Nature seems to take our breath away. Whether it is the sight of the Adirondack Mountains from the summit of Dix or the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay from Thomas Point, the beauty of nature takes our breath away. Even New York City native urbanites take pride and find pleasure from the nature in Central Park. Yet in our fast-paced, technology infused, world, we find it difficult to secure time away from the 9-5 to explore and admire the natural world around us. If only there was a way to combine the beauty of nature with the constant callings of our rushed city lives…

In a city, such as NYC or DC, there are many “dead” spaces, such as concrete roofs and walls of buildings, that provide nothing but support for the building. Here, we present to you a symbiotic relationship between city and nature. Green roofs and green walls are becoming more and more popular with environmental activists and businesses looking to reduce long-term costs and improve the environment around them.

What are green roofs and walls?

Green roof on Chicago City Hall

Green wall in Paris










In a nutshell they are the product of taking inanimate flat surfaces and turning them into living, breathing, pieces of art that benefit the environment and society. They are soil based structures that can contain many different species of plants, depending on what your ultimate goal is. Most green roofs are made up of very resistant plants that do no require much attention. These plants are most often Sedum, which are small, brightly colored flowers that attract butterflies and and honey bees (oh how important!!)  as well as being drought resistant and low maintenance [1]. But don’t let that hold you back. Depending on the resources you have at your disposal, there are intensive green roofs that can contain a high variety of plants even including medium to large trees!

Not only are green roofs and walls aesthetically pleasing, but they contain many environmental, economic, and social benefits. The below list of benefits is paraphrased from page 2 of the Green Roof Toolkit put together by the Anacostia Watershed Society (AWS).


– Creation of wildlife habitat
– Reduction of storm water runoff into watershed areas
– Reduction of urban temperatures in hot weather
– Improvement of the air quality


– Creation of desirable green space
– Provide an aesthetic appeal to urban landscapes
– Provide more space for growing food
– Educational space to teach young children about the environment


– Provides sound insulation for the building
– Monetary credits for storm water impact
– Increase of property values
– Decrease in energy costs
– Reduction of waste and landfill usage
– Increases the life of the roof

Wow! Such benefits! Would you believe me if I told you that not only do you and your city get to reap all of these benefits, but some cities such as DC are offering subsidies to help with the costs of green roof construction! The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) is currently offering a green roof rebate program that will pay $7-10 per square foot to

Green wall on PNC headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA

incentivize people to invest in green roofs [3]. Even better is that the Anacostia Watershed Society is working in tandem with the DDOE to increase the subsidy to $15-20 per square foot!

If you live in the district and you have an interest in remodeling your roof, contact the AWS. They will work with you to find a contractor and a price that fits your resources.

Green walls are not only for the individual household. They can also be great ways to advertise and market your company or product! As you can see on the right, PNC headquarters in Pittsburgh has taken the concept to a beautiful level with the green wall on their building. This green wall, the largest in North America, is 2,380 square feet with over 14,000 living plants! [4]

Nature is a beautiful thing LGBG followers. So, with the mounds of benefits and the lovely aesthetics of nature in our concrete jungles, let’s work as one to push for green roofing and walls throughout our country!


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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!

Palm Oil Kernels (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We at Live Green Be Green say, “Time to pass on the palm!”

As a result of palm oil farming, roughly 300 football fields of forest are cleared every hour (WWF).  That is roughly 720,000 yards a day! Development of palm oil plantations is among the major leading causes of all deforestation and the leading contributor to diminishing great ape and wildlife populations worldwide. Animals are poached and forests are burned to the ground, just to make way for this unnecessary plant product.

“It is so serious that within the next 10 – 25 years there will be no wild chimpanzees, gorillas or bonobos (let alone Orangutans) if the Palm Oil industry continues on its current forest cutting trajectory.” -Lori Robinson in 1 Sweet Way To Really Help wildlife

We as consumers can end the destruction! We simply need to stop buying products that contain palm oil or palm kernel oil now.  Its that simple. The first step in the right direction is to generate universal awareness in terms of which products contain the oil.   Palm Oil is commonly used in a wide variety of products.  While some products have it listed in the ingredients/ health and nutrition facts, many companies hide it by intentional mislabeling  as vegetable oil or leaving it out all together. Everyday known products that contain palm oil include: candy such as Kit Kat, Butterfinger and PayDay, Pringles, Nutella, Johnson and Johnson Bay Oil,  Dove Soap, Gillette Shaving creams and Colgate toothpaste, to name a few.

