Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Organizations and Individuals Coalesce for Action on Climate Change

There is a powerful synergy building between grassroots activism and those who are working with governments and the private sector. The United Nations, companies, investors, activists, environmental groups and coalitions are coming together to call for action on climate change.

We saw the largest climate protest in human history on September 21, 2014. A total of 2,600 events took place in 166 countries around the world as part of a global call for action on Climate Change. In New York City, the People's Climate Events saw an estimated 400,000 people come together. This involved 1,576 organizations and hundreds of thousands of social media posts. From students to senior citizens, people of every age, ethnicity and ideology were represented at this march. This unprecedented event sent a clear message to leaders at the UN Climate Summit on September 23.

Climate Change is a Heath Problem and Divestment is the Cure

Climate change is commonly framed as an environmental issue, while this is undeniably true, it is also very much a human health issue. Hundreds of thousands of people are already dying each year from climate change and left unchecked this will get far worse.

From air pollution, to diminishing clean water supplies to food insecurity and extreme weather, climate change has a host of impacts that make it a grave threat to human health.

The Hippocratic Oath, the cornerstone of medical ethics states: "I will take care that they suffer no hurt or damage.." Bearing this in mind medical workers cannot in good conscience ignore climate change.

That is why a number of health care professionals are coming together in support of action on climate change. In particular some are showing their support for divestment from fossil fuels as an important first step towards improving human health.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

George Washington University Sustainability Minor

No matter what their major may be, students at George Washington University can still study sustainability. The University's 18-credit Minor in Sustainability is open to all undergraduate students.

This program allows students to explore the challenges of sustainability and to think about how to develop solutions to pressing issues at the local, regional, and global scale. It introduces students to the concepts, principles, and issues that inform the sustainability paradigm and also integrates classroom and community-based learning and research in a program that prepares students to apply the sustainability perspective to their future endeavors.

Webinar : Innovative Energy Solutions for Your Business

A free Webinar titled, "Its Easy Being Green: Innovative Energy solutions for Your Business Home and our World," will take place on Saturday October 4th 2014, 5 PM Eastern Standard Time.

This live 60 minute Webinar from The Thinkubator Innovation Studios in Chicago will enable participants to discover new innovative solutions to create a greener, more sustainable world.

The Webinar is from Green and Sustainable Innovators linked group and it will be facilitated by innovation expert Gerald "solutionman" Haman.

Infographic - Why You Should Sell Your Fossil Fuel Stock Now (DC Divest)

Sustainability is Profitable According to the CDP's 2014 Climate Change Report

Some interesting insights came to light in the 2014 version of the annual CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report. Overall the report suggests that companies in the S&P 500 are actively managing and planning for climate-change and the companies that do so are more profitable. The report indicates that for companies that are addressing climate change the return on equity was 18 percent higher than their peers and 67 percent higher than companies who do not disclose on climate change. The dividend yield for shareholders was 21 percent stronger then low ranking peers.

Further their results indicate that such efforts make them more stable with 50 percent lower volatility earnings over the past decade than low ranking peers.

As explained in the report, "Investors should take note that the debate has squarely moved from the moral to the material and should reward climate leaders with higher valuation multiples."

CDP Climate Disclosure Leaders List 2014

Source: CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report

CDP Climate Performance Leaders List 2014

Source: CDP S&P 500 Climate Change Report

Extreme Weather in 2013 Attributed to Climate Change

Many of the extreme weather events we witnessed in 2013 have been attributed to climate change. This is the finding in an attribution study published on Monday September 22, 2014. The study was published in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). A total of 9 of the 16 extreme weather events we witnessed in 2013 were considered to have a clear link to climate change.

According to the research, climate change was behind the Heat waves in Australia, Europe, China, Japan and Korea, intense rain in parts of the United States and India, and severe droughts in California and New Zealand.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Think Eat Save Student Challenge

Sensitizing children to the ecological impacts of food waste is important and the Think.Eat.Save Student Challenge is a great example of an powerful educational project. Vast quantities of food are wasted each year and this phenomenon is sadly a part of many western cultures. To help reorient children to this issue, UNEP has launched a new campaign that calls schools and students to start a wasteless revolution.

