Alex Szabo and his green office (dot com)

by The Green A-Team

Q: How did you come to found

A: I founded the company after a few years working in an area generally termed the sustainability consulting field and after working with too many clients who were looking to establish a green purchasing policy but were having a hard time finding a one-stop solution, eventually I set out to form a company that really served as, like I said, a one-stop resource for all of your office greening needs.  So, is focused on providing folks with all of the products they might need to fill their office and source those on line, shipped next day, with all the great prices.  Of course, we add on top of that a variety of services and information that help extend your office greening initiative beyond the purchasing of office products.

Q: What, as far as you can recall, is the real history of the paperless office as a concept?

A: Yeah, sure.  The concept of the paperless office, as far as I’m concerned, was brought about as we all started going online and began to process our information digitally, the notion that we might be able to rely less and less on the paper and pen started to come about.  I think that the notion is fundamentally a good one; perhaps what we’ve seen over the past decade or so is that our historical attachment to paper is going to be harder to break than some originally might have wished.  So the transformation to the paperless office has certainly not happened in a big revolution but we are seeing folks finding more and more ways to store information digitally or online in hard drives and rely less and less on the paper and pen.

Q: Why have companies been so slow to adopt the paperless office idea?

A: I think there are a few reasons why companies have been slow to adopt the mantra of the paperless office.  One is force of habit.  We’ve been using paper for hundreds of years if not thousands and the systems from our educational systems all the way up to the system we use to store valuable and invaluable information have for a long time relied on paper.  One reason is that folks are reticent to kind of go back on that and store all of their information that isn’t as tangible or easily accessible in a crisis perhaps.  I think other reasons are that there are certainly laws out there, in certain arenas, the legal arena would be one of them, where they are required to have physical hard copies and other systems in place in larger organizations will also require hard copies so there’s a variet of reasons.  I also think people like to put their hands on something.  For a variety of those reasons I think we’ve seen the transition a little bit slower than we otherwise might have.

Q: What are the pros and cons associated with digital vs. physical these days given the technology?

A: I think there are clearly a lot of pros for storing, manipulating information on your computer whether it’s using word processing like Word or an Excel sheet, very very powerful tools so there are a lot of pros there.  The cons are again, folks who are concerned about loss of information to a machine they may not fully understand.  Of course, there are risks of having information corrupted and compromised especially when you’re online.  So those are a few pros and cons on the digital space.  Of course, you have similar issues with hard copy.  You may only have one hard copy especially if you’re writing on it by hand, a piece of paper gets wet, the ink smears, it burns up, so there are risks on both sides.  There are risks on both sides and like I said, I think the clear trend is closer and closer to the paperless office but I still there are some vestiges out there that are going to be harder to remove.

Q: I agree.  Now, there are a whole lot of other things that you can do on the procurement side and policies there but what are your thoughts on telecommuting and the elimination of the traditional office environment altogether?  Is that realistic?  Where’s that going?

A: Again, I think technology and the better we get with technology and the more pervasive things like video conferencing are as opposed to just calling in on a conference call, the more easier that’s going to be for folks to palette.  There is a very visceral difference between just talking to someone on the phone, hearing their voice, as we are now, and meeting with them face to face, there’s a lot of information that’s communicated through body language and so forth.  So I think, more and more we can see each other, hear each other better the more immediate it is and easier it is for us to digitally walk into each other’s offices the more that’s gonna become prevalent.  So that’s one thing and then just, again, force of habit; people getting used to working that way, adjusting working styles, and honing communication skills when you’re not necessarily in the same room with them.

Q: What about new innovations?  Have you seen anything come past your desk that’s caught your eye in recent days or months?

