When you get the chance, survey the room:

First ask, “what is a bill?”  Among the handful of answers will probably lay something along the lines of “a piece of legislation drafted and proposed to be passed into the law of the land,” although not so eloquently put, I’d imagine.

Then ask the room, “what is the largest copper-producing country in the world?” I’d bet — depending on how large of a room, of course — that the chances of finding someone who correctly replied, “Chile,” would be pretty slim.

Lastly, ask this.  “What is a glacier?”  (The outcome of this question does not even matter because I’ve already arrived at my point, albeit after a needlessly long-winded opening.)

This is precisely the question Chilean governmental officials are currently battling.  Congress there is faced with the dilemma of passing legislation that would ban mining in glacier locales.  That last part is where the legislation undoubtedly becomes questionable.  Where will the fuzzy lines of legal jargon come together to define these areas?  Will it be strictly on the glaciers or surrounding areas as well?  How far will these areas stretch?  Is all frozen land around the glaciers off limits, as well?  As the law currently stands, these surrounding permafrost areas are not covered by the proposed protection, but the details are far from set in stone.

All points aside, this is a serious issue.  Not only do these congressional decisions impact the multibillion-dollar mining industry tremendously, along with the country’s production of Copper and other mining products, but the country’s overall water supply hangs largely in the balance of this debate.  Here’s how LUIS ANDRES HENAO of the Associated Press explains the logic:

Glaciers are important because they act as natural dams, storing water for use throughout the year after the winter snow has melted. Even small glaciers can hold gigantic amounts of water that become critical during warm months and especially in long dry spells.

Chile is no stranger to arid months of drought, especially with its recently trending climate change.  Those who we call environmentalists argue that when these two elements of drought and climate change combine with mining, Chile faces a severe danger of its glaciers completely vanishing, and more quickly than ever before imagined.  CECILIA JAMASMIE wrote of such an instance, wherein a glacier disappeared:

One of the best-documented examples is the 18,000-year-old Chacaltaya glacier in the Bolivian Andes, which disappeared in 2009. Experts had forecasted it would survive until 2015, but it melted faster than expected, leaving what used to be the world’s highest ski run — 17,000 feet above sea level — as a boulder-strewn slope with a few patches of ice near the top.

This may be just as dramatic a picture as our governmental leaders’ current steadfastness in delay tactics and indecision, but this, like our issues, is no laughing matter.  Serious repercussions loom large for mining projects planned for the future, as well as projects already underway.  It’s an increasingly common scenario in today’s day — ecological pressures enforced by environmentalists and economical pressures enforced by big business butt heads yet again, and this time it’s Chile’s congressional interpretation in focus.

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.




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:




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 https://www.facebook.com/BKOrganics?fref=ts. 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)


The renewal of the production tax credit for wind energy prior to its scheduled expiration at the end of the year would best serve traditional Republican or red states.  The 2012 election results clearly shows that most Americans believe that clean renewable energy is important and that oil is not representative of energy resources in our country’s future.  This clearly was evidenced by the defeat of candidates backed by polluters and their “dirty energy” dollars.

Presently, the strongest wind resources in the country are in Texas, Kansas and South Dakota, with Texas claiming bragging rights for the most installed wind power at a rate of 10 gigawatts per  hour or the equivalent of five Hoover Dams.  Statistics indicate that 81% of wind installed in America is in Republican districts.

Additional reasons to extend the production tax credit include the following:

  • Its expiration would result in the loss of 37,000 jobs, mostly in Republican districts.
  • Letting any tax expire is commensurate to raising taxes, which would not be good for the nation or for the states that already are heavily invested in these projects.

The production tax credit is good for both the economy and the environment, and it should not be held political hostage during the debates on measures to be taken to avoid the looming fiscal cliff.  The best way to help save this important tax credit is to let your elected officials know your position at the following website:  https://secure.sierraclub.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=8744&s_src=612LSCMB01.

The production tax credit extension will serve as clear notice by our elected officials that they are ready to put aside partisan bickering and come together to do the work of the people so that we all can live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

  1. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-brune/wind-tax-credit_b_2133428.html?utm_hp_ref=green
  2. http://sierraclub.typepad.com/compass/2012/11/sierra-club-helps-elect-dozens-of-new-clean-energy-champions-with-historic-campaign-efforts.html
wind power

wind power (Photo credit: twicepix)

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.

