Archive for the ‘Tips & Resources’ category

Showtime Gets Real: Years of Living Dangerously

April 4th, 2014

Years of Living Dangerously

On Sunday, April 13, Showtime will premiere a new documentary series that promises to bring climate change to life like we’ve never seen before.

In short, Years of Living Dangerously will chronicle how human activities impact global climate change, and in turn, how climate change impacts all of humanity. From deforestation to extreme droughts, superstorms to civil war, correspondents such as Harrison Ford and Matt Damon investigate the human stories behind a changing climate—demanding the truth and exposing the harsh realities that have come to bare.

Powered by a passionate team of executive producers—including James Cameron, Jerry Weintraub, and Arnold Schwarzenegger—the show deems climate change “the biggest story of our time” and reminds us that it’s not just about melting ice and polar bears: climate change is a people story.

With the recent release of a new report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the current and future effects of climate change have never been clearer: human-caused warming is impacting lives and livelihoods.

We also know that poor and underrepresented populations will be hit hardest by these impacts, and Global Green continues to engage these communities in the fight against climate change through inclusive policy, green building for low-income housing, and resiliency initiatives in disaster-stricken neighborhoods.

After 20 years of working to implement and advance smart, scalable solutions to climate change, we applaud Showtime for sparking the conversation through this powerful medium.

Climate change is about people—and it’s time for people everywhere to step up and take action. Join us on Twitter and Facebook and support our work here.

Watch the first full episode free starting Monday, April 7 on


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This Valentine’s Day, #ItsTheLittleThings

February 14th, 2014


Global Green USA supports smart, scalable solutions to climate change. From sustainable neighborhood development to green schools to forward-thinking legislation, we champion the projects and policies that will help ensure a more sustainable and secure future.

But today—on Valentine’s Day—it’s all about the little things. It’s the small smile you share with a stranger, helping someone cross the street, or surprising a friend with a favor that shows others that we care. And while Valentine’s Day is dedicated to celebrating the people we love, we’re taking some time to celebrate the little things that show our love for something we all share—our planet.

Here are a few little things you can do—today and everyday:

  • Recycle and compost
  • Plant a garden and learn—or teach someone—about growing food
  • Bring reusable bags to the super market
  • Ride a bike to work
  • Walk instead of hailing a cab or driving
  • Take public transportation whenever possible
  • Turn off or adjust the thermostat when you leave the house
  • Switch to more energy efficient light bulbs
  • Buy products with recycled content
  • Take shorter showers (or start taking showers if you currently take baths)
  • Buy organic and local produce
  • Switch to reusable water bottles
  • Minimize disposables
  • Unplug your phone and laptop chargers when they’re not in use
  • Get outdoors!
  • Give to Global Green USA

Each little thing you do makes a difference.  Thanks for being part of the global value shift we need to create a more sustainable and secure future.

Tell us what little things you do! #ItsTheLittleThings

School Garden Design Charrette with The Captain Planet Foundation

January 31st, 2014

green team 2

Over 450 schools entered our Green School Makeover Competition last year, with an exceptional list of finalists! Northwest Collegiate Academy, a top 10 finalist, has been awarded a school garden thanks to the generous donation of a “learning garden” from the Captain Planet Foundation.

Global Green staff is now working to facilitate the planning and building process with Northwest Collegiate Academy’s student Green Team and Captain Planet Foundation’s Kyla Zaro-Moore. Last week, we hosted a cyber design charrette to help the Green Team brainstorm potential partners, outline goals for the garden project, and learn about garden design specific to their school site.

Madeline Ruzak 2Kyla helped guide the Green Team students through this process, including her “steps to creating a school garden”:

  • Seek admin approval
  • Create a support network
  • Identify goals and curriculum links
  • Design the garden
  • Identify supplies and funding needs
  • Obtain supplies and funding
  • Plant the garden
  • Maintain the garden
  • Sustain the garden

Here are a few tips we picked up for our Global Green followers:

current potted plants1. Sunlight is an important resource to keep in mind when planning the location of your garden. Kyla suggests tracking sunlight in a potential location using chalk lines every hour. This will help to estimate how much sunlight and shade the plants will receive.

