solar panels that reduce energy use
- 90% office lit using natural light
- 197,000 square foot green roof
- Recycled denim insulation
- Built with recycled materials
- Radiant floor heating
The California Academy of Sciences features a natural history museum, planetarium, aquarium, rain forest, African Hall and a naturalist center. Interested? Click here for hours and exhibit information.
Climate Change American Museum of Natural History
Looking for an enviromentally friendly stay-cation? Check out the climate change exhibit that opened this Saturday in New York City at the American Museum of Natural History. Has anyone visited this exhibit?
BBC NEWS Health Women 'unaware of alcohol threat'. Alcohol raises your cancer risk, not just liver cancer, but breast cancer ladies and gentlemen (men get breast cancer too). This article points to a myth that I believed until my diagnosis - breast cancer is a genetic illness that doesn't generally affect black women. Well that is far from the case. No one in my immediate family including parents, grandparents, great grandparent, cousins and second cousins had breast cancer. Cancer was the last disease on my mind. It turns out that it does impact black women, at younger ages and often in a more aggressive manner. In my research over the last year, I found that there are so many factors within your control that can reduce your risk of cancers in general. Check them out below:
1. Eat a plant based diet - at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables a day
2. Consume at least 30 grams of fiber - fiber helps flush excess toxins and hormones from your body
3. Exercise daily - at least 30 minutes a day, ideally 6 hours a week. Reduces fat and stress
4. Eat a low fat diet - fat breeds excess estrogen and testosterone, which can lead to cancer
5. Don't drink alcohol - if you can't do this, consume only for special occasions. Alcohol fuels estrogen
6. Use chemical free products - many common products contain carcinogens or hormonal disruptors
7. Avoid plastics - especially anything with recycling no. 7, may contain bpa, linked to cancer/diabetes
8. Avoid lined canned products - many canned products, especially tomatoes contain bpa
9. Use a headpiece or speaker with cell phone - claims of cancer causing radiation are not going away
10. Be positive person - maintain a positive attitude and a healthy social life, laugh and have fun
There is still so much research that needs to be conducted on this disease, there are so many unanswered questions (believe me I've asked), one being the role environmental pollutants and chemicals. Having grown up in Los Angeles, Cleveland and Detroit in the toxic smog, lead and asbestos laden seventies, on the cusp environmental regulation, I often question the role of these toxins on my diagnosis. Anyway, if you love a good glass of wine after work to chill, try yoga or a good run/walk instead, chased with a cold glass of red grape juice. You will be doing your body good and look great too!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Monday, October 13, 2008
Sunday, September 28, 2008
I'm feeling a wee bit lazy right now to provide a detailed report of our National Day of Action Green Jobs Now event. So if you don't mind, click here for photos and a report of our event. I did meet some very nice people and look forward to planning for and rebuilding an urban farm next spring at the Hitchcock Center for Women, host of the event.
Today my 14 year old reminded me of a promise made seven years ago to give him the keys to my Volvo upon his 16th birthday. That reminder prompted me to start thinking about what I will replace my ride with in 2010. I generally prefer European made cars, but have seriously thought about shifting to those made in Japan, given their solid reputations. I'm not exactly sold on the Toyota Prius stylistically, so I'm still mulling over this car buying decision. Fortunately today, I found this website, which is all about hybrid vehicles. This should help to get me off to a good start in my search for new wheels in a few years. Check it out. Hybrid Car - Hybrid Car Home - Hybridcar.com
Thank God! Wal-Mart has adding reducing plastic bag waste to its sustainability program. Perhaps other retailers will follow the lead of this Goliath. It is a personal pet peeve of mine when cashiers insist on doubling plastic bags and putting one or two items in each bag. It's almost as if they are getting a commission from the plastic industry. When you tell them you don't want a bag or to pack as much into one bag as possible, they look at you as though you are crazy and ask you to repeat your request. Then you must keep a sharp eye on their packaging techniques, because if you don't, you will still find yourself with a million plastic bags for ten items! Wal-Mart To Reduce Plastic Bag Waste 33%
I found a great EPA resource for small businesses seeking information and funding for green projects. The Bottom Line: Saving and Finding Money Small Business Gateway US EPA
Are you a scientist or engineer? Check out the EPA's program to fund research in green technology. Small Business Innovation Research NCER ORD US EPA
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Today is Green For All's National Day of Action for Green Jobs. I am headed to the Cleveland event and will take plenty of photos to post to the site. You can still participate if there is no event in your city by signing an online petition, texting a petition and uploading some green jobs shout out video's to the Green Jobs Now site.
Attention all of my writer and style maven friends. A new eco-fashion magazine is looking for freelance writers. Click here to learn more about the opportunity posted on the Greenbiz Green Dream Jobs website.
