Live Green Be Green

By PMD United

May We All Live Green, Be Green, Each & Every Day!

Knowledge of what is does not open the door directly to what should be. --Albert Einstein

The LGBG team is dedicated to the simple sharing of all knowledge green -- a modest means to invoke truly powerful change.

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Organic CSA in Gambrills is a ‘farm-ily’ affair

Virginia Gambrell graduated from Salisbury University on Maryland’s Eastern Shore in 2010, assuming she would end up with a career related to her major in Spanish. Translating documents between English and the romance language of Spanish would have been acceptable for Gambrell, but she was hardly excited at the prospect of becoming a 9-to-5 desk jockey.

“That made me really uncomfortable,” she said.

Credit:  Jake Linger

Credit: Jake Linger

She met Edwin and Marian Fry, owners of Maryland Sunrise Farm in Gambrills, and she became the vegetable production manager of the farm’s nearly 3-acre organic operation. Though Gambrell refers to herself as a “hippie,” she said she never really considered she would have a career in farming. After meeting some farmers at a farmer’s market, she began to volunteer her time where it was needed — in the great outdoors and picking fresh, earthly-grown food from the vines. After finding her firsthand experience in the fields, Gambrell turned to the Frys and the partnership has blossomed into a successful and burgeoning Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation.

“The Fry family has given me so many opportunities and so much liberty and freedom to do what I want in the garden,” Gambrell said. “They basically just gave me a budget to work with and let me create my vision, and that has been so satisfying [and] more meaningful to me than I feel I could have ever felt translating documents.”

Maryland Sunrise Farm is active at several local farmers’ markets, including each Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon (through Dec. 20) and Tuesdays from 7 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (through Sept. 30) at the intersection of Riva Road and Harry S. Truman Parkway in Annapolis, and each Wednesday from 2 to 6:30 p.m. at the Piney Orchard Community Center at 2400 Stream Valley Drive in Odenton.

In order to ensure quick service and top-quality organic products, Gambrell employs the services of assistants, Kristin Johnson, Josh Higgins and Lis Cawley, the latter a 2010 graduate of Rockbridge Academy in Millersville. Cawley started working for Gambrell at Maryland Sunrise Farm in September 2013, and her desire to remain at one with nature and find solace in sustainability has led her to continue rising with the daily sun and tending to the acreage of organic produce.

“I feel so blessed and grateful [to be farming],” Cawley said. “I feel I’m most fundamentally human as I’ve ever felt. That could be because I found my niche. But it could also be because we’re participating in the cycles of nature.”

Among the produce items offered at the Maryland Sunrise Farm CSA are butternut squash, celery, tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, green beans, broccoli, peppers and carrots. The crops are constantly watered using a drip-line irrigation system. While deer, groundhogs and Japanese beetles have found nourishment among the farm’s delicious fresh foods, Gambrell and her team have employed rope fences and other natural mechanisms — including patience — to keep nature’s pests out of the garden.

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Credit: Virginia Gambrell

“Nature has so many lessons to teach me,” Cawley said. “It’s like a living energy — it’s so powerful and I so respect it.”

Respect seems to flow throughout the three acres of CSA land, as much as quenching water to the crops. When families arrive to pick up their weekly allotment of crops at the farm (100 Dairy Lane in Gambrills), Gambrell and Cawley said they feel a wave of satisfaction seeing the happy faces and inquisitive clients ask questions when they receive an item with which they might not be too familiar. The reactions of the people — many of whom appreciate and take note of the recipes adorning the walls of the CSA pick-up center — are not unlike the feeling Gambrell said she has gotten from organic farming.

“Realizing where my food came from and seeing it on the plant was so significant for me and deeply gratifying,” she said. “It was such a deep connection that it baffled me that other people weren’t interested.”

