EMA Forecast: Why We're Hopeful for 2016

EMA Monthly Forecast (February)

Why I'm Hopeful for 2016

by Jay Jasinski, EMA Community Manager

2015 was a hot one. Actually, it was the hottest year ever recorded. Sure, El Niño is partially to blame for the fact that I could’ve comfortably worn shorts in Detroit in the middle of December, but we all know what’s happening. With fifteen of the sixteen hottest years on record globally occurring after 2000, there’s a good chance 2016 is going to be hot too. The real question isn’t whether or not that will happen, but whether or not we’ll stop debating and start taking action.

Now that we’re a month into 2016, the excitement of a fresh start has faded, albeit slightly, as we’re reminded that all of the planet’s environmental problems haven’t magically disappeared. That’s okay. Take a deep breathe and look at it this way. Never before have the topics of clean energy, sustainability, and climate change attracted more attention. Just think back to the 2012 Presidential election. Was climate change a major issue? To most of us reading this, it was personally, but not nationally. This time around, voters are demanding candidates to take a stance on the issue. Even if some of the answers make you want to yell at your television, at least the questions are being asked. It is for this reason I’m optimistic about 2016.

Thanks to many productive grassroots movements, influencers choosing to use their voices for the benefit of the planet and the business world starting to realize being green is good for the bottom-line, positive changes are happening. As much as it upsets me to share stories such as “there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050”, I still feel sanguine when I see people’s responses. To explain, people are using information to alter the way they live their lives, as well as using it to demand a change from their political leaders and favorite brands.

And it’s not all demand with no action, as we’re starting to see world leaders, i.e. the Paris Climate summit, and industries and individuals create solutions. The key is to keep the momentum going. How? Stay informed, curious, active, and encourage others to do the same. We all know 2016 will come with its share of doom and gloom stories, but they’ll be easier to swallow knowing we’re taking the initiative to end those types of stories for generations to come.

Finally, I'm optimistic for this year and beyond because of all the exciting projects, initiatives, and events EMA has planned for 2016. Thanks to the support and dedication of our membership base, we're able to inspire sustainable solutions and continue to make an impact. From combating ocean pollution to expanding our school garden program, we're taking action to make our planet a cleaner, more sustainable place to live.

It truly is an exciting time to be alive. Here’s to a green 2016!

EMA Member Profile: Phoebe Hewson

Ever since I can remember my mom has been showing me ways to be resourceful, not waste, and respect the world around me. It is role models like her and the many members of EMA that keep me striving to live the most sustainable lifestyle possible. Over the past two years, it has been a steady climb to living more sustainably as my mom and I continue to realize more and more what we are wasting and the ways that we can reuse resources. We have made a pact to take at least one step closer to a fully sustainable lifestyle, each month, and as we do this, we have noticed the number of friends and even strangers in passing who have been inspired by our actions. Whether it is simply picking up trash and recycling what we can, or supporting wonderful organizations like EMA, we not only feel better about what we are doing but become even more eager to take another step forward.

This is among many reasons why we became members of EMA. We saw all of the wonderful events at schools (gardens) and award ceremonies honoring those trying to help the planet. We want to inspire as many people as we can to respect the earth and embrace new resources that help the world we live in. We have co-founded a site whywearevegan.org that not only speaks to the many benefits of veganism, but also highlights sustainable companies and lifestyle choices that everyone should know about and practice. It is our hope that in the coming years we can make sustainability more prevalent and make a difference.

The best advice I can give to anyone is: It all starts with a single step: picking up one piece of trash or even just being aware of what we use each day and how these products might affect our planet. Also, no dream is too big, and if you want to see a change, it is those dreams that one must chase after. It is my hope to bring this mentality to the forefront of Hollywood as a Sustainable Production Designer and showcase the beautiful projects that can be made without hurting our planet.Yes, a big dream but everyone has a different vision, and together we can spark changes and inspire many to do the same!

Healthy Family - Board Member Green Resolutions

Constance Zimmer

"Shower with a five-minute timer to conserve water!"

Frances Fisher 

"To pick up trash when I see it, and dispose of it properly."

Ashlan Cousteau

"My green resolution is to find out where my clothes come from and seek clothing that has a sustainable ethic. In addition, no more fast fashion, I will only purchase pieces that I will cherish for years to come."

Sarah Wright Olsen

"My green resolution is to eat more local organic produce during growing seasons, and to always have reusable bags in my car."

