Thursday, April 24, 2014

Rhino Horn Economics: The Perils of Putting a Price on Nature

A number of market based solutions have been advanced to address dwindling biological diversity and the loss of healthy eco-systems. Efforts to save the rhino serve as a model to explore some of these approaches. Rhinos are one of the largest living land mammals and they symbolize humans’ deleterious impacts on the natural world.

Rhinos are being hunted to extinction for their horns, which are considered to be a magical cure-all in some traditional Asian cultures. The trade in rhino horn is currently illegal, but one approach to address this problem strives to indulge the demand by farming them. The advantage to this approach is that the horn can be removed without killing the animal, thereby protecting the animal from extinction.

Transport Canada's New Train Safety Rules for Oil

On Wednesday April 23, Canada's Transport Minister announced new rail safety regulations. These new rules follow recommendations by Canada's Transportation Safety Board. The government has instituted a directive to eliminate or retrofit the DOT-111 tanker cars. The DOT-111 which makes up about 70 per cent of all tankers on the rails, are prone to rupture.

The move comes in response to last year's runaway oil train that derailed and exploded, killing forty-seven people and destroying 30 buildings in the small town of Lac Megantic Quebec. Trains ferrying fossil fuels have also derailed in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia in recent months.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

US Supreme Court Ruling Makes it Easier to Buy Election Outcomes

A recent ruling by the Republican-appointed majority on the US Supreme Court has freed uber-wealthy to flex their financial muscles so that they can buy electoral outcomes. The ruling on the McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission case upholds the $2,600 limit per candidate, however, limitations on the number of candidates that can be given money has been lifted. This means that those with the financial means can now interfere with the democratic process.

Bill McKibben on the Triumph of Activism in the Wake of the Delay of the Keystone XL

While Bill McKibben is among those who want the President to kill the Keystone XL project, he heralds the delay as a victory for environmental activists.  Another delay means that oil is not flowing from Alberta to the Gulf Coast and that in and of itself is a great accomplishment.

"Every day we delay a decision is a day when 830,000 barrels of oil stays safely in the ground." 350.org founder McKibben explained. He also went on to say that the fight will continue. "Together we’ve kept them at bay for three years now, and will continue to until perhaps the beginning of next year it seems," McKibben said. "The climate fight can’t be delayed. We need to keep building the movement, and we need to keep putting heat on leaders like President Obama till we win not delay the decision on the Keystone XL pipeline."

The Politics of the Obama Administration's Keystone Delay

President Obama may be trying to avoid the political fallout associated with the Keystone XL by delaying a final decision until after the November 4 midterm elections.

On Friday April 18th, the State Department extended the review period for the pipeline.

If the President rejects the pipeline, this could help the Republicans to gain ground in the forthcoming congressional elections, if he he moves forward with the pipeline this could undermine the chances of some Democrats.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nature Conservancy Canada Matches Volunteers to Projects in Canada

Are you interested in volunteering your time to conserve nature in Canada? If so there is a new portal that helps interested volunteers to find conservation projects near you. The Nature Conservancy Canada (NCC) matches people with volunteer opportunities that are organized by province. These projects support the health and well being of a wide range of Canada’s natural places.

Projects cover things like animal surveys, building homes for wild birds, making trails, and wildlife counts.

To go to the site click here.

New Social Activism Crowdsourcing Platform



Social activism can change the world and a new concept is being launched shortly that will help give people more power and influence over their governments. This new social activism is called Amplifyd, it is a crowdsourced lobbying platform where people can support causes in their community and in return get a personal representative that will call and lobby their elected officials on their behalf.

Infographic - Global Power Shift


The Crucial Significance of Earth Day and Grassroots Environmentalism

April 22, is Earth Day, this annual flagship event has achieved a great deal in the last 44 years. In the US and around the world, Earth Day leads the way on issues associated with environmental advocacy. Earth Day not only raises awareness, it encourages people to act in defense of planetary ecology and local environmental issues throughout the year.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Infographic - Plastic and the 5 Ocean Gyres



10 Ways to Upcycle Plastic Easter Eggs

Now that Easter is over many are wondering what they can do with those plastic eggs. Instead of downcycling, upcycle those eggs by turning them into something you can use over and over again.