Friday, September 26, 2008
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile
Monday, September 22, 2008
Just want to give you an update on my efforts to develop a sustainable workplace. A couple of weeks ago, I introduced the concept of a sustainable workplace to some senior managers at my job with the assistance of a lovely business woman that specializes in corporate social responsibility and sustainability. Surprisingly, there was quite a bit of education that needed to be done to raise awareness of the benefits of an eco-conscious workplace (save money, retain employees, improve market share, save the planet, etc.). The lunch was a success because we were given the go ahead to speak to an even more senior level exec at corporate headquarters about the benefits of going green. Of course, I won't be talking to him, but the lovely business woman, has a lovely new opportuntity. I hope she remembers me...anyway, I was particularly excited last week, because I was told by one of my lunch guests that her consciousness was raised as a result of our discussion and everywhere she looks, she is seeing green. Now I can really relate to "be the change you wish to see in the world". I will keep you posted.
Hey! There is some good news to report. Some of my fellow black and green friends, Mike and Veronica Walton (we are one of about five black people in the city that show up at environmental events) were so inspired by my post promoting the Green For All National Day of Action, that they coordinated a green jobs event in Cleveland. The event will be held this Saturday, September 27th at the Hitchcock Center for Women and will raise awareness of and demonstrate green jobs. Many of the participants will be men and women in addiction recovery and job re-entry from incarceration. Some of the jobs that will be highlighted will be Green Roof Technology, Rain barrel and Rain Garden installation, Permeable Pavement as well as information about jobs in renewable energy such as solar and wind turbine installation/manufacturing. I wish I could have been more involved in the planning, but you can't do everything. If I can remember to charge my camera, I will share a video of the event this weekend on Black and Into Green.
Peace! Green jobs now!!
Excuse me in advance because this post is all over the place. I'm in a little bit of a funk this evening for some reason. Could it be that the economy is in such a state of turbulence that even the best minds in the country are stumped on how to straighten things out? Could it be that National Breast Cancer month is coming upon us? Though it has been over a year since I was diagnosed and my last surgery was this month and I am totally cancer free, I am still ambivalent about the fact that every magazine in the universe will be pink next month and have "Breast Cancer" plastered across the front page. I know we need the information (especially black women who suffer higher mortality rates), but for survivors these articles bring back bad memories and a certain amount of fear. Or could it be that I am really amazed that despite the fact that the economy is stormy as hell, people are dying in an unnecessary war, unemployment is rampant, our weather is freaky, health care costs are prohibitive and our children are getting dumber every year compared to our global peers- people won't vote for change because they can't get over the color of a person's skin? These people would die puking and stinking in the streets after losing their homes, healthcare and dignity before they would vote for a black man. What?! Could it be that I am seething over the fact that our black males are graduating from high school at a 35% rate in this economy and going straight to jail? Where are all of our successful men when you need them? At the club? I sure don't see as many of them in the community as I do at Happy Hour or the gym. Or could it be that I am really skeptical about the safety of almost every product that I use, because only God knows what potential havoc it may wreck on our bodies and our environment because of some toxic chemical or radiation level that our government has "determined to be safe". I can't quite put my fingers on the exact source of my funk, but I am praying for a silver lining in this cloudy period of our history and a brighter, greener, hopeful tomorrow for all of us. Thanks for listening.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
I am reading the newest book from Thomas L. Friedman, NY Times writer and author of the best selling book, "The World is Flat", which speaks to the leveling of the economic playing field around the globe rising from advances in technology and the popularity of the Internet. Mr. Friedman's newest book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded", addresses the issues of climate change, the rise in carbon copies of Americans around the globe and the impact that four of five versions of American living/demand for stuff and energy/laissez faire attitude about the environment, could have on our natural resources and quality of life. It also speaks to the rapid rise in global populations around the world and the impact on poverty and depletion of resources. Mr. Friedman is very well traveled and informed. He lays out the history of energy policy in this country and stresses the need for Americans to set a new kind of example for the world that is so eager to meet and exceed our current lifestyle and standard of living. The author has been making the rounds of morning shows and radio. Click here to view his interviews. You may purchase a copy of the book, through the "Currently Reading" link or the Amazon Green link on Black and Into Green.
I just found a cool site that has taken the time to compile a variety of lists related to eco-conscious living. There are lists for parents, fashionistas/ers, families, foodies,advocates of simple living, designers and any other green niche you could imagine, neatly compiled into one website, Organicasm. In addition to the lists of websites, you will also find various tips corresponding to your area of interest. This would be a good site to bookmark as a easy to use green reference guide.
