Sunday, June 30, 2013

Event - Bringing Sustainability to Your Community II

On Tuesday, July 2, 2013 from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (EDT) Boston Area Sustainability Group (BASG) is presenting Bringing Sustainability to Your Community II in Cambridge, MA. at the Venture Cafe which is located at the Cambridge Innovation Center, One Broadway, 4th Floor. Visitors must comply with Venture Cafe attendance policies (see for more details). Continuing from June's great lessons, this month we hear from 5 more folks actively working to bring sustainability to their communities. We bring special attention to creating partnerships between public, private and community interests. Please invite your Town Planner, members of your Planning Board, town department workers, members of the Select Board/City Council, the Mayor, other governmental officials from your town/city as well as your friends and neighbors to learn about sustainability, the programs that are offered by the State of MA, and how to connect with local businesses and industries.

Event - Solid Waste Management and Climate Change: Waste Wise Panel

The complimentary event known as "Solid Waste Management and Climate Change: Waste Wise Panel" will take place on August 14, 2013 @ 11:00 am – 11:45 am. For the location or the live broadcast click the link at the bottom of the page. It will also be recorded and available for viewing after the event. To interact live or ask questions, use Twitter hashtag #wastewise.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Video - O' Canada Stand Up for the Arctic and Oppose Climate Change

This 2011 video from the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) makes the point that Canada is truly an Arctic nation. The Arctic makes up over 40 percent of our landmass, and includes nearly three quarters of Canada's coastline. It's an essential part of our national identity and our climate. Sadly since this video was made climate change has continued to significantly undermine the Arctic. In 2012 we saw levels of Arctic ice melt that are unprecedented in recorded history.

Video - Canadian High School Students Know more about Climate Change than Canada's Ruling Conservatives

Even high school students know that climate change has far reaching destructive impacts. In November 2012, less than a year before the historic floods in Alberta, a group of Grade 9 students addressed the issue of climate change and how it affects Canada and the world. Although the short video mentions natural cycles of global heating, it also makes the more accurate point that we are contributing to climate change and we all need to act. Canadian Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who hails from Alberta, can learn something from these students. Under Harper's leadership the federal government has withdrawn from the Kyoto protocol and enacted a number of policies that cut environmental funding and ultimately contribute to climate change. The Harper government has been a tireless advocate of Alberta's fossil fuel industry and the GHG intensive tarsands in particular. Many doubt the government will be able to meet its emissions targets due in large part to the expansion of dirty fossil fuels. The government of Canada is increasingly at odds with the rest of the world and Canadian public opinion on the issue of climate change.

Video - Will the Keystone XL Pipeline Increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

This video addresses both sides of the debate on whether the Keystone XL pipeline will increase GHG production. The proposed pipeline would ferry tarsands from Alberta to refineries on Texas's Gulf Coast. On June 25th, 2013, President Obama made it clear that he will not authorize the building of the Keystone XL pipeline if it results in an increase in greenhouse gases (GHGs). While it is widely understood that the tarsands are much more GHG intensive than traditional fossil fuels, the question is whether this would result in a net increase in GHG emissions. Those that support the building of the Keystone XL say that in the absence of the pipeline there would be increased transportation traffic (tankers and trucks) which would result in even greater levels of GHGs.

Video - President Obama's Historic Georgetown University Speech on June 25th 2013

"The decisions we make now and in the years ahead will have a profound impact on the world that all of you inherit." These were the opening words of President Barack Obama's Historic speech at Georgetown University on June 25th 2013. Here is the full speech announcing the President's plan to tackle climate change, which includes new regulations on power plants, transportation, homes and buildings. Support for renewable energy and communities preparing for climate change impacts.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Infographic - President Obama's Climate Action Plan

The President's Climate Action Plan (Full Document)

Here is the Table of Contents to the full document of US President Barack Obama's Climate Action Plan announced in a June 25th 2013 speech at Georgetown University. This historic document represents the first time ever an American President has presented such a detailed strategy to combat climate change.

With the goal of cutting US emissions President Obama has presented an approach that has important implications for energy, transporation, buildings and efficiency.

The Plan also seeks to engage a science based understanding to prepare communities, the economy and resources for the impacts of climate change.

Finally Obama's strategy includes initiatives to lead the wider world in efforts to combat climate change.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Canadian Implications of Obama's National Climate Strategy

On June 25, 2013, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech that will reverbate around the world and directly impact their neighbors to the north. Several years ago Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged to match US climate change targets and align the two nations’ climate policy. Now that President Obama has launched an ambitious strategy to combat climate change, Harper will be hard pressed to make good on his promise.

Obama has made it clear that under his leadership the US will substantially reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Much of American emissions (40%) come from coal plants which is why these facilities are the primary focus of the President's plan. In Canada coal generated emissions are only 10 per cent of the nation's emissions. However, the President's climate strategy will directly impact Canada's GHG intensive fossil fuel industry and tarsands oil in particular.

