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L’Arc-en-Ciel, The Orphanage That's Building A Sustainable Future
This week: "Chickens to the Rescue"
The Renewable Now Campaign, “Spread Some Honey and Save a Life”, has made great headway in the past month, and we are proud to announce the progress that has been made possible through the support of our readers.
This past month, there have been some incredible changes on the ground at L’Arc-en-Ciel Orphanage in Kenscoff, Haiti. A second chicken coop, 48 square meters in size, has been fully constructed and a new round of chickens will soon arrive to populate the new facility. This expansion will allow for the additional production of over 500 chickens per cycle, increasing profitability of the project and in turn allowing the orphanage to allocate more resources to other sections of their sustainable development efforts.
Chicken production at L’Arc-en-Ciel has been an ongoing project since 2014, when the administration of L’Arc-en-Ciel decided to utilize their natural capital and create an income-generating activity. The orphanage has been successful in this venture and the largest problem they are currently facing is meeting the demand of their market. Thanks to the new chicken coop funded by Honey for Haiti, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel will be able to supply numerous national grocer chains, restaurants, and hotels with organic poultry and begin building a brand around the sustainable farm we are helping them construct on their property. The production of meat chickens per 45 day cycle will increase from 650 to 1,400 during the first year and reach 2,100 by the end of the second year. A total of 2,100 chickens will be produced every 45 days with groups of 700 fully matured every 15 days, slaughtered and packed by the older teenagers who reside at L’Arc-en-Ciel. The annual production is expected to reach 7,000 by the end of the first year and reaching 10,750 by the end of the third year, creating $81,000 of annual revenue. This income will be utilized by L’Arc-en-Ciel to expand their projects and allow them to continue their work of creating a true home for some of the most at-risk orphans in Haiti.
If you would like to learn more about our project and the amazing sustainable development work occurring at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, please visit our website at www.HoneyforHaiti.org.
"Bee-coming a Solution to the Bee Crisis"
As the world bee population steadily decreases, a serious threat presents itself to agriculture worldwide. Last year, 44% of honey bee colonies in the US perished, and with bees pollinating over 30% of the world’s crops, this is a serious problem to countries which depend heavily on local food production. Many people depend on agriculture for their livelihood in Haiti, and if the bee population continues to decrease as it has in recent years, many will suffer in the long run.
At the sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, we hope to be part of the solution to this serious problem. By implementing a fully functional apiary, we will set an example for the children of the orphanage as well as other people in the community, in addition to providing an opportunity for beekeeping education. The children who find an interest in the art of beekeeping will be able to receive formal apiarist education, further spreading the trade as they become adults and reintegrate into Haitian society. As the children, staff, and community learn of the value and importance of honey bees and how raising them can produce both positive economic and environmentally-friendly results.
We have already assembled two hives at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, and the bees have been incredibly active in producing honey. The bees have also begun to start pollinating the crops at the orphanage and in surrounding communities up to two miles away, with improvements already visibly clear on the property. Some of the children will be trained to collect the resources the bees produce, including honey and beeswax, which will be used to make a finished product and sold at community markets and in local grocer chains. Adding honey and related products top the farm portfolio at L’Arc-en-Ciel will expand the customer basis as well as draw people to see come and see the sustainable farm in person.
To learn more, please follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or visit our website, www.HoneyforHaiti.org.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel "Pigsty Progress"
In the two weeks since our last update, great progress has been made on the pigsty facilities at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, which when completed will create revenue streams of over $8,500 annually. The sty is being constructed by a local Haitian firm, with oversight from orphanage staff, and has created several jobs for people in the community. Once the construction of the project is completed, equipment will be purchased and the children and staff will receive technical training on maintaining the sty and instruct on how to raise the animals properly and humanely. This training will provide skills that can be utilized by the children and staff in the future to expand the project at L’Arc-en-Ciel as well as in the future careers.
The challenges that will be faced in the near future will be related to meeting the energy needs of the project. Currently, the orphanage runs strictly on a diesel generator and does not produce enough electricity to meet their current needs, let alone to power all the equipment necessary for additional poultry and pork production. This is where we must turn to renewable power sources to try and meet the needs of the new integrated farm we are building at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel. With the help of solar experts here in the US, and firms in Haiti, a comprehensive solar plan can be created to bring sustainable power to the projects of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel. On our next trip to Haiti in the coming months, we will collect all the necessary data and create preliminary plans to begin brining clean energy to Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel.
To make a donation, learn more, or get involved, please visit our website, www.HoneyforHaiti.org and stay updated here on Renewable Now and Soundcloud noting weekly progress!
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Making Headway
Major progress has begun on the construction of sustainable development projects at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel d’Haiti Orphanage. Thanks to the generous donations of both Arpin Strong and the Providence College student body, the construction of the pig sty facility is currently underway. This facility, which when completed will have cost about $5,000 USD, can begin to provide another supplementary stream of income for the orphanage. Every few months, this facility can produce over 12 fully grown pigs, which will be sold/processed and packaged to supply local grocers, restaurants, and hotels with fresh, organic pork. The older teenagers, who have already received butcher training from a young adult who has integrated from L’Arc-en-Ciel into Haitian society, will have the opportunity to process and package this meat, and will be involved in the entire process from birth to final sale of the packaged pork products. This opportunity will provide the vocational training of raising pigs and some experience in business in regards to making sales and marketing of the pork products to local customers. By hiring local Haitian contractors to do the labor rather than outsourcing to international NGOs we ensure that we are getting the most “bang for our buck.” The donations we make to L’Arc-en-Ciel are then continuing to help pay wages for laborers, whose families rely on their income. It is incredibly important to the Honey for Haiti team that we ensure we use as many Haitian firms as possible when construction this sustainable integrated farm, and fight against the negative impact that many traditional NGOs have on the Haitian economy and small business in the community surrounding L’Arc-en-Ciel.
"Spread some honey and save a life"
Sustainable business and philanthropic leaders RNN (ReNewable Now Network) and Arpin Strong - the charitable arm of sustainable moving company leader, The Arpin Group, have officially established a new social innovation platform, beginning with the “Spread some Honey and Save a Life” campaign to help Haitian orphans. RNN and Arpin Strong will introduce the platform and the campaign live on the RNN Weekly Radio Show and Podcast entitled “Honey for Haiti”, on Thanksgiving Day on WRNN Radio at 11:00 ET. “Honey for Haiti” continues as a weekly podcast series, accessible live and on-demand on SoundCloud. Arpin Strong, a 501(c)(3) Foundation, will manage the official donation portal.
Through the provision of relief and educational opportunities to the orphans of Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel, in Kenscoff, Haiti, RNN and Arpin Strong are collaborating with the U.S. based Honey for Haiti Initiative on an expanded and ongoing series of communications, relief and fundraising programs. Nicholas Hunsaker, a student at Providence College and Co-Founder of the “Honey For Haiti” initiative, will host “Honey for Haiti” each week, during which he will introduce audiences to the incredibly moving stories of the challenges and successes faced by the people in Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, while also featuring special guests and timely news.
Joining Hunsaker will be Arpin Strong's Peter Arpin, Executive Vice President of sustainable moving services leader, the Arpin Group, host of RNN’s “Business Side of Green”, and Chairman of the Arpin Group. Peter will provide context and follow-ups to each story, working with “Honey for Haiti” on an ongoing and interactive basis to make a difference on those facing poverty and natural disasters. “This effort embodies the essence of the business side of green: marrying project sustainability with social and economic equity to make a positive impact”, said Peter Arpin, Chairman of Arpin Strong. “As we watch the people of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, the Honey for Haiti Project and Nick perform this remarkable work, this is such a powerful testament to the human spirit and to what is possible through teamwork.”
For Nicholas Hunsaker, this cause has been particularly inspiring. “RNN and Arpin Strong have been instrumental in the Honey for Haiti Project by helping so many young people. Their efforts have made a tangible difference on their lives, setting a standard for what is possible for similar places in need around the globe.” The new RNN/Arpin Strong initiative “Spread Some Honey/Spread Spread Social Sustainability” will naturally expand through the RNN communications superhighway for maximum awareness, education, dialogue, funding and impact. Through new partnerships, RNN/Arpin Strong is working to create a philanthropic ecosystem, by working with sustainable and socially innovative non-profits and thought leaders on an ongoing basis for global change.
A sustainable dream BEEcoming a reality
Finally, after a long period of turmoil last fall due to land thieves and struggles to find a source of honey bees in Haiti, beehives have been implemented on site at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel and are producing some honey! Last week, a trained beekeeping technician came for a visit to L’Arc-en-Ciel to deliver the hives, install them with the staff, and then educate the children about beekeeping and how to live in harmony with the hives. This educational portion of the visit also included technical training of the staff members on use of equipment and monitoring of the colonies’ health. While only three hives have been implemented thus far, we have plans to add dozens more over the next two year as to create the Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel Apiary, which would have the potential to produce hundreds of pounds of honey and beeswax annually, which can be sold at local grocers and markets. The wax will be used, by the children, to create candles and related products that can be added to MAEC’s portfolio of handmade farm products which will be marketed, sold, and imported into the United States as the project progresses. As the staff and children become more comfortable with the hives, and has more hives are added, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel will become a location where other members of the community can come and learn about the dire importance of beekeeping and the impact bees can have on the local agriculture. By providing an educational experience for visitors, the children at L’Arc-en-Ciel will become much more environmentally educated and be able to share this knowledge of preservation and improvement of the local climate at their schools and at other community events, which can be hosted eventually on site at the orphanage. As we work to develop a potential partnership with Wynne Farm Environmental Preserve in Kenscoff, we can help make this region of Haiti a new apiary hub and environmental education centerpiece of a country which lacks general understanding of the importance of taking care of the environment. If you would like to learn more about the project, or sponsor a hive of your own on the property, please visit our website at www.HoneyforHaiti.org, and send us an email at email@example.com. Help us BEE the change at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel d’Haiti and get involved today!
Honey for Haiti Fundraising
Over the course of the past several months, fundraising efforts of Honey for Haiti have truly taken off., and funds have finally begun to come together to work towards the construction of an integrated sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel. Providence College students have been tremendously supportive of the project, purchasing over one hundred and fifty tie-dye t-shirts, dozens of beeswax candles, as well as enlisting support from families and friends. In fact, this past weekend, over one hundred students came together for a fundraiser party, in which we were able to raise an additional five hundred dollars to donate. In addition to support from the Providence College student body, we have also received support from the Roger Williams University Men’s Lacrosse team, who purchased and sported more than forty Honey for Haiti tie-dyes during a charity 5K at their school this past weekend. This will sprout a stream of purchases of our products at RWU and Honey for Haiti will be able to generate even more funding from this new school and team partnership. Honey for Haiti is currently searching for other high school and college athletic teams, companies, and other organizations looking for group orders of shirts for 5K’s, casual Friday events, or generally wanting to give back in a group manner. As our brand grows and we increase the sales of our products, we will be able to fund more and more phases of the project through small scale, individual and group donations. Help us “Bee the Change” by encouraging your team or company to support the sustainable development efforts at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel. Our fundraising progress can be viewed on our website. To learn more about the project, order our products, or get involved, please visit us at www.HoneyforHaiti.org, on Facebook at Honey for Haiti, or on Instagram @honeyforhaiti. For team orders, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel: Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew
On On October 4, Haiti was hit with a devastating Category 4 hurricane, which has so far caused over one billion dollars in damages and taken the lives of over 1000 Haitian people. Hurricane Matthew's winds of over 145 MPH led to the destruction of thousands of homes across southwest Haiti and it is estimated that over 90% of some areas in the south of Haiti have been completely devastated by the storm. While international aid has been arriving, those who are in the most dire need of aid have been extremely difficult to reach due to bridges and roads being wiped from landslides and flooding. The high levels of deforestation in Haiti greatly attributed to the number of landslides, and the storm only worsened this problem, destroying many of the remaining trees on the island nation. While the short term effects of Hurricane Matthew are devastating, the long-term effects are going to cause even worse damage to Haiti. A large portion of the country's plantations were wiped out, setting up for a food crisis a few months down the line. The spread of cholera is also a major fear among Haitians and humanitarian aid workers, for clean water is extremely hard to access and this will only lead to the spread of this terrible disease, which can leave thousands more dead in its wake.
