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:

Bill Daniels getting chicken feed from the fee...

Bill Daniels getting chicken feed from the feed bags which he must store in one of his three rooms. Panther Red Ash… – NARA – 540999 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The New Year ushered in new legislation in many states, including some “green laws” that we find worthy of comment today.

The state of Maryland enacted a new law that prohibits the use of chicken feed that contains arsenic, a known carcinogen.  This is the first law of its kind in this nation, which bans the use of arsenic-containing additives, specifically roxarsone, in chicken feed.  The bill to prohibit arsenic-containing chemicals in chicken feed was sponsored by Del. Tom Hucker (D-Dist 20) of Silver Spring.   Del. Hucker notes that this new law is “a win for all Marylanders.”  Historically, arsenic-containing additives were added to chicken feed to protect the birds from parasites.  However, this chemical can build up in the birds’ bodies and manure and then can be washed into the Chesapeake Bay.  it is important to note that arsenic has been linked with diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  This win comes with a caveat as the poultry industry expresses concern that roxarsone (previously manufactured by Pfizer and voluntarily suspended in 2011) could be marketed again as a similar product by a different company.  It is important that we watch for any new developments that may occur in response to this new legislation.

A second piece of legislation worthy of mention is New York’s new law that exempts the sale and installation of commercial  solar energy system equipment from state sales use tax.  This law was enacted in response to the state’s commitment to “achieve the goal of 45 percent of New York State’s electricity needs through clean renewable energy and improved energy efficiency by 2015.”  Sen. George Maziarz (R-C, Newfane) Chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Telecommunications, notes that eliminating all state sales tax on solar systems equipment and installations and providing local municipalities the option to do the same should serve to stimulate the economy with increased commercial solar installations and the creation of more jobs to complete the work.  This law definitely should serve as a model for other states to increase the use of clean renewable energy while simultaneously stimulating the job market.


energy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Our third selection of legislation to discuss can be found in the state of Iowa, which enacted a new law that allows the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to permit anglers to fish with three poles and a total of six hooks for an additional $12 licensing fee.  This law is aimed to spur ice fishing which is trying to rebound after a poor showing last winter.  Additionally, the Iowa DNR passed a new law that makes licensing more convenient by permitting hunting and fishing on a combined license.  The goal of these laws are to promote more outside activity, which definitely is green.

There are so many things we can do to protect the environment and promote healthy living.  Today we at LGBG salute the states of Maryland, New York and Iowa for the steps they have taken to protect the environment and to help us all live green, be green.

English: Iowa Department of Natural Resources logo

English: Iowa Department of Natural Resources logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sources for this article:’-licenses-chicken-feed-elections&template=gazette

Much has been made of the potential sequester the U.S. faces this New Years’ Eve, which the masses have affectionately labeled the “fiscal cliff.”  Well, with the possibility of large impacts to the average person and small business, rightly so.  However, what has not been rightly emphasized, in our opinion, is the potentially devastating effects this cliff could have on our nation’s environmental sector.  The cliff would lead to higher taxes and governmental budget cuts in the defense department, yes.  But what is less well-known is that the governmental cuts will also most likely include environmental victims.

For one, the energy industry could be significantly hurt, both at governmental and private sector levels.  Solar energy contractors who rely on receiving current 1603 cash grants for installation projects will not see those cash grants should the US see the cliff.  This could strongly hinder the financing of solar energy projects, depleting a relatively small but significant portion of the necessary cash for such projects.

Moreover, the cliff would trigger a $148 million retraction of funds from the US Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy program.  To help put this into perspective, this loss is the equivalent of cutting the US Department of Energy’s solar energy program completely in half.  These cuts to agencies like the Department of Energy threaten not only a decrease in energy development, but also a decrease in energy usage, as programs would lose funding for research and loans used now for innovation projects.  The future would be increasingly questionable.

