The Creative Circus Students Say, “Nice Backside” to Used Paper

Christina Caluda, a student at The Creative Circus, eagerly reaches for one of the free booklets made from the backsides of student papers. Photo: Marc Risik

When Blue Planet Green Living received a press release from The Creative Circus, a school that specializes in training the creative geniuses of the future in advertising, design and other fields, it seemed only natural to ask that a student write the story for us. So, we invited Sarah Gatling, a copywriting student at The Creative Circus, to submit the news article for publication. She’s a bit shy about taking credit, as she’s writing about an event she helped organize, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. Here’s Sarah’s report on yesterday’s activities at Creative Circus. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

The event team posted notes saying, "Nice backside" on used paper. Photo: Marc Risik

As you might guess from its name, students at The Creative Circus, an advertising portfolio school in Atlanta, are among the most talented and creative minds in the nation. Constantly immersed in the creative process, they learn what it takes to excel in the advertising, interactive, design, and photography industries. And they learn that “what it takes” is often a lot of paper.

A small group of students realized that members of the student body were discarding more than 5000 sheets of paper per week on campus. More shocking: Most of this paper was being recycled after it had only been used on one side.

At a school where creativity reigns king, they knew something unprecedented had to be done to change the way paper is used.

Posters such as this one informed students and faculty of the reason behind the project. Photo: Marc Risik

On Monday, July 19th, students, faculty, and administration were stunned when they arrived to a campus adorned in advertisements and free notebooks made using students’ previously discarded paper. The message? Flip the page over and use the backside. Fresh ideas don’t need fresh sheets of paper.

It may seem obvious that using the backside of paper for brainstorming and sketching would drastically reduce paper usage. But students are proud of their ideas, and want them presented as nicely as possible in class. The challenge of the campaign lay in shifting the paper usage paradigms of the students and faculty.

The surprise, paper production was unconventional and well-received. The positive buzz that the advertisements and notebooks generated in the colorful hallways speaks of a greener future at The Creative Circus.

Sarah Gatling

Guest Contributor

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Energy Healing, A Form of Holistic Medicine

Dr. Longworth provides an Energy Healing to a client. Photo: Julia Wasson

Natural healing modalities allow us to tread lightly on the earth while improving our health. They don’t require synthetic chemicals or an investment in expensive technology. And, they have been used in various traditions since homo sapiens first trod the earth.

Today, Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) interviews Maureen Longworth, M.D., who is board certified in both Holistic Medicine and Family Medicine, and is an internationally respected Energy Healer. Dr. Longworth practices medicine in Juneau, Alaska, and is visiting Iowa City through July 17. She will be teaching a Root of Healing Mini Workshop in Iowa City this Sunday and is available for private healing sessions throughout the coming week. More information is provided below. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

BPGL: What is Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: Energy Healing is a global term to describe healing that occurs by creating a shift in the energy field. In a way, even prescription drugs and surgery are Energy Healings because a shift occurs. But when we speak of Energy Healing in holistic medicine, we mean the natural shift that can occur without drugs, herbs, or surgical intervention.

You might begin by comparing Energy Healing to any energy modality you know, like chiropractic, massage, Reiki, acupuncture or acupressure, etc. All of these are energy-healing modalities. Even prior to my certification in Holistic Medicine I studied many of these modalities. This tradition I have settled with is the most effective for my patients — and for me personally — for ongoing health and well-being.

The method of Energy Healing I’ve studied is a unique discipline that originated with Robert Moore in Ireland, when he blended his electrical engineering knowledge with ancient Eastern traditions he studied with renowned Eastern spiritual leaders. The result is a precise, scientific collection of a dual-component Energy Healing System that is simple for anyone to learn and easy to practice. It is much more common in Europe and in Israel than in the United States, because I am one of the only doctors here in the U.S. trained in it.

One aspect includes hands-on healing from a trained healer, working on points of the energy field that have been recognized for all time. These points were even identified in ancient caves, written in Sanskrit. The other component is a practice of focused awareness on prescribed energy points to self-balance one’s own energy field.

Dr. Longworth will be doing healing sessions in Iowa City this coming week. Photo: Julia Wasson

BPGL: When you talk about an energy field, what does that “look” like in practical terms in the human body?

LONGWORTH: The premise is that we each have an energy field surrounding our body and multi-dimensionally flowing through every cell of the body. The spine is central in our physical vertical plane, and the heart chakra in the horizontal plane. Think of it as a network of lines surrounding and through us that coalesce into larger and larger rivers of energy or meridians. The points we use for healing are where these powerful meridians intersect.

Energy is running through our respective energy fields. We feel it, and sometimes see, hear, or taste it. We all have had the experience of entering a room with people present that we don’t know. We can tell by the atmosphere if they just had an argument or a loving embrace. We all sense energy shifts all the time, though we often fail to consciously recognize it, as it is part of our automatic survival mechanism.

Even when we sit down on a plane next to a stranger, we can sense from our neighbor enough clues that we either speak to them or stay silent for the duration of the flight. It changes with our energy flow and theirs.

BPGL: How can a person learn to identify their own energy field?

LONGWORTH: In my classes, I teach ways to connect with these powerful energy points on and around your body through focused awareness. So when we focus on them with the mind, or activate them by hand, there is a domino effect on the energy flow, and the entire stream around and through us is altered toward a more balanced state.

Imagine a mountain stream where you remove a small boulder from the water momentarily and then return the boulder to the stream. Even if you could replace the boulder in its exact original position — which you can’t, because the movement has changed the stream — everything upstream and downstream from the boulder will be forever changed. That change will also be transmitted throughout the entire system, so all the tributaries will shift.

With Energy Healing, that subtle shift, even if temporary, affects the whole person on deep mind-body-spirit multi-dimensional levels, bringing the individual toward deeper balance. The body-mind-spirit gets a new experience of balance that it will remember and be able to access in the future. In fact, the movement toward balance is not new, but a returning to the perfection of balance in our creation.

Both the hands-on Energy Healings and the focused-awareness self-balancing exercises have a restorative healing effect on the energy flow that is already naturally running in the energy field. The densities and movements of energy are measurable and have been documented by scientists all over the world. (See the book The Field by Lynne McTaggart for a very readable summary.)

BPGL: What does a person feel after a typical session of Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: The neurohormones shift. There can be an increase in some of the same natural chemicals people take drugs to induce or augment. Many people feel the shift, and it can be quite pleasant, but even people who don’t feel anything often have a shift in the everyday symptoms they are dealing with.

For example, after a head injury, someone may begin sleeping better or managing their anger with more control. Or someone with thyroid disease may need less medication for balancing the thyroid. A new diabetic may have more resilience in following a new eating plan that is healthier. Many people with chronic pain are able to get off of their pain medication and quit looking for external “fixes” after using the self-balancing, focused-awareness exercises I teach.

Energy is stabilized for people with too much energy or for people with not enough energy. Mood is shifted, and people with anxiety learn focused awareness exercises to control their anxiety and improve thinking and function, while people with depression can gain access to joy. Even people without symptoms comment on increased ability to mentally focus, remember details and formulate thoughts, simply as a result of the greater brain balance and health that is restored. All these things have occurred for my patients and my students.

BPGL: What happens during a healing session?

LONGWORTH: In an individual session, we spend some time talking about whatever you are focusing on in your healing. Then I do hands-on healing, activating points in your energy field. You don’t need to remove clothing, as the energy field is accessed through the clothing. In fact, the body does not need to be touched, if preferred, as the energy field extends to about 2 centimeters around the body, and the entire healing can be done on that etheric layer when someone is sensitive to touch on the body

To complete the individual session, I give a homework exercise for you to do on your own that is specific to what you are working on for your health. I select your homework based on what has come forward into my awareness during your session, when I am connecting with you. You’ll focus on these specific energy points that I give you to continue balancing your energy field on your own and to address the focus of your individual healing journey.

BPGL: What if someone has questions after their healing or wants to continue working with you?

LONGWORTH: Since I can connect energetically with people at any distance in any location, people are able to work with me long-distance from Juneau by phone and internet. In a long-distance healing, I still have the same components of talking time to discuss the person’s concerns and focus for the healing: a “hands-on” healing, where I connect with the points long distance, and a homework assignment designed for the person and the focus of their healing. I then follow up in person when people travel to the places I am visiting.

BPGL: You offer both classes and individual sessions. What are the advantages to doing one versus the other?

LONGWORTH: Some people prefer the class atmosphere, some prefer an individual session, and some like to do both. Anyone is welcome to try whichever they are drawn to. No experience is necessary.

