Wednesday, August 26, 2009

San Francisco 8th Annual Green Festival.

"At Green Festivals™, a joint project of Global Exchange and Green America, we’re celebrating what’s working in our communities—for people, business and the environment. Here, green means safe, healthy communities and a strong local economy. Join us at the nation’s premier sustainability events, where you will see the best in green. Enjoy more than 125 authors, leaders and educators; great how-to workshops; cutting-edge films; fun activities for kids; organic beer and wine; delicious vegetarian cuisine and diverse live music."

November 13, 14 & 15

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Chevron Texaco

In 2001 Chevron purchased Texaco who had been under investigation in Ecuador for dumping billions of gallons of toxic waste into the Amazon rainforest waterways during their oil drilling. This is what began the "largest environmental class action lawsuit in history." These waterways which were a lifeline for five ingenious groups in the Amazon were forced out of their traditional lifestyle and an ingenious peoples the Tetetes have completely disappeared.  This does not account for the thousands of animals who also survived off this waterways whom have now died off.  Texaco avoided trail in the U.S. by claiming that Ecuador's legal system would be sufficient.  The trial is still underway.  

Following in information from the TexacoToxico website that is so astonishing it could not be summarized:

Evidence and Damages

  • The court-appointed expert and a team of 14 scientists and technical experts, in a 4,000 page report that analyzed all the evidence in the trial, including 62,000 sampling results, assessed damages between $18 billion and $27 billion.  A final decision on liability and damages is expected in 2009.
  • The court expert found that thousands of soil and water samples tested at independent laboratories confirm extensive toxic contamination at 100% of the 94 former Texaco well sites inspected during the trial.  Various independent sources, including the findings of the court-appointed expert and technical teams from both sides confirm the contamination.
  • As a matter of law, Chevron is legally responsible for the full adverse impact caused by its flawed system of oil extraction while it was operator (from 1964 to 1990), and by any adverse impacts caused by its successor operators (such as state-owned PetroEcuador) using that same system.  Under the law, an operator cannot absolve itself of responsibility by knowingly abandoning a nuisance.

The Environmental Impact

  • Chevron has admitted that Texaco dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic waste into Amazon waterways, abandoned more than 900 waste pits, burned millions of cubic meters of gases with no controls, and spilled more than 17 million gallons of oildue to pipeline ruptures.
  • Texaco also dumped millions of gallons of oil waste along dirt roads, never budgeted for pipeline maintenance, and spent no money on environmental clean-up or health care for the local population.  The company never conducted a single health evaluation or environmental impact study while it was the operator of the concession.
  • Experts estimate the damage is 30 times larger than that of the Exxon Valdez disaster.  Some call the area the “Amazon Chernobyl.”
  • Texaco’s practices in Ecuador violated oil industry operating procedures dating back to the 1920s and 1930s.  The company’s own environmental consultants found oilfield practices used by Texaco that were clearly sub-standard.

Justicia Now! is a documentary about Chevron Texaco's toxic legacy in the Northern Ecuadorian region of the Amazon rainforest - and a courageous group of people called Los Afectados (The Affected Ones) who are seeking justice for the ensuing cancer, sickness and death in the largest environmental class action lawsuit in history.

Take action against this.

Check out more @ Understanding Cheveron's "Amazon Chernobyl"

Another (really good) documentary @ Chevron Toxico

Friday, July 31, 2009

Northern Pacific Gyre or Our Trash Bin

For those of you who do not know what the the Northern Pacific Gyre is let me enlighten you. In the Pacific Ocean there is a large section of the ocean that has no sea currents, it is considered a "dead zone." The surrounding ocean currents force any debris in the ocean into this area resembling a type of gravitational pull. This is how it became known by its many names such as the Worlds Largest Rubbish Dump; The Pacific Plastic Soup and the Northern Pacific Garbage Patch. The "Garbage Patch" is estimated to be TWICE the size of the continental US.

Seeing that plastic is made to essentially never break down, it begins to break away into pieces so although it may not retain the shape of your Coca-Cola bottle you purchased today it is essentially the same amount of plastic that it began as. This is what is happening in the Gyre, these plastics are breaking off into pieces and hovering below the surface of the water where unsuspecting creatures who mistake a plastic bag for a Jelly Fish or small plastic chips for plankton consume it. These fish are then consumed by larger animals if they don't already die from the plastics and then those larger fish make it onto our family dinner tables. Yummy! It is estimated that there is 13 lbs. of plastic in this area for every one pound of plankton. Since this "problem" lies in international waters no countries government feels responsible for the problem and cleaning efforts are scarce.

