Palm Oil Deforestation | The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 22, 2022 by Noreen WiseFounder & CEO of Gallant Gold Mediaand authorImage Credit: AdobeStock

Historically, the arctic and the antarctic are polar opposites and never experience the same weather conditions at the same time. That is until Friday, February 18, 2022, when this scientific fact melted and our new climate conditions became that much more apparent. The Arctic reached 50 degrees above normal, while temperatures in Antartica skyrocketed as high as 70 degrees, which was way beyond the pale. Again, the simultaneous heating of both poles at the same time has never happened before, which shocked scientists.

“They are opposite seasons. You don’t see the north and the south (poles) both melting at the same time,” ice scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, Walt Meier, told The Associated Press on Friday evening. “It’s pretty stunning.”

Alarming phenomenon like the Arctic and Antarctic syncing have global leaders trying to wrap their minds around how to address this type of mind-bending occurrence. Scientists are digging deeper to determine if this was a random one-time weather event or a new trend, and if so, how it will affect climate conditions around the world.

We as individuals have to draw our own conclusions and create individual climate action plans so we can become part of the solution. Hopefully, the majority of us will rush as quickly as scientists have been warning us to do. Buy an EV, install solar, begin kitchen scrap composting, alter our household food system, transition our pesticide-covered monoculture lawns to biodiverse no mow yards, and refuse plastic all will help in dramatically lowering our carbon footprints. These types of lifestyle-changing actions will also drawdown much more carbon, especially in our yards through biodiversity. But targeted consumer choices will be what ends up making the winning difference. We have to be willing to REFUSE products that are destroying the forests and peatlands which store the majority of carbon. In the end, it will be collective refusal through boycotts that will save us.

If large global companies can immediately influence the outcome of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by pulling out of Russia (boycotting Russia), then we must apply the same tactic to consumer brands, banks, pension funds, mutual funds, and retirement accounts who are funding and participating in mass global deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as the extinction of thousands of plants, animals, insects and microbes. Hundreds of global corporations exiting Russia underscored how effective mass boycotting is.

Palm oil is found in 50% of the goods sold in grocery stores, supermarkets, and big box stores like Target and Walmart. Consumer favorites such as ice cream, chocolate, packaged bread, margarine, cookies, frozen meals, as well as soap, detergent, cosmetics, etc are the ones most responsible. We must develop the excellent habit of reading every label in search of palm oil, no matter how fine the print, and refusing to buy the product if we find it. This will be difficult at first, but will become much easier with practice. 

A decrease in revenue and sinking stock prices are the only forces that companies respond to. 

The 2021 global production of palm oil reached a staggering 73 million tons and is projected to grow to 75.5 million tons in 2022. Production levels of this magnitude, require hefty financing from major international banks, who hold a blind eye to the deforestation required for these output levels. Globally, 27 million hectares have been deforested and converted to monoculture-biodiversity-loss palm oil plantations. There is a very long list of US Corporations that are guilty of boosting their profits through deforestation. Sadly, Amazon is at the very top of the list. 

The following are a few of the deforestation overachievers that we must boycott until they end their use of palm oil produced through deforestation:

  • Amazon.com
  • Archer-Daniels Midland
  • Clorox
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Conagra Brands
  • Costco Wholesale
  • CVS
  • Dollar General and Dollar Tree
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Estee Lauder Cos
  • General Mills
  • Hershey
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kellogg
  • Kimberly-Clark
  • Kraft Heinz
  • Kroger
  • McDonalds
  • Nestle
  • Nike
  • PepsiCo
  • Prada
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Shell
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • Tyson Foods
  • Unilver
  • Walmart
  • Wendy’s
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Yum Brands!

handful of the most well-known US international banks and lenders funding willfully irresponsible deforestation are:

  • Bank of America
  • BlackRock
  • Citigroup
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • HSBC Holdings 
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley 

budding list of companies have begun moving away from palm oil in the production of consumer products, or at the very least they’ve switched to using palm oil from palm trees NOT grown on monoculture palm plantations that require deforestation. Other companies are using alternative types of oil. (Click here to find a list that will be helpful in finding new “palm oil free” brands.) 

REFUSING palm oil must to become our way of life asap. It’s simple and inexpensive. All that’s required is determination. Additionally, saying “NO” to products that are fueling climate change pays unexpected dividends. Happiness. Happiness derived from doing good and refusing to buy products that contain palm oil will not only be an individual mood-elevator, it will also improve our overall well-being. This is significant. Let’s make it happen.

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

Ukraine’s Vast Wealth of Natural Resources | Russia’s Lone Fossil Fuel Industry

Washington (GGM) Analysis | Mary 10, 2022 by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Ukraine is a vast and beautiful landscape of arable land, rich in soil nutrients. It is home to an abundance of natural resources buried deep beneath the surface. Ukraine is ranked 4th in the world for highest total dollar value of natural resources, and has 25% of the world’s black soil, which is considered the most fertile soil type. Not only does black soil generate high agricultural yields, it sequesters the most carbon. Russia, on the other hand, has one lone major industry. Fossil fuels. 

“Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” 
John McCain

Putin’s horrific slaughter of innocent civilians in this unjust and inhumane war against neighboring Ukraine is an apparent attempt to confiscate Ukraine’s wealth of natural resources, while nations across the globe are racing to transition away from fossil fuels to clean energy.

AGRICULTURE

Ukraine feeds 600 million people each year, most of whom reside in Northern Africa, Southern Asia and China. Ukraine is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower seeds and sunflower oil. It is the number one producer of honey in Europe with approximately 700,000 employed in the honey industry. Ukraine is ranked number 2 in the world for the production of barley, and 3rd in the world for the farming of corn. Ukraine made the list for rye production as well, 5th largest producer in the world, 9th for chicken eggs, and 4th in the world for potatoes.

