Palm Oil Deforestation | The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Washington (GGM) Analysis | August 22, 2022 by Noreen WiseFounder & CEO of Gallant Gold Mediaand authorImage Credit: AdobeStock

Historically, the arctic and the antarctic are polar opposites and never experience the same weather conditions at the same time. That is until Friday, February 18, 2022, when this scientific fact melted and our new climate conditions became that much more apparent. The Arctic reached 50 degrees above normal, while temperatures in Antartica skyrocketed as high as 70 degrees, which was way beyond the pale. Again, the simultaneous heating of both poles at the same time has never happened before, which shocked scientists.

“They are opposite seasons. You don’t see the north and the south (poles) both melting at the same time,” ice scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, Walt Meier, told The Associated Press on Friday evening. “It’s pretty stunning.”

Alarming phenomenon like the Arctic and Antarctic syncing have global leaders trying to wrap their minds around how to address this type of mind-bending occurrence. Scientists are digging deeper to determine if this was a random one-time weather event or a new trend, and if so, how it will affect climate conditions around the world.

We as individuals have to draw our own conclusions and create individual climate action plans so we can become part of the solution. Hopefully, the majority of us will rush as quickly as scientists have been warning us to do. Buy an EV, install solar, begin kitchen scrap composting, alter our household food system, transition our pesticide-covered monoculture lawns to biodiverse no mow yards, and refuse plastic all will help in dramatically lowering our carbon footprints. These types of lifestyle-changing actions will also drawdown much more carbon, especially in our yards through biodiversity. But targeted consumer choices will be what ends up making the winning difference. We have to be willing to REFUSE products that are destroying the forests and peatlands which store the majority of carbon. In the end, it will be collective refusal through boycotts that will save us.

If large global companies can immediately influence the outcome of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine by pulling out of Russia (boycotting Russia), then we must apply the same tactic to consumer brands, banks, pension funds, mutual funds, and retirement accounts who are funding and participating in mass global deforestation and biodiversity loss, as well as the extinction of thousands of plants, animals, insects and microbes. Hundreds of global corporations exiting Russia underscored how effective mass boycotting is.

Palm oil is found in 50% of the goods sold in grocery stores, supermarkets, and big box stores like Target and Walmart. Consumer favorites such as ice cream, chocolate, packaged bread, margarine, cookies, frozen meals, as well as soap, detergent, cosmetics, etc are the ones most responsible. We must develop the excellent habit of reading every label in search of palm oil, no matter how fine the print, and refusing to buy the product if we find it. This will be difficult at first, but will become much easier with practice. 

A decrease in revenue and sinking stock prices are the only forces that companies respond to. 

The 2021 global production of palm oil reached a staggering 73 million tons and is projected to grow to 75.5 million tons in 2022. Production levels of this magnitude, require hefty financing from major international banks, who hold a blind eye to the deforestation required for these output levels. Globally, 27 million hectares have been deforested and converted to monoculture-biodiversity-loss palm oil plantations. There is a very long list of US Corporations that are guilty of boosting their profits through deforestation. Sadly, Amazon is at the very top of the list. 

The following are a few of the deforestation overachievers that we must boycott until they end their use of palm oil produced through deforestation:

  • Archer-Daniels Midland
  • Clorox
  • Colgate-Palmolive
  • Conagra Brands
  • Costco Wholesale
  • CVS
  • Dollar General and Dollar Tree
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • Estee Lauder Cos
  • General Mills
  • Hershey
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kellogg
  • Kimberly-Clark
  • Kraft Heinz
  • Kroger
  • McDonalds
  • Nestle
  • Nike
  • PepsiCo
  • Prada
  • Proctor & Gamble
  • Shell
  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • Tyson Foods
  • Unilver
  • Walmart
  • Wendy’s
  • Williams-Sonoma
  • Yum Brands!

handful of the most well-known US international banks and lenders funding willfully irresponsible deforestation are:

  • Bank of America
  • BlackRock
  • Citigroup
  • Credit Suisse
  • Deutsche Bank
  • HSBC Holdings 
  • JPMorgan Chase
  • Morgan Stanley 

budding list of companies have begun moving away from palm oil in the production of consumer products, or at the very least they’ve switched to using palm oil from palm trees NOT grown on monoculture palm plantations that require deforestation. Other companies are using alternative types of oil. (Click here to find a list that will be helpful in finding new “palm oil free” brands.) 

