Thursday, October 19, 2017

Evidence Linking Wildfires and Climate Change

A hotter world is also a drier world. Less precipitation in the form of rain and snow. Warmer temperatures also contribute to earlier snowmelt and more evaporation. Climate change also augurs infect infestations that kill trees and provide more fuel for wildfires. Increasingly severe storms also contribute to more lightening and this is yet another wildfire risk factor associated with climate change. Here is a brief primer reviewing some of the evidence linking wildfires to climate change.

Wildfires have always occurred in nature but human activities have caused the Earth to warm and this is increasing the number and intensity of fires. The world has warmed by an average of one degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, however, in some forests the temperature has increased by 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Trump's Climate Denial as Puerto Ricans Continue to Die in the Wake of Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria unleashed wind and rain not seen in Puerto Rico’s modern history. This storm is known to have killed at least 50 people. When all is said and done the actual toll is likely to be in the hundreds. Hurricane Maria the strongest storm to hit the island in a century and the fifth-strongest storm ever to hit the US. Maria ravaged Puerto Rico with strong winds and record-breaking rains. Before Maria hit, around 60,000 people on the island were still without power from Hurricane Irma. Parts of Puerto Rico saw more rain than Harvey dumped on Houston. The city of Caguas, in the mountains of eastern Puerto Rico, may have broken a world record for the most rain to have fallen in a single hour (14 inches). Over the course of the storm Caguas got more rain (nearly 40 inches) than Seattle does in an average year (37 inches).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Event - NAFTA's Environmental Side Agreement: Assessing the Past and Looking Towards the Future

 This open invitation event will take place on November 9, 2017 at the Courtyard Chicago Downtown/River, North Room, Michigan Avenue, 30 East Hubbard at State Street, Chicago, Illinois. People can also participate in this event online and in either English, French or Spanish.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Event - Net Impact Conference 2017

The 2017 version of the annual Net Impact Conference will take place on October 26 - 28, 2017 at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta Georgia. The conference is subtitled, "the path to purpose". Many people want to make a difference, but turning good intentions into tangible impact can be hard. This conference can give you the skills, experiences, and connections so that you can have the greatest impact now and throughout your career.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

California Fires are Part of a Global Phenomenon

The devastating fires in California are but the most dramatic example of a phenomenon that has ravaged many parts of the world in 2017.  At least 30 people have been killed by the fires in northern California and thousands are missing. Tens of thousands of others have either lost their homes or been forced to flee. Propelled by strong winds fires have destroyed almost 200,000 acres of land in California including ranches and businesses. Sonoma County and Mendocino County have been hit particularly hard and Redwood Valley has been reduced to ashes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pruitt Lies to Justify Killing the Clean Power Plan

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt's obfuscation is designed to kill the Clean Power Plan. Pruitt's decision to kill the Plan jeopardizes American lives and compromises their health. Pruitt's subterfuge ignores the fact that the EPA was created in 1970 to focus specifically on the environment and human health.

Prior to becoming EPA administrator Pruitt had amassed a long track record as a climate denier and fossil fuel advocate. As revealed by his emails and his calendar Pruitt's agenda is diametrically opposed to the EPA's mandate. When he was the Attorney General for Oklahoma Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times and disbanded the state's Environmental Protection Unit. The fact that he has received more than a quarter of a million dollars from the fossil fuel industry to support his political career is a matter of public record.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Celebrating Oxymorons: Canadian Thanksgiving and Columbus Day

Although they co-occur, in many respects Columbus Day and Canadian Thanksgiving are diametrically opposed to each other. While Canadian Thanksgiving is a harvest festival celebrating nature's bounty, Columbus Day marks the start of our systematic destruction of the natural world.

Monday October 9th is Canadian Thanksgiving, a time to be grateful, it is also Columbus day in most parts of the new world. It is hard to reconcile the start of our exploitation of the Americas and the expression of gratitude for the bountiful harvests nature provides. 

