Coal Industry Creates Appalachian War Zone

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Bo Webb lives in a war zone. He fears for his life and the lives of his family every day. He wonders, will an explosion cause debris to land on his house and loved ones? Will the toxic fumes from explosives poison their lungs and their waterways? Will the dam above his children’s elementary school break, covering everyone below with toxic waste? Will the scarred landscape of his homeland ever recover? Bo Webb lives in West Virginia. He has asked that his letter be spread as widely as possible. Read it, and you’ll understand the urgency with which he writes. There is no “clean coal.” There is only destruction. Pass it on.
As I write this letter, I brace myself for another round of nerve-wracking explosives being detonated above my home in the mountains of West Virginia. Outside my door, pulverized rock dust, laden with diesel fuel and ammonium nitrate explosives hovers in the air, along with the residual of heavy metals that once lay dormant underground.

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Green Jobs + Renewable Energy = A Stronger Nation

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On February 17, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Then, in an address to a joint session of the Congress on February 25, he told our nation, “Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector — jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit.”

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Toxic Substances Control Act Hearings — A Hopeful Start

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We noted on Tuesday that the Toxic Substances Control Act would soon be under review. Today was the opening day of the House of Representatives’ hearing: “Revisiting the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.” The goal of the hearing is to reform the TSCA. The Honorable Bobby L. Rush (D-NJ), Chairman, made the statement that appears below. With this auspicious beginning, we hold out hope that our lawmakers will take bold and carefully considered action to safeguard the health of our nation and our planet.

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Peanut Recall — Your Food Safety Is Up to You

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We learned in the news yesterday of yet another peanut-products recall due to salmonella contamination. This time, the food-processing plant involved is in Plainview, Texas. It’s owned by Peanut Corporation of America (PCA), the same folks who brought us tainted peanuts in their Blakely, Georgia plant. That recall was in January of this year. Perhaps you remember it? A brief peanut scare swept the nation, with many of us under the misapprehension that peanut butter itself was all we had to worry about.

Well, think again, America…

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Big Green Festival to Promote Sustainable Living (and Fun!)

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Lest anyone labor under the false impression that going green has to be deadly serious business, we wanted to pass along the following announcement about what promises to be a fantastically fun eco-event. Should you happen to be in the the South Manchester area the first weekend in April, you won’t want to miss this delightful day of festiviities. — Julia Wasson

Chorlton’s Big Green Festival, a brand-new date in South Manchester’s calendar, is inviting local residents to get on their bikes and join in Chorlton’s first-ever Big Green Bike Parade….

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House Panel Takes on Toxics Reform

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Amid growing concern that U.S. chemical regulations are not adequate for protecting human health, a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee this week will investigate the current law to assess its effectiveness at governing the thousands of chemicals in commerce today.

The House Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection Subcommittee will meet Thursday to discuss the Toxic Substances Control Act, which was first established in 1976 to govern the roughly 82,700 chemicals in commerce.

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Green Corps Volunteers: “Being the Change” in the World

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“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” — Mahatma Gandhi.

Caitlin Seeley, 23, from Boulder, Colorado, decided that hand-wringing about climate change and other environmental crises was not going to work for her. She wanted to “be the change,” in Gandhi’s words, rather than waiting for someone else to fix the world’s environmental problems. So, she joined the non-profit, activist group, Green Corps, and is busy “being the change” every day. “Organizing as a career, as a job, enables you to make an important impact on lots of people, communities, and the world,” Caitlin said in her recent interview with Blue Planet Green Living.

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Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar, March 21, 2009 in Dallas, TX

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It is no secret that change is the only option for a healthier way of living. But in a timid economy, even the most dedicated consumers begin to ask, “How?” Several Dallas-area artists, designers, and retailers will assemble on March 21st with an answer to that question: The Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar. The event offers an abundance of organic, handmade, fair trade selections and services from local small business.

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Archbishop Desmond Tutu Supports Earth Hour

February 20, 2009 by  
Filed under 2009, Blog, Climate Change, Events, Front Page, Slideshow

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Washington – February 20, 2009: Archbishop Desmond Tutu has lent his voice to World Wildlife Fund Earth Hour’s global call for action on climate change.

“Climate change is the greatest human induced crisis facing the world today. It is totally indiscriminate of race, culture and religion. It affects every human being on the planet,” said the Archbishop.

With over 500 cities in 75 countries already signed up to take part in the lights out campaign, Earth Hour 2009 – Saturday, March 28th at 8:30 p.m. – is anticipated to be one of the greatest social movements the world has ever witnessed.