Impressionable children play a part in Gambrell’s CSA farm. Each week throughout this summer, she has welcomed  groups of summer campers from Severn School in Severna Park. Admittedly, Gambrell said she was hesitant to become involved in having middle school-age children involved in her business. But then she considered her own upbringing, and she considered the sizable impact that a firsthand knowledge of growing sustainable food might have on a child.

“I grew up eating white bread and cucumbers, and the most exotic vegetable we ever had was maybe a yellow pepper,” Gambrell said. “[The Severn School students' involvement] actually turned out to be really cool and Lis is really excellent with kids, so she usually takes the reins.

“The children always love it because it completes nature’s circle,” Gambrell continued. “They get to see the vegetables; they get to work on helping the vegetables grow, and they get to learn a little bit about them.”

Virginia Gambrell

Virginia Gambrell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of each visit, Gambrell and her staff cut up pieces of fresh fruits and vegetables and snack with the children and, according to Gambrell, “it’s always so much fun to see how surprised they are at how good it tastes.” There is little doubt in speaking with Gambrell and Cawley that they — along with coworkers Johnson and Higgins —feel a deep connection with the soil they till and the food they pick for themselves and for others, whether it be for CSA clients or patrons of local farmers’ markets. There is even less doubt that working in a field (no pun intended) someone feels passionately for can make life a whole lot sweeter, sort of like one of those fat strawberries grown at Maryland Sunrise Farm.

“As we care for the farm, it cares for us,” Cawley said. “We’re nourished with the food that we have here and the beautiful thing is that we get to share that with other people.” Follow Maryland Sunrise Farm on Facebook and Instagram. Contact the farm’s vegetable production manager, Virginia Gambrell, at virginia.gambrell@gmail.com or call 410-693-4431 or 410-923-0726.

World Cup 2014– The Ugly Business Of The Beautiful Game

With World Cup 2014 at its peak, we would be remiss to omit mentioning the ugly business of “the beautiful game.”  The truth is that The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer, has been embroiled in controversy for many years.

 

Brazil 2014 World Cup

Brazil 2014 World Cup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps the greatest complaint about FIFA is its failure at sustainability.  When we think of sustainability, most of us consider natural systems, i.e., the environment, natural resources, energy, etc.  Often, we ignore the key ingredient of sustainability, namely people or the human factor.  While there are numerous definitions and models of sustainability, a review of each finds that they all incorporate the following components [1]:

  • Living within the limits.
  • Understanding the interconnections among economy, society and the environment.
  • Equitable distribution of resources and opportunities.

A close look at information on FIFA’s activities and dealings with World Cup hosts clearly indicates the organization’s failure in all matters involving the core principles of sustainability.

FIFA ignores the hosts’ limits of standard of living.

For years, FIFA has led most host countries to believe that hosting the World Cup tournament would be a boon to that nation’s economy.  In many cases, this simply has not been true.  In fact, hosting the tournament has caused even greater problems than those that previously existed for some countries, both in terms of human and financial costs.  First of all, many ordinary citizens have found their livelihood and way of life permanently disrupted simply to make way for the competition.  This is particularly true in Brazil, a very poor country, which has struggled to meet the World Cup host requirements for the past seven years.  Much of the venue and road construction has come at a burdensome cost to the citizens of Brazil.  Many of the transportation projects, such as the planned bullet train (scheduled to be the first of its kind in Latin America) never cleared the drawing board.

FIFA required the construction of several stadiums for the World Cup games.  In all, three stadiums failed to be completed before the one-month countdown to the opening of the games.[2]

Public protests of the games are rampant in Brazil.  In the early period leading to the World Cup, these protests were peaceful and mostly concerned with issues such as bus fares, healthcare, evictions and corruption.  However, the FIFA events have fueled these protests to the point of violence as workers have died during road and venue construction and people have been displaced from their homes to make room for site events.   The protests now have been fueled by Brazil’s thrashing at the hands of Germany by a score of 7 to 1, the country’s first loss by so many goals since being defeated by Uruguay in 1920 in the Copa America.  Also, the defeat by Germany is their first home loss in 64 competitive matches dating back to 1975.