But Ukraine’s threatened wheat production and export is what is causing so much alarm through Tunisia, Yemen, and Lebanon, and a list of other countries, as the price of bread skyrockets, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Food insecurity creates conflicts between nations as hungry people fight to survive. At COP26, Vijay Prashad, an Indian historian and former professor, eviscerated the West, decrying our indifference to the 2.7 billion people across the globe who were already facing daily food insecurity due to climate change. In the US Army’s Climate Strategy (ACS), it acknowledged that armed conflicts will arise when communities have reduced access to basic necessities, and are undermined by economic and social instability.

LITHIUM

The US Geological Survey (USGS) has deemed lithium a “critical mineral resource.” It is one of the key components used in the lithium-ion batteries needed to manufacture EVs. The demand for lithium is expected to leap 130% by 2025 from its 2020 level. Ukraine is sitting on a staggering 500,000 tons of untapped lithium reserves, which is considered one of largest stashes in the world.

IRON ORE/STEEL PRODUCTION

Ukraine is home to 30 billion tons of commercial grade iron ore, the largest reserves in the world, and one-fifth of the global supply. Iron ore, along with manganese, is used to manufacture steel. Ukraine is ranked number 2 on the list of countries that have explored reserves of manganese ore. Ukraine is the 3rd largest exporter of iron ore and the 11thlargest exporter of steel.

Ukraine’s additional vital resources:

  • Uranium
  • Titanium
  • Mercury
  • Coal
  • Shale gas

The updated IPCC Report was released on February 28, 2022, four days after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine. The report sounded another dire warning, that we must act immediately to reduce carbon emissions by transitioning to a green global economy. Billions of people around the world are already feeling the pain of a warmer planet. Eliminating fossil fuels from our lives and our culture is a daily call to action. Russia is aware that cities and towns around the world are rushing to cut fossil fuels by transitioning to clean energy. From Russia’s perspective, it seems that every social media post, every news headline, every IPCC Report negatively impacts the strength and stability of Russia’s economic health and wealth.

“This report is a dire warning about the consequences of inaction,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC, appearing in the IPCC Report. “It shows that climate change is a grave and mounting threat to our wellbeing and a healthy planet. Our actions today will shape how people adapt and nature responds to increasing climate risks.”

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

Deforestation in Amazon Is Driven by Consumption | Will this Lead to Our Demise?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 8, 2022 by Noreen WiseFounder & CEO of Gallant Gold Mediaand authorImage Credit: AdobeStock

Deforestation numbers for January 2022 have just been released and reveal that a staggering number of trees were felled in the Amazon rainforest this winter. This, despite it being the rainy season when loggers usually stay away, and despite the fact that 141 world leaders, including Bolsonaro of Brazil, signed the Declaration On Forests and Land Use at COP26 in Glasgow to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. 

This record high 166 square miles of leveled rainforest, is significant in size. It’s a little larger than the land mass of Philadelphia. A shocking swath of biodiversity that has been cut out of the Amazon’s dense wilderness in defiance of existing protections. This has set-off alarm bells for environmentalists and NGOs who are enraged that such a tragedy could occur on protected land, especially sections of the pristine, Indigenous areas of Brazil.

Bolsonaro is no friend of the environment. Since becoming President in 2019, he immediately loosened environmental protections, eyeing Brazil’s rich natural resources as a way to boost the Brazilian economy. Bolsonaro’s world view is that nature should be exploited to reduce poverty. 

Bolsonaro is not alone in this Anthropocene perspective. American biologist and naturalist E. O. Wilson, the two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author, wrote about the warped Anthropocene perspective in his book Half-Earth. Wilson cited the work of Peter M. Karieva, former Chief Scientist and Vice President of the Nature Conservancy, who advocates that nature preserves should be opened up for profit. That our remaining wilderness should become “working landscapes.” Karieva never entertained the idea that there would be consequences, despite the immense scientific proof warning of the dire and deadly consequences of destroying biodiversity. 

“Biodiversity holds the world steady.”

E. O. Wilson 

According to NOAA, the Amazon rainforest stores an astonishing 123 billion tons of carbon. Amazon deforestation has brought this massive carbon reservoir to a tipping point, where the large treeless areas of the Amazon are now emitting more carbon than they once absorbed. The imbalance of global carbon emissions rising, and the smaller area of the Amazon storing carbon, is partly what’s fueling the climate crisis.

The force driving the record deforestation of the Amazon wilderness is unchecked global consumption. The forest is primarily cleared to grow cash crops, and raise cattle, as well as harvest timber. According to Stacker, the following are the top 20 consumer products from the Amazon rainforest:

  1. Soybeans
  2. Beef
  3. Chocolate
  4. Vanilla
  5. Rubber
  6. Gold
  7. Golf balls
  8. Food coloring
  9. Medicine
  10. Diamonds
  11. Black pepper
  12. Coffee
  13. Wood
  14. Brazil nuts
  15. Corn
  16. Sugar
  17. Palm oil
  18. Rice
  19. Bananas
  20. Pineapples 

Deforestation in the Amazon has skyrocketed in the past twenty years. The leveled 75 million hectares in the Amazon have now destabilized climate across the globe. Several of the products on the list of 20— bananas, cacao/chocolate, Brazil nuts — generally aren’t harvested on deforested land turned into farms. Soy beans and cattle ranching are the primary drivers of deforestation. But much depends on how the farmers grow their crops. Consumers have to demand information about the farming practices. Are they regenerative, organic, all natural? Do the farmers plow and release all the stored carbon in the soil? Do they use pesticides, have cover crops? All these details matter in determining if the land is storing carbon, like it did when it was forested, or if it’s now emitting carbon and destabilizing the world. 

Consumer consumption for these common products must be tempered. We have to become experts at refusing the products that weren’t grown following soil health and biodiversity principles and practices. With climate change bearing down on us, several countries have begun to rethink their destructive path to profit, and have discovered a new solution. Eco-tourism. Restoring their wilderness and sharing the wonder of nature with visitors from all over the world.