Organizations are distributing hygiene packets, clean water, food, and rolls of plastic sheeting, but these are only very temporary solutions to the problem, and we must aim to create long term, sustainable solutions that will not leave the Haitian people in the same situation as they faced following the 2010 earthquake. Many organizations are aiming to provide more long-term solutions to the problems, including World Merit Haiti, the Haitian Education Leadership Program, and Hope for Haiti. As more organizations work to create long term solutions, the Honey for Haiti project and Renewable Now will update our readers on how they can support these sustainable relief efforts.
At Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, some damage occurred, but nothing that the children and staff of the orphanage could not handle. They are located more towards central Haiti, where the hurricane was only considered a tropical storm. Thankfully, no children or staff were injured during the storm the restoration efforts have begun. Pictures attached with this article will document the damages and clean up at L’Arc-en-Ciel. Following the clean up of the storm and replanting of the crops that were lost, L’Arc-en-Ciel will begin the construction of the pig sty, funded with the help of Arpin Strong, and we will soon be seeing the progress of that project. To learn more about the project at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, please visit us at www.HoneyforHaiti.org and Like us on Facebook and Instagram, @HoneyforHaiti.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel: Pigsty Possibilities
The latest improvement at Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel is the first of new income generating activities that will be implemented over the next two
years. Thanks to Peter Arpin of ReNewable Now and Arpin Strong, the Honey for Haiti Project is happy to announce that the funds have been sent to construct the first pig sty at Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel. The Haiti ministry at St. George Roman Catholic Church in Guilford, Connecticut has also generously provided funding for the income generating activities at MAEC. This venture will provide a wonderful new educational experience for the children and staff, and will soon create a revenue stream to expand itself and raise funds to expand the space for slaughter of the larger livestock.
The pigsty will be 51 square meters in size, enough to produce 14 pigs each year, with two sows for each boar. The pigs will be bred and, due to the prolific births of these animals, L'Arc-en-Ciel will be able to sell pigs to other farmers in the region.This venture is especially advantageous due to the high demand for pork in Haiti, and the ease in which pigs can be raised in comparison to other livestock, such as goats, which require ample space to graze. Having pork on the list of products for sale from the Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel sustainable farm will draw additional customers that have not yet been reached, as well as open up potential avenues for donations of food scraps that can be fed to the pigs. Connections with local bakeries are being formed in order to organize the donation of these scraps, which will significantly reduce the annual cost of raising pigs. The labor necessary to keep the pigsty fully functioning will be covered by the older children who have in interest in livestock and by young adults who will be packaging the meat for sale. This will provide a daily hands on experience in the raising of pigs and will add an entire skill set to the abilities of the older teens who will soon be looking for jobs upon their reintegration.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel- Why does
being Sustainable Matter?
At a non-profit organization like Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, sustainability is not traditionally a major goal, and often falls by the wayside in order to cater to immediate needs, of which there are many in a country like Haiti. Organizations usually focus on solving problems in the short term, such as providing food or housing to those without, or immediate emergency medical care, with minimal outlook into the causes of the problem or the fact that many people will “relapse” without follow up care or treatment. Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel has always had a different approach to the problem, and has worked to tackle the root causes of the problem of stigmatization of HIV/AIDS in Haiti, rather than just treat the symptoms of the national problem. By not only fostering children who had been ostracized, but educating families, schools, and communities about how HIV/AIDS was actually transmitted, they improved the situation of all people with HIV/AIDS in Haiti, even if they had not directly sheltered them. By providing medical, psychological, and educational care, those impacted by the disease were able to live much more normal and social lives, and faced lower levels of discrimination due to the widespread public health education that was occurring. As time went on, funding for the outreach program slowly diminished, and due to dependence on outside funding, the community programs from Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel had to be put on hold. Their focus shifted to the foster home and keeping the children properly cared for, as well as leaving space for more children to come as needed. Danielle refused to see the same thing happen to the foster home, and has realized that every year, funding is more and more difficult to come by. By working to build the self-sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel orphanage, we can greatly reduce the need for outside funding and provide all the sustenance necessary to feed the children and staff, as well as sell excess produce and livestock to local grocers for a signifiant annual income. Once the sustainable farm is up and running, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel will no longer be at risk of closure annually, and this will ensure the longevity of MAEC for decades to come. To learn more, get involved, or sponsor the sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel d’Haiti, visit our website at www.HoneyForHaiti.org, or visit on on Facebook and Instagram, @HoneyForHaiti.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel- A Year Ago Today
In June of 2015, the Honey for Haiti team made their most recent trip to Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, which included building two goat pens, organizing a community library, educating and implementing beekeeping and composting equipment, as well as testing soil and making plans for the next steps of the project. In addition to these ventures, our team taught the staff and children at MAEC about proper sanitation of the chicken coop and how to keep their chickens healthy. While the work completed during this trip was relatively insignificant in the scheme of the entire project, the trip allowed us to make more plans for the future, as well as develop a strong personal connection with the children and staff we will be working alongside for the remainder of the project.
After leaving in early July, the team made plans to return in Winter of 2015 to build on the work that had begun, as well as start new ventures such as the transition to solar, and raising pigs for an income source. Unfortunately, in September of 2015, the orphanage was attacked by a group of armed land thieves, a local gang that uses fear to pressure families and small organizations like Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel off their land, so the gang in turn can build shanty-houses and illegally sell the stolen property in smaller pieces to unknowing foreigners using falsified deeds to the land. Unfortunately, due to connections that one of the gang leaders had with one of the presidential candidates of the time, the police and local government would not involve themselves to assist L’Arc-en-Ciel, even after a staff member was physically assaulted by the gang. The only way for Danielle to protect the orphanage and its residents was to “emergency fundraise” for a large wall along the perimeter of the property, which, with help from the UN Special Police in Haiti, deterred the gang members in early 2016. The resiliency of Danielle, her husband, her staff and the children is truly inspirational, and even with the threat of violence Danielle did not only remain at MAEC, but worked tirelessly for months pleading with her former donors to contribute little by little until she had raised enough for the construction of the border wall. Now, with the property border in place, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel is a perfect, self-contained compound where sustainable agricultural, livestock, and energy can thrive as well as provide the perfect educational experience for the children. To learn more or provide support for the project, please visit us at www.HoneyForHaiti.org, and follow us on Instagram and Facebook @HoneyForHaiti.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: Poultry Possibilities
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel started their journey to self-sustainability in June of 2013, when the first round of chicks was delivered to the empty coop, which was constructed in hopes of reducing the cost of food for the orphanage. After realizing the potential to raise more chickens than the residents of MAEC could possibly consume themselves, Danielle made the decision to educate the teenagers on how to properly butcher the animals, package them accordingly and sell the entirety of the excess meat to local restaurants, hotels, and grocer chains. This profit would be reintegrated into expanding the chicken project and other sustainability-based ventures at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel.
Currently, there is a single coop on the property which holds approximately 600 chickens, who arrive as chicks and in 45 days are grown to Haitian standards, slaughtered and packaged in an on-site facility, and sold each cycle to local vendors at competitive prices relative to the market. While this venture currently has very low margins, by building two additional larger coops, we can cut our 45 day cycle in three sub-cycles and produce four times almost as many chickens as the current timeframe. By doing this, in addition to producing our own feed at the orphanage, we can cut the cost of production of poultry by over 40%. The orphanage has budgeted 300 person-days per year for each of the two new coops, and the older children will have first priority to operating the poultry project and will receive proper agricultural education as to ensure each of the operations of the project run smoothly. By the second year after constructing the coops, the chicken project will be running at full capacity and has projected revenues of over $80,000 USD annually, contributing greatly to the projected annual 40,000 profit of the project in its entirety.
By assembling our expertise in the ReNewable Now network and executing the business plan in place, we can help create a more sustainable Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, providing an opportunity for education for the residents and staff and increase their overall quality of life.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: Proving that Sustainability is Profitable
Currently, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel Orphanage relies completely on external donations to remain afloat and while many individuals and business give generously to MAEC, it is not sustainable for them to rely solely on extrinsic donations. Organizations like ODEM International, Cross Catholic Outreach, the American Red Cross, the Society of Saint Vincent DePaul, and Catholic Relief Services each have contributed to the survival of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel over the years, but each year, these donations are diminishing. This is a problem many non-profit organizations are facing around the world. Donations coming in from the public are on the decline worldwide and not-for-profits need to find ways to make ends meet to remain in operation.
The sustainable farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel will be a strong solution to this problem. Operating at costs of about $250,000 each year, the directors of the orphanage must fight at the end of every fiscal year to receive enough donations for the following year’s budget. By working to implement sustainable farming techniques, efficient raising of livestock, switching to solar energy, launching an apiary, and education and installing recycling and composting initiatives, it is projected in less than three years that income from this projects can cover about 25% of orphanages yearly operating costs. By 2018, the estimated revenue from sale of poultry, eggs, pork, crops, and fish alone total 164,143 USD, and with expenses totaling only 113,451, this leaves MAEC with an income of 43,444 USD per year. This number does not include any income from the apiary, transition to solar, or composting/recycling initiatives, which have the potential to add thousands of dollars in savings and potentially thousands in supplementary income. By fundraising here in the US and implanting these projects at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, the Honey for Haiti Project and Arpin Strong can create real sustainable change that can be replicated at other organizations in Haiti and around the world.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: Sustainability Through Education
While the most important goal of building the sustainable orphanage at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel is reaching a level of economic sustainability as to not rely on outside financing to stay afloat, the educational opportunity that comes along with the projects are just as valuable. Each of the projects; the conversion to solar, compositing, livestock, agriculture, aquaponics, and beekeeping have a direct educational component to them, where the children of MAEC are given the opportunity to learn about the projects that interest them individually and take time to work directly with our team as we implement the specific project that they feel they can contribute to.
While all the children receive a formal education, financed by Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, not all will have the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education, and will have to find work elsewhere, potentially learning trades to fulfill themselves and earn a living. Danielle, the director of the orphanage, has a strong reintegration plan for each child, and does everything possible to ensure each child is ready and able to flourish in Haitian society. Children, if interested, can pursue training in beekeeping, agriculture, aquaponics, construction, as well as leaning about recycling, composting, and the importance of respecting the environment. By promoting a sustainable lifestyle to the children of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, a community educational program can begin, emphasizing the economic, environmental, and social benefits of the project to the community and sharing how they can begin their own sustainability initiatives. The impact that L’Arc-en-Ciel can have on other organizations in Haiti by providing an example on becoming self-sustainable and educating other organizations about ways to form a sustainable income that is environmentally conscious.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: How to Utilize Scarce Resources
to Maximize Results
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel has an abundance of some of the resources needed to create a self-sustainable farm, but unfortunately lacks some others, which we will need to subsidize through our work and fundraising. The human capital of the staff and children, who are ready and willing to learn the ins and outs of living on a sustainable farm, is plentiful, and is one of our best assets. Utilizing and educating groups of extremely capable children and adults who are all working towards the same goal will expedite the sustainable transformation process, as well as ensure positive change can continue to occur after our stay at MAEC comes to an end. It is critically important that we work to spark genuine interest of the different projects in each child and find what personally excites them enough to want to continue to work and expand the projects long after our work crews are gone.
There is also a large amount of land that can be utilized to reach our goal of becoming sustainable, with a full 8 acres to work with.
What Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel lacks, are natural resources necessary to jumpstart the projects. Currently, MAEC depends solely on rainfall as a source of water, with a limited total storage capacity. In addition to this, all electricity is sourced from a small diesel generator, with a small battery storage system which limits the power than can be stored and the amount of equipment that can be used on the system. In addition to this, the soil lacks nutrients due to the steep slope of the land, and constant erosion that occurs due to lack of agricultural ground coverage in some spots. Luckily for us and MAEC, all of these problems can be fixed. We can improve the cistern system currently in place, as well as work on digging a well, in order to increase maximum storage capacity as well as have a source of water outside of the rainy seasons. We can replace the diesel generator with a clean solar system, and potentially implement a device such as Tesla’s “Powerwall” to increase electricity storage capacity and allow for more equipment to used at the orphanage. In order to improve soil quality, we will need to plant crops that enrich the soil after a season, such as annual clovers, beans and peas, and vetch. This will contribute to and improve the nitrogen content and overall quality of the soil.
By using advice from experts here in the US and in Canada, the Honey for Haiti team can work to improve the overall water storage, energy capacity, and soil health of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel and help drive them into a sustainable future. To learn more or get involved, please visit us atwww.HoneyForHaiti.org, on Facebook @Honey For Haiti, or reach us by email at email@example.com!
