Green Tea Coalition Shows Green Energy Trumps Partisan Politics

solar-energyIs sustainable energy finally becoming a nonpartisan issue? Thanks to grassroots pressure from a new alliance between left-leaning environmentalists and local Tea Party activists, Georgia’s state utility company will be adding 525 megawatts of solar energy by 2016.

The new alliance, called the Green Tea Coalition, officially launched on August 6th, represents a bridge between political parties in support of smart energy policies. While some conservative politicians have been vocal opponents of solar and wind energy, the Coalition supports solar power as a way to create greater energy choices for consumers, protect the environment, increase energy security and break the monopoly Georgia Power holds over the state’s energy production.

The Georgia Public Service Commission voted in mid-July to require Georgia Power, the utility company with a monopoly on the state’s energy production, to add another 525 megawatts of solar power to its energy generation by 2016. The vote, passed by 4-1 by the all-Republican Commission members, is remarkable because its success was due to the alliance between environmentalists and the conservative activists of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots.

Furthermore, in order to get their vote passed, the Green Tea Coalition had to fight off misinformation about renewable energy from Americans for Prosperity, the national Tea Party organization funded by the fossil fuel magnate Koch Brothers. The Georgia state chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP), launched a scare campaign against solar power in Georgia.

Virginia Galloway, director of AFP’s Georgia chapter, for instance, warned the group’s 50,000 members that the solar proposal would “reduce the reliability of every appliance and electronics gadget in your home” and could increase Georgia electricity rates by up to 40 percent. As the Associated Press pointed out, neither of these claims bore much resemblance to the truth.

The Atlanta Tea Party Patriots broke party boundaries to expose the false information spread by Georgia AFP about solar power and to successfully push for smart renewable energy solutions.

“There are lots of Tea Party activists who care deeply about the environment. We have grandchildren. Some of us hope to have great grandchildren. I have a four-and-a-half year old grandson that I adore. I want him to have plenty of air and water. I want him to live in a world where green forest parks and mountain streams are not poisoned.” Debbie Dooley, co-founder of the Atlanta Tea Party Patriots. Continue reading

Which Fish Contain the Highest Levels of Mercury? And the Lowest?

Screen Shot 2013-08-13 at 12.44.54 PMClick the chart above to see a larger version

We’ve all heard the dangers of eating fish contaminated with mercury. But just how do the ocean’s inhabitants become filled with the toxic contaminant? Mother Nature Network explains:

Mercury is released into the air just like CO2 when fossil fuels are burned, and coal-fired power plants are the main source. Rather than drifting up into the atmosphere, though, the heavy metal accumulates in clouds and falls to the earth with rain. Most of it drains into streams, rivers, lakes and oceans, where microorganisms absorb it and convert it to an even more toxic form called methylmercury.

Smaller fish eat up the microbes and the methylmercury and then bigger fish come along and eat up the smaller fish. Meanwhile the level of mercury accumulates and that’s why smaller fish like anchovies and tilapia have the lowest mercury levels while predator fish like shark and swordfish have the highest.

Do the risks of eating fish outweigh the benefits? Continue reading

Natural Gas Pipeline Rupture Causes Cornfield to Explode in Illinois

cornfield-fireResidents of the town of Erie, Illinois were woken up on Monday night by the sound of a huge explosion. A natural gas pipeline, that runs directly underneath a cornfield, and carries gas byproducts ethane and propane had somehow ruptured, caught fire, and exploded.

According to Think Progress, the flames, which shot 300 feet into the air, were visible by as far as 20 miles away. No one was injured, but 80 families had to be evacuated.

The pipeline is owned by Enterprise Products Partners, a Houston-based energy company that operates 50,000 miles of natural gas, oil, and petrochemical pipeline throughout the U.S. In August, 2011, a pipeline carrying 140,000 gallons of natural gasoline operated by Enterprise leaked an unknown amount of the volatile liquid into the Missouri River in Iowa.

Enterprise Products Partners spokesman Rick Rainey says the fuel did not spill, but either vaporized or burned off. He said it is too soon to say what caused the explosion, and that the company and the U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration would investigate. Continue reading

Green at Home: A Natural Remedy for Fruit Flies

With the heat of summer comes the reward of sweet summer fruit – and with that fruit, unfortunately comes fruit flies. Fruit flies usually begin to swarm and rapidly multiply once fruit starts to become overripe. Check out this super simple (and natural) solution below to get rid of fruit flies without having to use harmful pesticides or sprays.

