A Vegan Thanksgiving Guide

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 19, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Folks across the globe are going green to save mother nature. For many people, that green and clean attitude is going beyond recycling and getting an electric car—many people are changing up their eating habits as well. Animal agriculture practices are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, and slaughterhouses worldwide contribute to unnecessary land and water usage. As the Holidays approach, we must think about the estimated 300 million turkeys that are killed each year in the United States. Forty-six million of these birds are killed for Thanksgiving alone. Imagine the global impact we could make if we took turkey off of our plates this year. Here are some must-haves for an eco-friendly–very vegan–Thanksgiving. 

Vegan Whole Turkey – Vegetarian Plus

By now, we have all heard of Tofurkey. This year change it up with a Vegan Whole Turkey by Vegetarian Plus. This is a 4-6lb “whole turkey” that will give your vegan table a Norman Rockwell Worthy centerpiece. The non-GMO soy “turkey” is juicy and delicious. It is cruelty-free and guilt-free, as it has a very low ecological impact.

Twitter: @VegeUSA

Miyoko’s Organic Cultured Vegan Butter

Luckily many Thanksgiving favorites, like mashed potatoes, green beans, and butternut squash, are already vegetarian. To make these dishes vegan try swapping out dairy and beef stock for things like vegetable broth, almond milk, and vegan butter when cooking. When choosing a butter alternative, try Miyoko’s Organic Vegan Butter, as it is cashew-based, and doesn’t use palm oil. If you ditch animal products and palm oil when serving up your side dishes, you can rest easy knowing that your dinner table didn’t contribute to deforestation or global warming.

Twitter: @MiyokosCreamery

Pumpkin Pie – Midnight Munchies

If you are vegan, trying to be vegan, or simply thinking about having a vegan treat, you need to know the name Cherise Danae. Cherise is a vegan chef, author, and founder of the site Midnight Munchies. Cherise’s Pumpkin Pie recipe is inspired by her late grandmother’s original recipe, and you can taste the love in each bite. The texture and taste are so on point that this pie will have everyone looking for second—or thirds. 

Tl;dr

  • Animal agriculture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 300 million turkeys are killed each year in the United States
  • 46 million turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving 
  • Vegetarian Plus’ Vegan Whole Turkey soy “turkey” is juicy and delicious
  • Miyoko’s Organic Vegan Butter is cashew-based, and doesn’t use palm oil
  • Midnight Munchies’ Pumpkin Pie is a delicious vegan must-have for Thanksgiving 

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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How Much Carbon Do Bushes Absorb? This Ninth Grader Plans To Find Out

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 30, 2020 by Noreen Wise

Do bushes sequester carbon too? Is planting more shrubs as important as planting more trees in helping to lower atmospheric carbon levels and reverse global warming?

One student at W. T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia is determined to find out. Ninth grader Julia Victor has accepted the challenge to conduct her own science experiment for the upcoming Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair and is busy mapping out the procedure she will follow to test how much carbon five species of Northern Virginia natives can absorb in comparison to one another. 

The Regeneron ISEF has a wide range of categories, 21 in all, that 1800 participating students are selecting from. As a nature lover, Earth and Environmental Sciences was Julia’s top choice, which she quickly narrowed down to climate change. Julia asked herself questions about which NoVa natives might absorb the most carbon. She then spent time researching, and eventually arrived at her hypothesis: “I am hypothesizing that the holly tree will grow to be the largest and will absorb the most carbon. I also think that shrubs might not be far behind. I am hoping to be able to come to the conclusion that shrubs and smaller plants are just as important to reversing climate change as large trees.”

Julia will be implementing the following steps to test her hypothesis. All the plants will be kept in open containers.

  1. Remove the soil and weigh each plant. Record each plant’s bare root weight (without soil).
  2. If plants are not the same weight, trim each plant until they are approximately equal.
  3. Plant each plant in its new container with 1 gallon of soil each. Label each container with the plant species.
  4. Water each plant with 1 cup of water each. 
  5. Set up each plant’s light to a 12-hour timer to simulate the sun.
  6. Water each plant regularly with its recommended amount of water.
  7. After 25 days, remove all the soil from the bare roots from each plant and weigh.

