The GREEN Program: Iceland

The GREEN Program: Iceland

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,

and for those considering pursuing an internship in the area of sustainability, the program is now looking for candidates in Philadelphia, PA!

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.

Oroeco is running a campaign to “realign the economy for GOOD!”  This group has developed an app that tracts the sustainability of individual spending and investment choices.  With the app, an individual can “link his or her spending and investment transactions to scientific data that calculates the impact of each choice.  In addition to improving the environment, participants can compete against friends and earn “oro” points, which can be cashed in for both virtual and real world prizes.  This program clearly allows people to make better environmental choices and encourages businesses to produce more sustainable products or lose money.

Oroeco recently launched a campaign on the crowd funding platform, Indieggo, as a means of acquiring additional fucning to complete the app.  The campaign specifics are presented in the exceptional Indieggo style– very clear and concise with top tabs and sidebars that thoroughly detail all the aspects of the application, including galleries, updates, comments and funders.  There also is a bar graph that accurately notes the funding received to date, as well as a clock that displays the time remaining in the campaign.

The Oroeco app that they are working to launch, more specifically,  provides useful tools to aid users in their education on the personal impacts of their spending and investment choices.  The Oro 1.0 app, as it is called, tracks spending transactions and provides a visual of the climate change impact of each transaction a person makes.  It allows users to set goals, and it gives reminders to fulfill them.  Users can customize the appearance of their Oroeco profiles, and they can compare and compete against friends to earn rewards for better investments.  There also is a sidebar which delineates perks for the different levels of contributions, the expected dates of delivery, and the number of perks available, as well as the total already claimed.

Oroeco is extremely passionate about climate change and has truly developed a unique program to involve each of us in the movement to live green.  Unlike most current “green” applications, Oroeco uses scientific data to provide a clear picture of the impact of our personal choices on the environment.  Oroeco is backed by a solid team of scientists and engineers to accomplish this goal.  Ultimately, in order to be successful, the company needs funds to pay for a user interface designer to make its platform totally functional.

The idea here is a great one worthy of consideration and support.  Please go to http://www.indiegogo.com/oroeco to learn about this exciting project.  LGBG encourages support for Oroeco financially so that we all can benefit from its work to help people and live green, be green.

Crowd funding powers green movement

          Crowd funding powers green movement

In keeping with our mission to educate, inform and share all things green, LGBG is proud to recognize organizations that we feel are employing exceptional and unique approaches to accomplish their goals.  This week, we salute No Water – No Life (NWNL).  LGBG would like to thank Alison Jones, photographer and project director  for taking the time to share information with us about this very special organization.

NWNL is a very special project that uses photography, scientific research and stakeholder knowledge to raise public awareness on the importance of freshwater resources, the potential dangers associated with water degradation and the opportunities to manage these resources.  This organization is exceptional and noteworthy because of its unique approach to its mission.  NWNL has adopted a simplistic primary focus, namely watersheds.  It then uses beautiful and intriguing photography and videography to illustrate its premises.  We all know that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and NWNL’s pictures prove this point.

This project has cleverly selected six case study watersheds that document “current universal threats to freshwater systems,” and with the employment of photographers, scientists and interns, the team works to develop solutions to existing problems relative to water.  The background of the individuals involved in these projects range from natural resource management, conservation biology, restoration ecology, forest ecology, environmental education and conservation photography and videography.  To date, the NWNL teams have conducted 15 expeditions in the United States and Africa, with 5 more to go.

The NWNL team maintains the highest ethical standards in its research and photography practices, ensuring that the welfare of the ecosystems are maintained.  The photographers go to extreme lengths to respect the “rights, customs and values” of the stakeholders in the watersheds visited.  Also, whether on expeditions or within their offices, they strive to cover their carbon emissions.

LGBG invites you to visit the No Water – No Life website at http://nowater-nolife.org/index.html to learn about this organization and to peruse its stunning photographs which convey to the viewer the feeling that protection of the world’s watersheds is indeed a worthy cause.

No Water – No Life is a globally focused project that documents the availability of freshwater resources, raises public awareness and provides education to stakeholders through publications, lectures and exhibits to foster partnerships globally.  With the understanding that water is the key to life, NWNL truly is a dynamic force and a wonderful asset to our journey to live green, be green.

Photograph of Raritan River, copyright Alison M. Jones

Sources for this Article:
1.  Interview with Alison Jones, project director
2.  http://nowater-nolife.org/index.html

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, www.thegreenprogram.com, now.

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

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

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

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

Green economy pays off

This week’s Good News Monday features Luscher Farm in Lake Oswego, just outside Portland, Oregon.  This farm was suggested to blogger, Julie Brothers, as a great example of an innovative effort by a group of people who truly are making a difference in the quality of our food supply.  A visit to the farm confirmed the area’s excitement over the program.

