Category Archives: Green Biz

Q&A on Wine And Climate Change – Coppola on Donner

These questions were submitted by reader Sara Coppola to Paige Donner, Founding Editor of the Green Blog Network Local Food And Wine and Producer-Director of the documentary work-in-progress, Wine And Climate Change:
Q: Sara Coppola:  Paige, you’re embarking on a new important and insightful project: the “Wine & Climate Change” Documentary; a project that stems from your great interest and involvement in environmental causes and your previous research on issues concerning global agricultural security.
When did you first start to get involved with environmental projects and how?
A: Paige Donner:  My enthusiasm for protecting the environment stems from having grown up on a Pacific Island and in California, alternatively. My brother and I would spend part of the year with my father in California where we would camp, hike, go on vineyard treks in Napa and Santa Barbara where my grandmother lived…and then with my mother in Guam and Hawai’i where we were raised like earth-bound dolphins – when we weren’t SCUBA diving we were surfing or swimming or water-skiing.  Continue reading

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Paris Velib’ Passion

By Paige Donner

The Velib’ bicycle program in Paris celebrated its one millionth bicycle voyage last month. If you’re not yet familiar with Paris’s city-sponsored bicycle program, it’s such an innovative and “green travel” program in the form of a public transportation service, that the Velib’, in and of itself, is a reason to visitParis.

There’s good news, too: The already efficient and economical tariffs to rent one of the Velib’ bicycles just got even cheaper and more efficient.

The Mairie de Paris (Paris City Hall) has made Velib’s more easily accessible for tourists and visitors. The price of a Velib’ for day use is now the same cost as a Metro ticket: EURO 1.70. And the price for 7 days access for use of a Velib’ is 5 to 8 Euros with the first 30 minutes of use free. You can get your Velib’ tickets on the internet at http://velib.paris.fr and also at the Mobile Kiosks that you find at every Velib’ station which provide instructions in English. It’s a great alternative to hopping on a bus or the metro or walking everywhere.

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Click to download the sector maps of Velib’ Stations.


Since the Velib’ stations are nearly as numerous in the city as the Metro stations, most people can get where they need to go within a half an hour, drop off the bicycle, and pick up another one for their return voyage after their rendezvous. If you go over the half-hour time allotment per session (not per day), you pay for the extra time starting at 1 Euro for an extra half-hour.

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Environmentalists Honored For Extraordinary Efforts

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By Gina Hall
[Gina is a USC Film School Graduate. She works with Global Green USA and is a guest blogger for the Green Blog Network.]
Environmental nonprofit Global Green USA celebrated its 15th annual Millennium Awards at a star-studded fundraising gala at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica on Saturday. Celebrity guests and presenters included Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christopher Guest, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr and Adrian Grenier. 
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One of the evening’s high-profile honorees was actor Mark Ruffalo, recently nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Kids are Alright. Actress Laura Dern presented Ruffalo with his honor for his work to eliminate the controversial hydraulic fracturing, a.k.a., “hydrofracking,” a chemical process that fractures shale in order to retrieve oil and natural gas. The process, as seen in the Oscar-nominated documentary Gasland, has been shown to contaminate water supplies to the point of becoming flammable. Ruffalo has testified before Congress, arguing for a ban on the practice and has started his own foundation, Water Defense, to educate the public on the dangers of hydrofracking.

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Ed Begley, Jr. was also among the honorees, for his work to inspire others to create a more sustainable world. Featured on the reality program, Living with Ed, the actor and Studio City resident has become associated with the ultimate in green living – even going as far as generating power for his home via stationary bicycle.  Other honorees included the Los Angeles Business Council for their work to encourage the use of solar power in the city, and Wendy Schmidt, founder of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X Prize. 
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“Thanks to our sponsors, including Sprint, 360 Vodka and dozens more, Global Green raised over $470,000 to support our local and national initiatives,” noted Global Green’s Communications Director Ruben Aronin. 

“We are so excited to celebrate the impressive achievements of our 2011 Millennium Awards Honorees,” said Global Green President and CEO Matt Petersen. “It’s particularly auspicious to celebrate these leaders as World Environment Day approaches and we mark the one-year countdown to the Rio Earth Summit in 2012, when our global leaders will gather to make commitments to make our world more sustainable. Global Green will be marshaling its supporters to call for local and community-based approaches to solving climate change, including creating greener cities, schools and affordable housing for families.”

