CB’s Green Report: Flippers, Fines & Fashion

Stuck in ice? Five weary dolphins are trapped behind a drifting pack of ice off the coast of Sea Cove, Newfoundland. They have been stuck in this shrinking area for four days and are in urgent need of rescue. Somehow the dolphins got separated from the open Atlantic, said Mayor Winston May of the Canadian province. According to an expert from the Whale Release and Strandings group, the dolphins will drown if the ice continues to cover the open area. The dolphins need to surface above water in order to breath.  At the moment, the Canadian federal Fisheries Department does not have an icebreaker to send.  Sadly, the dolphins are crying out for help..literally. “They’re not going to survive much longer,” said May. “You can hear (the dolphins) crying all night long,” he said. Hopefully, Canada will figure out a way to rescue the dolphins before it’s too late.

Paying for pollution? You betcha. BP Products North America, the international energy company, will shell out almost $180 million to settle a Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency pollution case. Back in March 2005, an explosion and fire killed 15 people and injured more than 170. The British oil company division will pay $161 million for pollution controls, another $12 million in penalties (whoa!) and then yet another $6 million for an air pollution reduction project near their refinery in Texas.The company already plead guilty to breaking the Clean Air Act and will pay $50 million in fees. Somehow, it doesn’t seem like these expensive environmental mishaps are hurting this company.

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Bryant Park

New York Fashion Week Goes Green. By adding recycling bins for bottles, cans, aluminum, glass, plastic and cardboard, Coca-Cola Recycling LLC helped the Mercedes-Benz Fall Fashion Week Fall 2009 Collections, Feb. 13-20 make a green statement. Twenty-five bins were placed throughout the Bryant Park complex to allow anyone to “Give It Back.” See you can have style and be green too! Hopefully, other major fashion events will partner with Coke or other recycling companies to make being green chic!

Smooches,
The Caramel Bella




CB’s Green Report: Begin Anew in 2009 with Green Resolutions

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Looking to make some green resolutions in 2009? The Daily Green and the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) Simple Steps have developed a great list of 15 green resolutions. Although many of us may think it is difficult to go green, the site suggests simple to-do’s like recycling and reducing the number of mailed catalogues (through CatalogChoice.org). And while drinking more water is good for the body, the disposable plastic water bottles are not. According to NRDC, “it takes 26 bottles of water to produce the plastic container for a one-liter bottle of water, and that doing so pollutes 25 liters of groundwater.” So, instead of buying plastic bottled water, a suggested resolution is to buy a reusable water container. Of the 15 items listed, there should be at least a couple that are easy for you to implement in 2009.

Bush helps the environment. (No, I’m not kidding.) According to a recent New York Times article, President Bush “will designate vast tracts of American-controlled Pacific Ocean islands, reefs, surface waters and sea floor as marine national monuments on Tuesday.” This presidential action will limit mining, fishing, oil exploration and other commercial activities.  The protected zones, which include a total of 195,280 miles (bigger than Oregon & Washington combined) are home to hundreds of rare fish and bird species.

“With the designation of the world’s largest marine reserve in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands in 2006, and now these three other sites, George W. Bush has done more to protect unique areas of the world’s oceans than any other person in history,” said Joshua Reichert, managing director of the Pew Environmental Group to the New York Times.

And luckily for environmentalists, this presidential action doesn’t require Congressional approval. Yippee!

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Alert: Bush Administration Hasn’t Protected Marine Mammals?? Contrary to his recent presidential order to protect marine waters, the Bush Administration has failed to provide “protections required by law to more than a dozen marine mammals potentially at risk of death or injury due to commercial fishing,” according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.  The congressional investigators examined the National Marine Fisheries Service and found that out of 30 marine mammals, which are protected under federal guidelines, the agency had not provided expert teams to protect them 14 of them. These animals, such as endangered whales and dolphins, are getting caught in fishing gear and traps. Hey Bush, you need to protect the marine waters and the mammals too!

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Flying a plane using algae fuel? Yes! On Wednesday, Continental Airlines became the first U.S. commercial airlines to make a flight using alternative fuels derived from algae and jatropha plants. In this case, the Boeing 737-800 ran one  of its two engines on a mixture of half biofuel and half regular jet fuel. The demonstration flight lasted 1 hour and 45 minutes and didn’t have any passengers. Although use of biofuels for commercial planes is said to be years away, this trip was a “flight” in the right direction.




CB’s Green Report: Death and the Holidays

In the green, but slightly weird and morbid, news, PETA (People for the Equal Treatment of Animals) has partnered with handcrafted coffin maker The Old Pine Box to offer PETA-themed, eco-friendly caskets. Although studies suggest vegans and vegetarians live longer, even they have to die some time. So, why not go out with a “Go Vegan” statement on your environmentally friendly coffin?

Many of us are concerned about avoiding pesticides in our foods. What about buying a pesticide free, organic Christmas tree? Yes, you can have a sustainable tree. According to a recent New York Times article, a group of small farmers who wanted an alternative to the expensive organic certification program started the Certified Naturally Grown organization in 2002. This group, along with others like the Farmer’s Pledge, provides assurances that their trees are sustainable and were grown using methods like erosion control and composting. And you can enjoy the beauty of a Christmas tree without worrying about pesticides getting in your lungs and on your skin. Now that’s a happy holiday.

