Green Ambassadors New World Leaders in Training

Green Ambassadors New World Leaders in Training

Author: Bobbi Miller-Moro

Visiting the Green Ambassadors new facilities in Lawndale, California I noticed right away this program is driving Environmental Charter High School to be like no other. Maybe it was the compost corner and vegetable garden, or where they convert vegetables into biodiesel. Or the First Place award-winning ‘Floatation Machine’ made out 100% recycled products. Either way, this school is unique. I am at the home of The Green Ambassadors (Green Ambassadors website), which is an educational program from the Environmental Charter High School.

Sara Laimon, the magnetic Founder of Green Ambassadors gave me a tour of their new facilities of ECHS and Green Ambassadors, while still in the remodeling and upgrading phase. As the school is moving out of boxes, and organizing their new classrooms she explained the sustainable plans in store for this unique Environmental Charter High School. There is an air of excitement. As I peaked into the classrooms, students were busy with various projects. These students know they are making a difference in our world for generations to come. The Green Ambassador Program is comprised of an elective class taught throughout schools in Los Angeles area, Youth Summits, Green Mobile Embassy, Green Adventures and supported by Green Mentors.


This groundbreaking organization is beginning to explode. The green element of the program is so strong that even during our interview she was selling organic soda to students from her office. In fact we were surrounded by green solutions, hangers made from wheat, recycled binders made from paper, Forest Certified pencils, even donated environmentally friendly, bio-degradable diapers are stacked on her desk in the office she shares with her green partners. “This program is created to breakdown our cultural social paradigms and educate all. Especially the communities that suffer the most from environmental injustices, the inner city, who normally miss the green education on how to advocate for a clean, healthy environment.” Laimon.

Green Ambassadors, a project of Environmental Charter High School, is an environmental education program that empowers youth to become agents of change in their communities and the world. The goals of the program include: Educating and motivating youth, inspiring them to set a “Green” example through open idea exchange and social action; To create a learning environment that will inspire new thought, helping young people to develop confidence in themselves and their future; To network communities, share ideas and empower local and global environmental solutions; To create “Green Ambassadors” for local communities and the world, inspiring hope within us all for a just, sustainable and peaceful planet.

I asked Sara what’s the future you see for the Green Ambassadors?

With certainty she said, “For all schools to have Green Ambassadors around the world. Who are agents of change and the voice of the environment.”

The Green Ambassador elective class at Environmental Charter High School is a required course for every student to take in their 10th grade year where students receive college credit from Los Angeles Trade Technical College. The Green Ambassadors have already been accomplishing their mission through their trainings in initiatives. These initiatives are implemented by youth who are committed to fulfilling Green Ambassadors mission, vision, values, and goals. The Green Ambassador program provides a different way of learning for youth who want to contribute to this planet.

They have been trained in the One Billion Bulbs Youth empowering youth to imagine the possibilities. With a goal of mobilizing the world to replace one billion standard incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient compact fluorescent (CFL) light bulbs. Plastics are Forever is another initiative where youth empowering youth to create cleaner oceans by banning plastic bags and Styrofoam (polystyrene) in Los Angeles with Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Bring Your Own, Heal the Bay and other non-profits. Green Ambassadors are trained in Biofuels, Organics, Biodiversity, Remediation of our soil, and constructing buildings and structures out of earth friendly materials.

floatation machine

‘Floatation Machine’ made of all recycled products

“Sara Laimon has been a positive light within the sustainability movement for the past ten years. During her career as a classroom teacher, she has guided classes and school groups to create cob benches, convert a diesel car to run on veggie oil, create bio-diesel, and eat organic. Sara has traveled to Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Haiti, Greece, and Galapagos finding, sharing, and learning solutions. She is devoting her life to creating and nurturing eco-activists to be empowered to share the solutions of hope.”

