My 5: Jacob Sackin, Author and Environmental Educator

December 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

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Author Jacob Sackin, whose young adult novel we recently reviewed, responded to the two questions we like to ask those we interview. We invite you to ponder Sackin’s words and consider how you would respond to the same questions. When you have finished, I encourage you to read his young adult novel, Iglu. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

My 5

Jacob Sackin, author and environmental educator. Photo: Courtesy Jacob Sackin

Jacob Sackin, author and environmental educator. Photo: Courtesy Jacob Sackin

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to protect the planet?

1. Invest in environmental education.

I have been an environmental educator for 12 years, and I am always amazed by the number of 6th graders in the U.S. who have to think for awhile before they can tell you where apples and oranges come from. In order for people to care about the environment, they need to understand how they are connected to it.

If every school invested at least one day a month to getting students outside exploring the habitat they live in, Americans would not be as disconnected to the Earth and they would care more about what we are doing to it.

2. Vote for and encourage government representatives to pass legislation to stop climate change.

To solve the problem of climate change and to prevent an ever increasing climate of drought, floods, and sea level rise, we need the government to pass laws that regulate the amount of carbon that citizens and corporations put into the atmosphere, and to pass laws that invest in sustainable energy and carbon sink technology.

3. Invest in alternative transportation.

We are addicted to cars in the U.S., and we need to walk more, ride more bikes, and take more public transportation. This can be done by investing in train and bus systems and making more bike lanes.  However, since people are always going to need their cars, we desperately need to invest in alternative fuels like biodiesel made from plant waste or used vegetable oil.

4. Grow our own food and stop wasting so much food.

Right now in the U.S., we waste an incredible amount of food because most people see food as just another disposable thing that comes from somewhere far away. Food distribution is a huge problem because of the amount of fuel and water that it takes to transport food.

We can improve the quality of food in schools by increasing funding to school garden programs. With all the open space we have in the U.S., there is a great opportunity for communities to start local gardens and raise their own chickens for eggs. It would also make a huge difference if people ate less meat.

5. Use religious language when fighting for the environment. 

Most people in the U.S. believe in God, yet environmental rhetoric is rarely religious. John Muir often spoke of Yosemite as a cathedral, and the argument was often invoked that “man should not destroy what God has created.” Science should embrace religion in order to speak more passionately about humanity’s relationship with the Earth and to convince religious leaders to embrace science in order for congregations to better understand how to be stewards of God’s creation and to not destroy the world and climate that God created.

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with the president, what would you say? 

I would talk to him about the importance of outdoor environmental education and describe the work schools like Exploring New Horizons, San Joaquin Outdoor School, and Northwest Youth Corps Outdoor High School are doing: getting students outside to learn about the natural world.

Programs like Exploring New Horizons has 6th grade students spend a week at the outdoor school, staying in cabins, exploring the redwood forest and coastal communities, weighing their food waste after every meal and learning how they are connected to the environment.

In my two minutes with President Obama, I would try to convince him that the U.S. desperately needs to invest in environmental education in order for communities to reconnect to the natural world that their citizens depend on for survival.

Jacob Sackin

Guest Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

Iglu by Jacob Sacki



My 5: Gary Sutterlin, Breeze Dryer, CEO

September 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow


Gary Sutterlin, CEO of Breeze Dryer, with his wife, Gayle. Photo: Courtesy Gary Sutterlin

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked ecopreneur Gary Sutterlin two questions we ask all our interviewees. Sutterlin and his wife, Gayle, are the owners of Breeze Dryer, the North American distributors of Hills Hoist and other Hills clothes-drying solutions. Following are Sutterlin’s responses. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

My 5

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to protect the planet?

In order to protect the planet, we need to begin to live our lives with a focus on our impact on this earth.

  • Consumers need to begin to understand where and how goods make their way to the store shelves.
  • We need to buy quality over quantity, with a focus on sustainability.
  • The items we do buy need to be readily recyclable.
  • Teach our children the importance of treading lightly on the planet to ensure it to future generations.
  • Finally, people need to understand that every little step they take does make a difference. Change is made not only through large acts, but much can be accomplished by numerous small acts uniting.

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

My conversation with President Obama would be frank and to the point. I would discuss his energy policy and ask him to do more.  We need to change our focus from fossil fuel to renewable energy.  We need to seriously invest and stimulate more research in the field of solar and wind.

