Green is Universal | Blog

Green Gobbling: How to be Eco-Friendly This Thanksgiving

dinner-1733171_1280

The holiday season is upon us, and Thanksgiving is less than a week away. While some of your friends might be gearing up for a Turkey Trot or flying to the Caribbean for a 4-day getaway, you might just be hosting a good old-fashioned family gathering. Here are some tips for making your Thanksgiving Day a little more environmentally responsible.

DECORATIONS:  If you want to festoon your hallways with knickknacks, use the beauty of nature itself to do the work for you. Step outside and gather acorns, leaves and stones to use as table setters, and avoid buying plastic decorations that you don’t need. This also extends to things like cups and plates; there’s a certain joy in knowing that you’ve used the same cutlery over the years on Thanksgiving, and you won’t be creating a landfill in the process. Recycle. Reuse. Recycle. Reuse. That’s something we can all be thankful for.

TRAVEL: Thanksgiving, for all its non-denominational glory, is the busiest time of the year for traveling. People are taking trains, buses, cars, and maybe even unicycles all across the country to make it to the gathering on time. Make sure that if you are going to a different location for the holiday, be efficient on the roads. Carpool if you can, and minimize carbon emissions by driving at a steady pace and not constantly stopping and starting.

FOOD: What are you cooking this year? We know the turkey is in the picture, but what are your sides? Carrots, mashed potatoes, or caramelized brussel sprouts? Doesn’t matter – it’s all delicious. Try and buy organic, local foods: nearby farmers and markets will benefit and buying organic reduces the amount of toxic chemicals released into our environment.

Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude and reflecting. Take time to give back to Mother Nature and reflect on how you can help her stay strong.

(Feel free to check out TODAY’s Thanksgiving coverage for recipes, stories and more here)

More>

NBCUniversal Honored for Sustainable Film and Television Productions

Wow!

(Clockwise from left: SyFy’s “The Magicians,” NBC’s Superstore, and Universal Pictures’ “Almost Christmas” were among the winners at the 2016 Environmental Media Awards)

NBCUniversal had a record-breaking year at the 26th Annual Environmental Media Awards, further demonstrating its leadership in sustainable production. Thirty of NBCUniversal television and feature film productions were recognized with an EMA Green Seal for progress in sustainable production practices – the most the company has ever received in a single year. This is the second year in a row where NBCUniversal has received the most EMA Green Seals of any producing studio.

Below is a complete list of NBCUniversal productions receiving a 2016 EMA Green Seal:

Universal Pictures: Almost Christmas, Bridget Jones Baby, Fast 8, Fifty Shades Darker / Fifty Shades Freed, Girl Trip, Jason Bourne, Snowman, The Mummy

Focus Features: Book of Henry

Universal Television (NBC): Bates Motel (S4), Brooklyn Nine-Nine (S3), Chicago Fire (S4), Chicago Med (S1), Chicago P.D. (S3), Crowded (S1), Grimm (S5), Heartbeat (S1), Hollywood Game Night (S4), Shades of Blue (S2), Superstore (S1), Telenovela (S1), The Good Place (S1), The Path (S1), Truth Be Told (S1), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (S2), and Uncle Buck (S1)

Universal Cable Productions (USA/ SyFy) : Falling Water (S1), The Magicians (S1), Mr. Robot (S2), and Suits (S6)

For more on our sustainable production efforts, check out our infographics to explore how NBCUniversal’s filmmakers and crewmembers are reducing their environmental impact.

NEW11

(The award ceremony was hosted by Nicole Richie, a frequent environmental activist | Photo credit to Jason Laveris)

More>

Winter is Coming: What You Need to Do to Your Garden to Be Prepared!

marigold-1148515_1920

There’s a certain thrill to seeing a ripe, fully colored tomato in your garden and using it for homemade salsa the next week. However, the time for soaking in that feeling is over, and as the seasons change, so must our gardening habits. As winter draws near, here are a few different things you should think about doing to protect your garden during the offseason.