The Fate of the Keystone XL Pipeline in the Wake of President Obama's Georgetown University Speech

During his Georgetown Univeristy speech on June 25th, President Obama indicated that the Keystone XL pipeline, (which would ferry tarsands oil from Alberta to Texas) should not proceed if it will generate greenhouse gases (GHGs) and contribute to climate change.  "The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward," the President said. Obama has instructed the State Department to approve the pipeline only if the project won't increase the net emissions of GHGs.This is the first time that the President has linked the pipeline to emissions.

B Corp Town Hall: The Power of Business as a Force for Good

On June 27th 2013, from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM, the B Corp is hosting a town hall. This special roundtable will include leading online innovators of the B Corp Community.

The event will feature Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan of +The Honest Company, Neil Blumenthal and David Gilboa of +Warby Parker, and Chad Dickerson of +Etsy.

The rapidly growing B Corp movement currently encompasses more than 740 companies across 60 industries and in 26 nations around the world - all with the common thread of using the power of business as a force for good.

B Corp certification is to sustainable business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Full Transcript of President Obama's Georgetown University Speech on June 25th 2013

Here is the full transcript of President Barack Obama's historic speech at Georgetown University (June 25, 2013)  announcing his new national climate strategy:

On Christmas Eve, 1968, the astronauts of Apollo 8 did a live broadcast from lunar orbit. So Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, William Anders -- the first humans to orbit the moon -- described what they saw, and they read Scripture from the Book of Genesis to the rest of us back here. And later that night, they took a photo that would change the way we see and think about our world.

Thank President Obama for His Bold Leadership on Climate Change

The climate leadership of President Obama warrents our thanks and our praise. The historic significance of his June 25, 2013 Georgetown University address cannot be overstated. Despite Republican obstructionism, the President has taken a bold step forward leading America and the world in the battle against climate change.

The Climate Reality Project is amongst those who are applauding President Obama's leadership in providing a plan to mitigate the major contributing factors to climate change. They have organized a campaign to Thank the President for putting America on the road to cutting carbon pollution.

Obama's Speech Signals the End of the Debate on Climate Change and the Dawn of Consorted Action

June 25th, 2013 will be remembered by history as the day America committed itself to act domestically and lead globally on climate change. On this day the President delivered an unprecedented speech at Georgetown University.

The President unveiled his new climate change strategy which involves mitigation, adaptation and building resilience. Specifically the President has vowed to reduce emissions from exisiting coal-fired power plants and transportation, increase renewable energy, enhance efficiency and prepare communities for the impacts of climate change.

Climate change impacts will now be factored into every governmental decision. This will have far reaching implications for the conduct of the most powerful government on earth. It will impact the government's procurement policies, new infrastructure, land and water management, and resource development.

Perhaps most importantly it is a signal to the wider world that the debate on climate change is over and the time for real consorted action has begun.

Obama has pledged to work with major polluting countries like China and India to curb emissions which builds on a recent agreement with China to phase out hydrofluorocarbons.

It is with good reason that Al Gore called it "the best Presidential address on climate change ever."

The President`s speech on June 25, 2013 is historic. This is the day America not only enjoined the struggle against climate change but assumed the leadership role.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Obama Reigning in Emissions from Existing Coal Power Plants, Transportation and Homes

On June 25th 2013, US President Barack Obama unveiled his national climate change mitigation strategy which includes mandated emissions reduction from coal plants and transportation and people's homes.

The federal government's mitigation strategy aims to reduce emissions of three major greenhouse gases (GHGs) carbon dioxide (Co2), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and methane (CH4).

One of the chief provisions of the plan involves reducing allowable emissions from existing coal-fired power plants. The White House indicated that 8 billion dollars will be set aside in loan guarantees to help power plants reduce their emissions.

Curbing Fossil Fuels is Essential to Climate Change Mitigation

If we are serious about combating climate change we must reduce our use of fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the primary cause of climate change and fossil fuels are the leading source of GHGs. Despite what the oil companies would have us believe, the logic of ending our reliance on fossil fuels is irrefutable.

Yet another report convincingly makes the point that it is insane for us to continue our reliance on fossil fuels as our primary source of energy. As explained by the scientists in the Australian report titled "The Critical Decade" we are running out of time to transition to cleaner sources of power.

Obama's National Climate Adaptation Strategy

Prior to the announcement of the national climate mitigation strategy on June 25th, the Obama administration launched its National Fish, Wildlife, and Plants (NFWP) Climate Adaptation Strategy. The national climate change adaptation strategy was released on March 26th, three months ahead of the mitigation strategy. It focuses on resiliency in the face of climate change. The NFWP strategy “provides a unified approach – reflecting shared principles and science-based practices – for reducing the negative impacts of climate change on fish, wildlife, plants, and the natural system upon which they depend.”

