08 moms birthday show 026Many of us have heard the saying “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Perhaps when the world’s population was significantly smaller and we hadn’t yet invented the toxins and types of pollutants that we have now, this might have been ok. Regardless, at Climate Mama we feel strongly that we need to “clean up our messes” and teach our children to do so as well; so to us, diluting our pollution has never been a clear and obvious way to clean up our messes. Our friends at DIVEin, have created another important graphic for us, “How Ocean Pollution Affects Humans” that helps us understand the extent of the damages we are inflicting on our oceans.

Our oceans are vast and have served for decades as “carbon sinks” hiding our greenhouse gas pollution and slowing climate change. However, everything eventually reaches a saturation point and our oceans are not an exception. As we learned recently, double whammy of a strong El Nino and climate change acceleration, have stressing our oceans and created breaking points. Coral life, an integral component to all ocean life is under extreme duress, with scientists telling us that our oceans are experiencing a massive “die off” with close to 1/3 of all coral in our oceans dead or dying. Too much to bear – for our oceans, for our hearts and for our minds…But, we can’t be paralyzed by the facts, they must instead spur us forward to action.

Let’s remind our kids and ourselves why we must “double down” on demanding solutions to climate change and why we must only support and elect political, business, and community leaders who have a plan for addressing climate change with is at the top of their “to do lists.”

Yours Climate Mama

How Ocean Pollution Affects Humans
By Andrew Dilevics, DIVEin

The ocean is a magnificent and magical environment that is the reason for the
existence of life on earth. The ocean provides over 70% of the oxygen that we
breathe and over 97% of the world’s water supply. The ocean is essential for
mankind and with that said, why wouldn’t we want to bend over backwards to
ensure its protection?

However throughout history, it was assumed that because the ocean is so large
and deep, that it could withstand any form of waste. However, over the past few
decades we have begun to see a sharp decrease in that amount of carbon dioxide
the ocean is able to absorb as well as a decline in the numbers of marine life.
We have so much to thank the oceans for, if you would like to learn more about
ocean pollution and how it affects marine life as well as humankind take a look at
the incredible infographic below, created by the team at DIVEin.com

How ocean pollution affects humans How ocean pollution affects humans – Graphic by the team at DIVE.in

The world’s global ocean is so vast that it covers nearly 71% of the planet’s surface and is the largest ecosystem on earth. The global ocean is the earth’s largest support system. In order for life to survive on earth, we need healthy and prosperous oceans. The oceans provide over half of the oxygen we breathe as well as contains 97% of the world’s water supply and without water all life on earth would not survive. Not only is the ocean essential for us to live and breathe, it supplies a sixth of the animal protein that humans eat. The oceans are also home to the most promising and newly
discovered medicines that can combat cancer, pain and even have potent anti-bacterial properties. We can also thank the oceans for absorbing a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which in turn reduces the impact of climate change.

Whether you live near to an ocean, or in the middle of a city, the ocean has a huge part to play in your daily life. Did you know that ocean-based businesses provide nearly $500 billon into the world’s economy? From the air we breathe, to the food we eat, to the films we watch, to the games we play, we have the ocean to thank, as nearly everything comes from or has been transported by the oceans.

Unfortunately, historically, the belief was that you could never take too much out of the ocean and you could never put too much into the ocean and it is this thinking that has led to the oceans demise. The sheer amount of waste that is put into the ocean and the over harvesting of resources has led to reduction in biodiversity, destruction of marine habitats and large numbers of endangered species. Due to this, we are damaging the very system that keeps us alive.

The ocean is so important to life on earth and has such a relevance to climate change, however it was omitted from the Paris UN climate change conference discussion. This is of great importance as the ocean absorbs over a quarter of man-made carbon dioxide emissions and has taken on over 90% of the heat which has been generated over time, since the industrial revolution. Without the ocean to clean up after us, climate change would be much worse than it is now.

We should all be extremely concerned that due to the acidification of the oceans, it is losing its ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the environment and this could lead to dangerous circumstances. It has been estimated that the absorption rate is likely to drop to just 20% by the end of the century and this could be extremely detrimental to life on earth.

Posted in Climate Mama News, Nature, Oceans & Water, Science, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

ff-logo-vert-orangeThe divestment movement began on college campuses several years ago and has quickly spread to houses of worship, individual investment portfolios, state, public pension funds and private company investments. 350.org has been a leading force in driving this movement and defines “Divestment” as the opposite of investment – in the simplest terms getting rid of stocks, bonds, or investment funds that are unethical or morally ambiguous. Specific to fossil fuels, while each campaign is independently run and may bring different emphases and asks depending on their local context, the majority of campaigns are asking institutions to:

• Immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies;
• Divest from direct ownership and any commingled funds that include fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds within 5 years.

