Truth on Earth – Making Music to Change the World

Continue Reading Full Article →

In a society where many teens and young adults spend their free time in front of the television, playing video games, grabbing fast food, or hanging out with friends at the mall, the three Halpern sisters lead exceptional lives. They’re talented musicians, who together comprise the band Truth On Earth (T.O.E.).

So what else is unique about Serena (20), Kiley (19), and Tess (16)? They’re lifelong vegans, have always been home schooled, and have spent the last two years traveling the country in an RV with their parents….

And this is another way the three are different from most of their peers: Their songs aren’t about the issues many young women are thinking about — boys, flirtations, or the angst of being a teen. “We picked a musical style that had a message and meant something,” Kiley says….

Read Full Article

Fair Trade Connects Local Producers with Global Consumers

Continue Reading Full Article →

Zulugrass necklaces are at home in both Kenya’s pasturelands and a trendy boutique in Los Angeles. A colorful, coiled group of The Leakey Collection’s Zulugrass™ strands costs $39.95. But what the price tag doesn’t mention is that the woman who cut, dyed, and beaded the native Kenyan grass into this necklace is earning enough money to feed and educate her family for years to come.

Katy and Philip Leakey founded The Leakey Collection™ after a devastating drought a decade ago destroyed the livelihoods of their neighbors in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley. As the landscape became charred and depleted, the community’s men moved north to find grazing grounds for their cattle, and the women and children were left behind with no source of income….

Recently, Philip and Katy visited one of these retail outlets — Zero Minus Plus in Santa Monica, California — to discuss the local impact of buying fair trade products. “Fair trade is a response to globalization,” Philip said. “Several decades ago, people produced [goods] for their local markets. With the internationalization of markets, many producers lost their buyers.” Fair trade is a market-based attempt to connect these producers with their new, global consumers, focusing on ethical and sustainable business practices….

Read Full Article

Teens Turning Green – Eco-Healthy Messages for Youth

Continue Reading Full Article →

When Judi Shils’ daughter started wearing makeup in 2005, Shils was concerned about the toxic chemicals the teen was applying to her face. This, as well as the high cancer rates in Marin County, California, where they lived, inspired Shils to launch Teens for Safe Cosmetics.
Project Green Dorm

The group evolved into Teens Turning Green (TTG). Last July they launched the Project Green Dorm store, a pop-up in The Village at Corte Madera mall. TTG’s mission was to sell green alternatives to typical dorm gear. The pop-up store was designed as a short-term venue, and Project Green Dorm now exists as a checklist on the main Teens Turning Green website. There, users get tips on how to green their bedroom, bathroom, closet, gadgets, and more.

Reducing exposure to chemicals is so important, Shils says, because everything we do to our bodies carries on to our children. “We should do the things we can to ensure the health of generations to come,” she notes. “We’re messing with our chemistry — that’s the bottom line.” …

Read Full Article

Countdown to Earth Hour 2010

Continue Reading Full Article →

The countdown has begun for Earth Hour 2010. Less than 24 hours remain before the fourth annual observance of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) event that asks all of us to turn off our lights for an hour.

Last year, people in 71 countries around the world participated in history’s largest climate change event. The purpose? To show the world’s leaders that we need to take action to mitigate climate change. With COP15 holding out the promise of a climate change agreement, citizens of Planet Earth turned out in huge numbers to show our leaders how important an agreement was to us. Sadly, COP15 was a huge disappointment. But just because they couldn’t come to an agreement, that doesn’t mean the issue is any less important. In fact, it gets more urgent with every year that passes….

Read Full Article

President Obama Celebrates Health Care Law in Iowa

Continue Reading Full Article →

When candidate Obama came to the Marriott Hotel in Coralville in 2008, an enthusiastic, even joyous, crowd welcomed him to Iowa. I wasn’t a complete believer. But I was, like most in the crowd, infected by the spread of Hope.

Today, I was once again in a crowd of supporters cheering on Barack Obama — now President Obama. This week, he made good on a promise he’d made when he first stumped in Iowa in 2007: He signed into law health care reform.

Since 15,000 people had applied for only 3,000 tickets, I expected that a crowd would be gathered outside of the University of Iowa Field House, where the speech would take place. People representing both the pros and cons of the health care debate stood along the roadside facing the Field House. There was no clear division between them, and I wasn’t always sure from their signs whether they were in favor of the new law or against it….

