Category: sustainability

America’s Global Corporations | Do the Right Thing

Washington (GGM) Analysis | July 8, 2020 by Noreen Wise

With so much government disfunction in the United States, it’s life-threatening for US global corporations to wait for US laws to be passed in order to act on climate. All must quickly rise to the occasion and do the right thing for climate’s sake.

EU countries, Canada, and China are shining beacons from hill tops. Most are moving briskly into sustainability and renewable energy, while the majority of states in America are stymied by legislative impasses. Large portfolio management firms as well, those managing many trillions of dollars, are dumping fossil fuels and other “old world” stalwarts, and quickly buying into the future. It reminds me of the late 1990’s when all the new tech giants began emerging.

The most maddening part about the corporate landscape and climate action and inaction, is that the majority of American global corporations only adjust their practices in those states or countries that pass green laws. They apparently refuse to apply the new best practices, such as mandatory composting and single-use plastic bag bans, to all their locations today.

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Profit over lives creates climate injustice which fuels the climate crisis. It also kills. It’s time to hold corporations accountable by boycotting. I love Wegman’s. However, to see paper bags being used in New York Wegman’s after the single-use plastic bag ban went into effect there, but seeing plastic bags in Virginia stores because there’s no ban in Virginia, resonates as irresponsible and harmful to millions. Yes, Wegman’s does have a plastic bag recycle bin which may ease their conscience, but it’s still only a quarter-step forward when American corporations need to be sprinting into the future to catch up with all of our allies.

How about McDonald’s in Halifax Nova Scotia, Canada, which passed a law mandating no food waste, and requiring all restaurants to compost. McDonald’s is apparently rejecting the law and allowing customers to toss food waste much to the dismay of Nova Scotia, when it should be abiding by Canadian laws as well as applying these same principles to their American locations despite the fact that there’s limited legislation in most states.

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America has fallen so far behind that we’re being humiliated by much smaller countries who are are seizing the moment and charging into the future.

Dysfunctional local, state and federal government doesn’t have to be an obstacle to implementing climate solutions. We American citizens, as well as corporations big and small, can act on our own. In fact, we simply must.

Let’s GO! If corporations like Wegman’s and McDonald’s and so many others have lost their way and can’t start sprinting, we consumers must say “enough is enough” and begin boycotting. Period. No time to waste. Just like with covid, immediately implementing effective solutions is a game-changer. Dragging our feet is a killer.♻️

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Toronto Is Far Ahead of Majority of American Cities | Waste Management

Washington (GGM) Analysis | June 27, 2020 by Noreen Wise

While quarantined in Toronto, Canada for 14 days — with only 4 days remaining, yay — I’ve been able to experience first hand how in sync Torontonians are with their advanced sustainability waste management processes. In less than two years, Toronto is on the brink of zero-waste.

Providing curbside pickup for kitchen scraps is the final step in closing the loop to create a circular economy. Twenty-two percent of all landfill waste is food waste, and thus preventable. Compostable food scraps is vitally important for strengthening soil nutrients in the gardens, parks and outlying farms that our American communities support.

On this city street here in downtown Toronto, there is a designated green bin on the sidewalk that’s contained inside a neat and tidy wooden fenced bin hub, that includes: a recycling bin, a garbage bin and a kitchen scraps bin. All the residents are onboard and drop off their kitchen scraps regularly. Kitchen scrap green bin pickup is every Friday morning, while garbage and recycling rotate every other Friday.

What I found so amazing about the bin hub on this Toronto city block, is that there is so little waste. One of the bins is a half-size bin. I’ve never seen a half-size waste bin in America, only overflowing jumbo-sized bins. This in itself is a snapshot of what our greatest challenge is. The American perception that our overflowing giant bins are normal and acceptable, while the rest of the world exists on the half-sized waste bin.

Stepping into this beautiful Canadian sustainability scene from America, feels like time travel, instantly arriving at what many climate focused communities are striving for. Toronto is already living America’s aspirations. Canadians make it look so easy. It basically is. Just do it, is all it takes. Why do so many in America believe, and make it appear, too difficult to conquer?

How long will it take America to close the loop and have kitchen scraps green bins on every street? Americans are quick at responding to prize offerings and rewards, perhaps the quickest in the world. Shouldn’t we move just as briskly to capture climate action rewards.

San Francisco began requiring mandatory composting back in 2009. And according to AZCentral, at the beginning of 2018, San Francisco had a landfill diversion rate of 80 percent, the highest in the country, with the goal of hitting 100 percent diversion rate by 2020. This is a sharp difference from Arizona’s 20 percent landfill diversion rate in 2018, and goal of 40 percent by 2020.

The bottomline is that the majority of countries in the industrialized world are lightyears ahead of America and on the waste management front. We can no longer rely on local, state and federal government to take the lead on these critical issues. We American citizens have to jump into the driver’s seat and just do it, just do what needs to be done so we can catch up and reverse global warming. Composting and strengthening our soil nutrient levels to maximize carbon absorption is an immediate next step for all American communities.

Lets GO! Just do it… TODAY.♻️

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

Three States with the Most Charging Stations | Can You Guess?

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

After three months of staying at home, (and happy to do so), I must admit that I’ve never been so eager to plan a road trip this summer. Public transportation is still quite worrisome, but driving is an ideal option for social distancing while traveling. In fact, I’ve determined it’s the safest transportation option available.

With so many restaurants offering curbside pickup, and the empty highways luring me to take advantage of this unique opportunity, it’s exciting to ponder which destinations to add to my list. This may be the best summer ever to travel across country?