According to 350.org, 515 institutions have made commitments to divest over US $3.4 TRILLION!

The divestment movement has risen up at the same time as social impact investing has begun to surge forward. As Climate Mamas and Papas, how we manage our personal finances and investments from a holistic perspective that takes into account our moral, social and ethical perspectives should be critical and obvious. Our personal investments should reflect how we manage other parts of our lives, who we are, and what we talk about to our kids, family, friends and financial managers too. Unfortunately, as we well know, it’s not that simple, straightforward, or obvious.

With 175 countries signing on to the Paris Climate Agreement on April 22nd, 2016, the signals to keep fossil fuels in the ground and move quickly to renewable energy are strong. Fossil fuel companies and fossil fuel infrastructure companies, seem more and more to be “stranded assets” and bad investment choices.

ParisEffect_Divestment_FINALTiming is “everything” as they say, and the investment signals moving forward seem to be leading to demands for fossil free investment opportunities as the way forward for individuals and institutions. Leading into Earth Week, students at Columbia University in New York City are staging a sit in to demand that Columbia divests from fossil fuels. The New York State senate recently sent a bill to it’s finance committee for consideration calling for NY state to divest it’s pension funds from fossil fuels, and the Rockefeller Family fund announced in early 2016 that they were divesting from ALL fossil fuels. Grassroots movements are effectively stopping fossil fuel projects from moving forward in states across the country and Attorney Generals in more then 19 states have joined forces to put EXXON and other fossil fuel companies on trial for their “crimes against humanity. ” The reality that climate change is impacting our planet faster then anyone ever imagined becomes clearer every day.

In trying to get a better handle on what options are out there from a personal financial perspective, I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Ian Monroe, Co-Founder, President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Etho Capital, as well as the Founder of Oroeco and a Lecturer on climate change and life cycle assessment science at Stanford University. Ian and I share many of the same concerns and hopes for our future, and I was thrilled to learn about many of the practical programs that Ian is working on to make our planet a better place! Etho Capital, which Ian has founded, is a socially responsible investment management company, committed to helping solve climate change by bringing sustainable investing mainstream; an important and up and coming concept that clearly we are all thinking more about.

Ian shared some background and insight on a new product his company has launched – the ETHO ETF, which according to Ian is the world’s first truly fossil free ETF (exchange traded fund). As background, an ETF is a security that tracks an index, a commodity or a basket of assets like an index fund, but trades like a stock on an exchange. ETHO began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2015. ETHO is not only free of fossil fuel companies but it’s also comprised of 400 of the MOST climate efficient US companies.

So it seems the time is now for investment opportunities that really capitalizes on the concept of impact investing and move us quickly to take fossil fuels, which increasingly are becoming stranded assets, out of the mix. Ian has said that the idea behind the ETHO ETF is to empower everyone to invest in climate sustainability and social responsibility while at the same time gaining competitive financial returns. The idea as well is to make this fund accessible to the full spectrum of investors, ranging from large institutions to college students investing for the first time.

Below are some of the highlights from our interview with Ian:

Background: I grew up on a small organic farm where I saw first hand the power of drought and wildfire and how these natural phenomenon are getting worse and worse because of climate change. I know families who have lost homes to wildfires and I began thinking about the linkages between drought, fire, food production, as well as the places and the dozen of countries where my work has taken me and where I now have many good friends. I began to see clearly how climate change is really the world’s biggest social justice issue and racial justice issue exacerbated by the our use of unsustainable energy and agricultural practices.

My work at Stanford is about scaling up climate solutions and it led me to focus on how to do the accounting for environmental impacts, including better lifecycle assessments. I came to appreciate the big gaps that are still there. It’s great to have more science to back up what we already know, great to see how people are becoming more engaged in the climate movement, and great to see the recognition regarding the feasibility that exists to scaling up solutions. But, and this is a big but, there is an important missing piece on how to pay for what is needed and to move us away from the enormous and unsustainable energy and agricultural companies out there and towards the growth of companies that can help move us towards climate solutions.

