Thursday, March 31, 2011

Green Product Design Network

Students, faculty, staff, and business leaders are invited to join the Green Product Design Collaboration Network to invent sustainable products. Their intent is to develop "a different approach to product design."

The Green Product Design Network (GPDN) began with a group of leaders from the University of Oregon with expertise in green chemistry, product design, business and journalism and communication with an interest in inventing sustainable products that can be readily adopted and marketed to our larger society.

The goal is to take ideas from invention to the marketplace in a way that has a more expedient and lasting impact on society.The Green Product Design Network–in accordance with the University of Oregon’s emerging academic plan, and “Big Ideas”–has been selected as one of five key projects that the University of Oregon (UO) is supporting and highlighting as a major strategic initiative for the UO.

On Wednesday, March 30, 2011 The Green Product Design Network held an event titled, Perceptions of Green Product Design and Green Marketing, at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, Oregon. The business of green product design was explored through two presentations by Kiersten Muenchinger (UO Product Design) and Kim Sheehan (UO Journalism and Communications) exploring materials, marketing, waste and misconceptions about environmentally-friendly product design.

The Green Product Design Network is confronting challenges related to our dwindling resource base, climate change, chemical contaminants, the viability and success of our financial markets, and the emergence of new technologies. The best solutions to these problems will come from research cutting across many disciplines and from the creation of tailored, multidisciplinary education programs for our students. This is the aim of the GPDN.

Their strategy is to develop a network that is inclusive and taps the potential of the wide range of scholars needed to tackle these large challenges and allows for broader participation than typical Center and Institute structures. In addition, a network structure facilitates open participation from external strategic partners including those from industry, government, and NGOs. Networks are flexible and nimble, even at large scale – there is minimal fixed infrastructure and participation can define membership while project leadership can easily change as focus shifts.

Their Vision involves enhancing synergies to Impact the “Triple Bottom Line:” People, Planet, and Profit. Inventing and marketing profitable products that truly are green. This requires a broad interdisciplinary approach—and the UO is uniquely equipped to provide it. The GPDN provides a unifying theme to leverage strengths in the arts and sciences, architecture and allied arts, business, journalism, and law to provide a systems approach to:

• Improve understanding about how new products affect the environment, our economic structures, and society.
• Invent greener products, materials, and chemicals.
• Discover the best business models and practices to deliver these innovations to society.
• Create meaningful educational programs for current and future generations.The strength of this strategy is that it will enhance synergies between the three pillars of the "triple bottom line:" people, planet, and profit.

Contact Julie A. Haack for more information, go to the Green Product Design Network Website and see their Facebook page.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Environmental Issues in the 2011 Canadian Federal Election

In 2008, the Conservatives belittled the opposition's green initiatives, and in 2011 the Conservatives continue to have very little for the environment. Conservatives are leading in the polls, but the platforms of the opposition are far greener.

Here is an overview of the environmental platforms of the major federal parties. (As a regional party the Bloc Quebecois has not been included in this review).

Conservative Party

Despite a deplorable track record on the environment, the Conservative Party is still trying to portray itself as green. The truth is they left Canadian oceans vulnerable to oil spills, made no progress on greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and blocked progress at international climate change summits.

The Conservative Party is nonetheless trying to take credit for establishing regulations on greenhouse gases and air pollution. They have preserved some land and marine areas, while banning toxic chemicals and creating new labeling guidelines.

Liberal Party

The Liberal Party has a comprehensive plan to create clean energy jobs. If elected, Liberals will make an historic investment in clean energy and energy efficiency, quadrupling Canada's production of renewable energy. They have also indicated they would create a cap and trade system with hard caps leading to absolute reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Liberal environmental platform includes a commitment to protect Canada'a air, oceans, waterways, forests and Arctic.

New Democratic Party

The New Democratic party rejects the claim of a fundamental contradiction between environmental health and economic growth. They advocate developing green energy industries as an opportunity for job creation as well as encouraging environmental technologies and practices, which in turn help to foster innovations in manufacturing.

New Democrats believe that reshaping energy policy for the 21st century means moving away from fossil-fuel dependence toward a green future by investing in energy derived from solar, wind, wave, and geothermal. They support working closely with Canada's provinces and territories to share clean energy and ensure energy conservation in transportation and building methods. A New Democrat government will strive to make Canada a global environmental leader. They would achieve this goal by incorporating strong environmental standards in trade agreements and ensuring that Canadian companies operating abroad will be held to standards and practices that reduce their footprint and leave local ecosystems in good health.

Green Party

The Green Party's Elizabeth May has said "I hold a vision of this blue green planet, safe and in balance. At the end of the Fossil Fuel Era, we are emerging to a new reality. We are ready to make the next leap - as momentous as abolishing slavery or giving women the vote. We are ready to make the fundamental shifts that allow us to live in balance with our life support systems, respecting each other, achieving social and economic justice, peace and democracy."

The Green Party believes in sound fiscal management and strengthening the Canadian economy while ensuring that it is sustainable. They believe that government must provide needed social services while protecting our environment and human rights.

Conclusion

Elections in Canada are usually decided on economic issues, but what many fail to realize is that environmental concerns are also vital economic issues. A government that addresses the environment is positioning canada for a vibrant economic future. A government which avoids these issues is putting Canada at an economic disadvantge that will prevent the nation from being internationally competitive. Before deciding who they vote for on May 2nd, all Canadians should consider the environmental platforms of each party.

