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.

Here on LGBG we talk, rather frequently, on the intertwined relationship of the green movement and housing development. What we have not mentioned however is how to finance potential green improvements to your home. That is, not until now.

I recently came across an article in the English paper The Telegraph which detailed how some U.K. residents are taking out “Green Loans” to improve energy efficiency and reduce the carbon footprint of their homes. In the United States, homeowners often take out a Home Equity Loan in order to make improvements to their house, which ultimately may increase the value of the house when it comes time to put it on the market. Home Equity Loans are typically used to add an extension to your house, or to create a finished basement. Now however, one has the ability to obtain a Green Loan in order to reduce emissions, and create greater energy efficiency while subsequently adding to the aforementioned value of the homeowner’s residence; so long as the house is inspected by a Green Deal assessor.

These assessors, who work for the government, “…Provide home owners with reports containing a list of possible improvements, and how much these will cost against estimated annual savings on gas and electricity bills.”[1] The rationale is that, despite having to pay for the home improvements (which may cost tens of thousands of dollars) homeowners are better off in the long-run as energy usage will be more efficient, and the resulting green friendly label of the house will aid in boosting the building’s value.

I have no doubt that obtaining a Green Loan to improve the carbon footprint of one’s house is, on the whole, mutually beneficially in the long-run. Yet, banks and lenders also have a responsibility not to take advantage of would-be borrowers by charging exorbitant interest rates, or making the terms and conditions of the loan onerous to pay. Governments can positively influence green behavior by providing subsidies for borrowers who are looking to green-proof their homes directly (which already happens to a certain extent when homeowners purchase solar-panels for example and receive a tax credit) or indirectly to banks by providing them incentives, such as lowering reserve requirements, to lend out money at a low interest rates. Similarly, checks and balances need to be put in place so that borrowers are indeed using the loan to modify their house in green ways and not to pay off other debts or in ways otherwise non-tangential to improving energy efficiency in one’s home. In this way, both banks and borrowers win in the mutual goal of reducing homeowners’ carbon footprints, while also helping to promote a future in which we all live green, and be green.


“We are like tenant farmers chopping down the fence around our house for fuel when we should be using Nature’s inexhaustible sources of energy — sun, wind and tide. … I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.[1]Thomas Edison

In that 1931 conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, Edison prophetically described the potential of solar energy to be used to supply society’s energy requirements. And with the help of government subsidies and a greater emphasis on the importance of sustainability by the Obama administration, the solar industry is off to a fast start in 2013 as ETF’s Guggenheim Solar and Market Vectors Solar Energy are up 20% this year.[2]

There are many attractive features of solar energy, led primarily by the almost infinite amount of raw energy provided by that thing called the sun. In addition, solar panels are becoming cheaper to manufacture and last around two decades, which creates a tremendous amount of value over the life of the product (not to mention the tax advantages of owning a solar paneled system). Lastly, solar energy panels provide a clean source of energy to power your entire home without the expense to the environment – at least so we thought.

According to a recent yahoo article, the solar industry may have a dirtier side after first glance. Because of government subsidies, solar panel manufactures are incentivized to produce as many units as possible. However, one of the major downsides to this is amount of sludge and contaminated water from the manufacturing process.[3] And because a majority of these companies are startups with huge overhead costs and are heavily invested in research and development, firms are unable to build storage facilities for this waste, which forces them to ship the contaminants across state lines to waste facilities hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles away.[4]  Lastly and most shockingly is the fact that the transport of the waste is not calculated into the products’ carbon footprint, which is the quantitative figure assessing the product’s ecological impact across the timespan of its inception to its destruction. It is a bit hypocritical for companies, which have a green initiative as an alternative energy source, to be so nonchalant about a green calculation with such great significance.

What is also striking is the industry-wide lack of transparency regarding the carbon footprint of the solar companies. “The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a watchdog group created in 1982 in response to severe environmental problems associated with the valley’s electronics industry, is now trying to keep the solar industry from making similar mistakes through a voluntary waste reporting “scorecard.” So far, only 14 of 114 companies contacted have replied.[5]

That being said, as an alternative energy source, solar energy is still the cleanest and most reliable. Compared to coal and natural gas derived energy, solar produces ten times less pollutants, and as mentioned previously, with a twenty year life expectancy for panels, provides a great source of energy for a significant length of time. The oversight of not including transportation costs may be a harmless and overlooked nuance that has not jeopardized lives. Yet, as a writer for an information sharing blog, the lack of transparency leaves a bad taste in my mouth and changes need to be made to provide consumers with the most up-to-date information. The solar industry as a result of this report cannot hide behind the veil of purity in doing green work, while simultaneously producing inefficient carbon footprint “scorecards”.  Only when the industry makes amends to change its behavior in reporting information can we as consumers feel confident in living green, and being green.