Etho Capital came out of work I did on ORECO, a company which engages the public around taking action on climate change. ..Two years ago we began gathering climate impact data and looking at total solution dollar investments, looking at carbon efficiency in each industry, and choosing the most efficient companies, and that’s how we established the Etho Climate Leadership Index (ECLI), a true fully fossil free, index. Including oil and gas. From our research the science is clear. While natural gas may have short-term electricity benefits, in the long term methane in general, in agriculture and as a fuel source is a bad investment. Our overall philosophy and mission is to produce investment funds that are the most sustainable possible and which out-perform most indexes in the markets. We want to create products that empower people.

We also see financial advisors as a key bottleneck, so they are important folks to talk to and to help them understand why fossil free investing is so important. This is the biggest area of where change needs to happen. We are trying to do as much as we can and we hope that through the media and environmental blogs, and conversations between individuals and their investment advisors, these changes will begin to happen more quickly.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

At Climate Mama, we see the momentum building and the time for fossil free investing is clearly here. Here is one more recent example to bring to your attention. On April 11th, a NY State Senate Committee took an important step towards long term protection of state pension funds. “The Fossil Fuel Divestment Act (S.5873/A.8011-A) would require the New York State Comptroller to divest the New York State Common Retirement Fund from all holdings in the 200 largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies, as defined by carbon content in the companies’ proven oil, gas, and coal reserves. Divestment from coal companies would be completed within one year; divestment from all other fossil fuel companies would be completed by January 1, 2020.” Getting the bill to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is now, is the beginning of a long road but one that’s critically important if we want to protect our retirement interests from stranded fossil fuel assets.

From where we sit, it would appear that Ian and Etho Capital is on to something really, really important. They are helping to put into our hands more options and critical ways that we can all be part of the solution.

Yours,

Climate Mama

Posted in Climate Mama News, Earth Day is Every Day, In The News, Politics, Product Reviews, Renewable Energy, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Used with Permission

Used with Permission

At Climate Mama, we love to share the thoughts and ideas of powerful Climate Mamas and Papas. One of these special people who we have come to know and admire is Dominque Browning, co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force.

We sat down to talk to Dominique recently and we wanted to share her thoughts and ideas with you too. We first interviewed Dominique in 2012, and you can find that interview here. Interestingly enough and perhaps not surprising, Dominique’s answers haven’t changed very much and her resolve seems to be only that much stronger.

“Wow. I reread that 2012 interview after I wrote my answers. It is somewhat amazing to me that I’m saying basically the same things. I still have hope. But I also now have more conviction, that we will work this out. But that’s a choice I make. The alternative is beyond the pale—that way lies madness.

This is not going to happen if we remain silent. And if we remain silent, we will have failed our children, and our children’s children, and on down the generations. It will be a moral failing of calamitous dimensions.

Also, and fyi, just in time for Earth Day, Dominique has a new children’s book out, Every Breath We Take.

Interview with Dominique Browning: Continue reading

Posted in Climate Mamas & Papas, In The News, Lifestyle & Fun, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Polar Bear (Sow And Cub), Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, AlaskaAs Climate Mamas and Papas, we are hyper sensitive and attuned to the many articles, news items, videos and movies that sound the alarm about our changing climate. As parents, our hopes and fears for our children are tied very closely to these deafening alarm bells. We know that some of our planet’s species are more immediately threatened then others, with the polar bears often the poster “child” for threatened species. Sadly, the facts are in and with each new report on how quickly the Arctic is melting, it becomes clearer and clear that these special bears are loosing their habitat, their food sources and their lives.

So, how can we as parents turn this terrible tragedy – of our own making – into a lesson of hope for our children? I recently had the privilege of meeting an amazing Climate Mama, climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. Dr. Hayhoe knows first hand how serious our crisis is, yet she is still able to exude hope and calm. Dr. Hayhoe shared a short video with us that she made with Polar Bears International and we wanted to share it with you. We love the magical moment that she and her son experienced with a polar bear cub. Grab the kids in your life, watch this short video with them and have them tell you about their own magical moments that they remember experiencing with and in our natural world too!

We think that Rachel Carson – writer, scientist and environmentalist – said it best: “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” In this special video, Dr. Hayhoe puts these words to life.

Let’s all make and take time from our hectic and frenetic lives today or tomorrow, and go out in nature with our sons and daughters. Make a family plan to explore a park near your home, organize a trip to the beach, to the mountains, or even just to your own backyard. Marvel at the wonders of nature and of all our creatures large and small. Dr. Hayhoe shows us how being in and appreciating nature can help us and our children learn and develop the values needed to consider and act on the impacts of our decisions on all species on this planet, us included.

