Month: February 2020

Boycotting Future Dem Candidate Debates | Election 2020

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 27, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Analyzing the second Democratic debate and the commentary that followed is almost too mystifying to process. Our country is on the brink of a global pandemic that we’re woefully unprepared for, which feels traumatizing if I stop and think about it, so I obviously won’t. Further, Attorney General William Barr simply must resign after leveling our rule of law for the benefit of our corrupt president, but we’re all so preoccupied with these other concerns that we’re not storming the streets, demanding Barr be removed from office. A patriot from the justice department insisted we have a human uprising to remove this enemy of justice. We simply must.

These life and democracy-threatening events are flagrant reminders of just how important it is to remove the 45th president of the United States with swift conviction during the 2020 election. So what happened on Tuesday night February 26, 2020? How can so many of us watch the debate and walk away with completely different impressions?

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 1.35.17 AM.png

All I can deduce, is that the majority in the country following the debates, haven’t analyzed what it will take to defeat Trump in the 2020 election following his acquital, and what traits are an absolute must.

Screen Shot 2020-02-27 at 1.29.52 AM.png

In actuality, if truth be told, we really shouldn’t have to. The vast majority of us don’t have the necessary security clearance to obtain all the information required to properly understand what a monster threat Russia is. Having enough money to defend our elections is a significant liability.

The Democratic leadership should be playing a much bigger role in narrowing down the Dem field to two. Right now, having to decide on the best candidate makes me feel the way I did when my parents were getting divorced. My brother,  sisters and I loved both parents. When they began screaming at each other, I remember trying to fall asleep at night in tears, wondering why they couldn’t stop. Then we siblings were soon in conflict because a few were closer to Mom, and the others to Dad. This sustained nightmare scarred me for life.

And that’s exactly how I feel right now. Traumatized. Scared. Mad that several Dems can’t read their fate on the walls?

I refuse to watch another debate. The field needs to be narrowed down to two candidates before Tuesday, a moderate and an ultra liberal. The national poll shows Bernie & Mike as top two. I accept this.🇺🇸

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

Powerful Impact of Meadows on Carbon Sink

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Thousands of innovators across the globe are aggressively working on inventing machines that will pull carbon out of the air and store it, or transform it into something useful. Recent news about Amazon committing $10B to combat climate change has created hope that some of these funds will be used to create innovative solutions such as carbon sequestration machines.

But we’re not there yet, unfortunately, so we have to maximize what’s currently at our disposal… nature.

Planting trees, of course, is number one priority.  However, often overlooked, but equally as important, in fact, maybe even more important than trees, are meadows. Expansive landscapes of open fields that contain a variety of plants have a magical way of funneling carbon into their roots and trapping it in the soil where it will be stashed even when the roots die.

According to the Scientific American on sustainability, “Carbon Off-Set Cowboys Let Their Grass Grow”:

“The best way to maximize the amount of carbon that gets trapped underground is to maximize grass growth.”

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 2.24.22 PM.png

The fact that so many different types of botanic species grow in a meadow, and their roots all intertwine underground, appears to be why meadows store so much more carbon than say tall and bushy shrubs. Once carbon is trapped underground, fungi feed off it, and according to the Scientific American, fungi are often consumed by microbes and worms which stabilizes the carbon.

Screen Shot 2020-02-24 at 2.28.47 PM.png

The western half of the country, with it’s massive open terrain, has a huge opportunity to maximize this opportunity and help the United States take giant steps forward in cutting carbon. Apparently, a cap & trade program that reward ranchers and land owners is already underway. According to Civil Eats, Indigo Ag, a Boston-based agtech company, has raised $600 million from investors to help farmers sink one trillion tons of carbon on their property. Farmers are paid $15 per metric ton of stored carbon.

It’s exciting to see that the economy that led to our stratospheric carbon emissions rate, can be used to turn the catastrophe around and inspire land owners to reach for an opportunity to reduce carbon just as quickly and significantly.🌱

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

Big Cities Banning Cars Downtown | Cutting Carbon El Cheapo

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 21, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Nailing low hanging fruit will result in a much needed dent in carbon emissions quickly and efficiently. A recent example is the14th Street car ban in NYCNot only does it cut carbon, it subsequently improves the overall downtown “experience,” making street and sidewalks safer and more enjoyable for pedestrians, cutting air pollution, as well as dramatically reducing the amount of time it takes to get from point A to B. According to Curbed, the travel time for buses to cross lower Manhattan on 14th, has now been cut in half.

