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An Update on the Gulf Oil Spill

July 12, 2010 16:11 by Daniel
            

It seems as of late that mainstream media interest in the Gulf oil spill is beginning to wane. The public has a short attention span when it comes to the news, and I commend our nation for concentrating on the crisis for as long as it did. I, on the other hand, have not forgotten. I am still just as frustrated and disappointed as I was when I first heard the news of the spill. I can't help but believe that if there was not billions of dollars in stocks and company assets at stake here, this spill would have been cleaned up long ago. That being said, there have been a few new breaks in the story in the past day that have not made the front page of newspapers. For those who have not heard, I will take this opportunity to tell you.

Early today it was speculated that the BP Company will succeed this week in stopping the leaking of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig that began three months ago. According to BusinessWeek and the New York Daily News, BP is on the verge of preventing any more oil from leaking into the sea, made possible with the use of a new containment cap. This new cap is being fitted on the oil rig, following the removal of an old cap that proved to be inefficient. While the new cap is secured over the leak, a relief well is simultaneously being drilled next to the Deepwater to divert some of the intense pressure that is making the leak so difficult to plug. The completion of the relief well should take another two or three weeks.

In light of these new events, the price of the BP stock has risen 9.4 percent, the highest it has been at since its 39 percent decrease following the accident on April 20. I would not normally mention the price of the BP stock on this blog, since I do not care. To me, a rise in BP stock is bad news. However, I do feel that this information is relevant for the purposes of the cleanup. When the shareholders heard the good news about the price rise, it clearly increased the confidence of the BP execs. This, in turn has made the BP company work even harder to bring an end to this tumultuous saga.

It should be noted as well that the BP Company has considered selling over $10 billion of its assets in Alaska to the Texas-based Apache Corporation. The Exxon Mobil Corp. has been in the discussion for the purchasing of BP assets as well. While Wall Street investors seem to be weary of this potential acquisition, my personal hope is that this cutting of loses will allow the BP Company to focus entirely on the cleanup operation.

As news of the Gulf oil spill continues to break, I will update the status on our Go Green blog accordingly. Please check back if you are interested in hearing my perspective on the spill.

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California Schools Undergo Green Renovation

July 7, 2010 10:43 by Daniel
            

In the depths of the California desert, schools in the Coachella Valley are preparing to go green.

The school boards of several districts have begun the process of improving the efficiency of their energy infrastructure, a move that will create a dent in the education budget of several hundred thousand dollars. This comes at a time when the education system is in shambles nationwide, with record-setting budget cuts and layoffs.

According to one article written for the Desert Sun in Palm Springs, California, Coachella Valley schools will begin to be fitted with solar panels and wind turbines in the coming days. Other "green" renovation projects in the district include installing more efficient lights and air-conditioning. These new lights are expected to conserve electricity and emit less heat, which will create less of a need for air-conditioning. In addition, special skylights called "Solatubes" will be mounted in the ceiling of the main district office. These skylights act as reflective vents which intensify and diffract the natural light of the sun, resulting in less demand for artificial lighting.

This is how a Solatube works

This story is striking because it fully grasps the mentality that an institution has to adopt in order to fully "go green". The point that was particularly profound for me was the reference to the fact that "going green" will cost this district an initial investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars, during the worst economic environment in this country since the Great Depression. Why then make the decision to do this right now? The answer is, because it is now or never.

The officials of the Coachella Valley United school district understand how to break out of a vicious cycle. The main problem with changing any routine for the better is that the initial cost of the change outweighs the current cost of the bad habit. Lots of the slow-going in the "Go Green" movement is due to this very problem, this human necessity for instant gratification. Businesses say, "Well, we know going green is the right thing to do. But, its going to cost us a lot of money that we don't have, especially now. So we're just going to keep doing what we're doing, until we are faced with the Doomsday scenario of having to stop being wasteful and polluting, or else leave the earth."

A new solar panel is affixed on top of the school building.

Coachella Valley United has fully recognized the short-term consequences of their actions here. This huge investment will mean less budget room for extracurricular activities, school programs, and hiring new teachers that have been laid off during the recession. But the leap of faith has to be taken somewhere, and what better time than now. The officials who made this decision are leaders, and leaders make unpopular decisions when they know it is being done for the greater good. In present day, people will say it is irresponsible spending in a tumultuous time. In ten years, Coachella Valley United will be revered as setting the bar for the rest of the country to rise to the occasion. Their patience and resilience will pay off.

