Category: Environment

Trees for Love | 247 Seedlings Planted to Remember Those We’ve Lost to Covid

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 7, 2020 by Noreen Wise

Gallant Gold Media is excited to share the wonderful news that 247 free redbud and button bush seedlings were distributed to Fairfax County and Northern Virginia residents to plant in remembrance of those lost to Covid in our communities. Fairfax ReLeaf supplied the free seedlings, which Gallant Gold Media distributed through George Mason University’s parking Lot P on Saturday, October 24, 2020. The Fairfax Tree Commission was the essential liaison that made this all possible, enabling the free seedling distribution to come to fruition by connecting these various organizations. 

It takes a village.

Apparently, the Trees for Love campaign is the largest community tree planting success in the state of Virginia during 2020. The Burke Centre Conservancy was the largest group of planters, distributing 146 Fairfax ReLeaf free seedlings to their Clusters and residences. The rest of the redbud and button bush seedlings were claimed by Northern Virginia residents, many of whom were moved by friends and family who’d been lost to covid and were searching to find a meaningful way to honor their memory.

Burke Centre Conservancy are big tree planters, here’s a photo from 2019

One such resident was Dawn Zimmerman. Dawn, a Virginia State licensed professional counselor, operating her solo practice Imago Dei Counseling in Fairfax City, attributes her love of nature and gardening and the outdoors to her grandfather, a midwest farmer, as well as spending her childhood in Thailand. Although born in metro Washington DC, Dawn’s father was a State Department Foreign Service Officer. From a young age Dawn seems to have become well-acquainted with the understanding of how important it is to connect with others in our community and let them know we care, especially during a crisis.

Whether it’s Dawn’s close connection to the State Department, her career as a counselor, or her passion for nature, Dawn felt compelled to enrich Northern Virginia with multiple Virginia Native redbuds and button bushes to honor the five family and friends she’s lost to Covid. Dawn wanted us to know more than just their names though, she was eager to share their stories.

Ron Ontko: Dawn’s honorary uncle, passed away from Covid related complications on April 2, 2020 in Hendersonville, NC. He was 89 years old. Ron and his wife Carol, met in Wisconsin, and after college, while in a young couples group at Grace Lutheran Church in Washington, DC,  became good friends with Dawn’s parents. The two couples went on to become lifelong friends. Ron was an avid photographer and devoted ‘Skins fan, but his career was spent in public service. After graduating high school, Ron served in the United States Air Force, before he returned to school. He received his Bachelor of Arts Degree in Russian Studies from the University of Wisconsin and then his master’s degree in international law from George Washington University. From there, Ron worked for the NSA, the United States Senate, and the US State Department, which is quite a remarkable resume. Ron Ontko was a Freemason and a Shiner, participating in fundraising for numerous children’s charities. He is survived by his wife Carol of 62 years, as well as his son, Andrew, and daughter, Julie.

Jack “Zeke” Zimmerman: Zeke is Dawn’s uncle, who was lost to Covid related pneumonia on October 21, 2020 at aged 86 in Frederick, MD. Survived by wife Lynn, sons Steve (Andrea) and grandsons Eric and Mark of Memphis, TN; Paul of Wilmington, DE and was predeceased by son John, Silver Spring, MD.  Also survived by Mary Lee Zimmerman, the mother of their three sons; Daughter-in-Law Christie (widow of John) and grandchildren John Paul “JP” and Maria. 

The following is a loving tribute written by Zeke’s grandson, Mark Zimmerman:
Zeke Zimmerman was known to many as the “Godfather of DC Metropolitan Area Sandlot Basketball.”  GrandJack lived his life around basketball. He grew up in the Washington, D.C. area and fielded basketball teams. He formed teams from players that he would recruit from across the country. Around 1950, having teams with multiple races was unprecedented. My grandfather did not judge a player based on his skin color, but on his basketball ability. Jack was known as Zeke Zimmerman in the D.C. area. He formed a team called “Zeke’s All-Stars.” This was the first team that had both black and white players in the D.C. area. Because my grandfather did not judge a player based on his race, many black basketball players were able to go to college for basketball or even the NBA. A couple of years ago, he gave me a jersey from the 1950 Zeke’s All-Stars team. This jersey is a symbol of my family’s value of inclusion. It did not matter which race wore this specific jersey. The only thing that mattered was that my grandfather saw talent in that young man, and he wanted to help. My family still holds the values of inclusion and equality in our everyday lives, as we do not judge people based on their skin tone, but on their personality.

