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.

Rethinking Cemeteries as We Rush to Restore Our Habitat

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 12, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Skirmishes along one newly emerging climate battlefront are quickly escalating worldwide. Therefore, now is an ideal time to learn more about this new controversy that’s causing community conflicts, so we can map out a strategy, and stave off the often bitter friction that has plagued climate related transitions to new ways of doing things. Case in point, the fossil fuel climate war.

Biodiversity restoration and land conservation requires protecting millions of acres of land. The nature-based solutions (NBS) movement refers to this mission as 30 x 30. We must protect and restore 30% of our terrestrial land, and 30% of our oceans.  At COP26 in November 2021, the COP26 Campaign for Nature noted the exceptional benefits of such a noble mission that included climate change mitigation, resilience and adaptation. 

“Conserving 30% of land in strategic locations could safeguard 500 gigatonnes (GtC) of carbon stored in vegetation and soils, and reduce the extinction risk of nearly 9 out of 10 threatened terrestrial species.” 

UN Study

Safeguarding 500 GtC of carbon safely stored in our land and ocean soils, and terrestrial plant and ocean species, is paramount in saving humanity as we rush to fight the three life-threatening crises that are now interwoven to become one enormous supercrisis: 

  • Excessive carbon stuffed into our atmosphere.
  • Biodiversity loss.
  • Plastic pollution and waste management .

Global Death Rate

On average, worldwide, there are 56 million deaths per year, according to the world death clock. We’ve lost an additional 5.73 million worldwide and counting since the beginning of Covid. Cemeteries are full to capacity. In the UK, West Kirby locals were furious when 33 mature trees were felled to expand Grange Cemetery. This unnecessary tree-cutting generated outrage amongst environmentalists determined to protect terrestrial land that continues to be pillaged regardless of the long term effect on our survival. 

The environmental impact of a traditional burial in a casket six feet under is not covered by the media very often. But the details are quite significant and should be analyzed as we rethink burial options through the lens of climate change and its multiple filters: land protection, biodiversity restoration, planting a trillion trees, and cutting carbon 50% by 2030.

Per the National Cremation Database:

  • Embalming fluids (methanol, ethanol, formaldehyde, and other organic solvents) are toxic. 
  • The World Health Organization named formaldehyde as a class 1 carcinogen that causes leukemia and brain cancer. 
  • We bury 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid each year in the US.
  • Embalming fluid can leak from caskets and run into nearby streams. It’s also found in the wastewater of funeral homes.
  • With 30 x 30 being the highest priority for land use, and many businesses buying land for carbon offset, there is little if any land available for traditional graveyards.
  • 30 million board feet is needed each year to manufacture caskets.
  • The amount of steel required for caskets and burial vaults each year is the same as what was required to build the Golden Gate Bridge. 
  • An individual cremation emits approximately double the CO2 as a traditional burial, but fortunately has none of the environmental hazards as a ground burial.

Emerging Possibility

Burial tree pods (aka organic burial pods, eco-podsgreen burials) have become a hot topic on social media amongst climate activists and environmentalists who are trying to imagine a new low carbon paradigm for an age-old tradition. 

Life never stops,” is the mantra used to inspire families to consider the benefits of organic burial pods.

Capsula Mundi (Italian for earth pod) in Rome, created the biodegradable egg-shaped sarcophagus in which a corpse is placed in fetal position, lowered into the ground, and a young tree is planted on top. The tree serves as the tomb stone. Both the egg-pod and the body will slowly decompose into compost that will nourish the tree. “We are earth, and to earth we shall return,” say the Catholics about these innovative eco-pods. The Catholic Church permits green burials as long as the ceremony is consistent with Catholic burial beliefs (no infusing the burial experience with words or concepts aligned with “erroneous ideas about death”).

According to EarthBeat, Capsula Mundi designers, Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli, envision “sacred forests” becoming he new norm.

