Beyond Pretty Lights


“Chemical compounds probably aren’t what come to mind when you think about fireworks. What comes to mind when you see fireworks? Do you think of the loud noises they make? Or do you think about the stench they leave behind following the grand finale of the display? While fireworks have become a huge tradition on the 4th of July, the chemicals that are used to make them have been found highly detrimental to the environment.

Bright flashes of colors such as red, white, blue, yellow, green, and violet light up the sky— results of the combustion of flash powder oxidizer potassium perchlorate and various nitrates. Strontium nitrate is responsible for red fireworks, barium nitrate for green, and copper chloride for blue.”

To read the full story, click here.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

The Type of Desert You Don’t Want


In 1994, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared June 17th a global observance of desertification, shedding light onto the persistent dehydration of dry land ecosystems.

Desertification is the process in which fertile land becomes desert due to prolonged drought, deforestation or inappropriate agriculture. Desertification actively threatens the most vulnerable populations. In Africa, desertification is prevalent, causing an unsustainable use of local, scarce resources.

Mismanaged land can lead to a myriad of unfortunate outcomes. Improperly managing land can cause the soil to become infertile, decreasing the opportunity to grow food, which leads to food scarcity.

The UN suggests ways to prevent desertification. Reforestation, tree regeneration, and water management are among the best ways to prevent further land degradation. The UN also recommends soil enrichment by hyper-fertilizing soil through planting.

Communities are encouraged to come together to combat desertification. To learn more, visit the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) website.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer

Wringing Out Water Waste: A New Way To Care For Your Jeans

Have you ever wondered how much water you use to wash your jeans? If you are a person that wears a pair of jeans once before washing them, you’re using a lot of water—more than you probably think. Over the life span of a pair of jeans, 3,781 liters of water are used from beginning to end. The measured life span includes: growing cotton, manufacturing, consumer care and disposal.

Levi Strauss & Company (LS&Co.) is dedicated to sustainability. In 2007, the company conducted a study to assess the environmental impact of a pair of jeans over the span of their lifetime. The Lifecycle Assessment Study (LCA) found that the two biggest energy and water impact areas were cultivation of cotton and consumer use. Based on further findings from the study, LS&Co. was able to change the way they produce jeans in order to decrease the environmental impact. LS&Co. established a water recycle and reuse standard of production, along with participating in water stewardship programs.

LS&Co. also created a quiz as part of a hashtag campaign, the #WashLess pledge, which allows anyone to find out his or her environmental impact based on how they use and take care of their jeans. The quiz covers topics such as region where one lives, how long one keeps a pair of jeans and how many times one wears a pair of jeans before washing.

According to LS&Co., if American consumers washed their jeans after 10 wears, water usage and climate change impact could be reduced by 77 percent. To find out your environmental impact through your jeans, take the quiz here.

By Kimberly Dallmann, GMC Writer


Water Conservation Tips

Here are some water conservation tips recently shared by National Geographic:

Toilets, Taps, Showers, Laundry, and Dishes

  • If you use a low-flow showerhead, you can save 15 gallons of water during a 10-minute shower.

    Green Media Creations

    Green Media Creations

  • Every time you shave minutes off your use of hot water, you also save energy and keep dollars in your pocket.Green Media Creations
  • It takes about 70 gallons of water to fill a bathtub, so showers are generally the more water-efficient way to bathe.
  • All of those flushes can add up to nearly 20 gallons a day down the toilet. If you still have a standard toilet, which uses close to 3.5 gallons a flush, you can save by retrofitting or filling your tank with something that will displace some of that water, such as a brick.
  • Nearly 22% of indoor home water use comes from doing laundry. Save water by making sure to adjust the settings on your machine to the proper load size.
  • Dishwashing is a relatively small part of your water footprint—less than 2% of indoor use—but there are always ways to conserve. Using a machine is actually more water efficient than hand washing, especially if you run full loads.