  1. Make sure that your gardening tools are polished. It doesn’t matter if you have a brand new leaf collector or the dirtiest wheelbarrow east of the Mississippi. Your equipment needs to be cared for and put away, so make sure everything from pocket snips to weeders goes in the shed as soon as you don’t need it anymore. If you take care of good equipment, you won’t need to be wasteful and continually buy new tools.
  2. Try not to rake your leaves. While raking can be a solid workout, it can also damage your yard. Research has proven that mowing leaves on and around your garden is more efficient and better for the soil, and unraked leaves in planting beds seldom smother shade-tolerant perennial plants.
  3. Not everything needs to be cut! Some flowers and tall plants should stay standing tall. Sunflowers and thistles are especially important to butterflies and birds during the winter. Some plants and flowers can still be used as food and sanctuary. While some plants need to be eliminated, keep a few around for our fellow nature creatures.
  4. Cover up with compost. One to six inches of compost should do the trick when covering up the garden. This can be made of many different things, so get creative! It doesn’t just have to be manure or leaves.

You can find more in-depth tips here.

More>

6 Ways to be Green this Halloween

 

pumpkin-1709430_1920

Halloween can often be the spookiest time of the year, what with folks dressed as goblins, ghouls, and zombies running around town all night long. But while parting with sumptuous candy might seem like a scary thought, being green on Halloween shouldn’t be. Here are some hard and fast tips for staying green this year before the full moon rises on October 31st

  1. Reuse and recycle candy bags or buckets – If you choose to spend your night going door-to-door hunting for snacks instead of giving them out, make sure to use something you can find around the house. A paint bucket, a baseball cap, a pillow case… these are just a few examples of things you can collect candy in.
  2. Transportation – Go door-to-door with your friends and family by foot or by bicycle. Take the night off from driving around. It’s more fun to walk around on Halloween anyway.
  3. Prohibit plastic at parties – If you are throwing a costume party –you can use biodegradable dishes , glasses and cutlery. Have your guests write their name on their cups with a Sharpie, so they can keep track of which glass is theirs rather than  using multiple at the party. Make your own decorations – don’t rush out to your local drugstore when you can festoon your home with eerie adornments all on your own. Goblins, witches, skeletons… all of these things can be created in your own personal arts and crafts work space. Imagination is cheap!
  4. Buy the local orange produce – Support local farmers and businesses and grab your future jack-o’-lantern from them. Maybe next year, you can grow one in your own garden if you’re really feeling green.
  5. Go full pumpkin – If you carve a pumpkin, use the insides for food! Don’t let it go to waste. You can find a whole host of ideas and recipes here.
  6. Create your own costume – Sure, you could go out and buy that Jackie Moon costume for 70 bucks. Probably wouldn’t be that hard to find a Michael Jackson “Thriller” jacket online. Heck, there are so many Harley Quinn costumes at Halloween pop-up they’re practically unavoidable. But why not be environmental and create your own mummy costume with toilet paper and some gauze? With some patience and creativity, mix and match items in your wardrobe until you get that Ace Ventura or Pepper Potts look you’ve always wanted. Characters live in your closet, and you can bring them to life without spending a single penny!
More>

Global Citizens Festival 2016: Stars Shine in Central Park for Fight to End Poverty

This past weekend more than 60,000 music fans and social activists gathered on the Great Lawn in Central park for the fifth Global Citizen Festival.  MSNBC co-sponsored the event for the third consecutive year, thus continuing a partnership with the forward-thinking organization dedicated to ending global poverty by 2030. The celebratory concert featured public figures, actors, singers and politicians campaigning for a myriad of human rights issues championed by Global Citizen to assist those in need.

