SPOTLIGHT Green Products Web Portal

Thanks again to Jane Laping for sharing this great information!

EPA Launches Green Products Web Portal for Pollution Prevention Week September 20, 2011 —

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is observing Pollution Prevention (P2) Week (September 19-25, 2011) by launching a new tool designed to provide Americans easy access to information about everyday products like home appliances, electronics and cleaning products that can save money, prevent pollution and protect people’s health. The new green products web portal is available at www.epa.gov/greenerproducts

I recognized the logo for Energy Star, but most of the others were new to me.  I am encouraged to see so many different ways to address pollution…and these are here for us.  They are standards and practices with strict guidelines and requirements which can only improve over time.

I’m encouraged because I see a real honest attempt to hold companies accountable in 2 perfectly Capitalist ways: Consumer Awareness and Competition.

Consumer Awareness: The more we know and understand, the more we require (or less as the case may be 🙂 ).  As we learn about risks, pollution, energy consumption- and ultimately the costs; we demand better products.  Knowing that these standards and others are in place, we have a choice to look for these seals/logos on our purchases and to research products via these accepted websites. We can avoid products without proven testing/qualifications.  All we have to do is commit to ourselves- We deserve safe products.

Which leads us to Competition: The best way to get the energy and pollution safe materials in our hands is to compete in the market.  By offering and publicizing the “greener products”, the customer has awareness…..then more are buying with those criteria….and avoiding other products….which ultimately phases out that item/company/manufacturer OR causes them to also comply in order to remain viable in the market.

I look forward to reading and learning more about the EPA’s new tools for consumers.  How will you choose your next appliance? How will you dispose of the old one?

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EVENTS

Don’t miss this opportunity!

The Environmental Justice Crew is hosting and event in Sage Cafe at 7pm on Thursday October 6th with Cathrine Ann Macdougal, known as Fern Greenleaf, to speak about the monumental feat of organizing that she was involved in over the summer, and how this led her to sit in an oak tree for a month. Fern graduated WWC in May 2011, and promptly set out to peacefully protest the environmentally destructive practice of mountain top removal coal mining (MTR), by sitting in a tree that was 300ft from an active MTR site. Fern and her support network called RAMPS, Radical Action for Mountain People’s Survival, effectively halted the blasting on this mountain and drew further attention to this region and detrimental process of mining.

Thanks to Julie Lehman, an avid Creation Care participant and Director of Church and Interfaith Relations at Warren Wilson College  (among many other titles 🙂 )

Coming Up….

HEY DAY AT the WNC Nature Center October 1

Food, Biofuels, and the Environment October 5

Asheville Green Drinks   P.S. its “green socializing for sustainability”

The World on Wednesday

I want to thank Jane Laping for sharing the information.

The EPA Launches “Clean Air Act Where You Live”

September 23, 2011 — If you are interested in how the Clean Air Act safeguards protect public health in your state, check out EPA’s newest addition to its website.  On this webpage, you will find a map of the United States and as you click on each state, facts will appear on the benefits and costs of the Clean Air Act in your state.  We’ve just launched the site, so if your state’s information isn’t there today…don’t fret, it is coming soon. Be sure to share this information with your community. Here’s the link:
http://www.epa.gov/cleanairactbenefits/whereyoulive/

Clean Air is such a huge concept it can be easy to ignore.  If it is nice out here, and we rarely see smog, it’s easy to overlook what it can be to other states and cities.  The aspect of the site above that caught my interest today is the Cross State Air Pollution Rule.  Our air may seem clean, but what about neighboring states? AIR blends and mixes with AIR …. state line or not.  It’s funny to me to realize I had not even tried to consider that simple and obvious statement!

This has me thinking about air pollution in new ways…about the compounds made and destroyed in the chemical processes of air molecules combining and reacting.  A constant and invisible process where pollutants are changing into heavier pollutants depending on the combination…… so now I do care about South Carolina’s efforts to clean their pollution….and West Virginia’s challenges in  mining….and the air quality standards for business and industry in Atlanta.

Because…. “We all live downstream” also applies to the very air we breathe.

Teamwork. Is it possible? Do we have the energy? the number of people needed?

How do we put aside our daily tasks, lives, and stresses in order to work with our neighbors? I’m not sure of an answer….all I hear in the back of my mind is FAITH.  Trust and Faith will provide the energy and strength.  What do you think?  How do you let go and immerse in trust and faith?

Aeroponics In the Airport

Hooray for O’Hare! ….no, really– the airport has opened its Aeroponic Vegetable Garden.

The vertical garden recycles its own water and the harvest is used within the restaurants only a few feet away.  THIS is exciting.

Better air quality? YES!

Local and Slow Food? YES!

Reduction of carbon footprint? YES!

And many more– read the articles floating around the Internet, there is so much to gain from this method. The systems to go vertical are expensive- though, not so much for a corporation.  There are photos of the vertical methods in use on cubicle walls, stairways, and other surfaces.  What a nice way to cheer up a cubicle style floor plan….and increase air quality.

Here is another interesting take on the idea: TreeHugger

As usual, I feel inspired….I love the soda bottles hanging horizontally- what a cool way to incorporate reuse, recycling, and REAL life.  I think this will work for home use too- the drainage should be addressed…. let me know if you do!

P.S. I envision this being a neat deck/patio/porch idea so you can control the plants in weather.

Slow Food USA

SLOW FOOD USA has initiated a new challenge!  Now, I admit, my ability to commit long term is terrible…. but maybe YOURS isn’t!

The basic premise of Slow Food is: “food that is good for those who eat it, good for farmers and workers, and good for the planet.”  This challenge is created to “take back the value meal” …here’s what they have on the site:
“Why? Because slow food shouldn’t have to cost more than fast food. If you know how to cook, then teach others. If you want to learn, this is your chance. Together, we’re sending a message that too many people live in communities where it’s harder to buy fruit than Froot Loops.

I think this is a great way to begin to look at your meals in a new light.  When you work to make most of your food you will probably make it for less than $5 per person.  If a bag of rice is $3, it’s only pennies to make 4 servings from that bag…..

So, good luck– you can sign up officially through the Slow Food website link at the top of the post here….let me know how it goes!