My 5: Jacob Sackin, Author and Environmental Educator

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

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: Louis Hayner, CSO, Alteva

Louis Hayner, Chief Sales Officer (R) and Mark Marquez, Chief Technology Officer (L) of Alteva cheer on the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 World Series.

Louis Hayner, Chief Sales Officer for Alteva, responded to our favorite question for the folks we interview. Following is Hayner’s response.


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

  • Implement Hosted Technologies.

When a customer chooses a hosted vs. premise-based phone solution for its communications, they contribute to an overall reduction in resources and costs of power and cooling by up to 84 percent. By reducing energy consumption, they reduce the carbon dioxide gas emissions produced as a byproduct of generating electricity.

We estimate that our solutions reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 900,000 pounds per year. This is equivalent to the annual emissions generated in 64 average homes! Additional contributing factors to such hosted-service savings include ability to support home teleworking, video conferencing and remote meetings, less maintenance and site support visits, lower power consumption, money saved on gas, reduced traffic congestion and CO2 emissions pollution.

  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Statistics show that 90% of the world’s information is still on paper.  You don’t necessarily have to implement an electronic filing system, but reducing your carbon footprint can be as simple as reducing your paper usage. Pay your bills online. Cancel any unnecessary magazine subscriptions and junk mail. Make phone calls or send emails in place of handwritten letters when possible. Don’t print out documents unless it’s necessary. By keeping electronic copies or files, you are also saving on your office real estate from having to load up on filing cabinets and/or lease additional off-site storage space.

  • Out with the Old

Buy rechargeable batteries. A single rechargeable battery can replace between 50 and 300 throwaway batteries. Regular batteries are not biodegradable and are full of toxic materials. When they are not probably disposed of, old batteries can leak toxic materials. Also, make sure to donate any old items that you are not using anymore to the appropriate venues. This can include car batteries, old computers, cell phones, ink cartridges and paint cans.

  • Recycle

Many towns recycle, but many offices do not. Keep buckets or bins around the office and urge employees to recycle their paper, bottles, and cans.  If there is a shared kitchen space in the office, make sure to buy products in bulk – there’s less packaging and you’ll save money.

  • Conserve Your H20

While bottled water comes in recyclable plastics, why not install a water filter in your kitchen faucet or purchase a pitcher filter like a Brita? You can also save water by taking shorter showers and installing a low-flow shower head and toilet. Also, don’t let the water run while you are brushing your teeth or washing your face. It’s hard to break some of these habits, but it beats breaking the bank!

Louis Hayner

Chief Sales Officer

Alteva

Related Post

Unified Communications – A Green Solution for Business

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Our 5: Briggs Shore and Avi Pogel, Sustainable Living Coalition

September 7, 2010 by  
Filed under 2010, Blog, Events, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

Briggs Shore and Avi Pogel pose in front of the Sustainable Living Coalition booth at the Natural Living Expo in Des Moines last March. Photo: J. Wasson

This past spring, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) met Briggs Shore and Avi Pogel at the Natural Living Expo in Des Moines, Iowa. Pogel and Shore work with the Sustainable Living Coalition. Shore is the Administrative Coordinator and Pogel is on the teaching staff.

According to the group’s website, “The Sustainable Living Coalition is a group of enthusiastic individuals actively working to create communities that are: environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just places to live. The SLC’s Vision  is: to empower individuals and communities to live fully rooted in the abundant flows of natural systems.”

Following are Shore’s and Pogel’s joint responses to the question we most like to ask everyone we speak with. — Julia Wasson, Publisher


Our 5

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

1. Cooperate. Talk to people. We have the technology and knowledge to solve the problem. The reason we don’t do it is that people don’t cooperate and work together. They have a “when-I-get-mine” mentality.

2. Value soil fertility. But more importantly, value the source of soil fertility, which is the life process.

3. The premise of permaculture is designing to meet human needs in regenerative ways. The use of intelligent design involves small and slow solutions.

4. Stop complaining and start actively doing something. If you’ve got an idea for right living, go ahead and do it!

5. Value people over money.

Avi Pogel and Briggs Shore

Sustainable Living Coalition

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

Natural Living Expo, March 27 & 28 in Des Moines

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.

