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The Green Graze

A Taste of Everything Green 

Fall 2014
In This Issue
Good News!
World Wide GREEN Web (on your phone)
Green Cuisine
Did You Know?
L.A. Confidential
Join Our Mailing List!
Quick Links
We know what you're probably thinking - Fall 2014? Too soon! It's true - summer's not over yet. But we wanted to get this issue out early to make sure you know about two important global events that are taking place this weekend.

On Saturday, it's the International Coastal Cleanup, a world-wide event to clean up our oceans and other waterbodies. On Sunday, it's the People's Climate March, a historic public demonstration against climate change. Read on to learn more, and be there if you can!

Inside this issue of The Green Graze:

Also, please take our survey at www.surveymonkey.com if you haven't already. It takes a just minute and could help us secure much-needed funding. 


Happy grazing!  

Good_newsGood News!

Plastic Bags from Sea to Shining Sea...Or Not? 
California Gets Serious About the Plastic Bag Plague
By Jillian J. Bell

Almost anywhere you look, particularly where people are found, you can find something plastic nearby. It's in our clothing, pantries, electronic devices, cars, toys, and all around our hospitals. In a lot of ways plastic is amazing and makes life so much easier. Plastic is lightweight and can be made to be rigid, pliable, or something in between. It's inexpensive to produce and buy, can be easily shaped for a variety of purposes, and is very durable, able to withstand the wear and tear from shipping and child's play. It's also leak-proof and can guard against contaminants.
Squirrel eating plastic bag
Sounds pretty great, except that the properties that make plastic such a useful material are also what make it an environmental plague: it's not biodegradable, so it persists wherever it is disposed of, be it in nature or in a landfill (where it could take more than 1,000 years to degrade).

Living here in New York City, I've seen my fair share of street litter. Countless plastic bottles and bags are scattered throughout the streets of the city I call home, blocking storm drains, floating in rivers, catching in trees, and even being consumed by urban wildlife. Plastic bags are probably the most pervasive and harmful litter in NYC, making their way towards the Hudson and East rivers, Central Park, and anywhere else the wind will carry them. I've started to call them "bag-birds," and they are the one "bird" I'd like to see go extinct.

Seems that most California state lawmakers feel the same way. Recognizing the threat that plastic bags pose in the environment, the California State Legislature recently passed legislation that would ban plastic bags throughout the state. That bill is now awaiting Governor Jerry Brown's signature to become law. If that happens, California will become the first state to ban single-use plastic bags. Otherwise, no state has yet enacted a statewide ban, fee, or tax on plastic bags (although all four of Hawaii's counties have bans in place, effectively banning bags across the state). Instead, cities and counties (in AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, HI, IA, MA, MD, NC, NM, NY, OR, RI, TX, WA,  Washington D.C. and 2 U.S. territories) have taken the initiative and passed bans of their own.

While waiting for a ban to come to your city, county or state, what can you do to help reduce plastic bag waste? Plenty! For starters:
  • Remember to always use your reusable bags (keep them in convenient places so they're always ready and available when you shop)Plastic litter
  • Give re-usable bags as gifts
  • Try to go a week without taking a plastic bag, especially if your purchases are easy to carry. If every shopper took just one fewer bag each month, hundreds of millions of bags each year could be eliminated.
  • Find out if your local government has any plastic bag legislation in effect here: www.earth-policy.org. If not, encourage your local politicians to consider methods for reducing plastic bag waste to make their cities more beautiful and healthy for all of its inhabitants.


WWWWorld Wide GREEN Web (on your phone)

Trying to do the green thing? There's an app for that!
By Alayna Santos

There are now more than a million apps you can use on your mobile device, ranging from apps to entertain your cat, to apps that will help you beat traffic. So, it shouldn't be a surprise that there are thousands of "green" apps out there to choose from. To save you the trouble of wading through all those apps online, some of my friends and I tested several apps for three months. Here are the Apple and Android apps that we found to be the most helpful for greening up your everyday life.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 32% of CO2 emissions in the U.S. come  from the transportation sector. Three rideshare apps - Uber, Lyft and Sidecar - can help bring Lyft Cartransportation emissions down to a manageable level. Best for short rides, these rideshare companies have branded themselves as alternatives to taxis. The appeal is in the convenience. With these three apps you can summon a ride with a few taps on your phone and cash never changes hands; it's all done through the app. While Uber and Sidecar cars are incognito, it's hard to miss the giant pink mustaches affixed to the front bumpers of Lyft cars. A new feature for Sidecar is that drivers now compete to provide you with the lowest price possible.