An important science experiment like this one is challenging enough without there being an extra layer of difficulty. But, Julia isn’t daunted by the complications during the fall season. Julia explained, that there are far less species available for her to choose from this late in the year. Many NoVa natives are nearly dormant, so there’s far less photosynthesis, which means very little, if any, carbon absorption. But Julia persevered and unearthed several standouts she can rely on:

  • American Holly 
  • Strawberry bush
  • Spicebush
  • Arrowwood Viburnum
  • Black Chokeberry

We’ll be checking back with Julia in December to learn about the conclusions she drew once she completes her experiment, weighs each plant, and is able to identify the winning species that sequestered the most carbon. Julia will be managing a total of 25 small plants for her project.

This is a lot of extra work during a very challenging global pandemic. Julia began her freshman year with virtual learning, and appears to be very excited about having something she feels passionately about, nature and science, to keep her mind preoccupied in the midst of a health crisis. “This is my first time participating in the Regeneron ISEF and I’m excited to see everyone’s projects, especially during covid-19.”

I asked Julia how she keeps from feeling intimidated by such a challenging, high level competition. Her response was one that we could all apply to our own lives.

“These days, it’s very easy to get intimidated by projects and big assignments. I found that if I don’t think about it as an assignment, but rather as something I enjoy, then it becomes much easier to do get motivated by my curiosity.”

Nature is an exciting and therapeutic ally to help combat our daily challenges during covid. A major destresser, thanks to its beauty and healing scents, as well as the chemicals it emits that we humans respond to by releasing our own positive chemicals—serotonin for example. Nature is very responsive to human interaction, both positively and negatively. Humans and nature are connected through a symbiotic relationship. What we give is what we get. We see this with climate change of course, but it’s equally as powerful on the positive side of the coin. Nature nurtures. It comforts. Heals. Inspires. Supports. Motivates. Hanging out with nature makes us physically and emotionally stronger. It’s time to recognize this fact and act on it. Planting millions of trees and shrubs and flowers and all types of nature is an investment that pays us back exponentially. So, let’s get planting! If it’s too cold where you are right now, you can plant a seedling indoors in a container and leave inside until spring. 

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Which Vegan Milk is Best For the Planet? | Vegan Scene

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 20, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

According to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), approximately 270 million dairy cows live on farms and factory farms across the globe. The dairy industry produces greenhouse gas emissions that negatively impact the environment and contribute to climate change. Additionally, “poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources. And unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can” also “lead to the loss of ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands, and forests.”

Just one glass of cow’s milk produces .63 kg of carbon emissions. Additionally, that same glass requires 1.79 square meters of land and 125.6 liters of water to make. Because of the negative effects of producing dairy, many lobbyists and organizations encourage people to swap out cows milk for vegan alternatives. One Green Planet– among other companies- is currently asking people to “ditch dairy.” 

With the increase in popularity of vegan options like almond, cashew, rice, and soy milk, you may be wondering which one to choose. Luckily Science Focus has come out with an easy way to measure the impact of the various vegan alternatives to dairy milk. The milk with the lowest carbon emissions per glass is almond milk-which produces .14 kgs- followed by oat, which produces .18 kgs. The milk with the lowest land usage per glass is rice at .07 square meters. Lastly, the vegan milk responsible for the least amount of water needed in production is soy- which uses 5.6 liters- followed closely by oat, which uses 9.6 liters.

Twitter: @oatly

If you are looking to make a significant impact in the fight against climate change, the proof is in the vegan pudding! Ditching dairy and swapping it out for a vegan alternative will lower carbon emissions and reduce land and water usage. As for which alternative to dairy milk is the best for the environment, there are two winners. Choosing almond milk or oat milk for your morning coffee or bowl of cereal is a vegan and eco-friendly way to start the day.

Tl;dr

  • 270 million dairy cows are living on farms and factory farms across the globe
  • One glass of cow’s milk produces .63 kg of carbon emissions
  • One glass of cow’s milk requires 1.79 square meters of land and 125.6 liters of water to make
  • Almond milk has the lowest carbon emissions per glass
  • Rice milk uses the least land to make
  • Soy milk uses the least water to make
  • The most eco-friendly milk options are Almond and Oat

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Amy Coney Barrett Unsure of Climate Change, a Scientific Fact

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 16, 2020 by Michael Wells, Attorney @slnc01

On October 14, 2020, Trump Supreme Court nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, told Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) she could not say whether climate change exists because it is a “politically contentious issue.” She also confessed to Senator John Kennedy (R-LA) she has no firm view on climate change. A skeptic might ask what her view on climate change has to do with cases that might come before her when she sits on the Supreme Court. Quite a bit, actually, especially in light of the lawsuits filed by a number of States’ Attorneys General against Exxon in the past few years.