Follow Breeze Dryer

Website: BreezeDryer.com

Facebook: Breeze Dryer

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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: Jennie Nigrosh, The Green Garmento, President and Co-Founder

August 28, 2010 by  
Filed under Barack Obama, Blog, Ecopreneurs, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

Jennie Nigrosh, president and co-founder of The Green Garmento, with her good friend Mort. Photo: Kori Stanton

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asks our interviewees to answer two questions that give us insights into their thinking about the planet we all share. Today, Jennie Nigrosh, president and co-founder of The Green Garmento, gives us her responses. The Green Garmento is a reusable polypropylene bag that replaces the ubiquitous, single-use, plastic dry cleaning bags. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

My 5

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

NIGROSH:

1. Education. We have to learn where the problems are, understand the answers, and do the best we can to solve them.

2. Tell your friends. If you are passionate about an issue regarding the planet, climate change, hunger, peace… have an open dialogue with your friends and family. It’s amazing how ideas and actions are formed just from conversation.

3. Don’t be afraid of change. Big or small, pick a few things to change and do it. From LEDs to composting to electric cars to using the Sunday Comics for wrapping paper — have at it, get creative, and have fun.

4. Find value in all people. My parents taught me this at a very early age. Realize every thing we do in the United States will have an effect on people just like us in other parts of the world. You may not know them or understand their culture, but they have value. If we respect people, we respect the planet.

5. Enjoy life. I find it really easy to obsess about reducing, reusing, recycling, and rethinking. Try to adopt that mantra without making yourself crazy. Embrace this new, clean way of life and enjoy.

2 Minutes with the President

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

NIGROSH: Thank you. You rock. Sorry, I’m nervous; I’ve never met a history-making President before.

If it’s okay with you, I think we should stop all drilling in the oceans. Imagine if all the money and manpower spent cleaning up the Gulf were instead used to build solar panels? That would be neat.

Thank you for working tirelessly to help Americans have a better, healthier life.

I like your suit. Can I give you a Green Garmento to use for your drycleaning? And please give one to Michelle since we recommend two per household so you can rotate them between the cleaner and home. I think my two minutes are up.

Jennie Nigrosh

President and Co-Founder

The Green Garmento

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

The Green Garmento – An Eco-Friendly Dry-Cleaning Tote

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?

McKINNEY:

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

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

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)

Related Post

Pop Opera ECOLOGIC Competes for Funds in Pepsi Project

My 5: Duane Hallowell, President & CEO, Hallowell International

Duane Hallowell, President and CEO of Hallowell International, makers of the Acadia. Photo: Courtesy Duane Hallowell

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Duane Hallowell, President/CEO and co-founder of Hallowell International, the makers of Acadia, two questions we 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?

HALLOWELL: I focus on northern climates, so my responses are climate specific.

Mandate Weatherization. It’s a huge problem, and we need better programs in place to help guide people to making the right decisions — even going so far as to make laws to mandate how people are doing it. That is absolutely number one.

Upgrade Highway Infrastructure. We need upgrades to our roads and transportation systems. Let’s get rid of the gridlock.

Improve Power Infrastructure. We need to install smart metering and power infrastructure upgrades.

Replace Fossil fuels. We need to dramatically reduce the use of fossil fuels. To me, using fossil fuels is cavemen mentality. Innovations are evolving. And with electric energy, there are now so many choices.

Embrace Innovation. Everyone needs to support innovation. They should want — and demand — that we get better at innovating, that we bring out new products, and that we do things better.

2 Minutes with the President


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

HALLOWELL: The very first thing I’d bring up to him is greater support for small business and innovative companies. As a small business, you wouldn’t believe the obstacles that I needed to go through [to get my product approved for the Energy Star program and tax rebates]. I waited two years for a federal standard, with no way to super-cycle the process, even when pulling in my entire delegation.

A small company can die in that time frame, if they’re not careful and not capitalized. I am very happy I’m not an engineer working out of my garage, having just invented a free-energy device, because I would have died in the process. That would be the first thing that I’d bring up to him.

And I’d be talking to him about the need for additional training and infrastructure to support emerging technology and innovation.

Duane Hallowell

President/CEO and Co-Founder

Hallowell International

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

Hallowell Acadia Is Revolutionizing the Heating Industry

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

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?