Another reason to avoid palm oil products is that palm oil is relatively unhealthy.  In relation to equivalents such as butter, palm oil is significantly higher in saturated fat levels. According to  palm oil is 80% saturated fat with 22 grams of saturated fat contained in just two teaspoons.  To put that into perspective, two teaspoons of regular butter only contain 14 grams of saturated fat. Also, research has shown that palmitic acid caused mice to become resistant to the appetite-suppressing hormones leptin and insulin, which in theory could make them eat more.

Products containing palm oil

We here at LGBG ask you to share this post with at least one friend to help spread the word and stop the destruction.  Also, please sign the petition at and pledge to save our forests and our wildlife and fight the palm oil industry altogether.

Last but not least, please take a look at the video below for a first an even more in depth look at the destruction cause by Palm Oil.


Severe weather

Severe weather (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One year ago today, the eastern seaboard incurred the wrath of Superstorm Sandy, a massive storm delivering rain, wind and huge storm surges that resulted in hundreds of deaths, extended loss of power to millions of homes,  extensive flooding and fire and destruction of homes and businesses up and down the east coast and particularly devastating to New Jersey, Connecticut and New York City.

The reasons for Sandy’s occurrence are still being debated, with climate change deniers holding to their position.  While these arguments continue, it is important that we acknowledge changes that are desperately needed to contain or prevent the severe levels of destruction that we experienced with Sandy from recurring, no matter the cause.  To that end, the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC)  has enumerated post-Sandy priorities for governmental action.

Today we would like to call attention to two of the principal subjects of these post-Sandy priorities, building in flood-prone areas and protection of infrastructure, both of which must be effectively addressed to prevent and/or reduce incidences of loss of life and extreme property destruction during severe storms.

Regarding the issue of building in flood-prone areas, the severe property destruction of water-front or water-accessible residential properties in New York and New Jersey clearly shows us the inherent dangers of living close to large bodies of water, which persistently are subject to huge damaging storm surges during bad weather and accompanying high winds.  We know that those living near the water are at such an increased risk of loss of life or property during violent storms, and as such, it is crucial to have plans in place to eliminate the incentives to build or live in flood-prone areas.   It appears that even in the face of the destruction of Sandy, many of the shoreline residents have rebuilt or are determined to do so, despite the losses faced with Sandy or the potential future losses from other severe weather occurrences.  A probable remedy for this mindset lies in the reform of the National Flood Insurance Program, “including phase-out of subsidized rates and updating of flood-risk maps.”   Of course, any such plans should include compensation to individuals currently living in these subject areas.  Additionally, property owners who insist on remaining in these areas and who are willing to bear the total cost of insurance for this privilege, must be required by law to rebuild in accordance with stricter resiliency standards.  Finally, rules must be adopted to “require states to develop disaster preparedness plans that recognize increased flooding and other disaster risks from our changing climate.”

The second post-Sandy priority subject deals with infrastructure.  Sandy’s descent on New Jersey and New York City brought to light the problems with the aging electrical grids, positioning of backup power systems within reach of flood waters and the failing storm water systems in those areas.  Also, other jurisdictions on the east coast experienced the failure of sewage systems during extended power outages during the storm, witnessing the spillage of sewage into rivers and streams.  Clearly, Sandy warned us of the need to protect critical infrastructure and to make it smarter and resilient to the fury of Mother Nature.  We must pay special attention to our energy generation and distribution systems, as well as drinking water and wastewater treatment facilities.    Plans for emergency response and public transportation systems are critical to preventing or reducing the loss of life and injury during severe storms and to being able to return to normal function in terms of activities of daily living after severe storms.

The main theme of these subjects of post-Sandy priorities is sustainability.  Any effort to address issues of dealing with severe weather must be relative to sustainability.  The journey to sustainable lifestyles requires each of us to do our part to protect the environment, to reduce our waste and energy consumption, which taxes our energy generation systems and overall to become stewards of the earth.  To do so is to live green, be green.


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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.

In late 2012, Patrick Halligan, co-founder and CMO of Live Green Be Green by PMD United, was presented with the opportunity for temporary reassignment from Citystash, Washington, DC to the San Francisco office to assist with business marketing, development and operations.  Patrick, a 2012 graduate of the Fordham University Gabelli School of Business, viewed this offer as a great chance to hone his business skills and to boost his resume.  He eagerly accepted this proposition and set out to ready himself for the trip.

