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Green Living News
July 2008
In This Issue
Eco-Gadgets & Innovations
Did You Know?
L.A. Confidential
Eco-Flicks & Books
Good News!
The Green Life Guide to Sustainable Living
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
Environment in the News
  • G8 Summit Opens with Climate Target up in the Air
  • Pain at the Pump Raises Support for Domestic Drilling

Welcome to the July 2008 edition of TeachingGreen's Green Living News, a monthly newsletter for folks interested in creating a more sustainable society through individual actions and beyond.

Inside this issue of Green Living News:
  • An innovation that could solve our petroleum woes
  • Tools and tips to rid your mailbox of junk mail
  • A Ballona Wetlands restoration day
  • A video and a book all about STUFF...how it's made and who's affected along the way
  • The Green Life Guide from TeachingGreen
...and more!

Eco-Gadgets & Innovations

Bye Bye Petroleum...Hello Clean, Renewable Domestic Fuel

Imagine a world in which we drove around on fuel that was made right here in the US from nothing more than sunlight, water and air (specificially carbon dioxide). No, we're not talking about ethanol made from corn. We're talking about oil made from algae.

Algae, it turns out, produces lots of lipids: as much as 50% of the body weight of a single cell of algae is high-grade vegetable oil. To give you an idea of how much oil we're talking about, consider the annual oil yield from corn, palm, and algae:

Corn: 18 gallons of oil/acre/year
Palm: 700-800 gallons oil/acre/year
Algae: 20,000 gallons/acre/year

And that's the yield for algae grown in an open pond system, where sunlightBioreactor can penetrate only the top layer of algae, water is constantly evaporating, and prime oil-producing algae are contaminated with other algae species.

Valcent Products Inc has developed a High Density Vertical Bioreactor (HDVB) to eliminate these issues and grow massive quantities of fast-growing vegetable oil-producing algae in a limited amount of space. The oil produced is suitable for refining into a cost-effective, non-polluting biodiesel.

Valcent hopes to have a viable pilot operation up by the middle of 2010. However, due to lack of federal funding, it could be 5 years before biodiesel refined from algal lipids is readily available, according to Valcent CEO Glenn Kertz.

For more information visit www.valcent.net.
Did You Know?

If all JUNK MAIL was eliminated in the US, each year we'd save:

  • more than 100 million trees
  • 28 billion gallons of water
  • enough energy to run 2.8 million cars
  • about 70 hours per person spent dealing with all that junk
In the absence of a National Do Not Mail Registry, we must take matters into our own hands to stop this flow of trees to landfills and take back our mailboxes.

Fortunately, there are many resources available to help:
  • 1-888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or www.optoutprescreen.com
    • Opt-out of firm offers of credit and insurance for 5 years (you will need to provide your Social Security number)
  • www.41pounds.org
    • Stop junk mail for 5 years for just $41 (1/3 of this fee is donated to the nonprofit you choose)
Other things you can do to battle junk mail:
  • Only give out your address if absolutely necessary, and if you must, state that you do NOT want your information sold
  • Do not list your address in the phone book
  • Do not submit product warranty cards
  • Call the companies that send you junk and:
    • Ask to be taken off their mailing list
    • Ask how they got your name
    • Tell them not to share your address in any way
L.A. Confidential

Upcoming happenings in and around Los Angeles:

Monthly Ballona Wetlands Clean-up Event

Who needs the gym when you can get your workout down at the beautifulBallona Wetlands Ballona Wetlands? Once a month, the Ballona Wetlands Land Trust hosts its Stewards event, when volunteers descend on the wetlands to remove trash and invasive plants. It's a great opportunity to see the wetlands up close and help restore one of LA's most precious natural resources...our last remaining coastal wetlands.

Date: July 12, 2008
Time: 9am - 4pm
Location: Ballona Wetlands northeast - Along the Ballona Creek bike path just east of Lincoln (directions)

What to bring: long pants, closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, water, snacks and gloves if you have them.

TeachingGreen Workshops:

Helping the Earth with Every Bite

Date: Sunday, July 13, 2008
Time: 10:30am - noon
Location: Mar Vista Farmers' Market, 3826 Grand View Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Cost: FREE (Thank you MVCC!)

Producing our food takes a surprisingly significant toll on the environment, but it doesn't have to be that way. Thank Mother Earth for her delicious bounty by choosing foods that nourish the body without harming the Earth. Learn about the environmental impacts of various foods, including meat, seafood, and conventionally-grown produce.

