Monday, December 28, 2009

Let's "Start Global Cooling!"

Ever heard of Clif Bar & Company? Most people associate this name with the nutritious and delicious Clif Bars we find in our local grocery stores. However, what many don't know is that this company is also dedicated toward helping the environment through creative and interesting ways.

Cool Tags, "renewable wind energy credits that offset CO2 emissions," cost $2 each. Those $2 is then invested by Clif Bar into NativeEnergy's Windbuilder's Program. According to the Clif Bar & Company website, "Each Cool Tag keeps an estimated 300 pounds of carbon dioxide out of the air. (That’s about how much you would generate driving 300 miles in an average car.)" Unfortunately, 25% of the CO2 emissions in the world is produced by America alone ("Environmental..."). That is quite a large amount considering there are over 100 other countries to take into account.

Interested in participating in this global cooling campaign with Clif Bar & Company? Then go here and check it out! :]

Now I am an avid Clif Bar eater, but what attracts me to these energy-filled snacks so much is that they promote sustainability with their packaging. Clif Bar & Company have teamed up with TerraCycle, a company that creates eco-friendly products from non-recycleable materials, to reduce the amount of energy bar wrappers that end up in landfills.

They've named it the "Wrapper Brigade Program" as it "allows schools, offices, community organizations, and even individuals to earn money for charity by collecting used wrappers" because "For every wrapper the Brigade receives, they will donate 2 cents to a nonprofit of the collector’s choice. The wrappers then will be woven into strong material, and made into eco-chic products" ("Sustainability"). Hopefully some of you are inspired to get involved in this program, and if so then check out their website here.

Now I used to take my Clif Bar wrappers down to Sports Basement where they had a bin specifically marked for them. Unfortunately, this was a limited time deal as I ended up finding myself with over 50 wrappers and nowhere to take them. I was lucky enough to learn that Trader Joe's will take my wrappers and place them in a baler which will compress these items and keep them from winding up in a landfill. If this option isn't available to you, then try to check if there's a Clif Headquarters near you. Taking your wrappers to them specifically will ensure that they get recycled rather than adding to our Earth's landfills which is always a plus! :D

Hopefully this blog's highlight on Clif Bar & Company opened some of you up to their ethical practices which deserve to be recognized by the general public. Perhaps now you may find yourself supporting them and our environment by purchasing a Cool Tag or by locating a nearby Headquarters to recycle your wrappers as opposed to throwing them out. Whatever your decision, I hope it's a positive one for not only our Earth's well-being, but for the rest of the human race as well!

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
"Cool Tags." Clif Bar & Company. CLIF BAR Family Foundation, Web. 28 Dec 2009.

"Environmental Statistics." 2009. Nation Master, Web. 28 Dec 2009.

"Sustainability." Clif Bar & Company. CLIF BAR Family Foundation, Web. 28 Dec 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Green Your Kitchen!!

Ever look through your cupboards of your kitchen and wonder how Eco-friendly it is? Probably not, but now is the time to do so!

There are numerous ways to live with an environmental kitchen such as what stone you use for your counter, the refrigerator you purchase, the appliances you use, and so on.

For a list of 10 Earth-friendly kitchen counters, Click Here! One of the more interesting kitchen counters on this site that caught my eye was the Fuez which is "made with recycled glass, fly ash, stone and shells, it’s more durable than marble." Its eco-friendliness stems from the fact that it's made with "60% to 80% recycled materials, including beer bottles; made using 100% wind-generated electricity."

When I think about "greening" my kitchen, I don't necessarily go into remodeling the countertops or shopping for new fridges because let's face it, a good majority of us are on tight budgets these days. Instead, I attempt the little things like unplugging my appliances when they're not in use. Note that appliances that are NOT in use yet still plugged into an outlet do have the potential to suck electricity and that's a big, environmental no-no!!

In addition, I make sure to purchase recycled paper towels and use them as minimally as I can. Investing in kitchen towels helps to reduce the use of paper towels when drying dishes or cleaning countertops, so take that into consideration as well!

Now let's discuss one of the most important aspects that make up a kitchen: the refrigerator. According to the U.S. Green Building Council: "Refrigerators use 14 percent of a home’s electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Today’s most efficient 20-cubic-foot refrigerators use 47 percent less electricity than 1993 models." If you've perhaps just been convinced to pull together some funds for a new fridge, then check out ENERGY STAR for one that will be worth the money! It's for the Earth, do it for your planet. :]

For even MORE ways of greening your kitchen, check this site out! They've got a lot of useful methods that will blow your mind.

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Green Home Guide Staff. "Creating a Green Kitchen: From Resource Planning to Maintenance." U.S. Green Building Council's Green Home Guide. 03 Sep 2009. U.S. Green Building Council, Web. 26 Nov 2009.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ask Dr. Green T: Living Life the Organic Way

Dear Dr. Green T,
How can we know if something is "organic" or not?

-Jennie Kim, Green News Editorial Board

So you want to eat green, huh? Finally coming to terms with the potential harm that arises from purchasing foods with pesticides and growth hormones? I've learned from my Environmental Science class in high school that there are many risks that come from purchasing "non-organic" items. An example is milk which contains RBST growth hormones, a drug injected into cows to increase their milk output. Unfortunately, these growth hormones affect the growth rate of consumers as young children end up growing at a faster and unatural rate. Not a good thing at all...

