Month: May 2020

Governor Cuomo Has a New York Green Plan For Rebuilding Economy | Take Notice

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 27, 2020

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by Noreen Wise

Governor Cuomo’s daily covid briefings have been what many of us feel is the leading source of the most valuable and accurate information relating to all things covid-19, the global pandemic that has killed more than 351,000 across the globe, nearly 100,000 in the United States, and in excess of 23,000 in the state of New York.

Governor Cuomo’s focus on the “facts,” the stone cold truth of the grim statistics, as well as the dire reality of our healthcare heroes initially not having enough PPE, and the unnecessary bidding war between states, FEMA’s confiscation of some of the state’s PPE once ordered , alongside an acknowledgement of the president’s chronic conflicts with the governor over his sharing of the horrible facts with the public each day at lunchtime, earned the public’s trust in teh Governor’s agenda for the phases of reopening, testing and economic recovery.

One of the most noteworthy aspects of Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings though, has been his sharing of his decision making thought processes and the strategies and logic behind his decisions, as well as insights into his critical thinking skills and solutions. Every single day of this horrid nightmare, Governor Cuomo has walked us through step-by-step, providing us with footprints to follow.

In essence, Governor Cuomo has been a superior role model for other states and the American public, whether we recognize it or not and dare to apply what we’ve learned to our own circumstances or not. Governor Cuomo’s example, has certainly helped me formulate my own personal and business covid action plans and solutions.

As states begin reopening this week, all eyes should be on New York’s methods, particularly for testing, and which businesses are associated with which reopening phases. Our president has assigned testing responsibility to the states. I now consider Governor Cuomo’s daily briefings the same way I do my weather app. Don’t leave home without viewing.

The bright side of this traumatic journey, is reading in Bloomberg Green yesterday that Governor Cuomo has negotiated a plan with Canada to bring clean energy down state from Canada and build the renewable energy infrastructure it has been aspiring towards for years, which will create new jobs and help revive the New York economy decimated by the covid state lockdown. Brilliant!

May other states take note of this exciting, planet-saving stroke of genius. Illinois is in the midst of passing its Clean Energy Jobs Act. The EU is also all in on a green recovery, with the UK projecting it will generate 850,000 new jobs, according to Bloomberg Green.

An amazing silver living during covid’s harsh reality.🌳

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Strategic Solutions During a Crisis | Some Countries Can Multitask

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by Noreen Wise

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 21, 2020

When a country is unified during a crisis, the way we were following 9/11, as well as Hurricane Katrina, and the devastating Tsunami in 2004, then we can all work together to accomplish more. We do this everyday in our homes. We multitask during the pandemic, while maintaining everything we did before the stay home orders.

Beginning in January 2020, there was one huge headline after the next highlighting America’s largest corporations announcing their climate action agenda’s. Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon, pledged $10 Billion to help fight climate change. Microsoft vowed to be carbon neutral by July 1, 2020, carbon negative by 2030, and to eliminate all the carbon it has pushed into the atmosphere since it was founded by 2050.

Other American corporations soon began following their lead. But when covid suddenly struck, climate progress was quickly back-burnered. It doesn’t have to be this way. In fact, it mustn’t be the outcome. If we can all multi-task, so can our corporations.

Effective leadership is strategic thinking, seeking effective opportunities to accomplish two important missions at the same time, especially when they align so perfectly. Corporations are having to rethink many internal processes. If US corporations took the time to weave climate initiatives into the covid planning framework, the United States would land much further ahead than where we are right now as we scan the horizon and process the massive looming climate crisis barreling toward us.

It was exciting to read in The Star, that Canadian President Justin Trudeau announced to Canadian companies, he would provide government covid loans, as soon as each company let the government know what they were “thinking about” climate. Huarray! That’s the way a leader gets climate action done. âś…

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Ottawa’s Climate Change Master Plan