Saturday’s show capped off a three-month campaign that took a total of 1.3 million actions, leading to 44 commitments and announcements worth a total of $1.9 billion dollars in pledged donations. Global Citizen said that 199 million people will be impacted by this fundraising. From an environmental perspective, Global Citizen is actively dedicated to protecting the environment and providing clean, safe water and sanitation to communities without those luxuries.

Some of the highlights from the 2016 festival included:

Performances from artists such as Kendrick Lamar, who played hit song “King Kunta” to an enthusiastic crowd:

Businessman and “Shark Tank” star Daymond John and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz, who called on young citizens to make sure to vote in the upcoming election:

Chris Martin, creative director of the event and lead singer of British rock band Coldplay, who covered Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” live. He even improvised a verse about Rihanna, the next performer, who was running a bit behind schedule:

There were also some fascinating behind-the-scenes interviews with famous attendees and guests, including Prime Minister Xavier Bettel of Luxembourg:

For more on Global Citizen, visit their website.

More>

The Joys of Carpooling

It’s that time of year again—time for kids to go back to school.  Students all around the country are packing their backpacks and emotionally preparing themselves for another year of learning avalanche of knowledge.

If you’re looking for an easy way to help the environment as your child goes back to school, consider carpooling!  If your child doesn’t take the bus every morning, make a carpool group with a few other families in your community to cut down on gas costs.  It helps keep the “green” in your wallet, and it’s also great for the environment by reducing the number of cars on the road.

 

Check out these carpooling facts from the National Resource Defense Council:

  • Carpooling saves you money: less driving means fewer fill-ups and less automobile wear-and-tear.
  • Carpooling increases productivity: less time stuck in traffic means quicker commutes and more time to get things done.
  • Carpooling saves lives: fewer cars on the road means fewer accidents and crash-related deaths and injuries.
  • On Average, a car produces 10,000 lbs of carbon dioxide and 600 lbs of carbon monoxide in one year, while consuming on average around 550 gallons of gasoline a year.
  • If every passenger car in the US carried just one additional commuter for a single day, the US could save over 30 million gallons of gasoline.

 

In case you have any lingering doubts about what carpooling can do for you or the planet, take a listen to Grimm’s Russell Hornsby and Royal Pains’ Mark Fuerstein:

 

 

More>

100 Years of National Parks

Happy 100th birthday to our beautiful National Parks!  As of August 25th, the National Park Service has protected and preserved beautiful spaces in this country for a full century.  But how much do you really know about our National Park System?  Check out these facts from the National Resource Defense Council:

  • President Woodrow Wilson signed legislation on August 25, 1916 to create the National Park Service to protect our natural spots and “leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations”—thanks, President Wilson!
  • There are more than 460 parks, monuments, and heritage sites included in the Park Service including Yosemite, Denali, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Florida Everglades, and California’s Redwood Forests.
  • Our National Parks stretch across more than 84 million acres and can be found in twenty-seven different states.
  • The National Parks drew more than 300 million visitors last year—including hikers, cyclists, day-trippers, families, individuals, school groups, you name it!
  • More than 20,000 staff members make the National Park Service possible—from the Park Ranger to the Park Mailman, everyone works together to make sure these parks will be with us for centuries to come.

The National Park Service is still adding land to their jurisdiction! Just days ago President Obama designated the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. The National Park Service will oversee and share with the public 87,500 acres of Maine’s North Woods that encompass awe-inspiring mountains, forests, and waters of north-central Maine.

To celebrate 100 years of National Parks, the National Park Service has launched a special site called “Find Your Park” to make choosing a park and planning a trip easy and fun: http://findyourpark.com/.  Use it today to find the perfect park for you and your family.

In the meantime, if you’re not able to get to a National Park anytime soon, make sure to check out the local parks in your own neighborhood.

See how much Ron Funches and Bridgit Mendler, from NBC’s “Undateable,” love their local parks:

 

 

 

More>

Light Up Your Life with LEDs

Light plays a significant role in our daily lives. We read by it, work by it, and live by it.  It’s what wakes us up in the morning, and the lack of it lulls us to sleep at night.

