The Earth seen from Apollo 17.

The Earth seen from Apollo 17. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since 1970, Earth Day has been celebrated as a worldwide day of events to demonstrate commitment to the environment, and as such, it is a day that everyone can celebrate, big or small.  We here at LGBG urge all of our readers to get involved and plan some activity for  the day.  Of course, we have a few suggestions.

1.  Plant something.  It could be a garden, large or small, or maybe a balcony garden.  Also, it could be one vegetable or flowering plant.  This could be a fun project to do with children.  They will love caring for a flower or vegetable plant, and imagine their pride when they see the end result, a beautiful blossom or a vegetable that they can consume.  If time is too short  or the weather is not amenable to planting something, consider joining the National Arbor Foundation ( and donating seedling trees to be planted in designated areas sorely in need of reforestation.
2.  Use recyclable bags.  If you go shopping on Earth Day, refuse to use a plastic bag.  Take a recyclable bag from home or purchase one for the articles you purchase.  Try storing these bags in your car to be used for future shopping trips.
3.  Park the car.  Turn off the television.  Take a walk.  Play games outside.  Relax and celebrate Mother Nature.
4.  Pledge an act of green.  There are many environmental and green organizations that would appreciate your financial support.  We here at LGBG ask that you consider supporting Africa Inside ( in its drive to rid the African countryside of plastic bags and No Water No Life (, a wonderful organization that “documents North American and African watersheds to illustrate degradation of fresh water resources and stewardship solutions“.
5.  Reduce your carbon footprint starting tomorrow.  This can be done by skipping meat at a meal, taking public transportation, and turning off the lights when leaving a room.

These are just a few suggestions to get engaged in tomorrow’s Earth Day Celebration.  Others can be found on the Internet and on community boards.  Also, once you choose an activity, make sure you upload a picture of it on “The Face of Climate Changephoto mosaic at

Earth Day is an annual celebration open to anyone interested in the protection of the environment and sustainability.  To join in this global movement to protect our natural resources and to ensure a healthy world for future generations is a great path on the journey to live green, be green.

Scientific studies on climate helped establish...

Scientific studies on climate helped establish a consensus. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As the debate over the reality of climate change rages on in Congress and in the news, the details of a promising series of events are emerging that belie the arguments of climate change critics, who deny the existence of climate change and the negative consequences of inaction to address global warming.

Objective data now available clearly indicates a steady movement towards sustainability practices by many businesses.  For instance, recent statistics show that there has been a major shift away from the use of coal and towards natural gas to generate electricity in America.  This shift is documented by a major decline in coal transported by railroads.  This trend is concerning to railroads because coal is the most important commodity for them, accounting for 43.3 percent of  freight railway tonnage and 24.6 percent of gross rail revenue in 2011.  It is important to note that the decline in coal transport by rail, for the most part, is directly attributable to electric utilities’ needs “to take advantage of more price-competitive natural gas“.  While the production of natural gas does pose issues, particularly with fracking, it is a cleaner source of fuel, releasing fewer global-warming gases, such as carbon dioxide, thereby resulting in a reduction of greenhouse emissions in America.  As scientists work to make the fracking procedure safer, natural gas definitely competes against coal as a preferred fuel source.

A look at events going on in Alaska also provides evidence of belief in climate change, a willingness of people to accept its existence and the need to protect the environment.  A recent story chronicles Sarah Palin‘s efforts to address the issues of climate change while she was governor of Alaska.  Palin’s recognition of global warming and its effect on her state and its citizens led her to establish a climate change sub-cabinet to produce ideas on “how Alaskans can save energy and reduce greenhouse emissions”.  During this period prior to her interest in higher political aspirations, Palin was dedicated to find solutions to “protect Alaska’s most at-risk communities“.  Now fast forward to today where we find that current Alaska Republican governor, Sean Parnell (previously a lobbyist for oil companies) has quietly dismantled Palin’s Immediate Action Workgroup.  As a result, it is noted that there are 12 small indigenous communities on Alaska’s coast that need to relocate because of global warming.  Currently in Alaska, the voices are getting louder in support of these displaced communities and in recognition of the reality of global warming and climate change.

