Saturday, November 26, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT: Pearls of the Planet

Polar Bear (Sow And Cub), Arctic National Wild...Image via WikipediaHi readers,

Below is a special announcement of an exciting project from I'm sure you'll find it fascinating.

Cheers, Robert.

Dear Explorers,

I want to personally thank you for supporting the LIVE POLAR BEAR CAM. I call this initiative Pearls of the Planet, and the mission is simple: I want people to fall in love with the world again. I believe that by simply observing the natural world, we will develop an emotional connection that will allow us to become responsible stewards of the planet we live on.

Pearls of the Planet is a decade old dream of mine, but what makes it so special is the purity of spirit in which all of you write your comments. They are invaluable and immeasurable in any dollar amount.

Please share in the beautiful photographs and film clips on our first ever Polar Bear Wall of Wisdom.

As much as we will miss our beloved polar bears, let's rejoice that they are going home where hopefully the food will be plentiful. Until they return, please know that several new Pearls of the Planet Live Cameras will be available so we can all study the natural world we love.

Please consider your extended family and home.


Charles Annenberg Weingarten / Pearls of the Planet
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Saturday, November 19, 2011

The Effects of Plastic Bags on the Environment

Kamilo Beach, Big Island, Hawaii,USAKamilo Beach, Hawaii - Image via Wikipediaby Greg R Johnson

It's easy to think of the negative effects of plastic bags on the environment when you consider that 100 billion plastic bags are used each year in the United States and that they take up to 1,000 years to break down.

Fifty years ago there were no bags on this planet. Now consider based on their break down rate that every bag ever manufactured, except for the recycled or incinerated ones are either filling our landfills, polluting our waterways or hanging in our kitchen closets as clutter.

Often comforts of everyday life, things we now consider a necessity were developed and pushed into our lives only because they were the cheapest option. Long-term costs, such as the impact on our environment and the clean up of it weren't considered. This appears to be the case with plastic bags.

Dependence on Foreign Oil

Plastic bags are manufactured using polyethylene a byproduct of oil. Roughly 60 to 100 million barrels of oil go into their production each year. China recently banned the use of plastic bags and their estimated savings in oil was about 37 million barrels per year.

They Take a Very, Very Long Time to Break Down

Plastic bags haven't been around for long, less than fifty years. So no one knows for sure how long they take to break down. One thing is for sure though; all the plastic bags that haven't been recycled or incinerated are still on this planet in landfills, floating in the ocean, littering our parks, roadways and lakes, or just piled in corners of our closets, garages or kitchens.

Grocery bags are made from polyethylene and are photodegradable and not biodegradable. Being photodegradable means, these bags need sunlight to break down. Therefore, burying them in a landfill accomplishes nothing other than to hide the problem and create mountains of trash buried out of sight.

When and if they do degrade, they simply break down into smaller more toxic microscopic particles called petrol-polymers that seep into waterways and eventually enter our food chain.

Plastic Bags Account for 10% of Debris Washed Up On Our Shoreline

They have been seen floating in the oceans, and washing up on shorelines as far North as the Arctic Circle and as far south as The Falkland Islands. What an awful eyesore to our planet as a whole.

Kill Hundreds of Thousands of Animals Per Year

Believing the bags to be food, marine wildlife choke on the bags and die or they enter their digestive systems until they die. After death their bodies decompose, but not the bags.

Plastic bags are cheap, efficient and strong. They make shopping simple and easy. However plastic bags have many negative effects on the environment. They increase our dependence on foreign oil, pollute our waterways, fill our landfills, kill our wildlife and are an eyesore.

Greg Johnson writes on a variety of subjects, including the environment, tips for going green, and alternative energy sources. Greg is passionate about the environment and believes we as a society as a whole are depleting and destroying our environment to fast. Get more Green Tips at: and

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Great New Talent: Redeem Yourself by Luke James

Hi everyone,

I don't do this very often, but I'd like you all to listen to a young man who I think is a great new talent. His name is Luke James, and he is the son of one of my close trusted colleagues, John James. Luke hails from Adelaide, South Australia, and as you will see, is a very talented musician and songwriter. The lyrics are powerful and match the strong visuals on the video.

It would be great to get some feedback, so ALL comments are very welcome indeed! Let's encourage local young talent!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Protesters Win Pipeline Delay

The Canadian Keystone XL Pipeline is NOT A DON...              Image by via Flickrby Brooke Jarvis, on Yes! magazine:

The Keystone XL pipeline started out as a fairly obscure infrastructure project that most observers expected to win quick and easy approval.

But through months of determined protest, opponents of the pipeline (which would carry oil from Canada’s tar sands to refineries in the Gulf Coast) stirred up a national debate about the wisdom of building it.

And today, they’re celebrating a victory: The State Department (which must approve the pipeline since it crosses an international border) announced that it will delay approval of the project by at least a year until it can study alternative routes.

The pipeline isn’t dead, but the delay is very bad news for the developer, TransCanada - whose CEO was quoted warning that any delays might kill the project - and very good news for the thousands who have worked to keep the project from being rubber-stamped.

To get the issue on the public’s radar, more than 1,200 people volunteered to be arrested outside the White House in August; just last week, thousands of protesters encircled the building completely. Opponents also sent some 300,000 comments to the State Department and filled public hearings for months.

