U.S. Supreme Court building.

U.S. Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that by growing beans without purchasing new seeds, an Indiana farmer violated Monsanto’s patent on soybean seeds totally addresses the issue of patent rights, but ignores the germane issue– the right of a corporation to monopolize the seed industry.  In response to this ruling, Monsanto’s top lawyer, David F. Snively, stated, “[t]his court ruling ensures that the longstanding principles of patent law apply to breakthrough 21st century technologies that are central to meeting the growing demands of our planet and its people”.


While this decision may be correct on the subject of patent rights, it truly flies in the face of the green movement and sustainability.  To allow a corporation to advance technologies that eliminate crop diversity with the creation of a few homogenous crops (soy, potatoes, corn and wheat), supposedly to address the problem of world hunger, is a very dangerous practice.  Monsanto, along with other large corporations, have endorsed practices that have included taking over many seed companies and reducing farmers from positions of independent owners to “renters” of their products.  These industrial agricultural practices have resulted in the loss of biodiversity and the extinction of more than 80,000 plant varieties.


While Monsanto speaks of advancing seed technology, it must be recognized that the company is sewing seeds of deception.  The company’s sense of victory from this Supreme Court decision carries a caveat that while it may be a victory on patent rights, it is not the final word on acceptable agricultural practices.  We do not have to invest in Monsanto or purchase any products in which Monsanto is invested.  The bottom line is that farmers will not grow what consumers refuse to buy.  The choice is ours, and with research, consumer education and activism, consumers can restrict their investments and purchases to products from businesses who do not set out to manipulate and control our food supply.


Monsanto may be able to dupe climate change deniers and even the Supreme Court, but the proponents of the green movement, the true stewards of this planet, will not be duped!  As always, let’s live green, be green.




Sources for this article:


1.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/supreme-court-monsanto_n_3266319.html.
2.  http://livegreenbegreen.com/2013/04/25/the-power-of-seeds-the-main-ingredient-to-sustain-life/


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.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/greenproperty/9924717/Eco-living-could-you-take-out-a-Green-Deal-loan.html

pope and me

pope and me (Photo credit: BoFax)

With the retirement of Pope Benedict XVI and the upcoming enclave to elective a successor Pontiff, it is paramount that the College of Cardinals remain mindful of the environmental legacy of Pope Benedict and the need to continue and advance his work.

Pope Benedict XVI, John Ratzinger, is a strong champion of the environment as evidenced by his words and actions.  In his speeches and writings, he called for both Catholics and people of “good will” to care for creation.  He prompted the installation of solar panels on the roof of Paul VI Hall at the Vatican, and he authorized the Vatican’s bank to purchase carbon credits through funding of a Hungarian forest, resulting in Vatican City being the only country that is totally carbon neutral.  Additionally, Benedict adopted the use of the hybrid, partially electric Popemobile.  Pope Benedict’s commitment to the environment is based on spirituality, as well as morality, thereby making his mission a universal one and prompting the environmental community to acknowledge the Catholic Church as an ally in the green movement.

It is noteworthy that Pope Benedict’s predecessor, John Paul II, also was committed to the environment.  In many of his speeches and writings, he remarked on the principle of “stewardship” and the consequences of failure to address “problems stemming from globalization of the economy and the worsening of the ‘ecological question‘ “.

As these Pontiffs have set the stage for the inclusion of the environment in the work of the Vatican, it is so important that this legacy continues and grows.  This could be especially beneficial to the Catholic Church in light of its status in the world today.  Faced with distractions from its good work by criticism of its handling of sexual abuse and pedophilia within its realm and corruption extending into its inner circle, the Vatican needs a game changer.  Inasmuch as the younger generation (millennial) appears to be more committed to the green movement (as evidenced by their greater efforts as compared to older generations to recycle, buy local and to reduce their ingestion of meat), the election of a successor Pope strongly committed to the environment presents an excellent opportunity for outreach to young people g
globally, who have left the Catholic Church.  Additionally, the issue of the environment is a global one, which also tends to be more attractive to the younger generations, particularly in the United States, which has witnessed an increased apathy of young people towards many institutions in America, such as church and government, largely due to the toxic state of politics in this country.

The Catholic Church is the one organization that has a global presence.  Whether Catholic or not, we all listen to the messages and doctrines coming from the Vatican, and we look to the Church for guidance on most issues.  This acknowledgment of the Church as a major player in world matters positions the it to be not just a voice on the environment, but also to be a leader in this effort.  We hope this will be recognized by the College of Cardinals in their election of their new leader.  Having a green Pope at the helm of the Catholic Church definitely inspires us to live green, be green.

