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From veganism to sustainable energy to social networking sites, “going green” no longer belongs solely to the hemp wearing, scraggly bearded, commune-based hippies of the 1960s counterculture movement. Today,environmentalism is embraced by almost everyone—we recycle anything and everything we can, grow our own fruits and vegetables and buy eco-friendly, sustainable products. But where did it all begin?

The environmental movement, as we know it today, grew out of the reaction to the Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe. The emergence of factories, the growth of cities and worsening air and water pollution gave rise to an early “Back to Nature” movement that anticipated modern environmentalism.

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau published Walden, an essay that details his experience with personal independence and self-reliance living in the natural setting of Walden Pond in New England. He refers to the lake as “landscape’s most beautiful feature. It is Earth’s eye. Looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.”

Thoreau, along with other conservationists like John Muir, who successfully lobbied Congress to form Yosemite National Park, believed that people should become intimately close with nature. They believed nature had an inherent right of its own and should be protected and preserved. Muir’s close relationship with President Theodore Roosevelt led to the creation of organizations like the U.S. Forest Service in 1905.

In the twentieth century, the death of the last Passenger Pigeon and the endangerment of the American bison popularized the concerns of conservationists. Groups like the Sierra Club and the Wilderness Society were formed with a mission to preserve the wilderness, curb water and air pollution and the exploitation of natural resources.

Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962, detailed the impact the release of large amounts of chemicals could have on ecology, wildlife and human health, with a focus on a harmful chemical known as DDT. The book spurred a greater awareness of environmental issues and the effects humans have on the environment. In 1972 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the agricultural use of DDT.

The 1970s brought about a rapid surge in the environmental movement all around the world. Earth Day, which is now celebrated in over 175 countries every year, was first observed in San Francisco and other cities on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring. The United Nation’s first major conference on environmental issues, The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, was held in 1972. And the Chipko movement, influenced by Mahatma Ghandi in India, set up peaceful resistence to deforestation by literally hugging trees—hence the term “tree huggers.”

Over the past 40 years, environmentalism has dealt with new issues like global warming, overpopulation and genetic engineering. Businesses now aim for sustainable practices and many jobs opening up have environmental aspects. Schools work to create sustainable buildings and students are learning how to live more “green” lives in the future.

http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/12/06/environmentalism-from-the-eighteenth-century-to-today/

Navigating the sustainable world is daunting—from Trader Joe’s to Whole Foods, the rows upon rows of green beauty products, organic food and drinks and naturally-made clothing never gets less confusing. Assortments of chemical-free, organic, hormone-free, eco-friendly and preservative-free items clutter the aisles, and it’s close to impossible to determine what works and what doesn’t without spending hours reading ingredients and instructions in the store.

Enter Eco-Emi: a subscription service that shuffles through the clutter and delivers samples of chic, eco-friendly products right to your doorstep, saving you the trip and the confusion. “Eco-Emi is designed to be an informative and fun way to try and buy eco-friendly products and take charge of what you put on and into your body once and for all,” says Eco-Emi’s founder, Christine Bowman. She began the service after a devastating experience with her disease-stricken dog, Emi, and the unnatural dog food and medications recommended by her vets. “I can’t bring my beautiful girl back, but I can keep her memory alive in the form of a business that can help others.”

Eco-Emi mails a minimum of five samples wrapped in chic, earth-friendly packaging for just 15 dollars per month. Every month brings a new box of varying products like organic chocolate, beauty cream, tea, soap, body glitter, deodorant, vitamins and more. Bowman and her team do all the hard work of sorting through products, allowing customers to try different items from the comfort of their own homes.

Many people feel overwhelmed when trying to lead a more sustainable life—Bowman wants to relieve the stress and help people take control of their green lives. “You need to read, research and learn about what you buy, eat, drink, put on your body and into your body,” she says. “It’s up to you to make a difference.”

http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/11/01/eco-emi-simplifies-your-green-life/

Giants, with their arms reaching toward the sky, loom above the forest floor. Their trunks stretch as wide as an SUV and their bark grows tougher every year. Mist creeps through the leaves of the flora and fauna that nestle together at the ground and the only sounds for miles are the rustling of squirrels, the call of an eagle and the soft babble of a stream.

In 1850, before the Gold Rush brought lumbermen out to California, old-growth redwood forest covered more than 2 million acres of land along the California coast. When those men failed to strike it rich, they turned to harvesting the giant trees for the booming development of San Francisco. By 1968, nearly 90 percent of the original redwood trees had been logged.

Deforestation is a common problem all over the world—National Geographic calls it a “Modern-Day Plague.” According to the United Nations, half the world’s tropical forests have been cleared or degraded, and the net loss of the world’s forests is estimated at 18 million acres per year. The Amazon Rainforest once covered almost 100 million acres in Brazil—but over the last 40 years, it has been cut down by almost 20 percent.

Trees provide an important ecosystem function by storing carbon and producing oxygen. A mature leafy tree produces as much oxygen in a season as 10 people inhale in a year. By storing carbon as wood, trees decrease the amount of carbon available as a greenhouse gas, slowing global warming and climate change.

