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Monday, July 30, 2012

Keep Alabama's Water Clean: Sign Up for the Turkey Creek Cleanup!

Photo by Nelson Brooke
Cox companies in Birmingham, Alabama and the surrounding area are teaming up with the community for a river cleanup to benefit the Black Warrior River, a major source of drinking water for Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Bessemer, Cullman, Oneonta and Jasper.  As you may, or may not know, the Black Warrior River is on the American Rivers' 2011, "America's Most Endangered Rivers™" list.

Be a part of cleaning and restoring your drinking water by participating in a cleanup at one of the Black Warrior River's tributaries: the Turkey Creek Nature Preserve.

Individuals and families are all welcome to volunteer. Children must be 10 years or older.


Friday, September 21, 2012 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM CDT


Turkey Creek Nature Preserve
3906 Turkey Creek Road, Pinson, AL 35126

Click on the "Contact Us" button to sign up!

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Free Screenings of Gasland!


In response to the proposed leasing of Alabama’s National Forests to oil and gas drilling, Wild South and several other Alabama organizations have united in opposition to this industrial development and the threats it poses to the environment and the health of our communities.

As showcased in the documentary Gasland, drilling for oil and gas can have disastrous consequences for our environment and our communities.  With a huge push to target domestic sources of energy there is not enough oversight or accountability for this industry.

Who/What:  Wild South and local organizations to host screenings of the award winning documentary, “Gasland” 

When:  Doors open at 5:30pm, Screenings and discussions 6-8pm

Where:  Monday July 30th Tuscaloosa, AL @ Bama Theatre
 Tuesday July 31st Birmingham, AL @ Workplay

Attendees are encouraged to participate in discussions before the film.  Information on what people can do to address oil and gas drilling in Alabama’s National Forests will be shared.

The following organizations have declared their support for permanently withdrawing all federal lands in the National Forests of Alabama from any proposed and future oil and gas leasing: Alabama Rivers Alliance, Black Warrior Riverkeeper, Birmingham Audubon Society, Cahaba Riverkeeper, Friends of Hurricane Creek, Green Coalition, Coosa Riverkeeper, Shoals Environmental Alliance, and Wild South

Visit Black Warrior Riverkeeper’s Coalbed Methane & Fracking webpage for more information about this issue.

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Friday, July 27, 2012

UAB Recycling Needs You!

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) takes recycling seriously.  UAB created a Recycling Center that not only recycles materials from their campus, but also it accepts separated recyclables from the public during the drop-off hours of 6:30am - 8:30am and 4pm - 6pm on Mondays.

The UAB Recycling Center is asking for volunteers on Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 8am -5pm, to assist them with the Residence Hall/Dorm Move-in.  Volunteers will assist in recycling the numerous boxes brought in by the incoming freshmen.  It's a for good cause, plus - it's pretty fun. Much of the work will consist of breaking down/flattening boxes and tossing them in the dumpster, and also directing the parents and students to do the same.

Whether you can help for the entire day, or only for a couple hours - it will be greatly appreciated!  If you are interested in being a volunteer, please contact Life The Green Way for additional details.

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Three Green Careers to Consider for the Graduate Concerned About Sustainability


From “solar-powered” this to “grass-fed” that, it's evident that the green revolution is finally gaining some much-needed ground.  Progressing and expanding rapidly, the green movement brings with it the promise of continued growth and job creation—and college students and recent graduates should take notice.

While other industries and markets are battling budget cuts and lay-offs, the green job market is booming. The New York Times recently reported that an estimated 3.1 million people in the U.S. are employed "in the production of goods and services that benefit the environment." To complement the growing supply, numerous job boards and staffing services are popping up, exclusively listing companies' "green" job openings.

Unfortunately, with all of the hype surrounding this new frontier, it can be hard to discern what’s what—especially when the specific definition of a “green job” can be far-reaching and vague. Overwhelmed by the wealth of information—job seekers might need some help navigating the market. Below is a list of three stable, lucrative “green” jobs to give those looking to join the green cause a better idea of what their options are.