Redbud and button bush seedlings planted to remember Zeke Zimerman and Ron Ontko

The following is a State Department obituary with a few extra details provided by Dawn:
Patrick “David” Husar, 67, died May 9, in Arlington, VA. David was born in Lorain, Ohio located on Lake Erie and 30 miles West of Cleveland. At University of Kentucky, where David majored in history, one of his professors encouraged him to consider a career with the Foreign Service. Joining in 1976, Husar served as a consular officer at posts in Pakistan, India, and the Philippines before transitioning to Civil Service. He retired in 2016 and enjoyed long walks around the Washington area, was an avid reader, and was dedicated to his faith. He is survived by his wife, Jonahlyn; a brother Michael; and extended family in the Philippines.

Button bush seedling planted to remember David Husar

Daniel Lee: Spending a few minutes on Google images to view the architectural designs that Daniel Lee graced upon all of us here in the United States, is sure to inspire. And inspiration is certainly the impulse Mr. Lee appears to have been striving for when he graduated from the Mississippi School of Architecture in 1981 and began his career in classical architecture as an intern with Allen Greenberg. Mr. Greenberg is one of the premier classical architects of the twenty-first century. The son of Protestant missionaries, Mr. Lee’s love of classical architecture sprung from his childhood in Paris, France, surrounded by neoclassical landmarks erected during the reign of Louis XIV and that continued all the way through Louis XVI. Many of us here in Virginia are endowed with an inherent appreciation for classical architecture, which dates back to the founding of our most historic cities. So it’s with great sadness that we lost Mr. Lee to Covid on August 17, 2020, at age 64. Mr. Lee is survived by his wife of 40 years, Leonor Lee, his two sons, Stephen and Christopher, and two daughters, Susanne and Katherine.

Redbud seedling planted to remember Daniel Lee

There’s an additional friend of the family. In Dawn’s own words:
Pat Purcell died from Covid related complications on May 11th, 2020 in Fairfax, VA. Pat resided in the same Senior living community as my mom and was the elderly mother of Ann Lawrence, a friend of my parents from their local Lutheran Church. Mom and Pat became friends but lived on different floors and in different areas of the building. Interestingly, Pat was actually a member of a local Baptist Church but was adopted by the Lutheran pastor, Rev Sandy Kessinger who made regular visits to their Continuing Care Community. 

Redbud seedlings planted to remember Pat Purcell

Dawn spent 10 years working at the State Department before starting her counseling firm. After buying her townhouse, she became involved with her HOA replanting project, which she finds life affirming. During the first five years she hand-dug holes, which is quite a feat, and planted five trees, as well as a slew of shrubs and perennials. Dawn was sidelined from her gardening last year following two minor car accidents which required physical therapy. But thankfully, she returned with all her passion and began removing hundreds of “small, weedy Rose of Sharon saplings and bush honeysuckle” that were rapidly spreading in the HOA areas. She’d learned about the importance of growing Virginia Natives and was determined to correct the situation.

Dawn’s Virginia Native Trees for Love redbud and buttonbush seedlings are planted in three HOA areas in Dawn’s Northern Virginia townhouse community. Dawn received a note from one family member who expressed, “That’s perfect; thank you. Not just words but heartfelt, tears flowing, gratitude.”

When I asked Dawn for one final thought on the importance of planting trees, she responded with a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes:
“When we plant a tree, we are doing what we can to make our planet a more wholesome and happier dwelling-place for those who come after us if not for ourselves.”

