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Mitzvah Moments by Tish Levee - February 2016

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February is the Love Month


by Tish Levee

For the Love Issue, I want to share some of the things I really love:

Love the Return of Wolves. 

After nearly a century a pack of grey wolves have returned to California. A wonderful gift to the environment, not the terrible thing some think it is. See what happens when wolves are reintroduced to a habitat.

Love Slave-free Chocolate. 

Who doesn’t love chocolate? But, can you really love it if it’s produced in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire by 1.8 million children who are virtual slaves? While many large chocolate companies, including Nestlé and Hershey, have promised to remedy their chocolate sourcing, little has changed since they did. But, organic and fair-trade chocolate and that grown outside of West Africa is nearly all slave-free. Find brands at slavefreechocolate.org.

Love the Snowpack in the Sierras.

The California snowpack is currently at 110% of normal for this time of year, but it is still only half of what it needs to be by April. In contrast, this time last year, statewide snowpacks were only 25% of average; in some areas they were only 12% of average. This is what we count on for our drinking water.

Love San Francisco’s Plastic Water Bottle Ban.

San Francisco recently became the first city to ban plastic water bottles, which will be phased in by 2020. Wish your city did this, too? You can start by recycling these bottles – better yet don’t buy them to begin with.

Love the SF Area Carbon Footprint Map. 

This is a great tool from UC Berkeley – find emissions from transportation, housing, food, goods, and services it at tinyurl.com/hsztzfo. It not only shows total emissions, but shows separately by US Census Block Group. Look how green Sonoma County is! Sonoma County had the 2nd lowest carbon footprint of nine Bay Area counties and 11 local cities and towns studied.

Love Meatless Mondays.  

Meat consumption has soared over the last 50 years as more people could afford it and its transportation became easier. In the last 10 years alone, total global meat consumption has grown by 20%, all of which costs the planet. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization the meat industry is responsible for nearly 1/5th of the GHG emissions that are responsible for climate change – this is more than that of the entire transportation sector!

This is one of those fixes which can make a big difference. For instance, eating one less burger a week would be equivalent of not driving 320 miles. Skipping meat and cheese once a week with your family would be like not driving for five weeks. And, if everyone in the US did this (no meat or cheese once a week), it would be the equivalent of not driving 91 billion miles – or taking 7.6 million cars off the road. And you’d save water, too. It takes approximately 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while tofu produced in California requires only 220 gallons of water per pound. That’s a big saving!

Love the Organizations Leading on Climate Protection.

Center for Climate Protection, 350.org, Sierra Club, NextGen Climate, the Climate Reality Project, ClimateRide, the Citizen’s Climate Lobby, NRDC, EDF, and many more.

Love the Job Growth in Renewable Energy Field.

 Solar jobs grew more than 20 % (35,052 jobs) in 2015 and 123% over the last 5 Years (208,859 jobs). The solar industry grew twelve times faster than overall US job growth, and it now employs three times more people than does coal mining. Worldwide 7.7 people are employed in renewable energy, up 18% since 2014.

Love Crazy, Innovative Fixes.

France is generating electricity from cheese. Since October, a cheese-making plant in the French Alps, has been skimming the whey left over from producing Beaufort cheese, using bacteria to transform it into a biogas – a mixture of methane and carbon dioxide – which generates electricity and warm water. It can produce an estimated 3 million kWh of electricity a year, enough to supply 1500 people.

Love Solar Thermal Magazine’s Clean Energy Page on Facebook.

Short articles with links on all sorts of innovations, some even DIY, in clean energy.

© Tish Levee, 2016 mitzvahmoments.com