Brazilian Protests, World Cup 2014.  Credit:  By Brian Allen (VOA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Brazilian Protests, World Cup 2014. Credit: By Brian Allen (VOA) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Understanding the interconnections among economy, society and the environment

FIFA World Cup is the largest individual sporting competition on the globe and as such affords the organization the unique opportunity of a world stage to promote and influence sustainable practices by host nations.  FIFA clearly has fallen short of influencing or promoting sustainability.  At the outset of Brazil’s project planning, the consensus was that [its] “economy was not strong enough to absorb the cost of the World Cup.”  As stated above, the disruption of livelihoods of Brazilian citizens to build the venues and infrastructure for the tournament has proven devastating to the people.  The construction of the stadium in Manaus in the rainforest was particularly overwhelming in terms of logistics.  Construction was extremely difficult, hampered by adverse weather conditions, as well as delivery of supplies.  Thirdly, this area usually does not attract large crowds to soccer matches, thereby making the functionality of the arena questionable after the World Cup is over.[3]

CREDIT: Portal da Copa/Governo do Brasil (Portal da Copa) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Stadium in Manaus. CREDIT: Portal da Copa/Governo do Brasil (Portal da Copa) [CC-BY-3.0-br (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/br/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another interesting development with FIFA and the 2014 World Cup was the beer sales controversy.  The sale of beer at soccer matches in Brazil has been banned since 2003 in an effort to curb the violence among rival fans and hooliganism witnessed at games.  This move was taken solely in the interest of keeping people safe.  However, FIFA insisted and prevailed in its requirement that beer sales be allowed at its games.  Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s General Secretary emphatically stated, that “alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them.  Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate.”[4]  Clearly, FIFA chose to ignore a major social issue in Brazil.

Equitable distribution of resources and opportunities

The Brazilian citizens are literally seething over the cost of mega events to their country at the expense of their needs.  First they had to endure displacement and infrastructure changes to host Pope Francis and the Confederations Cup.  Next came the World Cup, and soon to follow is the 2016 summer  Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, which will be an even larger event as it is represented by more than  200 countries and approximately 10,500 participants.   According to a report in Sports Business Journal, the World Cup will cost between $15 billion to $20 billion.  With FIFA retaining all revenues from television rights, tickets, corporate sponsorships and marketing, Brazil stands to net approximately $500 million dollars.  Also, it is important to note that FIFA is a nonprofit organization, exempt from paying taxes on its revenues.[5]

The ever elusive equalizer

We salute Brazil for its efforts in hosting global mega events, such as the World Cup, and we admire their commitment to seek solutions to its economic problems.  However, we feel that it is important that FIFA maintain transparency in its commitment to sustainability and to be fair and objective in its dealings with potential World Cup hosts.  Here in the United States or in many European countries, events such as the World Cup do not create sink or swim consequences.  These economies have sufficiently stable infrastructure and venues to host multinational gatherings.  That being said, these countries often recognize the burdens of such events and opt out on the bidding.  For very poor countries, such as Brazil, serving as hosts for Cup events seemingly has become an ever elusive equalizer, both on and off the field.

Perhaps the overwhelming sadness, tears and sobs of the Brazilian fans as witnessed by the world in their team’s loss to Germany was more than just a response to the World Cup game.  Maybe it also was deep sorrow upon the realization that the dream of an improved economy, more jobs and better living conditions will not materialize as predicted by FIFA.