2. Raised beds are a great option for many schools because they can be installed directly over pavement. The beds must be at least 18” deep and can utilize recycled or reclaimed materials to build walls.

3. Rain barrels can help capture and store rain water for watering your plants. Schools can often find low-cost or free barrels from local manufacturing facilities; however, you will want to ensure the barrel is “food grade” (no harmful chemicals stored in them previously). If you capture rainwater off of a tar roof, you’ll want to make sure you use a “first flush” device that will prevent contamination of your stored rainwater.

4. You can create a low-cost temporary/movable garden by clustering several 5 gallon buckets with a variety of plants. This process will help you determine which plants will thrive in your location, and serves as a good “test” method before garden installation.

5. Northwest Academy’s Green Team will engage their elementary school partners to create a peer education program using the Captain Planet Foundation resources. The Captain Planet Foundation features lesson plans for elementary age students on their website here and a great list of resources here.

Recycling Rangers: Global Green Serves as Mentor in USGBC Louisiana Green Schools Challenge

January 9th, 2014

Global Green Recycling Ranger starAs part of USGBC Louisiana’s Green Schools Challenge, Global Green USA’s New Orleans office is serving as a mentor for Hynes Charter School.  Each school participating in the challenge selects an environmental issue (i.e. energy usage, waste reduction) and receives help from a mentor organization to develop a project that addresses the issue while involving students and educating them about environmental stewardship.

For third grade French immersion teacher Alex Lelarge, high paper usage has been a key concern in his classroom. So, we partnered with the Hynes Charter School teacher and his students to promote reusing and recycling paper, as well as other recyclable materials the school normally sends to landfill.

Step 1: Train Our First Class of Recycling Rangers

During our first visit to Mr. Lelarge’s classroom, we gave an introductory lesson about waste and recycling by explaining what can and cannot be recycled, and why we should care – emphasizing the “4 R’s”: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Respect. (Or, since these students speak French, en francais: Réduis, Réutilise, Recycle, Respecte.) Next, we asked the students to create rough draft posters showing what they learned.

Global Green Recycling Rangers

The lesson culminated with the entire class pledging to serve as Hynes Charter School Recycling Rangers:

“I pledge to do my part to recycle at home and at school.

I also pledge to reduce waste and reuse items.

I know that the Earth’s resources are limited, and that by recycling, we make sure there will be a future where there will be trees, clean air, and clean water.

I also pledge to help my family and friends recycle as much as they can and to tell people about how important it is to recycle.” 

Global Green Recycling Rangers 2

Step 2: Check In With Our Recycling Ranger Recruits!

Two weeks later, Global Green returned to Mr. Lelarge’s classroom to sort through the recycling and trash bins and to answer any questions the students came up with. Overall, they did pretty well!

After this refresher, the Recycling Rangers broke into groups to create final drafts of their posters – making large, colorful versions that will be posted throughout the school to remind other students (and teachers!) how to recycle.

While we were working with the students, Mr. Lelarge worked with administration to negotiate a recycling contract with their current waste haulers. As a result, Hynes now has school-wide recycling pick up twice per week, plus a waste contract that costs less than their original landfill-only contract!

Step 3: Recruit more Rangers!

Now trained Recycling Rangers, Mr. Lelarge’s class took a leadership role and trained the other two third grade classes about the “4 R’s” and the environment.  After presenting their posters and answering their peers’ questions, the Rangers helped the other third graders make additional “how-to” recycling posters that will go up around the school.

These two classes then took the Recycling Ranger pledge and were given their badges. Hynes Charter School is now home to 75 Recycling Rangers ready to train the rest of the school on how to recycle!

Global Green Recycling Rangers 3

Global Green’s New Orleans office will continue to work with Hynes and the Recycling Rangers throughout the USGBC Louisiana Green Schools Challenge to facilitate the implementation of their school-wide recycling program.

A huge thank you to Mr. Lelarge and his class for their dedication and hard work.  Go Rangers!


