#GeoEngineering - more prevalent than u know

#GeoEngineering – more prevalent than u know (Photo credit: joykennelly)

In the wake of the realization that climate change is a reality, a geoengineering technology incorporating the use of artificial trees to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere is a clear indication that “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy”.  Geoengineering is defined as “climate engineering, climate remediation, and climate intervention” .(1)  Geoengineering has been used primarily to refer to “the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth’s climate system, in order to moderate global warming“.  It typically involves efforts to rid the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and solar radiation management techniques to “offset effects of increased greenhouse gas concentration by causing the Earth to absorb less solar radiation“. (2)

It has been noted that scientists at Columbia University’s Earth Institute are working on a “carbon capture” project, which involves the use of a prototype of artificial trees that will remove carbon dioxide from the air “faster and at higher levels than natural photosynthesis can accomplish”. (3)  This group postulates that the captured carbon dioxide then can be released by a “gentle flow of water” and then can be used industrially or safely sequestered underground.  Many environmentalists take an exception to technological fixes for global warming, such as these because such actions “discourage us from the hard work of actually cutting down on greenhouse emissions”.  The main consideration here is whether the goal here is climate manipulation or solutions to address climate change.

The reality here is that trees are not the culprits in this scenario.  They consistently have done their job well.  They effectively reflect the “greatness of God“.  It is man who has disrupted this process by actions that increase our carbon footprint, namely pollution of land, air and water, reliance on fossil fuels, and to a large extent, deforestation.  Consideration of ethics and moral responsibility is a very valid approach to this issue.  Followers of the green movement recognize themselves as “stewards” of the Earth.  We have a duty to protect the environment and to pass on a healthy world to future generations.  This notion of benevolent management of the world has a foundation in religion, ethics and morality and must not be diminished by greed, politics or sheer lack of responsibility.

Now on to the role of beer (which is good) and its relationship to the idea of artificial trees, in particular, and geoengineering, in general.  So many of us are caught up in a rat race.  You have to admit that when you take a break with an ice-cold beer, the stress level goes down and you can reflect on life.  Now you can appreciate a tree as opposed to the stressful periods when you “couldn’t see the forest for the trees”.  Things start to make sense.  You realize that so many things about life have become artificial, and maybe we should stop this nonsense.

Finally, the acceptance of artificial trees clearly would indicate that people are crazy.  By definition, artificial means “humanly contrived, often on a natural model, manmade, simulated; sham”  Already we rely on so many artificial products and ingredients which ultimately bear heavy costs in terms of money, waste, and adverse health consequences.  Now trees?  To this notion, we must say a resounding NO.  We can grow trees with seeds made by trees.  We do not need to manufacture them artificially.

We can address climate change by a consolidated effort to avoid pollution, recycling, reducing our fuel and energy consumption and living responsibly.  We do not want climate manipulation.  Rather, we demand climate change solutions.  We want to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

1.  United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) (July 2011) (PDF). Climate Engineering: Technical Status, Future Directions, and Potential Responses (Report). Center for Science, Technology, and Engineering. p. 3. Retrieved 2011-12-01.

2.  Royal Society (September 2009) (PDF). Geoengineering the Climate: Science, Governance and Uncertainty (Report). p. 1. ISBN 978-0-85403-773-5. Retrieved 2011-12-01.

3.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/artificial-trees-carbon-capture_b_2728083.html.

4.  Credit to Bill Currington from song “People Are Crazy”.

With the Oscar’s upon us, our minds as a nation tend to drift towards the extravagance as a result of watching global icons in Hollywood’s biggest party of the year. Opulence and decadence are the most appropriate adjectives to describe the evening and more specifically the gowns and tuxedos worn to the event. It is fairly common for dresses to cost tens of thousands of dollars as designers use the star-studded event to promote their fashion lines and brands on the most expensive mannequins money can buy.[1] Despite the lavishness however, many of these actors and actresses are heavily involved with charities and humanitarian efforts. Their global statuses help to raise tremendous amounts of money for causes they deem valuable, or even crucial for society to survive moving forward. Leonardo DiCaprio for example has consistently sought to bring about awareness of environmental issues through his Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF). DiCaprio’s latest project is called LYON, which is an organic and fair trade coffee company, whose proceeds support LDF’s other sustainable ventures which include, but are not limited to, “…Wildlife protection, forest preservation, clean water, and climate change.”[2]