The one challenge we have to ponder about this beautiful, heartwarming, carbon negative concept, and its many environmental benefits, is the potential destruction of trees and forests during climate change extreme weather events. Wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes have the ability to unearth a newly planted eco-pod, which would be devastating. But then again, scientists have been warning that no one and nothing are safe in our new world at 1.2ºC and climbing.  We just have to know in advance that weather extremes might uproot an organic burial pod and plan ahead. 

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.


“This is not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves…The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”
—Sir David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet
“WE MUST REWILD THE WORLD!”
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Climate Change Heat Impacts America’s Favorite Pastime | Sports

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 13, 2021 by Noreen Wise, climate journalist

America’s passion for professional sports, particularly baseball, is under severe threat from climate change. With our favorite pastime now in peril, it becomes a powerful wake up call that should motivate us into quick action. 

The intense heat during summer months is impacting both the enjoyment and health of fans and players alike. More must be done as quickly as possible. There were hundreds of deaths during the sweltering heat that gripped the country last month. UCLA Professor R. Jisung Park noted during his recent testimony at a hearing on environmental justice in front of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, that “heat hurts.” Park provided data outlining the grave health risks for those working outdoors in the intense heat. Although his testimony pertained to data collected in EJ communities, the same health threat also applies to anyone working outdoors, including athletes. Park warned that “heat increases injuries above 90 degrees Fahrenheit by 15 percent.” Park pointed out that those in their twenties and thirties are more likely to be injured than those in their forties and fifties.

According to AccuWeather, Dylan Bundy, starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels, threw up at the pitcher mound at the bottom of the second in a game against the New York Yankees played in New York last month. Bundy was walked off the field by a trainer in the record heat. The temperature reached 92 degrees that day with a RealFeel of 100 degrees.

  • High temperatures have resulted in several teams reinventing their stadiums. The Miami MarlinsHouston Astrosas well as four others are now equipped with air-conditioned stadiums with retractable roofs to ensure the well being of all in attendance.
  • Other teams adapt by changing their playing schedule, going to bat at midnight. This might be enjoyable on a summer Saturday night, but would be a nightmare during the week.
  • Wrigley Field in Chicago was dangerously hot this past July, with the heat index temperature reaching 107 degrees. The stadium set up cooling stations and offered fans free ice backs. Coaches were on a mission to keep the players hydrated. This required a significant amount of work and was clearly a borderline health risk. Hopefully, the powers that be are taking notes and finding a better solution for the future. This wasn’t a one-off but is rather a dire climate emergency that will escalate.
  • In October 2018, not a single American sports stadium made the top 5 sustainable stadiums in the world ranking. (1) Amersterdam Arena,  Netherlends (2) National Stadium, Taiwan (3) Mineral Stadium, Brazil (4) Fisht Stadium, Russia (5) Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar.
  • However, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta has deemed itself the “‘most sustainable sports venue in the world.'” 
    • 4,000 solar panel
    • 2 millions gallons of stormwater capture
    • Water conservation 
HillReport11-22-19a
  • The first “Zero Waste Super Bowl” was held in 2019 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota. The mission was to maximize recycling. The success rate reached 90%.
  • Recycling at America’s massive sports complexes must become a VERY big deal if we are to lower the carbon needle. It’s much more simple than most realize. There are now regional composting services that will assist with this. According to the Sloan Blog, Patrick Boyle, the Sloan Director of Corporate Sustainability, lowering waste at stadiums is a matter of limiting choices so that all refreshments are served using compostable plates and cups. This enables all waste to be thrown away in the same bin and picked up by one truck.
HillReport11-22-19b

Some sustainability focused stadiums are taking climate action one step further and getting players involved in educating fans on the importance of recycling and sustainability. The Sloan Blog notes that stars are assuring the public that “Ordinary people can make a difference.”


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Concrete Kills: Burdens Outweigh the Benefits

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 25, 2021 by Michael Wells

After water, concrete is the most widely used substance in the world. But this does not mean it is safe. Concrete is responsible for 8% of global CO2 emissions. It outweighs the combined mass of every tree, bush, and shrub on Earth, and it hardens and degrades slowly. Joni Mitchell once wrote a song about paving paradise to put up a parking lot, and that has already happened. 