A: Yeah, we’re certainly seeing new products that are moving closer and closer towards the ideal that we call cradle to cradle design where you take into account the full life cycle impact of a product and work to reduce any of the negative impacts along the way.  So we’re seeing all sorts of papers moving closer and closer, 100% post consumer recycled paper has been around for a little while now, now paper is being process without the use of chlorine which is a chemical that can be harmful to the environment and tree-free papers where you’re using other agricultural materials, of course printing tools, we’re seeing more and more printers that are more and more energy efficient.  You have printer settings where you can reduce the amount of ink used you can turn it onto fast or draft mode.  One of the coolest things I’ve seen recently is something we’ve been looking for for a while, our customers have been demanding it and we’re finally seeing the market respond, it’s a toner product petroleum free toner product made with a remanufactured ink and toner cartridge, it’s actually a soy-based toner.  So you combine the energy efficient electronics with recycled or tree-free paper and you’re starting to move closer and closer to a very low-impact printing process.  Something that I like to talk about with folks and I used to advise my clients in the sustainability consulting work I did, you start by looking at what are your real needs for printing?  There are basically two cases where people use paper: they print it up on a traditional printing machine or they’re taking notes, they’re writing with a pen.  So look at each of those two cases and ask yourself when is it really necessary that I do this, and there might be some cases where that’s true and just by doing that, you start to eliminate the use of paper alone.  And then, you switch over when you do actually do need to print something out, you go to a system where your using again energy efficient electronics, soy-based printing, using less by setting your software to draft mode, printing on both sides, using recycled and tree-free papers, you can really start to make an impact.

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Jay Golden, visionary storyteller and environmentalist

by The Green A-Team

It’s fitting that a new generation of storytellers must adapt to the challenges faced by our future generations, namely kids.  Jay Golden, Vice President of New Media at SustainLane Media, is humbly and whimsically leading the charge with a passion for making change fun.

Q: What’s the purpose of creating a cartoon like this?

A: The purpose is very basic; it’s about making change fun.

Q: That’s it.

A: That’s it!  It’s straight up.  Our objective is to create an inspiring media property that shows kids taking action, having a blast, creating great music, collaborating, and changing the world around them through very simple steps.

Q: How old are the kids that you’re trying to reach?

A: Depending on who you ask, it could be anywhere from 6 to 60 but it starts from 6-10.

Q: So parents can get involved too?

A: Yeah, definitely.  Our show is kind of like an antidote to An Inconvenient Truth.  There’s a fair bit of gloom and doom in the media - global warming impending, economic dire straits - and our show is about simple ways to understand complex problems like, for example, mountain top removal.  Well, if you flip a switch in any one of our cities, you are contributing to somewhere a mountain coming down because of coal.  The way we tell that story is that there’s a giant worm, a giant mechanical worm that eats mountains and the kids find out about it and basically they have to come up with a way to turn it around.  So, it’s applicable to all generations but really we’re aiming at kids.

Q: You guys also have a show brining up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.  Can you tell me a little about that?

A: Yeah, that was our pilot show.  The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is basically about the North Pacific Gire which many people know is this swirling patch of garbage in the North Pacific about twice the size of texas.  How do you tell that story in a way that’s digestible so that people can understand and realize that when we take these little plastic pieces and toss them in the trash, sometimes they float off the heap and go into the ocean or sometimes plastic bags will float away and go into the ocean.  So in our story, the kids find out that there’s a big island of plastic bags in the North Pacific and they have to go out there, they have to research, figure out what’s going on, all in a kind of fun way, trace it back to what the cause is and then they have to come up with a solution to turn it around and we do it all in a fun and pumpin’ musical way.

Q: It’s definitely fun, the music is awesome, and a lot of the evil goes back to the villain, Wormulus and Dr. Hufflebot.  How did you guys come up with those guys?  Is it one guys with a worm brain?  Tell me a little bit about this character.

A: Dr. Hufflebot has a worm in his head named Wormulus and actually that’s the character that I play.  (Modulates voice) He sounds like this!  “I want results!  Results I need! Not meaningless mush!”  So the worm represents the worm that’s in all our heads, that worm that when you get an idea that you just wanna block off the realities and the natural connections we have to the earth, just that compelling drive that we often feel to just accumulate as much as we possibly can.  In the show, Hufflebot is always trying to please the worm in his head.  He creates this island of plastic bags for him so the worm can have his great dominion over the plastic bags or he helps the worm to create this evil maniacal, mechanical monster that eats mountains so that Wormulus will basically have all the power that he ever desired.  And the kind of back and forth is that if Hufflebot pleases Wormulus, if Hufflebot pleases the worm in his head, then eventually the worm will let him be free.  Of course, the illusion is that that never really happens, it’s an ongoing journey.  The next episode you see Hufflebot back again with the worm in his head on some scheme he’s driving him towards.  So we’re all the Hufflebots, really.