Industry—Apparel, Home Furnishings, Electronics, and Paper

  • It takes about 100 gallons of water to grow and process a single pound of cotton, and the average American goes through about 35 pounds of new cotton material each year. Do you really need that additional T-shirt?
  • One of the best ways to conserve water is to buy recycled goods, and to recycle your stuff when you’re done with it. Or, stick to buying only what you really need.
  • Recycling a pound of paper, less than the weight of your average newspaper, saves about 3.5 gallons of water. Buying recycled paper products saves water too, as it takes about six gallons of water to produce a dollar worth of paper.

Electricity, Fuel Economy, and Airline Travel

Green Media Creations

Green Media Creations

  • The water footprint of your per-day electricity use is based on state averages. If you use alternative energies such as wind and solar, your footprint could be less. (The use of biofuels, however, if they are heavily irrigated, could be another story.) You would also get points, or a footprint reduction, for using energy-star appliances and taking other energy-efficiency measures.
  • Washing a car uses about 150 gallons of water, so by washing less frequently you can cut back your water use.
  • A gallon of gasoline takes nearly 13 gallons of water to produce. Combine your errands, car pool to work, or take public transportation to reduce both your energy and water use.

Yard and Pools

  • Nearly 60% of a person’s household water footprint can go toward lawn and garden maintenance.
  • The average pool takes 22,000 gallons of water to fill, and if you don’t cover it, hundreds of gallons of water per month can be lost due to evaporation.
  • Conserve Your Water by GMC
  • Conserve Your Water by GMC

Full Article on National Geographic Website

Water-Energy Nexus

Water is Energy, Green Media Creations


According to the International Energy Agency, energy production currently sucks up about 15 percent of the world’s total water withdrawal, but it could increase to about 20 percent between 2010 and 2035. That is why many people in the water conservation industry are now looking at the water-energy nexus. What is the role of water in the production of energy? How are the two connected? How can we use water more efficiently while also taking into consideration energy use? The City of Palo Alto Utilities (City) is one industry player which has taken steps toward answering those questions.

Envirosmart Solutions Group (ESG) is a division of WaterWise Consulting, Inc. ESG was formed to build relationships between different environmental firms allowing them to implement a variety of resource management projects. ESG has been contracted by municipal and federal agencies for program implementation and began a technological partnership with EFERGO, a Polish consulting firm, based in Warsaw.

ESG and the City have just reached an agreement for ESG to implement the City’s Whole House Efficiency Audit (Program). The Program involves conducting a full audit of energy and water using fixtures inside and outside of the home. ESG will provide program administration like customer service, and schedule appointments. Each appointment will be handled by trained personnel who will conduct an indoor and outdoor water and energy use audit. The audit will include flow rate checks of all running faucets, toilets, showerheads, and any other water dispensing devices as well as an inspection of all lighting, electric appliances, and building envelope. The audits will include collection of data on computer tablets and advice to customers, landscapers, and/or property managers of appropriate water and energy conservation methods.

ESG feels very fortunate to work with the City on this project. ESG is managed by Steven Chov from the ESG Santa Clara office. Steven can be reached at To read more about ESG please visit the company’s website.

Reposted from the WaterWise Consulting, Inc. monthly newsletter dated May 1, 2013

California Drought!

While some agencies won’t proclaim it, everyone else is shouting it. California is in a drought! Recent sprinkles which have landed on your car won’t be enough to make up for the past dry periods. So, be conscientious and try to conserve. Every little bit does help. And, we can all do our share, one drop at a time. Check out this video on what could happen if we don’t start to conserve. For more videos on how to potentially save water by working on your irrigation system at home go to

Green Babies

Green Babies

A funny thing happened to me on the way through Babies R Us: Mother Nature slapped me in the face! I ran into Earth’s Best! Earth’s Best is a brand of baby products which are green. This particular photo displays diapers which claim to be chlorine free. Much to my surprise I found other green products. So, if you want to start your baby off on a green path, look for a brand which won’t hurt the environment. Your child will thank you later when he inherits a less polluted earth and Mother Nature will thank you now.