Maybe Saving the World, New England, New Green Economy

Lynn Tilton Talks Back to New Hampshire

The 9th Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit was held in Manchester, New Hampshire on December 7, 2011.  The annual event was kept under 500 attendees and tends to be fairly exclusive.

Featured speakers in December included NH Governor John Lynch and Lynn Tilton, a business mogul who is over-the top-well-dressed, a la Venus and Serena Williams.  Tilton was called “an unlikely combination of fashionista and Warren Buffett” by ABC news.   She’s a self-made billionaire (yes, with a b) and the CEO of a private equity firm and holding company that manages 76 companies worldwide.

Governor talks about walking the walk   First, Governor John Lynch– one of the most popular governors in history who is serving well into his third term — kicked off the event with an inspiring talk about New Hampshire’s exemplary economy.  Lynch reminded the audience of key achievements of New Hampshire, such as the low unemployment rate and low high school drop out rate.  He referenced a recent quote from President Obama:

While you’re in New Hampshire, instead of telling New Hampshire what you would do to make things better, consider asking what New Hampshire is doing and emulating that.

– President Obama, put to candidates coming to New Hampshire for the Primary (paraphrased by John Lynch, 12/7/11)

Lynn Tilton talks back  Lynn Tilton’s talk came next and sounded a more somber note.  She talked about the state of manufacturing in the greater US and pointed out that the picture is bleak.

“Americans want to get to work,” Tilton said.  “And they cannot.”

America as a “service economy” is dead, she said (if that idea were ever really alive).

“Americans want to work with their hands,” she said.  “And they cannot find work.”  The New Hampshire economic and labor landscape is an exception to this, with credit to John Lynch’s tenure in the state house.  But nationwide a shortage of jobs is certainly a problem.

Tilton clarified her position that people thrive on real work, not mental work like data entry.  “Satisfying jobs, where people make things, do things,” Tilton explained, as opposed to jobs where people push paper, answer phones  or do other, more cerebral tasks with no clear production.

(This is a nice sound bite, but bear in mind that when people “work with their hands” in Tilton’s automobile factories in Detroit, they’re on an assembly line, picture Laverne & Shirley; these are are not exactly pink-cheeked, strong-fingered souls hand-crafting canoes out of pine trees or crocheting blankets from flax for the winter ahead — never mind fishing, hunting or digging, cutting or planting in the great outdoors.   This is a factory assembly line here.)

(In fact, Seth Godin recently suggested that the old, industrial-revolution-style “factory system” as a basis for an economy — either a local or national economy — is no longer a reality.  Read:  the new economy by Seth Godin.)

Incoming… hopefully   Regardless, families need an income in this society.  Tilton talked about children whose guardians have none, children who are homeless, living in vehicles, bathing in public restrooms before school.  She drew from her own life experience where she saw first hand how a family can implode when one parent is no longer working (her father passed away when she was in college, she says she saw how losing a working parent radically changed the family’s situation and prospects).  Tilton said that what gets her up in the morning is the idea that she might provide economic infrastructure and opportunity so that one more person can work, for one more family to have a home and a secure life.

Her mission, she says, is to save America one family at a time.

The audience was pin-drop attentive during Tilton’s presentation.  This respect is partly due to her dossier, partly due to the fact that she’s an engaging speaker, and partly because everyone in attendance is very aware of Tilton putting action behind her words: she recently bought and resurrected New Hampshire’s ailing (if not deceased) Gorham Paper Mill, providing hundreds of area families the chance at – in her words – the American Dream.

Overall, the Ninth Annual Governor’s Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit was an exceptional day.  The event featured sessions on supply chain with representatives from area companies such as Sturm-Ruger, Timken Aerospace and New Hampshire Ball Bearing.  Sponsors included Actio Corporation, BAE Systems, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.

This year’s event was sold out and arguably over capacity.  With more manufacturing companies coming to NH all the time – some high-profile, such as Andrea Rossi’s e-Cat cold fusion reactor plant which is slated to open in Bedford, right outside of Manchester – next year’s event will be a must-attend as well.

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Environmental Regulations, EPA, Nature, Saving the World

The $50 Million Dollar Man-agement of Gulf Ecosystem

On December 5, the final strategy for reversing deterioration of the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem was announced.  News:  USDA has allotted $50 million financial assistance for restoration projects as Task Force efforts shift into action.

Key priorities of the strategy include:

1) Stopping the Loss of Critical Wetlands, Sand Barriers and Beaches
The strategy recommends placing ecosystem restoration on an equal footing with historic uses such as navigation and flood damage reduction by approaching water resource management decisions in a far more comprehensive manner that will bypass harm to wetlands, barrier islands and beaches. The strategy also recommends implementation of several congressionally authorized projects in the Gulf that are intended to reverse the trend of wetlands loss.