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Event - SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing

The 28th SRI Conference on Sustainable, Responsible, Impact Investing will take place November 1-3, 2017 in San Diego, California. This annual event is Produced by The SRI Conference and Community, LLC. The SRI Conference is the industry’s seminal event. Thought leaders, investors, and investment professionals from all corners of the Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) investing universe convene to gain and share knowledge and strategies that align financial performance with positive change. We are catalyzing the shift to a more socially equitable and environmentally sustainable.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Carbon Budget Exposes the Energy East Pipeline and Reveals that Fossil Fuels are Uneconomical

In the context of our carbon budget, fossil fuels are anything but cheap. To illustrate this point consider the fact that market forces recently killed the largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed. When the Canadian government imposed a climate test on the Energy East pipeline project it ceased to be viable. TransCanada withdrew their application when they knew that the project would be subject to carbon accounting. TransCanada had no choice but to take the project off of life support because they knew that a scientific assessment reveals that the Energy East is terminal.

Every new fossil fuel project brings us closer to surpassing a threshold from which we may not be able to recover.

Friday, October 6, 2017

People-Powered Protest Kills the Energy East Pipeline

The death of the Energy East pipeline proves that people can change our world for the better. While it is easy to feel overwhelmed and impotent recent events prove once again that protest works. Last year around this time we saw how people-powered protest managed to kill the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL). On October 5th the Energy East died when TransCanada announced that it was withdrawing its application for the pipeline.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Top 5 Countries for Green Masters Degrees (Sustainable Development and Environmental Management)

The majority of the world's green schools can be found in a handful of countries. According to Eduniversal rankings of the best sustainable development and environmental management masters degrees some countries stand out both for the number of schools offering green masters degrees and for their respective positions within this ranking system. When broken down into regions GreenMetric's top 50 gives Europe the edge with 22 universities followed by North America with 13 universities. The Far East has 9 universities in the top 50. Latin America, Australia and the Middle East came in 4th, 5th and 6th with 3, 2, and 1 universities respectively.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Top 50 Masters Degrees Focused on Sustainability and the Environment

There are a number of rating systems that rank schools on their environmental footprints and their academics. One example would be AASHE's ratings another is the Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Ranking. UI has assessed green campuses and sustainability in colleges and universities all around the globe. Yet another ranking system is Eduniversal 2017 rankings of the best sustainable development and environmental management masters degrees. The list includes the top 50 sustainability-focused masters programs in the world. They are presented in the order of their ranking, the name of both the university and the program, and the country in which they are located.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Three Environmentally Themed Graduate Degrees

The Green Market Oracle has been following environmentally themed academics and sustainability focused curricula for more than five years. During this time we have reviewed hundreds of programs from primary school to post graduate education.  Environmental studies are of increasing interest to students and a growing number of schools are integrating sustainability into their curricula.  Here are three environmentally themed graduate programs that warrant special mention:

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Event - 2017 Sustainable Business Summit: London

The 2017 Sustainable Business Summit - London will take place on November 15, 13:00 - 17:00 and November 16 9:00 - 13:00 at Bloomberg LP, City Gate House, 39-45 Finsbury Square, London, UK. Sustainability is Good Business – and a Powerful Investment. Bringing business leaders and investors together has made Bloomberg’s Sustainable Business Summits a uniquely influential setting for sustainability dialogues across North America.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Portland School Boards Protect Fact-Based Climate Education (Video)

Portland school board is standing up to protect our children's access to the truth about climate change. The GOP has been behind consorted attempts to deny children access to a fact-based climate education. In some cases, educators are all that stand between our kids and Republican lies.

