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Archives for August 2012

2012 Elections Interviews: Sen. Susan Paddack

Sen. Susan Paddack is running for re-election for Oklahoma State Senator in District 13. We got the chance to ask her a few questions. Here is her bio, followed by the interview.

“I was the first person in my family to receive a college degree,” she said. “My father started work as a lineman with the telephone company and my mother was a stay at home mom. Neither was able to go to college, but they knew the importance of it and encouraged me to further my education.”

Susan believes a good education allows each individual to reach his or her goals and to be successful in life. Education is the way that people achieve the American Dream. Through hard work and a quality education, every person is able to be what he or she wishes to be. Education is also at the heart of our country’s democratic form of government. Each person must be educated to carry out his or her duties as a citizen.

Susan received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Colorado and a Master of Education Degree in Secondary Education from East Central University. She earned a Certificate of Excellence in Nonprofit Leadership and Management from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Susan married her high school sweetheart, Gary, who is an internal medicine physician in Ada. Susan and Gary have two children, Geoffrey is a physician doing his second year residency in radiology, and Elizabeth is a third year medical student at OU’s College of Medicine.”- Part of Sen. Paddack’s bio from her website, click to read more

GO: If re-elected, what would you do, if anything, about current pollution issues?

Sen. Paddack: I continually look at the most pressing issues that our state is facing in this area and file legislation as appropriate.

GO: What about energy issues?

Sen. Paddack: I will continue to support a diversified profile to our energy needs while also being very supportive of issues like converting state vehicles to running on CNG.

GO: What have you done so far in office for these issues?

Sen. Paddack: In the broad sense, my approach has been to look at issues which affect our environment.  I have passed legislation on achieving a statewide goal of recycling our solid waste stream (SB 498 in 2008) and I passed model legislation on computer recycling (SB 1631 in 2008).  In addition, I have passed legislation enabling aquifer recharge (SB1410 in 2008) and legislation which studied marginal quality water (SB 1627 in 2008) for inclusion in the statewide water plan.  Also, I passed a joint resolution (SJR 24 in 2011) that required the promulgation of rules for water reuse in our state and last year I passed a joint resolution (SJR 91 in 2012) which adopted those rules such that now water reuse can be an effective tool for maximizing our water resources.  I’ve received several awards for my work.  These include:

Metropolitan Environmental Legislator of the Year in 2007

Partners in Conservation Award from the US Dept. of the Interior in 2009

OKA award from the Citizens for the Protection of the Arbuckle-Simpson Aquifer in 2007

GO: What are your views on climate change?

Sen. Paddack: Climate change is not an issue that is discussed at the state level, but I do believe that climate change is occurring.

GO: And lastly, why do you think our readers should vote for you?

Sen. Paddack: Readers should vote for me because I work extremely hard for the people of SD 13.  I am the most highly qualified candidate in this race due to my experience, work ethic, and education.  I am approachable, responsible, and accountable.  I would very much appreciate their vote!


If you would like to learn more about Sen. Susan Paddack check out her website votepaddack.com.

Be sure to check out our other interviews as well.

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Disclaimer: Green Oklahoma doesn’t endorse any candidates. We urge our readers to learn about all of the candidates and make informed choices this year. And above all Green Oklahoma urges all Oklahomans to vote!

The Death of Locally Owned Stores

Today I walked through Native Roots Market for likely the last time, because as of the end of this month, there will no longer be a Native Roots Market in Norman. My heart was heavy as I walked through the store. This place has been more than just a store to me. Over the last several years I have gotten to know the staff, had many conversations with them, I have made Christmas cards for them, I’ve friended them on Facebook. I always looked forward to going there to shop and rarely made a trip to Norman without stopping by.

I knew the sad news before I got to the store today but seeing the for sale sign in front put that lump right back in my throat. And while I will now make the longer trip up to Oklahoma City to see the store they will be opening soon, I can’t help but feel sad that they did so much for all of us but we didn’t return the favor.

Everyone thought they would always be there so when some new, flashy, big stores moved in they started shopping there. But you can’t run a store for customers that sometimes come and as more and more chains have moved into Norman, Native Roots Market has had to compete more and more with unfair competition.

But this isn’t just a story about one store, this is a story about all locally owned stores that we love, stores that make towns unique. If we don’t shop at these stores they won’t always be there. And the benefits of shopping local are huge. Locally owned stores help bring uniqueness to a city, are more involved in their communities, and when you spend money at locally owned stores, more of it stays in your community. When you spend $100 at a locally owned store, $68 stays in your community, when you spend it at a national chain only $43 stays in the community.

Native Roots Market won’t be the last store we lose if we keep shifting our spending to national chains. And without locally owned stores, every town starts to look the same. Native Roots Market brought things to Norman that are very hard, if not impossible to find, in other stores, from the spice bar, deli, locally produced food, locally made gifts, and so much more.

We can all help ensure that we don’t lose more great locally owned stores by pledging to spend at least part of our budgets at locally owned stores.

