Earlier this month the Department for Environmental Foods and Rural Affairs announced that it will clamp down on the number and type of species allowed into the UK. The goal is to protect habitat for native species. According to Joan Ruddock, Minister for Climate Change and Biodiversity, there are both environmental (habitat degredation) and economic (to the tune of £2 billion per year) impacts.
Some of the biggest culprits: the American bullfrog, various crayfish, rhododendron, Japanese knotweed and water hyacinth. Some of the new non-natives to make the list: grass carp, rosey-faced lovebird, water fern and Virginia creeper. DEFRA also reports that there are roughly 2,700 non-native species of concern in the UK, 1,800 of which are plants.
Are you dreaming of a green Christmas? Well, if you live in an area without snow, like Southern California, you’re always in luck.
Unless, of course, the green you’re dreaming of is Green. In that case, you might want to start scouring your local mall for sustainable and responsible prezzies for your friends and loved ones. Or you can check out the Eco Gift Expo in Los Angeles on December 15th and 16th. Founded by environmentalist and marketing expert Tommy Rosen, and presented by sponsors Whole Foods and The Los Angeles Times, this eco-holiday shopping extravaganza promises to be a unique and rewarding shopping adventure for the environmentally and socially conscious consumer.
This large-scale green boutique will feature scads of eco-conscious vendors, all evaluated by Rosen and his team for values of quality, sustainability and ethics. Reusable shopping bags will be provided for use by Whole Foods, while the L.A. Times will offer complimentary recycled newspaper gift wrapping.
Climate change and energy crises are on everyone’s lips these days. And every politician, it seems, finds a way to slip a paragraph or two on these topics into every speech. But as we know, words don’t necessarily equal green. And ideas don’t always lead to change.
While all politicians talk the talk, many only speculate about walking the walk – usually sometime in the distant future. “By 2050, we hope to see…” Obviously we can’t say that about Al Gore. He’s been very clear on where he stands planet-wise. But he’s not running for president.
So, of the candidates, who’s green and who’s not? Which of our future presidents have real green policies and ideas on how to change the world now?
It’s a topic G Living is more than happy to explore.
Starting with the 2004 presidential election, Dennis Kucinich has been unfavorably compared to Don Quixote, Cervante’s myopic, wind-mill-charging idealist. But the giants Kucinich is charging are real: a bloated private bureaucracy (health care, military contractors), a secretive, monarchial administration, and a country that has seemingly lost its way in the world.
The oldest of 7 children, Dennis Kucinich was born in 1946 to a Croatian father and an Irish mother in Cleveland. The family was poor and moved 21 times before Dennis was 17, occasionally living in the family car. At 17, Kucinich left home to work and go to school. He graduated from Case Western Reserve University in 1974 with a BA and MA in Speech and Communication. At 23, he was elected to Cleveland’s city council, starting his political career. In 1977 he was elected Cleveland’s mayor, becoming the youngest mayor of a major American city. After a period of political hibernation in the 1980s Kucinich was elected to the House of Representatives for Ohio’s 10th District in 1996, where he has served since.
What doesn’t kill you…
Kucinich has consistently placed his progressive principals above partisan politics. He won Cleveland’s mayoral election based on a promise to not sell the city’s electric utility to a private company (a.k.a. deregulation). He held true to that promise, despite strong pressure from the business sector and even an assassination attempt. Ultimately, this decision proved politically catastrophic. He handily lost the next election, and he is still listed as one of the 10 worst big-city mayors of all time. Kucinich spent the 1980s “drifting” between Cleveland and the Southwest, often depending on the charity of friends. It was not until 1998 that he was recognized for his courage as mayor, saving Cleveland’s residents $195 million in utilities between 1985 and 1995.
In Congress, Kucinich has continued to vote his conscience, something the other candidates have been back-pedaling on since 2002. He voted against the USA PATRIOT act, against the authorization of force in Iraq, and has consistently voted against continued war funding. Kucinich voted for a resolution to investigate the Monica Lewinsky matter (breaking with most Democrats in the Clinton era), he continues to support legislation to provide a single-source health care system accessible to all Americans, and he has consistently supported human rights at home and abroad.
