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 the enhanced 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 today than 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!

The GREEN Program: Iceland

The GREEN Program: Iceland

Perhaps you are an avid 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,

and for those considering pursuing an internship in the area of sustainability, the program is now looking for candidates in Philadelphia, PA!

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.



While most of the conversation on the recently passed fiscal cliff deal has focused on large-ticket items, such as tax rates, tax breaks, and unemployment benefits, the deal did address and enhance a subsidy for commuters, which is a silver lining for the green movement.

Over the past year, the tax code has provided a subsidy for commuters who drive to work. Under this provision, an employer could cover up to $240 per month in parking expenses tax free for drivers.  Conversely, commuters who took public transportation were only covered for up to $125 of their monthly expenses.  Under the new fiscal cliff deal, the two benefits are set at equal levels, retroactively for 2012 and for 2013.

This provision definitely is a victory for the green movement, which stresses the need to reduce gas consumption and the number of cars on the road.  Also, the argument to increase the benefit to those who take public transportation brings to light the realization that subsidized parking is a distortion because there is a cost involved to provide and maintain parking facilities for drivers, thereby causing an adverse impact on land use.

Hopefully by equalizing the benefit for parking and taking public transportation, more people will opt for the latter.  Discussions on programs such as these now entertain the possibility that commuters who opt for the parking subsidy would be allowed to take the cash benefit.  The goal here is to encourage car or van pooling, which still goes a long way to reduce the number of automobiles on the road on any given day.  Also some jurisdictions are considering plans to increase the cash benefits for commuters who bike to work.

Given that transportation is the second largest household expense for America’s workers, along with the fact that most commuters drive to work alone, provisions to increase commuter subsidies for public transportation and to provide cash benefits for carpooling are very important.  They provide strong incentives for people to adopt behaviors that protect the environment, reduce our carbon footprint and successfully live green, be green.

Sources for this Article:



Bill Daniels getting chicken feed from the fee...

Bill Daniels getting chicken feed from the feed bags which he must store in one of his three rooms. Panther Red Ash… – NARA – 540999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The New Year ushered in new legislation in many states, including some “green laws” that we find worthy of comment today.

The state of Maryland enacted a new law that prohibits the use of chicken feed that contains arsenic, a known carcinogen.  This is the first law of its kind in this nation, which bans the use of arsenic-containing additives, specifically roxarsone, in chicken feed.  The bill to prohibit arsenic-containing chemicals in chicken feed was sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker (D-Dist 20) of Silver Spring.   Del. Hucker notes that this new law is “a win for all Marylanders.”  Historically, arsenic-containing additives were added to chicken feed to protect the birds from parasites.  However, this chemical can build up in the birds’ bodies and manure and then can be washed into the Chesapeake Bay.  it is important to note that arsenic has been linked with diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  This win comes with a caveat as the poultry industry expresses concern that roxarsone (previously manufactured by Pfizer and voluntarily suspended in 2011) could be marketed again as a similar product by a different company.  It is important that we watch for any new developments that may occur in response to this new legislation.

A second piece of legislation worthy of mention is New York’s new law that exempts the sale and installation of commercial  solar energy system equipment from state sales use tax.  This law was enacted in response to the state’s commitment to “achieve the goal of 45 percent of New York State’s electricity needs through clean renewable energy and improved energy efficiency by 2015.”  Sen. George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, notes that eliminating all state sales tax on solar systems equipment and installations and providing local municipalities the option to do the same should serve to stimulate the economy with increased commercial solar installations and the creation of more jobs to complete the work.  This law definitely should serve as a model for other states to increase the use of clean renewable energy while simultaneously stimulating the job market.


energy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Our third selection of legislation to discuss can be found in the state of Iowa, which enacted a new law that allows the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to permit anglers to fish with three poles and a total of six hooks for an additional $12 licensing fee.  This law is aimed to spur ice fishing which is trying to rebound after a poor showing last winter.  Additionally, the Iowa DNR passed a new law that makes licensing more convenient by permitting hunting and fishing on a combined license.  The goal of these laws are to promote more outside activity, which definitely is green.

There are so many things we can do to protect the environment and promote healthy living.  Today we at LGBG salute the states of Maryland, New York and Iowa for the steps they have taken to protect the environment and to help us all live green, be green.