Now what? Well, Organic products are plainly noted as coming from a more natural state, and thus no added chemicals in their process. Simple, right? Well, it may not be for those who are in the market shopping for an organic grocery item or dish at a restaurant.

Fortunately, organic dishes at restaurants can be "Whole restaurant certified" where every dish produced is organic or they can have a couple of items that are organic like lasagna with organic beef. You also have every right to ask to see how they can prove that their beef is organic by viewing if they've paid an organic farm. The food is going in YOUR mouth and into YOUR body, so stand up for your health.

As far as grocery shopping goes, you may distinguish an organic product from that not of by locating a specific sticker, mainly the "Certified Organic" sticker. This specific logo means that:

"The product has been grown according to strict standards that are verified by independent state or private organizations. In the U.S. these third party agents are accredited under the USDA's National Organic Program (NOP). Certification includes annual inspections of farm fields and processing facilities, periodic testing of soil and water to ensure that growers and handlers are meeting the standards which have been set. For a product to receive the USDA Organic seal, a minimum of 95% of ingredients are certified organic. The remaining ingredients must appear on the National List of Approved Materials" (Seo).

You may learn more about why organic food is better by Click Here!!

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Seo, Danny. "Eco Friendly Goodness." wholearth beaty+beath. 2009. 4 Nov 2009.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Ask Dr. Green T: Workin' at the Jar Wash!

The water company asks us not to rinse our food containers(eg. milk containers etc.) before we recycle them, to conserve water; but waste management asks us to rinse out food containers, so that we don't contaminate the rest of the recycling. Which option is more environmentally friendly?
-Adam OCamb, Green News Editorial Board

The concept of whether or not one should waste the water required to clean a recyclable item is something that definitely needs to be taken into consideration. I usually wash items like yogurt or peanut butter containers before recycling them because I find such food waste will mold and be difficult for the company to clean later on. However, other items like milk containers, soup cans, and so on are a different story as they're in liquid form and don't make as much a mess after you've finished with them. Now, let's get another opinion on this issue!

Nina Shen Rastogi from Slate Magazine answers this question in her own article by explaining that "recycling facilities are well equipped to handle dirty cans and bottles, so some caked-on tomato sauce and the occasional stray chickpea won't significantly hinder the process. Residue left on plastic or glass containers generally gets flushed out with water at some point in the process; most of the gunk left behind on steel and aluminum cans is burned away when those containers get melted down. So there's no need to waste water by running the faucet over your recyclables—even if you were to get them squeaky clean, they'd probably end up getting washed again, anyhow" (Rastogi).

Also, if you're interested in learning about the recycling process for plastic food containers, then Click Here. This statement letter dates back to 1996, but not much has changed since then.

With all this information in mind, there seems to be a consensus that washing one's recyclable food containers is rather pointless as these items will be cleaned again once they hit the factory. As a common courtesy to those workers, it would be nice to rinse out the occasional mayo jar or yogurt cup, but honestly, it's going to get washed again no matter how spotless it is when you recycle it. :P

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Rastogi, Nina Shen. "Clean Jar, Clean Conscience?." Slate. 03 Feb 2009. Newsweek Interactive Co, Web. 16 Oct 2009. .

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ask Dr. Green T: Light Up My World!

How can we address the problems of light pollution?
-Karen Lo, Green News Editorial Board

This question is definitely different than previous ones as it has more to do with a community as a whole doing their part to help an environmental situation rather than individual homes helping in their own way. Light pollution, basically, is all of the misdirected light we use that accumulates large enough to block our vision of the stars in our night sky. This light pollution becomes quite a problem for not only people who don't have the luxury of looking to the stars at night, but it also affects certain wildlife animals who can't adjust to the cities that don't become dark enough and so affects their living habits.

However, this doesn't have to be the way! There are simple steps you may take in order to prevent this problem from growing and becoming worse. I find that turning off lights that are not in direct use is the most effective and least difficult method to avoid polluting our skies. However, this is nothing compared to the many other possibilities in which you can help out!!

1) Use only full cutoff light fixtures. Organizations like "Starry Night Skies" display a large array of light fixtures with the purpose of shining outside lights at the ground as opposed to up into the sky. My family has motion-detector versions of these lights and they are just as good as if using any other type of light fixtures. Only difference is these are better for the environment!! Not to mention, "[installing motion sensors] reduce your use of electricity for lighting upwards of 90%, easily paying for the cost of the sensor and its installation" ("10 Easy Steps...").

2) If you're not ready to depart from your original light fixture, yet still want to make a difference, simply purchase a light shade to place over it. This way you have the best of both worlds!! :]

3) Educate your neighbors. Remember, not everything has to be done alone! To be united on something as important as helping our environment is a truly honorable thing to be apart of. I'm sure if you explained the cause and demonstrate your passion well enough, you will most surely be able to convince others to get involved too. It's all on us now to fix what we've broken on this Earth. Let's do it together!

It's quite interesting how staring down at a city filled with light pollution can bring conflicting emotions to a person's mind. Whenever I look down upon such a sight, I tend to immediately think about how beautiful and glorious all the lights look from the homes and cars. On the other hand, I notice this reaction and quickly realize how these lights all grouped together look like fire destroying the beauty of our environment, including the stars in the night sky! This is why it's understandable why some people aren't bothered by light pollution, especially those who've lived in the city most of their lives.

