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Friday, January 22, 2021

Ei 2020: A Year of Celebration

On February 5, 2010, Elemental Impact (Ei) incorporated as a Georgia non-profit corporation and embarked on an incredible journey. Since inception, Ei lived the taglines Sustainability in ACTION and later Regeneration in ACTION!

Whew, the first ten years were action-packed while the Ei Team initiated and completed the Ei Era of Recycling Refinement (RR) and segued into the Era of Regeneration.

Working with a powerful team of Ei Pioneers and Ei Industry Experts, Ei evolved into a respected national non-profit known for introducing sustainable best practices within a range of industries.

Beginning with the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ), Ei initiatives epitomized the following mantra:

Ei is a creator, an incubator. 
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done. 
Ei brings the possible out of impossible. 
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

Background
Ei was formed as the home for the ZWZ, which were launched in 2009 by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) within the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA). Over the years, Ei's work evolved well beyond zero-waste initiatives.

The following is a recap of Ei's evolution:
ZWZ Chair Laura Turner Seydel
speaking @ the ZWZ Two-Year
Anniversary press conference.
2012: Year of Accomplishments | Completions - in late 2012 the ZWZ were sold to the
National Restaurant Association (NRA) catapulting Ei into a major metamorphosis. The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, The NRA Acquires ZWZ, announces the monumental acquisition.

2013: Year of Transitions | Introductions - as Ei flowed within the metamorphosis stage, the three-platforms approach emerged. The IMPACT Blog, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, introduced the three platforms: Product StewardshipRecycling Refinement (RR) and Water Use | Toxicity. The IMPACT Magazine article, Another Year, Another Annual Ei Partner Meeting, recaps the formation of the new pilots and initiatives within the three platforms.

2014: Year of Foundations | Evolution - in 2014 the platforms were grounded with initiative launches and supporting taglines. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2014: A Year of Evolution, provides a summary of the platform foundations.

2015: Year of ACTION - in 2015 Ei lived up to its tagline: Sustainability in ACTION! The IMPACT Magazine article, Ei 2015: A Year of ACTION, summarizes the empowering year.

2016: Year of Recognition - in 2016 Ei's important work was recognized in published industry-case studies and Ei-hosted national conference panels. In addition, the Ei Magazines' following significantly increased and Ei was recognized as a respected journalist. The IMPACT Magazine article, Ei 2016: A Year of RECOGNITION, gives an in-depth overview of accomplishments, completions, and recognition.

2017: Year of Shifting Gears - in 2017 Ei announced Soil Healthregenerating the foundation of life, was a prime focus, replacing the prominent RR work. In addition, Ei Leadership experienced a changing of the guard and Ei welcomed new Strategic Allies. The IMPACT Magazine article, Happy 8th Birthday, Ei!, recaps the exciting year as Ei segued from the Era of RR to the Era of Regeneration.

Ei Founder Holly Elmore speaks
@ the 2018 WorldChefs Congress
in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
2018: Year of Regeneration
 - in 2018 Ei welcomed new partnerships, participated in global events, revitalized the Ei site, and embarked on Ei Explorations. It was an action-packed year as Ei lived the new tagline Regeneration in ACTION! The IMPACT Magazine article, Happy 9th Birthday, Ei!, chronicles the action-packed year.

2019: Year of Empowerment - in 2019, Ei started off the year celebrating the ZWZ ten-year anniversary. In the spring, Ei announced the Three-Step Straw Initiative (TSSI). Introductory TSSI meetings intertwined within work related to microplastics and nanoplastics in the soils, healthy-food school programs, and college-student mentoring. Additionally, the Ei site relaunched with updated design and navigation. The IMPACT Magazine article, Ei 2019: Year of Empowerment, recaps the empowering year.

The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and support the Pioneers; the Pioneers craft new standard-operating practices within their operations that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the Team moves into a new industry frontier.

A Decade of Impact
The Year of Celebration opened with Ei's ten-year anniversary! 

As a ten-year anniversary celebration, Ei published a three-article series, A Decade of Impact, that chronicles the plethora of achievements, awards, and successes from inception through 2020.

A Decade of Impact: History & Background
The first article, A Decade of Impact: History & Background, chronicles the profound work accomplished during the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) reign (2008 - 2009) that laid a powerful foundation for Ei's 2010 formation. The GFA was founded in 2008 within the Georgia Restaurant Association umbrella.

Dept of Ag Commissioner Tommy Irwin,
Chef Michael Deihl, Governor Sonny
Perdue, Deputy Commissioner
Terry Coleman @ luncheon
Events within the GFA Producers Task Force were in partnership with Georgia Organics, the American Culinary Federation, Atlanta Chapter (ACF ATL), and the Georgia Department of Agriculture (Ga Dept of Ag.) In 2008, the GFA was instrumental in the successful launch of the Georgia Grown program. With the local, sustainable food movement in its infancy, The Chefs' Tours & Dinner Series was novel, a forerunner, and an excellent tribute to farmers & chefs.

GFA Green Task Force initiatives were in partnership with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources - Sustainability Division and the Environmental Protection Agency Region 4. Additionally, the GFA worked closely with the Georgia Recycling Coalition and Atlanta Recycles.

In Feb 2009, the ZWZ were launched with critical acclaim & featured in a home-page CNN story as well as a New York Times front-page article.

The Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: history & background, gives a pictorial recount of the empowering GFA work and events that built a solid foundation for Ei's formation.

A Decade of Impact: Era of Recycling Refinement
The second article, A Decade of Impact: Era of Recycling Refinement, chronicles Ei's groundbreaking work in zero-waste arenas & beyond from inception through June 2017.

During the Era of RR, the Ei Team served as a leader in pioneering frontiers with a myriad of completed projects | programs.

In addition to the home of the ZWZ, Ei launched the empowering Sustainable Food Court Initiative (SFCI)) with prominent pilots at the Atlanta Airport (busiest airport in the world), Georgia Dome (then home to the Atlanta Falcons), and Concord Mills (a Simon Properties mall). With a stated focus on post-consumer food waste, the SFCI was a pioneer in addressing compostable food & beverage packaging and consumer source-separated disposal of food waste. 

Additionally, Ei launched the first shopping mall plastic-film recycling pilot at the SFCI - Concord Mills in partnership with Simon Property Group, then the largest commercial-property owner in the nation.

Ei Partners ready to tour the
Novelis aluminum recycling plant 
during the 2014 Atlanta Partner Tours.
Tours, whether Ei Partner Tours or Ei Industry Tours, were integral to establishing the foundation for emerging industry practices. The Annual Ei Partner Meetings brought together partners from across North America for a powerful day filled with education, updates, camaraderie along with great food and wine.

In June 2017 Ei announced the Era of RR was Mission 
Accomplished. Ei endeavors considered complete via a sale, term expiration, or simply mission accomplished are thoroughly documented in the 46-page Mission Accomplished website section. 

The Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: Era of Recycling Refinement, gives a pictorial recount of the activities documented in the corresponding article.

A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration
The final article, A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration, chronicles Ei's important work from June 2017 through current efforts.

Refreshed Ei website home page
As a welcome to the Ei Era of Regeneration, the Ei site relaunched with a refreshed design featuring Ei Founder Holly Elmore's photography images. An updated navigation reflects the current focus areas: Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, Water Use | Toxicity, and Product Stewardship platforms.

In the Era of Regeneration, Ei embarked on numerous Farm Tours as well as hosted the profound Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, and World Hunger in partnership with Ei Strategic Ally Feed & Seed. Ei Connections continued as one of Ei's valuable industry contributions.

Building off of the Era of RR's foundation, Ei segued from national to global impact via speaking engagements, contributions to prominent scoping papers, co-hosting international events, and attending global gatherings as respected media. Additionally Ei's status as a respected environmental journalist expanded to include photojournalism.

The Ei-Hosted panel, Compost's Empowering Role in Sustainable Soils, was the most popular break-out session at the 2018 U.S. Composting Council Conference hosted in Atlanta.

Beyond documenting Ei's important work, the Ei Magazines evolved to publishing in-depth research articles documenting the pathways traveled to current scenarios. Two of the research articles include: Plastics: a double-edged sword and A Hydroponic-Agriculture Renaissance.

