LGBG wants to wish everyone a happy Arbor Day!

We also want you to know that we kept our promise! We donated over 100 trees to the US Arboretum to plant in forests around the country and we will be planting the remainder over the weekend and next week at elementary schools on the East Coast.

Thank you all for your efforts to spread green ideas and to live a healthy life!




Seed-of-Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Each year the arrival of spring brings with it an increased interest in gardening and “growing things”– whether it is flowers, vegetables or fruits,  and this presents a great opportunity to discuss seed conservation and its role in sustaining life.  A seed is defined in several ways, including (1)  the grains or ripened ovules of plants used for sowing; (2)a propagative animal structure (milt, semen), and (3) a source of development or growth. [1]  Any discussion of a seed generally acknowledges its connection to a germ, origin, root or creation.  The conclusion here is that life as we know it is not sustainable without seeds.

Despite the reality that seeds are the root of life, statistics by the USDA indicate that over the past 30 years, industrial agriculture practices have resulted in a huge loss of biodiversity and the extinction of over 80,000 plant varieties.[2]  The reason for this is that industrial agriculture relies on large homogenous crop production, with the primary crops being corn, soy, wheat or potatoes.  Under this scenario, mass production of single crops affords farmers easier cultivation and harvest, and is deemed to culminate in a guaranteed food source for a greater percentage of the world population.

The truth is that industrial agriculture takes a heavy toll on the world’s plant supply.  First of all, the industrial agriculture movement has resulted in the creation of seed monopolies, with a few companies owning patents to the majority of seeds available to farmers, including GMOs and hybrids.  The farmers are prohibited from reusing new seeds from the previous year’s crop production because of patent violations.  Secondly, from a botanical standpoint, crop homogenization strips the ability of plants to adapt to climate change, pests and diseases.  Thirdly, the presumption that large homogenous crops will provide an adequate food supply for the world is erroneous because food availability does not necessarily translate to access to food.  Finally, we must not ignore the potential danger of the reliance on a single or a few large crops to feed a population.  We only need to look to the well documented devastating famine to the Irish population during the potato blight in the mid-1800s to observe the results of such misconceptions.[3]

The good news on seed conservation is that many individuals and businesses globally are dedicated to the protection of the world’s seed supply from extinction and from the control of corporate monopolies.  Many of these efforts stem from smallholder farms and peasant bred food growers.  Interestingly, the majority of these farmers are women, who understand that the story of seeds is “the story of  us”.[2]  Their work involves not only the cataloguing and use of a variety of seeds, but also records of recipes for delicious meals from their bounty.

It is important that proponents of the green movement recognize the urgent need to support seed conservation and biodiversity.  To that end, we urge you to support independent seed companies when you make your seed purchases.  Also, consider donating to programs that support smallholder farms.  Educate yourself on the large corporate monopolies, who are buying up many of the seed companies and inhibiting biodiversity.  The fact is that “farmers will stop growing food that we refuse to eat”. [4]

In conclusion, seeds are the major thread in the fabric of our lives.  They are a food source, as well as key players in the manufacturing industry and environmental protection.  To fight for seeds is to fight for sustainability.  To do this is to live green, be green.


Sources for this Article:

1.  http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/seed.
2.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJ28IC63hlI.
3.  http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/past/famine/blight.html
4.  http://www.emergencyhomesteader.com/a-complete-list-of-seed-companies-owned-by-monsanto-and-a-complete-list-of-seed-companies-not-owned-by-monsanto/.
5.  http://www.slowfoodfoundation.com/pagine/eng/arca/cerca.lasso?-id_pg=36.
6.  http://www.fsg.org/tabid/191/ArticleId/181/Default.aspx?srpush=true.



Credit:  Earthdayoregon.com

Credit: Earthdayoregon.com

We here at LGBG wish you a happy Earth Day, and we hope that you use this day to recommit to the protection of the environment.  Please do something special today to show your love for our planet!

The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated as a worldwide day of events to demonstrate commitment to the environment, and as such, it is a day that everyone can celebrate, big or small.  We here at LGBG urge all of our readers to get involved and plan some activity for  the day.  Of course, we have a few suggestions.

