[1THING] Blog: Archive for June, 2017

[ Guardian Life Insurance Supports Local Farmers! ]

Guardian Life Supports Local Farmers


CSA veggies

As many of you heard at our Annual Meeting, we’re developing new ways to benefit your organization through our EarthShare at Work program! In Year 2 of our partnership with Guardian Life Insurance, we worked with their Pittsfield, MA Green Team to develop a Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and connected them with American Farmland Trust to identify a local farm to support. Now the Guardian CSA program is up and running in Pittsfield from June through October, through Brattle Farms. Learn more in this interview with Brattle Farm owner Donna Chandler, by April Opatik of American Farmland Trust!

Donna Chandler is not your ordinary mother and grandmother— she is a full-time Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farmer.

“I did not grow up as a farmer, but I grew up in a dense farming neighborhood. I enjoyed all the natural beauty on the land while growing up. As I grew older, my passion for farming became clearer as I noticed all the farms in my neighborhood disappearing,” Donna expressed.

About 15 years ago, Donna first got into aspects of farming by raising sheep on only a few acres of land for wool and her children’s 4-H projects. It started out with only two sheep, but as they started winning competitions their herd became over ten times the original size. 17 acres later, Donna decided to start selling her vegetables, meat, and other goods through her CSA: Brattle Farm.

“I wanted to see if I could get a steady cash flow before I went into CSA farming full-time. During that first year, I had 20 families signed up and it was very successful. Four years later, I now have 90 families! I am amazed that I could do this,” Donna stated.

It hasn’t been an easy road for her. One of the biggest challenges she had to overcome was educating others about what a CSA farm is. For 20-28 weeks, members pay a subscription cost to receive a portion of the farm’s produce—enjoying the flavors and challenges of seasonal eating. Joining a CSA is a powerful investment in your health, community, local economy—and even a possibility to explore new and exciting recipes. Donna is happy to note that Brattle Farm accepts SNAP. Some farms, like Donna’s, also allow members to pay for their share by committing to work a specified number of hours on the farm each week.

Donna’s CSA received around 20 new subscriptions through the Pittsfield Green Team, and Guardian employees learned more about American Farmland Trust’s work to protect farmland, promote sound farming practices, and keep farmers like Donna on the land. Guardian employees also plan to support AFT through volunteer projects to create recipe card packets and thank you notes for farmer’s market shoppers.

Help us incorporate your organization into our corporate partnerships! Please complete the Member Services Survey if you haven’t already.

[ Cities and states are declaring climate independence from Trump ]

State and local leaders understand that by investing in clean energy and cutting emissions, we're betting on the future. What could possibly be more American?

     

[ Feds’ pursuit of Arctic offshore drilling a mistake, costly to taxpayers ]

Tim Woody

As part of President Trump’s goal of opening more of America’s offshore waters to oil and gas drilling, the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management today announced it will revise the 2017-2022 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

[ 8 Ways to Reduce Your Ecological Footprint ]

I love a Clean San Diego never fails to have interesting, informative articles on how we can all make a difference. We recently found this article on their website. dreamstime_xl_7685218 (2) (600x600)

Ecological footprint: the impact of a person or community on the environment, expressed as the amount of land required to sustain their use of natural resources

It’s been estimated that it would take 3.9 Earths to sustain the world population if everyone lived like we do in the US. When considering factors like food, water-use, waste and transportation, it’s clear there’s an urgent need for more sustainable daily actions. Luckily, you can start creating these habits today!

Check out the Global Footprint Calculator from the Global Footprint Network to understand your ecological footprint. Then, incorporate these suggestions to reduce your ecological footprint and make a positive impact!

  1. Reduce Your Use of Single-Use, Disposable Plastics. Did you know all the plastic we’ve ever made still exists? We use disposable plastic shopping bags for an average of 12 minutes before we discard them (and yes, there are still plastic shopping bags at clothing stores, hardware stores, and more). Other single-use plastics like straws, cups, and utensils aren’t used for much longer. Make the switch to reusable items, such as reusable water bottle, reusable shopping bag, and reusable cups.
  2. Switch to Renewable Energy. According to the EPA, the electricity sector was the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the US in 2014. If you have the budget and living situation to switch to solar, look into installation options. If you don’t, there are still many ways to reduce your use of nonrenewable energy. Look into renewable energy options through programs like SDG&E’s EcoChoice. The program allows you to switch 50-100% of your energy bill to renewable energy from clean sources. Best of all: it’s easy and affordable! Log in to your account for an estimate and reduce your ecological footprint in a click.

To Read this terrific article…CLICK HERE! 