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: The Importance of Livestock
In order to understand the potential for growth at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, one must understand the current situation and resources available to the staff and children at the orphanage, as well as witness the projects currently occurring. Today, the most profitable project is the chicken coop that has been in use since June 2014, in which the children are taught to raise and eventually butcher the chickens, and the meat is sold to local restaurants and grocers. A contract has been secured with several local restaurants and one of Haiti’s largest grocery chains to provide fresh vegetables, as well as poultry, and as production increases in all sectors over the next several years, as will the ability to supply more local businesses with the products grown and harvested at MAEC. In addition to raising chickens for the purpose of butchering, the orphanage will soon start farming eggs, and will be able to hatch their own chickens, as well as sell the eggs to restaurants and grocers. On a smaller scale, the orphanage also farms goats and cows, but not nearly on same scale as the chicken project. MAEC had been purchasing and breeding baby goats, raising them, and then continuing to breed them or butcher them for meat, which can be used internally at the orphanage in addition to being sold for profit. They have found the goats over-consume the foliage on the property, so now they have made the decision to only purchase goats ready for slaughter. The older teenagers at the orphanage have been trained by another young person who left Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel upon reaching adulthood, and found a job as a butcher, who is now willing to return to the orphanage and help and teach his brothers and sisters in any way he can. The next goal for the livestock portion of the project at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel is to implement a pork farming program. Pigs would be a great addition to the sustainability project, with their diverse diet and the high growth to feed ratio, they will provide substantial income as well as increase the portfolio of products MAEC has to offer. If you have expertise in raising livestock and would like to contribute your knowledge to the project, please contact us at HoneyForHaiti.org.
Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel-Building the Sustainable Orphanage: Team Spotlight: Bob Keiser
The Honey for Haiti Project has been supported by many, but our most active supporter, fundraiser, and resident beekeeper, Bob Keiser, is an especially important person to the success of the sustainability farm at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel.
Bob Keiser, 65 is a “mostly” retired beekeeper from Madison, CT, where he has resided for many years, and has become a very active parishioner at St. George Catholic Church in Guilford, CT. Bob tends to be very busy compared to the average retired person, remaining extremely active in the St. George Men’s Group, who raises funds for worthy causes, as well as running his own non-profit organization, APK Charities, as well as his business, www.all-things-swiss.com.
APK Charities, http://www.apkcharities.org, was founded in 2013 in honor and memory of Captain Andrew Pedersen-Keel, Special Forces, who was killed in action serving our country in Eastern Afghanistan on March 11th, 2013. APK Charities is a non-profit organization raising funds for Connecticut Trees of Honor Memorial, The Fisher House, the Special Forces Charitable Trust, and Honor & Remember. Bob and his lovely wife, Helen, started APK Charities to honor their son and to support organizations who assist our troops and veterans.
Even while running his own organization, as well as remaining incredibly active in his community, Bob makes time to support the Honey for Haiti project. From jarring and selling hundreds of pounds of local Connecticut honey, to physically coming to Haiti to provide on-site education and training to the staff and children at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, Bob has not faltered in his efforts to help bring MAEC into a sustainable future.
As Bob continues to volunteer his time for the Honey for Haiti project, he, along with a group of other Gold Star Fathers, is currently preparing to ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle across the entire continental USA to raise money and awareness for APK Charities and other organizations that support our troops and veterans. Bob is 65 years old, and is an integral; part of the Honey for Haiti team. Bob will return with us to Haiti this December and provide additional training and equipment for the Apiary we will construct at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel.
Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel: Where They Are Today
Originally, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel was located in Boutillers, not far outside Port-au-Prince, which included a small piece of land and the former family house of the Duvailers, the family that ruled Haiti by dictatorship from 1957-1986. After receiving threats from the extended Duvalier family, Danielle decided it was necessary to relocate the orphanage, and in 2005, the current property was purchased. Construction on the foster home facility began shortly after, which would be designed to fit more children as well as more space for multidisciplinary staff that would provide more individualized support for each child.
In the last decade, life at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel has changed significantly due to the relocation of the orphanage and dramatic change of atmosphere. The new property, located on the mountainside in Thomassin 32, a community along Route de Kenscoff between Pétionville and Port-au-Prince, included 8 acres of beautiful land. This property would be the chance for immense change and development at L’Arc-en-Ciel
Soon after the relocation to the new facility and property, Danielle became extremely interested in utilizing the resources and property to create an income for the orphanage, so they would not have to rely on outside donations for all their internal needs. While the land had great potential and the staff and children were all willing to embark on these projects, Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel simply lacked the expertise in agriculture and livestock that was required to get the income-generating activities off the ground and to be operational, let alone profitable.
The Honey for Haiti project, with the help of Arpin Strong, can accelerate economic, social, and environmental change and sustainability at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel. Since meeting Danielle in June 2014, we have been working to bring together the experts who can truly assist in facilitating successful income-generating projects, such as raising and farming of chickens, goats, and cows, as well as agricultural and apicultural initiatives, each of which require an extremely efficient usage of scarce financial and environmental resources. We will use all the funds we are able to raise through our sale of “Honey for Haiti”, natural beeswax candles and lip balm, as well as actively searching for corporate sponsors who share the same passion for sustainable change as we do at Honey for Haiti and Arpin Strong.
Please follow our story of change and sustainable development at Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel here on Renewable Now, and email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or to get involved!
Maison L'Arc-en-Ciel: A Story of Love
In the late 1980’s, Danielle Reid Pénette, director and founder of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel, visited Haiti for the first time with her Haitian-born husband, Robert, and was heartbroken by the situation faced by families and children affected/infected with HIV/AIDS. Those who were impacted by this terrible affliction had nowhere to turn due to the fact that Haiti, at the time, had absolutely no services for those facing an HIV/AIDS diagnosis. There was very little understanding of the virus, and there was widespread fear of the disease among the Haitian community. Children were ostracized from their families, families with ill children or parents were sometimes forced to leave their communities. Essentially, HIV/AIDS was a death sentence, between the social repercussions as well as lack of modern medicine, many people suffered and died at the hands of AIDS. In 1996, the opening of Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel Foster Home changed these facts of life faced by those infected/affected by the virus. MAEC was the first orphanage willing to take in anybody infected with HIV/AIDS in Haiti, where the rates of the virus were the highest in the world. Danielle and her husband, Robert, were determined to provide a place of shelter, medical and psychological care, and love that many of these children had been stripped of upon their diagnosis. Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel not only was a fully functional foster home, but in 2002, expanded to a Proximity House, providing services to hundreds of families and nearly one thousand children. The services provided at the new, centrally located facility include medical and psychological care, financial assistance, and widespread public education and destigmatization of HIV/AIDS in Haiti, a problem that still haunted many individuals, especially in the Port-au-Prince area. Danielle and her team personally worked to educate school, parish, and local communities about HIV/AIDS to teach the people that with proper care and behavior, it was not contagious and that a person with HIV/AIDS can live a full and fruitful life just like the rest of us. As antiretrovirals became more widely davalaiable on the island, the death toll from the virus reduced dramatically, and with Danielle's help, the overall perspective on HIV/AIDS had changed dramatically. Due to major cuts in funding, the Proximity house was discontinued several years ago, but thanks to the supporters of MAEC and the children, the foster home has remained an open sanctuary for the children in Danielle’s care. These children have experienced unmatched love and affection from all the staff at MAEC, who are are all currently working to ensure the longevity of the foster home through income generating activities and the push to make Maison L’Arc-en-Ciel more self-sustainable. Please join us in our efforts in the push to full sustainability at MAEC! To learn more, please visit us at www.HoneyForHaiti.org, or email us at HoneyForHaiti@gmail.com if you would like to get involved!
Saints Rose and Clement Solar Power Blessing
Many more institutions of faith are embracing the principals of sustainability from protecting our environment, to ways in which they can lower their carbon footprint while reducing their energy costs. These institutions, in many instances, are far ahead of the private sector. Recently we caught up with one such institution in Warwick, Rhode Island and we invite you to watch the video while reading a short excerpt of a first hand account from William Patenaude of Catholic Ecology. Enjoy!
Father Matthew Glover, the pastor of Saint Rose and Clement (pictured to the left blessing the solar panels) hit just the right balance in his remarks of solar cheerleading and rooting our thanks in Jesus Christ. Father Matt also gave thanks to his predecessor, Father Edward Wilson, who began the project. (As a side note, the first parish in the Diocese of Providence to undertake such a project was Father Matt's home parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Bristol. Congrats goes to that pastor, too, Father Henry Zinno)
Father Matt quoted Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,S.J.: “Some day, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then for the second time in the history of the world, we will have discovered fire.”
After raising our minds and hearts with his words, Father Matt climbed a ladder to access the roof. There, he blessed the solar panels, and then the onlookers. This was all accompanied by the beautiful song of students—first singing "All Creatures of Our God and King" and then "Holy God, We Praise Thy Name."
Now really, can you get much better than that?
Capacity Crowd for Sports and Sustainability
Last week, RNN launched its 2016 Masters of Sustainability series, kicking things off with the Sports and Sustainability panel. The event was streamed live to a global audience and was also shot in front of a capacity audience who attended the event at Button Hole Golf in Providence, Rhode Island.
Participating in the event’s panel discussion were 5 time X-Games Gold Medalist, Kevin Robinson, professional golfer Aubrey “The Green Golfer” McCormick, and Jack Groh, Director NFL Environmental Program. Hosting the panel was Peter Arpin from RNN’s Business Side of Green. The panel discussed everything from how sports of all kinds can begin to incorporate the principles to sustainability early on, all the way to how broadcasters and leagues could do more to bring awareness to the masses. The entire event will be available for on-demand viewing starting next week, but before than, we invite you to watch this short video of how the day culminated and interviews from those who attended.
X Games Gold Medalist to Explain
Extreme Sustainability on Thursday, June 23
When you think "extreme sports," do you think of sustainability? Well if you don't, one of the greatest stars of extreme sports is going to tell you why you should.
Kevin Robinson, professional BMX rider and 5 time X Games Gold Medalist understands his sports has provided him with the opportunity to give back. In May of 2010, Kevin started the K-Rob Foundation with the mission to positively transform the lives of deserving children in the East Bay and surrounding communities. Helping one family at a time, the K-Rob Foundation provides financial assistance to get kids involved with athletics as a means for them to learn discipline, focus, teamwork and healthy living habits.
Participating in athletics as a child played a pivotal role in Kevin's path to success and he is dedicated to helping share that with others in helping the next generation become aware of social responsibility, the environment, and giving back.
"The Green Golfer," Aubrey McCormick
Spreading the Principles of Sustainability through Golf
As we continue celebrating the month of June with sports and their relationship to the principles of sustainability, we are building up toward our live event, “Sports and Sustainability" on Thursday, June 23. As we continue to profile special guests who will be part of our sports panel on the 23rd, this week we are excited to introduce you to “The Green Golfer,” Aubrey McCormick.
Aubrey McCormick is the CEO and Co-Founder of IMPACT360 Group. She is a professional golfer with 15 years of experience working within the golf industry. McCormick’s experience includes varying positions within tournament competition, operations and maintenance, food and beverage, golf instruction, and assisting in public and private club management, along with being mentored by some of the industry's top golf course superintendents.
In 2012, McCormick starred on the NBC Golf Channel television series, The Big Break: Atlantis and gained recognition as the first “green” golfer. She is a columnist for GreenBiz and advocate of the broader green sports initiative, with expertise in the sustainable golf movement through participation in speaking engagements at educational institutions, communities and events worldwide.
McCormick understands the importance of giving back to the community, and has served as a foster care mentor for Best Kids, Inc., rehabilitative golf instructor for wounded veterans of the Salute Military Golf Association (SMGA), and mentor to Master in Sustainability students at Wake Forest University.
McCormick was a Leadership Scholar at Presidio Graduate School, where she is earned a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Sustainable Management. She is a LEED Green Associate through the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Aubrey's client work includes the first Corporate Social Responsibility Report (CSR) in golf for The Olympic Club in San Francisco and assisting with the first Green Report for the Superbowl 50, hosted in San Francisco in 2016. Aubrey cares deeply about the planet, and recently partnered with the Pet Sustainability Coalition to bring her sustainability expertise into the pet industry, to help drive long-term organizational change. Her philosophy is that sustainability relates to all businesses, no matter industry, size or sector.