Green Ambassadors currently has two teachers. They are unique in that they are well versed in Environmental Studies. “They approached me with a huge desire for a huge change.” Sara shared with me. The names of these incredible teachers are Sandra Valencia who is originally from Colombia, she has taught High School Spanish for the past five years at ECHS and Dorsey High School (LAUSD). She has been an environmental activist for the past five years working with the Los Angeles Biodiesel Coalition, Dorsey High School’s club Global Warriors. Gabriel Azenna, who’s statement is “Green’ isn’t merely a color… but it’s a state of mind”. He adheres to a pragmatic acceptance that human beings may continue to prosper, but only by recognizing and embracing our integral duty as planetary stewards. Beyond the classroom, Gabriel is the Environmental Education Director for Next Aid, a non-profit organization his wife Lauren, co-founded in 2002. Gabriel also sits on the steering committee for the Coalition for a Sustainable Africa; a consensus-based network of NGO’s all dedicated to sustainable development projects on the ground in Africa.
Sara believes that the passion behind the people that contribute to our program stems from a satisfaction that they are investing into youth, that they see what they are doing is bigger than themselves and they contributing to the environment at the same time.

I was also interested in the ethnic backgrounds of The Green Ambassadors.

She explained they started with inner city children, but understand and promote that there is one world and we are the human race working together to create a planet where everyone can live. Therefore we have ‘Youth Summit’ where youth crossing gender, race, and social barriers and are collaborating as youth across the city and nation to inspire, create, and share solutions for a healthy planet.”

“We are tired of the myths about inner-city kids and their apathy towards the environment!” What is unique about our Los Angeles Youth Leadership Clinic is that it is youth-planned, youth- driven and youth-motivated. Youth are driven to improve their local environment.”

Spelled out clearly on their website; “Young adults are creating their own stewardship model by teaching each other, pooling their resources, strengthening their community vision and inspiring people to change. Youth need to see that they are an influential and vital part of the community. The youth of Los Angeles are the next generation of leaders. If they are not included in the community when they are young, they may not stay in the community to be the leaders of the future. These thoughts were recently expressed by Sabina Ibarra, a youth participant in the leadership clinic, Green Ambassadors, and a student at Environmental Charter High School in Lawndale, CA.”

In asking how Green Ambassadors improved their your local community? Sara reflects how they have demonstrated training for bio-diesel technology, community battery recycling, training local elementary schools on how to recycle plastics, to be a first in promoting city council ‘ban plastic in our community’, Awareness Day, and Earth Day to name just a few. They also are responsible for Southern California Disposal to switch their fleets of dirty diesel to run on clean burning biodiesel.

“Our strategy through all of our programs is to provide experiences for the Green Ambassadors to acquire knowledge and develop the skills that will not only help them in this program, but also provide them with real-world skills for personal, academic, and professional success. The students take the issue, research and develop solutions, and socially market the solution to their peers and the community at-large.”

The Future

They have not stopped there. Green Adventures are cross cultural global exchanges. After a successful field experience to Brazil in April 2007 with Earthwatch Education, and educating the schools there, they have taken on a new horizon: Columbia. They are currently holding a fundraiser, ‘Support 10 students with the Green Adventure Program’ as they create Green Ambassador Leaders in Medellin, Columbia. Medellin has created several programs that aim to bring peace and environmental action through education. To find out more contact Sandra Valencia or Sara Laimon at 310.214.3400 ext 118. Visit


They believe that ‘ youth identify an issue, develop a solution, act to bring about the solution, and educate others. The most important part is that young people are becoming empowered to make a difference and are, in turn, empowering other young people. This leads to a community that has youth that are knowledge, active, and know how to make a difference.’
Sara Laimon explained what their Mobile Embassy will incorporate. It will feature a multi-media station and hands-on learning stations on the following topics; plastics, bio-diesel, bio-plastic, solar power, and organic foods. It will be used as the showcase for Green Ambassador to meet, share, and exemplify solutions for our Global Climate Crisis.

With expert assistance from Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Bring Your Own, and a grant from Patagonia, the Ambassadors will transform a trailer into a Green Mobile Embassy (GME), a vessel housing models of green solutions. The Mobile Embassy will serve to teach students from throughout the region about the issues and how they can help to alleviate the environmental problems.” As their site reflects. Jack Assadourian, owner of the Ha-Ha Cafe Comedy Club in North Hollywood ( also donated two school buses that will be converted into biodiesel transportation for the Green Ambassadors.


