Is Philadelphia an Eco-Action Model?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 28, 2020 by Noreen Wise

The importance of nature as one of the vital solutions in lowering the global atmospheric carbon level has been documented. It’s now up to us to implement this strategy as quickly as possible. Yes, we must start sprinting so that we can not only save our children’s futures, but save their lives.

Eco-action, with multi-layer landscaping, green exterior walls and green roofs, has numerous benefits:

  • substantially increases carbon absorption if applied everywhere
  • lowers air pollution
  • improves mental health
  • beautifies city streets, public spaces, and neighborhoods
  • increases property values
  • is easy and inexpensive to execute
  • strengthens community ties
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photography by Noreen Wise

In search of an American city to serve as a model for other US cities, it was exhilarating to find major success in Philadelphia, PA, our nation’s birthplace. A very positive omen. A city we’re all closely connected with and that unites each of us through the Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution, that now shines like a beacon of hope and inspiratio

It appears that the genius behind the landscaping of Independence National Historical Park is very aware of nature’s role in solving the global climate crisis. Green walls, green roofs and layers of nature are budding everywhere. Not only in Independence Mall, but across the historic district, ivy on brick is a consistent theme.

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Do you see the liberty bell in the left window?

Nature’s role in solving the global climate crisis is tied to the fungal networks below the surface, threading through the soil, connecting all plants through their roots. The more nature, the more fungal networks. The more fungal networks, the richer the soil. The richer the soil the more carbon storage. Oh, and soil stores twice as much carbon as nature.

It’s very clear that we have what it takes to overcome the looming climate crisis challenge. All solutions are readily available and easy to implement. Our greatest nemesis is procrastination. We all need to commit to acting on these solutions immediately.

Let’s GO! TGIF. Let’s start this weekend, which begins in just a few hours. Happy planting. ūüĆ≥

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Ottawa’s Climate Change Master Plan

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 26, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

With so much division and chaos in¬†the United States right now, and the worrisome feeling¬†that we’re falling behind on the substantial climate action progress we made in 2019,¬†it’s inspiring to learn of a North American city that is all in on climate action forward motion right now, even during covid. Hurray!

Ottawa, the Washington DC of Canada, ROCKS!

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Ottawa’s “Climate Action Master Plan” is impressive with it’s simple, straightforward mission statement, tangible targets, guiding principles and priority actions laid out in a concise one-pager. This is the ideal recipe for success. And success in carbon reduction was Ottawa’s prologue in creating their Master Plan: 14% cut in the city’s carbon emissions from 2012-2018, and a 36% reduction in carbon emissions by corporations during this time.

“The Climate Change Master Plan is the city’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and respond to the current and future effects of climate.” ~City of Ottawa

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Daily conversation¬†focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. TODAY’s Podcast: Have you ever had to launch into the unknown with just a promise and a prayer?

Ottawa’s Climate Action Master Plan¬†Guiding Principles:

  • Responsibility – everyone in the community is responsible and needs to lower energy consumption and mitigate risks
  • Collaboration – all levels of government, all corporations, all citizens, utilities and stakeholders must work together to effect change and develop solutions
  • Municipal Leadership – the city will take the lead in fostering a joint partnership between corporations and the community
  • Coordination – the long term agenda must be strategic and harmonized
  • Equity and Inclusion – all decision-making processes must be equitable and inclusive

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Thank you, Ottawa! We’ll just follow your example.ūüĆ≥

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The Wind Tree |Bringing Innovative Power to Cities and Suburban Neighborhoods

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 9, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

I get jazzed by brilliant new ideas on¬†the climate front and wind tree energy, for cities and suburban neighborhoods, is one of them. Such an innovative¬†game-changer. The small tree wind turbine looks more like an art exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum in DC, than an innovative renewable energy solution that can light parks, streets and homes. It’s cleverness is in it’s ability to harness small wind currents that most of us aren’t even aware of.

