5 Underrated Female Rock Musicians

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When most people think of Rock and Roll history, it is usually in the context of the straight white male “rock god” archetype. The reality is women of different races and sexual orientations have been instrumental in creating and evolving Rock & Roll from it’s inception. I put together this list of 5 underrated female rock musicians whose contributions were pivotal to advancing rock music and it’s sub-genres, feminism and art in general to demonstrate that. (Technically this list includes more than 5 women because I counted heavy metal band Girlschool as one.)

sister rosetta tharpe origins of rock and roll                        sister rosetta tharpe rock and roll pioneer

These women have all experienced varying degrees of commercial success and kudos from the music community and beyond but are still not as highly valued and recognized in a way that is commensurate to their individual contributions to Rock and Roll and music as a whole. There are many other women besides these five that have had a powerful effect on rock music history but I wanted to keep the list limited to those I felt were truly the cream of the crop.


underrated female rock musicians


AGE: 68

HAILS FROM: Detroit Michigan U.S.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Suzi Quatro achieved mainstream success as  female bassist and rock vocalist in the 70s especially in the UK and Australia. She came from a musical family and was used to performing music on stage since childhood.  In 1977, Suzi added “actress” to her resume when she appeared on seven episodes of Happy Days, one of the most popular US sitcoms of all time. She continued to land acting gigs on television after Happy Days and even starred in several West End productions.  She also wrote a novel, hosted a British talk show and in 2016 she was honored by Cambridge University with a Doctorate in music despite never graduating high school. She also appeared on one of my favorite female-centric television shows, Absolutely Fabulous.

SMASHING THE PATRIARCHY: She once threw a very intoxicated Iggy Pop offstage. Her mainstream success inspired women around the world and showed them that women did not have to be relegated to groupie status in order to have a place in Rock and Roll, they could also create it.

INFLUENCED: The Runaways, Suzy & Los Quattro, KT Tunstall, Alice Bag, Suzi & Quadratrødderne, Sussie 4, Tina Weymouth & Tuscadero. The latter named their band after Leather Tuscadero, the character Suzi played on Happy Days.

THE QUOTABLE QUATRO: “Never think of yourself as a “girl musician.” You are a musician, period….I never did gender- Don’t do it now…I’m a me-ist. I do me.” She pauses thoughtfully. “Don’t try to hide your femininity, but always have your line that mustn’t be crossed.” 


What a Way to Die by The Pleasure Seekers (This was the first rock band Suzi was in and it  boasted an all female line up which  included her sisters and other female musicians they knew.)

The Wild One, from her second solo album Quatro.

Glycerine Queen, from her eponymous solo debut album.



underrated female rock musicians

photo via alicebag.com -photographer  Melanie Nissen

AGE: 59

HAILS FROM: East Los Angeles, California U.S.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Alice Bag was a punk rock pioneer that helped shape the early Los Angeles Punk Scene.  In 1977 she helped co-found the The Bags and later moved on to form other bands like Castration Squad (an all female death rock band), another punk band called Cholita!, Las Tres and various other musical ensembles. She has also released two solo albums and created her own music genre, “Punkchera”. Alice’s lyrics often address important social issues such as police brutality, rape and alcoholism to name a few. Her work has been featured in a Smithsonian exhibition. She is also and accomplished artist and has had her paintings shown in several galleries. She uses her websites to archive the history  of women in the L.A. punk scene.

SMASHING THE PATRIARCHY: Like Suzi Quatro, Alice Bag also had to deal with a male musician trying to crash her set that man was none other than Sid Vicious. Here is a photo from the event in question and an accompanying passage about the incident from her 2011 memoir, Violence Girl.

women early los angeles punk rock

“Sid rolled around on the floor in front of the amps, like a kitten playing with a ball of yarn…he reached for the mic a couple times, but I hung onto it, because as much as I liked Sid Vicious, it was a Bags show, not punk rock karaoke night.”

INFLUENCED: The early L.A. punk scene, Shirley Manson, FEA, countless students, musicians, educators and activists.


