October 6th, 2014

PUMP: We have choices at the pump!

Posted by Lisa Carey

gas pump

American’s love to have choices. The options are unlimited in almost every sector of American life. American’s have choices on fast food restaurants, groceries, and choices on the type of soil that they buy. Pump is a documentary that looks at the lack of choices Americans have when it comes to buying fuel.

Disclosure: I was provided with the opportunity to screen this movie in order to provide this content. All opinions and observations expressed are 100% my own. 

the movie pump documentary

Joshua Tickell, director of the 2008 film documentary Fuel, worked with his wife Rebecca Harrell Tickell to make the film Pump. Expert testimony with a mix of historical evidence provide an insightful and lucid look at the United States dependence on oil. The film walks viewers through a historical shift in the way oil consumption began and how it has impacted climate change. But it only touches on climate change once in the documentary. Instead of being a one-sided documentary it seeks to find solutions to the demand for oil by showcasing alternative solutions.

Writer Johnny O’Hara looks at sustainability, geopolitical security and general pragmatism in the film. All of which is narrated and delivered by Jason Bateman in friendly, easy-to-understand manner. The thesis of the film is that if Americans had more choice at the pump then they would easily be converted to using cleaner, safer, and more practical fuels like ethanol and methanol.

Pump bunks the false claims put forth by politicians and media that ethanol is going to burn up the fuel supply by showing evidence to the contrary. It shows evidence of media tampering by big oil companies in order to convince the masses that alternative fuels will lead to the collapse of the food supply and the economy.

The makers of the documentary use Brazil as an example of giving people the choice at the pump and showcasing how they country has discovered greater energy independence that the United States. The filmmakers’ argue that choice at the pump will lead to greater energy independence at the pump. The film also shows the beginning stages of that choice already showing up across the country at gas stations that are offering biofuels and compressed natural gas along with regular gas. The consensus is that alternatives are cheaper, cleaner, and run better than the dirty fuel Americans have been duped into believing is their only choice at the pump.

September 4th, 2014

National Geographic Kids Magazine 2014 International Photography Contest

Posted by Lisa Carey

 

National Geographic Kids Magazine has launched the 2014 International Photography Contest for Kids. The U.S. grand-prize winner will receive a National Geographic Costa Rica Family Adventure. The contest is open to children ages 6 to 14 and can be entered by U.S. contestants from now until October 15, 2014. Photos may be black-and-white or color and can be shot with either a digital camera or with conventional film. Photos can be submitted online at http://kids.nationalgeographic.com/photo-contest/ or they can be submitted through regular mail.

The 2014 International Photography Contest for Kids is conducted in partnership with the U.S. edition of National Geographic Kids magazine and 11 local-language editions in Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Germany, Indonesia, Israel, the Netherlands, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom. Each country will select winners in four categories: Amazing Animals, Dare to Explore, Weird But True, and Wild Vacation.

The first place winners in the U.S. categories will compete for the U.S. grand prize, the National Geographic Costa Rica Family Adventure for two. The trip is a 7-day adventure designed for families to discover the beauty and wildlife of Costa Rica. The winner of the U.S. grand prize will be able to explore the beauties of San Jose, learn how coffee is made in Monteverde, and see wild cats up close at the Las Pumas Rescue Center in Guanacaste. The first-place winners will also compete against the first-place winning entries from international editions.

The U.S. contest will select four first-place and four second-place winners. They will all receive digital cameras, memory cards, and a selection of National Geographic Kids books. Winning entries will be submitted in December 2014 to National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.

Photos will be judged on creativity and photographic quality. The judges will be a panel of National Geographic photography experts. The grand-prize winner of the worldwide contest will receive a trip for two to Washington, D.C. Winning photos will be featured in the May 2015 issue of the U.S. edition of National Geographic Kids magazine.

Young adventurers who love exploring the world through the photo lens should submit their photos to one of the four categories by October 15. National Geographic Kids seeks to inspire and encourage young adventurers to explore the world through magazines, books, games, toys and more. National Geographic Kids and Little Kids magazine are available on newsstands or by subscription.

August 10th, 2014

Celebrate World Lion Day with the Big Cats Initiative

Posted by Lisa Carey

Lion images are everywhere. Statues of the big cats are poised on the steps of the New York Public Library. The “King of the Jungle” has graced the stages of Broadway musicals and captured the hearts of millions on the big screen in movies like “The Lion King,” “To Walk with Lions,” and “The Last Lions.”  Lions are a part of human culture, but soon that is all they will be unless something is done to save the big cats.