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 19, 2020 NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise With so much division and chaos in the United States right now, and the worrisome feeling that we’re falling behind on the substantial climate action progress we made in 2019, it’s inspiring to learn of a North American city that is all in on climate action forward motion right now, even during covid. Hurray! Ottawa, the Washington DC of Canada, ROCKS! Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 6.36.30 PM Ottawa’s “Climate Action Master Plan” is impressive with it’s simple, straightforward mission statement, tangible targets, guiding principles and priority actions laid out in a concise one-pager. This is the ideal recipe for success. And success in carbon reduction was Ottawa’s prologue in creating their Master Plan: 14% cut in the city’s carbon emissions from 2012-2018, and a 36% reduction in carbon emissions by corporations during this time.
“The Climate Change Master Plan is the city’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and respond to the current and future effects of climate.” ~City of Ottawa
Ottawa’s Climate Action Master Plan Guiding Principles:
  • Responsibility – everyone in the community is responsible and needs to lower energy consumption and mitigate risks
  • Collaboration – all levels of government, all corporations, all citizens, utilities and stakeholders must work together to effect change and develop solutions
  • Municipal Leadership – the city will take the lead in fostering a joint partnership between corporations and the community
  • Coordination – the long term agenda must be strategic and harmonized
  • Equity and Inclusion – all decision-making processes must be equitable and inclusive
Screen Shot 2020-05-19 at 6.54.37 PM Thank you, Ottawa! We’ll just follow your example.🌳

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Renewable Energy Continues to Surpass Coal in US

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 15, 2020
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It was a year ago, last spring, that we learned renewable energy usage exceeded coal usage during the month of April 2019 for the very first time ever. At one point that month, the gain was 9 straight days in a row, another first, and 38 days total for 2019 Newsweek recently reported.

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It’s therefore exhilarating to be one giant step further along the road to a complete renewable transition.  In 2020, every single day for the entire month of April, renewables exceeded coal, for a total run of 40 straight days of renewables crushing coal. The price of coal increased during this same time period, while the cost of renewables decreased, which appears to be a factor in the favorable outcome for renewable energy.

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Climate Friday! What is wet-bulb? Is it scary?

It’s a particularly significant success in light of the fact of how forcefully our president has been trying to sway public opinion to back coal, as one coal company after the next declares bankruptcy. It appears the American public is slowly adapting to the reality that the elimination of fossil fuels is inevitable, so they might as well transition sooner rather than later and take advantage of all the discounts and rebates before they disappear. 🌞

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No More Natural Gas| Berkeley, CA

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 13, 2020
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It’s always the small things that make the difference in big transitional changes. So too with our transformation into renewable energy. If every household committed to replacing gas stoves and gas grills with electric in 2020, we’d be well on our way to converting our homes to solar and wind. Bloomberg Green’s recent article about this new trend highlights the pros and cons.

Realistically though, it’s all about taking the first step. We need to eliminate all fossil fuel usage including appliances. If we know that the elimination of fossil fuels is inevitable, (does anyone doubt that it is), then we should all immediately begin to replace easy to replace appliances. This is how progress is made. One step at a time.

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Last summer, Berkeley, California  became the first city in the United States to ban natural gas in new homes. The law was passed unanimously and went into effect January 1, 2020. Interestingly, Berkeley was also the first city in the United States to ban smoking in restaurants and public places back in 1977. There’s a saying in California: As goes Berkley, so goes California. Let’s be on the look out for more California cities to continue with this trend, creating the much needed momentum.

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s Episode: What to do when the devil walks into your life.

Berkley of the East, Takoma Park, Maryland just passed a climate agenda in which they plan to become the first city in the United States to ban all fossil fuels. According to the Washington Post, the town’s 2020 Climate Emergency Response Act, was written in an effort to guide local officials in policy making in the upcoming years.

As always, the changing of the tides comes when one person, one town is willing to step boldly in the right direction. Thank you, Berkeley, California. May your small step with climate action be as successful as the revolution you kicked off when you banned smoking in 1977. Think of how many lives Berkeley saved. Cheers to the Butterfly Effect.🦋

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Redesign of Products & Packaging for Zero Waste

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 11, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

With an aggressive goal of zero waste in many personal products and detergents, new sustainability companies are blossoming, offering everyday essentials sold as solids instead of liquids, which can be packaged in paper or even more simply, without any packaging at all. One company in particular has an expansive zero waste product lineup, the Zero Waste Store.

Personal staples like shampoo and conditioner, and even laundry detergent, have begun capturing  consumer attention. Recycling has been a challenge during the stay home orders, resulting in stronger consumer awareness of just how much plastic packaging households toss out daily, and how quickly it accumulates in garages, closets and cars.

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I’m very particular in my preferences for personal products like shampoo and conditioner, and have been using one particular brand for many years. In fact, I have a huge crate of empty plastic shampoo and conditioner containers that I have to wash as soon as I have time. The problem is, I’ve become so busy that I never actually do have time. So, the pile keeps growing larger, creating a more daunting task, with no end in sight.

