This quick Fluoride Action Network video shows us some of the major concerns of fluoride in drinking water. Check out the warning label on your toothpaste tube. It notes that the amount of fluoride in a single brushing (.25 mg) should not be swallowed, and if so, the label says you should contact a Poison Control Center. Interestingly, that's the same amount that's in an average glass of tap water. Learn more and watch: http://www.fluoridealert.org/
Raw Food Chef and Author Paul Nison will be speaking in the New York area. All 4 events are listed below. Paul has been eating a raw food diet for 15 years and has written 7 books about the raw food diet. He has also been a chef in the world's biggest raw food restaurant in NYC. Paul will be speaking about the topic of his new book The Formula for Health. His book will be for sale. Even if you have seen Paul speak before come again, all new information will be revealed. Paul was raised in NY but has been traveling the world for many years spreading the world about health and the raw food diet. come see Paul while making his return to the NYC area ,and unleashing his new book to the world. *For more information on Paul visit his website at www.Paulnison.com <http://www.Paulnison.com> *
See info for all 4 events below EVENT #1 Brooklyn New York Saturday, February 16, 2008 Lecture 6-8 Party 8-till $10.00 Brother Natural 138 St. James Place Brooklyn NY 11238 For More Information and R.S.V.P. Contact: Brother Natural 718-783-3465 EVENT #2 Fresh Meadows, NY Monday, February 18, 2008 7:00PM to 9:00 PM $5.00 Exotic Superfoods 185-02 Horace Harding Expwy Fresh Meadows, NY 11365 For More Information and R.S.V.P. Contact: Fabian 718-353-4807 EVENT #3 New York City NY Thursday, February 21, 2008 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM $10.00 Bonobo's Restaurant 18 East 23rd Street New York NY 10010 For More Information and R.S.V.P. Contact: Paul 561-337-9299 www.bonobosrestaurant.com <http://www.bonobosrestaurant.com> EVENT #4 Oceanside, New York Sunday, March 02, 2008 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM $5.00 (can be used towards discount on books) Jandi's Natural Market 3000 Long Beach Road Oceanside, NY 11572 For More Information and R.S.V.P. Contact: Howard 561-536-5535 Howard@jandis.com <mailto:Howard@jandis.com>
As most of you will be aware, Saoirse sets off at the end of the month for his pilgrimage to India.
While he is away promoting this community, it would be great to get as much media attention as possible. Through this we can attract new members and build local Freeconomy communities across the world.
To do this, I'm looking for some stories to support magazine and newspaper articles. If any of you have had any amazing sharing experiences through the Freeconomy community and would like to have your story printed in your local newspaper (or maybe even the national press!), please email me.
I cannot promise to answer you all individually, but you can be assured I will read every story and use many of them. However if we do decide to use yours you will definitely be contacted beforehand.
If you could put the area you live in as part of the subject line, I would be grateful (i.e. Manchester Freeconomy Story).
Please include your story, along with details of any local newspapers so that I can build up a database of potential publications to contact.
Alternatively, if any of you have ideas for magazines and newspapers to contact then please share them with me too. Any help with this is valued and appreciated.
Have a wonderful week and I look forward to reading your uplifting stories.
Posted: Wed Nov 07, 2007 1:31 pm Post subject: Foreigner receives heart stem cell transplant in Bkk
Malcolm in the Middle - of Thailand for New Stem Cell Treatment source: TransWorld news
New York Man No Longer Has Congestive Heart Failure, Thanks to Adult Stem Cell Therapy.
Malcolm Anderson, of Hudson, New York, reports that his ejection fraction (a measure of the heart's pumping function) has increased from 41% to 55%, thanks to a novel adult stem cell treatment that he received in Bangkok, Thailand.
Malcolm Anderson, 81, was very concerned when he was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He knew he was going downhill. Malcolm asked his doctor, "What can I do about congestive heart failure?" His doctor replied, "you can take lasix."
To Malcolm, that wasn't a great option. "Is that all I can do? I thought there must be something better than taking lasix the rest of my life" said Malcolm.