The lion population has declined nearly 95% in the past 50 years or so. Lions have been the victims of human conflict, habitat loss and degradation.  National Geographic teamed up with Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert to launch the Big Cats Initiative (BCI) as a response to the critical situation facing lions and other big cats in the wild.  The Big Cat Initiative is a comprehensive program that supports on-the-ground conservation and education projects. It works in conjunction with Cause an Uproar, a global public awareness campaign.

There are several ways to support the Big Cat Initiative. August 10 is World Lion Day. You can spread the message that lions and other big cats are in need of your help through blogs, Facebook, and other social media sites.

You can help build boma fences, fortified enclosures that protect livestock from lions, by visiting buildaboma.org and making a donation or by starting a campaign. Boma fences are important for protecting livestock and the retaliatory killings that take place when livestock are killed because they are unprotected.

National Geographic suggests donating to the Big Cat Initiative through text message. Text “LIONS” to 50555 to donate $10 to on-the-ground conservation through the Big Cat Initiative. Message and data rates apply. Terms and conditions: mgv.cc/t.

Check out Cause an Uproar to raise awareness and help the dire situation facing big cats. Big Cat Initiative seeks to save lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, jaguars, and other big cats in the wild. Lion populations are declining, cheetahs are disappearing from their range, and there are more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild. What will you do to help the Big Cats?

July 30th, 2014

Ford Steals Best Global Green Brand Label from Toyota

Posted by Lisa Carey

ford green

I recently had the opportunity to head to Ford Country in Dearborn, MI to find out a great deal about the important changes that has made it possible for Ford Motor Company to earn the No. 1 spot on Interbrand’s 50 Best Global Green Brands list stealing the title from last year’s winner –Toyota. Ford also beat out other heavy-weights including Johnson & Johnson, Coca-Cola and Microsoft.  Toyota had been the leading champ as a global green brand since the report originally launched in 2011. As Ford moves into the No. 1 spot, Toyota has been pushed down to #2. Fellow automakers Honda and Nissan claim the #3 and #4 spots, respectively.

(See our article on the Ford Trend Conference)

Interbrand’s 2014 Best Global Green Brands report examines the gap between brands’ environmental protection and consumers’ perceptions of that performance. Ford’s perception has gone down but the company’s performance has gone up. Interbrand gave Ford a Gap Score of +3.2 earning it the top spot on the list.

Ford earned the No. 1 spot for its forward-thinking approach to environmentally responsible and sustainable manufacturing. The company has engaged in new environmental action committees, improved employee engagement around sustainability, enhanced green building policies, increased waste recycling and made use of renewable/recyclable materials in 41 different fabrics across its different vehicle lines.

“We are honored to be named No. 1 in the 2014 Best Global Green Brands,” said Robert Brown, vice president, Sustainability, Environment & Safety Engineering. “At Ford we are working to develop the highest-quality products in the market for our customers while manufacturing them in the most environmentally responsible manner and replicating this globally. This award tells us that our stakeholders agree.”

Ford has been active in improving sustainability in its business strategy. In 2012, Ford improved global energy efficiency by 6.4% against a 2011 year baseline, reduced CO2 emissions in its facilities and reduced facilities-related CO2 emissions per vehicle by 37%. The major car manufacturer introduced a plan to reduce waste sent to landfill on a per-vehicle basis, reduced energy and water use in its U.S. plants and introduced hybrid and all-electric vehicles to the market proving that the company is dedicated to sustainability.

 

July 15th, 2014

The Fracking Debate in The Fracking Truth

Posted by Lisa Carey

By: Mark

Chris Faulkner predicts that the United States will never run out of oil and gas in his newest book, “The Fracking Truth.” Faulkner uses his background as the Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Breitling Energy Corporation to make the startling forecast and claims to be able to debunk the myths about one of the most controversial energy technologies available: Hydraulic Fracturing commonly known as Fracking.

“The Fracking Truth is a primer on America’s ongoing energy revolution, but it’s also a call to action,” says the book’s website. “The oil and gas industry has failed itself and failed the American public by doing a poor job of educating the public on fracking and related technologies that have created the American energy revolution.”