Read Full Article

Nominate an “Ocean Hero” for Oceana Contest

March 24, 2010 by  
Filed under 2010, Activists, Blog, Contest, Front Page, Ocean, Slideshow, Youth

Continue Reading Full Article →

There are people around the world who are doing their utmost to stop the destruction of our oceans. People who are putting themselves at risk to make the world’s seas a more habitable place for fish and marine animals. People, including youth, who are making a difference by raising funds to support the work of others. People who not only care about the oceans, but also take action. Each one is a hero, though their efforts may be untrumpeted and little known.

But people who are selflessly working to make the oceans a healthier ecosystem deserve recognition for their efforts.

Do you know anyone who is making a difference to the world’s oceans? If you do, here’s an opportunity to nominate him or her for recognition as an “Ocean Hero,” through a competition sponsored by the conservation group Oceana. Nominations will be accepted at the official contest website, Oceana.org/heroes, until April 18, 2010.

Read Full Article

Small Footprints – At Home on the Sea

Continue Reading Full Article →

In the first part of our discussion with Linda and Rick Clayton, Linda talked about being “able to go where the wind goes.” Despite the tight quarters on a sailboat, there are loads of personal advantages to this lifestyle, as she and Rick point out.

This is part two of our two-part conversation with the Claytons. Get ready to relax, put on your deck shoes, and take a virtual sail on Sojourner.

BPGL: Where is your favorite place to drop anchor and just stay awhile?

LINDA: I like the beaches in the Bahamas, but every time we get to a new anchorage, we say, “Wow! This is so beautiful!” And it has so many wonderful features that maybe the other ones don’t have. It’s hard to say there’s any one place; each place is a wonderful place because of its uniqueness….

Read Full Article

Small Footprints – Cruising with the Claytons

Continue Reading Full Article →

When Rick and Linda Lacy Clayton decided four years ago to retire on a sailboat, they didn’t do it with the intention of becoming environmentalists. But what they’ve learned since is that their very survival — and their finances — depend on their ability to sustain themselves with minimal fuel, power, and water.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) spoke with the Claytons to learn how the experience of living on their sailboat, Sojourner, has changed their daily habits and taught them to keep a small (wet) footprint. The Claytons hail from Dallas, Texas, where Rick retired as a policeman, then spent eight years as a truck driver, and Linda retired from a career in marketing….

BPGL: What a life you have! How did you decide to live on a sailboat?

RICK: We both had some experience sailing. The first vacation after we got married, we chartered a sailboat down in the British Virgin Islands for a week — the two of us on a 35-foot boat. Of course, I knew I was going to love it. On the way back, Linda said, “How soon can we sell everything, buy a boat, and take off?” …

Read Full Article

Slow Death by Rubber Duck

Continue Reading Full Article →

The information in Slow Death by Rubber Duck doesn’t make for relaxing reading, even though the authors, Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie, do a masterful job of translating statistics and technical data (sometimes very technical) into highly readable prose. The problem is, the book is about a very unsettling topic.

When I first received my review copy and read the introduction, I was struck by the experiment that forms the basis for the book: The authors voluntarily and quite deliberately exposed themselves to toxic chemicals — lots of them.

Now, why would these men risk their health by loading their bodies with toxins? Isn’t that irresponsible? I wondered. It sounded so dangerous. And, from the way they tell it, their families were none too thrilled by their participation, either….

Read Full Article

Natural Living Expo to Host EcoParty March 27 in Des Moines

Continue Reading Full Article →

Are you thinking about attending the Natural Living Expo at the Polk County Convention Center on March 27 and 28? If you’re going to be in the Des Moines (Iowa) area that weekend, here’s another reason to include the Expo in your plans: the EcoParty!

After the Expo closes for the day on Saturday (March 27) at 6 p.m., it’s time for the adults to kick back and have some fun. Iowa’s own natural living celebrity, Michele Beschen, will be your host for a food and fashion celebration from 6 to 9 p.m. Beschen, who is the host of Iowa Public Television’s b.organic show, will emcee the EcoParty fashion show….

