Category Archives: New solutions

President Obama defines sustainable economy

In his public address to the nation about the momentous decision by SCOTUS to uphold the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Obama urged America to get to the work of, “… creating an economy which ensures that when Americans work hard, they will get ahead.”

This sounds to me like the exact definition of a sustainable economy. Getting ahead: having a future and having a good life, is what sustainable living and economics are all about.

Community Activism Training Materials

Activism 101 primer: They Said it Was Impossible: How to Win Progressive Change When the Odds Are Against Us by LAANE in Los Angeles

99% Spring Activism Training Videos

ISO affordable foods lacking corn syrup

Since deciding I couldn’t continue to poison my children with high fructose corn syrup aka glucose syrup, corn syrup and the like, I’ve been looking for better alternatives that won’t break the bank.

At Fairway in Paramus, which is expensive for produce and many other items, but has the most fabulous bagels in the area at the great price of 79¢ each (but quite often on sale for 50¢) I found moderately priced ice cream by Alden’s Ice Cream which is not only made with real cream and sugar – it’s also organic! A 1.5 quart tub cost about $7.00, which made it much cheaper than the only real sugar alternative at Shop Rite which was $8.00 for 1 quart and is not organic. I made my kids promise that if I buy them really expensive ice cream that won’t automatically kill them when they eat it, that they won’t gobble the container up in a day and a half. They are going through this box slowly, so I’m really happy with the find.

So, what about jelly and cereal? The small jar of grape jam I got (also at Fairway) was way too pricey. Not sustainable. A friend told me to check the ingredients on Trader Joe’s cereals so walked down their aisle, discovering with relief that every one of their cereals uses sugar as a sweetener instead of corn syrup AND is affordably priced starting at $2.49 per large-sized box.

Trader Joe’s also has many flavors of jams and jellies all made with sugar, and none of them listing any ingredients resembling corn syrup. Nice sized jars cost just a bit more than I’ve been paying at Shoprite for the killer version.

Fortunately, there are plenty of grocery stores in northern New Jersey. With a small investment in time and a bit more expense, I’ve already made serious progress towards wiping out corn syrup from my family’s lexicon and our pantry shelves. Exciting!

Green homes built with non-traditional materials

You can visit New Mexico and stay at a luxuriously furnished home built out of recycled and repurposed materials: the cost of a renting the home for a night is what you expect to pay for a room at a city hotel. You can also have one of these things built for you by their creator’s team.

Ever seen a movie where soldiers pile up bags of dirt as a barrier to enemy fire? Well, it turns out that if you pile up enough similar bags, also filled with dirt, in the right configuration you can end up with an Earthbag house, complete with windows and a door.

The Crazy Wombat and His Wombat Dance!

This is a fun little video. Crazy (sustainability advocating) Wombat! says in a really cute way, everything is connected . . we’re all one. And then he does an adorable crazy wombat dance!

Discussed at Green Drinks Hackensack on 9/12

Marcellus Shale Fracking
Extracting gas from the Marcellus Shale deposit in Pennsylvania – country’s largest deposit – is still being promoted and it’s not good for us. Takes too much water from the region causing the water table to sink dramatically and it creates potable water pollution. Keep learning about fracking and advocating against it. Speak about it with family, friends and politicians.

Reality Climate Project on 9/14
Join the Reality Climate Project starting at 8pm EST on September 14.

24 Presenters. 24 Time Zones. 13 Languages. 1 Message. 24 Hours of Reality is a worldwide event to broadcast the reality of the climate crisis. It will consist of a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, representing every time zone around the globe.

Natural Resource Monetizing Equated With Public Good
Traditional government policy view the monetizing of natural resources as equivalent with the “public good”: that’s why business interests are able to get away with so much environmental destruction. But it isn’t very good to lack clear air and water, is it?

