Green living is recognized overall as the right thing to do to protect the environment, improve our health and literally to save our planet. As an added bonus, green home improvement can raise your financial bottom line by increasing the value of your home. Researchers at the Berkeley and Los Angeles campuses of the University of California conducted a study of 1.6 million single family homes in the California market sector that sold between 2007 and 2012 to analyze the value of green home labels. Of the homes in this sample population, 4,300 were certified with green home labels from EnergyStar, GreenPoint Rated or LEED for Homes. Results indicate that of the average California homes priced at $400,000, residences with green labels sold for about $34,800 more or 9 percent higher than homes without the green label.
Researchers have labeled this result the “Prius effect” wherein a higher premium was placed on houses with green labels. This finding correlates with the environmental ideology of the area measured by the registration of hybrid vehicles. In communities where “green thinking” predominates, ownership of green homes and cars is a status symbol and a source of pride.
In recent years, awareness of the extent of global warming and the increase of greenhouse emissions has impacted the housing market significantly. This is especially true in warmer areas of the country. Residents in hotter climates are paying extra attention to the benefits of green homes, which include lower utility bills due to greater energy and water efficiency, healthier indoor air quality and improved environmental features, such as convenient access to clean, eco-friendly transportation and close proximity to parks and shopping and entertainment facilities.
The Prius effect is proof that green initiatives at the community level are far-reaching. Improving communities one at a time leads to a change in mindset and ultimately to a revolution. Let’s live green, be green.
With the start of the 2012 London Olympics already underway, we here at the Live Green, Be Green Blog would like to turn our attention to the potential environmental ramifications an Olympic competition will have on an already bustling city such as London. Heading into these games, a huge cause for concern for the Olympic Committee in selecting London as a host city was the potential disastrous impact it could have on the environment.
However, contrary to conventional wisdom, the city has been superb in limiting its carbon footprint. According to Michael McCarthy’s report over at Independent, these Olympic games are, to date, the greenest in its history. Renewable energy has constituted 11% of all the energy supplied at the games. In addition, when comparing the cities carbon footprint at the games with respect to 2009 estimates for the event, the city has beaten the estimates by around 20%. Such ambitious goals enabled the city to host the Olympic games, and is truly a testament to how the Olympic Committee and the city of London have put the event’s environmental impact near the tops of its agendas. Such actions speak to the impact we all can make as individuals as we all seek to live green and be green.
With the Presidential and Congressional elections approaching quickly, globing warming and climate change are becoming hot topics. The League of Conservation Voters is targeting five House Republicans who either question or totally deny human links to climate change. The organization has labeled these Congressmen the “Flat Earth Five”. To date, two names have been released. They are Reps. Sam Benishek (R-Mich) and Ann Marie Buerkle (R-NY). Three additional names will be forthcoming.
Despite the fact that hard science data proves that global warming is a reality, i.e., melting icebergs, severe storms, extreme heat and cold weather, and crop destruction, just to name a few, the “Flat Earth Five” Republicans state there is no climate change, and the notion of global warming simply is a liberal ploy to tax large oil companies. Rep. Benishek specifically says that global warming “is just some scheme” and is “all baloney”. Rep. Buerkle first voiced doubts about climate change in 2010. On the League of Conservation National Scorecard, she has a lifetime score of 9 percent out of a possible 100. This scorecard annually rates members of Congress on conservation and clean energy issues. Rep. Buerkle has the most conservative voting record of all New York Congressional members.
It is difficult to understand and disappointing to know that protection of the environment is caught up in the crosshairs of politics. It is mind boggling that this is such a political issue in this time when 77% of Americans believe that climate change is a reality and that we all need to make lifestyle changes to save the Earth. (http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/07/rep_ann_marie_buerkle_named_on.html)
It is promising to see schools incorporate green living standards in curricula and refreshing to witness families work to conserve energy and employ green and healthy practices in the home. Although we often have differing beliefs about environmental issues, the unifying belief should be that this is the only planet we have on which to live. We do not own the Earth. Rather we are the stewards. We work hard to provide a future for our children, and the protection of the environment must be considered a major component of that future.
In the upcoming elections, we must be mindful of the issues crucial to our very existence. The best way to do this is to educate yourself on the candidates and what they stand for. Researching scorecards and voting records is a great start in this endeavor. This is especially true for local and state elections. While we cannot change the whole world in an instant, we can band together and improve our communities through the creation of recycling programs, instituting clean water projects, constructing safe and healthy schools and building “green” neighborhoods. To be the building blocks of the green movement, let’s vote green, live green, be green.