Green Mentors

“The Green Ambassadors program also identifies and enlists ‘Green Mentors’ who are of college age or above. These Mentors work with the Green Ambassadors to support them in their learning of environmental issues as well as solutions to these issues. Green mentors are benefited by developing their interpersonal skills (empowerment, networking, and enrollment), knowledge (environmental and scientific), and ecological values (biodiversity and interconnectedness). Green Mentors assist the Green Ambassadors to focus on specific issues where students can create social awareness and measurable change.”
If you are a teacher, administrator, parent or student, and want to be apart of Green Ambassadors go to: You can contact Sandra Valencia ( or Sarah Laimon at 310.214.3400 ext 118. Green Ambassadors 16314 Grevillea Ave, Lawndale, CA 902160 PHONE: 310.940.1626

There are several ways you can participate and make a difference in your school, community and planet. You can also go to the ‘Green Coalition’, a

“Green Youth Coalition connects environmental clubs across Southern California via to create a youth movement.”

Green Ambassadors uses the EARTH CHARTER PRINCIPLES


You can learn more about Green Ambassadors and their Mission Statement:

They have communities and businesses reaching out to be apart of this unique program. environmentally friendly exit signs are a zero energy emissions, zero maintenance, and is zero damage to the environment. Fundraising Green, The Coffee Bean, California Credit Union,, Fred Leeds Properties, Smokey’s Muskie Shop, Marc Laimon Jiu Jitsu, Steaz, Peak Organic brewing company, the Sustainable Group, Southern California Disposal, Seven-Star green event experts, Get Hip Get Green, Cuningham Group, Cater Green zero waste solutions, Biodiesel America, Luis Moro Productions and Algalita Marine Research Foundation are a few of the sponsors that have jumped on board. The Official Fundraising Partner of Green Ambassadors are; My Green Spark, Fundraising Green.

The Green Ambassadors left me with an experience of what is right with the world. No matter what your opinions are on the environment, the fact remains they are cutting back on waste. These students, instead of worrying about the plights of inner city school problems, such as gang violence; they are creating an environment for themselves today, for their future that will effect generations to come. Not only are they making a difference for their school, families, and communities, but they are spreading the technology on HOW to be green to schools across the city, states, and now countries.

I left the school inspired, and honored that these incredible teenagers are working on change for my future, and my children’s future.

Let’s start off 2008 powerfully, and create “Green Ambassadors” for all communities inspiring hope for a just, sustainable and peaceful planet.

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About the Author:

Bobbi Miller-Moro writes on family issues and the environment. She is a filmmaker, artist, and mother of five. Raising her children with her husband in Los Angeles. You can learn more about her at her personal blog store at and


Raising Energy Efficiency in a New Materials Economy

Earth Policy Institute
Plan B 3.0 Book Byte
For Immediate Release
August 5, 2008


Lester R. Brown

There is a vast worldwide potential for cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by reducing the use of materials. This begins with the major metals–steel, aluminum, and copper–where recycling requires only a fraction of the energy needed to produce these metals from virgin ore, and with the recycling and composting of most household garbage. It continues with designing cars, appliances, and other products so they are easily disassembled into their component parts for reuse or recycling.

Germany and, more recently, Japan are requiring that products such as automobiles, household appliances, and office equipment be designed for easy disassembly and recycling. In May 1998, the Japanese Diet enacted a tough appliance recycling law, one that prohibits discarding household appliances, such as washing machines, TV sets, or air conditioners. With consumers bearing the cost of disassembling appliances in the form of a disposal fee to recycling firms, which can come to $60 for a refrigerator or $35 for a washing machine, the pressure to design appliances so they can be more easily and cheaply disassembled is strong.

Closely related to this concept is that of remanufacturing. Within the heavy industry sector, Caterpillar has emerged as a leader. At a plant in Corinth, Mississippi, it recycles some 17 truckloads of diesel engines a day. These engines, retrieved from Caterpillar’s clients, are disassembled by hand by workers who do not throw away a single component, not even a bolt or screw. Once the engine is disassembled, it is then reassembled with all worn parts repaired. The resulting engine is as good as new. Caterpillar’s remanufacturing division is racking up $1 billion a year in sales and growing at 15 percent annually, contributing impressively to the company’s bottom line.