Because a lot of people who were getting into punk were transitioning from glam. I think at the very beginning I was coming at it and a lot of my friends were coming at it from the background of glam. And glam was pretty sexist and the role of women in glam was much more of a myth. So when I wanted to form an all-girl band, I was coming from that glam place. Seeing someone like The Runaways or hearing about Suzy Quatro, those were our role models, but then there were also the groupies that were being glamorized in rock magazines. So there was a whole different way of looking at your role in rock. When punk came along, suddenly you didn’t have to be the sexual kitten. You could be a powerful entity on your own and I felt like punk really just allowed us to be people. We could choose to show the side of yourself that we felt like showing at the time. I could wear something that might be seen as masculine or feminine on any given day. I remember one time, here’s another example of Backstage Pass, where Genny Body, one of the members of the band, had drawn a line through the middle of her face and one side was very feminine and that side of her was dressed in feminine attire and the other side was very masculine. I thought that was amazing and I loved that. Showing that hey, I’ve got more than just…I’m a whole person.


Survive, a single with The Bags.

White Justice from her second solo album Blueprint.

Babylonian Gorgon, a single with The Bags.

Invisible from her second solo album Blueprint.

No Means No from her self titled debut solo album.

Turn It Up from her second solo album Blueprint.

alice bag punk rock

Photo by @karmicvintagephotography


mariska veres underrated female musician

AGE: Mariska passed away in 2006 but she would have celebrated her 71st birthday on October 1st of this year.

HAILS FROM: The Haugue, Netherlands

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Mariska Veres joined a band at the tender age of 16, called Le Mysteres. Like Suzi Quatro, Mariska performed music onstage since childhood. As the groundbreaking front woman for psychedelic/folk rock band Shocking Blue she helped show young Dutch rock musicians that it was indeed possible for a Dutch rock group to succeed globally. After Shocking Blue disbanded, Mariska joined and fronted multiple bands including a jazz ensemble and even cut some solo records. Her father was the accomplished Hungarian-Romani violinist Lajos Veres and in a nod to her heritage she released an album with a Romanian folk music group in 2003.

SMASHING THE PATRIARCHY:  Mariska was part of a very small, elite group of women throughout the 60s and 70s to front a psychedelic rock group.

INFLUENCED: Nirvana, Bananarama, Mavi Isiklar, John Mayer, Formula Diablos and countless Dutch musicians.

LOST IN TRANSLATION: Venus was by far Shocking Blue’s greatest hit. Several bands have covered it, the most famous of  them was Bananarama who had a gigantic hit with it in the eighties. On the original recording Mariska, who was not yet fluent in English sang  “godness” instead of “goddess”  on the opening line. Robbie van Leeuwen the bands lead songwriter, guitarist and sitarist whose first language was also Dutch accidentally wrote the lyric incorrectly. The band later re-recorded the song with the correct pronunciation. You can still find the “godness” version on Youtube.


Send me a Postcard from the album Scorpio’s Dance.

Rock In The sea from their 1973 album, Attila.

Love Buzz from Mariska’s first album as Shocking Blue’s vocalist, At Home.

Never Marry a Railroad Man from their fourth album called Third Album as it was Shocking Blue’s third album with Mariska as the lead vocalist.

Nirvana’s cover of Love Buzz,  their debut single from their days on the Subpop label.

mariska veres shocking blue




Photo via Getty Images

AGE: Rock goddesses are ageless, also I was not all able to find enough information on their individual birthdays. The group has had many different line ups.

HAIL FROM: England & Australia

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Girlschool is a pioneering all female punk/heavy metal band that formed in 1978. A couple of the founding members were previously in other all girl bands before coming together to form Girlschool, namely the Furry Freak Sisters and Pained Lady. Two of the members were also in a punk band called Skinflicks that was all female except for the lead singer. Skinflicks was part of the early UK punk scene and played at the Roxy in support of Siouxie and the Banshees.  Girlschool has been touring and gigging as a headlining and supporting act internationally for 40+ years and to this day remain an anomaly in the male dominated rock scene.  These rock goddesses are worshiped by an international cult following and their musicianship is widely revered. They are the longest running female rock band of all time and have released 13 albums whose song lyrics not only deal with typical rock and roll sentiments of partying and living larger than life but they also address politics, murder, addiction, environmentalism and the abuse and exploitation of women. One of the first songs they wrote is called “Not for Sale”, and it is about how women are objectified to sell cars.

