Corban Bell is a 2013 graduate of Grambling State University in Grambling, La. where he studied accounting and economics. As an undergraduate, he was a member of several student organizations including the Clinton Global Initiative University and the National Association of Black Accountants, where he served as president.
The Alameda, Calif. native is the Grand Prize Winner of the 2012 Toyota Green Initiative Campus Contest. With nearly 1,300 votes on www.ToyotaGreen.com, Bell’s plan and establishment of a permanent, campus-wide recycling program at his school earned him a 2012 Toyota Prius and $5,000 toward the purchase of trees for his Grambling State University campus. He also received membership to the TGI Coalition, a collective of environmental experts and celebrities who speak on sustainability within the African American community and relevant ways to go green.
Bell will return to his home state of California to begin a career at KPMG LLP, an audit, tax and advisory firm. His future goals include obtaining his CPA license, attending Harvard Business School and working in the private, public and nonprofit sectors in an effort to positively change people's lives.
Although Bell is no longer on campus, he continues to be a strong advocate and an example for environmental improvement at Grambling and the HBCU community.
In the process of manufacturing and transporting over one million vehicles each year in North America, Toyota uses raw materials, energy and water. Through the manufacturing process, we create waste. We are constantly looking for ways to conserve resources and reduce our environmental impacts.
During fiscal year 2012, we reduced our energy and water consumption, and we reduced our emissions of greenhouse gases. Our assembly plant in Cambridge, Ontario, installed a reverse osmosis concentrate recovery system that reduces water consumption by 13.2 million gallons (50,000 cubic meters) per year.
Direct reuse of containers helps to conserve natural resources and keeps waste out of landfills. Reusable metal shipping containers are used between selected North American parts distribution centers and vehicle distribution centers, dealers and suppliers. The returnable containers are also used increasingly for shipments to Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico, and by over 120 of Toyota’s North American suppliers. More than 95 percent of the North American parts at Toyota’s Kentucky and Texas plants are currently received in returnable packaging.
Since the use of these containers began in 2001, our cumulative savings amount to over 129 million pounds of wood and 48 million pounds of cardboard.
WHAT THIS MEANS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT:
The wildlife team at our Kentucky assembly plant actively manages 62 acres of habitat and has 340 acres of unmanaged habitat available for wildlife on the site.
- Lighting retrofits at our North American manufacturing plants have resulted in annual savings of 17 million kilowatt-hours and 10,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions, enough to power 1,500 households.
- The wildlife team at our Kentucky assembly plant actively manages 62 acres of habitat and has 340 acres of unmanaged habitat available for wildlife on the site.
Lake Louise received her M.A. from Stanford University. She is founder and Chief Eco-Beauty Officer (CEO) of Skin, Mind, Body Essentials (SMB Essentials), a lifestyle and wellness products company she formed in 2002 – brands include: Lotus Moon, Plain Jane Beauty, DetoxRx and SON. Lake’s commitment to environmental sustainability, driven by her passion for whole body wellness and informed by her vast and developing ingredient knowledge, has contributed to the success of her company. A contributing writer and advisory board member for Les Nouvelles Esthétiques & Spa Magazine, Lake is sought out as an educator in the skin and body care world. She was a featured speaker at conferences across the country, and was asked to host and keynote the first Green Summit at the International Congress of Esthetics and Spa Conference in 2008.
As future leaders of the African American community, you are aware that achieving a college degree is the key developing career and critical thinking skills. Toyota recognizes your potential for guiding your generation into making socially responsible decisions as you achieve your education.
Did you know about the many ways that you can reach out for help tot Toyota during the long challenging road to achieving your college degree? Toyota’s support of the African American community extends far beyond its sponsorship of the HBCU’s in the CIAA and SWAC conferences within the Toyota Green Initiative.
Since 1988, Toyota has made the commitment to supporting the education of African American students with its partnershipwith the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the nation's largest and most successful minority college assistance organization. Currently, Toyota awards 40 scholarships a year, totaling more than $3 million annually.
The Urban League, whose mission is to “enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights”, has a long-standing partnership with Toyota in empowering the African American community. Since 1987, Toyota has contributed to various Urban League chapters and programsthrough youth services, mentor volunteering, cultural enrichment activities, affordable housing, and the building of a new Community Technical Center.