Assuring that your groceries are toxin-free or that your back-to-school products are made in an environmentally-friendly manner is almost impossible without scouring the internet for information on everything you buy. Luckily there are a few good apps that have done the hard work for you. 
  • Good Guide: Scan the barcode of any product, and you'll get an overall score comparison to similar products, along with ratings for health, environmental, and societal impact.
  • Dirty Dozen: This app, from the Environmental Working Group, includes the infamous "Dirty Dozen," and "Clean 15" of produce. The two lists are comprised of the produce that contain the most and the least amount of pesticides.
  • Locavore: Here's local, in-season dining made easy. This app uses your location to find nearby farmers' markets & CSAs (farms that sell directly to the public).
Reduce, Reuse & Recycle 
  • iRecycle: This is far and away one of the most useful apps we tested.iRecycle App This app provides you with thousands of ways and places to recycle 350 different products. Using this app, we were able to find out how to recycle juice boxes and pouches, old cell phones, gas grills, hair, light bulbs, and even TV remotes.
  • Joulebug:  This social networking app tracks and helps ensure that your "every day habits are sustainable."  It's similar to having a newsfeed for your choices throughout the day, while giving you points for making "green decisions." You can earn points for a variety of activities, including walking or biking to the corner store instead of driving, turning off a light switch, or taking your own cup to your local coffee shop.
  • Shpock:  Similar to eBay and craigslist, this app facilities the buying and selling of secondhand items. The seller uploads a description and picture of the item they are selling, and buyers can see what items are for sale in their vicinity and make an offer on any item they'd like to buy. The seller can accept or wait for a better offer. This app is a great way to reuse items you'd otherwise throw out.
In addition to these apps, here are two other apps that we did not test, but have strong star ratings and could be very useful. If you have an electric car, try PlugShare to find charging stations and avoid getting stranded. Or if you like planning and tracking your bike routes, head on over to MapMyRide. Hope these apps help you keep it GREEN!  

green_cuisineGreen Cuisine

U.S. Supermarkets: Is Yours Caring for or "Carting Away" the Oceans?
See how your favorite grocery store fared in Greenpeace's annual ranking

If you're reading this, there's a good chance that you're at least somewhat concerned about your seafood choices and the impact that they have on the environment. And if so, you probably make a good-faith effort to ensure that the seafood you buy is not overfished and is caught in a manner that causes minimal damage to the marine ecosystem. Perhaps you consult your Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guide, or similar sustainable seafood guide while shopping. This, of course, is where things can get frustrating. 

In a perfect world, grocers Seafood case across the country - and beyond - would be able to tell us the exact species, place of origin and catch method of all of the seafood for sale in their display cases. But the reality is that this information has historically been very difficult or impossible to obtain in the supermarkets where most Americans shop. 

To help fill this information void, Greenpeace has been evaluating the sustainability of seafood policies and practices of major U.S. supermarkets since 2008. Their annual report, entitled Carting Away the Oceans, rates supermarkets on a scale from 0-10, with a score of 7+ earning a "good" rating, 4-7 earning a "pass" rating, and 0-4 a "fail" rating. For the first four years, the report wasn't very helpful, other than to tell us what we already knew: supermarket chains don't give a hoot about seafood sustainability. Not one of the 20 supermarkets rated at that time received a "good" rating.

But the times they are a-changin'. Greenpeace's recently released 8th annual report revealed that there are now four retailers that have earned a "good" rating, namely Whole Foods, Safeway, Wegmans and Trader Joe's. Those chains scored between 7.01 and 7.28 on the rating scale.

To arrive at their results for this 8th report, Greenpeace evaluated 26 major retailers using a variety of factors including:
  • The sale of any destructively caught or endangered marine species on Greenpeace's Red List for seafood
  • Participation in conservation initiatives such as sustainable fishing
  • Transparency of supply
  • The establishment of internal policies that govern the company's purchasing decisions
Certainly, we still have a long way to go: 22 supermarkets still received a "pass" rating (with scores between 4.20 and 6.63) or a "fail" rating (with scores between 1.06 and 3.21). But with Whole Foods and Safeway leading the way (the first to be awarded the "good" rating in 2012), a whole lot of Americans now have easy access to sustainably-caught or farmed seafood at their local grocery store.

To view the report and to download and print the Greenpeace Seafood Sustainability Scorecard, visit cato.greenpeaceusa.org.

ReduceReduce, Reuse, Recycle

Gift-Giving With a Conscience
Less stuff, more meaning with these online gift registries

If you're planning a wedding or other party that traditionally involves a gift registry, and you'd like to move beyond dishes and towels, SoKind gift registry may be just the thing you're looking for.

SoKind allows you to create a registry focused bride and groom zipliningless on stuff and more on experience and charity. A project of The Center for a New American Dream, SoKind makes it easy to create a gift registry that encourages the giving of meaningful gifts that don't necessarily fit in a box.  

What kinds of gifts might you register for with SoKind? Here's a taste:
  • Gifts of skill (think lessons, household help, childcare)
  • Gifts of experience (think museum memberships, bungee jumping, opera tickets, wine tasting tours)
  • Gifts of charity (ask for donations to your favorite nonprofit organizations)
  • Gently used, secondhand gifts
  • Day-of-event help (think set up help, photographer, guest housing)

The user-friendly interface and extensive list of suggested gift ideas makes creating your registry quick and simple. Deciding between cooking classes and a white water rafting trip? Not so much. 