2) Reducing the Flow of Excess Nutrients into the Gulf
The strategy calls for working in the Gulf and upstream in the Mississippi watershed to reduce the flow of excess nutrients into the Gulf by supporting state nutrient reduction frameworks, new nutrient reduction approaches, and targeted watershed work to reduce agricultural and urban sources of excess nutrients.

3) Enhancing Resiliency among Coastal Communities
The strategy calls for enhancing the quality of life of Gulf residents by working in partnership with the Gulf with coastal communities. The strategy specifically recommends working with each of the States to build the integrated capacity needed through effective coastal improvement plans to better secure the future of their coastal communities and to implement existing efforts underway.

To review the final strategy: http://www.epa.gov/gulfcoasttaskforce

taking care of business
The business of cleanup.
FEMA, Maybe Saving the World, Nature, Saving the World

Have an Emergency Pet Plan

During Tropical Storm Irene, says FEMA, and the recent New England storm of Oct.29-30 that resulted in extended power outages, some residents chose not to evacuate from their homes fearing they would be separated from their pets. The Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) emphasize that during emergency evacuations, leaving pets should be an absolute last resort and encourage owners of pets and livestock to learn about which shelters allow animals during emergencies.

Prepare for pets
Because your dog is the best dog in the world.

“It’s critical to have an emergency plan in place that includes a fully-stocked animal emergency kit. In the long run it will help bring families some peace of mind as they begin the process of recovery,” said FEMA Federal Coordinating Officer Stephen M. De Blasio Sr.

The following information was developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in consultation with: American Kennel Club, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), and The Humane Society of the U.S.

Useful steps in planning for animal evacuation:

  1.     If you must leave your residence, have a plan for your family pets
  2.     Go online and locate several “pet-friendly” hotels in and out of your area
  3.     Identify friends or relatives outside your area where you and your pets can stay
  4.     If there is a disaster pending, evacuate early with your pets, working animals and livestock; don’t wait for a mandatory evacuation order
  5.     Animals should have leg bands or tattoos, microchips or identification tags with their name as well as your address and phone number

Putting together an animal emergency kit:

  1.     Seven days worth of water and food stored with a can opener in a waterproof container
  2.     Toys, treats and bedding because familiar items may reduce stress for your pet
  3.     Medications, medical records and your veterinarian’s name and telephone number
  4.     Current photos of you with your family pets
  5.     Sturdy leashes, harnesses, and/or carriers to move pets safely and securely
  6.     Litter, litter box, newspapers, paper towels, plastic trash bags and household chlorine bleach for sanitation
  7.     First aid supplies such as cotton bandage rolls, tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea/tick prevention, latex gloves, alcohol, saline solution as well as a pet first aid reference book

Planning for safe animal transportation:

  1.     Get family pets used to being placed in a carrier or crate
  2.     Prepare to move birds, snakes, lizards, ferrets and “pocket pets” like hamsters and gerbils in secure cages or carriers
  3.     Prepare for extreme weather conditions. Include blankets, ice packs, heating pads and a water mister in your kit

Detailed plans for family pets, working animals and livestock owners are available online at http://www.Ready.Gov or by calling 1-800-BE READY (1-800-237-3239).

Safe dogs are happy dogs.
Safe dogs are happy dogs.
Green Reviews, Green Tips, Maybe Saving the World, Nature, New Green Economy, Saving the World

Green Cleaning Products That Work

So which green cleaning products actually work?  Straight from a friend in San Francisco, who’s had a housecleaning business for over 10 years and has extensively field-tested them all, here are the best green cleaning products for cleaning your house, toxic-chemical-free:

Mrs-Meyers-dishwasher-soap
Mrs. Meyers' dishwashing detergent

Method shower cleaner

Mrs Meyers basil all purpose

Bona hardwood floor cleaner & mop

Hope’s perfect glass

I found most of these at the local supermarket.

I bought Mrs. Meyer’s countertop cleaner (lavendar) and it works great.  Also bought the dish washing liquid (basil), it also works great.

But the real revelation was Mrs. Meyer’s dishwasher detergent.

Mrs. Meyer’s automatic dishwasher detergent consists of little packets the size of two thumbs, full of white powder.  (They look illegal.)  You put one in the dishwasher compartment.  It works as well as — if not better than — Cascade with all the rinse chemical-fixins.

