Tag: Nature

Composting | A Major Climate Solution

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 24, 2020 by Catherine Zacuto, M. Ed.

Perspective is everything. Composting can seem like a daunting task or a simple way to make our soil healthy. The benefits of composting for the climate and the environment may persuade you to get on board, to learn something new, and to contribute to a growing movement to give back.

What’s the heart of the matter? The wisdom of composting goes back to the days of Ancient Greece and Rome, and soil cultivation has been in practice ever since. The Founding Fathers realized the importance of renewing the soil of their farms and gardens. Washington, Jefferson, and Adams (among others) treasured the land for its abundance and permanence; fields were not something to be used and abandoned. Because tobacco had depleted the soil of many estates by the late 1700s, Washington began planting crops that could anchor the American agricultural economy. To replenish the soil for wheat fields and orchards, he experimented with manure, Potomac mud, and fish remains. In the end, Washington operated five farms in Virginia and was one of the most successful farmers of his time. 

How does this impact you personally? Composting is a practical way to improve the health of the soil and reduce our carbon footprint. Over the centuries, the basic principles of composting have remained consistent and have yielded the same predictable outcomes for sustaining our planet. The knowledge and tools are at our fingertips. Using the wisdom garnered over the ages, we have the chance, without too much difficulty, to create a thriving environment and help planet Earth.

Composting:

  • adds microbes to dirt and soil, enabling it to store loads of carbon that thwarts climate change.
  • reduces methane-producing waste in landfills
  • creates vibrant soil that supports the ecosystem
  • retains water in the soil, reducing the need to irrigate
  • promotes disease-free plant growth

What can you do about this? Whether you live in a noisy urban neighborhood or on a quiet rural road, composting is possible. To keep it simple, deliver your food scraps to your community compost collection site. (See the list of Virginia composting facilities at the end of this article.) Or, find a compost company that picks up your food scraps. Check to see how the company uses the compost, and find out if they return compost to you. Make your own compost by following simple daily guidelines. (Click here to see a short how-to video.) You can make a difference for your family, your community, and the planet. Remember the Founding Fathers: The success of the new nation hinged on its fruitful harvests. Did they ever imagine how critical their organic practices would be for the health of the planet?

Next steps:

  • Begin saving food scraps in a compost bag in your refrigerator, a cool garage or in a clamped container.
  • Gather both green materials (fruits, vegetables, tea, egg shells, coffee grounds) and brown (newspapers, egg cartons, twigs, and dried grass). 
  • Avoid oils, dairy, meat, and bread.
  • Decide if you will create the compost yourself or donate your scraps to your community, or
  • Find the most eco-friendly company to pick up your scraps and use them to benefit soil health.

Virginia Composting Facilities by Area

References:

“Benefits of Compost.” U.S. Composting Council, http://www.compostingcouncil.org/. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

Simon, Julia. “How to Start Composting.” NPR, 2021, http://www.npr.org/2020/04/07/828918397/how-to-compost-at-home.


© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

Build Back Better | Our Personal Lives

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 22, 2021 by Noreen Wise

It’s a brand new day, filled with so much hope. We have a new administration, expressing a multitude of positive and inspirational words of wisdom and transformative goals, as well as outlining the steps forward that will lead us toward the achievement of these goals. It all begins with each of us participating. 

The importance of participation in our democratic form of government—of the people, by the people, for the people — cannot be overemphasized. It should be one of the main takeaways of the very dark, oppressive and traumatic last four years that we’ve just survived. Majority participation is what led to a successful outcome. Let’s absorb and wrap our minds around this reality. We must promise to never forget that participation is everything in a democracy as we enter these green fields of hope.

Build back better. We’ve heard this message repeatedly for the last nine months. But, how about if we do more than just build our economy back better. How about if we build our lives back better too. This means trying to regain our physical and mental footing, which will result in us being that much healthier, happier and stronger.

Gallant Gold Media’s Hill Report is very excited to announce the Sustainable Living Build Back Better Guide, a weekly article featuring tips provided by sustainable living guru, Stephen Santangelo. Stephen will share the how to’s of lowering our carbon footprints and improving our own health and happiness. It’s highly probable that Stephen’s insightful knowledge will also provide us with that many more economic opportunities. Sustainable living saves participants a lot of money.

Stephen and his wife Lori, launched into the all-in sustainable lifestyle scene by making the bold decision to relocate from Southern California to Kentucky. Stephen explained that the price of land in Kentucky for farming was that much less expensive than Southern California. In fact, the California price for the same amount of land was prohibitive. 