Investigate Scare Tactics Passed Along by Friends
Morty mentioned that he received a scare letter forwarded from a friend cautioning senior citizens that Medicare rates are going to be much higher in 2012 and even worse after that, so Morty called the Medicare office for verification. The customer service rep laughed when she heard his concern: 2012 Medicare rate figures don’t get released until October; and no one has even a slim idea about what the rates will look like in the years to come.

Real News v. Fox 5 Infotainment Propaganda
It’s important to realize that Fox News doesn’t deliver real news (informed people call it “infotainment“) and furthermore, it has a very apparent aim to create a state of constant panic in viewers; it will pull any dirty tactic possible to discredit individuals wishing to rationally debate ideas; and, Fox presents fabricated versions of history to bamboozle viewers into believing what it wishes them to believe. More info at Fox News Boycott and 14 Propaganda Techniques Fox ‘News’ Uses to Brainwash Americans.

Disneyworld: As Un-American As . . .?
Fox isn’t the only organization promoting buy-in to image over reality. What about Disneyworld? A National Geogrphic exposé unearths a lot of disturbing secrets about this “American Institution” which strangely, doesn’t exactly belong to America.

By the 1960s, all over America, suburbs were replacing old neighborhoods. Malls were driving Main Street out of business. There was hardly a new ranch home or split-level that didn’t have a TV antenna on the roof. Disney realized that in the coming decades shows like The Mickey Mouse Club, not climate and geology, would determine what the majority of Americans would consider a safe and enjoyable place to take a family vacation. That day, flying over central Florida, Disney decided that he, not reality, would define what constituted the Magic Kingdom in the minds and spending habits of millions of Americans in the years to come . . .

Disney’s new empire in central Florida would be marketed as Disney World. Its official name was, and remains, the Reedy Creek Improvement District. Thanks to a sweetheart deal with the state legislature, the lands Disney purchased were detached from the rest of Florida to form a Magic Kingdom, above and outside the law. Even now, Disney World’s rides are exempt from state safety inspections. Democratic process is excluded, too. Power remains in the hands of a board of supervisors composed of Disney allies. However much you pay for a time-share condo in Disney World, you cannot buy property outright, and therefore establish official residence, and therefore vote for the board. Celebration, Disney’s residential community themed to evoke pre-1940s small-town America, has a city hall but no actual municipal government.

Our Own Sally Get Arrested Protesting Alaska-Mexico Pipleline
I’ve saved the most exciting news for last. Green Drinks 3 co-host Sally Gellert, travelled to DC last week in order to get arrested along with 1200 plus other protesters including NASA’s James Hansen – who is speaking about the environment at Bergen Community College on 9/22.

Green Drinks Paterson/Clifton
Next week is Green Drinks Paterson/Clifton. We’ll be back with a report on what was discussed, or you can come out and help shape the conversation yourself.

Third Mondays at 6:30pm
Sultan Restaurant
429 Crooks Avenue, Clifton, NJ 07011
Food and Drinks: Pay only for what you order
Parking: street parking
More info

NASA Climatologist at BCC on Sept. 22

RIDGEWOOD North Jersey Public Policy Network opens its 2011/2012 Distinguished Speakers Series with Dr. James Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City and an Adjunct Professor at Columbia University Department of Earth Science.

This free public program will take place at Bergen Community College on September 22nd at 7:30pm in TECH Center Room 128, 400 Paramus Road, Paramus NJ (Park in Lot B). Please pre-register by emailing

Respected and known for his research in the field of Climatology, Dr. Hansen has been raising awareness of climate change for decades. Dr. Hansen is the recipient of the US National Academy of Science Award, the Carl Gustaf-Rossby Research Medal, the Sophie Prize and the Blue Planet Prize among other prizes and awards. Dr. Hansen, a scientist, physicist, and astronomer is also the author of “Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.” Time magazine named Dr. Hansen one of the 100 most influential people on earth.