The Ei FB album, A Decade of Impact: Era of Regeneration, gives a pictorial recount of the activities documented in this article.

Ei Magazine Milestone
On November 25, 2020, the Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) Magazine surpassed the 475,000 pageviews milestone! The coveted 500,000 pageviews achievement is mere months away!

Launched in 2009 as the ZWZ Blog, the original premise was to document the ZWZ successes and later the RR and SFCI accomplishments. When the ZWZ were sold to the NRA in 2012, the ZWZ Blog evolved into the Zero Waste in ACTION (ZWA) Blog. 

The June 2018 RiA Magazine article, New Era, New Name: Regeneration in ACTION!, announced the ZWA Blog evolved into the RiA Magazine. Additionally, the article stated the Ei tagline segued from Sustainability in ACTION to Regeneration in ACTION.

Over the past decade, the RiA Magazine, along with sister Ei magazine, The IMPACT, evolved from valuable industry-media resources to respected environmental journalism as well as photojournalism. The RiA Magazine article, Ei: invigorated impact and influence, celebrates the impressive milestone as well as the evolution to respected journalism.

Below is a quick magazine-stats overview:

The IMPACT Magazine
  • 184,000 pageviews
  • 137 published articles
  • Average 1,340 pageviews per article
  • Most popular article: Ei New Mission Statement (12/12) 3,080 views
RiA Magazine:
Environmental Journalism
Since 2016, Ei was included on environmental press-media lists with regular invitations for interviews and advance-book copies. In fall 2020, Ei received interview invitations from two prominent environmental and conservation photographers. Ei Founder Holly Elmore was honored to research, interview, and write articles featuring her heroes. Back in the 2014 - 2016 timeframe, Holly took on-line photography classes from the photographers and holds them in high esteem

The articles catapulted Holly from documentation of Ei's important work into respected mainstream-environmental media. 

The Photo Ark: a gift from the heart
On May 15, 2020, a press release announced the Nat Geo Photo Ark added the 10,000th image to the impressive collection of species portraits from animals in human care around the globe. Each portrait is captured on a white or black background, and published images are the same dimension; thus, a tiny mouse is literally the same size as an elephant in the Photo Ark.

Currently, the Photo Ark boasts 11,230 formal portraits. In addition to the portrait gallery, a comprehensive nearly 40,000-photo Photo Ark Gallery, including in-the-field images, is available for viewing. An excellent search function accompanies the gallery.

Renowned Nat Geo photographer Joel Sartore created the Photo Ark as a vehicle to showcase the Earth's tremendous biodiversity within the Animal Kingdom along with the mass extinction in process.

The RiA Magazine article, Photo Ark: a gift from the heart, chronicles the Photo Ark's history and gives accolades to Joel Sartore for his tremendous commitment to endangered species.

An Evolutionary Call-to-ACTION
REFUGE, America's Wildest Places, Exploring the National Wildlife Refuge System (REFUGE
,) published on October 27, 2020 as an extraordinary coffee-table book; photography is by renowned photographer, author, educator, and filmmaker Ian Shive. As with Ian's prior books, films, and other mediums, REFUGE is a masterpiece and serves as a portal to explore our planet's intrinsic beauty.

REFUGE is a glimpse into the magnificence and sacred nature of the National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), one of the largest protected land and water networks in the world. The NWRS encompasses land and water ecosystems coast-to-coast within the continental United States (U.S.) as well as the Hawaiian Islands, Alaska, and U.S. territories.

Ian's profound commitment as a conservationist and educator are destined to make a tremendous impact with his past, current, and future timeless masterpieces. Ian's evolution from stills to motion to cinema to on-air persona expands his audience, reach, and potential influence.

Photo credit: James Shive
REFUGE
is an evolutionary call-to-action for the collective community to preserve and restore the Earth's fragile ecosystems. The Earth will only tolerate a certain quota of human devastation; once the quota is reached the Earth will simply heal herself, most likely to the detriment of the human species.

The RiA Magazine article, An Evolutionary Call-to-ACTION, is an in-depth chronicle of Ian's adventures culminating in the profound book along with overviews of his amazing short films.

FUN: read the article to learn how a 1976 in-concert photo of "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen and the "Big Man" Clarence Clemons flows within the article!!!!

Ei Books
In late 2017, Holly expanded her journalism to photojournalism with a series of articles published in nationally distributed Southern Farm & Garden (SF&G). The articles showcased Ei's important work as well as Ei Strategic Ally accomplishments. Article images were courtesy of Holly Elmore Images (HEI.)

Additionally, the SF&G articles were published as Ei Digital Books available for view as page-turning-pdf documents on the Issuu platform. 

Photo Book
Determined to take her photography-technical skills to new levels, Holly learned to layout photo books using the Adobe Lightroom book module. Blueberry Snippet Story: from blossoms to fruit documents neighborhood blueberries on the journey from sweet blossoms to food for urban wildlife. Beyond photos, the book includes the history of blueberry farming in the U.S. as well as other interesting blueberry facts.

Images are destined to support article copy related to edible landscape practices.

Article Book
Using her new design skills, Holly's Fingertip Press published the first Ei Article Book: From Macro to Micro to Nanoplastics, an excerpt from the RiA article, Plastics: a double-edged sword

From Plastics: a double-edged sword:
The seemingly magical gift of plastic came with a double-edged sword filled with the potential to destroy life as it is currently known on Earth.

In less than seventy years, humans managed to infiltrate the Earth with micro and nanoplastics from discarded single-use and durable products in literally every nook and cranny, ranging from the arctic snow caps to the depths of the oceans and everywhere in between.

It is time to shift perspectives from human-focused to life-focused and let the Earth show us how to heal the damage inflicted. Answers will come to those who live and take action from the heart.
Additionally, the Nanoplastics article includes the following new sections:
  • Plastics at the beach - showcases how readily available durable and single-use plastic items are common place during beach enjoyment.
  • Beyond litter, cigarette butts are plastic pollution - explains how cigarette filters are made of cellulose acetate, a plastic.
  • Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, & World Hunger - gives an overview of the empowering October 2018 exploration.
  • COVID-19 plastic pollution - explains how the recent pandemic resulted in a new surge in plastic pollution.
Soft cover, magazine-style books are available for purchase at $11.99 each plus delivery; volume-purchase discounts are given. Additionally, a pdf version of the book is available for $8.99. Here is the link to purchase the book: https://bit.ly/3bl2Zxs.

A portion of the book proceeds is donated to Ei.

The Fingertip Press is a division of Holly Elmore Enterprises and the nomenclature for Holly's published articles, documents, and other written communication. Photos in the Nanoplastics book are courtesy of Holly Elmore Images.

Bigger than Us Podcast
On May 29, the Nexus Bigger than US-podcast interview with Holly aired with the below profound promotion by Nexus:
Holly Elmore uses her extensive business skills to make a difference through Elemental Impact (Ei), now in its 10th year of Regeneration in Action.
Tune into episode 66 of #TheBTUPod to hear:

๐Ÿ‘‰ How Holly and the Ei team are helping the corporate community find simple solutions to replace environmentally harmful practices with those that rejuvenate soil and water and reduce waste.
๐Ÿ‘‰ The diverse career endeavors that helped Holly direct her energy toward sustainable missions, and how those missions have evolved.
๐Ÿ‘‰ Her intuitive advice to help you determine when to sideline your current project so that you can make the most progress.
๐Ÿ‘‰ What it means to be in the flow.
And more!

Listen and subscribe: https://bit.ly/2MaOh01
Additionally, the podcast-promotion graphic included one of Holly's favorite quotes over the past decade:
In order for humanity and life as we know it to survive and thrive on planet earth, we must - absolutely MUST - get our water and soil microbial communities back into a healthy, balanced state.
The podcast interview was a perfect precursor for the Nature Prevails-platform announcement.

Nature Prevails
In September 2020, Ei announced the Nature Prevails platform to complement the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms. Within the Nature Prevails premise, the Earth heals herself and nurtures renewed life forms, no matter the calamity caused by humans, natural disasters, or extraterrestrial activities.

