Posts Tagged President Obama

Green Your Eating And Cooking Habits

We are a society that over-consumes in every sense of the word.  We buy unnecessarily and if you just look around, we eat unnecessarily as well. We have been taught (and somewhat scared) into dieting, using artificial products to add to our foods, and forced to read food labels.  Much of the cuisines we consume or at least have consumed over the past years are filled with toxins.  The process of how food is grown and manufactured has drastically altared.  This has transformed our country into an unhealthy cesspool.  It is important, then, to stay healthy in today’s climate of uncertainty. “We can no longer afford to put health care reform on hold,”  President Barack Obama told Congress.  With the rising cost of healthcare, becoming sick is simply not a financial option.  Both eating well and saving money, then, are crucial.

Below are some healthy, green eating and cooking ideas that can easily be put into your daily schedule and may even save you a few bucks!

·         Grow herbs and vegetables at home ….either in your outdoor garden or on your window sill.  It will be a small investment, but will save you tons in the end.  Be sure to plant the organic seeds (or purchase a small potted organic herb plant); this way you know from the start it is pesticide free.


·         Ban the high fructose corn syrup.  This is where reading labels are vital.  This sticky sweetener is found in the obvious sodas, juices and many cereals.  Go to your cabinet and check out the myriad of products that have this toxic sweetener. D Life  explains that it’s a highly purified blend of sugars (typically 55 percent fructose and 45 percent glucose) derived from corn. Because the fructose in HFCS is part of a manmade blend (as opposed to the natural compound of sugars found in fruit), the body metabolizes it very differently from other sugars.”  If this scientific explanation isn’t enough to change your refined sugar habits, then hopefully the announcement of mercury found samples of high fructose corn syrup will drive you to toss your packaged food out.  The Washington Post article warns, Mercury is toxic in all its forms. Given how much high-fructose corn syrup is consumed by children, it could be a significant additional source of mercury never before considered.”


·         Sugar alternatives.  When Christopher Columbus brought sugar to America, it was, yes, filled with calories, but contained protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.  Ah, but then the processing of the sugarcane changed dramatically.  A few centuries later, the sugar business needed to revamp their processing methods to get more bang for their buck.  The essential nutrients were then stripped away in a process that produced what we know today as refined sugars.  Basically, a product with loads of calories and no nutritional value. Thus, the root cause for health problems.  Then, there came the birth of artificial sweeteners (aspartame, saccharin) filled with synthetic chemicals. Instead, try agave nectar as it has a lower glycemic index.  Agave nectar is a great economic alternative to other sweeteners since it has approximately “1.4 x the sweetening power of white sugar and, agave nectar’s mild flavor doesn’t vary widely which will lend a real consistency to recipes.” Also try Stevia as an additive to smoothies, yogurts, coffees and teas.  It is not recommended, though, for baking.  Keep in mind that most sugar producers practice unfair labor. Although purchasing the organic, fair-trade brands may empty your wallet, at least you know you are supporting a worthy cause.


·         Fish and mercury levels.  Yes, fish and shellfish are part of a healthy diet.  Yes, they are low in saturated fat, and full of nutrients, but then there is the mercury element.  It is said that all fish have traces of mercury, but certain types have larger amounts that the public need to be made aware of; especially pregnant women and children.  Visit, Environmental Working Group  for a list of fish containing high levels of mercury.


·         Need to thaw?  Do so in the fridge in lieu of running hot water over the food.  This obviously will save water and will allow the food to thaw more evenly.


·         Cook in advance.  If saving time and money are priority, then use (or altar) recipes that call for dry legumes.  Allow them to soak overnight in the fridge.  If you make enough in advance, you can put into smaller containers in the freezer.  Although the canned versions are mighty convenient, some are known to have Bisphenol-A (BPA) an endocrine disruptor in the linings of the cans.


·         Cooking is not just for ovens/stoves.  I’m not suggesting cooking in the microwave either!  How many times do you throw a sweet potato in the oven?  Smaller portions can easily be cooked in a toaster oven and it uses much less energy, thus saving money on your electric bill.  Slow cookers are also a big hit and try plug-in kettles in place of the tea kettle heating up on the stove.


·         To keep the microwave clean in order to maximize its performance.  Maximizing energy means less energy used; thus saving money on electric bill.