SMASHING THE PATRIARCHY: The founding members of Girlschool did not originally set out to be an all-female band. Last June guitarist Jackie Chambers and bassist Enid Williams were interviewed at Sweden Rock Festival and Enid said that initially they just wanted to be in a band but male musicians laughed them off, refused to play with them and many even point blank told them that girls should not be in bands.  During that same festival, Enid was interviewed by Decibel Geek and she said that as a female rock musicians people treated her and her band mates as if they were aliens from outer space and to this day that still happens some times. The group gained a younger audience in the early 2000’s via Myspace and Facebook. Last June Enid Williams was interviewed at Sweden Rock Festival and pointed out that half of the new audience they had gained were women and noted that when Girlschool first burst on to the rock scene the audience members at gigs were mostly male.

INFLUENCED: Vixen, The Donnas and countless male and female rock musicians.


Yeah Right, C’mon Let’s Go and Hit and Run from their 1981 album Hit and Run.

Awkward Position and Treasure from their most recent album released in 2015, Guilty as Sin.

Action from the 1988 album, Take a Bite.

Take it all away, Not for Sale and Deadline from their debut album, Demolition.



Photo by Philip Goddard via http://www.weshootmusic.com


sister rosetta tharpe female rock musician

Age: Again, rock goddesses are ageless but she was born on March 20, 1915  and passed on October 9, 1973.

HAILS FROM: Cotton Plant, Arkansas

A TRUE PIONEER ON ALL FRONTS: Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born 16 years before the invention of the electric guitar. That did not stop her from becoming one of the instrument’s earliest and most talented advocates. She was one of the first artists to use distortion and she was especially admired for her unique guitar picking. During her childhood she was known in her community as a musical prodigy and got her start performing music onstage for churchgoers as a child. Her 1945 single “Strange Things Happening Everyday” served as an early prototype for the timeless rock and roll sound that Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley (Both fans of her work.) later adopted and are often solely credited with pioneering. She first achieved fame as Gospel Music’s very first commercially successful artist. Later she changed her style by reinterpreting spiritual music for a secular audience and somehow managed to maintain her religious fans while gaining new fans of all backgrounds and selling out arenas during a time where that was nearly unheard about any artist of any genre, race or gender. She defied convention at a time when black and white musicians performing together was highly taboo when she collaborated with The Jordanaires, an all white gospel group from Springfield Missouri. She also  performed for a racially integrated audience in 1940 at a venue called Cafe Society located in Greenwich Village, New York.

INFLUENCED: Every rock and roll musician and rock music aficionado that has ever been born, whether they know it or not. Johnny Cash said she was his favorite singer and biggest inspiration.  In 1947 she gave a young and unknown Little Richard his big break and invited him to perform with her onstage during one of her concerts. In a BBC documentary about her life Gordon Stoker, pianist/singer of the Jordanaires a Gospel group that recorded and performed with Sister Rosetta than later with Elvis Presley, said Presley was a huge fan of  and deeply influenced by her singing and idiosyncratic prowess on the guitar.  Jerry Lee Lewis praised her musical talent and onstage style. Ginger Baker, of one of my favorite rock bands of all time, Cream was also an avowed Sister Rosetta Tharpe fan and even played drums in her backing band in 1958 when she toured Sandinavia. Brittany Howard, Tina Turner, Robert Plant, Chuck Berry, Noisettes, Mahalia Jackson, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Aretha Franklin, The Rosettes, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Who, Isaac Hayes, Marie Knight, Karen Carpenter, Allison Krauss,  Neil Sedaka, Frank Turner and many many others are also known to have been greatly inspired by her.


That’s All

Strange Things Happening Everyday

Strange Things Happening Everyday cover by Johnny Cash.

Four Five Times

Didn’t it Rain

Tall Skinny Papa

Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us performed by Allison Krauss and Robert Plant and originally written and recorded by Sam Phillips


women in rock sister rosetta tharpe

Thank you so much for stopping by the blog everyone! I hope that I have inspired some of you to listen to music you have never heard before and maybe even pick up an instrument or a piece of paper and pencil to write song lyrics in. For more content on music, feminism, sustainable fashion, vintage style and veganism subscribe to the blog.