BPGL: What are some reasons people seek out Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: There is no problem that cannot be addressed with Energy Healing. It does not interfere with anything you are doing with your medical doctor or medicines you are taking. It only leads toward balance, and there is no such thing as “overdoing it.” So it is safe for anyone to learn and practice, or to receive Energy Healing.

Brain function is required to be able to participate, but children as young as four years old are successful doing the exercises. One of my four-year-old patients cured her bed-wetting by the third visit. Another child, who was experiencing a difficult divorce transition in her family and had been acting out in school, learned to use energy exercises on the playground to control her temper. And she is the one who figured out how to do it on the spot after learning some techniques in my office.

Maureen Longworth, M.D., board certified in Holistic Medicine and Family Medicine. Photo: Courtesy Dr. Longworth

BPGL: How can people learn more about Energy Healing?

LONGWORTH: I invite people who are interested to ask me if they have any question about what we can work on with their Energy Healing. I’m also happy to answer questions about my work. And, if someone has personal questions about their own healing, they can schedule an individual session or attend one of my classes.

BPGL: What kinds of topics will be covered in the workshop you will be doing in Iowa City on Sunday (and presumably in other places at other times)?

LONGWORTH: Attendees will learn self-balancing techniques for every part of their body, head to toe, and for every physical organ in the body. They will learn ways to balance moods and their thinking process to integrate their entire energy field and bring overall healing for all their chakras, or energy organs, wherever the energy transformation is needed.

By the end of the class, they will have practiced and learned several focused-awareness, energy-balancing exercises and a specific chakra meditation that they can use for their own healing process for their lifetime.

The full Root of Healing course is a comprehensive course covering the chakras and how the chakra system overlaps our understanding of anatomy and physiology. We’ll also discuss, specifically, how to use the chakras for one’s own medical diseases and health. The Root of Healing Mini Workshop I’m offering on Sunday is a half-day version, designed especially for individuals or groups who want to learn some of the techniques in a shorter format.

Note: Dr. Longworth’s class will be held on Sunday, July 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central time in Iowa City. Call to learn more, to register for the class, and to get directions to the session. Dr. Longworth is available for a limited number of healing sessions in Iowa City through July 16.

To arrange for a workshop or class in your city or to schedule a healing session in Juneau or a place she is currently visiting, please contact Dr. Longworth at 907.209.2005. Or, visit her website,

Edmonton, Alberta – The Festival City Goes Green!

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Folk Music Festival, City Skyline, Edmonton, Alberta. Photo: Travel Alberta

With more than 30 festivals going on throughout the year, Edmonton, Alberta, takes its nickname — Festival City — seriously. But what’s even better than a city that knows how to celebrate? A city that celebrates while respecting the environment.

Under a new initiative called EcoVision Edmonton, the city is working diligently to become environmentally sustainable. Spreading the word with the message Go Green! It’s Our Nature, the city is encouraging residents to be greener and more eco friendly every day. There are a host of environmental initiatives going on, including a push to reduce each resident’s carbon footprint through ZeroFootprint Edmonton.

In keeping with the theme of environmentalism spreading throughout the city, Edmonton is gearing up for four eco-friendly festivals that will appeal to young, old, and in-between. Consider making Edmonton your vacation destination this summer.

The Green Festival: July 18

Devonian Botanic Garden, near Edmonton. Photo: Travel Alberta

The first of the four eco-friendly events is The Green Festival, to be held July 18 at the beautiful Devonian Botanic Garden. At The Green Festival, you’ll learn simple and practical ways to be more environmentally friendly and to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll also take home  a wide range of tips on green energy, eco-friendly housecleaning, recycling, making and using compost, environmentally friendly gardening, and more.

The Devonian Botanic Garden, which is part of the University of Alberta, is well worth a visit in itself. The grounds are a showcase for “manicured gardens, mixed woodland vegetation and an extensive nature trail system,” according to the University’s website. Plan for plenty of time to wander through the 190-acre property and explore the peaceful Kurimoto Japanese Garden; the herb, healing, and sensory gardens; ornamental flower gardens; cactus and butterfly houses; and alpine gardens.

Capital EX: July 23 – August 1

Join fellow celebrants at Capital EX, often called, “Edmonton’s biggest summer celebration.” It’s a family friendly outing that’s every bit as much fun for singles. And while you’re exploring the live music, midway rides, multicultural foods, and handmade Aboriginal crafts, be sure to stop by the “green zone” in the Family Fun Town. Here, children (and parents) will learn how to treat the earth with care.

The 10-day Capital EX festival kicks off with a parade down the streets of Edmonton on July 22. If the 22,000 visitors from last year are any indication, the streets will be packed with spectators. So get there early to claim your spot along the parade route and watch local residents show off their community pride.

If you’re a kid with talent — singing, dancing, instrumental, or “variety” — be sure to register for the Northern Star Talent Search that will take place during Capital EX. The contest is open to amateurs between the ages of 5 and 21, with prizes, money, and scholarships awarded to the winners.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival: August 5 – 8

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival. Photo: Travel Alberta

Quite possibly the greenest event of the summer, the Edmonton Folk Music Festival is scheduled for August 5 – 8. Visitors are encouraged to bike, rather than drive, and an on-site, bike lock-up service makes that a practical choice. An ambitious recycling crew will be working to recycle everything possible, leaving a tiny footprint in terms of waste. The festival also adheres to a “no Styrofoam” policy among food and drink vendors. And, the event will be partially powered by solar panels.

Gallagher Park, the event venue, is located in the stunning river valley, a prized feature of Edmonton. North America’s largest urban green space, the river valley area is 22 times as large as New York’s Central Park. There are miles of walking and biking trails to explore. And festival organizers will carefully construct temporary walkways within Gallagher Park to keep damage to the river valley minimal — even with the tens of thousands of people expected to attend.

Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival: August 12-22

Edmonton International Fringe Festival. Photo: Travel Alberta

If you enjoy plays, musicals, and street performers, you won’t want to miss North America’s largest live-theater event. The 29th Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival is expected to draw 500,000 visitors to the Old Strathcona area of the city, to enjoy more than 1,000 live theater experiences. Even with such huge numbers, the Fringe is dedicated to being an eco-responsible festival.

Solar and LED lighting will reduce dependence on the power grid. Guests will be able to refill their water bottles at several water stations. And food from vendors will be served with bio-degradable cutlery, plates and cups.

The Fringe will be set in the Old Strathcona area, which has won accolades as one of the top places to shop in Canada. The owner-operated stores are well known for being funky and picturesque. And the historic buildings will take you back to an earlier time in Edmonton’s history even while enjoying Canada’s modern-day theatre.


A large part of any festival is its volunteers. Edmonton is proud of its “Magical Volunteer Army” — people of all ages, who pitch in to help events like these run smoothly. You can “meet” a few of these volunteers at the Folk Fest Volunteer Army’s website. If you’re a local, why not join the Magical Volunteer Army? Bet you’ll be glad you did!

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Nominate an “Ocean Hero” for Oceana Contest

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

2009 Ocean Heroes award winner, John Halas (foreground, left) designed a buoy and mooring system to protect fragile ocean reefs. Photo credit: Judy Halas/Courtesy of John Halas

Many of us take the world’s oceans for granted, assuming that they’ve always been there and always will be. But environmental problems are affecting even these massive bodies of water. Fish populations are being decimated. Areas of the ocean floor are being scraped away by unethical and totally unsustainable “fishing.” Beaches are littered with trash. Mercury is building up in the fish we eat. Water pollution from agricultural waste causes hypoxia in huge areas at the mouths of rivers. And giant mass of plastic trash has become a floating, lifeless island called the Pacific Gyre. The list of threats goes on, putting the health of the world’s oceans — and those who rely on them — in jeopardy.

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

Nominate Someone Deserving

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

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

Oceana is offering two categories of Ocean Hero Awards this year, one for adults and one for kids under 18 years of age. Both winners will earn a trip to Los Angeles for the “Oceana World Oceans Day with Nautica and GQ,” an event scheduled for June 8.

Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless said, “This is our chance to honor those — young and old — who do great things for the ocean, but otherwise might not get the recognition they deserve. Not only will we honor the winning ocean heroes, but we will also highlight the wonderful stories of all of our finalists.”

Celebrate Everyday Heroes

Casey Sokolovic, 11, baked cookies to raise $2,500 to care for injured sea turtles. Photo: ©Oceana/Heather Garland

Last year, Oceana presented its first-annual Ocean Heroes Award to marine biologist John Halas. Halas is the designer of an eco-friendly anchor and mooring buoy system that prevents damage to coral reefs. His system is used in 38 countries.

Among last year’s finalists was 12-year-old Casey Sokolovic. Her passion for saving sea turtles led her to raise $2,500 for a sea turtle hospital at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Island, North Carolina. Casey’s efforts are ongoing, and she is working to share her passion with other youth.

