Category: Nature

Planting Trees for Love | Remembering Covid Victims

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2020 by Noreen Wise

There’s never been a more important time to plant trees than right now. After massive wildfires scorched millions of acres of forests across the western United States, to the ongoing need to cut atmospheric carbon levels in order to reduce global warming, trees are now more important than ever for sustaining human life on our planet. The only way our children will have mature trees tomorrow, is if we plant seedlings today.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland in January 2020, hundreds of nations across the globe committed to planting a trillion trees by 2050. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 ranking, the United States is 33.93 percent forested area. Sadly, prior to Davos, the United States was hovering well below its potential for tree planting despite how much room we have to plant trees. Canada on the other hand, has been a top performer, planting 500 million trees in 2019. During this same year, the US National Forest Foundation planted 5 million trees, nearly double their 2018 total, which is aggressive, but a long way off Canada’s 500 million. There doesn’t appear to be a national data base keeping track of US totals that incorporates tree planting in local communities on private property, so the total number of trees planted in US for any given year is difficult to calculate. But what we do know, is that the US chopped down 36 million trees in 2019, and in 2020, in addition to the millions of leveled trees we ax on an annual basis, we lost 30 billion mature trees in the West Coast wildfires, which is staggering.

Ethiopia is a 2020 tree planting champion, succeeding at putting 350 million trees in the ground in 12 hours this past July 2020. The US needs to rush to catch up. In most states, trees can only be planted a few months out of the year. There’s a window in both the spring and the fall. Thus, it’s vitally important that we take advantage of each and every opportunity. Homeowners have to be the drivers of our national tree planting efforts if we’re going to succeed.

Planting a tree to remember someone whose life was cut short — whether that be from covid, gun violence, wildfires and other natural disasters, a car accident, cancer, and multiple other tragedies — or is still alive but but going through a very difficult time, is a great way of showing empathy and letting others know a loved one is being thought of regularly. It also motivates us into action. This wonderful way of keeping spirits alive and communities full of hope, helps families and communities heal, while at the same time saving the planet. 

This fall, we are specifically focused on planting trees to remember covid victims in our communities:

Please remember me
By planting a tree

There is no Planet B…
So let my life cut short by tragedy
Help to save humanity 

What better way to Rest in Peace

~Trees for Love, Remember Me Tree Campaign, 
by Gallant Gold Media

Gallant Gold Media is distributing 300 FREE redbud and button bush seedlings on Saturday, October 24, 2020, from 12 noon – 3 PM at GMU, courtesy of Fairfax ReLeaf. Residents in Fairfax County and Northern Virginia can register to pick up a free seedling at GMU so that homeowners and businesses throughout the area can plant trees and bushes this fall to remember all those in our community who’ve been lost to covid. Click here to register. This is first come first serve, so please register ASAP.

If your business has any clients or employees who have loved ones to covid, a redbud seedling is a wonderful gift to let them know you care and empathize with what they’re going through. Redbud’s are a top choice to feature in the front yard landscape, with beautiful pink spring blossoms and very easy to care for while they grow.

Again, limited quantity, with some HOAs ordering large bundles, and first come first serve, so please register ASAP.

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Raising a Green Baby in 3 Easy Steps!

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 4, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

For five straight years, United States birth rates have been steadily declining.  Many speculate as to why people have been choosing to have fewer children.  Back in July of 2019, Miley Cyrus told Elle Magazine that she was not interested in having children because of environmental concerns, and she’s not the only one.  Despite the 1%-2% annual decline, there are still over 3.7 million babies born in the U.S each year.  Unfortunately, bringing a sweet-faced love-bug into your life does tend to impact the environment negatively.  According to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, 4.2 million tons of disposable diapers make their way to landfills each year.

If you and your partner recently brought home a bundle of joy, fear not!  There are easy lifestyle changes that you can make to lower your little one’s impact on the environment.  Adopting cloth diapers is one great way to protect the planet.  In the first month of a baby’s life, parents will buy at least 300 disposable diapers.  In contrast, parents only need to purchase 20 cloth diapers until potty-training time!  According to Earth911, “cloth diapers are 40% less harmful to the environment than disposables.”  If you buy non-synthetic hemp diapers, lower the water temperature during wash cycles, and sundry, you will increase that percentage even more!