The three main negatives of the massive wind turbines we’ve grown used to are:

  • size
  • noise
  • the amount of wind needed to generate energy

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The Wind Tree has numerous benefits that may be the ideal solution in cities where not all roofs may direct access to the sun, or homes surrounded by trees that block sun. Additionally, riverwalks and upscale outdoor locations that aren’t conducive to solar panels. Basically, ¬†The Wind Tree and Wind Bush fill in the blanks and provide another potent renewable option.

According to Forbes magazine, The Wind Tree is:

  • quiet
  • optimized for low wind speed
  • only 32 feet tall
  • 36 Aeroleafs
  • each Aeroleaf is 3 feet tall
  • 5,400 watts that can provide 83% of
  • made of steel
  • can also recharge a car

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Daily conversation¬†focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise. Today’s podcast: On tough days, do you look for omens or signs to let you know everything is going to be okay?

This wonder was invented by Jerome Michaud-Lariviere of France, co-founder of New World Wind that produces The Wind Tree, a well as the The Wind Bush. It’s expected to arrive in the US sometime in 2020, but that was before covid, so stay tuned.

The Wind Tree is currently being installed in Paris.ūüĆ≥

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Change One Thing | Climate

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 7, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

There’s an amazing¬†campaign underway in¬†Europe, #Change1Thing. Brilliant. And even though we each need to change many of our daily habits to save the planet and our futures, if we begin with one small change, we’ll soon find how contagious it is.

My #change1thing is window boxes and adding as many flowers and as much nature around my home as possible. A friend suggested dropping wildflower seeds along fence lines and forest trails. Seeds are fantastic. They can easily be ordered online. They’re inexpensive and lightweight and a positive mood booster once they blossom.

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Nature curbs atmospheric carbon levels by storing carbon. Our oceans are stuffed with carbon and overheating, so we need more nature to store the increased carbon emissions. Flowers and shrubs grow faster than trees, thus we can quickly raise the amount of carbon storage in the near term, by adding many more layers of nature around our homes and yards. Window boxes also increase property values. Eco Architecture is springing up across Europe, creating amazing nature wallscapes of live green up and down office towers.

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Daily conversation¬†focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. Podcast¬†Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s conversation, can one small act of kindness change the trajectory of someone’s life?

Additionally, nature boosts serotonin, the feel good hormone that improves mental health. And flowers are pollinators which promotes biodiversity, resulting in a much healthier environment.

Let’s all jump in with #change1thing. Action is a healthy feel good during such a calamitous pandemic. If we can learn valuable lessons from covid, and apply to climate, we’ll be miles ahead and on the road to recovery and a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you One One World РInstagram! #Change1Thing ✅

¬© Copyright 2018 ‚Äď 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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So Many Beautiful & Exciting Possibilities | Cutting Carbon

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 26, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul.” ~Luther Burbank

And flowers cut carbon too!¬†Flower boxes in the windows of our homes and businesses, and hanging baskets from street lights, will add yet another layer of nature to absorb carbon. We need as much help as we can get. It’s another exceptional tool in our climate action tool shed that will reap a wave of benefits, improving both our atmospheric carbon levels, and our quality of life.

Will flower boxes in the windows of the majority of homes and businesses increase property values? I guess we’ll find out as soon as we begin a window flower box campaign.

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PODCAST- daily conversation that focuses on how to turn negative circumstances into positives and land on the bright side.

According to BestLife, flowers:

  • Reduce stress
  • Elevate mood
  • Strengthen relationships
  • Increase memory
  • Certain flowers can help us fall asleep
  • Help us heal

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Not only do flowers absorb CO2, they’re also air purifiers, absorbing pollutants such as benzene, acetone, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene.

We can do this! Warm weather climates can begin today. The rest of us can begin planning today so we’re ready to spring into action as soon as the weather breaks. ūüĆļ

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¬© Copyright 2018 ‚Äď 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Plant Fruit Trees in Public Spaces to fight Climate & Hunger

Washington (GGM) Analysis | April 13, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

“It’s the little things citizens do. That’s what will make the difference. My little thing is planting trees” ¬†‚Äď Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, founder of the Green Belt Movement

The Trillion Tree Campaign was¬†announced in January 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 bold 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 an incredibly long way off target.

