Hurricane Sandy successfully blew away large remnants of fall and has ushered in cooler temperature, which ultimately will signal the season’s end for local farm stands, especially in the mid-Atlantic region.  Although we welcome the change of seasons, we will miss the local fresh vegetables and fruits  supplied by local farmers.  I would like to say a special thank you to Patrick Padilla of Home Grown Produce on Patuxent Road in Odenton, Maryland. for making this summer and fall special with such a bounty of produce.

This farm stand just opened this summer, and owner, Patrick Padilla, has done a wonderful job of stocking the best corn, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, etc., that can be found in the area.  With the support of the local community and the press (http://odenton.patch.com/articles/fresh-produce-for-sale-on-patuxent-road), Padilla has maintained a steady business throughout the summer and fall.  In addition to receiving excellent service, it was great to be able to get produce that was literally “just picked,” with freshness and taste that cannot be found in any grocery store.  Also, this farm stand served as a place to meet people interested in fresh vegetable and fruit products, who often were eager and willing to share recipes and stories about cooking.  Patrick even posted recipes on a dry erase board at the stand.

Home Grown Produce will be closing for the season on November 4th, and you can bet there will be a lot of people counting the days until it reopens next year.  After researching and learning so much about the benefits of purchasing local produce, Homegrown Produce has provided me with the perfect “laboratory” to test my research findings and to experience these benefits firsthand.  This indeed is a great way to live green, be green.

Home Grown Produce’s fall bounty.

Perhaps the use of new and more ominous terminology will convince nonbelievers that global warming caused by climate change is a reality.  There is a possibility that our senses no longer are stimulated to initiate our fear and defense mechanisms when we hear terms like hurricane, tropical storm or even thunderstorm.  However, one has to admit that “post-tropical cyclone” wakes you up, as does tsunami and derecho.  The latter word even forces you to click on the online dictionary or Wikipedia so as to be informed of its meaning.  For those of you clicking those sites now, it is a fast-moving violent thunderstorm complex, a counterpart to a tornado, that creates wind damage along a swath of more than 240 miles and produces wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour.

Whatever the terminology needed to stimulate the senses of the global warming nonbelievers, it is difficult to imagine that anyone can look at the pictures of the storm aftermath in places like New York City and New Jersey (especially Atlantic City) and not realize that global warming with its extreme weather occurrences is for real.  Let’s face it, even staunch Republican Chris Christie had a come-to-Jesus moment.  I applaud him for totally putting aside political concerns and recognizing that the damage he sees today is for real, not a movie set of post-apocalyptic New Jersey.  Hopefully, this experience will initiate conversation on strategies to make the environmental changes necessary to “turn the tide” in that state.

While some people still will point out that storms of this magnitude have occurred before, such as a similar occurrence on Long Island in 1938, experts agree that this storm delivered the worst damage in history to low-lying coastal areas.  It shattered records going back to 1969 in terms of kinetic energy, which is a measurement of wind speed integrated over the width of an area where the wind is blowing.  Also, it set a record in New York for the worst hurricane since the city was founded in 1624 due to its 9 foot storm surge on top of high tide, bringing water levels to 13.88 feet in the Battery.

It remains clear that proponents of green living support the movement to address issues of global warming and climate change and do not need catastrophic weather events to recognize that we need to take positive steps to save our planet.  They will do that anyway for many reasons, whether they be practical, moral, ethical, spiritual, economical or what have you.  However, let’s face it, now that Heaven and Earth have spoken, what more proof do the nonbelievers need?

In the coming days, let’s be safe, think green and live green.

Post-tropical cyclone attacks New York

 

This is good news Monday, and today’s good news (which was not easy to find with Hurricane Sandy dominating the news) is that people who move away from animal-based diets to plant-based diets can expect to live a decade longer than traditional meat-eaters.  This represents a major conclusion of a series of studies from the Loma Linda University in California which tracked tens of thousands of Seventh Day Adventists since 1958.  Additionally, this research specifically identifies foods in vegetarian diets that can:

  • Reduce an individual’s risk for diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes;
  • Control body mass index; and
  • Boost brain health.