The strategy took two years and employs the expertise at all levels of government (federal, state, and tribal) as well as non-profit sector organizations and the American public, As stated by the NFWP team, “Fish, wildlife, and plants provide jobs, food, clean water, storm protection, health benefits and many other important ecosystem services that support people, communities and economies across the nation. Action is needed now to help safeguard these valuable natural resources and the communities that depend on them in a changing climate.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

President Obama Set to Unveil a National Climate Change Mitigation Strategy

US President Barack Obama appears to be ready to make good on his promise to address climate change. As reported in the Guardian, the President will unveil a national climate change plan on Tuesday, June 25.

In a video posted on the White House web site on Saturday, the US president made it clear that he understands that climate change is the challenge of a generation.

He is expected to outline his plans to tackle climate change in a speech he will be delivering at Georgetown University. This will include "a national plan to reduce carbon pollution, prepare our country for the impacts of climate change, and lead global efforts to fight it", Obama said.

Video - White House Announces President Will Unveil a National Strategy for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation

At 1:35 on Tuesday June 25th President Obama will speak at Georgetown University. According to the White House video he is expect to address the growing threat of climate change. He will lay out his vision of where we need to go, to do what we can to address and prepare for the serious implications of a changing climate. Tune in at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Event - Renewable Power Economics

Renewable Power Economics is a comprehensive 2-day programme that will take place on 8-9-July-2013 providing an independent analysis of the energy market economics, competitiveness, risks and development trajectories of renewable power solutions.

Course objectives 

Understand, compare and contrast the different resource potentials, market positioning and risk factors for renewable power generation (wind, solar, geothermal, biopower, hydro, tidal and wave).

Event - SRI Conference 2013: The Future of Investing

The 24th annual SRI Conference will take place on October 28-30, 2013, at The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs, Colorado. The SRI Conference is the oldest and largest gathering of Sustainable, Responsible, Impact (SRI) investors and investment professionals in North America.

Event - Convergence Paris (Virtual)

Convergence Paris Virtual is free and will take place on Wed-Thu, June 26-27, 2013, between 8:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Like the live event, Convergence Paris Virtual will provide insights from business innovators, entrepreneurs, and leading public officials to illuminate the opportunities for radical efficiencies created through technology advancements in energy, buildings and transportation.

Event - Convergence Paris (Live)

Convergence Paris will take place on June 26, 2013 - June 27, 2013. Convergence Paris will bring together business innovators, entrepreneurs, and leading public officials to illuminate the opportunities for radical efficiencies created through technology advancements in energy, buildings and transportation. Converging technologies, new financing models, and policy breakthroughs allow companies and their partners to leverage innovations to seize emerging opportunities. New alliances are forming at at this event you can get a better understanding of how a rapidly growing ecosystem of players are joining together in new ways — multinationals, startups, cities, universities and others —creating synergistic and profitable (and sometimes unlikely) partnerships.

Friday, June 21, 2013

The Aboriginal Sustainability Network (ASN)

The Aboriginal Sustainability Network (ASN), is an information sharing portal designed to advance sustainable development in aboriginal communities. It is currently comprised of a number of aboriginal communities including the Tsou of Taiwan, the Taroko of Taiwan, the Unama’ki Mi’kmaq of Canada, and the Ngāti Hauiti iwi of Auteaora/New Zealand. As explained on their website, "The project is investigating the potential of a workshop-based, Internet-supported network for the exchange of knowledge and strategies amongst communities working to develop environmental sustainability."

What we can Learn from Walpole Island First Nation

The Walpole Island First Nation experience is a living example for the wider world because they are a remarkably sustainable community. They  have managed to retain a very high level of biodiversity that includes many plant and animal species found nowhere else in Canada. The sustainability success story of Walpole Island First Nation has been achieved through their native philosophies and their traditional values and attitudes, which are based on respectful human and environmental interactions.

Indigenous Ecology in Environmental Education

Aboriginal environmental philosophies recognize the complex and interdependent relationships between human beings and nature. While differences exist across Aboriginal communities, there are commonalities in their environmental philosophies. Generally speaking, Aboriginal philosophies offer an ecological ethos focused on spirituality, stewardship and sustainability. Indigenous philosophies can teach people how to reconnect with nature and show them how to establish mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships.

According to Native American educator Gregory Cajete, “The accumulated knowledge of the remaining indigenous groups around the world represents a body of ancient thoughts, experiences and actions that must be honoured and preserved as a vital storehouse of environmental wisdom. ... Modern societies must recapture the ecologically sustainable orientation that has long been absent from its psychological, social and spiritual consciousness”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Video - Best Practices in Planning and Sustainable Communities

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Climate Change Pushed Off the G8 Agenda in June 2013

The crisis in Syria has pushed climate change off the G8 agenda. Although world leaders at the G8 summit in Lough Erne, Ireland were supposed to address climate change at the June meeting, but this was preempted by events in Syria.

