Thrive Napa Valley encourages leadership through awareness, education, and outreach. We empower our community to connect and engage through inspired action to promote environmental sustainability, social equity and compassion. To learn more about these types of happenings in the Napa Valley and beyond, click on the links below.
Napa Valley Green Drinks!
Tues., Dec. 1 from 5:30-7:30pm. Join us on the terrace at Grille 29 Lounge at Embassy Suites - 1075 California Blvd., in Napa.
Guest Speaker: Deborah Elliott from Napa County Green Business Program
Topics: Get your business certified as a Napa County Green Business.
Don't have a business? Learn how homeowners can receive rebates for making energy saving improvements to your home.
Napa Valley CanDo brings together people from all over the Napa Valley who want to help our communities thrive through volunteerism and community action. Check out their CanDo Spotlight where events & volunteer opportunities from other groups around the valley are listed. Read the latest issue of the CanDo Connection

Can Do's Give!Guide is a perfect fit for this holiday season. It seeks to inspire a community of givers.

Click here to review the digital edition.
Say it. Feel it. Believe it.
Help set the tone for your day by repeating a mantra. Let it be a soothing or positive message that speaks to you.

> Today is a joyful day.
> Let me light up the day with smiles and laughter.

> I listen attentively, patiently, quietly.
> I choose love.

> I give worries wings and release them.
> Everything will be OK - this I believe.

> Within me I have everything I need.
> I am positive and powerful.

> I am full of thanks for all I hold dear.
> In nature, I rejoice.

> Let go of pain - make room for peace.
> I am open to forgiveness.

> I share my light and reflect others' too.
> All things are possible.

This information is for general informational purposes only and not intended to be nor should be construed as medical or other advice. You should consult your own doctor and/or appropriate professional to determine what may be right for you. Copyright 2014, United Healthcare Services, Inc., Wellness & Health. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.
We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do. - Barbara Ward
> Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It's simple, inexpensive, and can save up to 140 gallons a week.
> We're more likely to notice leaks indoors, but don't forget to check outdoor faucets, sprinklers and hoses for leaks.
> Keep your shower time under 5 minutes and save up to 1,000 gallons a month.
What is El Niño?  A warming of the ocean surface, or above-average sea surface temperatures (SST), in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.  Over Indonesia, rainfall tends to become reduced while rainfall increases over the tropical Pacific Ocean.  The low-level surface winds, which normally blow from east to west along the equator (“easterly winds”), instead weaken or, in some cases, start blowing the other direction (from west to east or “westerly winds”).
Source: NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association)
Average sea surface temperature departure from the 1981-2010 average over the four weeks ending November 7. Graphic by, date from NCEP-NCAR reanalysis.
The peak of our El Niño is expected to occur in the next month or so . . . but what does that mean? We measure El Niño events by how much warmer the suface waters in a specific region of the equatorial Pacific are, compared to their long-term average. The difference from average is known as the "anomaly," and we use the average anomaly in the Niño3.4 region as our primary index for El Niño. When the index in this region is at its highest, we have our peak El Niño.

Southern Africa and the southern half of Mozambique tend to see a drier December-February during an El Niño. Areas of this region, especially South Africa are very dry right now, after a failed monsoon last year. Another dry year would place more stress on water availability.

El Niño-related dry conditions in Indonesia have set the stage for devastating fires, and the region is experiencing the greatest number of forest fires since 1997. Also, all the extra warm waters associated with this El Niño are placing heat stress on sea life, and an intense coral bleaching event is underway.

In the U.S., the season of strongest El Niño is December through March. El Niños tend to enhance the hurricane season in the Pacific, and depress the Atlantic hurricane season. Phil Klotzbach of Colarado State University says "So far this year, there have been a total of 21 Category 4 and 5 storms in the North Pacific, shattering the old record of 17, set in 1997. The North Central Pacific Region has shattered records for most named storms, hurricanes, and major hurricanes tracking through the region."

According to Lindsey Long of the Climate Prediction Center, the Atlantic season has been fairly quiet, although the number of named storms has been close to average, at 11 storms so far. The average is about 12 . . . but the overall activity of this storm season (the combined strength and the duration of all storms, measured as the Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) has been less than 60% of average, and we've had 3 hurricanes, half the average number of 6.

We won't know until next spring what exact impact this El Niño will have on the U.S., but it is already making its presence felt around the world.

Source: NOAA. Click here to read the entire article. The ENSO blog is written, edited, and moderated by Michelle L'Heureux (NOAA CPC), Emily Becker and Tom DiLiberto (contractors to CPC), Anthony Barnston (IRI), and Rebecca Lindsey (contractor to NOAA CPO). Posts reflect the views of the bloggers themselves and are not necessarily, NOAA, or Columbia University/IRI.
In the United States, much like many parts of the world, there are limited state and federal regulations on the use of date labels such as 'best before and use by'. However, in recent years, researchers have been eager to unearth whether or not these date labels have a significant influence on consumer action, especially waste.