McCANN:

  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
Mindapples

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: Angela Clark, Founder/Master Connector, enrgPATH

February 24, 2010 by  
Filed under 2010, Blog, Events, Front Page, My 5, Slideshow

Angela Clark, Founder and Master Connector, enrgPATH. Photo: Courtesy Angela Clark

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Angela Clark two questions we ask all of our interviewees. Clark is the founder of enrgPATH and self-described “Master Connector.” She is currently working to promote the Natural Living Expo, which will be held March 27 and 28 at the Polk County Convention Center in Des Moines, Iowa.  — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet

BPGL: What are the five most important ways we can save the planet?

CLARK: These are my Top 5 Solutions for Sustainable People and Planet:

Be Grateful. The more grateful I am, the more productive I am. To have daily gratitude takes some practice. It is easy to get caught up in the drama of life and forget to focus on all that I have, but after living both ways, I prefer to nurture the spirit of gratitude. It makes life beautiful.

Be Mindful. Living with the awareness of how connected I am to everyone and everything means observing The Ripple Effect in each of my choices. My pursuit of mindfulness has led me to ask more questions about where my food, clothing, shoes, car and household items come from. I am making more conscientious choices about buying locally and supporting the Iowa economy. I also base my purchasing decisions on how each item’s life cycle impacts the environment.

Be Well. I believe that global sustainability begins with self-care. Once we master the task of essential self-care, I believe it will be a natural extension to also care for other people and the planet. Experience has taught me that taking care of myself first makes me more effective in my attention to everything around me.

Be Still. Once I learned the power of the quiet mind, I became more centered in my daily life. I might have a busy and crazy day, but I have a peace of mind that comes from de-cluttering on a regular basis. Anxiety is not the close friend that it used to be, and people appreciate my grounded presence. Meditation allows for fresh inspiration and valuable self-reflection to occur.

Be in Nature. Immersing myself regularly in nature in all the seasons is refreshing and inspirational. Observing the animals, the plants, the trees, the water, the wind, and the sunlight helps me see the world at large. There is more than just me on this planet!

2 Minutes with the President

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

CLARK: “If you had one day left to live on this planet, where would you spend it and what would you do and who would be along for the day’s journey?”

Angela Clark

Founder and Master Connector

enrgPATH

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

My 5: Dana L. Miller, Founder, Sustainable Earth

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Dana L. Miller two questions we ask all our interviewees. Miller is the founder of Sustainable Earth and proponent of UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Burns Bog in Vancouver, British Columbia. Here are her 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?

Dana L. Miller, Founder of Sustainable Earth and relentless campaigner for UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for Burns Bog. Photo: Courtesy Dana L. Miller

MILLER:

1. Media: Abolish the business of government propaganda, public relations, and conglomerate media in Canada and biased editorial columns. Reinvigorate investigative journalism.

2. Religion: Educate on the creation vs. evolution debate to prevent further war. Evolution is the creator’s vision. Respect it, by respecting our environment; it perpetuates your life.

3. War: Create businesses that sell knowledge worldwide on the economic model of reliance upon environmental resources. Thus we mitigate wars for resources.

4. Carbon: Analyze all data pertaining to carbon sequesters. Create a law to protect all peatlands, wetlands, and bogs to reduce the release of carbons and methane.

5. Education: Earmark federal funding for provinces to address the need for elementary and secondary education of words and symbols that denote ecology (e.g., slang is pervasive in the dictionary, and ecology words are being removed).

2 Minutes with the Prime Minister


BPGL: If you had two minutes with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, what would you say?

MILLER: Do you want to get re-elected? Say to Canadians what you say behind closed doors. If you don’t want to get re-elected, then keep us guessing about what you really think, because the more suspicious Canadians are, the more they vote against the government of the day.

Yet, most governments get re-elected because their name is repeated in the minds of voters through media.

Right now, you have this to your advantage. However, governments are historically ousted if they are embroiled in scandal involving tax dollars. Your decision to prorogue Parliament cost Canadians millions, as did your 33% income trust increase, signs for advertising, and miscalculation that has created multiple deficits.

Start saying what you intend to do with Canada or your recent plummet in the polls will continue and be your demise. On our environment, you ought listen to scientists and embrace the notion of evolution envisioned by the creator, because humankind will exist only if we can weather the cycles of extinction through science and technology innovations. Mimick natural metamorphosis by enacting ecologically wise policy.

Dana L. Miller, Founder

Sustainable Earth

Related Post


A Plea to Protect Burns Bog as a UNESCO Site

My 5: Jody Sherman, Sprout Baby Founder and CEO

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

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?