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Hope you all have a safe and awesome weekend!




weed friendly 420 friendly events in los angeles


A few weeks ago I had the privilege of interviewing Savannah Rivera. She is the founder of Cannabis Art Flow, a FREE (yes, free!!) 420 friendly event in Pico Rivera, California which is located about 11 miles from Downtown Los Angeles. Cannabis Art Flow is a mini-festival that showcases various vendors from the weed industry, health and wellness industry, vegan food vendors, second hand clothes vendors, musicians, henna tattoo artists and more. Savannah is a Yoga teacher and will be teaching a free class at the event. Savannah also hosts a Puff N’Paint class (sort of like a wine and paint class but with Cannabis instead of alcohol) and is one half of the entrepreneurial duo known on Instagram as @theoilymamass. Savannah and her best friend, Adriana Torrez sell Doterra brand essential oils and teach classes on their benefits. They offer the classes at a physical location and also do Facetime consultations for those who are not able to or prefer not to leave the comfort of their own homes.

cannabis culture california


How long have you been practicing Yoga?

6-7 years

What type of Yoga do you practice?

Hatha Yoga. I teach other styles but I always go back to Hatha. My teacher that certified me practices it. I’ts about deep stretching, honoring the pose and your body. 

What are the most common questions or issues  that students approach you with?

“I’m not flexible enough.”  “I’m too tight.”  “I cant touch the floor.” I was unable to to do certain things when I first started but I just kept doing it. You don’t need to do things perfectly, because Yoga practice is about honoring your body and listening to your limits. 

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At what age can people start learning Yoga?

I have a four-year-old niece and she does certain poses and headstands. Both her parents practice Yoga, mostly when they are around me. I wish I started way younger. I think it is  important for people at a young age because Yoga is more than just stretching. It helps you mentally, emotionally, all over….mind, body, and soul.

When did you discover the power of essential oils?

I started dabbling in them because of Yoga. My teacher had all of the oils. I never knew they had benefits, I just thought they smelled good. 

My best friend got in to Doterra because she just had a child and she wanted to use non toxic products on her child so we started the Doterra business together. Her daughter loves the oils.

420 events los angeles


What is Doterra? 

They are the top oil company in the world. They have essential oil, essential oil products. Instead of sleeping pills you can take oil in capsule form. They do third party testing to ensure quality and their products aid in weight loss, depression and anxiety. 

cannabis culture 420 friendly events in los angeles


Which oil can you not live without?

Wild Orange Peppermint and Deep Blue. Deep blue is a mix of Peppermint and Wintergreen.

Why does Doterra  sell blended oils in addition to just the single essential oils?

I mixed Orange Lemon and Eucalyptus to get multiple benefits in one. Blending gives you more benefits.

Are all types of marijuana consumption allowed at Cannabis Art Flow?

At the last one people dabbed. They were discreet and respectful. All types of consumption is allowed. We have Cannabis vendors that sell flowers and edibles and other (THC infused)  products like scrubs & more skin care products like bath bombs. 

420 friendly events in los angeles weed


How long have you been consuming cannabis?

Since I was 16

How has cannabis enhanced your life?

I have chronic pain and smoking marijuana relaxes me, especially when it is at a 10 and I don’t want to take a Valium. It has helped me manage my pain as well as yoga and also helps with my mood. I battle from time to time with depression. Cannabis opens my eyes to situations that I handled one way and then realized they could have been handled differently.

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Weed friendly festivals like Cannabis Art Flow can be a very profitable for vendors, but even more so for the parties hosting them. I very much admire that you are allowing people access to the event at no charge when so many people wold just look a it with dollar signs in their eyes. Why did you choose to make it free?

The first Cannabis Art Flows I hosted I did charge people and I felt it was not fair. I thought about it….probably when I was smoking and thought if I was spending money to buy a ticket to get in, to buy food and other things I would want it to be free. I think it helps my vendors and more people come if it is free. I always see events I want to go to but the price makes me think they are not for me.