The New York State Supreme Court in 2019 considered whether Exxon lied to investors about the company’s contribution to climate change and thus violated securities law. The Court ruled in Exxon’s favor, according to NPR, stating there was no evidence Exxon hid evidence of climate change.

This should signal alarm bells across the globe. Climate change exists, and of course the oil companies knew and know about it. It is the greatest danger any of us will face in our lifetimes.

Moreover, when juxtaposed with Barrett’s testimony, that she could not comment on climate change even to acknowledge it exists, it does not bode well for the environment. Given the lawsuits against Exxon and other energy giants, it stands to reason that climate change is a major legal issue.

Barrett claimed she is not a scientist, but one does not need to be a scientist to accept climate change as a fact. And, if it is accepted as a fact, then that certainly affects how she would consider a case.

It is entirely possible (likely even) that, if Biden prevails, the Justice Department will pursue these climate change cases, thereby forcing Barrett to rule on this issue.

Hypothetically speaking, assume the previous New York case made it to the Supreme Court, and at the heart of the case was whether an oil company was committing fraud by hiding climate change from investors. If Barrett were to believe climate change does not exist or was unsure it existed, then her view of fraud would be very different. Then she might rule in favor of the oil giant thus allowing them to continue to pollute, destroy the environment, and unleash a further parade of horribles, possibly another COVID-19 type pandemic. 

Again, this is just speculation, but is it not all speculation as to what kinds of cases Barrett will hear? It is a question or probability. She will hear cases about abortion, birth control, searches and seizures, voting rights, climate change, and myriad other issues none of us ever hear about. In all likelihood, she will hear a case on climate change and likely very soon. 

In fact, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison filed a lawsuit on behalf of the citizens of Minnesota against Exxon, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute, in the Spring of 2020, alleging the fossil fuel industry knew the damage these fossil fuels would cause the environment.

The cases are coming. It is only a matter of time before a case goes before the Supreme Court. 

Climate change affects everyone on the planet, and it is a problem that everyone will need to work together to solve. We can do our part such as reducing our carbon footprint and also by planting trees. But we also need to be able to count on a nominee to the Supreme Court to accept this established science because, if she does not, what hope do any of us ever have that climate change will ever get under control?

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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How Kia Aims to Get Consumers Excited About & Driving EVs

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 12, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Kia is kicking electric and ‘alternative fuel’ up a notch. Their “line of the future” boasts over 6 cars that are either hybrid, hybrid plug-in, or fully electric. The end-game for Kia seems to be to increase accessibility and desire for electric cars.

Kia reminds  those trying to decide whether or not an electric car is within reach that they may be eligible for up to 10k in federal rebates. The hybrid and hybrid plug-in models cut down on gas usage, and widen the EV audience. Kia calls these models the “most accessible entry point into Alternative Fuel Vehicles.”  Speaking of broadening accessibility, Kia has even partnered with Amazon, to make buying and installing at home charging kits easier than ever.  

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Twitter- @getElectricVeh

The fully electric Soul,  and Niro crossover, are pretty impressive vehicles.  The Niro EV starts at $39,090 and Niro EV offers an EPA-estimated 239-mile range and 201 Electric Drive Motor Horsepower. With Rapid 100kW charging, the Niro has up to an 80% charge in as little as 30 minutes! SImilar to Tesla, the crossover sports vegan leather seats, and is full of impressive technology.  Items like Apple Carplay and Wireless Charging are fun and convenient.  While features like Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (FCA), Blind Spot Collision Warning (BCW), and Lane Following Assist (LFA) are potentially lifesaving.

The Kia Soul is known to be a spunky, spacious and stylish car.  Winner of the 2020 World Car Awards- World Urban Car, the upcoming 2021 Soul EV is a highly anticipated electronic option.  According to Car and Driver, the  64.0-k battery of this model will outshine the 2019 model.  This 5 passenger hatchback offers an impressive 243 miles of driving range.  With  standard DC fast-charging capability, and smartphone charging pad, getting going is made fast and convenient.  

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Twitter- @LawtonKia

With a myriad of fun and innovative options, it is clear that Kia is hoping people will ditch gas and become fully electric!  

Come back next Wednesday for more EV news!

