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supply in the hopes that we can minimize the negative fallout now that these life-saving federal regulations have been repealed.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!🌱

 

© Copyright 2018 – 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 – 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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Let’s Commit to Zero Waste in 2020 | It’s Very Simple

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.

I began 2020 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I jumped in running the last three months of 2019, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.

Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (tomorrow morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.

A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle & Upcycle

Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce which is 85% packaged in glass.

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A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.

Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.

Household kitchens should have multiple bins:

  • Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Paper recycling
  • Plastic recycling
  • Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
  • Aluminum recycling

Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. On New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Tesla Kills It In 2019| How Will Other EVs Fair in 2020?

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

After a ten year struggle to become profitable, Tesla nailed it in 2019. The 4th quarter was the turning point according to CNN.

Some of the key factors for increased growth in consumer demand that put Tesla into the black are:

  • range
  • how long it takes to charge
  • how many public charging stations exist in local communities
  • and the EV car price

Every single one of these critical factors have moved in the right direction.

  • range increased with the new average at 200 miles per full charge
  • charging time went down significantly and now only averages a quick 20 minutes
  • public charging stations have mushroomed, not only businesses providing them in corporate parking lots to employees, but stores offering charging stations to consumers as a competitive advantage
  • EV car prices have dropped substantially

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Climate action focused states such as New York, California, Connecticut and Massachusetts have crafted creative carrots and stick, incentives and regulations, creating a patchwork of solutions that are driving results. Very happy for Tesla to finally experience the upside of being an innovator, after schlepping through the painful wilderness for so long.

In 2020, Tesla will have to face a much more competitive landscape, now that most of the obstacles in the EV marketplace have been eliminated.

The following is CNET’s Road Show’s official 2020 EV lineup by range:

  • Tesla Model S |373 miles | $79,990
  • Tesla Model 3 | Long Range 330 miles | $44,500
  • Tesla Model X | 328 miles | $81,000
  • Chevrolet Bolt EV | 259 miles | $36,620
  • Hyundai Kona Electric | 258 miles | $36,990
  • Kia Niro EV (SUV) | 239 miles | $38,500
  • Jaguar I-Pace | 234 miles | $69,850
  • Nissan Leaf Plus | 226 miles | $36,550
  • Audi e-tron | 204 miles | $75,000
  • Porsche Taycan | 201 miles | $150,900
  • BMW i3 | 153 miles | $44,450
  • Nissan Leaf | 150 miles | $29,990
  • Mini Cooper SE | 110 miles | $20,000
  • Honda Clarity Electric | 89 miles | lease only

Very extensive options. But the Tesla Model 3 certainly shines amongst its peers.~

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So Many Beautiful & Exciting Possibilities | Cutting Carbon

Washington (GGM) Analysis
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

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300And 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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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. ~

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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