REFUSING palm oil must to become our way of life asap. It’s simple and inexpensive. All that’s required is determination. Additionally, saying “NO” to products that are fueling climate change pays unexpected dividends. Happiness. Happiness derived from doing good and refusing to buy products that contain palm oil will not only be an individual mood-elevator, it will also improve our overall well-being. This is significant. Let’s make it happen.

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

Leonardo DiCaprio Pours His Money into His Passion, the Environment

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 24, 2022 by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Leonardo DiCaprio announced on Twitter that he was proud to be a new investor in Champagne Telmont. Telmont’s commitment to biodiversity on its land, use of 100% renewable energy, and determination to “radically lower its environmental footprint” were key factors in DiCaprio’s decision to join the 100 year old Champagne House. 

Au Nom de la Terre, “In the Name of Mother Nature,” is the essence of Champagne Telmont. Founded in 1912, this fourth-generation house is located in Damery, near Épernay, France, the center of France’s champagne district Northeast of Paris. Telmont has taken a “pioneering, multi-pronged approach” to addressing the harsh climate change realities. Its objectives read like a combination biodiversity restoration strategy and climate action agenda. With less than 4% of vineyards being certified organic, Telmont has an ambitious goal to become 100% organic by 2025, and to assist its partner vineyards to reach a complete transition to organic by 2031.

But that’s not all. Telmont is already using 100% clean energy. It will forgo air freight for its distribution as well as its supply. It will choose transporters based on their CSR score (Corporate Social Responsibility). No more clear glass bottles made from 0% recycled glass. Instead only classic green champagne bottles which are manufactured using 85%recycled glass. Product labeling has become a very big deal on the climate front. Telmont’s bottles will each be numbered individually and will feature “the detailed composition and production methods of the wine inside.”

“Leonardo DiCaprio’s decision to become a shareholder sends Telmont a strong message of support that will encourage us as we carry out our ambitious plans. We share the same convictions and the same commitment to protecting the environment. The House has one foot in tradition and the other in modernity, but both firmly rooted in the terroir! We aim to act in the name of Mother Nature in everything we do,” said Ludovic du PlessisChairman & Shareholder of Champagne Telmont.

DeCipario’s track record as an environmentalist is heavy in action. Additionally, his deep knowledge about how to conserve and restore biodiversity, improve soil health to maintain strong yields while eliminating all pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers, as well as executing a noble and ambitious agenda during challenging climate conditions, will make DiCaprio a valuable addition to the Telmont board of directors. 

One of the pages of the Leonardo DeCaprio Foundation reads: “Farming for carbon: why farmers are key to fighting climate change.” The 2020 award-winning documentary Kiss the Ground highlighted how the linchpin to carbon drawdown through farmers and agriculture is tied to improving soil health through regenerative ag practices. 

DiCaprio is a founding board member of Re:Wild. He’s also on the boards of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), International Fund for Animal Welfare, and Co-Chair for the Earth Alliance

In September 2014, DiCaprio was named a United Nations Messenger for Peace for his environmental activism. He was presented the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in 2016 for using his global platform to call attention to the urgent need to address climate change. DiCaprio is a personal friend of Michael E. Mann, a distinguished climatologist and one of the lead authors of the 2021 IPCC Report, referred to as a Code Red for Humanity.

Dicaprio’s significant investment in Telmont’s mission will help create a path for other vineyards and businesses to follow, which will enable swifter climate action in these critical next eight years. DiCaprio joining Telmont is about a lot more than his Great Gatsby champagne meme on Twitter. LOL. 

According to People Magazine, The Telmont House first reached out for discussions with DiCaprio in 2019. Covid slowed things down. A Fobes article went on to explain that at the end of 2020, Rémy Cointreau, a spirit portfolio, became majority owner of Telmont. Ludovic du Plessis was the one who shepherded the acquisition and was appointed Chairman and CEO of Telmont. Ludovic du Plessis and Leonardo DiCaprio have known each other for 15 years.

