Power of the Greenified Seal

April 30, 2012

Going green may be the hip thing to do, but it is more than just a trend. Many people are trying to incorporate being greener into their everyday lives and are making deliberate choices such as searching out companies who are green. Which brings me to today’s topic – why the Green Business Alliance Greenified Seal matters.

When you display the Greenified Seal on your website, your windows or in your office, you are telling your customers and clients that you have made a conscious effort to adopt environmentally friendly business practices. In fact, you have made such an effort that you have third party verification – someone else other than you is saying “yes, this company has demonstrated a commitment to going green.”

The Greenified Seal assures the new breed of consumers that the business they are considering is one that cares about the environment and its employees. There are organizations that one can purchase a membership to, but in order to receive the Green Business Alliance Greenified Seal, the company actually has to embrace a green philosophy. This step is enough to create sales and business from environmentally concerned consumers.


Every Day is Earth Day!

April 24, 2012

Earth Day 2012 has come and gone. This past Sunday, April 22nd, countries spanning the globe came together in celebration of our planet. Reports say that more than 1 billion people across 192 countries celebrated Earth Day this year. Schools, Universities, Corporations, Individuals and Governments rallied, cleaned, celebrated and performed in honor of this 42nd annual event.

Disney Nature was in on the action as well with the premiere of their newest film, Chimpanzees. It has become a tradition for Disney Nature to premiere a film on Earth Day each year. They are a graphic and jaw-dropping reminder of how beautiful our planet is and how careful we must be with our precious resources.

We hope that you had a Green Earth Day and that one of your resolutions is to treat every day as Earth Day. We remind you to Greenify today for a better tomorrow!


Major League Baseball Goes Green at All-Star Game

July 14, 2011

From a LEED certified stadium, to RECs (renewable energy credits) to public transportation vouchers, recycling and more, Major League Baseball took many steps to integrate environmental stewardship into their recent All-Star Break at the Arizona Diamondback's Chase Field. 

For the complete story about MLB's effort to Greenify, click here http://www.huffingtonpost.com/allen-hershkowitz/the-greenest-all-star-gam_b_896259.html?ir=Sports.


Greenifying: The Presidency

April 8, 2011

Have you ever listened to the President's weekly speeches?  I listen to them every weekend and I want to pass along a few words to you: sustainable, alternative energy, environmentally responsible and stewardship. 

These speeches are a long-standing tradition dating back to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt who delivered his weekly address via radio to a weary and tired nation and called them "fireside chats."  The country was troubled and economically depressed.  Roosevelt comforted the people by speaking to them. 

The White House speeches fell silent for awhile, but President Ronald Reagan revived it to tradition status once again and President George W. Bush moved it to the Internet with podcasts.  President Obama began putting out his speeches early, during the transitional period immediately after he was elected and through his inauguration to the present. (Over the years, the opposing political party has added their own weekly "response" speeches which are equally welcome.) 

In these speeches, you can hear the substance of what the President who speaks cares about and is committed to.   And whether you favor Mr. Obama or his political opponents, listening to these speeches, you can't help but be impressed with the man's commitment to environmental issues.   

On a weekly basis, he talks about the need to find alternative energy sources, to cut America's dependence on foreign oil and to find answers to both economic, business and environmental problems through American ingenuity.  He repeatedly says he believes that creativity and ability will find new paths and develop new solutions to any issues.  It's also a tradition of U.S. presidents to believe in Americans and American know-how.  It's good to see that tradition is changing, evolving and becoming a little greener.


Don't Have a Cow?

March 3, 2011

I want to point out a type of small business that is coming up on the horizon that is so utterly green that you might want to chew it over.  It's called a "Meat Share."  If you're vegetarian, please look the other way while we discuss this interesting aspect of carnivorism. 

A "Meat Share" is when a group of interested meat enthusiasts get together and buy  a cow, then draw lots for shares, allowing a fair and equal distribution of the meat products to all participants. 

If the organizers are careful in their selection, this also allows them to search out locally bred and organically raised, grass-fed, leaner but still tender healthier cuts of beef at a better price than one can generally get by shopping in the best stores.  Imagine getting the greenest beef possible without the overhead cost and carbon footprint. 

The article that I read (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/22/AR2011022202701.html) about a Washington, DC duo wanting dry-aged, locally produced, grass-fed healthier beef, set out to procure it for themselves.  They needed other participants and set out to gather them, making it fair for all involved. In doing so, they've educated themselves and the other participants about farm production techniques, best practices in butchering and procurement and even beef cooking techniques.    And they got bargain prices on highest quality beef to boot.   

Last night as I walked through the meat department at a certain national warehouse store, I checked out the prices on some of the cuts.  Even here, the "Meat Share" idea had merit as their prices would have resulted in savings here. 

We're not suggesting this idea can replace the big grocery chains right now.  But it's an idea for a small side business that provides a great benefit both financially, health-wise and in green living, too.   