We have reached the midway point of summer, and hopefully many of this year’s recent graduates have found some type of employment. For those still looking or for individuals who have part-time jobs to hold them over, now is the time to get creative. The green movement is an olympic drive great way to go. This movement holds many untapped opportunities for job seekers. Green technology businesses are growing at a rapid rate to accommodate the demand for clean energy, especially through solar and wind power companies. This job sector needs employees in all fields, including, but not limited to engineers, ecologists, policy planners and writers, graphic artists, and individuals with business and financial specialties. A good website for information and job listings is www.ecoemploy.com.
There also are job opportunities for marketing specialists in the green industries. A perusal of several websites lists opportunities for green marketing representatives and business managers, clean energy political organizers and media and marketing specialists, just to name a few. These listings are for jobs all over the country and range from entry-level to mid-level positions. To secure a position in this market sector, graduates and mid-level professionals must think out of the box and be willing to relocate to the sites of these opportunities. A good starting place for listings of these job opportunities is www.sustainability.com.
A green job represents a great opportunity for graduates. This job sector is committed to the preservation of a healthy environment through smart living and consistently is on the cutting edge of technology, presenting great opportunities for further education and career advancement. Most importantly, these jobs really give its employees a reason to work as these are the organizations and people who really are making a difference. Green jobs are not just about a paycheck. Rather they are leading a movement to live green, be green.
We repeatedly hear the term “global warming”. The very subject usually produces arguments by some that it truly exists and by others that it is a myth. Proponents of the argument for global warming identify melting glaciers, rising sea levels, dying cloud forests and changing habits of wildlife as proof that global warming is occurring. Antagonists of this concept cite historical cyclical temperature changes and the resulting wind and storm patterns as proof that global warming is a myth. In fact, the average global temperatures and concentrations of carbon dioxide have fluctuated cyclically for hundreds of thousands of years. These fluctuations occur with the Earth’s changing positions relative to the sun.
During prior cycles, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere were balanced by GHGs that were naturally absorbed by the land and water. This balance enabled human civilization to develop in a consistent climate. There were periods of interruptions to this balance—volcanic eruptions that emitted particles, which cooled the Earth’s surface and El Nino, which has its own short and predictable cycles. Something different is happening now and is occurring on a large, consistently measured level. Humans have increased the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at a level 33 percent higher since the industrial revolution. Historically, changes of this magnitude resulted over thousands of years. They now are occurring at this rate over mere decades. Such a rapid rise in greenhouse gases pose unique challenges to life, forcing many living things to be able to adapt.
While environmentalists use the term “global warming”, scientists refer to this phenomenon as “climate change”. As the Earth’s temperature climbs, wind and ocean currents travel in patterns that cool some areas while warming others. Additionally, the amounts of snowfalls and rainfalls are impacted. Global warming or climate change is of concern because it produces extreme weather, ranging from severe storms to extended droughts. This, in turn, poses challenges for all living creatures in terms of food supply, water supply, and threat to life from severe conditions.
We can control the emission of greenhouse gases through green living. To save our planet, let’s live green, be green.
NASA has issued a press release stating that in less than a week, the amount of thawed surface ice in Greenland skyrocketed from 40 percent to 97 percent. Normally, Greenland experiences approximately a 50 percent surface ice sheet melt during the summer. The presence of this new increased level of thawing was discovered by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. From satellite views, pictures show that it covers nearly all of Greenland’s surface ice cover and is larger than any measurements over the past 30 years. Upon questioning these results, NASA received confirmation from three independent sources, namely, from scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, as well as from the University of Georgia at Athens and the City University of New York.
Mindful of the ongoing debate between climatologists and environmental scientists versus many conservative thinkers and politicians that “global warming” is a myth, NASA’s cryosphere manager, Tom Wagner, states that this phenomenon may be due, in part, to natural variations. On this subject, he points to this year’s unusual weather pattern over Greenland, described as an “unusually strong ridge of warm air”. However, Mr. Wagner notes that this case is “clearly thinning around the periphery, changing Greenland’s overall ice mass”. He states that warming ocean water is eating away the ice.
It appears that the Arctic, in general, is changing due to warmer temperatures. Recent notation was made of an iceberg the size of Manhattan that tore off of the Petermann Glacier in Greenland. Several studies suggest the major role that humans play in ocean warming and point to the fact that several regions of the world, especially the United States east coast, are more vulnerable than other areas to sea level rise. These occurrences appear to be human-induced and offer proof of the harm we are doing to the planet by not adhering to environmentally friendly practices. We need to heed the call of scientists and environmentalists to protect the earth for future generations. Let’s live green, be green!
The core of our mission in all aspects of this farm and farming is to preserve the ways of the past while honoring mother nature.
So reads the mission statement of Stoney Mountain Farm in Burlington, North Carolina, an organization that strives to perhaps revolutionize farming by simply reverting to older, less technologically advanced methods. As opposed to many green farming technologies and developments to keep up with the changing world, the methodical approach of Stoney Mountain is to simply revert back to times when greater forces than technology – like nature – had control.