The budget that brought down the government offers insights into Conservative priorities. While the budget contained over one billion in oil and gas subsidies, it provides only $400 million for the ecoEnergy retrofit program.

As evidenced by their last five years in office and the budget, the Conservatives and environmental stewardship are like oil and water, they do not mix well.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Strategic Voting by Canada's Youth Can Unseat Harper's Conservatives
Leadnow: Voting for Change in Canada
Video: Leadnow Interview on CPAC
Leadnow's Declaration For Change
Canada's Conservative Government at Odds with the Public on Climate Change
Environmental Platforms of Canada's Federal Parties in 2008
Canadian Conservatives Repudiation of the Environment in 2008 Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records and Sends a Message to Politicians
Conservatives Ignore Canadians While Jeopardizing the Environment and the Economy
Canada's Conservative Government Opposes Kyoto and Hampers Progress at COP16
World Urges Canada's Conservative Government to Do More to Manage Climate Change
The State of Canada's Environment
Canada is a World Leader in GHG Emissions
WWF's Canadian Living Planet Report
Conservative Budget: No Green for Canada
Obama's Visit to Canada
Why Canadian Environment Minister Resigned
Green Policy Debated in Canadian Parliament
Why Canadian Conservatives Must Make Concessions on Climate Change Policy
Canada Makes Dramatic Shift on Climate Change
The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada
Canada Votes: Environmental Politics
A Made in Canada Sustainable World Order
Canadian Municipal Green Incentives

Environmental Platforms of Canada's Federal Parties in 2008

Here is a condensed summary of the environmental platforms of the four major Canadian political parties in 2008. The Bloc Quebecois is not included in this list due to the fact that they are a regional party that serves explicitly regional interests.

Although all four parties vowed to reduce greenhouse gases, the Conservatives use 2006 as their baseline for improvement, while the other parties use 1990 levels. This amounts to significantly lower greenhouse gas reductions for the Conservatives compared to the other three parties.

Conservative Party

The Conservative Party’s 2008 election platform was released in a policy document titled The True North Strong and Free: Stephen Harper’s Plan for Canadians. The Conservatives committed to reducing Canada’s greenhouse gases by 20 percent below 2006 levels by 2020, and cutting air pollution by 50 percent by 2015 below 2006 levels. The government claimed these targets would be achieved through government laws imposed on industries, as well as national caps for industrial emissions commonly associated with smog and acid rain.

The Conservatives environmental policies include promoting smarter energy use through the ecoEnergy Initiative; a Chemical Management Plan to regulate chemicals harmful to human health and the environment; $1.5 billion over seven years for the production of renewable fuels; a commitment to ensure that 90 percent of Canadian electricity needs are generated through non-emitting sources by 2020; and additional government funding to acquire and preserve ecologically sensitive lands.

The Conservatives indicted they would cut the federal excise tax on diesel fuel in half, from four to two cents per litre. They said they would invest $113 million into an Environmental Enforcement Action Plan over the next five years and impose stiffer penalties for the most serious environmental crimes (up to $6 million for corporations and $1 million for individuals)while increasing inspection and seizure powers with the help of a team of specialized environmental prosecutors. Their legal efforts also included the creation of environmental laws that allow courts to compel offenders to remedy any harm to the environment and a searchable database that tells the public the details of a corporation’s convictions for environmental crimes. Under the Conservative plan, corporations would be required to tell shareholders if they were convicted of environmental crimes. The Conservatives indicated that they would prohibit the exportation of bitumen to countries outside Canada that do not have equivalent emission-reduction targets and re-affirm Canada’s position that the North American Free Trade Agreement cannot require Canada to export bulk water to other NAFTA countries. A $2-billion ecoENERGY initiative promotes smarter energy use, greater use of clean energy sources, and cleaner use of traditional energy sources. Finally, conservatives vowed to protect conservation areas, including freshwater.

Liberal Party

The Liberal Party outlined its 2008 election platform in a policy document entitled Richer, Fairer, Greener: An Action Plan for the 21st Century. The Environment was one of the core planks of the platform.

The Liberals adopted the Green Shift which involved a detailed plan for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, 40 percent by 2035, and 60 to 80 percent by 2050. These goals were to be achieved through a progressive carbon tax system, which would place levies on carbon emissions. The Liberals were also committed to creating a national carbon trading system, enabling companies to trade emission credits in order to meet targets.

Other Liberal environmental policies included a Renewable Power Production Incentive to encourage the development and use of non-carbon-emitting energy sources; providing incentives to Canadians for green home renovations; stiffer fuel efficiency standards for automobiles; the introduction of higher water and air quality standards to reduce pollution; a Toxic Substance Reduction Strategy for safe food products; and the development of a National Ecosystem Stewardship Strategy to protect Canadian wilderness, oceans, and endangered species.

For more information on the Liberal Party’s environmental policies in 2008 go to Liberal Party of Canada: A Greener Canada (PDF)

New Democratic Party

The New Democratic Party released a document outlining its 2008 election platform. The document focuses on the environment as one of three key policy areas.