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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It’s Time to Meet Meati | Vegan Scene

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 5, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Meati Foods is a Colorado based vegan startup, and their food is amazing! This plant based meal option is cruelty free and unbelievably sustainable. Each serving of their Meati Chick’n is packed with healthy fiber and 16 grams of complete protein. There is nothing “fake” about this alternative meat either. Believe it their food is made from fungi. The company’s slogan is “funging delicious!” With absolutely zero fat and cholesterol, and plenty of vitamins and minerals, Meati Foods is a no brainer.

Twitter: meatifoods

That’s not to say it didn’t take brains to develop. The people at Meati have crafted a way to harness the microscopic “thread-like structure,” mycelium, produced by fungi to craft a healthy and sustainable natural protein. And that sustainability is key in differentiating this startup from competitors. 

According to Meati’s research, “By the year 2050, our planet will need to make room for about 3.4 billion more people. As a result, the global food demand for meat, the most resource-intensive food, is expected to double.” The company design uses 99% less water and land, and emits 99% less carbon dioxide than industrial produced animal protein. This will significantly cut our carbon footprint. 

Twitter: meatifoods

Another thing that separates Meati from competitors is their focus on creating whole cuts of chicken and steak! According to VegNews, “Meati Foods secretly launched its vegan steaks at SALT Bistro in Boulder,” and people loved it! Keep your eyes peeled for news about this startup, as more Meati hits restaurants and stores. This sustainable, cruelty free, and vegan meat alternative is a brand to know. 

Tl;dr

  • Meati Foods is a Colorado based vegan startup
  • Meati is creating whole cuts of chicken and steak
  • Each serving has 16 grams of protein and zero grams of cholesterol
  • Meati uses 99% less water and land than meat from factory farms
  • Meati emits 99% less carbon dioxide than meat from factory farms

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Fracking May Decide Pennsylvania

Washington (GGM) Analysis | November 4, 2020 by Michael Wells, Attorney @slnc01

Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are locked in a tight battle for the presidency, which may come down to Pennsylvania. Big coal and facking employ many people in Pennsylvania, and, understandably, fracking is a huge issue. All the votes have been cast and are being counted, but the Pennsylvania race (and possibly the presidency) may come down to the issue of fracking. The two candidates’ positions are more similar than you may think.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is a technique for extracting oil and natural gas by firing pressurized liquid into the Earth’s crust. Trump has long supported the practice and has even signed an Executive Order to protect fracking. Biden’s position has been to say he will not ban fracking, but that he will look towards alternative fuel sources, perhaps in an effort to win key states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio (which he appears to have lost). One indication of how important this issue is in Pennsylvania can be gleaned from Vice Presidential Kamala Harris’s October 6, 2020 tweet:

While Biden and Harris must appeal to the Green New Deal part of the Democratic Party, they must also win key states such as Pennsylvania, which rely heavily on fracking. To what extent this is just politics, remains to be seen, but, given what appears to be a Repulican Senate, legislation to ban or limit fracking does not appear possible. This means this dangerous practice will continue. 

According to an article from Euronews, fracking poses a number of environmental hazards:

  • Methane leaks occur frequently to the tune of one million tons in Pennsylvania per year. The industry only reported 64,000 tons.
  • Methane and other gasses released through fracking are a problem because they trap twenty-five more times heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
  • Fracking pollutes the groundwater supply, which can cause cancer.

From a legal standpoint, the pollution issues pose millions in liability for companies that are not careful. Quite frankly, even if these companies are careful, the risk is quite high. Although not the result of fracking, Flynt, Michigan is a cautionary tale as to what happens when drinking water is contaminated. 

Fracking does supply jobs, upwards of ten million nationally, but, if Biden wins, his energy plan will likely aim to rejoin the Paris Agreement. It is unclear whether fracking as it stands in the United States would violate or otherwise cause problems with the agreement.

Biden has said he opposes fracking on public lands, but it is unclear what exactly this means. Even if Biden were to oppose fracking altogether, it is unlikely he could get a bill limiting or banning it  to pass the Senate due to the Republican majority. 

Fracking’s future remains uncertain in the United States, but it does appear it is not going anywhere anytime soon even after the votes are counted and a victor declared. 