Yours,

Climate Mama

Polar Bear Photo used with permission, Wikimedia Commons: By Alan D. Wilson (naturespicsonline.com: [1]) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Posted in Animals & Insects, Climate Mama News, Climate Mama Video Peek of the Week, Climate Mamas & Papas, Earth Day is Every Day, Lifestyle & Fun, Nature | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Susan, Deborah and Harriet, demanding that Pepsico TELL THE TRUTH and ACT ON  IT!

Susan, Deborah and Harriet, demanding that Pepsico TELL THE TRUTH and ACT ON IT!

As our Climate Mamas and Papas know, ClimateMama has been a strong supporter and advocate of the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) programs to educate the public and demand accountability and leadership from companies that have Conflict Palm Oil as part of their supply chains. We first came on board with the Snack Food 20 campaign, targeting 20 of the largest snack food companies in the world. The ask, led by RAN, was for these companies to adopt responsible palm oil policies and commit to using only traceable palm oil that is free of deforestation and human rights violations. Many companies did agree, but PepsiCo, which is an industry leader in so many ways, sadly continues to fail to address Conflict Palm Oil in its supply chain. In 2014, we were proud to deliver over 100,000 signatures to PepsiCo headquarters asking them to join us and be part of the solution – ending Conflict Palm Oil. While we were promised actions, instead it seems we have been given lip service and two years later there has been very little change.

So, we are thrilled to be joining with RAN and many other organizations again this spring, to escalate pressure on PepsiCo and we are asking for your help. Grab the kids in your life and show them that when we come together with thousands of people around the world we can and will make a difference. Each of our voices count, and together we are deafening! join us as we stand in solidarity with workers on palm oil plantations – including men, women, and children – who are being exploited to make Conflict Palm Oil for cheap snack food. It’s important to connect the dots. Conflict Palm Oil production contributes in a huge way to climate change, destroys forests and habitat for many species and results in worker exploitation. These circles are all connect.

Harriet & Thilmeeza, demanding PepsiCo take action now.

Harriet & Thilmeeza, demanding PepsiCo take action now.

This is a big task, but at this point what we are asking from you is pretty simple: get educated on these facts, educate your friends and family, and join us by taking a picture of you and your family, you and a friend, or just you, and share that photo of on social media with the hash tag, #SolidarityWithPalmOilWorkers.

For the picture, be sure to include a sign addressed to PepsiCo. You can download a premade sign from the RAN website here – as we did in the picture on the left. You can also make your own sign, and get your kids involved in the design. Let’s remind PepsiCo in no uncertain terms that stopping worker exploitation is really important to us. As consumers of PepsiCo products, we are a powerful group. If you aren’t on social media, you can also e-mail the photo to RAN and they will post it for you. You can email it to palmoilaction@ran.org or send it to us and we will forward it for you!

Together we will collectively generate thousands of photos as a beautiful show of people power that culminates on International Workers’ Day/May Day, on May 1, 2016. RAN will deliver the photo petitions to PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi at the company’s shareholder meeting in early May to demand an end to labor abuse for cheap snacks made by PepsiCo.

It’s do something Wednesday, so join us today and do something!

Yours,

Climate Mama

P.S. How does Conflict Palm Oil contribute to climate change you may ask?

In a nutshell, by draining the tropical peatland forests, which, like our oceans, serve as important carbon sinks, we are creating conditions for more CO2 to go into our atmosphere and trap more heat. Fire is used to clear vegetation for oil palm plantations, which also puts a lot of C02 into the air, fires also break out on the drained peatland forests, causing catastrophic problems and adding more CO2 into the atmosphere. Current palm oil agricultural processes and the deforestation that is happening because of these methods are harmful for our world, and for our future.

Posted in Animals & Insects, Climate Mama News, Disasters, Do Something Wednesdays, Food, In The News, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Used with permission: Darren and his kids

Used with permission: Darren and his kids

We recently had the good fortune of meeting Darren Hill – an Oregon based Climate Papa extraordinaire! Darren wears many hats, including Polar Research Team volunteer member and most importantly, father of five. Darren heads out to Greenland with an international Polar Research team the second half of April 2016. We are pleased to announce that we will be helping Darren share some of his stories, adventures, thoughts and take aways from his experience on the ice. This will be the second year that Darren has accompanied this scientific polar research team to Greenland.