An elder tree thrives within a 
building in Old Havana
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
During the 2020 COVID19-global-pandemic quarantines, citizens witnessed an immediate impact of reduced human activity via clearer skies, orchestras of bird songs, and the roaming of wild animals in urban and rural parks. The experiences were a glimpse of how quickly the natural-world rhythm resumes when human activity subsides.

With a commitment to align work with Nature, Ei defined The Principles of Nature with three broad categories:
  • Diversity
  • Dynamic Balance & Nutrition Systems
  • Necessity of Cover & Ability to Roam
Beyond the environment-related activity within in each category, societal systems including economic structures, financial markets, and urban design, to name a few, also align within and are impacted by The Principles of Nature. 

The RiA Magazine article, Nature Prevails, a new Elemental Impact platform, announces the platform and explains how Ei accomplishments during the Era of RR support Nature Prevails premises.

Regenerative Working Group
The opening slide in the RWG intro PPT
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Activities within Ei’s Nature Prevails platform are in partnership with the Regenerative Working Group (RWG.)

On April 6, 2020, Holly hosted the inaugural RWG call to announce the initiative formation. With approximately thirty prominent land-economics professionals on the call, it was a milestone day!

The RiA Magazine article, Global Thought Leaders Embrace Regenerative Land Economics, launches the initiative and announces the prominent RWG Executive Team:
  • Holly Elmore, RWG Chair (Ei Founder)
  • Bernadette Austin, RWG Focus Area Lead (Acting Director of the Center for Regional Change at the University of California at Davis)
  • Brad Bass, RWG Advisor & Industry Expert (30-year veteran at Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as a Status Professor at the University of Toronto (UT))
  • Ronald Thomas, FAICP, RWG Adviser & Industry Expert (Ron Thomas & Co. President)
Many of the Ei Advisors are enthusiastic to serve as RWG Advisors in their respective areas of expertise. The RWG Executive Team members joined the Ei Advisory Council (AC); the IMPACT Magazine article, Ei Welcomes New Advisors, welcomes the new AC members and features their respective bios and headshots.

RWG Vision: to explore challenges related to stated focus areas from a holistic approach where the community, environment, and local economies benefit from commentary, discussions, and proposed projects.

RWG Tagline:

Global thought leaders supporting complete and equitable communities.

RWG Focus Areas:
  • The FA slide in the RWG intro PPT
    photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
    Infrastructure
    – explores the built environment including a city’s water & sewer systems, water treatment plants, public utilities, as well as corporate, government, and educational districts | campuses. Additionally, focus is on the availability of and access to affordable housing within a community.
  • Environmental Resources – explores the impact of existing and proposed projects and infrastructure within urban and rural communities on energy sources, soil health, local greenways, open spaces, waterways, and resident access.
  • Social Equity – explores ways to promote complete communities that include equitable access to housing, transportation and transit, education, employment, human services such as healthcare and safety, and other amenities such as parks. These complete communities balance land uses focused on people, (such as commercial and residential land uses), with natural and working land uses such as open space, waterways, farms, and ranches.
Beginning the week of May 25, Jahin Khan, a UT research student within Brad’s COBWEB platform, crafted an introductory RWG PPT presentation. Additionally, Jahin researched and prepared thorough documentation on the health impact of algal blooms in oceans as well as fresh water, glyphosate usage in commercial agriculture and landscape maintenance, and genetically modified agricultural products. 

Jahin’s current research relates to the detrimental human impact on natural ecosystems, how human-created environments are also governed by the Principles of Nature, and the impact of soil erosion and septic systems on water pollution. In addition, Jahin works closely with Holly on the RWG Action Plan development. 

Ridhi Gopalakrishnan joined the UT-affiliated research team as a summer intern to study Urban Carbon Sinks and the impact of glyphosate on the soil ecosystem.

Urban Carbon Sinks
A regenerative solution to the diminishing oxygen-supply crisis

In the 2017 RiA Magazine article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, Ei coined the term Urban Carbon Sinks.

Carbon Sinks
Vibrant forests are natural
carbon sinks.
Big Cypress Preserve in the Everglades
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Simply, a carbon sink is an area of land where plants drawdown more carbon via photosynthesis – the process plants use to convert carbon dioxide and sunlight into sugars for energy – from the atmosphere than is released from the soil into the atmosphere.

The oceans are technically carbon sinks as they currently absorb more atmospheric carbon than is released. Current excess carbon in the oceans causes ocean acidification that kills plankton at alarming rates. As marine plant life (phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton) photosynthesis generates the vast majority of atmospheric oxygen, the Earth is heading towards an oxygen-deficiency crisis.

By re-establishing abundant land-based carbon sinks, the carbon cycles may return to balance via atmospheric carbon returning to the soils. Once a threshold of lowered atmospheric carbon is reached, the oceans will release their stored excess carbon into the atmosphere. Thus, ocean acidification will reverse and marine plant life may revive back into healthy oxygen-producing states.

Regenerative Agriculture | Grounds Maintenance
As well documented in the earlier referenced article, Beyond Sustainability: Regenerative Solutions, regenerative agriculture is a viable solution for restoring weakened soil ecosystems and drawing significant carbon from the atmosphere back into the soil. Thus, regenerative agriculture creates carbon sinks.

Within the article, Ei announces intentions to create urban carbon sinks via integrating regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices on corporate complexes, college | university campuses, highway medians | shoulders, airport land surrounding runways, parks, and other available urban lands. Collectively, the regenerative landscaped areas are destined to serve as urban carbon sinks and aid in restoring the carbon-cycle balance.

Benefits Beyond Carbon Drawdown
Public parks are perfect
venues for urban carbon sinks
photo credit: Holly Elmore Images
Regenerative landscape and grounds maintenance practices are “cide-free” with no pesticides, insecticides, herbicides, and fungicides used. By mimicking natural systems, healthy foliage grows without the use of toxic chemicals commonly used in grounds maintenance; these toxins run off into local streams and water systems. Thus, local water systems benefit.

As “cides” are fatal to many pollinators, the local insect population benefits as well as their predators. Thus, the local urban-wildlife system benefits.

Inherent within regenerative landscape practices is the use of native foliage that evolved to thrive within the local climate and soil conditions. Healthy soil retains more rainwater and native plants are often able to sustain on rainwater.; there is potential for a significant reduction in irrigation water used. Thus, a reduction in the facility’s landscape costs and a benefit to the community as a hole.

The local population benefits from available public parks and other greenways free from toxic chemicals.

Urban Carbon Sink Pilot
Utilizing Ei’s extensive corporate network and prominent AC, the Urban Carbon Sink Pilot (UCSP) will recruit corporate, local government, and university participants enthusiastic to reduce their carbon footprint by overhauling their landscape and grounds maintenance practices. Ei Advisors will educate on regenerative practices and support in the implementation. With strong documentation of challenges, successes, and lessons learned, Ei will craft an Urban Carbon Sink template for replication.

Carbon drawdown will be tracked via measuring the organic matter (carbon) in the soil. Prior to UCSP implementation, soil tests will establish the pilot’s baseline; future soil tests at specified intervals will document carbon-drawdown success.

The Ei UCSP proposal was a finalist in the 2020 Ray C. Anderson $100,000 NextGen Grant. Due to the pandemic conditions, Ei chose to not submit a final proposal. The UCSP Team is enthusiastic to submit a proposal in the 2021 NextGen Grant RFP (request for proposals.)

COVID-19 Pandemic
In early March, the World Health Organization proclaimed COVID-19 was a global pandemic; life as we knew it on our Earth ceased to exist as governments ordered or requested their citizens to quarantine. 

Though some work moved into a holding due to pandemic conditions, Ei flourished during the quarantine time and ushered in new endeavors. As previously featured, the Nature Prevails platform, along with the RWG and Urban Carbon Sinks, was announced, Ei Books were published, and Ei evolved into respected mainstream environmental media.

Three-Step Straw Initiative
In 2019, Ei announced the Three-Step Straw Initiative (TSSI) in partnership with Ei Strategic Ally One More Generation | One Less Straw. Beyond plastic-straw usage reduction, the TSSI addresses the straw content and end-of-life destination; the TSSI aligns with the Ei Era of Regeneration Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms.

