Green News

04/07/2014

Years of Living Dangerously by James Cameron - A Must See

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What have we done? More than half of U.S. citizens are convinced that climate change is now ravishing the planet as demonstrated by the wicked weather patterns and flooding worldwide. What will it take to convince the non-believers? Some will argue that these cycles have happened many times throughout the eons and they would be right. However, never during the history of mankind has there ever been such a significant increase in such a short time of a warming of our planet, much of which is due to the human species pumping carbon dioxide (CO2) into our atmosphere, otherwise known as greenhouse gasses. 

Imagine if you will yourself inside a greenhouse where one grows healthy, lovely plants and vegetables. There are windows that let the sunlight in for growth but these windows do not open. Now imagine someone slowly pumping that greenhouse full of poisonous gas with nowhere for it to exhaust. What would happen to you and the plants? Eventually, you would both wither and die from the consumption of the poisonous gas. 

Ask yourself, why do cars have exhaust pipes? To let out the carbon emissions from the engine (which is pumped into the air instead). Without those exhaust pipes, we could die from carbon monoxide poisoning. The planet is no different. The bottom line is that we've put too much CO2 into our planet's atmosphere from thousands of blamable sources and now it is choking to death. 

The one degree increase in global temperature is giving Earth a fever, just like it would in humans. The planet fights that fever with turbulent weather, its elixir to clean out the virus making it too hot in the first place. Human contribution of poisonous gasses, for which we are all responsible, is that virus. And the Earth always wins.  

We are now in the future, the future that climatologists and planetary scientists warned us about 30 years ago, then 20, then 10... no one would listen. Most wouldn't believe it. Many still refuse to believe it until it's their home, their neighborhood, their city, their family wiped out by a super cell. It's not only getting worse but is now on a path to extremes, in severity, frequency, intensity and mass loss of life. Seas are rising, flooding is rampant, super storms are the new normal. The tipping point is upon us.  

Please watch and listen (and include your children) to this new 'very important' documentary series about climate change, a call to arms if you will, Years of Living Dangerously by James Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  http://yearsoflivingdangerously.com/where-to-watch/ 

It will change your outlook.

A free '1st episode' showing starts today. T'was not yours alone, pass it on!

03/11/2014

Recycle? We Didn't Have the Green Thing Back in Our Day

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by a Selfish Old Person to a Smartass Kid

Checking out at the store, the young cashier suggested to the much older woman, that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren't good for the environment.

The woman apologized and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."

She was right -- our generation didn't have the 'green  thing' in its day. Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So, they really were recycled.

But we didn't have the "green thing" back in our day.

Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things, most memorable besides household garbage bags, was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books. This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbling and doodles. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags.

But too bad we didn't do the "green thing" back then.

[Click Here for Full Revelation]

02/12/2014

2014 Audi Q5 Wins Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year

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2014 Audi Q5 Diesel Named 6th Annual Earth, Wind & Power SUV of the Year - Most Earth Aware

2014 Audi Q5 Named

2014 Earth, Wind & Power's

~ Most Earth Aware - SUV of the Year ~

Earth, Wind & Power Awards - Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year
sponsored by

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2013 International Car of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazine

Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release

We were smitten at first sight of the sassy, sporty 2014 Audi turbo-diesel when it showed up at our doorstep. Our test model was Glacier White Metallic and sported a large "TDI" on each front door for a sophisticated, no-nonsense announcement of its capabilities. So much for not blowing one's own horn.

A flared front end with sultry headlamp "eyes," anchored by those famed four interlocking grille hoops sniffing down the road balances the trim tush in the rear and announces in no uncertain terms this is a coveted Audi.

For those who need to transport five in luxurious comfort, the Q5 could be an ideal choice. The priciest of the fuel conscious versions (which seems like a no-brainer) is the hybrid Q5 that uses a 2.0-liter 245-horsepower inline four engine paired with an electric motor for a combined 245-horsepower and 254-lb. ft. of torque. It clocks in with a $51,300 base price, earning EPA ratings of 24 city/30 highway miles.