1.  Plant something.  It could be a garden, large or small, or maybe a balcony garden.  Also, it could be one vegetable or flowering plant.  This could be a fun project to do with children.  They will love caring for a flower or vegetable plant, and imagine their pride when they see the end result, a beautiful blossom or a vegetable that they can consume.  If time is too short  or the weather is not amenable to planting something, consider joining the National Arbor Foundation (http://www.arborday.org/) and donating seedling trees to be planted in designated areas sorely in need of reforestation.
2.  Use recyclable bags.  If you go shopping on Earth Day, refuse to use a plastic bag.  Take a recyclable bag from home or purchase one for the articles you purchase.  Try storing these bags in your car to be used for future shopping trips.
3.  Park the car.  Turn off the television.  Take a walk.  Play games outside.  Relax and celebrate Mother Nature.
4.  Pledge an act of green.  There are many environmental and green organizations that would appreciate your financial support.  We here at LGBG ask that you consider supporting Africa Inside (http://africainside.org/globalconservation/one-wordplastics/) in its drive to rid the African countryside of plastic bags and No Water No Life (http://nowater-nolife.org/index.html), a wonderful organization that “documents North American and African watersheds to illustrate degradation of fresh water resources and stewardship solutions“.
5.  Reduce your carbon footprint starting tomorrow.  This can be done by skipping meat at a meal, taking public transportation, and turning off the lights when leaving a room.

These are just a few suggestions to get engaged in tomorrow’s Earth Day Celebration.  Others can be found on the Internet and on community boards.  Also, once you choose an activity, make sure you upload a picture of it on “The Face of Climate Changephoto mosaic at www.earthday.org/2013.

Earth Day is an annual celebration open to anyone interested in the protection of the environment and sustainability.  To join in this global movement to protect our natural resources and to ensure a healthy world for future generations is a great path on the journey to live green, be green.

Benjamin Franklin 1767

Benjamin Franklin 1767 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


In recognition of the 223rd anniversary of Ben Franklin’s death, we here at LGBG feel that it is important to remember and salute this visionary and his accomplishments, particularly those relative to the green movement.


Ben Franklin was born on January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts and died on April 17, 1790 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Franklin was a printer by trade and a scientist, a librarian, inventor and statesman.  He was internationally renown for his work to harness electricity with the invention of the lightning rod.  His values were consistent with the green movement in that he espoused thrift, hard work and education.


In addition to inventions of the Franklin stove, bifocal glasses and a flexible urinary catheter, Ben Franklin also was a social innovator.  He is credited with the “pay it forward policy whereby an individual in receipt of a good deed repays the assistance by doing something good for someone other than his/her benefactor.  This practice has evolved into an international movement of random acts of kindness.


Ben Franklin was a man ahead of his time and a proponent of green living and sustainability, as evidenced by his influence on the then emerging science of population study and demographics.  He was an astute observer of population growth trends, both in the United States, as well as in Europe.  He acknowledged the importance of maintaining an adequate food supply to accommodate the fast-growing U.S. population.  Out of concern for economic development and the reliance on the shipping industry for transportation of goods and people, Franklin studied the currents in the Atlantic Ocean, and gulf stream charts and made recommendations on navigation currents so as to control sailing time to various destinations.  He is best known, perhaps, for his work with electricity, and he also delved into research on refrigeration and evaporation.


At an early age, Ben Franklin adopted a set of virtues which he used to guide his life.  Several of these virtues are consistent with the tenets of the green movement and sustainable living.


1.  “Temperance.  Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.”
2.  “Order.  Let all your things have places.”
3.  “Resolution.  Resolve to perform what you ought.”
4.  “Frugality.  Waste nothing.”
5.  “Moderation.  Avoid extremes.”
6.  “Cleanliness.  Tolerate no uncleanliness.”
7.  “Humility.”


Benjamin Franklin was a visionary, who fully appreciated the gift of this earth and lived his entire life dedicated to healthy living, industry and the protection and progression of mankind.  His accomplishments cannot be understated, and our current Earth Day celebration would be lacking without the observance of this great man.  He was a true  example of what it means to live green, be green.