I strongly urge anyone who hasn't gone camping before or visited the countryside to do so because once you look out onto the millions of stars, planets, and solar systems, you truly realize how fragile and small our Earth is. With this in mind, be sure to go out there and take action. Fight for our planet's health! It's the only one we've got.

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Anthony. "10 Easy Steps to Reduce Light Pollution." Starry Night Lights. 09 Oct 2006. Web. 8 Oct 2009.

Anthony. "Why Does The Sky Glow At Night?." Starry Night Lights. 21 Jul 2006. Web. 8 Oct 2000.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Ask Dr Green T: Home Sweet Home

What are ways we can cut back on carbon emmisions from our homes?
-Sophie Barrett, Green News Editorial Board Member

What a loaded question with so many answers. There are, as was stated in my previous blog, the numerous ways to cut down on water in your home which can be very beneficial toward reducing costs on your water bill as well as avoiding the waste of water on our planet. Definitely check those out before or after you guys finish with this blog!! :]

First things first, take a moment to calculate the energy audit of your home by clicking Here!! With this knowledge, you may better understand how much CO2 emissions are being produced from certain activities that you have been practicing without conscious knowledge of its negative affects.

Moving forward. One way to decrease one's carbon emissions is by reducing the amount of electricity they consume in their home. By installing Compact Fluorescent Lightbulbs (CFLs), you can save "2/3rds of the energy of a regular incandescent" as "each bulb can save $40 or more over its lifetime" ("Reduce...Footprint"). Also, always be sure to turn off your CFLs when leaving a room for more than 15 minutes. However, "in areas where electric rates are high and/or during peak demand periods, this period may be as low as 5 minutes" ("When...Lights"). That'll keep you set as far as lighting is concerned.

I have luckily convinced my family to switch our incandescent lightbulbs to CFls, and I find they are just as efficient as the former. Despite the initial 2-second delay when flipping the switch for your light to turn on, there is no other complaints that I have heard of from this product. It's safe, resourceful, and just as good as the incandescent ones!!

A common energy waster in homes has to do with the heating and cooling systems which residents usually overlook as a major energy-sucker. "By turning your thermostat back 10°–15° for 8 hours, you can save about 5%–15% a year on your heating bill—a savings of as much as 1% for each degree if the setback period is eight hours long" ("Thermostats...Systems"). Imagine that! With this in mind, during the winter season, try moving the temperature of your thermostat 2 degrees lower than you normally would; while in the summertime, be sure to increase the temperature by 2 degrees than that of the usual level you would have used.

A quick final note, when shopping for energy-saving appliances, be sure that your products contain the "ENERGY STAR" label on them which certifies that they are authentic.

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
"Reduce Your Carbon Footprint." 2009. Web. 19 Sep 2009.

"Thermostats and Control Systems." Energy Savers. 24 Mar 2009. U.S. Department of Energy, Web. 19 Sep 2009.

"When to Turn Off Your Lights." Energy Savers. 24 Feb 2009. U.S. Department of Energy, Web. 19 Sep 2009.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Ask Dr. Green T: Who Killed the Electric Car?

Dear Dr. Green T,
We all know that driving is bad for the environment, but sometimes it's necessary to get to work, school, etc. Are there any ways to make driving a little bit greener?

-Nicole Cogar, Green News Editorial Board Member

Thank you, Ms. Cogar, for such a great question!! =] It definitely is a lot more of a hassle to walk, bike, BART, or even bus to certain locations sometimes when these specific means of transportation are inconvenient or more time-consuming than desired. However, if you're trying to find the best way to travel greener, the previously listed solutions are your safest bets!

Although, this wasn't the question, Ms. Cogar, was asking, was it? She wanted to know how to be more environmentally-friendly when one IS and MUST drive to their preferred location. It's no surprise to say straight out that the Toyota Prius is the most eco-conscious car on the market as purchasing a new one of these models will cost you about $20,295, but "over the course of 10 years, the Prius might save as much as $2,100 in gasoline costs alone" (Williams-Derry). By using less gas, you will have prevented wasting "roughly 15 tons of CO2 over a decade," and that's definitely something to think about. Despite this knowledge, it's true that with our economic recession draining our wallets and our personal hunger for such a car, we must also look at other options before making a financial decision as investing in a new vehicle.

Now to the next option: Carpooling!! If you do a quick look up on and make your way to the Energy Generator for carpooling, they give you a great idea on how much energy you'd save by carpooling. It's great!! =] If I committed to carpooling at least 7 days this year, I could save enough energy to recharge my latop 874 times!! Crazy.

Not to mention that with more people carpooling, there will be significantly less cars on the roads in which case we may be able to reach our destinations faster, relieve stress from waiting in traffic jams, and "[reduce] traffic congestion in the region [because] carpool participants also improve the region’s air quality by removing over 1.5 million pounds of air pollution annually." I received this last bit of information from which helps those interested in carpooling to locate others with similar destination preferences. There are also many other sites on the web that dedicated to this specific purpose, so get out there & find yourself a carpool buddy!!