Those high ticket items point out what every wannabe Audi owner certainly knows—that no matter how environmentally conscious one might be in choosing a vehicle, when you're paying premium prices you expect to get premium perks out of the deal.

So what can the Q5 offer in the way of amenities, both in driving manners and the way it strokes the owner on the upmarket side?

Once inside, besides keyless start, there's leather (luscious Milano leather when fitted with comfort seats), aluminum and all-natural walnut trim and a heated/cooled cup holder to ensure drinks are kept at optimal temperature. Driving at night is a kick even if the only reason is to see the glow of red from all those buttons and controls that jump to life when activated.

The hybrid version gets Audi's Bang & Olufsen 505-watt premium Sound System with 14 speakers as standard equipment. "Audi connect" can mate with as many as eight wireless devices at one time.

And the TDI gets something that's becoming a vanishing breed in many vehicles as precious interior space is diverted for heavy battery storage and a bit more cargo space. That's an actual compact space saver spare tire, designed for temporary use.

A Q5 biggie is "quattro" drive on all versions. That's Audi talk for its permanent all-wheel-drive system, and a clear indication this is a go almost anywhere vehicle when driving conditions get tough, such as during a Northern midwinter blizzard or blazing through pools of water on rain slicked roads. All Q5 power plants mate to an eight-speed Tiptronic automatic for smooth, supple handling and a stingier need for fuel in the process.

We can attest to the punch the diesel fuel-drinking TDI can deliver when rubber meets the road. It rates at an even feistier 0 to 60 in 6.5 seconds.

Mark Del Rosso, executive vice president and COO Audi America accepts Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year Award from Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE America and Courtney Caldwell, editor in chief, Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware SUV of the Year award to Mark Del Rosso, EVP & COO, Audi America, are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.

Audi calls the Q5 "sporty and sophisticated, spacious and functional." We agree. Its green attributes and the strength of its Audi character were pointed out by Mark Del Rosso, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Audi of America. “In addition to its excellent fuel economy, the Audi Q5 combines the sportiness of a sedan with a variable interior and many practical solutions for everyday and recreational use. With 2013 year to date sales up 40.8% compared to 2012, it’s clear that consumers are continuing to respond positively to the Audi Q5’s sportiness and sophistication, spaciousness and functionality.”

“We are honored to accept the Earth, Wind & Power Award for Most Earth Aware SUV of the year, which recognizes the environmental friendliness and fuel economy of the Audi Q5.” said Del Rosso.

[Full story]

02/05/2014

2014 Toyota Corolla Named Most Earth Aware Car of the Year

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2014 Toyota Corolla Eco Wins 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year - Most Earth Aware

Toyota Corolla Eco Named

2014 Earth, Wind & Power
"Most Earth Aware Car of the Year"

Earth, Wind & Power Awards - Most Earth Friendly Car of the Year

sponsored by

Bridgestone Tire Sponsors 2013 International Car of the Year Awards - Presented by Road & Travel Magazine

Review by Martha Hindes | Press Release

As we watched a profusion of college students jog, skate, bicycle and schmooze their way past our Minneapolis hotel, we realized we were in for an education on what is important to those on the cusp of an environmentally challenging world. They were the kind, in their early 20s to maybe mid-30s it seemed, in plaid sneakers, cutoffs in cold weather and eyes glued to a smart phone screen. Just the type, we thought, who would be woed and won by a point-in-life auto like the resoundingly revised 2014 Toyota Corolla.
 
We had come to the largest of Minnesota's Twin Cities to find out why Toyota considered its revised compact car so important as the automaker kicked off the 11th generation of this staple. After all, the Corolla has dominated the world of compact autos in all corners of the globe for decades. It virtually launched the small car industry in the U.S. when seeming block-long domestic gas guzzlers dominated American roads. And it has spawned a wealth of imitators seeking to dethrone it from its lofty perch ever since.
 