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[1]  http://www.sustainablemeasures.com/node/35
[2]  theroar.com.au
[3]  http://edition.cnn.com/2013/07/25/sport/football/football-brazil-world-cup-manaus/index.html
[4]  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18348012
[5]  http://www.sportsgrid.com/sports-business-2/is-there-time-to-take-the-2016-olympics-away-from-brazil/

Beautiful Rainbow

Seen this evening in Odenton, MD

photo-5

Green Salute For Dad On Father’s Day

Today is Father’s Day, and we hope that you choose a green salute for Dad.  If you have not decided on a gift yet, don’t panic.  Take a few minutes and think about a present that reflects who your Dad is or wants to be.  This opens up many possibilities.

green-happy-fathers-day-glitter

 

 

 

 

Maybe Dad loves gardening and lawn care.  Consider plants and vegetables as gifts, along with a commitment of time to help him in the garden.  Maybe Dad is a creature of habit.  Introduce him to some plants he has never tried.  Check out water-conserving plants, and plants that resists mosquitos.  Dad will be happy, and the whole family will thank you.  If Dad likes to grow vegetables, try some new plants and herbs that he has never planted.  Gardening can be fun, therapeutic, and it is green.

Perhaps Dad likes the stock market and investing.  Get on the computer and do some research on green stocks.  Offer Dad information on these products and consider a gift of stock in something appropriate.

There also are gadgets for money-conscious Dads.  Check out the latest in digital thermostats, home security gadgets and even geothermal beer coolers.  Other green technology ideas include solar chargers for those electronic devices.

green-gadgets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If Dad is a golfer, check out wooden drivers or other gifts made in an eco-friendly way.  If a family cookout is planned, don’t forget to shop local.

The greenest thing you can do for Dad today and everyday is to spend time.  After all, living a green and sustainable life involves investment in people.  Start at home.  Encourage family time with activities such as walking, playing games, biking, swimming.  It’s all about time together.

We here at LGBG would like to wish all Dads, Dads-to-be and Dad mentors a Happy Father’s Day.  We especially send our love out to our Dads and husbands and thank them for their support in our efforts to live green, be green.

Mother’s Day– Last Minute But Awesome Gift Ideas

English: Mother's Day card

English: Mother’s Day card (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you are reading this, you probably still are trying to decide on a really awesome Mother’s Day gift for your mom,wife grandmother or significant other.  Maybe you are not thrilled with the commercial selections– just tired of cut flowers that die in a few days (plus they often are toxic), chocolate (that Mom really does not need) or the mundane blouse, scarf, etc.

We have a few ideas here at LGBG.  Consider taking Mother’s Day to a new level.  So many people are aware of the “green movement” and “sustainability,” but they either do not know how to get started or simply have not had the time to get involved.  This is your opportunity to introduce Mom to a healthier and happier lifestyle that can be fun for the whole family.  Here are a few suggestions:

Design and plant a garden.  This is a great family activity with wonderful benefits.  The garden can be as large as an outdoor plot or as small as a balcony or windowsill garden.  Select vegetables and/or plants that the family enjoys eating, and then commit to taking care of the garden throughout the growing season.  Imagine the pride of eating homegrown salads and other dishes that you will harvest this summer.  Everyone, particularly Mom, will feel proud.  The kids will learn how to nurture plants and the meaning of sustainability.  As a bonus, they will appreciate the special family time.  Maybe they will be interested in freezing and/or canning their homegrown vegetables so that they can enjoy them throughout the winter.

  1. If you choose plants, consider a theme for your garden.  Suggestions include fragrant flowers that can be cut and placed in vases for decoration, gardens that attract hummingbirds (see http://livegreenbegreen.com/2012/06/15/go-green-with-hummingbird-garden/) or even gardens that contain plants that repel mosquitos.  With a little imagination and elbow grease, you can create a garden that will have Mom beaming.
  • A second idea for a Mother’s Day celebration is a cookbook, but try to be creative and “green” this year.  check out vegetarian cookbooks that will allow Mom to incorporate some delicious vegetarian dishes her meals along with traditional entrees.  Perhaps a cookbook featuring meals prepared with herbs, along with an herb garden, would be a hit for Mom.
  • Thirdly consider giving Mom a gift that pays later.  Try a book of tickets to do activities, such as walking, biking, hiking, camping or any other thing that gets everyone outside and moving.