Last winter Idaho Republicans passed legislation that censors all reference to climate. However, teachers like Boise School District’s science curriculum director Chris Taylor vow to keep teaching the facts. "We will continue to teach climate change and investigate human impacts on biodiversity even though they are not mentioned in the standards," Taylor said.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Top 10 Money Earning Careers in Sustainability

With the right academic training careers in sustainability can earn you a lot of green. Sustainability is more than just a buzz word it is also an economic boom that has launched thousands of careers and promises to be at the center of many thousands more. These are career paths that can do more than just pay the bills, these are jobs that are imbued with a powerful sense of purpose. Jobs in sustainability can be found in both the private sector and the public sector and they can involve both outreach and activism. Whether in a nonprofit or a for-profit organization there are many sustainability-focused career opportunities. For a comprehensive review of sustainability including definitions click here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Republicans Censor Climate Information in Schools

Climate denial is alive and well in the GOP. Republican legislators are conspiring to deprive kids of a science based climate education. In at least one state they have already succeeded. Earlier this year Republican lawmakers in Idaho voted to remove all fact-based references to climate from the state's science curriculum.

The state's House Education Committee voted for the new K-12 statewide science standards in February.  Republican legislator Rep. Scott Syme said he wanted the standard to include what he called "both sides of the debate". However, rather than invoke the baseless claims that constitute the other side of the argument lawmakers opted to excise all mention of climate change.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Heartland's Climate Denial Campaign Targets Public Schools

The fossil fuel front group known as the Heartland Institute is at the forefront of efforts to decieve our children. Climate denial comes in many forms but the most unconscionable disinformation efforts involve the targeting of kids in their classrooms. Whether they call themselves climate skeptics or climate realists, the goal of climate deniers at the Heartland Institute is to misinform the public including our children.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Event - 2017 Sustainable Business Summit: NYC

Bloomberg's Sustainable Business Summit NYC will take place on October 12th from 1:00 PM to 6:00 PM and October 13th from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM at Bloomberg LP, 731 Lexington Ave., New York, NY.

Bloomberg's 3rd annual Sustainable Business Summit takes a forward-oriented look at how companies are innovating in their sustainable business models and adopting practices that prioritize sustainable value.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Why Schools are Leading the Renewable Energy Revolution

All over the world schools are installing clean power systems and saving money. Institutions of learning offer the perfect platform for renewable energy. In the context of financial constraints on education, green power can also be a forward-looking cost-effective option. In addition to offering long-term price stability, renewable energy is emissions-free power.

Declining price points and increasing efficiency make renewables the smart choice. This is especially true when coupled with increases in efficiency and decreased costs of stationary batteries. Market forecasts suggest that energy storage will continue to get less expensive and more efficient.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Top 50 Green Universities in the UK

UK universities are among the top performing sustainability focused institutions in the world. According to the Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Ranking 8 of the top 50 green universities are in the UK. The ranking places University of Nottingham as the second greenest university in the world, after University of California Davis. Moreover, 5 spots out of the first 10 are awarded to British universities. The complete list includes a total of 150 universities in the UK. In the UK Nottingham Trent University came in first with a score of 76,20 percent, followed by University of Brighton with a score of 74,80 percent.

The map below, shows UK’s top 50 Green Universities and their most notable sustainable projects.  The map includes the total score of People and Planet, the university’s achievements in carbon and waste reduction, plus an additional example of a notable initiative or project the university has implemented.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Complete World University Rankings of Green Schools

The Universitas Indonesia (UI) GreenMetric World University Ranking assesses green campuses and sustainability in schools. In response to student demand schools are increasingly focusing on sustainability. Universities all over the world have voluntarily implemented ISO 14001.  The ranking system seeks to promote sustainability focused school policies and behaviors. That includes things like sustainable building design, renewable energy, water bottle reuse, and locally produced food.  The six criteria are:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

GRI and SDG Certified Training Courses

Certified training courses on the GRI Standards and the SDGs will take place in Minneapolis, MN on October 19-20, 2017 and in Denver, CO on November 16-17, 2017.  Other upcoming certified training courses will be held in San Francisco, Lagos, Nigeria, New York, San Diego and Nairobi, Kenya

The GRI Certified training content will review the transition from GRI G4 to the new GRI Standards. Participants will learn how to use the new GRI Standards including how to manage the reporting process, assess an organization’s significant impacts, select report topics and performance measures, and follow best practices for developing top-quality sustainability reports.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Online Sustainability Summit - Doing Business Doing Good

The first global free online sustainability summit is live for 1 month. Titled the Doing Business Doing Good this summit will show you how to use your business to make a positive impact for a better and more sustainable world. Join the 1630 people who have already registered.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Event - Sustainable Business Summit: Toronto

This Bloomberg event will take place on September 27, 2017, 1:00 PM - 6:00 PM. It will take place at the Art Gallery of Ontario Baillie Court, 317 Dundas St W., Toronto, Ontario.