BigApps for the Big Apple

June 20th, 2013

Global Green Advises on “Green” Mobile Apps for NYC Competition

Can mobile apps reduce food waste? Maybe

Can mobile apps reduce food waste? Maybe

Can mobile apps reduce food waste? Maybe! Matt de la Houssaye, from Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CoRR), advised on the development of mobile apps that would reduce food waste in the New York City’s BigApps Competition. It is the fourth annual contest from the New York City Economic Development Corp. for software developers and members of the public to create web or mobile applications using City data to solve big issues that affect New Yorkers. Matt advised on the development of apps designed to help the over 100 restaurants participating in New York City’s Food Waste Challenge measure and track their food waste, as well as the broader “Cleanweb: Energy, Environment, and Resilience” category

“It is great to be working with experts in mobile technology and software,” said Matt, an expert advisor in the competition. “We’re one of the subject matter experts advising on the competition. This helps provide the connection from the virtual world to the real world.”

In the commercial food waste challenge, announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg April 25, more than 100 New York City restaurants have pledged to reduce the food waste they send to landfills by 50% through composting and other waste prevention strategies. Matt advised the MintScraps app, which calculates the financial benefits of reducing food waste, and another app called WasteCheck that provides improvements in the ease of data collection. WasteCheck facilitates this goal through an online log that allows restaurants to enter their daily records for food waste by specifying type and quantity of waste, and to then view graphs indicating waste trends.

“Our app makes it very easy to record and track data – in this case your waste stream – whether it’s measured in bags, pounds, or cubic yards,” said Mike Brown, who is one of the developers of the app. “The use of a mobile app eliminates the extra step of having to remember or record data back at the office. Moving forward, we’d like to add the ability to attach pictures along with your data.”

Within the broader “Cleanweb: Energy, Environment, and Resilience” category, Matt advised the teams developing the Biketrain and Sparkrelief apps. Biketrain would connect bicyclists to each other and allow them to create and join bike trains. Sparkrelief aims to notify people of environmental disasters anywhere in the world and connect them to disaster relief centers. He familiarized the team with Global Green’s Solar for Sandy project, which aims to install solar-powered systems in community centers in areas damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Global Green’s first Solar for Sandy partnership was with the Rockaway Beach Surf Club in Far Rockaway, New York.

Teams were solving marketplace inefficiencies, improving resource-related data collection, and even using sensors to make web connected hardware,” said Sameer Rashid, a founding team member of the Cleanweb Initiative, an organization that aims to spread the use of information technology to address resource challenges, such as sustainability, and a partner at Pure Energy Partners. Both were organizers of the Big Apps Competition.

Matt explained some advantages of apps, which he called “the ultimate data collectors,” in implementing medium and large scale projects, such as ones relating to engaging in composting and solar energy. He said they help engage the critical number of participants needed, provide an easier way to collect data, can connect the user to larger web applications, and create greater transparency.

“Apps and web-based interfaces can take large amounts of data and provide them on one’s cell phone,” he said. “Does the restaurant I’m eating at compost their food waste? Is the food local? With the right data sets and the right user interface, large sets of information can be just one click away.”

CoRR is showcasing the best apps on composting and recycling at its monthly teleconferences. WasteCheck has won a cash prize sponsored Action Carter Environmental Services, a CoRR member organization, as the best food waste app in the competition. The winning app of the“Cleanweb: Energy, Environment, and Resilience” was Solarlist, an app that provides students and young entrepreneurs with a tool to inform homeowners about their options for using solar power. The homeowners are then subsequently referred to a network of solar installers.

“We believe the Cleanweb will create better value and choices for consumers and businesses that also happen to be cleaner,” said Sameer Rashid. “We’re very pleased that the New York City Economic Development Corporation and excellent partners like Global Green are working to realize this potential.”

Your Green Corner: Sprouts Growing Sprouts

March 12th, 2012

sharon_grandkids_planting_seedsShowing by example and sharing are among the best ways to teach kids. Sharon Williams from our Santa Monica office shared this photo of her grandchildren, whom she teaches lessons on taking care of Planet Earth when they visit her.

“I showed them how to plant seeds and start their own garden. A week later, it’s spouting and they are so excited,” she said. She’s teaching them to eat right too; they’re watering organic lettuce in this photo.

The next lesson, she says, is: “Why we should not use plastic bags and the dangers they cause.”

