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.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
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.
I am getting pretty anxious here in Ohio keeping up with the news of the impending hurricane Gustav (staff of God) in the Gulf Coast area. I can't imagine the stress and tension that the residents of that area, especially New Orleans, must be feeling at this time. I am reminded of the song from Keyshia Cole's latest CD, "Here we go, going through the same thing". I hope and pray that we don't see a repeat of the indifference and incompetence that the world witnessed three years ago. It appears on the surface that residents of New Orleans are being encouraged to evacuate and plans have been made to provide access to transportation for all need citizens of the city, humans and pets included. For frequently updated information on the situation, NOLA.com, is a good website to subscribe to at this time.
Kudos to Sarah Palin for making the leap so quickly from president of the PTA to possible Vice President of the United States of the America. Her quick ascension into the national ranks of the Republican party, speaks volumes about her work ethic and political intelligence. She has however, been criticized by environmentalists for her positions on the following issues:
- Supports drilling in the Artic National Wildlife Refuge
- Sued the government to remove polar bears from the endangered species list
- Doubts that global warming is human induced
- Feels that drilling is the way to go, because alternative energy could take too long to develop
- Close ties to the oil industry
Click here to read more detail on her environmental positions.
Are you LinkedIn to like minded green business professionals? If you are a corporate sustainability professional, eco-entrepreneur, green minded business person or want to connect with individuals of that mindset, you must join the Green Business Professionals group on LinkedIn. If you are not hip to LinkedIn, you need to get on board right away. LinkedIn is a professional and business oriented social networking site. A Facebook for professionals one could say. It is a great way to introduce yourself or re-introduce yourself to your associates and their network of business people. I have found several acquaintances that I lost track of through this site and have received calls from several recruiters as well. Click here to learn more.
With the Democratic Convention behind us and the Republican Convention just ahead of us, you may be curious about the environmental impact of all of those folks gathering together. The good news is that the goal of both parties was to have a low impact, green event. This is going to be the trend in event planning around the nation, if not the world (Olympics). So if you are an event planner, party supplier or caterer, click here to get ten tips for greener meetings and events (courtesy of the Green Meeting Industry Council). The Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Conventions (CERC) is another organization you can seek advice from when planning an event. For more information on some of the behind the scene activities to "green up" the DNC event, check out this article on the Andrea Robinson, the DNC's first Director of Sustainability and Greening. (How do I get that job?)
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Are you looking to implement a sustainability program at work or in your business? Need to provide some supporting evidence to your team or senior management? Check out the book "Going Green: Outstanding Business Practices". The book provides 100 case studies of companies, non-profits, colleges and governments seeking to practice more eco-friendly business models. I plan to purchase this book in my efforts to promote sustainability in my work place. Progress is being made on that front-I have a lunch meeting in two weeks planned with senior managers and a consultant specializing in that field. You will be the first to know how it goes. It may be a hard sell in such a conservative field in a midwestern region. Wish me the best!
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Check out my most recent article featured in last week's edition of emPower Magazine. It is part of a series that outlines why African Americans should care about climate change. This week addresses the adverse potential health risks to Blacks associated with global warming. These risks include, but are not limited to, respiratory diseases, heat related illness and parasitic ailments. Want to know more? Read further here.
I am attaching this link, because, I am finding that a large percentage of African Americans have misconceptions about the dangers of CFL lightbulbs. The primary concern is that one will die or suffer from some sort of illness as a result of mercury exposure if one is dropped. Reports of the dangers of CFL's have been greatly exaggerated. One CFL light bulb contains 4 milligrams of mercury compared to 500 milligrams of mercury typically found in your average household thermometer. Many of the newer CFL's have even less mercury, 1-2 milligrams. After conveying this information to some folks, they admitted routinely playing with the silvery mercury filling from one of those thermometers when they were kids, with no ill effects as adults that they are aware of. Certainly, one needs to take precautions when handling a broken CFL light bulb, much in the same way one safely handles other potentially toxic household products such as bleach, ammonia, antifreeze, pesticides, engine oil and similar materials. In the same way that we dispose of many these types of chemicals with caution, to avoid contaminating our landfills and ground water, we are asked to dispose of CFL's with caution, as the mercury can add up quickly if millions are disposed of with normal trash. The good news is that many retailers, including Home Depot and municipalities are offering to accept your broken light bulbs, so they won't be as much of a hassle to dispose of. Though they are more expensive per bulb, each bulbs lasts up to eight years and uses about 75% less energy than an incandescent light. Who among us is not looking to save money on rising electricity bills while saving our planet as well?