In addition, Colin Firth, who currently is working on a project to help save the Brazilian indigenous Awa tribe, who are being threatened as a result of illegal logging of the Amazon Rainforest, is among a growing population of celebrities who are involved with charities and humanitarian efforts geared around the environment and green issues.[3]

And while it is difficult to say that some charities are more valuable or important than others, the impact of green initiatives and sustainability affect us all to some degree or another. I realize that the focus of the Oscars (or any other awards show in general) is not charity i.e. the Guardian Charity Awards. Yet, a lot of good can be done by a simple celebrity plugin. Actors and actresses are already asked what and who they are “wearing” for the evening. By wearing a green inspired dress or tuxedo and mentioning that to the public is relatively harmless, and is in line with the questioning they already receive from reporters for the night. Imagine how much awareness for green clothing can be provided by even a single celebrity endorser. For example, just think about how many eyeballs watch an event like the Oscar’s. Now imagine the amount of attention a green clothing initiative would receive if say a George Clooney wore a hemp fused Armani tuxedo or a Jennifer Lawrence wore a Donna Karen dress made from recyclable materials. The amount of good press for a celebrity who endorses such a movement and for the designer, who took time out to make a sustainable and fashionable garment for a celebrity to wear, would only be equaled by the amount of exposure for the green clothing movement. Celebrities are already involved with green charities. Yet, their statuses as global icons will only help to push a movement like sustainable clothing quickly into mainstream if they choose to endorse it. What a personal and humanitarian statement that would make if a celebrity showed up to an event that is broadcast worldwide in elegant clothing made from green materials. Let’s push our celebrities to wear sustainable clothing and to promote the movement’s ideals to a worldwide audience. In that way the world can see the possibilities of sustainable clothing and can further help to promote a world in which we live green, and be green.

[1] http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2012/02/24/how-much-do-oscar-invitees-really-pay-for-their-red-carpet-looks/

[2] http://www.thedailyactivist.com/celebrity-charities-dicaprios-newest-eco-partners/

[3] http://www.thedailyactivist.com/genocide-in-the-making/

Make your HOA dues count!

Make your HOA dues count!

As we march, rally and cajole our elected officials to address the issues of global warming and climate change, it is important that we include our homeowners associations (HOA) in the group of elected bodies who must be committed to this effort.  According to data by the Community Associations Institute, [1] there are more than 323,600 homeowners’ associations in the United States, resulting in jurisdiction over 63.4 million Americans.

HOAs have quasi-political powers over its residents.  In many cases, they represent “government among friends,” where rules and covenants are adopted and enforced regarding upkeep of facilities to ensure that these communities look good and function well.  The HOA is an excellent source to incorporate sustainability practices, but some serious nudging by residents is needed to accomplish this.  In fact, HOAs in the past have been notable for employing restrictive practices that are contrary to a green lifestyle, all in the name of aesthetics.  Some of these practices include the prohibition of outside organic gardens that feature edible flowers and fruit, banning the use of outdoor clothes-drying and prohibiting the use of solar panels.

The first step to engage the HOA in going green is to get involved in the election of officers to the board of directors.  Often the individuals who serve on these boards are cajoled by the current officers to simply be a warm body to fill a vacant seat or they are individuals who join the board to fulfill a specific agenda– approval for a new playground or installation of speed bumps are immediate examples that come to mind.  Imagine the impact that a board of directors who are committed to climate change,  living green and sustainability would have on the community.  In addition to working to have a beautiful neighborhood, the community could adopt a plan for eco-landscaping, [2] which promotes a healthy environment with the selection of flowers and deciduous trees that save the soil, require fewer pesticides and herbicides and need less water to survive.

Those “green voices” on the board of directors of the HOA also encourage discussion on green technology.  The board could then make informed recommendations regarding sustainable products, and they may be able to get group discounts for some items.  This alone will spike residents’ interests in programmable thermostats, hot tub timers, CFL bulbs, motion sensors and green appliances.  Also, those “green voices” on the board could rally the residents to force the HOA officers to review restrictive covenants and remove the provisions that thwart sustainability, such as the prohibition of the use of solar panels.