Tl;dr

  • Kia has 6 electric, hybrid, or hybrid plugin models for consumers to choose from
  • Kia is increasing accessibility and desire for electric cars
  • Kia has partnered with Amazon to make buying and installing at home charging kits easy
  • Niro EV starts at $39,090 and Niro EV offers an EPA-estimated 239-mile range
  • The Niro EC has 100kW charging,, and gets an 80% charge in 30 minutes

The upcoming 2021 Kia Soul EV will have a 64.0-k battery and 243 miles of driving range

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Is Elon Musk Mother Nature’s New Price Charming?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 23, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

In March of 2020, Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced the search for the perfect location for his newest factory. Not unlike Prince Charming’s country-wide invitation to the castle ball in Cinderella, people far and wide waited in anticipation over Musk’s Choice. July 22nd, a statement was released, saying that the new facility will be built in Austin, Texas.

Twitter- @tedcruz

Unlike other car companies, Tesla far outperformed in earnings despite the global pandemic, reporting four consecutive profitable quarters. This boost for Tesla means a boost for the economy and a major boost for the planet.

Musk announced that the Cybertruck factory will be open to the public. With walking trails, bike paths, a boardwalk, and fish-filled streams, he described the park-like facility as an “ecological paradise.” This new destination will surely bring tourism dollars, but the real economic growth will come from the 5,000 new jobs needed at the site.

The economic buzz surrounding Musk’s latest venture is exciting, but the real news lies in the cars! Tesla promises that from the facility will come four new vehicles, the long-awaited Cyber Truck, the Tesla Semi, the Model Y, and the Model 3. The addition of these new EVs, along with Tesla’s unexpected boost in earnings, means more electric vehicles on the road. Considering the fact that every gallon of gasoline burned creates about 8,887 grams of CO2, this is very big news for Mother Nature!

Tl;dr

  • On July 22nd, 2020, Elon Musk announced that the new Tesla factory will be built in Austin, Texas
  • Tesla far outperformed in earnings, reporting four consecutive profitable quarters
  • The facility will be a park-like destination boasting walking trails, bike paths, a boardwalk, and fish-filled streams
  • The new Tesla factory will create at least 5,000 new jobs 
  • The facility will produce a Cyber Truck, the Tesla Semi, the Model Y, and the Model 3

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Top 3 Vegan and Eco-friendly Solutions to the Planet’s Period Problem

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 16, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

For many of us who menstruate, a visit from Aunt Flo means a week’s worth of pads, tampons, and pantiliners paired with a tub of Ben & Jerry’s and a sprinkling of Midol.  Between cramps, bloating, headaches, and checking for leaks, we might be overlooking one major aspect of our periods.

Plastic.

Traditional period products are loaded with plastic.  Wrappers, applicators, leak guard liners, and even the products themselves have plastic interwoven in the fibers.  These tiny applicators may not seem like much, but they add up.  According to National Geographic, Americans purchase 5.8 billion tampons annually.  The global number is a staggering 17 billion 400 million!  Even worse, the plastic in period products cannot be recycled, as they are considered medical waste— this means that these products ultimately end up in landfills and oceans.

Instagram– @theoceanproject.sey

If you are looking for a vegan and planet-friendly way to reduce the negative impact of single-use plastics during your period, don’t stress. You have 3 easy sustainable options! You can try reusable pads, menstrual cups, or period panties. Throughout my last three cycles, I decided to give each a try. I purchased BugaluBaby Bamboo Cloth MenstrualPads, an OrganiCup, and a couple of pairs of Thinx underwear.

I found BugaluBaby on Etsy.  I’ve never been big into pads, but these pads come in a variety of fun prints, made with bamboo, and come with a handy “wet bag” for convenience.  They are also easy to wash and are very cost-effective, costing only $25 for a pack of 9. 

Thinx underwear boasts a similar idea, but it feels less like a pad.  In my experience, you can wear one pair throughout the day while still feeling clean and dry.  This option works and works well, but it is a little less cost-friendly, costing between $24-$39 per pair. 

Lastly, the OrganiCup is a soft, flexible, reliable option that comes in a variety of sizes.  For those of us who are comfortable with insertable sanitary items, this is a great option.  It is incredibly sustainable and cost-effective.  One OrganiCup lasts two years, and costs only $28!  All three products have their consumer perks, and most importantly, they are vegan and pack a punch in the fight against the climate crisis!

Twitter – @Thinx

Come back every Thursday to learn more about the role veganism plays in combating climate change!