Q: KJ, or Kijani the Green Gorilla, who’s kind of the Yoda mystic character.  How did you come up with him and how did the kids find him?  How did this character come about?

A: Kijani actually means “green” in Swahili.  So he’s our green gorilla character that sits in the greenhouse in San Francisco that’s kind of a concealed greenhouse.  Basically it was an idea that our company, Sustain Lane’s founder, James Elson, came up with and he really wanted to see this green gorilla character but he didn’t have the other pieces to it.  So we kind of put the kids together with this mystical green gorilla who basically represents indigenous wisdom.  It’s earth wisdom so when the kids find a problem like Scoot skates into the greenhouse covered in plastic bags then KJ gets a hint and he starts beatboxing and basically bringing down a vision and he brings down a vision and he paints it with his fingers and colors in the air but they’re in symbols, like drawings on a cave.  Now the kids have to interpret it, so in the first episode he draws plastic bags and an earth and a swirl in the ocean and the kids have to translate that.  They talk amongst themselves, they do the research on the web, and they pixelate out to other places around the world so they can come up with the answers and figure out what the solution is.

Q: I wish I was a part of the pitch meeting for this show… it sounds like so much fun!

A: It was a blast!  I put together the smartest people that I know and I got everybody in a room and I said, “Here’s what we wanna do: We wanna create the most inspiring show to help kids take real world steps towards a healthier planet and we wanna make it as fun as possible and we wanna bring in kids all around the world.  How do we do this?” And this incredibly intelligent, creative, amazing group of people they all put their heads together and I was fortunate enough to be in the room.

Q: That actually brings me to my last question regarding your contributors and your involvement with Free Range Studios.  Now, they produced something called the Meatrix and for anyone who’s listening to this who hasn’t seen the Meatrix, here’s a link!  You should now go watch it after you’ve finished listening to this podcast.  But, what was your involvement with Free Range?

A: I was fortunate enough to be the Entertainment Producer at Free Range for a couple years, I produced 12 movies for them.  Basically, what Free Range does is they create these amazing viral web pieces for social causes which are basically distinct messages kind of wrapped in stories that travel far and wide and Story Stuff is a great example.  In fact, The Story of Stuff just made 20 different language versions which is terrific.  I basically learned the trade from them and now we work closely.  We hired them, actually, to be our Animation and Art Direction group and so I couldn’t be happier.

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Curt Ellis, Co-Creator of King Corn

by The Green A-Team

I’m speaking today with one of the creators of the documentary film, King Corn, he’s also a Food and Society Policy fellow with the Kellog Foundation.

Q: At the very beginning of the film you talk about how our generation is at risk of having a shorter life span based on the foods we eat, specifically regarding the omnipresence of corn in our diet.  Was there one thing in particular that really calcified this fear and got you off the coast and in the corn belt?

A: I think it was that announcement in a major medical journal.  Around that time I was graduating from college, that my generation, I’m in my 20s, my generation is likely to have a shorter life expectancy than my parents generation and that’s something that’s really never happened before and it’s a result of this incredible explosion of obesity.  The fact that obesity has doubled in the last 30 years in this country and now according to the CDC one in three kids is on a path to develop type-2 diabetes.  So we’re seeing this tremendous explosion of healthcare problems that really are being caused by the way we feed ourselves.

Q: Specifically, how is corn putting us at risk of a shorter life span?

A: Corn is the basis for fast food in our country.  When we go to McDonalds or Burger King and order a fast food meal, the hamburger is fed corn in confinement and as a result it’s higher in saturated fat than a grass fed cow would be; the soda is almost completely corn because of high-fructose corn syrup; and french fries are fried in corn oil or soybean oil and all those weird polysyllabic food ingredients like propylene glycol and citric acid, those are corn too.  So really what we’ve done is, in the last half-century, create an industrial food system that uses these highly processed commodities like corn and soybean to fuel a conversion from eating fresh food and nutritious food to eating these empty calories like high-fructose corn syrup.

Q: You and Ian looked like you guys were having a pretty good time throughout the film, was there ever a point where farm life seemed to be getting just a little too much for you guys?

