The Autumn season marks the start, in many four-season areas of our country, of a time during which yard work becomes crucial. Often overlooked and neglected, lawn care in the fall can easily improve the condition of the grass and shrubbery, not only for the present season but for the future spring season. So while you’re all gearing up to treat your grass and landscaping, please do try to keep in mind those four legged friends that occasionally graze the yard, both wild and domesticated. And if you have children roaming the yards, working to improve your treatment methods is a no-brainer.
There are better options than automatically resorting to chemical fertilizers and other harmful practices. Read More →
“The modulated storm track can be linked to abnormal weather behavior in the mid-latitudes of the Northern hemisphere, including U.S. and Canada.” — Yuan Wang, postdoctoral fellow at NASA U.S. Jet Propulsion Lab
So it wasn’t just our minds playing tricks on us! Well, of course we knew the heavy dosage of weather received this past winter in the Northeast United States was for real. But those of us who said it was because of China were correct all along!
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
I’ll be the first to admit that although I did say it was due to our ever-changing climate, I had no idea China – or the East overall – may have had a direct impact on our [severe] US weather patterns here in the West. That is definitely interesting stuff. As the CNN article explains, after a decade-long research project, it’s been concluded that the “Pacific storm track is a major driving force over global weather patterns.” How? Read More →
Great EARTH Expeditions www.greatearthexpeditions.com
Though founder Ryan Barry and his team admit profits were not at the forefront of their decision-making process in launching theHalifax, Nova Scotia-based eco-tourism start-up, Great EARTH Expeditions, they can all agree that continuing their efforts is no waste of their time. In fact, according to Ryan, they believe that the best way to get the community to minimize its wasteful impact on the environment is “through education and appreciation for what lays in nature.” So what better alternative exists than to press onward? Live Green Be Green says, “None!”
Yes. Being that eco-tourism is marginally about uniting community and conservation in sustainable travel, Great EARTH Expeditions promises well-planned, exciting and educational adventures through some of Canada’s most beautifully raw countryside. Great EARTH Expeditions‘ guides plunge participants straight into the wonders of nature, from the forest floor to the Canadian coastlines, all the while encouraging in them an elevated appreciation for the surrounding fauna and foliage.
Is all of this an effective approach, you ask? Great EARTH Expeditions believes so.
When you suddenly educate people on things that exist in nature that [people] would not regularly think about in their daily lives, they suddenly look at these precious things and relate it to their own lives and what impact it could have for the future of their children[…] It’s then that people start to begin practices in their daily lives to live greener. Education is powerful! —Ryan Barry, Owner/Operator
Works Apart From Great EARTH Expeditions
Live Green Be Green could not agree more with Ryan’s notion, as it ties into the core value upon which we were founded — the simple sharing of knowledge. Speaking to that a bit further, we delve into the current endeavors Great EARTH Expeditions has outside of its green tourism operations. How can it leverage its voice to influence change?
“Through our social media,” explains Ryan, Great EARTH Expeditions stays “connected with various government organizations […] working to help conserve both fragile landscapes in Nova Scotia and at-risk wildlife species in Canada.” With 18,000+ followers across its range of platforms, Great EARTH Expeditions constantly shares updates on ways to help these governmental efforts. Barry and team hope to one day attain their aspirations of contributing to such efforts through direct involvement in these government initiatives.
I would like to see Canada make well thought out decisions when tapping into our natural resources. It’s no secret that Canada has a vast range of natural resources, but when extracting these resources — whether it be our forests or natural gas — there must be strategic plans in place to lessen the impact on the earth for not only this generation but the next. —Ryan Barry, Owner/Operator
Ryan and his team believe we are beginning to think more along these long-term lines, especially after having witnessed the devastating impacts of improper and irresponsible practices in countries all over the world in recent years. (Think about the Chilean Mining fiasco, the BP Oil Drilling debacle, etc.) The resulting negative impacts of such events have proven to be difficult to correct, at best.
It is well known and understood that the Mother Nature’s climate is not the only one at play. Great EARTH Expeditions is striving towards raising sensitivity to its host nation’s political, environmental and social climate in the work it continues to do. The group at Great EARTH Expeditions believes, as we at Live Green Be Green believe, that every small difference matters. Here’s to a brighter tomorrow.
