Monday, March 30, 2009
- Check out my black bean quesadillas (courtesy of Cooking Light Magazine)! I am stuffed, even Mike is stuffed which says a lot for a 6' + teenager. This is a fiber and calcium rich food, both essential for optimum health. Black beans are also known to be a super food. Quick and dirty recipe:
Music (Wes Montgomery for me tonight)
24 oz black beans (1/2 mashed)
1 cup Low-fat Monterey Jack Cheese
1 thinly sliced jalapeno
8 whole grain tortillas
Tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix mashed black beans with remaining beans. Spread on 4 tortillas, add cheese and pepper slices. Top with remaining tortillas. Cook each oiled skillet for 2-4 minutes each. Chop avocado, add lime, salt and whatever else you like with your avocados. Throw on top of quesidillas. Enjoy and wash down with some Trader Joe's mango lemonade. Say "Ahh!" The leftovers make a good breakfast, lunch or snack.
If my girl from Quiskaeya says that this is some good stuff, then darn it, I'll try it! Just in time for spring cleaning learn all about eco-friendly, animal friendly Charlies Soap products. Psst. You may qualify for some free stuff, but be careful, that how they get you hooked!
I spent my Earthhour in the garden, clearing leaves, sticks and acorns by soy candlelight (mango coconut). Last year I played Mancala with my son, but he chose to hang out with his buddies this year (humpf!). The good news is that they were outside and not inside with the XBox. I had a good time anyway, reconnecting with the land after a long cold winter and getting a little exercise. The weirdest thing that happened was that I had two "aliens" and one alien focused radio show follow me on Twitter. A little creepy, but different. Anyway, check out this video courtesy of the Boston Globe of international landmarks going dark. Its pretty powerful. Makes you want to visit these places. (Click on the photo to see the Earthhour transformation)
You are probably going to throw up if I give you one more article on green jobs. Well, get your barf bags out, because here is one more article on green jobs, compliments of Greenbiz.com. Hey! We are at the forefront of a brave new green economy, might as well be ready.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
I am responsible for setting the agenda, finding the speaker and leading the next Middle Market banking sales meeting . You know what I was thinking when I found this out right? Hmmm. "How can leverage this opportunity to squeeze in a little environmental education?" Generally speaking, unless you are talking about making sure there are no environmental issues with a property being considered for financing, your average commercial banker is very conservative and just not that into sustainability. That is changing, but verrrrry slowly in the Midwest. Anyway, I am planning to at least get the topic on the radar next month, via a presentation on energy conservation leases. What is an energy conservation lease? Simple, it is a type of loan that factors the cost savings that one will achieve through investments in their buildings that reduce energy and water usage, into their ability to pay the loan. For example:
Joanne has an older building that has generates very high gas bills. She decides to make some investments in windows, insulation and solar panels that will save her $1000 a month. That $1000 savings is included in the debt service (ability to pay the loan) calculation along with the net profits of her business.
The benefit to the banker of this vehicle is that we generate interest income. You always have to lead with the financial benefits when you are talking to bankers! Though unlike some financial products developed over the last decade, an energy conservation lease is a win-win for banker, building owner, consumer and the planet!
We can never have enough resources for finding deals on green stuff. Check out the sites listed on the blog of my fellow Clevelander turned Tacomaian, Green For The Rest of Us, for more money saving opportunities. The list includes to sites for parents.
Saturday, March 28, 2009
Our lovely First Lady Michelle Obama has inspired us all to get green and dirty by planting a victory garden on the grounds of the White House. Talk about eco-feminism! I have to pinch myself whenever I see that we have such an amazing woman co-leading our nation (behind every man....). Anyway, did you notice that how involved the community into her efforts? If you are interested in starting a community garden or working with one, check out this comprehensive post from my favorite gardening website You Grow Girl. I am going to work on a community garden at an organization in Cleveland that provides rehabilitation services for women. I will be sure to post as I dig in! Just remember gardens can be beautiful as well as functional, be sure to toss in some edible flower seeds into your communities plot. In some areas flowers are a rare site. "Flowers are words which even a babe may understand." Arthur Cleveland Coxe
You may have heard of eco-apartheid, eco-colonialism and eco-diversity, but are you familiar with eco-feminism? I know some of you will be very interested in this article. I am woman hear me roar....about mother earth. We woman always add a unique spin and perspective right?