HillReport2-21-20d

Mashable has confirmed that following the immediate success of the 14th Street car ban, other US cities took notice:

  • San Francisco banned cars on jammed Market Street
  • Seattle closed congested 3rd Street back in 2018
  • Ultimately, however, the US is way behind our foreign partners, just as we are on most climate action initiatives. Wikipedia has a staggering list of cities across the globe who’ve implemented the ingenious car ban to cut carbon and air pollution, improve commuting time, and enhance quality of life downtown.

HillReport2-21-20b

How about other bustling East Coast cities though? Boston, Philadelphia, Washington DC and Atlanta immediately spring to mind. All have major public transportation systems that can easily accommodate the transition. Additionally, these cities are major tourist destinations that would benefit from having significantly fewer cars on the street. Even small cities like Chapel Hill, North Carolina with it’s major artery, Franklin Street, would be significantly advantaged.

HillReport2-21-20c

Passing state and federal carbon taxes and regulations takes an extremely long time, which is slowing much needed progress. So, while we’re busy persisting… and being patient, the short term solution with an amazing longterm positive impact is to quickly ban cars from major thoroughfares in our many cities as soon as possible. Spring is right around the corner. With so much data available to municipalities, it’s seemingly unconscionable not to act quickly.~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

How Cool Is This? | Loop Shopping for Zero-Waste

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 18, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

The vast majority of plastic waste is product packaging. If our goal is to have a sustainable circular economy, and rid the environment of as much plastic waste as possible, we have to find a series of solutions to overhaul the way we package consumer products.

So why hasn’t Loop become a familiar buzzword and pathway for all of us to take  advantage of for waste free weekly shopping? It’s quite brilliant.

  • No membership is required
  • We just pay a small one-time fee at the start for the returnable durable Loop Tote
  • We’ll use the Loop Tote with each shipment delivery which will eliminate the cardboard waste
  • All the products are delivered in reusable containers that are returned when we’re through
  • Most containers are stainless steel, while others are glass
  • Loop will sanitize each container and reuse

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 4.59.20 PM.png

Loop has even managed to solve the toothpaste crisis, which has always seemed too tricky for a feasible alternative. Many of our favorite name brands are Loop partners. But most importantly, Loop is an excellent fix for personal care products that we use everyday and create the bulk of plastic waste.

Screen Shot 2020-02-18 at 4.59.46 PM.png

Innovative creativity is so exciting.I’m IN… can’t wait to check it out!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

Why is the Sunshine State so Far Behind with Solar?

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 14, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

One would think that with all that sunshine Florida would be way out in front on solar power, but no such luck. How can this be with such dire warning threatening the state? Some scientists believe that Miami will be the first US metropolis to become uninhabitable as a result of climate change.

Florida should be sprinting to cut carbon. When homes, towns, and businesses overproduce solar power they can either store the excess in their home batteries or send it back to the grid and get paid (net metering). Why don’t Florida residents want to take advantage of one of their most valuable assets. They can earn an income from their overabundance of this vital natural resource.

HollReport2-14-2020.png

Florida has the third largest population in the US:

  • California – 39.7million
  • Texas – 29.1
  • Florida – 21.6

HillReport2014-2020a.png

Yet, according to vivant.Solar, Florida is ranked #10 in solar power:

  • California – 21,074 MW
  • North Carolina – 4,308 MW
  • Arizona – 3,400 MW
  • Nevada – 2,595 MW
  • New Jersey – 2,595 MW
  • Massachusetts – 2,011 MW
  • Texas – 1,874 MW
  • Utah – 1,599 MW
  • Georgia – 1,566 MW
  • Florida – 1,430 MW 

It’s time to act. Florida’s carbon footprint is ranked #3 in country at 4.5 PPM. Residents have the ability to move the needle by taking advantage of natural resources. There are many state and federal incentives to assist with the transition. Let’s DO THIS!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

Overhauling the Packaging of Consumer Brands | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 13, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

With the advent of the global circular economy movement, it soon becomes clear just how many everyday items can’t be recycled. It’s quite alarming. We’ll never reach zero waste unless we find innovative solutions to meet this imperative.