A third interesting series of events pointing to acceptance of global warming and the need to seek alternative energy solutions can be seen in the NFL’s increased use of solar energy for stadiums.  Of course, we just witnesses the major power failure at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans, Louisiana.  While it may come as a surprise to some people, for the past 18 years the NFL has been pursuing green energy solutions.  It recognized long ago that the sheer  size of most NFL venues were outpacing the infrastructures, thereby taxing the electrical grids and at some point resulting in power failures.  To date, several NFL stadiums are equipped with solar panels, including Gillette Stadium (New England Patriots), MetLife Stadium (NY Jets and NY Giants), FedEx Field (Redskins), and Century Link Field (Seattle Mariners).  The company responsible for most of these projects is NRG Solar Company (  These efforts clearly are indicative of the NFL’s recognition of the importance of solar energy and the role it can play in business today, particularly for industries with very large energy burdens at any particular time.

We here at LGBG feel empowered by the efforts of individuals, businesses and organizations who refuse to be deterred in their efforts to seek solutions to global warming.  We know that climate change is a reality.  As we enter the weekend, we are posed to witness another reminder of the reality of climate change and global warming by two huge storms coming from the west and the south and expected to result in a major blizzard in the Northeast, which still has not recovered from Sandy.  We wish the best for everyone in the path of these storms.  They truly are Mother Nature reminding us to live green, be green.

Sources for this Article:

Photo Credit:

While deep in my search for outstanding companies of all kinds the other day, I stumbled upon this sustainable gem — VerTerra.  I immediately decided that I must write this week’s spotlight article on it, to let all LiveGreenBeGreen readers know about this amazing company.  So, here it is:

VerTerra is a manufacturer of single-use dinnerware, an undoubtedly saturated industry.  However, unlike nearly all competitors out there, VerTerra operates with a special spark at its sole.  The company is completely focused on the environmentally and socially conscious consumer, as it sustainably produces its eco-friendly, high-quality products using fair wage labor practices.  But that does not mean its only customers are those environmentally and socially bleeding hearts — anyone can and should use their products!

Striking the perfect balance between smart and sexy is one of the most daunting and difficult tasks, and VerTerra makes it look effortless in their products.  What is most amazing, though, is exactly how the seed of this business idea came to be planted in the mind of its founder, Michael Dwork.  On a trip to India, Mr. Dwork stopped to buy some food from a street-vendor of sorts, not an unpopular practice.  To his amazement and delight, he found the woman serving him simply took fallen leaves, soaked them in water, and with a fairly primitive waffle-iron-like device, pressed them into serving plates!  He knew he wanted to bring this concept to full manufacturing fruition back home, so he fittingly set out on a journey to do just that.  And with one of the best ideas and founding stories in the industry, LiveGreenBeGreen agrees, he has gloriously succeeded.

To find out more about this eco-friendly entrepreneur’s brand, please visit and explore VerTerra’s Official Website at:

And to explore and purchase the eco-friendly, disposable dinnerware solutions of VerTerra and other brands, please visit:



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:



"The world turned upside down" (gend...

“The world turned upside down” (gender-role reversal) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, female licensed drivers outnumber their male counterparts for the first time in automotive history.  This study examined gender trends in driver’s permits between 1995 and 2010.  As of 1995, male registered drivers outnumbered female drivers with permits 89.2 million to 87.4 million.  By 2010, however, 105.7 women had driver’s licenses compared to 104.3 million men.  Results indicate that “[w]omen are more likely than men to purchase smaller, safer and more fuel-efficient cars; to drive less, and to have a lower fatality rate per distance driven”.  These findings effectively place women in the driver’s seat, having assumed a position to take control over the country’s direction in matters of efficient affordable transportation and clean energy relative to it.

Certainly, these findings also impact automobile design.  However, it is noteworthy that the role of women in car design is not a new phenomenon.  In the period of more than 120 years since cars have been on the road, women have been instrumental in automobile design but largely were rendered invisible in this role by automakers.  In the 1960s’, auto companies, such as Ford, advertised cars for women, but the “woman’s car” generally was either smaller, cheaper and cuter than cars geared to male buyers, or it was the oversized family transport vehicle.  This notion directly reflected the perceived role of women in society in terms of participation in financial contributions and decisions.  Volvo set out to court women car buyers in 2005 with the “Your Concept Car“, which addressed automotive design features important to women, showing that these same features, i.e., interior space, position of front end and windows for better field vision, etc., also were important to men, thus leveling the playing field regarding cars in this price range.  Other than this, the role of women in the automobile industry basically was reduced to a “sex sells” mentality with car show images of beautiful women alongside gorgeous cars in an attempt to lure men to buy.

Now, fast forward to 2012 where truly “you’ve come a long way, baby!”  Women now outnumber men in college attendance and are commanding higher salaries (though they still lag behind men at a rate of 77 cents per dollar).  Women now are seen in the boardroom more often and assume higher positions in Fortune 500 companies.  Also, they are behind the wheel in professional auto racing.  Women were a deciding factor in the 2012 presidential election.  It is a normal progression for women to have a major impact on economic trends in America, including the auto industry.