Motivators offers a wide selection of eco-friendly promotional products for your choosing. Feel free to browse if you would like to reduce your carbon footprint, and live more efficiently.

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A Whale: The New Solution for the Oil Spill Cleanup

July 2, 2010 11:26 by Daniel
            

This week, the United States government announced that it would consider enlisting the aid of a giant oil skimmer ship known as the "A Whale" to help clean the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel, a 1,100-foot converted petroleum tanker will have the ability to collect up to 500,000 barrels of contaminated water every day. Here's how it works.

The oil skimmer will collect the contaminated water through a dozen large slits on both sides of the ship. The oily water is then percolated though several tanks designed to separate the oil from the water. Then, the oil is transported to another ship, and the cleaned water is redistributed into the ocean.

There are already several much smaller oil skimmers doing this cleanup work in the Gulf, but none seem to be making a dent in the process. So, everyone has high hopes for "A Whale" as the savior. The ship has been ready for deployment since June, but has still not begun its work. This fact begs the question, "Why didn't we have this ship put into action immediately?" The answer lies in several factors, all of them nonsensical and ridiculous.

Let's begin with a little something called the Jones Act of 1920. This piece of United States legislation was passed after the end of World War I to ensure the rebuilding of the American shipping industry. In a nutshell, the act restricts the transporting of any cargo between U.S. ports to American-built ships operated by American crews. Since "A Whale" was built in South Korea, and is owned by a Taiwanese company, the Jones Act may prevent its use. President Obama has not yet waived the Jones Act, and several foreign ships ready to offer their help have already been turned away.

Don't get confused here. You may have read that the United States has accepted the help of 12 different countries. However, these countries have only been cleared to contribute things like booms and dispersant chemicals to the cleanup effort. This is minor stuff compared to the foreign ships that can really make a dent in the cleanup, but are being held at bay because of this act.

So you can't believe that the alleviation of this dire situation, involving the welfare of thousands of wildlife is going to be prevented by the enforcement of a 90-year-old law that can be waived at will? Don't worry, I can't believe it either. Let's make a quick distinction here: An oil spill is a real thing, it involves real pollution that is affecting real lives. The Jones Act is make believe. It is just an idea concocted by a bunch of self-serving individuals with ties sitting in a room somewhere. A factor such as legislation becomes completely arbitrary when applied to disasters that affect nature. The infected Gulf of Mexico does not recognize man-made law, and I am sure that the oil-drenched birds who are dying painfully pay no mind to it either. Nevertheless, it seems to be a major player in hindering the cleanup efforts in the sea.

Another reason for the delay of "A Whale"'s deployment is almost as irritating. The Environmental Protection Agency has made clear that if the ship was cleared to act in the Gulf, they would still have grave concerns about the quality of the filtered water being put back into the sea. Apparently, this water may still have traces of oil in it which could be considered harmful, so they may want to hold off on using it. Are they insane? As if the water sitting in the Gulf right now is not exponentially more contaminated that it would be if this tanker was used. Why are we not using this ship immediately to clean the overwhelmingly majority of this water, and dealing with the rest later?

This is just another example of a "do-gooder" bureaucracy getting in the way of itself. We need to drop all the rules and regulations and just fix the spill with all of the resources we have available, regardless of what flag they fly or how effective they might be. This is an all hands on deck situation, yet those hands are being tied with red tape. The United States became a superpower by being a diligent, practical country that used common sense. What happened?

And now for the most nauseating reason of all. The media has explained that even if the Jones Act was waived, and the ship was approved by the EPA to do its duty, the "A Whale" would still not be able to begin operations without a formal contract from the BP Company. That's right, if you want to know why this spill wasn't cleaned up two months ago, just follow the money. How about, "get in there NOW, clean up the spill, do what you have to do, and worry about the money later." BP has already agreed to foot the bill for the cleanup, so what's the problem? Do they really need to sit down with their lawyers and negotiate on a few million dollars?

I don't think this bird cares whether the price of BP's stock goes up or down.

This blog is not meant to be preachy, or to use graphic pictures as a tactic to make you feel angry or guilty. Rather, the point of it all is to create a medium for people to reflect on, and think critically. This is so people can understand the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico as it really is, rather than how politicians and the media portray it. Of course, no article on this topic is going to be able to remain objective, and I am not above this. I just ask that you take from it what you will, and do not let my opinion or anyone else's blur the facts for you in this matter.