The campaign challenges students and to find out how much food gets wasted in their schools. Then students are encouraged to organize a project and take action to reduce or eliminate food waste.

Why We Must Act on Climate Change (Ban Ki Moon and John Kerry)

At the start of Climate Week, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made some powerful arguments in support of action on Climate Change.  To underscore his support for action, Ban even walked alongside demonstrators at the People's Climate March on September 21, 2014.

US Secretary of State John Kerry also made a strong and succinct argument for action ahead of the People's Climate March.

Ban's participation in the March was meant to underscore the need for better collaboration between communities, citizens, and the public and private sectors.

Business Leadership at the UN Climate Summit

The recent UN Climate Summit on September 23, 2014 was different from previous meetings and one of the primary reasons for this is the fact that the business community is showing real leadership. As should be obvious to all, we will not be able to make substantial cuts in carbon emissions without support from the business and industry.

Investors Showing Leadership on Climate Change

The global investment community is coming to terms with the risks posed by climate change and they are taking action to reverse our perilous direction. Investors see the future and they are following the money and moving away from fossil fuels towards clean energy. In additon to divesting from fossil fuels, investors are advocating for climate pricing and reporting.

Here are three recent actions:

1. A total of 350 global institutional investors, representing more than $24 trillion in assets, called on government leaders to adopt climate pricing.

2. A group of 70 major companies and investors, have committed to report climate change in corporate reports as a matter of fiduciary duty.

3. On the eve of the Climate Summit, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to begin divesting from fossil fuels. Starting with coal and tar sands investments, the fund plans to reduce such investments to almost zero by the end of this year. This will be followed up by further fossil fuel divestment over the next few years.

Corporations Go 100% Renewable for Climate Week NYC

During Climate Week NYC, corporations stepped forward with ambitious renewable energy plans. The business leaders that gathered in New York for Climate Week are working to encourage the corporate world to take meaningful action on climate change. As part of a campaign, called RE100, more than a dozen corporations made pledges to derive all of their power from renewable sources of energy in honor of Climate Week NYC.

The RE110 campaign encourages 100 of the world's largest businesses to commit to get all of their power from renewables by 2020. RE100 is convened by The Climate Group in partnership with CDP. RE100 is an action of the WE MEAN BUSINESS coalition.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Event - Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development

This event will take place on November 24 - 25, 2014 at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. The Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development is subtitled "Building Prosperity through Economic, Social and Natural Capital." It will gather business leaders, NGOs and policy-makers from around the world to share practical solutions for sustainable growth and creating shared value with economic, social and natural capital. Topics discussed will include disruptive innovation, equitable growth, the sustainable supply chain, clean energy access, next-level integrated reporting and harnessing the natural assets of cities.

Event - Climb the Turbine Fundraiser

The 3rd annual Climb the Turbine Fundraiser is taking place from Saturday, October 4th to Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. Each pair must raise at least $500 to participate in the climb (if you choose to climb solo with a guide you must also raise $500). Corporate climbs are also available. Corporate teams must donate or raise at least $1,000 and will receive excellent recognition both online and at the event.

Each climb enables TREC Education to inspire and educate an entire class of students in the science and benefits of renewable energy and energy conservation.

Event - Renewable Energy World Conference and Expo

This event will take place on December 9 - 11, 2014, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America is the only conference and expo where ALL of the power generation stakeholders -- from coal and natural gas to nuclear energy to renewables -- come together under one roof to solve the world's energy problems as one united power-generation industry.

Event - Synbiobeta

This event will take place on November 13 - 15, 2014, in San Francisco California.

Synbiobeta will engage a conversation on sector-specific progress ranging from research-enabling tools to low-cost DNA synthesis, scale-up of industrial biotech platforms to the growing importance of the organism industry.

Event - Earth Science & Climate Change (Earth Science-2015)

The 4th International Conference on Earth Science & Climate Change (Earth Science-2015) will take place on June 15-17, 2015, in Alicante, Spain. The main theme of the conference is: An Insight into the Recent Advancements in Geosciences and Climate Change Control. This OMICS Group event aims to promulgate knowledge and facilitate the sharing of new ideas amongst the professionals, industrialists and students from research areas of Earth Science and Climate Change.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Video - The Way Forward: Hope for a Cleaner Future

Morgan Freeman narrates this short video on the environment and climate change. It addresses how we can get from the perilous trajectory of today to a far better world. This video offers hope that we can come together to build a new clean energy future free of pollution. As explained in the video, "this is out only home, we can choose today to make a world of difference."