The following details the TSSI steps:
• Step 1- REDUCE straw usage
• Step 2 – SHIFT to paper straws
• Step 3 – COMPOST used straws

Significant TSSI strides were achieved in 2019 and early 2020. Yet, with the COVID19 pandemic’s devastating impact on the global hospitality community, the TSSI is in a holding pattern for an unspecified time period.

Mentorship
When the RCE Atlanta launched their mentorship program in September 2020, Ei immediately joined with Holly serving as a mentor. Spelman sophomore Destinee Whitaker chose Holly as her mentor. The below recommendation submitted by Holly for a scholarship application sums up the empowering mentorship:
In September 2020 Destinee selected me as her RCE Atlanta Mentor within the recently launched mentorship program. Since connecting, Destinee and I schedule virtual meetings every two to three weeks. It is my honor to serve as Destinee's mentor.
 
Destinee is an impressive young lady who is driven to make a difference in the world her generation inherits from previous generations. I appreciate how Destinee listens and comprehends my advice. In subsequent calls, it is evident that Destinee took appropriate action related to the advice.
 
Based on her raw intelligence, passion, and commitments, Destinee is destined to take leadership roles in environmental, social inequality, and/or human-health deprivation issues that plague our national and global communities, whether corporate, government or private.
 
It is important for Elders, as I am, to dedicate the time to share our experience and expertise with rising stars such as Destinee. Financial support via scholarships is integral to support women of color and other minorities as they prepare for their future leadership roles.
 
I give Destinee a highest recommendation for this scholarship application.
Additionally, mentorship is integrated within the Ei research internships previously mentioned.

2021: Year of Revelations
With the Ei Year of Celebration complete, 2021 is staged for the Year of Revelations!

___________________________________

About Elemental Impact:
Elemental Impact (Ei) is a 501(c)3 non-profit founded in 2010 as the home to the Zero Waste Zones, the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost. In June 2017, Ei announced the Era of Recycling Refinement was Mission Accomplished and entered the Era of Regeneration. Current focus areas include Nature PrevailsSoil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, and Water Use | Toxicity.

MISSION:
To work with industry leaders to create best regenerative operating practices where the entire value-chain benefits, including corporate bottom lines, communities, and the environment. Through education and collaboration, establish best practices as standard practices.

Ei’s tagline – Regeneration in ACTION – is the foundation for Ei endeavors.

The following mantra is at the core of Ei work:

Ei is a creator, an incubator.
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done.
Ei brings the possible out of impossible.
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

For additional information, contact Holly Elmore at 404-261-4690 | holly@elementalimpact.org




Saturday, September 26, 2020

Ei Welcomes New Advisors

 Within the 2020 COVID-19 global pandemic, Elemental Impact (Ei) continued living the tagline, Regeneration in ACTION. A new working group was announced in the spring and a new platform launched in the early fall.

On April 6, 2020 Ei Founder Holly Elmore hosted the inaugural Regenerative Working Group (RWG) call to announce the initiative formation. With approximately thirty prominent land-economics professionals on the call, it was a milestone day!

The Regeneration in ACTION (RiA) Magazine article, Global Thought Leaders Embrace Regenerative Land Economics, launches the initiative and announces the prominent RWG Executive Team.

In mid-September, the RiA Magazine article, Nature Prevails, a new Ei platform, launches the Nature Prevails platform to complement the Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms. Within the Nature Prevails premise, the Earth heals herself and nurtures renewed life forms, no matter the calamity caused by humans, natural disasters, or extraterrestrial activities.

Activities within Ei’s Nature Prevails platform are in partnership with the RWG.

New Advisors
Since inception, Ei enjoyed a stellar Advisory Council of  distinguished industry professionals. When the Era of Recycling Refinement (inception through June 2017) was Mission Accomplished, Ei entered into the Era of Regeneration with a focus on Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture and Water Use | Toxicity. The Nature Prevails platform opens a gateway for new dimensions of regenerative work.

Ei welcomes the below new prominent Advisors with expertise in RWG | Nature Prevails focus areas.

Bernadette Austin

As Acting Director of the Center for Regional Change at the University of California at Davis, Bernadette brings extensive experience in community development praxis and public-private partnerships. She works to build bridges across disciplines and support research that is community-engaged, policy-oriented, and equity-focused.

Brad Bass, PhD

Brad is a 30-year veteran at Environment and Climate Change Canada as well as a Status Professor at the University of Toronto. Brad led the development of COBWEB (Complexity and Organized Behaviour Within Environmental Bounds) in 1999. COBWEB, is now used by students to simulate the performance of vertical flow constructed wetlands, urban segregation, and retail locations.

Brad served on a team that was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for Climate Change.

In 2012, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities awarded Brad the Lifetime Achievement Award for Green Infrastructure Research. Brad's most recent work on the cost of algal blooms was published in July 2019.

Mario Cambardella

A Landscape architect, environmental planner, former Urban Agriculture Director for the city of Atlanta, Mario Cambardella’s current project is ServeScape.net, a digital platform to enable beautiful and resilient landscapes. Launched on the first day of Spring, March 19th, 2020, ServeScape is a digital marketplace connecting independent growers with landscape professionals through a cost-efficient, customer-oriented supply chain. ServeScape partners with responsible horticulture farmers across Georgia to supply Atlanta residents with access to food-producing, pollinating, and native plants.

As urban agriculture director Mario led the “AgLanta,” initiative. AgLanta is a comprehensive and systematic approach toward strengthening the local food system. Developed programs include the country’s largest municipal food forest, “Urban Food Forest at Browns Mill” and the “AgLanta Grows-A-Lot” program that converts vacant properties in USDA-defined food desert areas into food-producing spaces, and the hyperlocal food promotion program, “AgLanta Grown.”

Mario was awarded Georgia Trend’s 40 under 40 in October of ‘19 and serves on the board of the MicroLife Institute and Keep Chamblee Beautiful and member of the Urban Land Institute, American Planning Association, and American Society of Landscape Architects.

Simon Lamb

Simon M. Lamb is a writer, businessman, farmer, countryman, and passionate conservationist who was born in London and educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, England, studying maths, languages and economics. He has since studied evolution, human development and market economics extensively in the context of their combined impact on the natural world and human society.

His new book Junglenomics represents the culmination of the insights gained during that time into the underlying causes of the world environment crisis, and presents a unified plan to address it based on the workings of ecosystems. Simon presents economies as “virtual ecosystems” in which the speed of evolution has outstripped their ability to develop symbiotic relationships that complete the cycle of resources found in Nature, and sees the economic disruption of environmentally damaging markets in favour of benign ones as the only way forward for the long term survival of civilisation.

Simon lives in Dorset, England, and is married with four sons, three grandchildren and two labradors.

Ronald Thomas, FAICP

For two decades Ron directed his planning firm located in Washington DC; and then became an associated principal with the landscape architecture and planning firm, Jones and Jones in Seattle. From 2000 to 2010 Ron served as the executive director of the Chicago regional planning agency, Northeast Illinois Planning Commission and then semi-retired to Athens, GA to serve on the University of Georgia faculty at the College of Environment and was chair of the Oconee Rivers Planning Commission from 2011- 2016.

Ron continues as a practicing consultant urban planner with the Community Design Exchange and is a Fellow of the American Institute of Certified Planners receiving over 40 awards for distinguished work in the broad field of planning. He has edited the APA Regional Planning Journal and has published frequently. He is working on a book on Arts & Crafts era planning, a subject of personal interest for over 40 years.

In addition the following Ei Advisors serve as RWG Industry Experts:

  • Stephanie Barger - U.S. Green Building Council Global Director, Market Transformation
  • Britt Faucette, Phd - Filtrexx International Director of Research, Technical, & Environmental Services
  • Kathy Kellogg Johnson, Chairman of the Board, Kellogg Garden Products
  • Tim Trefzer - Georgia World Congress Center Authority Director of Sustainability
  • Wayne King, U.S. Composting Council Past President, ERTH Products CEO

With Nature Prevails and the Regenerative Working Group launched and additional industry experts welcomed to the Ei Advisory Council, Ei is staged to soar with an expanded voice and impact.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Atlanta: sustainability is a strong economic driver

Atlanta is home to one of the densest (if not the densest) district of LEED-certified event space in the world and is the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.