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Daily conversation focused on how to turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional 7 minute vitamin to boost your spirits. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s Episode: How developed are your survival instincts? Two key essential traits.

The Zero Waste Store is an online presence with exceptional shipping procedures from a waste perspective:

  • everything shipped using plastic-free materials
  • 100% water activated paper tape
  • compostable shipping labels
  • recycled padded mailers
  • corn starch packing peanuts
  • everything 100% biodegradable

There’s no time to waste in confronting plastic waste. Covid has highlighted how imperative it is to be prepared and get out in front of life-impacting crises as quickly as possible. Switching to no waste products during covid, while we’re making so many other changes to our daily routines, is the ideal way to build strong habits during one crisis, that will help alleviate the impact of another crisis.

I can’t wait for my shampoo and conditioner to arrive so I can check it out. ♻️

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Change One Thing | Climate

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 7, 2020
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There’s an amazing campaign underway in Europe, #Change1Thing. Brilliant. And even though we each need to change many of our daily habits to save the planet and our futures, if we begin with one small change, we’ll soon find how contagious it is.

My #change1thing is window boxes and adding as many flowers and as much nature around my home as possible. A friend suggested dropping wildflower seeds along fence lines and forest trails. Seeds are fantastic. They can easily be ordered online. They’re inexpensive and lightweight and a positive mood booster once they blossom.

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Nature curbs atmospheric carbon levels by storing carbon. Our oceans are stuffed with carbon and overheating, so we need more nature to store the increased carbon emissions. Flowers and shrubs grow faster than trees, thus we can quickly raise the amount of carbon storage in the near term, by adding many more layers of nature around our homes and yards. Window boxes also increase property values. Eco Architecture is springing up across Europe, creating amazing nature wallscapes of live green up and down office towers.

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. Podcast Host, Noreen Wise. Today’s conversation, can one small act of kindness change the trajectory of someone’s life?

Additionally, nature boosts serotonin, the feel good hormone that improves mental health. And flowers are pollinators which promotes biodiversity, resulting in a much healthier environment.

Let’s all jump in with #change1thing. Action is a healthy feel good during such a calamitous pandemic. If we can learn valuable lessons from covid, and apply to climate, we’ll be miles ahead and on the road to recovery and a brighter tomorrow.

Thank you One One World – Instagram! Change1Thing âś…

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Will Food Waste Soon Be Banned from Landfills | Methane

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 5, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

This week is International Composting Awareness Week, so it’s an ideal time to focus on why home composting has become such an existential imperative.

  • the food waste found in landfills make up 20% of US methane emissions
  • methane is 84 times stronger than carbon
  • methane doesn’t last as long in the atmosphere as carbon (9.1 years vs 200 years), but is a major contributor to global warming all the same
  • our soil is desperate for nutrients
  • composting our food waste at homes, eateries, and cafeterias, and mixing it into the soil in our communities, solves two crises at the same time, curbing global warming  by cutting methane emissions while simultaneously increasing carbon sink in soil
  • nourishing our soil with compost instead of fertilizer will also cut down on the pollution found in our water supply by scaling back on the fertilizer toxic run off that occurs when it rains and through lawn watering

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South Korea has already banned food waste from landfills. Washington DC, has proposed the same. On October 22, 2019, the Zero-Waste Bill was introduced, proposing the elimination of food waste from the DC landfills. DC has an exceptional composting infrastructure already in place. Give and take, collecting community compost at multiple farmer’s markets in the city while offering it to residents for free at these same locations.

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise.

In learning the logic behind the composting movement, it’s now very important that we act swiftly to adapt to the changes required. Every household should make this easy transition ASAP. Once cured, which takes 4-6 weeks, adding home compost to home gardens or a nearby forest is one way to make good use of home compost. Additionally, the vast majority of local communities on the East and West Coasts have composting facilities for residents, and many collect compost at the farmer’s markets each week as well.

Let’s GO! This one is easy. ♻️

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Ocean Waves Harnessed for Renewable Energy | Wave Power

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 4, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

There was a glimmer of hope on Friday when Bloomberg News reported that fossil fuels have been hammered by covid-19 and are experiencing a projected 9% decline in 2020, while renewable energies are surging ahead, tracking at an increase of 1% this year, despite the economy being rocked by 30 million layoffs. Covid-19 has resulted in quick transformations in key areas of our lives — education and work from home to name two. Let’s not stop there. Covid is the ideal opportunity to take advantage of the change momentum and leap into renewable energy solutions for municipalities, homes and businesses.