Video - Energy Opportunity from Viridan

Check out this amazing new program that will save money and help save our planet. Viridian is the Official Green Energy Supplier to The Thinkubator Studios.

Contact or phone 1-312-215-2852.

Video - Marylhurst Online MBA in Sustainable Business

Marylhurst University's online MBA in Sustainable Business which is ideal fro people from a wide array of industries who wish to pursue higher education in sustainable business practices. These individuals are scientists who seek a business background, builders and architects who focus on sustainable practices, and government and policy analysts. What they all have in common: a passion for sustainability.

Video - The Worldwide Charter for Fair International Commerce

The Worldwide Charter for Fair International Commerce is free of charge project that has been developed by the International Businesses Standards Organization (IBSO) to be a code of conduct and a minimal set of universal principles for the international business community. This IBSO's initiative allows for participating organizations to formally proclaim their commitment to promote sustainable and positive business practices with respect to social and environmental values. Every Worldwide Charter for Fair International Commerce signatory have a right to use the Charter Signatory logo on site and in other advertising purposes and being listed in Catalogue on IBSO's official site.

Video - Review of the People's Climate March

Last Sunday, September 21, the streets of New York City were filled with 400,000 people all demanding climate action from world leaders. This march was the largest climate event in human history. The unprecedented number of people sent a clear message. We want action on climate change. As leaders came together for the UN Climate Summit on September 23, they could not ignore the scope and scale of this protest in New York and all around the globe.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Savings from LED Retrofits in the Surry School District

The Surry County School District in North Carolina has installed LEDs that save the school money, improve lighting and reduce energy. As part of the school districts energy education program, they have converted from metal halide fixtures to LEDs. According to the school's own projection they will reap an annual savings of nearly $1,350. The ten LED's also improved foot-candle levels in Dobson Elementary School’s 5,400 sq-foot gymnasium by more than 50 percent.

Savings from LED Lighting at the University of Rhode Island

Schools are always looking for ways of reducing their expenditures and one of the easiest ways they can do so is through replacing their existing lighting with LED technology. Not only do these types of retrofits save money and energy, they can also improve the lighting, in effect getting more for less.

The University of Rhode Island’s Thomas M. Ryan Center for college basketball will be illuminated by a new LED lighting system from Ephesus Lighting, replacing a metal halide lighting system that was installed when The Ryan Center was built in 2002.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund to Divest from Fossil Fuels

On the eve of the Climate Summit, the $860m Rockefeller Brothers Fund announced plans to begin divesting from fossil fuels. Starting with coal and tar sands investments, the fund plans to reduce such investments to almost zero by the end of this year. This will be followed up by further fossil fuel divestment over the next few years. The fund is a signatory to the The Global Divest-Invest coalition is calling for divestment from fossil fuels.

The Global Divest-Invest Coalition and Campaign

Divest-Invest is a coalition that is on the front lines of climate action. With the tag line of, "divest from fossil fuels invest in climate solutions," they are passionate advocates of responsible investing. Their work is focused on accelerating the transition to a sustainable and equitable economy by encouraging foundations to divest from fossil fuels and invest in clean energy.

They make the point that investments should not contribute to climate change. In addition to the ethical argument they suggest that investments in fossil fuels are not financially sensible. They indicate that fossil fuel stocks are over-valued as most of their reserves cannot be burned. They also say that with clean energy investments we can get good, safe returns while helping to build a new energy system.

They explain that, "Divestment empowers you to take meaningful principled action aligned with other people and institutions to stigmatize the fossil fuel companies that most threaten climate and community stability." With that in mind they encourage people to use their power and reduce their risk.

The We Mean Business Coalition: Low Carbon Economics

There are some powerful coalitions that are helping to make the case for a low carbon economy. One of those groups is the newly formed "We Mean Business" group. As they explain, climate change is not only a very serious threat it is a tremendous opportunity. They make the point that the business community is already feeling the impact of climate change and this is destined to get far worse if we continue with business as usual.

