Green is Universal

Serving Seasonal Produce This Summer

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Strawberry shortcake at summer festivals and pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving – these culinary traditions are no accident. While these dishes are typically associated with celebrations, they are also tied to the seasons. Strawberries thrive in June and July, and pumpkins are harvested in the fall. Eating food that is seasonal and local is a tradition that is both good for human health and the environment.

Fruits and vegetables thrive when planted and harvested during certain times of the year. Tomato plants, for example, are typically best when harvested during the summer, because they need a lot of sun for their fruit to ripen. Timing is important for plants to grow successfully. Seeds are accustomed to everything from the condition of the soil to the amount of rain during a particular season. Oftentimes, produce is picked during its peak harvest time and then treated with chemicals and stored to be sold throughout the year. These products end up poorer tasting and with less nutritional value. Freshly picked fruits and vegetables grown during their natural season are the healthiest and most flavorful. It is well worth the wait.

Eating locally grown produce has many benefits as well. Flavor and nutrients are retained and extensive, pollution-causing transportation – known as “food miles” – is not required. Produce that travels a great distance is often also treated with chemicals for preservation. In contrast, produce grown in your region can be enjoyed naturally hours after being picked from the vine. Enjoying locally grown food can also foster community and create appreciation for local culinary traditions.

This summer, after you purchase your food from a farmers’ market or CSA, prepare it using a healthy recipe. The Eating to 100 series from the TODAY show features recipes that boost longevity – many of which are packed full of produce, like this one!

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The Mummy

Universal Pictures and Focus Features are committed to reducing the environmental impact from filmmaking activities. To assist in this effort, NBCUniversal developed a Sustainable Production Program which empowers our film divisions to integrate sustainable best practices across their productions.

At the foundation of the Program are easy to use infographics which illustrate sustainable production best practices. These practices span across all production operations and equip filmmakers and crewmembers with the tools to take action and reduce impact. To view the infographics and learn more about our sustainability program, click here.

Read on for examples of how our film crews have integrated environmental action into their everyday work:

Recent Releases

The Mummy, June 9, 2017

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©Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise headlines a spectacular, all-new cinematic version of the legend that has fascinated cultures all over the world since the dawn of civilization: The Mummy.

Thought safely entombed in a tomb deep beneath the unforgiving desert, an ancient princess (Sofia Boutella of Kingsman: The Secret Service and Star Trek Beyond) whose destiny was unjustly taken from her is awakened in our current day, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Cruise is joined by a cast including Annabelle Wallis (King Arthur, television’s Peaky Blinders), Jake Johnson (Jurassic World), Courtney B. Vance (TV’s American Crime Story: The People V. O.J. Simpson), Marwan Kenzari (The Promise) and Oscar® winner Russell Crowe (Gladiator).

Filmed in the United Kingdom, the production team on The Mummy was fully dedicated to implementing sustainable practices throughout the production.  They used 100% recycled content paper throughout production, replacing the equivalent of 142 trees. To reduce bottled water, water filters were installed in the production office that provided both still and sparking water.  In an effort to reduce waste, recycling was set up all throughout offices, workshops and stages.  Catering used compostable food service products, which were composted along with food waste from both the office and stage catering.

Departments across The Mummy made a concerted efforts to be energy efficient.  LED set lights were used on the back lot as well as on stages which significantly reduced power consumption.  To help educate and inform the crew, production placed signage around the workspaces, reminding people to turn off lights and electronics every night.  Transportation provided fuel efficient and hybrid rental cars for crew to use throughout the production.  They also provided minibuses to move crew to locations, reducing the amount of single cars driven.  The production donated items such as bikes, a foosball table, household items, and clothing to local charities.  These practices and more earned The Mummy an EMA Green Seal.

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The Power of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

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Community Supported Agriculture partnerships (CSAs) are a fantastic option for all of your produce needs this summer and fall. In a CSA customers pay upfront for the entire season (typically from June-November). They are investing in the farm by essentially purchasing a share of it. This upfront payment enables farmers to finance the early stages of growing – seeds, equipment, labor, etc. Customers can choose how much they want to be included in their deliveries. These are typically weekly or bi-weekly and scaled for the size of the household. There are two main types of CSAs: workplace and community. Produce and other products such as honey, eggs or even meat, are packaged and delivered to a convenient place for customers to pick up, either in the community or right at their place of work.