Would you consider yourself a feminist?

Yes I would.

What would you say to a young woman that said she was not a feminist because she personally has not seen or experienced misogyny?

Even though they may feel they may not have  experienced the Patriarchy those things (misogyny) do happen and the victims need a voice. Women need to unite together and let our voices be heard.  

Who is your favorite female singer?

Janis Joplin. When I was little I had a very raspy voice and my mom would always tell me I had the voice of this female rock star. I grew up listening to her and probably thought I was her at some point. 


And Lauren Hill because I love what she says and how she says it. She has got a good flow.

lauryn hill


What is your favorite genre of music?

I go back and forth with so many. I love classic rock and roll, The Rolling Stones, The Doors are some of my favorites. Sometimes r&b and hip hop, jazz, funk, I am very much influenced by my parents.



Do you have a favorite painter?

When I was in elementary one of our classes was art and I studied Edgar Dega. He draws a lot of ballerinas now a lot of my friends are great painters i have a ton of friends that are artists and some of them will be leading the puff and paint class.

Ballerina Edgar Degas San Diego Museum of Art


Spend a day with anyone doing all of your favorite things?

Andrew Sealy, he is positive and uplifting and I feel that he could help my practice grow. Like my grandfather who passed 10 years ago. I think I would have a lot in common with him (my grandfather) he was really spiritual, had the ying and yang necklace. He practiced a little yoga bu mostly Tai Chi. Almost all of my cousins and I have yin and yang tattoos.


women in weed 2


If you could hot box with anyone, living or dead who would it be?

Bob Marley definitely popped up in my head.

Snoop dog.

Final thoughts?


People have called me a yogi master but I feel that I am not that. There are some poses I cannot do and I am ok with that. I love learning and getting deeply in to who I really am and shedding different layers. I have a new student that is blind, he knew what he was doing. It challenged me as a yoga teacher because I always rely on people looking at me and I had to give more detailed instructions. It was so cool that his disability did not stop him he had a really good practice.

women in weed



Thank you everyone for stopping by the blog and special thanks to Savannah for welcoming me in to her home and allowing me to conduct this interview.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, September 15th! This is the date of the next Cannabis Art Flow. Not in to Cannabis? No problem! Come to check out some beautiful spiritual music, learn more about essential oils, yoga, shop sustainable fashion or just enjoy some delicious vegan food.

Would you like to see more content on  cannabis culture, music, femenism, veganism and sustainable vintage inspired fashion? Then  follow us on Instagram  by clicking here–> @karmicvintageYou can also keep up with us on Facebook by liking our Facebook page just click here.

Click on any of the Instagram handles below to keep up with Cannabis Art Flow, Savannah Rivera and Savannah’s partner in awesomeness Adriana Torrez.






5 Sustainable Fashion Brands With A Vintage Twist


Sustainable fashion, also called eco fashion, is a part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability, the goal of which is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility.

(Definition taken from Wikipedia)

I used to think that the term sustainable fashion was merely a buzz phrase that brands used to lure in ethically minded consumers  who wanted to shop guilt free. Many  corporations have been *greenwashing their brands for years so I had a right to be cynical.  Eventually I started to do some research on the subject and I was happy to find out that there were in fact, some brands out there that truly believed in sustainability and practiced what they preached.

One thing I noticed was that some of these brands focused solely  on the environmental aspect of sustainability. I wanted to find companies that were not only using business practices that were kind to the environment but to garment workers as well. Those were difficult to find and few and far in between  until about   three years ago. Nowadays it seems that more and more  environmentally conscious brands are popping up all the time (In both online and brick an mortar form) that are also striving to and succeeding at treating workers kindly and paying them a living wage.

This development may be partially due to the headline making tragedy that occurred in India on April 24th, 2013. On that date in Bangladesh, Rana Plaza collapsed (a building that housed various garment factories and other businesses) and more than 1100 garment workers were murdered, thousands of others were injured. I use the word murder, rather than killed because murder charges were brought against the people connected with the building collapse due to their negligence and abuse of human rights.