Gallant Gold Media is planting a forest in North Dakota to remember all those we lost to Covid. Ponderosa Pines Ranch forest. All thanks to ranch owner Byron Richard!

What is sustainable living? Sustainable living is a circular economy lifestyle with a goal of zero waste that includes all the common buzzwords that flood Instagram, and other social media platforms daily. A series of small, seemingly insignificant daily choices and habits, that collectively, if we all participate, will lower carbon emissions dramatically. Additionally, these same small, daily choices will restore our environment, reduce global warming, and reverse climate change. This includes everyday decisions such as:

  • Reusable shopping bags 
  • Reusable drink containers, especially when stopping at Starbucks
  • Reduce-reuse-upcycle-recycle
  • Composting kitchen scraps 
  • Applying the compost to our soil
  • Growing our own food as much as possible, ie herbs, fruits and vegetables
  • LED bulbs
  • Shorter showers
  • Run full loads of laundry
  • Air dry laundry
  • Renewable energy
  • Regifting
  • Bamboo paper towels that can be washed and dried quickly, one roll can last an entire year
  • And so much more

Stephen and Lori are overachievers on many of these levels, particularly food sustainability. Stephen explains that they’ve always been health conscience and raised their children that way. They’re now 97-98 percent food sustainable, and never eat out. This is mind boggling. The photos of their gardens are an amazing example of what appears to be relatively achievable for all of us. Such an inspiration. Stephen assured me that healthy soil is a big deal and he’ll provide tips in the upcoming weeks. His farming schedule is as follows, in his own words:

  • From April – October, 4-12 hours per day.
  • From November – March, virtually none…
  • …the soil has been prepared and fed in late October, and the microbes do the rest. 

How does this benefit you personally? Not only does sustainable living restore the environment, improve our quality of life, and lower our carbon footprints — which again, if we all participate, will dramatically reduce carbon emissions, and thus reverse climate change — Stephen enthusiastically explains that there are numerous additional personal benefits. These benefits have significantly improved Stephen and Lori’s well-being, most notably health and fitness. After suffering through a year of Covid, isn’t that what we all want? To be healthier. Thankfully, Stephen has agreed to share his wonderful health and fitness tips in the upcoming articles. 

Stephen and Lori have become so connected to the earth through farming, that Stephen digs extensively into the scientific research side of things. In fact, Stephen emphasized at the very beginning, that he’s all about science, and that all of his habits and routines have been acquired through intense investigating. His scientific research list is 32 sources long. Stephen’s knowledge is so deep and broad that writing this brief pilot article was daunting. 

The next steps:

  • Stephen advises that the very first thing we need to do is admit that we have to make lifestyle changes.
  • Additionally, Stephen points out that there’s science behind sustainable living lifestyle choices, especially as they pertain to farming, nature, health and exercise and it’s important that we take the time to read up and do the necessary research. Science based podcasts can be very informative as well.
  • Print the above sustainable living list and check off each item daily until each becomes habit.

Be sure to check back next Thursday for the next Sustainable Living Build Back Better Guide with Stephen Santangelo.

© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

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A Nation That Destroys Its Soil Destroys Itself — FDR

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 17, 2021 by Noreen Wise

Soil and dirt are not the same thing, according to geologist and author David R. Montgomery. Dark brown soil is life, teaming with microbes that are the engineers of all the nature that flourishes above ground. Microbe rich soil contains major amounts of carbon and moisture. Soil is the very thing that sustains our existence on the planet. 

Much paler dirt on the other hand is lifeless, containing little or no microbes, carbon or moisture, making it very difficult for plants to grow on their own. There is nothing that holds the dirt together, which often results in the wind sweeping the dirt away, creating heaps along fence lines and structure walls. 

David Montgomery warns readers in his book, Growing a Revolution, Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, that soil degradation is what destroys civilizations. The Great Dustbowl of the 1930’s was a result of a decade of soil degradation brought on by plowing during the 1920’s which removed the nutrient rich topsoil, released all the stored carbon into the air, and left behind nothing but dirt in its wake.

What’s the heart of the matter? Soil, rich in microbes, can store major amounts of carbon. Nearly 70 percent of the carbon sequestered in a forest is stashed in the soil. Plants push the carbon they absorb down to the roots where it is released into the soil and safely trapped, reducing the atmospheric carbon level. The higher our atmospheric carbon level, the more the globe heats up. 