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
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Saturday, August 16, 2008
I came across this cool photo of a Cleveland business doing its part for the environment as I checked out Blogger's Blogs of Note. Was pleasantly surprised to see this Cleveland Daily Photo blog featured. This picture will be my inspiration for putting together talking points this weekend for a presentation to senior management at the bank to discuss implementing a sustainability program.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Okay, so you missed your opportunity on Earth Day to promote your green agenda to family and friends. Congratulations! You have just been blessed with another opportunity to get the word out on environmental issues and it is one that your family and friends might actually care about! Green for All in partnership with several environmental organizations, is asking individuals from around the nation to host or participate in events that promote green jobs and the green economy. The event "Green Jobs Now - National Day of Action" takes place on September 27, 2008, the day after the first presidential debate. The good news is that you can have total control over the time, location and activities of the day, because you can host and plan the event. You can do this yourself or partner with a local non-profit or business to bring attention to the need for green jobs. Some of the ideas highlighted on the Green For All site:
- Photograph a group of people holding "I'm Ready" signs around a location with a green jobs theme
- Obtain signatures on a "I'm Ready for a Green Job" petition
- Host a green jobs fair or block party to educate your neighborhood, family and politicians on the opportunities and the need
- Organize a service or work project around an environmental theme, even teachers can participate through a green teach-in
Click here for more details on ideas for this event and here for general event organizing ideas. Whatever you decide to do, whether it involves you and a friend, you and your dog/cat/rabbit or you and your entire neighborhood, please be sure to capture your event on camera and upload a photo to Green for All to share.
Also, feel free to share your plans with Black and Into Green readers.
Are you tired of not hearing enough about climate change, the green economy and environmental issues from your local press - the black press in particular? One effective approach would be to write a letter to the editor to address your concerns, your point of view or to share basic information on green topics. You don't have to be an expert, just raising the issue is often enough to spur further investigation. Topics you could address:
- The Green Economy
- Green Jobs as a Pathway out of Poverty
- Environmental Issues in the Neighborhood
- Environmental Health Issues - Cancer, Diabetes, Asthma and Allergies
- Green Affordable Housing
- Diversity in your Local Environmental Circles
- Greening your Schools and Daycare Centers
For more information on these topics, you can do a search on Black and Into Green, as I have written on many of these or click on the eco-links provided on this site and in this post. We Can Solve It and Green For All have provided tips and toolkits on writing these kinds of pieces on their sites. Ideally, the best time to bring attention to your issue in this way is to time it to a current environmental or economic event. Check out the next post for information a nationwide Green For All event planned for September 27, 2008.
If you would like, you could post via comments, copies of your letters to the editor, to share with and inspire other Black and Green readers.
Ladies and gentlemen - boot up your Word software and commence to writing!
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Friday, August 8, 2008
Found this article on Huffington Post Green about the favorite eco-friendly brands of Generation Y, also known as Millenials. These are individuals born in the early 80's to early 90's. It also provides some additional background about the green choices of this age group. Check it out. If you are a business owner, a non-profit manager, a youth counselor or an educator, this information may help you to effectively promote your products, services and/or knowledge to this age group.
"One man's trash is another man's treasure." There is a program in Cleveland, Ohio that lives that statement. ZeroLandfill NE Ohio, works with companies to provide materials originally headed for the dumpster, to artists in need of supplies. The company primarily works with architectural and interior design firms to transfer items such as carpet, fabric and tile samples, wallcovering books and three ring binders to artists and educators. More than 100,000 pounds of materials have been diverted from the landfill and tens of thousands of dollars in waste management costs and fuel costs have been saved by the design businesses participating in this initiative.
I love how Mike Dungan one of the creators of the program, was able to take something as mundane as a carpet sample and re-envision it as contributing to a beautiful piece of art. I remember as a child in Los Angeles, spending hours playing with discarded wallcovering samples (makes great paper dolls) and telephone wire (colorful jewelry). It is great to know that these kinds of materials are being used on a wider scale for the benefit of young artists today.
Keep up the great work Mike!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
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Are you in the market for a green job or green career? Sustainable Business makes it possible for you to stay informed of sustainable career opportunities available throughout the United States. You can get an RSS feed of green job openings and search for positions by skill level and category.
I haven't had time to digest the energy plan from Barack Obama, though I must admit that I was concerned about the change in his position on offshore drilling. I know that he is the candidate of change, but I am starting to worry about some of the changes he has made on positions in recent months. Anyway, it appears based on this video that he is open to drilling on reserves that have already been allocated for drilling, but for some reason remain untapped (maybe to encourage limited supplies or it isn't even worth the upfront expense to tap). This is why you go directly to the source rather than rely on headlines. Many environmentalists are against drilling because of negative environmental impacts to the ocean floor and the need to reduce our dependency on oil derived energy. Others argue that it will take up to ten years to deliver the oil once drilling commences and the supply that will be available will hardly make a dent on our daily thirst for this black commodity. I would love to understand what the true financial incentive is among oilmen and politicians for offshore drilling based on this argument. Some say that the very mention of the possibility of drilling for more oil has a psychological impact on the markets and will at least temporarily reduce gas prices. In recent days, the price of oil has plummeted, in large part though because we have reduced demand via a reduction in driving and the threat of a weakened U.S. economy. Imagine, by reducing our consumption of oil through conservation, avoiding plastics and other petroleum based products, we can save money and save the earth. Less is actually more!