I did not expect that:  never thought something “green” could actually work.  It’s brilliant.  It’s all I use now.

More choices for green cleaning products For other green cleaning products, here’s a great link from outside of Seattle containing a list of non-toxic versions of everything from air fresheners to upholstery cleaners to pipe-unclogger to slug stopper (?! really).  Only thing is, “non-toxic” doesn’t necessarily mean chemical-free, so while these lists are helpful, they don’t absolve any of us from research and label-reading.

Still, a helpful place to start:

Non-toxic alternatives (City of Tacoma, Washington)

If you have favorite ‘greeners’ that are time tested and you really believe in them, please post them below.  I’ll try anything, especially if it won’t kill my new, young, growing ash tree that lives near the “outgoing” drainage pipe at my place.  (Also, my dog eats things off surfaces she shouldn’t, so I’d like to keep it real for her too.)  Green cheers to all.

Hippy Stuff, Maybe Saving the World

Why People Are Occupying Wall Street and Everywhere

Abe WalkingBear
Abe WalkingBear

Understanding Derivatives :-)

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit …

She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar.

To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Heidi keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers loans).

Word gets around about Heidi’s “drink now, pay later” marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi’s bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit .

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages.

Consequently, Heidi’s gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Heidi’s borrowing limit.

He sees no reason for any undue concern because he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral!

At the bank’s corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS.

These “securities” then are bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don’t really understand that the securities being sold to them as “AAA Secured Bonds” really are debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb – and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation’s leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi’s bar. He so informs Heidi.

Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons. But, being unemployed alcoholics — they cannot pay back their drinking debts.

Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Heidi’s 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBOND prices drop by 90%.

The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank’s liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community.

The suppliers of Heidi’s bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms’ pension funds in the BOND securities.

They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds.

Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the government. The bailout deal also calls for tax cuts for the top 1% and the bankers give themselves big bonuses.

The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, nondrinkers who have never been in Heidi’s bar.

Posted by Abe WalkingBear in LinkedIn Group, reposted here with permission.

The Occupy movement is being heatedly discussed in a topical group on LinkedIn.   In one discussion, a gentleman known as Abe WalkingBear tried to explain the absurdity of the current banking / economic system in America.

What’s written here about Heidi and her bar, the thinking goes, is why folks are Occupying Wall Street, and occupying everywhere else.  Worth a read.

Update:  Abe WalkingBear says he borrowed this piece from Aldo Carasco who is occupying DC, just FYI, in the interest of proper attribution.

Environmental Regulations, EPA, Nature, New England, New Green Economy, Saving the World

Green Communications Manager Job: New England

Occasionally these job descriptions & opportunities appear in my email inbox (via www.Indeed.com, the best web site for job seekers).  Job opps also pop up on LinkedIn automatically when a job opportunity more or less matches your current job title and experience.  This particular opportunity appeared today and may be of interest to readers of this blog.

The employer is asking quite a lot.  Salary is likely under-served, which is the first thing to find out – always – when approaching a non-profit.  It could be priceless experience — but only if you’re the type of person who doesn’t get resentful over a salary at about 1/2 of market rate.  (I am not one of those people, but have heard of them.)  If you’re very passionate about green initiatives, the environment, related legal pursuits and non-profits, run up to the net and see what they’re offering.

Even if you’re not in the market, this is a strong (if slightly over-served) job description for the role and the field.  Reading these things keeps your eye on the ball.

Senior Communications Manager – Conservation Law Foundation – Greater Boston Area
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is seeking a talented communications practitioner with a journalist’s eye for a good story, a storyteller’s knack for engaging an audience, an editor’s fine point and a publicist’s rolodex. Reporting directly to the director of communications, the senior communications manager will have 5-7 years of communications experience, with solid writing, editing, messaging and pitching skills. You will be able to develop and implement strategic and tactical communications plans that advance the organization’s mission and build awareness through promotion of its core programs and priorities, special campaigns and positions on key issues. Your thirst for knowledge and continual education about environmental issues, including climate change, clean energy, clean air, clean water, ocean conservation, transportation and environmental justice allow you to see creative possibilities for generating media interest around CLF’s people, positions and success stories. Your background will include experience in the nonprofit sector, preferably in the area of environmental issues/advocacy. Current knowledge of and experience with communicating in the digital age a must, with strong media relationships in the Boston area/New England region a plus.