Mother’s Day is a great day to commit to living a  healthy and sustainable lifestyle.  A gift for Mom, your wife or significant other does not have to come from a store.  It might be a great idea to devise a family plan in honor of Mom to go for daily walks together as a family.  You can enhance this gift by using your computer skills to download your loved one’s favorite songs to listen to while walking.  Maybe a plan to be exercise partners for the year would be good.  There are many sites on the Internet with exercise plans to use as a guide.  Also, remember that if a gym membership is something you can give as a gift, that’s fine; however, this is not necessary.

A crucial part of sustainable living involves the human element.  This Mother’s Day, please make a commitment to practice sustainability with your Mom, wife or significant other as the focus of this goal.

Not all Mother’s Day gifts have to be wrapped up in finite pretty packages.  There are many things to do that will make Mother’s Day an exceptional time and a renewal of your love and appreciation for Mom with health benefits for the entire family.  You can bet such thoughtfulness will have Mom smiling for days to come.

We here at LGBG wish all mothers everywhere a healthy, happy, green Mother’s Day!

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Links:

1.  http://earth911.com/news/2013/04/08/grow-food-small-spaces/

2.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/easy-mothers-day-gifts-2013_n_3248786.html?utm_hp_ref=green

Green Labels– Mark of Sustainability or Marketing Tool?

While “certified green labels” used as a mark of sustainable practices are familiar sites on many of the items we purchase, it is important to note that often these labels are used as marketing tools.  Theoretically, eco-labels were “designed to elevate products with higher environmental protection standards than the government requires for the status quo.” [1]

it ain't easy being green

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Perhaps a major issue with “certified green labels” is that their profits drive approval.  Over the past few years, we have witnessed an increased market demand for “green” or “sustainable” products.  Any business that promotes a product as green or certifies a product as sustainable potentially stands to make a huge financial gain by maintaining recognition in its industry as a “green” company or by consistently introducing new “sustainable” products into the market.  Additionally, increasing demand for green products creates the untended result of lowering standards for the award of green labels so as to fulfill the demand, thereby saturating the market with suspect products.

Eric Wicks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, enforcement of green standards after a green label is awarded often is insufficient.  Once certifying bodies set conditions for labels of sustainability, they often fail to ensure that the companies who receive the label awards maintain the standards upon which the award was made initially.  Consequently, more regulation is needed to ensure that items labeled “green” do, in fact, meet the acceptable requirements for that designation.

Organic Not

Organic Not

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green Company Does Not Equal Green Products

Traditionally, some companies are designated as green secondary to sustainable business practices.  These businesses may use recycled paper and other office products, such as printer cartridges or use LED lights.  They may strictly enforce reduction of electricity usage by requiring employees to turn off lights in rooms not in use.  They may install low flow toilets to reduce water use,  These companies often provide reusable eating utensils in lunch rooms, along with refrigerators, microwaves, toasters and ovens so that employees can bring lunch.  Many urban businesses offer incentives, such as train or subway vouchers to offset a portion of commuting expenses for employees who take public transportation.  All of these ideas are good and sustainable; however, they do not translate to automatic assumptions that the products produced by these companies are green.  In such instances, touting recognition as a “green” business then becomes a marketing tool and a case of bait and switch.

Let The Buyer Beware

A savvy consumer must separate the company image from the actual products.  Until such time as there is adequate regulation in eco-labeling, the burden of proof falls on the consumer.  The first step to take to recognize true product sustainability versus the use of “green” label as a marketing ploy is to learn about product certification standards.[2]  When shopping for any items, please know that a higher priced product (which often is the case with “green” products) is no guarantee of quality of sustainability.

green_seal_certified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A good source to begin with to examine green standards for products is the Environmental Protection Agency.[3]  Here the reader can find general information on product standards, as well as links to standards, with accompanying “data, analysis and expert judgment” to aid in design and purchasing decisions.  There also is a Database of Environmental Information For Products And Services, as well as a Federal Green Construction Guide.