English: Iowa Department of Natural Resources logo

English: Iowa Department of Natural Resources logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sources for this article:’-licenses-chicken-feed-elections&template=gazette

FEMA Trailers

FEMA Trailers (Photo credit: Urban Sea Star)

The recent action by the House Republican leadership to allow the current Congressional term to expire without voting on an aid package for Hurricane Sandy victims speaks volumes about the GOP‘s commitment to fight climate change and help those hurt by its severe weather.  Moreover, this Congress’ lack of action represents an abandonment of responsibility and duty to American citizens.

To date, there still are thousands of people whose homes and businesses were damaged or completely destroyed by the storm.  Many families are caught up in bureaucratic entanglements and local ordinance conflicts that prevent them from repairing their homes and businesses or finding accommodations close to their former schools and businesses so that they can regain some sense of normalcy while trying to get their lives back on track.  While FEMA trailers are being delivered, there still is a process required to secure such lodging.  Once approved, the families have to wait for the trailers to be delivered, secured to a pad and hooked up to utilities.  As many families as possible are being placed in local rentals, and as can be expected, there is now a scarcity of available properties.

With that said, the result is that the storm was emotionally and financially damaging to so many people with the massive loss of property and life.  The resulting homelessness and uncertainty have pushed the scales to a tipping point.  The victims of this storm need help now, and our government is capable of providing that help.  Shame on any Congressman who chose to leave without making this right.  If the House of Representatives cannot not act on this because they want to go home on vacation, we as citizens must rally together and use the vote to send them home for good.

Climate change is real and its adverse weather occurrences is equally damaging to the financial and mental health of its victims.  Super storm Sandy struck the New Jersey/New York/Connecticut area in November.  The next storm could be anywhere in this country.  The face of each Sandy victim is the face of any American citizen.  Let’s stand together to protect ourselves by seeking solutions to climate change and global warming with its severe weather.  Let’s all live green, be green.

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.

Sources for More Reading:

Social entrepreneurship encompasses the relentless drive to disrupt the “now” and to create something out of nothing in order to improve the way in which we live. Often, social entrepreneurs possess a passion characterized by the altruistic desire to better their communities and better the world in which we live. That is exactly what Ryan Aguas and his colleagues are striving to accomplish in the Philippines with Bahay Kubo Organics.

Immediately after graduating from Fordham University, Ryan Aguas returned to Manila, and along with Enzo Pinga and Illian Pascual, founded Bahay Kubo Organics, a social entrepreneurship venture designed to combat the local scarcity of reliable and affordable sources of food for low-income communities. Ryan and his team have innovated aquaponic farming techniques that incorporates both aquaculture and hydroponics to develop a sustainable ecosystem for assorted plants and fish, local staples. Plants are grown vertically, without soil, through a system of filters and rock beds while fish are raised in tandem. The waste from the fish is used as fertilizer for the hydroponic plants, while the plants serve as a filtering mechanism for the fish. They are currently building their first commercial sized facility that is 130 square meters in size. The facility will be used to showcase all of the possibilities of vertical farming.
Below is a video that Ryan made, showing us exactly how the system works.
Bahay Kubo Organics is working to spearhead several social issues at once that have unfortunately plagued the Bahay Kubo Community. With this venture, they ultimately hope to eliminate any concern for food scarcity, reduce environmental degradation throughout the country, and eventually establish a sustainable farming culture that can help locals establish a means to earn a respectable living. We are confident that Ryan and his team will be successful with this venture, and we will continue to follow them on their journey. Most recently, they made it into the top 10, out of 300 projects entered into Project Pagsulong, a nationwide competition seeking the next “big” social enterprise all over the Phillipines.
Here you can see a video that features Project Pagsulong
Please give Ryan, Enzo, and Illian your support as they try to better the world and help in the mission for everyone to consciously live green and be green in all that they do. LGBG solutes Bahay Kubo Oragnaics and their mission as true, social entrepreneurs, daring to take on the world.
A link to their Facebook page is Please “Like” them and learn more!
Bahay Kubo Pic

In a statement released earlier this week, a bipartisan group of legislators from both the Senate and House of Representatives warned that the expiration of the wind protection tax credit (PTC) would result in the loss of a substantial number of manufacturing and construction jobs, thus triggering a great debate on the relevance of this credit and the efficacy of wind energy.  The PTC “subsidizes new wind generation by 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind electricity produced”.  If this credit is not renewed by Congress, it will expire at the end of the year.  The impact of the threat of expiration of this credit already is being felt as wind companies are pushing back projects and laying off workers because of the looming uncertainty of federal funding.