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CSAs have similarities to farmers’ markets because they both encourage purchasing fresh, local, seasonal produce and connecting with farmers. Customers can shop from many different farmers at a farmers’ market, but a CSA partnership provides produces from one farm directly.

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CSAs are beneficial for a multitude of reasons. They eliminate the ‘middle man,’ and are simultaneously less expensive for purchasers and more profitable for farmers. The products are fresh, because they are grown locally so they do not have to be treated with chemicals in order to travel long distances. Additionally, participating farms typically use traditional, organic growing practices. Finally, CSAs create a connection between farmers and buyers through interactions at pick-up locations. Memberships may also include recipes, visits to the farms, and educational opportunities on cooking and storing produce.

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Comcast NBCUniversal employees in New York City participate in a CSA with Katchkie Farm. Employees can become members and have weekly shares of food delivered right to the office. Katchkie Farm is also a part of the Just Food CSA Network – a ground-breaking organization in NYC. CSAs exist all over the country and are an ever growing and expanding model. Head here to find one near you!

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Farmers’ Markets – Not Just a Trend

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Shopping at farmers’ markets gets labeled as something that is hip and fashionable these days. In reality, it is simply going back to the way people have traditionally purchased their food. Shopping at local farmers’ markets has positive effects on the environment, our physical health, and relationships in the community.

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Farmers’ markets were originally created as a way for people living in dense, urban areas to buy fresh food from the surrounding region without having to leave the city. This model is drastically less harmful to the environment than buying food that has been grown across the world. In these cases food has to be either flown or driven many miles to a grocery store; all while being treated with harmful chemicals to stay “fresh” until it gets to its destination. Buying locally eliminates the pollution caused by this long-distance travel and the damage that these harmful substances have on the environment.

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In terms of personal health, there is no contest that the food you will find at your local farmer’s market is better for you than food at a typical grocery store. Farms represented at farmers’ markets most likely grow more than one item. This biodiversity means that they do not need to use pesticides on their food as it grows because of a process called permaculture, the practice of growing certain foods next to each other to help them develop. For instance, basil plants repel insects that like to eat tomato plants, so they are ideal neighbors. Therefore, the food you see at farmers’ markets is both less chemically treated and delicious.

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Waste has become an increasing problem as food has become cheaper and more readily available in some parts of the world. It is morally, economically and environmentally harmful. Billions of dollars are literally thrown away each year while many people go hungry, and when this organic matter fills landfills it gives off gases that are harmful to the environment. When people grab something off of the shelf at a supermarket they rarely stop to think about how much effort went into its production. At a farmers’ market the people who saw the apple you are buying grow from a seed to a fruit are the ones handing it to you. An appreciation is created for how much time and care went into this item, and as a result, an effort to eat it before it goes rotten. Another benefit to connecting with farmers is they can tell you more about how to enjoy your food and maybe even share a recipe with you that you can cook with your family or friends. Now that the season is beginning for many farmers’ markets, head out this weekend and meet, connect, and enjoy!

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May is National Bike Month

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There is a reason why learning how to ride a bike is such a milestone for children. It is not only a fun way to explore and connect with friends, but it can also be a regular means of commuting. In terms of shrinking your carbon foot print there are few better things you can do than drive your car less. While carpooling and public transportation are great alternatives, riding a bike is even better. Celebrating this month is a great way to start! Within the month-long celebration May 15th – 19th is National Bike to Work week and May 19th is Bike to Work Day.

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Cities have taken note of the benefits of biking. In efforts to cut down on pollution and mitigate traffic congestion, many urban areas have adopted bike share programs. These eliminate having to buy a bike and worrying about storing and locking it. There has also been a recent effort in urban planning to implement bike lanes and paths to make commutes safer and more convenient than ever.

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Biking doesn’t have to be purely practical, however. It can be social and philanthropic too! Here are some biking events in New York City, but check out events in your area here – tons of cities are celebrating!