Companies and governments have stripped mountains, ripped sand out of beaches, and taken lake and ocean water to feed the massive demand for concrete, the substance that produces buildings for the modern world. Concrete takes so much from the environment, and, in return, the manufacturing of concrete belches CO2 into the atmosphere and spreads harmful particles in the air that causes cancer and respiratory ailments. And it exacerbates the carnage of hurricanes like Katrina and Harvey. It did so by preventing water from being absorbed into the concrete covered ground. In short, concrete is a menace that we all live and work in, on, around, and near.

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Heart of the matter. No material has made the building of the modern world more possible from the construction of the Pantheon in ancient Rome to the Empire State Building. None of it would have been possible without concrete. But that has come at a huge price to the environment, animals, and people. 

“Unfortunately, a cement plant makes for a horrible neighbor,” writes Fred Siegel in his book, Environmental Hazards: Are you Exposed? It is one of the least regulated industries on the planet, and it is largely run by organized crime. What a scheme: perhaps the world’s greatest polluter run by the worst criminals, which makes dead bodies entombed in concrete foundations seem almost quaint by comparison. From thousands of concrete plants that are everywhere it produces mercury, cement kiln dust, burns toxic waste (while lying about it), produces cancer causing particulate matter, and uses toxic gases and metals. 

Time to face the music. In order to succeed at carbon drawdown, we have to return to the Garden of Eden. Very exciting! #ActNow Take a listen.

How this impacts you personally. Concrete is in your backyard, and under your feet as you read this article. You drive on it, play on it, and your house, office, and apartment sit on it. You cannot escape it. The problem is two-fold: the production of the concrete is extremely harmful, and the concrete itself is harmful. As the saying goes, they get you coming and going, they being the industry with a bottomless need for production that has the ear(s) of most politicians. 

Take Harris County where Houston, Texas sits: it has 188 concrete plants due to there being no zoning laws in Texas. In 2015, 5,200 premature deaths were caused by particulate matter from concrete according to a study done by Rice University. The study states concrete production is one of the deadliest forms of air pollution because it produces massive amounts of CO2 and other harmful chemicals, and the dust it produces causes cancer, bronchitis, COPD, and other breathing issues. 

Free 30 minutes of strategy session so we can help you, your business and or family, transition into the future following the best climate action path for your situation.

Unfortunately, concrete plants are located disproportionately in poor neighborhoods and communities of color. Another disturbing fact is ⅓ of concrete batch plants are a short walk from a school or a daycare.  

As if all of these facts were not disturbing enough, there is a company in Scotland that wants to sell you concrete made of toxic ash. No, this is not an Onion article. Given the prevalence of coal ash in the United States, this type of business could easily take off  because the EPA does very little to regulate the concrete industry. And why is that? Because it is everywhere, and it contributes to most people who are in Congress. Therefore, nothing is done about it.

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

What you can do. Be loud. Be vocal in your opposition to using concrete. Tell everyone you can, we need to regulate this industry and do all that we can to find other viable building materials. Surely this dinosaur (no offense to dinosaurs) of a building material can be replaced by something more ecological. Besides, was that building in Miami that recently collapsed built of concrete in a city that is sinking?

Do you want more of that?

Next Steps

  • Call your government representatives at the local, state, and federal levels, and let them know you want something done about concrete;
  • Do research on the internet; and 
  • Boycott companies that pollute when they make concrete.

Concrete is everywhere, and it comprises most buildings in one way or another. It does not always have to be that way though. Concrete may dry quickly and take forever to diminish, but that does not mean the future is already set in stone or concrete, rather. Things can change if we want them to change. 


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© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Top 5 Vegan Beauty Brands | Vegan Scene

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 26, 2021 by Sarah J. Kings

Consumer ethics has never been such a hot topic!  Compassionate and eco-friendly shoppers are searching for resources and products everyday. With many making changes in their diet and fashion choices, there has never been a better time to switch out your old cosmetics and trade them in for vegan alternatives. Vegan beauty brands do not rely on animal cruelty and animal products or biproducts to create makeup. Here is a list of five major vegan and cruelty free beauty brands that are focused on both ethics and sustainability. 