In one episode of Sir David Attenborough’s Netflix documentary streaming series, Our Planet, the episode entitled Forests, Attenborough explains the heartbreaking tragedy of deforestation. “Worldwide we have destroyed over half of the forests that once flourished on our planet.” He brought viewers through each of the massive iconic forests so we could see all the life and biodiversity and experience the wonder. “Not only are we losing the animals that once lived in them, we’re changing the climate on the entire globe.”

Attenborough highlighted how resilient forests are, and how quickly they can be restored, showcasing the deserted land surrounding Chernobyl within the Exclusion Zone that has been deemed uninhabitable for 20,000 years. And yet, despite this grim fact, a forest has grown on this extensive hazardous waste sight, and biodiversity has flourished despite the radioactive contamination, proof of nature’s resilience. 

We can restore what we have destroyed. All that it takes is the political will. The goal is 30×30 as outlined by the UN. Nations have to act now to protect and restore 30% of our terrestrial land, and 30% of our oceans. It all begins with us. Our vote matters. Our shopping choices matter. We each have to commit to doing our part to make a difference.

“A future with more forests is key to the resilience of our planet.”

Sir David Attenbough, Our Planet

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

2022 Mustang Mach-E and Ford Promise Plan

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 8, 2022 by Sarah J. Kings

Many eco-conscious consumers are looking to electric vehicles, EVs, to help combat the climate crisis. EV’s are responsible for much lower emissions than their gas-powered counterparts, and they cost less overall to maintain and drive. Still, with starting prices ranging from $29,000 to upwards of $100,000- depending on the make and model- some people may be hesitant to switch to electric as economic concerns grow.

On July 29, 2020 Ford announced the start of the Ford Promise plan. Under this new initiative, any new financed Ford can be returned without penalty to the buyer, if the buyer loses their job within one year of purchase.  Ford is the only major automotive company making this type of commitment to its customers. With this added safety net, getting an EV is more in reach for the average consumer than ever.

Instagram – @wasatchfrontford

Ford offers eight hybrid models on its lineup, but the car to look at is the Mustang Mach-E which Consumer Report‘s 2022 top EV pick, replacing Tesla’s Model 3. The Mustang Mach-E is an all-electric vehicle that has 314 miles of range and can get up to 61 miles of range in 10 minutes when charging with a 150kW DC Fast Charger. Ford boasts the inclusion of FordPass for purchasers—  this gives owners of Ford EVs, or Hybrids, access to over 13,500 charging stations nationwide. 

Instagram – @ford

This all-electric mustang launched in late 2020. The stylish and sexy design, topped with exciting new tech features, has people lining up to pre-order their own. With substantial federal rebates and the Ford Promise’s added security, owning a 2022 Mustang Mach-E is a viable option for those searching for a new EV. Help combat the climate crisis purchase of this cutting-edge car!

Tl;dr

  • EV’s are responsible for much lower emissions than their gas-powered cars
  • July 29, 2020 Ford announced new initiatives under the Ford Promise plan
  • Any new financed Ford can be returned without penalty to the buyer, if the buyer loses their job within one year of purchase
  • Ford offers eight hybrid models on its current lineup
  • The 2022 Mustang Mach-E is all-electric and has 314 miles of range
  • The Mach-E gets up to 61 miles of range in 10 minutes when charging with a 150kW DC Fast Charger
  • With the FordPass Ford owners have access to over 13,500 charging stations nationwide

© Copyright 2020-2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Elevated Beds for Higher Productivity and Nutrient Dense Food

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 7, 2021 by Catherine Zacuto, M. Ed.; source expert contributions from Stephen Santangelo

Sustainable farming methods form one of many paths toward reversing climate change. Through informed decision-making and perseverance, every person can increase their sustainability factor and make a positive change for the planet. Shrinking our collective carbon footprint begins with each individual making conscious choices to achieve balance and harmony with the planet. Elevated beds for growing fruits and vegetables is one step in this direction.

Why Elevated Beds?

According to sustainability expert Stephen Santangelo, there are vast benefits to this type of farming. Stephen relies on science-based resources to inform his decisions as he creates rich, healthy soil that increases the nutrients in his crops and adds beneficial carbon to nature. These advantages might spur you on to switch to elevated bed farming, especially if you are growing food for family sustainability rather than monoculture development.

According to Stephen, advantages include:

  • pH balancing
  • Promoting beneficial bacteria & fungi for rapid microbiotic growth
  • Balancing minerals
  • Developing plant hormones & enzymes
  • Cover crop specificity
  • Mulching for nitrogen/carbon ratio

Wondering where to start?

The research Stephen has conducted and his experience are valuable to those who want to follow his lead into the world of raised bed farming. When Stephen and his wife, Lori, began farming as a lifestyle choice, like most of us, they planted straight into the ground. They soon discovered that the clay earth and slate in the soil was not favorable for producing a wide variety of crops or providing high nutritional values. Stephen explains that clay locks up many of the needed minerals essential for productive crops. This interferes with beneficial bacteria and fungi from doing their jobs. 

In raised bed gardens, you can solve this problem by using healthy soil. Stephen explains, “In just one gram of the best garden soil are millions of living and vibrant organisms all creating a balanced micro-cosmos.” The microbes metabolize nutrients which are then carried to the roots and fed to the fruit. If the soil contains clay and slate, water can’t be absorbed, which causes root foods to rot. Having lots of healthy microbes helps aerate the soil, fight disease, and gets rid of the need to till the soil.

Mineral balance is critical to the success of your raised bed garden. Stephen and Lori found that the soil in their geographical location lacks selenium and magnesium, both of which are needed for proper growth of plants. This creates problems for other minerals. The minerals work together to grow healthy crops. Elevated beds make it easier to achieve just the right balance of minerals. There are a range of mineral tests available for purchase. Decide if you need to know all of the minerals or just the most common ones. 

