Thursday, November 18, 2010

Don't Let Your Heating Bill Ruin Your Holidays

As winter sets in and temperatures drop, our home energy costs tend to rise. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 50% of the energy used in a typical American home is for heating and cooling the air. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans will spend good money to heat their homes, only to have the warm air escape through poorly sealed attics with inadequate insulation. You can remedy that situation by conducting a do-it-yourself home energy audit. Visit the Department of Energy website at http://tinyurl.com/m2dh2a for tips on:
• Locating air leaks
• Insulation
• Heating & cooling equipment
• Lighting
Take control of your energy bill this winter, and save money while doing your part to conserve natural resources.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Go Green Initiative for School Leaders

Everything your teacher, principal and superintendent need to know about "going green" at your school!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What I Want for Veterans’ Day


I’m a Navy Veteran. To some degree, I appreciate all the people and companies who are filling my inbox today with generic spam and ads that have “Thank You to our Veterans” in the subject line, and a variety of promotions and discounts they are offering to “honor my service”. It’s nice that these folks have Veterans on their minds this weekend, but honestly, if you are going to take the time to send me an email or conduct a sale, why don’t you ask me what I really want for Veterans’ Day? Don’t assume I want a mattress sale, a furniture sale, or a discount on my meal. If you really want to honor Veterans, ask us what we want. Here’s what I want for Veterans’ Day:


• A pair of pants
• A shirt
• A warm coat
• Some underwear
• Some socks
• Some shoes
• A job
• To be treated nicely if you meet me on the street


I don’t need any of those things for myself, but yesterday I spent the morning with homeless Veterans at the VA Clinic in San Francisco. They, and Veterans of all ages across the U.S., need the items listed above, and if you give these things to them, you’re giving them to me, as well.


And I’m not just concerned about homeless Veterans, because there are Wounded Warriors who are on the verge of losing everything who need help, too. I’ve been talking with a medically retired Special Ops Army Sgt who lives in North Carolina. Before he was called back on to active duty in 2001, he owned a multi-million dollar wireless internet connection business. But he was wounded in Baghdad in 2004, leaving him with seizures; memory, hearing, and vision loss; 60% loss of lung function; limited ability to walk and stand…and little hope. He’s the father of four kids, and from the 10th of each month until his paycheck arrives on the 1st of the following month, they cannot afford groceries, so they ration MRE’s (meals ready to eat) from an Army surplus store to get by.


No amount of emails and sales circulars thanking me for my service can make me feel good about Veterans’ Day when one of my brothers in arms is living this way.


Sometimes it seems like a million years ago when I wore a Navy uniform as a young mom, and did my best to “lead” sailors. I loved every minute of being on active duty, and even when my sailors were acting like knuckleheads in ways that only sailors can accomplish, I loved ‘em and they were precious to me. It breaks my heart to see the way some of our soldiers, sailors and Marines are living on Veterans’ Day, but I believe that together, we can help them. Let that be our mission this Veterans’ Day and beyond.


If you really want to thank a Veteran for his or her service, contact me at jillbuck[at]Comcast.net, and I’ll help you find a way to make a meaningful contribution in your area. With any luck, I’ll be so inundated with emails that it make take me a week or two to get back to you, but I will get back to you.


Thank you in advance for your service to those who served.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Go Green Initiative for School Leaders

Everything your teacher, principal, superintendent and school board needs to know about "going green" at your school...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Veterans Green Jobs...Empowering Vets to Restore our Environment, Economy and Communities


Give them the tools, the training, and a mission – these Veterans have what it takes to help America transition to a green, clean economy.

On this week’s episode of Go Green Radio (Friday, August 13, 9a.m. PST/Noon EST on www.VoiceAmerica.com), we’ll talk with Garrett Reppenhagen, former sniper in the Army’s 1st Infantry Division stationed in Iraq, and now the head of the Veterans Green Corps, overseeing teams of Veterans who are working outdoors to clean up wetlands, conducting forest fire mitigation projects, building woodland trails, and preserving our national parks.

The Veterans Green Jobs (http://veteransgreenjobs.org) is a national 501©3 organization that is training Veterans to work in the solar energy field, to conduct energy efficiency retrofits in low income housing, and to help lower the urban heat island effect by planting trees in densely populated areas. The Veterans involved in these green jobs are deeply committed to serving their country, and understand that preserving our natural resources and becoming energy independent are two critical undertakings for the U.S. in the 21st century. I urge all Go Green Radio listeners to visit their website and support them in any way you can.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe...