Sources for this article:

1.  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2013/02/130228-environmental-pope-green-efficiency-vatican-city/.
2.  http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264jm.htm.
3.  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/15/opinion/meditations-on-the-legacy-of-pope-benedict-xvi.html?_r=0.

On numerous occasions, we here at LGBG have gone into detail on the burgeoning relationship between the green movement and architecture. Whether it’s sprucing up your living room or assessing the value green initiatives may have on your home, the worlds of being socially responsible and architecture are now becoming firmly intertwined.

Occurring in sporadic movements throughout the years, deconstruction is coming back with a greater vengeance than Denzel Washington’s character John Creasy in Man on Fire. In its simplest form, deconstruction is where a demolition crew, “Carefully dismantles an older property by hand instead of using bulldozers.”[1] The movement has been around for decades and allows for the reusing of materials from older homes for the construction of newer ones. The end result is hundreds of thousands of tons of potential trash is diverted away from landfills.

With that said, you might be asking yourself: Why has this beneficial movement waxed and waned through history more than Mr. Miyagi and why is it suddenly back? The first question is a bit more puzzling to decipher, but can primarily be explained by the fact that deconstruction, even in today’s generation which focuses on green building and initiatives, is nonetheless five times more expensive in comparison to a traditional obliterate-your-home-with-a-wrecking-ball demolition.[2] In addition, the process of deconstruction takes about twice as long as the more destructive alternative.


You said you needed to replace your windows right?

So why is the movement suddenly back? That question, while also complex, warrants a simple solution: A tax-credit from Uncle Sam. Yet, this same tax credit, which occurs when a homebuilder donates materials to a qualified 510(c)(3) charity, has been around for decades and arose in tandem with deconstruction itself.[3] More recently however, contractors are placing a greater emphasis on the financial benefits of deconstruction to potential home builders. For example, the Weiss family who were featured in the Wall Street Journal Article: The Demolition Discount, “Paid more than $20,000 for the disassembly, roughly double what they would have paid for a wrecking crew.” However, as a result of the tax credit through donations of materials to charities, the family will have saved more than $66,000 in taxes. As a result, despite the higher upfront cost and greater length of time to complete the project, the tax shelter and socially responsible benefits have outweighed these side effects in many homeowners’ eyes.

I believe what has really catapulted the movement forward is our nation’s greater awareness, and emphasis of green initiatives. Our society has begun to recognize that sustainability is a difficult and slow-moving process, yet can be achievable in anything and everything that we do. Whoever you want to credit for the successes of the green movement, the consequences are that as a whole, nations have a top-of-the mind awareness of green initiatives. So couple people’s awareness of sustainability, with the availability of deconstruction, and sprinkle in a nice tax incentive, and the end results are that citizens are more willing to listen to green ideas, and sustainability projects like deconstruction are experiencing greater success rates than ever before.

Obviously deconstruction is not ideal for everyone. You have to initially lay down more capital into a house that is already expensive enough as it is, while also having to wait longer to live in the home you purchased. However, there are some real social and financial benefits to deconstruction for homeowners that may outweigh the negatives. That being said, here are some more tips related to this conversation for homeowners to keep in mind:

  1. Persuade others to use deconstruction if possible.
  2. Donate used goods from your home to charities and shelters. You don’t have to be building a new house to live by the ideals of deconstruction.
  3. If building a new house, try to use eco-friendly materials and alternative energy sources like solar panels for the home’s construction.

Through these actions and the right knowledge, we can all strive to live in a world where we live green, and be green.

[1] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324407504578185762234289162.html?KEYWORDS=landfills

[2] http://portlandpreservation.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/on-old-buildings-demolition-deconstruction-and-reuse/

[3] http://www.epa.state.oh.us/portals/30/Brownfield_Conference/docs/Barry%20Franz.pdf


With the advent of crowd funding, a popular business funding approach that allows good ideas that do not fit the pattern required by conventional financiers to attract cash and break through, Indiegogo clearly is a leader in this industry.  This global platform allows people all over the world to raise money, millions of dollars, for all types of campaigns.

Indiegogo presents a refreshing and attractive website, with fully functional tabs on the top and sidebars that are engaging and simple to follow.  This site incorporates lots of graphs and charts, thereby giving customers the power to make educated decisions on where to spend their hard earned money.  The site provides an excellent education on fundraising campaigns, and the company does not charge a fee or require an application  to get started.  Indiegogo invites inquirers to design a campaign and raise funds by engaging others to connect with their passion for a cause.  For the novice in crowd funding, this website provides thousands of success stories which anyone can browse to find inspiration.  It also displays featured successful campaigns with in-depth descriptions of programs and the funds raised.