Continue reading

10 Reasons to Join a CSA

csa-veg&fruitShort for Community Supported Agriculture, CSA is a system where weekly or bimonthly boxes of fresh, often organic, seasonal, local fruits and vegetables are delivered from a community of local farmers straight to the consumer. A CSA connects its members with the people who grow their food, while strengthening local food systems.

Buying a CSA membership means entering into partnership with a local farmer. The member buys a subscription at the beginning of the season. This cash infusion allows the farmer to pay for seed, water, equipment and labor in the early season when farm expenses are high and farm income is low. In return, the farm provides its members with a box of fresh-picked seasonal produce each week.

Thinking about joining a CSA? Here are 10 good reasons to help motivate you:

  1. Exposure to veggies you may not otherwise have access to – and new recipes!
  2. Save time, money and gas by not having to run out to the supermarket as often.
  3. CSAs usually invite their members to visit their farms at least once a year. Continue reading

Swedish Scientists Create Machine That Turns Sweat into Drinking Water

Sweat-MachineIn an effort to raise awareness about the global water crisis, namely lack of clean drinking water, Swedish advertising agency Deportivo partnered with UNICEF to create a contraption that converts human sweat into clean, distilled drinking water. Yum?

The project’s intention was more so to draw attention to the water crisis and the innovative ideas scientists and engineers are coming up with to produce clean drinking water, than to come up with a be-all-end-all solution.

So how does the sweat machine work?

According to Tree Hugger: Based on NASA technology that turns astronauts’ sweat and urine into drinking water, the team built a drying machine that features high-tech filters that purifies any liquid inputs.

Sweat-soaked clothes are tossed into a compartment which spins and squeezes out all perspiration, which is then heated, treated with ultraviolet light and filtered to remove any salt, bacteria and stray textile bits — and voila, tasty drinking water!

And how does sweat water actually taste? Continue reading

Eco Beauty Tip: Revive Skin & Hair from Overexposure to the Elements

fruitThe following natural beauty tips come from Jamal Hamadi of Hamadi Organics.

Has summer left your skin and hair feeling a bit dry, dehydrated and unbalanced? The good news is, you probably have what you need in your kitchen to nourish your skin and hair back to health. Whether applying directly to skin or eating as a healthy snack, these fruits will help replenish your glow.

For skin rejuvenation bananas and mangoes are fantastic. Bananas are packed with vitamins B and C and are a rich source of potassium, which helps restore skin to its youthful state. Mangoes are filled with Vitamins A and C which are key in restoring skin’s natural glow and suppleness. Studies have shown that Vitamin A can reduce environmental damage which can lead to premature aging.

Simply smash the fruit into a pulp and apply directly to your skin.

For skin toning, your go-to ingredients are apples and papayas. Apples help tighten skin and stimulate blood circulation. They also have antioxidant properties and are high in vitamins: C, E, A, and K all of which are essential for toning skin. The nutrients in apples help maintain the pH level of the skin which reduces acne and keeps skin hydrated — all while providing a gorgeous glow. Continue reading

Hot Dogs, Peanuts & Now Kale Salad From the Ballpark’s Edible Garden

giants-garden3AT&T Park in San Francisco is set to deliver farm to table cuisine, or rather farm to bleachers, with the first ever ballpark edible garden. A plan has been drafted to grow a 3,000-square-foot organic garden, being planted this fall, behind center-field.

If all goes well, the garden will be completely planted and producing by Opening Day 2014, allowing Giants fans to snack on organic fruits and veggies alongside their staple of peanuts and hot dogs.

The idea to plant an edible garden at the stadium came from the Giants management organization and the company that runs its concessions, Bon Appetit Management Co. The garden will supply produce for some of the parks’ concessions and serve as an open-air dining area and community classroom, promoting sustainable food and healthy eating habits.

“There’s so much product we can grow, it’s unbelievable,” Bon Appetit founder and CEO Fedele Bauccio told The San Francisco Chronicle. “Kale, strawberries, broccolini, citrus, huckleberry. … The idea would be for people to sit there and watch the game and eat food from the garden.” Continue reading