The point to be made here is that the HOA should represent the community.  After all, the residents pay dues to live in these neighborhoods, and they should have a voice in the management of their developments.  The residents have the right to property management companies which truly look out for their interests, and the companies selected to do this should be versed in green living and capable of directing the board on instituting policies and procedures which help the developments they serve to be healthy communities in addition to being clean and beautiful.[3]

As we approach the season for HOA annual meetings and elections, we here at LGBG hope that each of you who live in communities served by homeowners associations use this opportunity to elect officials who will truly represent you and promote your agenda to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

1.  http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/kbenfield/coercion_by_contract_how_homeo.html.
2.  http://www.sustland.umn.edu/maint/trees.html.
3.  http://melrosemanagement.com/news.cfm/mode/details/id/6302/tips-for-going-green-with-your-hoa.

“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.[1]Thomas Edison

In that 1931 conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, Edison prophetically described the potential of solar energy to be used to supply society’s energy requirements. And with the help of government subsidies and a greater emphasis on the importance of sustainability by the Obama administration, the solar industry is off to a fast start in 2013 as ETF’s Guggenheim Solar and Market Vectors Solar Energy are up 20% this year.[2]

There are many attractive features of solar energy, led primarily by the almost infinite amount of raw energy provided by that thing called the sun. In addition, solar panels are becoming cheaper to manufacture and last around two decades, which creates a tremendous amount of value over the life of the product (not to mention the tax advantages of owning a solar paneled system). Lastly, solar energy panels provide a clean source of energy to power your entire home without the expense to the environment – at least so we thought.

According to a recent yahoo article, the solar industry may have a dirtier side after first glance. Because of government subsidies, solar panel manufactures are incentivized to produce as many units as possible. However, one of the major downsides to this is amount of sludge and contaminated water from the manufacturing process.[3] And because a majority of these companies are startups with huge overhead costs and are heavily invested in research and development, firms are unable to build storage facilities for this waste, which forces them to ship the contaminants across state lines to waste facilities hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away.[4]  Lastly and most shockingly is the fact that the transport of the waste is not calculated into the products’ carbon footprint, which is the quantitative figure assessing the product’s ecological impact across the timespan of its inception to its destruction. It is a bit hypocritical for companies, which have a green initiative as an alternative energy source, to be so nonchalant about a green calculation with such great significance.

What is also striking is the industry-wide lack of transparency regarding the carbon footprint of the solar companies. “The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a watchdog group created in 1982 in response to severe environmental problems associated with the valley’s electronics industry, is now trying to keep the solar industry from making similar mistakes through a voluntary waste reporting “scorecard.” So far, only 14 of 114 companies contacted have replied.[5]

That being said, as an alternative energy source, solar energy is still the cleanest and most reliable. Compared to coal and natural gas derived energy, solar produces ten times less pollutants, and as mentioned previously, with a twenty year life expectancy for panels, provides a great source of energy for a significant length of time. The oversight of not including transportation costs may be a harmless and overlooked nuance that has not jeopardized lives. Yet, as a writer for an information sharing blog, the lack of transparency leaves a bad taste in my mouth and changes need to be made to provide consumers with the most up-to-date information. The solar industry as a result of this report cannot hide behind the veil of purity in doing green work, while simultaneously producing inefficient carbon footprint “scorecards”.  Only when the industry makes amends to change its behavior in reporting information can we as consumers feel confident in living green, and being green.

[1] http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison

[2] http://finance.yahoo.com/news/solar-industry-impressing-investors-gains-132000140.html;_ylt=A2KJ2UiI.h9RZ0gAlDbQtDMD

[3] “In many cases, a toxic sludge is created when metals and other toxins are removed from water used in the manufacturing process. If a company doesn’t have its own treatment equipment, then it will send contaminated water to be stored at an approved dump.”

