Tuesday, November 9, 2010

8 Ways To Celebrate Green Lifestyles

I just read a wonderful article in one of my favorite industry trade rags. Where I get emotional, they stay calm and perfectly articulate my feelings that are bubbling under the lid I’m desparately trying to keep on and level.

Adding a bit of humor allows the smile to break through which turns into a pretty good gaffaw and before you know it, I’m on the floor rolling. And, of course, I have to share. For instance, take a look at this.

“It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment; it’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.” None other than Dan Quayle.

Okay, maybe you’re not rolling. I guess you had to be there, but I do know you’re shaking your head in disbelief. My belief is that we will have a lot of those moments to come in the next couple of years.

The article goes on to give some really encouraging statistics of just how much earth we truly are saving. For those bent on wholesale destruction, a look at these tidbits and one can see that this ship is waaaaaay too big to turn around now.

Some day, we will be thanked for that.

Now, on to share these encouraging bits of news with you. Below are excerpts taken from Keri Luly’s article for Interiors Sources. You can read the full article by following this Wonderfully Positively Green link.

• The Congo Basin Forest Partnership—made up of heads of state, conservation organizations, local citizens, and donor organizations— recently celebrated 10 years of hard work against difficult obstacles, such as war and illegal poaching. The Basin's 3.7 million square kilometers contains 400 mammal species and more than 10,000 plant species (one-third of which are found nowhere else). Additionally, the forest stores an estimated 46 billion metric tons of carbon. The Partnership's accomplishments include:

o 34 protected areas; 61 community-based natural resource management areas; and 34 extractive resource areas zoned for conservation management, covering 126 million acres (more than one-third of the Basin forests).

o More than 11.5 million acres of forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

o More than 5,000 local people trained in conservation, land use planning and related conservation capacities.

o An overall rate of deforestation estimated to be a relatively low 0.17 percent (one-third of Brazil's rate and one-tenth of Indonesia's).

o Improving survival rates of some endangered species, in spite of illegal poaching. E.g., the population of mountain gorillas is up 17 percent over a census taken 20 years ago.

In addition, as of September 2010, there are 134.34 million hectares of FSC-certified forests in the world, and in May 2010, Canada's Boreal Forest pledged to certify 72 million hectares (75 percent of Canada's forestland).


When fully implemented, the two principles of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act are successful in restoring the fish stocks that Americans depend on for food and economic well-being. The principles seem basic—don't overfish and rebuild populations that are depleted—but there are constant efforts to weaken them. Successes include several popular, but vanishing fish3.

• Recovered: the Atlantic Scallop, the Mid-Atlantic Bluefish, and the Pacific Lingcod.

• Recovering: the Mid-Atlantic Summer Flounder (expected to recover fully before 2013) and the Gulf Red Snapper.

Work underway could triple the economic value of many U.S. fisheries by adding 500,000 jobs and generating $31 billion in sales.


In April of this year, the Goldman Environmental Prize, the world's largest prize for grassroots environmentalists, honored six new recipients. The $150,000 prize recognizes individuals for sustained and significant efforts to protect and enhance the natural environment—often at great personal risk. In many places, such activism can result in imprisonment and even death. The prize was launched 20 years ago on philanthropist Richard Goldman's 70th birthday, and each year, six new recipients are announced (representing the six inhabited continental regions of the world).

The recognition has led to other successes for the recipients. E.g., one later became the first environmentalist to win a Nobel Peace Prize and another, a former rubber tapper, became his country's Minister of the Environment. Reading their stories, and those of their predecessors, will give you renewed hope in humankind.


Estuaries are areas where freshwater from rivers mixes with saltwater from oceans, and they are among the most biologically productive places on Earth. They provide fish and wildlife habitat and sustain billions of dollars' worth of commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, and tourism. Estuaries are threatened largely because they are considered desirable places to live.

The National Estuaries Partnership6 has created 28 long-term partnerships of government, businesses, local citizens, and academia, using consensus building and educational outreach to build solutions. These groups have protected and restored more than 1 million acres of habitat (approximately the size of the state of Rhode Island) since 2000.


The most plentiful, positive green news must surely be in our built environment. A brownfield site in a poor Boston neighborhood is being redeveloped as a LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) pilot project; while on the opposite coast, a car-oriented San Francisco commercial site is using LEED-ND to transform into a mixed-use, pedestrian focused infill.

Looking indoors, consider the abundance of lower VOC products in the market. It is now, finally, possible to go to home improvement stores in small towns and find low VOC paints, adhesives, and other materials. And consider lighting. LED light bulbs (if Energy Star qualified) use 75 percent less energy and last 35-50 times longer than incandescent bulbs. Pretty amazing, but the side effect could be the elimination of a small source of green humor: How many life-cycle assessors does it take to change a light bulb? Two—one to change it and one to change it back after more data comes in.

Speaking of consumer goods, even small town grocery stores are featuring organic food. Excessive, non-recyclable packaging is still a big problem with our food supply, but I'm happy to report that some French champagne makers have redesigned their bottles to make them lighter, reducing the CO2 from transporting them by 200,000 metric tons per year.

Thank you, Keri. I always learn something new from your articles.

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