How does this impact you personally? Global warming impacts all of us negatively. The warmer weather often results in droughts which impacts agriculture, decreasing our food supply. This is occurring at the same time the global population is rising, creating a greater demand for food. Global warming causes the climate around the globe to change. It has melted glaciers, which in turn has increased the water levels of our oceans, lakes and rivers. Property values along shorelines have plummeted in many areas. Additionally, coastal homeowners are now finding it very difficult to get insurance for their homes and property. The wildfires out West have destroyed millions of acres of forests and billions of mature trees which has exasperated the climate crisis creating catastrophic climate blowback. According to David R. Montgomery, the United States has already lost 50% of its soil, leaving behind dirt in its place.

Gallant Gold Media is planting a forest in North Dakota to remember all those we lost to Covid. Ponderosa Pines Ranch forest. All thanks to ranch owner Byron Richard!

How can you fix this? Every household in the United States must compost. Composting kitchen scraps is an imperative for restoring our soil. Compost is filled with the vital microbes that are essential for soil health. Local grocery stores now have biodegradable compost bags. These kitchen scrap compost bags can be safely stored in your refrigerator if you don’t have an outdoor compost bin with a snap clip lid that will keep wildlife out of your compost. The majority of developed countries in the world have mandatory composting with curbside pickup once a week, but not the U.S. unfortunately. Private compost pick-up companies are popping up in the majority of US cities. Additionally, many U.S. towns now have compost drop-off sites. 

The next steps:

  • place kitchen scraps into a small kitchen bag instead of the sink or garbage
  • store in refrigerator if you don’t have an outside bin with snap lid
  • drop off at town compost site once a week or call to have a private company pickup your compost
  • Voila! So easy. You’ve just helped save our existence on earth.

We can do this!

© Copyright 2018 – 2021. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Compost & Carbon Sink| Climate Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | December 10, 2020 by Noreen Wise

Compost is a big deal in the calculus for increasing carbon sink in our soil. It provides one of the most effective methods for the US public to assist with cutting carbon as deeply and swiftly as possible.

Peat is a compost. It looks very much like soil, but is simply partially decade vegetation rich in nutrients. These nutrients are what enable the increased absorption of carbon. Peatlands are only 3% of our global lands, yet they store approximately “30% of the earths soil organic carbon.” In light of our extreme #ClimateCrisis, peat should never be removed from its environment to be sold to consumers for profit.

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The ever increasing carbon levels as the global population continues to grow, demands that we each do our own part in every way possible to curb carbon, especially in light of the fact of how simple and easy this actually is.

As we hurry to build infrastructure to support solar energy and EV autos, it makes sense to simultaneously rush to improve our natural carbon storing assets, which will further the lowering of CO2 in our atmosphere.

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Creating compost bins wherever possible can provide the much needed extra compost for forests, home gardens, public gardens and parks. It was exciting to see a “Compost” bin at the restaurant where I ate today. It was lined up with the other options at the recycling and garbage hub. I always feel so hopeful when a business “gets it” and does it’s little part. The care and maintenance of a compost bin in a restaurant is minor, but the benefit to society is huge. It pretty much follows the same ratio mentioned at the top of the page: 3% / 30% .

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We can do this!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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How to Use Your ‘Mom Status’ to Help Mother Nature

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 25, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

Think back to your childhood. If you ever had a problem that you couldn’t resolve yourself, who did you ask for help? Chances are, the answer is your mom. Had a pull in your ballet tights five minutes before your recital started? She had you covered with a spritz of hairspray. Couldn’t find your soccer cleats? Hall closet on the left next to the blue duffel bag no hesitation. Tiffany Saunders told everyone that you stuffed your bra in the seventh grade? She called her mom, and the rumor mill ended. Done. 

It’s ingrained in us from a young age— if you have a problem and need something done about it fast, ask a Mom. That’s why it is no surprise that ‘Mom’s in Movements’ make major headway. Whether it’s the hundreds of thousands of nutritious meals provided by Moms Against Poverty, the blockage of 3 million illegal gun sales due in part to Moms Demand Action, or the human shield provided to Black Lives Matter protesters in Oregon by the Wall of Moms— passionate mothers make a difference.

Twitter- @QCDCNY

These three celebrity moms are making big waves in sustainability and preserving the environment. Hear what they have been saying about protecting mother nature and preparing the planet for the next generation. You will definitely feel inspired!

Anne Hathaway The Les Misérables actress is more than just a Hollywood star. She is an activist, NYU graduate, and a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations. In an interview with InStyle, Hathaway explained how she is raising a ‘Zero Waste’ family. Anne said of the eco-friendly switch, “While working on The Hustle, I noticed disposable coffee cups, plastic water bottles, idling trucks, and food waste. When I finished the film, my family and I went zero waste.” 