Of the many negative effects deforestation has on the environment, the most drastic is the loss of habitat for millions of species. According to National Geographic, 70 percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes. Parks, like the Redwood National and State Parks in California founded in 1918 to preserve remaining old-growth forest, aim to preserve those threatened animal species, but when 1.6 billion people worldwide rely on forest products for all or part of their livelihoods, parks can only protect so much.

Unfortunately, the simplest solution, that is to stop cutting down trees, is not a practical one. Although deforestation rates have slowed in recent years, the reality is that people need to cut down trees if for nothing more than to provide for their families. A more workable solution is to stop clear-cutting, says National Geographic, allowing forest environments to remain intact, and balance the planting of enough young trees to replace ones that have been cut down.

Individually, people can use sustainable wood alternatives, like mineral-added HDPE plastic lumber, a truly recyclable material that destroys no trees in the manufacturing process and releases no toxic chemicals or greenhouse gases into the environment. The more people turn to these sustainable alternatives, the faster deforestation rates will decline.

http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/10/25/the-perils-of-deforestation-for-the-environment-and-us/

Kobe beef—a Japanese delicacy renowned throughout the world for its succulent flavor—is hailed as the best beef in the world. But why is it so good? Because relaxed, happy cows make better meat. In addition to special diets and sake massages, the cattle roam freely on small farms, grazing and living as cattle are supposed to live.

“Farm animals feel pleasure and sadness, excitement and resentment, depression, fear and pain. They are far more aware and intelligent than we ever imagined,” saysDr. Jane Goodall, most widely known for her research on chimpanzees, in her book,The Inner World of Farm Animals.

However, each year in America billions of cows, pigs and chickens are slaughtered for food in factory farms, which are built on an attitude that regardsanimals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit, leading to institutionalized animal cruelty; massive environmental destruction and resource depletion; and animal and human health risks. According to Sustainable Table, a sustainable agriculture advocacy group, factory farms house an unnaturally large number of animals in small spaces and in some cases, like veal calves and mothering pigs, the animals can’t even turn around. In the U.S., two percent of livestock farms now raise 40 percent of all animals.

The excessive waste produced by such large concentrations of animals is handled in ways that can pollute air and water, affecting public health and thereby increasing medical costs for those living nearby.

To help put an end to the factory farming system, CFDA award-winning fashion designer and animal rights activist John Bartlett has teamed up with farm animal rights organization Farm Sanctuary to debut a new t-shirt line, The Ambassador Collection, from which 10 percent of the proceeds benefit the nonprofit’s lifesaving work on behalf of abused and neglected farm animals.

Each black tee features the silhouette of one of the three most endangered farm animals—the pig, the cow and the chicken. The campaign photos feature Farm Sanctuary’s “Ambassadors,” the lucky rescued animals who now live a peaceful and happy life on the 175-acre shelter in Watkins Glen, New York. “These ambassadors give a voice to their species and help to ensure that one day all creatures on this earth will get the right to live a long and happy life,” the John Bartlett website states.

In addition to buying one of the $40 tees and contributing to Farm Sanctuary’s cause, you can buy your food from smaller, sustainable farms that won’t sacrifice the health of the land or the quality of the food simply to make a few dollars more. In her book, Dr. Jane Goodall explains that animals are individual beings in their own right. “As such, they deserve our respect. And our help,” she says. “Who will plead for them if we are silent?”

Pink and Black Magazine, http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/10/10/saving-farm-animals-one-t-shirt-at-a-time/

Fish is the perfect diet food. It’s low in fat and provides a good source of protein and essential minerals like iron, zinc, iodine and selenium. But navigating the seafood world is daunting—there are so many different types of fish, from salmon to shrimp to shellfish. And for those environmentally conscious, sustainability adds a whole new layer of confusion. Fortunately, a study out of Arizona State University has found a new rule of thumb for eating seafood: sustainable fish are healthy fish.

“Great news for sushi-lovers! Choose the sustainable options and you also are boosting omega-3 intake, without risking mercury poisoning,” says Leah Gerber, an associate professor and senior sustainability scientist at ASU.

Leah and her colleagues ran an analysis of existing literature to find which choices are consistently healthier and which are high in mercury or over-fished. They found that larger fish with long life spans are more likely to have exposure to toxins because of the length of their lives and their place on the food chain, so choosing smaller fish, like pollock or mackerel, is the smarter choice.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating healthy fish is to know where the fish is from. When caught in sustainable ways, Alaskan seafood is generally good for you and the environment because the amount of contaminants in Alaskan waters is very low. However, some regions of the world employ destructive fishing practices, like the muroami technique sometimes used in Southeast Asia, which uses an encircling net along with pounding devices to destroy coral reefs and scare out the fish. These techniques can have lasting and totally destructive effects on fish habitats.

“We want to help people choose fish that are both eco-friendly and healthy,” says Leah, who is also a conservation biologist and seafood lover. The research grew out of her interest in knowing more about the fish she was eating and the choices she was making when dining on fish.