"I had an ejection fraction of 41%, not debilitating, but, long term, not good. I knew it would gradually get worse and worse."
Malcolm decided to search the internet and look for an alternative method of treating his congestive heart failure. He found that option in Theravitae, a biotechnology company in Thailand, that developed a procedure to treat congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease using a patient's own stem cells.
Theravitae's Vescell adult stem cell technology employs adult stem cells harvested from a small amount of the patient's own blood and does not require bone marrow extraction.
"I thought if it doesn't do any good, at least it doesn't do any harm," said Malcolm.
Malcolm was a little apprehensive before his arrival in Bangkok in March, 2007. "Once I got there, it was a piece of cake. They took great care of me from the moment I arrived at the airport."
Malcolm's own stem cells were implanted into his coronary arteries via catheter in a simple procedure very similar to an angioplasty.
Eight months later, the stem cell therapy has improved Malcolm's quality of life. "I recently visited my doctor - my diagnosis now is that I don't have heart failure anymore! My ejection fraction is 55%. That is a 30% increase! I'm feeling top shelf. I'm working again. I'm happy."
Presidential candidate Ron Paul introduced to Bill to allow the transport and interstate commerce of RAW MILK to Congress on November 5, 2007and Dennis Kucinich co sponsored.
California scientist, nutritionist and raw food expert Aajonus Vonderplanitz (author of We Want to Live), St. Louis, Missouri's Jeff Slay and Appleton, Wisconsin's Leslie Jacob spent two months in Washington last summer to talk to representatives about raw milk.
Public support in the form of phone calls and faxes helped the team to secure meetings. They visited 537 offices, saw three legislators, spoke to seventy-six legislative representatives and left behind copies of "The Report in Favor of Raw Milk" written by Dr. William Campbell Douglass, Jr. (author of The Milk Book: The Milk of Human Kindness Is Not Pasteurized)and Aajonus Vonderplanitz.
Of the seventy-six legislative representatives who listened to a pitch about raw milk, seventy-two of them thought raw milk carried disease. When the raw milk advocates left the meetings, all but four believed that raw milk is advantageous. In his report about their experience,
Aajonus explained that California's Diane Feinstein was the only legislator who was outright negative.
Representative Ron Paul's top assistant, Norman Singleton, agreed to submit a bill to Congress for raw milk. Aajonus wrote the bill, re-wrote it several times and Ron Paul wrote the final version (HR 4077) in mid-October.
The bill, that is designed to allow interstate transportation and commerce of raw milk, was introduced to Congress on November 5, 2007.
On November 15, 2007, Dennis Kucinich (Ohio ) and Peter Welch (Vermont) joined as cosponsors. Seventy more representatives said that if Aajonus and his team got someone to submit the bill, they would join as cosponsors.
Here is the "Constitutional Candidate's" speech:
Dr. Ron Paul:
Madam Speaker, I rise to introduce legislation that allows the transportation and sale in interstate commerce of unpasteurized milk and milk products, as long as the milk both originates from and is shipped to States that allow the sale of unpasteurized milk and milk products. This legislation removes an unconstitutional restraint on farmers who wish to sell unpasteurized milk and milk products, and people who wish to consume unpasteurized milk and milk products.
www.RonPaul2008.com Hope for America
No more IRS, Undeclared War, Federal Reserve NAFTA, NATO, CODEX. Fiat Money, No UN, New World Order Pro : Small government, Constitution, Free Internet, Civil Liberties and personal FREEDOM
While more grocery stores carry more local and organic foods than ever before, you'll still likely find the best quality, selection and prices at farmer's markets or other alternative sources. Generally, this also means that you need to plan around the market's schedule, as it may only be open for one day a week; it also likely means you've got to make two shopping trips.
While nothing beats the experience of perusing fresh foods sold by the farmers themselves, your schedule may not allow for the time needed to get the most our of this kind of shopping. If that's the case, you'll probably want to explore community supported agriculture programs (CSA). In this model, you and others buy "subscriptions," or shares, of a farm's crop. At regular intervals (generally weekly), you can pick up your share of the harvest either at the farm, or, sometimes, at delivery locations. You don't need to spend time comparing prices or availability: just pick up your basket of food, and you're good to go!
