JULY 2009 GRAHAM HILL HOSTS GREEN LEADERS GLOBAL MEMBER BITES -Introducing Green Leaders Global: Intimate Networking for Innovators

By Emma Grady on 8.09.09

New York Cityentrepreneurs, innovators, and leaders are uniting through Green Leaders Global, an intimate networking group designed to inspire collaboration and action to further the environmental movement. With over 300 members in the five boroughs of New York City, the organization plans to go global this year. Members meet through cocktail hours and dinners with featured hosts and business to business introductions.

Green Leaders is more than cocktails and organic treats catered by The Cleaver Co., and not just another Green Drinks, which has short face-time and numerous attendees. Each member has a plenary sharing session, with Founders Marissa Feinberg and Jennie Nevin, of Green Spaces, to tailor membership to suit their individual needs. Exclusive to members, gatherings are intimate with 15-30 attendees and allow partnerships and collaborations to evolve naturally. Members are also listed in a directory, which features their accomplishments and current projects.

Green Leaders Global Events

The most recent “Member Eats”, as they are called, was held at TreeHugger founder Graham Hill’s Mahattan apartment on July 27, 2009. Discussion touched on Green Leaders’ annual theme “how the natural world affects economics”. Fabien Cousteau, explorer, oceanographer and grandson of Jacques Cousteau, hosted a cocktail hour at ABC Carpet & Home on June 2, 2009, where he spoke to the aquatic ecosystems affect on the global economy. Past speakers have included Paul Mankiewicz, founder of The Gaia Institute and Wendy Brawer of Green Map System.

Marissa Feinberg, co founder and executive director, speaks to the future of Green Leaders Global.

“Our group has always operated locally, but has been focused on what’s happening globally. We have a wonderful foundation of leaders in the five boroughs of New York City. And this year, we will expand our leader network to other cities around the world. We also have a new initiative called FestivalEco that will welcome our global members to New York in 2010. The concept involves the intersection of where exhibition meets conference and gala meets performance. A celebration circus for global good!”

Movers and Shakers Make Up Membership

Feinberg notes that leaders often work to the point where they become isolated. As a group, individuals can accomplish their goals collectively. Notable members include Paulette Cole, CEO of ABC Carpet & Home, Mary Cleaver of The Cleaver Co., Debera Johnson, director of sustainability at the Pratt Institute, Marc Alt, president of Marc Alt + Partners, Diane Hatz, founder of Sustainable Table, Davide Berruto, CEO of Environment Furniture, and many other innovators in the green movement.

Visit Green Leaders Global for membership inquiries.



The Daily Green 9 Reasons to Listen to Fabien Cousteau

Ideal Bite - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea 

Yahoo! Green - Nine Reasons to Listen to Fabien Cousteau

Photo by Amanda Miller

THE DAILY GREEN- 9 Reasons to Listen to Fabien Cousteau: How we polluted killer whales and ourselves, how the Pacific garbage patch grew to the size of Canada, why we have to make farmed barramundi “sexy” and why he loves the iPhone. 

By Dan Shapley

Fabien Cousteau, who has managed to charm the women in my office without coming closer than an Internet connection, brought his famous family name, his explorer’s sense of wonderment and his concern about the health of the planet to a Green Leaders Global discussion Tuesday at ABC Carpet & Home’s community space in New York City.

His latest project, with his father Jean-Michel and sister Celine, focuses on the orca, or killer whale, the largest and most widely distributed dolphin on the planet. The PBS special debuted on Earth Day. The grandson of Jacques Cousteau had only about 20 minutes to speak, but he used that time efficiently, making a number of profound statements:

- Orcas are highly evolved and intelligent (“as intelligent or more so” than humans, Cousteau said); they live in a complex matriarchal society; they “eat anything and nothing eats them” and as large mammals who live in every climate across the globe, they are the ocean equivalent of humans. “We should see them as direct reflections of us,” Cousteau said.

- Orcas are facing significant and mysterious health problems, which could be a warning sign for humans. Orcas, as marine predators, have high concentrations of manmade chemicals — including long-ago banned but long-lived toxins like DDT and PCBs, as well as regulated chemicals like dioxins and pesticides and less-regulated substances like PBDE flame retardants. Some orcas have blood levels of these chemicals hundreds of times the level found in humans. “We eat the same things, from the same water,” Cousteau reminded the audience.