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Our 5: Jon Levey and Steve Sherman, GreenChoice Bank

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Blue Planet Green Living asked GreenChoice Bank co-founders, Jon Levey and Steve Sherman, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”

JON LEVEY and STEVE SHERMAN:
Ask questions and start a dialogue. The first step is simply getting the dialogue going on what people and businesses are doing to “green” themselves. Learning from others and deciding to take the first small step will lead you to further responsible choices. As a green community bank, we are not here to pass judgment on whether a person or business is “green enough.” But we will ask questions to see what they are doing and to start the dialogue. And, we will reward those who embrace sustainability by offering advantaged loan and deposit products at GreenChoice Bank….

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GreenChoice Bank: Green Services You Can Bank On

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Going green as a business makes economic and environmental sense, even in tough economic times. It also provides opportunities to make a positive difference in a community. Like any business venture, a green business requires investment capital and banking services. GreenChoice Bank, led by co-founders, Steve Sherman and Jon Levey, is targeted specifically to address the unique financial needs of green businesses in the Chicago area.

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BPGL Puts Newman’s Own Organics to the Taste Test

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About a month ago, we received a large box from Newman’s Own Organics (N.O.O.) in California. It was stuffed with a variety of wholesome goodies, assorted salty snacks, some chocolate sweets, one bottle of olive oil and another of balsamic vinegar.

It’s only fair that we inject a word of warning: We are not foodies. We don’t often write about food, and we don’t list it as one of our areas of expertise. You want to know the exquisite details of how the food feels or tastes on an expert palate? You’d have more luck channeling Julia Child.

So, back to where the box of manna fell off the UPS truck…

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My 5: Nell Newman, Co-Founder, Newman’s Own Organics

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Blue Planet Green Living asked Nell Newman, co-owner of Newman’s Own Organics, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”

Newman’s response:

Being self sufficient….

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Nell Newman: “Late Bloomer” to Organic Ecopreneur

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By anyone’s reckoning, Nell Newman is a successful ecopreneur. She heads Newman’s Own Organics: The Second Generation, her original spinoff from her father’s Newman’s Own brand. In Part 1 of our interview, Newman told about the life experiences that fostered her dedication to environmentalism and sustainability. In Part 2, she speaks about her nontraditional educational path, her work on environmental projects, and the business of organic food production. We invite you to get to know more about this remarkable human ecologist and wonderfully human being.

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Fishing with Nell

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Sometimes the kid in us gets lost when we grow up and take on the responsibilities of making a living, running a business, caring for a family, or serving a cause. Nell Newman seems to be different. When she talks about her childhood, a tomboy comes to life. It’s easy to picture her pushing open the screen door at sunrise, with a cane pole over her shoulder and a can of worms in one hand, walking down to the river to fish….
In Part 1 of a two-part series, we talk with Nell about her lifelong love for the environment, beginning as a young child. In Part 2, Nell talks about the the logical extension of her environmental activism, Newman’s Own Organics.

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The World Without Us

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When I read a book about the environment, I usually come away depressed. Sure, there are some uplifting books out there, but most environmental books concern coming or current catastrophes. Global warming, extinction, horrific pollution — these are common topics, and they make for dismal reading. Though Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us addresses all of these familiar issues and more, upon completing it, I felt the strangest sense of hope. It was one of the most interesting and oddly affecting non-fiction books I have ever read.

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Notes from India: Greenathon Raises Funds for Solar Lights

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One of India’s biggest green events, the Greenathon, aired recently on NDTV (a leading Indian television station). The purpose was to raise money to support a program sponsored by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI). TERI’s “Lighting a Billion Lives” (LaBL) initiative is working to “provide solar lanterns to villages that would otherwise be without electricity for a decade or more.”

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My 5: Jessica Downing, P.R. Representative

February 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Green Living, My 5, Sustainability

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Blue Planet Green Living asked public relations professional Jessica Downing, “What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?”

Jessica Downing:
* Buy local – both for food and for supporting local businesses….

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Contributing Writer, Stacey Tarrant

February 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Alabama, Engineers, Stacey Tarrant

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An Auburn University School of Engineering graduate, I have a B.S. in Environmental Science. I’ve been working with Environmental Engineers, Inc. for almost 5 years. I truly love my job, and I feel so blessed to say that….

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Property Buyer, Beware! (Unless You Have an E.S.A.)

February 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Brownfields, CERCLA, Environment, Front Page, Regulations, U.S.

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Imagine that a local youth organization has construction plans for an unoccupied portion of the property they’ve owned for over fifty years. When the organization approaches the bank to refinance the property, instead of being granted funds to complete the construction, they discover that the soil and/or groundwater is potentially contaminated. Plans for their new activity center and playground are put on hold when they find themselves entangled in the costly activities of further investigation and potential remediation.

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