This company’s “Customer Happiness” tab reinforces its emphasis and commitment to customer satisfaction.  A review of this section indicates easy accessibility to knowledge based information, help center access and contact information.  Indiegogo uses a step-by-step approach to browse the site, learn how to design a campaign and to follow through with the creation.  It hosts a well delineated breakdown of types of causes, entrepreneurial sectors, quick picks, locations and partners.

Indiegogo is the go-to company for crowd funding applications.  It is a great source to seek funding for fundraising campaigns, particularly for the green movement.  The impressive list of partners and supporters on the website speaks strongly of the role of this company as an industry leader.  As such, this platform comes highly recommended by LGBG as a great place to initiate programs to raise money to help us live green, be green.

Crowd funding powers green movement

Crowd funding powers green movement

Exxon,by virtue of its operational sector, is usually a lightning rod for controversy. Whether it is due to the fact that its products contribute to global warming, or because everyone who works for the company is perceived to be like the individual in the cartoon below.


Only $4.09 a gallon?

The result is that the company seemingly is always under attack. Perennially however, Exxon seems to do one thing right: forecasting energy trends. And by all accounts, the company sees North America as becoming a net energy exporter by 2025.

Exxon’s glowing predictions for the continent stem from North America becoming less reliant on coal-based power plants, and instead, depending more on energy efficient natural-gas-fired plants. Overall, the oil giant sees coal use dropping 33% from 2010 to 2025, a substantially larger increase than its previous 23% estimate.

In addition, because North America, and particularly the United States, contains an abundance of natural gas reserves, and is working to perfect the hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling techniques needed to unlock them, the continent has become energy rich in the clean burning fuel of the future. As a result, North America will become the go-to source to feed the growing energy demands of industrialized nations. In fact, Exxon’s report states that, “Global energy demand will increase 35% from 2010 to 2040, with most of the increased demand coming from developing nations like India and China.” By setting the initiative of becoming a global superpower in clean energy technologies, North America has positioned itself well to become less reliant on foreign oil, while at the same positioning itself as a provider of clean energy for other nations.

Remarkably enough, “By 2040 developed nations like the US and Canada are expected to generate 80% more economic output than in 2010 but use the same amount of energy.” This speaks to North America’s attempt to be on the cutting edge of this breakthrough technology and to the unmistakable way in which innovation can change a nation from a net importer to net exporter. (I’m looking at you United States) As clean energy becomes more and more of a priority with each passing day, it is refreshing to see how the green movement has changed political decision making. Let’s continue to make sustainability a priority both at home and abroad so that we can all live green, and be green.

Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324339204578171583862191830.html?KEYWORDS=energy+exports

Perhaps the use of new and more ominous terminology will convince nonbelievers that global warming caused by climate change is a reality.  There is a possibility that our senses no longer are stimulated to initiate our fear and defense mechanisms when we hear terms like hurricane, tropical storm or even thunderstorm.  However, one has to admit that “post-tropical cyclone” wakes you up, as does tsunami and derecho.  The latter word even forces you to click on the online dictionary or Wikipedia so as to be informed of its meaning.  For those of you clicking those sites now, it is a fast-moving violent thunderstorm complex, a counterpart to a tornado, that creates wind damage along a swath of more than 240 miles and produces wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour.

Whatever the terminology needed to stimulate the senses of the global warming nonbelievers, it is difficult to imagine that anyone can look at the pictures of the storm aftermath in places like New York City and New Jersey (especially Atlantic City) and not realize that global warming with its extreme weather occurrences is for real.  Let’s face it, even staunch Republican Chris Christie had a come-to-Jesus moment.  I applaud him for totally putting aside political concerns and recognizing that the damage he sees today is for real, not a movie set of post-apocalyptic New Jersey.  Hopefully, this experience will initiate conversation on strategies to make the environmental changes necessary to “turn the tide” in that state.

While some people still will point out that storms of this magnitude have occurred before, such as a similar occurrence on Long Island in 1938, experts agree that this storm delivered the worst damage in history to low-lying coastal areas.  It shattered records going back to 1969 in terms of kinetic energy, which is a measurement of wind speed integrated over the width of an area where the wind is blowing.  Also, it set a record in New York for the worst hurricane since the city was founded in 1624 due to its 9 foot storm surge on top of high tide, bringing water levels to 13.88 feet in the Battery.

It remains clear that proponents of green living support the movement to address issues of global warming and climate change and do not need catastrophic weather events to recognize that we need to take positive steps to save our planet.  They will do that anyway for many reasons, whether they be practical, moral, ethical, spiritual, economical or what have you.  However, let’s face it, now that Heaven and Earth have spoken, what more proof do the nonbelievers need?

In the coming days, let’s be safe, think green and live green.

Post-tropical cyclone attacks New York


Today on good news Monday, LGBG by PMD is excited to announce that the company will soon provide green job placement services. The decision to do this is a natural progression in the team’s focus on learning new things and using that knowledge to advance the causes of the green movement.