The NDP promised to cut Canadian greenhouse gas emissions to 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. This was to be accomplished through a combination of cap and trade, mandatory vehicle emission standards, and investing in renewable energy production and consumption.

The NDP also pledged to protect Canada’s water resources by placing some restrictions on the export of bulk water, encouraging more efficient water consumption, and improving water quality through stronger regulations. The NDP further pledged to complete the National Parks System; ensure the integrity of parks and protected areas are not compromised by industrial activity or inappropriate development; improve endangered species protection; and establish an Environment Commissioner as an independent Officer of Parliament to provide oversight on the government’s environmental performance.

For more information on the NDP’s 2008 environmental policies see New Democratic Party of Canada: A Plan for the Environment that Will Really Work

Green Party

The Green party released its 2008 election platform in a document entitled Looking Forward: A Fresh Perspective on Canada’s Future. The Environment was a central policy priority of the Green Party.

The Green Party committed itself to cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 30 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050; introducing a carbon tax (to be offset by cuts in personal and corporate taxes); expanding research and development of low-carbon technologies; improving energy productivity through smarter regulation of large appliances and vehicles, as well as a national program to retrofit existing buildings; and participating constructively in global negotiations concerning environmental issues.

For more information on the Green Party’s environmental policies see Green Party of Canada: Environment.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Next: Environmental Issues in the 2011 Canadian Federal Election

Related Posts
Strategic Voting by Canada's Youth Can Unseat Harper's Conservatives
Canada's Conservative Government at Odds with the Public on Climate Change
Canadian Conservatives Repudiation of the Environment in 2008 Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records and Sends a Message to Politicians
Conservatives Ignore Canadians While Jeopardizing the Environment and the Economy
Canada's Conservative Government Opposes Kyoto and Hampers Progress at COP16
World Urges Canada's Conservative Government to Do More to Manage Climate Change
The State of Canada's Environment
Canada is a World Leader in GHG Emissions
WWF's Canadian Living Planet Report
Conservative Budget: No Green for Canada
Obama's Visit to Canada
Why Canadian Environment Minister Resigned
Green Policy Debated in Canadian Parliament
Why Canadian Conservatives Must Make Concessions on Climate Change Policy
Canada Makes Dramatic Shift on Climate Change
The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada
Canada Votes: Environmental Politics
A Made in Canada Sustainable World Order
Canadian Municipal Green Incentives

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canadian Conservatives Repudiation of the Environment in 2008

In the last Canadian federal election in 2008, Liberal leader Stephane Dion put forward a comprehensive plan called Green Shift. Dion's emphasis on things like carbon taxes and carbon trading were part of the most progressive pro-environment platform in Canadian history.

Prior to the 2008 election, Liberal Party leader Stephane Dion said "The time has come to do what is right – not what is easy – for our environment and for our future." Dion called his environmental platform, the Green Shift, a bold plan that put a price on pollution and positioned Canada to be a leader in the 21st century green economy.

Dion's plan was to cut taxes on things like income, investment and innovation, while shifting the tax burden to those that generate pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste. Dion's plan would have encouraged energy efficiency and discouraged pollution.

At the time of the 2008 Canadian federal elections, an Angus Reid poll indicated that Canadians considered the the environment to be one of their top three priorities (after health care and the economy). The vast majority of Canadians (88%) said the environment is very important or moderately important.

Despite Canadians support for the environment, in the 2008 federal election, Conservatives were elected on a platform that forcefully rejected major green initiatives. On October 14, 2008, Canadian voters re-elected Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. This election granted the Conservatives 19 more seats than they had after the last election in 2006.

The Conservative government made its attack against the Green Shift platform, a central part of its strategy. The Conservatives showed strong support for the fossil fuel industry and promoted things like the development of northern pipelines to bring fossil fuels to markets around the world. Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper quietly continued his tacit support for the environmentally destructive tar sands while calling the Green Shift "crazy" and "insane."

Although some saw the Conservative win as a repudiation of the Liberal's green platform, others attributed the victory to a successfully executed Conservative misinformation campaign.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Strategic Voting by Canada's Youth Can Unseat Harper's Conservatives
Canada's Conservative Government at Odds with the Public on Climate Change
Environmental Platforms of Canada's Federal Parties in 2008
Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records and Sends a Message to Politicians
Conservatives Ignore Canadians While Jeopardizing the Environment and the Economy
Canada's Conservative Government Opposes Kyoto and Hampers Progress at COP16
World Urges Canada's Conservative Government to Do More to Manage Climate Change
The State of Canada's Environment
Canada is a World Leader in GHG Emissions
WWF's Canadian Living Planet Report
Conservative Budget: No Green for Canada
Obama's Visit to Canada
Why Canadian Environment Minister Resigned
Green Policy Debated in Canadian Parliament
Why Canadian Conservatives Must Make Concessions on Climate Change Policy
Canada Makes Dramatic Shift on Climate Change
The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada
Canada Votes: Environmental Politics
A Made in Canada Sustainable World Order
Canadian Municipal Green Incentives

The State of Canada's Environment

Canada was once a global leader in environmental sustainability and the fight against climate change. Although the country is often viewed as synonymous with nature, the truth is that Canada is in serious need of environmental stewardship.