In addition to wind and solar, wave energy is an emerging renewable solution. Wave energy has proven to be an excellent way to flip around the disadvantages of rising sea levels and the devastating impact on coastal communities, and harness this powerful force by turning it into a renewable alternative. According to Smart Energy International, China just launched the largest wind energy turbine in the world in Wuhan, during covid-19 no less.

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In the United States, Oregon is out in front on wave energy. According to Oregon Public broadcasting, a Portland industrial company, Vigor, created the very first “wave energy convertor, called the OE35 buoy” that will be tested in Kanehoe Bay, Hawaii for 12 months. Vigor has been involved in wave energy for a decade, so let’s keep our eyes on them in the upcoming months.

The American coastline is massive, it’s one of our greatest natural resources. In fact, it’s estimated that 64% of America’s energy can be powered by ocean waves.

 

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A quick search on Twitter indicates there isn’t much conversation about the exciting potential of wave power. But if China is jumping in this boldly and aggressively, America should definitely take note. Besides, there’s something comforting about turning a negative into a positive, and harnessing these big giant blue waves. Waves that have been crushing us ever since Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans, and use their powerful force to destroy carbon instead, dramatically curbing global warming and calming the raging forces of climate change. 🌊

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Home Composting Essential for Climate| Especially During Covid

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 1, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

It was an exciting excursion to the grocery store today to see as many as 90-95% of shoppers wearing a facial covering and gloves. It spoke volumes. The grocery store itself was doing an amazing job of keeping the public safe:

  • huge roll of paper towels on top of carts with spray cleaner (yes, I washed my cart down)
  • repeated overhead announcements that there’s a global pandemic and that covid19 requires social distancing, “please stay six feet apart”
  • the self-checkout area of two parallel rows of five cash registers on each side, was spaced appropriately so that only four of the ten registers were in use
  • everyone waiting in line was six feet apart

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Daily conversation focused on how we can turn a negative into a positive and land on the bright side. A daily emotional vitamin that will boost your spirit. PodcastHost, Noreen Wise.

It gave me peace of mind to see with my own eyes that the vast majority of us in Northern Virginia are paying attention and following directions. That we care about the well-being of others. We respect the advice of the experts: Governor Andrew Cuomo, Dr. Fauci, our own Governor Northam, and many others. And that we understand that as soon as we’re all onboard with these types of daily habits — facial coverings, gloves, keep our distance, respect of others, follow advice — we’ll be able to phase back into society and slowly restart the economy one step at a time. We’re showing by our actions that we’re ready to do what it takes.

Look how quickly we accomplished this. Less than six weeks. Commendable.

Let’s do the exact same for climate, nailing one component at a time. Home composting is ultra simple. Food scraps that we normally throw into the sink composter, get thrown into a covered plastic kitchen bin, that can be added to a larger yard or garage bin weekly or daily depending on how many are in our household.

Natural food waste recycling concept
See how easy this is?

 

It’s advised that once compost is tossed into the larger bin, that the heap should be turned once a week, and water added to speed up decomposition. It will take approximately one month for it to be ready to till into our yard and or forest soil. The breakdown of the larger garage or outdoor bin, should be one third green scraps — food scraps that include all foods, tea bags, coffee grounds and filter, egg shells, lint and grass trimmings — and two thirds brown scraps, made of leaves, twigs, shredded newspaper, and hay. The green scraps contain nitrogen, and the brown contain carbon. The ratio of one third green to two thirds brown is important.

 

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According to Home Composting Made Easy, as much as thirty-five percent of our household waste can be reduced if we home compost. Waste management has been a thorny challenge during covid stay-at-home, so a reduction in the amount of waste to pick up will improve the well-being of these essential workers, conquering two challenges at the same time.

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When home compost is added to the soil, the increase in nutrients enables the soil to sink more carbon. Further, the fungus and good bacteria found in the compost protects trees from deadly nematodes as well as other plants which increases the amount of carbon each can store. The compost nutrients nourish nature, enabling it to grow taller and fuller and in so doing, store that much more carbon.

Okay, let’s go! Can we all nail this in six weeks the way we accomplished covid facial coverings? Of course we can. I’ve been home composting since October 2019, and find that it’s a significant improvement in household waste management. I love how my kitchen garbage is so lean. I only need to empty once a month. Nothing stinky to worry about. I either recycle or compost, so the only garbage is plastic bag packaging, the kind that frozen vegetables are packed in. Good luck!🌱

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