SimpliSafe is simply awesome! Its a no contract, easy instillation (do-it-yourself) home security system that starts at less than $250.00. This setup is great for millennials and budget sensitive people living in areas where safety may be a concern! SimpliSafe is going places!
2) The Air Umbrella
This bad boy has been on KickStarter for a while now but it comes as no surprise that they have raised over $100,000. I cannot wait to get mine!
3) A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine
If you are jumping on the stoicism bandwagon (you should), this is a great place to start. It provides necessary background before jumping straight into hardcore Seneca teachings. Learn to focus on the now and focus attention to the matters in your life that you can control.
Its Sunday! Trying a new thing where I post any ideas/thoughts and or resources acquired over the last week. I usually do this in a word doc for myself but this way I can share it as well as have a chronological set of resources to look back on.
I have been putting the low-carb high protein diet to the test! In doing so, I modified/adapted various takes on a keto/paleo, low-carb diets that fit my palate and lifestyle. I had a more extensive than usual physical done the week before and received the results at the beginning of last week. Key notes: I lost 16 true pounds in the last 25 days. I had blood work done but the results are more of a base as opposed to a reflection of the change in eating as I just started. I will be getting blood work every few months to monitor and will update the results.
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!
Happy Food Day! Today marks the annual celebration of Food Day where we recognize the movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. In honor of this most important day, there will be more than 4,500 events in all 50 states to focus on the strides we have made in our efforts to improve our food system and to bring awareness to the need for additional work that still needs to be done to ensure that we have healthy and sustainable diets without a negative environmental impact.
Food Day as a day of celebration was created by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI). According to Michael F. Jacobson, executive director and founder of Food Day:
We hope that one of the things that comes out of Food Day is a movement that is stronger, more united, and better equipped to press for changes that make it easier to eat healthier year round . . . . Today hundreds of thousands of Americans will add their voices to a growing campaign for food that is produced with care for consumers, the environment, and the men and women who grow, harvest and serve it.”
The main purpose of Food Day is to “help people eat real.” Food Day is a very organized and focused movement with five priorities, which are as follows:
To promote safe and healthy diets for all people.
To support sustainable and organic farms.
To reduce the occurrence of hunger in this country.
To ensure reform of factory farm practices so as to protect both farm animals and the environment.
To ensure fair working environments for both food and farm workers.
Many cities have Food Day events occurring today, as well as throughout the upcoming weekend. Activities range from educational events at local schools, round-table discussions and forums hosted by civic organizations and local food festivals. This is a great opportunity to involve the entire family in the celebration of Food Day, gathering information and planning healthier diets through better food choices. I urge you to ditch the bag of chips and to get out and explore the choices and opportunities that Food Day has to offer. Also, don’t forget to like Food Day on Facebook. This page also has great ideas, contests and valuable opportunities to support this worthy cause.
We here at LGBG urge all of our readers to join in the celebration of Food Day and to support this very important movement. To do so is to live green, be green.
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.
The Millennial Trains Project, a traveling incubator designed by 26-year-old Georgetown University graduate, Patrick Dowd, is pioneering innovation through contemplation and collaboration via a symbolic train ride from San Francisco to Washington, DC, with 10 other stops along the journey. Dowd’s inspiration for this endeavor came as a result of observing the Occupy Wall Street movement while working in New York for JP Morgan when he questioned whether the dissatisfaction of so many young people could be channeled into something positive. Having participated in a similar train project involving young entrepreneurs while traveling as a Fulbright scholar in India (the Jagriti Yatra), Dowd decided to undertake a similar venture in the United States.
In the spirit and mindset of a true Millennial, Dowd did not allow his lack of experience deter him from planning this project. As an innovator, he made the project about ” ‘vision and passion’ and daring to fail,” rather than being burdened by finances and “business plans.” He set a goal to find backers, railroad cars and innovative passengers willing to take the trip. Dowd first set out to find sponsors for his plan and was successful in getting the support of Betsy Broun, director of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She then assisted him in networking and bringing other sponsors aboard, including the Norfolk Southern rail line. Dowd was able to locate two 1953 sleepers and a 1948 domed observation car. Also, he was able to secure the services of some chefs to prepare delicious meals for the passengers.
With the functional details in place, Dowd then went about selling his idea of a train ride across the country for young innovative entrepreneurs, offering a unique opportunity to connect with the landscape, each other and other businesses and entrepreneurs along the way. Using social mediaplatforms, he garnered the attention of many interested people, and the individuals selected to go were the first ones who were able to pay for the trip, with many of them raising the funds through crowdsourcing on the Internet.