·         To cover pots when cooking when possible. This allows you to cook quicker so that you use less energy.


For more eco-changes, visit Earth Promise  and partake in the changes that will help you live a more healthy, green lifestyle.



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Look Towards the Sun

Solar energy is hot—literally. Today, increasingly more people are becoming fascinated by the savings renewable energy can offer.  And savings is a hopeful word in today’s economic turmoil.  So, what is solar energy exactly? Wikipedia  puts it simply, “Solar Energy is the radiant light and heat from the Sun that has been harnessed by humans since ancient times using a range of ever-evolving technologies. Solar radiation along with secondary solar resources such as wind and wave power, hydroelectricity and biomass account for most of the available renewable energy on Earth. Only a minuscule fraction of the available solar energy is used.” Thanks to President Obama, that small fraction is slowing growing.

Governor Charlie Crist was present yesterday to unveil the installation of Florida Atlantic University’s (FAU) first large-scale solar roof. This will harvest Florida’s sunlight abundance into useful energy. The initial up-front investment was indeed costly, but the monetary benefits combined with the decrease in the usage of our natural resources is immeasurable. There is little or no maintenance with solar panels. “More than 230 solar panels were installed on the roof, producing energy that will help reduce the building’s current demand and prevent greenhouse gas emissions.” To read more about this energy saving investment, visit, The Business Journal

So what kinds of energy conservation and efficiency can you do now on a smaller scale for your home? Here are some suggestions:

 Those interested in purchasing and installing large-scale solar panels or other sun-plugged products, here are some useful sites:  offers “great deals on everything from panels and batteries to chargers and lights – all powered by the energy of the sun.” not only educates on the benefits of installing solar products, but offers an array of merchandise.

Solar energy may be one of the most important sources of energy we have.  Make a promise to utilize our ever-present renewable resource.

Join Earth Promise to make, and keep track of your personal promises.

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Stimulus Bill Is Looking Mighty Green

While there is much debate on Obama’s stimulus bill that was passed Friday, the idea that there are any (or at least green jobs) is hopeful.  The economic stimulus touts to not only create green jobs, but will also tackle our global warming and reliance on fossil fuels.   President Obama needs our support, as our future depends on it.  


MSNBC’s article about Obama’s stimulus package being signed today in Denver, Colorado, clarifies this step forward with the promise of more jobs in the near future:

President Barack Obama will sign the $787 billion stimulus package today.  “The setting, the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, is meant to underscore the investments the new law will make in “green” energy-related jobs.”

The Miami Herald’s   article from yesterday states, “Robert Pollin, a professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, said the green investment portion of the stimulus more broadly should yield about 1.7 million jobs, about 30 percent of them in construction.”

So let’s help President Obama’s “major milestone on our road to recovery. “  Visit Earth Promise and see how your changes can make an enormous impact.


Join Earth Promise to make, and keep track of your personal promises


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Green and Easy Ways to Cut Your Electricity Bill

With President Barack Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan  moving to the Senate, Obama pledges to jump-start the economy. “This is not just a short-term program to boost employment,” he said. “It’s one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century.”  Some (and not even close to all) of the country’s serious challenges include updating our electric grid and weatherizing over 2 million homes.  Thankfully, this will not only provide much needed employment, but will steer Americans’ progressive green agenda.  So what kind of energy saving promises can we as individuals make? 

Here are some great investments in energy savings you can do at home:


·         To wrap the water heater in an insulation blanket to store heat.  Why make this earth promise? This can save about 25% of the energy in your home. 

·         To installer dimmer switches on lights in areas of the house where they would be useful.

·         To adjust the thermostat when away from the home travelling .  Installing a programmable thermostat can pay for itself in just one season!

·         To put door sweeps on all doors to prevent heat or air conditioning to escape

It is important to note that maintaining your heating and air conditioning systems with a $50-$100 annual tune-up will help keep it operating efficiently and reduce your costs up to 5%.

Be sure to visit, Earth Promise, for more energy saving tips.

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Cooking Tips To Help Your Environment and Your Wallet

In his memorable inaugural address, Obama acknowledged the economic and employment crisis we are in, but also promised to “invest in our most important priorities like energy.”  President Barack Obama plans to unite these top priorities, the economy and jobs, with the change of ideals concerning our environment.

