Really? Meat that is rejected for human consumption is OK for our pets? I’m buying the 365˚ brand pet food from now on!
|March 12, 2012||General Social Good, News/Politics|
By Marcie Barnes This is a live blog post from the talk entitled ”New Media Landscape Discussion” at SXSW. Speakers are former Vice President Al Gore – who now spends the majority of his time as chairman of The Climate Reality Project – and Sean Parker who is an entrepreneur with a record of launching genre-defining companies that reinvent ways to spread information online. Gore: Our Democracy has been hacked – it no longer works for the best interest of the people. Television is a centralizing force. Average American watches TV 5 hours a day. Now it’s the central place where politics are discussed and creates a very different “public square” compared to those of the past. The news shows and debates are sponsored by coal, oil, banks, pharmaceutical companies. Wants to see “Internet Democracy.” Parker: Is optimistic that the rise… more
|March 12, 2012||General Social Good|
By Marcie Barnes This is a live blog post from the talk entitled ”Content As a Means for Social Change” at SXSW. Speakers are Biz Stone (co-founder of Twitter and The Obvious Corporation, which focuses on building systems that help people work together to improve the world) and Brian Sirgutz, SVP, Social Impact, AOL/Huffington Post. Sirgutz was motivated to do philanthropic work after helping volunteer after 9/11. Part of his introduction includes Biz’s passion for incorporating value into businesses before profit. Evan Williams (co-founder of Twitter) and Biz at one point were working on an idea to be “kings of podcasting” but realized that they didn’t really want to do that, wouldn’t make them happy. He was critiqued early by a lot of people who said twitter was not useful – and Even said “neither is ice cream, do we… more
|March 11, 2012||Energy/Conservation|
By Marcie Barnes This is a live blog post from the talk entitled ”The Smart Grid Is Inseparable from the Internet” at SXSW. Speaker is Steven Collier VP Mktg & Business Dev Milsoft Utility Solutions Inc. and blogs at www.smartgridman.com History: The power grid began in late 1800s in New York City by Thomas Edison when he deployed Pearl Street Station. He invented the light bulb because he wanted to put the gas company out of business when they shut off his service. It’s been built over time to be “big” – capacity and redundancy (backup paths) have been the only tools. As electric consumption grew by leaps and bounds, power plants are being built bigger and bigger. Plants, transmission lines, and distribution centers are still the same with the smart grid – the only difference is the electric meter… more
|March 10, 2012||Energy/Conservation, Entertainment|
By Marcie Barnes This is a live blog post from the talk entitled “Paper or Plastic? Social Media Can Restore Earth” at SXSW. Speaker is Michael Dungan Pres/CEO BeeDance. They are working to divert items from the waste stream esp. in the construction industry, and they are connecting the “waste makers” with artists, teachers etc. via project called Zero Landfill in 25 US cities. Biomimicry is an organizing principle as a design strategy – they looked at honeybees in order to learn how waste can be better managed/repurposed. Derived 30+ practices from honeybees and distilled them to 9 lessons: • they work on a hyper-local basis: location-based & proximity-based apps are helping us be more like bees in this way • they are motivated by the rules of attraction: they have finely tuned senses, they see strengths in nature • they… more
|March 10, 2012||Energy/Conservation, Transportation|
By Marcie Barnes This is a live blog post from the talk entitled “Electric Car: Lessons Learned in a Global Movement” at SXSW. Speaker is Benjamin Holland – Project Mgr, Project Get Ready, Rocky Mountain Institute. Stimulus to support the development of batteries, infrastructure, etc. by President Obama to get more electric cars on the road is a big goal, but still only accounts for 1% of total fleet in America. Prius is an “early adapter vehicle” but considered mainstream. Brief history: This is not a new technology – Edison & Ford collaborated to produce affordable electric vehicle. The discovery of abundances of oil accelerated the demand for the internal combustion engine. Model T’s release in 1908 marked little hope for electric vehicles at the time. Signaled growth, fueled economy but had negative consequences. During the… more
|February 28, 2012||Energy/Conservation, Food, General Social Good|
By Marcie Barnes This is a live-blog post of Tom Philpott’s Keynote speech during Shared Tables – A Triangle, NC symposium on global and local food studies at UNC-Chapel Hill. Tom Philpott is the cofounder of Maverick Farms, a center for sustainable food education in Valle Crucis, North Carolina. He was formerly a columnist and editor for the online environmental site Grist and his work on food politics has appeared in Newsweek, Gastronomica, and the Guardian. He currently writes about Food and Ag for Mother Jones. ——– Typically the argument is framed around “can organic feed the world” and the conventional answer. can chemical-intensive, geographically concentrated/patented seeds feed the world? This kind of agriculture is promoted by the US government, foundations like the Gates Foundation, etc. People who promote it are so certain of it’s promise they are “cooking up” a… more