Of course the idea of a whistle-stop train crossing America carrying someone who wants to deliver a message or engage citizens is not novel. Perhaps the most famous whistle-stop tours were those used for the presidential campaigns of Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry Truman. With limited access to face-to-face contact because of transportation limitations in terms of traveling time and with lack of televisions in American homes, whistle-stop train tours were effective in maintaining personal contact with citizens. The unique idea in the Millennial Trains Project is that this whistle-stop train is “a campaign that is not trying to elect anyone,” but rather about “reimagining what we can do as a country over the next 10 years.”
As President Barack Obama stated in his speech celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington, “change does not come from Washington, but to Washington.” The Millennial Trains Project is symbolic of the movement underway in which the Millennial Generation is quietly making a difference and bringing their ideas to Washington. This project also is founded on the recognition that this generation is not the group of slackers as they are often portrayed by former generations. Rather, with their extensive education, technology skills, networking abilities, willingness to compromise and innovative spirit, they are the pioneers of a new era that is focused on justice, social and economic equality, environmental protection, sustainability, improved living conditions for all people, and acknowledgement that happiness in life is important.
We here at LGBG will be following the three upcoming trips scheduled by the Millennial Trains Project, and we will keep our readers informed of any developments or opportunities to participate in this worthy project.
Source: Leiby, Richard (2013, September 10). Thinking Things Forward. Millennial Trains Project is an incubator powered by ideas. The Washington Post, pp. C1, C2.
Criticism of the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) by its predecessors appears to be rampant on many fronts. Generally, young people today have been characterized as lazy, politically apathetic, economically informed and self-consumed. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the basis of these complaints generally lie in the potential upheaval of business as usual that is on the horizon in terms of the Millenials’ values on politics, economics, culture and the environment. Clearly, the overall values of the Millennials differ significantly from those of the previous generations in many significant ways:
They are more charitable.
They are more global minded.
They are more tolerant of racial, ethnic, political, social and economic differences.
They are more informal.
They are more educated and receptive to technological advancements.
They are more adept at multitasking.
They embrace networking.
They are more environmentally conscious.
Growing Up In A World Shaped By Technology
The Millennial Generation (ages 18-30) grew up in an environment that was much different from that of their parents and grandparents. With the development of personal computers, smart phones and tablets, this generation has easy access to the Internet, which immediately delivers information and news, accompanied by vivid real-time images devoid of the filter of time delay and editorialized reporting. The competition to be the first to deliver breaking news has resulted in an onslaught of sources of information, such as traditional news wire services, social media platforms, including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., and even individual messaging services on personal camera-equipped smart phones. These technological advances allow those who use electronic devices to access factual information, examine the sources of the information and form their own conclusions about political, social, cultural and economic issues.
In his book, The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw stated, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” It seems that the Millennials have taken this advice to heart. To a large degree, they have shown great interest in being different (than previous generations) in order to make a difference. Consequently, the Millennial Generation has matured into a group of self thinkers, who resist previous generations’ perceived notions of success and value, particularly ownership of stuff. Millennials are more likely to resist moving to the suburbs and buying expensive houses and cars. They often enjoy urban living and are pleased to have access to green energy-efficient buses or to walk or ride bicycles. A meal does not have to include meat for many of this generation. They are more likely to be environmentally conscious and to recycle and reuse. They love to travel and are more likely than their predecessors to visit other countries. Most importantly, Millennials are independent thinkers, whose truth does not have to be based on a preconceived consensus.
This brand of thinking is a major problem for the previous generations, who worry about passing the torch on to this “irresponsible” next generation. How do they have the audacity to destroy this great society that has been built on the sweat and labor of so many dedicated citizens? The answer here is that the Millennials have identified the missing link to our very survival, namely sustainability. They see the prior generations manipulated by corporate greed, political gridlock, racial, social and cultural intolerance and the burdens of materialism— ownership of too much stuff, overwhelming debt, depression and unhappiness. They choose not to participate in a political system that is consumed by partisan interests and burdened by ill will, contention and gridlock. They reject value defined by ownership of material things. Rather, they prefer to collect experiences as opposed to objects, to enjoy the world’s natural resources rather than deplete them.
There is a quiet revolution going on, a grassroots movement that is gaining momentum. The Millennial Generation is leading an upheaval of business as usual, and this is what the world needs, a new path to healthy lifestyles and environmental consciousness. Perhaps we all should stop and pay attention to this movement. To do so is to live green, be green.
Dr. Martin Luther King at a press conference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Dr. Martin Luther King‘s “I Have A Dream Speech” is a timeless work that is relevant today, particularly to the movement for sustainability. This famous address delivered at the March on Washington 50 years ago focused on the plight of Blacks in America and the racial injustices of that era, and Dr. King’s words and leadership served as a lightning rod for social and political upheaval in America. Since that famous speech, Americans, specifically Blacks, have witnessed major changes in their lives, gaining greater access to jobs, better housing and equal education. However, there still is a lot of work to be done.