Known as the Adventist Health Study 2, this research project is still underway.  The sample population includes 96,000 people from the United States and Canada.  Seventh Day Adventist members were selected for this study because their religion specifically promotes vegetarianism and discourages drinking, smoking and drug use.  Statistics show that California Vegetarian Adventist men live to an average of 83.3 years and that state’s Vegetarian women to 85.7 years, representing 9.5 and 6.1 years longer, respectively, than other Californians.  This study population also was 25% African-American and half vegetarian.

Other findings of this study are as follows:

  • Vegans generally 30 pounds lighter than meat eaters.
  • Vegans overall have a BMI that is 5 units lighter than meat eaters.
  • Vegetarians and vegans are less insulin-resistant than meat eaters.
  • Lean people are more likely to exercise regularly, eat plants and avoid cigarettes than overweight people.
  • People who limit ingestion of animal products, but eat meat sparingly, have “intermediate protection” against lifestyle diseases.
  • Obesity cuts the lives of African-Americans by 6.2% and across the races, the protective quality of fat in seniors was not observed.

This study presents a very convincing argument on the need to restrict or eliminate the ingestion of animal products largely because it covers such an extensive study period and incorporates a very large and diverse population.  Combined with other evidence on the adverse consequences of meat consumption, including, but not limited to, reduced availability of grains for human consumption, increased carbon footprint, destruction of land by grazing animals, and lack of compassion for animals, the option of vegetarianism or veganism is becoming an important choice for a healthy life and a great way to live green, be green.

The source for this article is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/12/vegetarians-live-longer-longevity_n_1961967.html?utm_hp_ref=healthy-living.

Eat veggies to live longer!

This year we have witnessed a record number of named hurricanes.  Fortunately, the United States largely weathered these storms well to date.  Now we face a new and unique challenge.  Hurricane Sandy is barreling toward the east coast as a category 2 hurricane and is expected to make landfall along the mid-Atlantic coast of the United States this Monday or Tuesday.  Unfortunately, it appears that Heaven and Earth are aligning to transform Hurricane Sandy into a monster or “Frankenstorm” just in time for Halloween.

This hurricane is approaching during a full moon which, with its accompanying high tides, will increase Sandy’s storm surge about 20% higher than normal along the eastern seaboard.  This possibly could lead to major flooding and beach erosion.  What makes this storm really special and potentially catastrophic is its position as one player in three weather systems, which include a wintry storm approaching from the west and a frigid air stream traveling south from Canada.  If these three weather phenomena meet on Tuesday morning in the vicinity of New York and New Jersey, forecasters predict a huge, prolonged soaking mess that will settle over the northeast and spread as far as western Ohio.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration goes on to say that there are no modern precedents for what the storm models are suggesting.  This incoming storm is a clear example of the weather situations predicted by environmentalists, scientists and proponents of climate change.  It is unfortunate that these experts still do not have the ear of government and public policy experts, who possibly with the acknowledgement of the contribution of human factors to climate change, would do more to find solutions to this growing problem.  Hopefully, now that Heaven and Earth are speaking louder than ever and in unique fashion, maybe everyone will listen.

Let’s try to get prepared for this storm and stay safe, and as always, let’s live green, be green.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has released a new report which concludes that there is “no evidence that organic foods provide nutritional benefits that children cannot get from conventionally grown foods”.  The report does acknowledge that organic foods have lower pesticide levels, but parents should ensure that their children are getting a healthy diet, organic or not.

While it is understandable that parents have to consider the cost of foods and that many organic foods typically cost 10% to 40% more than conventional foods, there are some other alternatives to getting wholesome fruits and vegetables.  The first of these is to buy fruits and vegetables from local farmers.  These products are readily at hand and do not have to travel long distances to get to market, thereby reducing their carbon footprint and not requiring harmful preservatives.  Secondly, most farmers markets have rules for participants enacted by state legislatures to control the runoff of pesticides and fertilizers into lakes and rivers.