After the conference and panel discussion on Thursday, June 23, McCormick will be conducting a series of sustainable golf clinics. First, she’ll be working with special needs children through the non-profit group FULL SWING that utilizes golf to build coordination and confidence for children who are physically challenged. The second group she’ll be working with are inner city youth from Providence, RI. for many in this group it will be a first time introduction to both golf and sustainability. The final group McCormick will be working with is the U.S. Veterans program of Button Hole. This program helps to keep veterans active while socializing with friends.
June is our month for celebrating sports and their relationship to the principals of sustainability as we build up to our live event, “Sports and Sustainability," on Thursday, June 23. So this week, we profiled one of guests who will be part of our sports panel on the 23, and that is Jack Groh, Director of the National Football League's Environmental Program. With over two decades of leading the NFL’s initiatives and programs relating to sustainability, Jack has amassed a tremendous amount of experience when it comes to showcasing the positive returns when it comes to being eco-smart, and social responsible. But this sustainable pioneer’s journey didn’t start with the NFL, but rather started from a career in communications.
After a successful career as a radio and television journalist that took him from his home state Massachusetts to the west coast, Groh and his wife, Susan, whom he met in Washington state, moved to Rhode Island to start their family.
When their daughter was born, Groh was working grueling hours anchoring the morning and noon news for an ABC affiliate station. Susan had already started a new chapter as a freelance writer and communications consultant, and Groh decided to join her. The pair was soon hired by a now defunct local firm to do PR consulting, and eventually developed a reputation for their experience in the realm of environmental consulting.
“We did some work for the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management on their recycling project. Obviously, other than infrastructure, communications is the largest part of recycling initiatives – getting people involved. So we learned all the ins and outs of solid waste management while we were doing that. Then, another project came along with a water purification company, and another with the U.S. Department of Energy. Pretty soon, we were known as ‘the environmental people," said Groh.
So when word came in 1993 that the NFL was looking for an environmental consultant to institute a recycling program at the Georgia Dome for the next year’s Super Bowl, Groh and an Atlanta-based business partner snapped up the contract. After working on that project for a year, Groh knew that he’d stumbled on an area that was ripe for expansion.
“We did a literature search that first year to look for best practices [in recycling at events]. We found that there were no best practices! Other than [some studies on] the Olympics, there was virtually no literature. So we basically got to work on setting up a program from scratch,” he said.
Groh made use of his plentiful curiosity and his propensity for quick study as he learned how to set up a solid waste management program for one of the world’s premiere sporting events.
He noted that those early years were a lot of trial and error, pairing his business partner’s background in environmental law with his own background in environmental communications. “It was tough,” he admitted. “I would say the first project wasn’t very successful except for the fact that we learned what not to do.”
For Groh, that pursuit of knowledge is always paramount, no matter what the task. On the cutting edge of stadium recycling programs, he and the NFL moved through refining their process, going from separating recyclables out of refuse containers at the waste management site to understanding that they needed separation at the source – the stadium itself.
Groh said that event managers, who always have their eyes trained on the Super Bowl as an example for good business practices, began to take notice. Recycling programs were popping up in stadiums and at events around the country, and the NFL was unquestionably on the cutting edge of that movement.
Over the course of more than 20 years with the NFL, Groh has guided the league in an expanded range of programs, all underscored by the notion that they make better business practices. Maximizing resources and creating less waste, Groh argues, isn’t just about the environmental impact, but an opportunity to be more efficient, ultimately growing the league’s bottom line.
This philosophy has led to advances in how the NFL manages its prepared foods, mitigating wastes by creating donation programs to local social service organizations; recycling miles of fabric used for banners and fence wrap as repurposed consumer products including high-fashion gowns; carbon offset and urban forestry initiatives, whereby the league plants thousands of trees in Super Bowl host communities; and Super Kids, a new program that selects local schools to hold used book and sports equipment drives to benefit less fortunate schools in the area.
Today's global sports industry is worth between $480 billion and $620 billion, according to a recent A.T. Kearney study of sports teams, leagues and federations. This includes infrastructure construction, sporting goods, licensed products and live sports events. So when we think about sports we need to understand that it is big business and that there are probably very few people on this planet who have not been touched by sports in some way. That being said we also have to acknowledge that sports has a unique ability to inspire individuals and to invoke a passion that fuels dreams into reality, and that sports can be an valuable resource for positive change.
So when it comes to sustainability and sports, well that may just be a perfect match, and for the whole month of June, RNN wants to celebrate that match as we lead up to our live special "Sports and Sustainability," happening on Thursday, June 23rd from the Arpin Event Center in West Warwick, RI.
Sports and Sustainability is part of RNN's 2016 Masters of Sustainability Series, a series of four live events that showcase HIGH-IMPACT transformative practices being applied by groups and individuals that in some way apply to the three pillar model of social, environmental and economic sustainability in what they are doing.
We feel that we couldn't have started this series off any better than with focusing our attention on null sports and the tremendous impact that it is currently making when it comes to sustainability and what the future holds for doing even more good when combining the two. Our elite panel of guests includes Jack Groh,Director NFL Environmental Program who will share how the league has embraced sustainability, how they're taking it to the next level and how they go about greening the Super Bowl. From the world of golf, we have professional female golfer Aubrey "The Green Golfer" McCormick from the Golf Channel's Reality Show The Big Break, who will share her story of how she came to sustainability and how she's making a difference through golf. Rounding off our panel and providing valuable insight on how States around the country, and his particular state, Rhode Island, are looking towards the principals of sustainability when attracting sports is John Gibbons, Executive Director of RI Sports Commission.
Over the next four weeks we will be profiling each of these individuals a bit deeper to give our audience a better sense of what they will be discussing at the event and what they will share.
If you would like to attend this event in person and participate click here to receive your seat.
In less than five days, over one billion people in 192 countries will take action to protect our shared environment. All across the globe, in big cities to small villages and everything in-between, people are organizing, demanding climate action, cleaning up their local communities, meeting with their elected officials, planting trees, and teaching their children to protect our planet.
This year, in a rare and special event, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has invited every world leader to the United Nations to officially sign the Paris Climate Agreement reached this past December. It is no coincidence that the agreement is being opened for signatures on April 22nd, Earth Day.
“Earth Day is the largest, most recognizable face of the environmental movement,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network. “Millions of people in dozens of different countries will become lifelong environmentalists this and every Earth Day. Hundreds of thousands will be children – our planet’s future. They will join the more than 1 billion people who already use Earth Day to focus on the urgent need to stabilize and reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, fight climate change, act locally, become climate voters, and protect their children’s futures.”
This year Earth Day Network is focusing on the urgent need to plant new trees and forests worldwide. Throughout the year, EDN sponsors and takes part in tree plantings across the US and worldwide. But this year we are raising the stakes. As we begin the four year count down to Earth Day’s 50th anniversary in 2020, Earth Day Network is pledging to plant 7.8 billion trees worldwide – one for every person on Earth! That’s incredibly ambitious, but we believe this down-payment must be made in order to combat climate change and keep our most vulnerable eco-systems from facing extinction.
“We have no higher priority this year than to make sure the United States, China, India, the EU, and all the largest CO2 emitters sign the Paris Agreement. EDN has launched a petition calling on world leaders – including President Obama — to show leadership. (You can sign the U.S. petition).We need to prove that what happened in Paris last December was not all talk. We need to take action. Signing the Paris Agreement this Earth Day at the United Nations is just the beginning,” Rogers said. “That, coupled with our global activities, will make this the largest, most significant Earth Day in years. And it’s the perfect start in our countdown to Earth Day 2020, our 50th!”
Across the world, millions of schoolchildren and their teachers will take part in education, civic, and outdoor programs that will teach them about the importance of clean air and water, how to begin a lifelong practice of civic participation, and experience the wonders of nature. In almost every country on Earth, citizens will be making demands of their governments to take action to address the climate crises, starting with the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement on April 22nd, Earth Day.
This is Earth Day’s legacy – the largest and most active citizen engagement campaign on Earth.
Is This The Ultimate Christmas Gift?
Okay, this gift may not fit under your Christmas tree, or even in your house for that matter, but it does take sustainability to a whole other level. And as the saying goes, "If you ask how much it costs, you probably can't afford it." But who knows, maybe you'll be invited on one for a cruise.
The Sauter Carbon Offset Design (SCOD) eco-friendly luxury yacht makes it to the top spot for this year. The Ocean Supremacy has a top speed of 55kt and is expected to rank among the top ten fastest super-yachts in the world.
She is designed to consume 50% less fuel than other similar yachts and provide zero carbon cruising at 14kt speed. British designer Richard John Sauter of SCOD is the main architect of the yacht.
The Ocean Supremacy will be powered by a 9MW solar hybrid propulsion system. It will utilise a combination of different sustainable power sources - solar, biomass diesel, wind energy and wave strengths - for environmentally friendly propulsion.
A marine solar cell array of 70kW from SunPower Solbian will be installed on the yacht to charge the UPS. The Lloyds approved UPS will also act as a power booster.
A 200kW auxiliary inflatable traction kite from SkySail will also allow for zero carbon cruising. The wind powered system will be used to charge batteries or increase the cruising speed.
A 50kW motion damping regeneration (MDR) system from Maurer Sohne will use energy from waves. It will either charge the batteries or increase the cruising speed of the super-yacht.
The propulsion system also includes 2X V16 series 2000 Tier 4i MTU Genset. Each unit will generate 1MW and will be capable of using biodiesel. One power unit can be used in conjunction with the solar, wave and wind power to achieve a hybrid cruising speed of 18kt. It will be the most economical and eco-friendly propulsion system.
Ocean Supremacy will also have four V16 Series 2000 Tier 4i MTU or ZF Hybrid Motors. Each of the power units will generate about 1.5MW, allowing a cruising speed of about 45kt. The generating units will also be compatible with biodiesel.
A 2MW Lloyds approved Corvus Lithium Polymer uninterruptible power supply (UPS) or two V16 Tier 4i MTU Gensets will power two 1.5MW Siemens supplied electric motors. They will drive two retractable Anerson ASD 10 Surface Drives, located in the demi-hull to propel the yacht at speeds of about 53kt. Two 1.5MW Kamewa S3-125 series water-jet propulsion drives from Rolls Royce will also be equipped in each of the two wave-piercing hulls of the yacht.
The water-jets will be driven with parallel MTU or ZF hybrid motors, also powered by the UPS or the 1MW Tier 4i MTU Gensets.
Energy saving benefits of Sauter Carbon Offset Design's luxury yacht
The yacht can cruise even after shutting down any of its six diesel engines to further reduce the consumption rates. The renewable energy sources are expected to reduce the associated green house gas emissions by 50%.
The hybrid green power will also cut the CO2 emissions of the Ocean Supremacy by 4,000t. She can generate and supply about 200MWh of electricity when plugged in to the onshore grid.
If you need this by Christmas we don't think Amazon Prime can deliver, but you can visit SCOD and see what they can do.
Paris: 11-13-15 "A Loss That Touches All"
Photo Credit: Maya-Ana's Yatagh ne, Location: de la R'publique
ReNewable Now describes the essence of sustainability originating from within the heart and soul of each of us, from how we treat ourselves to how we treat others around us, and how we treat our environment. From within our hearts, we are now feeling for all suffering in Paris.
Last week's tragedy in Paris is almost indescribable. For a city known for lovers and artists, this act of violence upon innocence is the reflection of cowardly evil that cannot go unchecked. ReNewable Now tries to report on positive stories, but for us not to comment on what we observed and have felt over the last few days would be doing a disservice to our audience- those who lost their lives and their families, and the people of France.
This tragedy also has a very personal connection for those of us in the world of sustainability, and that was the loss of a rising star within our ranks, Nohemi Gonzalez. Nohemi Gonzalez, a 23-year-old design student at Cal State Long Beach, was part of an international exchange program at the Strate School of Design. Gonzalez had been part of a team that recently won second place in the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge for inventing a biodegradable snack pack that can sprout plants. Polli Snack, as it was known, was described as “A 100% biodegradable snack pack filled with nuts and dried fruits. It comes with dehydrated expandable soil and seeds so the user can cultivate a plant after being done with the snack. The packaging is expandable, allowing room for the soil to expand. For every Polli Snak sold at grocery or convenient stores, another pack is donated to a local community in need.”