The Sustainable Business Summit 2016 leveraged Bloomberg’s unrivaled business and markets expertise to convene conversations uniquely focused on the role and opportunities of corporate executives and innovative investors.

The Toronto 2017 conference will discuss global stakes from a uniquely Canadian perspective. Subjects will include:

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Climate Communications and Human Psychology (Video)

We must acknowledge that facts alone are insufficient to augur widespread climate action. The Trump administration's disdain for facts highlight the importance of a science-based understanding of climate change. However, the Trump administration is not the biggest impediment to climate action. They are merely taking advantage of human psychology.

Narratives bassed exclusively on facts make people feel both afraid and guilty. Rather than motivating us to act fear causes apathy, avoidance and passivity.  We need messaging that is both clear and concise. We also need narratives that reflect the propensities of the human psyche.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Business School Sustainability Fail

Research suggests that business schools are not adequately preparing students to meet the challenges of climate change. Sustainability-focused pedagogy is rare. Even rarer are schools that teach science-based sustainability strategies.

As the primary drivers of climate change, the role of the business community is crucial. Business and industry are the largest contributors of greenhouse gases that are driving climate change. According to some estimates, this translates to a 6 percent for buildings and 25 percent for electricity production.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paper Reduction Programs in Schools

In an effort to minimize their environmental footprints a large number of schools are getting involved in paper reduction projects. This is an important issue for institutions of learning as they are responsible for a larger than average share of global paper consumption.

Paper production comes at a very high environmental cost, it is also a major source of climate change causing greenhouse gases. Paper is resource intensive requiring large quanties of trees and water. Paper is not only a major contributor to deforestation and drought it is also a leading source of pollution.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

US Hurricanes and the GOP's Climate Denial

The string of Hurricanes that devastated parts of the Caribbean and the US South East in 2017 make it harder for deniers to dismiss climate change. The US has been hit by a number of dramatic storms in recent years. This includes Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Matthew. Now Harvey and Irma join the list of record breaking storms that have ravaged the US.

It would be reckless to say that climate change is solely responsible for any one hurricane or any one extreme weather event. However, it is fair to say that extreme weather offers a powerful teaching moment. Because climate change can be hard to visualize, hurricanes provide a unique opportunity to help people understand the dynamics at play. Such storms kill people and destroy both homes and livelihoods. This dramatically demonstrates the impacts of global warming.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Event - Sustainable Innovation Forum 2017 (SIF17)

The 8th SIF17 will take place on the 13th and 14th of November 2017 in Bonn, Germany. This year this event will be taking place on the lawn of the Deutsche Post DHL Group Post Tower, only steps away from the COP23. Because the Forum will not be located within the Blue Zone, (the location of the official COP23 negotiations), attendees will not require a special UNFCCC accreditation to access SIF17. The Forum is organized by Climate Action and UN Environment Program and it is the largest business focused event alongside UNFCCC COP23.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Event - Green Building: Occupant Wellbeing: Designing Healthy, Effective Workplaces

This green building breakfast series event will take place on Tuesday September 12, 2017, 7:30 am - 9:30 am at Territories Room, Fairmont Royal York Hotel, 100 Front St West, Toronto, Ontario. This event will address ways of designing and building healthy and effective collaborative workspaces that exceed basic standards.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Sustainability Focused Education Auckland University (Video)

The University of Auckland Business School has a sustainability program and the school's Faculty of Science Sustainability Network partners with the UofA's commitment to sound environmental performance as part of their Strategic Plan 2013-2020. This includes objectives to make more efficient use of resources and enhance their overall environmental performance.