Read Full Article

A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold

Continue Reading Full Article →

Aldo Leopold (1887-1948) was a philosopher. Though an accomplished scientist and expert in wildlife management, his greatest contribution to the environmentalism movement has been philosophical or moral in nature. He is widely considered one of the most influential environmentalists of all time, right up there with Rachel Carson, whom he predates. His great reputation and influence belies the fact that it rests primarily on one book, the slim, artful A Sand County Almanac.

First published posthumously in 1949 by his son, Luna (the name of an environmentalist’s child if there ever was one), the book was little noticed by the public at large until the environmental movement of the ’60s and ’70s took off (partly as a result of the work of Carson, Leopold’s intellectual heir). There are now over two million copies of the work in print, and its influence is still felt in the American conservation movement and in the vital school of environmental thought known as Deep Ecology. A Sand County Almanac is considered one of the seminal texts of environmentalism….

Read Full Article

Sustainable Futures Repurposes Glass Bottles – and Human Lives

Continue Reading Full Article →

“I was like one of those used wine bottles. I was used and discarded. I laid on the ground, my label faded and my contents dried. I forgot the good that was once inside, the joy and happiness I once knew. I hated what I was and what I had become. Life was dark, bad and not worth living. The prison took what little hope I had reinforcing what people and drugs had told me about myself my whole life. I came to the work center looking for work. I was told I had to have a job or I’d be sent back to the prison and someone else who was employable would take my place. Once again I was not worth keeping, I found a job here at Sustainable Futures and I was recycled. I was picked up, washed off a little and was cut off at the top, sanded down and polished. I’ve been given hope, worthiness and self love. Now I shine, not just on the outside but on the inside. I’m like the glasses we make. I have a new use.” — Lisa Childers, IDOC inmate

Sustainable Futures is a brand-new nonprofit that repurposes glass bottles — and gives new purpose to human lives. It’s a simple idea: Businesses donate used glass bottles to their Boise, Idaho-based center, and hard-to-place workers process the glass to produce new and improved glassware. The company then sells the repurposed glassware back to the businesses. “It’s a great product, and it’s the right thing to do,” says Carlyn Blake, executive director of Sustainable Futures….

Read Full Article

My 5: Larry Long, Musician, Activist, Teacher

March 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Community, Elders, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow, U.S.

Continue Reading Full Article →

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Larry Long, troubadour, social activist, and teacher, two questions we like to ask all our interviewees. Long is the founder of the Mississippi River Revival, the man who brought Woody Guthrie’s memory home to Okemah, Oklahoma; and the founder and executive director of Communities Celebration of Place….

Read Full Article

Industrial Overfishing Causes Food Insecurity in Uganda

Continue Reading Full Article →

“Fishing has almost collapsed in Uganda, especially Lake Victoria,” said Seremos Kamuturaki, Executive Director of Uganda Fisheries & Fish Conservation (UFFCA). “The stock has dwindled tremendously, as evidenced by the fishermen’s small daily catches. This has resulted in very low incomes and a food-insecure fishing community. The people have nothing to eat.”

While visiting in the United States, Kamuturaki explained the dire situation facing his nation in an interview with Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL). He was on a mission to ask for public support from the US, Canada, and the EU in boycotting Nile perch in order to save the livelihoods of local Ugandan fishermen and their families….

Read Full Article

Why You Should Read THE WORLD PEACE DIET (and Buy It March 12)

Continue Reading Full Article →

The first, and most important reason to buy The World Peace Diet March 12 (or any time) is that it will very likely reshape your thinking about the foods you choose to consume. Unless you’re already bypassing meat and dairy products, your diet isn’t as healthy as it should be….

The second reason is that for purchases made on March 12 only, many sponsors have donated excellent bonus gifts and prizes to anyone who buys The World Peace Diet….

Read Full Article

Chorlton Big Green Festival Celebrates “All Things Eco & Ethical”

Continue Reading Full Article →

Community members and visitors in South Manchester, England are gearing up for the second-annual Chorlton Big Green Festival, to be held March 27. In 2009, an estimated 4,000 visitors gathered at the first festival where they learned about livign lighter on the planet and celebrated the green lifestyle.