Has your interest peaked yet?
Be sure to check out Great EARTH Expeditions‘ new webseries, launched earlier this year, to catch some of the amazing footage capturable on their outings!
Here’s Episode 1: Bay of Fundy Pirates, Waterfalls & Sea Caves
Most viewers of the 2014 State of the Union address, delivered last night by President Barrack Obama, should be praised for having the wherewithal to persevere through such a sleep-inducing collection of strung together sentences — although, among the mind-numbing were a fair share of surprisingly spritely, humorous notes.
Regardless, for those green enthusiasts out there, hoping to learn more about initiatives in the way of sustainability, clean energy, and alternative fuels, there was relatively little mention of such, and with even less value behind it. Far from a laughing matter.
View theenhanced speech on demand–which is by far better than the
live broadcast– if you don’t believe me (tune in around the 15:40 mark).
Unfortunately, the most prolific takeaway for such enthusiasts was a regurgitation of the All-Of-The-Above Energy Strategy, originally introduced several years prior. And let me be clear(pun intended) — by “regurgitation” I don’t mean Mr. Obama repeated himself per se, but I do mean that it was just a simple spewing of what “we” have already accomplished over the past several years’ time.
Some of the facts and statistics used in the accompanying supplemental presentation seem randomly curated and desperately included, almost in some form of a last-ditch attempt to appear arguably progressive. And be careful not to blink when watching the address, you may miss the just-over-four minutes the Pres took to speak to the notions of this All-Of-The-Above plan.
Nonetheless, a brief recap is in order, to point potential non-viewers in the direction of the few notions splayed upon last nights audiences:
America is closer to energy independence todaythan we have been in decades. I hope this is self-explanatory.
Natural gas is being extracted safely. This was an obvious reference to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, something we have written about in the past and something which environmentalists everywhere denounce.
Companies are planning to build new plants that use natural gas. President Obama made clear the fact that he wants to promote this via tax and other programs for these manufacturers who indeed increasingly move toward natural gas as a replacement means of production (instead of oil).
America will continue “strengthening protection of our air, our water, our communities,” and “protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations” to come. By definition, probably the closest we’ve come thus far to targeting sustainability, but still not compelling. This just seems like some general commentary that could have been used years ago to describe our state, and which seem to be added only because they sound better to the heart than to the mind, once processed.
We are becoming a global leader in solar — “every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar.” This is a great stat, assuming its factually accurate. Bravo, Mr. President. And his use was impeccable, directly relating solar’s ongoing push to economic job growth by referencing that men (and women) physically installing pieces of such equipment is not outsource-able.
GOAL: continue to invest in fuels of the future. Check. This should go unsaid — it’s something that would be done regardless of who is in office, be it oval or congressional. Next.
We can continue to reduce energy we consume. He referenced the new standards for the auto industry, implemented after the bailout, to make vehicles more efficient. Good example, yes, but we have been there and done that, so where else could this be actionable moving forward? Another prospective example would have been beautifully refreshing.
The US is the leading nation in reducing carbon footprints. Impressive, but how about we explore how we will maintain that role modeling… right?
We need to legislate new standards on the amount of pollution our power plants are permitted to dump into the air. Air pollution is important, I get it. And as we’ve seen in places like Mexico City and eastern Chinese cities like Beijing, it can quickly get so out of hand as to realizably affect the day-to-day quality of life for area inhabitants. The future can only get worse, if not attended to, so let’s hope something of action can become of this verbiage.
“The debate is settled: Climate Change Is A Fact!” Again, self explanatory, but a headline-grabbing quote all enthusiasts can be mildly happy about.
Now, that brief recap above contains literally every point I could imaginably pluck from the whole discussion of ecological sustainability, and most of it spoke solely of vague past accomplishments and emptily bottomless comments surrounding the overall direction we are headed. Personally, as someone truly interested in hearing what particulars could lay on the horizon, I was extremely underwhelmed by the President’s words, or complete lack thereof with respect to true governmental policy. This could have been a chance for Mr. Obama to openly target specific goals and initiatives on one of the broadest stages possible, to really put the pressure on Congress to do something about the potential headliners — an opportunity blown.