Interestingly, back in the 1600s, King Louis the XIV’s doctor prescribed a daily dose of champagne. Louis went on to drink a glass with every meal for the rest of his life. But, it was actually Marie Antoinette who elevated champagne to be the beverage of choice for celebrations. She threw wild parties in her rustic Versailles hamlet where they frolicked while they drank champagne. It’s been said that he Coupe champagne glass was molded from Marie Antoinette’s left breast. Coincidentally, the Coupe champagne glass is now referred to as the Gatsby glass which is the one in the DiCaprio meme.

Mark your calendars and be sure to place your orders for Au Nom de la Terre early. An organic bottle of Telmont Réserve Brut will start at $90, which is $20 more than the current $70. The higher price is considered a green premiumand should be something we’re eager to pay to support vital carbon-cutting, sustainable practices. 

Champagne Day is October 23. And National Champagne Day is December 31. The 2024 summer Olympics will be held in Paris. Let there be lots of Telmont corks popping! Paris has placed planting rich biodiversity in dense urban areas of Paris as one of the pillars of the ecological legacy to celebrate the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

© Copyright 2020-2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

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Rethinking Cemeteries as We Rush to Restore Our Habitat

Washington (GGM) Analysis | February 12, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; Image Credit: AdobeStock

Skirmishes along one newly emerging climate battlefront are quickly escalating worldwide. Therefore, now is an ideal time to learn more about this new controversy that’s causing community conflicts, so we can map out a strategy, and stave off the often bitter friction that has plagued climate related transitions to new ways of doing things. Case in point, the fossil fuel climate war.

Biodiversity restoration and land conservation requires protecting millions of acres of land. The nature-based solutions (NBS) movement refers to this mission as 30 x 30. We must protect and restore 30% of our terrestrial land, and 30% of our oceans.  At COP26 in November 2021, the COP26 Campaign for Nature noted the exceptional benefits of such a noble mission that included climate change mitigation, resilience and adaptation. 

“Conserving 30% of land in strategic locations could safeguard 500 gigatonnes (GtC) of carbon stored in vegetation and soils, and reduce the extinction risk of nearly 9 out of 10 threatened terrestrial species.” 

UN Study

Safeguarding 500 GtC of carbon safely stored in our land and ocean soils, and terrestrial plant and ocean species, is paramount in saving humanity as we rush to fight the three life-threatening crises that are now interwoven to become one enormous supercrisis: 

  • Excessive carbon stuffed into our atmosphere.
  • Biodiversity loss.
  • Plastic pollution and waste management .

Global Death Rate

On average, worldwide, there are 56 million deaths per year, according to the world death clock. We’ve lost an additional 5.73 million worldwide and counting since the beginning of Covid. Cemeteries are full to capacity. In the UK, West Kirby locals were furious when 33 mature trees were felled to expand Grange Cemetery. This unnecessary tree-cutting generated outrage amongst environmentalists determined to protect terrestrial land that continues to be pillaged regardless of the long term effect on our survival. 

The environmental impact of a traditional burial in a casket six feet under is not covered by the media very often. But the details are quite significant and should be analyzed as we rethink burial options through the lens of climate change and its multiple filters: land protection, biodiversity restoration, planting a trillion trees, and cutting carbon 50% by 2030.

Per the National Cremation Database:

  • Embalming fluids (methanol, ethanol, formaldehyde, and other organic solvents) are toxic. 
  • The World Health Organization named formaldehyde as a class 1 carcinogen that causes leukemia and brain cancer. 
  • We bury 827,060 gallons of embalming fluid each year in the US.
  • Embalming fluid can leak from caskets and run into nearby streams. It’s also found in the wastewater of funeral homes.
  • With 30 x 30 being the highest priority for land use, and many businesses buying land for carbon offset, there is little if any land available for traditional graveyards.
  • 30 million board feet is needed each year to manufacture caskets.
  • The amount of steel required for caskets and burial vaults each year is the same as what was required to build the Golden Gate Bridge. 
  • An individual cremation emits approximately double the CO2 as a traditional burial, but fortunately has none of the environmental hazards as a ground burial.