The 2010 event, which begins at 11:00 AM on Saturday, the 27th, will include a mix of entertainments and exhibits, a bicycle race, and a wide variety of organic foods. “The idea behind Chorlton’s Big Green Festival,” say the organizers, “is to offer local people the chance to sample sustainability in fun and friendly surroundings.”

Several types of events are promised for the day, but don’t miss the lead-off Thursday evening at the What Next? Forum…

Read Full Article

Fee and Dividend – A Better Plan to Reduce CO2

Continue Reading Full Article →

For many years, the words global warming meant little to me. I was quick to dismiss climate change as a hoax or a natural phenomenon and continue to live as I always have. Then, one day, I heard someone on the radio ask, “Whether it’s man-made or a natural occurrence, shouldn’t we be doing something about it?” This comment stuck in my mind, and through a number of events, my thinking slowly changed….

One bill in Congress to address climate change uses a cap-and-trade approach. Cap and trade sets a carbon cap for utilities, transportation, and manufacturing. While this sounds like a great way to limit carbon emissions, the details are dicey to say the least. Businesses will have no true financial incentive to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, the amount of carbon allowed is still a mystery, and — even if it works — it won’t be fast enough. We need something more transparent and effective, and we need it now.

Citizens Climate Lobby and a number of other climate-oriented organizations came up with a solution: the Fee and Dividend plan. Under this proposed legislation, an escalating carbon fee will be imposed on fossil fuels at their point of entry into the economy, whether it be at mines, wells, or ports. This fee will raise the price of fossil fuels and make clean energy technology more competitive.

Read Full Article

Notes from Canada: Nuclear – Power or Folly?

Continue Reading Full Article →

I just watched “My Nuclear Neighbour: The Nature of Things” with David Suzuki, a documentary about building a plant to generate nuclear power in the rural community of Peace River, Alberta. The key point never raised is that wind and solar power will generate more electricity for the same investment in dollars with none of the same investment in angst and risk, a point that Obama also recently missed.

I know that the organisations that most strongly oppose nuclear power in Ontario and Saskatchewan make the same point: investment in new nuclear facility is not wise according to traditional economic theory, even without mention of the long-term effect on widespread earthly ecology or human health….

Read Full Article

KSCA Would “Change the Paradigm” to Protect Kids’ Health

Continue Reading Full Article →

When it was enacted in 1976, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) automatically assumed that some 62,000 chemicals were safe, even though their effects on humans had never even been tested. Equally scary, as each new chemical is introduced, the burden of proof rests on the EPA to show that a chemical is hazardous in order to restrict its use — and that, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “rarely happens.”

If enacted, the Kid-Safe Chemicals Act (KSCA) would change the process of approving chemicals for the marketplace in several significant ways. According to CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, in a recent television broadcast, Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) will soon reintroduce the bill proposing KSCA, which would change “the paradigm from innocent until proven guilty to guilty until proven innocent, in the sense that [a chemical] has to be tested before it can actually come to market.” …

To find out more about the health risks facing our children from toxic chemicals and why KSCA should be enacted, interested persons are invited to attend Dr. Landrigan’s talk, sponsored by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Title: “Children’s Health and the Environment: Target for Prevention”

Speaker: Dr. Philip Landrigan

Date: March 19, 2010

Time: 3:30 – 4:30, Reception to follow

Location: Livestrong Board Room, 2201 E. 6th St., Austin, TX

Read Full Article

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle — Be Happy!

Continue Reading Full Article →

We’ve all heard it: Carbon dioxide billows into the atmosphere, icebergs melt, oceans rise, the world gets hotter — our planet is headed toward calamity. And, although businesses, governments, and individuals throughout the world have been working together to enact change, “our civilization is still failing miserably to slow the rate at which these emissions are increasing — much less reduce them,” wrote Al Gore in a New York Times editorial last week.

Sheesh. It’s enough to prevent you from getting out of bed in the morning, much less enjoy your day. But, if enjoying yourself — being happy — seems a trivial concern in the face of such doom and gloom, think again. While the study of happiness is hardly new and noteworthy — recent books include Rhonda Bryne’s The Secret (Atria Books 2006), a hokey if ubiquitous book that instructs us to manifest our own destinies through visualization and vibrations — a new set of pragmatic authors examines personal happiness as both a source of, and obstacle to, our ability to enact change….

Read Full Article

Next Page »