Or better yet, talk with your friends and family about putting together a carpool program for driving to work, school, or even to the mall or the movies. This way, you're not only saving money and helping the environment, but you're also spending quality time with the people you love and have fun with! It's a win-win situation for sure. :D

Last but not least on my rant, always know where you're going and if possible, pre-plan your driving expedition beforehand. This way, you won't end up cruising around aimlessly trying to locate a specific place or taking an extra long route that could have been avoided. That's why we have MapQuest and Yahoo! Maps! Also, if you pre-plan your driving expedition, you can find the easiest and shortest ways to reach your destination without wasting too much gas or CO2 emissions. Try it out!! =]

I hope I've been of some help to you, drivers, out there who are interested in helping our Earth without vetoing the use of your car altogether. It's a difficult compromise, but as long as you follow these tips and keep the environment in mind while on your driving adventures, then all will be well!!

Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
"Carpool Benefits." 2008. RideFinders. 4 Sep 2009.

"Energy Generator." willyoujoinus. 04 Sep 2009. Chevron. 4 Sep 2009.

Williams-Derry, Clark. "So You Want to Buy a Prius." The Tyee. 25 Jan 2005. 4 Sep 2009.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ask Dr. Green T

Hello everyone!

This shall be the very first "Ask Dr. Green T" post as was decided by the Green News to be a new direction to take this blog in hopes of not only attracting more readers, but also educating them on issues that our generation want to learn about. With such knowledge, the current youth can work to fighting global warming, and thus continue to aide the environment during its time in need! In conclusion, please feel free to submit your questions in the comments of the current blog (with or without your real name) & I will make sure to answer them to the best of my ability and as soon as I can!! =]

"With water scarce in California at this time of year, what are some easy ways families can save water?"
-Max Perrey, Green News Editorial Board Member

Brilliant question, Mr. Perrey! Conserving water during such dry times is a serious matter which can take shape with the simplest of methods. Unfortunately, "about 95 percent of the water entering our homes goes down the drain," and so taking precautions on how much water we waste can certainly be a fantastic way to catapult our Earth into a healthier environment (jsmcdougall).

First things first: LEAKS! I don't mean a leek, the vegetable used for cooking. I'm talking about those pesky drops of water that trickle out of water faucets in your sinks, bathtubs, or even toilets! Here's an easy way to figure out if your toilet is leaking:

"Put a little food coloring in your toilet tank. If, without flushing, the color begins to appear in the bowl within 30 minutes, you have a leak that should be repaired immediately. Most replacement parts are inexpensive and easy to install" (eartheasy).

Interesting, right? It's worth it though because about 20 gallons of water/day is wasted with every small drip that leaves a worn out faucet. With this in mind, be sure to take some time to check your home's water meter for a 2-hour period when nobody is using water in the house, and if the numbers on the gage are different than before, then you've got a leak on your hands!

As far as showers go, many people find it rather difficult to limit themselves with a shorter time in the tub because they figure this is their moment to relax. Understandable, but also inefficient if you're planning on being a water-conserving crusader! Therefore, try looking into purchasing "low-flow showerheads" for your bathrooms which can save up to 2.5 gallons of water per minute! Imagine how much water you'll have saved in a single year... (eartheasy)

Next up, remember not to leave your water running when using the sink to wash your hands, clean vegetables, brush your teeth, etc. However, if you are also one of those people who find it annoying to have to constantly shut the faucet tap on and off or adjust it this way and that, then why not try the Dual Setting Swivel Aerator? This website ( has the product for only $6 (plus S&H), but it is totally worth it in the long run as you will not only save water from being wasted, but you will also be living a more efficient lifestyle!

A final way to help our water crisis is to go here,, take their quiz, and they will donate $1 in water-conserving products to Habitat for Humanity's sustainable building efforts! =] It's as simple as that.

It may seem like no big deal when you leave the water running while brushing your teeth or tossing a half full bottle of water without finishing it first, but our Earth only has so much drinking water. Many people fail to realize this because our planet is made up mostly of ocean, but salt water is not something humans can drink daily in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Therefore, with all this in mind, please turn off the tap, check for leaks, and let's keep our Earth from drying out!! =]

Works Cited:
"25 ways to conserve water at home and yard." eartheasy. 2009. Water Conservation. 27 Aug 2009. .

jsmcdougall. "Ten Facts About the Water We Waste." chelseaGREEN. 29 Jul 2008. 27 Aug 2009. .

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Captain Planet Takes you Green Shopping

No later than last weekend, the annual Alpha Gamma Sigma(AGS) Club's State Conference was in Ontario, California where I was lucky enough to attend as a part of the Diablo Valley College Chapter. AGS is a state-wide honor's society that fund raises, serves the community, distributes scholarships to members, provides guest speakers with valuable knowledge, and so much more. During the conference, we were able to select from numerous workshops which varied from salsa dancing to leadership skills to shopping! Yes, you heard it right and you guessed right. That was the workshop I attended in hopes of obtaining beneficial information that you, the reader, are about to learn from.

Our guest speaker, Deborah Page, began the workshop by presenting a video called, "The Story of Stuff" by Annie Leonard which provides interesting methods of seeing our world's consumption issue. She argues that we are currently living "a linear system in a finite planet" with steps consisting of extraction to production to distribution to consumption and finally to disposal. This way of living, Leonard believes, should be modified by pulling out the disposal step, and thus linking consumption back to extraction to create a circular cycle that will be beneficial to the maintenance of our Earth.

