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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Glass Packaging Will Absolutely Curb Plastic Waste

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

My obsession with glass packaging is based on the fact that we as individuals and families can easily make a difference in curbing plastic waste through our product choices in the grocery store. All that’s required is that we’re more aware of what brands we select and how our selections impact the decision making at each corporation.

First, let’s be clear, there will always be a standard 30% of the public who will never care and will refuse to change their habits, not matter how much proof is provided. So we can’t worry about this. They’ll be forced to adapt when corporations stuck in the past go out of business.

But for the rest of us, the facts are compelling. And if we are to safeguard our children’s futures, it’s imperative that we change our daily and weekly habits appropriately.

  • ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300The hotel industry has done a remarkable job of ditching all the tiny plastic bottled of incidentals and switching to giant dispensers in the showers. As soon as Bonvoy Marriott announced their decision, the majority of hotels immediately followed suit. Imagine how quickly the plastic nightmare would end, if Heinz did the same. Condiments and soda are two plastic heavy hitters. Coke has responded. Coke, Sprite and Fanta, along with a handful of other familiar soda brands, are sold in both glass and plastic in super markets. But Heinz refuses to compromise. Ketchup, BBQ sauce, salad dressing across the board, all Heinz-Kraft products are only sold in plastic.
  • According to Mashed, Heinz sells 650 million (plastic) bottles of ketchup per year, 1,000 bottles per minute. The tip of the Heinz plastic iceberg though may be the 11 billion packets of ketchup that Thrillist asserts Heinz sells per year. If Heinz would simply do what’s best for the public and for the planet, there would be an immediate and dramatic reduction in plastic waste.
  • National Geographic recently stunned the world by announcing that only 9% of plastic is recycled.
  • The majority of spaghetti sauce brands are sold in glass bottles, possibly 95%. BBQ sauce is at nearly 85% sold in glass, with the only two significant plastic holdouts are Heinz and Kraft.

Interestingly, spaghetti sauce sold in glass is priced lower than Heinz Ketchup sold in plastic. What gives? This makes no sense.

There doesn’t appear to be any data supporting Keinz’s stubborn refusal to adapt to the climate crisis. There appears to only be one way left to motivate Heinz to do the right thing… boycott Heinz!

I found organic Red Duck Ketchup, a brand new ketchup that’s positively delicious. I’m on my second bottle, and I love finding a reason to enjoy it every single day.

Boycotts are the American way. They work. Corporations respond to consumer demand that hits them in their wallets. It’s the upside of capitalism.~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Weather Weaponization | Climate Change Deluges

Washington (GGM) Analysis
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

The new normal of weekly rain deluges is directly correlated to the melting polar ice sheets. The fact that these rain and snow torrents are now so consistent and prevalent, serve as a steady reminder of how urgent the climate crisis is, and how essential climate action must become in our daily choices and habits.

The increased moisture in the air, which has resulted in terrifying “weather bombs,” arises from the warming oceans that melt the polar ice sheets.

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Dark blue ocean waters store heat from the sun, causing ocean temperatures to rise, triggering the increased atmospheric moisture and the damaging weather bombs. Whereas massive white polar ice sheets deflect the sun’s heat… so as these polar sheets ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300melt, the balance between the amount of dark blue heat-absorbing water to white sun-reflecting sheets shifts, and moisture in the air increases, triggering an influx of deluges.

Understanding the science behind this life-threatening phenomenon, is very effective motivation in accelerating our personal shift to non fossil fuel sustainable energy.

Over the July 4th holiday, driving through the mountains, the skies opened and dumped a blinding amount of rain on the packed lanes of traffic. It was maddening that at that precise moment, I just happened to be next to an “Extra Wide Load” (truck carrying a mobile home) on a curve along a pothole strewn interstate highway high atop a mountain. Crazy. No place to take cover. Windshield wipers that couldn’t keep up. A flash of awareness overcame me, and I could see so clearly that something significant has changed and driving in these conditions was exceedingly dangerous.

Further down the highway, there had been a massive accident that shut down all three lanes. We had to stay parked for two hours while they cleared the wreck. The two events seem connected, but may not have been.

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Individual #ClimateAction is both a moral imperative as well as a personal daily checklist. Everyone of us on earth, needs to aim for a personal carbon footprint of only 3 metric tons annually. Currently, most Americans hover around 15.5 metric tons, while there are many that cruise along at 23 metric tons.