Over the past few years, there have been an increasing number of scientific reports and studies on climate change and ice melt in Greenland and the Antarctic and what that could mean in terms of sea level rise for coastal communities around the world. Darren’s reports will help us understand and make sense of one of these scientific studies currently underway. We know that for policy makers and elected officials (often one and the same) it should and must be critical to have the best science at their finger tips. As Climate Mamas and Papas, part of our job as parents is to make sure policy makers understand the importance of these studies too.

According to CIRES (Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences) PhD researcher Mike MacFerrin: “The main goal of the FirnCover project – which is the project Darren is a part of – is to measure the compaction of snow and “firn” as it slowly compresses into glacial ice. That may sound boring, but it’s critical if you want to measure this stuff from space, which is why NASA cares. Melt water flows through the firn, changing its physical structure and chemistry in complex ways.

This information is important as it helps scientists figure out how quickly giant ice sheets like those found on Greenland are melting. This knowledge can in turn help policy makers and us prepare and adapt to sea level rise that accompanies this type of ice melt.

We hope you will help us share Darren’s adventure and information with your friends, colleagues and the kids in your life. Check in with us regularly as we follow along as the expedition begins. For reports on last year’s expedition, you can find posts by Darren here.

Yours,

Climate Mama

A discussion with Climate Papa Darren Hill

Used with permission:  Darren and  scientists  in Greenland

Used with permission: Darren and scientists in Greenland

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, the steps you took, life events, decisions you made, that helped you arrive at where you are at today?

I have always craved two things: knowledge and experience. From the beginning, I have taken life risks that would play into those two things. Early on in life my family moved from Southern California to the “wild woods” of the Northwest. Faced with more adventures than I ever imagined, I quickly developed a love for exploring the forests. This love developed into almost thirty years of experience, becoming an outdoorsman with expertise in off-trail backpacking and winter mountaineering. Aside from this, I work and thrive in the entrepreneurial world. Several businesses were created and flourish to this day. My every day life, along with adventure and business, includes being married for 17 years to the woman of my dreams and having five fantastic children. Volunteering in my local community is an important and fulfilling part of my life. I work closely with our local homeless shelters and many other essential non-profit organizations. I am currently a volunteer working on the Greenlandic ice sheet as part of an international Polar Research team. I see this as an opportunity to give back to my global community.

2. What inspires you to keep going, to keep fighting this challenging battle against climate change?


I want a planet that my children and their children can enjoy. Educating children on climate change is easy because they are more willing to see that we as humans can and do make mistakes. Knowing the science can bring both the problems and solutions to light.

3. What are the three greatest challenges and/or opportunities you feel the world faces with climate change?

The world is nearing a point where the prediction for climate change is violent (storms, extreme temperature changes, and affecting ocean life) and our ability to adapt to these rapid changes will be difficult. Our current treatment of the environment will affect us for many years to come. The time to take a stand and care is now. Opportunities exist for us to embrace cost effective and clean energy solutions, which will have a much less negative impact on our planet. 


Darren Hill in Greenland-14. Scientific predictions seem to be pointing to more frequent extreme weather scenarios, a shorter time frame for a warmer planet and all of the negative ramifications that this will bring. Yet here in the US, we still seem to be debating the “reality of climate change.” What will it take for us to “wake up” and do our part to avert these consequences? What can you share about your direct experiences with climate scientists?

The biggest concern I have is, because people don’t see tangible evidence (extreme temperature rise across the planet), they will continue to doubt the legitimacy of climate change. Overwhelming confusion caused by misinformation groups and exaggeration of media, can play into people being ignorant or not caring. There are a lot of things wrong with the world: it can be overwhelming to pay attention to them all. A person thinks, “What difference could just one person make to fix our entire planet?” and yet…that is truly the answer.

After doing a scientific expedition, I experienced people with an amazing passion who are willing to put their lives on the line to collect extremely accurate data on surface melt. I could not put into words how incredible it is to watch people in extreme conditions as they take hours to ensure that every crack in an ice core lines up exactly right or that each and every millimeter of an 18 meter ice core is meticulously accounted for, while a raging 70 mph wind blows in extreme temperatures.

5. Do you see any hopeful signs that people are waking up to the dangers of climate change?

I am sharing the “Life on the Ice” experience with my community. In sharing the scope of the ice sheet, the amount of surface melt, and humanizing scientists, I have seen a growing acceptance of our current reality.

