Category Archives: Environmental Education

Green isn’t just for the Irish: Earth-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

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If you are already going green this St. Patrick’s Day, you should think about making the holiday a real green event by becoming more eco-friendly.

That’s because,  the ‘Green’ holiday is anything but! Think of all the waste from cups, banners, confetti, hats and trinkets.

Our planet needs more than luck to save its environment. It needs everyone doing their part – even a small part – to make it safe and less toxic. And the best part: you’ll be wearing the green’ every day if you start thinking eco-friendly!

And it’s easy to get greener than ever this holiday:

  • Buy locally brewed beer. What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a beer for most individuals?” When you buy beer that is ‘less travelled’ plus put it in a reusuable beer mug or glass, you are hitting a pot of ‘green’ gold!
  • Eat green. Locally-produced food (including corned beef and cabbage) will not only support the local economy while providing you with the freshest food, but also reduce the need for long-distance food distribution that now accounts for up 17 times more greenhouse gas.
  • Leave the car behind. Take a cue from those in Ireland and walk if you can. Or find alternative ways to get to parties by taking a bus, train or share a cab to the Irish destination.
  • Plant something green. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint – the amount of carbon dioxide generated annually as the result of your person consumption – become a modern Johnny Appleseed and put down some trees.
  • Use environmentally responsible house cleaning products. Once the festivities are over, let the house sparkle like a pot of gold by cleaning it with eco-friendly, chemical free cleaners.

 

Ag Stats: What You Probably Don’t Know

Consider this: just about everything we eat, wear and use comes from American agriculture.

It’s an entire industry dedicated to providing plentiful and safe food for consumption, as well as a wide range of comfortable, fashionable clothing choices. From beef and pork to cotton and corn, agriculture is working harder than ever to meet the needs of Americans and others around the world. (Agriculture is this nation’s #1 export.)

At T4CI, we focus on supporting sustainable agriculture initiatives which do so much for a healthy economy.

What’s sustainable agriculture? In simplest terms, it’s the production of food, fiber, or other plant or animal products using farming techniques that protect the environment, public health, human communities, and animal welfare.

In honor of National Agriculture Month, we are sharing some stats you might not know about agriculture in general.

Want to learn more about a few of our agriculture initiatives which are helping to create a sustainable and just food system? Check out :

  • Animal Agriculture Reform Collaborative –  brings together sustainable farmers, environmental, public health, social and economic justice, and animal welfare organizations to work on systemic change required to establish a sustainable and just animal agriculture system.
  • Change Food – helps individuals change the way they eat by raising public awareness and educating consumers about opportunities to shift the U.S. food supply to a sustainable food system where healthy, nutritious food is accessible by all.
  • Interfaith Sustainable Food Collaborative – connects faith congregations in Sonoma and Marin counties with local farmers and gardeners to increase community access to healthy food produced in a sustainable, socially just manner.
  • Kitchen Table Advisors – provides farmers with business and financial advising and help farmers access the tools, knowledge and resources they need on their path to becoming resilient and viable businesses.
  • PiggyBank – provides an open forum, where the public will have access to information on all heritage breed pigs and access business plans written by other farmers.

And that’s the way it is: T4CI salutes Walter Cronkite

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Walter Cronkite

On this day in 1981, Walter Cronkite, did his final sign off as the anchor for CBS news.  He had held the post since 1962, and is as iconic as the news he covered.

As ‘the most trusted man in America’, he reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including:

  • bombings in World War II
  • the Nuremberg trials
  • combat in the Vietnam War
  • the Dawson’s Field hijackings
  • Watergate
  • the Iran Hostage Crisis
  • and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon.

He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of a Moon-rock award.

That’s what most people remember… yet, there is so much more. Cronkite was passionate about environmental issues and sustainability, long before it was cool to be.

An avid sailor, Cronkite became an advocate of the conservation of rivers, lakes, bays, and seas. He kept a framed photo over his desk of the earth rising as seen from the moon, to keep reminding himself to help protect the planet.

Cronkite had CBS Reports investigate two environmental catastrophes that occurred that year in 1969: the Santa Barbara oil spill  and the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio. And the old reporter saw the future:  “The North American continent seemed ringed by oil slicks off Alaska, off Nova Scotia, off Florida, and most dramatically, in the Gulf Coast off Louisiana,” he said. And that changed the way the news covered the environment.

CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight:

 It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘goddamnit, we’ve got to get on this environmental story.'”

When Walter said ‘goddamnit,’ things happened.”

Cronkite and Bonn launched “Can the World Be Saved?” news segments in the spring of 1970. Pollution, over-population and even climate change were stories that became major news as a result. And Cronkite shared his judgments openly: to make change, we had to demand it.

Cronkite’s insisted CBS News played a major role in publicizing the first Earth Day in the United States, on April 22, 1970 which included  CBS News Special Report anchored by the veteran journalist.

Even after his retirement on this day in 1981, he was outspoken for the planet.

In 2004, he wrote an op-ed that criticized then President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address:

(Bush) spoke of the nation’s problems and the dangers it faces, particularly in regard to national security, but he gave no indication that he recognizes the dangers of global warming.

Surely it has been brought to his attention that scientists are increasingly alarmed over the rapidity with which the world’s environment is being poisoned by the refuse of human endeavor. Climate change and the extinction of species are the focus of their deep concern. They warn that there is no time to spare: Unless we begin a major effort by the end of this century, further efforts will be too late…

…The politicians seeking office, including the president seeking reelection, are unlikely to give the environment the attention it deserves unless the people demand it. And the people aren’t going to demand it unless somebody brings the problem, and particularly its urgency, to their attention.