Tl;dr

  • Over 17 Billion tampons flood landfills and oceans each year
  • The plastic in pads, tampons, and liners are a major contributor to the climate crisis
  • Sustainable vegan period options DO exist
  • If you’re looking for an eco-friendly change, try  BugaluBaby Bamboo Cloth MenstrualPads, an OrganiCup or Thinx underwear

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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No More Oil | A Call to Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 14, 2020 by Erika Browning

We have all heard the warnings. Personally, I can’t remember a time in all my 42 years where the big “what ifs” weren’t on a constant loop. What if we don’t loosen our grip on fossil fuel? What if we don’t find alternative energies? What if we don’t recycle & continue to fill up precious land with our garbage? 

My questions go a bit deeper. As an expat living in Europe, I was utterly shocked at the lengths people go to to try to turn back the doomsday clock on climate change. 

Imagine how baffled I was when I learned that not only are Europeans, (Germans specifically) willing to work towards saving the planet, they are adamant about it. Don’t dare try to stick a plastic bottle in a regular rubbish bin. Car not up-to-par on emissions standards? You’ll be needing a new one that can pass muster. I took trains all over that magnificent countryside. Fields of solar panels lined the tracks in several regions, side by side with fields of hops or vineyards. Modern windmills generate energy, dotting quaint farms that don’t look as if history has touched their walls in centuries. 

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Twitter – @SamTalksTesla

Coming from a lifetime in the United States, specifically a city that was quite literally built on a giant oil well, I’ve fully experienced the rabid grip this country has on its oil. As I write, I am looking across the river at massive refineries, smelling the by-products & seeing lights flicker as workers pass by. When an organization does something like offering up alternatives to oil, the whole state gets fired up. This is people’s livelihood! This is people’s land that has provided for them for well over a hundred years. 

These are people whose whole lives have revolved around oil: whether it be production, sales, manufacturing, or, of course, consumption. I suppose the difference between here and Europe could be something as simple as “cultural history”. But I believe more strongly that most of the reasons that Americans are so opposed to change is information related, whether accurate or not. 

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Twitter – @ClausMiler17

We all can agree that something must change. Someone, somewhere must find a way to point their fellow countrymen in the right direction. But how? Let’s start with education. For the next several weeks I will be sharing some ideas, both large and small scale, that you can use as a consumer to make a positive change. I will be dutifully researching various methods that worked elsewhere and finding paths to apply those same methods in this incredible country. 

Whether it’s setting up a recycling program in your area, or petitioning for charging stations for electric vehicles, we will come up with some easy ways to make changes to your community, and maybe some ways that will be met with some resistance but also with the tools you’ll need to get these ideas in play.

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Twitter – @JohnEG78

We have to do better. Our kids and grandkids deserve to live life in a safe environment that won’t be detrimental to their health and well-being. It’s time to start caring about the planet we are leaving behind, in fact, it’s past time.  

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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The Footprint of Your Food

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 9, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Many of us know about the widely successful climate campaign #Change1Thing. The idea is fantastic. People need to feel empowered; we need to feel like there is something we can do to combat the massive problem we are facing. #Change1Thing does that! With each metal straw and every reusable bag, consumers feel like they are slowly turning the wheels in the right direction. Still, if you are looking at your latest zero waste purchase, and wondering if this is enough to reduce your carbon footprint, then you’re in the right place.  

Let’s think about plastic bags. These single-use shopping bags produce 6 kg of CO2 per kg of plastic used to create them. When you swap out plastic with your favorite reusable tote at the grocery store, you make an impact. However, you could quadruple that impact, only by switching up what goes in that tote as well—according to the Environmental Working Group, EWG, lamb and beef combined produce nearly 67kg of CO2 per kg consumed. In contrast, foods like tofu and broccoli produce only 2 kg of CO2per kg consumed. Foods like lentils are even more environmentally friendly, coming in at only .9 kilograms.

Switching to a plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian diet is one of the most powerful changes you can personally make to combat the climate crisis. If this all sounds lovely to you, but you can’t quite see yourself being vegan just yet, that’s okay. Making one plant-based change to your daily routine can still have a significant impact. After all, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has reported that the greenhouse gas emissions from animal agriculture are comparable to those produced by residential and commercial activities. That means, if everyone ditched meat and dairy for the year, it would be like we all turned the gas and electric off in our homes and businesses for that year too! 

Come back every Thursday to learn more about the role veganism plays in combating climate change!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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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. 🌳

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© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.