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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How Much Carbon Do Bushes Absorb? This Ninth Grader Plans To Find Out

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 30, 2020 by Noreen Wise

Do bushes sequester carbon too? Is planting more shrubs as important as planting more trees in helping to lower atmospheric carbon levels and reverse global warming?

One student at W. T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Virginia is determined to find out. Ninth grader Julia Victor has accepted the challenge to conduct her own science experiment for the upcoming Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair and is busy mapping out the procedure she will follow to test how much carbon five species of Northern Virginia natives can absorb in comparison to one another. 

The Regeneron ISEF has a wide range of categories, 21 in all, that 1800 participating students are selecting from. As a nature lover, Earth and Environmental Sciences was Julia’s top choice, which she quickly narrowed down to climate change. Julia asked herself questions about which NoVa natives might absorb the most carbon. She then spent time researching, and eventually arrived at her hypothesis: “I am hypothesizing that the holly tree will grow to be the largest and will absorb the most carbon. I also think that shrubs might not be far behind. I am hoping to be able to come to the conclusion that shrubs and smaller plants are just as important to reversing climate change as large trees.”

Julia will be implementing the following steps to test her hypothesis. All the plants will be kept in open containers.

  1. Remove the soil and weigh each plant. Record each plant’s bare root weight (without soil).
  2. If plants are not the same weight, trim each plant until they are approximately equal.
  3. Plant each plant in its new container with 1 gallon of soil each. Label each container with the plant species.
  4. Water each plant with 1 cup of water each. 
  5. Set up each plant’s light to a 12-hour timer to simulate the sun.
  6. Water each plant regularly with its recommended amount of water.
  7. After 25 days, remove all the soil from the bare roots from each plant and weigh.

An important science experiment like this one is challenging enough without there being an extra layer of difficulty. But, Julia isn’t daunted by the complications during the fall season. Julia explained, that there are far less species available for her to choose from this late in the year. Many NoVa natives are nearly dormant, so there’s far less photosynthesis, which means very little, if any, carbon absorption. But Julia persevered and unearthed several standouts she can rely on:

  • American Holly 
  • Strawberry bush
  • Spicebush
  • Arrowwood Viburnum
  • Black Chokeberry

We’ll be checking back with Julia in December to learn about the conclusions she drew once she completes her experiment, weighs each plant, and is able to identify the winning species that sequestered the most carbon. Julia will be managing a total of 25 small plants for her project.

This is a lot of extra work during a very challenging global pandemic. Julia began her freshman year with virtual learning, and appears to be very excited about having something she feels passionately about, nature and science, to keep her mind preoccupied in the midst of a health crisis. “This is my first time participating in the Regeneron ISEF and I’m excited to see everyone’s projects, especially during covid-19.”

I asked Julia how she keeps from feeling intimidated by such a challenging, high level competition. Her response was one that we could all apply to our own lives.

“These days, it’s very easy to get intimidated by projects and big assignments. I found that if I don’t think about it as an assignment, but rather as something I enjoy, then it becomes much easier to do get motivated by my curiosity.”

Nature is an exciting and therapeutic ally to help combat our daily challenges during covid. A major destresser, thanks to its beauty and healing scents, as well as the chemicals it emits that we humans respond to by releasing our own positive chemicals—serotonin for example. Nature is very responsive to human interaction, both positively and negatively. Humans and nature are connected through a symbiotic relationship. What we give is what we get. We see this with climate change of course, but it’s equally as powerful on the positive side of the coin. Nature nurtures. It comforts. Heals. Inspires. Supports. Motivates. Hanging out with nature makes us physically and emotionally stronger. It’s time to recognize this fact and act on it. Planting millions of trees and shrubs and flowers and all types of nature is an investment that pays us back exponentially. So, let’s get planting! If it’s too cold where you are right now, you can plant a seedling indoors in a container and leave inside until spring. 

