Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Trash Lessons from the Greenest City

S.F provides residents with green bins for food scrapes
San Francisco has been called the "greenest city in America" and when it comes to keeping garbage out of landfills, it's a title the city has earned. 

The city keeps an astonishing 80% of solid waste out of landfills, in part because residents not only use blue bins for their glass, plastic and papers but an additional green bin for all their compostable food waste. 

The company Recology manages the city's solid waste and notes that its composting program "takes 650 tons per day of organic matter and turns it into compost that goes to farms, orchards, vineyards and landscaping businesses." The city is aiming to be zero waste by 2020. 

More than 90 other cities have followed San Francisco's lead with curbside composting, including Portland, Oregon; Boulder, Colorado; and Seattle. Most recently, city councilors in Boston have been lobbying hard for curbside compost pickup in their city. Currently, Boston residents must turn to the group Bootstrap Compost a residential and commercial food scrap service that collects scraps in five-gallon buckets by bike trailer ($8 per week for residents). Residents receive compost back-up to 15 pounds per year. The remaining compost benefits area farms and community gardens.  The operation has diverted more than 170,000 pounds of scraps since launching in 2011. 

Food scraps make up the largest percentage of waste in landfills' (followed by plastics at 17% and paper at 16%). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that in 2010, more than 34 million tons of food waste was generated; and only 3% was diverted from landfills. As those food scraps rot in landfills, they release large amount of methane, a greenhouse gas that's 21 times as potent as carbon dioxide. And wasting food, the EPA notes, means wasting the resources that went into making that food another major source of emissions. 

Much food that's being tossed is usable and can be donated to food pantries and kitchens. Other food scraps can be composted, or become a form of usable energy through anaerobic digestion. Michigan State University is building an anaerobic digester on campus that will reuse waste from the university's farms and dining halls to make energy. It' s set to be completed this summer. "Once complete, this system will be the largest on a college campus in the United States, said Dana Kirk, a specialist from MSU's Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering who is overseeing the project." It will be the largest in volume and in energy output. 

In New York City in February 2013, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that a pilot compost collection system would be launched in Staten Island among single-family homes. If the pilot is successful he plans to expand the program elsewhere in the city. New York City's recycling rate is currently around 15%, less than half the national average; a rate Bloomberg has promised to double by 2017.

Major Manhattan real estate company the Durst Organization (whose portfolio includes One World Trade Center and Four Times Square) launched its own composting program in 2012. Food waste is collected from its buildings, sent upstate to be turned into compost, and then used on over an acre of green roofs spread across the company's properties.

It's the kind of integrated green initiative that is par for the course in San Francisco; achieving waste-, energy-, water- and pollution-reduction in one fell swoop.

Unethical Journal Retraction Fuels Mistrust in GMO Science

by Dr. Mercola 

Last year, the first-ever lifetime feeding study assessing the health risks of genetically engineered Roundup Ready corn was published. Last month, Food and Chemical Toxicology retracted the study saying it “did not meet scientific standards.

While no errors or misrepresentation of data were found, the journal stated the study had too small a sample size to make any definite conclusion about health effects. This is in clear violation of retraction guidelines for scientific publishing.

Earlier this year, the publisher created a brand new editorial position, Associate Editor for Biotechnology Richard E. Goodman, a former Monsanto scientist got the job.

The bizarre justification for retracting the feeding study is enough to indicate that “corporate terrorism” has seized the field and is actively undermining science as we know it. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Green Up, Get Moving

Green Up, Get Moving was inspired by a survey, conducted by National Geographic, that found American consumers ranked DEAD LAST as consumers of renewable energy, recycling, transportation, food consumption, and everyday consumer goods and NUMBER ONE in obesity and related diseases.

The Green Up promotion addresses both issues. It combines the green movement with fitness sports to help bring awareness to the importance of maintaining a sustainable planet and healthy body! It's designed to get people of all ages involved in physical activities and to serve as a platform to help promote zero-waste and the universal green marketing theme of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. It's also about having fun!

THIS IS HOW IT WORKS: In a nutshell
  • Green Up, Get Moving is a hands-on promotion. We work with event promoters and attend as many fitness related sporting events, trade shows, markets and festivals as possible throughout the year.
  • We assist participating promoters by advertising and marketing their event in exchange for on-site space during their events, where we distribute our sponsors information, literature, product samples and sometimes conduct demo's. We also distribute information about living a sustainable green lifestyle, getting fit and tips on how to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Through our promotion we also encourage participants, spectators and everyone else to walk, bike car pool, or take public transportation to and from events -- and everywhere else, whenever possible.
  • We also promote the concept of "zero-waste," by discouraging the use of disposable plastic water bottles and other disposable plastic items and to use only refillable, stainless steel, or other non-disposable recyclable containers.
That's the basic format. We are flexible and work with promoters special requests, plus assist in the procurement of sponsors and volunteers. 406-871-6282

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud ... No Word From US Media

Can you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? 

Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that.  

Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country. 

The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. 

These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers. This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources. READ >

The Value of Being Green . . . .

Just as natural resources are becoming scarce and costly; customers, employees and investors are increasingly environmentally-conscious.  A record-high 71 percent of Americans consider the environment as one of their top priorities when they shop. 
Just think what it would be if businesses actually let consumers know they promote and demonstrate a commitment to green principles and policies.

Do the Green. Find out what a $25 promotion looks like.
Call us 406-871-6282, or click here and we'll contact you

Monday, December 09, 2013

Food is the New Tobacco

It's Time to Confront the Corporate Giants that Are Hurting Americans' Health

Jeffrey Hollender | salt, fat, sugar

Recently Michael Moss in a New York Times Magazine cover story—“The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food”—examined how food companies have known for decades that salt, sugar and fat are not good for us in the quantities Americans consume them, and yet every year they convince most of us to ingest about twice the recommended amount of salt and 70 pounds of sugar – up to 22 teaspoons a day.

As a critique of corporate behavior for 25 years, Michael Moss’s story convinced me to add US consumer food companies such as Pepsi, Kraft and General Mills to part of America’s evil corporate empire that already includes the banking and finance industry, the chemical industry, and the defense industry together with the US Chamber of Commerce.

Is every company in these industries evil? Certainly not, but too many of them have acted with a blatant disregard for reasonable moral and ethical behavior.

A few highlights from Moss’s story:

At a meeting in 1999 that engaged the CEOs of some of the largest food companies in the country, they were presented with a vivid picture of the emerging obesity crisis. The presenter was none other than one of their own, a senior executive at Kraft, who basically laid the emerging obesity crisis at the feet of the processed food industry and pleaded with them to do something collectively to turn the corner.

What happened?

Industry food executives responded by saying, “Look, we’re already providing people with choices in the grocery store. We are committed to nutrition, as we are to convenience and low prices.” But what they meant to say was that they were worried about the lost billions in sales if the healthier products they created weren’t as addictive as the garbage they now make.

Salt, sugar, and fat are the three pillars, the Holy Grail on which the food industry survives. And through their research, the industry knows that, “when they hit the perfect amounts of each of those ingredients, they’ll send us over the moon, products will fly off the shelves, we’ll eat more, we’ll buy more—and being companies, of course, that they will make more money.”

Obesity is an epidemic by design, as is diabetes. Americans are sick and no amount of health insurance is likely to make us better. It’s time to recognize that the food industry is the new tobacco industry and start taking action
in the same way.


Today in the United States, by the simple acts of feeding ourselves, we are unwittingly participating in the largest experiment ever conducted on human beings. 

Each of us unknowingly consumes genetically engineered food on a daily basis. The risks and effects to our health and the environment are largely unknown. Yet more and more studies are being conducted around the world, which only provide even more reason for concern. 

We are the oblivious guinea pigs for wide-scale experimentation of modern biotechnology. 

GMO OMG tells the story of a fathers discovery of GMOs in relationship to his 3 young children and the world around him. 

We still have time to heal the planet, feed the world, and live sustainably. But we have to start now!-- written by anonymous

GMO OMG director and concerned father Jeremy Seifert is in search of answers. How do GMOs affect our children, the health of our planet, and our freedom of choice? And perhaps the ultimate question, which Seifert tests himself: is it even possible to reject the food system currently in place, or have we lost something we can’t gain back? 

These and other questions take Seifert on a journey from his family’s table to Haiti, Paris, Norway, and the lobby of agra-giant Monsanto, from which he is unceremoniously ejected. Along the way we gain insight into a question that is of growing concern to citizens the world over: what's on your plate? 7:00 PM, FVCC, Arts & Technology Bldg, RM 139 lower level. - See more at: http://www.gmofilm.com/#sthash.Cv9aIbgX.dpuf 

Fracking with our Largest Source of Fresh Water

The Dangers of Fracking: 
Fracking uses a toxic chemical cocktail known as fracking fluid.

  • Companies using fracking fluid have resisted disclosing the contents of fracking fluid, claiming the information is  proprietary. However, samples from well sites indicate that the fluid contains: formaldehyde, acetic acids, citric  acids, and boric acids, among hundreds of other contaminants.