So, let’s ramp it up. The brilliant concept of choosing fruit trees for public spaces, as well as private property that serves large groups of people, is significant. Recommended locations:

  • 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 town. 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 conditions, 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 going in the effort, it’s time to promote the multiple benefits of planting fruit trees on a grand scale.

Let’s GO!

SOURCE:
*Trillion Tree Campaign, Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trillion_Tree_Campaign

 

¬© Copyright 2018 ‚Äď 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Protecting Our Water Supply this Spring | Beware of Lawn Fertilizer

Washington (GGM) Analysis | March 8, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

After Trump’s recent roll back of Obama’s Clean Water Act, we have to be more mindful than ever of what we can do as individual citizens to be the stewards of our community water supply in the hopes that we can minimize the negative fallout now that these life-saving federal regulations have been repealed.

I feel traumatized by the horrible news that 60% of our waters will again be unprotected. Climate change has created a seemingly apocalyptic ripple effect from the fallout of the flooding and run off that occurs from the now regular rain bombs, as well as the threat of the new Category 6 hurricanes (not that the National Hurricane Center has officially added Category 6 to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, but recent Hurricane Dorian with winds of 185 mph that flattened the Bahamas, was so far off the charts there’s certainly been a fewa discussions about the need to do so).

Factor in the flooding of superfund sights alone, during this age of climate change, and the frightening consequences for future generations in the calamitous way that water pollutants cause birth defects. This reality is already rattling nerves and alarming homeowners close to these toxic sights. The unseen leaking of life-threatening pollutants  into ground water from buried storage tanks is certainly of grave concern, but all the more troubling is seeing the vacant wastelands flood and the damaging toxic waters flow through town drains as well as the surrounding nearby community property.

Farmland with pesticides and fertilizer is equally as concerning. Weather bombs know no borders. Heavy rains will spread these toxins for miles. They’re usually invisible, but the damage they cause humans is very tangible and physical.

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So with these significant issues now plaguing American communities this spring 2020, and some states stepping in to protect its waters and passing much needed state regulations, we have to do our part too, after all, we’re the ones with the most to lose.

We love beautiful lawns, or course. And we likely use fertilizer to make sure our yards have the right nutrients to nurture our favorite flowers, shrubs and trees. However the ammonium nitrate found in most sterilizers, amongst other hazardous nutrients, are the very pollutants that may cause birth defects after running down the town drains during heavy spring rains.

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Birth defects caused by the nitrates found in fertilizer:

  • spina bifida
  • cleft palate
  • missing limbs

Rules of thumb to avoid contaminating the town water supply?

  • home composting from food scraps that can be added to garden and yard soil
  • many town farmer’s markets now offer free compost
  • organic alternatives that are not water soluble like ammonium nitrate
  • don’t fertilize in the spring, wait until fall when there’s much less rain.

So let’s be more aware, and make a commitment to finding an¬†alternative to¬†fertilizing with heavy nutrients in the spring. We can do this!ūüĆĪ

 

¬© Copyright 2018 ‚Äď 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Why is the Sunshine State so Far Behind with Solar?

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

One would think that with all that sunshine Florida would be way out in front on solar power, but no such luck. How can this be with such dire warning threatening the state? Some scientists believe that Miami will be the first US metropolis to become uninhabitable as a result of climate change.

Florida should be sprinting to cut carbon. When homes, towns, and businesses overproduce solar power they can either store the excess in their home batteries or send it back to the grid and get paid (net metering). Why don’t Florida residents want to take advantage of one of their most valuable assets. They can earn an income from their overabundance of this vital natural resource.