[4] http://news.yahoo.com/solar-industry-grapples-hazardous-wastes-184756813.html;_ylt=A2KJ2UZE9h9RPGoAWB3QtDMD

[5] See id no. 4


P1304138.jpg (Photo credit: Sigfrid Lundberg)

The reality of climate change, combined with global warming and deterioration of infrastructures, has resulted in numerous power failures in many areas of the country, and now is the time for each of us to accept the responsibility of maintaining power in our homes when our utility companies fail to maintain the flow of electricity during extreme weather occurrences.  The need to take matters into our own hands is more urgent than ever as we now witness the task of finding solutions to climate change being undertaken by our politically divided Congress.  We can assume that major upgrades of power grids will happen one day, hopefully before a complete irreparable power failure ensues.   Meanwhile, on a more frequent basis, we are forced to endure days or hours without electricity during winter and summer storms or during excessively hot days when the present power grids face an undue burden.

A little research shows that there are remedies to ensure house power when the utility companies fail, some more costly than others, but solutions, nonetheless.  We will take a look at few of these.

  • Gas generators.  Most of us are familiar with gas generators that can be purchased for as little as $299, especially if bought during non-emergency periods.  The simplest generators operate off of gas.  Cheaper models can support a few lights and perhaps a fan or electric heater  and a refrigerator during power failures, but not much more.  These generators tend to be very noisy.  However, the biggest issue is that they MUST be placed in an open area to prevent carbon monoxide buildup and exposure, which can be fatal.  In times of power outages, gas generators do help us have access to some power in our homes.
  • Backup generators.  A more sophisticated generator is the backup version which is wired into a gas or propane line.  Depending on the size, these products can keep the lights on in the entire house, preserve refrigerator function to prevent food spoilage, maintain power supply to heating and cooling systems and keep sump pumps and well pumps in operation.  These systems have built-in battery chargers to guarantee battery operation and feature automatic transfer switches between utility power and generator power.  Backup generators are available for purchase or for lease.
  • Solar panels.  As President Obama noted in the State of the Union Address this week, the cost of solar energy is getting cheaper.  As solar energy becomes a more mainstream option, there now are many financing, leasing and equipment options available.  Cost can run from about $1500 to more than $10,000.  When we hear the term solar energy, we immediately think about “photo-voltaic panels,” but there are other sola products available.  They include ground solar panels or grid-tied solar energy systems with a battery backup.  The latter option is very expensive, but it may be a worthwhile investment, particularly in areas of the country that are forced to endure repeated extended periods without power.  Another option is small portable emergency solar power systems that can be used to operate a few small appliances but is inadequate for large appliances, furnaces or cooling systems.  A review of other available products indicate other options, including stand alone systems, remote power systems and emergency power systems.  Solar energy systems often include a bonus of energy tax credits, thereby making them even more attractive.

Considering that the storm season is approaching and that it is more than reasonable to expect as many or more power outages than we have previously experienced during the past summer seasons, it is important that we take charge of the responsibility of keeping our electricity running when the local power grid fails.  We must continue to hold our elective officials, federal, state and local, responsible for enacting policies to protect the environment and to make it a priority to upgrade deteriorating infrastructures and power grids.  Also, we must communicate with utility companies and demand to be included in the conversation on the power needs of our communities.  Lastly, we must continue to rally and speak up for the environment, the need to reduce our carbon footprint, protect our waters and to accept the reality of climate change based on hard scientific facts.  We must continue to fight to live green, be green.







Scientific studies on climate helped establish...

Scientific studies on climate helped establish a consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the debate over the reality of climate change rages on in Congress and in the news, the details of a promising series of events are emerging that belie the arguments of climate change critics, who deny the existence of climate change and the negative consequences of inaction to address global warming.

Objective data now available clearly indicates a steady movement towards sustainability practices by many businesses.  For instance, recent statistics show that there has been a major shift away from the use of coal and towards natural gas to generate electricity in America.  This shift is documented by a major decline in coal transported by railroads.  This trend is concerning to railroads because coal is the most important commodity for them, accounting for 43.3 percent of  freight railway tonnage and 24.6 percent of gross rail revenue in 2011.  It is important to note that the decline in coal transport by rail, for the most part, is directly attributable to electric utilities’ needs “to take advantage of more price-competitive natural gas“.  While the production of natural gas does pose issues, particularly with fracking, it is a cleaner source of fuel, releasing fewer global-warming gases, such as carbon dioxide, thereby resulting in a reduction of greenhouse emissions in America.  As scientists work to make the fracking procedure safer, natural gas definitely competes against coal as a preferred fuel source.