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Breeze Dryer – Eco-Friendly Solutions for Drying Your Laundry

Gary Sutterlin, CEO

Breeze Dryer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

My 5: Frank McKinney, Humanitarian, Entrepreneur, Author

July 6, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked author, entrepreneur, humanitarian, and builder Frank McKinney two questions we ask all our interviewees. McKinney is the entrepreneurial builder of Acqua Liana, a triple-green certified home for the super rich as well as the founder of Caring House Project Foundation, which builds comfortable homes and villages for the poorest of the poor in Haiti. He is also the author of five books, including The Tap. Following are his responses. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

Entrepreneur, humanitarian, and author, Frank McKinney. Photo: Courtesy Frank McKinney

My 5

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save protect the planet?


1) Use facts, not fear, to educate.

2) Listen intently to the younger generation.

3) Know that saving the planet also means saving money.

4) Move the residential greening of America beyond the “national anthem stage” (as opposed to the 1st or 5th inning).

5) Continue to incentivise entrepreneurial minds that have a self-sustaining favor through the rewards of capitalism and free enterprise.

2 Minutes with the President

If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

Business: Re-read the Constitution as if you were reading it for the first time, and never remove free market incentive.

Philanthropy: Never forget Haiti, and allow me to share my practices, applications that worked in Haiti for 7 years prior to our hearts breaking on January 12.

Frank McKinney

Founder of Caring House Project Foundation

Author of The Tap

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Posts

Part 1: Frank McKinney – “Tapped” to Live a Dichotomous Life

Part 2: Self-Sufficiency – The Best “Return on Donation”

Part 3: From Rich to Enriched – Responding to The Tap

My 5: Carlyn Blake, Sustainable Futures, Executive Director

Carlyn Blake, Executive Director of Sustainable Futures

In past posts, we’ve asked people to tell us “5 Ways to Save the Planet.” But more than one of our interviewees have mentioned that the planet will save itself; what we need to do is to keep the planet habitable for humans. We actually agree. So, we’ve changed our question slightly, to ask how we can “protect” the planet. As we protect Mother Earth, we also “save the planet” for our descendants.

Blue Planet Green Living asked Carlyn Blake, Executive Director of Sustainable Futures, to respond to the two questions we ask everyone we interview. Sustainable Futures, based in Boise, Idaho, repurposes used wine and soda bottles to create beautiful and useful glasses, bowls, candle holders, and vases. The company also provides jobs for hard-to-place workers. Following are Blake’s responses. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Protect the Planet

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to protect the planet?

1. Recycle everything you can. Take advantage of city, county, and state recycling programs, and do your part to recycle paper, plastic, and glass.

2. Stop using zip-type and similar plastic bags because they cannot be recycled. Use Tupperware containers instead.

3. Bring your own coffee mug to your favorite coffee store. Most places offer a discount if you bring your own mug, and your coffee will stay warmer longer while you are doing your part to save the environment.

4. Support legislative efforts for efficient energy, recycling, and green processes.

5. Buy recycled drinking glassware, soy candles, vases and bowls from Sustainable Futures. The products are beautiful, durable, and environmentally friendly.

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

BLAKE: I would say, “Thank you for providing so many grants to local, county and city governments that promote green energy and green jobs. Sustainable Futures has benefited from the grants provided to the Idaho Department of Labor, and we could not keep our doors open without that help.”

I would then ask him his opinion on the best way to work with my state to put laws into effect around the use of recycled materials in the hotel, restaurant, and bar business. I believe that hotels, restaurants and bars should be required to use a certain percentage of recycled materials in the operations of the business. These businesses should also be required to recycle.

Carlyn Blake

Executive Director

Sustainable Futures

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

Sustainable Futures Repurposes Glass Bottles — and Human Lives

My 5: Analiese Paik, Fairfield Green Food Guide, Founder

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Analiese Paik is the founder of Fairfield Green Food Guide, which serves Fairfield County, Connecticut. Through her appearances on Good Morning, Connecticut, she is increasingly becoming the go-to resource for local food events and sources throughout the state of Connecticut.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Paik to answer our two favorite questions. Her responses appear below. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet



Analiese Paik, founder of Fairfield Green Food Guide. Photo: Courtesy Analiese Paik

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

PAIK: Immediately adjust your attitude to one where your daily choices, not those of governments or big businesses, become the focus of your efforts to green your life.