Beyond her abilities in sustainable design Nohemi was also a “giver.” She tutored students in Cal State Long Beach’s Department of Design and was known as friendly and helpful to faculty. “We relied on her,” said the department’s chairman Martin Herman. “She had an indescribably sweet spirit and imagination. It’s unbelievable that this could have happened.”
Renewable Now dedicates this weeks newsletter in memory of Nohemi Gonzalez, and all those who lost their lives in Paris, along with their families and friends. Our thoughts, and prayers are with you, and we know that Paris with once again be La Ville Lumière, “The City of Light.”
Google Making Solar Contact Lens For Your Eyes
Google Glass is just so 2014 it seems. The giant of search has just been awarded a patent for a wearable light-powered monitoring and communication device that would sit directly on your eyeball.
The patent envisions one of the applications of the device would be to monitor glucose, lactate or urea levels, internal body temperature and/or blood alcohol content of the wearer of the contact lens.
It could also be used to monitor and alert to external hazards – “biological, chemical and/or microbiological features in an environment including, but not limited to, levels of hazardous materials, levels of allergens, the presence of various organisms or species or the like.”
The contact lens could communicate this information to a device such as a cell phone.
The contact lens device could be powered by the sun or low-level background light. We assume it would come with a warning not to stare directly at the sun. That would be bad.
We imagine other interesting applications for the light powered contact lens – blink a few times in rapid succession and it takes a photo. Another blink sequence could trigger a search on a Google of the object being viewed.
The device could get around some of the issues Google Glass is facing; such as people’s reactions to Glass wearers concerning their privacy that has led to the term “Glasshole” being applied. Wearers of such a contact lens would be hard to identify.
Exciting or spooky technology? Perhaps a bit of both.
It’s not the first time solar has featured in developments relating to the eye. Earlier this year, Stanford University researchers developed a retinal implant that uses solar power to assist patients suffering from degenerative eye diseases.
The idea of an active contact lens isn’t new either – work on the concept appears to date back to 1973
From the Pope to VW- a Week of Contrast
Last week was a week of headline news with Pope Francis' arrival to the United States and his address to both Congress and the United Nations. This was Francis' very first trip to the U.S. and it received all the pomp and circumstance the Whitehorse could deliver. In contrast, there was another first, and that first didn't receive any pomp and circumstance from the Whitehouse. Rather it sparked an investigation by the U.S. Attorney General, and the EPA, and that was Volkswagen's big lie.
Let's start with Pope Francis. His anticipated speech to Congress and particular thoughts on "climate change" had some Republicans worried, while Democrats were feeling a sense of unity with what was going to be said. The wisdom of Pope Francis was very evident, as he didn't come across as preachy or accusatorial. He tried to inspire by showing confidence and hope in the U.S.
"I call for a courageous and responsible effort to 'redirect our steps' and to avert the most serious effects of the environmental deterioration caused by human activity," he said Thursday, quoting his recent encyclical on climate change. "I am convinced that we can make a difference." Departing from his printed text, he added, "I am sure."
"I have no doubt that the United States -- and this Congress -- have an important role to play," he continued. "Now is the time for courageous actions and strategies, aimed at implementing a 'culture of care' and 'an integrated approach to combating poverty, restoring dignity to the excluded and at the same time, protecting nature.'"
Some skeptics like to argue that there are, scientifically, two claims in question as it relates to climate change, especially in the U.S. First, is global warming a fact or a hypothesis? The encyclical says fact. Second, is human activity a major factor in causing it or not? It is, according to the encyclical. Francis has now placed both himself and his church squarely within the scientific consensus.
What we at ReNewable Now would like to see is a move beyond climate change, as that seems to always bring up the debate on whether it is due to humanity, or a natural cycle. Rather, let's just take a different perspective and for just a moment look at pollution outside climate change. Can anyone debate that our landfills are not filled to capacity, that our waters are becoming contaminated, that the burning and processing of fossil fuel isn't sustainable, and that the very food we are consuming isn't being depleted or contaminated? We hear and see the evidence that this is happening every week at an ever increasing pace. Now if you put that into context with projected world population growth, combined with jobs replaced through technologies- well, the picture doesn't look good, you do the math. The Pope is banging the drum as hard as he can, without trying to alienate, and we applaud him for efforts, and most importantly for being a leader willing to take risks for the right things.
Volkswagen on the other hand was definitely not holy this week. Who would have ever thought that such a trusted and respected brand would every find itself in such an unsavory position. For those who may not have been following the story, the company is said to have been caught cheating on American air pollution tests. Volkswagen installed sophisticated software known as "defeat devices" in the electronic control module of diesel vehicles issued between 2008 and 2015. This software was able to sense when emissions testing was in progress based on the position of the steering wheel, vehicle speed, the duration of the engine's operation and barometric pressure. Once the software picked up on these inputs, it went into a type of "test mode" when the front wheels of the car were on a dynamometer. This allowed emissions controls to run full-tilt during official testing, but emitted 10 to 40 times the legal amount while on the road.
This is beyond messy and a couple of questions we have here at ReNewable Now are:
1) How severely was the environment damaged from this intentional action?
2) What's next for VW?
This was obviously an intentional effort that more than one person had to have known about. These people need to be identified and held accountable for what they did.
In terms of the civil action, well VW will surely be heavily fined, and there will be plenty of lawsuits. The funds from those settlement we feel need to be watched closely and put back into environmental and clean energy initiatives.
As far as Volkswagen itself, we actually wish them well. If they can survive this there is absolutely no question that they'll come out a better company that will be held at a much higher standard than other auto manufacturers considering their breach of public trust. And ultimately there are a lot of good people who depend on jobs from Volkswagen that probably also feel betrayed. So ReNewable Now is pulling for you VW, after all you did start out as "the people's car," maybe you can find your way back.
Doing Your Part to Care for Our Common Home
When Pope Francis addresses the United States Congress on the morning of September 24, he will no doubt say something about caring for the created order.
On that very evening, the Diocese of Providence will help share practical ways we can do that — in our parishes, homes, and our own lives. Whether your goal is to save the planet, save money, or both, you’ll learn much in these few hours of networking with local experts and organizations.
If you’re not excited by an evening of long talks by eco-experts and energy officials, you should know this: there will be no long talks. Instead the event offers rapid-fire introductions by organizational representatives telling everyone who they are and what they offer. That’s it. Then everyone can mingle and chat one-on-one with the organization reps of their choice.
So if you have questions — like how your parish can be like Bristol’s Our Lady of Mount Carmel or Warwick’s Saints Rose and Clement by installing solar at your school or parish; or how to benefit from recycling or composting programs; or help your neighbors and fellow parishioners connect with energy efficiency programs; or support local agriculture; or learn about funding for tree plantings — then you’ll want to be at St. Patrick’s Church, 244 Smith Street, Providence, at 6 p.m. on September 24.
And don’t hesitate to help others put the Holy Father’s words into action by telling them about this eco-networking opportunity. Remember, the general public and all faith communities are welcome.
The free event is sponsored by the diocese’s Office of Life and Family Ministry, with help from the Office of Evangelization and Faith Formation, in recognition of the “Season of Creation,” which begins on September 1 and ends on the Feast of St. Francis, October 4. For more information or to RSVP, call Carol Owens at 401-421-7833, extension 218, or email her at email@example.com.
On September 17, a week before the diocesan event, Father Robert Forcier, pastor of St. Augustine’s Parish, 639 Mount Pleasant Ave., Providence, will host me in a talk that unpacks Pope Francis’s recent encyclical, “Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home.”
In one hour I’ll cover how our faith embraces ecology, as well as some of the surprising things that Pope Francis and his predecessors have said about environmental protection, and, of course, how many in the mainstream media didn’t quite get what Francis said in his eco-encyclical.
The doors to this free event are open to one and all. The talk begins at 6:30 p.m.
And while you’re making plans, you’ll want to set aside November 12. That night the diocese will be hosting an important evening focusing on Laudato Si’ in light of ongoing discussions about climate change — especially December’s international climate talks in Paris. Hosted by Bishop Tobin and the Office of Evangelization and Faith Formation, the evening will offer the observations of scientists and theologians as faith and reason share the stage to help us all foster a climate committed to the common good.
Stay tuned for much more on this — and even more news as the Diocese of Providence, its parishes, and religious orders do their part to help us care for our common home.
Need & Greed, The Takeaway from
Pope Francis' Encyclical
As a follow-up to Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, ReNewable Now looked around the web for reaction and thoughts from opinion leaders on what they walked away with after hearing the address. We came across an interesting video from Father Robert Barron, and comments from Professor Ian Gough of the London School of Economics that we would like to share.
Professor Ian Gough
Pope Francis’s encyclical “on care for our common home” introduces two terms buried by modern economics: “need” and “greed”. These represent two opposing worldviews. One seeks to satisfy our wants or preferences, which are limitless, non-satiable, substitutable and amoral. The other prioritises meeting universal human needs, which are limited, sufficient, non-substitutable and with clear ethical grounding. By counterposing these and putting them centre-stage, he has clarified the egregious moral dilemma inherent in climate change in a way that can unite both religion and humanism.
The pope also takes issue with the arguments of green growth, which is the current dominant strategy to handle climate change. Yes, we must support the fastest possible decarbonisation of the global economy through eco-efficiency, as Nicholas Stern persuasively argues in his new book, but at some point, very soon, we will need to switch to post-growth strategies.
This revolutionary encyclical challenges both current ethics and economics.
Father Robert Barron on Pope Francis'
Encyclical "Laudato Si"
It seems no matter where you stand on this, the Pope is going in the right direction and we appreciate his willingness to take a leadership role in this very important time in our history.
Pope Francis, Climate Change a Moral Issue
The pope will publish the first encyclical on environmental protection on Thursday in a continued effort to defend the poor against the effects of climate change.
In anticipation of the upcoming UN summit on climate change this year, Pope Francis will release a papal encyclical on Thursday urging people to act.
The document, called "Laudato Si (Be Praised), On the Care of Our Common Home," will paint climate change as a moral, rather than a political, issue, focusing on how poor communities are affected, Reuters reports. Those familiar with the encyclical have said it will censure the “throw-away” lifestyles of wealthy nations.
This will be the first papal encyclical to focus exclusively on protecting the environment. Some have criticized the pope for getting involved in climate change discussions; US Republican 2016 presidential candidate Rick Santorum recently advised him to “leave science to the scientists.” But examining the moral side of a political or scientific issue, others argue, is part of the papal territory.
“It is within the pope’s competence and authority to call attention to our moral responsibilities and duties in the face of the best scientific theory out there,” John Cavadini, University of Notre Dame professor of theology and director of the Institute for Church Life, told Reuters, “especially when the consequences of not doing so are serious.”
Researchers have extensively studied the impact of climate change on the poor. Results have generally shown that global warming does not affect everyone equally; its impacts are likely to be felt more acutely by the developing than by the developed, a 2012 World Bank report found.
Poor communities’ vulnerabilities to climate change, the study suggested, stem from several disadvantages, including geographic location and inadequate infrastructure. “No nation will be immune to the impacts of climate change,” the report said. “However, the distribution of impacts is likely to be inherently unequal and tilted against many of the world's poorest regions, which have the least economic, institutional, scientific, and technical capacity to cope and adapt.”
Extreme heat waves would be dangerous for tropical regions where temperatures are already high, for example, while rising sea level and natural disasters like typhoons would threaten coastal communities that do not have the resources to prepare for or recover from them. Agriculturally dependent regions would suffer most from droughts and floods.
Filipino climate negotiator Naderev Saño told The Guardian in 2013 that frequent typhoons have taken a great toll on the Philippines’ economy.
“Each destructive typhoon season costs us 2% of our GDP, and the reconstruction costs a further 2%, which means we lose nearly 5% of our economy every year to storms,” he said. “We have received no climate finance to adapt or to prepare ourselves for typhoons and other extreme weather we are now experiencing.”
In the United States, climate change has also been seen to affect the poor disproportionately. A 2014 study published in Health & Place showed that in New York City, more heat-related deaths occurred in poorer communities, due to factors like low housing quality and lack of access to air conditioning.