Hilary Duff Mother of two little ones, this Lizzy McGuire actress was on the cover of the “Mother Earth” issue  published by Parents magazine. She regularly uses social media to share tips that any family can use to help combat the climate crisis. Of these seemingly small steps, she said, “at first, saving the environment sounds scary and overwhelming, but as we implement new rules, it becomes easier and easier.”

Instagram- @hilaryduff

Alicia Silverstone Author of The Kind Diet, this star is far from Clueless. Long-time plant-based mamma and activist, Silverstone makes her opinions known about climate action. In an interview with VegNews she stated, “our rapidly growing dependence on animals as a food source is one of the greatest threats to the climate.” She too regularly takes to social media to share eco-friendly recipes and tips. 

If you are feeling empowered to use your ‘mom status’ to make positive changes, follow these stars on Instagram, or get involved in the movement by visiting Mothers Out Front.  Mothers Out Front is dedicated to impacting the way the world responds to climate change. They provide resources for families and lobby for green initiatives. Right now, they are fighting for electric school buses for children. Who knows what they could accomplish with your help!

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Why You Need to Know About the Launch of The Wonderful Wine Co.

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 6, 2020 by Sarah J. Kings

This time last summer, your evening plans may have included slipping on stilettos to meet up with a few friends at a new roof-top bar or rocking your favorite fedora at a neighborhood block party. As Friday quickly approaches, we know swanky bars and big parties are out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you have to let your summer slip away. You can uncork a bottle of wine on your back porch with your neighbor– six feet away, of course– and toast to Mother Nature!

Yes, that’s right; there is a wine that is actually doing something for the environment. In June of 2020, Winc launched a totally vegan and oh so sustainable line of wine. It’s called The Wonderful Wine Co., and people are loving it!  

Twitter – @helloboxes

The Wonderful Wine Co. is dedicated to the wellness of the planet and the wellness of its customers. All of the grapes are derived from organic vineyards, and no added chemicals or added sugars are used in the process. Unlike most wine available, The Wonderful Wine Co. is all vegan. This means that the ground-up bone, casein, milk, and fish bladders that sneak their way into your typical Rosé, won’t be found here.

More than simply better for you, this wine is better for the planet. The ingredients, the packaging, how it is shipped, and even the bottle itself are meticulously designed with Mother Nature in mind. Wonderful Wine uses a special lightweight glass bottle that requires 20% less energy and 12% less water in production, which reduces carbon emissions by 27%. They also have reduced landfill contributions and deforestation by eliminating the trash producing polylaminate capsule altogether and using an all-natural biodegradable cork. Additionally, the box the wine is housed in is 100% recyclable and 95% compostable.

With four delicious selections coming from non-GMO vineyards in Argentina, France, and California, there is a delicious and sophisticated option for any occasion. For a sustainable sip of summer, pour yourself a glass of The Limited Edition Orange wine. With notes of citrus and white peach and a touch of honeysuckle, you will know why they call it Wonderful Wine.

Instagram – @blevineproductions

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

Tl;dr

  • Winc launched The Wonderful Wine Co., a vegan and sustainable line of wine
  • The grapes are derived from organic vineyards
  • No added chemicals or added sugars are used in the process
  • Most other wine includes ground-up bone, casein, milk, and fish bladders
  • Wonderful Wine uses a special lightweight glass bottle that reduces carbon emissions by 27%
  • They reduced landfill contributions and deforestation by eliminating the polylaminate capsule and using an all-natural biodegradable cork
  • The box is 100% recyclable and 95% compostable

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.

What Can Be Composted? | Circular Economy

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

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

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

GREENS

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

BROWNS

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

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

We’ve got this, LET’S GO!~

© Copyright 2018 – 2020. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Think Green When Making Weekend & Vacation Plans

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Perspective | March 17, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

GREEN should forever be at the forefront of our minds whenever we make weekend plans as well as vacation plans.

Climate Action, is nothing more than a resolution. A proposal. An urgent call of action to help address the most challenging crisis facing America and every nation around the world. Climate change impacts all of us. The traumatic reality brings our diverse global population together through a shared purpose.

With the arrival of spring, we can move into the GREEN fast lane and start planting trees. As many trees as space allows. Pakistan has planted over a billion trees. The most important step for us to remember here in America is that steady consistency is the best path forward. Let’s be inclusive. Let’s create a vision for solving this crisis that the vast majority will identify with and participate in. No closed doors. No closed minds.

Here’s a quick lesson on how to properly plant a tree:

Have fun! Make it a family or friend event. It’s wonderful to know that around the world, communities are gathering to plant trees. Not only will this reduce carbon, it will provide cleaner oxygen and a more beautiful environment that will add cheer to our lives. Health and beauty are worth fighting hard for.

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