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When you are cruising around this month remember these tips:

  • Always wear a helmet; it could save your life.
  •  Wear reflective gear or have a light on your bike so you will be seen after the sun goes down.
  • Know the rules of the road. Familiarize yourself with the bike paths and lanes in your area so you can ride in harmony with cars and pedestrians.

Happy pedaling!

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Celebrating Earth Day and Comcast Cares Day Together

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This Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, Comcast NBCUniversal celebrated the 16th anniversary of Comcast Cares Day with more than 100,000 volunteers working at over 1,000 project sites across 20 countries.  In New York City, employees from across the company, including NBC New York and Telemundo 47 team members, came together to help landscape and clean the shoreline at Brooklyn Bridge Park.

 

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Teams were able to spread out and help at three different sites within the park including one group going to Bird Island. Not only did volunteers help remove invasive plants, but they also learned about the history of the park and best ecological practices for the space. Hopefully they will take this knowledge back with them to their own neighborhoods and communities.

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Comcast Cares Day has grown to become the nation’s largest single-day corporate volunteer event. In 2016, a record 108,000 volunteers improved more than 930 parks, schools, beaches, senior centers and other vital community sites. Since 2001, more than 800,000 Comcast NBCUniversal employees, their friends, family members and our community partners have volunteered nearly 5 million service hours at more than 7,700 projects in communities across the United States and around the world.

 

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This day has become an annual tradition for tens of thousands of our employees, their friends and families, and our nonprofit partners as we join together to make change happen in our communities and celebrate our company culture of caring year round. There was no better day than Earth Day to inspire people to give back.

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Adding it All Up: Mindboggling Facts about Recycling

 

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When we all go green together, the results can be staggering. In honor of Earth Day and NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week, we’ve got some of the most mind-blowing statistics about recycling, courtesy of Recycling Across America (http://www.recycleacrossamerica.org/recycling-facts).

Firt, the not-so-great stats:

  • In the next 15 years, worldwide waste is expected to double.
  • Americans throw away over 2.5 million plastic bottles an hour. Not recycle – throw away.
  • The average person has the opportunity to recycle over 25,000 cans in a lifetime. Instead, every three months we throw away enough aluminum to build all of the country’s airplanes.
  • 28 billion glass bottles and jars are thrown out every year – that’s enough to fill up the Empire State Building twice every three weeks.
  • In 2007, 1.8 million tons of e-waste (electronics such as TVs and computers) ended up in landfills. That’s about 2% of the country’s total waste.
  • About half of food in the US goes to waste – which is about 3,000 pounds per second

But, there’s hope!

  • Recycling one ton of plastic bottles saves enough energy to power a newlywed couple’s house for an entire year.
  • Recycling a three-foot high stack of newspaper can save one tree, recycling one glass jar can power a light bulb for 20 hours, and recycling one ton of cardboard can save 46 gallons of oil.
  • Recycling helps to prevent waste from going into oceans – keeping these important ecosystems alive and well.
  • Several states have now created mandatory collection and recycling programs specifically targeted towards electronics, while schools and business across the country have begun to compost in order to reduce their food waste.
  • Once we reach the point where we’re recycling 75% of waste here in the US, it will reduce CO2 each year just as much as removing 55 million cars from the road.
  • Recycling is a $200 billion industry in America – and it’s still growing.

It’s easy to look at all of these as abstract stats and figures. But, it’s individuals like you doing their part that truly makes a difference. Now is not the time to stop! Let’s keep pushing, keep making strides. We’re so close to making the world a better place – why stop now?

This story is part of NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week where we’re inviting our viewers and readers to “Green Up” by sharing steps you can take to help the planet. Follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more. #GreenUp

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In My Next Life: The Story of Aluminum

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You know it as the material behind your favorite soda’s can, or the foil that keeps your leftovers fresh. But what else do you know about aluminum? We’ve got the basics on how this ultra-recyclable material makes it from the ground to your hands.

