Month: October 2019

EV Charging Stations | Let’s GO!

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 18, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

It’s alarming to see how far behind the US is with EV charging stations compared to the EU and other countries across the globe. If we’re the largest carbon emitters per capita, we have to become the leader in sustainability initiatives. Over the past decade, the two chief barriers that have kept consumers from transitioning to EVs, have been the range an EV can drive on one battery charge, and the availability of charging stations.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300The range has increased substantially, with several of the new 2020 EVs reaching as high as 325 miles, and most EV’s hovering in the mid 200’s. With the average drive to work being 25 miles, and with most EV’s being charged at home overnight, the range is really only a concern for trips. A significant advancement has been the amount of time it takes to charge a battery, which is now only 20 minutes. Tech innovators are working on getting that to under 10 minutes in the near future

Most charging is done at home overnight using a regular charge outlet. Charging at home is free, so EV owners love the savings, although they might see a slight increase in their electricity bill. But then again, EV owners tend to use solar panels for their home power. Home solar panels can now store energy in large batteries that can be used to charge the car at no cost. So then, the only remaining obstacle we have to overcome is public charging stations.

Tesla and Ford are taking the bull by the horns and offering free charging station usage to consumers of certain EV models for a specified period of time. Further, Volkswagen’s emission scandal resulted in VW agreeing to spend $2 billion over 10 years building out EV charging station infrastructure in the US, with their first round focusing on 17 metro areas. So there is corporate buy-in, and the number of corporations participating in creative solutions will keep on rising.

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Employers are jumping in and installing charging stations in employee parking lots. They’ve found that the relatively minor expense, affords substantial goodwill that their employees greatly appreciate. The minor issue that still has to be worked out is how to move the car from the spot once it’s fully charged. Stay tuned for the solution.

And then there are the town and state legislative initiatives that are popping up all over the country, particularly in those areas that opted to stay in the Paris Agreement after Trump pulled the US out two years ago.

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According to Smart Cities Dive:

  • Spokane, WA waived $50 permit fees for EV charging Stations and solar panels
  • Berkley, CA passed a law banning natural gas in new “low-rise” residential buildings
  • San Jose, CA passed a new law requiring all new multi-family complexes have 70% EV capable parking spaces
  • Atlanta passed an EV ordinance in 2017, outlining the plan for EV charging stations
  • In Seattle, “Councilmember Mike O’Brien said cities are creating a race to the top with these EV-related laws, and it should push others to do the same or go even further.” Let’s hope so!

Light poles in many cities and towns are now adorned with mini solar panels, a simple solution that’s incredibly cost effective. And now an innovative new idea has reinvented the modern light pole, turning the entire pole into a solar panel through it’s mosaic design. Will there soon be a charging station attached to each pole as well? Fingers crossed. Ingenious ideas to solve critical problems have always been an American strength. It’s time to shift our creativity into overdrive so that we can move a few of these climate action mountains as fast and furious as possible.

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To find public charging stations near you, just CLICK HERE .

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75

Setting Up Our Home Compost Bins ASAP

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 15, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

For the millions of us searching for effective next steps in reducing atmospheric carbon, as well as lowering our personal carbon footprints, having a home compost bin is a significant step forward. The best part, is how easy compost bins are to step up and maintain.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, 51% of trash is compostable. This food that is thrown away in landfills turns into methane. Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2. But when food waste is composted and then layered into the soil, the soil becomes so rich with nutrients that it substantially increases the amount of carbon the soil can sequester, which lowers our atmospheric carbon level, and reduces the global temperature.

Homes, restaurants, and large dining facilities — whether that be school cafeterias, hospital and corporate cafeterias, mall foodcourts, and large banquets and conference centers — should all be tapped into the simple compositing process. Be on the lookout at restaurants in your area. Most healthy and organic venues now have compost bins.

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There are many ways composting space can be set up. It all depends on where you live and whether you’re able to have a larger outdoor bin.