The preceding G8 meeting in April delivered a weak communique on climate change that articulated support for the UNFCCC climate talks and indicated that climate risk would be discussed at the Lough Erne meeting in June. Climate change is one of five priorities for the UK’s G8 presidency.

In March France and Germany indicated that they wanted climate change to be a priority issue at the Lough Erne meetings, but this was rejected. Instead world leaders focused on Syria, transparency and tax reform.

The G8 Climate Change Roundtable: Principles, Policy and Participating Companies

The G8 Climate Change Roundtable was formed in January 2005 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Its purpose was to address the global climate change issue facing governments, business and civil society. The first meeting was held in Gleneagles, Scotland, from 6–8 July 2005, to coincide with the 31st G8 summit.

The roundtable was established by twenty-three leading international businesses with the assistance of G8 President and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair, to co-operatively engage in a global plan of action. The aim of the group was to ensure that a long-term policy framework was set up to enable consistent and transparent market-based solutions in mitigating climate change, while also addressing issues linked to climate change; such as economic growth, poverty, and adequate energy supplies. Carbon trading is one of the most popular pricing mechanisms used to the reduce greenhouse emissions worldwide.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wind Energy Storage Solution Employing Concrete Spheres

Offshore wind holds tremendous promise, however the intermittent and unpredictable presence of wind imposes limits on this technology. However a new approach from researchers at MIT may have solved this problem with an approach that stores energy to be used when there is no wind.

This concept employs huge concrete spheres which would anchor wind turbines to the sea floor. When a wind turbine produces more energy than is needed, power would be diverted to drive a pump attached to the underwater structure, pumping seawater from a 30-meter-diameter hollow sphere. Then when there is no wind the water would flow back into the sphere through a turbine attached to a generator, producing energy.

A 25-meter sphere could store up to 6 megawatt-hours of power. One thousand spheres attached to wind turbines could produce as much coal or nuclear plant.

The system could also operate with shore based renewable sources of electricity like solar plants. Preliminary estimates indicate that one such sphere could be built and deployed at a cost of about $12 million but as the spheres are mass produced costs would come down. This could result in an estimated storage cost of about 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Top Ten Wind Power States in the US (2012)

Led by states like Texas, California, Kansas, and Oklahoma, wind power saw prodigious growth in the United States last year.  In 2012 US wind power grew significantly with 13,124  megawatts (MW) of installed capacity. By the end of the year the country had more than 60,000 MW (60 gigawatts) of cumulative wind capacity.

Here are the top ten leading states for US wind power in 2012:

Monday, June 17, 2013

Harnessing Wind Energy Without Blades

Wind turbines are a large and growing source of energy but the turning blades have led to concerns about sound and impacts on bird populations. People have also complained that such wind turbines are an eye-sore. A new structure designed by Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and installed at the Delft University of Technology convert wind to energy without any moving parts.

The new technological innovation was developed by the Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science faculty at Delft. It uses the movement of electrically charged water droplets to generate power.

Wind and Renewable Energy in Europe: Problems and Solutions

Each year wind energy contributes more than €27 billion to the European economy, it also provides jobs for more than 280,000 people across the continent. While this might seem like a lot, it accounts for only a fraction of European energy requirements.

Every day the EU spends almost a billion Euros on oil imports. This is because the continet has no internal supplies of oil and consequently it must important more than half of its domestic energy requirements.

Increasing energy independence is good for the European economy and, to the extent that new sources of energy are renewable, good for the environment.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Event - Offshore Wind Economics & Finance Europe 2013

Offshore Wind Economics & Finance: Europe 2013 will take place on Wednesday 16 October - Thursday 17 October in London, United Kingdom. ACI’s 2nd Offshore Wind Economics & Finance: Europe will take place on 16-17 October 2013 in London, UK. Bringing together 50-80 of the industry’s leading experts and executives from across the entire value chain (banks, international financing institutions, VC/PE companies, offshore wind farm owners/operators, utility companies, offshore wind farm developers, wind technology suppliers and R&D, government and regulators, lawyers and insurance firms) for two days of interactive discussion, excellent networking opportunities and the very latest updates from project investment activity around Europe, ACI’s 2nd Offshore Wind Economics & Finance: Europe will present you with the knowledge, experience & contacts you need to drive your business forward.

Event - Offshore Consenting Conference 2013

The second edition of the Offshore Consenting Conference 2013 will take place on 26 June 2013, in London, United Kingdom. This event encourages industry-wide coordination to optimise processes through consenting regimes. As the first Round 3 projects come closer to being consented, it is important to assess and learn from the challenges that have been encountered throughout the process in order to look forward to consenting future offshore wind schemes.

To see the conference agenda for 2013 click here.