They enumerate the impacts of climate change which include damage to facilities, disruption of supply and distribution chains, threats to power supplies and global food and water resources. Climate change contributes to overall uncertainty to the marketplace thus increasing the cost of doing business.

Eleven Business Pledges at the UN Climate Summit

At the UN Climate Summit companies played a leading role through initiatives designed to reduce pollution, conserve forests and combat climate change. While industry is often maligned for contributing to eco-degeneration, these claims are being blunted by new initiatives.

The business community is increasingly engaging in efforts to promote the transition to a low carbon economy, cut emissions, diminish deforestation, reduce pollution, adopt renewable sources of energy, increase the number of electric vehicles, and lower the carbon footprint of rail and aviation.

Here is a summary of 11 pledges made at the UN Climate Summit:

Sign the Sustainability Charter for Businesses and Others

Sustainability is a buzzword that is gaining momentum, but a growing number of organizations are coming forward with practical initiatives to help turn the concept into reality. One such initiative is called the Worldwide Charter for Fair International Commerce (WCFIC). Developed by the IBSO, this global initiative supports international businesses showcasing a particular social and environmental sensibility through following a code of conduct and a set of universal principles; reflecting the core values of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, labor conventions of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and other internationally recognized principles.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

USGBC's Green Schools Challenge in Louisiana

Competitions between educational establishments are a great way to advance awareness around sustainability while reducing a school's footprints at the same time. Louisiana's Green Schools Challenge is an example of such a program.

Launched by the U.S. Green Building Council's Louisiana chapter, the Green Schools Challenge, encourages students across the state to develop sustainability projects for their schools in the name of friendly competition.

US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program 2014 Sustainability Awardees

The US Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program is an innovative approach that entices schools to improve their eco-attributes.

The program recognizes schools that work to reduce environmental impact and costs, provide a better environment for student and staff health and educate students on environmental and sustainability issues. Schools that do well in these three areas, also known as Pillars, are recognized by the Department of Education.

The UN Climate Summit in NYC Gives Us Reason to Hope

Those in attendance at the UN Climate Summit in New York City made significant progress towards the goal of a global climate agreement in 2015. At the end of the Summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon summarized the outcome saying "This was a great day!"

The UN Climate Summit was a success simply by virtue of those who attended. There were an unprecedented number of world leaders in attendance, this included 100 government leaders and more than 800 leaders from business, finance and civil society.

UN Climate Summit: Ban Ki-moon Final Summary

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has summarized the accomplishments of the UN Climate Summit in New York city. This includes a number of emissions reducing initiatives like the New York Declaration on Forests, zero net deforestation commitment from leading palm oil producers and commodities traders, and emissions reductions throughout the supply chains of retailers of meat and agricultural products. Financial achievements include decarbonizing efforts from institutional investors and green investments from the insurance industry. In energy and agriculture there was progress on the African Clean Energy Corridor and the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture. There were also commitments to reduce methane emissions and HFCs.

People's Climate March by the Numbers

Tomorrow's Value Rating 2014 Report

The 2014 edition of Tomorrow's Value™ Rating (TVR) assesses the sustainability performance of the word's 45 biggest companies across five key domains: ​strategy, engagement, governance, innovation and value chain. In essence it evaluates how well companies understand their risks and opportunities, and how prepared they are to create future business value.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Leonardo DiCaprio's Address at the UN Climate Summit

Here is the complete transcript of Leonardo DiCaprio's address at the opening of the UN Climate Summit 2014 (see below). DiCaprio is the UN Messenger of Peace and as he explains in his remarks, world leaders have the choice between "making climate history" or being "vilified."

Methane and Climate Change: Three Pie Charts

The Greening of the US Public Schools

The US public school system is getting greener. Public schools across the US are beginning to adopt green policies and build more sustainable infrastructure. Together these efforts reduce environmental impacts while offering a valuable ecological lesson to students.

School districts are spending hundreds of millions on new green schools. Some are even getting LEED certified. Almost half of all new school construction contains green elements which is up from only 15 percent in 2008. According to McGraw-Hill, by 2025, all new school construction will be green.