  • In the kitchen, it’s best to have a small bin, with a handled bucket  that can be lifted out of the lidded container.
  • All food scraps we normally stuff into the sink disposal, will instead by placed in the compost bin.
  • The small compost bin should be emptied each night into the larger bin that is either stored in the yard or garage.
  • It’s important that the large bin is ventilated, and turned with a large stick once a week.
  • Air enables the compost to process faster.
  • An official compost bin has a lower hatch close to the ground, that can be opened when the compost is ready, and easily removed to place in soil around the yard.
  • If you live in a condo or apartment and want to keep everything light, you may want to try a small lidded container on your porch or patio that you can empty by layering into a nearby forest floor regularly.

 

Hands emptying a container full of domestic food waste
photography by AdobeStock

Schools Districts have jumped into the act in a big way, transforming the composting process into a learning lab. Many schools share their composting efforts through social media and it’s very exciting to see students energized by being part of this planet saving effort.

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Teachers really enjoy these interactive, climate action learning labs, too. Win/win experiences are positive and invigorating, making learning fun and joyful. What parents doesn’t love that?

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If you don’t have time or yard space to set up and maintain your own compost bin,  a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin.
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one.
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound.
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding… literally.

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So, take the leap. It’s super easy and will instantly contribute to carbon reduction!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75

Corporate Climate Action | Which Corps Are Keeping An Eye On Consumer Expectations

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 9, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Many individual Americans are rushing forward with climate action, doing their best to lower personal & household carbon footprints by targeting the 5 major categories for quick action:

  1. ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Home – switching to solar, managing efficiency
  2. Transportation – Hybrid or EV autos, walk more
  3. Food – eat minimal dairy & red meat, home composting bins to be applied to garden & forest soil
  4. Stuff – buy less stuff in general, and buy used whenever possible
  5. Nature – huge focus in cutting carbon; our oceans can’t hold anymore carbon, we must all become gardeners and planters: trees, flowers, shrubs, ground cover, compost, compost & more compost (nutrient rich soil from compost will enable soil to hold much more carbon)

And now, with the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, it’s time to focus on America’s large corporations with intense scrutiny as we decide where to spend our holiday shopping dollars. Let’s make Climate Action an important criteria for patronage.

For example, Target Stores, one of the huge shopping mecca’s for Black Friday deals, has assured consumers that 500 of their stores will be fitted with solar panels on roofs come November. Go, Target! Your customers appreciate your concern over the rising global temperature. But can you go one step further, and please remove all single-use plastic shopping bags from your cash registers and force shoppers to use reusable bags. Thank you!

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There have been several recent headlines highlighting corporations who’ve taken bold steps into sustainability and climate action. From Marriott Bonvoy hotels eliminating single-use plastic toiletries, to Nike opening a massive distribution center that uses 100% renewable energy. And what about Apple’s commitment to lowering carbon levels… is our favorite Apple green or red?

Further, just yesterday, Act One Climate 100 released it’s Corporate Climate Action Progress Report. Act One Climate 100+ is a group of 370 investors managing $35 trillion in assets of the worlds largest carbon emitters . Their website notes that their goal is to:

  • Curb emissions
  • Improve governance and
  • Strengthen climate-related financial disclosures

Awareness and accountability make a significant difference, especially when billions of global citizens are then armed with facts enabling us to separate climate action focused corporations from profit-above-all-else focused corporations and spend our money accordingly.

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So this holiday season, before hitting the stores or clicking online, we must first Google to see what each brand and retailer is doing to fight global warming. We only have a few years to get this right. We must act immediately. Numerous companies have created innovative solutions. There’s no time to hesitate, though. If a company isn’t onboard with climate action, then they’re off board. There’s no neutral position. We the consumers hold all the power this holiday season. It’s imperative that we let our climate action feelings be known and simply shout “NO” to inaction by using our wallets to express our feelings and priorities.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75

 

Glass Packaging is a Vital Climate Action Solution

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 7, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Glass packaging is an immediate climate action initiative we can run with ASAP.  Eliminating as much plastic as possible from the environment is on everyone’s ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300agenda. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, twice the size of France, is nearly pure plastic and threatens ocean health. It’s hard to believe that as recently as, fifty years ago, the majority of US food packaging was glass, including everyday milk.