Emerging Possibility

Burial tree pods (aka organic burial pods, eco-podsgreen burials) have become a hot topic on social media amongst climate activists and environmentalists who are trying to imagine a new low carbon paradigm for an age-old tradition. 

Life never stops,” is the mantra used to inspire families to consider the benefits of organic burial pods.

Capsula Mundi (Italian for earth pod) in Rome, created the biodegradable egg-shaped sarcophagus in which a corpse is placed in fetal position, lowered into the ground, and a young tree is planted on top. The tree serves as the tomb stone. Both the egg-pod and the body will slowly decompose into compost that will nourish the tree. “We are earth, and to earth we shall return,” say the Catholics about these innovative eco-pods. The Catholic Church permits green burials as long as the ceremony is consistent with Catholic burial beliefs (no infusing the burial experience with words or concepts aligned with “erroneous ideas about death”).

According to EarthBeat, Capsula Mundi designers, Raoul Bretzel and Anna Citelli, envision “sacred forests” becoming he new norm.

The one challenge we have to ponder about this beautiful, heartwarming, carbon negative concept, and its many environmental benefits, is the potential destruction of trees and forests during climate change extreme weather events. Wildfires, hurricanes and tornadoes have the ability to unearth a newly planted eco-pod, which would be devastating. But then again, scientists have been warning that no one and nothing are safe in our new world at 1.2ºC and climbing.  We just have to know in advance that weather extremes might uproot an organic burial pod and plan ahead. 

© Copyright 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

“This is not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves…The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”
—Sir David Attenborough, A Life On Our Planet
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“The future? What future? You’ve got to be worried about NOW”

Washington (GGM) Analysis | January 11, 2022, by Noreen Wise, Founder & CEO of Gallant Gold Media, and author; image by AdobeStock

At his Glasgow speech during COP26, Vijay Prashad eviscerated the West with an impassioned rebuke of colonialism, and our “middle class, bourgeois, Western slogan” that states how worried we are about the future. There are “2.7 billion who can’t eat NOW,” the Indian historian raged to a stunned crowd. Prashad’s fiery speech went viral. “The United States, 4-5% of world population, still uses 25% of its resources.” 

Prashad’s charged coup de grace never made it into the Western mainstream media news cycles during this twelve day gathering of global leaders. The critical points he was thundering, and striving to communicate to the West, are valid, though, and need to be absorbed into our consciousness.

Our excesses, and our warped perspective, are harming billions of people.

Vijay Prashad is Executive-Director of Tricontinental: Institute of Social Resreach, a journalist commentator, and former professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut from 1996-2017. Maybe it was Prashad’s Trinity professorship that had me so transfixed as I listened to his impassioned wake-up call. Trinity College was my old stomping grounds from 1997-1998. I lived nearby and visited campus regularly. Perhaps that’s the reason why Prashad’s message resonates so strongly with me now, our being at the same place at the same time, back when all of our futures were so much brighter. Back when Americans could have changed the course of human events had we only paid attention to the scientists and acted.

“There is hope. In these moments of darkness, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Assad, COP26 Commentator in Glasgow introducing Vijay Prashad

Prashad’s fury stems from what he referred to as the West’s “colonialism,” and our lecturing others about how to behave, insisting that others reduce consumption, and how our hypocrisy has left 2.7 billion innocent people starving with many children going days without food.

Prashad unleashed his contempt for Western colonialism as a permanent condition in two ways:

  1. Colonial mentality. From Prashad’s perspective, the US and the West tell others that others are responsible for the global climate crisis. “The US will never accept that they’re to blame.” The West comes up with catchy phrases like “We’re all in this together.” But Pershad assured his Glasgow audience that “We’re NOT in this together.” The US outsources the production of most of our products: phones, buckets, nuts and blots, etc. Our excessive consumption, with production in foreign countries, destroys these foreign landscapes and pollutes their air, and then we lecture them about polluting.