Note: This is the second of four workshops, but each workshop is a self-contained event, so don't worry if you missed the first one.

Making Your Home a Friend to Mother Nature

Date: Monday,  July 21, 2008
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Location: Whole Foods Market Torrance; 2655 PCH Torrance 90505
Cost: Suggested donation of $5Whole Foods logo

Your home represents an amazing opportunity to green your life because most everything involved with running a household affects the environment in one way or another. Learn how to make your home a model of sustainability, inside and out, and give the Joneses something meaningful to keep up with.

Note: This is the third workshop in the series.

For more info, visit www.teachinggreen.org.

LA Green Drinks

Relax, have a drink, make new friends, network and share ideas with others interested in environmental issues.

LA Green Drinks - West Side: 1st Thursday of the month
LA Green Drinks - South Bay: 2nd Thursday of the month
LA Green Drinks - West Hollywood/Silver Lake: 3rd Thursday of the month
LA Green Drinks - Valley: 4th Thursday of the month

For more information, visit: lagreendrinks.blogspot.com.

2nd Annual Clean-Air Car Show and Film Festival

Date: Sunday,  July 20, 2008
Time:11am - 6pm
Location: El Centro St & Fair Oaks Ave, Pasadena 91030
Cost: FREE

See a wide variety of current and next-generation-technology vehicles, including Hybrid, Plug-in Hybrid, Electric, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), Ethanol, and Biodiesel. Free movies, focused on environmental themes, will be shown throughout the day at the historic Rialto Theatre.

For more information, visit: www.ci.south-pasadena.ca.us.

Eco-Flicks & Books

The Story of STUFF

With Annie Leonard

Ever walk into a Target or Home Depot or Macy's and wonder where the continuous supply of stuff comes from? Where it was made, how it was made, who made it and how their lives and homes where affected along the way?

From the extraction of natural resources, to the delivery of final product at Walmart's backdoor, the consumer goods we buy every day affect communities here and abroad in profound ways.

This 20-minute video, which can be viewed online, is a fascinating look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. You'll never look at an iPod or pair of shoes quite the same again.

STUFF, The Secret Lives of Everyday ThingsSTUFF: The secret lives of everyday things

By John C. Ryan and Alan Thein During

If your curious mind is hungry for more, pick up a copy of this little book that packs a punch. Get an in-depth look at just what has to happen to produce ten everyday consumer goods, including a T-shirt, a cup of coffee, a computer and an automobile.

By the time you turn the last page, you'll understand how it's possible that each of us consumes about 120 pounds of resources every day.
Good News!

A Historic Victory for Everglades Restoration

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida, June 25, 2008 (ENS) - The largest U.S. producer of cane sugar, U.S. Sugar Corp., would close up shop under a $1.75 billion agreement to sell its 292 square miles of land to Florida for Everglades restoration, the company president and Florida Governor Charlie Crist said Tuesday.

The deal, announced at a news conference at the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, allows the state to buy U.S. Sugar's holdings in the Everglades south of Lake Okeechobee, the heart of the wetland ecosystem.

Negotiations are now taking place, and officials hope to sign an agreement by year end. Once the deal is signed...

Click here for full article.
The Green Life Guide to Sustainable Living

Due to popular demand, TeachingGreen is now selling its 65-page guide to sustainable living. This comprehensive yet user-friendly guide will help you to reduce the environmental impact of your day-to-day life in the areas of Transportation, Food, Home & Garden, Waste and Household Toxics.

This is not just a list of things you can do to save the Earth. It's a guide to the what, why and HOW of sustainable living. It contains hundreds of tips and resources to help you save energy, water and other natural resources. Even people who already know a good deal about the environment tell us that they get a lot out of this guide. So if you can't attend our workshops or just prefer to learn on your own, order the guide today so you can stop worrying and start acting!

Cost: $20.00

To buy the Green Life Guide, call 310-372-7484 or send an email requesting the Guide to kjacecko@teachinggreen.org.

Find out more about the Guide by clicking here.

TeachingGreen is a 503(c)(3) organization, and as such, we depend on tax-deductible donations from treehuggers like you! If you'd like to become a member, see the Quick Links above.

We hope you find this newsletter helpful and informative, and should you have any suggestions, questions or general comments, we'd love to hear from you.

Kathleen Jacecko