CSAs are great for both farmers and consumers: farmers know their crop is sold, and buyers get to build a relationship with the person (or people) responsible for planting, harvesting and selling the food they eat. Keep in mind, though, that you don't choose the items in each weekly delivery: you get whatever's ready to harvest. CSAs generally expect payment in full at the beginning of the growing season; a few require members to work a few hours on the farm (which gives you even more knowledge about the source of your food). You'll want to explore CSA options carefully; finding the right one, though, means weekly fresh food straight from the farm - generally at a great price!
Your Action for Today: Explore the CSAs in Your Area
Are there CSAs available in your area? It's easy to find out: go to Local Harvest's CSA page, and do a search. Take a look at the prices, payment policies, crops available, pick-up practices, and work requirements (if any). You may figure out that a CSA provides a reasonably-priced, convenient way to have greener food ready for your family every week.
Record what you find in your Green Journal. If you've got questions, call the farm - they'll likely be happy to give you more details about their program.
According to the Annenberg Foundation’s Garbage exhibit, the average American generates 4.6 pounds of trash per day - that’s 1460 pounds per year! Less than 25% of that waste is recycled, with the rest going to landfills (which are becoming harder and harder to create) or to incinerators. Decreasing the amount of garbage you put into the waste stream is an easy way to lighten your footprint.
Everyone Can Recycle
Recycling has become the green gold standard for most Americans – if they know nothing else about contributing to a healthy, more sustainable environment, they’re aware that the can recycle aluminum, paper, glass, and plastic. Many communities have curbside pick-up services available for recyclables, and a few cities have even mandated recycling to deal with shrinking landfill space. If you don’t have a pick-up service available, there are likely locations for dropping off recyclables. You may even be able to pitch those cans, newspapers and bottles at a location that benefits a non-profit organization you support.
Your Action for Today: Learn About Recycling in Your Community
Earth 911 is your one-stop location for details about recycling services in your community. Visit their recycling page, and find out how easy it is to dispose of recyclables without throwing them in the trash! While you're at it, also take a look at the Recycling section of the Green Life Guide.
Start your Green Journal! The Green Journal is your space on the Green Options web site to record your daily actions, to publicly commit to larger actions (as we’ll ask you to do in later lessons), and to discuss your efforts to live a greener life with other GO members. Starting a journal is easy:
You do have to be a member of Green Options to start a Green Journal. Creating a membership is easy and free, and we won’t fill your inbox with junk email.
Title your journal something like "Bob & Amy's Green Journal." Feel free to be creative (within the limits of the forum rules, of course!).
Every time you complete one of your daily actions, create a post in your journal for it. Write as much or as little as you like. Ask questions of other users - they can often be one of your best sources of information. By writing in your journal, you'll also be helping them with their own green journey.
Despite the trappings of a civilized culture and the incredibly persistent myth of our moral exceptionalism, we in the United States are collectively a group of mean-spirited, depraved barbarians. Sparing our psyches the pangs of conscience by ferociously devouring the corporate media's seemingly endless supply of rationalizations, euphemisms, historical revisions, distractions, denials, distortions, and affirmations of our pathological self-absorption, we each carry a degree of responsibility in the infliction of immeasurable unnecessary pain and suffering upon the rest of the Earth's sentient beings.
Deeply integrated into a cultural and economic system in which compassion is considered to be a weakness and in which greed, exploitation, profits, property, winning, bellicosity and selfishness are sacrosanct, we cannot escape the reality that each of us participates in the American version of Hannah Arendt's "banality of evil" to some extent. Unless we isolate ourselves in a mountain cabin or expatriate, as US citizens we are each damned to be one of the 300 million "Little Eichmanns" who enable our cynical plutocratic masters to dominate the world both economically and militarily.