Big news for mountaintops. After much persuasion by the environmental group, the National Resource Defense Council, Bank of America plans to take a stand against some forms of surface mining practices. Bank of America released a statement Wednesday stating it will “phase out financing of companies whose predominant method of extracting coal is through mountain top removal” to minimize environmental impacts. With large sums of money from Bank of America, coal companies may resort to the traditional burrowing method or find alternative methods to extract coal instead of blowing off the mountaintop to obtain this resource.

The recession may help recycling. Given the current financial crisis, many Americans are recycling their cans and bottles for extra money. Although an empty can is usually worth about 5 cents, The Boston Globe reports that the change really adds up for people who have lost their jobs or just need the extra money.




CB’s Green Report: America Recycles on Nov. 15th & Other Green News


Don’t forget to recycle and buy recycled products. Saturday, Nov. 15 is America Recycles Day created by the National Recycling Coalition. The “Recycling” holiday (as I like to call it) is designed to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling. The National Recycling Coalition is seeking to encourage more people to join the recycling movement to create a better environment. Some of the ways people can get involved by (1) recycling, (2) taking a national pledge and encouraging others to do so, (3) finding out about local events, and (4) learning more about recycling and caring for the environment. Surely, we can all do our part on Saturday and the rest of the days of the year.

Al Gore as Obama’s Climate Czar? Hmmm.. Although it would be a great job if President-elect Obama and his team actually created one (rumor is they are toying around with the idea), Former Vice President Al Gore said he isn’t interested. That’s surprising considering all of his work on global warming such as The Inconvenient Truth movie and the Nobel Peace prize. And who doesn’t think he would be the perfect person to fill that position?

Will it be the power of positive thinking? President-elect Barack Obama has called for the review of the Bush administration’s executive orders, but has not decided to reverse the ones related to stem cell research or environmental issues like offshore oil drilling. However, U.S. conservation groups on Thursday already see victory for reversals on Bush Administration decisions that they say did a lot of damage to the nation’s environmental protections in the past eight years.

Obama’s environmental efforts as president may be slow. Despite President-elect’s statement that he will move quickly to address global warming, the chairman of the Senate Energy Committee predicted Wednesday no Congressional action on a climate change bill until 2010. “Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said that while every effort should be made to cap greenhouse gases, the economic crisis, the transition to a new administration and the complexity of setting up a nationwide market for carbon pollution permits preclude acting in 2009.”

Score: Navy 1, Whales & Environment 0. Well, no one is exactly keeping score but the Supreme Court definitely sided with the U.S. Navy in its case against the National Resources Defense Council (check out Navy v. Whales post for more info). The environmental group had successfully gotten the California Supreme Court to place judicial restrictions on submarine training exercises off the coast of Southern California because of potential harm to marine animals like whales and dolphins. According to the environmentalists, the submarines give off harmful sonar waves that could change marine animals breeding and migration patterns or cause them physical trauma. The possible lesson learned here is potential animal harm doesn’t quite measure up to possible human harm through jeopardizing national security.

Does smog kill? Yes. According to a recent study, Southern California and San Joaquin Valley’s air causes more deaths than all of the fatal car crashes in the last year. Whoa! And the study shows the region could save more than “$28 billion annually in health care costs, school absences, missed work and lost income potential from premature deaths.” California State University – Fullerton researchers were trying to figure out the potential economic benefits of reducing air pollution to federal standard levels. California needs to clean up its act, I mean air, literally!




Caramel Bella’s: The Green Report

The dangers of global warming strike the penguins. According to a recent World Wildlife Fund (WWF) report, if the earth’s climate increases by only two degrees Celsius (or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) half to three-quarters of Antarctic penguin colonies could be wiped out or severely harmed. Sadly, a United Nation report predicts the climate change will occur by the end of the century if greenhouse gases aren’t decreased. Poor, poor penguins.

Could greener fuels cause world hunger? A United Nations food agency is asking the same question in its call for a review of biofuel (cleaner, plant-based fuel) subsidies and policies. The examination will look at biofuel’s role in higher food prices and hunger in poor countries. With the biofuel subsidies in place, many farmers plant more crops for fuel than food because it brings in more dough.

Speaking of dough, green technology is where it’s at. Venture capital is pouring into the clean tech industry that focuses on alternative energy, pollution reduction, recycling and conservation. Biotechies and biopharma workers are headed over to the green side. According to VentureSource, venture funding in clean technologies increased from $216 million in 2002 to $2.5 billion last year.

Financial crisis threatens climate change. A lack of credit and limited capital may result in fewer developed countries investing in green initiatives to help poorer countries upgrade to clean energy technology. In an AP interview, Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the U.N. climate secretariat summed it up best when he said, “You can’t pick an empty pocket.”

(more…)




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My Maltese puppy; lazy Sunday mornings; a day at the Beach; Yoga; breakfast anytime of the day; my gurls (and you know who you are); my family (I’m a daddy’s girl); making new friends; Los Angeles & Washington, DC; ocean views; Anguilla; healthy foods that don’t taste healthy; politics; "greenie" things; meditating; natural curls and movies.

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  • profileCARAMEL BELLA: This is my place to write about my adventures and mis-adventures in this thing called life. I discuss my passions: the environment, politics, art & culture, writing as well as yoga, health and spirituality. The one thing you can expect from this blog is that it is not what you expected. Thanks for reading! To reach me email thecaramelbella at gmail.

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