Climate Change Expert  Dr. Joseph Romm, an MIT alumni, has organized Climate Action choices into four categories:

  • Transportation: make the switch to Hybrid or EV autos; public transportation, walk, scooter, ride bikes
  • Home:  go solar, LED lightbulbs, turn out lights when leaving a room
  • Diet: change our eating habits, red meat & dairy increase our carbon footprint
  • Stuff: buying, storing and carting around “stuff”

The #ClimateCrisis warnings are everywhere. Deluges are universal, striking every town, state and country. The ONLY way to alter the current climate change trajectory is to tackle all four of these climate action categories as quickly as possible. Good luck, we can do this!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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LEGO MOVIE 2 | Movie Review

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

Reviewed by REGGIE WOLTZ

Towards the end of The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, the tiny bricks, in a moment of great despair, soak their sadness in a song: ‘Everything’s not awesome, everything’s not cool and I am so depressed’.

Later, a little pep talk from one of the main characters shines a new, hopeful light on their situation and they modify their song to ‘Everything is not awesome. Things can’t be awesome all of the time… But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make everything awesome in a less idealistic kind of a way.’ And those are basically my thoughts about the movie.

This sequel to The Lego Movie is just good enough when compared to its predecessor. There is still a lot of meta humor, washed down with a big gulp of pop culture references, with a sweet serving of a wholesomeness. However, the noisy, color-filled chain explosion does try your patience before it gets to the good bits.

The Second Part begins where the first ended. After saving the city, Emmet (Chris Pratt) and his friends are met with a new problem, the little sister wants to play with them and so do her unforgiving toys, who will munch on any peace offerings from the townspeople of Bricksburg.

We jump five years and the sweet town has been converted into a Mad Max-inspired post-apocalyptic world. Everything is hopeless and gloomy, but not for Emmet. He is still singing and believing that Everything Is Awesome.

His optimism seems childish to Lucy (Elizabeth Banks) and she demands that he should toughen up, be mature, grow up. So when terror strikes again and aliens from the nearby Systar System take Emmet’s friends hostage, it’s just the right opportunity for him to leave his sweet, innocent self behind and toughen up. Mentoring him into manhood is the manliest man brick in the universe, Rex Dangervest (also voiced by Pratt). The raptor-training-space hero-archeologist-cowboy-carpenter (an amalgamation of all of Pratt’s characters from Jurassic World, Guardians of the Galaxy, Parks and Recreation and others) helps Emmet rescue his friends from the clutches of evil queen Watevra Wa’nabi (Tiffany Haddish). She wants to marry Batman, by the way.

As you can tell, the movie begins on a messy and rather childish note, apparently with no other intention but to make kids laugh at the glitter-barfing brick and make adults laugh at sly digs at Marvel. It achieves that adequately well. Kids giggle at the exploding stars and are awestruck at Rex’s giant spaceship. Meanwhile, adults are kept entertained with Batman’s mention of Ben Affleck’s chiseled abs and Bruce Willis hanging out in air vents.

More hilarious bits include a nod to Avengers Infinity War’s gloomy ending and the genius play on words that will keep you hooked until the big twist and the big reveal. Upon the revelation, the entire last hour begins making more sense and doesn’t look as shallow as it did earlier.

The Everything Is Not Awesome song reminds of the despair the toys felt in Toy Story 3, as they held hands, headed towards the furnace, ready to die. Surely, nothing can beat the sullen sadness of that scene but The LEGO Movie 2 did come close.

Batman, played again by Will Arnette to a brooding perfection, is still the one to rake in maximum laughs and most kudos for his pop culture references, jealousy for Superman and the complete disdain for marriage. However, to watch him fall in love like a high school boy was just as fun.

The journey of Lego Movie 2 from the first minute to the happy ending was a steep upwards graph. It tests your patience at moments but rewards you just as well at the end. When I say the end, I mean the end credits. Don’t get off your seats until the screen fades to black; you won’t regret it.

© Copyright 2017 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET | Movie Review

Ralph Breaks The Internet

by REGGIE WOLTZ

It took six years for a Wreck-It Ralph sequel to take shape, and it quickly proves why. Ralph Breaks the Internet mostly eschews the video game cultural mash-up of the original to tell a kid-friendly story set inside the Internet. It’s such a different beast than its predecessor, and yet it’ll likely reach a similar adult audience as the original, as the barrier between gamers and memers isn’t too high, if it exists at all.