I  cannot say for certain that the Rana Plaza Collapse is the only reason sustainable brands are being more conscious about garment workers’ rights but it was definitely a watershed moment in the collective consciousness of the fashion industry.

Below is a list of five brands that I feel are doing sustainable  fashion the right way and not just cherry picking aspects of sustainability that are convenient for them. If you have read this blog before then you know I am a huge fan of vintage clothing that takes inspiration from the styles of the 1940’s, 1950’s and 1960’s. For this reason I picked out  items from each brand that have that specific vibe and added vintage photos of similar looks. All of the corresponding websites will be linked at the end of the post.


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vintage style overalls


Vetta not only takes great pains to be eco-friendly AND socially responsible but they sell 5 piece mini capsule collections that can be mixed and matched to create a month’s worth of outfits! This is perfect for people that are on a budget but do not want to sacrifice quality or style. Another awesome fact about Vetta is that one of the factories that they use gets 70% of it’s energy from solar power.

sustainable fashion ethically made


1940s 1950s playsuit




sustainable ethically manufactured clothing


Mary Bruno is a veteran of the garment industry who specialized in the design, production and marketing of denim for many years. She started Life After Death Denim after being fed up with the lip service many brands would give regarding sustainability. She felt that sustainability has to be the driving force of the brand not just a small part of it. Life after death denim is committed to using recycled fabrics and trim as well as chemical free washing and reduced water waste. In February of 2016,twenty garment workers in Cambodia fainted all within minutes of each other due to the chemicals being used in the production process. The fact that Life After Death Denim is vigilant about omitting harmful chemicals from the production process is a hallmark of their sustainable practices.

ali mcgraw 1970s fashion




sustainable fashion indigenous textile

Pictured above are Martina Zeta and Martha Hernández, they are artisans from a group of indigenous people called the Triqui that reside in Oaxaca, Mexico and some surrounding areas. The sign reads “I made your clothes”. The photo is from Ethnikka Mexico’s Instagram account.

vintage inspired sustainable clothing


Ethnikka Mx sells traditional indigenous garb made by artisans of various indigenous communities in Mexico. All of the embroidery and the fabrics are handmade using ancestral techniques. They ship worldwide and offer free shipping within Mexico. A quick browse through their Instagram account will reveal that they really pride themselves on being purveyors of slow fashion. I was unable to find a website for them (I found one with a similar name but I did not see the same products) so I assume they do all of their transactions via Instagram Direct Messaging.

dolores del rio


eufrosina cruz mexican feminist




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This Amour Vert jumpsuit is made of Tencel (fabric made from wood pulp using recyclable solvents) which is sustainable,  shrinks less, wrinkles less and collects less odor and bacteria so you don’t have to wash it as much. Amour Vert partners with American Forest in a program where they plant a tree for every t-shirt they sell. They have also supported 21 reforestation projects thus far, 97% of their product is made within  a few miles of their San Francisco office and they use non-toxic dyes in the production process. They also make a point of visiting the factories often to ensure the workers are being treated well and being paid fair wages.

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1940s jumpsuit 1940s workwear


1940s jumpsuit overalls




ethical fashion sustainable


Elegantees was was founded in New York and used to give a portion of their profits to organizations that were helping victims of human trafficking. Now they have moved beyond this model and have a sewing center in Nepal that employs women who have been rescued from human trafficking. These women are paid a fair wage (more than 2-3x the local minimum wage which is enough to live on) and work in fair living conditions. They do not live at the sewing center as indentured servants but rather commute from their own homes. As far as the environmental impact of the production process is concerned, I did not find enough information on that. I read that they use organic cotton but this is a bit controversial in my eyes. Organic cotton is grown without harmful chemicals but it needs quite a bit of water to be grown, same as non-organic cotton. Cotton in general is jut too water intensive in my eyes but I decided to include Elegantees on the list because human trafficking is such a huge problem that so few people are aware of or apathetic to that I really felt that their efforts to rescue (they partner with a non-profit that takes women out of the hands of human traffickers) and employ women who have been through this horrifying reality really needed to be praised and news of their existence is worthy of being disseminated.




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*Greenwashing: disinformation spread by an organization or corporation with the intent of presenting an environmentally responsible public image.