Dennis the Idealist
Besides the trademark peace sign that he waves, perhaps Kucinich’s most out-there idea is to establish a cabinet-level Department of Peace and Non-Violence. Although it sounds a bit Orwellian, the department “would serve to promote non-violence as an organizing principle in our society, and help to create the conditions for a more peaceful world.” The DOP would have both a domestic and international focus and would shine light on human rights issues that transcend political boundaries. Personally I’m not sure the U.S. is ready for this idea (though it seems overdue), but the DOP would act as a fine counterbalance to the DOD.
The “Flip-Flop” flap
Kucinich has changed his mind on some important issues, the most significant of which is abortion. His early voting record in Congress suggests a pro-life stance and he admits that his early views leaned in that direction. During the 2004 presidential campaign, however, he officially came out as pro-choice, stating women wouldn’t “truly be free” without the right to choose.
Is he “G”? If you want to vote for a grassroots vegan, Dennis is your guy. If you want to vote for the most progressive candidate on clean water, clean air, renewable energy and sustainability, Kucinich is your man. He is the only one from the two major parties giving these issues more than lip-service. Unfortunately (and this is a real American political problem), Kucinich’s image does not equate to electability. He’s simply not a popular “brand,” like Hilary and Barack, he does not present as a flashy, well-coiffed, ex-quarterback and (although it shouldn’t make a difference to anyone who takes voting seriously) his wife Elizabeth (30 years younger than he) often stands head and shoulders above him when they are together in public.
In the end, Kucinich’s working-class, ethical-driven brand of politics well represents his Midwestern constituency, and with some strong spin on his image he just may come out on top next summer. Like Quixote, Dennis remains ethical and chivalrous, yet vulnerable in a popular culture that focuses on the veneer instead of what lies at the heart.
In any modern presidential campaign, news about the candidates is all over the web. For accurate info, the best places to start are Kucinich’s website and his portal in Congress where you can access his voting record, his ideas, and his stance on important issues.
Seeing a model posing for “G” a.k.a. eco-jeans or walking the runway for Ethical Fashion Show is admirable and sexy, but Summer Rayne Oakes is more than just a pretty face making commendable fashion statements. She’s a smart beauty who has figured out how to combine her image with her real interests and has become an earnest activist and entrepreneur. Heading up SRO (after her initials), a consulting company focused on sustainable business strategies, Oakes is using her background in science and her cause related modeling, and now travels the world helping companies tie in style with sustainability.
It’s one thing to read that Oakes graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. in Natural Resources and Entomology, but it’s another to hear her speak her mind on environmental issues. She is, of course, still a pretty face, but the beauty falls to the wayside and you’re left listening to a confident, comfortable, and very intelligent female communicate with passion on a subject that has been close to her heart since youth the environment.
There are two distinct theories of gas-electric hybrid design. The first is to make them look different from typical internal combustion engine cars, so that people driving them feel apart from the rest of the pack. The second is to bury the hybrid system in an otherwise conventional car, making for a stealthy application of the same technology.
Strangely enough, given that the last Honda Insight rolled off the assembly line last year, the Toyota Prius is currently the only example of the obvious hybrid. The Toyota Camry, on the other hand, may well be the best current example of a stealth hybrid — and that’s because they don’t come much more conventional than the Camry.
Flea’s got an itch to drive green, and thanks to the Tesla Roadster’s Customer Drive program, he got his chance to scratch. That’s right Flea, he of the pantheon of rock musicians whose star has risen to such heights that he no longer needs middle or last names (think Sting, Madonna and Bob, to name a few), got the opportunity to test drive the new prototype of the Tesla Roadster.
You may have heard his music with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, now read what Michael “Flea” Balzary had to say about his experience driving the new car from Tesla:
“I get into it and pull away from the curb…dead silence. Wow!!!! It drove like nothing I have ever been in before, made my Porsche feel like a golf cart! It took off like a rocket ship, handled so sensitively, it was just amazing and fun and thrilling. I am so happy I went with my gut and bought that car. Yeah it is a long wait, but man, the thing is awesome. […] To enjoy driving as much as is possible in that Tesla, and to pollute nothing, no emissions, into the air, is a great great feeling.”
Just when you thought the Hayden Panettiere dolphin brouhaha was finally coming to a halt, word comes from Japan that a warrant has been issued for the “Heroes” star’s arrest. Her crime: protesting the annual dolphin slaughter and revealing the secret location of their helplessly netted and soon-to-be-killed creatures.