As far how the plot handles that transition, screenwriters Phil Johnston, also serving as co-director, and Pamela Ribon simply have the arcade owner plug in the establishment’s first Internet router. But an overlong first act has the unfortunate job of setting up the circumstances that bring Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman) into the world wide web. There are too many scenes that exist to re-establish their friendship while they play in the same world as the original. It feels like a lifetime establishing Vanellope’s reason for going into the Internet (they have to find a spare part for her arcade machine on Ebay), and the script doesn’t clue us into Ralph’s arc until hers is ending.

But things pick up significantly when the pair starts exploring the Interweb. The jokes are largely simple, such as birds in a tree tweeting primarily photos of cats, and yet just clever enough that they feel fresh. The smart personification of pop-up ads (Bill Hader voices J.P. Spamley, get it?) breathes some life into the early Internet scenes, but the story really comes alive when Vanellope enters an online racing game far more violent and hardcore than her candy coated arcade machine. She’s inspired by that game’s popular racer Shank (Gal Gadot), and thus begins a journey of finding her true home. Splitting from Ralph, their individual journeys give Ralph Breaks the Internet some surprising emotional power in its second half.

Still, the animated sequel feels very much mass-produced and corporate-approved. When the entity doing the approving is Disney, the result is more often than not a mixed bag. When Vanellope visits a family friendly Disney fan site, it’s hard not to feel directors Johnston and Rich Moore sucking up to their corporate overlords. Nods to Marvel and Star Wars aren’t so much hidden as they drive the plot and humor. But then, sometimes the Disney brand is just undeniably strong and, when manipulated in clever ways, can be used effectively. Ralph Breaks the Internet‘s best scene sees Vanellope entering a room filled with all of the classic Disney princesses, from Snow White to Moana. It is an extended sequence written out of pure joy with not an ounce of cynicism. It’s one of the best moments of popular cinema this year, and gives way to one of the film’s other transcendent moments: a hysterical yet poignant song sung by Vanellope about finding where she belongs in a gritty, ultra-violent racing game.

The film draws her arc so smartly, that when it starts wrapping up as Ralph’s is getting started (far too late), the story at large starts to feel like overkill. And yet, the script still weaves in a powerful message about the nature of friendship that, while not wholly original, is relatively unexplored in children’s media.

So while the rough first half could definitely have been shorter, a lot of Ralph Breaks the Internet ends up being worthwhile. As a visual send-up of some of the Internet’s most popular corners, the film is clever and inventive, even if the jokes themselves likely won’t age well by the midway point of the 2020s. But this being as it may be, there’s an artfully written sequencing for the film and a strong heart rooted in friendship. By no means a classic, or capable of making much of a stir on the actual Internet, this animated sequel is coded to entertain, and that it does.

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Protecting America’s Natural Wonders | The Future

Spaceship interior with view on the planet Earth 3D rendering el

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”
~Albert Einstein

It’s July 2018, the height of summer vacation season, with millions of American families across the country piling into cars, boarding planes and trains, and trekking the distance to our country’s mesmerizing natural wonders.

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Families arrive at each destination, bright-eyed with sublime awe, enthralled with the dazzling displays of pristine landscapes seemingly untouched by humans prior to their arrival.

Most beautiful Falls in United States--Havasu Falls,Supai, Arizo

We’re all extremely proud of our nation’s natural beauty. For 200 years, ever since the Lewis & Clark Expedition (May 1804 to September 1806), when we first discovered these abundant natural resources, we’ve eagerly sacrificed whatever is necessary to preserve our most valuable treasures.

Yosemite Valley

American tourism is a $1.5 trillion industry, employing 7.08 million Americans. An economic powerhouse that features some of the most breathtaking landscapes in the world.

Horseshoe Bend, Grand Canyon

But what will we the future hold for these iconic pillars of our American identity after the Trump team has completed their destruction agenda of these remarkable national assets?

Sunset at Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona, Utah, U

The current reality of recently resigned EPA Director Scott Pruitt’s, and Office of the Interior Director Zinke’s, swift and determined effort to rollback the safeguards that our previous presidents fought so hard to implement and maintain… is alarming.

