Tag Archives: sustainability

Simplify your life! And help the environment

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The first week in August is Simplify Your Life Week.  And although many may think simplifying means items of convenience, such as pre-packaged foods and disposable items, including paper plates, diapers and plastic utensils, there are some wonderful ways to simplify your life without hurting the planet.

  • Eat more natural, locally created foods.  Studies show our average meal has traveled several thousand miles to arrive on your plate. Not only is this at a massive cost to the environment, but your food will probably have lost a lot of its nutrients in transit for up to several weeks before you eat it. A good way to start doing this is by grocery shopping just the perimeter of the store where the fresh food is, while looking for locally-sourced items. In addition, you’ll be eating healthier, and supporting local farmers.
  • Understand you don’t need everything.  Clutter fills more than our shelves and closets – it permeates our lives. We work hard to be able to afford things, many of which require care, cleaning, storing, insuring, protecting….and the media and the merchants are constantly offering us the next “must have.”  The cost of consumer goods goes beyond the price tag. Environmental costs come from resource extraction, manufacturing, shipping and waste management.
  • Choose online shopping (even for groceries). Buying goods online can be an environmentally friendly and time-saving way to shop. Think about it: a delivery truck is making multiple stops on a route.  That reduces the carbon footprint.
  • Consider outsourcing. As the world becomes smaller, and technology improves, hiring others who may live on the other side of the world is increasingly going to be the norm AND it can actually save us a lot of time and money. From an environmental point of view – outsourcing and remote working reduces the carbon footprint of commuting, and additional office space. From a personal standpoint – it saves you money, and hassle.

Some things that are supposed to make our lives simpler may actually just make it more complicated and intricate.  Take a look at how you can make a difference to the environment while adding more simplicity to your life.

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.

 

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?

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!

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:

Creativity through activism

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Can sustainability be artistic?  Of course!  And since January is National Creativity Month, it’s time to highlight a few of our creative projects.

Imagine powerful art experiences when it comes to healthy food systems. That’s what AgArts does.  After all, artists have always been deeply inspired by nature, but now the passion of the food movement gives this enthusiasm tremendous relevance. At the same time, creative aspects of food-related activities are enjoying new recognition and value as sustainable agriculture encourages a more personal relationship with food sources.  And they cover all forms of art: from symphonies to photography exhibits, from plays to books.

Change Food uses the popular TEDx-style talks for “Changing the Way We Eat”, which creates awareness and begins a dialogue about innovative sustainable food and farming ideas. The event, which began in 2014, is complemented by a full menu of related networking and education events including post event Adventures, videos of all talks, discussion guides/teaching materials to go with videos of the talks,  and salons that address needs within the food movement.

How can we accelerate change in the food movement? Root Solutions addresses this through decision science, a collection of scientific disciplines aimed at understanding cognition, decision-making, and behavior.  Working on a training manual to help environmental organizations and practitioner have access to powerful tools which tap into what motivates and matters to people to effect positive change in the environmental movement.

And remember:

“Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.” — Albert Einstein

Please pass on this post to someone you think would be interested.

Earth 2017 – and your resolutions

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As more people are turning to a greener lifestyle, many are making new year’s resolutions to become more earth-friendly for 2017 and beyond.

And there are plenty of ways to make green part of your lifestyle – without a lot of effort.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • When it comes to seafood, look for sustainable.
    The U.S. loves its seafood, and is one of the top consumers of seafood in the world, especially when it comes to canned tuna fish.  That means, where we buy our seafood (supermarkets) makes a huge difference to the livelihood of those who work in this industry and the health of our oceans. Today, 15 of the top 20 North American retailers have made commitments to buy and sell sustainable seafood.  The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions is working hard to make sure these stores keep their commitment. And CeDePesca focuses on working with fisheries and fisherman. But you have a role to play too, by making the choice to only purchase ocean-friendly seafood.
  • Join a CSA or plant a co-operative organic vegetable garden.
    Make this the year that you decide to eat the freshest, healthiest, most local produce you can. You can either join a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program and get your produce from a local farmer, including The Food Commons model, or you can go a step further and grow your own! Planting a vegetable garden will fill your kitchen with yummy produce and cut down on the carbon emissions from transporting the vegetables you normally buy. Check out The Farmscape Foundation for more ideas.
  • Choose environmentally responsible restaurants.
    Approximately 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from food systems. Yet by choosing places to eat where they are committed to the environment, can help reduce our carbon footprint. ZeroFoodprint is helping lead the charge.

T4CI provides support to these organizations and many more. Check out all our projects at http://t4ci.org/sponsored.