Dawn Olivieri

"My green resolution for 2016 is to do even better with my food sourcing. I will seek out more local farms, and eat less at restaurants who are not sourcing responsibly. I will get my eggs from a local farm rather then the grocery store. I will actually build my own set up for some chickens at my own house.  I will make sure my dogs get the same conscious awareness on food. I will do more research on "rendering company's" to be more informed about them and what animals are being fed in order to share that info with other humans that may be uninformed. Pretty much I plan on continuing what I've already started with a simple commitment to go deeper. I love this planet and all the creatures on it. I know I'm voting with my dollar and am committed to making the kind of choices that resonate positively for the planet as a whole. Bring it 2016!"

Rachelle Lefevre

"Sadly, walking is not a big part of the Los Angeles lifestyle so my New Year's green resolution is to walk more when I'm running my errands, going to the movies, places I normally drive to but could easily walk to in 15-20 minutes. I even found a great way to motivate myself - I'll get to buy a great pair of flats :)

My other resolution is to clean out my closet and keep it neat. I know that doesn't sound green, but I can lower my overall carbon footprint by buying less imported goods, which so much clothing is. My hope is by making what I do own easier to access I'll see I have everything I need and resist the urge to buy more."

Emmanuelle Chriqui  

"My Green resolutions are to incorporate meatless Monday wherever I am and include way more veggies, and less meat in my diet in general."

What's your green resolution for 2016? Send it to us via social media and we'll share it!

Eating Healthy and Substantially in 2016: An Interview With Board Member Rachelle Lefevre


EMA: How does sustainability play into your eating habits?

Rachelle: I'm lucky in that a lot of my sustainable eating habits come naturally. I've never been a huge carnivore so eating less meat isn't hard, and I live in California so I can buy local, seasonal produce at farmer's markets. Also, grocery stores here label where the produce is from so I can make better choices shopping there as well. The biggest commitment has actually been financial. Unfortunately, many organic foods still cost a fair amount more than conventional foods, as do sustainably caught or farmed proteins. There came a point when I just decided always to put my money where my conscience is. I don't love paying more for groceries, but I'm lucky enough that I can afford to and so I believe it's my responsibility to support the people cultivating our food in a way that is better for our bodies and better for the Earth. We also have much less food waste in our home since we don't take our groceries for granted. I am at better peace when I do eat meat or eggs knowing that the suppliers I buy from ensured the animal had a higher quality life.

EMA: Eating meat comes with a large increase in your carbon footprint. What's your favorite meatless meal?

Rachelle: My favorite meatless meal is a giant brown rice or quinoa bowl filled with veggies and beans or tofu. It might sound boring to some people, but I use a lot of spices or sauces for flavor so it can be made a million ways. It's also a great way to avoid throwing away food! I can steam or saute whatever is in the fridge on its last days and turn it into an excellent meal. One day I'll make a teriyaki sauce and the next time I might spice it with cardamom and curry powder, basically whatever flavors I'm craving. When my husband Chris makes it you'd think it was a gourmet meal, and he uses the last bits of everything! It's actually really fun to see what he can come up with. I call the dish, "Nothing in the Fridge."

EMA: Why do you think it's important to eat organic food?

Rachelle: Until we have better, simpler, and more truthful labeling on all our food, the branding "organic" is the best way I know to make good choices for what goes into my body. Big business has completely commandeered the North American food industry. Companies spend millions (if not billions) lobbying for their commercial interest and, as a result, choices affecting every aspect of our food sources have been made for financial gain instead of in the best interest of our health. Pesticides, seed manipulation, farming practices to increase yield, hormones to increase animal weight, the long term effects of these are still unknown, and that terrifies me. Obesity and disease are on the rise exponentially. How can we not be making the connection to our food and making drastic changes as a society? In addition, it isn't only about my body but also about the soil and the ecosystem in general. I have little to no scientific or complex ecological knowledge, but the part that seems obvious enough is if we overly genetically modify our environment or use even mildly toxic products in huge amounts that run off into the soil, that's going to have long-term, negative impacts on the environment.

EMA: What foods do you think will be trendy in 2016?