Aside from not buying them in the first place there are a number of ways that they can be upcycled so that they do not end up in landfills where they will take decades to break down. In the process they will leave a toxic residue that is harmful to the soil and water.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Event - 2014 Edison Earth Day Celebration

The 2014 Edison Earth Day celebration will take place on April 27, 2014, 9:00 am - 3:00 pm at Papaianni Park, 100 Municipal Boulevard Edison, NJ. This free, annual, family-friendly, green/sustainable, public event in honor of Earth Day. This celebration is co-presented by the Township of Edison, Edison Clean Communities Program; Edison Township Environmental Commission (ETEC) and the Edison Sustainable Jersey Green Team (ESJGT). Activities include: Volunteer plantings, site cleaning and organic debris consolidation, as well as a variety of other green/sustainable activities; Test America environmental testing; Central Jersey Bicycle Association (CJBA) Bike Ride.

Event - 5th Cherry Hill Earth Festival

This Festival will take place on Saturday, April 26, at Cherry Hill, Camden County, New Jersey. More than 90 displays, vendors, and activities along with an e-waste recycling collection will be part of the family-friendly event that includes bike rides, entertainment, healthy food choices, a Phillie Phanatic appearance and more. Admission is free. The annual event is a collaboration between Cherry Hill Township and Sustainable Cherry Hill. The event marks the start of the annual Art Blooms in Cherry Hill event April 26-May 10.

Event - 31st Social Research Conference: Climate Change Demands We Change. Why Aren’t We?

The Conference "Climate Change Demands We Change. Why Aren’t We?" will take place on Friday, April 24 - 25, 2014 at 10:00 am to 4:00 pm at the John L. Tishman Auditorium, University Center (note new address) 63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, New York, NY. There is no issue more urgent than climate change, yet government, corporations, and the public are reluctant to change. This Center for Public Scholarship conference will examine the psychological factors, money and politics, and infrastructures that impede change as well as the difficult choices that must be made to foster urban resilience in the face of climate change.

Event - Waste Management and recycling Summit 2014

Waste Management and recycling Summit 2014 will take place on April 23 - 24, 2014 at the Novotel Riyadh Al Anoud, Al Anoud Tower No.1, 9033, King Fahd Road, Olaya, Saudi Arabia.

Webinar: PET Thermoform Recycling - A Progress Report

Webinar: PET Thermoform Recycling - A Progress Report, will take place on April 22, 2014, 1:30 pm - 2:45 pm. This webinar will provide an overview of PET Thermoform recycling, from early research and development efforts; the state of the market today; and a reclaimer's experience in recycling PET thermoforms with PET bottles. Speakers: Resa Dimino, Director of Public Policy, NAPCOR and Ryan L'Abbe, Vice President & General Manager, Ice River Springs - Blue Mountain Plastics Division.

Event - 11th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference

The 11th Annual Sustainable Energy Conference will take place on April 21 - 23, 2014 in Raleigh, NC. The theme for this year's conference is "INNOVATION: From Cutting Edge to Common Place." The event will host top notch speakers, industry-leading exhibitors, continuing education credits, and bonus special events for engineers, architects, transportation professionals and energy innovators.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Video - The Rebirth of Food Waste into Fuel in South Korea



In densely populated South Korea food waste is being reborn as methane. Through a process that reduces climate change causing greenhouse gases, the nation is developing new technologies that are transforming daily waste into energy.

Video - How Religion can Energize Ecological Renewal



The key issue preventing us from tackling the environmental problems we face is public inertia not a lack of science or technology. We have invested a great deal of effort into the important work of developing solutions to a wide range of environmental problems, but we have failed to energize people to act. After decades of solid peer reviewed research we must concede that science is incapable of fostering the passion needed for widespread ecological renewal.

The body of scientific evidence is strong and there are a vast number of technological solutions. However, if we are to seriously engage the climate crisis and other environmental issues we must find ways to get people interested and involved.

As explained in this video, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Senior Research Scholar at Yale University, suggests that religion can help us to to generate popular passion for ecology. As she explains the most renewable source of energy is "the dynamizing human energies" that fuel the movement of ecological renewal.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Ecological Message in the Symbolism of Easter

The egg is a prominent symbol of Easter and a fitting metaphor for the Earth. It contains the promise of new life and at the same it is fragile and can be easily broken. As a festival celebrating the return of spring and as a Christian holiday, Easter calls us to remember the cycles of renewal and the interconnectedness of life and death. 

Above all, Easter symbolizes new life, rebirth, and renewal. From an ecological perspective this is precisely what is required as we engage the serious work of being better environmental stewards. A number of symbols have become part of the Easter tradition. Some are directly related to the life of Jesus Christ and some have a pagan background.