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Insurance companies are taking a closer look at potential risks of loss due to climate change. They are being asked by their governing bodies to evaluate exposure to losses as a result of weather related calamities, including wildfires, floods and wind damage. They are also being asked to better engage customers and policyholders on the issue of global warming and plans for reducing personal losses as a result of catastrophes. Travelers Insurance is ahead of the game, having created a green building policy for small business owners and premium discounts for hybrid vehicle owners. The green building policy will provide coverage for owners that have had losses, to rebuild, renovate or replace with green building practices.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The first tranche of the $8B in weatherization stimulus dollars is on it's way to your state. If you work for a low income organization or advocate on behalf of low income families, now is a good time to request information on funding. The monies coming from the Department of Energy, can be used for such things as home energy audits, retrofitting of state and local government buildings, purchase of Energy Star appliances and energy conservation education. Click here for more information. Contractors are you on top of this opportunity?
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Okay ladies, I know that you are filing, soaking, scrubbing and moisturizing this month so you can get those feet ready for some sexy spring gladiator sandals. You are also hitting the gym or the streets to get ready for beach season and may be in need of some new sneaks. But you are no ordinary lady, you are a conscious woman, so you need some conscious kicks. What in the heck are conscious kicks and where do you get them? Eco Shoe Source is a new blog that gives you the lowdown on eco-friendly shoes of all categories, including vegan, sustainable, vintage, ethical, fair trade and all styles - athletic, designer, sandals and boots. You can now go green from head to toe. Be sure to point out to your admirers of the provenance of your fashionable footwear. Thank you Eco Shoe Source!
I am so loving my new Green Bible! Inside you will find poetry, essays and green guides for Sunday School lessons. These features make reading the bible an even more pleasant and spiritual experience than usual. A search for a connection to God coupled with a love of nature drew me to want to know more about God's relationship and thoughts about nature. I started on my green spiritual journey several years ago, when I tried to grow a bible garden. Unfortunately Cleveland, Ohio, doesn't have the warm, sunny arid temperatures to successfully grow bible plants. So my garden is more inspired by the bible (and Africa), featuring vines, trees, stones and many bibically named plants. Did you know that trees, those great givers of oxygen, are mentioned 1,000 times and are featured in the first (Alpha) and last (Omega) chapters? Who knew? You will have a new respect for trees after reading this book. This green bible is truly amazing and wonderful. If you love God, nature, the environment and your neighbors of the world, you will fall in love with the bible all over again and look at the world from a fresh perspective. Spring is a perfect time for love and renewal so check it out for yourself! (You can buy it right on this site in the "Currently Reading" section, how convenient!)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
Our finances are not the only aspects of our lives affected by deregulation. This same lack of oversight has cause a meltdown in the lives of people who have died of cancer (who knows how many) as result of the synthetic estrogen BPA, found in common everyday household items-canned food, baby bottles, cups, dishes, you name it. Finally, legislators are promising to take action to ban this dangerous substance, please write your representative, to ensure they remain committed. People are dying for a bailout.
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Since the thrift store closed in 15 minutes, I thought I would take a trip to Anthropologie to compare goods and prices. Do these floral saucers look familiar? Very similar to the saucers at Thriftique right? Only these are $34 bucks. They are actually measuring cups, but can't you just see yourself using these to make some lemon cupcakes? I was able to restrain myself and pass them by...for now at least.
As I stepped into Thriftique, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was no musty, old scent. Relief. Quickly surveying the store, I realized that I wasn't going to make any clothing purchases (there was one lonely rack of clothes), but there was a strong possibility of finding some deals on household items. Sure enough, just in time for spring, there was a nice selection of vases, dishes, and cloth napkins. In fact, the napkins featured in the photo, are comparable to the colorful, fun, napkins I would find at Anthropologie. Major difference, these were four for $2.50 vs. one for $6 at my fav store. Not off to a bad start, except for the fact that I left my wallet at home! I'll be baaaack.
Finally, a Saturday with no obligations, just time to relax, play cards with my son and go thrifting! As you can see from the photo, I was a little excited about my thrifting adventure. My destination for the day was TGP, which supports The Gathering Place (a place for those touched by cancer). Fifteen minutes later, I found myself in front a CLOSED sign. What!? It turns out that thrift stores don't have mall hours. TGP closes at 4pm. But....Thriftique, right next door was open until 5pm. It was 4:45pm, so I had to work fast. Check out my next post for details on my findings.