According to a WWF Canadian Living Planet Report, Canadians are some of the biggest consumers of resources in the world. Canada is also one of the world's biggest energy consumers, burning the equivalent of roughly 8,300 kilograms of oil equivalent per person per year.

In Canada, both oil production and gas emissions are expected to multiply as much as four times by the year 2015. One of the single greatest sources of environmental destruction comes from the Alberta tar sands (aka the oil sands). Canada's tar sands have oil reserves of 175 billion barrels which is second only to Saudi Arabia. This has prompting the Canadian NGO Environmental Defense to call the Alberta tar sands, "the most destructive project on earth."

Extracting oil from tar sands release much more greenhouse gas (GHG) then conventional oil, making it Canada's number-one source of GHGs. Alberta's tar sands have also created massive toxic lakes that are so big they can be seen from space. More than half of Canada’s total footprint is a result of their carbon footprint, mostly due to fossil fuel use.

A study by the European Climate Change Commissioner recently found the average GHG intensity of fuel derived from tar sands to be 23 per cent higher than conventional fossil fuels. As a consequence, Europeans are considering imposing penalties or restricting the importation of oil derived from tar sands.

There was a time when Canada was an environmental leader, but under the current Conservative government, those day are long gone.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Strategic Voting by Canada's Youth Can Unseat Harper's Conservatives
Canada's Conservative Government at Odds with the Public on Climate Change
Environmental Platforms of Canada's Federal Parties in 2008
Canadian Conservatives Repudiation of the Environment in 2008 Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records and Sends a Message to Politicians
Conservatives Ignore Canadians While Jeopardizing the Environment and the Economy
Canada's Conservative Government Opposes Kyoto and Hampers Progress at COP16
World Urges Canada's Conservative Government to Do More to Manage Climate Change
The State of Canada's Environment
Canada is a World Leader in GHG Emissions
WWF's Canadian Living Planet Report
Conservative Budget: No Green for Canada
Obama's Visit to Canada
Why Canadian Environment Minister Resigned
Green Policy Debated in Canadian Parliament
Why Canadian Conservatives Must Make Concessions on Climate Change Policy
Canada Makes Dramatic Shift on Climate Change
The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada
Canada Votes: Environmental Politics
A Made in Canada Sustainable World Order
Canadian Municipal Green Incentives

Monday, March 28, 2011

Bullfrog Power and Canada's JUNO Awards

On Sunday, March 27th, 2011, the JUNOs, (Canada's top music awards event)celebrated their 40th anniversary with the help of green power from Bullfrog.

The JUNO Awards are presented annually to Canadian musical artists and bands to acknowledge their artistic and technical achievements in all aspects of music. The JUNO Awards are organized by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAs) and this year, thanks to Bullfrog Power, the electricity requirements of the Juno Awards were met with clean, renewable electricity.

Bullfrog provided 568 MWh of electricity on behalf of the JUNOs. This is equivalent to the annual consumption of approximately 58 homes. Bullfrog helped to reduce the energy footprint of the Canadian Music Awards by decreasing the event's C02 emissions. The awards also helped to increase awareness of the importance of renewable energy in Canada.

This year marks the fourth year that Bullfrog has partnered with CARAS and the first year that all of the electricity requirements of the CARAS office and all JUNO Awards events were bullfrogpowered.

Bullfrog's participation is part of a comprehensive strategy that includes the use of newly launched CSA Standards event sustainability and management standard (CSA Z2010), which requires that CARAS integrate consideration of environmental, social, and economic impacts into various areas of the planning and management of the event.

This strategy involves engaging and encouraging all JUNO partners to minimize and manage waste, decrease the consumption of water and energy, reduce their carbon footprint, and purchase environmentally and socially responsible goods and services.

As the first users of the new event sustainability management standard, CARAS and the JUNO Awards are playing a unique role in the development and promotion of new sustainability guidelines and requirements in Canada.

"We have an important role to play in promoting sustainability in the Canadian music and events industry," said Chris Topping, Vice President, Events & Special Programming, CARAS / The JUNO Awards. "We're proud to be working with Bullfrog Power to reduce the environmental impact of the 2011 JUNO Awards and to set a positive example for other event organizers and musicians to follow."

Through the agreement, Bullfrog Power's generators inject renewable electricity onto the regional grid to match the amount of power the CARAS office and JUNO Awards events use.

"Bullfrog Power applauds CARAS for supporting renewable energy and for pioneering guidelines to reduce the environmental impact of the 2011 JUNO Awards and other Canadian events," said Tom Heintzman, President, Bullfrog Power. "We're pleased to be working with the organization for the fourth year in a row to send the message that there are easy ways for event organizers to take action on climate change."

For more information about Bullfrog Power go to www.bullfrogpower.com.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Bullfrog Power is Providing Green Energy to Canadian Small Businesses
Bullfrog Power and Earth Hour

Bullfrog Power and Earth Hour

On Saturday, March 26, 2011, Bullfrog Power helped to promote WWF's Earth Hour by encouraging people to switch to clean energy in addition to switching off their lights. The WWF and Bullfrog Power share a commitment to conservation and increasing awareness of the challenges associated with energy traditional energy, particularly energy derived from fossil fuels.