Interestingly, I see another issue here that concerns acceptable farming practices.  Despite the long history of farming and gardening in America, which predates industrialization and the growth of mega-businesses and regionally located supermarket chains, we have come to the point where “conventional” defines the manipulated and engineered products as oppose to the natural products, which now are made to be the exception.  Moreover, although we know that pesticides and fertilizers are chemicals, and specifically that the purpose of pesticides is “to kill or destroy” things, we choose to debate the level of destruction our bodies can “safely” tolerate.  I find it disappointing that so many people are willing to relinquish control over their bodies and their children’s health based on the levels of tolerable damage possible for the sake of convenience and cost.  This is making our health through good nutrition a crap shoot.

I know that it may not be possible to only buy organic fruits and vegetables, but we do not have to totally throw caution to the wind.  Maybe buy organic berries because they are easier to clean for consumption.  Another alternative is to only buy the organic versions of the products that our families consume in large supply.  Also, please do not forget the local farm stands and farmers markets.

The effort to maintain a healthy diet can become difficult if you let it.  However, with the use of some research from green initiatives and a little common sense, it is possible to have a healthy diet and save money.  Let’s stick with the green movement to make sure we live green, be green!

The source for this article came from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2012/10/15/peds.2012-2579.

I think it is amazing that in the year 2012, there would be a contentious debate going on in this country regarding the rights of consumers to know whether or not their food contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs).  This controversy will appear on the ballot in the upcoming California general election.  If passed, it will require “labeling of foods sold to consumers made from plant or animals with genetic material changed in specific ways”.  It also would prohibit “marketing such foods, or other processed food, as ‘natural’.

Proponents of Prop 37 voice concerns that GMOs have been linked to allergies and other health problems, while opponents of the measure state that there is no scientific evidence that processed food with traces of GMOs pose a danger to humans.  The major issue posed by the opponents lies in the costs of regulation and verification, which would be the responsibility of the retailers and an undue burden to smaller stores and businesses.

The amazing part of this debate is that there is such a discussion going on questioning consumers’ rights to know what is in their food.  Also, I find it interesting that this is a big issue in America while 50 other countries in the world (which represents 40% of the world’s population) presently require GMO labeling.  These countries include all of Europe, Japan, India and China.  Also polls here show that 90% of Americans want to know if their food is genetically engineered.

In our present tumultuous political climate, we hear politicians at all levels making promises about what they will do for us and our country if elected.  Maybe we all should take a step back and question how these people want to help us in all these other areas but are willing to bend to big business and violate such a basic right as access to information regarding the contents of the food we eat.  We have the right to make informed decisions about our nutrition and it is up to us ensure this is the case and that our rights are not violated.  This is 2012, not the dark ages.  Access to facts on our food content is crucial to being able to live green, be green.

 

Today on good news Monday, LGBG by PMD is excited to announce that the company will soon provide green job placement services. The decision to do this is a natural progression in the team’s focus on learning new things and using that knowledge to advance the causes of the green movement.

Over the past year, we have researched and shared information on all things green, celebrating the positives and making our audience aware of the problems that need to be addressed. Our discussions have included legislative issues, practical home and business solutions to green living, as well as conversations on sustainable energy and climate change, just to name a few. It is apparent to us that green initiatives now are entrenched in our society, and with that said, there are many opportunities for employment in green jobs. A review of several recruitment and employment boards, however, indicates that most companies tend to throw the green jobs in with all the other employment opportunities. Our team would like to see a job service that exclusively devotes itself to the green market sector with a platform that services both companies looking to hire and job seekers.

We feel that such a service will save time for job hunters committed to finding green jobs because they will not have to wade through tons of useless ads that are not applicable to them. Also for businesses looking to hire, they will not be bogged down with ads from other businesses totally unrelated to green initiatives. Our site will be exclusively green. It is our promise that any company listed on our site will meet the standards of being a green company. Conversely, potential employees referred to these businesses will be carefully screened to make sure that they meet the requirements for jobs offered by any potential employer.

Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see”. Our team at LGBG by PMD wants to see a healthy green world, and we feel that our new venture into green job recruitment represents a great opportunity to positively advance the green movement so that we all can live green, be green.