Struggling to make itself heard above the cacophonous din of sound bites, advertising jingles, clichés, tropes, memes, mythos, and various other manifestations of the false consciousness that afflicts so many of us, the voice of conscience occasionally grabs our attention and violently reminds us how badly we are fucking the rest of the world.
And when it does, the question we each need to ask ourselves is, "How much like "Eich" do I want to be?"
While there are myriad ways we can each minimize our culpability in the egregious crimes of savage capitalism and its most banal representation, consumerism, the struggle to end speciesism is at the vanguard of our much needed moral evolution. Yet is often minimized and ridiculed by sociopolitical thinkers of nearly all stripes.
Seeking to provoke a re-examination of our ghastly practices toward animals, Patrice Greanville, a force in the animal liberation movement for many years, has defined speciesism as akin to German fascism. While the comparison is doubtless inflammatory, it is well grounded in fact, since both speciesism and Nazism share a core ideology of entitlement to total dominion over anyone outside the ""master race" :
"[as] the oldest, crudest and most pervasive form of fascism or tyranny around…speciesism must be understood…as an unrecognized fascism…not so much as the organization of a mass party of thugs to beat back labor, or an outright rightwing military dictatorship, but as a form of institutionalized supremacism whereby a particular nationality, group, class, race (or species), unilaterally proclaims its 'superiority' over others, and proceeds to confer upon itself the right to exploit, murder, and tyrannize at will with absolute impunity."
Infectious and insidious as racism or sexism, speciesism permeates nearly every facet of our existence—and it's class blind: both poor and rich practice it with alacrity. Raising 4-5 billion non-human animals each year in the concentration camp-like conditions of factory farms, we torture and slaughter fellow sentient beings merely to satiate our carnivorous desires(1) or to justify any project, no matter how inane. As Peter Singer documented so well in his seminal work, Animal Liberation, we annually perform an array of horrendously brutal experiments on millions of non-human animals, including acids and solvents on restrained rabbits' eyes (given their great sensitivity). Singer's book clearly demonstrates that much of the "research" conducted by torturing animals involves redundant university studies that yield conclusions one could have intuited, frivolous government or military projects, and unnecessary consumer product tests designed to validate "new" brand claims.
Gandhi noted that "the greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be measured by the way its animals are treated," and he was right.
If the United States has a prayer of attaining even a fraction of the "greatness" and "moral progress" it already attributes to itself, we must engage in a fearless moral inventory and prepare ourselves to make sweeping and dramatic social, economic, and political changes.
Treating non-human animals as objects for our convenience (hence subjecting them to horrendous suffering and abuse) is certainly one of our most shameful misdeeds. It is also one for which each of us can readily begin making amends. One simple step we can take is to refuse to consume meat or products from the fast food industry, a hideous manifestation of capitalism that catalyzed and necessitates factory farming. [As a point of disclosure, this writer is a former carnivore. While in reality he was omnivorous, his diet revolved mostly around meat and he lived to eat it. There is rarely a day that passes that he does not crave a steak, a cheeseburger, or some other form of non-human animal flesh. However, as he explained in "Another Bacon Burger Anyone?" (http://rinf.com/alt-news/contributions/another-bacon-burger-anyone/57/), he remains committed to vegetarianism based on his rejection of speciesism, the detrimental effect factory farming has on the environment, and the fact that meat production is a huge contributor to world hunger because it consumes vast resources better utilized elsewhere. While veganism is probably not on his immediate horizon, he does minimize his egg consumption and makes a conscious effort to eschew the use of animal products derived from or tested upon animals.]
Rising to the moral challenge
Every human being has a moral stake in the struggle against speciesism, whether they define themselves as Left, Right, centrist, liberal, or Libertarian. Drawing perilously close to the event horizon of the spiritual black hole spawned by the excesses of the declining American Empire, our capacity to evoke change as individuals in the face of an opulent ruling class steeped in historically unprecedented wealth and power is limited, but we are not impotent in the battle for our souls.