On behalf of Nautica, the global lifestyle brand that is partnering with Oceana in this contest, president Karen Murray said, “Nautica is proud to help Oceana recognize the everyday Ocean Heroes who contribute to the cause of protecting our oceans. We want to do our part to recognize and share these thoughtful and inspiring stories with the rest of the world.”

Give Recognition

Nominations are welcomed for Ocean Heroes of all ages, but those making the nomination must be at least 13 years of age. A panel of experts from Oceana will decide on the finalists for the awards.

Next, the public will be invited to vote for their favorite Ocean Hero in each of the two age categories. Winners will be announced on June 8, when Oceana celebrates World Oceans Day.

Finalists will receive a gift certificate from Nautica. And Oceana will share each finalist’s story on the organization’s website.

Winners of the two categories will each receive a Nautica gift certificate valued at $500.00, as well as a trip to the World Oceans Day event in Los Angeles.

So, what are you waiting for? If you know someone worthy of being called an Ocean Hero, nominate them — or yourself — by visiting the contest page at It’s time to give recognition where recognition is due.

Vote for Oceana, Too

If you like the work that Oceana is doing to preserve the world’s oceans and their inhabitants, take a few minutes to cast your vote for the organization to win $200,000 from TakePart Members Project sponsored by American Express (you do not need an American Express card to vote).

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Links

National Marine Sanctuaries

Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center

The New Deal Supper Club – A Moveable Feast

Sarah Pace and Suzanne Barr prepare tacos for the meal. Photo: T. I. Williams

Sarah Pace and Suzanne Barr prepare tacos for the meal. Photo: T. I. Williams

Last week, Blue Planet Green Living had the privilege of introducing our readers to a unique, traveling supper club in the greater New York City area. Chef Sarah Pace of Rabbit Mafia and Chef Suzanne Barr of Sweet Potato Bakery have come together to provide unique, locally sourced, raw meals at a modest cost. To the delight of their patrons, they choose a different venue for each event. If you’re inspired to join this movable feast, check the websites at the bottom of the post for future event announcements.Julia Wasson, Publisher

The New Deal Supper Club on July 15th was sweeter than a song.

This time, the ladies of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato took their awesomely sophisticated show on the road to Brooklyn’s hinterlands (I mean, Williamsburg). The trip to BRIDGET Tasting Room felt like an updated Mission Impossible scene. Only this time, the instrumentals were the introductory bars to the infamous 1987 hit, Smooth Criminal.

Brooklyn provided a beautiful backdrop that surprised the guests, some from as far as New Jersey. There, miles from a train (translation: civilization) attendees were greeted by a beautiful waterfront — bridge and all. The wide-open streets of the once commercial district in Williamsburg edged right up to the wide-open glass façade of BRIDGET Tasting Room at the foot of the Williamsburg Bridge.

The dinner, like Michael Jackson’s song, was a never-ending interplay of unexpected experiences and associations. Chefs Sarah Pace and Suzanne Barr touched on multi-layered possibilities when they served the Papaya Lime Summer Soup. Ooooowwwww. Spicy and smooth, guests at the dinner raved about the shock delivered to their palates in the form of summer tropical fruits cinched with lime.

The Cucumber Agave Juice, which came by the carafe, was eagerly downed by folks playing with the flavors of the mildly sweet and super-refreshing drink.


Summer Corn Tacos proved to be a hit. Photo: T. I. Williams

Then came the crescendo — both at the table and in the song that looped in my head. When the Summer Corn Tacos were placed before me, I was officially hit — by the smoothest of criminals. Radicchio & Romaine Chiffanade, Pico de Gallo, Chunky Guacamole & Nut Chili with a pickled side salad… these were just the parts of the carefully orchestrated whole. What more does anyone want from a taco… besides another serving?

And in keeping with the raw Latin American theme, the ladies capped the meal with the most appropriate dessert. Somewhere between pre-Colombian past and 2051, they landed in a middle ground that’s eons away from the present. And yes, I was very much okay after having the Spiced Chocolate Mousse. Thank you for asking.

There is one aspect of the New Deal Supper Club that outshines the food: the price. Pace and Barr make a conscious effort to buy local produce from Satur Farms and other local farmers, in combination with consciously sourced international items, like papaya, all at a an economical rate for guests.

All New Deal Supper Club meals are served at establishments that share the team’s mission to embody sustainability. A delicious, nutritious, three-course meal for $25.00 in New York is a rarity. A three-course meal that is raw, seasonal, and touches all the finer parts of the palate for $25.00 in New York is near impossible. The ladies, once again, shine as stars in the New York City Supper Club scene.

The most

BRIDGET Tasting Room proved to be a delightful venue for the New Deal Supper Club's second event. Photo: T. I. Williams

BRIDGET Tasting Room was well worth the trip. The tasting room carries a selection of amazing wines that round out BRIDGET’s own collection of superb bottles from the Bridge Urban Winery’s vineyard on Long Island. Respecting both the environment and discerning consumers, the vineyards in Hudson Valley were developed and cultivated by Greg Sandor and Paul Wegeimont. Later they were joined by Everard Findlay, who expanded BRIDGET’s presence by creating a home for the excellent wines in Brooklyn.

T. I. Williams
Baker and Live Foods Chef-Educator

Contributing Writer
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post

The New Deal – A Progressive Supper Club

All Abuzz about Habitat: A Practical Farmers of Iowa Field Day and Potluck


A PFI field day at One Step at a Time Gardens. Photo courtesy: Practical Farmers of Iowa

A PFI field day at One Step at a Time Gardens. Photo courtesy: Practical Farmers of Iowa

Blue Planet Green Living recently became aware of Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI), a progressive farming group that promotes sustainable agriculture. As you well know, the simple issue here is farming responsibly, knowing the short- and long-term effects of what you grow. Farms in Iowa not only feed the planet, but also are causing a great deal of damage to it. Iowa’s soil, air, and water are at stake.

We’ll be posting notices of several of this group’s upcoming events that are open to the public, so you can attend and meet the farmers who are trying to help. If you live in  the Midwest — or even in the U.S., this affects you in many ways. We hope you care enough to listen, read, and learn. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

Join Practical Farmers of Iowa (PFI) and One Step at a Time Gardens on Saturday, July 25, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. to explore the many benefits diversity on the landscape offers to the sustainable farm. At 6:00 p.m., PFI will hold the first of its summer potlucks. Bring a dish to share and your own tableware, and enjoy music from the local band The Shifting Gears during dinner. Beverages will be provided.

During the field day, tour One Step at a Time Gardens and hear presentations from local conservation offices. PFI staff member Sarah Carlson will discuss current and emerging opportunities with the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) of the 2008 farm bill.

One Step at a Time Gardens operates a 6+-acre community supported farm (CSA) on their 130 acres near Kanahwa, Iowa, raising high-quality vegetables for farm members and direct sale through farmers markets and regional wholesale. A pastured poultry operation is incorporated into the crop rotation, producing 900+ chickens each summer. Nestled in the rolling glacial moraine hills near East Twin Lake, more than 31 acres are in windbreak and the EPA‘s Wetland Restoration Programs (WRP).

Directions: From Belmond, go north 5 miles on Hwy. 69. Turn west (left) at B63 at Goodell and travel 3 miles. Turn north (right) on R56 at the top of the hill; go 1 mile. Turn west (left) at the first gravel onto 120th St. Go 1.25 miles; turn north (right) into the driveway. East Twin Lake will be on the south (left).

This field day is free, and everybody is welcome.

Experience a sustainable farm at One Step at a Time Gardens in Kanawha, Iowa. Photo courtesy: Practical Farmers of Iowa

Experience a sustainable farm at One Step at a Time Gardens in Kanawha, Iowa. Photo: Courtesy Practical Farmers of Iowa

This field day is sponsored by Ceres Foundation, Iowa Network for Community Agriculture, and Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation.

Sustaining sponsors for Practical Farmers of Iowa field days are the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Iowa State University Extension, American Natural Soy, the Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, Albert Lea Seed House, Seed Savers Exchange, and the Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES). Major sponsors are the Center for Energy and Environmental Education, Michael Fields Agricultural Institute, ATTRA National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service, Organic Valley and Organic Prairie Family of Farms CROPP Cooperative, Iowa Forage and Grassland Council, and King Corn.