After reading articles and blogs on this subject, I could not help but notice some of the comments made by other readers, many of which were constructive, but others, concerning.  I use the term “concerning” because I see that in most debates or discussions regarding green initiatives, education and understanding of the issues, or the lack of such, clearly guides the dialogue on these topics.

Living green and understanding the need to effect environmental change requires education.  Research and development and technological advancement enable scientists to find solutions to cleaner and efficient energy.  This definitely comes at a cost, albeit a worthwhile expense.  The push to advance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools today recognizes the benefits of providing opportunities for students to explore new ideas and new worlds related to science.  Education programs, such as STEM, provide a bridge from the old to the new and are so important because they enhance vision, which is a key ingredient in the success of any scientific venture.

Unfortunately, there are many diehards in this country, who are resistant to change, even if it is for the good of people and the environment.  The green movement should not and cannot be dragged down by resistance to change, and modern technological solutions to energy problems should be welcomed, especially in the face of scientific evidence of looming catastrophes relative to climate change directly attributed to human behavior.  This negative mindset is not new in America as history gives us many instances of innovative ideas that prevailed but were met with great resistance.  An immediate example that comes to mind is the case of Henry Ford, who was successful in mass marketing the gas engine automobile in a time when many Americans would have settled for “faster horses“.  In the same spirit of Henry Ford, the green movement must promote efficient wind energy solutions as the future of our nation rather than “clean oil” solutions as suggested by some people.

Another major issue with detractors of wind power, who would be happy to see the credit expire, surrounds the willingness to destroy the job market.  Job creation is crucial to the recovery of the economy, and the market in wind energy projects presents the opportunity to add jobs.  This is especially good for veterans because “work in wind energy offers vets the opportunity to use a wide variety of skills they learned in the military, such as risk analyses, problem-solving and contract negotiation. . .”  So many of us voice our appreciation for the sacrifices of veterans and their families to protect us, and the promotion of wind energy projects through the PTC presents opportunities to reward returning soldiers with jobs, rather than just handshakes and pats on the back for their service.

Another potential base of support which needs to be tapped for wind energy advancement in this country is couples with young children or who are planning to have children.  Today’s energy solutions will frame your children’s tomorrow.  Living green should be the top priority on your agenda so that you can ensure a safe and healthy environment for your children.  Issues of renewable energy, such as wind power should become routine in articles in parenting magazines and blogs designed to educate families on living healthy.

The time is running short to extend the PTC.  As Congress haggles over the many issues dangling on the fiscal cliff, it is urgent that supporters of the green movement band together and speak up to protect the PTC so as to ensure the advancement of wind power as a viable source of energy in America.  We cannot allow the defeat of innovation technology such as this that enables us to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

Wind Energy

Wind Energy (Photo credit: janie.hernandez55)


With the dawn of the new political environment, the first duty of the green movement is to design a comprehensive strategy to ensure that its voice will be heard in the anticipated dialogue on climate change and global warming. The primary focus must be on advocacy with the goal of keeping the problems associated with climate change in the national spotlight.

A preliminary and ongoing requirement of the roadmap to a green path remains the removal of obstacles from this pathway.  A successful model to accomplish this task can be found in the work of the League of Conservation Voters (LCV).  Since 1996, this organization has worked hard to expose and defeat elected officials and candidates (regardless of party affiliation) who deny the realities of climate change and consistently vote against legislation for clean energy and conservation.  Prior to every election, this group identifies opponents of green initiatives through voting scorecards and targets them for defeat.  In the 2012 election, the LCV played a vital in the defeat of Mitt Romney.  Additionally, it was instrumental in the defeat of the following elected officials, dubbed the “Dirty Dozen“:

Hopefully, members of the green movement will remain vigilant of local, state and federal activities regarding green initiatives, making it a priority to contact representatives to voice support or opposition to any proposed legislation.  Of course, this will require research and fact-finding in order to understand the issues at hand.  This action, however, will serve notice to representatives of their responsibility and accountability to their constituents.

Finally, it is mandatory that supporters of green initiatives use the power of the dollar to get the change they want and need to protect the environment.  Consider supporting local farmers, who provide fresh fruits and vegetables that are healthier for you.  Check out local businesses who do contract with local artisans and who sell organic and/or fair trade products.  Avoid doing business with companies who incorporate business practices that pollute the environment, destroy the land or treat employees unfairly.

The pathway to a green life begins with small, but consistent and determined steps.  Try to do something each day to make your pathway greener.  Let’s live green, be green!



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

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

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

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