5 Easy Tips to Green the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) of your Home & Business to protect your health and improve your workforce’s productivity
1. Use “green” cleaning products and techniques to reduce harmful effects of unhealthy chemical exposure.
2. Properly maintain your HVAC system to ensure good indoor air quality.
3. When painting, replacing carpeting or furniture, use products with low VOC emissions.
4. Use task lighting in work areas to decrease energy use and increase human comfort.
5. Provide opportunities for your family and/or employees to have indoor plants that create healthy air quality in their personal breathing space. The peace lily is my top pick – it filters toxins from the air very effectively, and most important, is almost impossible to kill even if you have a brown thumb.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fast Company Contributor, Trung Le, Talks Education & Environment


According to this week’s Go Green Radio guest, more than half of the world’s population currently lives in an urban environment, and that number is expected to rise to 70% by the year 2050. In his most recent article for Fast Company, Trung Le writes, “These urban centers are supported by a diversity of interconnected systems and infrastructure that enhance the human condition (i.e. employment, culture, housing, education, transportation, public safety, healthcare, energy and technology)… But there is always a weak link, and in this instance, the weakest link in many of the leading urban economies is preK-12 education. Education is critical to a thriving urban center, so why are urban education systems in distress? Better yet: What can we do to change this fate? What does an urban preK-12 physical environment look like in the third millennium?” According to Le, creating sustainable schools that follow the International Living Building Institute guidelines is a critical component in answering these questions. Tune in to Go Green Radio this week to learn more about how Trung Le is helping to put this theory into practice at an urban school in Chicago. The show airs live at 9 a.m. Pacific on www.VoiceAmerica.com.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Introducing Planet Connect – a program from the National Environmental Education Foundation

The National Environmental Education Foundation, in partnership with The Weather Channel, has launched Classroom Earth, a program designed to enhance and strengthen environmental education in high school classrooms nationwide. Planet Connect, a program of Classroom Earth, targets high school youth in an effort to increase student engagement in environmental learning, stimulate interest in environmental careers, and learn how to protect the environment. Planet Connect was developed with input from a diverse group of students from around the country who have helped to design the Planet Connect Web site, www.planetconnect.org and the Planet Connect High School Grants. This week on Go Green Radio, we’ll be talking with David Lanham who just finished a highly successful student video contest for Planet Connect. The winning videos can be found on the Go Green Initiative YouTube Channel: http://tinyurl.com/2fhtq2h.


Tune in to the live interview on Friday, July 2, at 9 a.m. Pacific/Noon Eastern on www.VoiceAmerica.com, or download the podcast when the show is archived at: http://tinyurl.com/yzhyjdc


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Shanghai Elementary Students Totally Grasp "Green"


I recently made a whirlwind trip to Shanghai, where I spoke at Ignite Shanghai ; attended reThink Shanghai (hosted by one of my favorite international entrepreneurs, Christine Lu ); hung out with Geeks on a Plane (see CNN international’s coverage - ;talked with one of the coolest eco-chicks ever,Leah Lamb , about sustainability in China (see the video thanks to What Gives ); saw the World Expo ; and best of all, got to spend an afternoon at YK Pao Elementary School in downtown Shanghai [See the pictures I took: ]

I spent several hours on campus talking with the principal, vice principal, numerous teachers and parent leaders. While the existing campus is a beautiful oasis of playgrounds and greenery amidst the heart of downtown Shanghai, there are plans in the works for a new campus built for optimal environmental performance. The new school will be a learning laboratory where children learn to live sustainably.
One of the things that impressed me most about the adults on campus was their firm commitment to being good role models of environmentally responsible behaviors to the kids. Environmental education isn’t just about curriculum, though they have developed some of the best I’ve seen, it’s about providing the children with examples of adults who conserve natural resources, coupled with frequent opportunities for the children to imitate what they see.

Clearly, the lessons are resonating with the children. In the videos you will see by visiting the YK Pao Student Work playlist on our YouTube Channel, note that even kids as young as first grade are able to explain water conservation and recycling principles like it’s second nature. [See the videos:]

The YK Pao school will be using the Go Green Planning Guide to further advance their goal of becoming the greenest school in China. Please join me in wishing the students, teachers, parents and administrators the best of luck on their “green” journey!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Sammy's Wish for Her 14th Birthday

Sammy S. is one cool kid! Her birthday is on June 24, and instead of presents, she is asking her friends and family to donate to the Go Green Initiative via Facebook Causes. She is asking people to donate $14, or whatever you can afford, in honor of her 14th birthday. Click here to see her Cause page.

"I don't need presents...why not use my birthday to do something good for the world?" says Sammy. "I think that we all should go green at school so we can raise money, and reuse everything."

Sammy is spot on! When schools recycle, they can often sell their recyclables to a broker and raise money. Aluminum, cell phones and sometimes even paper and plastic can provide lucrative money makers for the school.

If you'd like to help Sammy get her birthday wish, click here, and thank you in advance from the Go Green Initiative!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

What is Energy Storage, and Why Should I Care?