The list of downtown Atlanta LEED-certified facilities is impressive: Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA - world’s largest LEED-certified-convention center), Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS - first professional sports stadium in the world to achieve LEED-Platinum certification), State Farm Arena (SFA - world’s first National Basketball Association/National Hockey League arena to earn LEED certification), as well as the College Football Hall of Fame (LEED Silver), the World of Coca-Cola (LEED Gold), and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (LEED Silver).

Upon re-certification in 2019, the SFA achieved LEED-Gold certification, augmenting the impressive downtown Atlanta convention, sports, and entertainment campus.

LEED - Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design - is a green-building-certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices within the U.S Green Building Council (USGBC) umbrella. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different certification levels. For a pre-existing building, LEED certification is often a multi-year endeavor.

Setting event-sustainability standards
In 2009, the GWCCA was the first Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ) Founding Participant. GWCCA hosted the acclaimed ZWZ-launch-press conference that led to a prime-time CNN story as well as a New York Times front-page article. The ZWZ were the forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost.

Post-press conference, the GWCCA hosted a Meeting Planners International-conference luncheon for 1200 guests with a locally sourced menu. During the luncheon program, Elemental Impact (Ei) Founder Holly Elmore announced that 100% of the food associated with the luncheon was either consumed, donated or collected for off-site compost. Though not substantiated, the luncheon was the first large conference event to make the groundbreaking, profound statement.

Thus, in 2009 the GWCCA set zero-waste standards for food donation and commercial collection of food waste for compost at conference events.

Additionally, Atlanta was a driving force in sustainability rising to a key RFP (request-for-proposal) component for large event-site selection. As host to the 2013 NCAA® Men’s Final Four®, the second most popular sporting event across the globe, Atlanta set a high standard for sporting event-sustainability practices. One of the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee (ALOC) stated goals was to make the 2013 Final Four the "greenest games ever." GWCCA Director of Sustainability Tim Trefzer took the helm for achieving the lofty goal.

SUCCESS: the comprehensive ALOC plan culminated in impressive green footprints before, during and after the games. The ZWA Blog article, Final Four green footprints continue after the games, gives an overview of event-sustainability stats; the May 2013 Final Four Sustainability Report is the official in-depth report.

Post-event, Tim and an EPA colleague drafted the Final Four Sustainability RFP sustainability section. Thus, new industry standards were established!

GWCCA, a global leader in sustainability
On October 28, 2014, the GWCCA announced the 3.9 million-square-foot conference center was awarded LEED-Silver certification by the USGBC. The announcement thrust Atlanta into the national | global sustainability spotlight as home to the world's largest LEED-certified convention center AND the 14th largest LEED-certified building.

Tim with the GWCCA executive
team and the LEED Gold plaque 
In July 2017 GWCCA-managed Savannah International Trade and Convention Center earned LEED-Gold certification, making it the first convention center in the State of Georgia to achieve LEED-Gold status. 

Re-certifying two years early, on November 28, 2017, the GWCCA was awarded LEED-Gold certification, the second-highest level in the rating system. In the re-certification, the GWCC was thirteen points higher than the 2014 application and five points higher than the minimum requirement. The majority of the additional points related to the energy-saving performance contract referenced below. In Tim's words:
“Improving our performance from LEED Silver to Gold reflects our commitment to having better buildings, being better neighbors, and hosting better events. It’s a testament to our leadership’s vision to anchor the greenest convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.” 
In 2018 the GWCCA was awarded Georgia Green Award for Building Performance from the USGBC Georgia.

As an industry leader in sustainability, the GWCCA 220-acre downtown campus boasts an impressive list of accomplishments:
  • GWCCA diverted 15.9+ million pounds of material from landfills since 2010. 
  • GWCCA reduced water consumption by 41% since 2009 through the installation of new irrigation, restroom fixtures, and chillers. 
  • GWCCA is approximately 28% more energy efficient than similar buildings. 
  • GWCCA uses janitorial paper and cleaning products that meet sustainability criteria, including recycled content materials and|or reduced harmful chemicals. (86% of the products meet the criteria) 
    GWCCA honey-bee apiary
  • GWCCA’s 1,900-solar panel canopy located in the marshaling yard produces enough energy to power 89 Georgia homes annually. 
  • GWCCA finished construction in April 2017 of a $28 million energy-saving performance contract that exceeded guaranteed savings of 39% on utilities in the first two years at 43% and 44% compared to a 2013 baseline. The contract earned the majority of the additional thirteen LEED certification points in the 2017 re-certification.
  • GWCCA team members donated 59 pints of blood in 2019 to the American Red Cross in support of those impacted by Hurricane Michael in South Georgia. Additionally, more than 500 books were donated to local elementary-school students.
  • GWCCA harvested 100 pounds of honey in November 2019 from the three honey-bee hives located on the campus. It was the first honey harvest.
As the backbone of Atlanta's thriving convention, sports, and entertainment-downtown campus, the GWCCA welcomed 4.1 million visitors, had an economic impact of $1.92 billion, and supported 19,675 jobs in 2019. Continuing to expand, the GWCCA opened a new 100,000 square-foot-exhibit hall (“B/C Hall”) in January 2020. The new exhibit hall connects Buildings B and C and provides more than 1.1 million-square feet of contiguous exhibition space.

With the Georgia Dome deconstructed, the GWCCA intends to break ground in April 2020 on the new Signia Hilton on a portion of the former stadium site.

Most sustainable Super Bowl ever
On February 3, 2019, Atlanta hosted the Super Bowl for the third time; each Atlanta-hosted game served as a sustainability milestone for the Super Bowl.

2019 Super Bowl Green Team
Photo credit: GWCCA
It is a high honor to host the Super Bowl. With the honor comes responsibilities and rewards. During the 2019 event, Atlanta welcomed 500,000 guests to Super Bowl Live and the Super Bowl Experience with a $185 million-economic impact. With 87% of the Super Bowl hosted on the Championship Campus (the GWCCA plus SFA), more than 41,000 unique wireless devises connected to the GWCCA WIFI.

As documented in the Sport Sustainability Journal article, NFL Green returns to its spiritual home for Super Bowl LIII, Director, National Football League Environmental Program Jack Groh initiated the first Super Bowl-recycling project during the 1994 game hosted at the Georgia Dome. At the second game hosted at the Georgia Dome in 2000, Jack established the first Super Kids-Super Sharing project where local school children donate unwanted, yet usable, sports equipment and other items. The project in turn donates the items to children in lower-income neighborhoods.

At the 2019 Super Bowl hosted at the MBS, Jack inaugurated the Recycle and Win program. As they scour the stadium during the game, Green Team members award fans who are seen recycling with a Super Bowl hat. Photos are taken to share in social media. Thus, recycling is made fun with rewards!

The golden-shovel ceremony
L to R: Tim, Lee Hendrickson & Jack
photo courtesy of Front Office Sports
As the Atlanta Super Bowl Host Committee's Sustainability Committee Chair, Tim worked closely with Jack to ensure the 2019 Super Bowl was the most sustainable ever. Beyond the impressive water and energy-savings at the LEED Platinum-certified MBS, Tim focused on material recovery, food recovery, renewal energy, and ancillary programs prior to game day.

With excellent participation by event managers, an impressive 43+ tons of event materials were recovered and donated to local non-profits. Materials included carpet, dรฉcor, office supplies, furniture, signage, clothing and other items. 

Events held at the GWCCA contributed the largest volume of materials. NFL House also contributed a significant amount, donating three-box-truck loads of material, much of it lumber. The Salvation Army was a critical partner in collecting and distributing the material.

Food recovery was a top priority, especially with the established local network. Below are the results of the well orchestrated program:
Packaged Super Bowl food awaiting
Second Helping's collection
Photo courtesy of Atlanta Intown
  • Atlanta Community Food Bank - 54,719 pounds (mostly beverages)
  • Second Helpings - 17,044 pounds (mostly prepared food)
  • GoodR – 44,386 pounds food/22,435 pounds beverages
The combined total of 138,584 pounds was distributed to more than 80 agencies in 21 counties. Food recovered from Super Bowl events provided more than 51,000 meals.