But not all light is created equal.  You’ve probably heard about LED lights, but do you know just how much of a difference they can make to our energy consumption?

Here are some important facts about LED lights from www.energy.gov:

  • LED bulbs can be seven times more energy efficient than conventional lights.
  • Good-quality LED bulbs can last 25,000 hours or more, which is 25 times longer than traditional bulbs.
  • LEDs are easy to use, compact in size, and crack-resistant.
  • LEDs have a much smaller environmental impact than incandescent bulbs.
  • The inventor of the first LED light was Nick Holonyak, Jr. who worked for GE in the 1960s.
  • By 2030, it’s estimated that 75% of all light sales will be LEDs.
  • In one year alone, forty-nine million LEDs were installed in the U.S., saving about $675 million in annual energy costs.
  • Switching entirely to LED lights over the next two decades could save the U.S. $250 billion in energy costs and avoid 1,800 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

But you don’t have to take our word for it—check out what our good friends Sharon Epperson and Lester Holt have to say about the importance of LEDs:

 

 

 

More>

Team USA’s Aly Raisman on Going Green

It’s that special time again, when elite athletes from around the world converge on one city for an exciting two weeks of sports. That’s right, it’s time to gather round our screens to watch the Games of the XXXI Olympiad from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil! (Can you tell we’re excited?)

On their #RoadtoRio, members of Team USA stopped by The More You Know to share their words of wisdom. Here, one of our favorite gold medal-winning gymnasts, the talented Aly Raisman, reminds us about an easy way to stay green this summer:

And watch more great tips from other incredible Olympians, like Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian (swimming); Allyson Felix, Emma Coburn and Ashton Eaton (track and field); Kerri Walsh Jennings (volleyball); Adeline Gray (wrestling); David Boudia (diving) and Maya Moore (basketball).

Over the next two weeks, you don’t have to worry about missing your favorite sport, however niche it may be—NBC has scheduled an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming from Rio. That beats the previous record held by the 2012 London Games by over one thousand hours, and is, according to NBC Olympics executive producer Jim Bell, “The most comprehensive coverage of any event in sports history.” Do yourself a favor and take advantage.

Additionally, since Rio is only one hour ahead of the east coast, these will be the most live Olympics ever—so you don’t have to delay the excitement.

You can catch all the action Friday, August 5th on NBC at 7 pm, starting with what’s sure to be a truly extraordinary Opening Ceremony. Go to nbcolympics.com for full Olympics details.

USA!  USA!  USA!

More>

Bourne is Re-Born through Sustainable Filming Practices

Bourne is back, and he’s not pulling any punches.

Jason Bourne, the fourth movie in Universal Pictures’ blockbuster series, hits theaters today, July 29th. Matt Damon returns as the ex-CIA operative turned agency outsider who’s trying to right the wrongs of his past without destroying himself in the process. The film also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl), Vincent Cassel (Black Swan), Riz Ahmed (The Reluctant Fundamentalist), and Ato Essandoh (Django Unchained).

While filming, the Jason Bourne crew went above and beyond to make sure all production was sustainable. Here are just a few ways they made an impact:

  • In Last Vegas, the crew tied into the local electric grid to reduce fuel consumption for generators.
  • The lighting department used energy-saving LED lights in all hotel and airport scenes.
  • Scenes were shot in the Riviera Casino before it was torn down, preventing new material from being used to construct stunt sets.
  • In the UK, the construction department used a special CNC milling machine to provide more accurate cutting, which reduced plywood waste.
  • Background clothing was donated to The Upper Room and Traid, UK-based non-profits dedicated to alleviating poverty.
  • While filming on the Spanish island of Tenerife, food waste was composted to prevent harmful methane gas from being released into the atmosphere.

Make your weekend an action-packed one and check out Jason Bourne. To find a theater near you and purchase tickets, go here.

More>
Page 1 of 1512345...10...Last »