Practical Farmers of Iowa includes a diverse group of farmers and nonfarmers. Corn, soybeans, beef cattle, and hay are the top enterprises for PFI farmers, although many have a variety of other operations, including fruits and vegetables. PFI’s programming stresses farmer-to-farmer networking through research and demonstration, field days, conferences, and more. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit

Courtesy of Practical Farmers of Iowa

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

A Message to Graduates – Everything Is Connected

July 14, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog, Education, Events, Front Page

 Dear Graduates, Everything is connected! Photo: Julia Wasson

Dear Graduates, Everything is connected! Photo: Julia Wasson

Miriam Kashia, Blue Planet Green Living’s international editor, recently was invited to give a graduation address in British Columbia. When we read her speech, we instantly knew that it was a powerful message we wanted to share. Whether you have long ago graduated or are soon heading in that direction, we believe you’ll find Miriam’s inspiring words worth reading, pondering, and remembering. — Julia Wasson, Publisher

Dear Graduates,

When thinking about this event, I considered what it is that I believe most strongly that might be useful to you. In my 66 years of life’s lessons with all the challenges, hardships, successes, adventures, work, play, educational endeavors, relationships, and spiritual seeking, the most salient thing I can share with you is something you already know. It is actually very simple and nothing new:


I am tempted to stop there, because I have just said it all. Kurt Vonnegut, when delivering a commencement address to a graduating class, once said, “Everything is going to become unbelievably worse and will never get better again,” and walked off the stage.

It may have enabled him to avoid having to write a lengthy address and get to an early golf game, and it undoubtedly caused quite a stir, but I doubt his cynicism was particularly helpful or inspiring to the graduates. I don’t aspire to be Kurt Vonnegut, although I enjoyed his books many years ago, so I will elaborate and try to explain something about what it means to me when I say, “EVERYTHING IS CONNECTED.”

Before I continue, however, it’s important that I tell you I am not professing to speak “The Truth.” Rather, I am speaking my version of the Truth as I understand it today. There are undoubtedly as many versions of the Truth as there are people, and certainly Truth changes over time. Remember the flat earth?

Growth is about examining the evidence of what you experience and adapting your thinking according to what fits for you. With real growth, much of what we understand to be Truth is malleable and flexible over time. If anyone approaches you with the absolute TRUTH about what you SHOULD think or feel, I suggest you smile and leave the premises. Even the Buddha, on his deathbed, told his followers to examine everything they read or were told – even by him – according to their own internal compass. Find your inner compass, and pay attention to it. Most of the big mistakes we make in life come from ignoring it.


This is going to be a bit heady for a few minutes, but please stay with me. The implications of what I’m going to attempt to describe are off the charts.

Since the middle 20th century and even earlier, scientists have revisited their long-held beliefs about the cause-and-effect mechanics of the universe. I am definitely not a physicist, but from what I have read and the meager amount I can comprehend, I understand that there have been several groundbreaking research projects, done under carefully controlled conditions, that examined the behavior of the smallest sub-particles currently known. What they discovered was that the observer, by the very act of paying attention, affected the outcome.

The implications of this are mind-boggling. We now understand that it is not possible to be non-participating. What we pay attention to and feel strongly about is changed, whether internally in ourselves or externally in the world. As a result of that research, Quantum Physics is now well established within the scientific world, and there are several new theories about what it all means and how the universe works.

The old rules of physics still apply, but something new has been added which may explain certain things, such as spontaneous healing, bi-location, remote viewing, or other so-called parapsychological or mystical events, which heretofore have been ignored or denied in scientific circles. My thanks to Gregg Braden in his incredible book, The Divine Matrix, for explaining and synthesizing this complex body of material so that it is accessible to the layperson.

To start at the beginning, everything that was merged and compressed within what some scientists say was our pea-sized cosmos 13 to 20 billion years ago before the big bang is still connected! That means absolutely everything is connected. The newly verified and subtle force that serves to connect everything in what we think of as empty space, is called by various names and has been referred to for ages by mystics as well as some ancient cultures and modern, indigenous peoples. Braden calls it the “Divine Matrix.” What they have been telling us for centuries about the Oneness of Everything can now be validated in the laboratory. Not only that, but as it turns out, we are the creators of the universe we experience. In Braden’s words:

A growing body of research suggests that we are more than cosmic latecomers simply passing through a universe that was completed long ago. Experimental evidence in physics is leading to the conclusion that we’re actually creating the universe as we go and adding to what already exists! In other words, we appear to be the very energy that’s forming the cosmos, as well as the beings who experience what we’re creating. That’s because we are consciousness, and consciousness appears to be the same “stuff” from which the universe is made.

Rumi said it thus in the 13th century: “We are the mirror as well as the face in it.”

Margaret Atwood, a famous Canadian poet and novelist, said it in this non-scientific way, in her commencement address at the University of Toronto in 1983: “You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.”

Braden goes on to explain that the powerful Quantum Language of Consciousness that enables this creative change to happen is our deeply felt, non ego-based emotional states: compassion, imagination, and prayer paired with our absolute recognition that what we desire is already true. When we suspend disbelief, our consciousness has the power to alter the essence of the universe in ways that can change DNA, heal our bodies, create peace, and change lifelong patterns. If that isn’t enough, there is also growing evidence that our brain allows for experiences that transcend time and space. Albert Einstein knew that when he said, “Time is not at all what it seems. It does not flow in only one direction, and the future exists simultaneously with the past.”

Braden tells us,

It should be clear that it’s impossible for us to be simply bystanders in our world. As conscious observers, we’re part of all that we see. In the realm of quantum possibilities, we appear to be made to participate in our creation. We’re wired to create! Because we appear to be universally joined on the quantum level, ultimately our connectedness promises that the seemingly little shifts in our lives can have a huge influence on our world and even the universe beyond. Our quantum link with the cosmos runs so deep that scientists have created a new vocabulary to describe what such connections really mean. It’s called the “butterfly effect.” The bottom line of this phenomenon suggests that a single small change in one part of the world can be the trigger for a huge alteration in another place and time. The quantum net or matrix that connects everything suggests that you and I direct a force within us that works in a realm that’s free from the limits of physics as we know them.

What we see as our universe is really us — our individual and collective minds — transforming the possibilities … into physical reality. This radical new way of viewing ourselves and the universe gives nothing less than direct access to every possibility that we could ever wish or pray for, dream or imagine. The key to experiencing the power of these potential outcomes is that we must think of ourselves in this new way. And when we do, something wonderful begins to happen: We’re changed.

I cannot tell you how thrilling it is for me to realize that what I have long believed and sometimes experienced is being validated and studied by the scientific community. I want to talk to you a bit about some of the things this can mean in your life.

First, it means is that you are not bound by the same limitations that have been unknowingly self-imposed on the generations that preceded you.

The men and women who have made a positive mark on history often turn out to be those few who operated from this place of creative consciousness.

I quote Barack Obama from a graduation speech in spring 2008, six months before his election:

I hope you’ll remember, during those times of doubt and frustration, that there is nothing naïve about your impulse to change the world. Because all it takes is one act of service — one blow against injustice — to send forth what Robert Kennedy called that “tiny ripple of hope.” That’s what changes the world.

Here’s a simplified version of the quantum formula for conscious creation, as I currently understand it:

  1. Start with your unqualified belief that your creative consciousness has the power to make your tiny ripple spread beyond your wildest imaginings.
  2. Add your heartfelt, ego-less investment in that change.
  3. Create your ripple by doing whatever you do from a place of compassion.
  4. Know that the change you seek is already a reality.
  5. And, voila! Whatever problem you choose to tackle will be transformed in some meaningful way.

You are no doubt painfully aware that the most massive, dangerous, and seemingly insoluble problem facing the world today is the degradation and destruction of our planet’s ecosystem. How’s that as a testing ground for implementing this newly identified quantum creative consciousness?!

Paul Hawken is an environmental activist, entrepreneur, author, and, most important, a dreamer. He spoke to the graduates at the University of Portland this spring. You can hear him using the formula I just outlined, though he may never have heard of it. I quote:

Here’s the deal: Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done.

You join a multitude of caring people. No one knows how many groups and organizations are working on the most salient issues of our day: climate change, poverty, deforestation, peace, water, hunger, conservation, human rights, and more. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. Rather than control, it seeks connection. Rather than dominance, it strives to disperse concentrations of power.

Large as it is, no one knows the true size of this movement. It provides hope, support, and meaning to billions of people in the world. Its clout resides in idea, not in force. Inspiration is not garnered from the litanies of what may befall us; it resides in humanity’s willingness to restore, redress, reform, rebuild, recover, re-imagine, and reconsider.

