Sustainability? (Photo credit: Tom Raftery)

Presuming our readers are of the variety that keeps up with recent articles in the green ideological sphere, we would like to address a current trending topic – the integrity of “sustainability.”

If you have browsed green articles in the past several days, chances are pretty good you’ve come across an article or two pertaining to the banning of the term “sustainability.”  It is important to understand the motives behind those views, before supporting or dismissing them, and further, it becomes crucial that we alter our approach to understanding modern-day uses of the term.

Looking briefly back in time, first came the term “Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR), and then alongside it rode in “sustainability.”  Focus was first placed on the meanings behind these terms, to take an analytical look at current business practices’ impacts on the environment and the masses in order to determine policy changes that could better the sustainability and longevity of the business, as well as the environment, within which it operates.  Very well.  However, over time, this view on the matter has almost completely deteriorated from a point of forward-looking, voluntary initiatives to its current mess of fashionable, mandatory bragging rights.

The main issue with sustainability?

It has become corporate prerogative to assemble corporate social and sustainability programs or plans as a means of current comparison with outside competitors, rather than as a means of examination and implementation for future betterment inside the corporation.  Likewise, these terms have been thrown around the world of politics, too, with little or nothing to show for it.  Sure, there have been some new mandates and a couple new proposals, but the essence behind these has not been that of driven change.  It has been used as yet another tool by which politicians can gain acclaim, another platform piece upon which some may choose to run.  What a shame.

Needless to say, with this deterioration of the views surrounding and motives behind these practices, the integrity these practices and terms hold depreciates.  It makes the everyday consumer’s job a bit more difficult.  Now, we must be wary of all that we read and hear.  Simply put, approach each public issuance of these terms with caution, place a bit of research into the root of their use, and conclude whether the issuer is taking legitimate initiative to change the bad or badly issuing socially charged terms to gain corporate or political prowess among competition.

For more information on how and why sustainability should be used, I recommend a simple article by Adam Aston, which can be found here.  In it, he outlines the benefits of legitimate sustainability planning.

If you finally have room in your budget for that home improvement project you have been dreaming of, then you are truly fortunate. Why not share that good fortune by ensuring that your remodel not only enhances your world but that it also cares for the environment? Careful planning is the key to making sure that your remodel is both beautiful and responsible.

Creating the Plan

You should never undertake a renovation project without professional direction. This is especially true in green renovations. Choosing the architect, kitchen designer or contractor who will head up the project is the most important planning decision you can make because this person will lead in choosing sub-contractors, building materials and demolition procedures.

A committed, knowledgeable professional is invaluable in creating the perfect plan. Interview several professionals and ask some of the following questions:

  • May I see an example of your green remodeling projects?
  • What makes your designs eco-friendly?
  • Can you recommend low toxicity products?
  • What natural means will you use to lower energy costs?
  • How do you conduct demolition to reduce negative impacts on the environment?

Purchasing Materials

Look for certified products. A certification from the Forest Stewardship Council, Cradle to Cradle and Greenguard Environmental Institute ensures that the product was manufactured in a manner that protects the planet. An added benefit is that certified products are often better constructed and more durable than traditional products.

As far as construction materials go, buy green. “Green” or environmentally-friendly paints come in a variety of colors. Low- or no-volatile organic compounds (VOC) paints are widely available and minimize the amount of toxins released into the atmosphere.

Help sustain our planet by installing only bamboo or cork flooring instead of hardwood. Bamboo and cork are fast growing and very sustainable. In addition, bamboo is at least as durable as hardwood. Finally, these flooring options are no more expensive than hardwood since most flooring costs are associated with installation, not materials.

Using insulation is a great way to heat and cool your home throughout the year. Insulation helps keep your utilities costs down. It also limits your carbon footprint. You should also think about installing ceiling fans. They cool you down in the summer, and they can be reversed to push down warm air in the winter.

Repurposing Instead of Demolishing

An even better alternative is to purchase re-purposed materials. An old door or window may have more character than a new one. If you love to buy new, salvage yards often have left over tiles and other products available. Using re-purposed materials saves money as well as space at the local landfill.

Some of your own materials may be re-purposed. Instead of choosing a contractor who tosses all demolition materials into a dumpster, choose a contractor who can find other uses for items like tile, wood, bricks and hardware.