Will date labels like "best before' impact the willingness of consumers to spend a particular price on a tub of yogurt?
Will a 'sell by' date affect the likelihood that families waste a box of breakfast cereal?

These are some of the issues that Professor Norbert Wilson of the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology faculty at the Auburn University and Bradley J, Rickard, Associate Professor Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management at Cornell University are steadfastly exploring. The two teamed up with graduate students Rachel Saputo and Shuay-Tsyr Ho from Cornell University to carry out an experimental auction using qualitative analysis of people's choices given diverse date labels. Their experiment looks into how date labels affect consumers' willingness to pay and consume (or waste). In the auction, Wilson and his team asked subjects to share the percentage of the produce that they expect to consume, which ranged from 0 to 100 percent. They then subtracted the expected consumption rate from 100 percent to find the rate of waste.

Participants were asked how much they were willing to pay for food items in different settings and were given large and small sizes of Yogurt, Salad Greens and Breakfast cereals (Cheerio's) of varying date labels. Throughout a bidding process, subjects were asked how much they would be willing to consume given the date labelling of the product (in some cases the product would have been 3 weeks, 1 week and 1 day away from the date indicated on the label). Subjects then advised Wilson's team of how much of the product they were likely to use given their previous consumption experience, the label and the posted expiration date among other factors. Date labels such as 'sell by', 'fresh by', 'use by' and 'best buy' were used for the survey.

Researchers found that participants threw away more value if the date said "use by" and were less likely to waste if the product said 'sell by". Wilson and his team suggested that a 'sell by' date label may be less likely to product food waste as it gives no instructions to the consumer, and only requires action from the retailer. He pointed to the ambiguity of the 'sell by' date and the fact that it did not have the urgency of which directly prescribed an action the consumer. Wilson believes that if the date label is clearer or more certain, people will likely respond more directly and this could potentially lead to greater waste. He also pointed out that 'free by' and 'best by' labels also may suggest to consumers that there are quality concerns and food safety hazards associated with consuming the food item after the date on the labels. This may then lead to a greater likelihood that the product will be wasted.

Though the date labels are used markedly differ, many may be applied to the same products in the marketplace. The result, Wilson, argued, was a high level of confusion among consumers.

'Date labels really do matter, when you look across the marketplace you an see the date labels are not consistently applied. In the United States there are no federal regulations, only in the case of infant formula. At the state level, not every state regulates labels and often the same products are not regulated in the same way. There is little to no consistence in the process.'  Wilson noted that there was no substantial research in this area.

©FAO 2015 Date Labels and their Impact on Food Waste in the United States for December 2015 TNV Newsletter | Photo ©FAO
Teaching kids how to feed themselves and how to live in a community responsibly is the center of an education. - Alice Waters
CEO Has Pushed the Nonprofit into Advocacy, Disaster Relief and Sustainability

In the 10 years since Jonathan Reckford took the reins as CEO of Habitat for Humanity, he has led a steady amplification of the organizations impact. He helped widen the scope of Habitat's mission to include holistic neighborhood revitalization. In response to the housing crisis of 2008, and formal disaster relief efforts, following the Indian ocean tsunami of 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He has overseen new microfinance and advocacy initiatives to help the neediest populations secure loans and access to land. Under his leadership, the nonprofit's housing-product recycling enterprise Habitat for Humanity ReStores kept more than 128,000 tons of materials out of landfills and generated $110 million in profits, used to build more homes.

All the while, Habitat's core model of helping family after family build one life-changing home at a time has flourished. He has seen the number of families that partner with the organization grow more than tenfold over the past decade, from 25,000 per year to more than 300,000 in fiscal year 2014.

"I have met so many families all across the world and seen how the process of earning their home and helping build it has really changed their self-identity," Rockford says. "There's a mindset shift. Rather than being a victim, now someone has a whole different identity. Habitat families are now property owners and taxpayers, adding economic value to the community. I love seeing that sense of transformation."

A very good friend of my goddaughter house-sat for us while my wife and I went to a wedding. When she found out what I did, she told me, "You know, I grew up in a Habitat house."

Now she is pursuing her PhD in psychology and wants to help disabled children, particularly. When she was younger, she and her family got bounced all around. When she was 13, her mom was able to partner with Habitat and purchase a home. And, she said that it fundamentally changed the trajectory of their life.

It's the important little moments that can keep me doing this forever.