You may watch Leonard's factual and fascinating video here:

In addition to the video, Deborah Page displayed a powerpoint with facts about our Earth's current, weak state due to the pollution from over-consumption such as how 3% of the water on Earth is fresh, but 2% is locked in icebergs; therefore, oly 1% water is left for us to drink, and we're currently polluting it!

Furthermore, Page expressed how humans have been experiencing a need to buy ever since World War II when President Eisenhower stated that our "economy's ultimate purpose is to produce more consumer goods". Crazy, right? Page also advised us to check out an environmentally-conscious movie named "Affluenza" which translates to meaning an addiction from suffering of what we don't have. In other words, the WANT over NEED effect that's overwhelmed our Earth's resources, landfills, oceans, air, and so on.

Before we the end of our workshop with Mrs. Page, she produced us with a sheet noting "Tips for Beating Affluenza" which included:

1. Before you buy, ask yourself:
Do I need it? Do I want to clean it? Could I borrow it from a friend, neighbor, family member? Could I substitute something I already have for it? Were the resources used earth-friendly? How many hours of work will I need to pay for it?

2. Avoid the mall. Go hiking or play ball with the kids instead.

3. Figure out what public transportation can save you (time, money for gas and parking, peace of mind).

Become an advertising critic. Don't be sucked in by efforts to make you feel inadequate so you'll buy more stuff you don't need.

For the rest of the tips, Click Here.

Being able to attend a conference that has no direct work toward aiding the environment, and yet still felt the need to hold a workshop dealing with such an important topic as green shopping truly amazed me and brought about new, eye-opening information I wasn't aware of before. This just goes to show how our Earth's global warming epidemic has influenced people to truly learn what they can do to help out because the first step to a cleaner, healthier planet is education.

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
"The Bug Stops Here." Tips for Beating Affluenza. PBS. 1 May 2009.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Celebrations!!

For those living in a cave for the last few years, yesterday was our beloved Earth Day! Such a day when we show love for our planet by emitting less CO2 into the atmosphere, eating organic, locally-produced foods, and hugging as many trees as we can. Thankfully, I'm sure many of you were very aware of yesterday's happenings as some celebration of sorts most likely took place at a location nearby.

At my institution of Diablo Valley College(DVC), our Environmental Club worked hard to put together several displays throughout the campus for students to enjoy on such an occasion. Whether they were passing by on their way to class or stopping in the quad for a lunch break, the posters, club table, and electric red Electric car beside the library were sure to grab their attention. By educating individuals of the Earth's current crisis, we take the first step in opening their eyes to what they must do to help our planet from further harm.

One very important and environmentally-friendly network which graced its presence on our campus was Chevron Energy Solutions who has begun constructing "energy efficiency improvements and solar power generating systems" in Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College and Los Medanos College (1). This company is there are solar panels over the DVC parking lots as well as high-efficiency lighting, ventilation, and heating throughout the Contra Costa Community College District(CCCCD) campuses. Such improvements are expected to bring about electrical reliability because of the new infrastructures, less cost due to complete solar dependability, and even better monitoring of the energy production and consumption on campus.

Curious to learn more about this project? Hear more from Tim Leong from CCCCD here:

In addition to the presence of Chevron Energy Solutions, a representative of The County Connection held a booth dedicated to alternate methods of transportation. However, because I have already discussed this issue in a past blog, I won't go into much detail of what they had to offer because there hasn't been any major changes worth mentioning.

On the other hand, a carpool incentive program is currently in action as those who carpool to work or college may receive a $60 gift card! This is a project from 511 SF Bay Area which requires an application to be filled out pledging individuals of their carpooling agenda. Perhaps this sparks some magical light bulb in your mind? Well, go ahead and sign yourself up for this eco-conscious program here: I applaud you.

All in all, I do hope everyone had a fantastic Earth Day as it's main purpose is to show love for the planet that is our one and only home. Destroying it is essentially destroying ourselves as well as demonstrating a lack of respect for the sole reason we are able to thrive today. On that epic note, keep in mind that, "When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves." ~David Orr
Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
(1) "Contra Costa Community College District Solar Power/Energy Efficiency Project." Chevron Energy Solutions Company 2. Print.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Guide to Avoid Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)

Ever heard of GE or GM foods? Wonder why all foods can't just be organic instead of the specially labeled ones that cost extra? For those who don't know, Genetic Engineering (GE) or Genetic Modification (GM) of foods consists of the unnatural insertion of genes into the DNA of animals and crops. Unfortunately, GMOs are created with either genes from insects, bacteria, viruses, animals, or even humans. These additives in our foods have a possibility of causing environmental, health, and economic concerns.

As far as the why, farmers find that using chemical pesticides wards off the insects that fester on the crops. Also, because third world countries contain individuals with a low intake of the necessary vitamins and nutrients, genetically engineering certain edibles to have these minerals prevents malnutrition as well as avoids nutrient deficiencies.

(For a more detailed explanation on GM foods, Click Here.)

Now, let's get to business: how to avoid genetically modified organisms as stated by "Center for Food Safety".