Learn more at www.sokindregistry.org


When one thinks of the many trials and tribulations of parenthood, certain things are likely to come to mind: getting your baby to sleep through the night, convincing your young one to eat his or her vegetables, and living with a sassy or downright defiant teenager, to name a few. But I have found that one of the most surprisingly distressing things about my nearly 5-year old daughter is her utter inability to maintain interest in any given toy. Seriously, with very few exceptions, after about 24 hours, the magic is gone.

While I would like to think that this unfortunate attribute is unique to my daughter, I'm quite sure that she is not alone. If this sounds familiar, and you, like me, are the proud parent of a child who goes through toys like newspapers, you might want to check out Echoage. Kid's birthday

Echoage is an online birthday party service that helps you cut down on stuff while teaching your child a valuable lesson in charity. As with Evite and other online invitation services, Echoage allows you to easily create and send free electronic birthday party invitations. But that's where the similarity ends.

With Echoage, your guests are invited to make secure contributions online, in lieu of giving individually-wrapped birthday gifts. Those funds are then split in two: half goes directly to the birthday kid so that he or she may buy one or two special things, and an equal amount is donated to the nonprofit organization of his or her choice.

It's a wonderful way to introduce children to the unique joy that comes from helping others, while cuting down on the stockpiles of neglected toys taking up space in your closests.

Learn more at www.echoage.com.

did_you_knowDid You Know?

The Surprisingly High Cost of Speeding 
 Highway tests prove that it really does pay to stick to the speed limit

It's common knowledge that speeding wastes fuel and costs money. But how much? To answer that question, Consumer Reports test drove a Honda Accord, a Toyota RAV4 and three versions of the Ford Fusion at 55, 65, and 75 mph. They found that the milage penalty for driving 75 rather than 55 mph was at least 10 mpg (for the RAV4) and as much as 14 mpg (for the Honda Accord). 55 mph

Sure, driving 100 miles at 75 mph will get you to your destination half an hour faster, but it will also burn nearly an extra gallon of gas, costing you an extra $3.50, give or take. For the average American driver, who drives nearly 13,500 miles each year (according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration), regularly driving at speeds around 75 mph could cost an extra $300 or more per year.

Of course, driving 55 mph is not always practical - or safe - on many U.S. highways. The point is to stick to the speed limit and avoid speeding. It's safer, and even driving 65 mph instead of 75 mph can save you $100 or more per year on fuel.

For the full analysis, visit autos.yahoo.com.

duty_callsDuty Calls

International Coastal Cleanup
September 20th, A Location Near You

Let's face it: trash in and around our oceans, rivers, and streams is seriously Bird caught in a bag harmful to marine wildlife. They eat it, become entangled in it and die from it every day. You can help prevent this by participating in the International Coastal Cleanup, coming up this Saturday, September 20th at a location near you.

Now in its 28th year, the annual International Coastal Cleanup is the largest volunteer effort for our oceans. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people from all around the world participate. In 2013 alone, 648,015 volunteers in 92 countries picked up more than 12.3 million pounds of trash.

If you're free this Saturday, join the effort and help rid the world's oceans and waterways of harmful trash!

You can sign up to clean up at www.oceanconservancy.org.

People's Climate March
September 21st, New York City

History is Calling...Will you Answer?

Later this month, world leaders will gather in New York City for the United Nations Climate Summit. Thousands of people will meet them in the streets to demand action on climate change. Can you be there?

The People's Climate March will take place on Sunday, September 21 at 11:30am near Columbus Circle in New York City. It's shaping up to be the world's largest public demonstration against climate change in history. You can help make that happen: please help spread the word and if you can be there, be there!

To learn more and to sign up to participate in this historic event, visit http://peoplesclimate.org/march.

Peoples Climate March

los_angelesL.A. Confidential

Upcoming Eco Events for Angelinos

9th Annual AltCar Expo & Conference

Everything you ever wanted to know about AltCar Expo alternative fuel vehicles, plus the opportunity to drive some. The Expo and Ride & Drive will be open to the public on Friday and Saturday, and there will be a speakers' series for the public on Saturday from 10:30am - 4:00pm.

Date: Friday & Saturday, September 19 & 20
Time: 10:00am - 5:00pm
Location: Santa Monica Civic Lot, 1855 Main Street Santa Monica, CA 90401 
Cost: FREE
Parking: $10 or ride your bike and park in the free bike valet

For more information, visit www.altcarexpo.com/index.php.

"Overturning Citizen's United" - A Public Forum

Join Environmental Priorities Network at a public forum to learn how we can strengthen our democracy and reclaim it from corporate dominance. A panel of three excellent speakers will discuss this disastrous Supreme Court decision and what can be done about it. Light refreshments will be served from 9:00 - 10:00, followed by the speakers panel at 10:00am.

Date: Saturday, September 27 
Time: 9:00am - 12:00pm
Location: Pacific Unitarian Church, 5621 Montemalaga Drive Rancho Palos Verdes 90275
Cost: FREE (but contributions are welcome)

For more information, contact Lillian Light at lklight@verizon.net or at 310 - 545 1384.

We hope you've found this newsletter to be helpful and informative. Please reply to this email or call us at 310-372-7484 with any questions or comments you may have. We'd love to hear from you!

Kathleen JaceckoSincerely,

Kathleen Jacecko