Highlights will include:

  • The latest interpretation of the Habitat Regulations and progress of developments since Defra’s Implementation Review Future-proofing consents – strategies for incorporating R&D unknowns into applications
  • Approaches for defining cumulative impact constraints and best-practice methods for assessments
  • An update of on the Planning Inspectorate’s consenting regime one year on and what challenges the first projects through the system have faced

Event - Global Wind Power Finance and Risk

The 4th annual Global Wind Power Finance &  Risk conference and exhibition will take place on 19—20 June 2013, London, United Kingdom. This event is the premier annual wind finance gathering, it brings together c-level representatives from leading utilities, developers, financiers and investors, providing not only outstanding scope for networking with decision-makers, but also targeted and in-depth conference sessions.

Who Attends Global Wind Power finance? Previous attendees have included:

• A word about wind • ABB • ABO Wind • Ackermans & Van Haaren • ADB • Aephoria capital • African Development Bank • Alatec Ingenieros Consultores y Arquitectos • Alstom • Alterra Power Crop • AMSC • ArcLight Energy Marketing • AREVA Energietechnik • Areva Renewables • Argus Media • Augusta & Co • Availon Holding • AWS Truepower • Bank of America Merrill Lynch • Bank ofIreland • Barclays • BBC Chartering • Belwind & InControl • Beten International • BEWAG • Blackrock Lntemational Limited -renewable Power Group • Bloomberg NEF • BNP PARIBAS • Boralex Inc • BTC • California Independent System Operator • Campbell Lutyens & Co • Cape Wind

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Video - Climate Refugees the Documentary

Trailer for the multi-award winning documentary Climate Refugees. The film was the first to illuminate the human face of climate change. The first non-partisan film on our changing climate. Learn more at

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Beyond environmental refugees: How climate change will affect the world's (human) migration patterns -- Scientists and security agencies warn that hundreds of millions will become environmental refugees in coming decades, forced by climate change to flee their homes and communities in the face of food shortages, water scarcity, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events. Events like these can and do cause people to migrate in search of safety, but the impacts of climate change on global migration patterns will felt on much larger scales and for more subtle reasons. The number of people who migrate voluntarily to seek job opportunities or to diversify household income sources will skyrocket as households adapt to the impacts of climate change specific to their home region. For those of us living in the potential destinations of these new migrants, the goal is not to prevent them from coming, but to innovate migration programs and policies that benefit sending and receiving areas alike.

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Video - Van Jones Attacks the Keystone XL Pipeline

In this video former Obama administration green jobs adviser Van Jones weighs in on the Keystone XL. He makes some powerful statements about what is at stake and debunks some popular lies about the pipeline.

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Video - Changing the Narrative to Change the World

This video from SustainableMan offers an eloquent essay from Charles Eisenstein, author of The Ascent of Humanity and Sacred Economics. Eisenstein proposes that to change our world, we need to change the story: “The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation.” How do we change the world? Change the story. The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation." ~ Once the story our world is built on reflects the reality of interconnection, we will be on a true path towards sustainability. The speaker is Charles Eisenstein (author of 'The Ascent of Humanity' and 'Sacred Economics').

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Corporate Sustainability Leadership in America

New evidence has emerged indicating that while we are seeing some corporate leadership in America, there is still a lot of work to be done to increase the inculcation of sustainability practices and performances. Widespread corporate action is lacking with only around a quarter of the 600 largest US publicly traded companies showing true sustainability leadership. Specifically corporations are lacking in governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure and performance,

These are the findings of a Ceres analysis conducted by Sustainalytics titled "The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability." The report is subtitled "A Strategic Vision and Practical Framework for Sustainable Corporations in the 21st Century Economy."

The Most Meaningful Global Brands of 2013: A Study of Consumer Scepticism

An index produced by the by Havas Media Group measures the benefits brands bring to people’s lives. The Meaningful Brand Index (MBi) is determined by consumer perceptions of improvements to personal and collective well-being. In essence the MBi measures "meaningful connections" between a brand and consumers.

As explained by Havas Media "meaningful connections describes how we connect brands to people and create shared value for brands and communities. It is supported by Meaningful Brands - our unique framework to analyse and track the connections brands have with our quality of life and well-being."

Sustainability Calling: Its Now or Never

Sustainability is gaining ground but many are waiting on the sidelines for the right moment to engage. There are tremendous opportunities to contribute to the green economy and protect the long term viability of your business in the process. The alternative to engaging sustainability is untenable both for your business and the health of the planet. The urgency of building a sustainable global economy now cannot be overstated. There is much to be done including reducing energy use, cutting emissions, decreasing water consumption, and working to green your supply chains.

Martin Rohner, the director of the Alternativ Bank Schweiz made a noteworthy comment at the 3rd annual G21 Swiss Sustainability Forum, in Lausanne, Switzerland. He lamented that while some offer excuses for delaying action, leadership is required today.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Small Businesses are Going Green in America

A new report from the nonprofit, Green America, shows that a record number of small businesses are going green. The report is titled, "The Big Green Opportunity for Small Business in the U.S."

The findings in this report are welcome news as the small business community has been understandably slower then corporate America in adopting more sustainable business practices.