[ New report: False promises on coal hurt Americans ]

Sarah Graddy

TWS’ “False Promises” report highlights four case studies from Maryland, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin to examine the often hidden social and environmental costs of burnin

[ Eliminating Plastic from Your Life ]

Plastic is ubiquitous, and sadly, it does not biodegrade. Instead, it goes through a process called photodegradation, which means the sun’s UV light actually breaks down the plastic into smaller and smaller pieces until it is so incredibly tiny we can hardly see it. Microplastics and the chemicals and toxins that it takes to create plastic will regrettably be in the environment forever.

We need to move away from plastic dependency.

Today, we will identify some main plastic pollution offenders and then offer suggestions and alternatives you can apply in your journey to becoming plastic free! So let’s tackle a low hanging fruit, straws. The history of straws is built mostly on convenience; they are impractical, not recyclable. It’s easy to say no to straws, simply ask your server or local barista to go sans straw, it might be intimidating the first couples tries, but with enough practice and exposure, it will become second nature to ask for a drink without a straw. If you can’t live without a straw, because driving and drinking smoothies can be dangerous, grab yourself a reusable straw for when you are on the go.

Kick your plastic habit and switch to a reusable straw!

Kick your plastic habit and switch to a reusable straw!

Next, swap out your traditional toothbrush for a bamboo handle toothbrush. Instead of heading to a landfill like a traditional toothbrush, the bamboo one is biodegradable, but remember to remove the bristles from the handle before you toss it into a compost bin. Alternatively, you can purchase toothbrushes that are made from recycled plastic, one of the more well-known brushes is created from old yogurt cups!

Another great area to reduce your plastic consumption is in hygiene products. From toiletries to dish soap to laundry detergent to cleaning supplies, they practically all come in plastic packaging. Rethinking the way you purchase these products will drastically reduce your plastic footprint. Purchase bar soaps for the shower and specialized bar soap for the kitchen sink. Make your own chemical free cleaner and house it in an old jam jar. Craft your own 3 ingredient toothpaste. Purchase powder laundry soap that comes in a cardboard box. Choose to implement just one of these and you are on your way to a plastic free mentality.

Make your own 3 ingredient toothpaste and eliminate excess packaging!

Make your own 3 ingredient toothpaste and eliminate excess packaging!

Next, buy fresh, buy smart, and buy in bulk. When you purchase fresh food, it normally doesn’t come in packaging. So it only makes sense to be smart about your purchasing habits. Instead of reaching for the conveniently packaged and peeled baby carrots, grab a handful of loose large carrots instead. In the mood for trail mix? Instead of purchasing plastic bagged fruits and nuts, search for a grocery store near you that offers trail mix by the pounds in a do it yourself bulk section, and bring your own glass jars to fill it up!

Always prepare to shop smart with reusable bags and jars for buying in bulk!

Always prepare to shop smart with reusable bags and jars for buying in bulk!

So there you have it, a little inspiration to jump start your journey to going plastic free!

Just remember, you are not expected or encouraged to give up plastic cold turkey. Ease into it. Decide to make a couple personal lifestyle adjustments and other plastic free alternatives will seep into your routine naturally, you’ll see.

This article was authored by our Education Specialist, Katie!

This article was authored by our Education Specialist, Katie!

[ Congress almost always votes with Trump as 2018 midterms loom. Bad idea, polls suggest. ]

Congressional voting patterns are remarkable considering that midterm elections are just a year away.

     

[ “Salt.” Where Does it Go? ]

(I love a Clean San Diego) – You may be wondering where the salt goes after desalination? You might think that it wouldn’t be harmful at all to where it’s put, right? After all, “It’s just salt”.dreamstime_xl_11147988 (2) (600x401)

Desalination Explained – Desalination is the process of removing salt from ocean water to make it pure and drinkable (Desalination by reverse osmosis). A desalination plant is where this process is done. They collect the water from the ocean and remove the salt.

Where “Salt” Goes

Most of the time they put whatever is left of the “Salt” back in the ocean at some distance from the desalination plant (Answers Corporation). This can be very harmful considering that the salt can become a chemical that can be difficult to break in the process of desalination (Green Garbage Corporation). Some plants like the Tampa’s Plant, in Florida, have found a different way to dispose of the brine. The Tampa’s Plant has discovered a way to use the brine as energy. They use brine to produce part of the energy for desalination. I don’t really understand why they don’t share their amazing discovery with the rest of the facilities.

To read the full article…CLICK HERE!

[ Sec. Zinke calls for more drilling at governors meeting, TWS responds ]

DJ Tyson

Today, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke addressed a meeting of the Western Governors Association in Montana. In response, Nada Culver, senior director of agency policy at The Wilderness Society said:

[ House bill threatens wildlife refuges across America ]

Michael Reinemer

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA (June 27, 2017) – Today the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources voted in favor of H.R.