[3] “In many cases, a toxic sludge is created when metals and other toxins are removed from water used in the manufacturing process. If a company doesn’t have its own treatment equipment, then it will send contaminated water to be stored at an approved dump.”


[5] See id no. 4

This year has soared by, and we would like to thank all of our friends, old and new and our followers and co-bloggers for your support for our group and for your commitment to the green movement.  We wish you all a Happy New Year.

As we move forward to a new year, we know that it is important that we renew our commitment to protect the environment and the green movement so that we can live green and healthy lives.  As we face the fiscal cliff, we are aware of the uncertainty of the continuation of some of the successes that we have already achieved.  There is a chance that we may lose some gains in the area of alternative energy (wind and solar energy) , and we may see decreased financial support for our national parks and forests.  However, we will not be deterred.  We will start the new year out maintaining our personal commitment to live green by continuing our routine habits of recycling, living healthier, eating healthy diets, supporting local eateries and local farmers, and taking all the steps we can to reduce our carbon footprint.

We also must remain mindful of the eco-cliff.  As bad as financial debt is, environmental debt is worse.  Our legacy to our children must take into consideration the state of the environment.  There is no value in a country with a balanced budget but with polluted air, depleted natural resources and lack of fresh water.  Failure to deal with the looming eco-cliff will hurt the U.S. economy, plus the lives of billions of people around the world.  In this new year, we must keep environmental issues in the forefront of discussion, policy and legislation.

During the next year, we would like to focus more on policies and legislation regarding green issues.  Our goal here is to keep you abreast of pending legislation in different jurisdictions on issues important to the green movement.  We would like to bring notice to our representatives in Congress who support green initiatives, as well as those who consistently thwart our efforts.  This past election year proved costly to “flat earthers” and others who doubted or totally denied the existence of climate change and its impact on global warming.  We owe our thanks especially to the efforts of the League of Conservation Voters and for their tenacity and relentless determination to bring climate change doubters to task and block their reelection.  We must continue with this effort, and LGBG wants to concentrate time and effort into lobbying our Congress and local public officials in this regard.

We here at LGBG are excited and energized about our work for the new year.  We will continue to research and learn, share and educate and do all that we can to protect our environment so that we all can live green, be green.

Source for this article:


Credit :  Ecopreneurist

The recent ad launched by opponents of the fossil fuel industry declaring “Exxon Hates Your Children” is disturbing, provocative and unsettling.  Two advocacy groups, Oil Change International and The Other 98%, launched the controversial ad on its website on Wednesday in an effort to cajole Congress to “eliminate fossil fuel subsidies amid fiscal cliff negotiations”.   The ad portrays an actor posing as a representative of Exxon, stating, “We all know the climate crisis will rip [your children’s] world apart, but we don’t care because it will make us rich”.  The targeted markets for this advertising campaign includes the very same areas where the American Petroleum Institute is running ads arguing that “[m]ore energy development produces more jobs, revenue and energy.  More taxes produce less of all three”.

This ad war comes on the heels of the budget crisis and looming fiscal cliff.  Proponents of climate change face the possible elimination of wind energy tax credits amid the arguments of conservatives voicing objection to the 2% subsidy by the federal government.  If not extended the PTC credit will expire.  Conversely, opponents of the fossil fuel industry voice objections to not only the huge subsidies received by oil companies, but also to their business model, which requires continuous drilling for oil, which is proven to be responsible for climate disruption.  They cry foul also because in the last year alone, renewable energy, though recognized as important for a healthy environment, received six times less support worldwide than fuel subsidies.

While the declaration that “Exxon Hates Your Children” grabs the attention, it is propaganda.  We all know or should know that Exxon and all major corporations exist at the will of the people.  As long as Exxon (the current poster child for the fossil fuel industry)  has a viable market, it will be around, doing what it does–  drilling and manufacturing oil for oil-hungry consumers.  Exxon does not hate children.  Rather, it loves money, and in its quest to make the money it loves so much, it harms the environment.  Perhaps the best analogy for this scenario can be found in the circumstances surrounding Timothy McVeigh‘s bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City.  It was not McVeigh’s intent to kill the children in the nursery in the federal building.  Rather, they were “collateral damage” in his quest.

