The GIC: Impactathon is a national challenge to see which of our student volunteers can conduct the most energy audits for local businesses during the month of October. And at the end of the month, we will crown one student or group as the GIC: Impactathon Winner, along with a plaque and other cool prizes like CO2 light switch stickers, blog features, and more.
The competition will bring energy efficiency recommendations to small business owners across the country, as well as empower dozens of students through hands-on experience. But, it’ll do more than just that.
In keeping with the goal of National Energy Awareness Month, this competition will shine a light on a neglected community of the climate change conversation. GIC: Impactathon will raise awareness about the $60 billion in energy costs and the half a billion metric tons of carbon emissions that the small business community contributes every year and the need for us to help them take action.
So we invite you to participate in this national competition and help us to spread awareness. Here’s how you can get involved:
Compete! Step up and try to conduct the most energy audits in your community and take home the GIC: Impactathon plaque. This is a great way to add something to your resume while helping local businesses and the environment. To get started, review the GIC volunteer toolkit and then sign up to join and we’ll provide you with access to our energy audit tool, GEMS
Volunteer Sign Up
Get a free energy audit! The GIC: Impactathon is a great opportunity for you to support local student volunteers while receiving custom, actionable ways to save energy and utility costs. With the average energy audit only taking 20 minutes and identifying 25% in energy savings, it’s the best investment you’ll make this year. To sign up to receive a free energy audit, simplyregister your business.
Register Your Business
Spread the word! Use the hashtag #GICImpactathon to help us spread sustainability awareness in the small business community and on universities across the country.
CLICK TO TWEET: A national student #energy audit competition for #smallbiz! Who will win?! #GICImpactathon
And good luck to all of those competing!]]>
Strong Recognition for Estuaries and Coastal Wetlands
WASHINGTON – A new priority agenda from the White House announces new actions and comprehensive commitments across the Federal Government to enhance the resilience of our Nation’s natural resources, especially estuaries and coastal resources, in the face of climate change. The agenda places particular emphasis on the importance of healthy estuaries and coastal wetlands for their ability to mitigate carbon pollution and enhance community resilience.
Estuaries and coastal wetlands are on the front lines of climate change impacts from rising sea-level, extreme weather events and increased flooding. Every dollar invested in the mitigation of storm-surge effects on coastal communities saves four dollars in losses from natural hazards, and for every $1 million invested in restoration projects, between 17 and 30 jobs are created.
“We commend the White House for advancing an agenda that commits to increased priority and investment in our coastal natural resources,” said Jeff Benoit, President and CEO of Restore America’s Estuaries. “Our estuaries and coastal wetlands play a crucial role in helping communities prepare for the effects of climate change while helping to measurably reduce carbon pollution at the same time. I’m especially pleased to see that the agenda fully recognizes the importance of our coastal resources in the same fashion and priority we have long placed on terrestrial resources.”
Restore America’s Estuaries and our member organizations are pleased to be a partner on several of the private and public sector commitments announced by the White House including:
Coastal wetlands are vitally important ecologically, economically and culturally. Estuaries—bays and inlets where freshwater intermixes with saltwater from the ocean—act as spawning grounds and nurseries for commercially and recreationally important fish and shellfish species, provide storm buffers for coastal communities, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for numerous species of fish and wildlife, as well as recreational opportunities for hundreds of millions of Americans annually.
For more information on Restore America’s Estuaries or the ways we’re helping increase the resiliency of natural resources in the face of climate change, sea level rise, and other threats, please contact Lance Speidell at lspeidell (at) estuaries (dot) org.
“My NOLS experience was truly life changing. I learned how to make my voice heard, deliver constructive feedback, embrace hardship and the unknown, be intentional, and live minimally. I learned to appreciate each moment; that the past and future are only thieves of today. I hold all that I learned close to tackle the next adventure.
NOLS taught me the value and power of community. Everyone tried to be fair-minded, open, compassionate, respectful, and helpful. We worked hard at effective communication and conflict management, which paid off incredibly well. I will never forget the power of expressing even the smallest frustration to maintain a healthy relationship.
In the backcountry you can’t let things “brew.” Although this is common in the frontcountry, it is not healthy or productive. Since my course, I am more aware of myself as a function of the whole community of my school, workplace, and teams.
I think everyone should experience outdoor education. One of the hardest parts of the course was raising enough money to be able to participate, and I could not have done my NOLS course without a scholarship. I have never seen myself, or anyone else, grow in leadership skills, competence, self-awareness, judgment and decision-making, risk management, and expedition behavior in such a short time. Everyone deserves to experience that.”
Sadie Sarvis is a 2011 Semester in the Rockies graduate and scholarship recipient.]]>
Watsonville, CA, October 2, 2014 – On October 25th, 2014 The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program invites the community to celebrate the harvest at the annual Harvest Festival. This event is the culmination of the fall tour season, welcoming students back to the farm with their families. Open to the public, LEFDP celebrates the harvest with loads of family friendly fun including tractor rides, face painting, a potluck, live music, local beer and sausages, a pie contest, apple cider making, tomato canning, and lots of local treats by folks like Penny Ice Creamery, and Hey Honey Lemonade.
