Friday, February 28, 2014

Exotic Electric Marine Vehicles

While everyone knows about the electric vehicles the Chevy Volt and the Nissan Leaf  (fuel economy of 93 mpg and 99 mpg respectively) the real growth market in electric vehicles will be in marine vehicles. According to IDtechex, the sales of electric and hybrid marine vehicles are expected to rise from 73,000 in 2013 to 118,000 in 2024. This represents sales that will skyrocket from $2.6 billion to $7.3 billion.

The growth of electric and hybrid marine vehicles includes commercial applications like tugboats, oil slick collectors, tourist boats, military craft, research vessels and autonomous underwater vehicles.

Environmental Impacts of Duke Energy's Coal Ash Spill

In addition to contaminating the Dan River, Duke energy coal ash spill has contaminated groundwater with unsafe levels of arsenic. The February 2 spill from the Eden power plant has coated the bottom of the Dan River with toxic ash as far as 70 miles downstream. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has indicated that a massive pile of coal ash about 75 feet long and as much as 5 feet deep has been detected in the river. The toxic sludge is flowing down the Dan river across the state lines into Virginia and to Kerr Lake, a major reservoir. The water coming out of that pipe contains poisonous arsenic which is 14 times the level considered safe for human contact. In addition to arsenic, unsafe levels of lead and selenium have also been detected. People are being advised to avoid contact with the river water and not eat the fish.

Happiness in the Workplace: An Imperative for Sustainable Business

While happy employees are beneficial to all types of businesses, they are particularly important for sustainable enterprises. Happiness is an often overlooked corollary of sustainability. It is closely associated with productivity and corporate social responsibility (CSR). In fact happiness contributes to the three pillars of sustainable business (people, planet and profits). Some bottom line business people may be tempted to dismiss employee happiness as ancillary to success or even altogether irrelevant, however, these people could not be more wrong. A growing pool of data corroborates the contention that happiness is a critical component of a successful enterprise.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Why We Need a New Climate Change Narrative

We need new narratives to combat the pervasive popular and political inertia. Our old narratives are not working and may even lead to apathy and indifference. Despite the scientific consensus about anthropogenic climate change we are not moving fast enough to change our perilous course. According to a 2013 Pew survey, only 69 percent of those surveyed accept the view that the earth is warming, and only 1 in 4 Americans see global warming as a major threat. These numbers illustrate that we need to craft a new narrative and do a better job of communicating the urgency of climate change action.

Even the devastating spate of extreme weather events in the last decade has not augured change. We desperately need a stronger and more far-reaching global movement. To do that, we need an inspirational vision that resonates with the vast majority of the general public.

Attribution Science and UK Storms and Flooding

While it is widely known that it is hard to assign individual extreme weather events to climate change, advances in attribution science including a new project will help us to zero in on the causes of specific storms. Improved attribution science including spatial resolution climate models will enable us to get a better grasp of how individual extreme weather events are linked to global warming.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

UK Flooding and the Science of Climate Change

While it is widely understood that it is hard to ascribe individual weather events to climate change, there is strong evidence to suggest that the floods experienced in the UK at the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 are a taste of what weather will be like as the world warms.

A top Welsh climate scientist has warned that recent storms and floods in the UK offer a foretaste of global warming. Professor Neil Glasser, one of the founders of the Climate Change Consortium of Wales, has said that computer models indicate that extreme weather such as that experienced by the UK of late will happen more often.

Employee Uniforms Made from Recycled Plastic Bottles

There are a number of greener textiles ranging from organic cotton to cutting edge silks and wools, but one of the more interesting apparel choices involves repuposing recycled plastic bottles. The fabric is called RPET which is simply recycled polyester made from post consumer plastic bottles.

One potentially lucrative uses of this textile is in the fabrication of employee uniforms. By using RPET for employee uniforms, companies looking to introduce sustainability programs enhance their corporate reputation while getting a leg-up on their competition.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Declining Levels of Snow and the End of Winter

Now that the Sochi Olympics have come to a close, we are being forced to reevaluate the future of the Winter Games. It is not just the Olympics that are being threatened by global warming, winter sports are under siege. Even more than this we are being forced to reckon with the global decline of snow and the demise of winter itself.

As reviewed in a New York Times op-ed, in the last 47 years, a million square miles of spring snow cover has disappeared from the Northern Hemisphere.