The pH balancing is another consideration. One of the benefits of elevated beds is that you can control the pH balance of each crop. Balancing the pH is critical to plant growth and it is also good for the soil. Stephen says it beautifully. “Soil is a living world of many intricate life forms to sustain numerous living organisms.” You can buy inexpensive pH tests to do yourself or find local resources such as agricultural extension offices or colleges. 

Disease and weed control are also important factors to consider with elevated beds. Stephen warns that factors such as high humidity, rain, and extreme temperature changes increase the chances of disease. One important weapon to fight disease is having the right balance of minerals and pH. Secondly, Stephen recommends placing elevated beds far enough apart to prevent harmful bacteria and fungi from hopping from one bed to another. As organic farmers, Stephen and Lori, do not use chemicals to thwart harmful agents. Not only do chemicals kill the harmful agents, they destroy the helpful ones, as well. Organic farming practices preserve the soil and contribute to the overall health of the crops and the planet.

What difference will you make?

Your choice to engage in sustainable farming practices is a gigantic step towards shrinking your carbon footprint. Stephen and Lori have become 97-98% food sustainable through developing an awareness of soil fertility. They have set the example for us! Stephen’s insight on soil health is the foundation of sound, productive agriculture that we can all practice. A healthy global ecosystem in which thoughtful agriculture and land-use practices cool the planet, are all part of what even a single family can achieve. Using science-based research and time tested practices, we can move toward a more earth-friendly and productive approach to farming. In Stephen’s words, “Dedication and a sincere approach to farming are factors which encourage biological diversity, creating a living ecosystem for our flora and fauna to flourish in harmony.” 

Next Steps

Balance and harmony are themes that resonate throughout the sustainable farming process. With this in mind, consider how you can add balance to your life by living even more sustainably:

  • Create a raised bed garden to begin producing your own food
  • Reduce waste by creating compost from your kitchen scraps and add it to your raised bed garden
  • Access scientific research (via text resources or podcasts) to increase your understanding and awareness of our carbon footprint
  • Share your sustainable farming practices with friends

© Copyright 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

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San Francisco’s Goal to Become Our First Zero-Waste City

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 28, 2022 by Noreen WiseFounder & CEO of Gallant Gold Mediaand authorImage Credit: AdobeStock

In 2002, San Francisco set its sights on becoming the first waste-free city in the United States. Since then, the Golden City has proven itself to be a national waste management role model. Phase 1 of the city’s masterplan was to divert 75% of its waste by 2010, which it artfully achieved two years early. The speed of San Francisco’s success was likely tied to California’s Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 which mandated that each local jurisdiction in California divert 50% of its waste materials. California fined cities $10,000 per day if they fell below 50% which led to strong compliance. 

Once 75% was reached, San Francisco soon had its eye set on 100% diversion, a true circular economy. The city’s rapid positive results were achieved through a series of strong legislative measures:

Three-stream Collection Program

The three-stream collection program (green bin for kitchen and yard scraps, blue bin for recyclables, and black bin for everything else which should be very little) is mainstream in most communities in Canada as well as many EU countries. If it’s not mainstream where you live, it means we have to work that much harder as individuals to create a three-stream program in our homes since composting is required if we are to stay below 1.5ºC and cut CO2e emissions 50% by 2030. 

San Francisco began its journey to become waste free in 2002, 20 years ago. Despite their early start, they still rushed. We have to hurry that much faster since most US communities are very far behind. 

For example, Fairfax County, Virginia, has no plan to mandate composting anytime soon, 2024 or 2025 at the earliest. But there are thousands of residents who are very green and want curbside compost pickup. Most of the schools in Fairfax County compost. The county set-up drop-off locations that are full to capacity at the end of each week, which shows how dedicated so many county residents are to green bins. Legislation would speed things up. Since those of us in Fairfax County know the county plans to wait years, and San Francisco has proven that the only thing that works is legislation that mandates composting with very steep fines, we’ll have to lobby to get the board of supervisors to move more quickly. In the meantime, we’ll have to signup for compost collection on our own.

Compost collection services are popping up in most metro areas across the country. If our towns and cities don’t have drop-off locations, and we don’t have a yard to create our own outdoor bins, we can easily signup for compost collection. Composting is an absolute necessity in saving the human species. Not only does composting cut methane, compost added to our soil boosts carbon drawdown. Putting a banana peel in a paper bag and dropping it at a compost drop-off location is not difficult. Composting is very low hanging fruit.

Methane

One third of all the food produced becomes waste, much of which in dumped into landfills. As mentioned, this rich organic material turns into methane. Landfills emit 2 billion tons of methane each year. Methane is 80 times stronger than carbon dioxide. Cutting methane from landfills is the quickest and easiest greenhouse gas to eliminate. If you’re not already composting, you can begin today. Just place all kitchen scraps in a brown paper bag and drop-off at town site each weekend. The bags can be stored in the refrigerator until you’re ready to drop-off.

Plastic Packaging

Most community waste comes from unrecyclable plastic. The vast majority of plastic is manufactured from petroleum and is toxic. The global plastic crisis that has killed millions of ocean species, and according to Sir David Attenboroughis responsible for up to one million early deaths per year, generates mountains of microplastics that are now in our food supply (we eat 100 bits of microplastics per meal, which amounts to one credit card a week, 52 credit cards per year). Recent news about nanoplastics found in the air that we breath, especially those who live and work in our cities, is that much more alarming and should motivate us to refuse plastic. Green sustainability companies have spent years inventing plastic-free alternatives for nearly every plastic-packaged product. Bar shampoo is a great example, laundry detergent sheets is another. 