Tip #1: Buy Organic
Any product you purchase that has a label certifying its organic make, this is a basic green flag that there were ZERO GMOs used in the production of that item. Just remember, the food must be labeled "100% organic", "organic", or "made with organic ingredients" to be distinguished as truly non-GMO.

Tip #2: Look for "NON-GMO" Labels
Some brands have the decency to put out "non-GMO" type foods which require a little more effort to locate. Only thing is some of these products may include soy lecithin in their ingredients wich is an "At-Risk" ingredient, so beware.

Tip #3: Avoid At-Risk Ingredients
Try to avoid products composed of any crops such as corn, soy, canola, or cotton (also known as the "Big Four") made with GMOs. I know that sounds difficult, but just try to make sure it's organic!! :] Also, be on the look out for sugar beets which may or may not have entered the list of GM crops recently. I suppose it depends on the product.

Tip #4: Buy the Products listed in THIS SHOPPING GUIDE

After studying that guide and whatever else you can on GM foods, you will be a Non-GMO Pro in no time with a healthy body to boot. You'll be living free from any harmful pesticides that linger on the numerous produce selections sitting in grocery stores today. It's always better to be safe than sorry!! :]

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Make-Over Your Make-Up

It dawned on me the minute I finished my concealer only to find that the case it was manufactured in is not recyclable. What do I do then? Dump the packaging to a popular beautifying tool without a second thought in my mind? That certainly wasn't the case after I had painfully disposed of my concealer in a trash bin, and decided to move onward in hopes of discovering a more Eco-friendly brand of cosmetics.

For those who haven't heard, PlantLove by Cargo Cosmeticsis a company that has become well-known for its environmentally-friendly production of lipsticks. Each lipstick tube is made out of corn, and if you plant the flower paper boxes that the lipsticks are packaged in, then a plethora of wildflowers will begin to grow. Pretty amazing, right? You can find these products at your local Sephora store or online.

Another interesting corporation is LUSH Cosmetics which presents the opportunity to purchase 70% of their products online without the packaging. In addition, they claim that they "use post-consumer recycled, recyclable and biodegradable materials whenever possible" ("Protect the Planet"). Not to mention, they don't test their products on animals and even have videos on their website promoting their environmentally- and animal-friendly mindset. LUSH Cosmetics even goes as far as to dedicate a page to "11 Tips for a Greener Life"! A truly respectable company in the environmental world if ever there was one.

While trash is a major cause of the pollution that is affecting our environment, there is also the issue of the ingredients used in products which lead to toxic chemicals being emitted into the air as well. This is why it is also important to search for more organically-based items during your shopping excursion.

Finally, after much researching, I must say that Verde' Maison is the cosmetic company that deserves a lot of recognition for being the first organic as well as all natural cosmetic, skin, and bath store in the USA. Verde' Maison's decision to sell products without any "parabens, propylene glycols, petrolatum, & sls's" stems from the founder's discovery that parabens contribute to cancer. With this in mind, it is quite obvious that this brand has taken the lives of their consumers into serious account. Unfortunately, they do not present any information on their packaging materials, but it can be assumed that they are just as conscious about their waste as they are the health of the buyers.

It's definitely not easy to constantly be aware of the environment when shopping for everyday products. Fortunately, there are ways to easily discover such Eco-friendly items like surfing the Internet, scanning through environmentally-conscious books and magazines, or even just browsing in your local stores. The Huffington Post, for example, has an online article titled: "Earth-Friendly Makeup: How To Be Nicer To Your Face And Your Planet" (go here: Check it out as well as anything else you can in order to better educate yourself on how to live and love an organic lifestyle. :]

& now I leave you with an interesting video I found on youtube of a young girl experimenting and reviewing EcoTools, brushes made from sustainable and recycled materials. Yay Earth!

"Because sometimes the most important ingredient is not what you put in, but what you leave out." -Verde' Maison

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

Works Cited:
Cooney, Roxana & Sean. "About Us." 2008. Verde' Maison. 4 Apr 2009.

"PlantLove." 2008. CARGO Cosmetics. 4 Apr 2009.

"Protect the Planet." 2008. LUSH Cosmetics. 4 Apr 2009.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day, Come On!

"It's your world: if you don't like it, change it."
-Mikki Halpin, author of The Geek Handbook

If you currently consider yourself an environmental crusader, then the fact that the infamous Earth Day (April 22nd) is quickly approaching upon us shouldn't be anything of a surprise to you. However, just because you are aware of this upcoming occasion, it doesn't automatically mean you know how to celebrate it or what it's even about, yes?

Let me enlighten you, first and foremost, on Earth Day's origins and main purpose. Basically, it all began on April 22nd, 1970 when approximately 20 million Americans expressed their concern for the environment's problems to the government. This great outpour resulted in Congress being forced to close down due to the masses.

By May of 1971, a whole quarter of the nation changed their perspective in favor of caring for the environment while there were only 1% of these individuals back in 1969. "In the Gallup polls, public concern over air and water pollution jumped from tenth place in the summer of 1969 to fifth place in the summer of 1970, and was perceived as more important than 'race,' 'crime,' and 'teenage' problems" (Whitaker).