How can we as individuals help?  Over the next few days, I’ll go through each area of the house to give some easy, yet impactful changes you can make.  Not only will they lesson your carbon footprint, but save you money.  Now doesn’t that sound nice?

Here are some Earth Promises you can easily implement when you cook:

·         To keep the refrigerator door closed as much as possible

·         Always cover your pots when boiling water so that it boils quicker and thus uses less energy from the stove.

·         To use my toaster instead of the oven for smaller amounts of food that needs to be heated up or cooked.

·         To keep the microwave clean in order to maximize its performance

·         To cook in bulk and store in the refrigerator or freezer to lessen the frequency of using the stove.


So keep in mind that going “green” is not an extravagance; it is a necessity today.  Every small change you make is impactful, economically, and for valuable for our Earth’s sustainability.


Check back tomorrow for more Earth Promise changes you can easily apply to your life. 

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An Open Letter to President Obama About the Environment

Dear President Obama,

Congratulations to you, your family, to this country and all others around the world.  With you as our president, many aspects of our society will improve as we leave one administration and start another. 

Today is a day of service your wife has led, Martin Luther King Day, and the final countdown to your inauguration.  While you have a lot to turn your attention to, I ask you to make the environment and the climate crisis a focal point.  It is connected to so many aspects of our lives and policies, and as you have indicated, it is important to make it one of our top priorities.  I am the Founder of Earth Promise (, an online community dedicated to bringing people together who want to take better care of the environment.  We provide an easy way for people to make, track and keep promises about actions that will benefit the earth.  I am writing today to learn about your Earth Promises and how you can impact those made by others.  You are the leader to move us forth.  President Bush did not view this as a top priority.  I ask you to please make it one.

Why am I writing this letter to you?  It is for your two daughters.  It is for my two daughters.  It is for their generation and the ones that follow.  Yes, we will pay the price for inaction on this issue.  But left as is, it will get worse and worse for them.     

We all need to think about the environment, and how it affects us and our future generations.  The polar bears, the trees, the ice caps cannot speak.  We need to take action and help them.   We need to take action to protect them.  We need to take action and speak for them.  I think Dr. Seuss said it best in his book The Lorax, written WAY ahead of its time (1971).  “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.” We need to speak for the trees.

Your New Energy Plan for America is an outline for success in this area with support.  We need the backing of politicians and corporations to help us down the path to fix this crisis.  We also need the average person.  They need to be educated on the impact of global warming and know they can take steps to help.  While there are many sites, TV shows, and movies about this issue, no voice can come through stronger to people than yours.  Speak for the trees.

An individual has many opportunities to take action and make Earth Promises or changes in their lifestyles to benefit the environment.  From reducing ones use of water, electricity, and gas and reducing the amount of waste, all of us can make a difference.   These potential changes can be seen in all aspects of our lives from the home and school to shopping and food to travel and cars.  Many are easy steps that may not appear to be a lot on its own, but when many people take similar actions, the impact grows exponentially. 

You can help with these Earth Promises as well.  We need your help to generate momentum to create programs that enable, incent and drive groups of people to make these Earth Promises.  Encouraging schools to implement recycling programs and give them an incentive to do so.  For top schools, maybe that incentive is new energy efficient computers, or even a trip to visit you.  The effect of such a program will not only have a direct effect on the environment but will teach students about the crisis.  Think of the viral impact.  How about working with retailers to eliminate the use of plastic bags?  Give a tax credit not just for being in a certain tax bracket, but for taking action to help the environment.  What about a program revolving around planting trees? 

While many people are already taking steps to help the environment, there are still many who are not.  We need to change them from just thinking green to acting green.  With your words, with your guidance, with your encouragement, you can make these Earth Promises part of the lives of more and more people. 

As my colleagues and I worked on taglines for Earth Promise, we kept coming up with ones that included the word Change.  Of course, you ended up taking a lot of the good ones! But it is what we need to do regarding global warming and the climate crisis.  In the end, we decided on a tagline that works as well.  It is Caring Together.  We need to care for this planet, care for our trees and animals, and care for ourselves.  But mostly, together we need to care for our future generations.  For our daughters, and for our future.

I wish you nothing but the best as you steer this country down the path it needs to go.


Adam Berg

Founder, Earth Promise

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Obama’s Next Pick in the Dog House?