Green Oscar Party Planning Tips

February 24th, 2012

bl_organic_winesIf you’re throwing an Oscar-viewing party, make it green one. We had our annual Pre-Oscar Party this week and made it eco-friendly with food, drinks, decor, and more. Here are a few things you can do to green your own party.

Pop it right. You don’t need to buy those microwave popcorn laced with chemicals that are not good for you or the environment. Pop your own microwave popcorn with this Alton Brown recipe or use a good old-fashioned air popper.

Prepare film-inspired food: We have foodie friends who serve bites or full-on meals inspired by the nominated films. You could make Southern food for “The Help” with Food & Wine recipes inspired by the film; organic hot dogs for the baseball flick “Moneyball” (in California, we’re lucky to have delicious Let’s Be Frank dogs); or French bistro food (hard to go wrong with Julia Child) for “Midnight in Paris” — you get the idea. Adapt any favorite recipe by using organic and locally sourced ingredients.

Toast without toxins: Choose beverages made with organic ingredients and without artificial colors, flavors and other bad-for-you-and-the-planet fillers. (Hint: look at the label and see if you recognize what’s listed.) Pictured, organic and biodynamic wines we served at the Global Green Pre-Oscar Party this week. We also prepared a specialty cocktail at our Pre-Oscar Party using organic vodka (recipe here).

Make it a party for a cause: Our friends at Inlu have an electronic invitation tool and created a special invite for us that lets you ask invited guests to make a contribution to Global Green to help fund our projects.

Valentine’s Day: Flowers To Keep

February 14th, 2012

valentines_orchid_ginaGina at work received this beautiful orchid today for Valentine’s Day. We crowded around to see, like co-workers do whenever flowers arrive, and she told us how she schooled her fiance on the sustainability of flower-giving — after he sent her roses last year. He chose sustainably this time with an orchid that was locally grown. And it will last. Lovely!

Green Gridiron: Organic Super Bowl Food & Drinks

February 3rd, 2012

bl_football_chips_bowlSome people watch the Super Bowl for the game, others for the commercials and half-time show, still others for the opportunity to nosh on delicious and often decadent food and drinks. Me, I’m watching for all of the above. I’m hoping the Giants kick butt, Madonna gives us “Holiday,” at least one commercial makes me laugh out loud — and I get a seat at my friend’s Super Bowl party within easy reach of the food table. Below, a couple of recipes to help you green your Super Bowl party menu.

Chips and Salsa
Green salsa, coming right up. Try Jerry James Stone’s Kiwi and Jalapeno Salsa with organic, non-GMO tortilla chips.

My friend Spencer is a chef and has a delicious recipe for spicy wings. Be sure the chicken you use is free-range and organic.

I’ve worked on fine-tuning my chili recipe, which is hearty and always a crowd-pleaser. It can be made without the meat for vegetarians (just double the beans).

Sweet Treats
To show my allegiance to the NY Giants, I’m making an apple dessert (you know, the Big Apple?). Here’s a recipe for a simple baked apple dessert I make with organic apples from my local farmer’s market.

Local and organic choices are always best. In LA, The Bruery is a nearby brewery with a selection of bottled beers available in Whole Foods. Good options for organic California wine come from Sunstone, Alma Rosa, and Casa Barranca. I also love Santa Cruz Organic juices and sparkling drinks.

Find more Super Bowl recipes and food and drink ideas from The Daily Green, Inhabitat, Ecorazzi, and Mother Nature Network.

It was pointed out that guacamole was left off this post earlier (egads!) and Jerry James Stone kinded tweeted us his grilled avocado guacamole recipe.

Your Green Corner: Recycled DIY Ornaments

December 9th, 2011



Sharon in our Santa Monica office put on her Santa hat to decorate for the holidays this week. Pictured here on the tree in our entryway: light bulbs painted by Allison, a former super-intern who now works with us part-time. We guess that many of you have already switched your light bulbs to more energy-efficient CFLs, but what else are you tossing in the trash and sending to a landfill that could be transformed into a reusable decoration for the tree? Find DIY ideas galore on the web; start with Threadbanger, Instructables, and the always crafty Martha Stewart.