A look at events going on in Alaska also provides evidence of belief in climate change, a willingness of people to accept its existence and the need to protect the environment.  A recent story chronicles Sarah Palin‘s efforts to address the issues of climate change while she was governor of Alaska.  Palin’s recognition of global warming and its effect on her state and its citizens led her to establish a climate change sub-cabinet to produce ideas on “how Alaskans can save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions”.  During this period prior to her interest in higher political aspirations, Palin was dedicated to find solutions to “protect Alaska’s most at-risk communities“.  Now fast forward to today where we find that current Alaska Republican governor, Sean Parnell (previously a lobbyist for oil companies) has quietly dismantled Palin’s Immediate Action Workgroup.  As a result, it is noted that there are 12 small indigenous communities on Alaska’s coast that need to relocate because of global warming.  Currently in Alaska, the voices are getting louder in support of these displaced communities and in recognition of the reality of global warming and climate change.

A third interesting series of events pointing to acceptance of global warming and the need to seek alternative energy solutions can be seen in the NFL’s increased use of solar energy for stadiums.  Of course, we just witnesses the major power failure at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana.  While it may come as a surprise to some people, for the past 18 years the NFL has been pursuing green energy solutions.  It recognized long ago that the sheer  size of most NFL venues were outpacing the infrastructures, thereby taxing the electrical grids and at some point resulting in power failures.  To date, several NFL stadiums are equipped with solar panels, including Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots), MetLife Stadium (NY Jets and NY Giants), FedEx Field (Redskins), and Century Link Field (Seattle Mariners).  The company responsible for most of these projects is NRG Solar Company (www.nrgsolar.com).  These efforts clearly are indicative of the NFL’s recognition of the importance of solar energy and the role it can play in business today, particularly for industries with very large energy burdens at any particular time.

We here at LGBG feel empowered by the efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations who refuse to be deterred in their efforts to seek solutions to global warming.  We know that climate change is a reality.  As we enter the weekend, we are posed to witness another reminder of the reality of climate change and global warming by two huge storms coming from the west and the south and expected to result in a major blizzard in the Northeast, which still has not recovered from Sandy.  We wish the best for everyone in the path of these storms.  They truly are Mother Nature reminding us to live green, be green.

Sources for this Article:
1.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rhone-resch/nfl-solar-power_b_2592901.html
2.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/06/sarah-palin-climate-change_n_2630262.html?utm_hp_ref=green&ir=Green
3.  http://www.climatecentral.org/news/new-rail-traffic-data-reflects-big-shift-away-from-coal-15555

Happy Valentine's Day...

Happy Valentine’s Day… (Photo credit: Јerry)

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and we here at LGBG wanted to offer a few suggestions for green Valentine’s Day celebrations that show how much you really care.  With a little imagination, you can plan a celebration that is romantic, affordable and more exciting than that usual annual Hallmark moment, complete with a card, cut flowers and large crowds and long lines at restaurants that are anything but intimate.

For starters, a written expression of love is a must.  It does not have to be a store-bought card.  It could be a letter, a poem or a list of all the things you love about the person receiving the gift.  It could be a handwritten IOU for a special event upcoming in the future.  Your special person definitely will appreciate the personal touch, thoughtfulness and creativity.  If you must give a store-bought card, make sure it is made from environmentally friendly recycled paper.

Flowers are perhaps the gift given most often on Valentine’s Day.  This year, break out of the box and try something different.  Rather giving “toxic” cut flowers that will die in a few days, choose a potted plant that will continue to grow for a long time (if cared for properly).  A perusal of websites on environmentally friendly plants reveals a lot of suggestions.  One of my favorite sites is:  http://www.thenewecologist.com/2009/07/top-10-natural-eco-friendly-and-anti-pollutant-houseplants/.  There you can find beautiful and often colorful houseplants that also are eco-friendly and anti-pollutant.  This gift could mark the start of a special activity in your relationship that fosters intimacy.  It also is a great gift for children, creating a learning opportunity on caring about nature.