KVD Beauty – Kat Von D’s makeup line has been cruelly-free since its launch in 2008. The brand came out with its first vegan product, tattoo liner, in 2010. The Tattoo Liner sold like hotcakes, and is still one the most popular items today. KVD announced the switch to a vegan line in 2015, and went completely vegan in 2016. Today they boast the slogan “made with love, not animals.” They are also committed to not using bee’s wax, which is a big help to the environment.

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Twitter- @guadalahari

NYXhttps://www.nyxcosmetics.com/featured/vegan/ – NYX Professional Makeup is a PETA approved cruelty-free brand. They are well known for creating pigmented palettes and bold makeup trends. NYX is owned by L’Oreal, who recently released a statement about their commitment to meeting consumer demands for ethics and sustainable products. “To meet the changing expectations of our consumers, we are continuously innovating… [in] maintaining consistency in the quality of the product while also improving their environmental impact.”

Join the conversation and receive regular climate action tips, and soil health and biodiversity advice by staying engaged at Act Now for the Earth Cafe. You’ll feel hopeful when you ask questions and interact with like-minded others about finding solutions that will help the earth recover from the damage of climate change. You’ll feel confident that we can succeed at staying below tipping points. It’s all about community. We’d greatly value you being part of our ecosystem. CLICK here today and join the conversation at  Earth Cafe!

MILK – The brand has always been cruelty- free, and in 2018 co-founder Dianna Ruth announced that MILK would convert to 100% vegan formulas as well. MILK’s commitment to sustainability comes in the form of water reduction. The brand has shed  light on excess water usage in cosmetics, and they are responding  by designing concentrated formulas that do not waste water. Their products are also formaldehyde free. This is significant, as formaldehyde is known to be detrimental to marine life.

It’s time to face the music. #ActNow on climate by restoring our habitat. Let’s return to the Garden of Eden.

Rare Beauty – Rare Beauty is something completely brand new! Singer, actress, and producer Selena Gomez launched a beauty brand on September 3, 2020, and it is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. In an Instagram post Selena said this, “for the past few months, you’ve all been asking… and we’re proud to share that our products will be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Like you, we love and care for our animals too.”

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Instagram@rarebeauty 

Bare Minerals Bare Minerals brand is 100% cruelty free and the high majority of their makeup is vegan. They make the list because of their strong commitment to mother earth. Bare Minerals runs an eco-friendly blog that regularly offers tips and advice to consumers on how to live a more sustainable life. Their products are all palm oil free, which makes them a viable option in selecting sustainable vegan makeup.

Each of these companies is working hard to provide the world with ethical and sustainable vegan beauty products. If makeup is part of your routine, consider shopping with one of these brands the next time you are in need of a new lipstick or brow pencil! 

No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Vegan Junk Food Without Palm Oil?! | Vegan Scene

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 23, 2021 by Sarah J. Kings

According to Lacey Bourassa, of Plant Proteins.co, there has been a 500% increase in consumers identifying as being vegan within the last six years. Whether people are switching up their eating habits for ethical, health, feminist, or ecological reasons- or a combination- it is clear that eliminating animal products from our plates is on the rise.  

Suppose you are switching up your diet as a part of an eco-friendly initiative. In that case, you probably already know that foods like broccoli, lentils, and tofu produce extremely low carbon emissions relative to producing meat. An assessment of global emissions performed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FOA, deemed that 15% of the human-induced greenhouse gas emissions stem from livestock production. That doesn’t even take into account the ecological impact of the grain and antibiotics used to sustain animals prior to their slaughter.

Get daily climate action tips by joining Act Now for the Earth Cafe and have fun learning the amazing & valuable tips that will help the earth recover from the staggering damage of climate change. Cafe communities are the new big thing. Sustainability is all about community. We’d greatly value you being part of our ecosystem. CLICK here today and join Earth Cafe! We’ll plant a tree in your honor.