Sources for this article:
1.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benjamin_Franklin.
2.  http://www.ealmanac.com/2974/numbers/the-thirteen-virtues-of-benjamin-franklin/.


Dillon Papier

Dillon Papier

Hosting your own birthday party as an event to raise awareness and donations for an important cause is a creative, thoughtful and selfless way to mark this milestone. This is exactly what Maris Walker of Bowie, Maryland did this past Sunday for her 11-year-old grandson, Dillon Papier. This year, her April 14th birthday coincided with Dillon’s eighth annual fundraiser to fight Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C (NPC), a very rare and fatal disease affecting approximately 500 children globally. Maris invited her family and friends to celebrate her 70th birthday at the opening game for the Bowie Baysox, an AA team in the Baltimore Orioles‘ organization. The celebration, held in a corporate suite at the Baysox stadium, priced at $50.00, included a ticket to the game, food and drinks.

The party kicked off on a bright and sunny afternoon with both Maris and Dillon “throwing out first pitches”. While everyone laughed, ate, drank, mingled and watched the game, we remained mindful of the cause. We saluted Maris’ birthday and Dillon’s courageous battle against NPC. The attendees included a host of family, friends and community supporters, including a little league baseball team that presented Dillon with a basket of “goodies”. There were tables in the corporate suite, as well as in the area for the general public, that displayed literature on Niemann-Pick Disease, along with t-shirts, wristbands, etc., for purchase to support the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation, Type C research.


Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C, (NPC) often is called Childhood Alzheimer’s. Children with NPC are unable to properly metabolize cholesterol and other lipids, resulting in the accumulation of excess cholesterol levels in the liver and spleen, along with excessive accumulation of other lipids in the brain. NPC is characterized by “an enlarged liver and spleen, clumsiness with loss of muscle control, deterioration of speech, seizures, and progressive neurological decline“. To date, NPC is 100% fatal. Many of the children diagnosed with this disease “die before the age of 10 or within 5-10 years of the diagnosis”.


Dillon Papier is the 11-year-old son of Darrile and Mark Papier of Urbana, Maryland. A little shy until he gets to know you, Dillon is a wonderful young man, who loves family, baseball and gourmet food. His love of music becomes apparent immediately when he melodiously sings “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch. He was diagnosed with Niemann-Pick Disease, Type C in 2005.


Dillon and his family display determination, courage and perseverance in their fight against Niemann-Pick Disease. Their brave battle has attracted the attention of so many sports organizations (including the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles), local businesses and individuals that they are collectively known as “Dillon’s army“. Attendance at any of the many events to raise awareness and money to support the National Niemann-Pick Disease Foundation’s research to find a successful treatment to save Dillon and other children affected by this devastating disease immediately inspires you to enlist in Dillon’s army.

We here at LGBG salute Dillon for his courage. We also would like to wish Maris a happy birthday and to say thank you for your uplifting spirit and wonderful idea to use your birthday celebration to support such a worthy cause. Fighting for the health of children and security of families definitely is part of the green movement.

If I can do my duty, as a good man ought,
If I can bring back beauty, to a world up wrought,
If I can spread love’s message, as the Master taught,
Then my living shall not be in
(Credit: Mahalia Jackson)


Sources for this article:

1. http://www.dillonsfight.org/aboutthedisease.htm.
2. http://www.capitalgazette.com/bowie_bladenews/news/a-bowie-grandmother-hopes-residents-pitch-in-for-special-baysox/article_70e97ac0-be41-5500-8b35-3ad8c1495c9f.html?mode=jqm.
3. http://www.nnpdf.org/

Dillon and Maris

If you finally have room in your budget for that home improvement project you have been dreaming of, then you are truly fortunate. Why not share that good fortune by ensuring that your remodel not only enhances your world but that it also cares for the environment? Careful planning is the key to making sure that your remodel is both beautiful and responsible.