It didn't take long to realize that not only was the Corolla a breath of fresh air visually, but in driving credentials as well. But it also pointed out how the auto is aiding in preserving the fresh air we breathe and protecting our planet by diminishing the factors that add pollutants to the atmosphere. And its achievement of reaching a lofty 40 miles per gallon mileage with an internal combustion engine heart rather than with a highly sophisticated and costly hybrid, clean diesel or more elaborate technology tells us there really still is life in yesterday's engine type when it's tamed and tweaked to accommodate tomorrow’s vehicles.
 
With those gold star elements plus pricing that has not gone ballistic, it didn't take long to determine the 2014 Corolla was an uncompromising champion to be recognized. And so, it was name Earth, Wind & Power’s Most Earth Aware Car of the Year for 2014. 

2014 Toyota Corolla Named 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year by Road & Travel Magazine
Presenting the 2014 Most Earth Aware Car of the Year award to Bill Fay, Group VP & GM Toyota Division U.S., are Courtney Caldwell, editor, Road & Travel Magazine; and Mike Martini, president Bridgestone OE Americas, and EWP award sponsor.

In accepting the award, Bill Fay, Group Vice President and General Manager - Toyota Division, cited the company's long-time commitment to good fuel economy. "For the past 47 years, Toyota has prioritized outstanding fuel economy for the Corolla.  It’s this attention to detail that has enabled our company to sell a record 40 million Corollas worldwide," he said.
 
“With the new, 11th generation Corolla, we’ve illustrated that 40 miles per gallon can be achieved through excellent design and engineering. We are truly humbled and appreciative that Corolla has been named the 2014 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year. This award validates the efforts of our team to make Corolla the most fuel-efficient vehicle in its class.” [Full story]

04/23/2013

2013 Green Car Buyer's Guide

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2013 Green Car Buyer's Guide 

by Martha Hindes with contributions by
Bob Plunkett and
Tim Healey

Not long ago, the idea of a plug-in electric car was enough to raise lots of eyebrows. Quips circulated about a bubble-shaped car dragging an orange extension charging cord behind it like the tail of a cat, or sitting in the middle of a freeway when the AA batteries ran dry. Of course the batteries that power an electric car, or a gas-electric hybrid car for that matter, are light years beyond those that set a flashlight aglow.

But the idea behind it isn't futuristic at all. With tragedies such as Hurricane Sandy and this winter's severe snow storms in our rear view mirrors, the idea of climate change has taken on an urgency not seen in the past. And while auto companies already had gotten on the bandwagon in developing earth friendlier vehicles that could scoff at trips to the gas station or get their power from distant plants or wind farms away from urban areas, there's nothing like immediacy to get someone's attention. Look around you as you drive, and you're likely to see fuel conserving vehicles in the next lane, or down the block. To see RTM's Top 10 Picks, click here.

04/17/2012

2012 Most Earth-Friendly SUV Buyer's Guide

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2012 Green SUV Buyer's Guide by Martha Hindes

2012 Green SUV Buyer's Guide - Lighter Footprints on Land
by Martha Hindes

Let's face it. Driving isn't a color blind activity any longer. Besides the reds, blues, silvers and blacks that adorn the exterior of that new set of wheels we're coveting, green is emerging as an earth-friendly hue worthy of equal consideration. “Green” cars generally spew out fewer toxic emissions. They get more miles from the power source that propels them. And their more "bang for the buck" capability often comes from a downsized footprint.

