SimpliSafe is simply awesome! Its a no contract, easy instillation (do-it-yourself) home security system that starts at less than $250.00. This setup is great for millennials and budget sensitive people living in areas where safety may be a concern! SimpliSafe is going places!
2) The Air Umbrella
This bad boy has been on KickStarter for a while now but it comes as no surprise that they have raised over $100,000. I cannot wait to get mine!
3) A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy by William Irvine
If you are jumping on the stoicism bandwagon (you should), this is a great place to start. It provides necessary background before jumping straight into hardcore Seneca teachings. Learn to focus on the now and focus attention to the matters in your life that you can control.
Most viewers of the 2014 State of the Union address, delivered last night by President Barrack Obama, should be praised for having the wherewithal to persevere through such a sleep-inducing collection of strung together sentences — although, among the mind-numbing were a fair share of surprisingly spritely, humorous notes.
Regardless, for those green enthusiasts out there, hoping to learn more about initiatives in the way of sustainability, clean energy, and alternative fuels, there was relatively little mention of such, and with even less value behind it. Far from a laughing matter.
View theenhanced speech on demand–which is by far better than the
live broadcast– if you don’t believe me (tune in around the 15:40 mark).
Unfortunately, the most prolific takeaway for such enthusiasts was a regurgitation of the All-Of-The-Above Energy Strategy, originally introduced several years prior. And let me be clear(pun intended) — by “regurgitation” I don’t mean Mr. Obama repeated himself per se, but I do mean that it was just a simple spewing of what “we” have already accomplished over the past several years’ time.
Some of the facts and statistics used in the accompanying supplemental presentation seem randomly curated and desperately included, almost in some form of a last-ditch attempt to appear arguably progressive. And be careful not to blink when watching the address, you may miss the just-over-four minutes the Pres took to speak to the notions of this All-Of-The-Above plan.
Nonetheless, a brief recap is in order, to point potential non-viewers in the direction of the few notions splayed upon last nights audiences:
America is closer to energy independence todaythan we have been in decades. I hope this is self-explanatory.
Natural gas is being extracted safely. This was an obvious reference to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, something we have written about in the past and something which environmentalists everywhere denounce.
Companies are planning to build new plants that use natural gas. President Obama made clear the fact that he wants to promote this via tax and other programs for these manufacturers who indeed increasingly move toward natural gas as a replacement means of production (instead of oil).
America will continue “strengthening protection of our air, our water, our communities,” and “protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations” to come. By definition, probably the closest we’ve come thus far to targeting sustainability, but still not compelling. This just seems like some general commentary that could have been used years ago to describe our state, and which seem to be added only because they sound better to the heart than to the mind, once processed.
We are becoming a global leader in solar — “every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar.” This is a great stat, assuming its factually accurate. Bravo, Mr. President. And his use was impeccable, directly relating solar’s ongoing push to economic job growth by referencing that men (and women) physically installing pieces of such equipment is not outsource-able.
GOAL: continue to invest in fuels of the future. Check. This should go unsaid — it’s something that would be done regardless of who is in office, be it oval or congressional. Next.
We can continue to reduce energy we consume. He referenced the new standards for the auto industry, implemented after the bailout, to make vehicles more efficient. Good example, yes, but we have been there and done that, so where else could this be actionable moving forward? Another prospective example would have been beautifully refreshing.
The US is the leading nation in reducing carbon footprints. Impressive, but how about we explore how we will maintain that role modeling… right?
We need to legislate new standards on the amount of pollution our power plants are permitted to dump into the air. Air pollution is important, I get it. And as we’ve seen in places like Mexico City and eastern Chinese cities like Beijing, it can quickly get so out of hand as to realizably affect the day-to-day quality of life for area inhabitants. The future can only get worse, if not attended to, so let’s hope something of action can become of this verbiage.
“The debate is settled: Climate Change Is A Fact!” Again, self explanatory, but a headline-grabbing quote all enthusiasts can be mildly happy about.
Now, that brief recap above contains literally every point I could imaginably pluck from the whole discussion of ecological sustainability, and most of it spoke solely of vague past accomplishments and emptily bottomless comments surrounding the overall direction we are headed. Personally, as someone truly interested in hearing what particulars could lay on the horizon, I was extremely underwhelmed by the President’s words, or complete lack thereof with respect to true governmental policy. This could have been a chance for Mr. Obama to openly target specific goals and initiatives on one of the broadest stages possible, to really put the pressure on Congress to do something about the potential headliners — an opportunity blown.