Another emerging industry is airliner recycling. Boeing and Airbus, which have been building jetliners in competition for nearly 40 years, are now vying to see who can dismantle them most efficiently. The first step is to strip the plane of its marketable components, such as engines, landing gear, galley ovens, and hundreds of other items. For a jumbo jet, these key components can collectively sell for up to $4 million. Then comes the final dismantling and recycling of aluminum, copper, plastic, and other materials. The next time around the aluminum may show up in cars, bicycles, or another jetliner. The goal is to recycle 90 percent of the plane, and perhaps one day 95 percent or more. With more than 3,000 airliners already put out to pasture and many more to come, this retired fleet has become the equivalent of an aluminum mine.

With computers becoming obsolete every few years as technology advances, the need to be able to quickly disassemble and recycle them is a paramount challenge in building an eco-economy. In Europe, information technology (IT) firms are going into the reuse of computer components big-time. Because European law requires that manufacturers pay for the collection, disassembly and recycling of toxic materials in IT equipment, manufacturers have begun to focus on how to disassemble everything from computers to cell phones. Nokia, for example, has designed a cell phone that will virtually disassemble itself.

Patagonia, an outdoor gear retailer, has launched a clothing recycling program beginning with its polyester fiber garments. Patagonia is now recycling not only the polyester garments it sells but also those sold by its competitors. Patagonia estimates that a garment made from recycled polyester, which is indistinguishable from the initial polyester made from petroleum, uses less than one fourth as much energy. With this success behind it, Patagonia is beginning to work on nylon garments and plans also to recycle cotton and wool clothing.

In addition to measures that encourage the recycling of materials, there are those that encourage the reuse of products such as beverage containers. Finland, for example, has banned the use of one-way soft drink containers. Canada’s Prince Edward Island has adopted a similar ban on all nonrefillable beverage containers. The result in both cases is a sharply reduced flow of garbage to landfills.

A refillable glass bottle used over and over requires about 10 percent as much energy per use as an aluminum can that is recycled. Cleaning, sterilizing, and re-labeling a used bottle requires little energy compared with recycling cans made from aluminum, which has a melting point of 660 degrees Celsius (1,220 degrees Fahrenheit). Banning nonrefillables is a quintuple win option–cutting material use, carbon emissions, air pollution, water pollution, and garbage flow to landfills. There are also substantial transport fuel savings, since the refillable containers are simply back-hauled by delivery trucks to the original bottling plants or breweries for refilling.

Another increasingly attractive option for cutting CO2 emissions is to discourage energy-intensive but, to use a World War II term, nonessential industries. The gold and bottled water industries are prime examples. The annual global production of 2,500 tons of gold requires the processing of 500 million tons of ore, more than one third the amount of virgin ore used to produce steel each year. One ton of steel requires the processing of two tons of ore. For one ton of gold, in stark contrast, the figure is 200,000 tons of ore. Processing 500 million tons of ore consumes a huge amount of energy–and emits as much CO2 as 5.5 million cars.

From a climate point of view, it is very difficult to justify bottling water, often tap water to begin with, hauling it long distance and selling it for outlandish prices. Clever marketing, designed to undermine public confidence in the safety and quality of municipal water supplies, has convinced many consumers that bottled water is safer and healthier than what they can get from their faucets. However, in the United States and Europe there are more standards regulating the quality of tap water than of bottled water. For people in developing countries where water is unsafe, it is far cheaper to boil or filter water than to buy it in bottles.

Manufacturing the nearly 28 billion plastic bottles used to package water in the United States alone requires 17 million barrels of oil. Including the energy for hauling 1 billion bottles of water every two weeks from bottling plants to supermarkets or convenience stores for sale, sometimes covering hundreds of kilometers, and the energy needed for refrigeration, the U.S. bottled water industry consumes roughly 50 million barrels of oil per year.