  • Choosing sustainably grown produce, fruit, dairy, meat and poultry plus sustainably harvested seafood are among the most meaningful choices you can make.
  • Sourcing these foods as close to home as possible drives the local economy and builds community.
  • Reducing waste is the responsibility of each and every one of us, so please don’t buy more than you’re going to eat. Stop drinking bottled water, and pack a thermos instead.
  • Recycle your food containers. Choose recycled aluminum foil, and recycle it after use. Choose reusable lunch and snack bags.


2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

PAIK: I would ask President Obama to outlaw factory farming and mandate GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) food labeling.

The real cost of food that is mass produced in CAFOs (Contained Animal Feeding Operations) was expertly conveyed to us by Michael Pollan in the documentary food film Food, Inc. CAFOs pollute the environment, contribute to global warming, and produce food that’s full of things we were never meant to eat — namely hormones and antibiotics.

The proliferation of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, so-called “superbugs,” has been directly linked to overuse and misuse of antibiotics in factory farming. These superbugs are dangerous because they don’t respond to conventional antibiotics and can therefore be lethal to humans.

The US government is current taking a position against mandatory labeling of food as Genetically Modified (GM) at the upcoming meeting of the 180-member Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC). CAC operates within the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) to establish international food standards that protect the health of consumers and ensure fair trade practices.

The USDA’s organic rules disallow the use of genetically modified seed in organic production and the FDA has allowed these foods to be voluntarily be labeled as non-GMO. There is growing concern that a Codex standard which disallows GMO labeling would impact the ability of USDA-certified organic food producers to continue their current labeling practices.

Analiese Paik

Fairfield Green Food Guide

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

My 5: Dwayne Parks, Musician and Choreographer

April 23, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Illinois, Musicians, My 5, Slideshow

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After interviewing Dwayne Parks and his partner, Jay Nagle, about their entry in the Pepsi Refresh Project contest, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) invited them to respond to questions we like to ask all of our interviewees. Following are Parks’ responses.

Just a reminder: If you are planning to vote for Ecologic or any of the other projects in the Pepsi Refresh Contest for April, be sure to cast your votes each day through the end of the month. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet

Dwayne Parks, Musician and Choreographer. Photo: Courtesy Dwayne Parks

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

  • Education is the vital factor, and beginning at the youngest age possible.
  • Eliminate all products and companies that are not environmentally friendly.
  • Accelerate our recycling programs and refurbish what we have taken away.
  • Encourage and support organizations, groups, and efforts that are eco- and green friendly.
  • Engage others to take action by contacting your government representatives, starting neighborhood organizations, focus groups, the media, and doing your part as well to make every effort to maintain a green lifestyle.

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

PARKS: Knowledge and intelligence are two of the most important ingredients that make each one of us a well-balanced, thinking individual. Education is the key, and it must begin at the youngest age possible, because the next generations will be the ones to suffer the consequences and ignorance of our mistakes.

The more we continue to populate this planet, the more we endanger it from deforestation, overpopulation, pollutants, chemicals, and a plethora of other human-created catastrophes.

World codes, standards and practices, and what can be done to improve them, should dominate our elected officials’ minds and agenda, and our media’s programming.

Our planet is a fragile and unstable force that is already quite capable of eliminating the human race, and we are only accelerating these actions by our daily routines.

The earth has its own agenda, and we are the fortunate ones to be a living part of that plan. But the only way we will continue is if we learn to live in harmony with the planet and really appreciate its awing power and magnificence.

We are responsible for changing the natural evolution of the planet due to the factories, automobiles, livestock, and refuse we create on the land and in the water.

How we bring all the people of the world into one collective way of thinking about the environment is the real challenge here.

This is where it basically becomes impossible, as it would take world peace first and foremost; the elimination of all religions, or finding one common belief or faith; one common language; one common government; having a conscience; and knowing the difference between right, wrong, good and bad. This would also include food, health care and an education for everyone as well.

I realize this is asking quite a lot, but every effort, no matter how small, can start to make a difference.

What will you do to further environmental education and how quickly will you act on those decisions?

What will you do to further the efforts of placing limitations and restrictions on any unfriendly environmental companies, organizations, groups and individuals in the United States, and how will you discourage those outside our borders?