Perhaps the most profound fact about Luscher Farms is that it is owned and run by the Lake Oswego Department of Parks and Recreation for the benefit of its citizens.  It includes an organic demonstration garden and teaching facility, a living flower museum, 180 community garden plots and indigenous insectaries.  This farm provides classes in sustainable practices.  It promotes a real-time connection to the land and encourages local food production and preservation of rural open space.

Luscher Farms has local partners who support the project financially, and they use volunteer labor to work the farm.  They endorse innovative farming practices to accommodate successful organic farming, such as straw bale gardening  (a technique used for gardening in limited space) http://farmforklife.com/voice/Oregon-Tilth2#voice.  Additionally, this farm has developed a sustainable community farming model that other cities can follow (http://farmforklife.com/voice/Lusher-Farm).

This successful community gardening project is indeed good news.  It is evidence that it is possible for communities to control what they eat and to ensure that any effort to produce food does not harm the environment.  Practices such as these help us to live green, be green.

Luscher Farms is an innovative effort in sustainable gardening.

Source for this article is http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-brothers/luscher-farm-lake-oswego_b_1945609.html?utm_hp_ref=food-safety.

As we enter the second week of Vegetarian Awareness Month, hopefully green initiates are using this period of awareness to take a look at their nutrition and using the abundance of information found on green websites to tweak their diets.  Having done this myself, I conclude that veganism and vegetarianism produce better consumers.

One of the first thing I learned from studying the veganism and vegetarianism is that decisions regarding the purchase of food should be addressed prior to going to the grocery store, rather than while walking up and down the food aisles.  With research at home, the consumer is better prepared to decipher and understand food labels and, most importantly, to recognize a real deal.  Prepackaged foods full of chemicals and preservatives then will be recognized as not deals at any price.  Also, the consumer learns that often it is a better deal to visit local farm stands to take advantage of fresh vegetables and fruits grown locally as opposed to those on the store shelves that were shipped from distant warehouses and are not fresh.

Veganism and vegetarianism also focus on education.  Most of the people and organizations committed to this movement are more than happy to share interesting and helpful tips and suggestions with interested consumers.  Even some stores, such as Whole Foods, have available books on the values of healthy eating, including cookbooks with recipes to prepare healthy and appetizing meals, which they will loan to consumers.

Some of the concerns voiced by consumers who question vegan and vegetarian diets are noteworthy.  One of the principal issues raised is the cost of vegan and vegetarian diets, which can be expensive.  The important thing to consider here is that there is a happy medium.  It is possible to study the benefits of a vegan or vegetarian diet and then to introduce more fruits and vegetables into meals, along with meat, seafood and dairy.  The vegetables and fruits can be made the centerpiece of the meal and the meat or seafood the side dish.  Another concern mentioned is the need to satisfy the necessary dietary requirements for protein, fat and vitamins derived from meat.  Research into nutritional values of vegetables and fruits, along with the addition of beans and legumes is mandatory to guarantee a healthy diet.

Healthy living mandates healthy eating.  Moderation in all areas of life also is key to healthy living.  Learning about vegan and vegetarian diets offers the opportunity to become better consumers and reinforces the need to live green, be green.

Let’s Learn to Be Green Consumers

 

October represents the ninth annual celebration of Fair Trade Month.  Over the ensuing weeks, eco-friendly consumers, ethically committed retailers and brands will sponsor special activities to promote Fair Trade.  In this month’s “simple list”, the October issue of Real Simple notes that five million men, women and children in developing countries benefit from the global sale of Fair Trade products.

This movement has proved to be a great way to enhance the lives of farmers and workers.  A certified Fair Trade product must be produced in a manner that is socially and environmentally responsible, including, but not limited to, no employment of children or engaging any practices that threaten the environment.  Additionally, all workers for these businesses must receive fair compensation.

Fair Trade Month is an opportune time to make a commitment to the green movement through the purchase of Fair Trade products.  While shopping, trade in an item on your list for a Fair Trade version—maybe a cup of coffee for starters.  This also is a good time to learn more about the Fair Trade movement.  Get socially connected as a fan of Fair Trade Certified on Facebook where up-to-date information on the latest news on this movement is available, along with recipes, give-aways and conversation from dedicated supporters.  Fair Trade USA can be followed on Twitter and Instagram and is a great source for information.

Perhaps you already are committed to do something special for Fair Trade Month but need ideas.  There are several options available, including making a donation to Fair Trade USA.  Monetary gifts to this nonprofit organization support farmers and workers globally and specifically in the areas of economic security, schools, scholarships, environment sustainability and empowerment of women.  Other ideas include gifts of Fair Trade products to friends and family members, which will commemorate important milestones while also introducing them to this wonderful concept.  Thirdly, this is an opportune time to join or start a Fair Trade campaign in a local community or on a college campus.