With all of this including the scientific facts of an excess in global warming looming upon the public's conscience, it's no wonder that Earth Day of 1970 made such an impact on America to becoming a day to praise our Earth for homing us. Seriously, without Earth, there'd be no humans. Even if it's just for one day, be sure to take advantage of this day to be extra environmentally-friendly. Our planet deserves at least that much.

So it's Earth Day, thirty-nine years later, and what do you do? Stay home all day, so you don't shed any carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere? Perhaps, but staying home all day wouldn't be any fun now, would it? What you can do, however, is look up local Earth Day events in your community, so that when you do plan on leaving the house, you're traveling to a considerable distance that can be manipulated through your city's or town's public transportation; therefore, you are decreasing the amount of pollution expended into the atmosphere.

You can also try contacting your school's Environmental Club (Or better yet, make your own!) and see what they're planning in honor of this momentous occasion. Or maybe you're more of a lone ranger, and would prefer to appreciate the Earth on your own. Why not plant a tree at your local park; educate yourself on Environmental Science to better understand what the issues are about; recycle all of your old clothes (This will work towards decreasing CO2 emissions from those air-polluting planes and trucks shipping clothes for people to purchase when they can get them from local thrift stores with such better eco-benefits); move your home thermostat 2 degrees up so as to use less energy (And money!) in your home; always acknowledge how much waste you're creating as far as food packaging, hair products, make-up containers, clothing, and so on.

Although, we should be considering our environment everyday as we make those daily decisions such as whether or not to walk to the local grocery store instead of drive, choose organic and in-season produce, turn off your lights when you leave the room, and the list goes on. Earth Day is just a way to get people motivated, as I hope this article has gotten you motivated to find ways to get involved for every year's main eco-friendly holiday since 1970; so make sure to mark your calendars!

For a list of more interesting Earth Day activities, check out these websites:

Also, check out this epic documentary, "Earth", from Disney. Scheduled to debut on Earth Day. Looks pretty sweet. :]

Peace & Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

Whitaker, John C. "Earth Day Recollections: What It Was Like When The Movement Took Off." History. Aug 1988. United States Environmental Protection Agency. 27 Mar 2009.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Reclaim Your City

In all honesty, March's Green News meeting was certainly an educational experience as passionate guest speakers like Joel Ramos from TransForm and Lindsay Imai from Urban Habitat took the time from their busy schedules to speak with the members of The Green News on transportation in the Bay Area.

For those of you who don't know: "Founded in 1989, Urban Habitat builds bridges between environmentalists, social justice advocates, government leaders, and the business community. Their work has helped to broaden and frame the agenda on toxic pollution, transportation, tax and fiscal reform, brownfields, and the nexus between inner-city disinvestments and urban sprawl."

On the other hand, the website of TransForm provides this information on its organization: "TransForm works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond. They build diverse coalitions, influence policy, and develop innovative programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the environment" (Goddard).

With all this in mind, you can already tell that this was going to be a very intriguing couple of hours. Fortunately, the building we were directed to go into for the meeting was literally right beside the BART station at 12th St./City Center in Oakland, and therefore didn't require any extra CO2 emissions from any bus or car rides. Therefore, already setting us into the right direction in being eco-friendly with our transportation.

Joel Ramos and Lindsay Imai presented equally compelling arguments about why our society faces such issues with carbon dioxide emissions and how we can go about cleaning our atmosphere once again. Lindsay Imai's presentation which required the assistance of several of the Green News members demonstrated how because of a family's poor economic status, it is more difficult for them to live a more Earth-friendly life because they are so limited as far as transportation and work goes. On the other hand, middle to upper class individuals have a wider variety of transportation possibilities because they can afford to live in locations where such methods are more accessible. It's basically an economic struggle that's truly holding us back from moving forward in more environmental ways of traveling.

Toward the end of the meeting, Joel Ramos educated us with a powerpoint on the "world-reknown sustainable city [and] capital of Columbia, Bogota" (fedwards). This city began with Sundays and holidays as its designated days to open a network of bike paths with 121 km of the major streets closed for alternative methods of transportation to reside. Forunately, the introduction to this new idea became so popular that a permanent network became initiated which, today, contains 329 km of bike paths for almost 182,000 people to travel through daily. An amazing feat to achieve for such a large population as this city is only another added step toward creating more environmentally-friendly means of transportation for the world. This just goes to show that if a city as large and populated as Bogota can change their ways for a better Earth, then anything is possible!!

All in all, the presence of Lindsay Imai and Joel Ramos as this month's Green News meeting was a truly rewarding and eye-opening experience at the reality in the Bay Area's need for growth in not only creating better means of transportation, but in also supporting the lower class residents who deserve opportunities at economic growth that they currently don't receive.

Check out this video from Urban Habitat for more information on the work that's being down in creating an "Equitable Bay Area." :]

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

"About Urban Habitat." 2009. Urban Habitat. 15 Mar 2009.

fedwards. "Sustainable City - Bogota, Columbia." Sustainable Cities Net. 28 Jun 2007. VEIL. 24 Mar 2009.

Goddard, Seth. "About Us." TRANSFORM. TALC: Transportation and Land Use Coalition. 15 Mar 2009.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

CFL: Light Up Your Eco-World

Ever wonder if there is some other way to produce electricity in your own home in a more "green" manner? Do the words Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb flip a switch in your earth-friendly craniums? If not, then now is the chance to get educated on such a magnificent addition to the eco-world!