SHERMAN:

  • 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!

Follow Sprout Baby


Website: SproutBaby.com

Twitter: SproutBabyClub

Facebook: SproutBaby.com

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

My 5: Francis Thicke, Organic Dairy Farmer, Political Candidate

January 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Iowa, My 5, Slideshow

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) has endorsed Francis Thicke, Ph.D., in his candidacy for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture,. We asked Thicke 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?

THICKE:

Francis Thicke is a candidate for Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in the 2010 election. Photo: Courtesy Francis Thicke

1. Probably the easiest thing we could do collectively in this country right now is to increase the average fuel efficiency of cars on the road. The average passenger vehicle (including SUVs) gets about 22 mpg. Hybrid vehicle technology is already on the road today that can double that mileage, and with plug-in hybrid technology — that is also available today — we could quadruple our mileage.

Clearly, we have the technology available right now to reduce the 140 billion gallons of gasoline used each year in this country to half or less. According to EPA, each gallon of gasoline burned emits 19.4 lbs of carbon dioxide. If we reduced our gasoline use by half, we would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 679 million tons per year, and save more barrels of oil annually than are imported from the Middle East.

We seem to be slow learners in this country when it comes to vehicle fuel efficiency. Even the much touted Cash For Clunkers program was a failure for efficiency. According to data from the Department of Transportation, the average mileage for cars purchased through the program was only 24.9mpg. So even in a program with one of its goals purported to be increased fuel efficiency, we failed miserably.

2. The U.S. should step up and take a global lead in reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) that cause climate change. Arguments that we can’t do anything unless China and India sign on immediately ring hollow when you consider that the U.S. has historically been one of the largest GHG contributors, and on a per capita basis we currently produce about four times as much GHG as China. If other countries do not take appropriate steps to curb their GHG emissions, we can justifiably institute “dirty” tariffs on imports from those countries that produce goods with dirty fuel.

In the U.S. we have industry groups — like power companies and some agricultural groups — that think they should be exempt from GHG controls. We all need to step up and do our part. Reducing GHG will bring multiple benefits, including health benefits from improved air quality and economic benefits from switching to renewable energy systems and converting to a green economy.

3. Increase the amount of perennial crops used in agriculture by integrating animals back onto the landscape in ways that are ecologically sound, and by converting the U.S. biofuels industry to the use of perennial crops for feedstocks. That would convert a lot of annual row-cropped land to perennial cropping systems, which would reduce soil erosion, reduce nutrient pollution of our water resources, and save fossil fuel energy.

4. Convert our energy systems to truly renewable and sustainable systems, predominantly wind and solar. For example, according to the American Wind Energy Association, we have the potential, with wind generation, to produce three times more electricity in Iowa than we use annually. We need to develop systems to store the energy produced by wind, like hydrogen, for example. Similarly, we have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible to do with solar energy, including solar hot water heating and photovoltaics on the roofs of the millions of homes across the U.S.

5. Help people in countries around the world develop the capacity to feed themselves using the resources available to them locally. Research from around the world is increasingly leading to the conclusion that solutions to world food problems will not come from high-input, silver-bullet technologies, or from food imports from places like Iowa. Rather, the solutions will come from local development of ecologically sound farming systems that optimize the use of resources produced locally.

2 Minutes with the President

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

THICKE: I would urge him to put more emphasis on transitioning our economy to clean, renewable energy, and suggest that if he accomplished that it would be a boon for our health, environment, and long-range economy, and it would be a legacy history would remember him for.

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Posts

Part 1: Francis Thicke on Biofuels, Biodiversity, and Erosion

Part 2: Francis Thicke on Renewable Energy

Part 3: Francis Thicke on Small Farms and Local Foods

Part 4: Francis Thicke on Big Ag, CAFOs, and the Future

Our 5: Rob Irwin, Brett Maurer, and Paul Quick, reThread

Rob Irwin and Brett Maurer wearing reThread hoodies in Denver. Photo: Courtesy reThread

Rob Irwin and Brett Maurer wearing reThread hoodies in Denver. Photo: Courtesy reThread

Blue Planet Green Living asked reThread‘s Rob Irwin, Brett Maurer, and Paul Quick two questions we like to ask everyone we interview. Here are their collective answers, given by Rob Irwin. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet


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

reThread says, "...Thread the word." Photo: Courtesy reThread

reThread says, "...Thread the word." Photo: Courtesy reThread

reTHREAD:

Education. Educate yourself and carpé diem, sieze the day. But be careful how you educate yourself. Make sure it is from reputable sources. There’s a lot of greenwashing going on, especially at the beginning of this trailhead – and I think we still are at the beginning. We are under global commerce now, and every choice you make in your lifestyle affects everyone in the world.