It will be interesting to see the outcome of discussions and compromise on legislative issues regarding clean, affordable, safe and efficient transportation, as well as other green initiatives.  Hopefully, the major organizations in the green movement will work hard to include women in the dialogue and to gain their support to advance their many causes, particularly in the area of transportation.  As the primary nurturers in our society, women are a captive audience for the message to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

Nativity scene at Sacred Heart Catholic Church...

Nativity scene at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in the historic Barelas neighborhood, Albuquerque, NM, Jan 2008. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Black Friday is approaching fast, and with it comes the official start of the Christmas shopping season, which we hope will culminate into a great green Christmas.  Now is the perfect time to put into place a game plan to ensure that this hectic time of our lives can proceed as smoothly as possible.  Also, with some planning, we can have an enjoyable holiday without disrupting our commitment to live green.

A great place to begin with our holiday planning is in the selection of retailers to shop for holiday foods, gifts and decorations.  A good source to make this determination is Newsweek Green Rankings.  This website provides several listings, including the greenest retailers in America, the World’s greenest companies, as well as the least greenest companies.  Additionally, listings per industry, such as food and tech companies also are provided.  In reviewing these entries, the savvy green shopper can see how publically traded companies in the United States are globally rank “based on their actual environmental footprint, and sustainability communications“.  These rankings have been produced by Newsweek in collaboration with Trucost and Sustainability, two leading environmental organizations.  Making this list is not a matter of choice, and companies cannot opt out of inclusion.  These evaluations provide green-minded consumers an excellent resource to make informative decisions on businesses worthy of their dollars.

Perhaps the second largest area of importance to consumers during the holiday season is decorating.  Starting with Christmas trees, it is important to remember that there is nothing green about an artificial Christmas tree.  Even the color is not natural.  Generally, they have been imported from China, and they are made from petroleum-based chemicals and often contain lead.  Most importantly, they cannot be recycled.  On the other hand, a real Christmas tree provides a beautiful and fragrant decoration for the holiday season, and it can be recycled into mulch or purchased with a ball root that can be planted.  Imagine a grove of trees representing past Christmases celebrated by the family.  Another point to mention is that the purchase of live trees often can be made from local harvesters, thereby providing economic support to the community.

Tree lights and decorations also are important.  This year, please try to use LED lights.  They burn 10% of the energy of older incandescent bulbs, and they are safer because they run cooler in temperature.  LED lights can be used indoors and outdoors.  When purchasing other greenery, try to avoid plastic wreaths and garland because they contain harmful compounds.  Visit local nurseries and buy natural products that can be recycled.

When it is time to shop for gifts, try to break out of the box this year.  Support local holiday fairs and fair trade bazaars to purchase unique gifts while simultaneously supporting these artisans.  With the popularity of online shopping, please consider online gift cards and email Christmas cards.  These items reduce the need for paper and transportation for delivery, thus reducing the carbon footprint.

Christmas is a beautiful time to celebrate life and family.  It also is an excellent opportunity to recognize the beauty of our Earth and the need to preserve it for future generations.  To that end, let’s use this time to renew our commitment to live green, be green.