For high school students interested in pursuing a career as a teacher of math or science, Toyota awards the African American Initiative for Math/Sciencethrough the University of Cincinnati. Every year, Toyota sends 25 African American students to college tuition free to complete a program designed to prepare them for teaching in an urban school environment for at least five years after graduation.
Toyota shares your forward-thinking vision of a better future for yourself, your family and your community, and provides many ways for our African American community to go forward with its dreams. Take advantage of these and other opportunities to take your goals farther than you have ever thought possible.
Summertime is the perfect time to travel and visit parts of the country and of the world that you may not have ever seen before. By putting yourself in new lands and terrain that you are not used to, your view of the planet may expand and your horizons broadened.
Before you leave home, unplug the appliances that you won’t be using while you are away to avoid wasting energy. You won’t be using your microwave, alarm clock or device chargers when you are out of town, so make sure that they are not continuing to consume electricity by being plugged in.
Whenever possible, seek transportation methods that are earth-friendly such as traveling by train, bus or hybrid car. Many cities offer low-cost bicycle rentals that allow you to experience a new city in a fun and energy-efficient way. Walking is the most economic way to get around, letting you experience the feel of new places while getting in some exercise at the same time.
If you are staying in a hotel, opt for a LEED-certified building if you can. This certification allows you to know that you are in a green building. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the international standard for buildings verifying that “a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.” To learn more information about what makes a building green, visit the U.S. green building council: http://www.usgbc.org/
When you are enjoying all that the city you’re visiting has to offer, tap into your sense of adventure by supporting the local economy when you opt for food and produce from the area. This ensures that you are getting an authentic experience within the place that you are visiting. It also reduces transportation energy and costs for the meals that you are consuming while on the road.
If you remain aware of your energy usage and impact on both the local economy and habitats of the places where you travel, you are on the right path to staying green and enjoying an environmentally responsible vacation.
The Toyota Green Initiative recently had the opportunity to catch up with our coalition member, Zakiya Harris. Harris and Pandora Thomas are co-founders of Earthseed Consulting LLC, an Oakland-based organization that teaches environmental responsibility and creates programs to demonstrate practical ways for individuals and communities to lessen their impact upon the earth.
Earthseed takes an approach to stewardship of the earth that is based upon community involvement. As women of color, Pandora and Zakiya are leaders in the green space on several levels, teaching Bay Area organizations ways to bring forth innovation, culture and sustainability on environmental issues. Earthseed has created and led social programs such as the City Slicker Farms, which empowers youth and local residents to practice urban agriculture and teaches technical skills; United Roots Oakland, which uses art, culture, music and environmental initiatives to address violence within the community; and Hub Oakland—an international network where social entrepreneurs can help change the world through green technology.
Zakiya provided an insightful and optimistic perspective on the future of environmental stewardship. “What we are witnessing through our work is a paradigm shift,” she says. “Old ways of being are being destroyed and there is an opportunity for a new mindset.”
She describes this mindset as a “return to earth”, and says that “women have a significant role to play in ushering this new paradigm”. “As mothers, we have a particular connection with the earth. Women are being called to create new ways and new structures. Earthseed represents a new way of doing business.”
Visiting college campuses through the Toyota Green Initiative, Zakiya notes that a lot of work in the green space can be initiated by the young entrepreneurs that she encounters as a coalition member. Students of HBCU’s can apply their business skills and knowledge to building organizations that can lead black communities to creating socially just and environmentally responsible conditions for their families. Earthseed has helped show that every community of color can be the first ones to act, and take the initiative to improve their world.
As mothers, artists and women of color, Zakiya Harris and Pandora Thomas have defied the stereotypical societal norms in fulfilling their vision of what it means to make caring for the earth their business. “We’ve created a career that didn’t exist before,” Zakiya explained. “We may be doing things that seem out of the box, but it speaks to the need for a firm that can address people of color. Earthseed represents the present and the future.”
For college students looking for work that not only pays the bills, but also fulfills a sense of social responsibility and justice, a career in the Green Jobs sector might be the perfect fit.
The recent economic climate has undoubtedly created challenges for recent graduates. A recent study by the John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University finds that “only 49% of graduates from the classes of 2009 to 2011 had found a full-time job within a year of finishing school, compared with 73% for students who graduated in the three years prior”.