Analysis. Analyze your own life. How do you define your happiness? How necessary are the things in your life? Can you, by getting rid of things that aren’t necessary in your life, reduce your impacts? Getting rid of stuff actually clears your physical quarters — and your mental quarters.

Relationships. Removing the clutter allows you to spend more time with the ones you love, build friendships, and make memories. It also enables you to have relationships with the earth and seasons, and adjust your lifestyle seasonally and geographically. For instance, a couple of months ago, I was kind of haphazardly grabbing some things at Vitamin Cottage. When I got up to the register, I looked at this pear, and it said, “Peru.” And I thought, “Whoa. Here I am buying an organic pear, but it’s from Peru — so it’s shipped from 10,000 miles away.” I’d like to buy locally. Maybe I can’t buy these avocados, because they’re from Guatemala. Or maybe I only do it so often.

Communication. There are a lot of communication barriers now. We really rely on technology instead of face-to-face interactions. This interview is a prime example of that; but [technology] allows you to convey a lot of information. Sharing of ideas, knowledge, wisdom, and education has a very important and integral role to the furthering of the ideas in society.

Empowerment. A lot of people feel they are not empowered, and they feel like they can’t change much. Complacency is detrimental to a culture that needs to change. Believing in the power of one — and your ability to make a difference and act — is the fifth most important thing. And I’ll leave on the note of quoting Margaret Mead in saying, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

2 Minutes with the President


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

I’d first congratulate him on the maverick role he’s taken in the White House. It seems like he’s really balanced in a lot of issues. So I think that I would first congratulate him, then also remind him that the popular choice is oftentimes not the right choice to move a country in the correct direction. I would tell him to stay steadfast and continue on course as far as making global changes and putting U.S. on the map once again as a true global leader in shifting the world.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

ReThread “Threads the Word” about the Environment

My 5, Lauren Sullivan, Reverb Co-Founder

In Friday’s post, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) talked with Reverb co-founder, Lauren Sullivan, about the Reverb’s work greening rock bands and connecting concert-goers with local nonprofits. Today, we asked her to answer two questions we like to ask our interviewees. Following are our questions and her responses.

5 Ways to Save the Planet

Lauren Sullivan with her husband, Adam Gardner, and their daughter, Sloan. Photo: Courtesy Lauren Sullivan

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

SULLIVAN:

Get Local: Eat locally (join a CSA), walk/carpool to work, support local art and activism.

Get Simple: Think about what you really need to buy and about what kind of items you can instead re-use, trade, or lend/borrow. Think about the lifecycle and recycle-ability of what you’re purchasing.

Get Outside: Connect with the natural world and encourage others to do so. It can help refresh your commitment to the environment and can remind you why you’re working on behalf of the Earth.

Get Clean: Purge your home of toxic chemicals. Where possible, try to buy or make your own eco-friendly cleaners.  Use healthy body products.

Get Together: Connect with friends and neighbors. Talk about how we can work together to support the natural world, lead by example, volunteer together for a campaign, community garden, or get together for a meal.  Everything is better and more fun with a supportive community.

2 Minutes with the President

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

SULLIVAN: I would urge/beg/plead for the president to get out in front on climate change legislation in a very public way right now and work tirelessly to find a way to go to Copenhagen in December with some substantive commitments from the United States.

I know that the political realm is not my wheelhouse by any stretch, but I did read a comment from Andrew Revkin of the NY TImes that spoke to me.  It read, “As Dave Roberts of Grist said to me earlier this week, it might be hard for people outside the United States (or inside, for that matter) to grasp how a president could have the authority to take a country to war but not to commit it to curbing emissions of carbon dioxide. But that is the nature of a “boisterous democracy,” to use a description applied to both the United States and India by Jairam Ramesh, India’s environment minister.”

That sentiment of confusion and frustration resonates with me, and I could only ask that the Obama administration find a way out of that conundrum and assume the leadership position on climate change that we’re all hoping for and need so urgently.