As one US News and World Report describes fairly well, the State of the Union was predicted to be and then turned out to be unsustainable. The article describes, quite adequately, that sustainability is the focus of making sure our living our lives does not hinder the ability of the generations to come from living theirs. While the State of the Union contained moments wherein the glimmer of hope for the future verged on addressing some social or economic sustainability, environmental sustainability was not allowed to shine in its full brilliance. There was clearly insufficient forethought and future initiatives relayed from the President — no true future plans were outlined for environmental policy.
All of this being said, I must concede that it is not all President Obama’s fault, that the entire State of the Union address seemed monotonous and archaically pointless. In actuality, it is just that, and by inevitability. The State of the Union was originally put into policy as a way for the President of the United States to relay his views on the current status and future agenda of the country to the US Congress. This is especially needless in today’s society of technological advancement, what with all the instantaneous newsfeeds at our constant disposal via push notices to our pocket devices.
Overall, Obama’s address was only half-baked, nearly ignoring future sustainability, clean energy, and alternative fuel plans altogether. But that’s just my opinion.
Got some time to share your opinions? We’d love to hear them!
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.
Perhaps you are an avid LiveGreenBeGreen.com reader who remembers my first Business Spotlight on the GREEN Program, or perhaps you are just now visiting LGBG for the first time and should definitely read up on that ASAP. Either way, welcome, and listen up, because we have a new update on this fantastically new age study abroad program.
Since the last article I wrote, GREEN has made some big-time organizational moves. They have literally doubled in size, and a huge contributing factor to that has been their newly developed program in Iceland, in addition to their original Costa Rican adventure. They have a partnership with the country’s Iceland School of Energy at Reykjavik University, whereby students can gain 1.5 U.S. college course credits for their 10-day participation in the program.
The GREEN Program is still bringing together young minds from all over the world and educating them on energy sustainability practices with hands-on experience, in the hopes that the collection of young info-seekers will eventually see to it, as future leaders, that the world creates a better tomorrow.
For all interested in learning more about the program, there is an awesome video on it,
This is not meant to be just another applausive article on the GREEN Program to join the already dozens written and published all over the U.S. Rather, this is meant to show off what a ton of hard work can create in the way of educating the masses, a goal with which we at LGBG unquestionably align. This study abroad program, still in its toddler years, is truly making energy-packed waves in the way of study abroad programs.
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.
Criticism of the Millennial Generation (Generation Y) by its predecessors appears to be rampant on many fronts. Generally, young people today have been characterized as lazy, politically apathetic, economically informed and self-consumed. Upon closer inspection, it appears that the basis of these complaints generally lie in the potential upheaval of business as usual that is on the horizon in terms of the Millenials’ values on politics, economics, culture and the environment. Clearly, the overall values of the Millennials differ significantly from those of the previous generations in many significant ways:
They are more charitable.
They are more global minded.
They are more tolerant of racial, ethnic, political, social and economic differences.
They are more informal.
They are more educated and receptive to technological advancements.
They are more adept at multitasking.
They embrace networking.
They are more environmentally conscious.
Growing Up In A World Shaped By Technology
The Millennial Generation (ages 18-30) grew up in an environment that was much different from that of their parents and grandparents. With the development of personal computers, smart phones and tablets, this generation has easy access to the Internet, which immediately delivers information and news, accompanied by vivid real-time images devoid of the filter of time delay and editorialized reporting. The competition to be the first to deliver breaking news has resulted in an onslaught of sources of information, such as traditional news wire services, social media platforms, including, but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc., and even individual messaging services on personal camera-equipped smart phones. These technological advances allow those who use electronic devices to access factual information, examine the sources of the information and form their own conclusions about political, social, cultural and economic issues.
In his book, The Greatest Generation, Tom Brokaw stated, “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” It seems that the Millennials have taken this advice to heart. To a large degree, they have shown great interest in being different (than previous generations) in order to make a difference. Consequently, the Millennial Generation has matured into a group of self thinkers, who resist previous generations’ perceived notions of success and value, particularly ownership of stuff. Millennials are more likely to resist moving to the suburbs and buying expensive houses and cars. They often enjoy urban living and are pleased to have access to green energy-efficient buses or to walk or ride bicycles. A meal does not have to include meat for many of this generation. They are more likely to be environmentally conscious and to recycle and reuse. They love to travel and are more likely than their predecessors to visit other countries. Most importantly, Millennials are independent thinkers, whose truth does not have to be based on a preconceived consensus.
This brand of thinking is a major problem for the previous generations, who worry about passing the torch on to this “irresponsible” next generation. How do they have the audacity to destroy this great society that has been built on the sweat and labor of so many dedicated citizens? The answer here is that the Millennials have identified the missing link to our very survival, namely sustainability. They see the prior generations manipulated by corporate greed, political gridlock, racial, social and cultural intolerance and the burdens of materialism— ownership of too much stuff, overwhelming debt, depression and unhappiness. They choose not to participate in a political system that is consumed by partisan interests and burdened by ill will, contention and gridlock. They reject value defined by ownership of material things. Rather, they prefer to collect experiences as opposed to objects, to enjoy the world’s natural resources rather than deplete them.
