TeachingGreen logo
Green Living News
September 2009
In This Issue
World Wide GREEN Web
Did You Know?
L.A. Confidential
Worth Your Time
Support TeachingGreen
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links

Welcome to the September 2009 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:
...and more!

WW_Green_WebWorld Wide GREEN Web

Build It Green's Green Product Directory

Even if you aren't one to worry about keeping up with the Joneses, it's sometimes nice to spruce up the nest, no? But for the environmentally-conscious, concern over the impact of installing new carpet or hardwood floors can have a paralyzing effect.

If you'd like to do some work around the house, but haven't for fear of Home Improvementwrecking the environment, relax. There is now a suprising array of products available that allow you fix up your home without strip-mining a mountain, clearing a chunk of forest or subjecting your family and yourself to less-than-healthy indoor air quality.

To locate such products, you could spend a day or two with our friend Google. Or you could use Build It Green's Green Product Directory. Here, you'll find manufacturers of not just bamboo floors and dual pane windows, but everything from insulation and paint to countertops and tile.

Here's a small sampling of the products you'll find:
  • Decking and fencing made from 50% recycled and reclaimed plastic, and 50% reclaimed wood (Trex)
  • Countertops made from recycled glass (Icestone) or 100% Paperstonepost-consumer recycled cardboard and office paper (Paperstone)
  • Modular carpeting that can be replaced one tile at a time (only where needed) and is made from recycled carpet (FLOR)
Note that the Green Product Directory locates suppliers of green building products in the San Francisco Bay Area and theCity of Anaheim, but not to worry: it also lists the manufacturers of green building products, with links to their websites where you can find retailers near you.

So before you embark on your next home-improvement project, be sure to check out this handy directory. And if the improvement will save energy, visit www.energystar.gov to see if your project qualifies for the 30% federal tax credit for energy efficiency. If you get moving and get it done before the end of 2010, you could save up to $1,500.

Check out the Directory at accessgreen.builditgreen.org.

Did_You_KnowDid You Know?

Plastics are an Environmental Plague

Did you see the news recently about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the North Pacific Gyre? Even though this giant swirling vortex in the center of the Pacific Ocean is located 1,000 miles off the California coast, it's filled with marine debris originating from the U.S., Japan and other countries on the Pacific coast.

Recently, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been getting the media attention it deserves, but Captain Charles Moore and his Algalita Marine Algalita TrawlResearch Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Long Beach, California, have been studying the sources and impacts of marine plastic pollution for more than a decade. Their Ocean Research Vessel (ORV) Alguita was the first to sample the surface waters of the North Pacific Gyre. What they discovered was alarming: in this remote area of the Pacific Ocean, they found six times more plastic pieces than plankton.

So why exactly are plastics so bad for the environment and living things?

1. They are made from petroleum: According to the Pacific Institute, the manufacture of plastic water bottles used in the U.S. in 2006 alone required approximately 17 million barrels of oil, or enough oil to power 1 million cars for a year.

2. They persist in the environment: Plastics thrown away today will remain in landfills for thousands of years, and in the ocean, plastics don't biodegrade at all, but rather are broken down by sunlight until all that's left is plastic dust.

3. Through entanglement and Entangled tortoiseingestion, they are seriously harmful to marine life: It's estimated that 100,000 marine mammals die from trash-related deaths each year (NOAA), to say nothing of the fish, seabirds and other organisms that are killed and injured.

4. In the ocean, they attract and accumulate hydrophobic organic toxins such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) up to 105-106 times ambient seawater concentrations (NOAA); this is cause for concern because plastic debris is often eaten by fish, seabirds and other organisms, which mistake plastic for food.

Take action:

In addition to recycling plastic containers, you can help keep plastic out of the ocean by:
  • Using a reusable water bottle and reusable shopping bags
  • Using Tupperware or equivalent instead of disposable plastic baggies
  • Saying 'no' to the plastic garment bag at your dry cleaner
  • Planting seeds instead of plants
  • Buying products such as cleaners and beverages in concentrated form
  • Forgoing helium balloons
  • Anything else you can think of to reduce the manufacture and use of plastic!
For more information:

Watch Synthetic Sea, an enlightening 7-minute overview of Algalita's findings. 

Follow ORV Alguita's September 2009 Gyre Expedition through the Ship's Blog. As of Sunday, September 13, the crew of six were seven days out to sea, and hadn't reached the Garbage Patch yet. But their trawls were bringing in "ample plastics particles that rivaled the natural organisms that should be there."

Learn more at www.algalita.org.

LA_ConfidentialL.A. Confidential
Events and other stuff for Angelinos:

Upcoming TeachingGreen Workshops

We have several workshops coming up over the next month, from Venice Beach to San Pedro. Come learn about all the things you can do to live a healthier, greener life and save money in the process. Join us!

Torrance...Transportation: Tooling Around Town in (Green) Style

Reduce the impact of getting yourself from here to there and go a long way toward greening your life.Whole Foods logo

Date: Wednesday, September 16
Time: 7:00 - 8:30pm
Location: Whole Foods Market, 2655 PCH, Torrance, CA 90505
Cost: Suggested donation $5

Redondo Beach...Home & Garden: Water Quality & Conservation

Save countless gallons of water around the house and minimize runoff that pollutes our local waters.

