Sunday, January 31, 2010

Raw Food Singles

Looking for someone that doesn't think about raw meat when you tell them that you enjoy raw food? Raw Food Repair, a great blog for raw food lovers, has posted a few ideas and websites for meeting like minded raw food singles. Check it out. Right in time for Valentines Day.

Raw Food Restaurants Across America

Planning your spring vacation? Check out this list of raw food eateries across the country so that you can stay on track of your healthy eating plan.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Talking Points For Dealing With Climate Change Skeptics

Sometimes you hear some pretty good arguments against the case of human induced climate change. Statistics are cited and studies are touted. Hmm. Makes you wonder, "Could I be wrong?" Well wonder no more, my friends! I have linked to a great article on Grist that counters every conceivable climate change skeptic argument bantered about.

Turning The Table On The Climate Change Debate

Once a spinner of talking points for the Republican party's environmental messages, Frank Luntz, has seen the light. He is now working his messaging magic on behalf of the environmentally correct to help gain more support for action on climate change. Luntz believes that talking points should center around four key areas:

  • Energy independence
  • Good health
  • American jobs
  • Accountability for businesses and corporations
By sticking to these messages, environmentalists and politicians can seriously expand the base of support for climate change initiatives. Click here to read more of Luntz's commentary.

EPA and Congressional Black Caucus Announce Environmental Justice Tour

The EPA and the Congressional Black Caucus (Energy and Environment Taskforce) have scheduled environmental justice tours in many states across the nation. Expanding the environmental conversation and environmental justice are key priorities for the EPA. It is great to see this collaboration between the Obama administration and the CBC. The CBC Energy and Environment Taskforce addresses issues on green jobs, alternative energy and enviromental justice as they relate to African Americans. (News to me.) Last week, officials were in Mississippi, today they are scheduled to be in New Orleans. Click here to learn more about the initiative.

Lisa P. Jackson, Head of EPA Announces Top Seven Priorities

Now that Mrs. Jackson, Head of the Environmental Protection Association, has had a few months on the job to review and assess the current state of the environment in the U.S., she has announced seven key priorities for the EPA's future. Here they are:

  1. Taking action on climate change (she has already taken aggressive steps in this direction)
  2. Improving Air Quality
  3. Assuring the safety of chemicals (can you say BPA?)
  4. Cleaning up our communities (all communities)
  5. Protecting America's waters (you know, toxins from manufacturing outputs and medicines that we flush)
  6. Expanding the conversation on environmentalism and working for environmental justice (this mission of this blog)
  7. Building strong state and tribal partnerships (collaboration is key)
Click here if you want additional details.

Sounds like a great top seven. I'm in!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

The right to clean air and safe walkable neighborhoods, clean water, access to healthy food, food and products safe from toxic chemicals and living wage jobs in the new green economy- these are basic rights that I think Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have been at home fighting for in 2010. You know he would be all over the Haitian situation now. Fortunately for us, young folks continue to follow his example through actions to improve the quality of life for economically disadvantaged and disenfranchised people. Read more here and check out the video to learn of one young man's journey from the mean streets, to prison, to college to community activism.

I am celebrating his legacy today in a couple of different ways. Currently, I'm attending an amazing musical presentation at the art museum by the children's group, Motivation Through Excellence. The kids are extremely talented and tearing down the house! My son is volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, which is packed today. I'm going to make a donation to Green For All and then make a cake in honor of Dr. King (I'm biting off of my friend Michael's idea). If I have time left, I will work on my exhibitor solicitation letters for a regional women's economic development summit, I'm involved with this spring.

Thank you Dr. King for your dreams, example, courage and legacy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Timberland/Yele Launches Bootwear Collection To Benefit Haiti Environment

Strap on your Tims and give Haiti a helping hand. In November, Timberland and Wyclef Jean's foundation, Yele Haiti launched a partnership as part of Earthkeepers 2009. Timberland introduced a collection of t-shirts and 16 eco-conscious boots, made from recycled and organic materials. Two dollars will be donated to Yele for the purpose of rebuilding Haiti's de-forested environment. Deforestation was becoming a problem in Haiti, as poor citizens were using the trees to make charcoal for fuel. Deforestation causes many latent environmental problems, including, increase in carbon emissions, erosion of soil, loss of wildlife and the balance it brings, increased temperatures and vulnerability to hurricanes. So this was a huge need in November, you can imagine the depth and breadth of the need in the wake of the earthquake, which is why funds are being reallocated towards the relief efforts. Click here to view photos from the launch party.

Raw Food Recipes To Heal The Heart In Raw Times

In between working, watching the Haitian crisis unfold on the news, researching relief organizations, working out and being a Mom, I have tried to maintain balance by doing something I enjoy - trying out new raw food recipes. Raw food is the ultimate in eco-conscious eating - it's animal friendly, good for the earth, easy on the wallet and great for your body. My one complaint, is that it isn't accessible for everyone, given the lack of fresh food in many urban areas. This is changing however, as community, school and urban gardens are making inroads in providing good, fresh food for all people.

