Smaller countries like Costa Rica are leading the way to carbon neutrality

Wind turbines on the coastline

Are larger countries in the world at a disadvantage when it comes to embracing renewable energy? In the United States, for example, the monied oil lobby has made itself clear it will do whatever it can to put stumbling blocks in the way of renewable energy being fully adopted nationally.

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launches new EcoCup for single cup coffee without the waste

Marley Coffee single serving Capsules

Coffee lovers have long embraced the single serving cup of coffee. While many love the efficiency and ease of machines such as Keurig, folks looking for more environmentally friendly alternatives have been out of luck. Until now.

Marley Coffee – a sustainably grown, ethically grown artisan coffee founded by Rohan Marley (Bob Marley’s son) – just announced its first retail shipment of  the new recyclable EcoCup, an easy-to-recycle, single-serve capsule that’s compatible with most Keurig® K-Cup® machines. The EcoCup offers great-tasting, premium coffee in a sustainable format that will dramatically reduce the amount of waste that’s normally produced by traditional capsules. Created in a strategic partnership with Mother Parkers Tea & Coffee, Marley Coffee is the first premium coffee brand to bring this sustainable solution to market, five years ahead of coffee industry giants.

Marley Coffee single serving packaging 2

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FireIce – from innovation to adoption to fight wildfires

Wildfires in CA 2015

With wildfires raging all the way up and down the West Coast, firefighters welcome every advantage they can get to successfully bring conflagrations under control.  In 2008, I profiled a then new product called FireIce (see full article below), an innovative product that’s nontoxic, biodegradable and effectively snuffs fires out.

The company that makes this great product, GelTech Solutions, today announced that FireIce High Visibility Orange, the signature product of its Wildland Fire Division, has been actively used by more than ten state and federal wildland firefighting agencies so far this season to fight over 100 fires in the U.S. and Canada. FireIce has been deployed in over 10 different types of aircraft for both initial attack, extended attack and large fire operations. It has earned the praise of pilots, tanker base managers and wildland firefighters on the ground for its superior effectiveness, ease of use and environmental friendliness. FireIce HVOF also weighs significantly less per mixed gallon than other commonly used chemicals, enhancing the safety of pilots and their aircraft.
FireIce gel

We are very pleased with the growth and adoption of FireIce in the wildland fire industry and have been fortunate to work with some outstanding agencies domestically and internationally,” stated Matt Struzziero, GelTech’s director of sales and operations.

To learn more about this remarkably simple yet effective fire suppressant, read on.

Reprinted from 2008 redding.com article

With California wildfires vividly in our minds, it’s fitting to focus on a new product that could help firefighters stop such devastation.

FireIce — a potassium-based polymer that, when mixed with water, becomes a gel that stops fires cold — could soon make its California debut.

California’s 2,096 wildfires burned more than 1.2 million acres, destroyed 2,000 homes and caused at least 15 deaths. Shasta and Trinity counties saw more than $55 million in damage. Gel Tech Solutions, the Florida-based company that makes FireIce, wants to dramatically reduce such statistics.

Created eight years ago by Peter Cordani, chief technology officer of Gel Tech Solutions, FireIce is nontoxic, noncorrosive and biodegradable. Designed to fight wildfires, this product can be sprayed on vegetation and homes. Sprayed ahead of a fire, it creates an effective fire break. Sprayed on “hot spots,” it instantly snuffs out flames, preventing them from recurring, company officials said.

Tom Strenta of GelTech said once the fire is over, simply hose things down and FireIce dissolves. Its formula then enhances tree and brush growth.

FireIce was tested by one of the largest independent laboratories in the United States (Southwest Research Institute of San Antonio). FireIce also tested effective against fires from rubber, tires, gasoline and diesel fuel, company officials said.

“This product can mean the difference between first- and third-degree burns or between life and death,” Strenta said.

FireIce - Filling Fire Trucks

When Cordani recently saw Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger talking about the wildfires’ devastation on TV, he traveled to California and attempted to see the governor in Sacramento. Unsuccessful, he was eventually referred to San Diego’s Intermountain Fire Department.