I am not urging you to hop on a boat and start picking up plastic, but to take this as a reminder that even though we don't see the impact of our actions all the time they are catching up with us.
Take this into consideration with your consumer power, buy glass packaged products instead; research companies environmental efforts before giving them your money; try to consume less and know that when you liter it makes its way through our gutters to our rivers into our oceans.

Check out Project Kaisei and there attempt at "Capturing the Plastic Vortex."

Your efforts will pay off.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Green Challenge

In accordance with our friends @ Reduce Footprints we will be having a Wednesday Challenge in which you are to incorporate into your week until the next Wednesday challenge. With as many as 200 blog readers and bloggers we can reach large volumes of people whom if all take part in the challenge could make a large impact, whether its a project on water conservation or carbon offsetting, we can make a difference.

This week our goal is to make a craft by reusing/refurbishing materials that would otherwise be wasted.

Today I made drinking cups & tea light candle holders out of old wine and beer bottles. If you can't think of anything creative or fun and want a little help check out Martha Stewart's amazing craft ideas.

Here is one of her Eco-Chic Ideas for Your Home:

Cork Trivet-

They don't just keep your wine from spilling and spoiling; corks can also protect your tables and countertops from hot pots and pans.

1. For a medium-sized trivet, collect at least 50 uniformly sized corks.
Stand them upright and arrange them into a tight circle.
Surround corks with an 8- to 10-inch metal hose clamp (sold in the plumbing section of the hardware store).
4. Tighten the clamp to bind the corks together and then trim the excess clamp with metal clippers.

Cost: about $3

Check out more @ her website for Whole Living.

Good Luck!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Toms Shoes

Finally a for-profit business that has more in mind than profiting for itself. TOMS SHOES is a "One for One movement" aimed at providing shoes to children in need in Argentina & Africa. For every pair you purchase a pair is given away. Not only is it an amazing contribution but TOMS makes some cool shoes. From vegan to wrap boots, they have something for you. Check them out next time you need a new pair of shoes. Your literally taking a step in the right direction. Following is the more detailed description of TOMS from their web page.


TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: For every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. One for One. Using the purchasing power of individuals to benefit the greater good is what we're all about.


In 2006 an American traveler, Blake Mycoskie, befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet. Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need. One for One. Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by caring TOMS customers.

Since our beginning, TOMS has given over 140,000* pairs of shoes to children in need through the One for One model. Because of your support, TOMS plans to give over 300,000 pairs of shoes to children in need around the world in 2009.

Our ongoing community events and Shoe Drop Tours allow TOMS supporters and enthusiasts to be part of our One for One movement. Join us.


Most children in developing countries grow up barefoot. Whether at play, doing chores or just getting around, these children are at risk.

Walking is often the primary mode of transportation in developing countries. Children can walk for miles to get food, water, shelter and medical help. Wearing shoes literally enables them to walk distances that aren't possible barefoot.

Wearing shoes prevents feet from getting cuts and sores on unsafe roads and from contaminated soil. Not only are these injuries painful, they also are dangerous when wounds become infected. The leading cause of disease in developing countries is soil-transmitted parasites which penetrate the skin through open sores. Wearing shoes can prevent this and the risk of amputation.

Many times children can't attend school barefoot because shoes are a required part of their uniform. If they don't have shoes, they don't go to school. If they don't receive an education, they don't have the opportunity to realize their potential.

There is one simple solution...SHOES.

Of the planet's six billion people, four billion live in conditions inconceivable to many. Lets take a step towards a better tomorrow.

Check out the ones I just ordered. They are made of 35% hemp + 65% post-consumer plastic bottles, with a recycled rubber sole & faux suede insole. Pretty nifty.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Life of an activist

Everyday as we read our daily newspapers or browse our favorite blogs for the newest "green" tips we become overwhelmed by all the astonishing negative impacts that are being done to our planet.

As a single person sitting in our home behind our computers we can feel so insignificant and useless in contrast to these corporations, governments and countries that make our small efforts seem feeble. Facing deforestation, animal exploitation, global warming, toxic foods -- the list could go on and on.

It is imperative to remember that although we cannot control everything, we can control our own actions, and it is our actions that will add up to overturn theirs. They day you throw your hands up in the air and say it's useless is the day everyone else does the same and we lose -- lose our planet, our animals, our passion, our love.

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Lao-tzu, The Way of Lao-tzu
Chinese philosopher (604 BC - 531 BC)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1 World 2 Wheels

"1 World 2 Wheels is a movement supported by those who believe the bicycle could be a vehicle for positive change."

Find out how much carbon emission you can reduce while burning some calories too!

Don't have a bike? Check out Craigslist or if you need to ride in style check out Globe Bikes

Happy cycling!