 

 

 

 

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Highlighting Cleanup Efforts in the Gulf

June 29, 2010 11:39 by Daniel
            

Since April, the saga of the Gulf oil spill has consumed our lives. Media outlets have focused on the carelessness and neglect of the BP Company, and published graphic photos showing the anguish and tragedy that oil-soaked birds and turtles have endured. The news of this crisis is enough to make every American feel frustrated and helpless.

Today, I'd like to take the opportunity to highlight some of the positives of this dilemma, specifically the actions that rescue workers are taking on the shores of the gulf. Without the round-the-clock efforts of these tireless government workers and volunteers, the conditions of this spill would be undoubtedly much worse. People from across the country are flocking to the worst areas of the spill to offer a helping hand. They are putting their lives at risk by exposing themselves to extremely high levels of toxins. Dozens have fallen ill during the course of the cleanup, with 162 people reporting cases of throat irritation, shortness of breath, cough, eye irritation, nausea and headaches. Regardless of the hazards associated with this cause, these workers (including the Coast Guard and several other government agencies) work 12-hour shifts on very little sleep. They live in a giant command center in Louisiana, and rarely see their families. One public information representative of the center explains, "We've gone from an organization of zero to 13,000...It's a 24-hour-a-day, seven-days-a-week operation."

Statistics like these are truly impressive. Just hearing that there are these incredibly focused and selfless people doing damage control while the rest of us sleep and go about our day as usual is enough to restore my faith in humanity.

Courtesy of the Washington Post

According to one Washington Post writer who researched the specifics of the recovery efforts, the workers treat the clean up as a theater of war, "with the battle fronts on the shore, in the water and deep into the gulf. There are offensive maneuvers, such as burning the oil and skimming it, and defensive strategies, such as using booms and raking tar balls off the sand."

I'd like this blog entry to serve as a reminder to anyone who is following, that the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico is not entirely negative. This particular predicament comes at a time when the resilience of the entire world is being tested. We need to be humbled by this experience, and use it as a wake-up call to show us that the earth cannot sustain mankind if we continue to abuse its resources to the degree that we do.

We need to focus on the potential for revitalization in our society and in ourselves. We need to prove to ourselves that we are strong enough to rebound, that the bonds of our relationships are solid. These rescue workers should be considered heroes when they return from their duty. Just like soldiers, they put their lives in danger; and just like soldiers, they do a job that no one else wants to do.

If you want to contribute to the cause, this video will show you how you can help save wildlife in the gulf.

 

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Go with a Green Commute in the 21st Century

June 23, 2010 14:37 by Daniel
            

The times are turbulent in the present day, and our planet Earth is suffering because of it. Centuries of irresponsible plundering of natural resources and careless dumping of waste have taken its toll. Fortunately, it seems like the conscience of society is evolving. With the tremendous efforts of corporations and individuals alike to "go green", we will now be able to correct the bad habits that we have developed as a species, and rehabilitate the earth before it is too late. If you want to be a part of the "Go Green" movement, there are countless ways to get involved. Today I want to focus on one of the biggest ways in which an individual can amend his/her daily routine in order to accomodate the sancity of our planet. It is known as the "green" commute.

What is a "green" commute, you ask? A "green" commute is any alternative to a traditional method of getting to work which reduces your carbon footprint, thus decreasing the amount of damage that you do to the atmosphere and the planet. The reason why it is so important for everyone to implement a green commute is because the act of commuting is common practice for anyone who is part of the workforce. In order to create the greatest positive change for the environment, we want to target systems which are universal in our society. So, if humans make the collective decision to create greener commutes, it would have a tremendous impact towards restoring the health of the earth. Now, lets explore several "green" alternatives to the method of transportation that you may be using now:

Drive an Eco-friendly automobile. There have been some incredible developments in the auto industry lately to perfect the low carbon-emission vehicle. Some automobiles now run completely on electricity, while others are considered "hybrids", meaning they are powered by both electricity and gas. The vehicle that immediately comes to mind here is the Toyota Prius. The Prius is a full-hybrid electric vehicle which was developed by Toyota in an attempt to increase fuel economy and lower our dependence on oil. Driving this car is a fantastic way to create a greener commute for your daily travels to work. In some states, drivers of eco-friendly vehicles are handsomely rewarded with the right to drive in a special lane that is reserved for green drivers only. Drivers in California can save the planet while cutting down on their commute time! Its a win-win situation. And of course, as you cruise to work in your new hybrid or electric car, you can enjoy your morning beverage out of a promotional eco-friendly mug.