And if you're a vegetarian, this is a reminder that it's time to consider the flip side: which Community Share Association will you participate in this summer?  The blossoms will be on the vine before we know it and Greenification is in the air.


Fish Farms in Coal Mines?

June 15, 2010

It's an interesting thought, isn't it?  Putting fish farms into spent coal mines?  I hooked you right in with that one! 

It's what they are thinking in West Virginia, where coal mines are famous for providing the livelihood of miners and their families.

Farmed fish are now accounting for about half of the world's annual consumption (mostly due to farmed salmon) of 110 million metric tons of fish.  The experts say, demand will soon exceed supply.  We're going to need more fish farms.

With an estimated 1,000 closed mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, some are beginning to look at those empty pits as future “fishing holes.”  Except the fish will be farmed and caught for consumers in grocery stores.

The Freshwater Institute in Shepherdstown, WV, estimates that turning mines into fish farms could generate hundreds of jobs and millions of pounds of fish annually.   And here's the best part: the particulars of mine water are especially conducive to raising fish.  Mine water temperatures hold steady at a brisk 56 degrees, which is impossible for human swimming but perfect for what else? Artic char, salmon and trout. 

It's an idea whose time has come.  When it was put forward in 1994, West Virginia dreamed of having hundreds of mines, but 16 years later, has only two.  America's fish consumption was not so great then, but now, demand is up. 

And to be sure, this may be not a case of “making lemonade from lemons,” but making dinner from leftovers found in a coal mine. 

Greenification at its best.


UPDATE FROM THE GULF: 12,000-19,000 Barrels of Oil Gushing Daily

June 3, 2010

It's now being called the “Worst Environmental Disaster in U.S. History.   The Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana is still pushing oil out of the broken pipe, leaking and wreaking destruction on the once-clean gulf waters. 

British Petroleum, BP, is the company that owned the lease and the platform that exploded, starting the spill that has been going on for six weeks now.  The hard and painful news for most of us involves pictures of a massive oil plume, stretching across the water; ugly pictures of oil-soaked seabirds and dead fish; and the knowledge that wildlife in that area will suffer for years to come. 

At first, BP tried to contain the oil with booms, placing the massive sponges and blocks in the way of the plume in a painfully useless attempt to block the spread of the oil to beaches and breeding grounds of animals in the area. 

Then there was the dome.  BP lowered a huge dome over the well in an attempt to cap the well and stop the flow.  That didn't work either. 

The effort that followed was the “top kill” in which engineers tried for three days to top off the gusher with heavy drilling mud and junk to stop the leak.  After initial hopeful reports, we now know that is not working either. 

BP announced today that they have another plan.  Their latest attempt will be to send down unmanned robots to saw off the leaky broken pipe and cap it with a funnel that will then direct the oil to the surface and waiting boats. 

The company tried to reclaim the leaking oil with a funnel in the past, but ice crystals formed in the pipe and blocked the flow.   Why will this attempt be different?  The company intends to warm sea water and pump it into the pipe as well, preventing the formation of the ice crystals.  The soonest that this could work is four to five days.  Does that disappoint you? 

Then this could make you despair: the company says that the gusher may not be capped until August.  That news on Sunday amid the destruction, disappointment and misery that the spill has already wrought.

What can you do?  Only what you have been doing.  Try to think of your efforts as an “off-set credits” for the spill.  Put your best efforts into greenifying at home and at work in order to off-set the huge disaster that seems to be unfolding day by day to our great disappointment.   We can only do what we can do, but perhaps as a group, we can do the tiniest bit more as we watch this bitterly unhappy scenario continue in our world.


What Can We Learn from the Gulf Spill?

May 19, 2010

For the past three weeks, oil has been gushing out of a broken oil well at the bottom of the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico.  Thousands upon thousands of barrels of oil have poured out of that un-capped well after an explosion that killed as many as a dozen and ultimately sank the Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig owned by BP Oil Company. 

BP has promised to clean up the disaster, paying all costs and associated “legitimate” claims related to the loss, including over and above the $75 million liability limit imposed by U.S. law.  Members of Congress are already demanding confirmation of those promises, saying the American public has a right to know that the oil company will take care of this.

The oil company has now tried and failed at a couple of efforts to contain and manage the disaster.  They tried to lower a dome over the spill to stop the oil from spreading.  That failed when something like ice crystals formed as the boom was lowered towards the seabed.

They have tried to use booms to contain the spill and keep it from approaching the coastlines.  But tar balls are now showing up on beach areas off the coast of Alabama and other southeast United States locations.  Marine life is also being affected and we all know what that means: death and disease among vulnerable wildlife populations that have been coddled and cared for and lovingly protected from environmental abuse for decades are now at risk.

This past weekend, the oil company also attempted to attach another pipe to the free-flowing well at the bottom of the gulf.  They attempted on Saturday, but there was a shift in the platform beneath the water (at the exterior exit of the well) and they failed. 