  • It’s easy to mine aluminum in an energy-efficient way. This has consistently increased demand for it – and created tons of jobs in the process.
  • First, the aluminum is refined. Then, it goes through the Hall-Héroult Smelting Process before finally being processed into the thousands of products it’s used in.
  • What sort of products, you ask?
    • Vehicles! Due to being lightweight and durable, aluminum is often used in transportation in order to reduce fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Buildings! Aluminum is extremely flexible and can be formed into many shapes. This gives builders endless options when it comes to using it in buildings.
    • Packaging! Aluminum helps to protect food from light, gases and moisture in order to keep it fresh longer. Also, it’s lightweight, which can save costs and gas emissions during transport.
  • Most importantly, aluminum is extremely And, it’s one of a few materials that can be recycled over and over again! In fact, over 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use.
  • Recycling aluminum can save almost 100 million tons of CO2 per year. How? It helps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that come with producing aluminum in the first place.

So, now you may be asking: Why does this matter to me? Well, it’s a reminder as to how important it is to recycle not just your aluminum cans, but anything that’s made out of aluminum! With a material as reusable as this, there’s no reason not to.

In addition – and most importantly – it shows the impact recycling can truly have. It requires 95% less energy and water to recycle a can than it does to create a brand new one. That’s incredible! Just imagine the change we could create if we recycled every single aluminum product out there.

This story is part of NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week where we’re inviting our viewers and readers to “Green Up” by sharing steps you can take to help the planet. Follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more. #GreenUp

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Everything Old is New Again: 7 Earth Week DIY Recycling Projects

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Throwing products into a recycling bin isn’t the only way to save. Check out some of our favorite do-it-yourself projects. Get crafting and save some money, too!

   1. Portion Control

Quench your thirst with a soda? Hold onto the bottle. A 20 oz. bottle’s opening actually fits the perfect amount of pasta for a single serving.

  2. PB Hardware

Peanut Butter jars can be reused in multiple ways. One such use? Hardware storage. Use a few jars to separate nails, bolts, and screws to get organized before starting summertime projects.

   3. Tin Vase

Give your summer dinner party a fancy new centerpiece. Wash out a can – up to you if you want to keep the label on – pour in some fresh water, and use it as a vase.

  4. Exactly Right

You don’t need that new set of fancy measuring cups. Use empty yogurt containers instead. They give exact measurements and are perfect for the next time you bake.

  5. Your New Water Bottle

Summertime BBQs come with their fair share of libations. Once you’ve had your fill, wash the glass bottle out. It’s a perfect stand-in for a re-useable water bottle.

  6. Funky Storage

After that last bowl of cereal, wash out your milk carton. Cut out a corner of the top, and you’ve now got yourself a unique storage container.

This story is part of NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week where we’re inviting our viewers and readers to “Green Up” by sharing steps you can take to help the planet. Follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more. #GreenUp

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Use it Or Lose It: 5 Easy Ways to Conserve Water

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Each year, more and more states report rising water-stress conditions. We can’t continue to wait. It’s on us to take measures to reduce our impact. We’ve got 5 tips to find out how you can save almost 25 gallons of water a day – and a few bucks as well!

  1. Turn it off

Saving water starts at the tap. Water flows at about 2.5 gallons per minute from the average faucet. It’s easy to save water by turning the tap off when you brush your teeth or while scrubbing your hands with soap.

  2. Cut it Down

Do you really need to spend all that time thinking about life in the shower? By simply cutting your shower by two minutes, you can save almost 10 gallons of water a day.

  3. Fill it Up

Sure, you may really want to wear that shirt tomorrow, but it’s best to totally fill the washing machine before running it. Same goes for dishwashers! Or, adjust the load size dial to ensure extra water isn’t wasted.

If you can, consider investing in Energy Star-rated washers, which use less water and energy.

  4. Skip the DIY

While washing your car is a fun way to cool off on a hot summer’s day, it can waste a ton of water. Check for a local carwash that recycles its water and splurge for that shine. If money’s tight, then just be smart about the water! Use a bucket of soapy water to clean your car, and then only turn the hose on to rise. This can save over 100 gallons of water!

   5. Keep an Eye Out

It’s easy to mindlessly pay the water bill each month. However, simply taking a moment to look for sudden changes in your bill can reveal leaks in pipes. If you see a spike, call the plumber as soon as possible!

This story is part of NBCUniversal’s 10th Annual Earth Week where we’re inviting our viewers and readers to “Green Up” by sharing steps you can take to help the planet. Follow Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more. #GreenUp

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