A second instance would have harmful effects for the US National Parks, National Forests, wildlife refuges, and other public lands.  For instance, the 258,000 jobs scattered among US National Parks and the 35,000 jobs among wildlife refuges could be jeopardized by the expected cuts in science and law enforcement positions at these establishments.  Similarly, the 2 million plus jobs within the Bureau of Land Management, which oversees the US National Forests could also find themselves in limbo, as awaited budget cuts loom large.  The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, which employs 66 million scientists, educators, researchers, and technicians, among others, could see devastating effects, as well.

As the list goes on, the bottom line remains ever evident.  In cutting governmental agencies’ budgets, the environmental agencies will surely be among those who see drastic cuts.  Further, those cuts could prove disastrous, and at the very least, detrimental to the US’s management, protection, and research of the environment.  There are millions of jobs at risk, in addition to the health and lives of the organisms living among the zones over which these agencies keep watch.

Overall, based on the observations and predictions surrounding the seemingly imminent sequester our government currently wrestles, there could be hampering effects on government agencies who will see severe cuts, US citizens who will see layoffs, and wildlife who will see the harmful effects of increased neglect.  So God Speed to our government representatives, in hopes that their efforts add up to a reasonable solution that can avoid harmful cuts to the essential beings of such agencies, people, and wildlife.

Sources for More Reading:

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)

This Monday’s good green news features  This global organization, led by author and environmentalist, Bill McKibben, focuses on global grassroots efforts to raise awareness of climate change caused by human impact, to confront climate change denial and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, all in an effort to slow global warming.  The group’s name derives from climate scientist, James Hansen‘s, assertion that any atmospheric concentration over 350 parts per million is unsafe.  Rather than being one organization, is a global network of over 200 organizations around the world.

A primary feature of is its 350 workshop.  This group has helped organize workshops in more than 20 countries.  The staff members assist climate change campaigns in the development of skill building activities that effectively articulate their points.  They focus on leadership, organization and communication as the key components necessary to build the political will to solve the climate crises.  They help local green groups to organize marches, to participate in non-violent demonstrations in the Middle East, and to lobby political leaders on matters relative to climate change and clean energy.  Their primary goal is to utilize a worldwide approach to create a huge wave of climate activism globally that cannot be ignored and will lead to lasting large-scale changes.

Each year identifies key campaigns of concern.  Its current projects include moving India beyond coal, ending fossil fuel subsidies and showing the human face of climate change. boasts a very user-friendly website loaded with information on its organization’s mission, projects and available workshops.  The website also provides access to membership, as well as an opportunity to donate to help this worthy cause finance its missions. leads by example in the movement to fight climate change and to save the planet.  This organization presents a great opportunity to live green, be green.

Grassroots networking to fight climate change


US Open Is Going Green With Viridian

I bet you have never heard of the company, Viridian Energy.  Didn’t think so.  Neither had I until a couple of days ago.  But you know what?  I am glad I finally did, and I am also willing to bet that after reading this post, you’ll be damn glad you did so.

After reading up on the Norwalk, Connecticut-based company, I can honestly say Viridian is looking to change the landscape of energy supply and has gotten off to a great start doing just that.  As a retail energy supplier, the company aims to be socially responsible in its operations and deliverables.  In addition to providing green energy within their current markets — including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Illinois, and of course, Connecticut — Viridian places extra emphasis on making those resources affordable, as well.  It is the company’s hope that this can facilitate consumers’ decisions to switch to their eco-friendly energy solutions, from those of more traditional providers.

In fact, resting on the core values of environmental sustainability, reliability, empowerment, integrity, and customer focus, Viridian Energy views affordability to be of fundamental importance in is overall aim and purpose:

Viridian Energy provides greener electricity at an affordable price, allowing our customers and independent Associates to make a difference in the environment and their personal lives simply by switching energy providers.

We are proud to stand out among competitors who charge a significant premium for green electricity. We understand that you may not be able to pay more but still want to do your part. We take a lower profit in order to deliver a higher quality product, offering the best of both worlds – greener electricity and affordable prices.