Here at LGBG by PMD United, we continuously aim to assemble a team of researchers and writers dedicated to our fundamental philosophies of learning new things and sharing that knowledge.  Everyday our team members converse over topics and entries, and seldom do we find and mine information on such impressive initiatives as that of the Green Global Renewable Energy Education Network (or GREEN, for short).

GREEN is a fantastically young organization that realizes the importance of today’s impact on tomorrow.  Like LGBG, GREEN supports the expanse of knowledge, specifically regarding sustainability and renewable energy.  However, GREEN goes one step further and works to increase awareness through more meaningful, first-hand experiences.

What exactly does GREEN do, you ask, that has us here at LGBG so impressed?  Well, we believe a quick look at the organization’s early body of work can speak volumes for itself.

Say, perhaps, that someone in college is interested in pursuing further knowledge about heightened sustainability practices and renewable energy options.  Suppose also that this individual prefers not the conventional ways of the classroom but rather, if given the opportunity, would opt for more hands-on learning in a heartbeat.  Cue GREEN and its program.

GREEN assembles groups of highly motivated and top-performing college students from around the world to immerse them in a twelve-day, all-inclusive Costa Rican adventure.  The center of attention is undoubtedly on education, and fittingly, GREEN’s program design makes skillful use of all that Costa Rica has to offer.  In fact, as the current hotbed of renewable energy technologies, the country offers students the unique opportunity to learn about and experience five main types of alternative energy that power eighty percent of Costa Rica – hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar.

One of the major foci of the GREEN organization is supplementing typical classroom learning with a more hands-on approach, so as to further progress the students towards future career goals.  The GREEN program’s outside-of-the-classroom learning experience covers career interests in business, engineering, ecology and public policy.  With GREEN-assembled industry experts at the helm of all discussions and instructional sessions, and with managers, engineers, and operators heading all plant tours, students can rest assured that they are receiving a top-notch educational experience.

Students who participate in the GREEN program clearly share a passion for sustainability and renewable energies.  But there is one more thing students of each and every session can agree upon – perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of the trip is teaming their passions and newfound knowledge to complete the keynote project of GREEN’s program.  (The final project entails formulating their own green programs that are attainable on a university- or college-wide level, which students can potentially bring back with them and initiate at their respective institutions.)  GREEN is very proud to acknowledge that, in addition to the great network of alumni the program offers, graduate students have also taken advantage of the opportunities GREEN provides by pursuing excellence in internships and entry-level positions within the sustainability programs of major corporations like GE.

Don’t be completely fooled, however.  Although GREEN means business, and there is a very comprehensive list of well-planned informational activities, there is also time for play to be adequately mixed in with the work.  Students have some downtime during which they can explore the beautiful landscape and activities Costa Rica has to offer.  From enjoying the physical features of the landscape to delving further into cultural centers of the country, the possibilities for fun and learning prove endless.

Overall, LGBG proudly endorses, to the highest extent, the programs and initiatives set forth and carried out by GREEN.  It is precisely through this kind of igniting and continually feeding the green flame of knowledge, that People Making a Difference United firmly believes the future can be changed for the better.  Dedicated to that same cause, obviously, is the Green Global Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN), and for that, we offer our sincerest praise to the organization.

To our readers, LGBG urges you to learn more of the GREEN program by visiting the official website, www.thegreenprogram.com, now.

Halloween is a fun holiday for children and adults, and with just a little over a week left before the big day, many people have shifted into high gear to make the celebration festive.  It is important to be green conscious with Halloween plans so that we protect the environment and stay safe.  Here are a few tips to have a healthy and happy Halloween:

  • Make sure any store-bought costumes and makeup are safe.  Many of the costumes, masks and ornaments on the market, particularly those manufactured in China, contain some levels of lead.  Several new reports out this week noted the seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection of shipments of pirate costumes with lead in ornamentation, masks and props, such as swords.  The best way to avoid lead contamination in products is to buy costumes made in America or to make costumes at home.  I think it is important to note that store-bought costumes are permitted to have some levels of lead, but I feel that avoidance of this toxic substance altogether is the safest route to take.  The same is true for face paint.  These products often contain lead and other heavy metals and can be toxic, causing allergic reactions.  Make sure your face paint is organic.  The healthiest alternative is to avoid face paint altogether if you are unsure of the ingredients, or go to the website, Big Green Purse Blog at http://blog.biggreenpurse.com/biggreenpurse/2009/10/make-your-own-green-halloween-face-paint-.html to get reliable information on safe face painting.
  • Be careful about lighting.  While tea light candles in decorator bags lining a pathway are scenic, they pose a danger to trick-or-treaters.  Instead, try LED lights, which are safe for the kids and the environment.
  • Swap or donate costumes.  Once Halloween is over, consider swapping out used costumes with friends, or neighbors.  An alternative is to donate used costumes and props to local theater groups.
  • Try natural decorations.  While the plastic pumpkins and ghosts may seem like a bargain, they are not good for the environment.  This year try natural decorations with real pumpkins, bales of straw and corn husks.  As a bonus, these decorations can double for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  Some clever fall decorating ideas can be found on Pinterest.  Remember to save the pumpkin seeds to eat later after carving pumpkins.  Roasted pumpkins make a delicious and healthy snack.

These are just a few tips for an environmentally healthy and happy Halloween.  Let’s put green into our orange and black celebration so that everyday we live green, be green.

Go Green! Ditch the water bottles. The bottled water industry is a primary target of the ‘green” movement and for great reason.  If we are going to effectively integrate “green” practices and ingrain future generations with second nature “green” practices, then we must eliminate our consumption of bottled water!  If we do not do something now, bottled water will continue to resonate as one of the leading causes for the decline of our Earth’s health.   This entry is intended to exist as an educational realization of a very real problem that has masked itself as a common, healthy consumer good.  It is also intended to serve as a call to action for people to make the conscious effort to “go green” and consider switching to tap water as well as purchasing reusable bottles to drink from. The true extent to which bottled water is damaging our environment would take thousands of pages to explain however, I will do my best to paint a brief, yet alarming picture with one woman’s research.  Please read, think about what you are reading and take action by doing some research of your own and sharing what you learn as we are trying to do.

We present to you,  “Water Bottle Pollution Facts”, which was published in a 2011 publication of National Geographic by author, Susanne Didier.  Simply put, her findings are overwhelmingly alarming.  In her article, she breaks down the environmental impact of water bottle pollution in terms of the bottles as well as overlooked factors such as production and transportation.  Suzanne points out that American consumers alone, purchase more than 29 billion bottles of water a year, a staggering number.  To honor this demand, more than 2.4 billion pounds of plastic are needed.  Even more alarming, she reports that sadly, only 13% of these 29 billion bottles of water are being recycled!

The next part of her article discusses the transportation element of the water bottle industry supply chain.  People tend to forget that the costs that go into consumer products extend beyond just those of the raw materials and assembly of the product. Two of the biggest added costs are those of shipping and delivery.  To cut to the chase, in order to effectively and safely transport 29 billion bottles of water to U.S. markets alone, over 50 million barrels of oil are needed.  Yes, you read correctly, 50 million barrels of oil are needed!  To put that into perspective, each American, on average only uses a little over 24 barrels of oil a year and around 1500 barrels in a lifetime.  That’s it.

The last part of her report simply highlights that on top of how detrimental water bottles are to the environment, their purpose is not completely justifiable.  She reports findings from a 4-year study by the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) that revealed shocking findings.  Most notably, “Roughly 22 percent of the water tested contained contaminant levels that exceeded strict state health limits.” The report also concluded that there were traces of various levels of hormones and other contaminates, most of which people think they are avoiding by choosing bottled water over tap water.  Ironically enough, in a move (strategic marketing ploy) to be healthier, we are actually doing much more harm to ourselves overall!    

To conclude, the facts are before us and this one example is merely the tip of the iceberg.  We challenge you to impart this knowledge to others and think twice about continuing to purchase bottled water.  We challenge you to use this as a first step towards “going green” and consciously choose to live green and be green in some way every single day!

Here is a link to her article http://greenliving.nationalgeographic.com/water-bottle-pollution-2947.html