With the assistance and support of his girlfriend. Becca Donnelly, a recent graduate of George Washington University, Patrick carefully planned this cross-country trip.  While they realized this would be an awesome road trip, they had no idea that it would be an amazing testament to green living and sustainability.  It turned out that each step of this journey tells a story, a very personal one, of two members of the Millennial Generation, whose daily lives and interests seamlessly incorporate and reflect principles of green living and sustainability.  While having fun seeing the sites and enjoying each other’s company, Patrick and Becca’s journey unintentionally created a symbolic quilt with interlocking pieces displaying a theme of those principles.

Family.  In planning their journey, Patrick and Becca looked to family for moral support and encouragement for their trip.  Additionally, they made sure their route included stops to visit family, including cousins, a sibling and niece and nephew in Chicago.  They also reached out to west coast cousins while in California.  During their time in California, they took time out of their busy schedules to entertain east coast family members visiting in the area.

Energy Conservation.  As part of the Millennial Generation, it was only natural that Patrick and Becca chose to take this trip in a Fiat 500, a small energy-efficient car that gets great gas mileage.  With careful planning and limited space, they readily adopted a minimalist attitude, taking only what they needed.

Climate Change.  Patrick and Becca’s chosen route resulted in an unintended reference to climate change, often associated with extreme temperature changes and violent storms.  While visiting in Chicago, they encountered a severe lightning storm, and while driving through Wyoming and Nevada, they experienced continuous days of extremely hot weather with temperatures soaring as high as 118 degrees Fahrenheit.  In San Francisco, they experienced a summer quite different from the east coast, with some days not even making it to the 70 degree mark.

Nature.  Throughout this trip, Patrick and Becca experienced nature at its best, reinforcing the idea that we as humans do not own the earth.  Rather, we are stewards of this land, and as such, we are obligated to coexist with nature.  They visited many landmarks, including Mount Rushmore and Deadwood, as well as Yellowstone National Park and the Badlands.  While in Yellowstone, they saw animals free to roam, rather than being in corals.  After arriving in San Francisco, they walked the foothills, swam and played in the ocean and enjoyed the wonders of Big Sur where man’s footprint ends, and nature is in command.  They also enjoyed amazing sunsets, undisturbed by man’s light pollution.  They stood beside sea lions, allowed to coexist with man without being reduced to a commodity, contained in zoos or aquariums for the entertainment of man at a price.

Sustainability.  On their journey, Patrick and Becca included a stop to the Coors Brewing Factory in Golden, Colorado. There they were treated to a lesson in sustainability.  They toured the brewery where they were educated on the company’s business practices that makes it a priority to increase the productivity of natural resources with zero waste tolerance.

Their adventure also reflected the importance of people, which is recognized as an integral component of strong sustainability theory.  The success of their journey is largely attributable to the support of people, starting with the owners of CityStash, who believed in Patrick and offered him the opportunity to work in the west coast office.  Also, it is important to thank the Wygant family — Scott, Joelle, Bill and Diana.   These kind people graciously served as Patrick and Becca’s safety net in this leap of faith, particularly Bill and Diana, who provided them with a place to stay and helped them familiarize themselves and navigate the San Francisco landscape.

There are so many lessons to be learned from Patrick and Becca’s journey, too many to discuss in one article.  Perhaps the greatest lesson is that each of us should seek to engage the greater good in life, which in most cases will lead to living a greener and more sustainable lifestyle.  To do this, it is important to take a leap of faith, drop many of our rituals that encumber us and to heed the call of the universe to “come away with me” to a new place.  To do so is to live green, be green.

With the NFL season underway and rapidly heating up, articles surrounding NFL-related topics are obviously trending.  Well, that got me to thinking, and then to reading, and now to sharing what I’ve learned…



As a New York Giants fan myself, I find it painful to share what I am about to, but since this blog is dedicated to the sharing of knowledge surrounding all things green, I find I have a duty to my audience.  The Philadelphia Eagles are leading the charge for greener football organizations, and more teams should be like them. There! I said it, and I refuse to ever repeat myself.  Nonetheless, the sustainability enhancements that the Eagles’ decision-makers have made should be admirable to any football fan, regardless of team colors.