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Our Microplastic Crisis and a Young First Responder

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 23, 2020 by Noreen Wise

Microplastics have become an urgent health and environmental crisis. These tiny toxic particles are literally everywhere. In our water. In our food. And in our bodies. The five (5) millimeter flecks, smaller than an ant, are made up of broken down larger plastic objects such as water and soda bottles, single-use plastic bags, multiple everyday products that we don’t think twice about, cosmetics and toothpaste for example, even our synthetic clothes that shed tiny bits of plastic while churning around in our washing machine.

Back in September 2019, science blogger Kevin Dervishi spelled out in Harvard University’s Science in the News very clearly to readers, that each of us is a first responder in this alarming crisis. Every single one of us needs to rush to act. For many, the message fell on deaf ears, which has resulted in a continued path forward toward a looming catastrophe. 

As gloomy as this may seem, a bright glimmer of hope shines through the dark clouds along the Chesapeake Bay in Northern Virginia. A youth conservation activist has been inspired and is responding to the urgent call to action. Carolyn Rohr, of Fairfax, VA, has stepped into the arena. 

During Carolyn’s junior year of high school, she followed the advice of her AP environmental science teacher, and filled out an application for the Youth Conservation Leadership Institute in Fairfax County, VA. While involved in YCLI over the summer, Carolyn seized the opportunity to research the impact microplastics have on the environmental health of the Chesapeake Bay after she discovered that microplastics are Chesapeake Bay’s biggest pollutant. This jarring fact was significant. Chesapeake Bay is a watershed connected to six Mid-Atlantic states, as well as the entire population of Washington DC, and serves more than 18 million people. The majority of microplastic particles slip through filters and into our water supply.

Carolyn presented her findings to a group of more than 50 accomplished adults over a Saturday morning Green Breakfast webinar. She created a lesson plan for 7th graders that aligned with Fairfax County’s educational requirements and included multiple activities. Her polished presentation was very powerful, inspiring immediate action. Her lesson plan would certainly be a positive influence for the 7th grade population in Northern Virginia, as well as communities across the country, inspiring increased involvement in acting on eliminating as much plastic from their daily lives as possible by forming plastic-free habits and choices.

Carolyn explained that there are three main ways that microplastics enter the Chesapeake Bay:

  • Plastics in landfills
  • Littering
  • Products that go down the drain

She outlined that toothpaste is a great example of how easy it is to unwittingly pollute our own water supply. She noted that cosmetics are another everyday example. Multiple brands of both products, contain microbeads, the abrasive exfoliant that is the essential ingredient for these particular product lines.

Carloyn cautioned webinar viewers that these microplastic particles release toxic chemicals, as well as trick organisms living in the water into believing they’re full when they’re not, so they often starve to death, and that microplastics also become part of the food web process.

Most importantly, Carolyn supplied valuable insights about what each and every one of us can do to reduce the toxic plastic we’re consuming.

  • Reduce single-use plastics
  • Recycle properly
  • Refuse products that contain microbeads, which shouldn’t be too difficult since they’re now banned in all 50 states
  • Volunteer to help cleanup rivers and streams
  • Most importantly SPREAD THE WORD

When I asked Carolyn what examples she could provide for how to spread the word, she suggested: “Social media is a great way to spread the word and spark change, it’s one of the main reasons that microbeads are being outlawed in the US. Setting an example is another great way to not only spread the word, but also to encourage action. People learn from each other; the more people you see doing something the more likely you are to follow along, that’s probably why the save the turtles anti-straw trend was so huge a year or two ago. But it has since faded.” 

This sounds wonderful. I’m all in on this!

Carolyn Rohr is a military brat, who was born in Jacksonville, NC and has lived in a diverse collection of cities across the globe, including Okinawa, Japan when she was a young and impressionable five year old. While in Okinawa, Carolyn and her family had a home close to the ocean, where she spent “a lot of time playing in the tide pools and looking at the interesting creatures.” Her family eventually settled in Northern Virginia where’s she’s lived for the past ten years. Carolyn spends most of her time outdoors, and often feels torn between her love of the ocean and her passion for the mountains. “I feel like I could spend my entire life in the mountains and I would be quite happy.” 