Here are some of the survey's key findings:

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus Derail 2013 UN Climate Talks in Bonn

The United Nation's (UN) climate talks in Bonn, Germany have collapsed despite the fact that we have marched past the symbolic milestone of 400 ppm of atmospheric CO2. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have rejected a compromise and effectively stalled discussions on climate compensation, adaptation and finance until the main summit in Warsaw in November.

The problems originated last year in Doha when Russia, Ukraine and Belarus expressed concern over the extension of the Kytoto Protoco, which is currently the world's only obligatory climate agreement. (Although the US and Canada are not signed on).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Climate Deniers Could Learn from Pascal's Wager

Rather than engage in protracted  psuedo-scientific debates, perhaps a touch of philosophy might help some climate deniers to see the value of acting to combat climate change.

Climate deniers must go through a series of intellectual gymnastics to find pretexts to poke holes in the legion of scientists and plethora of independent research that supports anthropogenic climate change. Perhaps the following philosophical position may save them from the effort needed for their intellectlual contortions.

Making the Environment Everyone's Concern

Everyone needs to get involved if we are to have a chance at altering our environmentally destructive trajectory. At present, environmentalism is largely the domain of a minority of elites. While there are numerous exceptions, environmentalists tend to be better educated and more affluent than the general population. While the support and leadership of these elites is entirely laudable, we will never see the degree of changes we need to see as long as environmentalism remains a minority concern.

Environmentalism is an attempt to balance relations between humans and the various natural systems on which they depend.

Jeremy Rifkin on the "Third Industrial Revolution": How Renewable Energy and the Internet are Changing the World

Renowned economist Jeremy Rifkin has put forth a compelling theory about how Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create a powerful "Third Industrial Revolution." Here is a brief except of Rifkin's presentation at a March 20, 2013 sustainability conference in Montreal, Canada. Rifkin was one of a number of experts who discussed energy efficiency, green cities and clean energy.

The conference was titled "Going Green - Smart Choices for a Sustainable Future." Specialists shared ideas on the main challenges and business opportunities associated with the emergence of an "intelligent" economy, based on clean energy and sustainable growth. The event reviewed best practices for creating partnership opportunities between cities.

"Internet technology and renewable energy are merging to create a powerful 'Third Industrial Revolution.' Imagine hundreds of millions of people producing their own green energy in their homes, offices and factories, and sharing it with each other in an 'energy Internet,' just like we now create and share information online. The five pillars of the Third Industrial Revolution will create thousands of businesses and millions of jobs, and usher in a fundamental reordering of human relationships, from hierarchical to lateral power, that will impact the way we conduct business, govern society, educate our children and engage in civic life," said Mr. Rifkin in his presentation.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Interview with Former Green Jobs Czar Van Jones on his Work and the Climate Movement

This interview by Jason Mark was originally published in the Earth Island Journal.

“The arc of the moral universe is long,” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “but it bends toward justice.” That famous line could also serve as an apt description for the comeback of Van Jones. In 2009, the veteran social justice and environmental activist was hounded out of his White House job by right wing loudmouth Glenn Beck. “A high tech lynching,” is how one commentator described the concocted controversy that led Jones to resign his post as special advisor for green jobs. Fast-forward four years, and Jones remains one of the most inspiring figures in the progressive movement. He has a new organization—Rebuild the Dream, dedicated to repairing the tattered social safety net of the U.S.—and is a paid pundit on CNN. And Glenn Beck? He’s off somewhere in the hinterlands of Internet television, peddling goldbug fantasies.

ISO Revisions Seek Overarching Guidance on 14001 Environmental Management Systems and Other ISO Standards

Revisions are being undertaken in ISO 14001 in order to create an overarching format in conformity with Annex SL (previously ISO Guide 83) which defines the framework for a generic management system. This new guidance is holistic and is intended to end conflicts, duplication, confusion and misunderstanding from different MSS management systems. Since being issued in 1996 and then revised in 2004, the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems standard has been adopted by more than 250,000 organizations around the world.

Annex SL, is described as a “high level structure and identical text for management system standards and common core management system terms and definitions.” Annex SL offers overarching guidance on ISO management system standards (MSS). It is intended to help explain how different standards fit together with minimum redundancy. Annex SL offers a common format, structure and core requirements for ISO 14001, ISO 9001, ISO 27001 and ISO 50001.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Is Apple's Adoption of Sustainability Too Little Too Late?

Apple is trying to offset its long history of  unsustainable practices through a number of initiatives that include hiring former EPA head Lisa Jackson. Even if the company manages to clean up its act, they may be haunted by their past for years to come. As Apple strives to improve its sustainable performance, the company is being battered by allegations of tax avoidance. Over the last few years Apple has been plagued with a number of problems including criticisms of their labor force in China, concerns about their supply chain and a forced reversal on EPEAT.