Last night, during his victory speech, President Obama made note that in the coming years we must take notice and attempt to neutralize the threat posed by global warming. Of course, this raises the question of how this will be undertaken and how it will affect the economy. When we looked at this election cycle, we did not see climate change brought up as a campaign point, so to sketch out the next four years, we must look at the past four. With regards to climate change and the economy, we can see some key areas that Mr. Obama has at least focused on, if not attempting to enact policy, namely fuel efficiency, green energy and jobs, high-speed rail, and oil subsidies. Let’s take a quick look at each one of these and see how the President’s policy regarding them could affect the economy.
The Obama administration set new standards in fuel efficiency. These standards will increase fuel economy to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg for cars and light duty trucks by the model year 2025. These standards are projected to save US consumers $1.7 trillion at the pump, while decreasing US oil consumption by 12 million barrels.  The adoption of these measures alone will cut down on one of the most painful costs for American families, allowing them to spend more on more beneficial sources of consumption. Furthermore, these standards increase incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles, as well as charging stations. These incentives could help to reduce costs, and as such, decrease barriers to entry into the market. Government assistance also could help propel the US into the coveted position of world leader in the electric vehicle market. The President has made a point to increase exports and promote electric vehicles, and this certainly could play into this.
Concerning green jobs, the President had in the past secured a tax credit for clean energy jobs, research, and production. Many manufacturers awaited the outcome of the elections with trepidation, as Gov. Romney stated multiple times he would end all subsidies to green energy. We will likely see the President push for a continuation, if not an expansion, of these tax credits over the next four years. Justification for these subsidies would be the infant industry theory, wherein the industry would likely not survive for the time being without the subsidies. Another green sector in the economy would be mass transportation. The Administration has laid plans for national high speed rail lines in the past. The stimulus included funds for the upgrading of creating “high speed railroads” as they are known in the rest of the world. The Administration will likely push for high speed rail for both economic and political reasons. Politically, the promise of jobs and a more centralized connection and access to major population centers could entice blue collar voters to go Democrat in rural and economically depressed counties.
Finally, the President has made a continuous push over the last year to end subsidies for oil and gas companies. While it was not discussed much in the election, the fiscal cliff is still on the horizon. It presents a perfect opportunity for the President to press for an end to oil subsidies. Simultaneously extending and or increasing green energy tax credits, while getting rid of oil subsidies, could give the green energy market more of an advantage and make costs of production and prices more competitive.
Regardless of what’s undertaken, transitioning one’s economy is a difficult task. Climate change is very much real, and it presents a very credible threat to our standard of living and economy. However, it also presents new opportunities for economic success. We can either go down with the sinking ship that is fossil fuels or we can jump ship and transition to a green economy. The US has been the hegemonic power for the past century because of its economic might, which has been driven by an innovative spirit and position as the most competitive player on the world stage in the most important industries. For the 21st century, that is green energy. I believe the Administration sees it this way, yet the realities of the world may replace restrictions on what can be done. The President has made climate change an issue.  now he must convince the people and Congress it really of the same.

Sources for this article are:

By Sean McGuire

Now that the 2012 election is over, Monday morning quarterbacks are examining their play books to determined what did and did not work and where they stand on their key issues.  The same holds true for proponents of green initiatives.  The commitment and actions of green coalitions, scientists and ordinary committed citizens over the past few years have yielded remarkable results in the fight to give climate change and global warming the attention it requires.  While it is unfortunate that it took Hurricane Sandy’s catastrophic descent on major northeastern urban centers in this country to garner the call to action from political leaders, it still is important to recognize that the platform is here now.  With the visual record of Sandy’s attack fresh in our minds and the costs of the devastation still rising, it is mandatory that we use this window of opportunity to aggressively move forward to advance a green agenda to address the problem of climate change.

Today we celebrate the reelection of Barack Obama, who, in his victory speech, specifically addressed the need for a country “that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet“.  Our agenda finally has made it to the national spotlight.  As concerned citizens, we must hold the President and other elected officials accountable for addressing this problem.  To do this, the green movement must rethink and regroup its strategies with the goal to establish a major voting block inclusive of all people committed to protect and preserve the earth.  We particularly need the energy of young people ages 18 to 30, who have a real stake in this movement because the condition of the planet directly affects their tomorrow.  With a strong lobby and voting block established, the green movement can secure the commitment of elected officials and candidates who have the option of effectively representing this voting block or face defeat.  This is our time to propel climate change to the position it deserves, upfront and center with health care, foreign policy and the economy.  This is a natural progression as this issue is fully woven into the pattern of all of every existing item on the national agenda and can no longer be ignored.

As we address the hard work ahead for the green movement, it is important that we celebrate the victories achieved in this election.

  • The persistent efforts and education by the League of Conservation Voters and other policy interest groups and watchdogs resulted in the defeat of three “Flat Earth Fivers”, namely Joe Walsh of Illinois, Ann Marie Buerkle of New York and Francisco Conseco of Texas.
  • Rhode Island voters approved a bond for $0 million to fund wastewater and drinking water projects.
  • The state of Maine approved several water, sewer, conservation and transportation bonds.
  • The city of Longmont, Colorado anti-fracking activists were successful in upholding a ban on hydraulic fracking and storage of fracking waste within city limits.
  • Seattle, Washington voters overwhelmingly approved a 30-year bond for $290 million to rebuild the Elliott Bay seawall.

There were a lot of lessons to be learned from this contentious election campaign.  Perhaps the most important is the admonition by former President Bill Clinton at the Democratic Convention that “we are all in this together’.  With this in mind, let’s use this new day to roll up our sleeves and work hard to live green, be green.

From Darkness to Light - please read

From Darkness to Light – (Photo credit: ecstaticist)

Earlier this week, I commented on the 2012 NBC Education Nation Summit in New York City.   I voiced concerns that the education dialogue failed to address green issues, which potentially could be affected by its suggestions.  After a lively discussion with other “green” bloggers, I feel that I should qualify some of my stated concerns.