Currently, the earth and its inhabitants all are the “collateral damage” of the fossil fuel industry.  However, we do have a choice.  Let’s strive to reduce our carbon footprint and reliance on fossil fuels.  We can start at home by conserving energy, reducing our use of water and electricity, recycling and using energy-efficient products.  Moreover, we can make sure we are heard by our representatives, who serve at our will.  Demand that they vote green or be voted out of office.  Let’s fight to live green, be green!

Sources for article:


Exxon (Photo credit: Tom Haymes)


Here at LGBG, we like to provoke outside the box thinking such as: what do otters and the green movement have in common? To the surprise of most, otters, help to remove harmful greenhouse gases primarily through their consumption of sea urchins. As stated in National Geographic, sea urchin’s diet consist primarily of kelp, a natural carbon dioxide absorber. By preying on the urchins, sea otters are doing their part to sustain the kelp population, and simultaneously aiding in the absorption of potentially dangerous greenhouse gases.

One might ask, can otters really make that much of an impact on our environment? And despite kelp being able to, “absorb as much as 12 times the amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than if it were subject to ravenous sea urchins” Jeffrey Dukes of the Purdue Climate Change Research Center in Indiana flatly answered “no”. He noted it was interesting to realize that such a relationship existed, but that its global effect would be minimal.

The real importance however lies firmly in what many biologists already know: that animals interact with living and non-living things in ways that are complex and inately intertwined. Yet, by studying these relationships further with a keen eye towards their effects on the environment, a sophisticated schedule can be set up detailing each particular relationship’s positive and or negative impact through their respective carbon footprint. Surely a painstaking process, the rewards of such an understanding are invaluable and will take us one step closer to a world in which we all live green, and be green.



Access to fresh food is a major concern of the green movement.  Locally grown food is better for both consumers and the environment principally because it most likely was picked within the last day or two and is crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor.  Fresh produce loses its nutrients quickly.  Its sugars turn to starches and plant cells shrink.  Consequently, locally produced fruits and vegetables have more flavor and nutrients and are better for you.

Locally produced food is good for the economy because the money made from sales by local farmers is reinvested into the area economy, enabling these communities to thrive and remain resilient, especially during downturns.  Local farmers are better positioned to practice sustainable techniques and are mandated by local governments to keep pesticides and other chemicals out of runoff water.  Because their farms are smaller than those of corporate conglomerates, these farmers have greater flexibility to maintain crop diversification and to implement sustainable harvesting methods that impact the quality of the water source.  Another benefit of purchasing produce locally is that it reduces our carbon footprint, as food does not have to be transported long distances to be sold.

The emergence of farm-to-table eateries also has become popular all over the country.  Chefs spearhead this movement with a goal to maintain access to fresh ingredients that are not sprayed with chemicals to protect them on long trips to restaurants and also to leave a smaller eco-footprint.  Farm-to-table eateries also serve to assure green-minded consumers that the meals they purchase at restaurants and eateries are healthy.

The current harvest season with its bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables offers consumers a great opportunity to experience locally grown fruits and vegetables.  Make sure you check local directories for times for farmers’ markets or stop by local farm stands to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.  When planning to eat out, do a little research and farm-to-table restaurants and local eateries a try.  Remember to live green, be green.

Kevin and Gillian Halligan at their Local Eatery in downtown Laconia, New Hampshire


Today, recycling is ubiquitous. Whether its plastics, metals, or glass products the world is better off as a result of these actions done by the citizens of nations. It does beg the question however: why don’t we recycle everything we get our hands on? Why can’t we recycle dresses or collared shirts as easily as we do water bottles? Such is the question posed in the New York Times Article Sustainable Innovation: Reducing Fashion’s Carbon Footprint? The article makes claims as to how textiles are becoming disposable, and currently are Britain’s “fastest growing waste stream.”

Recycling textiles can tremendously impact on the carbon footprint of the industry. The advocacy group the Bureau of International Recycling states that recycling old textiles would aid in cutting up to almost 8 pounds in carbon dioxide emissions. Besides the incredible waste of resources (including water, fertilizers, and pesticides which are all used to cultivate the plants used in clothing), disposable clothing has contributed to global warming through the release of greenhouse gases.