As one US News and World Report describes fairly well, the State of the Union was predicted to be and then turned out to be unsustainable. The article describes, quite adequately, that sustainability is the focus of making sure our living our lives does not hinder the ability of the generations to come from living theirs. While the State of the Union contained moments wherein the glimmer of hope for the future verged on addressing some social or economic sustainability, environmental sustainability was not allowed to shine in its full brilliance. There was clearly insufficient forethought and future initiatives relayed from the President — no true future plans were outlined for environmental policy.
All of this being said, I must concede that it is not all President Obama’s fault, that the entire State of the Union address seemed monotonous and archaically pointless. In actuality, it is just that, and by inevitability. The State of the Union was originally put into policy as a way for the President of the United States to relay his views on the current status and future agenda of the country to the US Congress. This is especially needless in today’s society of technological advancement, what with all the instantaneous newsfeeds at our constant disposal via push notices to our pocket devices.
Overall, Obama’s address was only half-baked, nearly ignoring future sustainability, clean energy, and alternative fuel plans altogether. But that’s just my opinion.
Got some time to share your opinions? We’d love to hear them!
First ask, “what is a bill?” Among the handful of answers will probably lay something along the lines of “a piece of legislation drafted and proposed to be passed into the law of the land,” although not so eloquently put, I’d imagine.
Then ask the room, “what is the largest copper-producing country in the world?” I’d bet — depending on how large of a room, of course — that the chances of finding someone who correctly replied, “Chile,” would be pretty slim.
Lastly, ask this. “What is a glacier?” (The outcome of this question does not even matter because I’ve already arrived at my point, albeit after a needlessly long-winded opening.)
This is precisely the question Chilean governmental officials are currently battling. Congress there is faced with the dilemma of passing legislation that would ban mining in glacier locales. That last part is where the legislation undoubtedly becomes questionable. Where will the fuzzy lines of legal jargon come together to define these areas? Will it be strictly on the glaciers or surrounding areas as well? How far will these areas stretch? Is all frozen land around the glaciers off limits, as well? As the law currently stands, these surrounding permafrost areas are not covered by the proposed protection, but the details are far from set in stone.
All points aside, this is a serious issue. Not only do these congressional decisions impact the multibillion-dollar mining industry tremendously, along with the country’s production of Copper and other mining products, but the country’s overall water supply hangs largely in the balance of this debate. Here’s how LUIS ANDRES HENAO of the Associated Press explains the logic:
Glaciers are important because they act as natural dams, storing water for use throughout the year after the winter snow has melted. Even small glaciers can hold gigantic amounts of water that become critical during warm months and especially in long dry spells.
Chile is no stranger to arid months of drought, especially with its recently trending climate change. Those who we call environmentalists argue that when these two elements of drought and climate change combine with mining, Chile faces a severe danger of its glaciers completely vanishing, and more quickly than ever before imagined. CECILIA JAMASMIE wrote of such an instance, wherein a glacier disappeared:
One of the best-documented examples is the 18,000-year-old Chacaltaya glacier in the Bolivian Andes, which disappeared in 2009. Experts had forecasted it would survive until 2015, but it melted faster than expected, leaving what used to be the world’s highest ski run — 17,000 feet above sea level — as a boulder-strewn slope with a few patches of ice near the top.
This may be just as dramatic a picture as our governmental leaders’ current steadfastness in delay tactics and indecision, but this, like our issues, is no laughing matter. Serious repercussions loom large for mining projects planned for the future, as well as projects already underway. It’s an increasingly common scenario in today’s day — ecological pressures enforced by environmentalists and economical pressures enforced by big business butt heads yet again, and this time it’s Chile’s congressional interpretation in focus.
Perhaps you are an avid LiveGreenBeGreen.com reader who remembers my first Business Spotlight on the GREEN Program, or perhaps you are just now visiting LGBG for the first time and should definitely read up on that ASAP. Either way, welcome, and listen up, because we have a new update on this fantastically new age study abroad program.
Since the last article I wrote, GREEN has made some big-time organizational moves. They have literally doubled in size, and a huge contributing factor to that has been their newly developed program in Iceland, in addition to their original Costa Rican adventure. They have a partnership with the country’s Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavik University, whereby students can gain 1.5 U.S. college course credits for their 10-day participation in the program.