It is described on Amazon.com as “The Fracking Truth is a primer on America’s ongoing energy revolution, but it’s also a call to action. The oil and gas industry has failed itself and failed the American public by doing a poor job of educating the public on fracking and related technologies that have created the American energy revolution. Readers will learn about the myths and the truths of the controversial practice of fracking, how the United States is benefitting from the fracking boom, and how fracking can actually help the US and the world achieve climate change goals. The Fracking Truth seeks to bridge the information gap between public perception and an industry that fuels our daily lives, our national economy, and our future. After years of economic devastation and turmoil, the energy boom driven by fracking gives us a second chance at security, prosperity, and global leadership. Let’s hope we get it right.”

Faulkner is considered an international fracking expert who gained entrance into the energy field by chance. He claims in his author bio that “no oil company owns him or pays him to flog a point of view.” However,  Faulkner is the Founder, President and CEO of Breitling Energy, an energy company based in Dallas, Texas that engages in “the acquisition of lower risk onshore oil and gas properties and the exploration and development of such properties.”

The book claims to have many “fracking facts.” Reviewers of the book have stated that the book does have several graphs, charts and sources to support these facts. However, some may disagree with the book’s website claim that “Fracking has been safely used in the US since 1947.” EarthJustice.org’s map of Fraccidents in the U.S. directly conflicts with Faulkner’s “safe fracking” statement. All of the documented fraccidents on EarthJustice’s website are documented and sourced.

Hydraulic fracturing is one of the most controversial energy technologies on the market. “The Fracking Truth” is a book that looks at fracking.  It has a clear agenda of “debunking fracking myths,”  but while debunking the myths is the true damage caused by fracking being swept under the rug – or Earth – as the case may be.

Those interested in the fracking debate might also consider reading “The End of Country: Dispatches from the Frack Zone” by Seamus McGraw for an honest look at a community effected by the fracking boom, and getting two sides of a very different fracking story.

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world..

July 10th, 2014

VeeV An All Natural All Organic Alternative to Vodka

Posted by Lisa Carey

VeeV has introduced a ready-to-drink cocktail that consumers can feel great about buying and drinking. The superfruit cocktail manufacturer VeeV Spirits has created VeeV VitaFrute Cocktails that combine VeeV Acai Spirit with fresh ingredients for an all natural, all organic drink that just needs to be served over ice.

The cocktails are available in a variety of flavors from margarita to lemonade. The ready-to-drink cocktails are 125 calories per 3 oz. serving and are 30-proof. VeeV’s website offers a wide array of cocktail recipes for consumers to discover a better way to drink. There is a recipe for the Martini 2.0 and one for the Brazilian Mule. A cocktail lover will find no shortage of new twists to put on the old fashioned cocktail.

“In all that we do, we want to enhance the social drinking experience by providing quality products that we can feel good about,” said Courtney Reum, co-founder of VeeV. “Skimping on quality for convenience has never been an option for us, which why we’re so proud of VitaFrute, our new ready-to-drink cocktails.”

It should be pointed out that VeeV is a green company. The distillery is the only distillery in America to get its power through renewable wind energy. The 4 column process uses 200 percent less energy than traditional pot still. VeeV is a partner of 1% for the Planet – a group of businesses, companies, and nonprofits that donate at least 1% of annual net revenues to environmental organizations worldwide.

VeeV has been donating to organizations that benefit the restoration and replantation of the rainforest. They are also large supporters of the farming communities surrounding the distillery. VeeV is also a member of TerraPass –an organization dedicated to helping businesses and individuals take responsibility for their impact on the climate.  TerraPass provides educational tools and resources to help businesses prepare complex carbon footprint analysis and helps businesses and institutions develop custom renewable energy solutions for their operations.

VeeV VitaFrute Cocktails can be purchased in cities across the nation. A store locator can be found on their website.  The suggested retail price is $14.99. A pretty good price for an all natural, all organic cocktail drink that’s good for the environment.

It’s no secret that I like going green and saving green – so of course I’m going to share with you this coupon I found.

June 28th, 2014

ResponsibleTravel.com and Born Free Foundation Find Public Support Dropping for Marine Parks

Posted by guest

By: othree

By Linda St.Cyr

Public support for marine park shows has flipped, according to a poll carried out by ResponsibleTravel.com, an ethical travel company, and international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation.  The travel company and the charity surveyed 2,050 people in the UK and found that growing public awareness of ethical issues and physical implications of keeping dolphins and whales in captivity was changing public opinion.