First of all and perhaps most importantly, I agree that technology is a key element in the education of America’s youth.  Tablets, computers and smart phones definitely deserve a place in the hands of students because they offer immediate global access to knowledge.  The exercise of using these devices in itself aids in the development of skills in critical thinking and problem solving.  Nonetheless,I stand by my concern that any movement to supply these devices to all students carries with it a responsibility and accountability for the proper management of these electronics in order to avoid pollution of the environment.  A plan has to be in place to properly recycle and/or dispose of obsolete devices.  Students simply cannot “throw them in the trash” and move on to the latest and greatest device.  Landfills simply cannot tolerate the potential volume of debris.

Secondly, any dialogue on the incorporation of digital instruments in the educational system must include concern over the lack of access to Internet service by many communities in this country.  An examination of recent statistics by the Federal Communications Commission indicates that 19 million Americans still have no access to high-speed Internet.  Approximately 14.5 million of these individuals or around 5% of the total U.S. population, “live in rural areas, where Internet providers do not offer services because ‘there is no business case to offer broadband’ services”.  Although the Telecommunications Act of 1996 required the FCC to ensure that broadband was rolled out on a “reasonable basis” to all corners of the country, the current report indicates that this is not happening.  It now is the FCC’s goal to have “universal broadband deployment” in the country by 2020.  Any recommendations by education summits and conferences, as well as any national education benchmark programs to incorporate digital technology through the use of electronic devices for all students will need to address the problems of the digital divide so as to guarantee the availability of these services to all public school students.

Another issue in my previous blog addresses the subject of online courses for all students.  While I do agree that there is a place in the educational system for online courses as a learning tool, and I acknowledge that they positively impact the green movement with reduced transportation of students to classrooms, I still believe that we need to be careful about initiating programs that potentially limit or eliminate the requirement for face-to-face interaction between students and teachers.  We have to proceed cautiously here to avoid overzealous efforts of some government administrators and elected officials to adversely impact the public education systems through harsh budget costs and elimination of teacher positions, books and supplies.  Also, while it would be great for students to meet at area museums, galleries and other cultural centers to get a hands-on experience in many subject areas, the proponents of these ideas must face the reality that there are many towns and even counties in this country that either do not have these cultural attractions or who have eliminated them because of economic restraints.  Access to cultural centers for hands-on education is great, but any dialogue must address the availability of this for all students.

In conclusion, any education summit or conference that aims to improve America’s education system must be mindful of the needs of all students served by the system.  The respected experts who are entrusted to establish the guidelines for programs to improve public education must be fair and just in their decisions.  Education and the green movement go hand-in-hand.  The green movement strives to preserve our planet for future generations, and “education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to another” (G.K. Chesterton).  Let’s learn green, live green, be green!

As we move forward to implement green into our lifestyles through healthy living and technology, it is only natural that the country’s most prominent green economy stakeholders, ranging from businesses, community leaders and environmentalists to elected officials would advance ideas and introduce projects to aid this cause.  The concept of a green economy is now front and center as evidenced by an emerging business sector with many educational and employment opportunities.  This is especially good news with the recognition that the present faltering economy is slowly rebounding, but with a noticeable shift away from traditional manufacturing and service jobs to a new sector which requires more efficient use of cutting edge technology and well-trained, albeit, smaller staff.

Job opportunities now are available in both the public and private sectors for individuals willing to reinvent themselves through education and job training and for people who are motivated to relocate to areas where such opportunities are prevalent.  A check of local government job opportunities resulting from mandates to provide clean and energy-efficient transportation often will reveal available positions in construction to house these new operations, as well as job openings to manage these enhanced services.  Job training for these types of positions frequently is offered at community colleges and other local career labs with financial aid possibly available.  Other opportunities can be found in the areas of solar, wind, renewable energy and clean energy.

When searching for jobs in the green economy, it is important to think out of the box.  While a potential candidate may not be a scientist, engineer or other professional with a trade specialty in this sector, that individual still can work in support operations as all businesses require administrative, as well as financial, marketing, security and other support staff.

The Internet is a great place to initiate a search for green jobs.  A perusal of job opportunities will help a person to assess qualifications for open positions and to find out the geographical locations of opportunities.  Also, be sure to check out federal employment opportunities, particularly at USA Jobs.  When applying for positions, be sure to include in your resume a statement regarding your commitment to a greener world in your objective.

The green economy presents a wonderful opportunity for you to “be the change you want to see”.  Let’s live green, be green.