Any contribution made to the Fair Trade movement is important, and “every purchase matters”.  Getting involved in the Fair Trade Movement during this celebration month is an excellent way to live green, be green.

Count Me In!

 

This week’s NBC Education Nation was touted as a must-attend/must-see event for anyone interested in the education of America’s youth.  This summit, hosted by NBC in New York’s Rockefeller Center brought together more than 300 leaders in education, philanthropy, government and the media.  Guest speakers included President Barack Obama, Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, U.S. Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, and a host of other CEO’s, politicians, journalists, etc.

I have followed this summit online, reading excerpts from town hall meetings and blogs, as well as watching reports on the local news stations.  A lot of problems with the education system have been mentioned, but the subject noticeably avoided was green initiatives.  In fact, some of the suggestions offered may conflict with the green movement.  Primarily, there is an emphasis on technology in education, which endorses equipping students with tablets, laptops and smart phones to be used in the classroom.  While this may sound like a great idea on the surface, one can only imagine the magnitude of the negative impact of this huge amount of electronic debris on the environment.  Of course, such ideas are great for Microsoft and other computer and electronics manufacturers, who make large notations to schools or who sell these products to students at a discount, thereby reaping large financial gain and tax credits.  Their bottom line is different than that of the green movement.  Also, one must question the equity in this suggested program.  To effectively address the issue of education, any program would need to be inclusive of all children irrespective of station in life.  It would be unfair for students in the poor school districts to be left out of these programs because they do not have access to Internet or other systems necessary to support the use of these devices.

Another topic not addressed at the summit was learning environment.  To be successful in school, students need access to physically healthy structures.  This summit seemed to ignore the fact that there are a lot of “sick” school buildings still in use, once again predominantly in poor communities.  Many children in this country attend schools that are polluted with mildew, mold, outdated structures or inadequate/no heating system or air conditioning, thereby making learning difficult or impossible.  The provision of a suitable learning environment has to be part of the education nation dialogue.

A third topic of the summit was online learning.  There are two sides to this story also.  Access to online courses is beneficial to some people, but it should not replace the traditional classroom, which presents a valuable opportunity to ask questions, and more importantly, to hear the questions and comments of other students and instructors.  I can recall times that a student did not ask a question, but a teacher recognized a confused look and addressed concerns of that individual.  Online courses potentially remove the ability of a teacher to recognize the need for additional help from a student who may not be able to verbalize this need.  Any online course programs definitely should incorporate a hybrid component, which require some face-to-face group meetings.  Additionally, school attendance presents an opportunity for the school systems to guarantee healthy meals for breakfasts and lunches.  This is important for so many children and must be continued.

The issues discussed here represent only a few of the issues that needed to be addressed at the NBC Education Nation Summit.  There was some discussion of curriculum, but the Summit should have included experts in the green movement, as these individuals are well aware of the environmental issues that need to be addressed through education.  Discussion could have included the need for commitment to develop and implement educational programs to build the workforce to find solutions to green issues threatening the planet.

This writer thinks the NBC Education Nation has earned an F for its grade for this year’s summit.  Our very existence mandates that we learn green, live green, be green!

Green initiatives were not well represented in 2012 NBC Education Nation Summit

School will be starting in just a few weeks, and now is a great time for parents, teachers and students to focus and commit to a green project to be incorporated into this year’s learning experience. We see department stores and grocery chains gearing up their cash for schools projects that award money to neighborhood schools in exchange for loyalty shopping. We also are familiar with the yearly competitions to be named an area blue ribbon school for academic excellence. Now there is the green ribbon school award, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education.

The green ribbon school award honors schools that are:
• Exemplary in reducing environmental impact and costs;
• Incorporating curricula and programs to improve the health and wellness of its students and staff;
• Providing effective environmental and sustainability education, incorporating STEM, civic skills and green career pathways.

Participation in this competition requires nomination from state education agencies. To be eligible to participate in the 2012-2013 competition, a state education agency must indicate its intent to nominate schools in its district by August 30, 2012 via email at the site listed below. Any school interested in being nominated should contact its state education agency for specific application information.

An excellent place to start to gather general information on this program is the following website: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/green-ribbon-schools/index.html. Please remember to contact your school to express interest in this program and request that your state education agency be notified to file the necessary intent to nominate by the aforementioned deadline. This then presents an opportunity to coordinate with school officials to put a program in place. This is a wonderful way bring together the community, including parents, students and teachers to learn green, live green, be green.