The media has a responsibility on their shoulders whose importance cannot be exaggerated: to give the story of our deteriorating environment the attention it needs to alert the population to action. That action would demand that governments – city, state and national – generate and enforce the laws that can at least begin the immense job of cleaning up our lands, our seas and our air so that living things, including humans, shall not perish from the Earth.

One must wonder, what the “most trusted man in America,” who died in 2009, would think about today’s news coverage and it’s impact on the planet he loved.

What do you think?  What would he encourage his viewers to do?

Quiz: Yellowstone National Park

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Way back 145 years ago, Yellowstone was made into the first national park in the US.

Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. Abundant game and mountain streams teaming with fish attracted the Indians to the region, though the awe-inspiring geysers, canyons, and gurgling mud pots also fascinated them.

John Colter, the famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area. After journeying with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter joined a party of fur trappers to explore the wilderness. In 1807, he explored part of the Yellowstone plateau and returned with fantastic stories of steaming geysers and bubbling cauldrons. Some doubters accused the mountain man of telling tall tales and jokingly dubbed the area “Colter’s Hell.”

Before the Civil War, only a handful of trappers and hunters ventured into the area, and it remained largely a mystery.

The key to Yellowstone’s future as a national park, though, was the 1871 exploration under the direction of the government geologist Ferdinand Hayden. Hayden brought along William Jackson, a pioneering photographer, and Thomas Moran, a brilliant landscape artist, to make a visual record of the expedition. Their images provided the first visual proof of Yellowstone’s wonders and caught the attention of the U.S. Congress, who in 1872 made it a park.

What do you know about this special place?  Take our quiz to see!

How much do you know about Yellowstone National Park?

In honor of the 145th anniversary (technically on Feb. 29th) of Yellowstone being made the first National Park, we wanted to test your knowledge about the historic area.

Black History Month: Honoring Marjorie Richard

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T4CI is saluting some of the most influential African-American environmentalists and sustainability professionals during Black History Month.

Today we honor Marjorie Richard.

Richard is the first African-American to win the esteemed Goldman Environmental Prize, after her nonstop battle with Shell Chemical whose refinery emissions were slowly killing her community members Norco, Louisiana.

Due to her outspoken advocacy,  Shell Chemical agreed to reduce its toxic emissions by 20 percent, contribute $5 million to a community development fund, and voluntarily finance the relocation of the area’s residents away from the refinery by buying the 225 lots at a minimum price of $80,000 per lot.

 

Forget the Academy Awards: Check out T4CI’s picks

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The 89th Academy Awards are this Sunday.  And although few will take home the coveted Oscar, T4CI wanted to salute some of our favorite movies that meet our mission:

to accelerate impact for initiatives focused on protecting and fostering a healthy, sustainable, resilient and equitable world

And surprise!  Many are not documentaries.  All are chosen by the T4CI staff. So grab some popcorn and take a look:

Are any of these on your top pick list?  What other movies would you add?

We would love to hear your thoughts in our comment section!

Black History Month: Honoring Beverly Wright

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T4CI is saluting some of the most influential African-American environmentalists and sustainability professionals during Black History Month.

Today we honor Beverly Wright.

Dr. Beverly Wright is a professor of Sociology and the founding director of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ). For nearly two decades, she has been a leading scholar and advocate in the environmental justice arena. She has created a unique center, formerly at Xavier University, and currently at Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana. The DSCEJ is one of the few community/university partnerships that addresses environmental and health inequities in the Lower Mississippi River Industrial Corridor, the area commonly referred to as Cancer Alley.

Since Hurricane Katrina, much of the work at the DSCEJ has focused on research, policy, and community outreach, assistance, and education of displaced African-American residents of New Orleans. Dr. Wright has been an advocate of the safe return of residents, addressing the critical issues of health and environmental restoration and monitoring fairness as it relates to standards of clean up. The center has been a resource to the community providing education, training, and job placement to displaced citizens of New Orleans.

 

Who painted the White House green?

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It’s President’s Day. Not only can we enjoy a federally-mandated day off from work, but we can also take time to reflect on the leaders of the United States.

By the nature of their position, the POTUS has a platform to work to help the world in so many ways, including environmental and sustainable issues.

While some many not believe such issues are important to Americans – and the world, others have become a champion.  Here are some of the most pro-active presidents when it comes to a greener world:

Do a grouch a favor… recycle.

Oscar the Grouch.  He’s the snarky, snarly, ‘have a crummy day’ monster. Yet, secretly he cares… especially about the world around him.  It’s why last year he expanded his living quarters to not just an only metal trashcan, but a myriad of recycling bins and composting receptacles.

Want to make Oscar miserably happy? All you need to do is celebrate Do a Grouch a Favor Day by recycling more.  Take a look.

Not so much love to the earth on Valentine’s Day

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 As much as we love the sentiment of Valentine’s Day, we don’t think you would love the outcome of the holiday, when it comes to the environmental impact.

Take a look at this infographic to see what can happen when you take the traditional route to showing your love.  (And share it with your friends!)

Instead, show your love to the earth as well by

  • choosing fair trade flowers and chocolates
  • getting things locally
  • giving vintage jewelry (it’s hip too!)
  • and honoring others with a donation in their name

Check out http://t4ci.org/sponsored to find a wonderful charity where your donation will help the world.