Concern With Private Sector Labels

In addition to some government regulations for “green” labels, many private concerns have taken it upon themselves to award certifications for products they consider to be green.  Unfortunately, there are no universally accepted guidelines for these awards.  Ultimately, the market becomes inundated with privately “certified green” products, some of which have contradictory claims.  Actions like these tend to frustrate and overwhelm consumers, who then abandon their efforts to use sustainable products and return to using familiar brands.

fishing_ecolabels_ranked

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Goal Of Transparency In Labeling

Product labeling is a difficult process due to lack of uniform guidelines and regulations. Until transparency in labeling is achieved, deciphering the truth in labels for certified “green” products will be a challenge.   Aside from contradictory requirements of private eco-labeling groups, consumers must be cautious of marketing ploys that tout products as sustainable when that simply is not the case.

With continued research, support and lobbying efforts by proponents of the green movement, uniform guidelines for green certification resulting in reliable labeling, along with penalties for false advertising, will become a reality one day.  To have the tools available to make informed decisions when purchasing green products is to live green, be green.

_________________

[1]  http://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/buyer-beware-eco-labels-are-sticky.
[2]  http://www.sba.gov/content/green-certification-and-ecolabeling.
[3]  http://www.epa.gov/epp/pubs/guidance/standards.htm#e

Celebrate Earth Day– Do One Thing

Happy Earth Day– let’s celebrate!   This year we here at LGBG applaud the annual global recognition of and celebration of Earth Day, but we hope that you will commit to do one thing to celebrate and protect the Earth everyday.  After all, it is the everyday little things that make a difference.  Of course, most of us are well aware of the usual things we can do– recycle, reduce and reuse.  It is important to keep doing those things.  However, there are many other ways to celebrate and protect the environment.

Earth Day 2014

Earth Day 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get out and really enjoy the outdoors.

Our first suggestion is that you get up, turn off the electronics, put on your walking shoes and go outside.  Take a walk and enjoy the fresh air.  Listen to the sounds of nature– the sounds of birds, running water in brooks and streams or the crickets.  Often we purchase CDs with these calming sounds when we can go outside and hear them for free.  Try going on a family walk or bicycle ride.  Take your time and enjoy your surroundings– stop and smell the flowers.

Reduce your use of electricity.

We know it is difficult to get accustomed to using LED bulbs, but they do grow on you.  Rather than making a total change all at once, gradually replace traditional bulbs with LED bulbs.  Turn off lights in unoccupied rooms.  Consider putting some lights on timers to come on upon your expected arrival home rather than leaving lights on while you are out.  Also, motion sensors  may be a good security investment.  Remember to unplug electronics not in use.

Declutter.

Clear out your house and your mind of excess “stuff.”  Make this a journey to be accomplished over a period of time, rather than a daunting task that may be abandoned if it becomes overwhelming.  Throw away items that are no longer usable and donate things that still are useful.  When making purchases, try to make good investments.  Consider the “shelf life” of clothing and household articles.  Also, stop overloading your brain.  Make task lists and prioritize.  Additionally, do not try to do everything yourself.  It is okay to delegate to friends and family members.

Grow something.

Plant a flower, a garden or some grass.  Grow something.  You will feel good about it.  Whatever you choose to grow, care for it daily.  If you see signs of deterioration, find out how to fix it.  The sense of success and gratitude felt when a flower buds or fruit or vegetables appear is contagious.

Just Do One Thing.

We have given you a few suggestions of things to do to live a sustainable lifestyle and celebrate Earth Day everyday.  Of course, the sky is the limit.  Please contact us with your pictures and ideas of the one thing you chose to do to celebrate Earth Day.  Most importantly, let’s make everyday a Happy Earth Day.  To do so is to live green, be green.

Do Something

Spring Forward To Sustainability

Spring has finally arrived, signaling great opportunity to spring forward to a new commitment to sustainability.  It is time to shed the winter doldrums and complacent attitude, clean out our living spaces and our heads and enjoy and get engaged in Nature’s annual rebirth.