A: Definitely!  We moved to Iowa with this expectation that we were gonna spend our first year out of college as farmers and I think we brought with us a lot of expectations as far as what that meant.  I remember a friend of us gave us work gloves because he imagined we’d be out digging in the soil with a shovel but the reality was completely different and it’s a sign of just how disconnected from agriculture most Americans have become.  For us, farming was not at all like gardening.  If you’re growing 1000 acres of corn or soybeans, it’s about driving giant tractors, spraying some pretty intense herbicides, injecting gaseous ammonia fertilizer into the field.  It was, to us, a totally different experience than we imagined.

Q: It’s all machines now.

A: You know, we didn’t touch the soil with our hands once in the course of growing 10,000 pounds of food and that, on a cultural level, was a real shock to us.  We have this incredible bounty coming from the land but very little interaction with it.

Disturbing.  In your interview with former Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz, seemed to be one of the most tense and poignant moments on screen.  Having served for 5 years in that position, Buts is depicted as having probably the greatest effect on the US farm program in history.  Has there been much change to the Farm Bill he created in 1973 that indicates that the overproduction of commodity corn is being addressed?

A: No, there’s been piece meal change over the last 40 years.  But the way our farm subsidy systems work today, like in the early 70s, channels an incredible amount of tax dollars to promote the production of a handful of commodities, the commodities that become the basis for fast food and processed food.  In the last 10 years, we’ve spent more than 50 billion dollars just on promoting corn production through federal subsidies.  And we’re not subsidizing fruits and vegetables, the kind of things we know are healthy for us so what we’ve done is tinker with the free market and create a new system in which fast food and processed food and processed commodities are artificially cheap and abundant.  And the foods we know are good for us, fresh fruits and vegetables, and the things we know are good for the land like conservation practices, those things have not received their fair share of subsidies.

Q: Are we gonna need some new sort of fast food chain of natural foods in order to combat this?  I mean, what can we do?

A: Well, there’s certain things consumers can do if you decide you don’t wanna feed your kids high fructose corn syrup it’s probably gonna make them healthier to not have too many empty calories in their diet but the bigger thing we can do is become policy advocates in however small a way.  One reason the farm subsidy program has stayed intact for the last 40 years and is working against us as consumers and against farmers, family farmers, one reason that program has stayed intact is because there has been no outcry from the public.  Most of us have just assumed that farm subsidies only apply to farmers or to the “farm states” but the reality is this is also a food bill, the farm bill is a food bill, and the way we grow food and the kind of food we promote affects our health down the line and affects what we see when we walk into the supermarket which right now is a whole lot of processed corn and soybeans.

Q: Have you continued your farming practices after this whole thing?

A: I haven’t.  I will admit, I’m part of a growing number of people in my generation who want to get back to the land in some way and it’s pretty important.  The typical farmer now is around 55 years of age so there’s about to be a tremendous turnover in who’s farming the land and what they’re growing.  So I’m off the farm for now and making films like King Corn and traveling around showing them to people.  My desire in the long run is to be a farmer and to not just grow commodities on a 2000 acre scale but also grow some food for direct consumption.

Q: Any more films of this nature that we can expect from you guys?

A: Yeah, we just finished a documentary about the first big green residential building in Boston.  It’s a film called the Greening of Southie and it’s basically the story of couple hundred blue collar jobs going green and I think in many ways it comes from the same place as King Corn which is this idea that we live in the most advanced country in the world but we pay almost no attention to the fundamental things - food and clothing and shelter - which at the end of the day, are still the most important things.  King Corn’s a film about where our food comes from and the Greening of Southie is a film about the buildings we live in.

Photo by Ian Cheney | Independent Lens | PBS

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Brooklyn Borough President, Marty Markowitz

by The Green A-Team

At the recent USGBC New York Chapter Gala,  Borough President Marty Markowitz took the time to address  a few things that are on the minds Brooklyn residents, small business owners, and the environmental community.  It was clear from his direct and sometimes gregarious responses that while every politician is subject to criticism, Borough President Markowitz certainly isn’t afraid to express his personal views.