Reduce-Reuse-Refuse-Upcycle

We have to be strong and refuse to buy products if there are no non-plastic alternative. Initially, this wasn’t easy for me. But, I soon found that it becomes easier with practice. Three years ago I took my first step at refusing when I refused to buy ketchup because I couldn’t find an alternative brand packaged in glass. Heinz sells ketchup in glass bottles in Canada, but not the US. So, I switched to barbecue sauce, and haven’t looked back. I also refuse to buy organic margarine because it’s only packaged in plastic. Just this past weekend, I added refusing to buy my absolute favorite salad dressing when the manufacturer switched from a glass bottle to plastic. I had to find a new favorite brand.

Reusable containers or bags instead of single-use plastic is another way to reduce waste. Upcycling is fun and creative and is an excellent way to reduce waste as well. Children love upcycling projects where they can create something new from old scraps, especially gifts for family and friends. The goal is to create a circular economy where nothing is ever thrown away.

Pay-as-you-throw

Many communities in multiple states are beginning to charge households for the amount of black bin trash they have each month. Blue recycle bins are free. But black bin is pay by quantity. “Pay-as-you-thow” (PAYT) is the common nickname cities give their black bin programs, although it’s typically a purple bag that can be purchased in stores, either a 15 gallon size or 30 gallon. Across the country, cities are finding that once households have to pay for the quantity of landfill trash they have, they drastically cut the amount without any hesitation.

Coalitions

San Francisco is a member of various zero waste and climate action coalitions whose members share ideas and brainstorm solutions:

Being part of a coalition of like-mined, green-action individuals and/or organizations is a very effective way to build momentum within a community to transition to a green lifestyle. Churches are often an effective driver of climate action, especially when they connect with the other faiths in town and form a united force.

The vast majority of initiatives that drove quick change in San Francisco were mandatory with painful consequences for anyone who failed to comply. Voting for climate candidates who truly believe that the best time to act on climate was yesterday will be what makes the difference in getting legislation passed. 

Today, the IPCC held a press conference when it released its 2022 findings on the climate crisis. The UN Secretary General, António Guterres spoke first, and very passionately stressed the urgency of action. “Now is the time to turn rage into action. Every fraction of a degree matters. Every voice can make a difference. And every second counts.”

All of us who care must be the voices in our communities that drive our leaders to act immediately and pass the much needed green legislation. If San Francisco can do it, we can all do it.

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

Leonardo DiCaprio Pours His Money into His Passion, the Environment

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2022 by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Leonardo DiCaprio announced on Twitter that he was proud to be a new investor in Champagne Telmont. Telmont’s commitment to biodiversity on its land, use of 100% renewable energy, and determination to “radically lower its environmental footprint” were key factors in DiCaprio’s decision to join the 100 year old Champagne House. 

Au Nom de la Terre, “In the Name of Mother Nature,” is the essence of Champagne Telmont. Founded in 1912, this fourth-generation house is located in Damery, near Épernay, France, the center of France’s champagne district Northeast of Paris. Telmont has taken a “pioneering, multi-pronged approach” to addressing the harsh climate change realities. Its objectives read like a combination biodiversity restoration strategy and climate action agenda. With less than 4% of vineyards being certified organic, Telmont has an ambitious goal to become 100% organic by 2025, and to assist its partner vineyards to reach a complete transition to organic by 2031.

But that’s not all. Telmont is already using 100% clean energy. It will forgo air freight for its distribution as well as its supply. It will choose transporters based on their CSR score (Corporate Social Responsibility). No more clear glass bottles made from 0% recycled glass. Instead only classic green champagne bottles which are manufactured using 85%recycled glass. Product labeling has become a very big deal on the climate front. Telmont’s bottles will each be numbered individually and will feature “the detailed composition and production methods of the wine inside.”

“Leonardo DiCaprio’s decision to become a shareholder sends Telmont a strong message of support that will encourage us as we carry out our ambitious plans. We share the same convictions and the same commitment to protecting the environment. The House has one foot in tradition and the other in modernity, but both firmly rooted in the terroir! We aim to act in the name of Mother Nature in everything we do,” said Ludovic du PlessisChairman & Shareholder of Champagne Telmont.

DeCipario’s track record as an environmentalist is heavy in action. Additionally, his deep knowledge about how to conserve and restore biodiversity, improve soil health to maintain strong yields while eliminating all pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, as well as executing a noble and ambitious agenda during challenging climate conditions, will make DiCaprio a valuable addition to the Telmont board of directors. 

One of the pages of the Leonardo DeCaprio Foundation reads: “Farming for carbon: why farmers are key to fighting climate change.” The 2020 award-winning documentary Kiss the Ground highlighted how the linchpin to carbon drawdown through farmers and agriculture is tied to improving soil health through regenerative ag practices. 

DiCaprio is a founding board member of Re:Wild. He’s also on the boards of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Co-Chair for the Earth Alliance

In September 2014, DiCaprio was named a United Nations Messenger for Peace for his environmental activism. He was presented the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in 2016 for using his global platform to call attention to the urgent need to address climate change. DiCaprio is a personal friend of Michael E. Mann, a distinguished climatologist and one of the lead authors of the 2021 IPCC Report, referred to as a Code Red for Humanity.

Dicaprio’s significant investment in Telmont’s mission will help create a path for other vineyards and businesses to follow, which will enable swifter climate action in these critical next eight years. DiCaprio joining Telmont is about a lot more than his Great Gatsby champagne meme on Twitter. LOL. 

According to People Magazine, The Telmont House first reached out for discussions with DiCaprio in 2019. Covid slowed things down. A Fobes article went on to explain that at the end of 2020, Rémy Cointreau, a spirit portfolio, became majority owner of Telmont. Ludovic du Plessis was the one who shepherded the acquisition and was appointed Chairman and CEO of Telmont. Ludovic du Plessis and Leonardo DiCaprio have known each other for 15 years.