When the pope’s encyclical is released Thursday, a private debriefing will be held between the Vatican and ambassadors from 170 countries. Pope Francis announced in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, though, that the message is “addressed to everyone” and that he hopes to inspire people to take "greater responsibility for the common home that God has entrusted to us.”
Rainforest Alliance Claims
Paper Industry Helps Conservation
When two opposing forces can be presented alongside each other, sometimes all becomes a lot clearer. In the case of The Rainforest Alliance and the Asia Pulp and Paper company (APP), perhaps you will agree. The Alliance audited all of the pledges made by this beleaguered deforester and came up with quite a result.
2013 saw the APP presenting a Forest Conservation Policy in response to conservationists who really would rather it just gave up. Those tropical rainforests are almost lost and constitute perhaps the most precious resource on earth. We just can’t price it! Pulping paper from wood or growing monocultures of oil palms just seems sensible if you look at the profits. How can you capitalize on a tiny frog hidden in the leaf litter?
The answer is that you can, but it takes publicity, tourism and a whole lot of new problems, but at least it is possible to maintain your forest for future use. It is called sustainability, but not the kind that grows acres of spruce or acacia for paper, depending on your climate.
The Rainforest Alliance revealed they thought that APP had met many pledges, so somebody has put some work in on the forestry side. What do Rainforest Alliance mean though by seeming to support the enemy! Richard Donovan reveals the skew on the argument while his opposite number, Aida Greenbury (good name), who is the manager of sustainability at APP welcomes them with the statement, the evaluation provides valuable feedback and we are pleased in any areas where our progress is acknowledged and verified. We believe that the report recognizes our efforts to achieve deforestation are on the right track. However, our Forest Conservation Policy and measures are not carved in stone. We must have the courage to continually improve the policy as we go. That certainly beats the lack of progress with another pulp and paper producer, APRIL, who are busy destroying the Padung Island environment, off the Sumatran coast.
Aida obviously intends to implement her action plan in 2015, to update the Forest Conservation Policy. The audit of 21 APP concessions in Borneo and Sumatra, mainly involving fieldwork, listing goals achieved or progress in the form of limited or moderate.
Despite the lack of any glaringly successful progress, the Alliance stated that moderate progress had been made in halting the clearance of natural forest and engaging with one community and NGOs. Mixed tropical hardwood supplies had also been halted by the company, although I would want some definitions there, as many mixed hardwoods were cut before the FCP came into force. Positive moves in ending business with rogue suppliers sounds a much better move, but only one supplier has been excommunicated so far.
The worst comments on this audit are around the lack of commitment to indigenous communities and their rights. Hundreds of conflicts have arisen, with only one resolution agreement so far. It seems that APP have to learn to give a little, in order to achieve their own objectives. Lafcadio Cortesi of another group, the Rainforest Action Network brought up this point while Christopher Barr of Woods and Wayside International has indicated thatThe Rainforest Alliance report says nothing about whether APP’s existing plantation resource base will be able to meet the group’s fiber supply on a sustainable basis over the medium- to long-term,
Meanwhile, APP’s Aida Greenbury sticks by her guns and points out that encroachment, wildfires, agriculture and mining all contribute to more loss of natural forest. Their FCP still protects Indonesian forest and attacks the resulting effects of climate change. Our relief is in seeing a slowing of the deforestation, on paper even if the paper production and the pulping continues. Here is the Mongabay news report by Robert S. Eshelman. Further background is provided by, among others, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Friends of the Earth in More or less protection for Indonesian forests?
Can This EGLOO Make Your Home Warmer in The Depth of Winter?
The colder weather is here, and our main focus is to keep warm without adding tons of money to the electricity bill. You can put on layers of clothing and wrap up in blankets, but sometimes that isn’t enough. Of course, turning up the temperature will heat your entire place, and you may only need additional heating for one room.
If this is the case for you, then a space heater would be the common choice, though it will be adding to your bill as well. Should you be a fan of candles, and don’t mind spending ten cents a day to warm your home, then the Egloo would be a valid option. This is a terra cotta dome that uses the heat from tea candles to slowly and gradually release heat by radiation. It consists of a base, metal grill, and two domes. You’ll need to put in 4 candles for it to do anything of course, and that’s where extra cost will come in over time.
Through the Egloo, you’ll be able to heat up a room of regular size by 2-3 degrees around 30 minutes after initially lighting the candles. Seeing that tea candles last about 4-5 hours, that’s how long you’ll have before you need to refill them. Of course, be careful when removing the lid as the terra cotta will be holding in heat. The natural Egloo without a glaze will cost you $60, and comes with 8 candles. If you’d prefer a red, black, blue, or white colored or glazed one, then you’ll have to tack on $10-30 extra.
Is Your Home Killing You?
Pollution claims victims in the home. Every day. You do not need to travel to be poisoned. A young boy of 7 was killed by HCN (cyanide) while asleep at home in Surrey, England last year because a landfill site with a lake nearby had not been classified according to environmental rules. Flooding simply released the gas inside their home. His father is still paralysed. In Thailand, whole areas of lead pollution have never been cleared despite the dreadful effects on the health of local communities.
Back to the home itself, fabric conditioner normally contains formaldehyde. This substance has mainly been known as the ultimate (if foul-smelling) preservative of human or other animal tissue. So dont try that at home, or allow it into your waste water! It is deeply carcinogenic and of course preserves fish and the other animals with which it comes into contact- it kills them. Marine life, of course is disappearing rapidly almost everywhere (near inhabited areas and even away from direct anthropogenic influence.) Can you see the connection?
Heavy metals are best seen in batteries, where mercury still lives, despite bans elsewhere. Theres also the forgotten fillings in your teeth, vaccinations, many so-called cosmetics and several household products that contain heavy metals. This is not to create panic, but simply to point out that there is a human ability to turn a blind eye. We think we need these products and so most criticism is regarded ascarping.
In the UK, there are bacteria causing concerns to the Consumers Association (Which.) The bacterium, Campylobacter is now realised to be alive and well inside fresh chickens in supermarkets. Your fridge is becoming one of the most dangerous places in the house, as these microorganisms are regularly joined by decay bacteria and fungi from those vegetables you throw out. How often do you wash your fridge with white vinegar or bioactive detergent to maintain a hygienic surface, both top and bottom?
We all should be aware of radioactive radon poisoning as the gas builds up indoors when windows are closed in the winter. They must be opened occasionally. Depression is the least of your problems with that harmful gas. Dangerous volatile organic substances also abound in your dwelling place. As well as formaldehyde from that fabric conditioner, benzene (another carcinogen), its relatives such as xylene and toluene, acetone, and ethylene glycol are some of the 20 most used household poisons in the US. Asthmatics and others with breathing difficulties need to avoid all aerosols, paint and solvents, beauty supplies, air fresheners and bleach and polishes.
What are the alternatives? Well staying dirty seems quite attractive after that, but there are many inexpensive eco-products which we are not here to advertise. The eartheasy website has some and a host of uses for soap, vinegar, corn-starch, lemon juice, baking soda and others here. Dont think we are scaremongering. It is simply the danger is there, and just look how often someone dies simply because their stove produced carbon monoxide!
SUSTAINGATE, Is Your Team Green?
With all the hoopla whirling around about under inflated footballs, and the crazy jokes that have come along with what seems to have captured the interest of the American public you, know ReNewable Now couldn't sit on the sidelines and not try to get into the fry of things. But you know what, who needs Deflategate when you have SUSTAINGATE?
Are the two teams heading into the Superbowl sustainable? Or are they just Greenwashing? Let's take a look at the team's stadiums that have been pulled into SUSTAINGATE- first we'll start with the New England Patriots' Gillette Stadium and see where it stands.
The Patriots' Gillette Stadium opened in 2002. Since then, stadium operators calculate annual savings of well over $1m through a 30% reduction in energy consumption from lighting and heating automation, recycling, solar arrays and LED lighting. The stadium also has a closed loop water system that reclaims upwards of 16m gallons of water a year in its own wastewater treatment plant.
Jim Nolan, Patriots and Gillette Stadium senior vice-president of administration, operations and finance, said: "If you include the wastewater re-use system that was included in the original design and construction of the stadium, our annual savings through sustainability initiatives exceed $2m annually."
In 2010, the Patriots installed at 500kW solar array and last year added a further 1.4MW that provides around 40% of the energy needs for Patriot Place, a mall next to the stadium. "We have found our sustainability measures to be very good for business," said Nolan. "There is investment to get initiatives off the ground once they're operational, they're cash positive. Specifically, I look at the solar arrays as being smart business deals and initiatives to reduce waste and utility consumption that are also cash positive."
Lets take a look at the Seahawks and some facts that we found on their home field CenturyLink Field.
97% of the Kingdome concrete was recycled, with 35% used in the construction of CenturyLink Field.
94% of waste generated at CenturyLink Field and CenturyLink Field Event Center is diverted from landfills. That's up from 47% just four years ago.
In 2012 CenturyLink Field produced 5 million gallons of biodiesel through recycling of used cooking oil (that's a lot of garlic fries). And we're on track to do more this year.
614 recycle and compost bins are located throughout CenturyLink Field. 100% of food containers are compostable and all plastic bottles are recyclable.
100% of urinals have been retrofitted with ultra-low-flow water fixtures, saving more than 1.3 million gallons of water every year.
We used 15% less water in 2012, enough to provide water for more than 21,533 people for a year. That's nearly the entire population of Bainbridge Island.
94% of cleaning and soap products we use are Green Seal certified. Our system eliminates the use of chemicals in general purpose cleaning and reduces overall chemical-based cleaning around the stadium.
Solar panels spanning the area of two football fields now sit atop CenturyLink Field Event Center, generating more than 800,000 kilowatt hours of electricity annually. We now meet 30% of our facility's energy needs with solar power.
Arch lighting has been converted to programmable LEDs, resulting in a huge energy savings (not to mention some eye-catching light shows).
3.8 million pounds of CO2 was diverted from the atmosphere last year, the equivalent of permanently removing 260 cars from Seattle roadways.
In 2012, despite an increase in the number of visitors, we reduced our energy consumption by 12%.
Right now, 32% of our fans use public transportation to CenturyLink Field. We think we can do better. We continue to work with regional transit organizations to get the word out about game-day alternatives to driving.
CenturyLink Field installed six electric vehicle charging stations on site—four in the north parking lot and two in the parking garage.
In 2010 our concessions partner implemented a sustainability program with suppliers to focus on using organic fruits and vegetables, sustainably harvested seafood, meats from humanely raised livestock, and local products whenever possible.
On a typical game day we donate food to Food Lifeline and Operation Sack Lunch. Nearly 4,600 individual meals were donated in 2011 alone—that's 11,000+ pounds of food. (Or, as it's known around the Seahawks locker room, breakfast.)
When you look at both teams you have to say we found no fouls when it comes to their sustainability efforts, a matter of fact, both teams clearly have come clean on our SUSTAINGATE investigation.
We wish them both good luck for the big game this Sunday. And as far as the footballs are concerned, why not use a recycled NERF football and forget about all that hot air?
Mount Washington, NH "Home to the World's Worst Weather"
So what do you do the first weekend in November while living in New England? Well, on a Sunday many would say get ready for some football, jump on the couch, get the snacks, and enjoy your day, right? Wrong! Well at least for ReNewable Now that would be wrong, even though the Brady vs Manning match-up was very tempting. So the first weekend in November, ReNewable Now's Ex., Director, Edward Catucci, was looking for something a bit more natural than football, so he decided to drive up to the White Mountains in Northern New Hampshire to hike one of its more notable mountains. He thought that Mount Washington would be a great little adventure this time of year and he decided to share his day with us.
In some ways this wasn't my first experience with Mt. Washington. Many summers ago, I drove to the summit by the way of the Mount Washington Auto Road, where I enjoyed the day at the observatory and weather station located atop the mountain. And not so many years ago, I, along with a friend, decided one winter day late in November (after a considerable amount of snow) that we were up for an adventure and wanted to explore the Cog Railway. Now keep in mind that Mount Washington's Cog Railway is the second steepest rack railway in the world after the Pilatus railway. On this particular ride, we got a bit further than halfway up when due to the extreme wind, snow and ice, the cog actually began to slip backwards. At this point my friend began to get quite nervous as she recited some Hail Marys and held on tight. It was quite thrilling, and needless to say the cog that day didn't go all the way to the summit. So my experience with Mount Washington has been both fun and thrilling, so far.