Recently, I overheard a parent of young kids reflecting on their u-pick experience at Live Earth Farm. “What struck me,” he said, “was how we picked down the whole row and looking back we barely made a dent.” This parent learned an important lesson about the true value of agricultural labor, a lesson that translates into real appreciation of the food that makes it to our dining tables and the efforts and resources is takes to get it there. About 300 people of all ages will get the chance to appreciate and celebrate the food on our plates at the 2014 LEF Discovery Program Harvest Festival.
Through LEFDP’s programs local, under served youth build confidence in learning to be active caretakers of themselves, their community and their environment. This is why the Live Earth Farm Discovery Program hosts three farm events a year for the community, to provide farm programming for all local families.
Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available, as well as tickets on our website. http://www.liveearthfarm.net/harvest-festival-2014/
The Live Earth Farm Discovery Program (LEFDP) is a farm-based education not for profit organization in Watsonville, California. LEFDP makes seed to mouth, farm to fork, and child to community connections through a variety of hands-on educational programs serving the youth of Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and Monterey counties and beyond. A special emphasis is placed on reaching under served people in the Pajaro Valley to bolster individual, community and environmental health.
Jessica Ridgeway, Director
On facebook: LEFDP
On Twitter: @LEFDP
On Pinterest: LEFDP
On Instagram: LEFDiscoveryProgram
To learn more about Restore America’s Estuaries, National Estuaries Week, and ways that you can help restore and conserve our nation’s priceless coastal areas, please contact Lance Speidell at lspeidell(at)estuaries(dot)org.]]>
You don’t litter, you have a reusable water bottle and you put your groceries in cloth bags. But what’s in your shower?
In the past decade, cosmetic companies have increased their output of products with plastic microbeads. Most of these are advertised with the words “scrub” or “exfoliating.” On the ingredients list, “polyethylene” and “polypropylene” are red flags: Both are just types of plastic.
Plastic bags and bottles turn into microplastics through a process of degradation, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces. Microbeads, on the other hand, are already tiny—under 10mm in diameter—by the time they enter watersheds. The beads are small enough that they slip right through water treatment facility filters and into watersheds. Once they make it through, they attract the toxins present in low concentrations in a body of water.
Illinois has banned the sale of products with microbeads; Ohio and New York are considering doing the same, as is Toronto. New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. introduced a bill to implement a ban nationwide by 2018, and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed similar legislation. Major cosmetics companies have taken note: Unilever is phasing out plastic microbeads by 2015, and L’Oreal will do the same by 2017.
For now, though, plastic microbeads are easy to buy and use. Luckily, they’re also easy to avoid.
Tips on avoiding products with microbeads:
–Check ingredients labels for polyethylene and polypropylene.
–An app has been released which allows you to simply scan a bar code with your smartphone camera to determine if a product has microbeads.
–Check out the list below of popular U.S. products with microbeads. The complete list is available here.
–Don’t worry! There are plenty of exfoliants without microbeads, most of which use biodegradable and filterable products like jojoba, vitamin C paste and volcanic minerals. You can find a list of some of the best from Allure magazine here.
PRODUCTS THAT CONTAIN PLASTIC MICROBEADS
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub
Aveeno Active Naturals Positively Ageless Resurfacing Scrub with Vitamin C
Aveeno Active Naturals Clear Complexion Cream Cleanser
Bath & Body Works Pure Paradise 2-in-1 Body Scrub and Wash
Clean & Clear Advantage 3-in 1 Exfoliating Cleanser
Clean & Clear Morning Burst Facial Scrub – Oil Free
Clean & Clear Blackhead Eraser Scrub – Oil Free
Clean & Clear Deep Action Exfoliating Scrub – Oil Free
Clean & Clear Daily Pore Cleanser – Oil Free
Clearasil Reckit Benckiser Daily Clear – Refreshing Superfruit Scrub
Clinque Estée Lauder Companies 7 Day Scrub Cream Rinse-Off Formula
Clinque Estée Lauder Companies Exfoliating Scrub
CVS Pharmacy Oil-free acne scrub
Dermalogica Clear Start – Blackhead Clearing Pore Control Scrub
Every Man Jack Face Scrub Pre-Shave Mint
Every Man Jack Body Wash and Shower Gel – Citrus Scrub
Hempz Sandalwood & Apple Herbal Body Scrub
Kiehl’s Facial Fuel-Energizing Scrub – Skin Buffer for Men
Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective – Skin Brightening Exfoliator
Olay Prof. Exfoliating Renewal Cleanser
Rite Aid Renewal DIY Regenerating Cleanser
Rite Aid Renewal Regenerating Micro Refining Cream
Rite Aid Renewal Acne Body Scrub Clear
Rite Aid Renewal Acne Wash Daily Scrub Oil-Free
Rite Aid Renewal Bright Skin Daily Face Scrub
Rite Aid Renewal Exfoliating Cleanser
Up & Up (Target Brand) Exfoliating Body Wash – Pomegranate Seeds
Up & Up (Target Brand) Blackhead Facial Scrub with Salicylic Acid
Up & Up (Target Brand) Acne Wash Oil-Free Pink Grapefruit Foaming Scrub
Up & Up (Target Brand) Renewing Cleanser
Victoria’s Secret 2-in-1 Wash and Scrub
Walgreens Blackhead Clearing Scrub
Crest Pro Health
Crest Pro Health for Me
Crest Complete Multi Benefit
Crest 3D White
Crest 3D White Luxe
MOm/Hellenic Society for the Study and Protection of the Monk Seal needs accurate information on the demographic status of these populations. This information is collected during the systematic scientific monitoring of the Mediterranean monk seal populations in these areas. Throughout the years, MOm’s biologists have gained unique experience in the study of the Mediterranean monk seal and while doing so have managed also to develop and improve current research methodologies for the species. The researchers of MOm were among
the first to use research methodologies such as automatic infrared cameras and genetic monitoring in the study of the species in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
The evaluation of these data provide valuable insights into the status and trends of the monk seal populations in Greece. The monk seal which is the most endangered marine mammal in Europe, with only 600 individuals left worldwide!