For Christians, Easter is a celebration of Christ's resurrection, the ultimate symbol of rebirth. Easter's known pagan roots date back to the 8th century, specifically an Anglo-Saxon fertility goddess known as "Eostre," whose name may be derived from "eastre," meaning spring.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Report - Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America's Solar Energy Revolution

Environment New York held a news conference on April 13, in Albany to release, "Shining Cities: At the Forefront of America's Solar Energy Revolution," a first-of-its kind comparison of installed solar in major cities across the US. According to the report New York is the 8th largest solar state in the country. The report reviews the impressive growth of solar in New York City and Buffalo.

The report also highlights the importance of strong local policies and programs in the development of a robust solar industry in these major cities, and calls out specific cities from the list of those studied for their implementation of best practices.

Infographic - Benefits of Acting on Short Lived Climate Pollutants


Latest IPCC Report on the Viability of Fast Actions to Limit Climate Change Including SLCP

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report indicates that many fast actions for addressing climate change are proving to be more affordable than previously imagined. The report is entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, it is the third of three Working Group Reports, which make up the IPCC's fifth Assessment Report.

The report addresses the viability of restricting short lived climate pollutants (SLCP) and also indicates that there are a number of other fast actions that can be taken that will have a dramatic impact on global warming without adversely impacting people's quality of life. They include efforts to improve energy efficiency through new building codes, vehicle efficiency standards and increases in renewable energy. The economic viability of clean energy sources like wind and solar are becoming increasingly obvious as they are becoming cheaper to produce and deploy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Infographic - Exxon Valdez Timeline of Recovery (NOAA)


Latest IPCC Report Indicates the World is Headed Towards Unacceptable Temperature Increases

If we continue with business as usual we will see a temperature increase of more than 4ºC above preindustrial temperatures by the end of the century. This is more than double the internationally agreed upon upper temperature limit increase of 2ºC.

According to a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions increased by the equivalent of ten billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) between 2000 and 2010. The report entitled Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change, is the third of three Working Group Reports, which make up the IPCC’s fifth Assessment Report on climate change.

BC Town Rejects the Northern Gateway Pipeline

A British Colombia town has rejected the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline project that would ferry 525,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen each day from Alberta to the west coast.

On Saturday April 12, voters in Kitimat said "no" to Enbridge and the Canadian Conservative's proposed oil pipeline, terminus and super-port that would subject the west coast to hundreds of oil bearing supertankers each year.

White Paper - Sustainable Investing: Imperative and Opportunity

This whitepaper was produced by Morgan Stanley. As they explain on their Sustainable Investing website, they believe that private sector capital can play a key role in driving large-scale solutions to the most critical challenges to global prosperity and well-being.

Their Institute for Sustainable Investing seeks to help businesses, institutions and individuals direct capital to these challenges in scalable ways.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Three Most Revealing IPCC Charts


"Green" Innovation and the Economic Importance of Fossil Fuels in Canada

Fossil fuels are the cornerstone of the Canadian economy and many companies are developing technological processes to help minimize their environmental impacts. Fossil fuels and the tar sands in particular are powerful economic drivers of the Canadian economy. The tar sands generate $91 billion for the Canadian economy. Oil and refined petroleum products are responsible for 25 percent of Canadian exports. The oil sands have seen substantial growth in the last couple of decades and they have provided a corresponding number of jobs. As reported in the Financial Post, a February 2014, IHS CERA study, showed that in 2012, oil sands generated almost a half a million jobs in Canada (478,000) Canadian jobs or 3 percent of all jobs in the country and

We are seeing "green" innovation in the Canadian fossil fuel industry including investments in carbon capture and storage. This type of innovation could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 20 percent or more, tailings could be reduced by 80 percent and river water could be diminished by 25 percent.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Infographic - Climate Denial is Anti-Science


Cleantech is Following Technology's Downward Spiral

Declines in the Nasdaq are capturing headlines and cleantech composite indexes appear to be following suit. Despite being a top performer over the past two years, cleantech is being dragged down with the rest of the market. In 2013 the cleantech index was up 58 percent but there were plenty of stocks that doubled and even tripled.

Technology stocks have taken a big hit over the course of the last few weeks and this is directly impacted cleantech stock performance. Technology is one of the biggest drivers of sustainability. While cutting-edge green technologies have the potential to improve quality of life, reduce environmental impact and generate profits, the reverse is also true. A slowdown in cleantech can also slow technological efforts to address the environmental challenges we face.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Event - Energy East: Our RISK Their REWARD

This event is focused on the reasons why the Energy East pipeline is not in the interest of people in Ontario. It will take place on Tue Apr 15, 2014, at 7 pm at the North Grenville Municipal Centre in Kemptville, Ontario. This is one of several events from the Council of Canadians and Sustainable North. From April 7-16, they will be visiting communities across Ontario to talk about why TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline is all risk and little reward.