There is a quiet revolution going on, a grassroots movement that is gaining momentum. The Millennial Generation is leading an upheaval of business as usual, and this is what the world needs, a new path to healthy lifestyles and environmental consciousness. Perhaps we all should stop and pay attention to this movement. To do so is to live green, be green.
Presuming our readers are of the variety that keeps up with recent articles in the green ideological sphere, we would like to address a current trending topic – the integrity of “sustainability.”
If you have browsed green articles in the past several days, chances are pretty good you’ve come across an article or two pertaining to the banning of the term “sustainability.” It is important to understand the motives behind those views, before supporting or dismissing them, and further, it becomes crucial that we alter our approach to understanding modern-day uses of the term.
Looking briefly back in time, first came the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR), and then alongside it rode in “sustainability.” Focus was first placed on the meanings behind these terms, to take an analytical look at current business practices’ impacts on the environment and the masses in order to determine policy changes that could better the sustainability and longevity of the business, as well as the environment, within which it operates. Very well. However, over time, this view on the matter has almost completely deteriorated from a point of forward-looking, voluntary initiatives to its current mess of fashionable, mandatory bragging rights.
The main issue with sustainability?
It has become corporate prerogative to assemble corporate social and sustainability programs or plans as a means of current comparison with outside competitors, rather than as a means of examination and implementation for futurebetterment inside the corporation. Likewise, these terms have been thrown around the world of politics, too, with little or nothing to show for it. Sure, there have been some new mandates and a couple new proposals, but the essence behind these has not been that of driven change. It has been used as yet another tool by which politicians can gain acclaim, another platform piece upon which some may choose to run. What a shame.
Needless to say, with this deterioration of the views surrounding and motives behind these practices, the integrity these practices and terms hold depreciates. It makes the everyday consumer’s job a bit more difficult. Now, we must be wary of all that we read and hear. Simply put, approach each public issuance of these terms with caution, place a bit of research into the root of their use, and conclude whether the issuer is taking legitimate initiative to change the bad or badly issuing socially charged terms to gain corporate or political prowess among competition.
For more information on how and why sustainability should be used, I recommend a simple article by Adam Aston, which can be found here. In it, he outlines the benefits of legitimate sustainability planning.
English: Honey bees cleaning the last of the honey off of a comb which has been processed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Initially, I was excited to see Time Magazine‘s August 19th issue featuring bees and the problem of colony collapse disorder, “The Plight Of The Honeybee;”  however, my enthusiasm quickly dissipated when I discovered that the article fails by not addressing the impact of factory farming as a major contributor to the demise of bees.
The steady disappearance of bees is a frequent topic of concern for conservationists, beekeepers and farmers, as well as green bloggers. Our blog, Live Green Be Green, follows the subject of pollinators on a frequent basis, commenting on bees, in particular, noting that they play an important role in the maintenance of the food supply as we know it. While it may be true (as stated in Time’s article) that the demise of bees would not destroy the food supply totally, it is important to note that this phenomenon would change the landscape of the food supply, resulting in the loss of many fruits and vegetables that we enjoy eating. 
Much of the attention on the causes of colony collapse disorder in this article is attributed to pesticides, viruses and fungal infections, with only casual references made to factory farming of bees. Additionally, the comments made deal with factory farming in general, citing the increase in widespread industrialized agricultural systems that have adopted crop monocultures, which effectively “create a desert for bees,” starving them of the nectar and pollen they need to survive.  Also, mention is made of a possible future with the industrialization of beekeeping culminating in fewer entities running larger operations or even the use of robotic bees to pollinate crops. Clearly, this article ignores the problem of factory farming of bees. Under this scenario, bees are transported from the natural locales and maintained in smaller boxes, which resemble tenements or file cabinets. These actions subject the creatures to unnatural living conditions. Also, the bees are forced to undergo other harmful practices, such as wing clipping of new queen bees to prevent the natural migration of these bees and their soldiers to form their own colonies, thereby reducing the honey production in the prior colony.These practices typically result in genetic manipulation of the bees and in their premature death. 
To learn more about the true plight of bees, we here at LGBG by PMD United encourage you to see “No More Honey,” a film documentary that raises awareness of the practice of factory farming of bees.  We remain dedicated to learning and sharing information that promotes a healthy environment for ourselves and future generations. We feel it is mandatory that when sharing information, we should seek the complete story. In terms of our food supply, we feel that while it may be possible to “exist” without many of the plant species that we have come to love, it is important that we abandon harmful practices that deliberately destroy these products. We feel that bees make our world a better place. To protect them is to live green, be green.