PRUITT is RESPONSIBLE FOR:

  • Undoing the Clean Water Act implemented to protect wetlands and streams, many of which run through our millions of acres of National Parks
  • Dismantling Obama’s clean power plan
  • Halting the scheduled ban on chlorpyrifos which negatively impacts development in children
  • De-prioritizing the clean-up of superfund sites
  • Failure to focus on the Flint water crisis
  • 700 EPA employees leaving their jobs Pruitt’s first year in office
  • and so much more…

ZINKE is RESPONSIBLE FOR:

  • Canceling the freeze placed on coal companies for new leases on public land
  • Slashing the size of national monuments in an effort to promote mining and drilling, despite the fact that the world is shifting to clean energy at a rapid pace (Trump announced that Bears Ears monument will be cut by three quarters, and that Grand Staircase-Escalante monument will be cut in half)
  • Eviscerating the plan to save the endangered sage grouse, potentially opening up these thousands of acres to mining
  • Deleting Obama’s regulations against fracking on federal property
  • Opening up all US coastal shorelines to gas and oil drilling, destroying the lifeline of our immense tourism industry (again, this despite the fact, the world is rushing to shift to clean energy)

Tuesday November 6, 2018 is right around the corner. Let’s express our horror at these seeming crimes at the voting booth.

Tropical sunset with palm tree silhouette panorama

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Nicky Scarfo, Donald Trump, James Comey | Perspective

perspective

With James Comey’s long awaited book “A Higher Loyalty” being released today Tuesday April 17, 2018, and with the leaked excerpt making headlines the Friday before the official release (April 13, 2018), which was followed immediately by the bombing of Syria Friday – a news story that ran parallel to publisher Macmillan’s unofficially disclosed excerpts, with some outlets implying that the two were connected in a cause & effect kind of relationship – it may be worth drilling down on one of the critical talking points of Comey’s leaked excerpt.

“Flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the Mob. The silent circle of assent. The boss in complete control. The loyalty oaths. The us-versus-them worldview. The lying about all things, large and small, in service to some code of loyalty that put the organization above morality and above the truth.” ~ James Comey, ‘A Higher Loyalty’

This pretty much sums everything up in a pinpointed nutshell.

It’s 100% how I’ve felt these past fifteen months… it’s the impression the vast majority of Americans have had ever since Trump was inaugurated. In short, I find Comey’s leaked excerpt particularly significant. It validates our unsettled feelings and concerns about all things Trump. It seems to be the very reason why the book is entitled A Higher Loyalty, and the explanation behind why Comey was fired. But most importantly, this specific paragraph might have otherwise gotten drowned out by the many thousands of other paragraphs that will soon be discussed for days, weeks and months to come.

Isolating the exact pinpoint around which all the conflicts circle, is what I’d hope for from the fired Director of the FBI with a higher loyalty who’s releasing his memoir while Tump is still in office, while we’re still battling the many immense polarized issues, all while the Russia hurricane is thrashing our nation from coast-to-coast. Comey’s mastery of skills, and his prowess, which led him to become the Director of the FBI, a career that was cut short because of his patriotism and deep moral convictions… is still incredibly valuable. Comey may have lost his job, but he didn’t lose his skills and knowledge. The above paragraph makes this very clear.

“The center point of the circle is the origin of the coordinate plane. It belongs to a multitude of circles, an unimaginably large group of concentric circles that share this point as their center. An infinity of circles share this point as their center.” ~Martin Hauser

So then, the answer to our many contentious, grave national concerns while Trump is still our President, is to understand how the Mafia operates. Sadly, the methods prosecutors and law enforcement rely on to deal with the MOB are perhaps the same ones we’ll be forced to use with Trump.

Thirty plus years ago, when Trump schemed of being the king of Atlantic City Casinos, he was mentored by Mob Boss Nicky Scarfo and mobster Daniel Sullivan. Nicky Scarfo’s influence over Trump appears to have been substantial and permanent. Decades later, Scarfo’s techniques are now Trump’s trademark. Comey’s statement, noted above, seems 100% accurate. But the most interesting part about Comey’s book, is that it’s written very directly. You immediately process that you’re reading a truthful statement. You don’t doubt that it’s a fact.

When someone writes or speaks this way, the burden is placed on the reader. It’s the equivalent of hearing the train sound and knowing that a tornado is spiraling toward you. If a “train” can be heard, no one ever doubts that a tornado is near…or yells “Fake news.” Instead, we simply run for cover. We don’t have to be told to hide in the basement. Rather, we’re keenly aware of the next steps to take.

That’s the impact of Comey’s writing style. That these are alarming facts. All Americans should be gravely concerned. We MUST quickly take the next step, which Comey makes very clear involves voting for ethical leaders, thus voting Trump and those like him out of office. Morality matters.

In the mean time, all three branches of government, the DOD, every single US agency… in fact, every single solitary American needs to get the 101 on the Mafia if we’re going to weather this storm. I re-watched The Godfather this weekend to get a better handle on it.

© Copyright 2017 – 2018. ALL Rights Reserved.
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