Dr. Hansen’s talk will cover the history of climate change research results and how the data impacts our future and that of our planet. With policy makers and voters divided in their views on environmental policy, and because there are diverse opinions on the veracity of climate change, this program offers the opportunity for questions to be asked and discussed.

Best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees that helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue, Dr. Hansen has continued to draw attention to the danger of passing climate tipping points, producing irreversible climate impacts that would yield a different planet from the one on which civilization developed.

While identifying the issues, Dr. Hansen has outlined steps that are needed to stabilize climate, with a cleaner atmosphere and ocean and he emphasizes the need for the public to influence government and industry policies.

Roger Opstbaum, Professor of Physics at Bergen Community College, will serve as moderator.

According to Rhoda Schermer, Chairperson of NJPPN, “We are so lucky to be able to bring Dr. Hansen to Bergen County. He is considered the “guru” on climate change and policies. He affords us the unique opportunity to hear facts and ideas. A lot of excitement has been generated. There are many people who are confused about whether climate change is actually occurring and if humans contribute to climate change. This opportunity to question one of the world’s leading authorities should not be passed up. We hope the public takes advantage of this special program.”

North Jersey Public Policy Network (NJPPN) is a non-partisan, non-profit network with over 600 members primarily residing in Bergen County. NJPPN’s mission is to provide factual, credible information on important public policy issues to its members and the public in the interest of promoting solutions that best serve the public interest. More information on NJPPN can be found at

Reports on World Water Week in Stockholm

World Water Week opened in Stockholm on Monday August 22nd with calls for better urban water management to ensure food and water security. Around 2,500 experts from some 130 countries are attending the 21st edition of World Water Week in Stockholm. They are working on preparations for the United Nation’s conference on sustainable development set to be held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012. The group expects to publish a declaration at the end of this week (August 26).As the migration from rural areas continues, 830 million poor currently live in urban areas. Such rapid growth is straining natural resources and infrastructure. These areas often lack water and sanitation services which is a leading cause of mortality for both children and their mothers. Investments from governments and companies now will pay dividends later . . .

“More than ever we need new technologies and policy solutions…to compensate for water shortages hitting a growing number of the world’s inhabitants,” Swedish Minister for International Development Cooperation, Gunilla Carlsson, said in her opening address at the World Water Conference. “Increased access to clean water supplies and sanitation is an important catalytic force for development,” Carlsson said, insisting “the costs of not acting far exceed the costs of well-functioning, sustainable water resource management.”

To help shed some light on the issues, 2degrees streamed live webinars of the World Water Week sessions. Here is a summary of those sessions:

Read more . . .

Sustainability/Environment + Fun + Music = Good videos

Here are a selection of good videos about sustainability and the environment (list will be added to – post your favorites in the comments).

The Crazy Wombat
This may be my favorite. The Wombat explains exactly why we need to get it together – and get along. 1 min.

Take Aim at Climate Change
This hip-hop video is off the hook – and it’s produced by NASA, although you won’t believe it when you see it.

Protei: swimming ocean clean-up robots

My friend Guillermo Cerceau, who is interested in the health of oceans, is excited about a new technology project called Protei, being developed under Open Hardware Standard licensing in order to help the world, instead of for profit. Protei are swimming, remote-controlled robots which can be used in the ocean to clean up garbage and chemical spills. Protei’s inventors tell us this about their oil cleaning prototype:

Current oil spill skimming technology could only collect 3% of the DeepWater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The health of workers was exposed to cancerous toxic, the boats were expensive and pollutive to operate, they could not operate in bad weather (hurricane seaon) they could not operate at night or far away.

Protei is a technology currently in development that will provide
– Unmanned, no human exposed to toxic.
– Green and cheap, sailing upwind capturing oil downwind.
– Self-righting, rugged, can operate in hurricane time.
– Semi-autonomous : can swarm continuously and far away.

Protei exceeded their Kickstarter funding goal of $27,500 and now are working on a new prototype to clean up waste discarded in oceans.