Now what is being done to reverse this trend? In 2009 textile4textile was created to abate the process of disposable clothing. The process they utilize is called “sorting” which shreds the recycled clothing and allows the fabric to be in a state where it can be sewn again into new clothing. As stated in the article, “Once fabrics are separated into like tissue, they are much more valuable, especially natural fibers like wool and cotton. Recycled fabric can be spun from the shreds of the used clothing.” As a result, more resources are saved and the planet is left smiling just a bit.

Ultimately, as a society recycling is taken for granted because it is so commonplace. Making other goods such as fabrics to be a commonplace recycled good is a goal worth striving for and certainly can be attainable as plastics and metals are today. To my knowledge I have never worn recycled clothing. However, now that the option is available, more consumers , like myself, will be educated as to the carbon footprint of an industry that they didn’t know had one, and will be able to make smart and conscious decisions as to what they wear. Hopefully we will one day reach the apex of sustainability where everything we use was previously recycled and inhabit a world where we all live green, and be green.

As the summer vacation winds down, consumers are turning their attention to return to school and businesses. For many students, especially those heading off to college, computers represent a major part of the purchases needed to be prepared for the school year. While cost and functionality of computers and peripherals are important, so must sustainability and environmental impact be part of the decision to buy a computer. Three major computer companies have detailed information on green initiatives. They are Dell, Hewlett Packard and Apple.

A review of the Dell Computer website reveals very specific information, including statistics on the company’s efforts to be environmentally friendly. Dell has reduced its facilities’ carbon footprint by up to 16% for FY08-12 and drove toward zero waste by recycling or reusing 98% of its nonhazardous manufacturing costs. In 2012, Dell reduced the size of packaging by more than 12%, increased the amount of recyclable or renewable content in packages by 40% and ensured that 75% of its packaging is recyclable at curbside. More information on Dell’s sustainability efforts can be found in its 2012 press release on Corporate Responsibility.

The second noteworthy company is Hewlett-Packard (HP). Its website discloses its environmental programs and initiatives. As an added extra, HP includes an interactive feature that allows consumers to configure computers and peripherals and to calculate the carbon footprint based on their prospective purchases. This company also details specifics on offers for trade-ins, recycling, returns for cash and donations both in the United States and worldwide.

Thirdly, Apple Computers features the efficiency of the Mac on its website. These computers carry an Energy Star qualification with a rating of 5.2, which sets higher limits for power supplies and aggressive limits for the computer’s overall power consumption. The company touts the Mac to be free of harmful toxins, including mercury, arsenic, BTRs and PVC. Made from aluminum, the Mac is more likely to be recycled and reused at the end of its productive life. Apple also provides free recycling for old computers with the purchase of a new Mac. Of note, in mid-July, Apple removed its name from EPEAT, the green registry that tracks the environmental impact of computers. As a result, some local jurisdictions, such as San Francisco, have deemed Apple computers as not green enough to buy and have suspended contracts with Apple for the city’s computers. It is Apple’s contention that it no longer needs to be enrolled in EPEAT because it meets strict environmental standards, including the government’s Energy Star program, which exceeds EPEAT.

In conclusion, when shopping for a computer, green factors should be a major consideration alongside cost, processor speed and hard drive size. The impact of computers on the environment is very important. So as you venture out to buy a new computer, be sure to shop green, live green, be green.

With the start of the 2012 London Olympics already underway, we here at the Live Green, Be Green Blog would like to turn our attention to the potential environmental ramifications an Olympic competition will have on an already bustling city such as London. Heading into these games, a huge cause for concern for the Olympic Committee in selecting London as a host city was the potential disastrous impact it could have on the environment. 

However, contrary to conventional wisdom, the city has been superb in limiting its carbon footprint. According to Michael McCarthy’s report over at Independent, these Olympic games are, to date, the greenest in its history. Renewable energy has constituted 11% of all the energy supplied at the games. In addition, when comparing the cities carbon footprint at the games with respect to 2009 estimates for the event, the city has beaten the estimates by around 20%. Such ambitious goals enabled the city to host the Olympic games, and is truly a testament to how the Olympic Committee and the city of London have put the event’s environmental impact near the tops of its agendas. Such actions speak to the impact we all can make as individuals as we all seek to live green and be green.