Consider the position of Matthew Scully, who authored Dominion: the Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy and who was a speechwriter for George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Dan Quayle, and Bob Dole (not exactly the credentials of a "bleeding heart liberal"):
"Conservatives like to think of animal protection as a trendy leftist cause, which makes it easier to brush off. And I hope that more of us will open our hearts to animals. I also believe that in factory farming and other cruelties conservatives will find some familiar problems — moral relativism, self-centered materialism, license passing itself off as freedom, and the culture of death."
Vegetarianism, one potential cure for the disease of speciesism, has a long and rich history. A number of individuals noted for their impressive moral, intellectual, social, literary, or political accomplishments were vegetarians, including Edison, Einstein, Gandhi, Kafka, Pythagoras, da Vinci, Tesla, Plato, Tolstoy, Thoreau, Jane Goodall, Cesar Chavez, Isaac Bashevis Singer, and George Bernard Shaw.
Almost undoubtedly these conscientious individuals who respected non-human animals enough to stop eating them confronted some of the same specious, often snide, arguments against vegetarianism that defenders of speciesism still use today.
Consider a brief deconstruction of a few of them:
"A vegetarian diet is protein-deficient and vegetarians become weak, frail, and sickly."
There is abundant medical and anecdotal evidence to demonstrate that a plant-based diet provides ample proteins for a human being to sustain health to the same extent as those eating meat. There are also some indications that we were almost exclusively vegetarian at one point in the evolutionary process (2).
"Animals do not have the same capabilities as humans, so they are not entitled to the same rights."
That is a true statement. The first part, that is. It would be patently absurd to argue that a pig has the right to bear arms. The point is that few serious-minded people pursuing animal liberation think in terms of animal rights, per se. However, the moral equality sought by animal defenders for animals is not based on a ludicrous equality of "intelligence" between non-human and human species, since if intelligence (or lack thereof) were the criterion to confer protection from abuse, torture and death, then we would be logically justified to kill, eat and use mentally handicapped or brain-dead people in such manner, and we clearly are not about to do so. As has been repeated for a couple of decades now, the basic point is not whether they can reason like us, but whether they can feel pain as we do, and they clearly, obviously, and loudly do, as anyone can readily attest by spending just a few minutes in a slaughterhouse or similar hells. Animals are ends in themselves, and not mere means to our designs.
In Animal Liberation Singer defined the above principles in this manner:
"The argument for extending the principle of equality beyond our own species is simple, so simple that it amounts to no more than a clear understanding of the nature of the principle of equal consideration of interests. We have seen that this principle implies that our concern for others ought not to depend on what they are like, or what abilities they possess (although precisely what this concern requires us to do may vary according to the characteristics of those affected by what we do). It is on this basis that we are able to say that the fact that some people are not members of our race does not entitle us to exploit them, and similarly the fact that some people are less intelligent than others does not mean that their interests may be disregarded. But the principle also implies that the fact that beings are not members of our species does not entitle us to exploit them, and similarly the fact that other animals are less intelligent than we are does not mean that their interests may be disregarded."
"To live is to destroy and kill."
There is an element of truth to this statement. For instance, we inadvertently kill insects and microbes with great frequency. However, as self-conscious, relatively intelligent beings, we bear the responsibility and have the power to minimize the destruction, suffering, and death we cause. One certain way to achieve this end is to end one's support of the industrialized murder of the meat industry.
"Vegetarians have no regard for the "suffering" of plants."
One of the principal reasons most animal liberationists oppose meat consumption is the suffering it imposes upon non-human animals. Arguing that vegetarians are hypocritical because they eat plants is fallacious for two reasons (which are probably obvious even to those who disingenuously make this ridiculous assertion).
Lacking a central nervous system and even a rudimentary consciousness necessary to experience pain, it would be impossible for plants to "suffer" in the sense that human and non-human animals do.
Admittedly, we do violate the sanctity of life in an absolute sense when we consume a plant, which is why there is some validity to the assertion that "to live is to destroy and kill." Yet again, as self-aware beings capable of making moral decisions, it is incumbent upon us to minimize the suffering and death which we cause simply by being. Choosing to eat plants rather than animals is one of the most viable means we have of doing so.