At the MBS, Tim and his team worked with stadium staff and contractors to increase the diversion rates from their typical 20% to 54.11% at the game. Super Bowl 2019 results set stadium records with the following stats:
  • 3.69 tons of food donated – most Second Helpings has recovered in a single trip.
  • 7.95 tons of pallets recycled – most in a week.
  • 1.87 tons of glass recycled – most from a single event.
  • 10.5 tons of cardboard recycled – most in a week.
In addition, 2.39 tons of aluminum was recycled as part of the stadium’s Recycle for Good campaign. Proceeds from the aluminum sales were donated to Habitat for Humanity for local home construction.

The host committee partnered with Verizon and Trees Atlanta for thirteen urban-forestry projects within the greater Atlanta area. Projects included planting hundreds of neighborhood trees, creating community gardens and pollinator gardens, and expanding the 7.1-acre Food Forest, now the largest in the country.

Hosted at Zoo Atlanta, the E-Waste Recycling Rally was open to the public and the most successful in Super Bowl history. With over 400 participants, 42,446 pounds (87 pallets) of electronic waste was collected and responsibly recycled. Verizon covered the event costs. The Verizon/NFL Super Bowl LIII Recycling Rally at Zoo Atlanta 2019 video gives an excellent event recap.

Donation sorting at
Super Kids - Super Sharing
Photo credit: GWWCA
At the 20th annual Super Kids-Super Sharing, over 100 local schools participated. Students donated 40,000 books, pieces of sports equipment, school supplies and games that were distributed to local students in need. 

In celebration of the 20th anniversary, Verizon provided an $18,000 grant to the Ron Clark Academy for a program to create healthy relationships and prevent bullying and violence. Additionally, Verizon funded the planting of 20,000 trees in the Sandhills Wildlife Management area. The Super Kids Super Sharing Event- Super Bowl LIII video showcases the impressive event.

Anheuser-Bush provided renewable energy credits to offset the energy usage at Super Bowl facilities.

According to the January 2019 Environment News Service article, 2019 Super Bowl Most Sustainable Ever, the 2019 Super Bowl was staged to surpass prior games as the most sustainable ever. Under Jack's and Tim's leadership, the 2019 Super Bowl was indeed the most sustainable ever.

GreenBuild walks the zero-waste talk
While 2019 opened with the Super Bowl, the year closed with Atlanta hosting the GreenBuild International Conference and Expo (GreenBuild) at the GWCCA.

Tim with CleanRiver Recycling
Solutions CEO Bruce Buchan
GreenBuild is the biggest annual event for green-building professionals worldwide to learn and source cutting-edge solutions to improve resilience, sustainability, and quality of life in our buildings, cities, and communities. A USGBC event, GreenBuild aligns with the USGBC mission of market transformation through its LEED green-building program.

Beginning with the first conference in 2002, GreenBuild strives to set the highest sustainability-industry standards for hosting a prominent national conference with a global reach. As required in the GreenBuild RFP, Tim worked closely with the event staff on following protocol to achieve the USGB's TRUE Zero Waste Certification.

The RiA Magazine article, GreenBuild walks the zero-waste talk, showcases the stellar zero-waste and sustainability practices executed at the conference; the Ei FB album, 2020 GreenBuild Conference, gives a pictorial recap of Holly's GreenBuild visit hosted by Tim.

2020 & beyond
In early April 2020, the NCAA® Men’s Final Four® returns to Atlanta. As with the Super Bowl, the Men's Final Four has strong sustainability roots in Atlanta from the 2013 "greenest games ever" previously mentioned. 

As the Atlanta Basketball Host Committee Sustainability Committee Chair, Tim will ensure the 2020 Men's Final Four-sustainability accomplishments significantly surpass the 2013 successes. One goal is to achieve Council for Responsible Sport Certification, a measurement of event social and environmental impact.

The GWCCA's role in Atlanta's sustainability leadership is confirmed by Tim:
As one of the strongest economic engines for Atlanta and the state of Georgia for decades, the GWCCA continues to serve as a catalyst for growth and leadership in downtown Atlanta and beyond. With environmental impact and social responsibility at the forefront of event-planning decisions, the GWCCA maintains its global industry-leadership position by setting a strong example of community stewardship via building construction, facility operations and local impact.
Within an 18-month period, Atlanta hosted or will host three premier national events - 2019 SuperBowl, 2019 GreenBuild, and 2020 NCAA® Men’s Final Four®. Each event requires in-depth sustainability commitments and rewards the host city with impressive economic benefits. Integral to the event execution are programs that expand benefits to local under-served communities and environmental habitats. 

Atlanta's stellar sustainability commitment is one of the city's strongest economic drivers.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Ei 2019: A Year of Empowerment

On February 5, 2010, Elemental Impact (Ei) incorporated as a Georgia non-profit corporation and embarked on an incredible journey. Since inception, Ei lived the tagline Sustainability in ACTION!

Whew, the first ten years were action-packed while the Ei Team initiated and completed the Ei Era of Recycling Refinement (RR) and segued into the Era of Regeneration.

Working with a powerful team of Ei Pioneers and Ei Industry Experts, Ei evolved into a respected national non-profit known for introducing sustainable best practices within a range of industries.

Beginning with the Zero Waste Zones (ZWZ), Ei initiatives epitomized the following mantra:

Ei is a creator, an incubator. 
Ei determines what could be done that is not being done and gets it done. 
Ei brings the possible out of impossible. 
Ei identifies pioneers and creates heroes.

Background
Ei was formed as the home for the ZWZ launched in 2009 by the Green Foodservice Alliance (GFA) within the Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA). Over the years, Ei's work evolved well beyond zero-waste initiatives.

The following is a recap of Ei's evolution:

2012: Year of Accomplishments | Completions - in late 2012 the ZWZ were sold to the National Restaurant Association (NRA) catapulting Ei into a major metamorphosis. The Zero Waste in ACTION Blog article, The NRA Acquires ZWZ, announces the monumental acquisition.

2013: Year of Transitions | Introductions - as Ei flowed within the metamorphosis stage, the three-platforms approach emerged. The IMPACT Blog, Ei Emerges Strong from Metamorphosis, introduced the three platforms: Product Stewardship, Recycling Refinement (RR) and Water Use | Toxicity. The IMPACT Magazine article, Another Year, Another Annual Ei Partner Meeting, recaps the formation of the new pilots and initiatives within the three platforms.

2014: Year of Foundations | Evolution - in 2014 the platforms were grounded with initiative launches and supporting taglines. The IMPACT Blog article, Ei 2014: A Year of Evolution, provides a summary of the platform foundations.

2015: Year of ACTION - in 2015 Ei lived up to its tagline: Sustainability in ACTION! The IMPACT Magazine article, Ei 2015: A Year of ACTION, summarizes the empowering year.

2016: Year of Recognition - in 2016 Ei's important work was recognized in published industry-case studies and Ei-hosted national conference panels. In addition, the Ei Magazines' following significantly increased and Ei was recognized as a respected journalist. The IMPACT Magazine article, Ei 2016: A Year of RECOGNITION, gives an in-depth overview of accomplishments, completions, and recognition.

Ei Team at the Ei Exploration
of Fungi, Soil Health & World Hunger
2017: Year of Shifting Gears - in 2017 Ei announced Soil Health, regenerating the foundation of life, was a prime focus, replacing the prominent RR work. In addition, Ei Leadership experienced a changing of the guard and Ei welcomed new Strategic Allies. The IMPACT Magazine article, Happy 8th Birthday, Ei!, recaps the exciting year as Ei segued from the Era of RR to the Era of Regeneration.

2018: Year of Regeneration - in 2018 Ei welcomed new partnerships, participated in global events, revitalized the Ei site, and embarked on Ei Explorations. It was an action-packed year as Ei lived the new tagline Regeneration in ACTION! The IMPACT Magazine article, Happy 9th Birthday, Ei!, chronicles the action-packed year.