TransCanada’s Energy East project would be the largest oil pipeline in North America. It would ship 1.1 million barrels of oil every day through Ontario towards Saint John, New Brunswick. Join us to find out why this massive tar sands pipeline puts our water, land and air at risk.

Event - California Energy Storage: Cost Effectiveness and Beyond

California Energy Storage: Cost Effectiveness and Beyond will take place on Thursday, April 17, 2014, 1:00pm - 3:30pm PST/ Streamed Panel Discussion 1:30pm - 3:00pm PST/ 4:30pm - 6:00pm EST. Meeting in San Francisco.

In October, 2013, the California Public Utilities Commission issued the unprecedented Decision requiring the state’s utilities to meet energy storage procurement targets of 1.3 gigawatts of storage by 2020. The Decision is intended to:

1. Assist in optimizing California’s electricity grid, including peak demand reduction, improving reliability, and deferring investments in transmission and distribution upgrades
2. Facilitating integration of renewable energy onto the grid
3. Contributing towards the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.

Event - Impact Capitalism Summit

The Impact Capitalism Summit will take place on April 29 - 30, 2014, at the Union League Club of Chicago. At this event you will learn how to deploy capital to make a positive impact while still maximizing returns. This summit presented by the Watershed Capital Group.

Event - Green Building Benchmarking & the Role of Data in EE (Roundtable Discussion)

This Green Building Benchmarking event will take place on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, from 9:30am to 11:30am EDT. The Streamed Panel Discussion will take place from 10:00am to 11:30am EDT. The Meeting in New York, will take place at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, New York.

In 2009 Mayor Bloomberg enacted the most comprehensive energy efficiency (EE) policy through the Greener, Greater Building Plan (GGBP). As part of this policy Local Law 84 requires buildings 50,000 sq ft or larger to publicly disclose their energy and water use. This data is being used to create a comparative online platform called the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager.

It has already come to light that NYC buildings as a whole are more efficient than their counterparts around the country. The ENERGY STAR score has increased already from 64 to 67. As more years are cataloged and compared New York City will pin point what projects must take precedence over others and what strategies are successful.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Video - Action4Climate Competition Submission by Montgomery College Students



This video was submitted to the Action4Climate Video Competition it is the result of a spontaneous 5 day extracurricular project of 30 sociology students of Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, USA. With the inspiration of our professor, Dr. Leszek Sibilski, and his former students Yaqi Liu, and Ma Ying, during the 2014 Winter session of Introduction to Sociology, the entire class agreed to produce a video clip to raise awareness and spread the message about climate change. The video addresses the potential of 8 million undergraduate students in the United States, who attend 1,200 community colleges nation-wide to make a difference. The budget for this project was zero dollars and we had at our disposal only semi-professional cameras. The video is dedicated to the late Nelson Mandela, who once said: "It always seems impossible until it is done". We did it! Thank you, Madiba! We truly hope that this video clip will be watched, shared, and will inspire many community college students in the US to tackle climate change and act on behalf of our planet.

Video - Years of Living Dangerously (Premiere Full Episode)



Watch the world premiere of the new series, "Years of Living Dangerously" which involves celebrities and respected journalists as they span the globe to explore the issues of climate change and cover intimate stories of human triumph and tragedy. The "Years of Living Dangerously" takes you directly to the heart of climate change issues in an awe-inspiring, cinematic documentary series event.

Video - Republican Senator Explains Why the PTC is Important



In this video Republican Senator Charles Ernest "Chuck" Grassley explains the importance of renewing the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) which expired at the end of 2013. Democrat Max Baucus and Republican Dave Camp, allowed the PTC to lapse in favor of working on a broader tax code overhaul. The extension of the PTC has a good chance of passing, although it will likely be opposed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives. The PTC extension will be championed by the Democratic Senator from Oregon, Ron Wyden, the incoming chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

Video - Obama's Top Aids and Democratic Donors Oppose the Keystone XL


President Obama's advisers and Democratic donors are part of the growing resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline. Those who oppose the pipeline now include business leaders, scientists, economists and people around the world. The chorus calling for the President to reject the Keystone XL is getting harder to ignore.

Video - Two Million Comments Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline



More than 2 million comments were delivered to President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry calling for rejection of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Although the decision to stop or proceed with the pipeline may be politically contentious, from an ecological point of view there really is no choice. The KXL will increase greenhouse house gases and expedite our already perilous trajectory. As those who delivered the comments on March 7th said, the KXL is not in the national interest and must be rejected.