Abstention from eating flesh aside, many ardent speciesists argue that the entire notion of animal liberation is puerile and trivial because the world is filled with problems that are "more important" than relieving the misery of non-human animals. But remember that many of these same individuals thrive in a system of savage capitalism which provides them with an "inalienable right" to prosper through exploitation. Terrified of losing their profits, they work vigorously to prevent our society from adopting a more enlightened moral position with respect to animals.
Certainly the United States is not alone in committing shocking atrocities against non-human animals as a matter of routine, but we are the epicenter of the most advanced and malignant stages of predatory capitalism. With the complicity of all of us Little Eichmans (even those who consciously keep their participation to a bare minimum), the moneyed class comprising our de facto government is literally committing crimes on par with those for which we hanged the architects of Nazism at Nuremburg.
Despite the environment of bitter dissent and rage directed at the status quo in the United States, taking extreme action against an increasingly rickety yet still incredibly powerful system would be premature, self-defeating, and perhaps suicidal at this point.
Yet regardless of the considerable number of constraints the ruling elites have upon us, we are still the stewards of our own souls and possess the means to rise above the abject moral poverty of our nation. What better place to start than in the defense of the most vulnerable amongst us?
Here's to the liberation of animals and of our spirits…..
New Study: Over 60% of PVC Packaging Violates Laws in 19 States Across the Country
New Study: Over 60% of PVC Packaging Violates Laws in 19 States Across the Country Elevated Levels of Toxic Lead and Cadmium Commonly Found in PVC Packaging Center for Health, Environment and Jusitce, 7/10/07
For Immediate Release:
(New York, NY) A new national study released today found for the first time ever that over 60% of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) packaging tested contains toxic heavy metals that violate state toxics in packaging laws in 19 states. Inks and colorants used on plastic shopping and mailing bags were the other packaging materials with frequently detected heavy metals. The study was conducted by the Toxics In Packaging Clearinghouse, a network of nine state environmental agencies coordinating toxics in packaging legislation.
"This new study underscores the need for a global phase out of PVC packaging," said Michael Schade, PVC Campaign Coordinator with the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. "PVC packaging contains heavy metals that can harm our health and environment. Safer PVC-free packaging is widely available and innovative companies are eliminating this poison plastic."
In response to PVC's health and environmental impacts, many companies have publicly committed to eliminate PVC packaging. Wal-Mart has committed to phase out private label PVC packaging in two years. Other companies eliminating PVC packaging include Aveda, Body Shop, Bristol Myers, Boots, Crabtree & Evelyn, Dean Foods, Dell, Estée Lauder, Evian, H&M, Helene Curtis, Hewlett Packard, Ikea, Johnson and Johnson, Kiss My Face, Limited Brands (Victoria's Secret, Bath & Body Works), Marks and Spencer, Microsoft, Nike, Nokia, SC Johnson, Samsung, Sharp, and Sony. A national coalition of over 60 health and environmental organizations are calling on Target to phase out PVC packaging and products. Since October, over 40,000 Target customers have signed petitions and sent letters to the company and over 200 events have been held at Target stores across the country.
Nineteen states have laws that prohibit the sale or distribution of packaging containing intentionally added cadmium, lead, mercury, and hexavalent chromium. The states with this legislation are California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
The Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) is working to prevent harm by shifting decision makers from producing, using and disposing of PVC consumer products and packaging. CHEJ has worked with and convinced Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, Wal-Mart, Crabtree & Evelyn, and other companies to phase out their use of PVC in packaging.
Here's the top 15 cities and few runners up who have made the most impressive strides toward eco-friendliness and sustainability
These metropolises aren't literally the greenest places on earth -- they're not necessarily dense with foliage, for one, and some still have a long way to go down the path to sustainability. But all of the cities on this list deserve recognition for making impressive strides toward eco-friendliness, helping their many millions of residents live better, greener lives.