As a high school senior, Carolyn is busy planning for her future. She is aiming for a dual major in Film and Marine Science and hopes to attend either University of Miami in Florida or University of Delaware, “Both schools have amazing Marine Science programs that I would love to be part of.”

Carolyn has a powerful message for all of us. “‘Only you can be the change you wish to see in the world.’ – Ghandi. The only way to see the microplastic problem disappear completely is to go out into your community and play an active role in fighting against it.”

Science blogger Kevin Dervishi’s ears must be burning. Young first responders are taking bold steps to help move us all in the right direction. The 18 million along the Chesapeake Bay are greatly benefited by Carolyn’s dedication and hard work to improve the health of our watershed. Let’s do our part by following her excellent advice.

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Move Over Pumpkin Spice Lattes— Fall is Time to Change Up Your Family Garden

Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 8, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Creating a garden together helps families form long-lasting memories and allows each family member to explore the beautiful and bountiful side of Mother Nature. According to Reuters News, home gardening, seed sales, and community gardening have become very popular during the last few months. In an interview with Market Watch, Linda Look, owner of an Arkansas-based seed store, The Seed Guy, said that sales and demand were unprecedented this spring. “This year has been unique because of COVID-19,” she said.

Instagram- @itsthymetogarden 

Those of you who have started gardening and composting with your kids this spring and summer might be wondering how to continue these comforting and joyful family moments in the fall season. Don’t fear, September and October aren’t just for Pumpkin Spice Lattes. In fact, there are plenty of delicious foods that thrive as the temperature drops, and experts say that fall is the perfect time to start composting!

Top 5 Foods to Plant This September

  • Spinach 
  • Radishes
  • Carrots 
  • Kale
  • Snow Peas

Swapping out your cucumbers and tomatoes with these veggies and leafy greens will help you keep up the conservation conversation all through the fall season!

5 Steps to Make The Best Fall Compost Pile Ever

  • Collect your fall leaves
  • Collect the extras from your summer garden
  • Layer them with drying flowers, old tomato plants, & grass clippings
  • Reserve extra leaves in a separate pile & as a “brown layer” in between compostable kitchen food
  • Keep a tarp ready to protect your pile from getting soggy as the rain comes in 

Twitter- @Gaia_College

So as September rolls into October and you sip your beloved Pumpkin Spice Latte, don’t let the golden and orange leaves fool you. You don’t have to say goodbye to your family garden. Switch up your produce, and teach your kids how to make the perfect fall compost pile. You will make wonderful memories, and your kids- and Mother Nature- will thank you!

Come back every Tuesday for more Eco-Friendly Parenting tips!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Top 5 Vegan Beauty Brands | Vegan Scene

Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 3, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Consumer ethics has never been such a hot topic!  Compassionate and eco-friendly shoppers are searching for resources and products everyday. With many making changes in their diet and fashion choices, there has never been a better time to switch out your old cosmetics and trade them in for vegan alternatives. Vegan beauty brands do not rely on animal cruelty and animal products or biproducts to create makeup. Here is a list of five major vegan and cruelty free beauty brands that are focused on both ethics and sustainability. 

KVD Beauty- Kat Von D’s makeup line has been cruelly-free since its launch in 2008. The brand came out with its first vegan product, tattoo liner, in 2010. The Tattoo Liner sold like hotcakes, and is still one the most popular items today. KVD announced the switch to a vegan line in 2015, and went completely vegan in 2016. Today they boast the slogan “made with love, not animals.” They are also committed to not using bee’s wax, which is a big help to the environment.

Twitter- @guadalahari

NYX- NYX Professional Makeup is a PETA approved cruelty-free brand. They are well known for creating pigmented palettes and bold makeup trends. NYX is owned by L’Oreal, who recently released a statement about their commitment to meeting consumer demands for ethics and sustainable products. “To meet the changing expectations of our consumers, we are continuously innovating… [in] maintaining consistency in the quality of the product while also improving their environmental impact.”