Plastic has several obvious benefits that resulted in consumer good manufacturers transitioning to plastic packaging when it was introduced to the marketplace back in the 70’s. Lightweight, squeezable, and durable. Plastic doesn’t shatter when dropped the way glass can.

But the plastic negatives are life-threatening and must be factored into decision making. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), plastics are “produced from natural gas, natural gas processing, and crude oil refining.” Thus, plastics contains numerous chemicals that are carcinogens as well as the source of other serious human health hazards that can leach into food and impact health. Not only does plastic packaging increase cancer risk, it also impacts our body’s ability to regulate itself by disrupting our hormones and our body’s chemical pathways. Additionally, plastics imperil the well-being of our oceans and the food supply living in the deep blue seas. In fact, whenever we eat fish, we consume microscopic amounts of plastic.

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Climate and health focused consumers are sounding the battle cry to eliminate the scourge of plastic packaging from our lives, and thus save humanity. A very powerful alarm… and force. It’s the witching hour, with no time for delay.

On this note, as we begin to boldly transition back to glass packaging, the Glass Packaging Institute is a wealth of information and a critical resource for manufacturers making key decisions. Whatever the difference in cost may be, it’s clear that consumers have already made the decision that we’re willing to pay a few cents more for glass packaging. Yet, companies did receive a significant tax break at the end of 2017, so they should be able to cover the cost increase on their own, especially now that many consumers are choosing products based on how they are packaged.

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The Glass Packaging Institute website provides valuable information, that every savvy consumer will want to know when making a decision about what to buy based on how it’s packaged as we struggle to save the planet, our climate and our health.

GPI:

  • Glass is made from natural domestic materials such as sand, cullet, soda ash, and limestone
  • Glass is impermeable and nonporous so there’s no leaching of chemicals into our food supply
  • Glass is 100% recyclable
  • 80% of recycled glass is used in new glass products
  • Communities are beginning to set up large glass recycling bins, rather than use curbside service, so glass can be that much more easily recycled at its purest form (curbside often results in shreds of cardboard being mixed with the glass when recycled)
  • Glass packaging can also be recycled endlessly with no loss to purity
  • GPI has a new president, Scott DeFife, who will be developing and sharpening GPI’s focus on “marketing, advocacy, and sustainability” for the glass container manufacturing industry. Best of luck, Mr. DeFife… you have a huge #ClimateAction fan club that will be keeping track of and sharing your successes.

On a personal note, I was excited to discover over the weekend, that the barbecue sauce aisle in my local grocery store displayed products on shelves based on packaging. The TOP 5 shelves were all the glass bottles of barbecue sauce. And the bottom two shelves, which were so close to the ground you wouldn’t actually stoop unless you were forced to, were the plastic bottles of barbecue sauce. Imagine if every grocery store did the same… we’d have this particular climate action initiative humming along in record time. Interestingly, two of the plastic bottle brands clinging to the bottom were the biggest brand names: Heinz and Kraft. We clearly need to alert these two consumer brands about our consumer expectations.

Let’s FIX this, fast & furious!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75

Longworth HOB & Critical Compost | Climate Action

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 4, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Success in reducing atmospheric carbon levels to the targeted 350 PPM from the current 412 PPM will come from tiers of immediate action. If every tier nails its targets, we’ll save the globe and civilization. This should motivate us to Act Now, especially when we consider how basic and easy many of the “actions” are for lowering carbon.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300The main TIERS:

  • Individual carbon footprint
  • Corporations, businesses & organizations
  • Local, state & federal government and agencies
  • Farms
  • Nature
  • Miscellaneous

All we have to do as individuals is focus on the tiers that we fall under. The greatest obstacle to succeeding at carbon reduction though, is missing the small, easy opportunities that we fail to recognize. The ones right under our nose that we would be able to execute immediately if we were more aware.

Composting is the best example of a basic missed opportunity. For example, take the Longworth House Office Building dining hall in Washington, DC where thousands of constituents, lobbyists, and House Representatives eat breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday each week. Sadly, Longworth does not currently compost, despite the fact that the US Botanic Garden is across the street and would thrive on weekly fresh compost, as would the massive acres of capitol grounds that are also across Independence Ave.