I'm so glad you asked! :)

This week's guest on Go Green Radio can answer that question for you.

According to our guest, Jason Makansi, Executive Director of the Energy Storage Council (www.energystoragecouncil.org), “The reason storage is so essential to renewables is the renewables are intermittent -- the sun doesn't always shine and the wind doesn't always blow, and they are often located in areas far from population centers. Because the price of wholesale electricity varies throughout the day, when electricity is sold is just as important as how much electricity is sold. But if you can store the energy generated on a sunny or windy day and then inject that energy into the grid at periods of high demand ... well, then you've got yourself a market. You've got both physical and economic control over your resource and the leverage with which to build increasing demand for your product.
So coupling bulk energy storage with renewable energy -- especially remotely located wind farms -- creates a more reliable market for the energy generated and a more attractive environment for investment. Perhaps most importantly, storage also begins to make renewably generated electricity behave, from a market and supply perspective, like electricity from baseload plants such as nuclear.
Before we expect too much from renewables and are disappointed by their failure to perform, we need to start talking about giving them the power they need to succeed. We need to be talking about storage.”
Go Green Radio airs at 9 a.m. Pacific on Friday, June 4, on www.VoiceAmerica.com. If you miss the live broadcast, you can check out the archive at: http://tinyurl.com/yzhyjdc.

Friday, May 7, 2010

My work in China is Greener than Ever!

I've been spending more and more time in China since 2007, when I was first asked to help the China Entrepreneur Club develop standards for green companies. This year I spent Earth in Chengdu, an area that was hit very hard by a devastating 8.0 magnitude earthquake in May 2008. Here I'm pictured with Chinese mothers and grandmothers who lost their homes to that quake, and are now in new housing built by the Sichuan provincial goverment. You can see more photos from my trip by checking out my Flickr stream. And you can read a full report of the work I've been doing in China by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hollywood’s Red Carpet Meets “Green Teen” Journalists

Global Broadcast for Kids (GB4K) is the brain child of actor/director/producer Scott McGinnis, and it just might change the world.

While politicians and environmental activists work to clean up the mess left by older generations, GB4K reaches out to the ones who will inherit the mess – today’s teenagers. The message couldn’t be more perfectly on point; it’s “Green News…from One Kid to Another.” Each week, teen journalists, Marley and her brother Elijah, report on environmental issues, and finish each story with a “so what?” segment that helps explain the story in a way that makes sense to kids.

McGinnis has a long track record of producing great quality shows that kids love, like “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” the TV show, “Angel”, and more. Under his direction, Marley and Elijah are a refreshingly optimistic and entertaining pair, destined to engage a worldwide audience of kids that are looking for eco-information that matters to them.

Scott’s teen reporters will be covering the red carpet for the Earth Day premier of Disney’s new movie, “Oceans.” Be sure to check out their broadcast at: http://www.globalbroadcast4kids.com

Listen to this week’s Go Green Radio interview with Scott and Marley at 9 a.m. Pacific/12 p.m. Eastern/some other time in other places…on www.VoiceAmerica.com, or visit the Go Green Radio home page to listen to the archive - http://tinyurl.com/yzhyjdc.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Get Green Video Contest

By guest blogger, David Lanham, National Enviornmental Education Foundation


Americans account for roughly five percent of the world’s population, but use around twenty five percent of the world’s energy. With a majority of our energy resources coming from the use of fossil fuels, that’s a particularly substantial carbon footprint! If the rest of the world consumed as much per capita, we would need over five Earths to support the world’s current population.

Since the beginning of industrialization, worldwide energy consumption per capita has increased nine-fold. During the same time period, the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased by about 36%.

As a result of these factors, scientists are now pushing for a worldwide decrease in carbon emissions. Reducing your carbon footprint not only conserves energy and natural resources, it decreases the negative impacts that traditional behaviors have on the environment. In essence, your actions leave behind a cleaner and more sustainable Earth.

As the next generation of leaders, teens today have a better understanding of the environment and its importance than any other generation. Planet Connect is hoping to help teens become more aware of how they can make a lasting impact.

Planet Connect has just announced the Get Green Video Contest. We want you to make a creative video that shows how you are reducing your carbon footprint – whether it’s biking, using less water, walking more, etc. Prizes include an Apple MacBook, an iPad and more!

We know you can make a difference. Here’s your chance to inspire others. You can watch our video commercial at youtube.com/pcgetgreen and read the contest rules at planet-connect.org/getgreen

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gardens in Gotham…GrowNYC® celebrates 40 Years!