Take plastic, for example. The following plastic packaging/ additional items cannot be recycled:

  • plastic single use shopping bags
  • straws
  • plastic film wrap
  • frozen food bags (nearly all vegetables are sold in non-recyclable bags)
  • cereal box liner
  • chip bags
  • granola bar, candy bar and nearly all snack items wrappers
  • six-pack rings
  • plastic hangers
  • any plastic containers that can’t be cleaned, ie toothpaste tubes

Back before I was aware that these particular pieces couldn’t be recycled, it was exciting to end the month with an empty kitchen garbage bin. But now that I’m in the know, and I see the waste stack up, I feel maximum frustration. We have to stop, focus and fix.

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.09.07 PM.png Thankfully, innovative sustainability companies have done just that. According to Healthy Human, the following are the top sustainable packaging innovations of 2019:

  • Loop, Returnity and Share Pack – companies that enable consumers to conveniently return packaging either by dropping off at targeted locations, or sending back in company provided totes
  • Plant based packaging – plastics made from plants
  • Edible packaging – typically this is seaweed, hopefully they’ll soon find additional alternatives
  • Plantable packaging – contains seeds so the packaging can be planted after use
  • Compostable plastic alternatives
  • Minimal packaging design
  • Upcycled or recycled packaging

Screen Shot 2020-02-13 at 10.09.27 PM.png

Sustainable packaging solutions are here. All we need now is to grow demand which will come from our consumer decision making. We simply must be motivated to seek these sustainably packaged products out and use our wallets to influence corporations to switch. If we all refuse to buy particular brands because of the packaging, corporations will soon wise up.

We can DO THIS!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300

Are You Ever Confused About What Can Be Recycled? | Check Out This Link

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 10, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Recycling has the world’s undivided attention as we strive to reach our lofty goal of zero waste.  Proper recycling is of the utmost importance in the new circular economy era. As we attempt to deposit each item into the correct bin, it’s become more clear that the packaging industry has to be overhauled.

  • Paper labels stickered to a glass container is a very big problem. When glass is pure,  it’s 100% recyclable. When paper stickers are added to the mix, it changes everything.
  • How about the bubble wrap mailing envelopes? Paper on the outside, plastic inside. These can’y be recycled, which is unacceptable.
  • Toothpaste has to have a package redesign as well. It’s impossible to recycle toothpaste tubes because they can’t be cleaned.
  • Plastic bags can’t be recycled. This includes bread bags, frozen fruit and vegetables, Saran wrap, sandwich bags, etc.
  • If we can’t reuse or recycle, we must refuse.

On the subject of cleaning, any plastic container that’s dirty cannot be recycled. Plastic packaging with skinny necks, and there are many, are a very serious problem. The hair conditioner I use, is nearly impossible to clean. I have to work so hard at it, I become aggravated at the selfish business practices of the manufacturer. My time is very valuable. Being forced to be clever and resourceful after a long day of work, so that the manufacturer’s job is easier, isn’t right.

Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 10.10.21 PM.png

Here’s an exceptional link that makes recycling super easy. Just enter the name of the item you want to recycle, and it will tell you how to take care of it.

By the way, plastic shopping bags cannot be recycled either. ZeroWaste.gov recommends that these be recycled by returning them to the store where they came from. Excellent idea! Better yet, invest in reusable bags to make your life easier, and the world a better place.~

Screen Shot 2020-02-10 at 10.13.36 PM.png

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

 

What Can Be Composted? | Circular Economy

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 8, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

Composting is quickly becoming a very big deal. Knowing what can be composted, particularly at home, will net many positive rewards for you as an individual as well as your household, the environment, and for contributing in the lowering of global atmospheric carbon levels.

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 3.39.15 PM.png

Since there are so many benefits to composting, the sooner we start, the better. For the most part, it’s broken down to a solid mix  of “Greens” and “Browns,” the add a bit of water to the bin. Per the US EPA, the breakdown is as follows:

GREENS

  • all fruits & vegetables scraps
  • coffee grounds & tea bags
  • egg shells
  • grass clippings
  • yard trimmings
  • house plants
  • animal manures (except dog and cat)
  • seaweed

BROWNS

  • paper
  • cardboard
  • shredded newspaper
  • branches
  • dead leaves
  • pine needles
  • paper napkins
  • straw and hay
  • sawdust
  • corn stalks
  • dryer lint

Screen Shot 2020-02-08 at 6.16.52 PM.png

Check your city to see of they have compost drop off stations. Many towns and cities do. Washington DC for example, has compost drop-off at every farmers market, and during winter, there are three locations, one of which is opened on Sundays. Spring and summer months, the public can pick up compost for free to use in home gardens.