Friday, March 13, 2009
As a banker this piece of news caught my eye - the Small Business Administration is offering "green financing" of up to $4 million to small business owners pursuing green projects. Examples of projects include:
- Construction and renovation projects which incorporate energy savings or use of alternative energy
- LEED building projects
The benefits of pursuing an SBA loan include, preference to diverse business owners, longer terms (lower payments), lower rates and lower equity requirements (10% vs. 15-20%). Click here to search for an SBA office near you.
Another source of funding for small businesses with green initiatives are state programs, contact your state's development office for more information.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Need funding, exposure and support for your New York green business? There is a great opportunity for emerging green businesses to earn not only cash, but the following:
- Legal services
- Public Relations services
- Office Space
- Advertising on Grist
- Accounting services
Enter a competition for the best green business plan, but hurry it ends March 22, 2009.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I know that many of you are "going green" experts, particularly in a niche area. That is great! You have accumulated some green capital as a result of your consciousness, that may be converted to cash via sustainability consulting. Not sure? Check out this post from the Bright Green Talent (green recruiters) blog that may bring some clarity to your confusion. Be sure to read part II of the series.
I would elaborate, but I'm blogged out for the day!
My grandmother Gloria - always ahead of the trends- showed me this cool purse the other day that she purchased at an art festival about ten years ago. It is made from recycled rubber tires. She claims that at the time I thought it was ugly. Never! Well maybe, but now.....I have got to have it! Hmm. Maybe she will trade for some home baked goodies...
The moral of this story...listen to your elders. They know what's up quite frequently!
I felt compelled to purchase this book at Whole Foods today, though I was a little suspicious of it's claims. My thinking is, if this stuff really works, then why do so many people continue to suffer from these ailments? But then, coming from a vitamin and supplement addicted family, I resolved that it couldn't hurt to at least be knowledgeable of natural alternatives, so I splurged and plunked down $7.99 for a copy. Hey, it was even endorsed by natural medicine guru, Dr. Andrew Weil! In addition to covering herbal solutions for conditions from A-Z, there are sections on safety, shopping for, growing and storing green "pharmecuticals" and methods of concoction and application. My sister bought me a pocket guide to herbs a couple of years ago which gave me a new respect for the healing powers of everyday plants in the garden, parking lot and wooded areas. This book will take you to another level of independence and control over your body, though I would always consult with my doctor for major or persistant health issues.
- Drink 10 to 12 glasses of water daily (whoa!)-add a splash of lemon juice to one or two glasses
- Eat at least three servings of high quality protein - low-fat cheese and yogurt, eggs, beans, nuts, chicken and fish. Protein is essential in rebuilding tissue. Who knew?
- Eat lots of fruit (bananas, cantaloupe and pineapple especially good) and leafy green veggies
- Maintain a stable blood sugar level by eating at least 5 times a day - 3 meals, 2 snacks
- Avoid fried, refined and processed foods - they actually block the healing process
- Do not restrict your calories, your body needs the nutrition to heal, but eat wisely
- I save this one for last, because I don't like it - avoid caffeine (boo!) - it dehydrates you (you can always offset it with more water right?)
This actually sounds like the way that I eat daily, minus the heavy doses of protein and 4 or 5 glasses of water, which are the two essential keys to healing. I like this particular article, because it includes some yummy recipes. There are multiple meat based recipes, but vegan and vegetarian recipes are also represented. These tips work well for any type of surgery, including labor.
Let the healing begin!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Barron's magazine thinks these five companies, focused on alternative energy are safe bets for your struggling 401K plan:
- Waste Management
- FLB Group
- Jacob Engineering
- Eaton Corp (Cleveland! I recently attended a great presentation on their social responsibility process)
This is the best green jobs for professionals article that I have seen in a while, it highlights companies that are committing more to greening their businesses, unique green careers, strategies for those changing careers and educational opportunities.
Industries that may benefit from the stimulus package:
- Construction (many green applications here - architecture, weatherization, landscaping)
- The Green Sector - carbon trading, event planning, waste management, green design,
- Medical Information Technology
- Energy and Utilities
- Federal government
See the full article from Yahoo!
Monday, March 9, 2009
Looking for more details on opportunities in the green industry? The Sierra Club has put together a 46 page report on the state of and future of green jobs in America. The report assesses opportunities, labor and wage issues of the the environmental energy, primarily around the areas of manufacturing, construction, alternative energy and recycling. While the emphasis is on high quality living wage blue collar jobs, keep in mind that where there are blue collar workers, there are managers, engineers, accountants, HR professionals, salespersons and marketing folks. So if you like many Americans, are evaluating your current career and its viability against what the future holds in employment, it may bode you well to check out this report.