1. Rekyjavik, Iceland
Remember the grade-school memory device "Greenland is icy and Iceland is green"? It's truer than ever thanks to progress made by Iceland and its capital city in recent years. Reykjavik has been putting hydrogen buses on its streets, and, like the rest of the country, its heat and electricity come entirely from renewable geothermal and hydropower sources and it's determined to become fossil-fuel-free by 2050. The mayor has pledged to make Reykjavik the cleanest city in Europe. Take that, Greenland.
2. Portland, Oregon, U.S.
The City of Roses' approach to urban planning and outdoor spaces has often earned it a spot on lists of the greenest places to live. Portland is the first U.S. city to enact a comprehensive plan to reduce CO2 emissions and has aggressively pushed green building initiatives. It also runs a comprehensive system of light rail, buses, and bike lanes to help keep cars off the roads, and it boasts 92,000 acres of green space and more than 74 miles of hiking, running, and biking trails.
3. Curitiba, Brazil
With citizens riding a bus system hailed as one of the world's best and with municipal parks benefiting from the work of a flock of 30 lawn-trimming sheep, this midsized Brazilian city has become a model for other metropolises. About three-quarters of its residents rely on public transport, and the city boasts over 580 square feet of green space per inhabitant. As a result, according to one survey, 99 percent of Curitibans are happy with their hometown.
4. Malmö, Sweden
Known for its extensive parks and green space, Sweden's third-largest city is a model of sustainable urban development. With the goal of making Malmö an "ekostaden" (eco-city), several neighborhoods have already been transformed using innovative design and are planning to become more socially, environmentally, and economically responsive. Two words, Malmö: organic meatballs.
5. Vancouver, Canada
Its dramatic perch between mountains and sea makes Vancouver a natural draw for nature lovers, and its green accomplishments are nothing to scoff at either. Drawing 90 percent of its power from renewable sources, British Columbia's biggest city has been a leader in hydroelectric power and is now charting a course to use wind, solar, wave, and tidal energy to significantly reduce fossil-fuel use. The metro area boasts 200 parks and over 18 miles of waterfront, and has developed a way-forward-thinking 100-year plan for sustainability. Assuming civilization will last another 100 years? Priceless.
6. Copenhagen, Denmark
With a big offshore wind farm just beyond its coastline and more people on bikes than you can shake a stick at, Copenhagen is a green dream. The city christened a new metro system in 2000 to make public transit more efficient. And it recently won the European Environmental Management Award for cleaning up public waterways and implementing holistic long-term environmental planning. Plus, the pastries? Divine.
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7. London, England
When Mayor Ken Livingstone unveiled London's Climate Change Action Plan in February, it was just the latest step in his mission to make his city the world's greenest. Under the plan, London will switch 25 percent of its power to locally generated, more-efficient sources, cut CO2 emissions by 60 percent within the next 20 years, and offer incentives to residents who improve the energy efficiency of their homes. The city has also set stiff taxes on personal transportation to limit congestion in the central city, hitting SUVs heavily and letting electric vehicles and hybrids off scot-free.
8. San Francisco, California, U.S. Nearly half of all 'Friscans take public transit, walk, or bike each day, and over 17 percent of the city is devoted to parks and green space. San Francisco has also been a leader in green building, with more than 70 projects registered under the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification system. In 2001, San Francisco voters approved a $100 million bond initiative to finance solar panels, energy efficiency, and wind turbines for public facilities. The city has also banned non-recyclable plastic bags and plastic kids' toys laced with questionable chemicals. Next thing you know, they'll all be wearing flowers in their hair.
9. Bahía de Caráquez, Ecuador
After it suffered severe damage from natural disasters in the late 1990s, the Bahía de Caráquez government and nongovernmental organizations working in the area forged a plan to rebuild the city to be more sustainable. Declared an "Ecological City" in 1999, it has since developed programs to protect biodiversity, revegetate denuded areas, and control erosion. The city, which is marketing itself as a destination for eco-tourists, has also begun composting organic waste from public markets and households and supporting organic agriculture and aquaculture.