MILK- The brand has always been cruelty- free, and in 2018 co-founder Dianna Ruth announced that MILK would convert to 100% vegan formulas as well. MILK’s commitment to sustainability comes in the form of water reduction. The brand has shed  light on excess water usage in cosmetics, and they are responding  by designing concentrated formulas that do not waste water. Their products are also formaldehyde free. This is significant, as formaldehyde is known to be detrimental to marine life.

Rare Beauty- Rare Beauty is something completely brand new! Singer, actress, and producer Selena Gomez is coming out with a beauty brand on September 3rd, and it is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. In an Instagram post Selena said this, “for the past few months, you’ve all been asking… and we’re proud to share that our products will be 100% vegan and cruelty-free. Like you, we love and care for our animals too.”

Instagram@rarebeauty 

Bare Minerals- Bare Minerals brand is 100% cruelty free and the high majority of their makeup is vegan. They make the list because of their strong commitment to mother earth. Bare Minerals runs an eco-friendly blog that regularly offers tips and advice to consumers on how to live a more sustainable life. Their products are all palm oil free, which makes them a viable option in selecting sustainable vegan makeup.

Each of these companies is working hard to provide the world with ethical and sustainable vegan beauty products. If makeup is part of your routine, consider shopping with one of these brands the next time you are in need of a new lipstick or brow pencil! 

Come back every Thursday to learn more about the role veganism plays in combating climate change!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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How to Make an Eco-Friendly Hero Board With Your Kids!

Washington (GGM) Analysis | September 1, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Most parents would like their children to become happy and healthy adults. As an eco-conscious parent, you are also aware of the need to provide a safe and viable environment for your children as they grow up. With this in mind, you have been recycling, upcycling, and teaching your children habits that reduce waste. You might be noticing that with talks of the climate crisis all around them, your children might be expressing feelings of being overwhelmed. Afterall, this is a massive issue, and it may leave your young one feeling like it is too big to tackle. Making a Hero Board composed of positive role models who are making headway in combating this crisis is an excellent way to assuage anxious feelings in your child.

Twitter- @FunWritings

First get out a dry erase board or a chalkboard and some chalk.  Next, give your child a list of five to ten people to research in a virtual scavenger hunt.  These people should all be worthy of being called a Hero for Mother Nature.  Ask your child to come up with an eco-friendly fact about each person on the list.  Once your child has discovered one thing that each of these individuals is doing for the environment, have a discussion with them.  Allow them to explain what they found out, and talk about which people are the most inspiring. Ask your child to pick their top three favorite people from the list, and give them some time to do some more research.  On the chalkboard, your child can draw an image of their top three heroes, write down inspirational quotes, and jot down some interesting things that those people are doing to improve the health of the environment. 

Here is a list of 10 people you can use to get this process rolling.

Lise King – Executive Director of United Nations Global Impact

Leonardo DiCaprio – Actor, producer, and activist

Greta Thunberg – Child activist and leader in climate change 

Jane Fonda – Actress and activist

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – United States Congresswoman 

Sean Mendes – Singer and environmentalist

Natalie Portman – Actress, Producer, and activist

Jane Goodall Research Scientist and activist

Bernie Sanders – Vermont Senator 

Dr. Gavin Schmidt– Climate Scientist at NASA

Instagram- @leonardodicaprio

For even more fun, use your driveway and some sidewalk chalk, instead of a chalkboard. This activity will give your child the chance to do a little research about all the positive things that are being done to help Mother Earth. It will give you a chance to bond with your child over this important issue. It will also encourage them on their journey, and remind them that they are not alone in their efforts to combat the climate crisis. 

Come back every Tuesday for more Eco-Friendly Parenting tips!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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So-called “Fake” Leather is Real Deal

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 27, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

The freezer section of your local grocery store isn’t the only thing going vegan. The vegan leather industry- often misbranded as ‘fake leather’- is booming right now, and the world of fashion is getting a much-needed makeover! Sustainability and ethics have moved to the forefront of consumer consciousness, and brands are racing to be first in line to meet the high demand.