This extraordinary time when we are globally aware of each other and the multiple dangers that threaten civilization has never happened, not in a thousand years, not in ten thousand years. Each of us is as complex and beautiful as all the stars in the universe. We have done great things and we have gone way off course in terms of honoring creation. You are graduating to the most amazing, challenging, stupefying challenge ever bequested to any generation. The generations before you failed. They got distracted and lost sight of the fact that life is a miracle every moment of your existence. Nature beckons you to be on her side. You couldn’t ask for a better boss. The most unrealistic person in the world is the cynic, not the dreamer. Hopefulness only makes sense when it doesn’t make sense to be hopeful. This is your century. Take it and run as if your life depends on it.”

Gloria Steinem, a ground-busting American journalist and feminist leader talks about tackling the impossible in her commencement address at Tufts University in 1987:

Whatever you want to do, just do it. Don’t worry about making a damn fool of yourself. Making a damn fool of yourself is absolutely essential. And you will have a great time.

Remember: You are not bound by the same limitations that have been unknowingly self-imposed on the generations that preceded you.

What else does quantum consciousness, that “Butterfly Effect,” mean in your life?

It means we must shed our addiction to power, material “success,” and our personal and cultural narcissism. The newly recognized “language” of Quantum Physics is deeply felt emotion, especially compassion, because compassion is always from the heart, not from the ego.

Compassion has an open heart and long, open arms, and can only be experienced when we allow ourselves to deeply feel the connection we have with others, even those we will never meet. Compassion is also contagious. I allowed myself to be cracked open by what I experienced in my work with the Peace Corps in Namibia. When I wrote about the effects of poverty on the children, my friends and family responded with compassion and action, followed by the compassion and participation of others. When someone initiates a process for positive change without self-serving motivations, others are inspired to do likewise. It is, indeed, contagious.

And finally, what this means in your life is that you are free to be all you are. Not only free, but compelled by the laws of the universe to create yourself and your world.

Steve Jobs, the former CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios said in his commencement address at Stanford University
 in 2005:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was preparing to write this speech, I read about 30 commencement addresses delivered over the past 70 years that Mr. Google told me were the best. For my money, Alan Alda’s speech, delivered at Connecticut College in 1980, is the best of the best. He, too, understands what it means to be all of oneself in order to create not only your life, but also your world. He says:

I want you to be potent, to do good when you can, and to hold your wit and your intelligence like a shield against other people’s wantonness. And above all, to laugh and enjoy yourself in a life of your own choosing and in a world of your own making. I want you to be strong and aggressive and tough and resilient and full of feeling. I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.

I want you to have chutzpah. Be bold. Let the strength of your desire give force and moment to your every step. Move with all of yourself. When you embark for strange places don’t leave any of yourself safely on shore. Have the nerve to go into unexplored territory. Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative is the place where no one else has ever been. It is not the previously known. You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful. What you’ll discover will be yourself.

There is far more to explore in this reality-transforming old/new understanding of the laws of the universe. You will be watching this century unfold in ways we can only try to imagine. But that’s the whole point — the Quantum power of compassion and imagination and creative consciousness will become commonly understood scientific belief, as well as daily wisdom for living. For today, I hope you will remember these three things:

  • You are not bound by the same limitations that have been unknowingly self imposed on the generations that preceded you.
  • The language of creative consciousness is deeply felt emotion, especially compassion, because compassion is always from the heart, not from the ego. And it is contagious.
  • You are free to be all you are. Not only free, but compelled by the laws of the universe to create yourself and your world.

My warm congratulations. Thank you for inviting me to share in this most memorable day of celebration and transition. I challenge you to grow your own Truth throughout life and to live that Truth to the fullest. By the time you are my age, perhaps the expanding awareness that we are all quite literally connected with everything and everyone will have altered the way we live on this planet. You will be the conscious creators of that better world, tiny ripples that spread.

I leave you with one of my favorite quotes from Emmanuel:

Destiny is the soul’s consciousness flowing ever and ever more strongly and swiftly toward Light and toward Truth and toward Oneness. There is no other destiny than this.

Miriam Kashia

International Editor
Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

The New Deal – A Progressive Supper Club

Unlike Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the only thing complex about this supper club are the flavors of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato’s dishes.

Chef Suzanne Barr. Photo: T. I. Williams

Chef Suzanne Barr. Photo: T. I. Williams

The New Deal Supper Club, hosted by Chef Sarah Pace of Rabbit Mafia, features meals by the talented Suzanne Barr, chef and creator of Sweet Potato Bakery. The chefs have teamed up with marketer Kizzy Kae to provide the New York area with an exquisite dining experience that moves from one exciting venue to another.

Pace, a graduate of the Natural Gourmet, developed the affordable New Deal Supper Club in response to shifts in consumer consciousness favoring conserving resources and cautionary spending.

June: Green Spaces, Brooklyn

For the first installment in June, Pace selected Green Spaces New York in downtown Brooklyn. With its wide-open communal work spaces, unbelievable rooftop garden, and fully stocked kitchen, Green Spaces proved to be an excellent choice for an evening dinner punctuated with smart and inviting conversations.

Barr, who owns Sweet Potato Bakery, a boutique vegan bakery specializing in gluten-free cookies, met Pace while studying at Natural Gourmet. Barr’s pairings heralded a season of foods simple in presentation, yet deeply satisfying in their wholesome quality.

The evening began with a wine tasting by Saba Peace Wine, a homemade winemaker based in New Jersey. Saba featured its Multaburgandy and Merlac both from 2008. The earthy and sensuous wines were the perfect introduction to the menu, which started with Strawberry Basil Salad with Stinging Nettle Sauce, followed by a Cream of Cucumber Soup with Red Pepper Coulis Sauce and Sesame Flax Crackers.

Cream of cucumber soup. Photo: T. I. Williams

Cream of cucumber soup. Photo: T. I. Williams

The Wild Arugula & Mixed Green Salad with Pineapple Carpaccio plates came piled high with greens and herbs from the revolutionary Satur Farms and finished with a perfect Sorrel Dressing.

The main course was a surprisingly savory Sundried Tomato Walnut Torte stuffed with fresh Fava Puree, Lemon Bathed Radishes and Pickled Onions.

The grand finale was absolutely delightful — a Lavender Coconut Ice Cream served with a Fresh Berry Sauce and finished with Chocolate.

The best part? The dishes were mostly local, mainly seasonal and all raw! A tremendous feat, since Pace managed to offer all five courses and wine for $30.00!

Sun-dried tomato torte. Photo: T. I. Williams

Sun-dried tomato torte. Photo: T. I. Williams

For New Yorkers, the New Deal Supper Club hits the mark of sustainable dining. Where else can 30 people get together to dine on goods that still had soil on them just hours before while appreciating wildflower art on the rooftop — and still make the open-bar cutoff using mass transit?

The evening began with a wine tasting. Photo: T. I. Williams

The evening began with a wine tasting. Photo: T. I. Williams

In respect to taste and freshness, the dinner pulled together every element of a great Hudson Valley farm-raised dinner, sans farm. And even though the organizers skipped the animals and wide-open fields, they kept the composting and waste water recycling.

The ladies of Rabbit Mafia and Sweet Potato Bakery are already hard at work planning their next Brooklyn affair scheduled for July 15th at Bridget’s Tasting Room in Williamsburg.

Pace’s talented team was successful in bringing together diverse people for a pleasurable evening, and I am sure the New Deal Supper Club will soon become a New York staple.

July: BRIDGET Tasting Room, Williamsburg

This month, New Deal diners will enjoy a 3-course raw dinner made with handpicked, local ingredients at BRIDGET Tasting Room, located on the edge of the East River in Brooklyn.

July 15 @ BRIDGET Tasting Room 20 Broadway at Kent St., Williamsburg

7:30 Wine Tasting
8 pm Seating
Wine is available for purchase by the glass or bottle
$22 in advance
$25 at the door (cash only)
Limited Seating Available

BRIDGET serves a variety of local wines from Bridge Vineyards in Mattituck, New York on the North Fork of Long Island. Bridge Wine is made from locally grown grapes on Bridge Lane in Cutahog, NY.

3 Course Raw Mexican Summer

  • Papaya Lime Soup
  • Duo Summer Corn Tacos with Radicchio & Romaine Chiffanade, Pico de Gallo, Chunky Guacamole & Nut Chili with a pickled side salad
  • Spiced Chocolate Mousse with a Nut Cream & Sweetened Raw Coconut Flakes

Who’s Who

Rabbit Mafia works specifically with the arts industry, non-profits, and socially conscious companies to provide excellent cuisine using locally sourced products.

Sweet Potato Bakerys Chef Suzanne Barr, a graduate of Natural Gourmet NYC caters to clients’ cravings for delicious seasonal vegan and gluten-free desserts in Brooklyn and — coming soon — Manhattan. Stop by V-spot, Organic Heights, or Tiny Cup for weekly cookie pickup spots in Brooklyn.