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According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment:

  • 51% of “trash” dumped into landfills is compostable
  • Annually, the world throws away approximately 1.3 billion tons of food
  • 3.3 billion tons of CO2 is released each year to process the wasted food (production, harvesting, transporting and packaging)
  • Wasted food thrown away in a landfill releases methane
  • Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2
  • On the other hand, wasted  food that’s composted and layered into soil, increases the soil’s nutritional content which increases the amount of carbon it can sequester

Thus, composting uneaten food at home, at work and in restaurants and dining halls is a no-brainer. In fact, many school districts are jumping in. Capitol Hill dining halls would only have to change one of its two trash signs to “FOOD/COMPOST.” This is so easy, it’s scary.

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Trash sign at Longworth HOB dining hall. A red asterisks has been placed on the items that can be composted. The uneaten food would have to be removed from the packaging before it’s dumped into the compost bin.

Our oceans sequester approximately 25% of atmospheric carbon and nature 28%. The big challenge with ocean carbon sequestration is that it increases water temperature as well as acidity. The increase in water temperature, melts the glaciers which raises the global water levels. The higher temperature also causes changing climate which becomes that much more extreme.

To save humanity from climate extremes, the focus is now on increasing carbon sink in nature and in soil, and trying to lower ocean temperatures. Nature — which means planting more trees and greens, and elevating the nutritional values in soil — is one of the new climate action touchstones on the carbon sequestration front. In short, compositing has become a vital necessity. Thus, missed opportunities sound the alarm.

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Composting has become such a critical factor in the success of lowering our atmospheric carbon levels, that a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding.

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When the carbon facts are this simple and the cost a bare minimum, and #ActNow only a matter of changing signs, it’s unfathomable how anyone would pass on this opportunity. Come on, Longworth… let’s FIX THIS!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch & ‘The Ocean Cleanup’

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 2, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

The simple fact about cutting carbon, and saving our civilization and returning to 350 PPM, is that if everyone does their little part now, we’ll succeed. And if not, we won’t. It’s that basic.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Knowing this, it becomes super exciting to see individuals, families, groups, corporations and innovators dive in and act, and quite infuriating when corporations that I love from a consumer perspective, do nothing. In fact, I feel extremely disappointed with the “do nothing” sector, and if it’s a corporation, quickly search to see whether their top competitor is moving more quickly with climate action.

Saving our civilization is going to take grit and sacrifice, two vital traits that require practice to make perfect. Both become charged when inspired. The story of 25-year-old Dutchman Boyan Slat, and his seven year journey of bringing a dream to life, drawing a diagram on a napkin while in high school, and having his boat The Ocean Cleanup  set sail from San Francisco, CA on September 9, 2019, is quite dazzling. He’s young, lives across the globe, yet he was the one who became so infuriated with the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that he moved into high gear and took action.

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The Ocean Cleanup is testing it’s theory that the ship can use ocean currents along with a massive boon and skirt to collect the plastic from the garbage patch — that’s twice the land mass of France — and harvest it. Slat had to make the huge personal sacrifice of foregoing his studies in aeronautical engineering to follow through with his vision. But his sacrifice paid off. And we’ll be able to follow the success of this determined humanitarian. Mr. Slat recently became the youngest winner ever of the UN’s greatest environmental honor, The Champion of the Earth award. Congratulations!

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Our contribution to this noble cause of saving our oceans which then saves humanity is very simple. We all MUST:

  • Use reusable bags INSTEAD of single use plastic
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Metal straws
  • Fly kites instead of balloons

Nominal cost, maximum gain. It doesn’t get any easier than this. #ActNow

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75

Music Catalog Meets TV Series | Oh, the Wonder

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | October 1, 2019)
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Two great experiences combined into one unique series is sure to net an exciting result. MGM Television is joining Universal Music Publishing Group to breath dramatic life into Billy Joel’s deep music catalog and create a TV anthology series based on Mr. Joel’s extensive repertoire of stories told through his lyrics. How brilliant!