Needless to say, LGBG by PMD United is in support of everything Viridian stands for.  However, what we loved even more than learning about Viridian Energy’s products, was learning about the initiatives they have taken in the world of tennis, specifically in relation to the US Open taking place in Flushing, Queens, in New York City.

Viridian Energy understands the impact that widespread travel of participants and spectators to and from the US Open can and will have on the environment.  For this reason, the company has taken it upon itself to purchase 455 metric tons of carbon offsets in an effort to negate the environmental impact of the estimated 2.2 million miles of local and air travel associated with the tournament.  The carbon offsets to be used are Green-e Climate and Carbon Standard certified and were purchased domestically.  This is a fantastic program to help the US Open go green, and we applaud the company for its pledge and commitment to its initiatives.

For more about carbon offsets,we recommend reading Sarah Dowdey’s great article on How Carbon Offsets Work.

For even more on Viridian Energy’s full sustainability initiatives and programs, we recommend you start reading up on them here.

I recently came across an innovative work desk setup that helps to harness its own energy, effectually producing and using its own recycled energy in a self-sustaining cycle.  (Although the setup does not yet produce enough energy to completely power its many electronic vices, the idea is that it will one day be completely self-sustainable, and therefore, completely unplugged from any power source other than itself.)  The desk design, appropriately called “Unplugged,” was designed by Eddi Törnberg, and is meant to generate all the energy it needs from everyday office activities of the person sitting behind it.

The desk setup has outstanding features, such as the ability to harness power from the heat energy transferred from the user’s computer to the desk top, and even from the user’s back to the back of his or her chair.  The floor mat or rug that is also part of the design has been constructed with technology that allows it to harness energy from the pressures applied to its surface, from walking over it or sitting upon it.

While the idea is still far from mass development or even complete sustainability as an independent workspace, it carries with it a tremendous amount of integrity as an engineering feat.  I recommend you look a bit further into this truly intriguing design.  It may very well be the precedent necessary to slowly reconstruct the future as we come to imagine and realize it.  These green, eco-friendly designs can come to change the world someday, and it could happen in fewer more beneficial areas than within the workplace.

Ever since people can remember, they have always seen films and read literature about the future, wherein it always seemed to be envisioned that the distant millennium was to be a period of time which knows no boundaries – the vast landscapes of our world suddenly was completely made over as extravagant, technologically advanced buildings and flying cars dotted society everywhere.

Similarly, in more contemporary times, the homes of tomorrow were once thought to be realistically furnished with technologically advance furnishings from door to door, floor to floor.  As one might imagine, this design could easily amount to a very costly endeavor.

Luckily, the reality check we have come to know as the “Great Recession” has led us to review and rework our views of the future.  Now, the home of tomorrow is more widely viewed as a project of sustainability, as viewed from both economic and environmental standpoints.  Efforts now reside in striding towards eco-friendly design, furnishing homes so that they are green, and in reaping the economic benefits that design brings about.

In fact, one great example is that of the Los Angeles-based firm, KB Home, who has been designing environmentally conscious homes for a while and who now plans to show a model in Waldorf, Maryland.  The building is incredible, as is equipped, because it is actually what is considered to be a “net-zero” home, one which creates more energy than it uses.  (The thought is truly mind-blowing, I know.)

Some features of the home include:

  • 42 solar panels on the roof
  • electric car charging docs in the garage
  • energy reserving windows throughout the home
  • energy star appliances (of course)
  • solar-powered water heater tank
  • buttons on sinks to get instant hot water, so as not to waste water waiting for the temperature to turn
  • compost pit out back, which feeds garden beds of fresh herbs
  • underground sprinkler system running on climate readings, not a timer
  • permeable patio pavers that allow water to flow through into the ground
  • real-time energy usage monitoring system network throughout the home

Although it is understood that this model is extreme in its eco-friendly design, even if only a few of these options were adopted by homeowners, the observed differences would be immense.  It is truly something with which to be astonished, as well as something deserving of a thought or two when considering some home improvement options.