T. I. Williams

Baker and Live Foods Chef-Educator

Contributing Writer

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

San Ramon Eco-Festival – “Good, Green Fun for Everyone”

Update 8/23/09: Festival organizer, Robert Jacobs, reports that the San Ramon Eco-Festival has been postponed, with the intention of rescheduling. If you would like more details, please contact Robert at — Publisher

Want to learn how to live an eco-friendly life and have a great time doing it? You can do both by attending the first annual San Ramon, California, Eco-Festival. This family friendly event will be held at Bishop Ranch Civic Center on August 29 and 30, 2009.

The event will be open Saturday, August 29, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, August 30, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eco-Festivals, sponsor of the event, aims to help people “live simple and cost-effective green lifestyles.”

“Today, average citizens are eager to minimize their impact on our planet,” said Robert Jacobs, Executive Director, Eco-Festivals, Inc. “The San Ramon Eco-Festival will provide a simple blueprint for sustainable living that demonstrates going green can be easy and fun.”

The free program will feature celebrities known for their environmental advocacy. Watch for Living with Ed stars Ed Begley Jr., and his wife, Rachelle Carson-Begley; Red, Hot & Green host, Nicole Facciuto; Outer Spaces host, Susie Coelho; and other HGTV notables.

Ed Begley and Rachelle Carson-Begley. Photo Courtesy:

Ed Begley and Rachelle Carson-Begley. Photo Courtesy: Eco-Festivals, Inc.

Robert Craymer — the designer behind the elite, backstage, eco-greenrooms at the Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Young Hollywood Awards, the Sundance Film Festival, the Bravo A-List Awards, and Al Gore’s LiveEarth concerts — will be instrumental in designing the festival.

“The City of San Ramon is excited to welcome this groundbreaking event to help our local and Bay Area residents and business community experience the positive impact of a green lifestyle,” said H. Abram Wilson, Mayor, San Ramon, California. “The San Ramon Eco-Festival will offer attendees the tools to become more environmentally conscious in a fun and inspiring atmosphere.”

The presence of several different zones at the Eco-Festival offer will provide visitors a wide variety of entertainment options related to eco-living. Highlights include the following, according to a press release by Eco-Festival:

  • Main Stage: Listen to the sounds of well-known environmentalist rock band U2 through cover band Zoo Station, and additional performances by Bay Area talent.

    Zoo-Station will cover U2 songs at the EcoFestival. Photo Courtesy:

    Zoo-Station will cover U2 songs at the Eco-Festival. Photo Courtesy: Eco-Festivals, Inc.

  • Meet the Experts: Learn about different green industries as experts share their knowledge in sessions designed to raise environmental awareness and provide take-home tips.
  • Kids Zone: Play sustainable carnival games, ride solar/bio-fuel-powered rides and enjoy performances by the country’s most famous children’s acts, such as nationally acclaimed PBS children’s performer SteveSongs, as well as the Happy Birds (featured on “The Tonight Show”).
  • Food Court: Experience the future of organic dining while testing the latest tools for eco-friendly cooking, cleaning, and disposal.
  • Vendor Village: Browse the latest sustainable goods and services for the home, garden and office.
  • Fashion Show: View chic, stylish fashions showcasing clothing, jewelry and beauty products made from organic materials.
  • Auto Zone: Discover the latest innovations in electric cars, hybrids and sustainable car care that don’t sacrifice quality or style.
  • Career Zone: Learn how to make sustainability a full-time career at the on-site job fair.

Vendors and other providers who would like to participate in the event or partner with Eco-Festivals, Inc., should contact or For more information please visit

Eco-Festivals, Inc. is a non-profit organization seeking 501(c)(3) status that aims to educate everyday people on how to incorporate environmentally-friendly practices into everyday life and live a green lifestyle. Eco-Festival events are designed to engage consumers of all ages through interactive entertainment and exhibitions that make learning how to minimize harm to our environment fun.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living

Green Festival in Chicago May 16, 17

Chicago's Green Festival will have something for everyone. Photo: Courtesy Green Festival

Chicago's Green Festival will have something for everyone. Photo: Courtesy Green Festival

If you’ll be in Illinois this weekend, head on over to Navy Pier to attend Chicago’s third annual Green Festival, May 16 and 17. Billed as the “original green consumer living event,” the weekend will provide “a vision of a cleaner, more efficient future for American businesses, homes, and lifestyles.”

The event is jointly sponsored by Global Exchange and Green America (formerly Co-op America), both of which are “dedicated to environmental and social justice.” The Green Festival provides a forum to learn about “sustainable solutions for successful communities and a healthier environment.” Regional groups contributing to the program include BIG: Blacks in Green™, University of Illinois Extension, The Field Museum and Local First Chicago.

Two more Green Festivals will take place later this year in Washington, D.C., (October 10 and 11) and in San Francisco (November 13-15). Earlier Green Festivals were held recently in Seattle (March 28 and 29) and Denver (May 2 and 3). In 2008, more than 125,000 people attended the festivals in total.

Kevin Danaher, Co-Founder of Global Exchange and Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival, describes the Green Festival’s purpose as “to share with local communities the importance of living socially responsible and environmentally conscious lives.” He adds that the Chicago festival focuses on “the realities of going green and how to incorporate it into a daily routine to see results in health, finances, and local environment.”

According to a press release from the Green Festival, the Chicago festival will include “eco-insight into the transitioning economy, growing consumer consciousness and evolving environmental policy with over 125 visionary speakers, 350 local and national green businesses, and dozens of community and nonprofit groups. All exhibitors must meet strict standards set by Green America, guaranteeing the highest level of social and environmental responsibility in all participating organizations. Every element of each business is thoroughly vetted to ensure authentic sustainability.”

If you’ve ever wondered whether going green is attainable and affordable, you’ll find the answers here. The show will include the most innovative ideas and products you can find on the eco-friendly scene, as well as speakers who will talk about environmental and social justice issues. Watch for presentations like these:

  • “25 Years Later, Justice for Bhopal,” survivors speak out
  • “Environmental Justice,” with youth community organizer Marisol Bacerra
  • “Greening the Disability Community,” with Ayo Maat
  • “An Edible Education Round Table,” with famed chef Alice Waters
  • “Building Community solutions for Native Nations,” by Laura Bartels
  • “Green Fixes for the Economic Mess,” featuring Alisa Gravitz, Executive Director of Green America

Attractions for All

On the show floor, you’ll find a sustainable marketplace featuring top-notch fair trade and eco-friendly wares from local and national vendors. At the Green Home Pavilion, you’ll be able to participate in a variety of workshops in which you can learn diverse skills and techniques, such as how to do an energy audit in your home or how to set up a compost for your apartment.

The festival isn’t just for the older generation. It’s got features designed specifically by and for youth. Young adults will find entertaining and informative exhibits, games, and workshops presented by their peers. Your little ones won’t be left out, either, as the Organic Valley Green Kids’ Zone provides fun activities for the younger set.

Small Carbon Footprint

Having participated in a number of trade shows in my career, I can testify to the huge environmental footprint and waste that occurs with every show. Not so with the Green Festival, as it’s organizers have been walking the talk by modeling environmental and social leadership since its inception in 2002.

Historically, the festival has reused, recycled, or composted 97 percent — or more — of the waste generated by the show. Responding to the Festival’s commitment to a small carbon footprint, USA Today called the Green Festival a model of “how it should be done.”

If you arrive on your bike, you’ll get a discount on admission as well as free valet parking for your carbon-free transportation vehicle. In addition, the Festival team is providing carbon offsets for the entire event, including for the staff and organizers.

Go Green and Save

As we endeavor to illustrate by example in Blue Planet Green Living, going green is “Earth Wise. Money Smart.” And that’s exactly the message that the Green Festival is working to convey. As Gravitz says, “In addition to providing the Chicago community with exciting and relevant programming, we will also provide perspective on one of the most pressing issues of our time: economic stability. Through the many talks and exhibits at the Green Festival, participants will be able to learn how to go green in their careers, investments, and lifestyle. Going green is a commitment that will add up to big savings for your wallet and the planet.”

Speaker Highlights

You won’t want to miss the opportunity to hear from this year’s list of outstanding speakers:

  • Amy Goodman, award-winning journalist, host of Democracy Now! and co author of The Exception to the Rulers and Static
  • Alice Waters, renowned chef of Chez Panisse in Berkeley
  • Paul Stamets: Mycologist and mushroom cultivator from Fungi Perfecti, a family-owned, environmentally friendly company specializing in the use of gourmet and medicinal mushrooms to improve health
  • John Perkins: Founder and board member of Dream Change and the Pachamama Alliance, and author of best-selling Confessions of an Economic Hit Man
  • Alisa Gravitz: Executive Director of Green America and Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival
  • Kevin Danaher: Co-Founder of Global Exchange, Executive Co-Producer of Green Festival, and Executive Director of Global Citizen Center
  • Damali Ayo: Activist and author of How to Rent a Negro
  • And more!