But wait. What if you have a family of six, or you regularly haul a boatload of gear, or you need to travel on roads less friendly to tiny, subcompact autos? Or maybe you simply like riding higher than the crowd for its good visibility, feeling of security and sense of freedom? The technological geniuses who bring us those super small, environmentally friendly road runners haven't been sitting on the sidelines. While it may sound like an oxymoron, there are such things as green sport utility vehicles or their crossover utility siblings already around, with more on the near horizon. (So much for the standing "gas guzzling behemoth" jokes that are a favorite of some ecologically sensitive folks.) - Discover our Top 10 Picks for high mileage earth-friendly SUVs for 2012 - Note: If you are using Google Chrome and the fonts appear too small on our web page - go to settings at the top right (picture of wrench), left click to see drop down menu, then hit zoom to enlarge fonts.) 

01/16/2012

Ford Motor Company Named Most Earth Friendly Automaker

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2012 Earth Angel Award - Most Earth Friendly Automaker - Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company Receives
5th Annual EARTH ANGEL AWARD
as Most Earth Friendy Automaker

by Martha Hindes

Going green has become a way of life at Ford Motor Company. From company President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally to those who tend to company property and grounds, protecting the environment is a primary responsibility on a daily basis.

Those familiar with buildings near company headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan can see some of that commitment first hand, where fields of air purifying flowers bloom during summer months and a nearby production facility wears a "green" roof of plants to help purify and recycle runoff water used there.

Ford was one of the earliest companies to recognize the need for an environmentally sustainable way of doing business and to begin that transformation to achieve it. That commitment has become reflected in every Ford facility, in the materials used in production and in the atmosphere it encourages throughout the company.

In the 12th annual Ford Sustainability Report Ford put out last June, it cited progress in improving fuel economy and safety and a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and water use among its sustainable operations.

"Since 2000, our manufacturing facilities worldwide have reduced overall energy use by 40 percent, decreased CO2 emissions by 49 percent and cut water use by 62 percent," said Mulally in presenting the report. Full story.

01/07/2012

2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI Wins Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year - Most Earth Friendly

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2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI - 2012 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year - Most Earth Friendly

by Martha Hindes

With hybrid and electric autos taking the share of attention in America these days, is there room for a rebel with a cause? What about a family-sized sedan that takes a different direction from the crowd and plants its reputation solidly on the least popular auto technology, but one of the most promising to come down the interstate in a long time? What if it offered more interior room for five, at less or comparable cost, with higher mileage than its competitors down the block. That might sound like the 2012 Volkswagen Passat TDI turbo diesel.

After a year on the sidelines, the front-drive Passat is making reappearance on the national scene for 2012 with a number of changes. A noticeable transition is its switch from more limited near-luxury level status to a mainstream, competitive cost, made-in-the U.S. participant. This isn't your mother's Passat of yesterday with a hint of snob appeal and exclusivity. This newest offering is meant more for the masses. And if Volkswagen got it right, not only will it put more Passats on the road but will help to bring diesel autos to the forefront.

Diesel technology has been more rare in America than in other countries for a number of reasons. A major one is the thankfully faded memory of earlier diesel auto tailpipes that belched thick smoke while their engines grunted with the effort of climbing almost any hill. About five years ago industry regulators got serious and began phasing in mandated Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel with more stringent emissions standards that included scrubbing away those annoying bits of grit  diesels used to leave behind. Companies like VW, mostly the European brands, responded by bringing in engines that run clean and lean, while generally gaining higher mileage than their gas-fueled counterparts.

While that might seem like a pretty strong claim, let’s compare some results. The often heavily tax incentivized hybrid cars that mate gasoline engines with battery-powered electric motors have reached the 40 mpg mark and in a few cases more, after years of costly development and continuing market hype. Electric only autos coming on scene require a place to plug in. But the TDI (for turbo diesel injected) version of Passat rips off a cool 31/43 miles to the gallon of diesel fuel with manual transmission, or a no-slouch 30/40 with automatic, all riding on a 2.0-liter, 140-horsepower inline four. The Selective Catalytic Reduction System ensures this earth friendly clean diesel vehicle meets the emissions requirements of all 50 states.

Those are some of the reasons the Earth, Wind & Power award's jurors chose the Volkswagen Passat TDI as the 2012 Earth, Wind & Power Car of the Year for Most Earth Friendly.