Over the past year, we have researched and shared information on all things green, celebrating the positives and making our audience aware of the problems that need to be addressed. Our discussions have included legislative issues, practical home and business solutions to green living, as well as conversations on sustainable energy and climate change, just to name a few. It is apparent to us that green initiatives now are entrenched in our society, and with that said, there are many opportunities for employment in green jobs. A review of several recruitment and employment boards, however, indicates that most companies tend to throw the green jobs in with all the other employment opportunities. Our team would like to see a job service that exclusively devotes itself to the green market sector with a platform that services both companies looking to hire and job seekers.

We feel that such a service will save time for job hunters committed to finding green jobs because they will not have to wade through tons of useless ads that are not applicable to them. Also for businesses looking to hire, they will not be bogged down with ads from other businesses totally unrelated to green initiatives. Our site will be exclusively green. It is our promise that any company listed on our site will meet the standards of being a green company. Conversely, potential employees referred to these businesses will be carefully screened to make sure that they meet the requirements for jobs offered by any potential employer.

Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see”. Our team at LGBG by PMD wants to see a healthy green world, and we feel that our new venture into green job recruitment represents a great opportunity to positively advance the green movement so that we all can live green, be green.

A new study released by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication reveals that the majority of Americans now believe that global warming is affecting the weather and that it also is responsible for worsening extreme weather events.  Between the end of August through September of this year, more than 1000 people over the age of 18 participated in a survey regarding their beliefs about global warming.  The results then were weighted to give nationally representative numbers.  The findings of this survey represents a dramatic shift in Americans’ belief in climate change, even from March 2012.  Specifically, the following was noted:

  • A majority of Americans (73%) agreed that global warming had worsened the record-setting temperatures of this past summer.
  • A majority of Americans (64%) agreed that global warming affected the fast-moving band of thunderstorms (derecho) that traveled from Indiana to Virginia this past summer, causing widespread power outages and significant structural damage).
  • A majority of Americans agreed that global warming was responsible for the severe drought in the Midwest and Great Plains, last year’s unusually warm winter and the record forest fires in the western United States.

It appears that in the past, many people’s beliefs about climate change were tied to politics with conservatives debunking this phenomenon as a myth.  However, the severe weather events over the past year with its massive destruction of life and property have served as an eye opener of the reality of global warming and its ensuing problems to many Americans.  As Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication states on the subject of politics’ polarizing forces on climate change, “[i]t is the trend that I find in some ways most disturbing, because in the end, the climate system doesn’t care whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican.  It’s not like the floods are only going to hit Democrats or Republicans . . . conservatives or liberals. . . .  In the end, we all will suffer together and in the end, we’ll all have to solve this together.”  http://www.livescience.com/22069-polarization-climate-science.html

For the green movement and environmentalists and scientists, the acceptance of the existence of climate change and global warming by the majority of Americans represents a positive step in the direction to seek solutions to these problems.  Perhaps one day we all will live green, be green.

Global warming has become too personal and extreme
to ignore.


Plastic bottles. They hold our precious liquids, and sometimes catch the occasional firefly. Once these bottles have served their purpose however, many are thrown out or are sent to a recycling plant. A previous school of thought determined that, once these bottles were recycled at such plants, they would seemingly be turned into, you guessed it, more bottles. More recently however, as we’ve detailed here in our blog, recycling has transcended passed the mundane, and has been used as raw materials for tangible goods that particularly the youth would enjoy. i.e. sneakers and Dr. Dre’s “Beats” headphones.

The latest product fitting within this trend is “Eco-Fi,” a polyester fiber developed by U.S. company Wellman Inc. which uses plastic bottles as one of its main materials. According to the website:

 “The Eco-fi process has the capacity to keep almost 3 billion plastic PET soda bottles out of the world’s landfills each year, saving over 1/2 million barrels of oil and eliminating 400,000 tons of harmful air emissions which contribute to acid rain, global warming and smog. The amount of petroleum saved by using post-consumer bottles instead of virgin materials in the manufacturing process annually is enough to supply power to a city the size of Atlanta for an entire year.”

In a sort of Frankenstein-ish way, the plastic bottles are cut up into tiny strands which are then sterilized and later placed into large vats of water. Here, the fibers are heated and developed into a thick and durable fiber.  Subsequently, the fiber is stretched and adapted to fit the style and type of clothing intended. The feat is truly amazing and a huge success for the green movement.

Ultimately, recycling has now gone beyond the mundane of reusing the material for the same purpose. Recycling has become an art form in that, ordinary plastic bottles are being transformed into extraordinary goods, a poor man’s alchemy if you will.