Still, if you are struggling to upkeep your transition into a plant-based lifestyle, you should know that veganism doesn’t have to be all kale smoothies and chia seed salads. There are plenty of vegan options for desserts, snacks, and munchies, that will help you stay strong in your commitment to keeping it cruelty-free.

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Twitter – @TarotByJaqqi

Top Ten Vegan Munchies:

  • Doritos – Spicy Sweet Chili 
  • Enjoy Life – Cocoa Loco Chocolate Bars
  • Garden Veggie Straws – Sea Salt
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Kettle Brand – Salt & Vinegar Chips 
  • Twizzlers
  • Betty Crocker – Fruit Snacks
  • Vegan Rob’s – Cheddar Puff (all flavors)
  • Miyoko’s cheese Wheels 
  • Ben & Jerry’s Dairy-Free Ice Cream 
Click HERE to check out our Eco Green Tees

The best part about this list is that every ‘junk food’ item is 100% palm oil-free!  This is a big deal for Mother Nature as this common ingredient is well known to be extremely detrimental to the environment. Palm oil plantations contribute to deforestation and the destruction of animal habitats. According to the World Wildlife Fund, WWF, Palm oil is associated with the further endangerment of species like the Orangutan, pygmy elephant, and Sumatran rhino.  

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Twitter – @monkey_burns

Grabbing a couple of these snacks on your next trip to the grocery store is a convenient and tasty way to go vegan and protect the environment! 

Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.

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Bruce, My Pet Worm | Build Back Better

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 12, 2021 by Catherine Zacuto, M. Ed.; source expert contributions from Pamela Scaiff 

Some people fall easily into the “dog people” category, some into the “cat people” one. If you are not either of those, you may be a “worm person.” Even if you love dogs and cats, you might be surprised to discover the advantages of worms for your lifestyle and your garden. Though not cuddly, worms make great pets. They don’t smell, they are clean, and they don’t have to be fed every day (or even every week). Worms don’t disturb the neighbours. They have a symbiotic relationship with insects. Worms don’t need pet sitters when you go away for a month. Even if you don’t need a new pet, the advantages of worms are worth investigating.

Friend or Slimy Bug? 

According to Pamela Scaiff, a Canadian sustainability expert, worms are both the perfect pets and partners in growing an eco-friendly garden. Pamela, who’s been living a sustainable life since 2010, recognizes the value and fun of raising worms. (She calls her worms Bruce, after the “Monty Python” philosophers sketch where all the professors are called Bruce.) Worms are a natural way to fertilize plants and aerate the soil without harming the ecosystem. Because living sustainably, in harmony with nature, is our goal, worms are the way to go. 

Act Now for the Earth Cafe wants you to join our ecosystem and have fun learning valuable tips about nature, carbon drawdown & sustainability. We’re all about community. Be a part of our vibrant ecosystem by CLICKing here today and checking out Earth Cafe!

What are the benefits of worms?

The principle advantage of worms is the natural fertilizer created by worm castings. Pamela calls this “the uppity word for worm poop.” This “black gold” yields nutrients that create strong and healthy plants and provides a viable alternative to harmful chemicals. At the same time, worms aerate the soil, allowing the roots of your plants to easily absorb the nutrients necessary for healthy growth. A secondary advantage, according to Pamela, is that worms are fascinating. From starting the bin, to adding the worms, to harvesting the casings, the journey is engaging and fruitful. 

Check out worms’ other benefits:

  • Increased soil nutrition from worm castings rich in nitrogen and adding four times the phosphorous that’s normally found in soil
  • Improved drainage and water storage, helping  alleviate drought and extreme heat conditions
  • Water infiltrates the soil more easily
  • Plant roots often descend lower and reach more water and nutrients
  • Improved soil structure
  • Improved productivity

How can I get started? Following simple guidelines will help you create and maintain healthy worm bins. Pamela began with a very small collection of Red Wiggler worms and worm cocoons and has had great success. She created an expert list of steps to get you started:

Location. First, decide where you are going to keep the bin – indoors or out. If you live in a cold environment, indoors is best. (Be selective about what you add to it, though, to avoid odors.)