Read the entire article and learn How the Habitat for Humanity CEO Moved Beyond Houses.
If you feel like you're operating on half-power during these cold winter months, there's something you can do to make exercise more appealing. Moving your workouts inside can be a hard transition, but if you take some time to plan more interesting workouts, it doesn't have to be a mother glad winter.

Try some of these ideas to make your workouts more fun:
> Break Up Your Workout. Separate your workout into 5-minute segments, each with a different focus - speed, incline, resistance, steady state, etc. By changing your workout every five minutes, you get variety and, because you're focusing on 5 minutes at a time, the workout will fly by.

> Make a Cardio Medley. Instead of getting on the same machine every time you go to the gym, pick 3 different machines and workout on each one for 10 minutes.

> Be Creative. Look around the gym and see if there are other ways to get into your cardio. Look for a flight of stairs to run up and down or a space where you can jump rope. Walk on the treadmill and then go outside and run around the building for 5 minutes. Look for different things you can do to break up your usual routine and add excitement.

> Try Group Fitness. Even if you're not into group fitness classes, giving one a try can give you a new enthusiasm for your workouts. Make a deal to try one new class every two weeks. You pick up energy when you workout in a group setting - take advantage of it.

> Cardio At Home. Music is one way to motivate yourself, so put on your favorite CD and do a workout to it - it doesn't have to be structured. Simply choose some basic cardio exercises such as jumping jacks, jogging in place, front kicks, side shuffles, jump rope, etc. and do each one for a minute or so. Even if you only go for 10 minutes, that's 10 minutes you're not sitting around watching TV.

If your energy is flagging this winter, exercise may be the last thing you feel like doing. But, believe it or not, movement generates energy so now is the perfect time to get busy. Keep reminding yourself that spring isn't that far away. Hang in there and keep moving.

Going "Virdi" in...San Francisco
New "Zero-50-100-Roots" Campaign Show's San Francisco's Commitment to Tackle Climate Change
Earlier this year, Mayor Edwin M. Lee launched the new "Zero-50-100-Roots" campaign aimed towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reinforcing the City's leadership in addressing climate change. The "Zero-50-100-Roots" campaign demonstrates San Francisco's commitment to send zero waste to the landfill, reach 50 percent sustainable travel, use 100 percent renewable energy and pull carbon dioxide out of the air.

"San Francisco has successfully reduced greenhouse gas emissions even while our economy and our population have been growing, but California's severe drought is a reminder that the effects of climate change are being felt sooner by our residents and with greater impact than expected." said Mayor Lee. "San Francisco's new 'Zero-50-100-Roots' campaign showcases our City's commitment to providing real solutions to climate change and pushes a climate action agenda that helps San Francisco reach our ambitious goals for a more sustainable future."

San Francisco has reduced by half the amount of material sent to landfill. This reduction is attributed to residents and businesses working together to achieve the City's goal of Zero Waste by 2020.

AT&T Park brings together sellout crowds of more than 41,000 fans on game days and generates approximately 32,000 pounds of materials, of which 22,000 pounds will be composted and over 7,000 pounds and will be recycled. Overall that is 95.7 percent diversion rate because of the Giants' focus on Zero Waste.

"The Giants are proud that our continued efforts, most recently recognized by our LEED Gold EBOM certification, to make AT&T Park the greenest and most sustainable ballpark in the country complements the Mayor's focus on confronting the issues of climate change and ensuring that San Francisco is one of the most sustainable cities in the country," said Giants President and CEO Larry Baer.

Achieving 50 percent of all travel by sustainable modes is another key goal of San Francisco's Climate Action Strategy. To achieve this level of sustainability, the San Francisco' Municipal Transportation Agency was tasked with increasing use of all non-private auto transit modes and set a deadline of meeting this shift by 2018. Investments in transit alternatives along with more San Franciscans walking, biking, ridesharing and riding public transit has helped San Francisco achieve its goal three years ahead of schedule.

The milestone is a testament to the City's commitment towards safe communities and sustainability, but to maintain and grow this level of sustainable travel requires continued investment, improved efficiency and greater transit infrastructure.

CleanPowerSF, which will further increase greenhouse emissions, follows a string of solar successes. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) has installed 19 solar arrays since 2004 - a total of 7.9 megawatts of generation. This year, the SFPUC installed additional solar systems on top of City buildings and the first of these projects was completed in March with a solar array on top of Thurgood Marshall High School able to generate up to 87 kilowatts.

GoSolarSF initiative has also helped to incentivize and install more than 10.8 megawatts of solar arrays on San Francisco homes, businesses and non-profits. That is more than 3,300 new solar installations since 2008.

San Francisco continues to lead by setting goals and rolling out programs to challenge the environmental and health impacts of climate change.
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