6. Other thoughts or ideas that you would like to pass on to our community?

The reality becomes much more concrete when you see the amount of ice that we are talking about with your own eyes. The ice sheet of Greenland is three times the size of Texas and the amount of surface melt from something that large is overwhelming. Seeing large ice lenses accumulate in a localized zone where there should be nothing but accumulation, is a sobering reminder of the dramatic climate shift we are in. Even if we were to do our part to stop the damage immediately, the positive effects won’t be seen for many years to come.

7. What advice would you give to other Climate Mama’s and Papa’s, steps they can take both as individuals and collectively to help change the course we currently find ourselves on with climate change.

We all live on the planet and we are all responsible. No one solution has been found yet, but keeping an open mind to care for the world we live in is most important. As more data is found, and more discoveries are made, we must be open to the reality of what we face. Being familiar with and humanizing science is the best way, in my opinion, to make a bigger difference against the challenges we face.

P.S. A few definitions:

Firn: Ice that is at an intermediate stage between snow and glacial ice.
Ice Lenses are formed when moisture, diffused within soil or rock, accumulate in a localized zone. Darren and the scientists have found ice lenses in the layers of firn that block moisture from being able to penetrate to the firn below, which otherwise would act like a sponge during the summer months.

Posted in Climate Mamas & Papas, In The News, Nature, Oceans & Water, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

cowphotoGrass fed cows….it’s trickier and not quite as simple as it seems…

Clearly and intuitively, it seems like it would be better for us and for dairy and beef cattle to live their lives on open pastures, grazing on grass. This assumption would seem to apply, both from the perspective of how the cows live their lives, and also from a health and climate perspective regarding both beef consumption and the consumption of dairy products from grass fed cows. We are going to try to unwind some of the tricky parts for you and also help you ask the right questions so you can find the right places to look for answers.

As our Climate Mamas and Papas know, we talk a lot about the need to move quickly ways from our addiction to fossil fuels, which is the primary driver of human induced climate change. We speak less often about an equally important driver, the agricultural industry where large scale factory agriculture is producing huge amounts of methane gas (from animals and waste products) as well as from the unhealthy treatment of soil. This disrupts an important role that soil can play in slowing down climate change through a process called carbon sequestering. As well, we know that pesticides and fertilizers cannot only have harmful impacts on our health and the foods we eat, but also contribute to climate change; so many stories to tell and a lot of dots to connect. We are going to only focus on a few of these dots in this post.

We work from time to time with Stonyfield, a company we are happy to be affiliated with as we feel they really do “walk the walk” on sustainability. Occasionally we are asked to review a new product or take a second look at an existing one. Recently we were given the opportunity to sample Stonyfield’s 100% grass fed yogurt. We listened to two experts Stonyfield introduced us to: Dr. Drew Ramsey who spoke about the health benefits of yogurt from grass fed cows; and Tim Joseph, chief farmer, owner and operator of Maple Hill Creamery, whose cows supply all the milk used to make the Stonyfield 100% grass fed yogurt. We learned a lot. We want to share some of Tim and Drew’s wisdom with you, as well as some initial thoughts about the climate impacts of grass fed cattle yogurts. Continue reading

Posted in Animals & Insects, Climate Mama News, Food, Health & Fitness, In The News | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

seenoevilkidsAt ClimateMama our Mantra begins with “tell the truth..and continues with actions speak louder then words and don’t be afraid”…Climate Mama Susan Rubin, embodies this mantra and always tells the truth, never sugar coating it even when it may be very difficult for people to hear. Susan is a strong and outspoken climate champion, who we have had the privilege and honor of working with on numerous occasions. In this guest post, she educates us about the facts on “natural gas”…more specifically that there is nothing natural about it and it cannot and must not be accepted as a “bridge to a renewable future.” As Susan clearly shows us, this is a FALSE NARRATIVE; instead of a bridge, it is a one-way plank leading to a cliff, with no options for turning back….

At Climate Mama we have been sharing the facts around natural gas for years. And while many countries – including the United States – are moving forward with keeping coal in the ground, there is a misplaced “wish” that we can somehow transition through another fossil fuel as we move forward towards “cleaner and greener” energy sources. Susan, in her straightforward and direct way, shows us the fallacy of this misplaced belief. Coal, oil and GAS must stay in the ground.

Susan’s post should also serve as a reminder for us that we must use our voices, our actions and our votes to let candidates at every level of government, and companies who want us to buy and use their products and services know, that addressing climate change must be their number one priority too. Our children our watching, their future and now is in our hands.