10. Sydney, Australia
The Land Down Under was the first country to put the squeeze on inefficient, old-school light bulbs, but Sydney-dwellers took things a step further in March, hosting a city-wide one-hour blackout to raise awareness about global warming. Add to that their quest for carbon neutrality, innovative food-waste disposal program, and new Green Square, and you've got a metropolis well on its way to becoming the Emerald City of the Southern Hemisphere.
11. Barcelona, Spain
Hailed for its pedestrian-friendliness (37 percent of all trips are taken on foot!), promotion of solar energy, and innovative parking strategies, Barcelona is creating a new vision for the future in Europe. City leaders' urban-regeneration plan also includes poverty reduction and investment in neglected areas, demonstrating a holistic view of sustainability.
12. Bogotá, Colombia
In a city known for crime and slums, one mayor led a crusade against cars that has helped to make Bogotá one of the most accessible and sustainable cities in the Western Hemisphere. Enrique Peñalosa, mayor from 1998 to 2001, used his time in office to create a highly efficient bus transit system, reconstruct sidewalks so pedestrians could get around safely, build more than 180 miles of bike trails, and revitalize 1,200 city green spaces. He restricted car use on city streets during rush hour, cutting peak-hour traffic 40 percent, and raised the gas tax. The city also started an annual "car-free day," and aims to eliminate personal car use during rush hour completely by 2015. Unthinkable!
13. Bangkok, Thailand
Once known for smokestacks, smog, and that unshakeable '80s song, Bangkok has big plans for a brighter future. City Governor Apirak Kosayodhin recently announced a five-year green strategy, which includes efforts to recycle citizens' used cooking oil to make biodiesel, reduce global-warming emissions from vehicles, and make city buildings more efficient. Bangkok has also made notable progress in tackling air pollution over the past decade. Though the city's pollution levels are still higher than some of its big-city Asian counterparts, its progress thus far is impressive.
14. Kampala, Uganda
This capital city is overcoming the challenges faced by many urban areas in developing countries. Originally built on seven hills, Kampala takes pride in its lush surroundings, but it is also plagued by big-city ills of poverty and pollution. Faced with the "problem" of residents farming within city limits, the city passed a set of bylaws supporting urban agriculture that revolutionized not only the local food system, but also the national one, inspiring the Ugandan government to adopt an urban-ag policy of its own. With plans to remove commuter taxis from the streets, establish a traffic-congestion fee, and introduce a comprehensive bus service, Kampala is on its way to becoming a cleaner, safer, more sustainable place to live.
15. Austin, Texas
Austin is poised to become the No. 1 solar manufacturing center in the U.S., and its hometown utility, Austin Energy, has given the notion of pulling power from the sun a Texas-sized embrace. The city is on its way to meeting 20 percent of its electricity needs through the use of renewables and efficiency by 2020. Austin also devotes 15 percent of its land to parks and other open spaces, boasts 32 miles of bike trails, and has an ambitious smart-growth initiative, making it a happy green nook in what's widely perceived as a not-so-green state. To put it mildly.
Chicago, IL, U.S.
Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) is striving to make his hometown "the greenest city in America." There's lots of literal greenery: under his leadership, Chicago has planted 500,000 new trees, invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the revitalization of parks and neighborhoods, and added more than 2 million square feet of rooftop gardens, more than all other U.S. cities combined. And there's plenty of metaphorical greening too: the Windy City has built some of the most eco-friendly municipal buildings in the country, been a pioneer in municipal renewable-energy standards, provided incentives for homeowners to be more energy efficient, and helped low-income families get solar power.
Home to the famously car-free Vauban neighborhood and a number of eco-transit innovations, Freiburg is a tourist destination with a green soul. The city has also long embraced solar power.
Seattle, WA, U.S.
Mayor Greg Nickels (D) has committed his city to meeting the emission-reduction goals of the Kyoto climate treaty, and inspired more than 590 other U.S. mayors to do the same. True to its name, the Emerald City is also planting trees, building green, and benefiting from biodiesel and hybrid buses.
Quebec City, Canada
Dubbed the most sustainable city in Canada by the Corporate Knights Forum, Quebec wins big points for clean water, good waste management, and bike paths aplenty. C'est magnifique!
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