For more information you may visit MOm’s site, here.
Visit MOm’s 1%FTP blog, here.]]>
So it’s GREAT to see the latest issue of Monocle Magazine featuring a regional profile dedicated to Sarawak, Malaysia. This nice cardstock pull-out is packed with facts and capsule sized stories categorized into sections including:
Nature and Wildlife:
By the numbers — On the island of Borneo, Sarawak is home to “34 national parks, 6 wildlife sanctuaries and 8 nature reserves, with 185 species of mammals, 530 species of birds and 186 species of snakes…..”
Heritage and Culture: Sarawak is home to nearly 30 distinct indiginous groups!
Food and Drink: Including a mouth watering description of Sarawak Laksa – a delicious, spicy seafood and noodle stew. After looking around for a recipe to share, I settled on this one from Baby Sumo at the Eat Your Heart Out – Goodyfoodies Blog.
And also a lively section on Design and Craft including a profile of Tanoti House.
June Ngo, a textile educator and designer at the University of Sarawak is now co-managing this privatized spin off of the aforementioned Yayasan. Apparently Yayasan decided to focus on their operations in Terengganu and close this arm in Kuching. Ngo and partner Jacqueline Fong saved the business and continue to focus on the original mission: Provide training and support for women learning the weaving process and techniques, and protect the heritage craft by producing traditional and updated motifs and products with an eye toward both a regional and a global audience.
The Borneo Post wrote a two part article (part one) + (part two) with more background on the development of Tanoti House, and the rigorous training process and quality standards at Tanoti. At the time the article was written, local and international demand for their products well exceeded supply and they were looking to bring on more weavers. Have a look at this brief but impressive video of the production process at Tanoti House – it’s incredible!
There are a few songet table runners on the web site sourced from Terengganu and some unfinished cloth to be added to the textiles section soon. When you see the work that goes into creating a piece of songket fabric, you can understand why the cost is dear!
Given the array of craft and art and activities and adventures available — including the annual Rainforest World Music Festival — Sarawak is at the top of my travel list!]]>
California Climate & Agriculture Network (CalCAN) is a coalition of organic and sustainable agriculture organizations that serves as the voice of sustainable agriculture on climate policy in California. We fill a unique niche – CalCAN is the only organization in the country focused exclusively on agriculture and climate policy, solely committed to bringing together sustainable farmer leaders and environmental food movement allies to influence state and federal policy.
California is the world’s ninth-largest agricultural economy and, according to the California Department of Food & Agriculture, exported over eight billion dollars of agricultural products in 2004. Climate change poses a grave threat to California’s food production, yet creates both the necessity and powerful opportunity to accelerate a widespread shift to sustainable farming and ranching practices.
“We are worried about the unpredictable weather and water shortages our children will have to deal with in taking over the farm business. We have to do everything we can now to make sure they have a future in farming.
—> Rosie Burroughs, a CalCAN farmer advisor and dairy and almond farmer in California’s Central Valley.
This year, CalCAN is organizing the 4th California Climate & Agriculture Network Summit to be held March 24 and 25, 2015. The Summit explores the science, policy and practice of climate change and sustainable agriculture in California. Summit success is measured through statewide and diverse attendance: farmers, ranchers, researchers, agencies, policymakers, nonprofits, students and advocates, leading to subsequent expansion of the farming advocates network. These individuals understand the need to further policies that support agricultural and ranching climate solutions.
Climate change poses a grave threat to California’s food production, yet creates both the necessity and powerful opportunity to accelerate a widespread shift to sustainable farming and ranching practices. Through our Summit, CalCAN will be covering areas of policy, science and innovations, practical topics and resources for growers, as well as a wide variety of networking opportunities. We offer tangible climate solutions that farmers and ranchers can implement for sustainable and organic farming practices while also empowering statewide policy advocacy.