Creating the Plan

You should never undertake a renovation project without professional direction. This is especially true in green renovations. Choosing the architect, kitchen designer or contractor who will head up the project is the most important planning decision you can make because this person will lead in choosing sub-contractors, building materials and demolition procedures.

A committed, knowledgeable professional is invaluable in creating the perfect plan. Interview several professionals and ask some of the following questions:

  • May I see an example of your green remodeling projects?
  • What makes your designs eco-friendly?
  • Can you recommend low toxicity products?
  • What natural means will you use to lower energy costs?
  • How do you conduct demolition to reduce negative impacts on the environment?

Purchasing Materials

Look for certified products. A certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, Cradle to Cradle and Greenguard Environmental Institute ensures that the product was manufactured in a manner that protects the planet. An added benefit is that certified products are often better constructed and more durable than traditional products.

As far as construction materials go, buy green. “Green” or environmentally-friendly paints come in a variety of colors. Low- or no-volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints are widely available and minimize the amount of toxins released into the atmosphere.

Help sustain our planet by installing only bamboo or cork flooring instead of hardwood. Bamboo and cork are fast growing and very sustainable. In addition, bamboo is at least as durable as hardwood. Finally, these flooring options are no more expensive than hardwood since most flooring costs are associated with installation, not materials.

Using insulation is a great way to heat and cool your home throughout the year. Insulation helps keep your utilities costs down. It also limits your carbon footprint. You should also think about installing ceiling fans. They cool you down in the summer, and they can be reversed to push down warm air in the winter.

Repurposing Instead of Demolishing

An even better alternative is to purchase re-purposed materials. An old door or window may have more character than a new one. If you love to buy new, salvage yards often have left over tiles and other products available. Using re-purposed materials saves money as well as space at the local landfill.

Some of your own materials may be re-purposed. Instead of choosing a contractor who tosses all demolition materials into a dumpster, choose a contractor who can find other uses for items like tile, wood, bricks and hardware.

Tips to Consider

Our homes are part of a larger equation. By making sure that you conduct an ecologically responsible renovation, you help your neighbors — even those across the planet — live cleaner, healthier lives and you protect the planet from the ravages of quick-fix building and renovation projects.

Brian Sonnier is the owner of Lone Star Patio Builders, Inc. in Houston, TX. They specialize in building pergolas to provide shade in the hot summer as well as increase home value.




Credit: www.mylot.com

Pretty soon, a new raw material is going to be used to fuel power stations. In a promising development for green energy, the East London town of Beckton will become the world’s largest power station run on cooking waste. In the proposed plan, ”Thirty tons a day of waste will be collected from leftover cooking oil supplies at eateries and manufacturers, fat traps in kitchens and pinchpoints in the sewers – enough to provide more than half the fuel the power plant will need to run.” The end result is that the plant will be able to produce 130 Gigawatt hours a year of renewable energy, enough to power 40,000 average-sized homes. In addition, the project has another benefit in that, if the energy goes unused, the output will be able to be used by other Londoners outside of Beckton. As stated by Andrew Mercer, the chief executive of Thames Water and Utility company “2OC” who will purchase energy from the new power plant, “Our renewable power and heat from waste oils and fats is fully sustainable. When Thames doesn’t need our output, it will be made available to the grid meaning that power will be sourced, generated and used in London by Londoners.”[1]

The Beckton plant will not be unique with respect to using oils as an input for power plants. In fact several power plants, including the Wärtsilä Oil Power Plant in Finland already utilize the technology and have had success with energy output. Several other benefits arise when using oil as the primary input for energy extraction:

  • Fast start-up, less than 5 min from hot standby to full plant load
  • High efficiency resulting in low generation costs
  • Excellent long-term reliability[2]

Yet, it will be interesting to see what impact a power plant run entirely on cooking oils and fats will have on the environment. Much more refining will be needed in order to extract the pure biofuel and a powerplant of this kind is truly unique, despite sharing similarities with existing powerplants that run on oils. Nonetheless, it is refreshing to see that sustainable and socially conscious decisions are being made whose potential ramifications will affect millions of people. The thought of using cooking waste, which largely goes unused, being transformed into an energy source available to a growing population whose energy usage is outpacing supply, is exciting and will open the door for more projects with energy efficiency in mind. If successfully implemented, Beckton’s powerplant will truly question the way in which we fuel powerplants, and will show how we can transform trash into a pseudo green-conscious-treasure available to all.

