Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Ocean cleanup

*submitted article 
September 15, 2014, Amsterdam - The Ocean Cleanup, founded by Dutchman Boyan Slat (20), has successfully completed its crowd funding campaign. With the support of over 38,000 funders from 160 countries, in 100 days over $ 2 million (US) has been raised. 

This success brings The Ocean Cleanup another step closer in its quest of cleaning the oceans of plastics. The next step, which comprises the construction and testing of large-scale operational pilots, can now be initiated. 
The funding raised will be utilized to deploy a series of up-scaling tests, ultimately resulting in a fully operational offshore cleanup array in 3 years’ time; the final preparation before full-scale execution. The team projects the first pilot to be operational within a year. Within this year a sequence of expeditions is also being planned, which are focused on collecting further oceanographic data for engineers to work with. 
Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup Foundation: “Plastic pollution has been recognized by the UN as one of the major environmental challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. The crowd funding received so far enables us to start the Pilot Phase, in which we push the concept from feasible to executable. Hence, we are very grateful to all of whom have supported us worldwide, all crowd funding and professional in kind contributors, as well as the many volunteers and ambassadors who invested their enthusiasm, and gave us the confidence to keep going.” 
On 3 June 2014, Boyan Slat presented The Ocean Cleanup’s feasibility study - a 530-page report, authored by 70 scientists and engineers - proposing a viable method to clean half of the so-called ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ within ten years’ time. At the same time, a crowd funding campaign was launched, aiming to collect US$ 2 million within 100 days. Within 98 days, the US$ 2 million target had been reached. After completion, US$ 2,154,282 had been raised, making it ‘the most successful non-profit crowd funding campaign in history’, according to ABN AMRO’s crowd funding platform SEEDS, who facilitated the campaign. 
The Ocean Cleanup will now assemble a new team to lead the research, and plans to start the pilot phase next month. As Slat tweeted today: “I can’t wait to get started again.”

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

chit chat

-- Quote of the Day -- 

At times, challenges hit with the force of a roaring, rushing waterfall. The true test, however, is whether you can put your arms up and enjoy the feel of the water.

 ~ Aviva Kaufman

Whew! I'm back in the office. Apologies for that - but our garden cleanup and a few other house projects just needed more attention than I could give it while working the office as well. Some times we, as self-employed and self-marketing business owners have to make the call to take time for other life projects and people as well. lol I've often wished I had a couple more hands and at least one employee... a personal assistant of sorts. (ha, ha). 

Book sales have really taken a dive since the changing economy a few years ago and while the economic recovery is happening it is very slow. There is also a record number of some 3,000 or more books published every single day. Yep - every day. Trying to get your books to receive big sales in this era is very difficult. I'm so glad that we decided some time ago to diversify our business and offer a number of varying services. 

Earlier this year we had a computer malfunction... my hard drive fried, melted actually. So we had to invest in another computer and that took a lot of time getting it set up with the new programs, etc. Sadly I wasn't able to recover my data so I had to go back to our most recent data save file (which wasn't really recent enough) and try to recoup what I could and make up the rest via researching the old emails, etc. 

It took quite a while for me to muster the energy and enthusiasm for re-writing the manuscript. Luckily I did print out what I had done only because I needed to use it as well - so I do have that to fall back on too. 

Now that the garden is reaching completion and cold weather is coming we are in a bit of a scramble to harvest, process, clean up and amend the gardens and finish existing projects. Whew! 

Dave's drum lessons will be starting up next week - so I put out a few announcements locally; already there are some students from last year vying for his time. We sure appreciate that. 

Today I am really physically hurting, so I'm trying to take the morning off from physical work letting the bod recover a bit... Great time to get back at the blog! I actually missed the blogging process and look forward to what the future reveals here for all of us. 

A lot of folks out there are already planning their gift shopping so I want to put out a reminder that we do have 6 books available that may appeal to your gift-giving recipient list this year. Please do check out the store page on our site to learn more: supporting us this way you are helping us keep free services like this blog active. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

OK - I'm taking a couple days off from the office, but will be back again after the weekend. Thank you for understanding :)

Please do scroll through the archive posts though and feel free to share any information or resources with anyone in your contact list.


Monday, September 8, 2014

It's easy to be green!

-- Quote of the Day -- 

" Nature is man’s teacher. She unfolds her treasures to his search, unseals his eye, illumes his mind, and purifies his heart; an influence breathes from all the sights and sounds of her existence."