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300It’s the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups concept, “two great tastes that taste great together.” I’m so in the mood for something original, especially when it’s rooted in something extremely successful — Billy Joel’s incredibly deep catalog. Nearly every single series streaming service is bloated with way too much dark horror, which I personally find depressing at the end of a dark day of current events. Isn’t entertainment supposed to be fun and uplifting, a vehicle through which the public can “forget about life for awhile?”

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is landing at an ideal time, providing a unique entertainment experience for viewers. Billy Joel’s music appeals to all generations, evidenced through his Madison Square Garden monthly residency. More than 70 consecutive sold out shows, beginning January 27, 2014 and running to the present. I’ve attended several — most recently this past Friday night September 27, 2019 — and was in awe that one packed event could contain multiple generations of die hard fans. In fact, a 14 year old boy explained that his high school band plays 4 – 5 Billy Joel songs. According to this young piano player, the school’s band members love Billy Joel’s music because his songs contain so many instruments.

Kevin Fox is writing the Scenes from an Italian Restaurant series. Mr. Fox is a heavy hitter, the creator of Law & Order: SVU, so very familiar with New York City, Mr. Joel’s home turf.  Mr. Joel & Mr. Fox will be the Executive Producers along with Joel’s producing partner, Steve Cohen. Mr. Cohen is Billy Joel’s co-created Billy Joel — New York State of Mind together.

The “arc-thology” — what is an arc-thology anyway, I googled and couldn’t find an answer (it appears to be a new word invented just for this series) — will be based on Billy Joel lyrics “reimagined and rearranged by Joel’s music team — with his input — and take his tunes in new directions.” I speculate that this means transformed to the present. Many of Joel’s greatest hits were released in the mid to late 70’s, before computers and smart phones were invented. Joel also mentions brands and hairstyles in his songs, some of which are now extinct. As well as years —  “summer of ’75” for one — which are so last century. It’s a whole new world out there. It would make sense if we could see Joel’s universal themes that run through his songs, themes that have remained true across the centuries just like Aesop’s Fables, as well as the different generations in modern times, brought into the present. Disney does this with it’s classics. But please don’t hold me to this, I’m merely speculating absent any specific details.

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What I consider the most exciting part about a unique series like Scenes from an Italian Restaurant is that so many Billy Joel songs have become the soundtracks of our lives. Listening to these faves, brings back waves of nostalgia, reminding us of “good times,” but also about American ideals, as well as our country’s history. I’ve enjoyed seeing this at the MSG concerts. Thousands of people collectively enjoying awesome memories.

Through this series, it seems like we’ll be able to create new memories too, with a whole new collection of mental images to match up to the lyrics, broadening and deepening the song’s imprint on our lives. I love it!

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And most impressively, there’s also the positive health impact of Billy Joel’s broad eclectic collection of genres. The actual melodies and beats and the instruments themselves. I began noticing this a while ago and took a deep dive into researching how music impacts health, as well as music’s connection to our body chemistry, and was astounded. I was very aware of it personally I guess, when I discovered I could run twice as far (four miles) listening to Scenes From An Italian Restaurant over and over, versus any other song. This was so consistent that I determined there must be a scientific explanation. I’ve noticed the same type of phenomenon when driving long distances. No matter what music I used to listened to, I would eventually become groggy and terrified I’d fall asleep. The only exception was a Billy Joel soundtrack. How bizarre is that? Researching, I discovered Pythagoras’ “quantum harmonies” and how these harmonies connect humankind to the cosmos. I’m convinced that many, if not all, of Billy Joel’s compositions are quantum harmonies.

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I wish it was more clear what “coming soon” means. Once an exciting series like this is hinted at, it’s must more difficult to scroll through Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime offerings and not feel disappointed. Six of Billy Joel’s thirteen albums were released in October & November, so my fingers are crossed that “soon” means real soon.

News of the Scenes from an Italian Restaurant series broke on September 25, 2019, so I’ll speculate that the pilot is complete and ready to air. (Is that wishful thinking?) And I’ll keep my fingers crossed that there’s a wise risk-taker at one of these networks that has enjoyed a few Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and can recognize brilliance when she/he sees it.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantGreenSmileGold-75