Twitter – @Ginger_Snap713

How you feed your little tyke is important too.  Despite the mail-in recycle program provided by Terrecycle, most plastic single-use baby food containers end up in the trash.  Making your baby food is a great alternative!  Nutribullet Baby’s variety of sizes, recipe suggestions, and convenient storage containers make this switch simple and affordable!

Instagram – @karendbphotograpghy

Wow!  Cloth diapers and homemade baby food — at this rate, you’re a green parent pro!  One final step is to consider consignment shops for your baby’s wardrobe.  Before you reject the idea of used baby clothes for your cutie-pie, keep in mind that many adorable–  dare I say chic–  second time around shops have opened up specifically with baby gear in mind.  Many store owners sell items that have never even had the tags torn off.  Often times baby clothes are worn once or twice before they end up in the garbage. Making a second-hand switch will make a significant impact on the fight to combat the climate crisis.

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

Tl;dr

  • The US has seen a steady decline in birth rates for the last 5 years in a row
  • Miley Cyrus told Elle Magazine that she was not interested in having children because of environmental concerns
  • Many people are having few children- or no children at all- due to expected impact on the environment
  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, 4.2 million tons of disposable diapers make their way to landfills each year
  • Cloth diapers are 40% less harmful to the environment than disposables
  • Buying non-synthetic hemp diapers, lowering the water temperature during wash cycles, and sun drying reusable diapers cuts down on environmental impact
  • Most plastic single-use baby food containers end up in the trash— try using Nurtibullet Baby instead
  • Baby focused consignment shops will significantly lower landfill waste

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

10 Amazing Female Vegan Mega-Stars

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 30, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Everywhere you go, you are seeing more and more about veganism and plant-based diets.  Whether you’re walking down the street and see a billboard for Burger King’s Impossible Whopper, or you’re perusing down the “Plant-Based Protein” aisle in Target, it’s hard to ignore that times are changing. Veganism is here, it’s becoming more accessible, and it’s not going anywhere.  As inhabitants of this earth, we should all be excited by this.

Twitter – @MealsVegan

The vegan lifestyle combats animal cruelty, disease, and of course the climate crisis. Eliminating animals and animal products from your diet significantly reduces water consumption, land usage, and CO2 emissions.  According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, PETA, 51% of global greenhouse gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture!

If that doesn’t inspire you to make a meatless change, maybe this will.  Here is a list of 10 Amazing Female Mega-Stars who are completely committed to veganism!

  • Miley Cyrus – Singer, song-writer, & actress
  • Alicia Silverstone – Actress, Clueless sensation 
  • Natalie Portman – Actress, activist, & Harvard Graduate 
  • Taraji P. Henson – Actress & author 
  • Gisele Bundchen – Supermodel
  • Mayim Bialik – Actress & neuroscientist 
  • Kat Von D – Tattoo Artist & entrepreneur 
  • Mya – Singer, producer, & actress 
  • Ruby Rose – Model & actress
  • Beyoncé – Singer, The Queen B

Twitter – @MeatlessMonday

Not only are these stars plant-based, but they are making big strides in the vegan community!  Alicia Silverstone, for example, has been vegan since 1998.  Silverstone is the co-creator of myKind Organics, a line of vegan vitamins. Natalie Portman produced the film, Eating Animals, in 2017, and she regularly speaks out on animal rights and environmental issues. And we all remember how Beyoncé encouraged her fans to become vegan by offering free concert tickets to meatless converts.

Whoever your favorite celebrity is on this star-studded list, they would all agree, taking a chance on a plant-based diet is the way to go!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.