  • It has recently come to light that, despite the illegality of the action, companies have been caught using diesel  fuel in the fracking fluid.

Fracking removes millions of gallons of precious freshwater from the water cycle.
  • Each well uses between two and five million gallons of locally-sourced freshwater which will be permanently  contaminated by ground contaminants and toxic chemicals contained in the fracking fluid.

  • The “Fracking by the Numbers” report measured key indicators of fracking threats across the country

    • 280 billion gallons of toxic wastewater generated in 2012,
    • 450,000 tons of air pollution produced in one year,
    • 250 billion gallons of fresh water used since 2005,
    • 360,000 acres of land degraded since 2005,
    • 100 million metric tons of global warming pollution since 2005.

    Fracking also inflicts other damage not quantified in the report — ranging from contamination of residential wells to ruined roads to earthquakes at disposal sites.

  • About half of this water returns to the surface, where it is stored in steel containers until it can be injected deep  underground in oil and gas waste wells.

  • No one is entirely sure what happens to the other half of the water used in the process. Our best guess is that  the water remains underground, though there are indications that at least some of this toxic cocktail makes its  way back into the water supply.

Fracking causes a range of environmental problems.
  • At least eight other states have reported surface, ground, and drinking water contamination due to fracking.

  • In Pennsylvania, over 1,400 environmental violations have been attributed to deep gas wells utilizing fracking practices.

  • Pollution from truck traffic, chemical contamination around storage tanks, and habitat fragmentation and damage  from drilling to environmentally sensitive areas have are all related to fracking.

TRASHED: Think Waste is Someone Else's Problem?

 "Pulitzer price winning author Russell Baker once said "The American dream is to turn goods into trash as fast as possible."  Nowhere is this better illustrated than in Bill Kirkos' film Trashed.

“Trashed” is a provocative investigation of one of the fastest growing industries in North America. The garbage business. 

The film examines a fundamental element of modern American culture…the disposal of what our society defines as “waste.” 

It is an issue influenced by every American, most of whom never consider the consequences. Nor, it seems, the implications to our biosphere. At times humorous, but deeply poignant, “Trashed” examines the American waste stream fast approaching a half billion tons annually.

What are the effects all this waste will have on already strained natural resources? Why is so much of it produced? While every American creates almost 5 pounds of it every day, who is affected most? And who wants America to make more?

The film analyzes the causes and effects of the seemingly innocuous act of “taking out the garbage” while showcasing the individuals, activists,corporate and advocacy groups working to affect change and reform the current model. “Trashed” is an informative and thought-provoking film everyone interested in the future of sustainability should see.   HERE >>

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Going Green: What Does it REALLY Mean?

"Going Green" is the latest marketing buzzword. Airlines, car companies, retailers, restaurants, bars — even churches and stadiums are incorporating environmental responsibility to their marketing programs. More often than not, that’s a good thing. But what does it really mean? 

There's another term associated with going green. It's called greenwashing. It’s when a business or organization claims to be “green” through advertising and marketing, but aren't -- it’s just making green claims to sell more stuff.

Smart businesses are finding out that doing right by the environment actually does increase profitability in many cases. With so many easy ways for businesses to reduce their environmental impact or improve their products and processes, it’s a real head-scratcher when they don’t. It’s even worse when they don’t make changes and claim to be a green company just to push their agenda. 

Consumers are Starting to Get it . . . .
According to Gallup, 85% of U.S. consumers are willing to switch loyalty to support greening companies, and globally 50% of consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services and trust companies that have implemented 'green' programs -- and actually provide proof.

It makes going green competitive
Because businesses can talk about ‘going green,’ but no one really knows what they are doing specifically. That makes it easy for some companies to not do much.

When companies are more transparent, and that information becomes easily available and in one consistent format, consumers can make smarter decisions about which brands and products to support. And, subsequently, that puts a lot of pressure on environmentally inactive corporations and businesses to make a change. It makes going green competitive.

Consumers do have the power to influence the way the world does business. Change will happen when consumers demand that the companies they buy from mix in a little green where the bottom-line has always been about red or black.

Change will happen when companies can't afford not to.

But the bottom line, as consumers, we don’t have enough knowledge readily available to help make meaningful choices. So, we’re skeptical and, at times, confused. Until NOW!

Alternatives Eco-Profiles are a simple way for every company and organization to communicate and share what they do environmentally in one consistent format. No more confusion about what 'green' means. Call 406-871-6282

The Basics of Life

  By Willard “Woody” Michels Guest Blogger A couple years ago a man named Gabriel Sherman wrote a book, “The Loudest Voice in the Room.” Th...