Urban Planner
Making decisions, such as, where a city’s park should go, or how a vacant lot might best be utilized, urban planners are dynamic individuals that are definitely in high demand.  By making careful zoning and land decisions, urban planners help ensure that a city is making the most of what it has to work with—in an efficient way, at that. A role ruled by working with politicians and local policymakers, urban planners also help determine emergency-action plans, and building layout—all the while keeping the big picture in mind.

Environmental Engineer
Another growing profession worth considering is that of an environmental engineer. Their main focus is ensuring that their client—be it a corporation, private contractor, or the government—impacts the earth as little as possible when pursuing a particular project. They oversee production of things to ensure that they are done in the most efficient manner possible. They seek to work with, rather than, against the natural surroundings and the bulk of their work may be focused on water and air quality regulation, among other things.

As our climate and weather patterns continue to morph right before our eyes, possessing a general knowledge and understanding of atmospheric and environmental principles is invaluable. Spending their days recording data such as, rainfall, wind speed and temperature, meteorologists compare and contrast the values of the past and present. Hypothesizing causes for significant variations and fluctuations, people in this profession try to gain a better understanding of why certain things are happening now, so that we may hopefully, be better prepared for the future.

Investment in the Future
These are just three of the numerous “green” jobs that are growing in demand each day. It’s no wonder then that so many recent college graduates are deciding to use their degrees to “go green.” Pursuing a green career is not only an investment in our planet; it’s an investment in your personal employment and financial future—and a smart one at that!

About the Author
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer and blogger who specializes in all topics educational. She welcomes your feedback at mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Photo credit: By User:Fred the Oyster [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/), GPL (http://www.gnu.org/licenses/gpl.html) or CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The New “Green Beer”

Up until recently, the term “green beer” referred to a beverage rarely seen except on one particular day of the year: St. Patrick’s Day. However, due to consumer demands for more eco-friendly products - from the cars we drive to the food and beverages we consume - the term “green beer” has slowly begun to refer to something else. In fact, if you mention “green beer” (as long as it isn’t March 17th), most people will immediately recognize that you’re referring to an alcoholic beverage produced under environmentally-sustainable conditions, rather than beer that is actually green in color. So, which beers are green and which aren’t? Yeah, you can’t tell just by looking anymore. Here are five breweries that are more than happy to don the color green:

Full Sail Brewing Co.
Located in Hood River, Oregon, this brewery only operates 4 days a week for 10 hours a day (Full Sail Brewing Co., n.d.). You may think this is a ploy by the staff to get a three-day weekend, but it actually conserves both energy and water. Believe it or not, compared to other breweries, Full Sail Brewing uses 3 million fewer gallons of water each year (Brown, n.d.). In addition, they recycle, recycle, and then recycle some more! For instance, they use 100% recycled paperboard for packaging (Full Sail Brewing Co., n.d.).

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Located in Chico, California, this brewery has taken some major steps to reduce their power consumption. They’ve installed over 10,000 solar panels that produce 19% of their electricity and hydrogen fuel cells which produce 48% of their electricity (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., n.d.). Think this is all just a way to cut back on one HUGE electricity bill? Think again! On top of reducing their electricity consumption, the brewery recycles whenever and wherever possible. In fact, they’re able to keep a whopping 99.6% of the solid waste their facility generates from winding up in a landfill (Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., n.d.).

Eel River Brewing Co.
Located in Fortuna, California, Eel River was the world’s first certified organic brewery (Eel River Brewing Co., n.d.). On top of being certified organic, this brewery has made a lot of strides in sustainability. Their brewing facility in Scotia, California runs completely on bio-mass renewable energy, which is electricity generated from waste that would otherwise be tossed in the nearest landfill, become food for forest fires (ex. scrap lumber), or burned (Eel River Brewing Co., n.d.).