To read further, go to:
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Saturday, November 5, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: Green Mama by Tracey Bianchi - Greening Your Travel and Worship and Planting a Tree

Devils Punchbowl Waterfall at Arthurs Pass in ...                            Image via WikipediaBy Timothy Zaun

Tracey Bianchi is a married mother of three young children, living in Chicago. Her environmental concerns for both her family and future generations inspired her to write Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Children Save the Planet.

Bianchi earned a master of divinity degree and is a frequent speaker and writer on topics of Christianity. Regardless of your religious beliefs or denomination, and whether or not you have children, Green Mama will enlighten you to the earth's dwindling natural resources; and how you can make a positive impact.

Here, the topics of greening your travel and worship, along with advocacy for planting a tree are discussed.

Greening Your Travel

Before traveling, ask yourself if you really need to get there at all. Monitoring your travel can reduce fuel consumption, carbon emissions and consumerism. U.S. residents are responsible for approximately 25 percent of the world's carbon emissions even though we have only 5 percent of the population.

Before jumping in the car, ask these potentially life-changing questions:
  • Have I chosen a green place to live? Answers vary according to circumstances. For you, that might mean multiple acres in a rural area or easy access to public transportation.
  • Do I live close enough to the amenities I need or the places I frequently visit? Next time you move, consider not only housing costs and school district quality. Think too about the commute time to routine travel, including the grocery store, church and library.
  • Do I really need to do this today or can I do it another time as part of another errand?
  • Can I walk or bike there instead?
  • Who else can I bring with me (i.e. a neighbor who needs to go grocery shopping a the same time)?
  • Can I combine the trip with another errand?
  • Am I shopping locally? Are all of my errands as close to home as possible?
Air Travel

The World Wide Institute states that one plane crossing the Atlantic Ocean uses16, 000 gallons of fuel. That's enough to power one car for fifty years.

Before flying, ask yourself if you can travel by car or train. Take public transportation to and from the airport whenever it's possible. Bring your own snacks and decline drinks, napkins and plastic cups offered on the plane.

Realize that you might be skiing at a resort that doesn't monitor its carbon emissions. Long-term, the very commodity they're selling (snowfall) could diminish with climate change. Eating at certain seafood restaurants, while enjoyable, may be purchasing their food from overfished waters. "Be an educated traveler and make a difference when you can," says Bianchi.

Green Your Hotel and Resort Stays

Bring home half-used bottles of shampoo and lotions. Use them up and recycle the containers. Look for water-saving tips from your hotel. Now, many offer water conservation programs that ask you to reuse your towels and bed linens the next day.

Vacation with a Purpose.

"Purposeful vacations take into account the social imprint of your vacation as well as the ecological practices of the places you visit," says Bianchi.

Consider an Eco-Vacation, a Mission Project or a Conservation Trip.

Your local church or park district may offer trips and ecotourism vacations to destinations where you and your family can stay together. Cleaning up trails, helping to create a habitat for endangered wildlife and serving needy families worldwide are among the many vacation opportunities.

Buy a Hybrid Car; They Make a Difference.

The smaller and slower the car, the better the fuel efficiency.

Greening Your Worship

Your place of worship (or any other community setting you experience, including work) may ignore promoting an eco-friendly atmosphere. "Turns out the very buildings that were designed to proclaim the wonders of the God of the universe are some of the least green places in the country," says Bianchi.

Styrofoam cups, individualized creamer packets and sugars, stir sticks, multi-page bulletins, and company newsletters printed with petroleum-based ink (instead of eco-friendly soy-based inks) are among the eco-savvy detractors.

"Greening up the church is not a fad or some hippie luxury; it is good stewardship and it is our future," she says. Bianchi suggests two levels to start greening your worship:

1. Begin with your senior pastor, minister, rabbi, etc. A simple meeting with him or her can initiate the dialogue. Further talks can convene with committees, elders, trustees, and others leaders. Tap into your congregation's professional talents, including architects, engineers and HVAC experts.

Discuss who will lead the greening efforts. It may or may not be you. The green team will need to research recycling options, reasonable tweaks in lighting and energy and other common sense, eco-friendly adaptations.

2. Use personal, covert greening efforts if you meet congregational resistance. This includes turning off lights in classrooms, and collecting and recycling church bulletins and newsletters on your own.

A universal response from churches, nonprofits and other organizations that resist going green is cost. Today, many establishments are working with limited funds.

Greening a place can appear to be pricey. Waste haulers may charge additional fees to remove recyclables. Recycling bins can be costly and purchasing fair-trade coffee and teas may sell for more, but, once done, long-term savings often result.

In the church, some will question if a greener life is theologically supported. Going green will have its detractors in any setting.

Planting a Tree

None of us can save the world on our own, but we can each make a difference.

Bianchi mentions Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan activist who, in 2004, won the Nobel Peace Prize. Maathai says one thing we can do to fight environmental injustice, is plant a tree. It's something we can all manage. Plant something green whether you live in a high rise, farm or anywhere else. Plunge your hands into the dirt and bring forth life.

Greening your travel and worship offer a variety of ways to reduce your carbon footprint on earth. Consider planting a tree to promote perpetual life among nature.

Green Mama offers a gallimaufry of websites to help you live more consciously and reduce consumerism. One of the best is the Center For A New American Dream. Visit them here:

Timothy Zaun is a blogger, speaker and freelance writer. Visit him online at

Article Source:,-Eco-Book-Review&id=6618788
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