    Our excessive consumption, and inability to restrain ourselves, destroys these foreign landscapes and pollutes their air, and then we have the gall to lecture them about polluting.

  2. Colonial structures and institutions. Prashad reminded listeners that between 1765 — 1938 the British Isles stole £45 trillion sterling from India, destroyed the landscape, forced coal on India, and now lends India’s money back to India as debt. “No, it’s OUR money. You gave us our money back as debt and then you lecture us about how we should live.”

Prashad’s outrage should cause us to each take stock. Excessive consumption in the US should not come at the expense of 2.7 billion people on the brink of starvation, many of whom are children. The simmering anger that vulnerable countries feel, countries who didn’t contribute to the climate crisis, but are already suffering permanent negative impacts, (while millions of Americans act oblivious and refuse to change their habits), may soon become a national security concern. Not only our actions, but also our inaction. Prashad’s hair-raising indignation is a warning bell for the West, particularly the US.

Democratic leaders have become advocates for climate justice and equity, as communities create climate action plans to guide us through climate mitigation and adaptation and reaching a 50% cut in CO2 by 2030. But they can’t stop there. And neither can we as individuals. 

Fairfax County’s Community-wide Energy and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) highlights the importance of protecting the most vulnerable. It established the One Fairfax Policy that declares that every Fairfax County resident, no matter what personal characteristics, deserves an equal opportunity to succeed.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 246 was announced on January 7, 2022 and emphasizes the significance of ensuring environmental justice and equity in North Carolina’s transition to clean energy.

Additionally, Prashad’s warning about the extreme harm of colonial institutions, such as banks, on the vulnerable should be addressed immediately through legislation and the Financial Consumer Protection Bureau (FCPB). US banks charge excessive overdraft fees and refuse to make exceptions regarding waving fees for situations like Covid or extreme weather events, mail delays, a whole host of challenges in this new 1.2ºC world we live in. Banks are literally profiting on the most vulnerable’s financial distress. Tragically, this is so American, and is one of the reasons why we’re despised around the world during what is quickly becoming a life-threatening emergency for billions of people TODAY, not tomorrow.

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Don’t Look Up’s Gorilla In the Room

Every exceptional film deserves an afterthought once all the reviews have been written. Especially a film as controversial as Don’t Look Up with its thousand pound gorilla in the room, busy lumbering about, pounding on its chest, bashing into walls, throwing fits from time to time, and erupting right in front of our faces. You spotted the gorilla moving from scene to scene along with the exaggerated subliminal advertisements promoting biodiversity didn’t you? 

If we use the size of the magnified subliminal messages as the scale by which Adam McKay (writer, producer and director) overemphasized his BOLD FACE apocalyptic warning about the dire consequences of not acting on climate change, it’s unfathomable that anyone could actually not feel motivated to act. Doing nothing after watching Don’t Look Up would be mind-blowing. In fact, it’s inconceivable that anyone could possibly log off Netflix without making a personal commitment to vote for climate candidates in 2022 election, buy an EV, call for a solar quote, finally begin composting, plant a pollinator garden, become mostly vegan, etc. McKay deftly revealed what all human beings perishing would look like if we did nothing. Clearly McKay’s ingenious experiment would prove the psychological phenomenon of Inattentional Blindness wrong, right?


Back in 1999, “The Invisible Gorilla Test” was conducted by Daniel Simons and Christopher Chabris (Simons & Chabris, 1999). Participants in a study were asked to watch a video of two teams passing basketballs. One team wore white, the other team wore black. Participants were instructed to count the number of times the white team passed the basketball. A person wearing a gorilla costume walked through the players while the teams were following through with their instructions. When participants were asked whether they saw anything out of the ordinary in the video, nearly 50 percent confirmed they had not. 

Psychologists referred to this psychological phenomenon of not seeing the clearly visible gorilla in the room as inattentional blindness (also known as perceptual blindness). The participants in the study who didn’t see the gorilla were focused on something else, and thus oblivious to what others considered very obvious. Again, this is a very real psychological phenomenon. Psychologists warn of the danger in perceptual blindness and cite examples of car crashes, airplane accidents, tripping and falling while walking on a sidewalk, etc.