There was word on Sunday that BP's efforts have succeeded: this will not cap the well, nor completely stop the leaking.  But it will siphon off a sizable percentage of the oil to a waiting vessel at the surface of the water, allowing the oil company to deal with that oil instead of spreading it on the water.  It's a small bit of good news, but it is all we have.

In the coming weeks, the oil company will probably be drilling a second well and while simultaneously attempting to cap the first one.  The cleanup has to get underway full swing.  The destruction of native habitats of sea life is going to continue and we're all going to want to go down to the Gulf, gather a few of these beautiful wild things and take them home.  We won't be able to, but we'll wish to take them home, clean their wings (and other parts) and nurture them back to health.

What we're learning in this scenario is that “worst case” can happen.  It can be horrifying and that writing a law that says “oh, yes, come drill in the healthy waters off our coast and if something bad happens, we'll only charge you XX dollars out of XXX,XXX,XXX dollars.”  That's what it's going to cost to clean up this mess.  That's the cost and threat of doing business with a high carbon footprint industry.  Because eventually, when they get this all cleaned up, we're still going to smell the oil in the air.  And it won't be pretty again, potentially for decades to come.


The Gulf of Mexico Mess

May 4, 2010

I'm a little bit down right now about this whole Gulf of Mexico oil well thing.  I know you probably are, too.

I've always wondered what being on one of those off-shore drilling rigs was really like, and I saw too clearly in the picture on April 20th as one of the British Petroleum rigs in the water 45 miles off the Louisiana coast had a still-unexplained explosion, caught fire, burned and sank, taking eleven lives as it went.

The rig itself was massive.  I watched the firefighting efforts on the Internet and saw sizable firefighting ships that pumped ocean water onto the fire.  Those ships were stationed all around the rig, streaming water onto the flames, trying to get the fire under control. 

The pictures made clear the size of that offshore rig was best described as massive.  Sadly, the only thing that big in the area is the oil spill that is still coming out of the well.  The oil is still gushing (not sure that's technically the right term, but what else to use?) at a rate of about 800,000 liters per day, into the no-longer pristine waters.  Expect a hike in the price of wild shrimp this coming season.

The well below the surface is 5000 feet down.  BP claims it is doing everything and anything it can to shut off the well, but I heard it compared to doing some sort of surgical procedure using robotic arms with chopsticks at the end, underwater, in the dark and at a depth that most of mankind will never get close to.  It sounds pretty difficult.

The U.S. Coast Guard says rough seas are hampering efforts to clean up the slick, which reached Louisiana's shore on Saturday.  The President of BP-America was on ABC News' “This Week” on Sunday saying that his company along with other oil producers are doing everything they can to try to get it shut down. 

On that same program, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior said that he thinks it could be 90 days before a “relief well” is drilled, enabling them to cap the one that is leaking.  BP-America's Lamar McKay said their company had some technology in development that might be able to stop the flow in 6 to 8 days.  But let me point out that BP-America, in procuring the lease, had promised that a “worst case scenario” leak in this area would never get this big nor reach Louisiana's coast. 

Perhaps I wonder at a time like this, is this the worst case scenario yet?  Or did this happen just in time to stop us from drilling more, polluting more, wasting more and using more of our natural resources?  Considering this accident in that light is the only sense I can make of all this waste: the hope that somehow we might learn just a little more of the lesson we seem to need restated over and over again.


Earth Day Alive and Ahead!

April 20, 2010

You may be counting down the days to Earth Day, but I assure you, here at the Green Business Alliance, we are counting down the minutes.  We're also checking off our list:

Local area parade, picnic or other activity to attend?  CHECK!  
(Here's a googling tip: type in Earth Day, 2010 and your zipcode.  See what comes up!) Are you attending the festival or marching in it?  Don't let this parade pass you by.  Get on board and stay at the front of the line for greenifying, recycling, renewing our Earth!

Lunch out at loca-vore restaurant with clients or employees or both?  CHECK!
The food will be fresher, better tasting and have a smaller carbon footprint.  You can probably find a locally sourced restaurant by logging onto your local newspaper's website and searching for “restaurant reviews” and then specifying “locavore” or “locally produced.”  Or call a few of your favorite lunchtime haunts and ask. 

Extra large recyclables receptacle on order?  Do you really need this one?  (I had hoped you already had all the recycling containers you needed, but if you haven't got them, this is a good reminder.  It's long past time to be greener at the curb.

Field trip to visit Mother Nature?  CHECK THIS OUT!  It is National Park Week, April 17 to 25.  What that means is entrance to all 392 United States National Parks is free.  Fees are waived.  Go enjoy the Earth at its most basic, wild and beautiful.  You can learn more at this website: http://www.nps.gov/npweek/.   If you clean up after yourself, that's great, but if you pick up after other hikers, you are a hero to all!

Earth Day 2010 is the 40th celebration of the planet.  We need to Greenify.  If you haven't already, it's time to get on board.   Please join in the celebration this year and every year to come.


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