|February 15, 2012||General Social Good|
By Marcie Barnes This post was originally published on www.crowdbackers.com. Why am I a social entrepreneur? I see a possible future based on our current system, a future that encompasses happiness, sustainable business practices, and environmental responsibility. I see many non-profits struggling, while at the same time I see many non-profits with ties to big business, in the form of corporate sponsorship and partnerships who are thriving. I am happy to have the opportunity to share with you my experiences and thoughts on how it can be possible to make the world a better place within the framework of the current system – along with some other tips and advice on creating a sustainable, and profitable social venture. Things to consider when organizing your social venture, compared to a traditional business venture: I spent many months researching and pondering how… more
|November 23, 2011||Energy/Conservation, Food|
By Marcie Barnes You’ve probably heard plenty about how eating local and organic as much as possible is healthy for you and the planet. And it’s true. Although many organic (and local) products get a bad rap for being more expensive, it’s almost always related to the fact that the government subsidizes oil and corn (among other things) which make mass-produced, carb-filled foods cheaper. So, if you’re not a fan of the government skewing the free-market system, don’t continue to buy the mainstream, big-ag controlled products. Just thought I’d throw that out there on this day before we all give thanks for our food and blessings… In that spirit, I’ve prepared a quick top five list of small things you can do in order to eat more green, be healthier, and support the health of Mother Earth: 5. Take… more
By Marcie Barnes
This is a guest post written for (and cross-posted at) www.thegoodhuman.com.
You’ve probably heard of the the concerns that come along with the destruction of rainforests and other ancient swaths of virgin ecosystems. Among these include: loss of biodiversity (there is a long list of the things that are lost here), loss of carbon-sequestering trees and other plants, and loss of species that depend on those habitats.
…more than 80 percent of the Earth’s natural forests already have been destroyed. Up to 90 percent of West Africa’s coastal rain forests have disappeared since 1900. Brazil and Indonesia, which contain the world’s two largest surviving regions of rain forest, are being stripped at an alarming rate by logging, fires, and land-clearing for agriculture and cattle-grazing. – National Geographic
These are sobering statistics for any good treehugger, and should be for any human citizen of the Earth. But what is quite alarming is the reason behind all of this deforestation. One may naturally assume that trees are used for timber, which we need to build structures to house ourselves. That indeed is one use, but according to http://kids.mongabay.com/elementary/501.html – the reasons are many:
- wood for both timber and making fires;
- agriculture for both small and large farms;
- land for poor farmers who don’t have anywhere else to live;
- grazing land for cattle;
- pulp for making paper;
- road construction; and
- extraction of minerals and energy.
Of course the focus of this article is #4 – pulp for making paper – which of course includes paper for such things as textbooks, printed materials, paper plates, napkins, towels, diapers, and of course, toilet paper.
Now out of all these things, most of which can be justified as necessities in American culture, it’s the use of paper products for hygiene (namely paper towels and toilet paper) that make the least amount of sense, especially in light of the fact that one is essentially using a tree to wipe themselves. Why? According to wikipedia.org, humans have used things such as “rags, wood shavings, leaves, grass, hay, stone, sand, moss, water, snow, maize, ferns, may apple plant husks, fruit skins, or seashells” [not to mention water] for this task. Although “the first documented use of toilet paper in human history dates back to the 6th century AD, in early medieval China,” it appears that this practice was generally considered as non-hygenic.
It is obvious that corporate marketing has made this option much more desirable in the last 100 years.
Okay okay we hear you laughing – “I’m not going to wipe my butt with corn cobs!” and we understand…
So in the true spirit of what greenetarians is all about, we offer you this. Sure, toilet paper is a great (and convenient) invention that few of us would be willing to part with. Our ask is this, if you do one thing, please purchase 100% recycled paper products at every opportunity possible, and recycle as much paper in your own home and office as possible. Based on our research, the “big” brands you are familiar with, such as Charmin, Cottonelle (and their paper towel counterparts Bounty and Viva) are virgin-wood products and should be avoided at all costs. Many times, we found the prices (and comfort level, trust us) to be very similar with the exception of when the “big” brands go on sale, which unfortunately, doesn’t seem to happen very often with the recycled brands.
When it comes to other paper products, it’s important (and confusing) to buy products made from sustainably-sourced or 100% recycled paper. Stay tuned for a later post in which we will delve more deeply into the (sadly) mind-boggling world of paper trade and certification.