So, to all the negative reviewers of Don’t Look Up who are in the mainstream media, you were tagged by psychologists a few decades ago. The results of the 1999 invisible gorilla test were used to warn about the danger of perceptual blindness, both the danger to the distracted and the danger to others. The invisible gorilla test has been very useful in getting laws passed, especially laws about holding a cellphone while driving (1.6 million crashes each year from drivers using a cell while behind the wheel). The fact that Don’t Look Up has in effect proven that it’s the mainstream media that suffers from this blindness (as revealed in their bitterly defensive reviews) has to be noted so the danger can be contained. 

Adam McKay’s most ingenious spoof, though, was his clever play on James Vicary’s subliminal messaging that Vicary inserted into a movie back in 1957 when he used .003 second flashes of “Eat Popcorn” and “Drink Coca-Cola” to inspire movie-goers to spend money on concessions. McKay’s biodiversity flashes were closer to 3 seconds, so there was actually nothing subliminal about them. (Did Inception spring to mind for anyone else while watching the biodiversity hints? Not only did Leonardo DiCaprio’s brilliant performance in Inception flash before my eyes while absorbing these images, but also DiCaprio being the powerful voice that promotes rewilding.) Psychological tricks really work.  

The biodiversity lightbulb should have gone off for all of us. But did it? 

These are just a few of the multiple unusual twists that tie-in to Don’t Look Up that make the film seem prophetic rather than an instrument to inspire a rebellion against such a bleak prophecy. But do any of us want Don’t Look Up to be prophetic? I’m sure billions of us don’t.

The irony of McKay including a real invisible gorilla in the film isn’t lost on me. 

Emotions ran wild on Twitter the week following Don’t Look Up’s debut on Netflix with it trending for several days and the hashtag still having strong daily numbers nearly two weeks later. Fossil fuel advocates were clearly behind all the negativity. 

As if to prove the point that no one listens to calm, factual statements about climate, DiCaprio appeared in a powerful YouTube video that explained the film. DiCaprio’s direct, eloquent summation was the antithesis of Don’t Look Up’s satirical parody. Same urgent message, spoken by the same person, but two completely different styles, as if to prove why McKay went out on a limb to use a chest-pounding, screaming scientist to get the point across.

McKay talks about Don’t Look Up’s three endings, but aren’t there really four? I view the many mainstream media attacks and lackluster reviews of  Don’t Look Up as the fourth ending. Very similar to psych thriller Shutter Island’s twisted ending when we’re forced to come to grips with our altered reality. 

It’s time to recognize that many in the mainstream media, along with the fossil fuel industry, are the metaphorical Shutter Island criminally insane psych patient. If Adam McKay’s magnified gorilla didn’t change the hearts and minds of the perceptually blind, then nothing will, except perhaps laws that force them to report daily about the crisis.

John Doerr noted in his book, Speed & Scale, An Action Plan for Solving Our Climate Crisis Now, that there is no margin for error. We’re out of time and can’t make any mistakes. Climate is not going to get better anytime soon, it’s only going to get worse. We can’t pin our carbon cutting targets on false hopes. The mainstream media has just proven through McKay’s incredible psychological experiment, what the obstacle is to our achieving our target of staying below 1.5ºC. The vast majority in the mainstream media will not help us in our mission to cut carbon 50 percent by 2030. Rather, they will thwart every effort that we make. So our next step has to be to create a pathway around this obstacle so we can reach our goal and save humanity. 

© Copyright 2018 – 2022. ALL Rights Reserved.

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No rose without thorns. —French Proverb.
Groundbreaking YA book series for all ages. Gripping modern day nail-biter with Machiavellian villains, but also a tale that opens our eyes to the brutal war going on beneath our feet that controls our destiny, despite our obliviousness to this potentially civilization-destroying threat.

Subscribe to Force of Nature to stay connected to the insights we provide in our effort to accelerate the transition to a sustainable, eco-friendly, carbon neutral global community. Click here to subscribe.