86 percent of the people surveyed said they would not wish to visit a marine park to see whales and dolphins as part of an overseas holiday. It should be noted that survey responders were to read a statement prior to answering their final question. The statement read:

“Captive whales and dolphins are kept in marine parks and visited by tourists on holiday. They are highly intelligent, social animals. In the wild, they:

*live in family groups, called pods of up to 100 individuals;

*have considerably higher life expectancies than their counterparts in captivity;

*can swim the equivalent distance of London to Sheffield (260kkm) or more in one day;

*are capable of diving to depths greater than the height of Niagra Falls (60m) and hunting live fish using sophisticated techniques.

In captivity these animals are confined to tanks, they are fed dead fish and commonly develop problems such as abnormal repetitive behavior and aggression. They are trained to perform tricks and stunts, often to loud music and a cheering crowd.”

Of those who responded that they would visit a marine park, 64 percent changed their mind after reading the statement to say that they would not visit a marine park.

Justin Francis, Managing Director at responsibletravel.com, said that as public awareness of whale and dolphin captivity issues continues to increase, it is important for travel companies and the representative body ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) to stop supporting “orca circuses” as it is an irresponsible form of tourism.

Responsibletravel.com has joined forces with the World Cetacean Alliance and launched a petition encouraging the travel industry to stop supporting killer whale and dolphin shows. Born Free Foundation works worldwide for wild animal welfare and compassionate conservation.

Over 2000 dolphins, 227 beluga whales, 52 killer whales, 37 porpoises and 17 false killer whales are held in 343 captive dolphin facilities in 63 countries around the world. The cetaceans are used for public entertainment and often kept in facilities that are just a fraction of the animals’ natural habitat.

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

 

June 16th, 2014

Save the bees: Bee Sweet Lemonade saves bees and tastes great

Posted by Lisa Carey

bee sweet lemonade

 

This weekend the kids and I headed out to Whole Foods to meet an amazing 9 year old little girl. Mikaila is the CEO of Bee Sweet Lemonade and not only is she quite the entrepreneur, but she’s also working for a great green world.

Bee Sweet Lemonade is a lemonade company started by a 9 year old little girl. She started is after several successful National Lemonade Days, and with the help of her grandmother’s secret recipe. But she’s not just a businessperson, she wanted to create a buzz about bees and why there are needed.

bee sweet lemonade

The workshop included talking with Mikiala as she shared with my daughters about why bees are important. This girl has done her research. After several stings in one summer, she became very frightened of them. So  the family decided to learn all they could about bees to be more knowledgeable about them, their stings and help to overcome her fears.  We also found out some pollination information and planted our own cantaloupe seeds.  Here’s some of what we found out.

Let’s start with the Bee Sweet Lemonade.

This lemonade keeps it simple. Pure filtered water, Lemons, Mint, Flaxseed and Honey, the ingredients are freshly squeezed, local, and organic.  So each step is made with the environment in mind. I have to admit, I’ve done my own taste test and I like the mint flavor in the lemonade very much.

Not only has it sparked a great business model, but after finding out the facts about bees the company now donates 20% of the profits to to local and international organizations fighting hard to save the honeybees. Their motto – Buy a Bottle – Save a Bee!  The organizations these

You can’t make the lemonade without the honey, so let’s talk about bees. 

There’s a great guide on all about bees, for you and your kids available online.

This guide shares with us that:

  • Nectar is a sweet watery substance that the bees gather. After they process the nectar in their stomach they regurgitate it into the honeycomb cells. Then they fan with their wings to remove excess moisture. The final result is honey.
  • Bees are the only insect in the world that make food that humans can eat.
  • Honey has natural preservatives and bacteria can’t grow in it.
  • A beehive in summer can have as many as 50,000 to 80,000 bees. A bee must collect nectar from about 2 million flowers to make 1 pound of honey. It requires 556 worker bees to gather a pound of honey. Bees fly more than once around the world to gather a pound of honey.
  • Did you know that a hive also produces beeswax, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly.
  • Beekeepers only harvest the extra honey – not all of it. Well, in theory of course. There are probably many out there that harvest the whole thing.
  • And, the average life of the worker bee is 3-6 weeks during the honey season.
  • Food produced through pollinators: cherries, broccoli, onions, almonds, just to name a few.

We’ve talked here on Greenjoyment about the decline in the bee populationWorldwide Bee Colony Collapse also known as Colony Collapse disorder is pretty simple. Humans, a lack of land on which to polinate, chemicals and pesticides are slowly, but surely killing off the bee population. But what’s the big deal some people may ask?  Pollination is essential for many of the best and healthiest foods we eat!  But it doesn’t just affect the foods we eat but entire populations of workers such as farmers and bee keepers. If there is not food to grow, there is none to sell. This isn’t just an environmental issue, but an economic one too.