This outlook might not be so bleak when you consider getting a green job. According to a recent study by Pew Charitable Trusts, “clean-energy technology outpaced all other sectors in job growth and investments, even during the recession”.
“Clean energy investment, excluding research and development, has grown by 600 percent since 2004, on the basis of effective national policies that create market certainty,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program.
“Green jobs”, or “employment that contributes to protecting the environment and reducing humanity’s carbon footprint” are set to be a key economic driver of the 21st century. “Climate-proofing” the global economy will involve large-scale investments in new technologies, equipment, buildings, and infrastructure, which will provide a major stimulus for much-needed new employment and an opportunity for retaining and transforming existing jobs.
The green job sector is broad, andwill eventually span a wide array of skills, educational backgrounds, and occupational profiles. Any discipline can contribute to the stewardship of the earth—the environment could use the help of every single one of you reading this!
The green space is no longer one associate with “activists”, it is now known as a great opportunity for entrepreneurs. Small businesses as a whole provide more than 70% of U.S. jobs—jobs that can help drive the movement of environmental stewardship. The conditions are favorable for anyone looking to start a green business, as there is both a societal need for leaders in the green space along with growth in the clean-energy economy.
Choosing a green job is also a way to align your life with the principles of sustainability. If sustainability is considered to be “the capacity to endure” and the “long-term maintenance of responsibility, having environmental, economic, and social dimensions, we can see how it can affect every area of your life. For important decisions regarding your future, what better philosophy to adapt than one that encourages long-term viability and the protection of the earth that you inhabit?
Whether or not yours is considered a green job, you can always do your part to help take care of the earth by incorporating some easy ecological habits into your workplace routine. Here are some ways that you can make a difference:
1. Go paperless
Ask yourself if it’s crucial that you print out those files, articles and presentations. In today’s digital world, it really might not be necessary!
So it turns out that you DO need to print out that report? Make sure that all of your paper goes into the recycling bin when you don’t need it anymore.
3. Bike to Work!
It might not always be possible in the rain or in the snow, but a bike ride to work on a beautiful, sunny day might vastly improve your outlook.
4. Bring your lunch to work
Not only can it save you money, but bringing your lunch can also reduce waste from packaging and utensils from fast food places.
5. Use an office mug
If you have a daily coffee or tea habit, you can eliminate the need for disposable cups by bringing your own mug to use every day.
6. Be conscious of electricity usage
Make sure you turn off the lights, computers and other appliances when you don’t need them—this can also help save your business money!
7. Reuse postal containers
Got mail? Why not pass along the envelope? You can save your boxes and packaging materials to use when you send something out again.
Save time and transportation costs by holding meetings remotely. There are now many programs and applications that can help you conference face to face and with multiple people.
9. Bring plants into work
Any easy way to improve air quality and brighten your workday is to bring plants into your workspace—they convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and bring a touch of nature into the office environment.
10. Choose green office supplies
You can opt for office supplies that help the environment. From recycled paper to green cleaning products, there are eco-friendly solutions for many of the things that you bring into your workplace.
From February 28th through March 4th, the “Toyota Green Initiative” stopped in Charlotte, NA for the CIAA Tournament and all the associated fun that comes along with it.
The “Toyota Green Initiative” was all present throughout at the city- at the Arena during games, at the Convention Center for the Toyota Fan Experience and even hosting their own After-Party.
TGI was set-up everyday at the arena for the all the basketball action, teaching consumers about sustainability and showcasing the Toyota Family of Hybrid Vehicles. Fans got photos of themselves, gifts to help them "go green" and took the Promise Drive. One lucky fan was selected to answer three "green" questions during half-time of the Finals for a chance to win an ipod and tickets to the “Toyota Green Out Party” Saturday night. Random fans on-site were treated to a special experience with ticket upgrades to the lower bowl and to the Toyota Suite.
Over the weekend, we launched TGI at the Toyota Fan Experience. Fans learned about sustainability and challenged their friend in "green" activities. On Saturday, the TGI Coalition featuring Lance Gross hosted our Lecture Series where everyone was able to learn about the importance of "going green", and learned tips to make the first step. Rickey Smiley showed up as well to lend his support to Toyota.
Saturday Night, along with Sister2Sister, we hosted the “Toyota Green Out Party”, featuring DJ Jazzy Jeff and Anthony Hamilton. Passes to the party were given out throughout the week to fans who took steps and committed to "going green".