The Ei Team is comprised of Industry Experts and Industry Pioneers. Experts educate, advise and support the Pioneers; the Pioneers craft new standard-operating practices within their operations that make good business and environmental sense. Once tested and proven effective, the Pioneers share the evolved practices with their industry colleagues. Ei’s work is complete and the Team moves into a new industry frontier.

Mission Accomplished - website relaunch
As a welcome to the Ei Era of Regeneration, the Ei site relaunched with a refreshed design featuring Ei Founder Holly Elmore's photography images. An updated navigation  reflects the current focus on the Soil Health | Regenerative Agriculture, Water Use | Toxicity, and Product Stewardship platforms.

Refreshed Ei site design featuring
Holly's photography
Ei endeavors considered complete via a sale, term expiration or simply mission accomplished are thoroughly documented in the Mission Accomplished section. Documentation of the important Ei Era of RR work is chronicled in the Mission Accomplished 46-page section within the following categories:
Ei Magazine articles related to each page's topic are listed on a sidebar. For meetings, tours, and conference presentations, the respective PPT presentations are available for download. Additionally, the Ei Milestones page is a monthly detail of prominent activities from the ZWZ launch to the current month, along with links to relevant website pages, magazine articles and other pertinent information.

The Mission Accomplished website section continues as a valuable industry resource. In many meetings throughout the year, Holly sent out Mission Accomplished web-page links as part of her follow-up action points.

ZWZ Ten-Year Anniversary
Ten years ago on February 10, 2009, the ZWZ launched at the acclaimed press conference hosted at the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) and led by Stanley Meiburg, then Acting Regional Director of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 4. The ZWZ propelled Atlanta into the global spotlight as THE forerunner in the nation for the commercial collection of food waste for compost.

ZWZ Chair Laura Turner Seydel at the
Two-Yr Anniversary Press Conference
The national media loved the ZWZ! Within months of the launch-press conference the ZWZ were featured in a CNN Story, City Aims for Zero Waste. The story was featured on CNN's home page and aired during prime-time viewing in national and global markets. In the fall, the New York Times published the Nudging Recycling from Less Waste to None front-page article featuring the ZWZ.

At the 2009 GRACE - GRA Crystal of Excellence - Awards, Holly received the Innovator of the Year Award for the ZWZ formation and successes.

In February 2010, Ei was formed as the new home for the ZWZ. The Ei Speaking Engagement page details the plethora of conferences and other speaking engagements featuring the ZWZ along with accompanying PPT presentations.

At the ZWZ Two-Year Anniversary Press Conference, the NRA announced a national collaboration between the Ei | ZWZ and the NRA Conserve Program. In late September 2012, the NRA acquired the ZWZ program with intentions to expand the program nationally within the state-restaurant-association network. It was exciting news as the program could evolve and increase its impact within the depth of the NRA's educational, training and policy resources.

The RiA Magazine article, ZWZ Ten-Year Anniversary, chronicles the ZWZ launch, successes, and sale to the NRA.

Three-Step Straw Initiative
As plastic-straw-usage reduction gains high-profile media attention, Ei partnered with Ei Strategic Ally One More Generation (OMG) | One Less Straw (OLS) for the Three-Step Straw Initiative (TSSI) pre-launch. Beyond plastic-straw-usage reduction, TSSI addresses the straw content and end-of-life destination; the TSSI aligns with Ei Era of Regeneration Soil Health and Water Use | Toxicity platforms.

The TSSI includes the following steps:
• Step 1- REDUCE straw usage
• Step 2 – SHIFT to paper straws
• Step 3 – COMPOST used straws

OMG will encourage OLS participants to further decrease their straw-usage impact by joining the TSSI and shifting from plastic to paper straws. If there is food-waste collection for compost available, OLS participants are encouraged to engage in post-consumer food-waste collection. Thus, the paper straws contribute to local, quality compost versus another material filling up the landfills or worse the waterways.

GPS paper straw in
a margarita 
Ei-recruited participants are required to take the OLS pledge as their first TSSI step.

With perfect timing, Green Planet Straws joined the Ei Partner program to support the TSSI shift from plastic to paper straws. OLS participants proved that serving straws only upon request reduces overall straw consumption by 70 – 75%. Thus, the shift to paper straws is essentially cost-neutral as the usage reduction compensates for the higher paper-straw cost.

The TSSI is a perfect avenue for former ZWZ participants to take their sustainability commitment to the next level. For ZWZ participants, Step 3 – COMPOST is already in place. Thus, cost-neutral Steps 1 & 2 are an easy-to-implement endeavor.

The RiA Magazine article, Three Steps to Straw Integrity, substantiates the microplastic-pollution crisis and introduces the TSSI.

Founding TSSI Participants, Levy Restaurants - GWCCA and Levy Restaurants - State Farm Arena worked with Imperial Dade on carrying GPS paper straws and placed their first order in the late fall. With GPS straws available via Imperial Dade, Ei intends to embark on a TSSI campaign in early 2020 targeting ZWZ Participants and other foodservice-industry friends.

The TSSI is Ei's first steps in addressing micro and nanoplastics in our waterways, oceans, soils, and the human-food chain. TSSI Partner GPS is the financial catalyst for Ei’s important work.

Micro and nanoplastics in the soils
In less than seventy years, humans managed to infiltrate the Earth with microplastics and nanoplastics from discarded single-use and durable products in literally every nook and cranny. Recent research documented microplastics and nanoplastics in sites ranging from the arctic-snow caps to the depths of the oceans and everywhere in between.

Remnants from holiday decor
fragments into microplastics
With research validating microplastics in our waterways, oceans, drinking water, and atmosphere, it is reasonable to assume microplastics, and most likely nanoplastics, are prevalent in the Earth's soils. Yet to date there is minimal discussion let alone research on the impact of plastics on the soil ecosystem along with plant roots and fiber.

Over the summer Holly met with soil-research scientists at several prominent university departments of agriculture. At the meetings Holly garnered interest in exploring research projects on the impact of micro and nanoplastics in the soil ecosystem. Holly suggested two potential areas of research:
  1. Nanoplastic impact on the soil ecosystem including the various microbial communities, the plethora of soil life, and the potential segue into plant fiber.
  2. Potential use of fungus that feeds off of plastic to "clean-up" the plastic pollution in the soils. 
Concern: plastics often contain additives; when plastic is consumed (broken down into its elements) by the fungus, additives are in a "freed" state and may prove poisonous to soil life. Remember a fully synthetic polymer contains no molecules found in nature. Thus, there is concern plastics broken down to their elemental state may actually be more harmful due to additives.

Tradd & Ei Supporter Kathy
Kellogg Johnson @ the Exploration
Ei maintains a close relationship with renowned fungi scientist Tradd Cotter, Mushroom Mountain owner, and intends to bring Cotter into the research loop at the appropriate time. In October 2018, Ei hosted the empowering Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, and World Hunger, where Tradd welcomed the impressive group to Mushroom Mountain for a fascinating education session and facility tour.

Seeds for research related to plastic in the soils were planted during the Ei Exploration.

The October 2019 RiA article, Plastics: a double-edged sword, articulates plastics-history |development and includes prominent research documenting how every nook & cranny of the Earth is infiltrated with micro and nanoplastics.

Healthy-food school programs
During the final Ei Exploration of Fungi, Soil Health, and World Hunger session at the Clemson organic-student farm, Feed & Seed Chair Mary Hipp shared on the amazing healthy-food school programs at Spartanburg County Schools District 6 (SCSD6) as well as down the road 20+ miles at Greenville County Schools.

SCSD6 The Farm @ Cragmoor
Inspired, Holly traveled to Greenville | Spartanburg in May 2019 to meet the masterminds behind the healthy-food school programs and tour their respective operations. Mary was generous with her time, connections, and spirit as she hosted Holly for two-consecutive days of meetings and tours. Subsequently, Holly and Mary visited SCSD6's Farm @ Cragmoor to witness its transformation from the planning to operational stages.

In August, Mary introduced Holly to South Carolina Department of Education Director, Office of Health & Nutrition Ron Jones in Columbia. The two-hour meeting was inspiring and filled with synergies for future, important work.

The below RiA Magazine articles document the schools visits:
An absolutely delicious, healthy
lunch at Greenville County Schools
Ei intends to make appropriate introductions for potential grants to take the superior programs to next dimensions.