Dwayne Parks, Co-Owner

Talented Kids, Adults, and TeenS

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

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Pop Opera ECOLOGIC Competes for Funds in Pepsi Project

My 5: Anthony McCann, Creatition and Founder, Crafting Gentleness

April 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, My 5, Northern Ireland, Slideshow, UK

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Anthony McCann, "creatition and founder" of Crafting Gentleness, near Glasgow. Photo: Courtesy Anthony McCann

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Anthony McCann, who describes himself as the “creatition and founder” of Crafting Gentleness, two questions we ask the people we interview. McCann is also an accomplished musician and singer, as well as a lecturer at the University of Ulster. His responses, written using his native British spelling and punctuation, follow.

5 Ways to Save the Planet

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?


  1. Stop trying to save the planet. This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but there are a few things behind my answer. The first is the idea that it’s not our job to save the planet — the planet doesn’t need us. It was here before us and will be around long after we go (and I’m guessing we eventually will). Second, trying to save anybody or anything often ends up with well-intentioned blindness, where I become so convinced that I’m on the Side of The Angels that I don’t think to question myself. That, then, all too easily comes with shoulds, musts, and have tos, directed at other people. Third, I find that it can get a little disheartening to have expectations or aspirations that are so huge that they approach the infinitudes of impossibility, when I think of little ol’ me in my little ol’ life. I’m all for avoiding despair where I can, and Saving The Planet sounds like something for a superhero; last time I checked, I’m no superhero. However, I do assume I always-already make a difference. So, I’m less a “Save the Planet” kinda guy, and more about …
  2. Staying “here”. We can often think of hope for helpful change as being located somewhere else, somewhere better, somewhere in the future, somewhere just out of reach, somewhere very different to what’s happening here. I’m not interested in those kinds of hope. For me, hope works better when it’s here. Right here, part of my life. For me, politics also works better when it’s here. How can I become more present here? How can I learn to listen better to what’s going on for me, within me, around me? What possibilities do the current situation open up for helpful change? What can I helpfully do in my own neighbourhood, my own town, my own family? What resistances can I find within myself that draw me away from a focus on being here, living here, making a difference here? How can I open myself up more to the uncertainties of what happens that “here” involves? Do I ever assume that here is just not good enough, even when it’s all I’ve got to work with? Can I learn to be more patient, and not assume that things have to be, must be, should be, different than what’s already here and available? How can I contribute? How can I help? Might not helping be more helpful, in some circumstances? Remaining here invites me to simply keep breathing, and to ask …
  3. What “smallest meaningful actions” can I undertake now, here, today? I love that E.F. Schumacher’s “Small is Beautiful” mantra has become influential, and I think the invitation to smallest meaningful actions need never go away. I’m also a big fan of filmmaker John Cassavetes’ belief in the power of “small emotions”, those micromoments of everyday life where we experience difference as we make a difference. Being shaped as we shape. Being changed as we change. I love small and specific, as it tends to fit with “here”, and with embodied, present hope. It’s one of the reasons I love the BPGL website, the Green Is Sexy website, or the work of Baglady Productions (ASAP), and other websites like these that encourage people to think about small, manageable, meaningful differences that we can make in our lives. Becoming more aware of participation in the small stuff is crucial for me, but also …
  4. Placing small stuff in a wider context. I think it’s really important to consider the way that our small differences can link to larger currents, structures, movements, and resonances. That, for me, includes, for example, the challenge of facing up to unhelpful, expansionary, encroaching changes with social, political, economic, and environmental impact — the various enclosures that people experience around the world. Clear cutting happens. Mountaintop removal mining happens. “Ethnic cleansing” happens. Corporate greed happens. War happens. I think we encounter many opportunities to either challenge or support “the way things tend to be”, opportunities to respond to the structural violences, coercions, dominations, and obediences of daily existence. Every day includes multiple invitations to respond, multiple opportunities to clarify what’s important to me, multiple moments of potential resistance, co-optation, and acquiescence. Which leads me to …
  5. Clarifying what’s important to me. I think it’s important to regularly check in with myself about what’s important to me. Kurt Vonnegut and many others have warned about the dangers of being careful who you pretend to be for that is who you are likely to become. Similarly, for me, it’s crucial to really hone my sense of what’s important to me, as I find myself involved in particular situations. To do that, I use a “question cycle”:  1) What’s important to me? 2) What’s important to others? 3) What about what’s important to me comes from others, other times, or other places? 4) What would I like to be important to me? I try to revisit this question cycle often. Each person or situation I encounter on my way can be an invitation to clarify my priorities. The more I do this, the more I can trust myself to feel my way, as I listen to what’s going on. I trust that people can make sense of things for themselves, in a helpful way, bit by bit.
  6. Being prepared to adapt the framework or structures that I’m offered (“being cheeky”). So, here’s a sixth one to tie them all together — having courage: courage to remain small; courage to be and be in place where I happen to be; courage to learn; courage to keep going; courage to open myself to people, especially when I am inclined not to; courage to become more thoughtful, accountable, responsible, and transparent about whatever differences I can make; courage to listen.