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Is my exuberance getting the best of me?

Perhaps, but I was excited to read today that the three states with the most EV charging stations are:

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida

Texas surprised me, actually. I had no idea that Texans were buying EV’s, but apparently they are. Excellent. Here’s a link that identifies where all the EV charging stations are located across America.

Facial coverings are needed at gas pumps and rest stops. Interestingly, I’m finding that it’s very easy to forget we’re in the middle of a pandemic when I travel. I better follow the great example I’ve seen and hang a face mask from the rearview mirror so I don’t get stuck without one. Happy travels. 😷

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Renewable Energy Continues to Surpass Coal in US

Washington (GGM) Analysis | May 15, 2020
NWHillReport-Pic by Noreen Wise

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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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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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 ✅

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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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The Golden Rule & Covid-19 | Recycling and Waste Management

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

“Do unto others as you want them to do to you.” ~ The Golden Rule

It’s exciting to see that recycling has been deemed an essential service during covid-19, but keeping these dedicated waste management employees safe during the global pandemic is equally as important.

With everyone stuck at home, there’s now more home garbage than ever before. Further, the vast majority of us are ordering the bulk of our purchases online, and having it delivered, so there’s likely a mountain of recyclable cardboard boxes associated with each household. And how about glass bottles from our favorite alcoholic beverages? Many manufacturers rely on these particular recyclables to produces their products. Cardboard and glass are two of the more essential components of the supply chain for recyclable manufacturing.

So, how is recycling being handled during covid-19? There seems to be conflicting accounts depending on the state and local municipality.

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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.

Here’s what we know according to The Recycling Partnership:

  • even though deemed essential, many communities are suspending curbside recycling pickup so please check with your town’s waste management website
  • if your locality has drop off recycling, please try and take advantage of this, while maintaining the safe protocols of a facial covering and gloves, manufacturers are desperate for these materials
  • cities will have much tighter budgets in the new fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020, many towns are discussing cutting back on curbside recycling pickup, so we have to make plans each week to drop off recyclables at drop off centers
  • states and municipalities are still trying to work out the best way to handle plastic PPE and recycling, hard plastic can be recycled, but it can be dangerous, (more information below)
  • Wipe garbage bin handles down before rolling to curb, and wear gloves when pushing the bin to curb

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Additionally, there are specific rules regarding how to handle waste and recycling if anyone in the household has tested positive for covid-19.

  • No garbage brought to the curb during the 14 day quarantine period
  • add an additional 72 hours to the 14 days for recycling

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Our individual actions are life and death for many in our communities. It’s very important that we follow the guidelines to keep everyone safe. The golden rule has never meant more than it does right now. Do unto others as you want them to do unto you. ♻️

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Finding Our New Groove | Weaving in Green While We’re at It

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

Every day is another step in this new, weird world we’re adapting to. And because we were blindsided, and thus had no preparation, we’re missing nearly every safety necessity, which forces us to be incredibly resourceful, and improvise, if we want to overcome these circumstances and stay alive. Sadly, despite all our efforts, many will still perish.

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. …is a military motto. Makes sense. I can totally picture improvise-adapt-overcome being the daily practice when the military is out in the field. And the military’s story of reality on the front lines, is now our reality as we stand on the front lines. With so much adapting and improvising taking place 24/7, it’s an excellent opportunity for us to absorb the big picture and make all the changes we’ve been promising ourselves for days, months, and even… years.

Climate reality.

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I remember the incredible opportunity I had after the townhouse I lived in was flattened by a tornado. The first few weeks were traumatic, of course. The structure was deemed a total loss. My then-husband and I had to live in temporary quarters, while it was rebuilt. I was so grateful to have lived through the frightening experience (I survived by running into a closet when I heard the train coming, and when I opened the door after the huge KABOOOOM, everything was gone). I thus wasn’t going to complain about any of the inconveniences or hardships that followed.

I think what kept me so positive, was that I could suddenly make all the changes I’d been dreaming of. Be careful for what you wish  for. Be careful for what you wish for. Be careful for what you wish for. Seriously, I must have said that a million times. When life is suddenly helter skelter, I could finally fully grasp what Newtown’s first law of motion was all about: an object at rest stays at rest, or an object in motion stays in motion at the same velocity, unless acted upon by an external force.

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Carpe diem. Seize the day. I became the whirlwind of change, quickly implementing the home designs I’d been planning for years. I upgraded the floors in several rooms with upscale tile, and top of the line carpeting in others. A few months after moving back in, the upgrades enabled us to sell the townhouse in record time during a down market at asking price and relocate across the country to California. I also began a writing course at some point during all this craziness, which set me on a new path to become the writer I had dreamed of becoming ever since I was a child. Those eight months were an endless blur of activity, the equivalent of the shifting of a kaleidoscope where every single spec shifts.

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I feel the exact same right now. There’s safety with all of us suffering the same grim fate together. It reminds me of my father’s chain saw accident when he slipped and fell and accidentally sawed his leg down to the bone (it was amputated at the hospital). The doctor explained that what saved my father’s life was slicing all the way through the largest vein in his leg, causing it to clamp shut on its own. Apparently, if he had nicked it, he would have bled out.

So, too with us. We’re all in this together. Let’s make the most of this incredible opportunity and commit to implement the many changes we’ve been promising to make for climate… as well as removing corrupt, lawless politicians who’ve degraded our American principles and undermined our Constitution, which we all now hold so dear.🌱

 

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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

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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.

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

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