The good news is that people are beginning to see how climate-disruptive this industry is. Mayors of U.S. cities are realizing that they are spending millions of taxpayer dollars to buy bottled water for their employees–water that costs 1,000 times as much as the readily available tap water. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has banned the use of city funds to purchase bottled water in city buildings, on city property, and at any events sponsored by the city. Cities following a similar strategy include Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and St. Louis. (See additional examples at

Raising energy efficiency to offset projected growth in energy demand is an essential component of the Plan B blueprint to cut net CO2 emissions 80 percent by 2020, thus halting the rise in atmospheric CO2 and helping keep future temperature rise to a minimum.

(See blueprint at Reducing materials use through the measures outlined here will help us attain this goal, moving the world closer to temperature stability.

* Go to to read Part I of Raising Energy Efficiency in a New Materials Economy.

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The Power of One!

The Power of One

By: Glenn Maltais

One drop of water does not make an ocean, or one tree a forest. Yet, neither is possible without the power of one. Preserving our national resources, security, and economic viability also requires leveraging the power of one.

Thinking “green” via reducing, reusing and recycling consumer goods; being more aware of the products we buy and how they are made, or being more energy efficient, is not about sacrificing or going without. Thinking green is about being informed on how our actions (or lack thereof) impact national security, economic stability and the health of our planet, along with all its inhabitants.

However, if we are to make real progress, it is important we take a realistic approach. If each of us makes small adjustments, rather than expecting dramatic changes in habits and behavior, we can make real progress in reducing the 3.2 billion metric tons of CO2 emissions added each year to the 2,700,000,000 thousand tons of human-made carbon dioxide now in the atmosphere. Considering the U.S. at 4.6% of the world’s population produces 25% of it…we Americans can make a bigger difference than most!

Simple efficiency measures implemented on a wide-scale can make a world of difference, without drastic changes in lifestyle. In the course of a year, being energy conscience can save hundreds of dollars, for businesses, thousands.

Discover how one degree of change can do a world of good!

One Degree of Change – Simple

One Percent of U.S. Households – Significant

  • Reduce oil dependence by 194 million gallons of heating fuel
  • Save households $607 million in electricity and oil costs
  • Reduce pollution equal to 120,995 cars off the road for 1 yr.
  • Eliminate over 3 billion lbs. of CO2 greenhouse gases

When we reduce fossil fuel consumption, the benefits extend far beyond saving money; we also reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil & other fossil fuels, such as coal & natural gas. Less burning of fossil fuels also means fewer emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. And, less mercury, ozone (smog), nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide, lead, & other pollutants that adversely affect human health & our environment.

Recycling – It Just Makes Sense

Recycling – It Just Makes Sense

By Michael Russell

Recycling makes a difference not only for us today, but also for future generations. The fact about natural resources is that not all natural resources are renewable, meaning that when they are gone, they are gone for good. Through recycling, we can make the most of the natural resources we do have, without depleting reserves. As people worldwide are turning more and more to disposable packaging for their products, there is more and more waste being created. Some items, such as plastic, take many years to biodegrade, if they do at all. Without recycling, these products fill up our landfills, taking much needed space and making it uninhabitable.

Through taking used materials and making new packaging and products, the use of natural resources is greatly reduced. For example, the state of Pennsylvania’s newspaper recycling alone has saved an estimated 8.2 million trees!

One great benefit of recycling is that often a better product is created through recycled materials than through fresh natural resources. Tin cans, for example, get more and more refined through the recycling process. A better quality and more valuable, tin is created through recycling.

Recycling not only saves natural resources, but it also saves energy. As the cost of energy continues to rise, recycling is one of the best ways to conserve. Why is this? Well, fossil fuels are one of those non-replenishing resources and recycling takes significantly less energy then creating new materials, when you take into consideration the entire process, from gathering materials to transporting the finished product to the store. Not only that, but since the materials used in recycling have already been processed once, much less energy is required to recycle them.