Your responsibilities will include:
• Working with program heads, state directors and staff advocates to develop strategic messaging that flows through the organization’s communications to its various stakeholders
• Developing and editing content for the organization’s website, blog, social media sites and print publications
• Working with outside designers and printers to produce publications and communications materials, including CLF’s quarterly publication, Conservation Matters
• Pro-active and reactive media relations that generate regular, strategic, high-quality media coverage of Conservation Law Foundation and its work
• Developing strategic and tactical outreach plans that advance the organization’s advocacy goals
• Writing press releases and press statements, op-ed pieces, letters to the editor
• Working collaboratively with development, marketing and membership teams to ensure consistency of communications across the organization
• Planning and implementation of press events
• Developing metrics for success, monitoring and reporting for executives, staff and boards
• Public speaking and media training
• Monitoring of editorial calendars
• Development and maintenance of media lists
• Mentor and lead team members responsible for website and marketing administration

Desired Skills & Experience
• Demonstrated ability to distill complex issues and legal language into accessible and compelling stories for a variety of audiences and stakeholders
• Highly-collaborative creative thinker with a minimum of 5 years experience with messaging, public relations, and editing
• Ability to multi-task on different projects with different deadlines and work on multiple initiatives in parallel
• Excellent writing, editing, and proofreading skills
• Confident pitchman/woman with ability to develop and nurture strong media relationships
• Passion for environmental issues and continuous learning
• Boundless energy and intellectual curiosity
• Can-do attitude
• Bachelor’s degree required, preferably with an emphasis in communications or journalism
• 2-4 years of experience working in environmental field
• Experience with WordPress, Convio, Photoshop and InDesign strongly desired
• Knowledge of fundraising techniques and strategies
• Strong commitment to CLF’s mission

Interested candidates are required to send a cover letter and resume to: Human Resources at careers@clf.org or mail to: 62 Summer Street, Boston, MA 02110.

Application materials must be received no later than September 14th. Candidates of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

Company Description
Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) protects New England’s environment for the benefit of all people. A non-profit, member-supported organization, CLF uses the law, science and the market to solve the region’s most challenging environmental problems from climate change to ocean conservation to transportation. Every day, CLF advocates stand up for New Englanders—in state houses, court houses and board rooms, regulatory hearings and community gatherings—to forge innovative paths to environmental progress and economic prosperity for our region.

Founded in 1966, CLF is recognized nationwide for taking on complex issues, sticking with them and getting results that make New England a better place to live, visit and do business, including: cleaning up Boston Harbor, restoring New England’s cod population, blocking oil and gas drilling on Georges Bank, preserving wilderness areas in Vermont and New Hampshire, reducing emissions from cars and trucks, laying the groundwork for widespread implementation of renewable energy, and winning some of the country’s strongest protections for clean air and clean water. CLF is headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts with offices in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Environmental Regulations, EPA, Health, Nature, Saving the World, Science

DuPont Herbicide Halted By EPA

DuPont says it’s implementing “broad scientific and stewardship reviews” after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pulled DuPont’s herbicide called Imprelis off the market Thursday.

In EPA’s “Stop Sale, Use, or Removal Order,” the EPA said that DuPont had test data that showed its herbicide Imprelis was harmful to Norway spruce, balsam fir and other trees when it was given EPA approval last August.

(So why was it allowed to market in the first place…?)

DuPont, in the meantime, has posted a job opening for Product Stewardship at DuPont at corporate headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.  Smart.

DuPont is the registrant of  Imprelis Herbicide (EPA Registration No. 352-793) with the active ingredient aminocyclopyrachlor (CASRN 858956-35-1).  Beginning in June 2011, EPA says it began receiving complaints from state pesticide agencies regarding evergreen damage related to the use of Imprelis.

To its credit, DuPont has been cooperating.  As of August 2011, DuPont has submitted to the Agency over 7,000 adverse incident reports involving damage (including death) to non-target trees – primarily Norway spruce (considered by many to be an invasive plant) and white pine (considered by some to be a pain in the butt, due to sticky pitch or sap, falling branches, abundant shedding of needles, shallow root system and great height which lend to tipping over).  The damage to nearby trees and plants has been observed to be related to the application of Imprelis.

Test data from DuPont has confirmed certain coniferous trees, including Norway spruce and balsam fir, as susceptible to being damaged or killed by the application of Imprelis.  EPA continues to collect information from DuPont, state agency investigations, inspections and data analyses. The Agency continues to investigate possible causes of the evergreen damage.

Based on death of “non-target” trees and other observations, EPA feels it has reason to believe Imprelis Herbicide is in violation of FIFRA based on DuPont’s own test data and information gathered during EPA and state investigations.

If this affects you or your work and you want to know more, go to this EPA page for DuPont Imprelis that provides more information.