Coal Vs Gas, Wrong Narrative
By Susan Rubin

First published at DrSusanRubin.com on March 14, 2016

Photo courtesy: Protecting Our Children Coaltion

Photo courtesy: Protecting Our Children Coaltion

If you ask the wrong question, you’re guaranteed to get the wrong answer!

Back in my school food reform days, many folks would ask me this question: “Which is worse? Coke or diet Coke?” I would answer WATER. Drink water! Both soda and diet soda are devastating for your health. Its really not about the calories, although the soda industry would like you to think it is. Water is the best beverage for your health.

These days, I listen to the news media ask the question “Which is worse? Coal or gas?” We can’t fall into that trap! It creates a false narrative not unlike the soda/ diet soda question.

The better question to ask is “Which is better?: fossil fuels or renewables?”

Renewable energy is cleaner, safer, better for the climate, better for our democracy and creates way more jobs than fossil fuels do. Now there’s a conversation worth having! Continue reading

Posted in Climate Mama News, Climate Mamas & Papas, fracking and pipelines, In The News, Renewable Energy, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Screen Shot 2016-03-19 at 8.28.33 AMWe’ve been talking “anniversaries” at ClimateMama lately, and Earth Hour is celebrating it’s 10th year in 2016, an important milestone and a worthy anniversary to acknowledge and celebrate. Earth Hour has been raising attention to the unfolding climate crisis for ten years; helping millions on their journey to understand the reality and urgency of the climate crisis we face. At the same time, Earth Hour has helped empower people to take action and empower others to take action too. Our featured Earth Hour guest post, Solar Energy and Earth Hour 2016, by Emma, shows us how renewable energy is growing as an energy source and how it is building climate hope and creating a sustainable and livable future and now. Last year for Earth Hour we teamed up with NRG Home Solar and the Big Green Purse to share ideas on how to go “solar” (something that happened at our house!) Let us know what you plan to do to celebrate Earth Hour this year.

Yours,

Climate Mama

Solar Energy and Earth Hour 2016
by Emma Elaine

EH2016 Digital Banner- 120x600On March 19, 2016, major international landmarks will go dark for one hour while people all over the world switch off their lights. It’s the tenth annual Earth Hour, an event orchestrated by the World Wildlife Fund and individuals, communities and groups across the globe, to raise awareness about climate change and encourage action on every level for sustainable living and renewable energy.

Each country celebrates Earth Hour in its own way. This year, Australia is calling for efforts to protect its vulnerable natural landmarks and habitats. In the United Kingdom, Earth Hour’s message focuses on sustainable and healthy eating, while in Cyprus they are urging the adoption of a ban on plastics. In 2016 Russia aims to show people how individual actions can create a sustainable future.

In these and other places, people are being asked to do more than just douse the lights, though. Earth Hour organizers are calling for social media users to donate their feeds and customize profiles to raise awareness. But for a growing number of people in the US and around the globe, this Earth Hour will mark their commitment to take an even bigger step – pledging to switch to renewable energy.

Solar power tops the list of sustainable and renewable energy sources. Sunlight is free and readily available in most areas of the world – and solar power installations leave a minuscule carbon footprint in comparison to the enormous impact of fossil fuel sources. And now that the costs of home solar installations have shrunk by nearly 50 percent since 2010, interest in solar power is within the reach of millions – so much so, in fact, that in 2015, new solar installations in the US surpassed those of natural gas for the first time.

Interest in solar power is at an all-time high. According to data from the Just Energy website, in 2015, solar beat out natural gas capacity additions by 29.5 percent. By the end of 2015, US solar energy capacity was expected to total around 28,000 megawatts. That’s enough energy to power 4.6 million typical American homes.

Homeowners are taking notice, too. Home solar installations are now within reach of many cost-conscious homeowners who want renewable energy and more control over their resources. Once seen only as a luxury add-on for environmentally conscious folks with higher incomes, a basic solar array can now be installed on just about any dwelling, with costs defrayed by a variety of incentives, payment plans and credits.

In earlier years, solar power was largely an option for major businesses. Now, thanks to lower costs and incentives, businesses of all sizes are also embracing solar, led by giants such as Walmart, Ikea and Macys. For these and other companies, embracing solar energy not only saves money, but also helps the environment – and their reputations.

Though interest in solar is surging, not everyone is on board. Easier and cheaper access to solar installations have been met with resistance in some states such as Nevada and Florida, where heavy lobbying by traditional utility providers and gas and oil interests are slowing efforts to boost the use of solar power. On the national level, in late December 2015, Congress renewed the Solar Investment Tax Credit through 2018, a multi year extension and a boom for the solar industry.