The Faculty of Science Sustainability Network aims to facilitate sustainability-oriented initiatives, model sustainable practices and increase the internal and external visibility of sustainability-oriented activities in the Faculty of Science.

Advocacy in International Affairs from IHEID (Video)

The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID) is offering English language studies designed to help students to develop the skills they need to influence the global agenda. The title of the course of study is "Advocacy in International Affairs".

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trump's Climate Denial the GOP and Fossil Fuels

Donald Trump came to power riding a wave of climate denial generated by the the fossil fuel industry and their minions in the GOP.  Part of the standard denial strategy involves discrediting the body of evidence supporting anthropogenic climate change.

Deniers use clever arguments to make their ignorance seem more plausible. Although there are a number of arguments related to climate action that should resonate with Republicans, thus far they  have fallen on deaf ears.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

UI GreenMetric World University Ranking

For the last seven years the Universitas Indonesia has been ranking institutions of higher learning in terms of sustainability. The ranking is called the UI GreenMetric World University Ranking.

The idea of this ranking system was born out of a 2009 conference hosted by the school. The "International Conference on World University Rankings" addressed the fact that many school rankings failed to include carbon reduction efforts.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Feedback Loop Between Extreme Weather and Fossil Fuels Makes the Case for Clean Energy

As clean energy continues to grow storms continue to highlight the dangers of oil and gas. Fossil fuels and storms are locked in a perilous relationship that sees each contribute to the destructive force of the other. Extreme weather events have repeatedly ravaged Texas oil infrastructure.

Storms wreak havoc with both the economy and the environment. Preliminary estimates put the economic cost of Hurricane Harvey at $190 billion, making it the costliest natural disaster in US history. There are also costs in the fossil fuel sector associated with Hurricane Harvey passing right through the hub of the US petroleum and natural gas industries in southeast Texas.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Event - World Environmental Education Congress

World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) 2017, will take place Sept 9 - 15 in Vancouver, BC. The 9th WEEC (World Environmental Education Congress) will be held in Vancouver, Canada, September 9-15, 2017. The title of the Congress is CulturEnvironment: Weaving new connections.

Event - SFI Annual Conference 2017

This conference will take place on September 27-29, 2017 in Ottawa, Canada. The SFI Annual Conference brings together thought leaders and influencers from the forest sector, conservation and community partners, tribal and indigenous leaders as well as some of the most engaged forest product customers in North America. This year’s conference theme – Forests. A Way of Life – will highlight how we all depend on forests whether we are harvesting professionals, landowners, producers, customers, Indigenous peoples, or individuals using forests for recreation. To enjoy our shared quality of life, we need to ensure our forests are responsibly managed, so we have clean air, clean water, biodiversity, sustainable communities and forest products that improve our quality of life.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hurricane Harvey and Trump's Hypocritical Resistance to Climate Resilience

Hurricane Harvey is a clarion call to climate deniers like Donald Trump. Extreme weather is one of the hallmarks of a world ravaged by climate change. Severe storms and catastrophic flooding illustrate the dangers of global warming more graphically than any research ever could. 

Hurricane Harvey now ranks as the worst rainstorm in US history. The storm saw winds as strong as 132 mph and some of the largest downpours ever recorded. It should be noted that this extreme rainfall is clearly consistent with climate models. One of the cities hit hardest was Houston, where heavy downpours have increased 167 percent since the 1950s.

Hurricane Harvey and the State of Climate Science

Storms are complex phenomena but we can say with a good degree of certainty that Hurricane Harvey and other extreme weather events are exacerbated by global warming.

Hurricane Harvey is the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than half a century. It smashed into the coast of Texas on Friday as a Category 4 hurricane. It then dumped over a meter of rain submerging streets, homes and vehicles. Thousands of people were stranded on rooftops in scenes reminiscent of Hurricane Katrina. In addition to widespread property damage Harvey is known to have killed at least 14 people and almost seven million people have been affected.