The correlation between sustainability and health doesn’t stop at seafood; it’s a good rule of thumb for all food. Unlike industrial farming, sustainable agriculture involves food production that is healthy and good for the environment without the use of synthetic fertilizers and chemical pesticides. So, to ensure a healthy diet, buy locally and eat sustainably!

Pink and Black Magazine, http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/10/04/new-study-sustainable-fish-are-healthy-fish/

Wish there was an easier way to find other people who share your love of protecting the planet? Well, now there is: Ozosharethe first social networking platform for the green world, is the perfect place to share your eco-focused interests with other individuals and businesses.

The new site, which launched on August 7, is the first and only private, secure and user-friendly social network dedicated to the green community. “Going green is our responsibility for a healthy future and social networking is the current means of mass communication. Ozoshare is the ideal combination of both, it is one step ahead and is the vehicle where people and companies participating in the green world share and connect with others in an interactive, member-driven social media platform,” says Thomas Smith, a partner at Ozoshare. “It’s the first social network of its kind for green community members at every level and category from personal interests to technologies and organizations.”

Ozoshare is a great place for eco-minded individuals to share and connect with each other. Members can share their thoughts and missions with their “partners” (friends) and stay up-to-date with current green issues. The site is also ideal for businesses, groups and organizations like Adonis Eco-Housing, based in Minnesota, who joined to eco-network and raise funds as well as to support other green movements.

Just like on Facebook, members can have a personal page and/or business page and an unlimited number of partners. The homepage consists of “The Buzz,” an electronic wall to log dicussions and posts between partners, and members can create open, private and secret “Pow Wows,” or groups. However, unlike Facebook, the Ozoshare experience provides a platform specifically for members via their green interests, like recycling, solar energy, sustainable fashion or even wine tasting. This allows the website to suggest partners with similar interests.

The customization option lets members create unique pages with custom tabs on their profiles, like a website, a donation page, newsletter, mission statement or blog. When members like or agree with a post by one of their partners, they can “approve” it, similar to “liking” a post on Facebook.

So far, the site has over 3,000 members. “People are realizing that the world ‘going green’ is no longer a choice but our responsibility,” Thomas Smith says.

Pink and Black Magazine, http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/10/03/ozoshare-a-greener-social-network/

Living frugally and eco-friendly go hand in hand—there are so many little things you can do to be kind to the planet and save money while doing it.

This first tip can never be stressed enough: eat local!Buying produce from smaller, local farms is not only healthier for you because those farmers can focus on the quality of the produce rather than packing, shipping and shelf-life issues, but also drastically reduces the carbon dioxide emissions from the fuel used to get it to your table. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is looking for ways to to bring local farm products to larger established retailers like Walmart and Costco.

Opt for a reusable lunchbox and containers than plastic or paper. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the average amount of waste produced by each person in America per day is 4.5 pounds with over half going to a landfill. By bringing a lunch to school or work, you can ensure both a trash-free and minimal-spending day.

Keep hot or cold refreshments in reusable containers. Buying bottled water is not only expensive, but also detrimental to the ecosystem. At least 90 percent of the price of a bottle of water is for things other than the water itself like bottling, packaging, shipping and marketing, the National Resources Defense Council reports. The thousands and possibly millions of gallons of water taken from a single spring decreases the amount of water flowing downstream to communities of trees, plants and animals. There is little evidence that proves that bottled water is healthier than tap water. Further, phalates, which disrupt the human endocrine system, can leach from the plastic into the water and disrupt your body. Drinking tap water and using a reusable takeaway container will be less costly and better for you and the environment.

There are plenty of things you can do at home to save even more money on your energy bill. Even when lights and electronics are shut off, they still use energy by being plugged in. It’s called a ‘phantom load’—appliances that are plugged in, but not on, zap the energy. In the average home, 25 percent of all electricity is used to power electronics that are turned off, a study out of the University of Oregon found. Use a convenient power strip to eliminate the wasted energy.

There are eco-friendly alternatives to air conditioners and heaters. The heat in the summer makes it hard not to keep that air conditioner on. When it’s cold in the winter, all you want to do is curl up next to the heater. However, both can run up big charges on your energy bill. To reduce the cost of heating and cooling, ceiling fans can make a big difference in air circulation. Weather stripping, which is easy to use and requires no tools or skills to install, covers the gaps in your house, making it a more comfortable place to live.

Lastly, to add some environmental character to your home and maintain a healthy living style, buy some plants to place around your kitchen and living roomResearch from NASA shows that many plants are useful in absorbing harmful gases and cleaning the air in modern buildings by filtering out toxins, pollutants and carbon dioxide we inhale through the process of photosynthesis. Place an Aloe veraplant, also known as Aloe barbadensis, in your kitchen window to cleanse the air and it doubles as a soothing healing solution for skin irritations.

Written by Erin Peterson, 9/14/12

http://pinkandblack-magazine.com/2012/09/14/six-eco-living-tips-to-help-you-save-money-and-the-planet/