These factors seem to have eroded the firm's bottom line. Apple's profits and stock valuations have all suffered in recent months. From the beginning of 2009 until the end of 2012 Apple's (AAPL) meteoric rise seemed unstoppable. Then the stock plummeted losing almost half its value in the first quarter of 2013 (Going from a high of more than $700 per share in September 2012 to $390 per share in April, 2013).

Redrawing the Energy-Climate Map: World Energy Outlook Special Report

The world is not doing enough to combat climate change. This June 10, 2013 report offers  four policy suggestions that would curb emissions and enable us to stay within 2 °C without incurring a net cost. 

This report is part of the IEA's efforts to provide reliable and unbiased research, statistics, analysis and recommendations. The International Energy Agency (IEA) is an autonomous organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 28 member countries and beyond. Founded in response to the 1973/4 oil crisis, the IEA’s initial role was to help countries co-ordinate a collective response to major disruptions in oil supply through the release of emergency oil stocks to the markets.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Event - Green Power Mini-MBA

The Green Power Mini-MBA will take place on the 10—14 June 2013, in London, United Kingdom. This four day course addresses how renewable resources, technologies, policies and investors interconnect to determine market growth and project development. The fundamentals of the technologies, market impacts, opportunities and challenges for Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass and Ocean energy (wave & tidal). The factors determining how renewable energy fits into the energy market, the timescales over which it can scale, and how governments and external influences change these. The finances of renewable energy from country scales to project level investor returns.

Event - Trends and Opportunities in Risk Management

Tradinfo and Fair Impact will organise the 3rd Responsible Investment Corporate Access Conference, on the 5th of July 2013 in Zurich at Convention Point.

Platform for the financial community

The conference represents a unique occasion for listed companies, investors and Responsible Investment (RI) experts to discuss the latest hot-button issues in Risk Management and profitable business cases.

Event - Smart to Future Cities 2013

The second annual Smart to Future Cities event will take place on June 11 and 12, 2013. Too many smart city conferences do not distinguish between what is possible in developed countries as opposed to emerging economies. Equally many focus on a futurist vision of what may be possible in the future and not what we can do now. This is often compounded by not giving enough emphasis on the practical roadmap to implementing a future city and how you measure success.

Event - Summit on Private Environmental Governance (Eco-labels and Seals)

The Summit on Private Environmental Governance will take place on Monday, June 10, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The Summit on Private Environmental Governance engages stakeholders across Industries. This unique conference initiates dialogues on eco-labels and seals. Consumers and companies alike are overwhelmed by an explosion of eco-labels in the marketplace. Industry fragmentation, consumer confusion and a lack of consensus over criteria for sustainability threaten to hamper the sustainability initiatives of businesses and erode consumer trust.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Video - Ocean Frontiers the Movie Trailer

Ocean Frontiers is a feature length documentary on building a new era in ocean stewardship. A new way of thinking, a new way of living, in concert with the sea, in consideration of those yet to come. Now is your opportunity to get involved.

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Video - Stunning Ocean Showcase for World Oceans Day 2013

To celebrate World Oceans Day on Saturday 8 June, Earthtouch decided to showcase our oceans in all their splendour (and complete with Hollywood soundtrack!). A special thanks must also go to our friends at ZSL, WildAid and the South African Association of Marine Biological Research (SAAMBR) for their support on this and all the work they do to conserve the oceans of the world and the species that inhabit them.

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Video - World Oceans Day 2013

June 8th is World Oceans Day! Oceans are the life support system of our planet. Oceans regulate our climate. They provide the majority of our oxygen. The oceans are a global resource that we all rely upon.

This video was produced by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of International Information Programs in May 2013. The featured speaker is Philippe Cousteau, president and co-founder of Earthecho International.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

Ocean Frontiers the Movie

At a time when conservation is equated with job destruction and our nation is paralyzed by a code of no-compromise, a new film called Ocean Frontiers is returning common sense to these troubled times.

Ocean Frontiers takes a balanced, bipartisan approach to both the problems we face in managing our oceans and the solutions at hand. The film features on-the-ground reporting from places across the country that are at the forefront of implementing promising new approaches to ocean and coastal management.

Industrial shippers and whale biologists, pig farmers and wetland ecologists, sport and commercial fishermen, reef snorkelers and many more–are embarking on a new course of cooperation, in defense of the seas that sustain us.

Ocean Frontiers shows unlikely allies coming together and crafting solutions for the good of ecosystems and industry, while not sugarcoating the conflicts or the sometimes-difficult road to the end result. The film shows the groups as true partners in the process.


On July 19th 2010, President Obama established our nation’s first National Ocean Policy in order to protect, maintain and restore our ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes natural resources for present and future generations. The National Ocean Policy was formed through a multi-year process that included stakeholders from commercial and recreational fishing, shipping and ports, energy developers, conservationists, scientists, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Homeland Security and other ocean users with diverse interests.