Interestingly, back in the 1600s, King Louis the XIV’s doctor prescribed a daily dose of champagne. Louis went on to drink a glass with every meal for the rest of his life. But, it was actually Marie Antoinette who elevated champagne to be the beverage of choice for celebrations. She threw wild parties in her rustic Versailles hamlet where they frolicked while they drank champagne. It’s been said that he Coupe champagne glass was molded from Marie Antoinette’s left breast. Coincidentally, the Coupe champagne glass is now referred to as the Gatsby glass which is the one in the DiCaprio meme.

Mark your calendars and be sure to place your orders for Au Nom de la Terre early. An organic bottle of Telmont Réserve Brut will start at $90, which is $20 more than the current $70. The higher price is considered a green premiumand should be something we’re eager to pay to support vital carbon-cutting, sustainable practices. 

Champagne Day is October 23. And National Champagne Day is December 31. The 2024 summer Olympics will be held in Paris. Let there be lots of Telmont corks popping! Paris has placed planting rich biodiversity in dense urban areas of Paris as one of the pillars of the ecological legacy to celebrate the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

© Copyright 2020-2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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Plant Fruit Trees in Public Spaces to Fight Climate & Hunger

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 22, 2022 by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

The Trillion Tree Campaign was announced in January 2020 at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos 2020. This bold initiative grew from the Billion Tree Campaign launched in 2006 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This valiant vision, which will hopefully motivate all nations around the world to participate, has already inspired 193 countries into action, planting 13.6 billion trees. Amazing results, but we’re still a long way off target.

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees,” said Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement. With 2.7 billion people who are food insecure across the globe in 2022, choosing native fruit trees to plant in public spaces, will not only store more carbon but also curb hunger through healthy, nutritional means, feeding hungry families, birds and animals. Thinking smarter with our limited time and resources will save many lives. Recommended locations for native fruits trees and berry bushes:

  • parks
  • school yards
  • playgrounds
  • library grounds
  • university campuses
  • churchyards
  • corporate campuses

Different types of fruit trees thrive in different regions of the country. It’s wonderful to see families stop and pick wild raspberries on the trails in my county. Here are a few that grow well in the East Coast, South & West Coast Regions:

  • apple
  • pear
  • peach
  • avocado
  • grapes
  • black berries
  • raspberries

According to the World Economic Forum video above, there are a number of cities who have jumped in with the dual purpose fruit tree initiative. Not only do these trees cut carbon, they also curb hunger through healthy, nutritional means. When one solution can address two of the world’s most dire circumstances, you know this is money and action well spent.

With hundreds of thousands of American youth actively participating in plant-a-tree programs, as well as large corporations joining the effort, it’s time to promote the multiple benefits of scaling up the planting of fruit trees in communities around the country.

© Copyright 2020-2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Breakthrough Tech Start-up Antora Energy to Receive $50M | Thermal Battery

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 21, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Decarbonizing American industry in order to reach our Paris Agreement targets and save humanity has seemed like an impossible mission thus far. The high heat necessary to produce materials like steel, cement, paper, aluminum, plastics, chemicals, etc, which require temperatures above 1000ºC, (steel melts at 1500ºC), haven’t been achievable at a scalable cost. This is an alarming reality considering American industry must eliminate 8 gigatons of carbon (GtC) per year. That’s 8 billion tons of carbon per year by 2050, and 4 GtC by 2030. The steel industry on its own must cut 3 of the 8 GtC, and the cement industry, 2 of the 8 GtC.

Some of the most brilliant minds in the world have been stymied by the endless, insurmountable obstacles that have confronted those in search for a solution to this predicament. Research, testing and more testing, more research, more testing. In 2020, global fossil fuel subsidies were a staggering $5.9 trillion, which has kept the cost of oil, coal and gas artificially low. Meanwhile, the slow adoption of clean energy, and meager subsidies, have kept the prices of renewables artificially high. This bizarre incongruity has made clean energy 5x more expensive than dirty fossil fuel energy at industrial sites.

News broke on February 16, 2022 that Bill Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) along with Chris Sacca’s Lowcarbon Capital and Shell’s venture capital arm committed to invest a total of $50 million in Antora Energy’s innovative tech solution for low cost clean energy storage in thermal batteries, to replace low cost high carbon emitting natural gas boilers that are currently used to produce industry materials that require extreme high heat. Antora’s thermal batteries are zero-carbon. 

Antora Energy’s CEO Andrew Ponec shared his exciting vision for the future in a Medium article that outlined Antora’s discovery and purpose. “For the first time in history, zero-carbon power from solar and wind is now cheaper than fossil fuels in many parts of the world and the trend is now accelerating on every continent.” Ponec explained that the transition to renewables has begun accelerating at an astonishing rate. 

Such a hope-inspiring statement. Climate scientists must be heaving a collective sigh of relief. But will investors and portfolio managers be able to respond at the same rapid pace?

Antora Energy’s Solution

Antora Energy has “developed a thermal energy storage system capable of turning sunshine and wind into reliable heat and power for heavy industry — cheaper than fossil fuels,” stated Ponec. “Just like fossil fuels, we can create the extreme temperatures needed to generate electricity and supply high-temperature heat to manufacturing processes, and we can do it for cheap. But there’s one key difference: We do it with zero emissions.”

Antora had to overcome two significant barriers:

1. Material. What material was Antora able to find that could meet the requirements of durability, cost, performance, and scalability to store thermal energy.

2. Heat Recovery. How was Antora able to turn the stored heat back into useful energy for its customers.

The winning material proved to be carbon itself. Ponec exuded his enthusiasm in his explanation. “Carbon is an extraordinary material. It is available at extremely low cost, it’s virtually unlimited on earth, it has a massive existing supply chain and a long history of widespread industrial use, and it has superlative physical properties. The more we understood about carbon, the more it blew our minds.” 