The Container. Get a ratty old Rubbermaid tote — not the big kind, but the smaller one. Red Wigglers are surface dwellers, which means they are happiest just below the surface, not down deep. Drill air and drainage holes all over the tote, including the lid. (Pamela’s worms don’t escape because they don’t like light and also her bin is not toxic – so far). 

The Habitat Ingredients. Pamela recommends the following generally agreed upon ingredients for your bin:  

Browns: To keep your bin balanced, absorb liquid, and cool, you need bedding (carbon). Pamela uses shredded newspaper, egg cartons, coconut coir, manure, and more.

Greens: Add food scraps (they don’t have to be green). But be mindful about what you use. Brassicas like broccoli and kale cause odors. Acidic food such as onions and citrus upset the worms. 

Grit: Grit helps worms digest. Some (but not all) possibilities include sand, used coffee grounds (no longer acidic), and ground eggshells (they can’t use the shells otherwise.)

Water: Pamela advises, “Goldilocks style: too much and the bin goes anaerobic, starts to smell, and all kinds of bugs flourish. Not enough and your worm castings dry out and become useless.”

Compost: Add a handful of compost to inject helpful bacteria into your bin and get it working.

Worms: Many different varieties of worms will work. Pamela prefers red wigglers. Earthworms are an option, but they are not as productive as the red wigglers. They also escape more often.

Feeding your Worms

Pamela feeds her worms 2 – 4 times a month, and only when there is no food or almost no food left. You may need to adjust the time period as your worms grow. Be careful not to overfeed them, or it will be too much to process before it gets smelly or hot.

Here is Pamela’s formula, in her own words: 

Bedding: I rip up newspaper and egg cartons.

Greens:  Apparently, the worms love avocados and bananas. So, I chop up banana peels, gleefully much the brown bits of avocados… and freeze them. The freezing helps speed up the decomposition by breaking membranes. Only at this stage will the worms be able to eat them. I have added science experiments from the fridge.. mouldy berries, for example, but nothing cooked and no meat. 

Grit:  I mix into the food a handful of used coffee grounds and ground egg shells. I got an old coffee grinder off my local buy nothing group, so I grind shells as I collect them. 

Water:  This took me some time to figure out – how to feel the right amount of water. But the next day, I lift the lid.  If I suddenly see lots of white bugs or worms climbing the sides, I keep the lid off and let it air out. I often have a large piece of paper over the castings. 

More Worm Wisdom 

To fluff or not to fluff – there is some debate. Pamela fluffs her bin about once a month. Not only because it is fun, but also because it allows her to see if the bin is too wet or too dry and to check for uneaten food and changes in the population. 

Don’t worry about the worms overpopulating. According to Pamela, worms self-regulate. They stop reproducing if there are too many of them, if it’s too dry or too wet, or if there is not enough food. If the conditions are right, they can double their population in 60 days. 

Adding composting worms to our home composting bins and/or directly to the soil in our yards will dramatically improve the amount of carbon we can store in the soil. Climate solutions are much easier than we realize. Act today! CLICK here.

You might notice other bugs in your bin. Don’t overthink this! A healthy bin is an entire ecosystem. Pamela explains, “The worms need other bugs that are also decomposers to start the process. Basically, the other bugs and bacteria are food processors for worms.” Pamela was vigilant in identifying the bugs, so as to avoid a bug problem in the house, but, in the end, they were all so happy that they got to stay!

You may wonder how to harvest the castings without losing the worms. Pamela has two suggestions: Feed only one side of the bin for a month; the worms will all migrate to that side. Alternatively, put a basket in the middle and only place the food there; the worms will hang out with the food while you gather the castings. Be careful! Castings and cocoons look remarkably alike.

Next Steps

  • Have fun setting up your bin.
  • Buy, find, or trade for worms.
  • Dump the worms on top of the habitat and watch them immediately start burrowing.  
  • Watch your worms grow.
  • Harvest the “black gold” add to your plants – indoors or outside.
  • Share extra worms with like minded gardeners.
  • Read up on how to shrink your carbon footprint
No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Not only a gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also one that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.


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