Archive for September, 2011

Climate Mama – Making A Difference.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the realities of climate change, but important to keep in mind that everyday, people all over the world are dedicated to finding solutions and spreading awareness. When scientist Eugene Cordero of the Green Ninja Team participated in 24 Hours of Reality as a panelist (Hour 4 (Kotzebue), Hour 14 (New Delhi) and Hour 15 (Islamabad)), he had to opportunity to network with amazing people and organizations working to do something about climate change.

Climate Mama, founded by Harriet Shugarman, is a great example of this tenacity. Shugarman’s activism started when she first had children and realized that they would be the ones left with our planet – no matter what state we leave it in. She and her team emphasize education, encourage questions about the big issue of climate change, and even offer seals of approval for responsible products and services.

Shugarman is more than willing to turn her message into action. She was recently arrested for civil disobedience following a peaceful protest of the XL Keystone Pipeline. The government has released their official assessment of the proposed pipeline, but many are crying foul. President Obama is expected to make his decision regarding the pipeline by November 1.

Watch Shugarman’s appeal to Obama:

Visit Climate Mama and learn how to help  make changes in big and small ways!

What are your feelings about this pipeline?

– GN

An animated champion for climate | UCAR Magazine

A nice article written by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research – thanks for the great message!

An animated champion for climate | UCAR Magazine.

-GN Team

Brew Your Own Kombucha

Earlier, I purchased a solar oven and used the sun’s rays to bake a delicious loaf of bread. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been brewing my own kombucha and I’m excited to share the results! Kombucha is a fermented tea drink that traces its roots back to Russia. Many claim that it is a “miracle” drink, capable of regulating and restoring the human body. Though the scientific community has not done enough research to back this up, kombucha is still a refreshing and delicious beverage loaded with good bacteria.

You can start the brewing process in a few ways. You can purchase a “mother” online or look around in your community for members who might already be brewing and would be willing to share. The mother culture resembles a mushroom and already contains the bacteria that will help to ferment your tea. I chose to buy a complete starter kit and start from scratch. Oregon Kombucha makes a very easy kit, completely with tea, organic sugar, and a Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast (SCOBY).

The first step is to brew your tea. Boil one gallon of water and add tea (according to Oregon Kombucha, their enclosed tea can be replaced with 12 tea bags of your own choosing).  I recommend using distilled water to brew your tea. Add one cup of organic sugar and stir.

Once the tea cools, pour the sweetened mixture into a very clean, non-metal container. Add the enclosed SCOBY or mother culture, cover the container with a clean cloth and place in an area between 75 and 90 degrees. Now, wait!

Kombucha will continue to brew for about 30 days. At around a week, the flavor is significantly lighter than after the full month. Try it often after the first week to find out which taste you prefer.

This was my SCOBY after 11 days. The color and texture of the SCOBY may vary, but it will not look like household mold. If you find mold that looks similar to what occurs on old bread, do not drink the kombucha. Don’t get discouraged, just try again and make sure your brewing containers and area are sanitary.

The finished product! I like my kombucha lighter, around the two week mark. You can add a blend of fruit juices or other teas to change the flavor. I chose a splash of white cranberry juice and had it over ice on a hot day. Delicious!

Kombucha makes a great community project, but it’s not the only easy to make fermented food. Kimchi is easy and delicious, and you can find other ideas here!


Green Ninja Team meets Al Gore

One of our Green Ninja Scientists (Eugene Cordero) is participating in the 24 Hours of Reality project and will serve on a live panel with Al Gore in New York.

24 Hours of Reality is a worldwide event that will share the reality of the climate crisis. From Tonga to Cape Verde, Mexico City to Alaska, Jakarta to London, people living with the impacts of climate change every day will tell their story. The event features a new multimedia presentation created by Al Gore and delivered once per hour for 24 hours, in every time zone around the globe.

The event starts at 7pm (Sep 14th) ET and ends at 8pm (Sep 15) ET, with Eugene appearing on panels at 8pm (Sep 14; with Al Gore), 9am (Sep 15th) and 10am (15th) – all times Eastern Standard.  Catch it all live here:

Go Green Ninja Team!!

Episode 2: Filming and Trailer

Where did the Green Ninja come from? How was the Green Ninja chosen? What lessons and training were necessary for the Green Ninja’s education? These questions will be answered in a new film being produced at San José State University, called –  Green Ninja Episode 2: The Beginning.

Students enrolled in the course RTVF135 Production: Special Projects participated in the semester-long filmmaking experience, and they worked in all areas of filmmaking including, sound, lighting, props, costume design, and makeup. The course is designed to give students experience of working on a professional quality short film, which many of them then apply in the full length film in the summer.  The film was written and directed by San José State Professor Babak Sarrafan, with the cinematography done by Jim Orr.  A full list of the cast and crew will appear on our website when the video is released.

Filming took place in May 2011 at various locations around San José, CA.

Green Ninja: The Beginning is expected to be released in the Fall of 2011.

Here is the trailer!

-GN Team

An Afternoon With the Green Ninja

After a busy week on the climate-action front, I had the chance to relax. I grabbed a hot tea, biked around the neighborhood, and took a quick hike. I thought I’d share some of my favorite moments of the day!

I spotted this innovative bicycle parking made from old frames outside of a local coffee shop. Here are some more ideas for re purposing used bike accessories, or donate them.

Beautiful citrus trees in a home garden. A great way to save money at the grocery store, especially since the home grown stuff adds so much flavor! Plus, they can thrive in containers if your yard is on the smaller side.

The view at the end of my hike. It was a hot day, but the view kept me motivated.

At this point I had worked up a pretty serious appetite. I stopped a local organic cafe for a cream of broccoli soup, a fresh greek salad with lemon dressing, and a healthy carrot juice.  Wholesome, filling, and tasty!

How do you unwind on your days off?

– GN

Eco- Friendly Barbecues

With Labor Day just around the corner and summer coming to a close, backyard barbecues and other get-togethers abound. However,  entertaining doesn’t have to mean mountains of waste and cheap disposable party favors. Recyclable materials you have lying around your house can be transformed into easy decorations. I made these simple paper fans (easy tutorial here) out of old newspapers and magazines to hang from trees in the backyard. Just make sure they are tied securely so that they don’t fly away, and recycle them after the party!

Simple steps such as sending out e-vites instead of paper invitations can help make sure that friends and family stay informed, without the waste. When it comes to convenience, some of the biggest environmental offenders are unrecyclable paper plates, cups, and utensils. Reusable items are the best way to go, especially multipurpose items like Mason jars which make great drinking cups and vases. But if you can’t bring yourself to do any dishes, invest in biodegradable or compostable plates. After your guests leave you can simply toss them in your compost heap. Worldcentric offers a great array of everything from cutlery to trash bags, and they donate a quarter of their profits to grass roots social and environmental organizations.

When it comes to choosing meats to grill, remember to keep in mind the carbon footprint of your diet. Processing meats creates emissions, but not all proteins stack up the same. Red meats like lamb and beef release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, so consider chicken or turkey burgers.

New technologies are emerging in order to make the act of grilling itself less harmful for the environment. The  gas vs. charcoal vs. electric grill debate is a complicated one. Gas uses non-renewable fuels, charcoal emits double the carbon dioxide of gas, and electric can have the highest greenhouse gas emissions of all if the energy that powers your house isn’t green. New recyclable items like the FlameDisk use ethanol to heat and cook food, and they eliminate the time that used to be spent waiting for grills to heat up.

Enjoy your Labor Day!

– GN

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