Anyway, I am always looking for ways to keep the raw food experience fresh. Two cookbooks that I rely on are featured in the Winter Reading section of this blog, The Raw 50 by Carol Alt and Ani Phyo's Raw Food Kitchen. The first photo, Avo-Corn Stuffed Tomato, is a recipe from Carol's book. It was good, but I think it will taste better in the summer when tomatoes are fresher. For now, I would leave out the tomato based dressing and just enjoy it stuffed with the avocado-corn mixture.

The second photo features several recipes, marinated portabella mushroom "steaks", mashed cauliflower (recipe in the latest VegNews Magazine or versions of them in Ani Phyo's book) and  a crispy green salad with a thick and creamy sage pepper dressing (Carol Alt).  I enjoyed this meal very much. The dressing would make a great dip for in between meals raw snacking.

So remember to take care of yourself by finding balance in life and enjoying something you like (that likes you too). You will be in a much stronger position to take care of others.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Fellow Blogger's Thoughts About The Tragedy In Her Homeland of Haiti

One of my favorite bloggers, Ana of Quiskaeya blog, comments on the Haitian tragedy and provides additional links to charities that she likes.

A Word From Haitian National Coalition For The Environment

If  you are like me, you are still in shock and pain over the devastation Haitians are facing in the wake of the horrific earthquake. I think that African Americans will be following this story for many months as it appears that many portions of the country will need to be reconstructed. There are many charities that are accepting donations and hopefully you have given. (Text "yele" at 501501 or "haiti" at 90999, to donate $5 or $10 via your cellphone). I found this assessment of Haiti's strengths, weaknesses, challenges, opportunities and needs from a Haitian environmental organization. I think reading this assessment will give you a good foundation for understanding this country.

An affiliated organization, Konbit Pou Ayiti (Working Together for Haiti), is providing regular updates on the earthquake situation via its website. Click here to learn more.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scenes From The Winter Garden

In the last few years, I have gradually added plants and structures that add winter interest to the garden. Photo 1) Annabelle Hydrangea looks great all year. The crunchy flowers seen here are great for fall dried flower bouquets and Christmas tree ornaments. Photo 2) Here in the side garden, my arbor, tossed about by the wind for the second time. If you use your imagination, you can see how nice it would have looked behind the sunflower stalks and rustic vase. The two round objects are frozen pumpkins. I'm adding another arbor in the front garden this spring, it will support native trumpet vine and grapes. Photo 3) In moderate weather, birds love to bathe and cats love to drink out of this birdbath. I keep it up in the winter for its shapely structure and reminder of the spring to come. Photo 4) Minature boxwoods. They add a bit of height in the winter and spring to my front border garden. Completely disappear in the summer and fall behind blooming plants. Photo 5) This is the weeping native redbud that sits on my tree lawn. In the spring it is covered with pink blossoms, and later fills out with large heart-shaped leaves. It will grow to about 10 feet. The crooked branches provide winter appeal.

Tune In To These Green Radio Shows

Found a few green radio programs that you may want to add to your favorites:

Heritage Radio Network - Housed in two shipping containers with an organic green roof. Features farmers, chefs, artists and artisans of the green kind. (Brooklyn, N.Y.)

An Organic Conversation - Hosted by an organic foods activist and musicians, topics centered around healthy living and green choices. (San Francisco)

Go Green Sangha - Created and hosted by woman extraordinaire, Ananda Leeke and covers green living, mindfulness, arts, inner healing and innerpreneurship. Very informative and relaxing. (Washington, D.C.)

The Food Chain - Hard-hitting food policy issues.

Living On Earth - Weekly public radio environmental news and information program.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Financing Your Green Business: A Banker's Perspective

(I am reposting this for the new year) As a banker, I often get requests to find resources for financing a green business. My response to that question, based on my research to date, is that there are limited funding and financing programs available specifically for green business, fewer for small green businesses. Prior to the economic downturn, there was a growing interest in funding of alternative energy businesses by venture capitalists, while there is still interest, investors are favoring lower cost, quicker return energy projects. Interested in learning more about the world of private investment capital? The Green Venture Capital website is an excellent resource.

There are a number of green banks across the country, New Resource Bank in California, Shorebank in the state of Washington and E3 Bank in Pennsylvania (still seeking funding itself). Wells Fargo is one of the traditional banks that has gone beyond constructing green buildings to financing green construction for their clients - committing $2 million in loans towards this endeavor. You will generally find that your bank will be more interested in how much green your business generates than how green your bank is. So you may have to turn to the government for additional investment. While each state has it's own unique programs, I would encourage to you investigate the following funding sources for your green business:

  • Small Business Association (SBA) 7A and CAP (working capital) and 504 programs (capital projects)
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI's) - non-traditional lenders targeting businesses that provide a benefit to the community, including environmental
  • State Office of Development innovation fund programs (high potential, growth businesses)
  • State Office of Energy Efficiency (tax credit and grant programs)
  • EPA and National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research grants
  • Department of Agriculture, Interior and Transportation Small Business Innovation grants
  • City Economic Development Office micro-loan programs
  • Ideal Cafe - Small grants awarded by other entrepreneurs
  • Investment in Energy Efficient Technology/Building Improvements - energy savings reduce overhead expenses, reducing the need for working capital financing. Larger investments can be financing through leases or a performance contract. Click here.
  • Factoring and invoice discounting - involves the sale of or use of your receivables as collateral. Check out the wiki. Definitely speak with your banker or attorney before going this route.
  • Whole Foods Market, finances small local producers
Ready to get started? Click on this link to Business.Gov, complete the form and you will be directed to resources that meet your specific need in your state. It's an awesome tool.
My next post on this topic will be on guerilla fundraising for your green business, because all of these sources require you to post your own equity. So get ready to hustle!
Feel free to contact me at for further information. Please feel free to share your financing sources using the comment form.

Monday, January 4, 2010

John Mackey and Whole Foods:

John Mackey and Whole Foods: For you Whole Foods shoppers here is a chance to learn a bit more than you want to know about its' CEO, John Mackey. He recently stepped down as chairman of the board, but remains CEO. I stopped shopping there last summer, after John Mackey's health care editorial in the Wall Street Journal was published. Much of my grocery shopping is now done at the Food Co-op, where "food is for people, not for profit". Though it is aesthetically no where close to Whole Foods Market, I can find bulk items, raw food ingredients, organic items, soaps, vitamins, green periodicals, fair trade chocolate, smoothies and fresh organic fruits and veggies. I don't get the variety, but most of my basic weekly foods needs have been met there. Some items are priced higher (if they are too much higher, I get them from the organic section of Giant Eagle), but most are on par with Whole Foods Market and other natural food store prices. I actually like shopping at the co-op, I like the hippie vibe of it all. Interested in shopping at a Food Co-op? Click here for a directory of stores in your community.

Cool, Ethical, Organic and Tres Chic Fashion

Okay, I know we should be buying local, but I couldn't pass up sharing information about this French organic fashion website, Machja. Les vetements sont tres chic et belle!

Guilt Free Instant Hot Cocoa Hard To Come By

With all the snow, frost threats and a long spell of frigid temperatures around the country, you might be thinking of taking in a nice hot mug of hot cocao. In the past, you would have grabbed a package from your local grocers hot chocolate section, but no more. Now you want hot cocoa that tastes good and makes you feel good too, because it is sourced from pesticide free, fair trade farms in Africa. It warms your gut and your heart, as you know that small children have not been forced to skip school because they were too busy spraying pesticides and harvesting cocoa. One catch though, these hot cocoas require a greater financial commitment, so you want to purchase wisely right? Check out this humorous product review provided by Grist. You will find that ultimately, if you want something good, you have to put in a little work yourself.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Gloria's 2010 Green Goals

Well, it's that time of the year again. Time to reflect, assess and re-evaluate.Last year, I purchased more local and organic food, incorporated more vegan and raw foods into my diet, ventured back into thrift stores for fashion purchases,bought less stuff, introduced a few business groups to the green economy, invested in socially responsible stock funds and spent less time at the gym, more on the pavement. Wow! That's a lot of green stuff! So here are my top ten 10 green goals for 2010.

  • Take the bus to work one day a week
  • 20% of clothing purchases from thrift, consignment shops, 20% organic or fair trade
  • Obtain LEED (Leadership in Energy and Enviromental Design) accreditation
  • Green renovation of my bathroom and invest in low flow household water fixtures
  • Take advantage of tax credits for green appliance purchase
  • Apply permaculture principles in my garden and plant more edibles (this will be a challenge, as my garden is shady)
  • Host green events including a women's trade show, an Earth Day party and a garden party
  • Promote Power of Placed Based Educational Principles in my Green Schools Action Circle
  • Act as a Green Coach to an African American business
  • Make five green business presentations
So what are your top three green goals for 2010?

Raw Treats Are Good and Good For You

Chocolate Cashew Fudge - Real easy raw fudge recipe from Ani Phyo's Raw Desserts book. The teen liked it. I used leftover chocolate wrappers from a box of chocolates to dress 'em up a bit!

Super Easy Cool Lemon Pie - combined cheesecake crust recipe from Ani Phyo's book with the Cool Lemon Pie recipe from Carol Alt's The Raw 50 uncookbook. Had to double that recipe though to get the volume I needed for the pie crust. Yummy, lemony, creamy and delicious!

Pie slice.

These are definitely NOT raw, but are my son's favorite cookies. Jim Fobel's recipe of Chocolate Chip Cookies with a touch of orange flava!

Lastly, this is my son gettin his cookie grub on!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Decade!

Happy New Decade  to my favorite people! Thank you for your support, encouragement, examples and readership. This decade will present us with many opportunities for change, growth, innovation, transformation and development. Keep your eyes, hearts and minds open.