Not to downplay the seriousness of the situation, but if an 18-year-old actress from Los Angeles can fly to Osaka and find this “secret location”, how hidden can it be? And what good will come from throwing her in jail? Will it deter other TV stars from joining up with Save The Whales? Or will it just continue to draw attention to Japan’s annual (and secret) dolphin slaughter?
Now that cars and trucks are greening out, people are probably starting to wonder what’s next in the green transportation market.
Well, the exciting news is here. Aircrafts are on the verge of doing their environmental part!
That’s right. Sir Richard Branson of Virgin Airlines started planning a in Virgin Fuels to produce ethanol fuel in the U.S. that is environmentally responsible.
It seems the race is on between Virgin Airlines and Air New Zealand to see who will be the first to test this safer fuel. The rumor is that Virgin was scheduled to test-fly at the end of 2008, but when Air New Zealand announced their plans to test an aircraft with bio-fuel and kerosene in 2008, Virgin decided they had to be the first. Sir Richard plans to test a 747 with a renewable fuel in the next few months. The Virgin Group is currently working with Boeing Co. and GE Aviation, a unit of General Electric, to develop the fuel.
Considering the backlash the federal government has received concerning climate initiatives (or perceived lack thereof) and the Kyoto Protocol, it has become apparent that action must be taken at the local level. With 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the world’s largest cities, change has to begin in each city. But as a recent article on the BBC news website points out, without personal motivation, people are reluctant to change their habits.
The article suggests that motivation may come from the process of devolution, putting the power of action into the hands of local governments, local businesses or corporations and local communities. This is achieved through initiatives that empower each entity and allow them to be involved in the decision-making process. Examples of these initiatives can be seen in many metropolitan areas throughout the US. In the summer of 2003, Boston’s mayor created the Green Building Task Force to promote LEED standards for new large-scale building projects as well as to make recommendations for greening existing structures. Recently, Washington D.C. became the first major city in the U.S. to require private developers to adhere to the US Green Building Council Standards. In addition, state and local governments are beginning to offer homebuilders initiatives to build green, creating a rise in local green building programs and ensuring that new homes meet strict energy standards established by local governments.
Did you watch Transformers and feel left out of the action? Now you can do your own transforming with the Scorpion FX Folding Bike. Heck, you can even go ahead and refer to yourself as “Scorpion” if you’re really getting into character.
Let’s set the scene: You’re commuting to work in your Smart micro car. You see nothing but gridlock in front for miles on end. You see a sign that says “Park and Ride”. You park. You say, “Scorpion: Transform!” And 60 seconds later, without the use of tools or CG, you unfold your Scorpion FX Folding Bike, throw on your spandex, and wham! You’re not just parking, you’re riding.
Especially designed to fold up into the boot (that’s Euro for trunk) of a Smart micro car, the Scorpion is great not just for parking and riding, but also for parking your Scorpion under your desk for the day. The Scorpion is geared for long distance cyclists, employing the most sophisticated of components, including air-chamber rear shocks with adjustable hydraulic damping, a super-plush BodyLink seat, and a drivetrain almost completely covered, so you don’t even have to wear the spandex to assure your pants are clean when you get to work. (Though what self-respecting person calling himself “Scorpion” doesn’t wear spandex?)
Nicole Richie and Joel Madden are forward thinkers. And generous ones. The parents-to-be have recently established a new charity for needy single mothers. The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation will launch this Sunday at a glitzy Beverly Hills gala (aka Nicole’s baby shower, thrown by BFF Paris Hilton) and guest are asked to bring unwanted strollers and cribs for the charity in lieu of gifts for the happy couple.
And the rewards will be plentiful. According the foundation’s official statement, “All in-kind donors will be listed in all press releases and acknowledged on the Richie Madden Children’s Foundation website.”
It doesn’t matter whether or not you like their music, what makes Linkin Park cool is that they started a wildfire relief auction on eBay along with Music for Relief and Unite the United.
Included in the auction are items from other bands, all of which – as they say – rock. There are Eagles and Chicago autographed box sets, Joan Jett designed and signed Vans, Jay-Z’s autographed Reeboks and My Chemical Romance’s signed t-shirt and bag combo.