The Future of the Winter Olympics is Being Threatened by Climate Change

Finding a site for future Winter Olympics will prove challenging in a warming world. Cities like Sochi will likely be out of the question. Even this year Sochi registered temperatures hovering around 60 Fahrenheit and limited snowfall forced the cancellation of two test events last February. Although the Sochi games went forward due to Herculean efforts that included covering 16 million cubic feet of snow with insulated blankets and around the clock snow making, in the near future this may not be enough. According to new research, only six of the previous 19 Winter Olympics sites will be suitable to host the Games by the end of this century.

According to a new analysis from the University of Waterloo, the. average February maximum daytime temperatures at the 19 previous Winter Olympics host cities has risen from 0.4°C in the 1920s to 1950s, to 7.8°C in the 2000s to 2010s. An additional rise in the average global temperature of more than 7 degrees Fahrenheit is possible by 2100.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sustainable Green Fashion is Being Buoyed by Growing Consumer Demand

There is a growing wave of interest in green fashion sweeping around the world. Companies are responding to demand from socially conscious consumers who are looking for sustainable clothing. However in the absence of clear standards, it is hard to know who is truly making sustainable clothing and who is simply looking to cash in on sustainable demand.

Cotton is the worst and most ubiquitous culprit in the fashion world. Conventionally grown cotton is a major pollutant and it poses a serious health risk. Cotton uses more insecticides than any other single crop. Cotton producers around the world spend nearly $2.6 billion on pesticides each year. According to the Pesticide Action Network, an international organization dedicated to eliminating hazardous pesticides, this amounts to more than 10 percent of the world's pesticides, and nearly 25 percent of the world's insecticides. However, there is increasing interest in organic cotton which uses no pesticides or insecticides. This represents a significant improvement over traditional pesticide rich cotton textiles

The Farce of Putin's "Green" Olympics

Russian President Vladimir Putin's Winter Olympic games were little more than a poor disguise from a corrupt regime that is one of the world's worst environmental criminals.

In addition to the jailing of environmentalists Yevgeny Vitishko, and Igor Kharchenko prior to the Sochi Olympics, two members of the recently released protest group Pussy Riot  (Maria Alekhina and Nadezdha Tolokonnikova) were also returned to prison on trumped up robbery charges in the middle of the games.

In hindsight it is ironic that Russia's 2007 winning Olympic bid was awarded based on the promise of being the most environmentally friendly Games ever. The Sochi Olympics have proven to be about as green as their democracy is fair.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Program - Sustainability in Project Management Practices (SiPMP)

Sustainability in Project Management Practices - SiPMP will take place on Tuesday March 25, 2014, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

This unique offering will enable project managers to improve overall return on investment by incorporating greater sustainability during both the deployment and operational phases of any initiative. The “Practices” introduced during the program apply to all industry sectors where project and program management techniques are employed.

Event - Global Geothermal Summit: Indonesia and Philippines 2014

Global Geothermal Summit: Indonesia and Philippines 2014 will take place on Thursday March 20 to Friday March 21, 2014, in Indonesia. With in-depth research and careful investigation, the Global Geothermal Summit is ready for you to update industry information and to network with C-level executives in Bali.

Positioned in the ring of fire, both Indonesia and the Philippines are granted huge potential of geothermal. Indonesia is even estimated to own 40 percent of the world’s geothermal reserve. Challenged to increase the supply of electricity, Indonesia and the Philippines have issued policy, regulation as well as finance incentives to accelerate the exploitation of geothermal.

Event - Wind Energy Summit South Africa

This event will take place on in South Africa. The most recent additions include companies such as E.ON, RES, WKN and Mainstream are among those to sign up to the Wind Energy Summit South Africa.

Wind Energy Summit South Africa brings together over 100 key members of the renewable industry to facilitate and drive forward this expanding market. Helping forge new partnerships and tackling emerging issues as the competitive bidding rounds progress.

Event - Responsible Business Summit 2014

This event will take place on May 19-20, 2014, in London, UK. The Responsible Business Summit is Europe’s leading conference on corporate sustainability.

This event is brought to you by Ethical Corporation which provides business intelligence for sustainability to more than 3,000 multinational companies every year. They publish the leading responsible business magazine, website, and research reports. Their conferences are widely recognized as the best in the field of corporate responsibility and sustainability.