 Walsh, Brian “The Plight Of The Honeybee.” Time 19 Ap. 2013: 24-31. Print.
 “Honeybee Shortage– An Impending Economic Disaster.” http://livegreenbegreen.com/2013/05/07/honeybee-shortage-an-impending-economic-disaster 7 May, 2013.
 Walsh, p. 30.
In response to the continuing decline in the bee population globally, an interesting and timely film documentary by Markus Inhoof brings attention to the phenomenon of colony collapse disorder— the name given to this occurrence. This film notes that 80% of plant species require bee pollination to survive, and without the necessary pollination, “most fruit and vegetables could disappear from the face of the earth”. Additionally, the honeybee is “as indispensable to the economy as it is to man’s survival”.
In this film, Inhoof takes a close look at honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia. He examines several agents responsible for “weakening of the bees’ immune defense“, including pesticides and medicine used to combat them, parasites (notably Varro mites), new viruses, traveling stress and the “multiplication of electromagnetic waves disturbing nano particles found in bees’ abdomen.
A particularly interesting finding shown to negatively impact the lives of bees is “factory farming“. Beekeeping for the production of honey, beeswax, royal jelly and other products has become very popular in the past few years. Bee farmers rely on factory-farmed honeybees, resulting in an annual production of 176 million pounds of honey with a value greater than $250 million. To accomplish this goal, honeybees are manipulated with exploitation of their “desire to live and protect their hives”. They are subjected to unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation and stressful transportation“. The white boxes traditionally used for beehives since the 1850s have been “moved from shapes that accommodated their own geometry to flat-topped tenements, thereby sentencing the bees to life in file cabinets. Additionally, beekeepers also clip the wings of new queens to prevent the natural division of hives upon the birth of a new queen that would result in a decline in the honey production.
All of these factors stress the bee population and could serve as a threat to mankind’s very existence because of the need for these very important pollinators to remain in existence.
To date, the documentary, More Than Honey, has received good reviews, particularly in regards to its beautiful nature photography. This is just one story about human invasive practices that threaten our food supply, and it is a very important one that cautions us to remain ever mindful of our need to ensure that we protect our environment and our food supply. To do so is to live green, be green.
Atlantic Ocean shore at Longport, New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The summer beach season has opened officially on the east coast, and while we hear commercials, politicians and even President Obama declaring that the New Jersey shore communities are “stronger than the storm“, we must question the hasty rebuilding of shoreline communities and businesses in time to accommodate the tourist season as a show of strength versus resilience.
Rebuilding homes in these communities, along with replacing board walks and amusement parks, definitely indicates resilience and determination to continue a tradition and industry that is crucial to the region. However, these actions alone do not translate necessarily to strength, a required attribute to prevent such devastation during future storms. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines resilience as “the capability of a strained body to recover the size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive strength”. To that end, many of these communities are resilient in that they have rebuilt and reopened post Hurricane Sandy. On the other hand, the concept of being stronger, by definition implies “an ability to endure stress, pain or hard use without giving way”. It is questionable whether these communities, in their hasty return to open in time for the tourist season, actually adopted measures to ensure that they have greater strength than previously to withstand future violent storms.
An interesting and provocative source for information on rebuilding after a devastating storm can be found in a paper released on December 12, 2012 by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc. This report “outlines some of the actions that communities, individuals, businesses, and state and federal officials can take to reduce the suffering, damage, and risks from events like Hurricane Sandy in the future.” Acknowledging the need to use the destruction caused by Sandy as a learning opportunity to avoid such damage and destruction in the future, this paper alerts us of the need to alter our reaction to violent weather disasters so as not to keep making the same mistakes. As stated in the paper, despite the experience of several hurricanes, including Andrew, Ivan, Katrina, Rita, Wilma, and recently Irene and Sandy, most of the nation still lacks an adequate “rebuilding policy to deal with situations when a large area is impacted by an extreme event.”
This reports details specific steps to take to reconstruct communities that are safer, and disaster resistant. It specifically addresses concerns with deteriorating and poorly designed infrastructure. Changes need to be made in the location of power grids and storm drainage systems. Also, changes in land use, addressing density limits and only allowing open space compatible use is important to protect people in areas that are “100% guaranteed to flood again”. Careful planning and implementation cannot be done in a hasty fashion. To do so places these communities at the risk of new destruction during future storms.
As we celebrate the reopening of the Jersey shore communities in time for the beach season, local, state and federal officials must continue to work to make our communities really “stronger than the storm”, not just resilient to the storm. To do so truly is to “live green, be green.