Here are some practical examples. According to the Department of Environmental Protection, ever pound of recycled steel saves enough energy to light a 60-watt light bulb for a period of 26 hours! What about pop cans? Recycling just one can will save the equivalent amount of energy as that which is needed to light a 100-watt bulb for over three hours! That is truly amazing! Just by recycling one pop can! Imagine what would happen to our energy consumption if we recycled all of our pop cans!

Recycling reduces many of the harmful pollutants in our atmosphere. When industries use less energy, there are fewer greenhouse gas emissions released into the atmosphere, because less fossil fuels are burnt. Also, recycling reduces both air and water pollutants. Recycling helps the environment through removing fewer natural resources from nature.

There are many economic benefits associated with recycling. Recycling plants and services employ many people throughout the world. New products are being designed for recycling plants, which also help the economy. When businesses use recycled materials, they usually cost less, thus helping the business. The less landfills that we use, the more land is open for development and growth of business. Recycling makes a difference not only in the environment, but also in the business world. Recycling just plain makes sense! Why not get started today?

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Recycling

Article Source:—It-Just-Makes-Sense&id=284587

Green Kitchen Basics

Author: Virginia Ginsburg

Copyright (c) 2008 Virginia Ginsburg

The human race puts a huge strain on the environment, and our dependence on fossil fuels to create the lifestyle to which we are accustomed in the United States continues to grow. Environmentalists have been talking about global climate change for decades, and their message has finally made it into the mainstream and is even impacting national policy.

When we think of big concerns like the entire planet, it can be difficult to imagine how any single individual can make an impact, but the old adage of “think globally, act locally,” has never been more appropriate. You can in fact make a difference in the world by making a few simple changes in your home to reduce your negative impact on the world.

1. Buy organic

The US organic food community has been slowly building a multi-billion dollar alternative to industrial agriculture over the past three decades. In addition to some of the trail blazers, mainstream brands are also jumping on the bandwagon as they recognize consumers’ demand for organic options. You can now find organic produce in most grocery stores. Remember that there are organic options for almost every item in your pantry, including staples like flour, pasta and canned goods, that can be produced without toxic pesticides.

2. Bigger packages; less packaging

Whenever possible, buy products in bulk to avoid the plastic packaging that goes into most food items. The recent trend towards 100-calorie snack bags may be great for our waistlines, but it can increase the packaging of the same amount of product by 20 times. Instead, buy in bulk and repackage smaller quantities in reusable packaging. It ends up being a benefit to your wallet as well!

3. Recycle

Many of the items used in the kitchen can be recycled, and it is a natural place in which to house your recycling bin. Most cities easily accept cans, bottles and paper products. Check your local recycling center for other packaging products like plastic and Styrofoam. Keep your recycling bin right next to your trash can, and always consider which bin it belongs in before automatically tossing it in the trash.

4. Use recycled products

From paper towels, a staple in most kitchens, to paper napkins, paper plates and other paper-based materials, you can close the loop on your recycling efforts by choosing products made from recycled products. All that paper that you diligently recycle finds its home in these products, and they work just as well as less environmentally-friendly alternatives.

5. Green energy

Your appliances can use a significant amount of electricity, so the next time that you are replacing them, look for the Energy Star seal, which means that the appliance has been certified to have a low rate of energy use. Also look into your lighting – if you have traditional incandescent bulbs, replace them with one of many energy saving alternatives. As with many “green” choices, you will save your wallet as well as the Earth!

6. Shopping bag savvy

How much plastic do you waste every year by using shopping bags only once? You can reuse the free shopping bags that you get from the grocery store for years if you take care of them properly. When it comes to shopping bags, the options are many, and bags range from trendy to basic, from canvas to recycled plastic or even, in some cases, vintage clothing refashioned into stylish totes. Keep 5-10 in your car at all times, and, more importantly, use them!

If everyone in the U.S. took just one of these six steps, the damage that we are doing to our environment would be reduced. So think about it – what can you do today to make an impact on tomorrow?

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About the Author:

Virginia Ginsburg is an expert on green living and socially-conscious investing. In addition to writing about sustainable products, she runs Green Baby Gifts , which provides ready-to-go, beautiful gifts for new babies.