Seeing as how the economy continues to struggle during these harsh times, many Americans are working to find cheaper alternatives for the everyday appliances that they use to take for granted. Fortunately, this is where Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (a.k.a. CFL) come in!! So you know, a popular and more reliable brand for CFLs is Energy Star, an organization that manufactures its environmentally-friendly products to not only absorb 75% less energy than that of a standard lightbulb, but to also last up to 10 times longer. These are primary contributors to why CFLs save approximately $30 or more in electricity costs for their average lifetime (1).

The only downside to these lightbulbs from what I've heard is that they take a few seconds to light up once you've flipped the switch, and therefore aggravates some individuals. However, this is a minor disadvantage compared to the multiple positives that follow purchasing CFLs for your home.

Many hardware stores carry CFLs nowadays which makes it a rather convenient purchase. Nonetheless, if you're still curious as to how to go about conducting the switch from standard light bulbs to Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs in your home, then Go Here. This site will provide you with a step-by-step tutorial on how to properly make the transformation into a more eco-friendly method of producing light in your own home!! :D

Also, I've discovered a video from youtube that gives a fantastic breakdown of why CFLs are so amazing. Check it out.

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr. Green T

1.)"Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs." Energy Star. Environmental Protection Agency. 6 Mar 2009. (

2.) "Compact Fluorescentize Your House." Green. 2009. Instructables. 6 Mar 2009. (

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Transportation at Diablo Valley College

During these harsh economic times, it has become pretty difficult to think about how to aid the environment while managing one's wallet. Unfortunately, the fact that many organic grocery store products are more expensive than their cheaper counterparts doesn't help anyone. Not to mention that buying from a fast food chain costs nearly nothing compared to that of a more healthful restaurant. Basically what I'm trying to say is, the environment is truly suffering because of the poor financial situations that have struck our economy.

Nevertheless, it has come to my attention that being environmentally-friendly has not been rejected by all spectrums of America's society. The transportation process to my community college of Diablo Valley College(DVC) has become a lot more earth-conscious these days, yet this result came about not on purpose. Incidentally, the price of gas (which has recently begun to increase again-about $2.19/gallon?!) in addition to the need to save our money the best we can has pushed students to find cheaper means of transportation. Fortunately enough, such means include carpooling, bart, local buses, and even biking.

DVC Nursing Major, Chelsea Thommes, goes as far as to walk to the BART station fom her house, take the BART to Pleasant Hill, then ride the bus to DVC everyday. Her environmental methods are dramatically decreasing her carbon footprint in the long run as well as helping our economy by spending her money on the public transportation.

Chelsea explains that she goes through $35-$40 for a little more than a week on BART PLUS tickets which work for both BART and the local buses. This is quite a save seeing as how DVC student, Erik Granlund, admitted that he pays about $20 per week on his gas alone. This cost doesn't seem much until you add in the $20-$30 per week on car insurance which is another dent in his pocket to spend on transportation. Some great things to think about for those other individuals taking less Earth-conscious ways of traveling to their designated commitments.

For all the information on BART as far as station addresses, arrival & departure times and so on, check out: On the other hand, the topic of buses differ between cities, so try going online to find out the bus schedule in your perspective area. It will not only aid the environment, but allow you to take advantage of the opportunities offered to you by your community.

Perhaps a more suitable way of acknowledging one's daily impact on their environment as far as CO2 emissions go is to calculate your Carbon Footprint. Go to or and take their test. These websites give a great outlook on what you have probably been staying naive to all this time which is how much you are personally affecting the Earth.

Another DVC student, Jordan Zetterbaum (Psychology Major), enlightened me on how he feels the desire to offer rides to other individuals because of the environmental issues that are facing us today. Fortunately, he is willing to pay for his own gas and provide his car to others for nothing more than the simple satisfaction of knowing that he did a good deed for not only his fellow peers, but for the environment as well. Good for you, Jordan! :]

As far as my transportation methods go, I'll either carpool with friends, bike, or drive with the possibility of giving others a ride in the process. All in all, it doesn't take much to help the environment and be financially responsible because there are many opportunities laid before us by our area (BART, local bus routes, bike trails, etc.) that make such a task much easier than it sounds.

Peace&Love, Everyone.
-Dr Green T

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Where I'm From

I am from teapots,
from Agha Seebeel and Sadaf.
I am from the sand under the wooden balcony.
(Warm, moist
it smelled so refreshing.)
I am from the fig trees,
the pomegranate seeds
whose ruby color stains my
teeth with its bittersweet taste.

I am from Persian New Year and Big Bear winters,
from Baba Safaie and Mama Atabaki.
I'm from the pride in oneself
and the nonesense jokes of the past.
From always greet with salaam,
and pepper meets a dirty mouth.
I am from the belief in Allah, where scarves
hide women and Ramadan teaches sacrifice.

I'm from Berkeley and Iran,
kabob with rice and Ashe Jo.
From the near-death trigger of my father's life
to the lost Mickey
the broken teapot on my mother's foot.
In my closet hides a treasure box
filled with memories,
a collection of field trips
and old friends to cherish forever.
I am from the corridor walls,
too-familiar paintings & sculptures
that will forever be where I'm from.

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