The GREEN Program is still bringing together young minds from all over the world and educating them on energy sustainability practices with hands-on experience, in the hopes that the collection of young info-seekers will eventually see to it, as future leaders, that the world creates a better tomorrow.
For all interested in learning more about the program, there is an awesome video on it,
This is not meant to be just another applausive article on the GREEN Program to join the already dozens written and published all over the U.S. Rather, this is meant to show off what a ton of hard work can create in the way of educating the masses, a goal with which we at LGBG unquestionably align. This study abroad program, still in its toddler years, is truly making energy-packed waves in the way of study abroad programs.
Presuming our readers are of the variety that keeps up with recent articles in the green ideological sphere, we would like to address a current trending topic – the integrity of “sustainability.”
If you have browsed green articles in the past several days, chances are pretty good you’ve come across an article or two pertaining to the banning of the term “sustainability.” It is important to understand the motives behind those views, before supporting or dismissing them, and further, it becomes crucial that we alter our approach to understanding modern-day uses of the term.
Looking briefly back in time, first came the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR), and then alongside it rode in “sustainability.” Focus was first placed on the meanings behind these terms, to take an analytical look at current business practices’ impacts on the environment and the masses in order to determine policy changes that could better the sustainability and longevity of the business, as well as the environment, within which it operates. Very well. However, over time, this view on the matter has almost completely deteriorated from a point of forward-looking, voluntary initiatives to its current mess of fashionable, mandatory bragging rights.
The main issue with sustainability?
It has become corporate prerogative to assemble corporate social and sustainability programs or plans as a means of current comparison with outside competitors, rather than as a means of examination and implementation for futurebetterment inside the corporation. Likewise, these terms have been thrown around the world of politics, too, with little or nothing to show for it. Sure, there have been some new mandates and a couple new proposals, but the essence behind these has not been that of driven change. It has been used as yet another tool by which politicians can gain acclaim, another platform piece upon which some may choose to run. What a shame.
Needless to say, with this deterioration of the views surrounding and motives behind these practices, the integrity these practices and terms hold depreciates. It makes the everyday consumer’s job a bit more difficult. Now, we must be wary of all that we read and hear. Simply put, approach each public issuance of these terms with caution, place a bit of research into the root of their use, and conclude whether the issuer is taking legitimate initiative to change the bad or badly issuing socially charged terms to gain corporate or political prowess among competition.
For more information on how and why sustainability should be used, I recommend a simple article by Adam Aston, which can be found here. In it, he outlines the benefits of legitimate sustainability planning.
For all of our readers out there who are serious fans of granola, like I am, here’s a LiveGreen article for you! This week’s spotlight comes on the heels of a trip to my local grocery store, Wegmans. While there, shopping like I would on any other Saturday morning, I came across something that was not the norm for me and my Wegmans — there was a promotional stand set up in near the grains section. Immediately sparking my interest, I rode my curiosity on over to the stand to see what was up. I met a great guy who offered me samples of and explained the mission of Michele’s Granola, a small Maryland company who is vegan, organic, and most inspiringly, GREEN. Needless to say, between the small talk and the tastings, I fell in love and walked away with two bags myself. But now, I’d like to delve a bit deeper into who Michele’s is…
Born from the experimentation sessions of a granola-crazed, self-taught baker, Michele’s Granola has grown from a one-woman stand at local farmer’s markets, to an operation which now produces about 5,000 pounds of product to serve its nearly 200 community retail outlets (markets, grocers, & other food service facilities). Michele’s is dedicated to using 100% organic whole grains in its homemade style processes of production, guaranteeing the best tasting and most healthy granola possible. But the brand’s mission does not end there.
Its baking facility currently runs 100% on wind power! Amazing right? Yes. But what is even more amazing is that Michele’s also uses delivery vehicles that run on re-used vegetable oil from the deep fryers of local eateries. Outstanding! And as if this all weren’t enough already, Michele’s estimates that not only does 40% of its waste get recycled by traditional methods, but another 40% is sent to a local composting center to be used in the production of fertile soils (that are then used in Baltimore’s urban farming projects).
It is amazing that a young company like Michele’s Granola can be so committed to making a difference in the ways of green, especially within their local ecological and business environments. They are a testament to the notion that the triple bottom line business methodology — Profit, People, and Planet — can prove successful beyond measure. Here at LiveGreenBeGreen, we would like to firstly acknowledge the company’s great work and great product, and secondly, we want to extend the utmost respect and gratitude to Michele’s Granola for its initiatives and actions to do greener business. Good luck, and God speed!