Do you shop locally owned stores? If not, are you willing to shift part of your budget to local stores to help save them? Share your thoughts below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.  



Choctaw Nation Holds Water Conservation Poster Contest

The Choctaw Nation Going Green Team is sponsoring a Water Conservation poster contest. The theme of the contest is all about educating others about water conversation and practicing it yourself. Each division winning poster will be printed as a Christmas card to be used by the Going Green Team.

The contest is open to Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma tribal members in school, grades pre-k through 12th grade. There are four divisions and each first place division winner will receive an electronic tablet.

There is no better time than now to be learning and teaching others about water conservation. As the drought continues, water conservation becomes more and more important. Getting kids involved in the process will help spread awareness and ensure that the next generation is more prepared to face growing environmental issues.

Entries must be postmarked no later than September 12th, 2012 and winners will be announced on October 15th, 2012. For rules and more information please visit the Choctaw Nation Going Green Team poster contest website. To stay up-to-date with other things going  on with the Choctaw Nation Going Green Team, visit them on Facebook.

Photo Credit: Choctaw Nation Going Green Team



The Construction of the Keystone XL is Met by Day of Action

While construction of the upper part of the Keystone XL, which crosses the Canadian/United States boarder, has at least temporarily been sent back, the construction of the lower part which starts in Cushing, Oklahoma is being allowed to start. However, they are being met with a day of action as we speak.

“TransCanada is putting families that wanted nothing to do with this pipeline in harm’s way,” Tar Sands Blockade Spokesperson Ron Seifert said. “Since our leaders and representatives will do nothing to protect our friends and neighbors, the Tar Sands Blockade is calling for people everywhere to join us and defend our local communities from a multinational bully.”- read more

It’s not just environmentalist that are protesting the pipeline, many landowners are upset over the use of eminent domain by a private and foreign company.

“TransCanada lied to me from day one,” says Susan Scott, a local landowner in East Texas whose land was expropriated. “I worked 37 years for my farm, and TransCanada believes it is entitled to a piece of my home.”- read more

This fight also has united people on the political right and left, as has been seen today at the blockades as environmentalists and tea partiers stand together to fight against the Keystone XL.

This blockade is still breaking news and more information will becoming in throughout the day. You can follow the news by following the hashtag #nokxl on Twitter, checking the Tar Sands Blockade website, or checking our Facebook page, we will be sure to share news as we see it.

Photo Credit: Tar Sands Blockade

What’s on Your Baby’s Bum?

There’s a cloth diaper on my baby. Not only is it cute, but it will be used close to 400 times before he potty trains. That’s 400 disposable diapers that I’m keeping out of the landfills with that one little cloth diaper. The really amazing thing is that each baby born will have his diaper changed an average of 6,500 times before he is potty trained. This is either 6,500 single-use diapers being thrown away or 24-36 cloth diapers that can be reused not only for that child but for multiple children. In the US alone, there are more than 20 billion disposable diapers dumped in landfills each year.

I love knowing I’m helping reduce waste by using cloth diapers, but the primary reason I first started using cloth was for the health of my children. I have a confession. I used disposable diapers on my first child. In my defense, it was seven years ago, and there really wasn’t as much information available about cloth diapering as there is today. She was plagued by persistent diaper rash for the entire first two and a half years of her life. She was sensitive to the chemicals in disposables and nothing helped. I was determined to make changes when my second child was born. Baby #2 started in cloth from the very beginning. Now her baby brother is wearing her old diapers. And the best part is that neither baby #2 nor baby #3 has had diaper rash the way their sister did. Like me, many parents are becoming increasingly aware of what comes into contact with their children’s skin.

Cloth diapers are often made from natural fibers such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo. Disposable diapers are made from paper and plastic and contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) which is toxic and can cause hormonal problems. Disposable diapers also contain sodium polyacrylate, a super absorbent polymer (SAP). A similar substance was banned from use in feminine hygiene products because it increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome. Sadly this and many other chemicals have not been banned from use in disposable diapers.

So I’m feeling pretty good about myself now. I’m helping reduce my family’s waste, and I’m keeping harmful chemicals off my children at the same time. If that doesn’t impress you, maybe this will. Cloth diapering two children, I have saved over $4,000 using cloth instead of disposables. That’s $4,000 going into their college funds to give them a brighter future. Using cloth makes an incredible difference on your budget, but you need diapers that will work for your child, and every child is different.

I could go on and on about the benefits of cloth diapers. For more information, I encourage you to contact a local cloth diaper store. It’s just another way to decrease your carbon footprint and support your local community. Also, consider where your diapers come from and how they are made. There are many great diaper companies who create their diapers in the US or have fair labor practices, great customer service, and great warranties.

For local cloth diaper resources, visit Cloth Diaper OklahomaBottoms and Beyond Boutique in Sand Springs, Gummy Giggles in Yukon, and Green Bambino or The Changing Table in Oklahoma City.

Do you use cloth diapers? If not, would you try them? Share your thoughts in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook.


Photo Credits: Elizabeth Pilgrim