Tips to Consider

Our homes are part of a larger equation. By making sure that you conduct an ecologically responsible renovation, you help your neighbors — even those across the planet — live cleaner, healthier lives and you protect the planet from the ravages of quick-fix building and renovation projects.

Brian Sonnier is the owner of Lone Star Patio Builders, Inc. in Houston, TX. They specialize in building pergolas to provide shade in the hot summer as well as increase home value.



For all of our readers out there who are serious fans of granola, like I am, here’s a LiveGreen article for you! This week’s spotlight comes on the heels of a trip to my local grocery store, Wegmans. While there, shopping like I would on any other Saturday morning, I came across something that was not the norm for me and my Wegmans — there was a promotional stand set up in near the grains section. Immediately sparking my interest, I rode my curiosity on over to the stand to see what was up.  I met a great guy who offered me samples of and explained the mission of Michele’s Granola, a small Maryland company who is vegan, organic, and most inspiringly, GREEN. Needless to say, between the small talk and the tastings, I fell in love and walked away with two bags myself. But now, I’d like to delve a bit deeper into who Michele’s is…

Michele's Granola

Photo Credit:

Born from the experimentation sessions of a granola-crazed, self-taught baker, Michele’s Granola has grown from a one-woman stand at local farmer’s markets, to an operation which now produces about 5,000 pounds of product to serve its nearly 200 community retail outlets (markets, grocers, & other food service facilities).  Michele’s is dedicated to using 100% organic whole grains in its homemade style processes of production, guaranteeing the best tasting and most healthy granola possible.  But the brand’s mission does not end there.

Its baking facility currently runs 100% on wind power!  Amazing right? Yes. But what is even more amazing is that Michele’s also uses delivery vehicles that run on re-used vegetable oil from the deep fryers of local eateries.  Outstanding!  And as if this all weren’t enough already, Michele’s estimates that not only does 40% of its waste get recycled by traditional methods, but another 40% is sent to a local composting center to be used in the production of fertile soils (that are then used in Baltimore’s urban farming projects).

It is amazing that a young company like Michele’s Granola can be so committed to making a difference in the ways of green, especially within their local ecological and business environments.  They are a testament to the notion that the triple bottom line business methodology — Profit, People, and Planet — can prove successful beyond measure.  Here at LiveGreenBeGreen, we would like to firstly acknowledge the company’s great work and great product, and secondly, we want to extend the utmost respect and gratitude to Michele’s Granola for its initiatives and actions to do greener business.  Good luck, and God speed!

To read more about Michele’s Granola, or to enquire about how to get your hands on this scrumptious and socially-evolved health snack, visit the company’s official site at:



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:



English: Used paper is collected for paper rec...

English: Used paper is collected for paper recycling in Ponte a Serraglio near Bagni di Lucca, Italy Deutsch: Altpapier auf einem Recyclinghof in Ponte a Serraglio bei Bagni di Lucca, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the stress, hustle and bustle of the holiday season makes it difficult to stay focused on green living, especially as it pertains to gift wrapping items, we at LGBG want our readers to know that eco-friendly gift wrapping materials are available.  This alternative will go a long way to make us all feel better about that heap of discarded wrapping paper, cards and gift tags that we see every Christmas morning.

There are a number of companies that make paper products from recycled materials that deserve to be mentioned.

  • Of The Earth makes paper products from “at least 50% recycled content from fibers derived from the Himalayan lotka bush“.  The products from this company are available in solid and festive patterns  The fibers in these papers are strong enough to make the paper reusable.  The paper products from Of The Earth are extra special because their holiday selections are embedded with wildflower seeds that can be planted in the spring.  Of The Earth also offers sustainable ribbons with beautiful designs that enhance any gift.
  • Fish Lips Paper Designs sells holiday gift wrap made from at least 50% recycled paper.  This paper is printed with soy-based inks and hosts a smooth satin finish.  This company touts that its paper “will make even the worst gift look fun and exciting”.
  • Botanical Paperworks delivers paper products made with recycled paper, also with embedded wildflower seeds.  Your gifts delivered with this company’s cards and tags are special because “they just keep on giving”.
  • Lucky Crow Gift Bags is a leader in the growing trend of fabric gift bags.  These colorful sacks can be used for storage, display or they can be regifted.
  • These alternatives to traditional paper gift products offer a great way to protect the environment.  With all of these suggestions, we can have beautifully wrapped gifts without destroying trees.  This definitely is a way to celebrate the season while protecting the environment, which helps us live green, be green.