What attendees will get from this Summit

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Video - It is No Coincidence that Costa Rica is both Happy and Green

Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the greenest country in the world according to the New Economics Foundation. The HPI measures how much of the Earth's resources nations use and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy. Costa Rica was the first country in the world to constitutionally abolish its army. Costa Rica has consistently been among the top Latin American countries in the Human Development Index, ranking 50th in 2006. The country is ranked 5th in the world, and 1st among the Americas, in terms of the 2008 Environmental Performance Index. In 2007 the Costa Rican government announced plans for Costa Rica to become the first carbon neutral country by 2021. According to the New Economics Foundation, Costa Rica ranks first in the Happy Planet Index and is the greenest country in the world. The HPI measures how much of the Earth's resources nations use and how long and happy a life their citizens enjoy as a result.

Video - Bhutan is Both Happy and Sustainable

Bhutan, a small country enshrined in the Himalaya's leads the way in the pursuit of holistic, inclusive and truly environmentally sustainable development.

Video - The Happy Planet Index

In this Ted Talk video, statistician Nic Marks asks why we measure a nation's success by its productivity -- instead of by the happiness and well-being of its people. He introduces the Happy Planet Index, which tracks national well-being against resource use (because a happy life doesn't have to cost the earth). Which countries rank highest in the HPI? You might be surprised.

Video - The Economics of Happiness (Trailer)

The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, people around the world are resisting those policies – and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Duke Energy's Environmental Destruction May be at the Taxpayers Expense

Duke Energy spilled tens of thousands of tons of arsenic infested coal ash into the Dan River. This is the third-largest disaster of its kind in US history has contaminated the river and prevents people from safely swimming and fishing. People are not the only life forms impacted, clams, mussels, crustaceans as well as birds, fish and turtles are also being suffocated by the toxic sludge.

Although the company’s CEO, Lynn Good, told The Charlotte Observer that Duke would pay for for the spill, Greenpeace is unconvinced. The environmental organization reports that Duke Energy will not be paying for the cleanup, instead they are expecting taxpayers to foot the bill. This is not the first time that Duke's malfeasance has cost the taxpayer. When they shut a nuclear reactor in Florida that they broke during a botched repair job, they charged their Florida customers over $3 billion.

Nebraska Court Rejects the Keystone XL Pipeline

A Nebraska court has struck a blow to the northern leg of the Keystone XL. On Wednesday February 19, District Judge Stephanie F. Stacy struck down a state law that supported the pipeline saying it violated the state's constitution. This decision that could significantly delay the building of the $5.3 billion project as there is now no approved route across Nebraska. TransCanada, the builders of the  pipeline, has already been forced to find an alternative route around the Nebraska Sandhills, a sensitive habitat.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The North Face Increases "Clothes the Loop" Recycling

The North Face recently announced the expansion of its apparel and footwear recycling program. The company's "Clothes The Loop" program will now be available in more than half of its retail store locations across the nation. Clothes The Loop is now available in a total of 27 The North Face stores nationwide.

The program diverts thousands of pounds of apparel and footwear from landfills. It also enables consumers to recycle their unused clothing and shoes, moving these items into a continuous closed loop product cycle thus reducing waste, preserving material resources, protecting the environment and enabling sustainable consumption. Items are either reused or reverted back to basic materials for manufacturing.

Last year the North Face pilot program succeeded in diverting 1,350 lbs of apparel and footwear away from landfills.

Ten Reasons Why Nurses Oppose the Keystone XL

Nurses are against the Keystone XL due in large part to their concern about the possible health impacts and the associated climate change causing emissions. Here are ten reasons why nurses oppose the Keystone XL by Rose Ann DeMoro.

Secretary of State Kerry Compares Climate Change to Weapons of Mass Destruction

Here are excerpts of US Secretary of State John Kerry's Sunday February 16th speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, in which he compares climate change to weapons of mass destruction.

Think about this: terrorism, epidemics, poverty, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction — all challenges that know no borders. The reality is that climate change ranks right up there with every single one of them.

Coal Fire Burns Out of Control in Australia Impacting Air Quality

An immense coal fire has been spewing smoke and ash in Australia since February 9. Australia's Hazelwood open cut mine fire has adversely impacted air quality and the situation continues to deteriorate in eastern Victoria. According to Australia's Environment Protection Agency (EPA) air quality index reading above 150 is very poor, recent readings climbed to 702 at Morwell. Local communities are not the only ones being impacted. Thick smoke from the fire is impacting communities as far as Sale which is 65 kilometers away.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Power of Story Telling for Sustainable Businesses

We can learn a lot from the marketing strategies employed by successful sustainable businesses. Some of these businesses have demonstrated considerable skill when it comes to communicating sustainability. This is a celebration of early adopters rather than an attempt to cajole the laggards. These narratives are positive rather than a negative as pessimism undermines effective storytelling. The message has to involve people and to do that it must be relevant, attractive and warm.