3 Must Haves for New School Year | Eco-Friendly Parenting

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

As August nears, so do thoughts of sending your children back to school.  If it were any other summer, you would be budgeting for clothes, scheduling haircuts, and debating with your kids about why they don’t need the latest Louis Vuitton Supreme sneakers.  Instead, due to the global pandemic, you’re reading and re-reading governor briefings and state guidelines for re-opening in the fall and wondering about the efficacy of remote learning.

No doubt, things will be different this school year. Your child may return to school in the fall using a hybrid model, or they might be 100% remote.  No matter what avenue is taken, you still need to prepare.  As an earth-conscious parent, we know how important it is that your back to school list is sustainable. 

We talk about plastic a lot, but one of the biggest offenders of the climate crisis is our paper consumption.  According to the Environmental Professionals Network (EPN), each person in the U.S uses 749 lbs of paper per year, resulting in massive deforestation. Adding insult to injury, so much of this paper does not get recycled.  Paper waste makes up 26% of landfills, resulting in the production of methane, “greenhouse gas with 23 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide.” Because of this, the reMarkable 2 should be the first item on your shopping list. 

This next generation “paper tablet” is wildly versatile.  It looks, feels, and even sounds like a pencil and paper, offering your child the creative experience they are used to.  It is ultra-lightweight and compact, and all of your child’s notes will be automatically uploaded to the cloud.  So, finally, everything will be organized, and nothing will get lost!

Twitter – @Ayo_d10

The next item of the list, of course, is cellphone related.  Nowadays, if you have a school-age child, the chances are that they have a mobile device.  Without a doubt, they will be looking for a new case for the start of the school year.  For this request, consider buying your young one a Pela phone case.  Pela cases are nonsynthetic and are Certified Climate Neutral.  These stylish accessories are plant-based and made from recycled materials, making them completely biodegradable and compostable!  With tons of styles that fit AirPods, iPhones, Samsungs, and Pixel phones, your child will be excited to make this eco-friendly switch.

This last item was definitely not on your back to school list last year: a face mask.  Disposing of single-use face masks is posing a real threat to marine life.  To combat this dangerous trend, try switching to a reusable mask made from upcycled materials.  Lumily is an ethical brand that focuses on sustainability as a part of their business model.  They offer a variety of CDC certified reusable masks made from 100% responsibly sourced cotton.  An added bonus: Lumily will donate a mask to someone in an underserved or vulnerable community for each mask purchased!

Twitter – @craigtimes

With these three small changes to your back to school shopping, you and your kids can make a big impact on the globe!

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

Tl:dr

  • Concerns about COVID-19 will most likely affect the way your child returns to school in the Fall
  • Try to keep sustainability at the forefront of thought when curating your child’s back to school list
  • Each person in the U.S uses 749 lbs of paper per year
  • Paper waste makes up 26% of landfills, resulting in the production of methane
  • Methane in landfills has 23 times the heat-trapping capacity of carbon dioxide
  • Try limiting your family’s paper waste with the purchase of a reMarkable 2
  • Try replacing plastic phone cases and AirPod cases with a compostable Pela case
  • Face masks, gloves, and other PPE are posing a major threat to marine life
  • Purchase a  CDC certified reusable Lumily mask, made from 100% responsibly sourced cotton

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.


The Soil Solution | Climate Change

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 21, 2020

The many climate change solutions for lowering atmospheric carbon levels and keeping our children’s futures and lives safe, are all mapped out and well documented. The climate crisis is therefore more about the vast majority’s failure to implement, especially in America, rather than not knowing what to do to correct.

The most frustrating part about the startling failure to act, is how simple and easy the solutions are. Why so much resistance? Or is it more about apathy and procrastination?!

Let’s focus on the soil solution for a second. Soil stores 2x the amount of carbon than air and plants combined, British fungal network expert and author Merlin Shedrake outlines in his new book The Entangled Life, How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. Shedrake passionately opens reader’s eyes to the hidden fungal mycelium network below our feet, pointing out that fungi are the “guts of the earth.”

Toxic fertilizers and pesticides destroy these vital, ecosystem-saving mycelium networks. While home and community composting preserves, strengthens and grows these networks enabling that much more carbon to be stored in our soil, as well as simultaneously supporting the good health of nature above ground.