- While many adult orcas continue to live long lives, offspring seem to be surviving with more difficulty, suggesting that the chemicals in their blood may be having a disproportionate effect on their health. In a profound moment in the upcoming PBS special that Cousteau previewed, he showed how the level of PBDE in the blood of four of the team members and their families differed: A 40-something vegetarian mom from California had the highest blood level among adults (California has the most strict fire codes in the country) and her 4-year-old had many times as much in his blood. To Cousteau, that’s damning evidence that PBDEs should be phased out. “Ignorance is not bliss,” Coustea said. “We have to know what’s going on.”

- The Pacific Garbage Patch, that vast area of floating litter, is not the size of Texas, as is widely reported, but the size of Canada, according to Cousteau. He sees the garbage patch as just one very visible sign of “the power of carelessness” that threaten the oceans, which cover nearly three-quarters of the world’s surface, and provide 99% of the space available for life. “Our planet is vast, our oceans are deep … and we’ve explored less than 5% of them,” Cousteau said.

- We have to start treating the oceans like a bank account, Cousteau said. 70% of our food depends, directly or indirectly, on a healthy ocean, as do many of our medicines and much of the natural protection we enjoy against storms. Already, roughly half the commercial fish stocks of the world have collapsed since the 1950s, and 90% of certain types of fish, like tuna and swordfish have collapsed; the prognosis for the next 50 years is no better, at current levels of exploitation. “We have to stop eating the capital and start living on the interest,” he said.

-“A healthy ocean is a healthy people and a healthy people is a healthy economy,” Cousteau said, linking chemical contamination of fish to human body burdens of chemicals to cancer rates and the high cost of health care treatment.

- While salmon farming is a “disaster” because it takes 12 pounds of forage fish to produce one pound of market salmon and because salmon farms tend to harm wild salmon runs by introducing lice and antibiotic resistance into the environment, he said there are smart ways of farming fish that we need to try. One example: Ocean Nutrition makes use of wild anchovies that would otherwise be discarded, rather than harvesting wild fish, to produce fish oil tablets. Another: the farmed barramundi, which grows quickly in farms based on land (not in ocean, river or lake environments where they can contaminate wild ecosystems) and which eats a vegetarian diet. The challenge is that “we have to make the barramundi sexy,” Cousteau said, as marketers did to devastating effect with wild Patagonian toothfish — by renaming them “Chilean sea bass,” and then depleting wild stocks to feed the frenzy of enthusiasm for the meaty fish.

- If you have an iPhone or iPod, Cousteau recommends the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app, which tells you at a glance whether the fish you’re about to order at a restaurant or buy at a fish market is sustainably harvested. He also recommends carrying a simple printout of best and worst choices (such as the Environmental Defense Fund’s Seafood Selector) so you can hand off the card to chefs, fish market managers and others who are selling or serving depleted or overfished species.

- Another thing Cousteau carries around: Blue marbles (made from recycled glass). The blue marble has, since the first manned missions produced the first photos of the Earth from space been a symbol of the Earth and its fragility. Cousteau hands out the marbles — one a day — as he performs “random acts of kindness.” He asks the recipients of his marbles to do the same within 24 hours.

Despite the ailing health of the world environment, Cousteau remains optimistic because humans have the same capacity for “miracle making” as we do for destruction.

IDEAL BITE 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

I’m obsessed with all things ocean, so Tuesday night I pried myself away from my laptop (ok, The Real Housewives of New Jersey) to attend the Green Leaders Global event at ABC Carpet & Home featuring the one and only Fabien Cousteau, oceanographer and grandson of Jacques Cousteau (obviously). He spoke about the impact of our world’s waters on the economy including pesticides and flame retardants that end up in the water and the fish we eat.FC also touched on The Great Pacific Garbage Patch which is twice the size of Texas, his work with killer whales, sustainable fishing practices, and Plant a Fish – his new initiative that educates local communities (the NY/NJ Baykeeper is one) on how to replant underwater flora and fauna in environmentally stressed spots.

-NY City Editor Brianne…off to get a wetsuit…

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