Why White Conservatives are Purveyors of Climate Denial

Conservatives are more likely to be climate deniers because as a whole they tend to revert to their core belief systems when they are confronted with novel information. They have a tendency to discount information that refutes their deeply held convictions and they are also less likely to confront their prior beliefs with new empirical evidence.

Here is a summary of the experimental evidence that breaks down the climate denying demographic.

Secretary of State Kerry on the Energy and Climate Change Nexus

Here are excerpts of US Secretary of State John Kerry's Sunday February 16th speech in Jakarta, Indonesia, in which he outlined the connection between energy and climate change.

The global energy market is the future. The solution to climate change is energy policy. And this market is poised to be the largest market the world has ever known. Between now and 2035, investment in the energy sector is expected to reach nearly $17 trillion. That’s more than the entire GDP of China and India combined.

The great technology – many of you have your smart phones or your iPads, et cetera, here today – all of this technology that we use so much today was a $1 trillion market in the 1990s with 1 billion users. The energy market is a $6 trillion market with, today, 6 billion users, and it’s going to grow to maybe 9 billion users over the course of the next 20, 30, 40 years. The solution to climate change is as clear as the problem. The solution is making the right choices on energy policy. It’s as simple as that. And with a few smart choices, we can ensure that clean energy is the most attractive investment in the global energy sector.

To do this, governments and international financial institutions need to stop providing incentives for the use of energy sources like coal and oil. Instead, we have to make the most of the innovative energy technology that entrepreneurs are developing all over the world – including here in Indonesia, where innovative companies like Sky Energy are building solar and battery storage and projects that can help power entire villages.

And we have to invest in new technology that will help us bring renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydro power not only to the communities where those resources are abundant –but to every community and to every country on every continent.

I am very well aware that these are not easy choices for any country to make – I know that. I’ve been in politics for a while. I know the pull and different powerful political forces. Coal and oil are currently cheap ways to power a society, at least in the near term. But I urge governments to measure the full cost to that coal and that oil, measure the impacts of what will happen as we go down the road. You cannot simply factor in the immediate costs of energy needs. You have to factor in the long-term cost of carbon pollution. And they have to factor in the cost of survival. And if they do, then governments will find that the cost of pursuing clean energy now is far cheaper than paying for the consequences of climate change later.

Make no mistake: the technology is out there. None of this is beyond our capacity.

© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Alaska's Record Breaking Heat in January Offers More Evidence for a Dramatically Warmer Arctic

While the continental US was being slammed with a succession of cold spells and winter storms in January, Alaska was experiencing some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded for the month. Temperatures were as much as 40°F (22°C) above normal. The all-time warmest January temperature ever observed in Alaska was tied on January 27 when the temperature peaked at 62°F (16.7°C) in Port Alsworth.

The NASA map (above left) shows the temperature anomalies in Alaska for January 23–30, 2014. Those areas which experienced higher than average temperatures compared to the 2001–2010 average for the same week are highlighted in red. The map is based on data from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Webinar - Capitalism 2.0: A Deeper Dive

The Webinar Series on Capitalism 2.0 will will have a kickoff event on March 20th at 1pm EST. This series has been produced in partnership with CSRwire.

They will be hosting some of the world's leading experts to share their thoughts on our collective transition from Capitalism 1.0 to something better - an economic system that creates wealth, opportunity and satisfaction for the greatest number of people.

They will explore the most exciting ideas that surface from our live event with Mark Anielski. Please register early - you won't want to miss it.

Secretary of State Kerry: Climate Change is a Catastrophic Threat

Secretary of State John Kerry gave a speech in Indonesia on Sunday February 16. In this speech he made some of his most powerful statements to date about the threat posed by climate change.

Here are some highlights from his speech in Jakarta:

It’s not an exaggeration to say to you that the entire way of life that you live and love is at risk.

Refuting the Rationale for Approving the Keystone XL

There is evidence to suggest that the Keystone XL will be approved and this article reviews ten reasons put forth for moving forward with the pipeline as well as counterpoints.

