Electric Vehicles Going Mainstream?

        Although electric vehicles have been around for decades, they have yet to make a huge impact in the competitive market. Gas guzzlers continue to dominate the roadways despite the fact that electric cars can save drivers thousands of dollars a year in fuel costs. They have been proven to be just as safe, reliable and affordable as other cars, yet there has yet to be a true electric vehicle revolution in the United States. However, two recent articles show that the market may soon start shifting towards electric over gas. The two main arguments against electric vehicles are their unfair reputation as slow, expensive and weak cars and the lack of charging stations available for long distance driving. Articles from Motor Trend and the Huffington Post, respectively, have helped disprove these myths and point towards a bright future for electric cars. In the January 2013 edition of Motor Trend, the magazine will name the Tesla Model S the car of the year. This marks the first time in their 64 year history that they will give the award to a car without an internal combustion engine and signals that public stereotypes against electric vehicles are becoming less prevalent. Motor Trend touts the impressive horsepower and torque of the Tesla, while also praising the storage space, sleek design and on-board navigation system. The Model S passed or exceeded all safety tests and was found to have a range of up […]

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Encounters with Cocoa

Cocoa Pods. The cocoa bean is in the center, surrounded by pulp.

After nearly three years of campaigning on cocoa issues, it was very exciting to see real cocoa pods in person. Because cocoa can only grow in tropical climates, roughly 15 degrees north and south of the equator, it’s not a crop that will flourish in the United States.  The cocoa pod is denser than I expected, and very much shaped […]

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Day 1 in Abidjan

Our NGO roundtable discussion on our aspirations for the conference.

My first day in Abidjan was a packed and productive.  A number of the groups representing civil society and farmer organizations got together to discuss our desired outcomes for the week. The World Cocoa Conference, billed as the “First and Only Global Cocoa Forum“, is one of the first attempts of the various stakeholders in the cocoa supply chain to come together and […]

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Blogging From Abidjan

Here we go! Puffy clouds in the sky en route to Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire.

For the next ten days I will be in Abidjan representing Green America, the Raise the Bar Campaign, and thousands of conscientious American consumers at the World Cocoa Conference 2012.  I just arrived in Abidjan after a long flight from the San Francisco Green Festival, via Paris. But, I’m very excited for what lies ahead this week. Several campaigners from Europe (see […]

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Have a Non-GMO Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  We are thrilled to partner with Non-GMO Project this year to present the 2012 Guide to a non-GMO Halloween! Offered to parents as a toolkit, the 2012 Guide (pdf) contains a list of Non-GMO Project Verified Halloween treats, such as Endangered Species Chocolates, fun ideas for “treasures” (non-food goodies) and even a healthy recipe fromGreen Halloween®  food blogger, Kia Robertson. Get the facts about “Frankenfoods” in from our Green American magazine online.  And if you live in California,vote yes of Prop 37 next Tuesday! Get the Guide here. Learn more about GMOs and what you can do to fight “Frankenfoods”! Visit:

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5 Healthy Trick-or-Treat Alternatives

This is a guest post by Wendy Yu. With Halloween just a week away, it’s time to start stocking up on Halloween candy to give the kids that come by the house. With all the different candies out there to choose from, how do you find the healthiest options? Here are 5 healthy Halloween treat alternatives: 1- LÄRABAR bars: these bars have a delicious blend of unsweetened fruits, nuts and spices. Each flavor contains no more than nine ingredients, so you know that they keep it simple. Apple Pie provides 1 full serving of fruit and 5 grams of fiber. Not too sweet, and spiced with cinnamon and raisins, Apple Pie also has almonds, walnuts and natural chewy goodness. 2- Endangered Species Organic Dark Chocolate Bug Bites : Each of these squares contains a fun and educational insect trading card. They have 70% cocoa content and is certified organic, vegan, gluten-free, and kosher. Another great thing about this chocolate is sourced from ethically traded cacao farms, which ensures  responsible labor practices and sustainable farming. 3- Unreal 54: similar to chocolate covered peanuts, these sweets delights contain no corn syrup, no partially hydrogenated oils, no artificial ingredients, no genetically modified organisms (GMOs), no preservatives, and a low glycemic index. 4- Surf Sweets Gummy Bears: I’m a huge fan of gummy bears, so it’s great to find a healthier version of these sweet little gummy bears.  Surf Sweets Gummy Bears are made with organic fruit juice and organic sweeteners. Also contains 100% […]

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8 years is a long time…

In light of Hershey’s announcement last week, to go 100% Certified by 2020, a lot of our members have raised concerns about this timeline.  Why so long?  Especially since we have known since at least the year 2000 about the problem of the worst forms of child labor on cocoa farms in Ghana and Ivory Coast, and the industry has already missed so many promised deadlines to address the issue. While the announcement was an important step for Hershey to take, especially the acknowledgment that child labor is an issue in its supply chain, the announcement alone does not translate into progress.  Hershey has not in fact changed any of its sourcing policies yet, so it does not mean we can all go out and stock up on Kisses and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

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We did it! Hershey commits to certification. The fight against child labor continues.

CIMG0955

After more than two years of calling on Hershey to address child labor issues in its supply chain, we have big news to share—Hershey announced yesterday it will be going 100% certified by 2020.  While this commitment seemed to come out hastily and in response to pressure from Whole Foods Market, there have been thousands of individuals who joined our Raise […]

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Is Wind Power Dangerous?

Recently, Green America posted an action to our website, encouraging members of the public to ask Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a program which has helped wind power rapidly grow in the United States.  Several people wrote to us, questioning whether we should be promoting wind power due to its impacts on birds, forests, and humans. We have looked into the impacts of wind power versus other sources of energy through the years, and repeatedly found that wind power has far lower environmental impacts than traditional sources of energy (fossil fuels and nuclear power), and that the impacts of wind power continue to decline, as turbine designs improve, and the turbines are better situated.  Here’s what we’ve found: Bird fatalities:  While, wind turbines do cause bird fatalities, these are lower than fatalities caused by other human activities.  The rates of fatalities caused by turbines vary greatly across the country, and can be related to the relative abundance of species, as well as the type of turbines in use and how they are sited. However, it is important to note that the impacts of wind turbines on birds are often overstated, and are much lower than fatalities caused by other human activities. A 2007 report from the National Academies of Science found that bird fatalities from wind power are much lower than from other anthropogenic sources, and found that turbines have little or no impact on bird populations […]

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SAVE THE DATE: National Towns & Universities Fair Trade Conference

Friday – Sunday, October 26-28, 2012 Chicago, IL As Fair Trade Campaigns Director here at Green America, I serve on the Fair Trade Towns Steering Committee.  Fair Trade Towns is a movement to create official “Fair Trade Towns’ across the country in order to increase awareness of and demand for Fair Trade products.   To bring together Fair Trade enthusiasts from across the nation, Fair Trade Towns & Colleges/ Universitieswill be organizing the 2nd annual National Conference in Chicago on the weekend of October 26-28. The 3-day gathering will focus on providing tools, education materials, and leadership training for Fair Trade Campaigns, as well as motivating and attracting new people to Fair Trade. Stay tuned for more information on registration, lodging, scholarships, and volunteer opportunities.  Until then, find out more about last year’s conference here, and make sure to check out this video from last year’s conference!

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