Preparing for my little adventure this time, I had to take some things into consideration right away. First of all, I had to evaluate my ascent. What was going to be the trail that I was going to hike to get to the top? After a bit of research, and some advice from my good friend Dennis McCarthy from REI, an avid hiker himself, I decided that Pinkham Notch was where I was going to begin. Now Dennis did tell me, that given the current weather conditions that I should re-consider this particular hike, as Mount Washington can be dangerous and is known for the world's worst weather conditions with record winds of up to 231 mph. Dennis suggested some alternative hikes. But, he said if I was set on Mt. Washington, I needed to be ready.
I began with a bit more research by looking at the weather for Sunday, November 2nd for Mount Washington. It wasn't the best. The weather was calling for snow, icy rain, winds of up to 60 mph, and temperatures around 15 F with a wind chill of -17. Okay, so it was going to be a little cold and windy. What’s the big deal? I'll prepare, and I'll be fine. I’m ready for my little adventure.
Wanting to dress warmly, I started off with the basics. Good pair of thermal socks, relaxed fit jeans, long-sleeve t-shirt, and sweat shirt. That is what I like to call level one. Level two were things to cover my feet, hands, and head. So, starting with my feet was a pair of Timberland waterproof Earthkeepers hiking boots that I purchased for $89.99. Complementing the hiking boots were a pair of micro-spikes from Yaktrax that ran me $29.99; (a little notation here) the box said "100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED". We'll revisit this later. On my hands, okay, I went two ways with this. First, was a pair of Marmot waterproof and wind-resistant gloves at $15.70. The second was a pair of Thinsulatewaterproof polyester gloves that were $8.00. I wanted the two pairs of gloves to rotate, as the Marmot were thin and I knew if it was going to get really windy and cold. At that point, I would need to put something over them. Covering my head was going to be very important. I started with a SMITH'swork wear knit hat, $6.50, which was complemented by a pullover hoodie, $17.50, and Seirus Comfort Masque,$14.99. Level three was the outerwear for my body and legs. The coat I chose was Marmots Down Defender. Marmots has a superior reputation and I didn't want to gamble on this piece of outerwear; I was also lucky to have gotten it at a good price of $95.00. For my lower body and legs, from last year I had a pair of SkiGear waterproof and wind resistant ski pants that ran $35.00. Level four were the accessories and things in my back pack. You can find the entire content list by clicking here. The backpack did add 28 lbs to me, and at 5'11", 200 lbs plus an additional 28 lbs played a role in some equipment issues that I'll explain later on. Also to note, I didn't use a hiking pole.
So after about a $410.00 investment, including back-pack and accessories, I felt I had the necessary resources for the hike in this kind of weather.
Next thing was timing. Making things even a bit more complicated for myself, as it just so happened that clocks were being set back the next day. Some would think, "Great, an extra hour of sleep!" Well you have to look at it the other way, which is one less hour of sunlight to work with, and that meant a sunset for about 4:40 at Mt. Washington. Having to leave from Providence, Rhode Island to get to Pinkham Notch meant I had to get an early start. I left the house at 5:30 am, and arrived at 9:30 after stopping off for breakfast. When I arrived, I was able to identify the Tuckerman Ravine trail, which was my route for the day. The entrance was very clearly marked and easy to see.
Before I started I did two things. First, I went in and checked-in with the front desk (not required), told them what I was doing, and asked for the day’s conditions. The gentlemen behind the desk smiled and asked if I had ever gone up Mt. Washington with weather like this before. I answered, "I had never hiked Mt. Washington, let alone in weather like today." He smiled again and told me I could expect snow, wind-gusts up to 65 mph, visibility of 100 ft, and wind-chill temperatures well below zero. And if I got to the summit, winds could be close to 100 mph! I looked at him, and said, "Well this is going to be fun," with a smile. The second thing that I did was I contacted my daughter the night before and gave her all the specifics of what I was doing. For fun I also contacted my good friend (and nature lover) Sophia in Pescara, Italy via e-mail and shared with her what I was doing. It was nice, in that both Sophia and my daughter were worried as they tried texting me to see how I was doing, but unfortunately I couldn't get any signals while hiking. I can't over emphasize this, make sure, especially if you’re hiking alone; let a few people know what you are doing, and give them times and contact information. VERY IMPORTANT.
So I started my hike from the very bottom, where I was greeted with an avalanche information board that reinforced what the ranger in the office had already told me. To make things even more interesting, the report also said, more or less, that Mount Washington is notorious for major shifts in weather that could be devastating. Great..
The entire trip to the summit is about a four hour hike, and conveniently is a little more than over four miles in length. Less than a quarter mile into my hike, I came across the Crystal Cascade waterfall. How beautiful, even with the white of winter beginning to embrace this perfect picture of nature. Its tranquil sound, to me, was like nature’s way of welcoming me to my journey up the mountain. I stayed here for about ten minutes and just enjoyed the scenery, took some pictures, and explored. What a way to start a great day. But I soon learned that this magnificent welcome to Tuckerman's Ravine opened up to a much less inviting rocky road ahead; a rocky road with complications. This trail has a pretty respectful pitch for a considerable distance, maybe two miles. The pitch, with the snow, wind and the rocks made this challenging. As I continued my way up, I encountered a number of hikers descending, asking all of them if they had made it to the summit. Not one even tried. They said the wind, and lack of visibility was too much and they turned around about halfway. What I did notice with ALL the hikers is that they had hiking poles, so I started to wonder if it was a mistake not having one myself. Hmm.
So as I advanced upwards and continued to run into groups of hikers coming down, it was nice to see how happy and pleasant everyone was. Everyone had a smile on their face, no matter how cold it was. At one moment I was a bit shocked, when two young hikers passed me at a very good pace. Now I was moving along pretty well myself, but with these two it was like a jog. It was a young man and a young woman and the thing that really shocked me was how they were dressed. They had no hats at all, and they had thin skin tight work out pants with their lower legs exposed. I can understand their body heat keeping them warm, but with the sweat and the cold wind, I could see that their faces were wind-burned. I can respect anyone who can move at the pace that these two were going, but I think they could have been wearing more weather- appropriate clothing, and gotten the same performance, while maybe suffering less later in the hike.
It is now one hour, forty-five minutes into my hike and I'm reaching the hermit shelters and an area called HoJo’s, which is an occasionally stationed ranger post. This is considered to be the halfway mark to the summit of Mount Washington, and an area that many hikers enjoy before either heading up or heading back down the mountain. I felt great and was looking forward to my continued hike, but before that I wanted to look around and enjoy the area. I entered the office and signed the guest book, sat and ate some lunch and chatted with a number of other hikers who were enjoying the day. I asked some of my new friends if they were going to the summit and if I could tag along with them, but none of them planned on it. The weather was just too bad, especially the wind.
So after my brief rest, I continued my hike passing a beautiful little area of water known as Hermit Lake. As I walked around, I was a bit amazed to discover a water pump. I wondered if it continued to work, especially in the current temperatures. I decided to give it a try, and after about three minutes of pumping I'm happy to say the pump worked fine, even in this weather. But I wished that the conditions themselves would have been better, as the wind was definitely increasing in speed and consistency. As I continued forward, the visibility was getting worse and snow flurries were coming in and out. So at this point I had to make a decision; should I continue onward where winds were stronger and visibility was getting worse?Or should I be happy with what I accomplished and save the summit of Mt. Washington for another day? I decided that the wise thing was to head back to the lodge at Pinkham Notch. I was told that the second half of this hike is more challenging and rockier. Having already experienced the icy rocks on my way up, I could only expect it to be a lot worse in my efforts to reach the summit. So the second half of my adventure began, which was my descent .
I have to say, with a word of caution, that the descent is more dangerous than the hike up. What does that mean? It means that it isn't as physically demanding, but it requires 20 times more concentration for safety reasons. The rocks are now either frozen with ice, or they are wet with a snow covering on them. Going down you have no idea which rock is the right one to put your foot on, or whether the rock is going to give way all together. I did fall twice, and I was being abundantly cautious, wasn't tired, and I consider myself to be in good shape. A couple of things did reoccur in my mind after I did fall. One, was it a bad decision not to have a hiking pole? Yes, bad decision, I should have had one, and will the next time. Second, this is pretty much where my equipment reviews start to come in regarding the micro-spikes that had literally ripped apart. Remember the"100% SATISFACTION GUARANTEED!" Well I'm not satisfied, they came apart on the ascent. I don't know if I had these on, would they have worked the way they were described, and prevented my two tumbles. I will tell you this, I'm going back for my "100% SATISFACTION!"So please, when coming down Tuckerman's Trail, be careful no matter what time of year.
So I arrived back at the lodge and the time was 2:10 pm. I was greeted by the same gentlemen I spoke with before my adventure began, and he said, "Considering the time, either one of two things happened. One, you didn't make it to the summit; or two, you did make it to the summit, and back in record time." He had me laughing. So I changed up and went into the lodge restaurant and had a cup of coffee. While having my coffee I was now able to retrieve the existing texts from my daughter, and my friend Sophia in Italy. I let them both know that I was fine. It was funny with Sophia, as she loves to hike all over Europe and is well acquainted with Mt. Washington through articles she has read. She told me that as soon as she knew that I was hiking the mountain, she went to their webcams to see if she was able to see me arrive at the summit. You gotta love technology. Thanks Sophia, and we're looking forward to having you hike Mt. Washington on your next visit to the U.S.
All in all, I was happy with how I prepared. If I could change things, I would change the micro spikes for a better quality, have a hiking pole, and I would also have something other than jeans under my ski pants. I think I must have sweated a gallon because all my clothes were drenched. I had to put them into a plastic bag after I took everything off; even the third layer between me and the coat (the hoodie) was drenched. But for me, there couldn't have been a better way to spend my first weekend of November here in New England.
Next week, ReNewable Now will be in Boulder, Colorado where will be exploring some of their trails and natural beauty that make living with the outdoors so great.
Brad Pitt's "Make It Right " Building Sustainable Homes
Actor Brad Pitt's Make It Right organization is partnering with the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes of Fort Peck, Montana to build sustainable homes on their reservation. Make It Right will build 20 Cradle to Cradle-inspired, LEED Platinum homes for tribe members in need of housing. Make It Right also committed to develop a sustainable master plan for the entire reservation, which covers thousands of acres and is home to more than 6,000 Native Americans.
Currently, more than 600 people are waiting for housing. Overcrowding is a chronic problem on the Fort Peck Reservation where multiple families commonly live together in two bedroom homes.
Make It Right’s work on the Fort Peck Reservation began in June 2013 with community-driven design meetings. Tribal leaders and future homeowners met with Make It Right’s architects and designers to discuss housing needs and vision for their new neighborhood. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2014.
The solar-powered homes will have 3-4 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms and be available to tribe members whose income levels are at or below 60% of the Area Median Income. A percentage of the homes will be dedicated to senior adult and disabled veteran housing. Homeownership will be structured through a Low Income Housing Tax Credit Rent-to-Own program with ownership transferring to the tenant after 15 years of renting.
Is That A Solar Powered Donkey?
Meet the solar-powered DONKEYS who charge your mobile phone and laptop while on the go.
These solar-powered donkeys are used by farmers to power their mobile phones and laptops.
The herdsmen in Turkey are so desperate to keep up with technology that they've attached solar panels to their animals, which can carry the solar panels over long distances.
Each one can generate between 5-7 kilowatts of energy, meaning that there's no need to go offline while on the job.
So much for the simple farm life, it's a long way from the lonely nights looking at the stars, now these guys can keep up with the latest episodes of Game of Thrones while on the go.
And in a cool move, the animals even double up as sun blockers, to keep you browsing in the shade.
Eva Longoria Kicks Plastic Bottles Out The Home
Disposable water bottles are not part of the “Desperate Housewives” actress’ home decor. People caught up with Longoria at a recent Brita Burbank YMCA special event, which celebrated the company’s donation of water filtration pitchers and dispensers to YMCA facilities located across the U.S., where she revealed that water is our future and plastic is not.
In between Longoria promoting her cause and kids creating their own fruit-flavored water, the actress opened up about the importance of not using plastic water bottles. As she revealed, “So many end up in the ocean so I’ve banned them from the house.”
Longoria continued to open up about the importance of water at the event by stating, “It’s just not in my future. With kids, I love their energy and spirit and innocence. It’s really important for us to be here today to talk to them about water because that stays with them.”