 ~ Alfred Billings Street

-- Positive Living -- 

Nature is such a powerful entity, one that rejuvenates us and makes us whole. We can give back to nature and help protect sensitive living beings with some very simple steps. Fall is here and it is time to plant trees... That is always a good place to start. Planting a few trees on your property, donating some to the city park or local schools is always helpful to the community - or join some of the non-profits out there that plant trees for your with your donation. Starting a garden and landscaping your property, encouraging your apartment or condo building to start balcony and roof top gardens, creating more diversity in the gardens and landscaping... mulching and using water saving irrigation. 

Of equal impact is to pick up litter... when walking the streets and alleyways, when enjoying parks, when hiking trails or visiting lakeside shores - we can easily pick up some litter. Just pack a few plastic shopping or bread bags in your pocket and make an effort to fill at least one of them during your outing. Be sure to sort out the returnables and recyclables when you get home. If you have found something reusable (i.e. a child's toy, dog's ball, person's eye glasses) take it to a shelter, a thrift or second hand store, or some other outlet in your community that accepts donated items. 

Increase your recycling efforts at home and at work. Keep a box in the vehicle for recyclables too. 

These simple activities take very little time or effort, they cost virtually nothing (except in the case of planting perennials and trees of course) and each action has a massive ongoing impact on the environment, available resources, businesses, community, and health. These activities are easy to make into habits, and family activities, or workplace social events. 

Imagine how much of an impact you can have if you personally took on these activities this year, and every year after. How many people will you influence and inspire to do similar things? What if you got your business, fellow employees, or family involved? You'll see the positive impact of your efforts immediately and it is so satisfying.

To learn more about how you can save money, improve your community, build a better business, and make the world a better place  - visit:  - and look for the links pertaining to the Trash Talk - It's Easy To Be Green 2-part book series. ($6.99 ebook / $12.99 print version)

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

sustainable business

-- Quote of the Day -- 

" Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times,
if one only remembers to turn on the light. "

~ Steven Kloves

-- Positive News -- 

It is encouraging to see the business community taking notice of the impact they have on the environment and being willing to show concern and take steps to reduce their impact. Of course it is win-win, since today's educated consumer is looking to spend their budget in the most conscious way possible.

A new study done on Japanese businesses found that 70% are continually working towards and improving existing efforts on conservation, maternal health, human rights, advancement of women, prevention of environmental contamination and adaption to climate change. The country is now looking at ways to encourage business sector to also take actions against diseases, poverty and other social issues – and to expand their efforts to reaching beyond Japan’s borders.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well! 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

World of Writing, interview

-- World of Writing -- 

Today’s interview comes to us via publicists Laura Watkins and Theresa Sneed
(Book Manager and Blog Tour Assistant) on behalf of their client - Deirdra Eden, and her latest release: The Watchers - Knight of Light. Deirdra has spent the last decade captivating audiences of all ages with her novels and fairy tales. Her specialty is paranormal theology that delves into documented historical phenomenon and natural disasters of biblical proportions that entices indulgence of a fine line between fact and fantasy. Find out more via:

Deirdra enjoys jousting in arenas, sword fighting and archery, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures with her family.

Q: Deidre – tell us a little about yourself.
I love adventures, all different kinds of people, kitties and unicorns. I sword fight and do archery. I love to remodel old buildings and explore the woods. I can walk along the ocean coast for miles, looking for shells and pretty rocks or just being memorized by the waves. I love to walk across wooden bridges, hang out in tree houses, and eat black berries off the vine and fruit that I pick from the trees. My favorite time is in the morning at sunrise and when it rains. I have lots of other books I've illustrated, but the books I have planned for this series are:

Book #1: Knight of Light
Book #2: Hidden Fire
Book #3: Flood and Fire
Book #4: To Capture the Wind
Book #5 White Dragons
Book #6 The Silver Phoenix

Q: How long have you been writing? 
I can say I've been writing pretty seriously for seventeen years now. Holy smokes, I just realized how long that is and I'm just getting published now. I'm glad I didn't know how long it would take back then or I might have given up.

Q: Have you written in this genre before?
Fantasy is really all I've ever written before. I'm not sure why. I've tried writing other things, but its been too tempting to add in something fantastical.

Q: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in your topic?
Don't take fantasy so seriously. Just enjoy it. Stop looking for Hogsmeade Village on the map of England, and your debates over whether or not vampires sparkle is pointless. That's not what fantasy is about. Fantasy is meant to be a way for people to be somewhere and someone else for a while so when they come back to reality they feel empowered and understand themselves and the world with a happier and clearer perspective.

Q: What kinds of benefits come from participating in groups and organizations?
I can't even tell you how valuable advice is from someone else besides your friends and parents. Not only can they help you improve your skills, but they can also offer advice on the literary business.