Markowitz became involved in politics in the 1970s, by organizing tenant and senior citizen organizations in Flatbush, Brooklyn.  His role as a community leader got him elected to the State Senate in 1978, and spent over two decades as a New York State Senator for Brooklyn. During his time as a state senator, he was known for creating a series of oceanfront concerts and other festivals rather than drafting legislation.

Q: What’s Green about Brooklyn?

A: Well, listen, in fact if you look in New York City, the most environmentally active community in the city is Park Slope.  We lead the way, it’s true!  There’s no question about it.

Q: Can small business get help to clean up toxic industrial sites and move in safely?

A: The answer is yes but it’s going to require a partnership with State and Federal Government and as you know right now, finances are such in the State that are most challenging and I’m sorry to say that we’re on a cutting mode right now but once our economy becomes stronger it’s my hope that the Federal and State Governments will be eager participants and provide the resources to allow the city to clean up.  First up, we need that property, we need that land and it’s environmentally a necessity.  I can tell you that, for instance, there’s a business in Brooklyn, I think you know, Whole Foods, that is not able to really get going because of the toxic level of the property that they bought and that’s a shame for all of us, the jobs potentially that we’re losing not only there but other locations.

I see the future as very bright, you know why?  America has no choice! We have no choice.  This is the future.  It’s about our economy in the future.  It’s about our health in the future.  It’s about jobs in the future.  And you know what, we in this nation better get on this curve because Japan and Korea and some of those Mid-East countries are already on the track and we can’t be left behind.  We already failed in the automobile industry and unless we grab that industry back, we’re gonna be further behind and we can’t allow the energy industry to get by us as well.  This is the future of America at stake so I’m convinced that we’ll make it happen.

Q: What are you thoughts on carbon tariffs?

A: I must tell you that I think we have to provide incentives to corporations to do what they have to do.  First you entice then and then you slap them so let’s see what more we can do to entice them before we slap them.  I always believe the first approach, the best approach, is to provide incentives and then if they don’t live up to their public responsibilities, then the hammer comes down.

Q: What’s happening with the Gowanus Canal?

A: Well, there’s some exciting things about the Gowanus Canal.  There are proposals, as you know, of Toll Brothers to build new housing there and I believe the key, by having more development around the Gowanus and having more residential units, it will really really put the pressure on Federal, State and City Govern to clean up the Gowanus Canal once and for all.

Q: Are you involved in the Newtown Creek cleanup efforts?

A: Newtown Creek is another area.  Riverkeeper and I have been very active, I’m part of the suit and there’s no question that Exxon/Mobil I believe, under Barack Obama and Congress, that we’ll have a much better opportunity to get the oil companies to clean up their garbage.  It’s the truth!  This is our shot, this is our chance.

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Exclusive Inteview with Sean Todd, Founder of Fox Patomac Resources

by The Green A-Team

As founder and president of Fox Potomac Resources, Sean Todd has over a decade of work within the Legislative Branch, Executive Branch and private sector lobbying arena in Washington, D.C. Prior to founding FPR, he spent three years in the government affairs and marketing offices of International Technology Corporation. He is responsible for the development, implementation and management of firm’s activities, including client development, execution of work and deliverables, and sole P&L responsibilities.

Q: What is holding legislative bodies from passing Green building policies?

A: What’s holding back the House of Representatives specifically in passing financial incentives and tax rebates to promote the use of green technologies in buildings is a policy known as pay-as-you-go.  Pay-as-you-go is a principle that if you’re passing tax credits, subsidies as some people call them, that the House of Reps, especially the “blue dogs, the coservative to moderate Democrats, want to make sure that we have a balanced budget.  In other words, for tax credits to be passed it’s gotta be taken out from somewhere else in the general revenues.  So they have to look for offsets, Rich, in somewhere else in the tax code or in the appropriations process to pay for these tax credits in green buildings and that has been, I would say, the major obstacle in finding those offsets to pay for green building tax credits.

Now in the Senate, there is no obstacle there because the blue dogs are a House body and they don’t have as much as a firm pay-as-you-go principle on the Senate side.

Q: What is the current status of the green building initiative before the House Financial Services Committee?

A: Well, Rich, the current status of Green building tax codes and tax legislation really goes before the House Ways and Means Committee which is responsible for all tax pieces of legislation.  So Financial Services is the Committee that really has jurisdiction over mortgage credits, banks… the Financial Services Committee is more of an authorizer, if you will, the Ways and Means Committee has to do more with passing actual tax legislation.