Twitter- @watsonandwolfe

Hill Report spoke with Helen Farr-Leander, CEO of the Peta approved brand Watson & Wolfe, about vegan leather and the future of eco-friendly fashion. Watson & Wolfe is a luxury vegan leather & accessories brand that offers ethical fashion alternatives. When asked about the future of ‘fake,’ Farr-Leander had this to say. “Leather alternatives are already attracting more attention, and with each new innovation, they are reducing impact and increasing sustainability. Within five years, we will see existing leather goods brands looking at these materials, not only to reduce their own impact but to attract new customers.” And she’s not wrong.

According to a recent study conducted by Infinium Global Research, the vegan leather industry will be worth  $89.6 billion by 2025. With the rise of veganism and consumer ethics, many are looking to vegan leather to resolve animal cruelty and carbon emissions problems. This is why it is no surprise that people are looking to change assumptions about what ‘fake’ leather is and isn’t. Jonathan Ohayon, Founder and CEO of the F.A.K.E. Movement, is rebranding the word to stand for Fashion for the Animal Kingdom and Environment. When interviewed he told Hill Report, “I created the F.A.K.E. movement, so we can proudly wear a  real vegan alternative.” 

Instagram- @fakemovement 

Farr-Leander echoed this sentiment by saying, “I would encourage those people to look at these materials objectively. The newer leather alternatives are materials in their own right, just like cotton or animal leather, with their own unique qualities and textures.” Vegan leather is the future and is the boost and innovation that the textile industry needs to combat the climate crisis. To quote Farr-Leander, “there is nothing ‘fake’ about [vegan leathers], they are future materials.” ‘Fake’ leather is the real deal!

Tl:dr

  •  Sustainability and ethics have moved to the forefront of consumer consciousness
  • Vegan leather industry- often misbranded as ‘fake leather’- is booming
  • According to Infinium Global Research, the vegan leather industry will be worth  $89.6 billion by 2025
  • Vegan leather is the future of the textile industry 

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US Vegan Climate Index Isn’t “Shackled to The Past”

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 27, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

European investing platform Beyond Investing– no relation to Beyond Meat– celebrated the second ‘birthday’ of its US Vegan Climate Index this summer. As the world’s first exchange-traded fund (ETF) focused on veganism and environmentalism, the US Climate Index (VEGAN) should be a ticker on your investor watchlist.  

Twitter- @BeyondInvest

The US Climate Index avoids companies and business models that pose a threat to the environment.  This means that they do not support animal exploitation or unethical business. In a press release published on June 16, 2020, Beyond Investing reported, “over its two-year live history, VEGAN has outperformed the S&P 500 Index…on a price return basis of 5.93%.” VEGAN outperforming the S&P 500 means big things for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) funds. 

When questioned about the future of ESG investing, Claire Smith, Beyond Investing CEO, shared some poignant thoughts with The Hill Report. “ESG investing will become the primary driver for investment. Investors are holding companies to higher standards and questioning the viability of unethical and polluting business models. It represents the opportunity to invest for the future that you want to see, as opposed to keeping your money shackled to the past.”

Instagram- @beyond_animal

With a boom of awareness of veganism and sustainability in the US, and the success of companies like Beyond Meat and Tesla, new Initial Public Offerings (IPOs) are sure to be popping up. Investors in the US Climate Index can rest assured that each new IPO will be properly screened and vetted before being added to the fund. Smith said that she anticipates “more IPOs of ethical plant-based and cruelty-free food and lifestyle product companies.” She looks forward “to including them in our US Vegan Climate Index as replacements for those damaging companies that fail our screens.” As the demand for ethical investing soars higher, people looking to the stock market should consider the US Vegan Climate Index. 

Tl;dr

  • European investing platform Beyond Investing celebrates two years of the US Vegan Climate Index
  • As the world’s first exchange-traded fund (ETF),  US Climate Index (VEGAN) is a ticker to watch
  • VEGAN has outperformed the S&P 500
  • CEO, Claire Smith predicts that more IPOs of ethical plant-based and cruelty-free food and lifestyle product companies are on the rise 
  • US Climate Index screens companies to ensure that only ethical businesses are added to the fund

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