"Canada is one of the top 10 nations contributing to global climate change, but we don't have to be," says Josh Laughren, Director, Climate and Energy, WWF. "That's why we're focusing on clean energy during this year's Earth Hour—it's an easy way that Canadians can make a big difference."

"Bullfrog is a proud sponsor of WWF's Earth Hour, which raises awareness around the importance of clean energy alternatives," said Tom Heintzman, President, Bullfrog Power. "Canadians are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their energy consumption and are looking for simple ways to take action on climate change within their homes and businesses."

In the spirit of Earth Hour, bullfrogpowered® customer's shared simple steps they take year-round—in addition to supporting renewable energy—to reduce their environmental impact. These steps appeared in an article posted on Bullfrog's website and through the organization's Facebook wall.

Learn more about green energy solutions for your home or business at www.bullfrogpower.com.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Bullfrog Power is Providing Green Energy to Canadian Small Businesses
Bullfrog Power and Canada's JUNO Awards

Bullfrog Power is Providing Green Energy to Canadian Small Businesses



Bullfrog Power provides renewable energy to Canadian small businesses. There are more than one million small businesses in Canada, accounting for 98 per cent of all businesses in the country.

Fossil fuel-based electricity generation is a leading source of C02, the primary greenhouse gas linked to climate change. By choosing Bullfrog power, Canadians can support the development of renewable energy.

When a business signs up for green electricity, Bullfrog injects renewable energy into the grid to match the amount of conventional electricity consumed. Bullfrog's green electricity comes exclusively from wind and hydro facilities that have been certified as low impact by Environment Canada under its EcoLogoM program. These renewable sources of energy are much better for the environment than polluting sources like those derived from fossil fuels.

Many businesses across Canada are going green. According to RBC, Over half of Canadian owners of businesses with five employees or fewer currently have or are considering implementing a green plan or environmental policies for their business. For many small businesses, this starts with voluntarily choosing to buy green energy from Bullfrog Power.

Small businesses from coast to coast are standing out from their competitors and engaging their employees by securing green energy from Bullfrog.

For more information or to contact Bullfrog Power go to www.bullfrogpower.com.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Bullfrog Power and Canada's JUNO Awards
Bullfrog Power and Earth Hour

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records and Sends a Message to Politicians

Canadians showed their support for action on climate change in record numbers by getting involved with Earth Hour. Canadians joined 134 countries and turned out their lights for WWF’s Earth Hour.

In terms of participation per capita, Canada is one of the leading Earth Hour countries in the world. This year the 420 Canadian cities, towns and municipalities that participated represents 116 more than last year or a 38 percent increase. Another 73 universities and 30 major landmarks from across the country including the CN Tower, Parliament Buildings, Niagara Falls and the Lions Gate Bridge, took part in this year’s event.

Besides participating in shutting off their lights, Canadians shared their efforts on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Flikr.

Canadian participation in Earth Hour is a tangible demonstration of Canadian's support for clean energy as the most effective solution to climate change. This message is particularly important in Canada as the country is currently one of the top 10 nations contributing to global climate change. In Canada, 36 percent of the national energy mix is from non-renewable sources.

With a federal election campaign under way in Canada this is a timely message for political leaders and voters. Unlike the current leadership, Canadians understand that action on climate change must be a national priority.

The World Health Organization estimates that climate change is already causing more than 150,000 deaths a year. People can make a difference by demanding that their leaderships put forward policies that wean the country off fossil fuels and support renewable energy.

There are green energy alternatives that suit Canada's geography. For example, as a nation with the world's largest coastline, the ocean is capable of producing emission free energy. If we were able to harness 0.1% of the energy in the ocean, we could support the energy needs of 15 billion people.

Despite the lack of green leadership at the federal level, Canadian cities are taking it upon themselves to do their part. WWF's Earth Hour List highlighted the positive actions of Canadian municipalities to lower their greenhouse gas emissions. Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal emerged as Canada's cleanest cities by going beyond the hour, (the theme for this year’s Earth Hour). These cities have the most active programs to reduce carbon emissions, promote renewable energy, energy efficiency and conservation.

Check out WWF's Energy Mix Map to see how your province’s use of renewable energy measures up against the rest of Canada.

Provincial leaders should heed the message of the Canadian people and work to reduce their environmental footprints. With a national election looming on the horizon, make sure you remind your federal candidates of the need for serious action to combat climate change.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Canadian Businesses Supporting Earth Hour
Earth Hour for Business
Climate Care Day: An Environmental Event for Business
The Business of Earth Hour and the Power of Social Media
Go Beyond the Hour
10 Best Earth Hour Online Resources and Links
Earth Hour 2011 Official Video
Video: Earth Hour 2011
Live Video of Earth Hour as it Ripples Around the World Support Earth Hour (2010)
China Participates in Earth Hour (2010)
Earth Hour Makes History (2009)
The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment
The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Canadian Businesses Supporting Earth Hour

In Canada some leading members of the business community are rallying behind Earth Hour. These companies include Sears Canada, Citytv, OMNI Television and the Toronto Star are the national sponsors of Earth Hour. In Ontario, Bullfrog Power and Ontario Power Authority are the official sponsors.

As lead sponsors for WWF’s Earth Hour, these organizations have engaged employees and reached out to customers and suppliers by spreading the Earth Hour message and encouraging individual action.