Next, who doesn’t like chocolate, particularly on Valentine’s Day?  This year, try organic chocolate.  This is a great time to shop from fair trade vendors, who guarantee their products are organic and were made by workers who were treated fairly. Organic chocolate is made from cocoa beans that have not been treated with fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides.  Additionally, the other ingredients in the mix also are grown by organic methods– sugar, nuts, spices, etc.  Domestic organic chocolate are clearly labeled as such with a USDA Organic seal and with an organic percentage of 70% to 98%.  To earn this seal, this product must be free of preservatives, artificial color and GMOs.  Organic chocolate is more expensive than conventional chocolate, but the quality shows that you care.

If jewelry is on your list this year, consider antique jewelry or something retro that has very special meaning.  This presents another great opportunity to shop from fair trade vendors.

To cap off that romantic Valentine’s Day celebration, celebrate with organic wine.  Organic wine is made from grown with 100% organic ingredients that have been monitored closely throughout the growing process.  Domestic organic wines carry a USDA seal.  A great website with brands of organic wines is: http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/latest/best-organic-wines#slide-1.  Also, when I visited my local spirits shop, the salesperson was eager to “educate” me on organic wine, and I left the store with a great bottle of reasonably priced vino.

We hope you find something interesting to try in  these suggestions for a green Valentine’s Day.  Every little step towards a greener lifestyle helps to reduce our carbon footprint.  Use the opportunity of this upcoming Valentine’s Day to celebrate love, life, the earth and to live green, be green.

This week’s Senate vote for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is being viewed by many as a referendum on the issue of violence against women in America.  We here at LGBG know that the problem of violent crimes against women, such as rape, physical abuse, intimidation and stalking are both social and health issues that must be adequately addressed in America.

Since the recent mass shootings in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado and Tucson, Arizona, combined with the discovery and outrage over the sexual abuse of young boys at Penn State, the arguments for and against gun control, as well as the need to address the problem of mental illness in America have been loud and clear.  It is unfortunate that we have remained quiet and less emotional about the violence against women in the home, schools and armed services.  The House of Representatives chose to vote against the reauthorization of thus much needed legislation, and now we are waiting for the Senate to act.  Why must there be so much resistance to reauthorize an act already on the books that seeks to protect women?  In other words that are more direct and simple—why the double standard?

Statistics by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and UN Women indicate that:

  • Approximately 20% of American women have been raped or have experienced an attempted rape;
  • Greater than 15% of American women have been stalked;
  • Approximately 25% of American women have reported physical abuse by an intimate partner.

Despite these disturbing statistics, Congress has chosen to become mired down in technicalities when discussing this issue, rather than acting on the urgency of the matter.

Legislators seem to give a lot of lip service to support for women and issues relative to them, but often when the time to act arises, that strong support quickly dissipates or becomes lost in bureaucratic rhetoric and entanglements.  For instance, we claim to fully support our military.  If that is the case, that support should extend to the protection of females in the military from violent sexual attacks and intimidation at the hands of fellow soldiers.  We now boast that women can go into active combat.  Imagine being able to boast that we keep our females in the military completely safe sexual attacks by other soldiers.  Also, legislators tout the need to curb the deficit to ensure the fiscal health of the nation for our young people.  Considering that so many young women and even girls, particularly students, experience rape, stalking and intimidation, it is just as important that we stop violence against women in this country to ensure the physical and mental health of these citizens.

Interestingly, it was reported that the Super Bowl celebration historically has resulted in the single largest day of human trafficking.  Amazingly, on this day of records, this one significant dark statistic is never mentioned.  Once again, this points to a double standard by our leaders and our society on both the value of women and their right to protection from violence.  We understand that VAWA does not address the issue of human trafficking, but we know that the reauthorization of this act can be the lightning rod to ignite meaningful discussion of all aspects of violence to women, thus leading to increased awareness of the problem and solutions.