Source for this article:

Here at LGBG by PMD United, we continuously aim to assemble a team of researchers and writers dedicated to our fundamental philosophies of learning new things and sharing that knowledge.  Everyday our team members converse over topics and entries, and seldom do we find and mine information on such impressive initiatives as that of the Green Global Renewable Energy Education Network (or GREEN, for short).

GREEN is a fantastically young organization that realizes the importance of today’s impact on tomorrow.  Like LGBG, GREEN supports the expanse of knowledge, specifically regarding sustainability and renewable energy.  However, GREEN goes one step further and works to increase awareness through more meaningful, first-hand experiences.

What exactly does GREEN do, you ask, that has us here at LGBG so impressed?  Well, we believe a quick look at the organization’s early body of work can speak volumes for itself.

Say, perhaps, that someone in college is interested in pursuing further knowledge about heightened sustainability practices and renewable energy options.  Suppose also that this individual prefers not the conventional ways of the classroom but rather, if given the opportunity, would opt for more hands-on learning in a heartbeat.  Cue GREEN and its program.

GREEN assembles groups of highly motivated and top-performing college students from around the world to immerse them in a twelve-day, all-inclusive Costa Rican adventure.  The center of attention is undoubtedly on education, and fittingly, GREEN’s program design makes skillful use of all that Costa Rica has to offer.  In fact, as the current hotbed of renewable energy technologies, the country offers students the unique opportunity to learn about and experience five main types of alternative energy that power eighty percent of Costa Rica – hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, wind and solar.

One of the major foci of the GREEN organization is supplementing typical classroom learning with a more hands-on approach, so as to further progress the students towards future career goals.  The GREEN program’s outside-of-the-classroom learning experience covers career interests in business, engineering, ecology and public policy.  With GREEN-assembled industry experts at the helm of all discussions and instructional sessions, and with managers, engineers, and operators heading all plant tours, students can rest assured that they are receiving a top-notch educational experience.

Students who participate in the GREEN program clearly share a passion for sustainability and renewable energies.  But there is one more thing students of each and every session can agree upon – perhaps the most fulfilling aspect of the trip is teaming their passions and newfound knowledge to complete the keynote project of GREEN’s program.  (The final project entails formulating their own green programs that are attainable on a university- or college-wide level, which students can potentially bring back with them and initiate at their respective institutions.)  GREEN is very proud to acknowledge that, in addition to the great network of alumni the program offers, graduate students have also taken advantage of the opportunities GREEN provides by pursuing excellence in internships and entry-level positions within the sustainability programs of major corporations like GE.

Don’t be completely fooled, however.  Although GREEN means business, and there is a very comprehensive list of well-planned informational activities, there is also time for play to be adequately mixed in with the work.  Students have some downtime during which they can explore the beautiful landscape and activities Costa Rica has to offer.  From enjoying the physical features of the landscape to delving further into cultural centers of the country, the possibilities for fun and learning prove endless.

Overall, LGBG proudly endorses, to the highest extent, the programs and initiatives set forth and carried out by GREEN.  It is precisely through this kind of igniting and continually feeding the green flame of knowledge, that People Making a Difference United firmly believes the future can be changed for the better.  Dedicated to that same cause, obviously, is the Green Global Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN), and for that, we offer our sincerest praise to the organization.

To our readers, LGBG urges you to learn more of the GREEN program by visiting the official website,, now.

Every business in today’s world, big and small alike, is practically forced to partake in some form of information technology services in order to remain relevant and survive.  I have used some form of IT services, I have worked in related fields, and I know many people who work in IT services, some of whom I call dear friends.  What I did not know, however, was that there were ways in which these services can be delivered as eco-friendly.  Did you?

Companies like SHI International – headquartered in Somerset, NJ, with branches across Canada, the United Kingdom, France, and Hong Kong – are working hard to provide their green IT services to corporate customers, without harming the environment or their customers’ budgets.  SHI works alongside its customers, going so far as to ensure that, within appropriate territories, their customers’ sites operate under adequate conditions to be eligible for incentives from willing utility providers.

SHI even goes so far as to operate in an eco-friendly manner.  Within all their restrooms, a visitor will find green soaps and recycled paper products.  The company attempts to reuse all shipping materials, provided they can withstand the trip.  Timers operate facility lighting across their plants.  These small steps are very admirable among businesses and are too often overlooked, even with today’s understanding of their significance.  Bravo.