According to Courtney Caldwell, founder and director of the awards and publisher of Earth, Wind & Power Magazine, the award determined by a field of longtime, well-known auto journalists goes to the production vehicle that contributes most to eliminating pollution and protecting the environment while providing the most exciting, pleasurable and useful driving experience around.

 “The 2012 VW Passat TDI beat out its competition by a landslide,” said Caldwell. "The vehicle not only is fuel efficient and eco-friendly, but its styling, performance, power and pricing leaves one feeling like they’re driving a high performance vehicle with no tell tale signs of lag or noise that other diesel engine vehicles tend to still leave behind." [Full story]

 

06/28/2011

The Best Fuel Efficient Hybrids on the Road

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Escape-610x
Want to invest in a new, fuel-sipping car but don't know which to choose? Consumer Reports recent run-down of fuel efficient rides was overrun with hybrid vehicles, which typically provide better fuel economy than conventional cars, but often come along with a heftier pricetag. 

However, David Champion, Senior Director ofConsumer Reports Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Conn. points out that the timely fact that "as gas prices rise, the pay-back time gets shorter."

Which hybrids made it through the magazine's real-life-testing for performance, reliability and safety to be recommended as the best in their class? 

The Toyota Prius IV hybrid sedan, priced at $24,750 and offering 44 mpg, was ranked the "Best Family Car." Coming in at $32,575 and offering 26 mpg is the "Best Small SUV," the Ford Escape Hybrid, offering roomy comfort for the adventuresome set. Lastly, for luxe driving, the Lexus HS 250h hybrid garners 31 mpg and retails for $38,939.

Are these alternative engine options on your test-drive list? If not, which hybrid is your favorite and why? 

06/23/2011

What's Old is New: The Green, Money-Saving Amish Lifestyle

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Skd283890sdc We sometimes think that going green, making our lifestyle more environmentally conscious, requires spending: buying compact fluorescent bulbs or even solar panels, maybe even trading in the old gas guzzler for a new hybrid or electric car. In our consumer culture, our default mode is to think we have to buy something in order to do something.
The truth is, you don’t have to spend the green to go green. In fact, if you start with the intent of being thrifty, you’ll probably end up making “green” choices that actually help the environment. One of the best examples of "un-consumer lifestyle" can be seen in today's Amish families, who save money—and are gloriously green—but incidentally so, with frugality a common thread in the Amish community.
 
Every product that we buy new not only costs us money, but it also has a carbon footprint: the fuel used in manufacturing it, getting it to the store, getting us to the store to buy it, and so on. Every time you decide to reuse something you already have—even if it is a yogurt container—you’re not just helping your budget, you’re helping the planet.

When it comes to greening up, why not take a cue from the Amish lifestyle? 
 
Repurpose: Find a new use for an old thing, rather than just throwing it away, to keep it out of a landfill and also cut costs. Save empty glass jars for storage, use the good fabric in worn clothing in craft projects, be creative!
 
Recycle: If your town has a recycling program, participate! But also consider recycling yourself: clean out plastic containers to reuse for food storage, swap tired-of children's toys with friends or neighbors, donate old books to the local library.
 
Garden: Like the Amish, plant a garden and put a dent in your summer grocery bill, reduce your carbon footprint, and make the world a little greener—literally. If you don’t have a green thumb, but still want to be green, buy from a local farm or farmer’s market.
 
Hand-Down: Small children don’t stay small for long, so they typically outgrow their clothes before they wear them out so consider reusing them for the next child. Most Amish families have at least half a dozen kids, so they naturally clothe the younger ones with hand-me-downs.  If your family is slightly smaller, find other families you can trade with, or at the very least, donate used clothing to charity instead of them hitting the landfill.
The Amish often say, “use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without,” to describe their thrifty lifestyle. Who knew that doing just that would also help the environment?  

Source: Money Secrets of the Amish