College-student mentoring
Throughout the year, several universities and organizations requested Holly to share her recycling-refinement and beyond expertise with student groups. 

Clemson clock tower
Via an introduction by Ei Environmental Advisor Laura Turner Seydel, Elise Kirby with Shepherd Center invited Holly to visit the facility to learn the current status of the recycling and sustainability practices. 

The second step was meeting with group of Georgia Institute of Technology (Ga Tech) students whose class project was formulating an action plan to improve Shepherd's environmental footprint. As the semester closed, the students prepared an impressive PPT presentation for Shepherd management detailing their research along with solid recommendations.

Professor Christophe Darnault, Ph, D. at Clemson University requested Holly'd support for two student Biosystems-Engineering Capstone-Design Projects. The project topics aligned with Holly's expertise and connections: 
  • Site and Operations Redesign of Composting Facility for the City of Columbia
  • Utilization of Biosludge: Soil Fertilization & Energy Production
HONOR: at Christophe's invitation, Holly traveled to Clemson in early December to judge the Biosystems-Engineering Capstone-Design Projects Final Presentations.

Spelman Director of Facilities Art Frazier orchestrated a meeting with his intern and an environmental student group to discuss and strategize on campus-zero-waste initiatives. One of the meeting-action points is a 2020 visit to Kennesaw State University (KSU) Dining Services. At KSU, Gold-LEED Certified The Commons dining hall adheres to impressive zero-food and reduced-plastics practices and welcomes tours of their stellar facilities.

Ei Connects
Throughout 2019, Holly orchestrated Ei Connects meetings and tours. On February 26, 2019, CompostNow Co-Founder David Paull hosted Ei Founding Chair Scott Seydel and Holly on a tour of their impressive windrow food-waste-composting operations at the King of Crops Farm. 

Holly & David @ King of Crops
Photo credit: Scott Seydel
Scott and Holly use CompostNow’s residential food-waste collections services at their respective homes. It was nice to see the food waste’s destination. 

On May 9, 2019 Ei orchestrated sustainability tours of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (MBS) and Georgia World Congress Center Authority for Pattie Baker, alias “Sustainable Pattie.” The tours were research for Pattie’s recently announced Sustainability-in-Action bicycle tours in partnership with Bicycle Tours of Atlanta. The RiA Magazine article, Sustainability in ACTION garners a new life, at the speed of bike, gives an overview of the tours.

in June, Ei orchestrated introductions for long-time comrade in sustainability at Georgia Tech to KSU Hickory Grove Farm and KSU Dining Services. Synergies abounded during the tour and meeting between Georgia Tech and KSU. 

While Ga Tech excels in its waste & recycling program as well as grounds-maintenance practices, KSU is an industry hero in sustainable dining. The RiA Magazine article, Success is not static: evolution is required to create and sustain regeneration, gives an overview of the empowering tour and meeting.

A section of the Ei FB album, Ei Connects, includes pictorial recaps of each of the above tours and meeting.
A Recycling Icon Retires
On October 31, 2019 Zero-Waste Icon Cindy Jackson retired from Georgia Tech as the Director of Waste & Recycling. Under Cindy's 22-year leadership, Ga Tech never succumbed to single-stream and the award-wining recycling program operated as a profit center.

The AMAZING Cindy Jackson
Photo credit: Scott Lutocka
From inception, Ei worked closely with Cindy over the years on various projects related to zero-waste practices and beyond. When Ei requested a tour of Ga Tech's award-winning recycling program, Cindy always answered "YES, of course!"

Cindy attended Annual Ei Partner Meetings and participated in other Atlanta-based activities, such as the 2015 Atlanta Ei Partner Tours.

In industry circles, Cindy is known as "The AMAZING Cindy Jackson" after Holly coined the term when Cindy arrived late to her first Ei Partner Meeting. Accurate, the name became the way to address Cindy!

In addition to Ga Tech VP Facilities Maintenance Chuck Rhode, Holly presented at Cindy's Retirement Celebration on October 25, 2019. Holly's presentation showcased why Cindy is indeed "The AMAZING Cindy Jackson!" and is available for download on the Ei Speaking Engagements page.

The RiA Magazine article, The Legacy of the AMAZING Cindy Jackson, gives an overview of Cindy’s literally amazing professional accomplishments and ends with the October 25 retirement celebration. The Ei FB album, Cindy Jackson Retires, gives a pictorial recap of GA Tech | Ei interactions as well as images from the retirement celebration.

Lambda Alpha International
On May 1, 2019 Lambda Alpha International (LAI) hosted the Rio Piedras Professional Advisory Delegation (PAD) in partnership with the Fideicomiso para el Desarrollo de Rรญo Piedras (FDRP).

Iglesia de La Milagrosa
within Rio Piedras
Around 50 LAI delegates attended the PAD to learn about Rio Piedras' history, challenges, impressive community assets and current revitalization plan. The PAD concluded with recommendations for revitalization-plan refinements and implementation-action points.

As a member of the LAI Global Executive Committee, Holly attended the educational and empowering day.

The RiA Magazine article, Rio Piedras: revitalizing beyond their wildest dreams, gives a synopsis of the PAD and Rio Piedras.; the Ei FB album, Rio Piedras Professional Advisory Delegation, is a pictorial recap of the walking tours and the formal PAD session.

In early November, the Austin LAI Chapter hosted the Fall 2019 Land Economics Weekend (LEW) with grand success. Over 100 attendees traveled from around the globe for the impressive two days of tours culminating with an Awards Banquet. Holly attended the pre-LEW business meetings and enjoyed the LEW festivities.

Each LEW day began with a presentation on Austin's economic landscape addressing historical contributions to current successes | challenges. Additionally, work-in-progress to harness the explosive growth with healthy outcomes was addressed and discussed.

During the day, the LEW Group visited prominent sites showcasing Austin's economic, social-conscious, and natural drivers. It was an invigorating visit to Austin. 

Downtown Austin view from
the Shoal Creek Trail
The IMPACT Magazine article, Austin: growth through redevelopment, gives an overview of the LEW activities; the Ei FB album, Austin Land Economics Weekend, is a pictorial recount of LEW activities through Holly's lens.

LAI is an honorary society for the advancement of land economics. LAI provides a forum for the study and advancement of land economics where the "winnowing and sifting" of ideas takes place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Twice per year LAI chapters sponsor "Weekend Experiences" giving members an opportunity to meet and learn about land-economic issues in cities throughout the world. Open to LAI members and their guests, the LEWs address wider international, national and regional issues and include project tours within the host city.

Gifts from the Heart
Deluxe HJ Treat Bag contents
Photo credit: Howard Connell
As 2019 unfolded into the holiday season, Holly kept a decades-long tradition of gifting sweet and savory treats prepared from the heart. The Holly Jolly Sweet 'n Savory Treat Bag (HJ Treats) tradition dates back to 1985 when Holly still resided in the corporate world.

While cooking and baking, Holly infuses the HJ Treats with sacred-heart love. The energy infused within the 2019 HJ Treat Bags mirrored the below closing paragraphs in the previously mentioned Plastics: a double-edged sword article:
"Plastics gifted humanity with an evolution of manufacturing, farming and information technology. Life on planet Earth is much more comfortable and abundant from the benefit of these innovations.
Yet plastic pollution and its devastating ramifications threaten humanity's ability to continue as the Earth's dominant species. The seemingly magical gift of plastic came with a double-edged sword filled with the potential to destroy life as it is currently known on Earth. Negligent human action is responsible for a majority of the plastic pollution choking the Earth's life force.
It is time to shift perspectives from human-focused to life-focused and let the Earth show us how to heal the damage inflicted. Answers will come to those who live and take action from the heart."
Though the HJ Treat Bag gifting for 2019 is complete, the Divine inspiration to "live and take action from the heart" has eternal life.

The IMPACT Magazine article, Holly Jolly Sweet 'n Savory Treat Bags: Inspiration to live from the Heart, gives the HJ Treats history along with contents for the 2019 bags.

2020: Year of Impact
With the Ei Year of Empowerment complete, 2020 is staged for the Year of IMPACT!