As we fast forward to 2013, we see that Dr. King’s speech is still relevant today in terms of the fight for sustainability, not only in the United States, but also globally. My personal recognition of this fact comes as a result of taking an online class at Stanford University on the “Introduction To Sustainable Product Development and Manufacturing”. This class includes lectures, videos and interactive group projects with fellow students globally, along with peer review.
The course begins with a video on the “Story Of Stuff,” an eye-opening explanation on the textbook theory of “materials economy” — the movement of “things” from extraction to production, distribution, consumption and finally depletion. The author, Annie Leonard, explains how this linear theory is flawed because in its application to a finite world, it fails to address the impact of outside forces on production of goods, i.e., the environment, societies, cultures and economies. This theory also does not account for the influence of corporations on our lives and the policies and programs adopted, which are undertaken solely for the purpose of improving the bottom line. The rise of mega corporations that lobby to reduce government oversight and then exploit natural and human resources, creating inferior products with reduced shelf life to encourage heightened consumerism has resulted in a global crisis. The natural resources of the earth are being depleted at an alarming rate, and humans are being misguided, overworked and exploited. This is not sustainable.
We now witness the redefinition of the term “value” being reduced to “ownership of stuff”. It then follows that certain segments of the world population, specifically, the economically disadvantaged (generally minorities and emerging nations), are assigned a lesser value in society. The desire to “raise one’s value,” albeit based on erroneous definition of the term, leads to exasperating attempts to “keep up with the Joneses”. So many people are mentally and physically exhausted and distressed, it is no wonder that the American Psychiatric Society had to revise the DSM codes. While the movement for sustainability largely focuses on water and energy conservation, protection of natural resources and upgrades to infrastructure, the dialogue must also include human rights and justice. Products and services must be priced fairly to include a living wage for laborers. Also, access to health care and health insurance must be recognized as a part of the human rights that D. King spoke about. The honesty and character of a person must trump “ownership of stuff”.
Fifty years ago, Dr. King voiced our “need for liberation“. We still need liberation, principally from the confines of materialism and unhealthy lifestyles. He also said, “[w]e must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline . . . we cannot walk alone”. This call for self-service and determination rings true today. Each one of us can start with small steady steps to endorse sustainable living. We can get off the endless cycle of wasting money on inferior products and services. We can support businesses that employ green practices and that invest in its employees. We can take responsibility for the space we occupy on this earth. The first step to achieve sustainability is to believe in it. This belief begins with a dream of the possibilities, and the grassroots commitment of each of us will lead to a revolution.
I invite you to watch the video of the “Story of Stuff” and to commit to carry on the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King. To do so is to live green, be green.
Wwoofing by the sea (Photo credit: Peter Blanchard)
If you have a green thumb, need a vacation, and you are willing to work approximately 4 hours a day in exchange for room and board, WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms) may be your ticket to paradise. WWOOF is an exchange program that started in the United Kingdom in 1971 for people at least 16 years old, who are interested in organic farming and travel. You, the WWOOFer, pay your travel costs, but do pay any living costs, and the host farmers do not pay you a wage. Rather, for a period of time predetermined by the WWOOFer and the host, you get hands-on experience in organic and sustainable farming, and the farm gets extra hands.
WWOOFing opportunities exist globally. Those interested can WWOOF in the United States or abroad. An excellent place to begin your WWOOF journey is at the website, www.wwoofinternational.org/. This is a comprehensive site that thoroughly explains the program, requirements and rules for participation. This site has links for both volunteers and for organic farms interested in participating in this wonderful program. The site also includes links to specific WWOOF organizations in Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific and Europe. This site specifically addresses any concerns one may have regarding security, VISAS, insurance requirements and even specialty farming opportunities.
WWOOF presents a great opportunity for summer vacations. The host opportunities come in all sizes and shapes. A review of the site shows that there even are opportunities for family participation. What better way is there to spend a summer vacation learning something new and valuable as a family while also providing a service to the environment? This would be a truly unforgettable vacation with an added bonus of free time to tour places of interest while making a difference in sustainable living. This also is a great opportunity for high school and college students to enjoy unique cultural experiences during their summer vacations.
For anyone still planning a summer vacation, who is interested in learning about organic farming and who does not mind a few hours of work in exchange for room and board, WWOOF certainly should be a consideration. With our busy lives and the constraints of urban living, we often are limited in the ability to learn many aspects of organic farming. WWOOF links individuals interested in learning about organic farming with experts all over the world, who are more than willing to share their knowledge. This truly is a great way to live green, be green.