We here at LGBG hope that our readers and supporters will commit or recommit to living a green and sustainable life.

The first step to achieving a sustainable lifestyle lies in the adoption of a mindset of sustainability.  We all need to recognize that since the industrial revolution, people in western societies have erroneously held the belief that we could keep using the Earth’s resources for goods and services without concern for the environmental or social impact of these activities.[1]  Now it is important for each of us to understand that we must use the Earth’s natural resources responsibly with the understanding that they are a loan and must be returned to the earth through a circular process that permits life on Earth to continue.  In fact, we should aim to ensure that our life cycles cause no harm to the environment and actually improve it.

While this all may sound overwhelming, in practice it is not that difficult.  The first step is awareness of the need to be sustainable.  When it is time to do spring cleaning, the first task is to assess your true needs.  Purge your closets, cabinets and drawers of unused clothing and household items, particularly those things that have not been used for at least two years.  These articles can be given to friends, sold at yard sales or donated to charities.  As a bonus, the last two options can be monetarily profitable.  While cleaning your home, be aware of the products used.  Instead of using harsh toxic chemicals that harm your possessions and your lungs, try to use earth-friendly cleaners or homemade cleaners.  The important thing to remember is to take your time, think sustainable and do not become overwhelmed.

Perhaps your journey to sustainability begins with a focus on the outdoors.  Maybe you want to try your hand at gardening.  For starters, close your eyes and picture what you want to accomplish — a beautiful flower garden or deck arrangement, a bountiful vegetable garden or a luscious lawn.  Start with a walk through a beautifully landscaped neighborhood or a visit to a public garden.  Select a look that’s you.  Research plants for your planting zone.

Planting zone map

Planting zone map

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, take time to do some research.  Start on the computer to learn the basics of gardening.  Visit a local garden store where customer service personnel can help with answers to your questions or help you with the necessary supplies to get started.  Remember that beautiful gardens are the result of excellent soil preparation and maintenance.

Spring garden

Spring garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adopting a life of sustainability requires maintaining an expectation of green living.  Small changes, such as recycling, buying from local farmers, reducing consumption of electricity, etc., go a long distance on the pathway to sustainability.  Embracing a lifestyle of sustainability one step at a time allows us to become enamored with the process, culminating in a memorable journey that serves as a testament to a life well lived.

We here at LGBG are proud to be your source for tips and support on your journey to sustainability.  We welcome your ideas, questions and comments, as well as your commitment to join us on this journey.  To do so is to live green, be green.

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1.  http://www.me-to-we.org/the_power_of_sustainable_thinking__how_to_create_a_positive_future_
for_the_clima_107233.htm.

Asian Air Pollution May Spur Global Weather Problems

Trouble in the Air

“The modulated storm track can be linked to abnormal weather behavior in the mid-latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, including U.S. and Canada.” – Yuan Wang, postdoctoral fellow at NASA U.S. Jet Propulsion Lab

So it wasn’t just our minds playing tricks on us!  Well, of course we knew the heavy dosage of weather received this past winter in the Northeast United States was for real.  But those of us who said it was because of China were correct all along!

beijing_amo_2010282

from NASA Earth Observatory

I’ll be the first to admit that although I did say it was due to our ever-changing climate, I had no idea China – or the East overall – may have had a direct impact on our [severe] US weather patterns  here in the West.  That is definitely interesting stuff.  As the CNN article explains, after a decade-long research project, it’s been concluded that the “Pacific storm track is a major driving force over global weather patterns.” How?

Aerosols!

Aerosols — fine particulates in the air, examples of which include haze, dust, particulate air pollutants and smoke — make their way from densely polluted Asian airspaces to those over the Pacific region, where they alter and intensify the storm track.  Basically, there are cyclone systems of air out there that naturally transport heat and moisture from low to high latitude areas.  As one National Geographic article explains, these changes are spurred by the aerosols’ effect on sunlight in the atmosphere.  Aerosols in the air can scatter and absorb sunlight, effectively heating or cooling the surrounding climate.  If these aerosols change the patterns of the cyclone systems, therefore distorting the transportation of the heat and moisture, those distortions of global heat distribution certainly carry the potential to distort global weather patterns overall.