Thursday, September 17
7:00pm - 8:30pm
The SEA Lab, 1021 N. Harbor Drive Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Suggested donation $5

Venice...Detoxifying Your Planet, Your Home, Yourself

Protect your health and the health of others by keeping toxics out of your life and the environment.

Date: Monday, September 28
Time: 7:00 - 8:00pm
Location: Seed Kitchen Restaurant, 1604 Pacific Avenue, Venice, CA 90291
Cost: Suggested donation $5

San Pedro...Home & Garden: Water Quality & Conservation

Save countless gallons of water around the house and minimize runoff that pollutes our local waters.

Date: Wednesday, October 14
Time: 6:30pm - 8:00pm
Location: The YMCA, 301 S. Bandini St, San Pedro, CA 90731
Cost: Suggested donation $5

For more information and to register, visit www.teachinggreen.org.

Coastal Cleanup Day

September 19, 2009 marks the 25th Anniversary of California Coastal Beach TrashCleanup Day. On this day, thousands of people across LA County will come out to clean up our rivers, beaches and the ocean - will you be one of them? There will be beach cleanups, inland cleanups and even some dive and kayak cleanups. No registration needed - just show up at a location near you. All cleanup supplies will be provided.

Date: Saturday, September 19
Time: 9am - noon
Location: More than 70 locations throughout LA County
Cost: FREE - this is a volunteer event

For more information, visit www.healthebay.org.

Weekly LALALA's Annual LOHAS Fair

Date: Sunday, October 11
Time: 11am - 5:00pm
Location: Holiday Inn Torrance, 19800 South Vermont Ave, Torrance 90502
Cost: FREE

TeachingGreen's founder, Kathleen Jacecko, has been invited to speak again at this annual event hosted by the Japanese Weekly LALALA newspaper. This year, she'll be discussing alternatives to store-bought cleaners and will demonstrate how to make several safe, effective homemade cleaners. This is a great, easy way to save money while protecting your health and the environment.

Free admission includes access to 30 booths featuring organic, vegan, and otherwise eco-friendly products. For more information, contact Noriko Kashiwakura at event@lalalausa.com.

South Bay 350 Climate Action Day

Want to be a part of the largest climate action in history? On October 24, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people in more than 110 countries around the world will take part in the International Day of Climate Action to take a stand against global climate change.

They'll come out to pressure world leaders who will be attending the climate change summit this December is Copenhagen, Denmark to take effective action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 350 DayThey'll focus on the number 350, as in parts per million, the level scientists have identified as the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. We're at 389 and rising.

Here in Los Angeles, a coalition of more than 22 groups and elected officials are organizing a beach rally and Amazing Waving Human Tide Line to bring attention to the fact that rising sea levels caused by a warming planet will directly impact the residents of Los Angeles. We need you and your friends to come down to the Manhattan Beach pier on Saturday, October 24 at 3pm to take part in this event!

Date: Saturday, October 24
Rally: 3:00pm
Human Tide Line: 3:50pm
Location: Manhattan Beach Pier (end of the Manhattan Beach Blvd., 90266)

For more information and to RSVP, visit www.350.org/southbay350.

LA Green Drinks

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

West Side................1st Thursday of the month
South Bay................2nd Thursday
WeHo/Silver Lake.....3rd Thursday
Downtown.................4th Wednesday
Valley.......................4th Thursday

For times and locations, visit: lagreendrinks.blogspot.com.

Worth_Your_TimeWorth Your Time

The Age of Stupid
2009, U.S. Premier September 21

A reliable source who got a sneak peak tells us that this is a movie not to be missed, especially if you're concerned about global climate change. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite stars as a man living alone in the devastated world of 2055, looking at old footage from 2008 and asking: Age of Stupidwhy didn't we stop climate change when we had the chance?

The Age of Stupid will broadcast live on September 21 from a solar-powered cinema tent in New York to over 400 movie theaters across the country, including The Bridge and Century City 15 With Imax in Los Angeles County.

For a complete list of participating theaters throughout the U.S. and to buy tickets, click here.

"The first successful dramatization of climate change to hit the big screen." - The Guardian

Support_TGSupport TeachingGreen

Three ways you can help:

1. Bring us your people

Actually, we'll come to you.Compact Fluorescent bulb

In addition to public workshops, we also give presentations for groups, schools, and businesses. Are you a member of a community group, alumni group, Mom's group, church group, or any other kind of group? Have a business you're trying to green and want to get your employees on board?

If so, we would love to come and give a presentation or two for your group! We give presentations on specific issues, such as transportation, food and household toxics, and we also offer a general overview of sustainable living.

Visit www.teachinggreen.org to learn more and to request a presentation.

2. Volunteer or intern with TeachingGreen

We are seeking interns and volunteers to help further our mission of helping people reduce the environmental impact of their personal and professional lives. We need help with curriculum development, fund raising and outreach. Your involvement will help us to grow the organization so that we can reach more people with the message of sustainability.

For more information, contact Kathleen Jacecko at 310-372-7484 or kjacecko@teachinggreen.org.

3. Donate and become a member of TeachingGreen

We are a 501(c)3 organization, so all donations are fully tax-deductible. Your support helps us spread the message of sustainability via workshops, presentations, our wesite and this newsletter. We currently operate only in Los Angeles, but even if you don't live here, remember that when we act locally, we help the global environment as well as the local environment.

To make a tax-deductible donation to TeachingGreen, click here.

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


Kathleen Jacecko