As an avid exerciser and activist, the “Devious Maids” producer finds several benefits from H20. It’s not a boring clear liquid. For Longoria, she describes it as follows: “Water’s the original energy drink. Water is really good for you. Water can be fun.”
Remembering EARTH DAY 1970 "Republicans and Democrats Working Together"
Each year, Earth Day — April 22 — marks the anniversary of what many consider the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. Here at ReNewable Now we want to make sure we all remember this historic moment and what a difference it has made. And if you weren't aware of the many positive changes born out of Earth Day here are a few examples we would like to share.
The creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Passage of the Clean Air Act
Passage of the Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts
Those are just a few that happened in one year, 1970. Wow! What a monumental year. We need to reflect back on that time and remember it, and those who helped to shape it, and move it forward. Hopefully it is with this example that we can all continue to be inspired and move towards a healthier and more sustainable earth for future generations. So lets take a look back to when it all began.
The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s“Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it.
At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. “Environment” was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news. Although mainstream America remained oblivious to environmental concerns, the stage had been set for change by the publication of Rachel Carson’sNew York Times bestsellerSilent Spring in 1962. The book represented a watershed moment for the modern environmental movement, selling more than 500,000 copies in 24 countries and, up until that moment, more than any other person, Ms. Carson raised public awareness and concern for living organisms, the environment and public health.
Earth Day 1970 capitalized on the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center.
The idea came to Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senatorfrom Wisconsin, after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.
As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.
Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”
As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.
As the millennium approached, Hayes agreed to spearhead another campaign, this time focused on global warming and a push for clean energy. With 5,000 environmental groups in a record 184 countries reaching out to hundreds of millions of people, Earth Day 2000 combined the big-picture feistiness of the first Earth Day with the international grassroots activism of Earth Day 1990. It used the Internet to organize activists, but also featured a talking drum chain that traveled from village to village in Gabon, Africa, and hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington, DC. Earth Day 2000 sent world leaders the loud and clear message that citizens around the world wanted quick and decisive action on clean energy.
Much like 1970, Earth Day 2010 came at a time of great challenge for the environmental community. Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community all contributed to a strong narrative that overshadowed the cause of progress and change. In spite of the challenge, for its 40th anniversary, Earth Day Network reestablished Earth Day as a powerful focal point around which people could demonstrate their commitment. Earth Day Network brought 225,000 people to the National Mall for a Climate Rally, amassed 40 million environmental service actions toward its 2012 goal of A Billion Acts of Green®, launched an international, 1-million tree planting initiative with Avatar director James Cameron and tripled its online base to over 900,000 community members.
The fight for a clean environment continues in a climate of increasing urgency, as the ravages of climate change become more manifest every day. We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write many more victories and successes into our history. Discover energy you didn’t even know you had. Feel it rumble through the grassroots under your feet and the technology at your fingertips. Channel it into building a clean, healthy, diverse world for generations to come.
As I read the historical retrospective on Earth Day, the one hero I would like to pay tribute to is Rachel Carson. How appropriate that a woman be the catalyst for the environmental movement, especially when you consider such terms as: Mother Earth, and Mother Nature. It seems there is a natural order to things.
The Climate of DOOM
Hollywood A-listers Are Combining Their Skills to Combat Climate Change
No, it's not a new Indiana Jones movie, although some say the idea is intriguing. Rather, it is real life Harrison Ford and other A-list celebrities teaming up with an A-list Production team including James Cameron for a phenomenal series and educational initiative that speaks of the impact of climate change.
The series is YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY, and now the expertise and talent behind Hollywood are forming a team to bring stories to the world in an effort to understand the urgency of what is at hand.
Hollywood's brightest stars and today's most respected journalists explore the issues of climate change and bring you intimate stories of triumph and tragedy. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY takes you directly to the heart of the story in this awe-inspiring cinematic documentary series event from Executive Producers James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub and Arnold Schwarzenegger. YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY premieres Sunday, April 13 at 10PM ET/PT - only on SHOWTIME®. But we have the first episode right here on ReNewable Now courtesy of SHOWTIME® for you to explore.
Each correspondent delves into a different impact of climate change – from the damage wrought by Superstorm Sandy in the tri-state area to political upheaval caused by droughts in the Middle East to the dangerous level of carbon emissions resulting from deforestation. The project will portray the current and intensifying effects of climate change on everyday Americans and demonstrate how they can take action and be part of the solution.
YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY will combine the blockbuster storytelling styles of Hollywood’s top movie makers, including James Cameron and Jerry Weintraub, with 60 Minutes’ Joel Bach and David Gelber’s reporting expertise to reveal critical stories of heartbreak, hope and heroism as the race to save the planet continues.
Can Comedy Help the Environment?
As our followers know ReNewable Now takes a unique approach in reporting, and sharing stories we find from around the world as it relates to the environment, and sustainability. We found a great story from the celebrity good gossip site ECORAZI that we wanted to share. The post started to make us think, "can comedy help the environment?" We think it can when it draws attention to a serous issue and opens it up for further dissuasion . But you know what you, decide, take a look at the article from ECORAZI and watch the video and see what you think. Have a laugh, and stay informed, enjoy.
We love FunnyorDie. But we especially love FunnyOrDie when they throw their creative humor behind important environmental issues.
Take for instance actor Robert Reford’s efforts to increase the flow of the once mighty Colorado River so that it may again reach the Gulf of Mexico. What might start off initially as a traditional PSA urging people to support his RaisetheRiver.org campaign is rudely interrupted by “William Ferrell’s” competing idea to instead move the ocean.
“Do we really need more river?” Ferrell asks in front of some hilariously awful blue screen imagery. “Let’s move it. Let’s reconnect this thing the old fashioned way. The American way. The way to fix this thing is to send money so that myself and some other scientists can begin the process of moving a small portion of the ocean back toward the wet part of the river. From there to there. No go to MoveTheOcean.org and send me money.”
Things get even more amusing from there. Check it out below.
Have A Sustainable Valentine
This Valentine’s Day think both romantic and sustainable The Rainforest Alliance offers five suggestions for making Valentine’s Day traditions more earth-friendly.
Let’s face it. Valentine’s Day is a consumer holiday. Americans buy a lot of stuff to celebrate the people they love. My friends at The Rainforest Alliance sent me these tips that help conserve the earth’s beautiful forests, protect its precious wildlife and promote the well-being of communities worldwide when purchasing some of the traditional items we tend to buy to show our love.
Beautiful Blooms Surprise your love with a beautiful bouquet without harming the environment! Flowers that bear the Rainforest Alliance Certified™ seal come from farms that protect forest ecosystems, conserve soil and water and improve the lives of farm families and communities. You can find certified blooms at your local Costco, Sam’s Club, Walmart and Whole Foods Market.
Sweet Surprises Treat your valentine to a sweet surprise! Farmed on over 18 million acres of tropical land, some 40 million people depend on cocoa for their livelihoods. Enjoy the guilty pleasure of chocolate without the guilt -- choose chocolate that contains cocoa grown with respect for people, wildlife and the environment. Check out the list of chocolates made using cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
Flickering Flames Nothing sets the mood better than the flickering flame of an aromatic candle. Aloha Bay now offer a gorgeous range of candles featuring the green frog seal. These candles are made using sustainable palm oil from certified farms that work to protect wildlife, curb deforestation and improve conditions for farming communities. Choose from a range of seductive scents, including “Love.”
Elegant Wines Complement your Valentine’s Day meal with a bottle of wine from a winery committed to sustainability. Willamette Valley Vineyards uses cork from forests that are Rainforest Alliance Certified in accordance with the environmentally and socially sustainable standards of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) -- the gold standard for responsible forestry.
Dreamy Destinations Rekindle your love on a romantic and eco-friendly getaway. Find stunning and sustainable destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean on SustainableTrip.org -- a database of tourism businesses that conserve natural resources, protect wildlife and support local communities.
Do these tips give you some ideas for having a more sustainable Valentine’s Day or do you have other ideas for celebrating while treading a little more lightly on the earth?
As a new mom, Jessica Alba wanted to create the safest, healthiest environment for her family. But she was frustrated by the lack of trustworthy information on how to live healthier and cleaner-delivered in a way that a busy mom could act on without going to extremes. In 2012, with serial entrepreneur Brian Lee and environmental advocate Christopher Gavigan, she launched The Honest Company, a brand where parents can find reliable information and products that are safe, stylish, and affordable. The Honest Life shares the insights and strategies she gathered along the way.
The Honest Life recounts Alba’s personal journey of discovery and reveals her tips for making healthy living fun, real, and stylish, while offering a candid look inside her home and daily life. She shares strategies for maintaining a clean diet (with favorite family-friendly recipes) and embraces nontoxic choices at home and provides eco-friendly decor tips to fit any budget. Alba also discusses cultivating a daily eco beauty routine, finding one’s personal style without resorting to yoga pants, and engaging in fun, hands-on activities with kids. Her solutions are easy, chic, and down-to-earth: they’re honest. And discovering everyday ways to live naturally and authentically—true to you—could be honestly life-changing.
Love Lobster? Install Solar Panels
In New England, lobster frequently features prominently in 4th of July celebrations. In fact, we’re invited every year to an all-you-can-eat lobster fest at a friend’s house. I love lobster, and as long as you don’t eat it every day (think heavy metals), there is no reason not to enjoy it! However, climate change is taking aim at lobsters!
According to a new educational campaign put out by a diverse group of Maine businesses and educators, climate change is posing an immediate threat to the lobster population. Lobstermen are already noticing that lobsters are migrating north, to cooler waters. The Gulf of Maine is becoming warmer and more acidic, both of which are problems for the Maine lobsters. When the waters are warmer, if the lobsters don’t migrate fast enough, predators from warmer waters find them easy picking. The warmer water also causes business problems for the lobstermen. Last year the warm waters resulted in much earlier soft shell lobsters being available (and I’ve started to see them in the stores here already this year) and it caused the prices to drop so far the lobstermen couldn’t break even.
Acidic waters are a problem because the lobsters can’t form adequate shells. Scientists explain that the ocean waters absorb carbon dioxide (CO2), which some people think may reduce global warming, and this CO2 makes the water more acidic. Acidic water causes problems for wildlife like lobster and coral.
I know that I’ve thought from time to time, “Well, if one or two species die off, how horrible would that be? It’s not like cats or dogs will die off.” However, what if that one species was say, lobster? or shrimp? Or tuna? Then what would you think? And it’s not one species, lots of species are starting to disappear because of changes to their habitats.
You might say “What can I do about it? I’m just one person!” There are lots of graphics out there that will show you how lots of “1 persons” add up to some big changes. The lobster campaign is particularly supportive of President Obama’s effort to reduce pollution from dirty power plants. President Obama is directing the EPA to enact stricter pollution standards on new and existing power plants. We can support that effort.
We can also stop using power from power plants - by making our own. It used to be that a statement like that was radical, something that anti-government people would say. However, these days installing solar on your home is mainstream. You can read all about our journey to solar, from the spark of an idea all the way through having no charges on our electric bill. Our friends took it a step further. They not only installed a nice size solar array, then they bought an electric car, that they charge off the electricity they generate. This reduces their gasoline consumption as well!
In Massachusetts, the state is running a program to help lower the cost of residential solar, called Solarize Mass. Take a look and see if your community is participating in this program, because it helps reduce the cost of installing solar to a point where just about any homeowner with an appropriate roof can afford solar. We’re examples of not having an appropriate roof and still installing solar, but our installation isn’t quite as cost effective as most. The state has found that in communities that run this program the price of solar from all installers drops, and remains lower. This is one of the many reasons why Massachusetts has installed more than 281MW of solar as of July 2013.
One person can do a lot of things, and if you, and your friends, install solar, maybe we can help save the Maine lobsters.
Acting Green vs Buying Green
How do you promote a green lifestyle in your household? There are many things you can do to reduce your energy usage. Whether doing laundry, taking showers or using heat, you can reduce your usage or get appliances that do the work for you. For example, you can significantly reduce your water usage by cutting your shower time down to 9 minutes. Or, a 15 minute shower with a low-flow showerhead has the water usage equivalent to a 9 minute shower with a standard shower head. And image how much more water you can save if you combine acting green (with a short shower) with buying green (with a low-flow device). Take a closer look at how you can maintain a green household with this infographic.