Water cycle http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/water...

Water cycle http://ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycleprint.html Other language versions: Català Czech español Finnish Greek Japanese Norwegian (bokmål) Portugese Romanian עברית Diné bizaad (Navajo) and no text and guess water vapor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world’s ever-increasing population and overwhelming demand on the freshwater supply, combined with the adverse effects of climate change, has triggered a new and urgent focus on the issue of water security and the need to address looming threats to water shortages globally, and now includes conversations on market-based solutions to this problem.   Some readers may find it difficult to appreciate the reality of a water shortage given that 70 percent of the earth’s surface is covered by water; however, the facts are that (1) the majority of that 70 percent is saltwater and (2) clean freshwater for consumption, agriculture and other human activities is in short supply.

In the United States alone, the total use of water for agriculture, industrial and personal use is greater than the entire amount of water that flows in the country’s rivers.  The net amount required to meet the demand is pulled from ground water beneath the earth’s surface, thus creating a shortage there.  Consequently, our extreme demand on the water supply has led to a “new geologic era” in which “humanity has taken over key [planetary] drivers:  the water cycle, carbon cycle, nitrogen cycle”.  [1]  One proposed solution to the water shortage is the adoption of a market-based system that privatizes freshwater services and allocates a price for its use.  Under such a scenario, water quantity and quality would be traded as goods with the potential that water would become the “biggest commodity of the 21st century”. [1]

The greatest benefit derived here is that a market-based system would provide a strong incentive to conserve water.  Everyone would pay for what they use as priced on the open market.  This would then focus more attention on water quality.  The removal of water services from state, county and municipal control and placement in the competitive market also would encourage more efficient use of water.  Ultimately, with the creation of investment opportunities, private companies would be better able to fund research and development on sustainable practices and to build and maintain the necessary filtration, clarification and delivery systems without political and budget constraints inherent under public control.  On the flip side of such a proposal, privatized water could negatively impact poor communities, possibly leading to health catastrophes as people unable to afford water would use rivers, streams, ponds and lakes, which often are contaminated and pose health risks.  As such, any solutions that privatize freshwater delivery would have to include a component that provides affordable access to the water supply for basic consumption and hygiene to those unable to purchase service.  Interestingly, studies do show that people tend to find a way to purchase things they deem important.  As an example, statistics indicate that  in India, more people have access to cellphones “than to basic sanitation“, i.e., toilets. [1]

The privatization of water could be a boost to the green movement simply by the change in attitude with the realization that its use comes with a premium price tag.  Individuals would be more receptive to reduce their reliance on water in the home by carefully planning lawns and landscaping.  Hopefully, they would use more grasses and plants that are drought resistant.  Also, as the cost of water to feed farm animals is passed on to consumers, it is likely that people will entertain the notion of reducing their meat consumption to some extent.  Lastly, farmers hopefully will be more inclined to shift from flood irrigation of crops to drip irrigation, thereby reducing their agricultural water consumption by about 20%.

The reality here is that fresh water shortages are a major concern, particularly here in the United States where the availability of freshwater largely has been taken for granted.  A recent report by the U.S. Drought Monitor notes seven states, namely Oklahoma, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas and Nebraska are in the throes of severe drought. [2]  Clearly, this is an issue that deserves immediate attention simply because we cannot exist without fresh water.  Privatization of the management and delivery of freshwater through a market-based system is a possible albeit extreme solution and definitely merits discussion.  To save our freshwater is to save our lives.  To do this, let’s live green, be green.


Sources for this article:

1.  http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2013/03/29/can-the-world-afford-cheap-water/.
2.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/30/states-running-out-of-water_n_2984979.html.


“WATER WASTE MEANS WATER SHORTAGE” – NARA – 516053 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)