IMG_4962Earth Hour aims to raise awareness not just of climate change and the planet’s vulnerability but also of the actions everyone can take to create a sustainable future. Along with dimming lights and sharing social media, choosing to go solar may be a practical way to put Earth Hour’s ideals into action.

Emma Elaine is a blogger from the Windy City of Chicago, IL. Currently working towards a graduate degree at DePaul, University, she primarily covers environmental topics with a focus on clean energy. When she’s not writing, you can find her trying to teach her pet rabbit new tricks.

Posted in Climate Mama News, Holidays, In The News, Take a Stand: Action & Advocacy | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

California Snow Pack Comparison- photo credit wikimedia commons

California Snow Pack Comparison- photo credit wikimedia commons

Anniversaries are meant to be celebrated. They are milestone events that mark a passage of time, a special event, hard work, successes and perseverance. For all these reasons and more, we are thrilled to honor the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 10 year anniversary of the WaterSense Program. We remind our children to “turn off the tap while they brush their teeth and to take “short showers,” but do we also remind them to “connect the dots” between climate change and water usage? We know that even Climate Mamas and Papas can forget to make these connections often enough and clearly enough. Prolonged droughts in Syria and California are just two examples of how the climate crisis can exacerbate and accelerate serious and complicated problems that can lead to water rationing, food shortages and war.

We must use every opportunity to remind ourselves, our families and our friends how precious clean water resources are and at the same time to champion the clear steps we can take to cherish and preserve these resources. Beth Livingston, the EPA WaterSense Brand Manager, shares with us some easy ways to address water waste around our homes. Grab the kids in your life, and get them to help you with these spring “clean up” and “fix up” opportunities, and remind them why it is critically important that we value and take care of our finite clean water resources.

Yours,

ClimateMama

What Can You Do to Save Blue? Fix a Leak!
By Beth Livingston, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Brand Manager

Think the climate change discussion is all about energy efficiency? Think again!

WSpromolabel_blue_look_cleanWater is a critical resource affected by our changing climate. Just look at the Western states’ severe water shortages in recent years, and you can see the devastating effects of climate-related droughts. And when reservoir water levels get lower and ground water tables drop, that contributes to higher concentrations of natural and human pollutants in our water.

Saving water also saves the energy used to treat, deliver, and heat that water, which helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change. Since EPA’s WaterSense program was created 10 years ago as a way to identify water-efficient products, homes, and programs, WaterSense labeled products have helped consumers save more than 1.1 trillion gallons of water and 146 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, not to mention reducing $21.7 billion in water and energy bills and more than 54 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of planting nearly 1.4 billion trees.

So what can you do to celebrate the 10th anniversary of WaterSense? Save a little blue—and green—by addressing one of our country’s biggest residential water wasters…easy-to-fix household leaks.

The average American family wastes more than 10,000 gallons of water every year through leaky pipes and fixtures, which is enough water to wash 10 months’ worth of their laundry and could be adding 10 percent to their water bill. If you have 10 minutes to spare, become a leak detective and track down those troublesome leaks, many of which you can fix yourself.

NAPS_ad_jwMarch 14 through 20 is EPA’s eighth annual Fix a Leak Week, the perfect time to try out your detective skills and stop leaks that waste water. Here are a few clues for tracking down leaks at home:

Check your water bill for one month this winter. If a family of four is using more than 12,000 gallons of water per month, that could indicate a leak is wasting water—and money.

Find your water meter (often in the basement or underground near the curb), and check it during a time when no water is being used at home; if the number changes in two or three hours, you may have a leak.

Remove the top of your toilet tank and drip a few drops of food coloring in it; wait 10 minutes, and if color shows up in the bowl, you have a silent leak. Remember to flush to avoid staining!

While you’re waiting for the toilet test, make a quick check of faucets, showerheads, hoses, and the pipes underneath your sinks. Tighten any loose connections or use pipe tape to stop drips.

A leaky toilet is often the result of a worn out rubber flapper, which you can replace yourself for a few dollars. If you need to replace the whole toilet, you may want to call a licensed plumber to do the job. Make sure you look for WaterSense labeled toilet that has been independently certified to use 20 percent less water and perform as well or better than a standard toilet. For more information on finding and fixing leaks, visit the WaterSense website, or find a WaterSense labeled model using our Product Search Tool.

Beth Livingston is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense Brand Manager

California drought photo: Wikimedia Commons

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