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Florida has the third largest population in the US:

  • California – 39.7million
  • Texas – 29.1
  • Florida – 21.6

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Yet, according to vivant.Solar, Florida is ranked #10 in solar power:

  • California – 21,074 MW
  • North Carolina – 4,308 MW
  • Arizona – 3,400 MW
  • Nevada – 2,595 MW
  • New Jersey – 2,595 MW
  • Massachusetts – 2,011 MW
  • Texas – 1,874 MW
  • Utah – 1,599 MW
  • Georgia – 1,566 MW
  • Florida – 1,430 MW¬†

It’s time to act. Florida’s carbon footprint is ranked #3 in country at 4.5 PPM. Residents have the ability to move the needle by taking advantage of natural resources. There are many state and federal incentives to assist with the transition. Let’s DO THIS!~

¬© Copyright 2018 ‚Äď 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Overhauling the Packaging of Consumer Brands | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With the advent of the global circular¬†economy movement, it¬†soon becomes clear just how many everyday items can’t be recycled. It’s quite alarming. We’ll never reach zero waste unless we find innovative solutions to meet this imperative.

Take plastic, for example. The following plastic packaging/ additional items cannot be recycled:

  • plastic single use shopping bags
  • straws
  • plastic film wrap
  • frozen food bags (nearly all vegetables are sold in non-recyclable bags)
  • cereal box liner
  • chip bags
  • granola bar, candy bar and nearly all snack items wrappers
  • six-pack rings
  • plastic hangers
  • any plastic containers that can’t be cleaned, ie toothpaste tubes

Back before I was aware that these particular pieces couldn’t be recycled, it was exciting to end the month with an empty kitchen garbage bin. But now that I’m in the know, and I see the waste stack up, I feel maximum frustration. We have to stop, focus and fix.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.09.07 PM.png Thankfully, innovative sustainability companies have done just that. According to Healthy Human, the following are the top sustainable packaging innovations of 2019:

  • Loop, Returnity and Share Pack – companies that enable consumers to conveniently return packaging either by dropping off at targeted locations, or sending back in company provided totes
  • Plant based packaging – plastics made from plants
  • Edible packaging – typically this is seaweed, hopefully they’ll soon find additional alternatives
  • Plantable packaging – contains seeds so the packaging can be planted after use
  • Compostable plastic alternatives
  • Minimal packaging design
  • Upcycled or recycled packaging

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Sustainable packaging solutions are here. All we need now is to grow demand which will come from our consumer decision making. We simply must be motivated to seek these sustainably packaged products out and use our wallets to influence corporations to switch. If we all refuse to buy particular brands because of the packaging, corporations will soon wise up.

We can DO THIS!~

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Climate Change & Education | US Botanic Garden in DC

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

With Italy’s official announcement at the beginning of¬†the new year, that all schools will now teach sustainability & climate change, many American educators are looking for ways to incorporate climate change lesson plans into their curriculum.

This is a big deal. Education will curb the fears that many young students harbor when they hear repeated warnings about the future. News flashes on phones about apocalyptic wildfires that killed a billion animals, and destroyed thousands of homes, is massively anxiety provoking. Lack of information fuels their concern, and action oriented facts curb it.

With this in mind, it was very exciting to see the impactful event at the US Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill Thursday evening January 30, 2020 for teachers in the Washington DC and outlying suburbs. Interactive tables, featuring climate change lesson plans, were spread throughout the breathtaking flora. Sustainability, the environment and nature were also included. Very inspiring. Nature itself is therapeutic. Studying nature along with climate action will improve the mental health of our youth as we rush to adapt to the crushing reality of the climate crisis.

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Modeling the importance of composting was powerful, especially on Capitol Hill where Mitch McConnell is blocking compositing in the dining halls in the Senate and House office buildings.

The following are several of the innovative lesson plans featured at the event:

  • Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!
  • Waste Less, Recycle More
  • Greenhouse Manual by the US Botanic Garden: “exploring ways to incorporate a greenhouse as a hands-on learning environment for students of all ages.”
  • School Tree Planting Program
  • Native Knowledge, Teaching America’s Whole Story – created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
  • Living Earth Teach-In: Sustaining our Future through Indigenous Knowledge
  • Air Quality Action Guide
  • What You Should Know About Ground Level Ozone and Particle Pollution
  • An Educators Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE)
  • Oh, and creating seed pizzas that will make spring planting so much easier (this was amazing)

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