Q: With Republicans objecting to previous bills and other like it, do you feel the new administration will be more aggressive to pushing incentives to building green and other environmental actions going forward?

A: Absolutely, Rich.  The Obama Administration will be more aggressive in pushing green building tax credits.  If you read Obama’s plan, he has a fairly aggressive plan to make all new buildings carbon neutral by 2030, he has a goal to establish new building efficiency by 50% and by 25% over the next decade, he wants to establish a competitive grant program for early adopters to make awards for those states and localities who take the first steps implementing those new building codes.  As far as Federal buildings go, it’s even more aggressive under Obama’s plan; he wants to achieve a 40% increase in efficiency in all new Federal buildings within five years and also ensure that all new Federal buildings have zero emissions, in other words, a zero carbon footprint by 2025.  Very aggressive goal.

Q: It seems most developers are on board with this and it doesn’t seem too far fetched.

A: Well, they are expensive and if you build green technologies into your mortgage they’re not as expensive but they are at the moment, sort of expensive to put in there.  I think the first opportunity will be with Obama’s windfall profit tax initiative.  He wants to all companies to take a share of their windfall profits and use it to provide direct relief to individuals and married couples, $500 for individuals, $1000 for a married couple, and I think that will be an opportunity, perhaps, to insert some of these green building tax credits.  We’ll have to wait and see.  It really depends on the leadership in the House and Senate, Max Baucus in the Senate and Charlie Rangel in the House.

Q: What is the relationship in your perspective between the economic crisis and the environmental crisis?

A: Well that’s a big question, Rich. I’m not sure I have the scope of a mind to tackle this.  I think Obama recognizes that they’re both enormous challenges and Presidents can only do so much, they can only really focus on 4, 5, 6 things at a time and he’s gotta establish his priorities.  He said in his second debate, then Senator Obama said that he would have energy as his top priority so we’ll see if he lives up to that commitment.

Photo by bno20.

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Actress, model, green cosmetic leader Josie Maran

by The Green A-Team

Beauty is only skin deep but Josie Maran’s goes even deeper with her concern and contribution toward the health of women like her that are habitual wearers of cosmetics.

Whether it’s your modeling or acting job or simply your desire to feel more beutiful when you leave the house, the daily cosmetic consumer can avoid risk by using natuaral and organic products.

Our interview with Josie reveals her sincerity and belief in her product as well as insight on the larger industry and where we’re going as a country.

Q: How dangerous are conventional cosmetics really?

A: Conventional cosmetics are harmful because 60% of what you put on your skin, your skin absorbs.  20% of the ingredients are harmful so if you’re putting those on your skin every day, you have a likely chance of harming your body.

Q: How careful are you in making sure that the ingredients you’re using in your line of cosmetics are all natural or ogranic?

A: My mission was to create a line that was good quality and that was health.  That’s always been the most important thing for me, that I use non-toxic ingredients.

Q: Are you able to trace where the ingredients are coming from be it the coconuts used or the way the water is being process for the actual product.

A: I do as much as I can.  I’m not actually out there farming the products and so I have to put my trust in my labs. I do a lot of questioning, I go to the labs and look though everything so I do as much as I can to ensure that I’m getting quality ingredients and that they’re coming from sustainable sources as well.  It’s not just that they’re not toxic that they’re coming from a place that is employing women in their communities.

Q: What steps do you take to make sure the packaging is environmentally friendly?

A: I think that was my biggest impact on the industry is that my packaging is biodegradable, recyclable and that was something that I saw no one was doing out there.  Packaging is actually as harmful as the ingredients when you’re looking at the whole environment.  Nobody was doing it and it was really hard to find that kind of packaging but it’s much more popular now and packaging people are calling me all the time and I’m encouraging all companies to use sustainable packaging because it’s totally possible and it can look stylish too.

Q: Do you see big cosmetic manufacturers following in a similar path?

A: I think it’s a slow movement but I definitely think the customers are asking for it so I do see some change.  The big companies are using natural and orgainic a lot more than they used to.  I think you have to be careful about their marketing and make sure that when they say it, they mean it.  You can tell they’re looking into it more.