Sears Canada is a proud Earth Hour sponsor for the third year in row. As one of the largest retailers in Canada, Sears is significantly reducing its impact on the environment and encouraging customers, associates and suppliers to do the same. To learn more about Sears and Earth Hour click here.

Turning the lights out across the country is a huge task that would not be possible without the help of Earth Hour sponsors. They help to make the skylines go dark and spread the word about Earth Hour, most importantly they continue to reduce their own carbon footprints throughout the year.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records
Bullfrog Power and Earth Hour
Earth Hour for Business
Climate Care Day: An Environmental Event for Business
The Business of Earth Hour and the Power of Social Media
Go Beyond the Hour
10 Best Earth Hour Online Resources and Links
Earth Hour 2011 Official Video
Video: Earth Hour 2011
Live Video of Earth Hour as it Ripples Around the World
Support Earth Hour (2010)
China Participates in Earth Hour (2010)
Earth Hour Makes History (2009)
The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment
The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

Earth Hour for Business

Earth Hour has called on businesses and organizations to show leadership by committing to lasting action for the planet when the lights come back on. "We are calling on businesses and organisations to use the annual lights-out event as a time to make a commitment to lasting action for the planet, beyond the hour," said Andy Ridley, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Earth.

Switching off the lights is only the beginning. Earth Hour is not just for one hour. It’s about making a commitment to ongoing change that reduces your impact on the environment and celebrating your commitment to the planet with the people of the world during Earth Hour.

This year, Earth Hour, has garnered support from global companies and organisations as diverse as: Nokia, PwC, The Girl Scouts, FIFA, the International Olympic Committee, Canon, Baidu, Naver, National Geographic Channel Asia, Bloomberg, Starcom, Pocoyo, Clearchannel, Credit Suisse AG, Coca Cola, IKEA, Goldman Sachs, Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, Hostel World and CB Richard Ellis.

Businesses are in a great position tothen take action. Businesses are contributing to the global pursuit of environmental betterment. Beyond turning off the lights of their premises between 8:30 and 9:30 on March 26, businesses are encouraging staff and customers to participate.

Most importantly, businesses are encouraging efforts that go beyond the hour by implementing practices and offering services that enable staff and customers to make ongoing changes to reduce their impact on the planet.

Many businesses are communicating Earth Hour to their staff using emails, newsletters, posters, intranet, SMS, websites, staff associations and committees. This has encouraged staff, colleagues and their families to take part in Earth Hour. Businesses are sharing their Earth Hour efforts with their other offices both nationally and globally. Some of the most responsible businesses are communicating their Earth Hour efforts with their partners, clients, suppliers and other networks.

Businesses are showing their support by including a link to the Earth Hour website, including a reference to Earth Hour in their communications (email, SMS bulletins, bills, statements, catalogues and other material). Businesses are also spreading the Earth Hour message through their facilities, stores, branches and products. Here are some of the ways businesses are committing to cutting costs while reducing their impacts on the planet all year round:

  • Turning off lights after hours in offices or installing motion-sensor lighting.

  • Installing energy saving lights bulbs and devices (e.g. timers on lighting).

  • Turning off printers, computers, monitors, microwaves and coffee machines at the power points at the end of the day when unused for long periods.

  • Switching your business’ electricity to Gold Standard Green Power.

  • Providing and encouraging staff to use recycling facilities.

  • Involve your staff in everyday change. Elect Earth Hour Monitors for your business,whose job it is to ensure lights are out and appliances are off standby at the end of each working day.

  • When communicating with tenants, customers, other offices and staff, make sure they are aware that your involvement in Earth Hour symbolises your commitment to go beyond the hour with an action that benefits the environment.
Businesses have registered their actions and are sharing their ongoing actions for the planet with the people of the world. With the help of the business community we can expect to see the biggest Earth Hour ever.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records
Canadian Businesses Supporting Earth Hour
Climate Care Day: An Environmental Event for Business
The Business of Earth Hour and the Power of Social Media
Go Beyond the Hour
10 Best Earth Hour Online Resources and Links
Earth Hour 2011 Official Video
Video: Earth Hour 2011
Live Video of Earth Hour as it Ripples Around the World Support Earth Hour (2010)
China Participates in Earth Hour (2010)
Earth Hour Makes History (2009)
The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment
The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

Climate Care Day: An Environmental Event for Business

Following the success of Earth Hour, Climate Care Day is an initiative to encourage global businesses to replace all corporate travel with remote meetings. As dispersed and mobile workforces become an increasing reality for corporations, a global sustainability movement that supports both responsible and profitable business operations makes sense.

This day is intended to raise awareness of the importance of climate change - the 21st century’s number one environmental issue - and demonstrate how simple choices can make a significant difference to the environment. It recognizes the importance of the planet to both the business community and our personal well being.

Climate Care Day makes complete business sense. Global conferencing and the Internet help companies reduce significant costs, improve productivity, save time and create a better work-life balance for employees, all while cutting carbon emissions.

Climate care is now a mainstream business issue and companies have a critical role to play in reducing carbon emissions. Climate Care Day enables businesses to make a difference through easy and practical alternatives that make economic sense.

Business travel can represent more than 50 per cent of a company’s carbon footprint. Reviewing alternatives to corporate travel is one of the most effective, and easiest, ways of reducing CO2 emissions.