The Gist of It

  • Solid carbon blocks for storage are “derived from a solid carbon feedstock that is a waste byproduct of other industrial processes and one of the cheapest materials on earth.”
  • 30 million tons of carbon blocks are produced each year in the metal industry, which is more than enough to generate terawatt-hours per year of energy storage capacity.
  • Solid carbon has no toxins, nor does it create environmental justice conflicts, and it has no supply chain limitations. 

Antora Energy’s CEO, Andrew Ponec inspires enthusiasm and hope that we will succeed at staying below 1.5ºC. His views are not the ones we usually see on social media. He explained that when he and the co-founders (Justin Briggs and David Bierman) began this journey, they were looking to find a way to create a solution that would generate massive greenhouse gas reduction in an area that not many people were working on. They landed on heavy industries that use significant power and heat. “There is a rising movement of engineers, business leaders, policy makers, financiers, and others dedicated to stopping climate change for the future of humanity. In just the past year we’ve seen a marked shift in the momentum behind climate solutions. People are coming together with new hope and new passion for the teams and technologies that will decarbonize our energy system while expanding its benefits to everyone.”

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


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Acclaimed Climatologist Blasts Big Oil’s Sham Climate Pledges

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 15, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State and climatologist, Dr. Michael E. Mann, provided cold, harsh facts to the House Oversight and Reform Committee in his opening testimony on Tuesday morning February 8, 2022. These chilling details, that were televised live on C-Span across the globe, continued for 3 hours and 30 minutes as Mann and his fellow witnesses (Ms.Tracey Lewis, policy counsel for Public Citizen’s climate program; Ms. Katie Tubb, senior policy analyst for energy and environmental issues, Heritage Foundation; and Mr. Mark van Baal, Founder, Follow This) answered questions posed by each Representative on the Committee. 

At issue, Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Climate Pledges. Mann stunned viewers by sharing information that was difficult to process on an emotional level, considering how barbaric and inhumane these revelations are, and that the burning of fossil fuels cause more than 8 million premature deaths each year, that climate disasters have brutalized communities across the globe, and that 2.7 billion people are now food insecure, many of whom are children.

“ExxonMobil’s own scientists, in a secret 1982 report that was never released to the public, made remarkably accurate predictions of both the rise that we would see in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and the planetary warming that would result given business as usual extraction and burning of fossil fuels,” Mann said in a brisk, even pace, seemingly aware of how quickly time flies and wanting to get everything on the record before his five minutes were up. “They even used the word ‘catastrophic’ to describe the potential impacts of that warming. But rather than come forward with what their own scientists had concluded, they engaged in a campaign of denial and delay which continues on today.” 

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA) was up at bat at the hearing’s three hour mark. Chevron is headquartered in DeSaulnier’s district in the San Francisco Bay area of Northern California. Additionally, there are four oil refineries in DeSaulnier’s district. He’s been at war with big oil for years and thus has a unique perspective that enabled him to drill down a bit deeper and tap into what might prove to be a winning strategy in light of the well-documented, slick and deceptive, big oil greenwashing delay tactics. 

In 2016, Desaulnier, along with his California colleague Congressman Ted Lieu, whose district includes another big West Coast fossil fuel footprint in Torrance, California, south of Los Angeles, requested information through a hearing “on what Exxon had done to obfuscate its role and its knowledge.” This was following an LA Times investigative series into California oil polluters that was conducted in partnership with Climate Action. DeSaulnier and Lieu are still waiting for much of the requested response from Exxon. Nearly 7 years, and still waiting. We only have 8 years left to cut carbon emissions 50% by 2030. There is absolutely no more time for waiting for oil giants to do what they should have done years ago.

Image Credit: Noreen Wise
Marble statue in front of Rayburn House Office Building on Independence Ave in DC, across the street from the US Capitol, covered in black, toxic fossil fuel pollution.

Mann also outlined just how dire the climate crisis already is in his opening testimony. “We are now paying the extreme opportunity cost of that delay in the form of withering heat waves, more destructive tornado outbreaks, wildfires, and floods exacerbated by climate change. Whether it’s the apocalyptic wildfires that once again ravaged California and the west this summer, a heat dome over the Pacific Northwest that made parts of Canada feel like Phoenix on the 4th of July, or the devastating floods my state of Pennsylvania experienced as the remnants of climate change-fueled hurricane Ida dumped months’ worth of rainfall in a few hours, it is clear that dangerous climate change is upon us. These events are costing the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars a year and the toll in dollars and human lives will continue to increase in the absence of concerted action.”

DeSaulnier provided quoted assurances from the big oil companies on what they’re busy doing to transition to clean energy:

  • BP says it will be a very different kind of energy company by 2030 “as we scale up investment in low carbon energy.”
  • Chevron: “Leadership and innovation to advance a low carbon future.”
  • Exxon: “Committed to helping form our energy systems in working to reduce emissions in the short term, while also working on advancing decarbonization solutions.” 

DeSaulnier brought everyone back to reality by adding, “Contrast that with their financial reports from 2010-2018,” and then outlined the total capital expenditures of each oil giant to underscore that their actions don’t match their words:

  • BP spent 2.3% on low carbon investments.
  • Shell spent 1.3% on low carbon investments.
  • Chevron spent .23%. Gasp! (DeSaulnier stared at the camera in disbelief. “A California company!”) 
  • Exxon spent .22% on low carbon investments.

He continued with additional evidence of successful big oil delay tactics that undermine America’s strength, stability and health. “According to the Low Carbon Disclosure Project, 24 of the largest publicly owned oil companies spent less than 1% of their budgets on low carbon investments between 2010-2017.”

Not only is this morally wrong, but it undermines America’s economic strength, Desaulnier emphasized. There’s a global shift to a green economy and clean energy. Major financial resources are moving in that direction. Fossil fuel’s delay in transitioning means that money is flowing into foreign countries. “So we are in a race to be globally competitive to transition.” China is installing 100,000 charging stations each month. The United States only has 42,000 charging stations total. China has more than 1.5 million total.