 

Check out this quick video for a nice explanation and for some visual evidence of this phenomenon.

LGBG Spotlight: Great EARTH Expeditions

 

For the love of nature!

Great EARTH Expeditions logo

Great EARTH Expeditions
www.greatearthexpeditions.com

Though founder Ryan Barry and his team admit profits were not at the forefront of their decision-making process in launching the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based eco-tourism start-up, Great EARTH Expeditions, they can all agree that continuing their efforts is no waste of their time.  In fact, according to Ryan, they believe that the best way to get the community to minimize its wasteful impact on the environment is “through education and appreciation for what lays in nature.”  So what better alternative exists than to press onward? Live Green Be Green says, “None!”

So, Eco-Tourism?

Yes.  Being that eco-tourism is marginally about uniting community and conservation in sustainable travel, Great EARTH Expeditions promises well-planned, exciting and educational adventures through some of Canada’s most beautifully raw countryside.  Great EARTH Expeditions‘ guides plunge participants straight into the wonders of nature, from the forest floor to the Canadian coastlines, all the while encouraging in them an elevated appreciation for the surrounding fauna and foliage.

Is all of this an effective approach, you ask?  Great EARTH Expeditions believes so.

When you suddenly educate people on things that exist in nature that [people] would not regularly think about in their daily lives, they suddenly look at these precious things and relate it to their own lives and what impact it could have for the future of their children[...] It’s then that people start to begin practices in their daily lives to live greener.  Education is powerful!  –Ryan Barry, Owner/Operator

Works Apart From Great EARTH Expeditions

Live Green Be Green could not agree more with Ryan’s notion, as it ties into the core value upon which we were founded — the simple sharing of knowledge.  Speaking to that a bit further, we delve into the current endeavors Great EARTH Expeditions has outside of its green tourism operations.  How can it leverage its voice to influence change?

“Through our social media,” explains Ryan, Great EARTH Expeditions stays “connected with various government organizations [...] working to help conserve both fragile landscapes in Nova Scotia and at-risk wildlife species in Canada.”  With 18,000+ followers across its range of platforms, Great EARTH Expeditions constantly shares updates on ways to help these governmental efforts.  Barry and team hope to one day attain their aspirations of contributing to such efforts through direct involvement in these government initiatives.

I would like to see Canada make well thought out decisions when tapping into our natural resources. It’s no secret that Canada has a vast range of natural resources, but when extracting these resources — whether it be our forests or natural gas — there must be strategic plans in place to lessen the impact on the earth for not only this generation but the next.  Ryan Barry, Owner/Operator

Ryan and his team believe we are beginning to think more along these long-term lines, especially after having witnessed the devastating impacts of improper and irresponsible practices in countries all over the world in recent years. (Think about the Chilean Mining fiasco, the BP Oil Drilling debacle, etc.)  The resulting negative impacts of such events have proven to be difficult to correct, at best.

It is well known and understood that the Mother Nature’s climate is not the only one at play.  Great EARTH Expeditions is striving towards raising sensitivity to its host nation’s political, environmental and social climate in the work it continues to do.  The group at Great EARTH Expeditions believes, as we at Live Green Be Green believe, that every small difference matters.  Here’s to a brighter tomorrow.

 

Has your interest peaked yet?

Be sure to check out Great EARTH Expeditions‘ new webseries, launched earlier this year, to catch some of the amazing footage capturable on their outings!

Here’s Episode 1: Bay of Fundy Pirates, Waterfalls & Sea Caves

  • All the developers of D5 Creation have come from the disadvantaged part or group of the society. All have established themselves after a long and hard struggle in their life ----- D5 Creation Team
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