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Happy Green: 5 Good News Articles to Check Out (& Get Inspired By!)

While there is so much out there driving up our blood pressure when it comes to the climate crisis we are living in, I thought today would be a very good time to share some of the stories out there giving me hope. Not just hope for more respect for our planet, but hope for our communities...

  • Recycling, Composting, Gardening, and…Rehabilitation: Check out Left to rot: how a prisoner cleaned up Panama’s dirtiest jail – and its inmates - proving beautifully how we can come together in even the most traumatic environments to build something beautiful, improve health and empower each other. A decade ago, while on the Board of LettuceGrow in my hometown of Portland, I saw first hand how stoked local inmates were to be learning about gardening and applying this new knowledge in prison gardens, and it inspired me to use my network to introduce our founder to the Executive Director of Growing Gardens. They then ultimately partnered when she retired, and Growing Gardens took over - and a decade later, they are still growing strong.

  • Solar Hits the Big Time…Finally! As we await our final approval in activating our new rooftop solar array here at home (our electric utility's system commissioning/testing in 2 weeks which will give the thumbs up to flip the switch on and the net metering to begin), it coincides with the news that Solar hits a renewable energy milestone not seen since WWII, announcing that "Solar accounted for most of the capacity the nation added to its electric grids last year….The 32.4 gigawatts that came online in the United States last year shattered the previous high of 23.6 gigawatts recorded in 2021 and accounted for 53% of new capacity."

  • A Beautiful Example in Senegal of Indigenous Women as Environmental Guardians Where Others Have Failed…Learning beekeeping in Sine Saloum to protect mangroves which then protect fish and shellfish populations, thereby improving economic opportunities while making tremendous strides to fight the impacts of climate change? This story rocks. As a former beekeeper (we sold our last hive in August to our real estate agent who has 17 acres and a real interest in honeybees - something we love as well but knew our future travel plans might not accommodate the maintenance they need), we love seeing more women out there! And just as if not more cool - "the French National Research Institute for International Development...praised the model as a more effective and sustainable solution than large-scale carbon offsets, mired in human rights controversies and unreliable models that allow companies to continue polluting.

  • Getting off fossil fuels is hard, but this city is doing it — building by building - Gotta love NPR’s article on how Ithaca, New York, is leading the charge to get buildings off of fossil fuels and energy efficient weatherization and HVAC in so that everyone benefits. Anticipating a 30% decrease in emissions by next year due to the projects already in play, with many more to go, they remind us that "What's important is that people shouldn't be discouraged...Don’t just give up and throw up your hands and say, well, we're not going to make it...achieving the goals later is better than not at all."

  • Tillamook Creamery’s Factory Farms Might Finally Be Held Accountable for Decades of Greenwashing - When we found out that the majority of the milk used to make my home state’s pride and joy, Tillamook Cheese (and ice cream, and so much more), came from repulsive, cruel, and anti-environmental CAFOs (factory farms) in Eastern Oregon, NOT from the cows in the pastures near the Oregon Coast as they’ve been advertising since I was a kid, we immediately stopped buying their products and started sharing this with others. But it garnered very little media attention. And while it’s not on the top of the Oregonian’s website, it is finally on there as Oregon Supreme Court weighs appeal in ‘greenwashing’ claim case against Tillamook. Tens of thousands of cows confined and suffering on concrete and dirt lots, while family farmers lose their dairies and public health suffers as well. The article mentions “A lawsuit filed last week by several Boardman residents alleges Threemile Canyon and several other farming businesses have dumped millions of tons of excess nitrogen onto fields, contaminating their drinking water with nitrates and potentially causing serious health problems.” While the publicity of Tillamook’s sick practices is not the good news, the potential for accountability for Tillamook is what gives me hope. (And the fact that the Boardman lawsuit is being led by one of the guys who successfully won against Big Tobacco back in the day? Even more promising, y’all.)


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