With internal anger and frustration churning away in most viewers by this point in DeSaulnier’s five minutes, and these alarming and disproportionate numbers underscoring how far behind the United States is in the transition curve, and how many jobs we’ve already lost because of our delay, DeSaulnier sought answers to several tough questions from two witnesses.

CONGRESSMAN MARK DESAULNIER: So, Dr. Mann, why should we trust them when they say they’re going to transition and work with us?

DR. MICHAEL E. MANN: They’re not going to do this voluntarily. What more evidence do we need for that? That’s why we need policy that makes it necessary for them to move in the direction that we know they have to go.

CONGRESSMAN MARK DESAULNIER: Ms. Lewis, shouldn’t they be accountable legally for the delay they’ve caused us in being competitive and also in meeting our targets in terms of reducing carbon?

MS. LEWIS: It’s very clear they can be held accountable. Congress has done it before. The tobacco settlements. …Mortgage Crisis. Done before. So, it can be done again.

With the answers to his burning questions now on the record, DeSaulnier closed his five minutes by referencing Dr. Mann’s earlier statement regarding big oil companies that are following the same business model that’s been used many times before. Shareholders, investors and corporate officers who leave with “tons of money” (tobacco producers, pharmaceuticals, gun manufacturers) while everyone else has to deal with the crises and immense suffering.

“In my area, the local editorial board once said, ‘We’re addicted to this product. We’re dealing with a drug dealer here. Where we’re trying to extract ourselves from a relationship. Thank you, Madam Chair, I yield back.’”

Viewers were left to bare the heavy truth that we can never trust the climate pledges of America’s oil giants and thus our futures are all in peril.

Today, news broke that Sandy Hook families reached a historic $73 million settlement agreement with gun manufacturer Remington.

We saw legal accountability with Purdue Pharma, as well. After years of extraordinary suicide rates, and millions of young people struggling with addiction to heavily marketed opioids, in 2018, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey became the first to sue Purdue Pharma executives for misleading physicians in the company’s twisted plot to boost their profit. A $4 billion settlement was reached in July of 2021 between Perdue Pharma, Massachusetts and 14 other states.

*The February 8, 2022 House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on the Fueling the Climate Crisis: Examining Big Oil’s Climate Pledges is of such great importance, with dozens of extraordinary moments, Gallant Gold Media will be highlighting many of the representatives’ statements and questions in the upcoming weeks and months.

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


Michael E. Mann

  • Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University
  • Joint Appointment with the Department of Geosciences
  • Director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center
  • One of the Lead Authors of the 2021 IPCC Report
  • Author of The New Climate War, along with 5 other books
  • Author of 200+ total peer-reviewed/edited publications
  • Undergrduate degree Physics and Applied Math University of Applied Math, University of California at Berkley
  • M.S. degree in Physics, Yale University
  • Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics, Yale University

Awards and Honors

2021      Leo Szilard Lectureship Award, American Physical Society

2020      Stephen Schneider Lecture, American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting

2020      World Sustainability Award, MDPI Sustainability Foundation

2020      Ten Most Influential Earth Scientists, Academic

2020      Elected to U.S. National Academy of Sciences

2020      Louis J. Battan Author’s Award, American Meteorological Society (AMS), for “The Tantrum that Saved the World”

2019      Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

2018      Climate Communication Prize, American Geophysical Union (AGU)

2018      Elected Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

2018      Award for Public Engagement with Science, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

2018      Elected Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Center for Skeptical Inquiry.

2017      Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication, Climate One

2016      Elected Vice Chair, Topical Group on Physics of Climate (GPC), American Physical Society (APS)

2015      Elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

2014      Named Highly Cited Researcher, Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) 

2014      Friend of the Planet Award, National Center for Science Education

2013      National Conservation Achievement Award, National Wildlife Federation

2013      Bloomberg News list of 50 Most Influential People

2013      Elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society

2012      Hans Oeschger Medal, European Geosciences Union

2011      Elected Member-at-Large of Section W (Atmospheric & Hydrospheric Sciences), American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

2008      Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

2008      Profiled in American Environmental Leaders From Colonial Times to the Present

2008      Website “RealClimate.org” (co-founded by M. Mann) chosen as one of top 15 “green” websites by Time Magazine (April 2008)

2007      Contributed (with other IPCC report authors) to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize

2006      American Geophysical Union Editors’ Citation for Excellence in Refereeing (for ‘Geophysical Research letters’)

2005      Website “RealClimate.org” (co-founded by M. Mann) chosen as one of top 25 “Science and Technology” websites by Scientific American

2005      John Russell Mather Paper award for 2005 by the Association of American Geographers [for article: Frauenfeld, O., Davis, R.E., and Mann, M.E., A Distinctly Interdecadal Signal of Pacific Ocean-Atmosphere Interaction, Journal of Climate 18, 1709-1718, 2005]

2002      Named by Scientific American as one of 50 leading visionaries in science and technology

2002      Outstanding Scientific Paper award for 2002 by NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) [for article:  Delworth, T.L., Mann, M.E., Observed and Simulated Multidecadal Variability in the Northern Hemisphere, Climate Dynamics, 16, 661-676, 2000]

2002      Article [Mann et al, “Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries”, Nature, 392, 779-787, 1998] selected for ‘fast moving fronts’ by Institute for Scientific Information (ISI)

2002      Selected as one of 10 ‘Mead Honored Faculty’, University of Virginia

1998      Council of Graduate Schools’ Distinguished Dissertation Award, nominated

1997      Phillip M. Orville Prize for outstanding dissertation in the earth sciences, Yale University

1996      Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship (DOE)

1989      Josiah Willard Gibbs Prize for outstanding research and scholarship in Physics, Yale University


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