Q: How do you think the new Presidential administration is going to affect environmental issues going forward?

A: There’s a new feeling in the world of hope for change.  I think that it’s gonna open the door for asking questions and making changes so I think  the new Presidential election is going to be very positive for the environment.

Photo by curl.d.up.

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Superheroes: Exclusive Interview with Anna Lappe

by Rich Awn

Discussed: Disconnect/Phobia of Nature, Community Supported Agriculture, Federal Trade Commission, Industry Supported Lies, Center for Global Food Issues, Chemical Farming, Monsanto, Against the Grain, Permaculture and Ancient Agriculture

There are a few voices that speak with resonant clarity through the noise of the “too much information generation.”  They are the conscientious mavericks whose passion and diligence in finding the truth of things have elevated them beyond mere mortal thoughtless drones but as hyper-human change makers, or as we like to call them, superheroes.

One such individual is Anna Lappe, co-autohor of Grub and Hope’s Edge, founding principal for the Small Planet Institute and the Small Planet Fund.  Her literary work brandishes a samurai blade in the face of the chemically tainted, spurious battle against the evils of the commercial agriculture and biotech industries.  Her ambitious work with the Small Planet Institute prods and ignites the basic human tendency toward social mimicry by generating a broad spectrum of “entry points” through media to understand, accept, and impart democratic social change.

See below for more photos from the MINI Space Rooftop: Sustainability Roundtable Discussion:

For the full transcript of this interview, click below.

Read the rest of this entry »

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August Audio

by The Green A-Team

August 1st - Fly the Eco Friendly Skies

August 4th - Olympic Update: Green Games Still a Smoggy Grey

August 5th - Superhero Series Presents: Morgan Freeman

August 8th - Home Tours: Conservation on the Commode

August 12th - Green City Spotlight: Albuquerque, New York, Grand Rapids

August 20th - Word of the Day: Upcycling

August 21st - Worst Polluters: US Department of Defense

August 22nd - Greenwashing 101

August 27th - A Laser Focus on Greenhouse Gas: Debate Destroying Data Emerges

August 29th - Back to School Blues and Greens

Photo by dream_sister.

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Climate Debate: Quantum Cascade Lasers Give Rise to New Data

by Rich Awn

In light of the recent report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), skeptical attacks on the science from as far back as the 1970s continue to mire the advancement of the still nonexistent policies to control anthropogenic emissions.

The IPCC report gives little information on the methodologies used to collect their seemingly unequivocal data.  Fellow alumnist, PhD candidate, and friend, Troy Ribaudo of UMASS Lowell, was generous enough to lend his time to speak exclusively with Green Air on the science of cutting edge climate technology.  He sheds light on the traditional methods of climate gas concentration detection and how the invention of the quantum cascade laser is calcifying the IPCC’s findings with a degree of irrefutable accuracy.

Full transcript below.

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Converted Organics (cont.):
Full Interview with Ed Gildea, CEO

by The Green A-Team

With a third of our country’s waste problem completely avoidable, it’s interesting to follow the progress of a developing market that hinges on it’s removal and recycling.

Ed Gildea, CEO of Converted Organics, shared a few moments with us to discuss the process and ethos of turning food waste into organic fertilizers.  Ed’s background in law and finance coupled with the sustainable business policies formulated by his brother, Bill Gildea, set him up as one of the leading visionaries in the restructuring of American waste stream management.

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Preventative Medicine for the Planet (cont.):
Full Interview with Ted Schettler, MD

by The Green A-Team

As Americans, we’re confronted with a host of issues surrounding health care but few of us have stopped to think about the environmental impact hospitals create through their treatment of hazardous waste and even daily operations such as food service.

We recently caught up with Dr. Ted Schettler, Physician, Science Advisor for the Health Care Without Harm campaign, and Coordinator for the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s Science Working Group.  He is one of the driving forces behind the new Green garde of hospital operations restructuring and shares with us some of the inner workings of this visionary and vital process.