Ever tasted an apple grown in the Big Apple? If not, talk to this week's Go Green Radio guest, Marcel Van Ooyen, the Executive Director of GrowNYC - formerly the Council on the Environment of New York City. The NYC Greenmarket is the largest and most successful open-air farmers markets program in the country. Since 1970, this organization has been improving New York City's quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block, and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. GrowNYC rolls up its sleeves alongside NYC residents to provide access to healthy, fresh, local food for all New Yorkers; grow and maintain vibrant green spaces and community gardens; help New Yorkers recycle more and reduce waste; and create the next generation of environmental leaders through hands-on education programs. If a city of 10 million people can make a community garden and farmers market program work, so can yours! Check out their website at www.cenyc.org.

Marcel joins Go Green Radio live on Friday, March 19 from 9-10 a.m. Pacific/ noon-1 p.m. Eastern on www.VoiceAmerica.com.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

CALGREEN …Public Policy the Way it Should Be

On October 14, 2007, Governor Schwarzenegger defied some of the most powerful environmental interest groups in California and the nation by vetoing AB 888, sponsored by Assemblyman Lieu. The subject matter of the bill was to create statute requiring green building standards, relying heavily upon the standards outlined in the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program. The USGBC holds annual conferences that draw over 20,000 people to one venue for a week...I daresay that's a few more people than I've seen at any political party conventions. My point is, the USGBC is big and powerful. It was no small thing that this bill was vetoed, and the Governor deserves a lot of credit for doing that. His veto paved the way for a regulatory policy process that is far better than what could have been achieved through this legislation, and I believe the end result of that process will be very good for California and our business community.

It's important to note that there is nothing inherently wrong with the USGBC's LEED standards. On the contrary, their guidelines for creating energy efficient, sustainable buildings are very well-researched and are backed by some of the world's top architects. However, there are some shortcomings to the LEED program that would make it inappropriate for statutory purposes in California. First, it's very costly to pay for accreditation; the fees are quite steep. The USGBC is a nonprofit organization, and, besides grants from the government, they fund their staffing and DC offices, in large part, through fees builders pay to be accredited. Second, LEED standards favor building materials that are not locally sourced in California, which means higher costs and greater emissions to transport materials from outside our state. Last, LEED standards do not address California-specific issues that must be incorporated into any responsible CA building code, e.g. seismic conditions, etc. The Governor's veto message on AB888 is worth reading, as it clearly defines his perspective in protecting California interests.

Since that veto, the California Building Standards Commission (BSC) has worked with industry leaders to develop "the most stringent, environmentally friendly building code standards of any state in the nation," writes Marisa Lagos of the SF Chronicle. Anyone who has trod the Sacramento sidewalks looking for campaign donations will recognize the following line up of organizations involved in creating CALGREEN: Cal Chamber; CA Building Industry Association (CBIA); and CA Business Properties Association (CBPA). Essentially, the regulating body, BSC, worked in collaboration with those who would be regulated, CBPA et al, to develop regulations that won't break the bank of our building industry, but will conserve water, energy and other natural resources for future generations.

This week, I interviewed Matthew Hargrove, Sr. VP of Governmental Affairs at CBPA regarding CALGREEN, and I think you'll be enlightened and encouraged by his remarks:

1. How is the BSC's recent adoption of green building standards good for CA businesses?

If you believe that businesses can achieve profitability through sustainability then all sectors of should benefit by the adoption of CALGREEN. Those benefits will mainly be seen in lower electrical bills and lower water bills for new buildings. Done correctly and cost-effectively, not only does it help the environment, it will help the bottom line; as they say, be a "win-win." We have chosen to work closely with the state to ensure that through a consensus-based process with all stakeholders welcome at the table, green building codes are environmentally strict, while remaining cost effective and technologically feasible. Having a clear statewide standard will help our companies avoid unnecessary environmental lawsuits, have more consistent standards across the state so we don't have to deal with a different code in every jurisdiction, and allow us to meet some of the statewide regulatory mandates that are heading our way.

2. There are those who advocate that states and local governments simply adopt the USGBC's LEED standards for green building ordinances. Why didn't the BSC take that route?

The state has a responsibility for writing and maintaining building codes for the state. In a show of "good government" the state is fulfilling its responsibility to keep the code writing process in the public domain as a basic service of government, which maintains transparency, cost-effectiveness, and technological feasibility. Additionally, many have raised Constitutional issues with the notion of public entities delegating such authority to a closed process. Most builders and policymakers I have spoken with do not believe that GALGREEN and LEED standards are in conflict, and in fact believe that they will be very complimentary of one another.

3 . A lot of candidates for office will be coming to your organization and Jobs PAC for campaign funding in 2010. For candidates who want to succeed in getting financial backing, what should they know about the BSC's green building standards?

I cannot speak for Jobs PAC. However, I think the business community generally hopes that policymakers focus on pragmatic policies that will help create jobs by improving California's business climate. CALGREEN is an example of a pragmatic regulatory process that took into account expert opinion from the regulated industry and was critically looked at to make sure it was cost-effective and technologically feasible.