1713 Project Farmhouse, GrowNYC with guest Amanda Gentile

Our guest this week on 50 Shades of Green Divas is Amanda Gentile of GrowNYC. We discuss Project Farmhouse, a beautiful new LEED certified facility, which brings farming  and sustainable education into the heart of NYC. The space contains a full kitchen, conference area, and it has a Green Hydroponic wall which contains freshly grown herbs and greens. Amanda explains the importance of this new facility, and the need to educate citizens of NYC and beyond, about healthy eating, being more sustainable and practicing the three Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) within one’s daily routine. Changing our habits just a little bit will make Mother Nature and all Earth’s creatures breathe easier.

For more information go to: projectfarmhouse.org, grownyc.org and thegreendivas.com. Tweet us your thoughts @tmshadesofgreen

 

What’s the Tipping Point for Our Mess

By Susan Lutz

A growing problem in the United Kingdom, and worldwide, is what is called fly-tipping. The intriguing name drew me into the video. Clip after clip showed cars pulling up to spots around the U.K. and dumping their trash, couches, plastic roofing, recycling, and one group of people even dumped dead sheep. All the mess, stink, and trouble left for someone else to clean up. After seeing the video, I felt I’d tipped, as if it was one too many videos about terrible things we’re doing.

I want to care about all our troubles. The disturbing election in the U.S., the terrorist attacks, the rape victims, the dolphins slaughtered and captured, the sharks butchered for their fins, the children taken from their families. After so much, I feel numb, no longer seeing, or feeling, the pain. I only look, a voyeur just scrolling by.

The heavy load of the constant barrage of information weighs me down. Though, it’s not visible on the outside, on the inside, I think my soul is suffering from so much “much.”  The fact that people are dumping trash on other people’s property and country roads and national lands enrages me. I want to scream, donate money, judge, yet, where do I go with that anger? I find myself lost. I feel the whole grow bigger.

I remember those campaigns against littering in the 70s. The roads were dotted with trash, cigarette butts, everything we could toss out a car window or discard while walking. Then, we rallied, we educated, we recycled, and now we find we’re fly-tipping? Letting others take care of our problems passes the buck to no end. There might not be a difference in fly-tipping and creating little plastic coffee cups by the billions to pollute the land for a one-time thrill. The consciousness behind all these acts is meant to quickly satisfy and satiate- to not take responsibility for our choices.

When I lived in Central America, I often heard tourists or expats talking to each other about the shameful way the citizens polluted their lands. Yet, everyday I saw hard working men and women sweeping the streets, earning probably less than $400 a month trying to change things, keeping the land clean. I saw things change. I see them change here too. Then, I see on-line what seems to be this unearthing of non-stop hideous behavior of people hurting each other and the environment. I needed to ask: why keep looking? Is it ever going to change?

I look because in the mess of our humanity, I see warriors of peace, love, kindness, and smarts, all trying to make the world a better place. Just recently, I read France will be banning plastic cutlery, “to promote a ‘circular economy’ of waste disposal, ‘from product design to recycling…’” A rescue organization in India finds desperate animals in dire condition in the street. In a few moments, I can see a transformation from near death to salvation – this with the power of social media.

There’s good out there, a lot. There’s bad too. Staring at it, looking for too long takes away the time we have in front of us to take responsibility for the little and big issues we all face. By keeping our heads tucked deep into our phones and feeds and likes, we miss the opportunity to create a connection standing, sitting, flying, flapping, or wagging right in front of us. I’m the first to raise my hand and say I am guilty of too much. I’ve even wondered if the beeper wasn’t such a bad idea. The number came up, we had time to look, find a quarter, a phone….all that time….all that time to think about what we were doing.

 

 

 

#1617: Green Sex For Climate’s Sake

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.

How the Purchase of Cotton Pants and Panties Can Change the World

By Susan Lutz

When shopping, the world sits on my shoulder. I feel it. Products scream at me: buy me! I’m a deal! Good for your pocketbook! Just what you want – what your kids need – stylish! I slide shirts down the rack, wondering who made it, what chemicals were used in the fields, and if the product is GMO. Food tops the list when we think of buying organic and fair trade. However, cotton must be added to our list and be a part of our consciousness as it’s an important crop to choose organic and fair trade.

The Organic Consumer’s Association highlighted aspects of a report by The Institute of Science in Society. It called cotton a “triple-threat…because it produces fiber, food, and feed….Monsanto Corporation has been a major source of genetically modified (GM) cotton lines.”

Cotton ranks as one of the highest producer of GMOs, falling in line with soy, canola, and corn. The Environmental Justice Foundation put out a report siting the commodity of cotton and the dangers it poses to workers, which include children, in the fields.

Pants, shoes, shirts, yoga clothes, and even panties, can be produced with organic cotton and fair trade certification. So much bedding, pillows, shoes, and of course clothes contain cotton. The cotton crop is estimated at $32 billion yearly.