Increasing the amount of nature grown above ground, increases the number of mycelium networks below the surface. The strategy is thus very clear and straightforward.

  • Home and community composting is imperative in maintaining healthy soil, begin today if you haven’t already started
  • Grow far more nature above ground; trees as well as shrubs, flowers, ground cover and window boxes
  • Don’t use toxic fertilizers or pesticides, instead choose one of the many organic alternatives

That’s it! These easy life-saving and game-changing steps in soil health are this simple. Let’s all begin TODAY! No procrastinating. 🌱

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

Bartram’s Garden Philadelphia | Eco-Solutions

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 9, 2020

Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, founded nearly 300 years ago by botany pioneer John Bartram, a plant hunter, who trekked through the American wilderness in search of unique species not native to Philadelphia, and returned with seeds, trimmings and saplings to plant on his farm, eventually acquired species from all thirteen colonies. Bartram’s garden now contains more species than any other botanical garden in North America, and is the longest surviving botanical garden on the continent.

In 1787, during the Constitutional Convention, when James Madison was trying to pass the US Constitution and the small states were at odds with the big states, after weeks of heated debates an immovable stalemate evolved. In apparent despair, Madison inspired several of the naysayers to journey with him to Bartram’s Garden to walk around for a few hours, believing nature to be a great cure, especially for troubled minds.

Madison’s stroke of genius worked. When they returned to cast their votes, several who had been at Bartram’s Garden changed their votes and the US Constitution was passed.

Bartram’s Garden | Photography by Noreen Wise All Rights Reserved

Nature is one of the most effective climate change solutions, and can successfully battle climate’s most vicious side effects. Scientists refer to nature’s positive impact on climate change as ecosystem based adaptation.

Spending a day at Bartram’s Garden over the weekend, made me feel as inspired as Madison must have felt back at the beginning in 1787. Extensive acres of layers upon layers of nature’s most wondrous species. What better way to cure such a destructive enemy than to beautify every inch of our landscapes with as much nature as possible. Come on, America, we can do this. We must begin today.

The layering of all different tree heights, shrubs, flowers, ivy, and ground cover, not only captures carbon, but captures and inspires the human spirit to respect and protect our vital resources and our children’s futures. 🌳

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

No More Natural Gas| Berkeley, CA

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

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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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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© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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What’s the Wet-Bulb Temperature | Survivability Threshold

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 12, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

According to a recent report published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the official wet-bulb temperature of 35˚C (95˚F)  is the maximum temperature the human body can successfully cool itself on its own to keep from overheating. Once we cross the survivability threshold into the danger zone, the combination of heat and humidity results in the skin’s inability to sweat fast enough to cool the body, and we can succumb to heatstroke within a few hours of being outside, which is potentially fatal.

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Bloomberg Green reports that there are several cities along the Gulf Coast that have already experienced this type of extreme condition, maximum heat combined with maximum humidity, and have repeatedly crossed into the danger zone. New Orleans is one such city. The concept of there being a survivability threshold that has already been reached in some parts of America, is almost unfathomable. Large populations live in these areas. If the conditions are unsurvivable, they’ll be forced to move. The injustice is maddening.

It always seems to be the same routine. A certain percent of the population disregards the warnings and recommended guidelines, and selfishly pursues material gain at the exclusion of everything else. This causes a negative ripple effect that impacts those of lesser means, with limited resources, resulting in a downward spiral for large segments of the population that involves further financial strain. The rich get richer, everyone else becomes more financially challenged, and climate change extremes increase, impacting an increasing number of vulnerable communities and  cities.

If we can’t immediately recognize that this is one of the most significant wake-up calls yet, there’s no hope. Everyone has to be all in on climate to save planet earth. If individuals aren’t self-motivated to make the necessary changes, then local, state and federal governments will have to force them. Period. 🌎

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© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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. ♻️

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Change One Thing | Climate

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 7, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

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 ✅

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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