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
CNN reporter Sean Calleb highlighted the limitations of families getting by on food stamps last month. Check out his blog posts chronicling his attempt to live on a $176 food budget (what a single person would qualify for in New Orleans, LA). At first I was dismayed by his initial food choices early in the month (processed packaged foods), but encouraged that he learned that actually was cheaper and healthier to purchase fresh or frozen foods and prepare for himself. Though you pay in time (planning, preparing and cleaning). Sean received many emails, including one that suggested that we return to growing community gardens. His experience caused me to wonder how much my conscious eating habits would change if I had to rely on food stamps. Here are a few thoughts:
- My diet would evolve around beans -soup, stew, casseroles, fritters, hummus and falafel
- Eggs would be featured more often in dinner entrees via frittatas and omelets
- Breakfast - oatmeal, toast, fruit, eggs
- Would bake my own bread - quick breads for breakfast, yeast breads for lunch/dinner, more cornbread and biscuits and homemade cookies
- Whole wheat pasta with bean or ground turkey/chicken as secondary proteins
- Grow my own produce via home or community garden, freeze and can excess
- Pick fruit and veggies from farms that allow this (freeze and can)
- Buy in-season produce or frozen produce
- Eat more soups
- Drink a lot more water and green tea (loose leaf home brewed) to stay full
- Buy in bulk and purchase concentrated juice products
- Would have to limit organic to "dirty dozen", sale items and buy in bulk when on sale
- Eat a more vegetarian/vegan lifestyle (would have to evaluate cost of protein substitutes like tempeh, seitan and tofu, though I would have to watch the soy given my history)
- Fiber, fiber, fiber...keeps you full and flushes out disease causing toxins
Would you be able to live as consciously or organically? How?
Sunday, March 1, 2009
I guess we just saw too many Mr. Whiffle commercials in our youth. Americans can't seem to give up their fluffy bear bottom friendly toilet paper, though our rainforests and water supplies are at risk due to this need for softness down under. Recycled toilet paper constitutes only 2% of our toilet paper purhases compared to 20% in Europe. The economy may wipe out this disparity however, as fluffy toilet papers sales were down 7% in 2008. One problem I have with recycled toilet paper, though I use it 75% of the time, is that you seem to need more, which kind of defeats the purpose of buying recycled. After reading this article, I will continue to rough it out for the rainforest.
This article chronicles how a rural boy's contempt for his local agricultural products evolved to love and appreciation for the products of his Oregon homestead, decades and many miles traveled later. Second time this week, someone spoke of European's appreciation for foods of their region and even their own backyards over foreign imports. With gardening season upon us in Zone 6 (formerly Zone 5), now is a great time to take stock of local products, seeds and plants.
For years now, folks have been saying that if the United States got onboard and took some leadership in reducing global warming, the rest of the world would follow. This article from the NYT reflects just how quickly the rest of world is lining up since President Obama's time in office. There will still be challenges in Washington and abroad to generating an agreement that world leaders and populations can live with, but we are marching in the right direction and President Obama is one heck of a drum major! And you know how they do it.
Wow! I could really relate to the sentiments expressed by environmentalist, Sanjayan, in this Time Magazine article. Especially as I attended a number of green events last month. Highlights from the article:
- An incredible lack of racial and economic diversity exists in the environmental movement
- Needs to reflect the growing diversity of the United States
- Perception exists that only wealthy white liberals can afford to "go green"
- Difficult to relate to groups that don't seem to reflect your culture, lifestyle
- Suggests green groups diversify their workforce and identify and recruit students of color
- Encouraged by exposure and activities of environmental justice and green jobs activists, Van Jones and Majora Carter
- I would add - seek diverse representation on boards, advertise or write in culturally diverse media outlets, educational programs to K-12 urban schools, fraternities and sororities and business groups, aggressively seek representation at events, seek diversity training
Though I am a fearless networker, I have found that it is definitely more comfortable to attend these events with a friend or another African American, because sometimes there is a feeling of "what are you doing here?". This way both of you can network together, without that awkward feeling. Maybe, I am paranoid (not a personal trait), but the very fact that I feel this way, tells me that at least organizers should make a better effort to make "minorities" feel welcome. Another benefit of cultural, racial and economic diversity is that organizations can achieve the successes of of corporations that have diverse boards- greater performance metrics vs those entrenched in the "old boy" network. A broad range of backgrounds, styles, experiences and approaches spurs innovation and gains in market share. And Lord knows we need innovation in this country now more than ever.