Steam Whistle Brewery
Located in Toronto, Ontario, this brewery may be able to help you out if you’re in the mood for some St. Patrick’s Day beer - the bottle, if not the beer, is actually green by both definitions of the word. The green bottles of Steam Whistle are made with 30% more glass which means they can be washed and refilled up to 45 times - about three times more than the standard brown bottle (Steam Whistle Brewery, n.d.). You may also notice that their bottles don’t have the traditional paper logo. Instead, Steam Whistle uses a painted logo on their bottle to conserve trees and eliminate glue and dyes that can contaminate the water when bottles are washed (Steam Whistle Brewery, n.d.). It isn’t just the bottle that will have other breweries green with envy. Steam Whistle uses water from a nearby lake to regulate the temperature of their facility (Brown, n.d.).

Great Lakes Brewing Co.
Located in Cleveland, Ohio, this brewery is also a restaurant and they are looking out for the environment at every stage of the game. They use all their waste somewhere - either in the brewery or the restaurant. For example, leftover grain is used in the soil at their farms where they grow produce and hops (Great Lakes Brewing Co., n.d.). When the beer is made and it’s time to package it up, the need for green doesn’t stop. Packaging from the Great Lakes Brewery is 100% recyclable (Brown, n.d.). When it’s time to ship the beer to thirsty consumers, Great Lakes Brewery is still thinking about the environment. Their distribution trucks run on vegetable oil leftover from their restaurant (Brown, n.d.).

There are a lot of breweries taking steps to make their beer as green as possible. However, depending on where you live, green beer simply may not be available. What do you do then? Well, here are some tips to help you protect the environment while enjoying a beer:

Keg - When possible, choose beer from a keg (on-tap), rather than a bottle or can. Even after washing the glass and transporting the beer, a keg still has a lower carbon footprint than cans or bottles do (green24, 2011). In addition, kegs can be refilled more times than a bottle.

Hometown advantage - When choosing a beer, pick one that is locally made. Even if your local brewery doesn’t have all the green initiatives mentioned in this article, less energy has probably been consumed in transporting it to you (versus you picking a beer made on the other side of the country).

Recycle - Okay, it may sound really obvious, but it’s worth saying again: recycle! Always put your empty cans or bottles in the recycle bin.

Supply and demand - Ask your local watering hole for a green beer...and it probably wouldn’t hurt to explain that you’re asking for an environmentally-sustainable product and aren’t so drunk you think it’s St. Patricks Day (otherwise they may cut you off). Just remember, if there’s a demand for the product they’ll start to carry it.

Liquor is quicker - Understand that beer is typically the least eco-friendly option among liquor, wine, and beer. Unfortunately, beer requires a whole process of heating, cooling water, and agriculturally-intensive ingredients like hops (Hudson, 2012). Makes you really appreciate all the green initiatives those five breweries have put in place, huh?

Don’t feel too guilty if you can’t order a beer from one of the breweries mentioned in this article. The heavyweights have been making some progress in the green arena as well. For instance, Coors captures 1.5 million gallons of ethanol generated by brewing beer and sells it to Colorado refineries to be transformed into fuel (The Good Human, 2010). While the major players may not have yet caught up to the smaller breweries mentioned here, every little bit helps to protect and sustain our planet. What’s the best thing about the new green beer? It’s appropriate for everyday drinking!

About the Author

Lindsey Brickell writes for Washington Class 12 Permit on alcohol related topics related to a healthy and green lifestyle.