The farm allows old Mother Nature to take control of much that governs activity on its grounds. The fields and pastures are not intensively plowed or even mowed. The animals are not fed any hormones or medications. They only worm as needed, and plant a variety of herbal remedies around their grounds, which the animals are naturally drawn to when they instinctively need it.
These methods prove extremely important not only to the environment, but to Stoney Mountain’s main revenue stream. The farm specializes in 100% all natural wool products for consumers, offering a wide variety of felting kits, wool dryer balls and kits, and even eco-friendly wool cat toys. Also, what is extremely unique is Stoney Mountain’s ability to produce and provide roving, batts, and yarns of over 20 natural colors.
All of this, we believe, and all that Stoney Mountain Farm stands for, is great in all its simplistic glory. Few words can sum up our reasoning for loving Stoney Mountain more than its own words:
Through these practices, we believe we offer beautiful venues for our guests and the best quality products with healthy, happy livestock
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced an award of $40 million to the state of Maryland to upgrade its public transportation system. The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will use this money, along with $13 million in state funds to replace the bus yard and buildings at the Kirk Avenue facility. This bus yard is a major hub for the transit administration. It has 351 employees and provides a storage and maintenance site for 175 buses that serves 16 routes, transporting more than a million passengers per week.
This upgrade is long overdue. In 2004, The Johns Hopkins Center for Urban Environmental Health conducted a study in the area, and the results of readings indicated that noise levels in that vicinity exceeded the limit set by Baltimore’s health ordinances. Additionally, air samples indicated that the “two-week average exposure to diesel exhaust and other combustion was slightly above the federal safety threshold for a full year’s exposure”.
This new facility will provide the technology necessary to maintain energy-efficient buses. The building will be more environmentally friendly, cutting operating costs. The project will provide off-street parking, which will enhance the surrounding neighborhoods in terms of reduced traffic congestion and aesthetics. This upgrade stimulates the economy by providing for construction jobs and for positions to help maintain the “green” buses.
This project is part of a $787 million package to repair and modernize the transit infrastructure nationwide. It definitely is a positive step in the direction to live green, be green.
I just saw an interesting news video on hydroculture, a system for growing plants that incorporates expanded clay as a growing medium rather than soil. Hydroculture has been around for years. Unfortunately, while very popular in Europe, it has not caught on in the United States. In fact, all of the materials needed for hydroculture are produced in Europe. One company is trying to change that. Greenspacers, a green technology company in Columbia, Maryland, is “dedicated to growing fresh air through the production and installation of soil-free plants”.
The basis of Greenspacers’ mission lies in the hypothesis that plants can remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air. These compounds consist of the chemicals produced from household items, such as paint, glues and cleaning supplies that can cause adverse health effects.
In addition to removing targeted VOCs, hydroculture plants, do not harbor microbes, and do not release bio-aerosols. The plant system starts with a growing medium of lightweight expanded clay (LECA). The clay pebbles are fired in a kiln, causing them to expand with formation of air pockets within the individual pellets. These air pockets retain moisture and allow maximum moisture to flow to the plant roots. The plant systems use a slow-growth fertilizer and contain a water indicator which, when used properly, prevents over-watering that drowns the roots.
Greenspacers now contracts with green-minded businesses to provide “green” planting systems on their premises, including Children’s Hospital, National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. The company’s goal is to also provide services to consumers. More information can be found at http://www.greenspacers.com.
With research and innovation, “green” companies are discovering ways to help us make sure our homes and businesses are healthy. Our support of these companies’ efforts to live green, and be green is vital to the environment.
Colleges and Universities are, at their core, geared toward cultivating and transforming young individuals into tomorrow’s leaders. What is frequently glossed over however is that once these men and women are in a position of power, how will they use it? Business Schools in particular focus too much on bottom lines and balance sheets rather than the growing trend of Corporate Social Responsibility. While leaders are being cultivated, they are not necessarily being provoked to think in terms of sustainability and the green movement.
A transformation needs to occur so that students are not only cultivated to lead, but lead in areas of and in thoughts of sustainability. The benefits of provoking individuals to make decisions with sustainability in mind have far reaching effects beyond the environment as young people have the ability to reach a massive audience quickly. The sustainability movement was fostered with the environment as its focus, but it does not mean students with other interests cannot benefit. For example, entrepreneurial students looking to start a restaurant can use ideas of sustainability to grow their own herbs and use waste leftover from uneaten food as compost to aid the soil in which the herbs grow. The key is to provoke students to make decisions, in whatever field they may be interested in, with sustainability in mind. Taking this step to integrate thoughts of sustainability within the curriculum will allow our generation, and future generations to not only live green, but be green.