Found this article from a 2004 piece by a Bankrate writer for the Organic Consumers Counsel on how to buy organic food on a budget. Bankrate is a provider of comparative rate information on a number of financial products. Check it out.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. I don't know about you, but I am not the kind of person that takes kindly to having to pick through items to find things that I like, so while I have found some good deals at thrift stores in my attempts to save money while saving the environment, I am not too excited by the prospect of shopping at them. I just found this website through the BohoMag page, that will take some of the guess work out of shopping at these stores. The Thrift Shopper is an online directory that provides information about locations and user ratings of thrift stores. There is even a link to a blog that covers high fashion and Goodwill shopping (never thought those two would pair up well). Happy hunting!
I saw one of the We Can Solve It ads featuring rapper Ludacris (LUDA!) and rocker Tommy Lee earlier this year. It appears that the ad has evolved into an entire television series titled, "Battleground Earth", where the two musicians and their "ecorages" compete for who can be greener, battling it out at their homes and on tour. You can find the series, which started airing in August, on Planet Green. I have been resisting the urge to increase my cable bill spending, but I might have to give in and add this to my channel lineup! This series could be a great way to get your teens and other male family members and friends interested in the environment. For more on the "green battle", click here.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Saturday, August 30, 2008
One more networking event to attend if you want to incorporate sustainability in your place of business or mingle with movers and shakers in this arena. The Corporate Climate Response Conference in Chicago, Illinois is the place to be on September 22nd.
Attention experienced engineers, sales professionals and marketing professionals. The National Association of Energy Services Companies is hosting a job fair in New York, NY on September 1oth. Go to this link to learn more.
With the economy being in a recession and rising food and energy prices worldwide, I find myself wondering about the viability of living an eco-friendly or green lifestyle for people living on tight budgets, which includes about 98% of African Americans. A constant complaint that I hear is that it is too expensive to live an eco-conscious lifestyle. A fellow brown blogger, Queen Esther, in a blog post titled "how do you go green in the ghetto?", questions the ability of struggling black families to go green. My argument to this is that it is too expensive for us not to! Growing up in Los Angeles as a poor black child and then in Cleveland and being raised by my grandmother who was always one step away from struggling, taught me that eating consciously and reducing, reusing and recycling was the natural order of things. Living a green lifestyle is not about shopping at Whole Foods, buying a hybrid vehicle, wearing bamboo clothes or living in a LEED certified "McMansion". It is about being more conscious of how you live and the impact of how you live on your body, your family, your community and the your world. It is being more careful of what kinds of foods you put in your body, even if it is as simple as avoiding processed foods and eating more of a plant based diet (beans and meat free spaghetti were a mainstay of my diet as a teen). It's making an attempt to find programs in your area that provide fresh produce or growing your garden on your balcony or in the neighborhood. Being aware of foods that contain more pesticides and speaking up to grocers in your area and demanding more locally grown foods. Cutting back on garbage sweets, snacks and crappy, happy meals that are killing us. It is much cheaper to use filtered tap water than to buy tap water pumped into petroleum based plastic bottles and it helps our environment. Living green is about "get that man's hand out of my pocket-turn off the lights". Blacks pay more for energy than any other group, we can go green and save money by better insulating our homes from the elements. Back in the day, a regular part of my fall routine was putting plastic up on the windows, thus realizing an instant savings and reduction in our carbon footprint. Being environmentally sensitive is reducing the number of chemicals we use in our homes and on our bodies. Spraying Windex was only a fantasy to me as a child, because vinegar was the cleaner of choice in our home, and baking soda was used to whiten teeth and deodorize the armpits! Miracle Grow-what was that? We used eggshell water to fertilize our indoor jungle. Going green means that you appreciate and use and reuse what you have. Clothes were worn until they didn't fit and then recycled as rags for cleaning or polishing shoes and pillow cases to decorate the sofa. I didn't learn how to drive until I was 25 because, for most of my life, public transportation took me anywhere I needed to go (I did carpool with my girls to get to clubs!). This is because, throughout our many moves, we made sure we lived on a bus line. Even when I graduated from Ohio State, I caught the bus to work and got in a good workout running and biking down the streets of Columbus, Ohio. Those weren't things that I did intentionally to be eco-conscious, they were natural behaviors tied to my upbringing. As my income grew, I actually became less "green". I moved to the suburbs, drove most of the time, had chicken or fish with every meal, used name brand cleaners in my home and purchased all kinds of knick knacks and clothes. It is only since I started to get a better understanding of the affects of chemicals, pollution and excessive energy use on myself, my family and my world that I have gone back to many of the eco-friendly behaviors of my youth, this time with a greater sense of consciousness. The hope is that as the world gains greater consciousness in this area, we ensure that our folks are not forgotten and that their needs, concerns and interests are represented in the green economy. So as Queen Esther later highlights in her post, you can go green in the ghetto, but with a different approach and mindset. Though I do feel you Queen Esther- it's a black thing and Ed Begley (bless his heart) wouldn't understand.