Q: What are your thoughts on the publishing industry?
Plain and simple, everyone must find his or her own way in the publishing world. There is no one and only right way to publish.

  Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!  


Friday, September 5, 2014


Environmental And Social Standards In The Fashion Industry

* Today's article was written by: Dylan Tanner - an eco-entrepreneur and writer who founded the newsletters Asia and China Environmental Reviews and has been writing about environmental and social trends within a business context for fifteen years. His latest venture is a" B2B directory of SA 8000 certified companies and other certified suppliers.

Environmental, social and ethical pressures on the global textiles and fashion sector emerged in Europe in the early 1980s. The main driver was consumer concern over the safety of the materials. However in parallel with this trend, a minority group of ethical consumers demanded “chemical-free” and low environmental impact clothing and fashion goods. This resulted in the European and later the US organic labeling system being extended to include criteria for clothing and textiles, such as organic cotton. As of 2007, the sector was the fastest growing part of the global cotton industry with growth of more than 50% a year. With reference to safety standards, primarily addressing consumer concern over chemicals in textiles, the Oeko-Tex standard has become highly popular in the industry. Although unknown to consumers, It tests for chemicals such as flame retardants in clothes and categorizes goods according to their likely exposure to humans (e.g. baby clothes must adhere to the strictest standards for chemicals). Thus the issue of chemicals in clothing has become largely one of liability risk control for the industry with the consumers obviously expecting products to pose no risk to their health. Organic and eco fashion and textiles attracts a far smaller, but fast growing group of consumers, largely in Western Europe and Coastal US.

Of far greater concern to the global fashion sector is the issue of worker welfare. The issue was highlighted by pressure groups such as Global Exchange in the US targeting Levis and Nike and others.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s anecdotal evidence began emerging from labor activists in the US and Europe concerning the supply chains and overseas factories of leading US and European multinationals. A key target was the world's leading maker of denim jeans Levi Strauss, but more significantly Nike, the world's largest sports shoe marketing firm. Global Exchange launched its Nike Anti Sweatshop campaign, focusing on the firms sourcing in China and Indonesia.

Issues included child labor, minimum wages, working hours and employee benefits. Activists argued that such issues should not differ too widely from standards mandatory in the West, while Nike argued at the time that differing national economic and social conditions dictated different standards globally. A good deal of negotiations and stakeholder meetings led to a generally accepted code of practice for labor management in developing countries acceptable to most parties involved. 

The SA 8000 emerged as the leading industry driven voluntary standard on worker welfare issues. SA 8000 supporters now include the GAP, TNT and others and SAI reports that as of 2008, almost 1 million workers in 1700 facilities have achieved SA 8000 certification. Such a certification requires investment in the process but also more significantly in changing labor practices such as wage structures. It is clearly being driven by large US and European multinationals that may require certain suppliers to gain certification.

The Fair Trade movement has also had a significant impact on the fashion business. The standard combines a number of ethical issues of potential concern to consumers – environmental factors, fair treatment of developing country suppliers and worker welfare. The Fair Trade label has show explosive growth.

Albeit on a very small scale and not always at the top end of the fashion industry, many niche brands have emerged which promote themselves primarily on sustainability grounds. People Tree in the UK states that it “creates Fair Trade and organic clothing and accessories by forming lasting partnerships with Fair Trade, organic producers in developing countries."

 Leading fashion journal Marie Claire ranked its “top 10” eco brands in a recent issue - and the key points they focused on were: remaining chemicals in clothing (certified by organic and Fair Trade labels), worker treatment (certified by SA 8000 and Fair Trade) and increasingly mainstream environmental issues such as climate change. 

The Carbon Reduction Label verifies a product’s cradle-to-grave carbon footprint, although is not specific to clothing. Mainstream brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, H&M and Zara have been slower to make firm commitments on the full rage of ethical issues due to the difficulties of switching their supply chains and products lines completely in favor of organic or Fair Trade certified or other standards and norms. They are however, moving slowing to ensure they capture the market if it becomes significant – the world’s largest fashion brand Louis Vuitton recently acquired a small eco fashion label. It is clear, however from the example of Nike and Levis, that certain issues are here to stay, such as a demand by Western consumers that leading brands manage the issue of worker welfare in their supply chain properly.

Find Dave and Lillian Brummet, excerpts from their books, their radio program, blog, and more at: * Support the Brummets by telling your friends, clicking those social networking buttons, or visiting the Brummet's Store - and help raise funds for charity as well!