Visit Climate Care Day to register and then forward the email you will receive to your business contacts, friends and acquaintances to start spreading the word.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records
Canadian Businesses Supporting Earth Hour
Earth Hour for Business
The Business of Earth Hour and the Power of Social Media
Go Beyond the Hour
10 Best Earth Hour Online Resources and Links
Earth Hour 2011 Official Video
Video: Earth Hour 2011
Live Video of Earth Hour as it Ripples Around the World Support Earth Hour (2010)
China Participates in Earth Hour (2010)
Earth Hour Makes History (2009)
The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment
The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

Go Beyond the Hour

Earth Hour is asking its supporters to go beyond the hour by making changes to their daily life that will positively impact the planet.

The global launch of the Earth Hour 2011 campaign took place on March 2nd in Singapore. This landmark event will unveiled the first in a series of environmental actions that will continue to roll out throughout the year. Earth Hour supporters around the world, from teenagers in Swaziland, to governments and corporations across the planet will be adding their voice.

There are a number of actions that you and your organisation can do to go beyond turning off your lights at 8.30pm on Saturday 26th March 2011. Here are five simple steps to help you on your way:

1. Get your neighbours involved.

2. Take it beyond the hour and tell us about the action your organisationis taking this year for Earth Hour. Then share your action with your social media audiences.

3. Encourage your colleagues to take actions, big or small, everyday, they'll quickly add up to one huge action that everyone can be proud of.

4. Add the Beyond the Hour widget or banner to your website and help us collect more actions for the planet.

5. Demonstrate the Earth Hour vision of real solutions for sustainable living at every level, every hour.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records
Canadian Businesses Supporting Earth Hour
Earth Hour for Business
Climate Care Day: An Environmental Event for Business
The Business of Earth Hour and the Power of Social Media
10 Best Earth Hour Online Resources and Links
Earth Hour 2011 Official Video
Video: Earth Hour 2011
Live Video of Earth Hour as it Ripples Around the World Support Earth Hour (2010)
China Participates in Earth Hour (2010)
Earth Hour Makes History (2009)
The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment
The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

10 Best Earth Hour Online Resources and Links

Go to the Earth Hour site and pledge your support for Earth Hour 2011. If you live in the US click here. If you live outside the US, click here.

There are a number of resources that review Earth Hour events taking place around the world and guides help everyone participate:

events map
Guide

Earth Hour is active on social media sites including :

Facebook
Twitter feed
Linkedin
My Space

Earth Hour is collecting photos and videos from all over the world.

You can also download WWF's free Blackberry Earth Hour app where you can watch in real time as the world celebrates Earth Hour.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

Related Posts
Canadian Participation in Earth Hour Sets Records
Canadian Businesses Supporting Earth Hour
Earth Hour for Business
Climate Care Day: An Environmental Event for Business
The Business of Earth Hour and the Power of Social Media
Go Beyond the Hour
Earth Hour 2011 Official Video
Video: Earth Hour 2011
Live Video of Earth Hour as it Ripples Around the World Support Earth Hour (2010)
China Participates in Earth Hour (2010)
Earth Hour Makes History (2009)
The Growth of Social Media as an Increasingly Important Vehicle for the Environment
The Revolutionary Power of Social Media Driving Corporate Environmental Sustainability
Social Media Marketing and Environmental Sustainability

Earth Hour 2011 Official Video



This Earth Hour 2011: 8.30pm, Saturday 26 March, celebrate your action for the planet with the people of world. See some of the actions that took place last year and join the world in turning off your lights this year to show your support for clean energy.

Video: Earth Hour 2011



This Earth Hour 2011: 8.30pm, Saturday 26 March, celebrate your action for the planet with the people of world, and add more to your Earth Hour. From its inception as a single-city initiative -- Sydney, Australia - in 2007, Earth Hour has grown into a global symbol of hope and movement for change.

Earth Hour 2010 created history as the world's largest ever voluntary action with people, businesses and governments in 128 countries across every continent coming together to celebrate an unambiguous commitment to the one thing that unites us all -- the planet.Sign up to earthhour.org, switch off your lights for Earth Hour 2011, and share the positive actions you will sustain for earth beyond the hour.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Green Madness Competition

The Green Market is proud to be a sponsor of GreenMadness.org. GreenMadness is a new game designed to make it fun to help save the Earth from the perils of climate change. From March 20 to April 22, 2011, you can take part and compete to win.

First, you register. Then, you join a team (the 32 teams represent each of the college basketball winners since 1980). Then, you log in and select from a list of Green Actions. These are activities like unplugging your computer when not in use, or putting a soda bottle filled with rocks in your toilet tank to reduce water consumption. Once you choose them, you are promising to complete the action (this is your green pledge).

These green actions benefit the planet by lowering your consumption of energy or reducing your use of natural resources.

Each time you "check-in" an action as complete, you score points. These points will be tallied and every week, teams will be eliminated.


  • By Sunday March 27, there will be 16 teams left.
  • By Sunday April 3, only eight teams will remain.
  • By Sunday April 10, only four teams will be standing.
  • By Sunday April 17, there will be two contenders.
  • The winning team will be announced on Earth Day: Friday, April 22.