Get into a carpool. Carpooling is a wonderful way to create a "green" commute for your daily travels. There are quite a few perks for those who utilize a carpooling strategy. Not only do you save a ton of money, but you drastically cut down on the cumulative carbon footprint of you and your fellow carpoolers. Once again, you get the added benefit of cruising home in the HOV lane while people who drive to work alone get steaming mad in bumper-to-bumper traffic. Of course it is not always feasible to get into a carpool for commuter purposes, so don't feel guilty if this method is not the right fit for you. However, you should definitely consider one of the other eco-friendly alternatives listed in this post.

Ride your bicycle. This is by far the most environmentally sound way to get to and from your place of work. Unfortunately, it is also the least convenient method, and so it should be reserved for city-dwellers. However, if you live in the suburbs and you want to hop on your bike, go for it by all means. The beauty of this method of transportation is two-fold: you prevent any pollution to the earth whatsoever AND you get into shape! While you pedal that bike to your job, make sure you stay hydrated. Keep some water handy in one of our promotional eco-friendly sports bottles.

Walk. Cities like New York have already taken a number of steps towards making the city easier to navigate for commuters on foot, so walking is definitely encouraged. This also reduces the congestion of traffic in midtown which will drastically cut down on carbon emissions. If you are walking to work, you are going to need a quality backpack or messenger bag to carry all your papers and personal belongings. Try one of our promotional eco-friendly bags on for size!

The more we explore the different eco-friendly ways to get to work, the more it seems like a no-brainer. Taking the necessary steps to make your commute "green" is a wonderful way to contribute to the environmental awareness of the 21st century. You reduce your carbon footprint, increase the quality of your health, and reap the benefits of all the "green" commute incentives. And hey, you lower the profits of the big oil companies which is always an added bonus. Now you can call yourself an environmentalist. Help the planet breathe and restore its natural beauty; your karma will go through the roof!

If you are interested in any other "green" merchandise, be sure to browse through our selection of Eco-friendly promotional products.

How You Can Help Save Wildlife in the Gulf

May 13, 2010 11:39 by Human
            

      

Help Save Wildlife threatened by the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Hundreds of species of wildlife call the Gulf home. Dolphins, manatees, countless fish species as well as nesting birds and sea turtles - are at risk in the Gulf due to the oil spill. For many of these precious creatures, the threat is deadly. Your help is needed to save them. Please donate by texting "WILDLIFE" to 20222 & donate $10. You can also help threatened wildlife by sharing this message with your friends and followers.


To donate online: https://online.nwf.org/site/Donation2... 

You can read more about the How the Gulf Oil Spill Could Hurt Animals from sea turtles, birds, fish, dolphins and many other precious creatures here: http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines... 

When the oil stops gushing, the National Wildlife Federation will be there to help wildlife. Help us help them!

NationalWildlife  Text "WILDLIFE" to 20222 to donate $10 to Save Wildlife in the Gulf.



Trash to Treasure: TerraCycle

May 3, 2010 13:29 by Jenn
            

Is my trash your treasure? If you own any TerraCycle products, there's a chance it was once my own trash. Because each month, over 200,000 pounds of trash end up in this eco-friendly company's warehouse to be reused in new products.

If you stepped foot into any Walmart during the Earth Day season, you may have seen their Capri-Sun pouch backpacks displayed next to bulk packs of Capri-Sun and perhaps you even purchased their Skittle package kite that was positioned next to the sweet rainbow tasting Skittles candies.
                       
What TerraCycle does is revolutionary to the green industry. Instead of using organic materials, they use recycled materials. The image above illustrates how an ordinary Pepsi bottle and recycled spray cap are turned into the perfect plant food sprayer. Other well known brand names like Capri-Sun and Skittles are also being collected and redesigned into usable items like TerraCycle plant food, coolers and kites, to name a few.
                    
This concept of re-using items to create new items, was displayed most artistically by some of my favroite artists, Sue Webster and Tim Noble. Their art is compiled of trash fresh off the streets of London. By projecting light through the meticulously placed trash, this duo has most certainly lived up to Terracycle's motto, "Outsmart Waste."

To collect the recyclable goods for new TerraCycle products, major companies like Kraft Foods Inc., Kellogg Co., and  and Nabisco have organized trash drives in schools. You can start your own TerraCycle brigade in your school or community too.
           
Other companies are sending TerraCycle their trash in hopes to offset their carbon footprints. Cumbersome cardboard boxes and wasteful plastic wrap used to package goods are usually tossed into dumps, but by donating these materials to TerraCycle, businesses are able to contribute to sustainable living.
Unfortunately, as this garbage is sent to TerraCycle warehouses there is not enough demand to produce more materials. Their eco-friendly initiatives are making a dent, but after a major Earth Day promotion, they're still seeing losses.