Program Highlights

The event will provide a wealth of entertainment and information, including:

  • Organic Valley Green Kids’ Zone
  • Youth Unity
  • Community Action Center
  • Green Home Pavilion
  • Fair Trade Pavilion
  • Music Stage Featuring Local Acts
  • Socially Responsible Investing
  • Natural Food, Beer & Wine
  • Eco Fashion
  • Eco Tourism
  • Green Careers
  • E-waste recycling


Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Avenue, Chicago
Saturday, May 16: 10:00AM – 7:00PM
Sunday, May 17: 11:00AM – 6:00PM
$15 for two days/$10 for seniors, students, and all who arrive by bicycle or public transit

Free Admission: Children 18 and younger, Green America or Global Exchange members and volunteers, those who bring three or more books to donate to BetterWorldBooks

Friends of the Green Festival

With a donation of $75 you’ll receive:

  • Full Green Festival admission
  • A coupon for two free drinks at the Organic Beer & Wine Garden
  • 20% off at the Green Festival Store and the BetterWorldBooks Book Store
  • An exclusive tour of the Greening Operation at Green Festival – witness how we achieve 95% resource recovery
  • A visit with Alisa Gravitz of Green America and Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange, and receive an autographed copy of their books: The Green Festival Reader and Building the Green Economy
  • Regular Executive Producer Updates about the Green Festivals from Global Exchange and Green America

For more information on Chicago or any other Green Festival event, visit:

About Green America (formerly Co-op America)

Green America is a national nonprofit organization founded in 1982, providing the economic strategies, organizing power and practicing tools for businesses and individuals to address today’s social and environmental problems. Its Green Business Network is the largest national network of businesses screened for their social and environmental responsibility.

About Global Exchange

Global Exchange is a membership-based international human rights organization dedicated to promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world. Since its founding in 1988, Global Exchange has successfully increased public awareness of root causes of injustice while building international partnerships and mobilizing for change.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Power Up 2009 Conference in Ft. Walton Beach April 8 – 11

Fort Walton Beach, Fla. (March 27, 2009) – The Gulf Coast Energy Network, in cooperation with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance, the Bay Area Resources Council and Okaloosa County, is bringing together a group of energy leaders, policy makers, scientists, engineers, green building specialists and more for Power Up 2009 Energy Conference & Expo April 8-11, 2009 at the Emerald Coast Conference Center in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

Power Up 2009 is the largest event of its kind in the Southeast and will feature a diverse, experienced panel of speakers discussing new and emerging technologies to address the nation’s energy challenges.

“The conference will bring energy experts together with policy makers and elected officials to create a dialogue and help provide solutions to meet our growing energy demand” says Dave Robau, executive director of the Gulf Coast Energy Network. “We are excited to bring speakers of this caliber to the Gulf Coast.”

Dave Robau, CEO and Founder, Power Up

Dave Robau, CEO and Founder, Gulf Coast Energy Network. Photo Courtesy: Gulf Coast Energy Network

Participants will engage in a series of workshops that focus on energy technology, energy policy, finance, low-impact development/sustainability, bioenergy/alternative fuels and building science.

Franklin Baker, Florida’s watershed coordinator for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will be the keynote speaker during the Friday lunch session.

Other conference speakers include:

  • Larry K. Acker, Advanced Conservation Technology and ACT Inc. D’MAND Systems – Structured Plumbing® Sustainable Design for Water/Energy Savings
  • Mike Antheil, Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy – Feed-In Tariffs/Renewable Energy Dividend Program
  • Tim Center, Collins Center of Public Policy’s Sustainability Initiatives – Moving Toward Sustainability: People-Planet-Profit
  • Bob Cole, Santa Rosa County Commission and Florida’s Great Northwest Energy Council – Biodiesel: Production and Usage
  • Suzanne Cook, Florida Green Building Council – RePower, ReFuel, Rebuild: Building a Sustainable Future
  • Don Davis, Capital City Bank – Economic Development in the Renewable Energy Sector
  • Victor Garlington, 70 Cents A Gallon – Algae-Based Biofuels
  • David Gwisdalla, Tetra Tech – Implementing Low Impact Development: Planning, Design, Construction Considerations and Case Studies
  • Dr. Rick Harper, University of West Florida’s HAAS Center for Business – The Stimulus Plan and the Advancements of a Green Economy
  • Mike Hess, Mariah Power – Vertical Axis Wind Turbines in an Urban Setting
  • Dierdre Irwin, St. John’s Water Management District – Building Green Communities
  • Michael Joachim, MJA Consulting, LLC – Planning for Energy Uncertainty in Florida
  • Dr. Tawainga Katsvairo, ArcHorizon – Grants, Loans Guarantees and Private Investments: Achieving a Balance
  • Glenn Langan, Gulf Power Company  – EarthCents Program 2009: Energy Efficiency Education and Demand Side Management Programs
  • Dr. Jennifer Languell, Trifecta Construction Solutions – Tax Incentives for Green Building for Homeowners and Builders as well as The Seven Key Concepts of Building Green
  • John Manzanet, 70 Cents A Gallon – Algae-Based Biofuels
  • Dr. Marian Marineau, University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Education Center – RePower, ReFuel, Rebuild: Building a Sustainable Future
  • Todd Miller, Insulated Concrete Technology – Energy Efficient Construction Using Alternative Building Systems
  • Tracy Mullins, MJA Consulting, LLC – Planning for Energy Uncertainty in Florida
  • George “Ron” Omley, HQ Air Force Special Operation Command, Hurlburt Field – Plasma Water-to-Energy Systems
  • Cosimina Panetti, Building Codes Assistance Program – Building Energy Codes Focused on Energy Efficiency
  • Scott Pogue, Agrisa Bioenergy – Energy Security and Energy Independence
  • Jeramy Shays, American Council on Renewable Energy – Renewable Energy Policy: What is Happening in Washington?
  • Sandy Sims, Gulf Power Company – RePower, ReFuel, Rebuild: Building a Sustainable Future
  • Dr. Sesha Srinivasan (invited), University of South Florida’s Clean Energy Research Center – Advances in Clean Energy Technologies
  • Benjamin Stuart, Florida Governor’s Energy Office and Florida Energy and Climate Commission – Florida’s Renewable Portfolio Standards
  • Keith Swilley, Gulf Power Company – Taking Advantage of Geothermal HVAC Efficiencies in Hotel Properties
  • Ben Taube, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance – Moderator for RePower, ReFuel, Rebuild : Building a Sustainable Future
  • Paul Thorpe, Northwest Florida Water Management District – Approaches to Long-Term Sustainability of Northwest Florida Water Resources
  • Christian Wagley, Alys Beach – Moderator for Practical Applications: Building Green Communities
  • Brian Watson, Tetra Tech – Implementing Low Impact Development: Planning, Design, Construction Considerations and Case Studies
  • Al Wenstrand, Florida’s Great Northwest – Woody Biomass Strategy for Northwest Florida
  • Chris Williams, – Understanding Energy Efficient Mortgages


To register or review detailed information on each speaker as well as a specific agenda for each day, visit the Power Up Conference website. Pre-conference workshops on April 8, will also be offered for professionals seeking Continuing Education Units (CEUs). Space is limited, so advanced registration is encouraged.

The conference concludes with a Vendor Exhibit Hall open to the public on Sat., April 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at no charge. The public can visit with vendors and learn about innovative building technologies, new products to increase energy and water efficiencies, and other green products and services.

For attendees traveling to Florida’s Gulf Coast for Power Up 2009, the conference has secured special rates at two local properties. The Ramada Beach Plaza Resort, which is certified under the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Green Lodging Program and located within a mile of the conference location, is the official hotel of Power Up 2009 with rooms starting from $135 per night, plus tax. For reservations, call (800) 874-8962. Special room rates starting from $199 are also available at Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village in Destin (just miles east of the Emerald Coast Conference Center). For rates and reservations call (866) 705-1478. For both properties, space is limited and attendees must mention the Power Up conference to secure special rates still available.

Power Up 2009 sponsors include Gulf Coast Energy Network, Gulf Power Company (platinum), Apollo Windows & Doors (gold), Insulated Concrete Technology (silver), Chevron Energy Solutions (bronze) and BG Dealer Services (bronze).