 What can you do to help? The  Greenpeace report has outlined these solutions.

  1. Ban the seven most dangerous pesticides
  2. Protect pollinator health by preserving wild habitat, and
  3. Restore ecological agriculture

I would add, support those that support these efforts, like Bee Sweet Lemonade?

Get social and create your own buzz about this great green drink and her eco-friendly efforts to protect the bee population from declining.

Find Bee Sweet Lemonade on Facebook and join in the discussion!  Find out more about where you can buy this lemonade and follow the buzz about it’s awards and accolades online.

May 22nd, 2014

Disney’s Mickey & Friends Go Green!

Posted by Lisa Carey

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links which are used to support this site. All opinions expressed are my own unless otherwise sourced. I actually own a copy of this book and enjoyed sharing it with my children.

EDDA USA has announced the publication of Disney’s Mickey & Friends collection titled “Go Green! A Family Guide to a Sustainable Lifestyle.” The new collection of books will encourage children and families to learn about green living, sustainability, and how to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in a simple and fun way.

This is the first book in a brand new series that seeks to be a guide for families to take steps toward transforming their lives into a healthier, greener, and more sustainable lifestyle.  The books make sustainability simple to understand and fun for children by making the concepts into easy-to-achieve individual steps.

There are three main focal points to the books: explaining sustainability in a simple and fun fashion, putting the concepts into perspective for children and families, and showing families easy and fun steps to make the world they live in a greener place.

Disney Go Green is a new brand of Disney books, encouraging families to lead a sustainable lifestyle. It is however not only a line of books but an opportunity for families to spend time together,” says the Amazon overview of the newly released title.

The book is jam-packed with fun facts, tips and green activities that families can participate in together.  There is a section on understanding your ecological footprints, the three R’s of sustainability (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle), and a section devoted to eating locally and growing your own organic garden.

Other titles that can be expected in the series include “Go Green! The Family Challenge” and “Go Green! Create Your Own Garden.” The books do not expect children and families to become a sustainable household overnight. It focuses on teaching children and families to take one step at a time to live a greener, sustainable lifestyle.

Disney’s Mickey & Friends book “Go Green! A Family Guide to a Sustainable Lifestyle” is available for purchase in Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and Target stores in the U.S. and in Canada. It is also available through major online retailers including Amazon.

May 16th, 2014

McDonald’s Lab Grown Chicken PETA Approved

Posted by guest

By Linda St.Cyr

McDonald’s has plans to be the first fast food restaurant in the United States to add lab-grown meat to its menu. The fast food chain known for chicken nuggets and Big Mac’s is planning to ‘grow’ their own chicken McNuggets in special laboratories across New Jersey. The company’s goal is to reduce the number of real chickens needed to supply the franchise’s 35,000 outlets around the world.

McDonald’s is making the move after the success of Sergey Brin’s lab-grown burger experiment in London last year. Sergey Brin’s petri dish hamburgers were served up at an event in London last August with a price tag of $325,000 per burger. Although the company made headway in making lab-grown meat a reality, the price tag is going to be hard for companies to get around until these foods can be funded into the marketplace.

Sergey Brin’s and McDonald’s lab-grown meat ideas stem from what appears to be a desire to be more environmentally friendly and to squash animal rights issues. Surprisingly, animal rights activists like the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are on board with the lab-grown meat experiments. It appears that PETA is okay petri-dish grown chickens for food, but not okay with the way chickens are raised, processed, and slaughtered by McDonald’s and other food chains currently.

Ingrid E. Newkirk, president of PETA, celebrated the announcement of McDonald’s plans.

“Although we think it’s bizarre that the future McNuggets will be grown in a lab, we’re relieved to know that chickens no longer have to be sacrificed to feed McDonald’s customers,” Newkirk said. “But we won’t truly be happy until the company stops selling real beef burgers too, since cows suffer in disgusting feedlots across the United States.

The benefits of lab-grown meat include a reduction of gas emissions, companies would no longer have ethical issues in regards to animal rights, and there would be less use of land and water. The downside to the lab-grown meat industry is society’s current trend away from processed food.  Another downside to the lab-grown meat industry is that there are no standards governing what goes into the making of the meat products nor has it been tested for health and safety reasons.

 

Linda St.Cyr is a writer, blogger, activist, and short story author. She writes about news, sustainability, green energy, food, celebrities and much more. Often she is busy being vocal about feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, and shedding a light on human rights violations all over the world.

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