Join Me and Millions- Observe Earth Hour!

For all of you who didn’t know this March 31st from from 8:30-9:30pm is Earth Hour? What is that exactly? Watch the video and participate!

Each year people and cities from around the world honor our planet by turning out their lights for one symbolic hour—-EARTH HOUR. The event, sponsored by World Wildlife Fund, began in Sydney Australia in 2007 when 2 million people switched off their lights to support environmentally sustainable action.  The hour is now observed by 135 countries and territories!
Learn more about Earth Hour here:

We Are All Connected: Japanese Tsunami Debris & More Thoughts

Tsunami Debris
AdPhoto by___on Huffinton POstd caption

Hey everyone I just read this article on the Huffington Post “Green” section and wanted to share it with you.  What a sad reminder of a horrific time.  Immediately, I thought of how this is just another reminder to us all that everything in the world in connected (earth, water, air) in the respect that everything is transient.  We really cannot keep living with the mentality that  we are impervious from what happens in our neighbors home, yard, state, or country and that it won’t hurt me. Just think of how air pollution, runoff, and waste we emit and where it goes. That is a big idea I want all my readers to think about…where do the things you see in your daily life go and eventually end up? Do you know or do you only think you know? Odds are that researching it will reveal some surprising facts that you didn’t know before.With that in mind I believe that education, discussion, and collaboration are foundational in starting to become better stewards of the earth and of each other. Please read below for the article.

Japan Tsunami Debris Forecast Discussed By Scientists 

HONOLULU (AP) — Lumber, boats and other debris ripped from Japanese coastal towns by tsunamis last year have spread across some 3,000 miles to areas halfway across the North Pacific, and could wash ashore on remote islands north of Hawaii any day now. 

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration estimates the first bits of tsunami debris will land at small atolls northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands this winter. 

NOAA’s tsunami marine debris coordinator, Ruth Yender, told an online news conference Tuesday that agency workers looking for the debris are boarding Coast Guard flights that regularly patrol the archipelago. 

NOAA is also asking scientists stationed at Midway and other atolls to look for it.
Yender says so far no debris confirmed to be from the tsunamis has landed on U.S. shores.

Revisiting Greensburg Kansas: A Viable Guide for Communities Dealing with Storm Aftermath?

In light of the onslaught of devastating storms our country has been facing in recent weeks many communities are now facing the challenges of picking up the pieces. Yet, if we can look past the tragedy could there be a brighter side to the devastation? I think yes. These communities have been given an unfortunate but unique opportunity to rebuild parts or even their entire cities based around their most relevant needs.   Isn’t this an opportune time for community leaders, city council’s members, and citizens to consider implementing more sustainable features? Reconstruction must happen and with many areas receiving aid from FEMA and Red Cross why haven’t we been pushing this as a viable option for these communities?
And yes, it’s been done before. Anyone  remember Greensburg, Kansas? The little town not too far from Witchita that was  almost obliterated damaging 95% in 2009 when a EF5 tornado touched down?  Well, after the storm the city council banded together and passed a resolution stating that all city buildings would be built to LEED – platinum standards, making it the first city in the nation to do so. That meant implementing plans to have waste oil recycled for heating, sun lights in place of fluorescent lights that were to be dimmed, a pond to capture runoff water for irrigating drought resistant landscaping and a lot to contain crushed concrete from basements and sidewalks that were demolished by the storm. Not to mention:
  • The city entered into a power purchase agreement with a “green” power provider that has promised “100% renewable electricity, 100% of the time” from their wind, hydro, and other renewable energy electricity generation sources.
  • LEED Platinum SunChips Business Incubator: High-performance building materials provide maximum insulation and protection from high winds. Solar photovoltaic panels on the roof convert sunlight directly to electricity that meets about 10% of the building’s electricity requirements. A geothermal heating and cooling system taps into the earth’s temperature (warmer than outdoor air in winter and cooler in summer) to heat and cool the building.  Natural light provides most of the internal lighting, which minimizes the need for artificial lights. Water from sinks and showers is recycled and used to flush toilets. The recycled water (gray water) is supplemented by rainwater, which is collected and stored as it falls on the building.
  • LEED Platinum John Deere Dealership: The Greensburg dealership’s green features include highly insulated wall and roof systems, a highly energy- efficient heating and cooling system, and a network of skylights and mirrored reflectors that direct natural light where it is needed and reduce electricity use for lighting. Two onsite wind turbines provide electricity that offsets nearly 10% of the building’s total electricity needs.
  • To learn more about the  check out the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s case study here.
While Greensburg is just a small town of less than 5,000 residents the community leaves little doubt that green communities can “have a higher regard for human health, are easier on the natural environment, are well poised for economic growth and job creation, and through energy security, contribute to our nation’s security.”  Who wouldn’t want that?So where does this leave communities with  fleeting resources and very few investors? Like everything else that path is uncertain but will be hard just like every other.  Perhaps start by joining together, having community meetings, engaging with state leaders. Making needs and wants clear.  The fact is that for communities today, reconstruction must happen. While the entire initiative may not be viable for every community there are some things to be taken away from this case. So, if for just a moment we can de-politize going green and pull away all the red tape of politics and economics perhaps we can be able to see the benefits.
Please weigh in with comments if you’d like. This post is mainly to just get people thinking about the subject.

Celebrate Women Empowerment Month

We women rock! In light of women empowerment month I wanted share one of my favorite poems that speaks to body image acceptance. Love yourself and love your neighbor. Post your favorite quote in the comments!

homage to my hips


these hips are big hips
they need space to
move around in.
they don’t fit into little
petty places. these hips
are free hips.
they don’t like to be held back.
these hips have never been enslaved,   
they go where they want to go
they do what they want to do.
these hips are mighty hips.
these hips are magic hips.
i have known them
to put a spell on a man and
spin him like a top!
homage to my hips by Lucille Clifton : The Poetry Foundation– Lucille Clifton, “homage to my hips” from Good Woman. Copyright © 1987 by Lucille Clifton. Reprinted with the permission of Curtis Brown, Ltd.