The stories in Ocean Frontiers help audiences understand key principles of ecosystem-based management and coastal and marine spatial planning, which are the cornerstones of the National Ocean Policy. These complex concepts come to life and are easy to grasp through the stories and people featured in Ocean Frontiers.


A broad range of organizations, agencies, businesses, and ocean user groups are partnering to host screenings across the country to build support and take action for a new era in ocean stewardship. Find a screening where you live or host a screening.

Production of Ocean Frontiers was made possible by: The Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and The Lazar Foundation.

For more information click here.

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On June 8 Make a Promise for the Ocean

World Oceans Day is June 8th and this is our planet’s biggest celebration of the ocean. The world is increasingly waking up to the fundamental importance and absolute beauty of the oceans. There are many ways that you can show your support for World Oceans Day.

Join us via Thunderclap, or just make a post about World Oceans Day on social media and tag one friend. If they repost and tag a friend, ~ the wave ~ will spread across the globe. Click here to do the wave!

World Oceans Day is holding an Ocean Promise drive. Promise to do ONE thing for the ocean, and send us a photo or post on social media with the tag #WorldOceansDay.

List of Environmental and Conservation Issues

The number of environmental and conservation issues is vast and expanding. What all of these issues have in common is the fact that they relate to the anthropogenic effects on the natural environment. Here is an alphabetized list of 21 environmental and conservation issues and their 171 sub-categories (many of which are overlapping):

Air pollution

Environmental impact of fossil fuels • Smog • Tropospheric ozone • Ozone depletion resulting in UV exposure • Indoor air quality • Volatile organic compound • Atmospheric particulate matter• Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing

Climate change/Global warming

Global dimming • Fossil fuels • Sea level rise • Greenhouse gas • Ocean acidification • Shutdown of thermohaline circulation • Environmental impact of the coal industry • Urban Heat Islands


Species extinction • Pollinator decline • Coral bleaching • Holocene extinction • Invasive species • Poaching • Endangered species


Anoxic waters • Biodiversity • Biosecurity • Coral bleaching • Edge effect • Global warming • Habitat destruction • Habitat fragmentation • Illegal dumping


Energy conservation • Renewable energy • Efficient energy use • Renewable energy commercialization • Environmental impact of the coal industry • Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing

Environmental degradation

Eutrophication • Habitat destruction • Invasive species • Soda lake

Environmental health

Asthma • Environmental impact of the fossil fuel industry • Electromagnetic fields • Electromagnetic radiation and health • Indoor air quality • Lead poisoning • Outdoor air quality • Sick Building Syndrome


Blast fishing • Bottom trawling • By-catch • Cetacean bycatch • Gillnetting • Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing • Environmental effects of fishing • Overfishing • Marine pollution • Whaling

Genetic Engineering

Genetic pollution • Genetically modified food controversies

Intensive Farming

Overgrazing • Irrigation • Monoculture • Environmental effects of meat production • Slash and burn • Pesticide drift • Plasticulture

Land Issues

Land pollution • Desertification • Soil erosion • Soil contamination • Soil salination • Alkali soils * Residual Sodium Carbonate Index Urban sprawl • Habitat fragmentation • Habitat destruction

Logging and Forests

Clearcutting • Deforestation • Illegal logging


Acid mine drainage • Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing • Mountaintop removal mining • Slurry impoundments

Natural Resources

Resource depletion • Exploitation of natural resources • Exploitation of natural resources • Overdrafting Consumerism — Consumer capitalism • Planned obsolescence • Over-consumption

Nuclear Issues 

Nuclear fallout  • Nuclear meltdown • Nuclear power • Nuclear weapons • Nuclear and radiation accidents • Nuclear safety •  radioactive waste


Burial • Water crisis • Overpopulation in companion animals • Tragedy of the commons • Gender Imbalance in Developing Countries •


Environmental impact of fossil fuels • Nonpoint source pollution • Point source pollution • Light pollution • Noise pollution • Visual pollution


Habitat destruction • Holocene extinction • Invasive species • Poaching • Pollinator decline • Red-listed species • Species extinction • Wildlife trade • Genetic diversity


Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) • DDT • Endocrine disruptors • Dioxin • Toxic heavy metals • Environmental impact of the coal industry • Herbicides • Pesticides • Toxic waste • PCB • Bioaccumulation • Biomagnification • Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing


Electronic waste (e-waste) • Litter • Waste disposal incidents • Marine debris • Medical waste • Landfill • Leachate • Environmental impact of the coal industry • Incineration • Great Pacific Garbage Patch • Exporting of hazardous waste• Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing Conservation Issues

Water Pollution

Environmental impact of fossil fuels • Acid rain • Eutrophication • Marine pollution • Ocean dumping • Oil spills • Thermal pollution • Urban runoff • Water crisis • Marine debris • Microplastics • Ocean acidification • Ship pollution • Wastewater • Fish kill • Algal bloom • Mercury in fish • Environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing

What would you add to the list?

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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