On the roof areas of the stadium and parking lot at Philly‘s Lincoln Financial Field, over 11,000 solar panels work each day to generate energy for the stadium.  And if that’s not good enough for you, rest assured that those solar panels work in partnership with the 14 wind turbines on the top of stadium, which continuously help to pump energy back into the area’s power grid, even when the sun goes down.  So, how big of an impact could these small touches have on such a huge venue?  Factually, their impact is sufficient enough to propel Lincoln Financial Field to its current standing as the only carbon-neutral, off-the-grid stadium in the country.

This is obviously no small feat, but one we should look forward to other teams replicating soon.  As awareness continues to grow, the responsibility to implement change is increasingly taken by the professional sports organizations of today’s world.  With only three years under its belt, the Green Sports Alliance meets every year in NYC, providing one such outlet by which the sports industry’s leaders can gather for the collective exploration of options to better current practices and the furthered progression of green programs.  More and more changes are being seen as a result of new idea generation and new standards for comparable venues, and hopefully we will soon reach the point in time where the nature of these eco-friendly practices moves from future conception to modern convention.  Food for thought.

For fellow NY Giants fans, and even those of the NY Jets, here is some [older] information I dug up on our venue, MetLife Stadium.


Sustainability? (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)

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 future betterment 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.

Dr. Martin Luther King at a press conference.

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.

The three pillars of sustainability. Click on ...

The three pillars of sustainability. Click on image areas for more information. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Green banking is ethical banking that is socially responsible and promotes environmental sustainability.  At first glance, several banks tout their “greenness” in advertising and marketing, but upon closer inspection,it is apparent that many of these institutions limit their efforts to the provision of online services and other practices that reduce the use of paper, thereby appealing to “tree huggers” (a derogatory term for environmentalists who support restrictions on the logging industry and who fight for preservation of forests).  These same banks have adopted procedures to reduce the often burdensome paper load traditionally required for many of their products, including, but not limited to, mortgages, certificates of deposits and loans, both residential and commercial.

Many financial institutions have incorporated banking with the use of mobile applications. The development and introduction of mobile apps to the smartphone market has gone a long way to provide customers access to their bank account 24 hours a day, with the ability to transfer funds between their accounts in one bank, as well as  pay bills and transfer money to outside banks or individuals.  It is important to note that many of these features were made available so that banks could compete with online payment and money transfer giants, such as PayPal, as well as totally online banks like Ally.  These mobile banking apps often include deposit features, which allow customers to make check deposits with the use of smartphone cameras.  The increased use of online banking features have resulted in a reduced carbon footprint with savings in time and transportation with fewer trips required to visit brick and mortar facilities; however, green baking encompasses so much more than this.

The essence of green banking is social responsibility, which in turn, fosters sustainability.  Green banking has five major components.

  1. Green finance.  While it is required that a bank performs credit ratings in its analysis of a proposed investment project, a green bank also will analyze the environmental risk of a potential investment, and it will reject investment in a project that would be destructive to the environment.
  2. Green marketing.  This activity involves making the environmental benefits of the products and services sold of tantamount importance.  These efforts could mandate modifications of products or the production process or changes in advertising to ensure that goods and services, as well as consumer interest, are protected.
  3. In house green activities.  Green banks provide detailed written reports on water and energy consumption, paper use, and the use if supplies, such as ink and toner.  Employees are trained in measures to efficiently use energy, equipment and supplies.
  4. Capacity building and research.  While many banks finance activities at regular interest rates in regions and communities prone to hazardous natural events, i.e., floods, earthquakes and droughts, green banks go farther by creating Climate Change Risk Funds to be used in cases of emergency.  Additionally, green banks show these expenses for emergencies under general expenses on their balance sheets.
  5. Corporate social responsibility.  Banks are corporations and are expected to be profitable.  While most, if not all financial institutions adopt some philanthropic programs, green banking mandates that such institutions carefully manage their economic, social and environmental impact, as well as their influence in “the workplace, the supply chain, the community, and the public policy realm“.  [5]

Any financial institution truly committed to “green banking” will ensure that its structure includes the above-stated components.  The green banking movement is gaining momentum in the global financial sector, and clearly is a win for the banks, the consumers, and the environment.  It is more urgent than ever that we, the green consumers, not only demand the services that we deserve, but also that such services are delivered  in line with our values of sustainability and commitment to the environment.  Let’s join together to encourage and support green banking.  To do so is to live green, be green.


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