With children, and especially with teenagers, grabbing the latest styles is tempting so many brands sell at cheaper prices due to the above-named factors. By dusting the crops with chemicals and using non-fair trade labor tactics, the price point goes down. I look to several practical solutions to introduce the use of organic cotton into our lives. I won’t be able to buy everything fair trade or organic. So, I work on choosing one area I can commit to and get as much out of my dollar while also supporting environmentally friendly products.

  • Going to the thrift store can stretch an item’s use – no one had to work in the fields a second time to put it up for sale. The second use recycles and produces less of an environmental impact all-around.
  • Decide on choosing a few items that will last – a great t-shirt made from organic cotton or a pair of organic cotton fair trade jeans – probably love them more, appreciate them more, and enjoy them more, too!
  • Pick one item and buy only fair trade and/or organic within that department. Green panties are a good start. Just like food, I can’t swing buying all organic; however, I commit to a few items and stick with it.

Never underestimate the power of our voice through out purchases

 

We’re Melting

By Susan Lutz

Forests are dying. Polar bears starving, ice caps shrinking. The list grows. We’ve spent a lifetime stomping on the planet and now world leaders gather in the hopes of finding a solution before we hit the tipping point. Can we pull back? Can we save ourselves?

I read positive stories: a community garden in Haiti becomes a center of growth and revitalization; the price of solar power is dropping fast and becoming an extremely viable alternative energy source; climate adapted strategies are manifesting and working to stabilize wildlife. Around towns, I see trees being planted, youth conversing about important issues. This is great. And there are many more examples of success and ideas which are moving us forward.

Yet, I read bad news, too: the UK starts to cut millions of dollars from its renewable resources; the threat of disease increases due to insects gaining the ability to live longer and travel farther; the sea level is rising; and of course, we’ve all seen the pictures of the polar bears starving. Some days, it’s hard to read the news. Some days it does seem like we’re just going to tip over and sink.

I recently heard a lecture on the cause and effect of our actions and the impact our choices have on climate change. The most interesting, and most powerful, I thought, was this: What are we willing to give up? In this country, the majority of cars during rush hour consist of single drivers. Bottled water and soda fill our vending machines, and we don’t give a second thought to the short pleasure we get versus the amount of toxins in each bottle. We like our stuff. We like our creams, cars, deals online, new phones, and processed, over-packaged foods.

The summit on climate change brings together world leaders. The model of coming together to talk; understanding our differences; taking note of those suffering the most; and, moving forward with dialogue. Regardless of how difficult the task is, it is one we must implement from the highest of offices to the grass-roots level.

We wait too long to act. We wait to change gun laws until terror steps into our cafes (if even then). We wait to ban trophy hunting and poaching and watch as species become threatened and face habitat loss and even become extinct. We’re slowly melting under the take-the-money-and-run philosophy of getting what we need, now, and forgetting how it will hurt us in the future.

When my son picked up an acorn the other day, he thought it was the grandest of discoveries. I held it up and told him it was amazing. We carried it with us as if it were a piece of gold. Our food supply, our land, our water – they truly are gold. We must realize this now, or we will watch as the world melts and slowly slips away.

 

COP21

michael-charles-tobias-the-many-shades-of-green

“Between its celebrations of privilege, and the angst of its reckonings, human life gathers unto itself a chaos of contradictions… If we are ceaseless tamperers, we are also from time to time unobtrusive, Though we shout, so may we whisper.” (Michael Charles Tobias, quote from his work, After Eden: History, Ecology and Conscience) My guest this week is Michael C. Tobias, President of Dancing Star Foundation, who is a global ecologist, humanitarian, explorer, author, filmmaker, educator and animal rights activist. 195 nations are set to converge in Paris, a city recently struck by incomprehensible acts of terrorism, for the COP 21 (Conference of Parties), with the hopes of reaching an agreement to to set limits on carbon emissions to reduce the detrimental effects of global warming. Rich and poor nations must gather to form partnerships to be agents of change, rather than agents of destruction. Negative ideology has to be redirected, and ethics, compassion and morality, along with science and technology must lead the way to solutions. For more information go to www.dancingstarfoundation.org

#1527: Farm to School

staff_Jaime2According the the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents within the past 30 years. Enter the National Farm to School Network, which is working to bring local, fresh foods to school across the U.S., in an effort to reduce obesity, and bring healthy food choices to cafeteria menus. My guest this week is Jaime Lockwood, Development Director at the Farm to School Network, which helps connect local farmers with schools, chefs to cafeterias, and students to gardens. We talk about the importance of the Farm to School Act of 2015, and discuss how chefs inspire healthy eating, environmental awareness, and fitness via wellnessintheschools.org. Jaime is also a board member of Urban Tree Connection, an organization based in Philadelphia, that works to educate and develop community driven greening and gardening projects on vacant land. For more information visit farmtoschool.org. and urbantreeconnection.org

#1527: Farm to School by The Many Shades Of Green on Mixcloud