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July Audio

by The Green A-Team

July 1st, 2008 - Sustainable Superhero Series Presents: Mikhail Gorbachev

July 4th, 2008 - Urban Habitat Restoration: Blue Herons in the Bronx

July 8th, 2008 - Green Nightmare: Algae Blobs Attack China

July 11th, 2008 - Grillin’ Green: Tips and Links for the Patio Purist

July 15th, 2008 - Fisherman’s Energy: Less Chum, More Power

July 18th, 2008 - Word of the Day: Permaculture

July 22nd, 2008 - Cutting Edge Breakthrough: Organic Composting Factories

July 28th, 2008 - Preventative Medicine for the Planet

Photo by William Self.

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June Audio

by The Green A-Team

June 3rd, 2008 - The Green Wedding: Simple Do’s for I Do

June 6th, 2008 - Green City Spotlight: Chicago, St. Louis, and Dallas

June 10th, 2008 - World’s Greenest Dad: GU and GA Honor Father Earth

June 13th, 2008 - Sustainable Superhero Series Presents: Ed Begley, Jr.

June 17th, 2008 - Hybrid SUV Sales Sputter

June 20th, 2008 - Heatwave Nation: Keep Cool and Stay Green

June 24th, 2008 - Word of the Day: Kudzu!

June 27th, 2008 - Green City Spotlight: Richmond, Seattle, and Goodland

Photo by rt44man.

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Exclusive Interview with Ed Begley, Jr.

by The Green A-Team

Ed Begley, Jr. recently bestowed his awesomeness upon Green Air and opens up about his political ties to his latest role in the HBO movie, Recount. He offers suggestions on what to do with people who are just “okay with being lazy,” how his struggles as an actor didn’t deter him from living Green, his thoughts on Natural Capitalism, and what’s more important to eco progress - activism or science.

Photo by Eyeline-Imagry.

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Windpower 2008 Conference and Exhibition:
The Leadership Speaks

by The Green A-Team

Since the Carter Administration, wind power has seen its fitful gusts of support from Congress but has yet to adequately fill the sails to move America’s alternative energy flagship.

The following audio clips are the opening statements of 5 high-level national leaders and wind power experts from the Windpower 2008 Conference and Exhibition held on June 3rd at the George R. Brown Convention Center, Houston, TX:

Gregory Wetstone is Senior Director of Governmental and Public Affairs and spokesman for the American Wind Energy Association.

Our current energy production protocol may not only increase energy prices for both automobiles and homes but also externalize the looming concern for global climate change.

General Wesley K. Clark is a retired four-star general of the United States Army, B.V. Director and Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, and Board Member of Emergya Wind Technologies.

The overuse of natural gas, coal, and oil furthers concerns for national security, urged by Clark.

John Podesta is President and CEO for the Center for American Progress and is the former White House Chief of Staff.

Policy changes are stressed as the necessary step for a future with clean energy.

Jeff Goodell is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book Big Coal.

High CO2 emissions from coal and the carbon cap debate is the main focus of discussion.

Patrick Wood, III is the former Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and is the Principal of Wood3 Resources.

Two separate energy “jihads”, one against petro-authoritarian (oil companies) and one against coal set the tone for Wood’s provocative remarks.

Top photo by Bill Brown

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May Audio

by The Green A-Team

May 2nd, 2008 - Home Tours: The Natural Living Room

May 2nd, 2008 - Tax Rebate Review: Food & Fuel Next Exit

May 9th, 2008 - Worms World: Composting in the USA

May 13th, 2008 - Supermarket Shakeup: Chaos at the Cashier

May 16th, 2008 - Gas = $$$, So Save on Gas

May 20th, 2008 - Home Tours: The Performance Kitchen

May 23rd, 2008 - Memorial Day Weekend: FUN in the SUN

May 25th, 2008 - Memorial Day Weekend: Sustainable Travel

May 28th, 2008 - Sustainable Superhero Spotlight Presents: Harrison Ford

May 30th, 2008 - Word of the Day: Carbon Credits

Photo by Persistence

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April Audio

by The Green A-Team

April 1st, 2008 - Green Toys

April 8th, 2008 - Nike Trash Talk Sustainable Sneakers

April 22nd, 2008 - Earth Day: A Brief History

April 22nd, 2008 - Earth Day Every Day

April 25th, 2008 - Carbon Footprint Revealed

April 25th, 2008 - Is the Pope Green?

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