The news is inundated with President-elect Obama’s new economic team picks: Christina Romer to head his Council of Economic Advisers, Timothy Geithner, chosen as secretary of the Treasury, and Lawrence Summers, who will be the top White House economic adviser as head of the National Economic Council.   These intellectual decisions demonstrate Obama’s desire to have a successful team.  “Understand where the vision for change comes from first and foremost: it comes from me.” 

But Barack Obama is not alone in his next important pick:  choosing the right family dog.  “This has been tougher than finding a commerce secretary.”  This family choice has been narrowed down to the Labradoodle and the Portuguese Water Dog, according to AOL News.

And since the planet is also one of the soon-to-be President’s top priorities, the Obama family needs to be aware of their furry friend’s carbon paw print.  PlanetGreen simply provides a list of ways to greenify your family pet: Composting the dog’s poop, choosing the appropriate natural and organic pet food, or tagging your pet using an electronic ID chip are all eco-friendly choices.  To get more information about the Obama’s dog finalists, check out Petstyle.

Earth Promise’s goal bring to people together people to make, track and keep promises about actions that will benefit the earth has a slew of green pet ideas for the Obamas and you:

To buy pet treats with no packaging (from the pet store treat bar).

To buy a collar for my pet that is made of organic canvas instead of nylon.

To buy only pet toys made from recycled materials.

To buy a pet bed that is filled with recycled fiber.

To speak to my veterinarian about putting my pet on a vegetarian diet, or feeding them food with less meat, poultry or fish.

So, whatever color dog (or any pet) you decide for your family, make sure it is a green one!


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Michelle Obama’s Call to Service

Change does not have to wait until President elect Barack Obama is sworn into office, January 20, 2009.  Michelle Obama has invited our nation to participate in a day of service on January 19, 2009.  She parallels the Renew America Together initiative to Martin Luther King, Jr. since his life’s message was to rebuild our country and conquer the challenges that lie ahead.  This is not to say that we Americans should dedicate a single day to volunteer; we need to make this an ongoing commitment.

A plethora of community service events throughout the country have been organized to answer President elect Obama’s call to make a change.  To be a part of this historic pre-inaugural event, visit,, to sign up to participate or host a service event in your community.

Some of the events being hosted around the nation are:

  • Beach clean-ups
  • Park clean-ups
  • Food drives
  • Blood drives
  • Habitat for Humanity events
  • Clothing drives
  • Tree plantings

Make our nation’s enthusiasm for change a lasting commitment.  For some ideas regarding how small changes can make a big difference, visit,

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New Energy Plan for America

With a new incoming president, everyone needs to be familiar with his ideas.  On President-elect Barack Obama’s website, there is a great read entitled, Barack Obama and Joe Biden: New Energy For America.  We have just one more week to go–then we can start seeing changes.

To summarize, the ObamaBiden comprehensive New Energy for America plan will:

·         Provide shortterm relief to American families facing pain at the pump

·         Help create five million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next ten years to catalyze private efforts to build a clean energy future.

·         Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined

·         Put 1 million PlugIn Hybrid cars – cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon – on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America

·         Ensure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025


To start making changes in your life, be sure to visit,



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Obama’s Environmental Optimism Included in His Economic Stimulus Plan

President-elect Barack Obama includes an optimistic green touch to his economic stimulus plan.  Not only will his plan offer millions of new jobs, but much needed tax cuts. 

Check out Jeff St. John’s article:

Obama Calls for Doubling Renewable Energy in Three Years

President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday called for doubling the nation’s renewable energy production over the next three years, setting a timeline to one green piece of his economic stimulus plan.

Obama also called for funding to modernize the nation’s electricity grid and make 75 percent of all federal buildings and up to 2 million American homes more energy efficient.

“In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced – jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain,” Obama said Thursday in a speech at George Mason University.

Obama has pledged three million new jobs with his stimulus plan, which also includes tax cuts, investment in computerizing medical records, modernizing schools and universities, repairing roads and bridges and expanding broadband access to rural towns.

As for measures to promote renewable energy and other green industries, Obama has yet to release further details of his plan, which could call for as much as $800 billion over two years in tax cuts and spending.

To view full article, visit

For ideas on how to make small changes to make a big impact to help President-elect Obama’s environmental plan, go to

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