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

McCANN: Would you like to come over to my house for dinner some evening? I think we’d have lots to talk about, and I can promise you good food, a few songs, and a whole lot of Irish hospitality. : )

Anthony McCann

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Links

Crafting Gentleness

My 5: Larry Long, Musician, Activist, Teacher

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

Larry Long is co-founder and executive director of Community Celebration of Place. Photo: Courtesy Larry Long

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. He’s the man who brought Woody Guthrie’s memory home to Okemah, Oklahoma. And, he’s the founder and executive director of Communitiy Celebration of Place. Following are his responses. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?

1. Listen.
2. Be awake.
3. Begin from where you are.
4. There’s no better time than now.
5. Be kind to all that live.

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

LONG: Who I’d really like to sit with is Michelle. [He laughs.] I’ve been told by people who know them personally that Michelle is very wise. She’s his pillar.

What would I say to President Obama? In the short term, abstain from getting mired in a part of the world that even Genghis Khan couldn’t control.

Larry Long

Community Celebration of Place

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Posts

Part One: A Conversation with Larry Long, Lifelong Activist and Folksinger

Part Two: Larry Long on Bringing Woody Home

Part Three: Folksinger Larry Long on Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song (Top of Page)

My 5: Jody Sherman, Sprout Baby Founder and CEO

January 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Ecopreneurs, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

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Jody Sherman with his wife, Kerri. Photo: Courtesy Jody Sherman

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Sprout Baby founder and CEO, Jody Sherman, two questions we like to ask all our interviewees. Following are his responses. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet

BPGL: What are the five most important things we can do to save the planet?


  • Commit to making one positive change a month that will reduce your personal impact on the environment. It takes time to get into the habit of doing something, and then it becomes second nature. I started with something simple: putting recycling bins in my house. At first, sorting trash seemed like a chore, now we don’t even think about it, we just do it. Then I started picking up trash every time I went surfing. Before long, that became part of my after-surf ritual. I keep adding things monthly, and I don’t find it overwhelming that way.
  • We’ve had the sun’s power available to us forever. It’s time to finally get serious about developing solar farms that utilize unused or underused land and allow us to reduce our dependency on oil — a substance that we don’t have in abundance and for which we have to pay dearly.
  • Become a more conscious consumer. Do you really “need” everything you “want”? And if you do really need it, do you have an option to get something that comes in less packaging, uses less resources to manufacture, or when done with can be reused, recycled, or re-purposed?
  • Get involved. Step away from the computer and do something in your community to help others. I know this sounds hypocritical because I have a company that only succeeds if you go online and make a purchase, but there is more to life than the internet. Connect with people. Listen to them. Talk to them. Find out their interests and share yours with them. Build community. Where I live in Los Angeles, in many parts of town most people don’t even know their neighbors! If they made the effort, they might find some common interests. And have your kids go outside and play! When I was growing up, we didn’t have computers and we played outside every day. We didn’t sit in front of a computer for hours, not getting any physical exercise. I didn’t know even one overweight child when I was a kid. We ran and played football and baseball, and although we were playing, we got exercise, while at the same time we learned to relate to one another.
  • Eat more healthy and, whenever possible, locally. If food doesn’t have to travel long distances, it doesn’t use as many oil-based resources. And for food that tastes better when fresh, the closer it is to you, the fresher it should be, right?

2 Minutes with the President

BPGL: If you had two minutes with President Obama, what would you say to him?

SHERMAN: I would ask him to stop worrying so much about getting reelected. I didn’t vote for him because I wanted to see what he could do in his second four years in office. I voted for him because he spoke to my interests and promised to deliver in this four years. And if he delivers that which he promised — even a reasonable portion of what he promised — he won’t have to worry about getting rehired. The challenges he faces, most of which were inherited, are so pressing and so important. It’s time to deliver — now!

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Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Posts

Part One: Sprout Baby – Spreading by “Word of Mom”

Part Two: Sprout Baby – Love Your Baby, Love the Planet