Intermountain Battalion Chief Jeremy Christofferson said, “I’ve been dreaming of a product like this.”

At a recent green tech exposition in Los Angeles, Cordani gave a demonstration of FireIce. He aimed a fully lit acetylene torch at an uncoated piece of wood, which burst into flame. He then dipped his hand in a bucket of FireIce gel and turned the torch on his hand. As viewers gasped, nothing happened. His hand was cold; no nasty burns.

But before California’s firefighters can benefit from the product, it must still undergo more testing and be certified through the Department of Forestry. Once it passes, a number of agencies must sign off on it. These oversight groups include OSH-TAC, the state Fire Marshal’s Office, the National Wildlife Coordinating Group and the National Fire Protection Administration, whose guidelines firefighters adhere to.

FireIce demonstrates that it protects and stops flames cold

FireIce demonstrates that it protects and stops flames cold

This entire process takes up to 18 months. But there’s a silver lining. In cases of extreme emergency, Cal Fire can “use any product that’s useful for fire suppression activities,” said Dave Ault, deputy chief of operations for Cal Fire’s North Region in Redding, California.

This product may get that chance. A fire recently broke out in the San Diego area, and Cal Fire’s Assistant Chief Kevin O’Leary authorized dropping FireIce if the fire worsened.

Using gel as a fire suppressant isn’t new, Ault said. It’s one of four standard methods already used. It’s used in firefighting aircraft, but it’s been too difficult to get the proportions right to use in firetrucks, he said.

FireIce Plant Application

FireIce requires no special equipment or mixing. One 50-pound bag will fill a typical 500-gallon fire truck. Just add water.

The price is appealing. Other methods cost from $4 to $20 a gallon (Editor’s note: these prices may be out of date). FireIce’s 60 cents a gallon cost could cut California’s firefighting expenses.

“If (FireIce) simplifies things, if it has the same characteristics of other products and costs less,” Ault said, it could be more readily accepted.

“I see a future for these products as a suppression tool,” Ault said.

Will Costa Rica be the first carbon neutral country?

Costa Rica pic

Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean, Costa Rica teams with biodiversity, stunning beauty and contradictions. With a national motto of “Pura Vida!”, it’s also committed to sustainability.

Costa Rica is striving to become the first nation certified carbon neutral by 2021. Currently it’s within twenty percent of achieving this, but must deal with some large challenges first.

Costa Rica, a country with a big vision, is also a country full of contradictions . To learn more about its sustainable tourism, its pesticide use, efforts in sea turtle conservation and its success with reforestation, click here.

Buyers beware – organics from China may be hazardous to our health

Walmart misrepresents products as Organic - againThe demand for organic foods continues to grow. But should we blithely accept something that’s USDA certified as safe?

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Homelessness Workshop Opens a Larger Dialogue

Editors Note:    Although this story is local to northern California, the issues are so widespread and important, they’re relevant to just about every community. Perhaps there’s useful information that can benefit yours.

Homeless man

According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, in 2014. 578,424 people were homeless in our country. Almost 136,000 of those were children under 18.

Some cities have taken on homelessness and are being successful. Over the past five years, Fresno has reduced homelessness by 50 percent. Over the past 10 years, Salt Lake City has seen homelessness drop sigsignificantly. It recently announced it had successfully ended chronic veteran homelessness as well.

Redding (California) Councilwoman Kristen Schreder is passionate about finding real solutions to homelessness. On Thursday, July 16th, around 60 participants attended a workshop she hosted to brainstorm ideas that could provide answers and a clear path towards reducing our homeless population. Continue reading

Organic hair care packaged sustainably too

Evolvh logo

For those of us who want to live green lifestyles, every product we use is scrutinized. How green is it really?

I’ve written before about EVOLVh, a hair care line I’ve been using for almost five years. Made with 80 percent or more organic ingredients, these products are top quality, sulfate, paraben and sodium chloride free, reasonably priced and great for just about every hair type, including color treated.

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