Brown, E. (n.d.). Organic Beer and Beyond: 10 Eco-Friendly Breweries. Retrieved from http://www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/latest/organic-brewery-0625

Eel River Brewing Co. (n.d.). Sustainability. Retrieved from http://eelriverbrewing.com/sustainability

Full Sail Brewing Co. (n.d.). Responsibility. Retrieved from http://www.fullsailbrewing.com/responsibility.cfm

Great Lakes Brewing Co. (n.d.). Sustainability. Retrieved from: https://www.greatlakesbrewing.com/sustainability/other-sustainability-projects

Green24 (2011). Eco-friendly beer - the green beer lover’s choice. Retrieved from http://www.greenerideal.com/lifestyle/home-and-garden/8961-eco-friendly-beer-green-beer-lovers-choice/

Hudson, J. (2012). What’s the Most Eco-Friendly Way to Get Drunk? Retrieved from http://www.theatlanticwire.com/business/2012/04/whats-most-eco-friendly-way-get-drunk/50971/

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (n.d.). On Site Power Generation. Retrieved from http://www.sierranevada.com/environment/solar.html

Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. (n.d.). Recycling. Retrieved from http://www.sierranevada.com/environment/recycling.html

Steam Whistle Brewery (n.d.). Green Initiatives. Retrieved from http://www.steamwhistle.ca/ourbeer/greenInitiatives.php

The Good Human (2010). 5 Eco-Friendly Craft Breweries Doing The Right Thing. Retrieved from http://thegoodhuman.com/2010/08/17/5-eco-friendly-craft-breweries-doing-the-right-thing/

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Gaming Without Guilt: Top 5 Green Games To Play


Did you know that you can choose green games in order to pass the time, without the guilt of supporting violence and destruction? Instead of war, these games promote a greener earth or positive climate change, which can be an amazing way to teach and change the minds of both adults and children. Here are a few games that concentrate on getting people in a “green” state of mind:

Recyclomania – This is a “match 3” type game, like Bejeweled, where you match three similar things to collect points.  In this game, you are matching items to recycle, eventually building your own recycling plants and becoming a recycling master.  This is a great place to start your kids or yourself thinking in a more environmentally friendly way, while playing on the computer.

Garbage Dreams – The Zabbaleen are a people who live in Egypt.  They have become very adept at recycling everything they use and now recycle about 80% of what they consume.  This award-winning game is based on the real-life culture of the Zabbaleen and can be downloaded for free.  Are you up to the task of making Cairo as green as possible?  

Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover – This is truly a green game, because the object of the game is to build gardens! The premise has the player restoring the gardens of an old mansion by searching through the mansion for hidden items to use in the garden. Gameplay lets you decorate the garden to your tastes and participate in a “Best Garden Contest”.  

Fate of the World – Set in the year 2020, this game exists in a world that ignored the signs of climate change and challenges the player to come up with solutions to problems such as: water shortages, oil crisis, and other shrinking resources.  The data for this game is drawn from NASA, Oxford University, the UN, and other organizations who study climate change. This game is a great place to start kids to thinking about climate change and begin the discussion on how to reverse the changes in the future.

Plan It Green – Plan It Green is a time management game where you are elected mayor of the town of Greenville.  You are handed a barren land and are required to bring the city back to life by creating a greener future.  You achieve this by building eco-friendly houses, upgrading homes with green products, beautifying the city and creating green industry.  Are you up to the task of rebuilding this town with green intentions?  

About the Author:
We at Big Fish love writing and talking about online games because that’s what we do best.  We also like to help green initiatives when we can like here at Life the Green Way. We hope you enjoy these gardening games. If you didn’t know you can download the games for free to play for an hour at Big Fish.

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.

Why You Need to Stay Hydrated

The U.S. experienced record-breaking temperatures for the first three months of 2012, and it's not getting any cooler (especially not in the Southeast where I live). Higher temperatures can also mean more heat-related illnesses and even death - especially in young children and older adults. Staying hydrated is key to keeping heat-related illness at bay.

Below is a really cool infographic that provides detailed information including the how's and why's of staying hydrated. Enjoy!

Quench Your Thirst
Provided By: InsuranceQuotes.org

Elena White is the founder and editor of  Life The Green Way, corporate sustainability coordinator at her day job, and a "rurban" wife and mother.  Learn more about her here and follow her on Twitter at @Lifethegreenway.