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

My 5: David Blume, Executive Director, International Institute for Ecological Agriculture

September 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Agriculture, Biofuels, Blog, Books, Front Page, My 5, Organic

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked David Blume to answer two questions we like to ask our interviewees. Blume is the  founder and Executive Director of the International Institute for Ecological Agriculture, author of Alcohol Can Be A Gas, and a frequent speaker at ecological, sustainability and agricultural conferences throughout the Americas. 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?

BLUME:

David Blume, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. Photo: Courtesy David Blume

David Blume, Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Sustainable Agriculture. Photo: Courtesy David Blume

  • Stop buying oil. Replace oil with ethanol. Ethanol is a clean-burning, high-octane fuel that sells for around $1.80 a gallon. You don’t even have to pay more to do the right thing.
  • Only buy organic products. Vote with your dollars to send the message that you’re not going to continue doing business as usual.
  • Figure out what is enough. Instead of more, more, more, decide how much materialism you’re going to engage in and stop consuming beyond what’s enough.
  • Grow at home.  Growing your own food is a tremendously political act. If everybody grew some of their own food, we could cut down on the amount that has to be transported.
  • Acknowledge that capitalism works best on a small local scale. Buy local products even if it costs more. Don’t spend your money so that the capital leaves your area forever. Localizing the economy takes down the whole multinational capitalist system.

2 Minutes with the President


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

BLUME: We need to make a commitment to provide all our own energy from within our own borders in the next 10 years, on land and on sea, using solar, wind, and alcohol. If we accomplish that one goal, we could completely change the global perception of the U.S. from a giant, predatory parasite to an exporter of our own surplus energy.

David Blume
Founder and Executive Director

International Institute for Ecological Agriculture
Author, Alcohol Can Be A Gas

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post


From Swamp to Gas Pump – Cattails Take on New Role

My 5: Maziar Movassaghi, Acting Director, California Department of Toxic Substances Control

September 15, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Front Page, Green Chemistry, My 5, Pollution

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) asked Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control and leader of the state’s Green Chemistry Initiative, to answer two questions we like to ask our interviewees. Following are his responses. — Publisher

5 Ways to Save the Planet


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

MOVASSAGHI:

Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of California's Department of Toxic Substances Control. Photo Courtesy: California DTSC

Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. Photo: Courtesy California DTSC

  • The overarching issue I’m going to respond to, and I think all these issues feed into it, is that everybody should not wait for the silver bullet, the one thing they can do that will fundamentally change everything about them. There’s a lot of fun stuff that we can do in our homes, little by little, that makes a big difference.
  • To me, one of the most important is water usage. There are a lot of inexpensive alternatives out there, like dual-flush toilets, low-flow showers. In a good part of the country, especially in California, water shortage is going to be a big issue. For not too much of an expensive cost, folks can add cisterns, and capture rainwater and reuse it. I think this kind of stuff could be fun for kids.
  • Another thing that is fun for kids is to have a little bit of a vegetable garden in your backyard and teach them about where their food comes from. I think it promotes both healthy eating, and gets them to think about seasonality of foods. And it’s fun, actually.
  • Another thing that’s’ a big thing for my wife and me is that we barely use any chemical cleaners in our house. We actually clean the kitchen with vinegar. We mix vinegar and water, and we’ve never had any problems. It’s a much safer alternative, and it actually saves you a whole boatload of money.
  • The last thing, which is a big deal for me, is that when we go visit friends or when we give gifts, we don’t give cut flowers, we always bring a potted flower. Or sometimes, we give a potted herb out of our garden. They last much longer. I think they’re aesthetically nicer, and nine times out of ten, the recipient has been much happier receiving something that will last for a little while.

2 Minutes with the President


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

MOVASSAGHI: On a personal level, I would ask him how he writes his speeches. [He laughs.] I still probably can recount a good portion of his 2004 speech at the DNC.

But the second thing I’d say is, at the federal level, we really need to look at the Toxic Substances Control Act. We’ve run it for 30 years, and there are significant problems. It’s time for a new approach, rather than tinkering around the edges; and we really think green chemistry is the way to move forward.

Maziar Movassaghi, Acting Director

California’s Department of Toxic Substance Control

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post


California Green Chemistry Initiative – “Rethinking the Way We Make Everything”

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