Rachelle: In California, at least, I feel like 2015 was the year of kale & Brussels sprouts - they were all over most menus. I'm really hoping more vegetarian choices will begin trending since there are so many great meatless options now beyond just soy-dogs.  I think in 2016 we will see a significant trend in more affordable organic foods as large companies start to pay attention to demand. As we reduce added sugars to help combat obesity, I also think we will see trends turn back towards healthy fats and finally move us away from the ridiculous "fat-free" craze we've been stuck in for so long. I'm hoping high-quality, full-fat yogurt replaces what I call the "fat-free chemical bath."

EMA: Tell us about your personal food blog Pass the Butter.

Rachelle: I love having an outlet to just share excitement or give praise for foods or restaurants that I enjoy. With my schedule being so erratic I go on posting binges and then sometimes go dark for a while so it's a good thing it's not a real job! In the beginning, I thought, "I live with a chef and I bake often, I have access to so much information and experience, I should share it." Now I'm starting to think more about where I want it to go message wise. There is so much conflicting chatter out there about food and body image: "eat this, don't eat that, be skinny, be strong, not skinny, be yourself, stay away from sweets but treat yourself, look like this but love your body the way it is" and on and on. One of the worst effects of this is that it can make us treat food like our enemy instead of what it is: a luxury. This is going to sound so preachy but people are starving, and we are shooing away the bread basket like it's an annoyance. Our values have gotten so lost. My hope is to be able to share a conversation with people where food is something to be valued, loved, and respected.

EMA: What's your favorite thing to cook?

Rachelle: I absolutely love baking. I will spend six hours in the kitchen in absolute silence just whipping and measuring and icing. In California, we still have cold weather apple varieties at the farmer's market so I've been making an apple & olive oil cake that my friends are saying is their new favorite. I also have a lot of friends who avoid gluten, so I make a flourless chocolate torte (see below for recipe) that is my personal favorite because it's like a gooey, rich, over-indulgent chocolate bacchanal. And yes, I use organic, fair trade chocolate ;)

Flourless Chocolate Torte

Ingredients: 3/4 pound semisweet chocolate (cut up) 1/4 pound bittersweet chocolate (cut up) 1 pound butter 1 cup heavy whipping cream 1 cup sugar 9 eggs 4 teaspoons vanilla ½ teaspoon sea salt Optional: Icing sugar, raspberries

Needs: 1 Springform pan 10" (grease sides & bottom) 1 large baking sheet (lined with foil) 1 Large, heavy saucepan 1 Large heatproof bowl

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2) In the saucepan combine chocolate, butter, whipping cream, sugar. Cook over medium-low heat, often stirring  just until melted. Do not overcook. Remove from heat.

3) In the large bowl whisk together the eggs and vanilla. Slowly stir half the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and then return egg mixture to the remaining chocolate. Stir until combined.

4) Pour batter into pan, place on foil-lined baking sheet and place in oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until torte is evenly puffed and a knife inserted near the center comes out almost clean (knife will appear greasy but shouldn't contain what looks like unbaked batter). Place on wire rack to cool completely.

5) Once cooled, refrigerate torte until firm (several hours). Before serving, gently loosen torte from sides of pan and remove sides of pan.

*If desired, cover top of torte with raspberries (or berries of choice) and lightly dust with icing sugar. Icing sugar appearance is best if dusted just before serving. **Full disclosure: I use all organic ingredients and fair trade chocolate with the exception of the icing sugar. I haven't found an organic icing sugar with the same texture as conventional so if you know of one, tweet me!

Remember to check out our blog for yummy Meatless Monday Recipes

Beauty & Lifestyle

EMA Board Member Karreuche Tran Shares her five favorite beauty tips:

  1. Drink lots of water! Great for the face and body.
  2. Always wash your face at night, or at least use face wipes. Makes a very big difference!
  3. Take time to use face masks or get facials to protect and nourish your face.
  4. My best beauty tool right now is my Clarisonic.
  5. My best makeup tip is to invest in the perfect foundation and concealer. Make sure you find the right products that blend well in skin and with color.
  6. Learn about your skin type, whether it's oily or dry, and use products that are targeted towards it.

Look Stunning and Support EMA With Karreuche's Cosmetic Collection "KaePop"

Karreuche's cosmetic collection "KaePop" is available now onColourPop.com. According to Essence Magazine, the collection is inspired by "Karrueche's general go-to beauty look: glowing skin and matte lips." Wait, it gets better. KaePop is cruelty-free, they only test on humans, and the collection benefits the Environmental Media Association!

NewslettersEMA Online