We’ve got this, LET’S GO!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

Let’s Commit to Zero Waste in 2020 | It’s Very Simple

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 6, 2020
NoreenProfilePicHillReport-75 by Noreen Wise

Let’s nail the waste scene as soon as possible. It’s not complicated. It just takes focus.

I began 2020 super jazzed to be living a circular economy life. I jumped in running the last three months of 2019, and was pumped to have it nearly perfected by December, which is when I successfully managed a zero waste month. I felt like I’d won an olympic gold medal, not to mention the excitement of having extra money in my pocket the way Wall Street geniuses always do.

Waste is something we can all manage on our own without being forced by laws. We just wake up one morning (tomorrow morning hopefully) and say, “I’m in!” And voila, we’re three quarters of the way there.

A zero waste life is about setting up a defined circular economy zone in our households where we can easily breakdown everything we consume so that it can quickly be turned around for multiple uses. The goal is:

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Recycle & Upcycle

Refuse is a big deal. We have the power to motivate businesses to do the right thing very effectively by refusing to buy certain products that create waste. For example, back at the beginning of October 2019, I made the decision to never buy ketchup packaged in plastic again. This was very difficult, because Heinz has cornered the market and there were no glass alternatives. I called Heinz, but Heinz refuses to sell ketchup packaged in glass the way they used to. So I made the bold decision to switch to BBQ sauce which is 85% packaged in glass.

HillReport2-6-2020

A month later, Red Duck created a brand new product, ketchup in glass. It’s delicious, so much healthier. And it’s organic too. Thank you, Red Duck! A responsive American corporation meeting consumer demand.

Additionally, I now use the recyclable paper towels made from bamboo that can be washed a hundred times. They dry on the counter so quickly. This has dramatically reduced our household waste.

Household kitchens should have multiple bins:

  • Composting for food scraps, coffee grounds and tea bags
  • Paper recycling
  • Plastic recycling
  • Glass recycling or reuse for storage containers, drinking glasses, vases, etc
  • Aluminum recycling

Once this is all set up, you’ll soon find that you have no garbage. It’s startling. On New Years Eve 2019, I lifted the lid and my garbage bin was completely empty.~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300

Climate Change & Education | US Botanic Garden in DC

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 2, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

With Italy’s official announcement at the beginning of the new year, that all schools will now teach sustainability & climate change, many American educators are looking for ways to incorporate climate change lesson plans into their curriculum.

This is a big deal. Education will curb the fears that many young students harbor when they hear repeated warnings about the future. News flashes on phones about apocalyptic wildfires that killed a billion animals, and destroyed thousands of homes, is massively anxiety provoking. Lack of information fuels their concern, and action oriented facts curb it.

With this in mind, it was very exciting to see the impactful event at the US Botanic Garden on Capitol Hill Thursday evening January 30, 2020 for teachers in the Washington DC and outlying suburbs. Interactive tables, featuring climate change lesson plans, were spread throughout the breathtaking flora. Sustainability, the environment and nature were also included. Very inspiring. Nature itself is therapeutic. Studying nature along with climate action will improve the mental health of our youth as we rush to adapt to the crushing reality of the climate crisis.

HillReport2-2-2020a

Modeling the importance of composting was powerful, especially on Capitol Hill where Mitch McConnell is blocking compositing in the dining halls in the Senate and House office buildings.

The following are several of the innovative lesson plans featured at the event:

  • Renewables and Nonrenewables, Oh My!
  • Waste Less, Recycle More
  • Greenhouse Manual by the US Botanic Garden: “exploring ways to incorporate a greenhouse as a hands-on learning environment for students of all ages.”
  • School Tree Planting Program
  • Native Knowledge, Teaching America’s Whole Story – created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian
  • Living Earth Teach-In: Sustaining our Future through Indigenous Knowledge
  • Air Quality Action Guide
  • What You Should Know About Ground Level Ozone and Particle Pollution
  • An Educators Guide to the Meaningful Watershed Educational Experience (MWEE)
  • Oh, and creating seed pizzas that will make spring planting so much easier (this was amazing)

HillReport2-2-2020b

HillReport2-2-2020c

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
GallantLogoNWST-75

ST-Saga-CovFrnt-72dpi-300