Monday, October 26, 2009 Makes History With its International Day of Climate Change Action

More than four thousand actions, in over 170 countries have made The International Day of Climate Action, a massive global event. Through this event, millions of people are telling their leaders that they demand strong and immediate action on climate change.

Highlights from the day include: Major rallies at iconic landmarks like the Taj Mahal, Machu Picchu, the Pyramids and the Great Barrier Reef. Nearly 300 events across China, from the Great Wall to wind farms in Inner Mongolia to to Mt. Everest, and hundreds more across Asia from.

Over 100 events across the Middle East, including events in Afghanistan, Iraq, and simultaneous rallies on the Israeli, Jordanian, and Palestinian shores of the Dead Sea. Hundreds of events across Africa, including a hip-hop concert in Benin, bungee-jumpers diving off an abandoned power station in Johannesburg, and hundreds of Masaii children doing a climate dance in Kenya.

In Latin America activities include events from the Tierra del Fuego all the way up to the Calakmul Pyramids in Mexico. Thousands of creative rallies and events are also taking place across Europe, North America, Australia and the Pacific, and even the polar regions! See the photo slideshow.

The event was the biggest news story on Google and CNN, it was also the lead story on the front pages of newspapers around the globe. Many journalists were calling the event "the most widespread day of political action the world has ever seen."

THE GREEN MARKET event in support of was entitled "Let the Business Community Know How You Want Them to Help." One of the most complete contributions came from author and eco-activist Geoff Garver. His four points were a comprehensive summary of some the the basic thoughts that are the defining features of sustainable business.

Tip 1: Ecology Must Inform the Economy

Spread the word about the need to re-think our economy. Business and consumer choices have an enormous impact on our society and our environment. It is crucial that members of the business community understand the ultimate, long-term ecological crisis our economy faces - a crisis much more serious than the economic and financial crisis of the past year. The problem is not just climate change. It's also biodiversity losses, threats to ocean health, a nutrient cycle that is out of balance because of fertilization, deforestation, overpopulation and more. We must come to terms with the reality that the global human ecological footprintis greater than what is available, and that we therefore are running anecological deficits, using up the Earth faster than it can regenerate itself. This means we have to envision a new kind of economy that recognizes the ecological limits of our finite planet Earth. The book I co-authored, Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy, sets out a vision of an economy that can avoid collapse. Another great starting placefor understanding these issues, and spreading the word, is the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report. Information on Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy/Living Planet Report

Tip 2: Implement Strategies to Reduce Your Footprint

Calculate your ecological and carbon footprints and develop strategies for driving them down. You can make money driving down ecological and carbon footprint! Plus there are reputational benefits you can market. Think of the situation your business will be in if the energy economy is adjusted to include the true costs of climate change and otherecological impacts that must be avoided for the long-term health of theeconomy. Here is information on footprints, geared toward businesses: Global Footprint Network, Best Foot Forward

Tip 3: Advocate for Ecological Policies and Regulations

Team up and advocate for change that will make ecologically friendly choices more affordable and preferable From building codes to subsidies for fossil fuel energy. Many local, provincial and federal programs are still biased in favor of environmentally less favorable choices. New, ecologically progressive policies and regulations are needed across the board, and urgently. This calls for a united front. Local, provincial and federal business associations can help promote awareness of the need for changes and advocate for those changes. One area in particular where individual and community efforts need to align is green building. Green building can help maintain healthy, high quality and low-consumption lifestyles while minimizing ecological impacts. And green building is full of low-hanging fruit: Money-saving changes in the way buildings are built and operated that also drive down the ecological costs on the economy. The basic philosophy of green building is a sound business philosophy too: Minimize demand for energy, water and resources, maximize renewable energy, maximize reuse and recycling of materials and favor local sourcing over long-range transport of materials. Some of the challenges confronted by green building and strategies for overcoming them, are outlined in the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation's report Green Building in North America: Opportunities and Challenges.

Tip 4: Keep it Local

Keep your business focused on the local. Look for local or regional associations that promote and support bio-regional businesses -ones that keep the money and ecological footprint as local as possible,starting with where capital goods, raw materials, and so on come from, and ending with a focus on a committed and loyal local customer base. Let your customers know that you are working to provide high quality goods orservice while keeping profits and the footprint as local as possible. If an association supporting businesses committed to local, ecological practices does not exist in your area, consider starting one. A great example is Sustainable Connections in Bellingham, Washington, a support network of local, independent entrepreneurs committed to these principles. They created a very successful local business sticker, with the theme ThinkLocal, Buy Local, Be Local. Here is a video link and a website link with more about Sustainable Connections website, video clip

A special mention goes to Ariel Normand who suggested that businesses could do the most for green by leveraging their supply chains. She further suggests that publishing the results of their efforts would constitute invaluable marketing.

Thanks to all who contributed and lets remember that our efforts to bring about action on climate change are ongoing, they are not confined to one day, one month or one year.

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