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Film Review: Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives

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By Gina Hall
[Guest Blogger Gina Hall has a Film Degree from USC. Her day job is with Global Green USA in Santa Monica]

The documentary Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives: The Environmental Footprint of War is a shocking revelation of the long-term environmental impact of America’s wars over the past century and isn’t for those with a weak stomach or who want to pretend we’re always the good guys. From hundreds of sunken World War II ships slowly leaking oil, to Agent Orange, to land-mines and cluster bombs that still litter a landscape, the film highlights America’s lasting legacy in the war zones we’ve left behind after declaring “mission accomplished.”Filmmakers Alice and Lincoln Day feature several expert talking-heads who guide the narrative matter-of-factly through our various assaults on the lands in which we wage war. It’s not an entertaining documentary, it doesn’t use animation or clever editing to engage. It has facts and visual evidence on its side. And if the melted faces of children affected by Agent Orange or the landmine-mangled foot of an elephant doesn’t viscerally affect you, then you have a harder heart than mine.

A statistic the film cites is that prior to the past hundred years 90 percent of war victims were combatants and 10 percent were civilians. Now it is the reverse, with 90 percent of victims being civilians to 10 percent actual combatants. The total body counts may be lower, but the documentary makes clear the human costs of spreading “freedom.” In addition there’s the toll on our coral reefs, water supply, soil, air and just about everything else we need to sustain life on Earth. There’s a cringe-worthy moment of footage of a U.S. armed forces official selling the natives around Bikini Atoll on their important contribution to humanity in allowing nuclear bomb tests near their homes.

It becomes clear that people in these conflict areas don’t hate us, as Bush said, because of our freedom, they hate us because we’re assholes. We seem to have a bad habit of bombing, consuming resources, salting the earth and moving on. The film doesn’t look to place blame on our men and women in the armed services, but does shine a light on economic policies that put them there. With documentaries like this, it’s getting harder and harder for our government to sell war as the humanitarian act of liberation.  If you have to see the proof for yourself, the images are here and they’re not easy to look at.

The film is being aired locally around the country, is available for screenings and on DVD. For more information visit www.scarredlandsfilm.org

Photo Credit: Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives

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Calculate Travel Carbon Emissions

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Paige Donner is an Eco Luxury Writer

SHELBURNE, Vt., May 12, 2011 (BUSINESS WIRE) –

MasterCard and Brighter Planet today announced a new program to help make travel carbon emissions analysis easier – and more accurate – for the businesses worldwide that use MasterCard corporate cards.

The Carbon Emissions Reporting program will initially be launched in the United States later this year.

Developed in response to the nearly 80 percent of companies expressing an interest in green travel initiatives, the MasterCard Carbon Emissions Reporting feature represents the first time that automatic reporting and analysis of estimated travel-related carbon emissions data will be available to corporate cardholders based on their card transactions.

“We continue to innovate and expand our enhanced data initiatives to help businesses more efficiently manage their corporate card programs and meet current and future analytical needs,” said Jay Singer, group head of U.S. Commercial Products at MasterCard Worldwide. “This collaboration with Brighter Planet will help companies with MasterCard corporate card programs continue to evaluate the impact their travel activities and corporate buying decisions have on their broader sustainability initiatives.”

Increased Focus on Corporate Environment Impact

With consumers and businesses alike becoming more sensitive about costs as well as carbon footprints, the launch comes at a critical time. According to the National Business Travel Association, U.S. business travel generates $240 billion in annual spending.

The Carbon Emissions Reporting program provides access to new data that is increasingly valued by companies as they strive to benchmark sustainability goals and initiatives, confront sustainability standards on their supply chains, and address the environmental concerns of stakeholders. The new initiative represents a novel model, implemented on an unprecedented scale.

“Our work with MasterCard is about giving companies deeper insights on travel purchasing so they can make smarter decisions,” said Patti Prairie, CEO of Brighter Planet. “Travel is a huge driver of costs and carbon emissions – as much as 30 or 40 percent of total operations for some companies.”

Sustainability in Action

Detailed estimated data on flights, rental cars, hotels and other travel purchases will be automatically processed by Brighter Planet’s CM1 calculation platform, which will integrate carbon scores into MasterCard smartdata.gen2(TM), MasterCard’s industry-leading, web-based expense management and reporting solution. The carbon scoring, which uses independently validated, standards-compliant calculation methodologies, will let companies benchmark, track, compare, and report various emissions metrics across organizational divisions.

“The MasterCard Carbon Emissions Reporting program is a remarkable step forward in accelerating the availability of information for companies on their carbon footprint,” said Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, a leading coalition of investors and environmental groups working on sustainability issues. “As we all know, in the business world, what gets measured gets managed.

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>Gavin Newsom Lays Out Green Agenda for California

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