To read more about Michele’s Granola, or to enquire about how to get your hands on this scrumptious and socially-evolved health snack, visit the company’s official site at: https://www.michelesgranola.com/.
While deep in my search for outstanding companies of all kinds the other day, I stumbled upon this sustainable gem — VerTerra. I immediately decided that I must write this week’s spotlight article on it, to let all LiveGreenBeGreen readers know about this amazing company. So, here it is:
VerTerra is a manufacturer of single-use dinnerware, an undoubtedly saturated industry. However, unlike nearly all competitors out there, VerTerra operates with a special spark at its sole. The company is completely focused on the environmentally and socially conscious consumer, as it sustainably produces its eco-friendly, high-quality products using fair wage labor practices. But that does not mean its only customers are those environmentally and socially bleeding hearts — anyone can and should use their products!
Striking the perfect balance between smart and sexy is one of the most daunting and difficult tasks, and VerTerra makes it look effortless in their products. What is most amazing, though, is exactly how the seed of this business idea came to be planted in the mind of its founder, Michael Dwork. On a trip to India, Mr. Dwork stopped to buy some food from a street-vendor of sorts, not an unpopular practice. To his amazement and delight, he found the woman serving him simply took fallen leaves, soaked them in water, and with a fairly primitive waffle-iron-like device, pressed them into serving plates! He knew he wanted to bring this concept to full manufacturing fruition back home, so he fittingly set out on a journey to do just that. And with one of the best ideas and founding stories in the industry, LiveGreenBeGreen agrees, he has gloriously succeeded.
To find out more about this eco-friendly entrepreneur’s brand, please visit and explore VerTerra’s Official Website at: http://www.verterra.com
Much has been made of the potential sequester the U.S. faces this New Years’ Eve, which the masses have affectionately labeled the “fiscal cliff.” Well, with the possibility of large impacts to the average person and small business, rightly so. However, what has not been rightly emphasized, in our opinion, is the potentially devastating effects this cliff could have on our nation’s environmental sector. The cliff would lead to higher taxes and governmental budget cuts in the defense department, yes. But what is less well-known is that the governmental cuts will also most likely include environmental victims.
For one, the energy industry could be significantly hurt, both at governmental and private sector levels. Solar energy contractors who rely on receiving current 1603 cash grants for installation projects will not see those cash grants should the US see the cliff. This could strongly hinder the financing of solar energy projects, depleting a relatively small but significant portion of the necessary cash for such projects.
Moreover, the cliff would trigger a $148 million retraction of funds from the US Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program. To help put this into perspective, this loss is the equivalent of cutting the US Department of Energy’s solar energy program completely in half. These cuts to agencies like the Department of Energy threaten not only a decrease in energy development, but also a decrease in energy usage, as programs would lose funding for research and loans used now for innovation projects. The future would be increasingly questionable.
A second instance would have harmful effects for the US National Parks, National Forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands. For instance, the 258,000 jobs scattered among US National Parks and the 35,000 jobs among wildlife refuges could be jeopardized by the expected cuts in science and law enforcement positions at these establishments. Similarly, the 2 million plus jobs within the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the US National Forests could also find themselves in limbo, as awaited budget cuts loom large. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which employs 66 million scientists, educators, researchers, and technicians, among others, could see devastating effects, as well.
As the list goes on, the bottom line remains ever evident. In cutting governmental agencies’ budgets, the environmental agencies will surely be among those who see drastic cuts. Further, those cuts could prove disastrous, and at the very least, detrimental to the US’s management, protection, and research of the environment. There are millions of jobs at risk, in addition to the health and lives of the organisms living among the zones over which these agencies keep watch.
Overall, based on the observations and predictions surrounding the seemingly imminent sequester our government currently wrestles, there could be hampering effects on government agencies who will see severe cuts, US citizens who will see layoffs, and wildlife who will see the harmful effects of increased neglect. So God Speed to our government representatives, in hopes that their efforts add up to a reasonable solution that can avoid harmful cuts to the essential beings of such agencies, people, and wildlife.