Monday, August 4, 2008
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I thought today's Daily Word set the right mental tone for my very green birthday eco-tour! A great way to start a new year of life in appreciation for the natural wonders nurturing us and surrounding us:
Young at Heart
I welcome new experiences and meet each day with childlike wonder.
To a child, each new day is a new adventure, for it holds opportunities for learning--ideas to explore, feelings to experience. Children greet each day with an open mind and an eagerness to learn.
As a child of God, I look forward to a new beginning every day. A cheerful heart helps me meet every opportunity with childlike trust in right results.
I consider that even a challenge is an opportunity for me to make new choices. And, like a child delighted by a first snowfall or surprised by the first taste of a delicious food, I find joy in every moment.
The assurance that God's spirit is within me and in every situation puts a song in my heart and a smile on my face. I am truly blessed to be young at heart.
"Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, 'We have seen strange things today.'"--Luke 5:26
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Tomorrow August 4th, is your girl's birthday! Woo Hoo! I will have made it through another year - a little wiser, a few more grays, a lot greener and through God's grace-much healthier than 2007. Today, since I am currently single, I am making my own birthday plans. Not to worry though, my son will be my faithful companion for the day. I have been exploring the idea of taking an eco-friendly, stay-cation on the west side of Cleveland. Cleveland is a very polarized city, racially and geographically. Eastsiders rarely venture to the west side and Westsiders are typically unfamiliar with the east side. So spending anytime longer than a couple of hours in multiple locations is almost the same as visiting another city. Anyway, there are several green businesses on the other side of town that I have been wanting to explore. Here is a rough agenda for my very green birthday:
Prayer and meditation
Cup of mint tea from the garden
Yoga if available at the gym, if not 3 mile run
Buy myself a birthday present online from CROW and Sha Dou - gotta support your black and green businesses right?
Use my Donors Choose money to give to a green school program
Vegetarian breakfast featuring fair trade coffee at Phoenix Coffee
Drive to Rocky River, Ohio (western suburb)
Shop at Planet Green, which specializes in locally made eco-friendly items
Walk over to Paper Trails, an eco-conscious stationery shop, to buy some cool paper, my son can get some paper for his Keeping Green business
Stroll over to Ten Thousand Villages, a national retailer, specializing in fair trade products from around the world
Lunch at a restaurant featuring lots of vegetarian and vegan options, I will ask the owners of the retailers visited in the morning for some suggestions.
Drive to the Ohio City/Tremont area
Visit the Cleveland Environmental Center a green building housing environmental organizations
Join the Cleveland Green Building Coalition and get information on taking LEED exams
Check out Eco Village, an experimental sustainable housing and community development
Dinner at the Great Lakes Brewing Company, a popular location among local greenies due to its sustainable business practices, great food and brews
Birthday cake and coffee at Truffles Pastry Shop - a beloved bakery in Lakewood, Ohio famous for its delicious pastries
Maybe catch a movie
Come home, chill, and thank God for the great green day we had!
So that is the plan. I will let you know how it works and snap some photos throughout my stops on my great green birthday. I may even extend my Cleveland eco-tour in celebration of a great green birthweek, the culmination of which would partying at the Burning River Fest on August 9th!
I would love to have the gift of your ideas on more eco-friendly activities for a great green birthweek.
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Saturday, August 2, 2008
We all know that fries, chips and cheesy nachos are fattening and can clog the arteries. Who knew they could be potentially cancerous? Well, a recent settlement of a lawsuit by major french fry and potato chip makers will ensure that this information is displayed on product labels or that they reduce the levels of acrylamide, the cancer causing chemical. Acrylamide is found naturally in some products like coffee or prune juice and created by baking or frying of carbohydrates. Affected foods would include potatoes, crackers, chips and cookies. Raw or boiled starches do not contain acrylamides. The substance was found to cause tumors in laboratory animals in high doses, but human studies have been inconclusive. Research shows that one would have to consume extreme amounts of these starchy foods in a single day to be subject to the negative affects of the acrylamide. For more information on this topic click here. As far as I am concerned, this is just one more reason for me to ask for fruit to replace the fries when I dine out-and feel really good about it!
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