Earth Month—30 Days of Green Deeds
Research shows that it takes 21 days for a behavior to become a habit. The Toyota Green Initiative would like for you to join us in creating green habits this Earth Month by inviting you to participate in our 30 Days of Green Deeds challenge.
For the next four weeks, we will share with you tips and ideas for adaptig environmentally-sensitive practices into your life in honor of Earth Month. By the end of the month, you’ll be well prepared to take the principles of Earth Month through the rest of the year.
“Like” us on Facebook this month to learn some helpful tips and advice on how to integrate “green” ideas into your life: www.facebook.com/toyotashowcase
Follow us on Twitter to join the “green” conversation: www.twitter.com/toyotashowcase
Share your ideas and tell us how you are making a difference in greening your world.
Stephen Graddick: TGI Coalition Member, Winner of the 2011 Green Campus Contest
Stephen Graddick’s work with the Toyota “Green” Initiative began with his experience as a student ambassador TGI for Livingston College as a freshman. When he heard about “Green Campus Contest”, he saw an opportunity for a chance to win a great car and do something positive for his campus. He quickly figured out a way to make the most of the situation.
“Most schools don’t have the funding for “green” initiatives and recycling programs,” Stephen told us. This is where he found a way to help: “I asked, ‘how could we get sponsorships?’”.
He contacted a few local businesses and some even larger companies to ask for sponsorships for the recycling center that he envisioned, which would allow students to recycle their household items, like the toasters and refrigerators that college students use while school is in session and then move on from. He also found other ways to generate revenue through his green program, like recycling cans for money.
Graddick integrated his “green” campus ideas into as many aspects of school life as he could find. He invited guest speakers to his school to teach students about environmentally friendly habits, as well as instructors who spoke about healthier lifestyles and brought hip hop aerobics to Livingstone College. During Lean Green Week, he introduced a day of cleaning up the grounds on campus to make students aware of the responsibilities of ecological stewardship. The goal was to get everyone on campus involved in the effort to go “green”.
“I’m ecstatic about what went on, and how the students accepted the “green” inititatives,” Graddick says of the outcome of his program. “It was extremely interesting to win the contest as a freshman. I had never imagined taking on this role—nobody knew who I was, they were asking ‘Who is this kid?’”
Graddick’s stance on “green” principles before the campus contest was typical of many people his age: “I grew up like many African Americans—I lived for today.” Coming from the same perspective of the students with whom he would eventually teach and inspire, Graddick was able to relate to all of the students on TGI’s “Green” Campus tour and serve as the student voice for the TGI Coalition.
“The motivation I’m installing and the seeds that I’m planting amongst the students in their lives is the most rewarding thing. Before the contest, I had grown up like many African Americans. A lot of us live for today. I never understood what it was like to go “green” until I met people like Zakiyah, Pandora, and Jamal Ali—black faces who were influential in the “green” space. I used to recycle cans for money as a kid, but I learned that “green” is so much bigger than recycling a can.”
Graddick’s experience as a TGI Coalition member has inspired him to begin plans to eventually start a non-profit to encourage minorities to be socially responsible and “green”: “Just being on the coalition and hearing them speak about what it means to go “green” gave me the inspiration. They planted seeds in my life.”
As we celebrate Black History Month at the Toyota Green Initiative, we must ask ourselves, “How do we relate to the environment?”
For African Americans, this is an opportunity to reflect on the unique relationship that we have with environmental issues. Black communities have been influenced by their environment in significant ways. For instance, African Americans tend to live closer to urban areas where power plants are located, and are therefore disproportionally affected by power plant emissions according to the study, Air of Injustice.
By taking control of the way that we live and encouraging responsibility for our surroundings--from acting as stewards for a healthy earth, to promoting health and the elimination of pollution in our communities--we can be active participants in improving our world.
Now is the best time in the history of African-Americans to make the commitment to being leaders in environmental responsibility. TGI was designed to educate and promote the principles of a sustainable, environmentally responsible way of life to the future leaders of the black community--the students and alumni of HBCUs. To take the next step in committing to being a future leader in environmental responsibility, join TGI’s Promise Drive: http://www.toyotagreen.com/contests/promise-drive
Every pledge symbolizes the initiative to create a better future. We can celebrate the achievements and progress of African American history by promising to care for the earth for future generations.