  • Play. Save energy. Conserve natural resources. And go mad for green!! For more details or to register click here.

    © 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

    Related Articles
    Environmental March Madness Competition
    Green Madness Game: Green Education and Action Competition

    International Impact Investing Challenge

    The Johnson Graduate School of Management and the Kellogg School of Management have joined forces to launch the 2011 International Impact Investing Challenge. This competition is unique because it challenges MBA students to solve the world’s biggest problems – poverty, climate change, ecosystem degradation – with innovation and entrepreneurship.

    The competition will challenge MBA students to achieve economic returns that support progress on global impact issues. Teams from a dozen top MBA programs are competing for more than $40,000 in awards in a final event at J.P. Morgan in New York City on April 8.

    The International Impact Investing Challenge is an invitation-only pitch competition focused on designing investment vehicles that create sustainable impact and are of the size and scope that would be of interest to institutional investors. Students are challenged to propose and defend a sustainable investment strategy for an institutional investor that has a $10 to $50 million mandate for making sustainable investments.

    Twelve MBA programs will be invited to send one team to represent their program at a final competition at the J.P. Morgan headquarters in New York on April 8, 2011. A selection panel of experienced investors and officers who currently manage family foundations, pension funds, university endowments, etc. will review the pitches. Judging criteria rewards high performance, sustainability-driven investments. Portfolios will be judged for an understanding of the interdependence among business, society and the environment for a competitive advantage.

  • March 18, 2011: Schools submit names of their representative by 5pm EST

  • March 25, 2011: Teams submit a two-page prospectus via email by 5pm EST

  • April 8, 2011: Final Competition in NYC and winners announced8am-3pm: Final Presentations,5pm-7pm: Award Reception

    Guidelines

    An increasing number of institutional investors have recognized an opportunity for a sustainable investment mandate within their portfolios. Specifically, the investors seek to identify investment strategies that can meet the financial needs of the organization by investing in established businesses, new ventures, or other investment vehicles that are consistent with the principles of sustainability. Emphasis will be placed on creative strategies that integrate environmental, social or corporate governance (ESG) issues into the investment process. The officers will consider a broad range of strategies, from those focused on global concerns to those that give attention to local communities. The best proposals will offer a novel investment strategy over current approaches. Teams are encouraged to think beyond venture capital fund vehicles & strategies.

    Institutions seeking investments may include but are not limited to:

    • University Endowments
    • Retirement and Pension Funds
    • Family Foundations
    Assume all institutions have earmarked $10-50 million for this new mandate and are now seeking proposals for investment. The institutions are looking for a clear articulation of an investment strategy that addresses the following criteria:

    • Investment is designed to generate both competitive returns and positive social and/or
    • environmental impact.
    • Risk management is commensurate with target returns.
    • Investment is attractive in respect of size and scope to institutional investors with a $10M mandate.
    Performance metrics for both the financial and social return components are transparent and well-defined, demonstrating clear linkage between program outcomes and social impact. Particular consideration will be given to strategies that design a portfolio that balances risk and positive returns related to financial, environmental and social factors. The institutions are open to multiple asset classes, including but not limited to:

    • Public equities
    • Private equity/venture capital
    • Real assets
    • Fixed income securities
    • Microfinance lending and investing
    • Loans
    Any strategy should consider the following issues:
    • Who are the potential investors and how/why does the vehicle fit within their strategy
    • Potential volatility of market value
    • The lock-up or time commitment required
    • Financial returns
    • How the strategy fits within the target institution's portfolio
    • The larger scale environmental and social impact of the investment
    The Challenge is looking for innovative investment ideas that balance the tension between financial and social return rather than sacrifice either priority. There is no limitation on asset class or investment vehicle and teams are encouraged to think creatively. The focus is on investment vehicles and fund strategies versus companies.

    Prizes

    More than $40,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winning teams. Awards will be made for overall proposals as well as those that excel in a specific categories including health, environment and emerging markets.

    The First Prize in Environmental Sustainability will recieve a $10,000 McCall Foundation Award.

    For more information click here.

    © 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

    Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit

    The Bloomberg New Energy Finance Summit, entitled Innovate, Generate, Integrate, is an invitation-only event for senior executives, policy-makers and investors. The goal is to identify and address key issues facing the clean energy sector, and to help decision-makers identify opportunities that will enable them to succeed. The Summit will be held on April 4-7, 2011 at the Pierre in New York City.

    Topics discussed at the conference are structured around the three key challenges of the clean energy industry:

    1. Technology development
    2. Building a clean energy infrastructure
    3. Integrating into the world’s energy system

    The list of confirmed speakers include:

  • Dan Arvizu, Director of the National Renewable Energy Lab·
  • Yehudit "Dita" Bronicki, CEO/Managing Director, Ormat·
  • Margaret Catley-Carlson, Chair of the Global Water Partnership·
  • Charles "Chad" O. Holliday, Jr., Chairman, Bank of America·
  • Michael G. Morris, Chairman/CEO, American Electric Power·
  • Rick Needham, Director Green Business Opportunities, Google·
  • Jonathan Silver, Executive Director, Loan Programs Office, US Dept. of Energy·
  • Marcelo Tokman, Head of Gov Relations, Vestas Latam & Former Minister of Energy, Chile

    To see the full agenda click here.

    © 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.