It is important that we reauthorize the Senate version of the Violence Against Women Act because in addition to funding crucial grant programs, it makes critical improvements in the former act and strengthens the program to protect all victims of domestic and sexual abuse.  The purpose of the reauthorization of VAWA is simple:  To ensure that “college students, immigrants, Native Americans, gays, lesbians and transgender people have access to anti-abuse programs”.  The Violence Against Women Act contains programs that work to prevent violence and to help victims of violence and their families remain safe and self-sufficient”.  We urge you to contact your U.S. senator and ask that he/she support this bill on the floor and oppose any harmful amendments to the current act.  Hopefully, the perspective of a double standard will be a myth, and this week the Senate will show that by its vote to reauthorize this act.

For your convenience, we are providing a link to the list of the phone numbers and addresses for the members of the U.S. Senate.  It is as follows: http://www1.umn.edu/humanrts/peace/senate.html.  You also can email your opinion or a message on the topic of VAWA to your senator at the following site: https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/s47/comment/support.

Sources for this article:




LGBG would like to say, thank you! Thank you to all of our followers, past and recent, and thank you to our new friends and colleagues.

Our mission, at times, feels dense with growing opposition.  It is truly rewarding seeing this blog’s tremendous growth, worldwide, as it helps to affirm our mission despite any and all opposition.

 The surge in genuine supporters and individuals who share our beliefs and goals, pertaining to our Earth, has inspired us to work even harder in our efforts.

LGBG has a lot of wonderful plans for this year and we are just as excited to share them with all of you!


Thank You,




We constantly hear about the benefits of recycling, and now Ekocycle has taken the delivery of this message to the next level by going on a mission to provide a remarkably informative and entertaining visualization of the possible results of this effort.  Ekocycle is a collaboration between the Coca-Cola Company and Will.i.am, which educates consumers, particularly young people, on the benefits of recycling and encourages “recycling behavior” and sustainability among consumers”.  We here at LGBG first wrote about this project back in August (http://livegreenbegreen.com/?s=Ekocycle), and after seeing the work done by this group, we would like to talk about it again.  First of all, we salute Ekocycle’s mission to use awareness of the issues with plastics as a tool to effect social change.

The goal of the Ekocycle project is a simple and direct one– “zero waste“, an innovative way of

.  Plastic bottles can be recycled to make so many other items, with the possibilities limited only by the lack of imagination.  What makes this effort really special is the visual and auditory appeal to the senses in the form of commercials set to music, which begins with an empty soda bottle being morphed into numerous popular items that we use everyday, some of which, are in very high demand.  This approach to recycling is very refreshing because in the past we have been bombarded with the negative effects, or punishment, for not recycling.  We read about plastic pollution, and we witness increased bottle taxes and added costs for plastic bags, along with local ordinances banning the use of plastic bags totally.  Also, we see large landfills packed with plastic materials that will take forever to break down.  Now Ekocycle has introduced commercials, which shows in dramatic fashion products we can make from recycled plastic bottles, thereby protecting the environment and still having fun.   These commercials are set to the characteristic beat of the music of Will.i.am, and the recycled products includes furniture, phone cases and accessories, and even the ever-popular Levi jeans.

Since we first announced Ekocycle last August, this project has gained momentum and is becoming a social movement dedicated to sustainability.  It has attracted the attention and resulted in partnerships with major brands, such as Limited edition Levi’s 501 Waste<less jeans, Beats by Dr. Dre (headphones),  Case-Mate Barely There phone cases (available at Best Buy and at www.bestbuy.com/casemate and New Era caps.

Will.i.am so fittingly states, “All good things must end, but an end can be a new start”.  Ekocycle is the embodiment of the spirit of sustainability.  With its positive message and reinforcement of the need to be environmentally friendly, combined with the encouragement to use technology to address environmental issues, such as plastic pollution and waste, it is mounting a social movement which makes us want to jump on the bandwagon to witness the possibilities.  It’s like magic tricks, which turn objects into new things.  We all love magic, and Ekocycle is eager to deliver a world were we can live green, be green.

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Credit:  Will.i.am at Ekocycle

Credit: Will.i.am at Ekocycle