This episode of 50 Shades of Green Divas features Syd Mandelbaum, founder of Rock and Wrap it Up, an anti-poverty think tank, which works to feed those in need by taking unserved food from concert and sporting events, and delivering what is collected to local food charities. This not only helps feed those who go hungry, it minimizes waste in landfills, and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions. The organization is also working to feed veterans and get needed supplies to women who cannot afford feminine products. For more information go to rockandwrapitup.org
Green Sex for Climate’s Sake (Yes, Green Sex is a shade of green)
There is no single solution for climate change…but separating sex from childbearing represents an under appreciated opportunity to forestall climate disaster…for the climate, family planning’s potential benefits are profound.
Those are the words of my guest this week, Alisha Graves, who is the co-founder of the OASIS Initiative (a project of UC, Berkeley which focuses on reducing population growth and poverty in the Sahel region of Africa). Her recent article, “Green Sex for Climate’s Sake,” debates the link between carbon emissions and population, and the need to educate young women, as well as young men, about contraception, family planning and health. For more information go to: oasisinititative.berkeley.edu and projectdrawdown.org.
“Green” eco-warriors are working to protect rhinos and elephants, which are on the verge of extinction, as they are killed by poachers for their horns and tusks. My guest this week, Damien Mander, founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, is working to train rangers in the preserves of Africa, via legal and direct tactics, to bring poachers to justice. He is a vegan and believes that animals suffer tremendously when they are raised for consumption, which is also a major contributor to climate change. Damien is starring in a James Cameron film called “The Game Changers”, which you can check out by going to gamechangers.com. For more information on the work of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, go to iapf.org
My guest this week is Sara Day Evans, Founder of Accelerating Appalachia, which provides social and economic assistance to nature based and local businesses in the vast region of Appalachia, which spans 12 states and has a population of 25 million people. It is one of the most bio-diverse regions on the globe, and new businesses that are based on food, farming and forests are providing jobs and promoting sustainability. Nature Based Businesses (NBB’s) are part of a movement to protect the earth, and maintain the beauty of the Appalachian region. To quote Ms. Evans “My advice to someone thinking of starting an accelerator or a business is this: Be resilient, stubborn, and focused, and love what you do.” For more info go to acceleratingappalachia.org
Riverkeeper, the guardian of the water, land and air celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year, and it is fitting to have friend of the show, John Parker, Director of Legal Programs at Riverkeeper, as my guest this week. We discuss all the great work Riverkeeper has done over these last five decades, as well as what they will continue to do to preserve and protect the environment. Keeping the waterways vibrant, and our drinking water clean, is essential to the health and well being of the citizens in New York State and beyond. To find out more about this great organization, go to Riverkeeper.org.
With the agreement of a landmark accord reached between 196 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and commit to truly working towards change, the planet has a chance to survive. We have a shot at making it.
Something happened when I heard the news of the accord. I didn’t rush to look up all the details of the agreement. Instead of wondering about the facts, I felt a sense of peace. It was as if what we do on the local level and in our homes really does matter. When nations all over the globe decided to finally get to work on these issues, get our priorities straightened out, and look the problem in the eye, it made the daily tasks I do in my home actually feel like they make a difference.
If the nations had fought to no avail, looked the other way, or ignored the problem, and gone home without an agreement, I think all of us would have felt a little differently. Perhaps in a subtle way, we might have stopped working so hard. We might have lost hope. It is hard to fight such a large battle without the unity of nations and without leadership at the highest levels.
Now, I can look again at my habits that help curb waste, lower greenhouse gases, and bring stability and life into our existence. Sorting out trash and recycling, and using that glass bottle over and over again, doesn’t seem like wasted effort. Taking the bus or carpooling feels like a good choice. Buying less stuff finally feels like it adds up to a real solution.
With acknowledgement at the highest levels, we can now look optimistically towards our future. It’s time to look into new ways to lower my impact on the planet. None of this change is easy, but we’ve spent too much time taking the easy way out. There’s something we can do every day to change things for the better.
Now that the big players are part of the game, we have a chance at winning.
This weeks episode takes us to the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action at the UN, sponsored by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). This event was attended by women from over 50 countries. To have such a collection of amazing women in one place, who presented stories of courage and resilience in combating climate change was deeply touching. Women play a key role in adapting solutions to climate change, and it was an honor to speak with WECAN founder Osprey Lake, environmentalist visionary Sally Ranney, as well as Neha Misra founder of Solar Sister, Harriet Shugarman Executive Director of ClimateMama, Executive Director of CELF Katie Ginsberg and student Coreena, and Patricia Gualinga-Montalvo, Indigenous Leader of Ecuador, whose interview was translated by Amazon Watch’s Executive Director Leila Salazar-López. For more information visit wecaninternational.org