Retailers are being urged to carry TerraCycle items and with hope that they're able to survive in our economy, larger scale eco-friendly products can be created and even greater environmentally friendly initiatives can be taken.

The Betacup For a Beta Environment

April 28, 2010 14:52 by Jenn
            

Amazing eco-friendly effort alert! The name? Betacup. The mission? "To reduce the number of non-recyclable cups thrown away every year by creating a more convenient alternative to the reusable coffee cup."

The Betacup Challenge invites designers to create reusable coffee cups that will reduce the waste of non-recyclable cups. They've received over 152 ideas so far and 1500 are still in the processing period. Submissions are then posted on-line where a winner will be determined by votes. So do you have what it takes to create the next best reusable coffee cup? We've got tons of promotional eco-friendly drinkware at Motivators, but some submissions we've never even fathomed before.
                        

One submission, the Une Coffee Cup, is made of 100% recycled materials and has no differentiation of materials used for the base and cover of the cup. The black polypropylene and cool ribbing around the cup makes these an attractive choice.
              
Another submission, the No-Side, is also making waves. This approach is a bit complex. Customers will have to hold on to a special lid, bottom, strap and cap. When customers get to their desired coffee shop, a flat packed coffee cup side will be assembled into the mix. An elastic band will keep the components together and the cap and bottom will help to eliminate the waste of disposable alternatives.

I'm excited about the Betacup Challenge because people are broadening their horizons and sustainable solutions are being discovered. There are only about 3 weeks left to submit your design. So get to the drawing board and put on your green thinking cap. Bring on the eco-friendly promotional products.

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Earth Day...It's About Tomorrow

April 22, 2010 09:31 by Sarah
            

40 years ago, on April 22nd, 1970 Gaylord Nelson took a stand for the environment. The democratic Govenor of Wisconson founded Earth Day as "an environmental demonstration" designed to teach people about conservation issues. The premise was simple: "All people, regardless of race, gender, income, or geography have a moral right to a healthy sustainable environment." One might argue that truer words have never been spoken.

40 years ago, on April 22nd, 1970, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day. Today, it is estimated that 1.5 BILLION people will undertake 31 billion acts of green organized by 19,000 organizations in 190 countries. This astounding fact shows how far we've come in the past 40 years, but one monumental truth remains: the damage facing our environment is more prominent than ever. I now pose a question:  Yes, Earth Day is today. But what about tomorrow?

Today is the day when the world will be bombarded with "green" facts. It's our duty as environmentally concerned individuals to make sure that these facts are not just shared today, but tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that. Everyone will be told that bringing a reusable tumbler to the coffee shop will help cut down on paper waste, but will they do that? Everyone will be told that bringing reusable grocery bags to the grocery store will cut down on the billions of plastic bags that end up in landfills, but how many people will be toting their non-woven totes into the store? We need to lead by example and make our voices heard. We need to stand up for Earth Day on April 23rd. We need to stand up for Earth Day on May 4th. We need to stand up for Earth Day on Memorial Day and on the 4th of July and on Halloween. We need to stand up for Earth Day on Thanksgiving and on New Year's Day.

We need to lead by example and encourage others to join us. We need to stand up for Earth Day every day of the year because the truth of the matter is that Earth Day isn't really about today. It's about tomorrow.

Earth Day: We Plant a Tree

April 19, 2010 11:00 by Jenn
            

At Motivators, we like to think that everyday is Earth Day. One April 22nd the world will join together to celebrate the beautiful world around us and combat the rising environmental issues we face. Our Earth Day promotional items will help to spread the word about living an eco-friendly lifestyle, but our eco-mission doesn't stop there.

We've partnered with the American Forests Global ReLeaf program to help give back to the environment. For every eco-friendly promotional product order we receive, we plant a tree. But as a part of our Earth Day efforts, we're practically planting a forest.

Our Earth Day Tree Campaign extends the ReLeaf program to our standard promotional products orders as well. However, to encourage customers to choose environmental items, we'll plant two trees for any eco-friendly promotional products on-line order. Even after our Earth Day promotion is over, we'll keep on planting those trees to show our dedication to the environment.

Want to join in on the eco-action? Learn how to plant your own tree! Not only is it something great to do for the environment, but it is a fun process that can bring people together while brightening up any home or office yard.