For more information about Power Up 2009, visit www.Power or e-mail

Power Up Conference

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) Announces Free Workshops

Are you a farmer who’s been thinking about going organic, but you’re just not sure if it’s for you? Then check out these workshop offerings from Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Services (MOSES). We heard about MOSES from our friends at the Barr Mansion, and just learned about the following events. (We apologize for the late notice on Friday’s workshop, but there’s plenty of time to get registered for the April event.) Find out more details at the MOSES field days/training page of their website.

For more information about getting started with organic farming, download the MOSES info card.

Organic Farming Workshop with MOSES
March 13, 2009 | Galesville, WI

This workshop is geared to help farmers who want to learn more about organic production systems for producing small grains, forages, corn and beans for the organic market. A panel of experienced organic farmers will end the afternoon, explaining their specific organic production systems. Soil fertility management, use of cover crops, purchasing organic seeds, developing record-keeping systems that are practical and efficient, harvesting and marketing organic crops will all be covered, offering attendees the opportunity to learn about these aspects of successful organic production. Free resources on organic production will be available to all attendees. Organic snacks will be served. Preregistration is not necessary, but highly encouraged!

Call: 715-772-3135
Write: MOSES PO Box 339 Spring Valley, WI 54767

Location/Time: Galesville Public Library meeting room from 1-4 PM.

Organic Farming Workshop with MOSES
April 22, 2009 | Lansing, IA

This organic field day on the Welsh Family Farm will focus on organic soil management, including soil nutrient balance and use of a variety of green manures. Participants will have the opportunity to see land that has been under active organic management for 30+ years, and land that has been recently converted from CRP land.

The Welsh family farm is located in the hilly driftless area of Northeastern Iowa, and the use of various contour strips, buffer zones and water ways along with cultivation and tillage illustrates how organic management can compete with no-till conventional systems to prevent soil erosion on this highly erodible landscape.

Free resources on organic production will be available to all attendees. Organic refreshments will be served. Preregistration is not necessary, but highly encouraged!

Call: 715-772-3135
Write: MOSES PO Box 339 Spring Valley, WI 54767

Time: 1-4 PM. We will be going from field to field starting around 1:30 PM after some introductions and basic history of the farm. If you want to get on the tour wagon, please arrive before 1:30 PM.

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

WaterPartners’ World Water Day Art Show and Sale

Going to Kansas City? If you’ll be there anytime this month, be sure to check out WaterPartners’ art show and sale at the Crosstown Station (1522 McGee Street), Kansas City, MO. The show began March 4, and will be on display throughout the month. Artwork will be on sale Thursday, March 12, from 6 – 10 p.m.

WaterPartners is an international nonprofit organization that envisions “the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water.” Through “innovative financing,” WaterPartners helps communities in developing nations gain access to clean water for drinking and install proper sanitation methods. Sixteen artists from Springfield, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City have pooled their talents to raise funds for WaterPartners’ projects.

Thursday’s WaterPartners’ World Water Day event will include music by the Barclay Martin Ensemble and Oriole Post. The suggested donation is $10 per person. During the sale, food and drink will also be available for purchase. To reserve a ticket, email

Visit the WaterPartners website for more information about their work around the world, and about the Kansas City World Water Day event.

Julia Wasson

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

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

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

Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar, March 21, 2009, Dallas, Texas

Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar, March 21, 2009, Dallas, Texas

Trendsetting consumers are now more aware of the economic and environmental impact of their purchases, and they have a genuine desire to live more responsibly. Specialty retailers have the power to offer eco-friendly choices that reflect a sustainable way of life in modern society.

“The economy needs spenders while the environment needs savers,” says Crystal Carroll, owner of Hadley and Harriet. “Our shoppers are asking us to find more artistic, organic products. They want to spend money on re-purposed goods, but they don’t want boring designs.” The serendipitous relationship between these consumers and retailers produces positive change, and everyone involved is instinctively doing their part, which is naturally better for the community.

The Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar will highlight local designers, crafters, and small businesses boasting a unique mix of eco-friendly fashion, accessories, beauty, health, home, and wellness. Holly Price of New Harmony Boutique confirms, “This event is sure to breathe fresh air into the community.”

Experience a burst of organic selections at Uptown Wellness Bazaar  The Uptown Wellness Bazaar is an organic shopping haven, showcasing a mosaic of products from new players in the green scene. Mark your calendar and cure your “need for green” with a unique mix of fashion, accessories, beauty, and home. Take a little step toward conscious living.

Date: Saturday, March 21, 2009

Time: 10 AM to 6 PM

Location: Hadley and Harriet, 3922 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, TX 75219

Phone: 1-214-559-4440

The Uptown Eco-Wellness Bazaar will benefit the nonprofit group La Reunion TX — a future green arts residency in Oak Cliff, Texas. The event is sponsored by Smart Water.

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu Supports Earth Hour

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

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

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

Bishop Desmond Tutu announced his support of Earth Hour 2009.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu announces his support of Earth Hour 2009.

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

As the recipient of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize for his work in advocating civil rights equality, Desmond Tutu knows better than most the power of individuals uniting for a common cause.

“Earth Hour is an opportunity for every man, woman and child from all corners of the globe to come together with a united voice and make a loud and powerful statement on the issue of climate change,” he said.

With new cities signing up to the campaign every day, the support of one of the world’s most respected figures will resonate across the globe, ensuring millions more people switch off their lights for one hour at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 28th. In the U.S., our key cities are Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York City and San Francisco, while Homer Glen, IL; Houston, TX; Minneapolis, MN; San Rosa, CA; Sarasota, FL and St. Louis, MO are supporting.

Earth Hour 2009 aims to empower citizens from all over the world with the ability to voice their concern on climate change. Essentially, it is the world’s first global vote for action on climate change and casting your vote is as easy as flicking a switch.

With the world’s leaders due to meet in December at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Archbishop can see the importance and the potential of Earth Hour 2009.

“If we all perform this one simple act together, it will send a message to our governments too powerful for them to ignore. They will know the eyes of the world are watching,” he said.

Other notable names lending their support to Earth Hour include Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett, Janeane Garofalo, Alanis Morissette, Wynonna Judd, Big Kenny (Big & Rich), Gavin DeGraw, KT Tunstall, Mary Mary, Rise Against, Jo Dee Messina, Kathy Mattea, Simple Plan, Finger Eleven, Jennette McCurdy and others.

Earth Hour U.S. has been made possible in part due to the contributions of HP, The Coca Cola Company, Esurance, Wells Fargo, and Cox Conserves.

About World Wildlife Fund and Earth Hour

Earth Hour is a global initiative of WWF, in which millions of people around the world will cast a vote in favor of action on climate change by turning off their lights for one hour on March 28, 2009 at 8:30 pm local time. By voting with their light switches, Earth Hour participants will send a powerful, visual message to their leaders demanding immediate action on climate change.

WWF is the world’s leading conservation organization, working in 100 countries for nearly half a century. With the support of almost 5 million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit World Wildlife Fund to learn more.

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Winter Wineland at Truett Hurst Winery

January 10, 2009 by  
Filed under 2009, Biodynamic Farming, Blog, California, Front Page, Wine, Wineries

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Truett Hurst Winery will host a Winter Wineland event next weekend. Guests will have an opportunity to sample wines and see the progress of a young biodynamic winery. Details follow:

Event: Winter Wineland at Truett Hurst Winery

What: Festival

Host: Truett Hurst Winery, Dry Creek Valley, Healdsburg

Start Time: Saturday, January 17 at 11:00 a.m.

End Time: Sunday, January 18 at 5:00 p.m.

Where: Truett Hurst Winery, Healdsburg, CA

Tickets are available at or at the winery.

Jim Morris

Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)

Related Post:

Birth of a Biodynamic Winery

Natural Living Expo

November 7, 2008 by  
Filed under 2009, Blog, Front Page, Iowa, Organic Food

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On March 28 and 29, 2009, the Natural Living Expo will take place in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Polk County Convention Complex. For the first time in its three-year history, the NLE will be held for two days, due to the overwhelmingly positive response to past expos. Admission is free for attendees.

If you are a consumer who cares about health, wellness, natural living, or sustainability issues, this conference will provide you with a wealth of useful information. You’ll have the opportunity to hear speakers on a variety of relevant topics and meet with vendors to learn about their organic, green, or natural products or services. Last year’s conference strands were “Living Healthy,” “Living Balanced,” and “Living Together.”

If you’re a vendor, sign up now for a spot at NLE. Two early bird discounts are offered for registration by November 15 or January 15. Space is limited, so be sure to secure your spot early.

Event hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Watch the NLE website for more information, as speakers and vendors are announced. As the conference site promises, you’ll “Discover resources in Iowa to help you be kind to your body and your planet.”