Despite the criticism of skeptics and conservative politicians, the green job movement is moving forward and progressing.  In fact, a report issued last week by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) states that the growth and benefits of green jobs are even stronger than previously expected.  After its analysis of employment data from the Brookings Institution and the Pew Center on the States, who undertook the task of categorizing green jobs on a detailed industry and occupational level, the EPI concludes the following:

  • Green industries are growing faster than the overall economy, at a rate of 2,5 times as fast as other jobs.
  • States with green jobs withstood the recession and fared better than those without green jobs.
  • Approximately 20% of all green jobs are in the manufacturing sector, which is great for the economy because roughly 5.5 million jobs in this area have been lost since 2000.
  • Green jobs offer pathways into the middle class.  These jobs tend to require less education but pay better wages.  This is good for people who cannot afford to go to college but still need good jobs that pay well, enabling them to support their families in a wholesome and healthy manner.

Now we need to adopt the appropriate governmental policies on all levels–local, state and federal–to support the positive movement in the green economy.  This includes investing in storm water infrastructure and supporting energy efficiency programs in cities and states.  We need long-term commitment to businesses involved in solar and wind energy.  Most importantly, we need a change in mindset.  Only through education and technology with demonstrated successes in improvement of air and water quality and reduction in adverse health conditions attributed to pollution will we reverse our dependence on coal and fossil fuels, which are so detrimental to our environment.

A green economy is a win-win situation for everyone.  We can keep moving forward by practicing healthy living, educating our families and communities on green initiatives and demanding that our elected officials support the green movement through public policy.  We know that these strategies are important ingredients in the recipe to live green, be green.

Green economy pays off

As everyone analyzes last night’s first presidential debate, it seems that a focus on the important and often urgent concerns of voters were sidelined by concern with style and appearance, resulting in a journalistic award of a “victory” for Mitt Romney.  This win for Romney clearly signals an ideological loss for the green movement.

First and foremost, Mr. Romney brazenly misstated President Obama’s investment in “green energy”, erroneously claiming that the administration had spent $90 billion on “green energy”, but that half of the companies that he had spent the money on had failed.  A report by the Washington Post declares this is a “flat-out false claim”.  Rather, the $90 billion was the sum set aside for “green” tech and research in the stimulus bill.  A substantial portion of these funds was used for efficiency projects, research and development, carbon sequestration, and upgrading the nation’s electric grid, among other projects.  Only a small percentage was spent on direct loans to clean energy companies, and contrary to Romney’s statement, very few of these companies have failed.

Secondly, to the dismay of the electric car industry, Romney called electric car companies “losers”, specifically Tesla, which is well on its way to becoming a successful and profitable business.  While President Obama did not call Mr. Romney out on the importance of clean energy and electric cars, he did look the camera in the eye and spoke to the American people, noting that he differed from Romney in that he was more interested in the development of renewable energy sources.  Additionally, he voiced the need to end federal oil subsidies.  Perhaps Romney summed up his commitment to the protection of the environment and the health and safety of its inhabitants by stating, “I like coal”.

Proponents of the green movement also are disappointed that Jim Lehrer, as moderator, disregarded climate control as an issue even worthy of discussion in the debate.  Despite receiving 160,000 letters from a coalition of nonprofit organizations dedicated to green initiatives requesting discussion on climate change, Mr. Lehrer ignored this issue.  Supposedly, the purpose of the debate was to give millions of voters an opportunity to “hear how the candidates plan to address the nation’s most urgent challenges”.  It appears that the moderator does not consider the climate crisis that important or urgent.

The green movement is a strong and dedicated one that is not going to go away.  It will not and cannot be dismissed alongside Big Bird.  While it cannot force a discussion of its issues at a debate, it can ensure that it is a force to be reckoned with at the ballot box.  It is clear to the green movement that climate change is devastating and a threat to our very existence.  Any discussion on education, construction, health care, or job creation must include climate change and environmental concerns to be effective.  Any voter who is concerned about health, welfare, employment and family issues and who wants to make sure there will be a healthy planet around for their children to inherit has a clear choice.  Hopefully, we will live green, be green.

Mitt Romney clearly takes a stand against green.