Despite all of the efforts being made to resist the construction of the Keystone XL, it will likely gain the approval of U.S. President Barack Obama. Supporting evidence for the notion that we will move ahead with the Keystone XL comes from the corporate sector. Powerful corporate interests have considerable resources that often enable them to ascertain the outcome of political decisions well ahead of the general public. Berkshire Hathaway has made a move that indicates that they believe the pipeline will be approved. Berkshire controls BNSF which is comprised of nearly 400 different railroad lines that merged or were acquired. Despite its rail holdings, since the end of 2013, Berkshire has been greedily buying shares of Phillips 66 Pipeline Flow Improver in a stock deal valued at about $1.4 billion.

Laggards in Toxic Clothing Detox: Adidas and Nike

Greenpeace has been very successful at encouraging some of the world's largest brands to stop using hazardous chemicals in their manufacturing process. While some have voluntarily agreed to detox, some big brands like Adidas and Nike are stuck on the first step, while others like Disney have not even begun. As Greenpeace puts it these brands and others like them need some serious "Detox rehabilitation."

Massive Flooding in the UK is Driving People to Accept the Veracity of Climate Change

Although weather related calamity has proven devastating to the UK, there may be an upside to the unprecedented flooding. Politicians and people who were previously disinterested in climate change in the UK are increasingly being forced to reckon with reality.

As explained in an Independent article by Yasmin Alibhai Brown, a Ugandan-born British journalist and author:

Monday, February 17, 2014

White Paper - A Journey in Search of Capitalism 2.0: Blueprints for a Sustainable Economy

This paper is the beginning of a journey that we will take together – a journey in search of a better economic system – a system that creates wealth, opportunity and satisfaction for the greatest number of people.

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” - R. Buckminster Fuller

This journey began nearly a year ago; we have reached a milestone with this paper but it is only Step 1. We’ve outlined the general design principles for what we believe to be the basis of a sustainable economy, drawing upon the incredible work of pioneers who have contributed to shape this vision. BUT there is still much work to be done. We seek your feedback – your expertise – your passion – your ideas – to strengthen the framework and how to bring the vision to life. This is how we will give people confidence to move towards something better – a credible and attractive alternative economic ecosystem.

Sale of Fisker to Wanxiang Heralds a New Beginning

After some last minute intrigue it appears the fate of Fisker Automotive has finally been decided. Initially it appeared that the company's assets would be sold to Hybrid Tech Holdings llc, a Hong Kong-based company controlled by businessman Richard Li. However, a Delaware Bankruptcy Court put the company's holdings up for an open public auction allowing a winning bid from China's Wanxiang America.

The bottom line was price with Wanxiang outbidding the competition. Fisker filed for bankruptcy in November of last year and Hybrid offered $25 million in a private bid that would have given little or nothing to Fisker's unsecured creditors. At auction Hybrid raised their bid to $55 million only to lose out to Wanxiang's bid of $149.2 million. Wanxiang is China's largest auto-parts group and the owner of A123 Systems, they make a lithium-ion battery that was used by Fisker.

Webinar - Green Business Success

Green Business Success is a free webinar for green business owners & entrepreneurs who want to increase sales and grow their profits in 2014. This webinar will take place on Tuesday February 18th, at 12PM Pacific/3PM Eastern. Join Jamie Clem, from the Green Business Bureau and Ted Ning, founder of the LOHAS Expo, for a FREE invitation-only webinar that teaches you how to grow your green business in 2014. This informational-packed and empowering webinar is taught by business experts and it gives you a 3 Step business formula, while managing your time and resources. Grow your business to financial security with purpose, training, and empowerment!

Petition in Support of UK Flood Victims & Against Fossil Fuel Subsidies

The ongoing flooding crisis has gone on for a couple of months now in the UK. This is a disaster that has already cost lives and incurred massive financial costs. Once the floods subside, it will take many months to cleanup. British citizens are coming together to demand that their government do a better job of preempting (mitigating) climate change so that the storms and floods do not get worse in the future. Here is a petition that seeks an end of fossil fuels and aid for flood victims. 

Devastating UK Flooding Continues

For almost two months now the UK has been inundated with heavy rains and storm surges that have caused widespread flooding. Up to 20mm (0.8in) of rain is forecast in south-west England on Monday February 17th and this will exacerbate flooding as the ground is already saturated. More wet weather and heavy winds are expected at the end of the week.

A total of 16 severe flood warnings have been issued for southern England and more than 300 less serious flood warnings and flood alerts in England and Wales. A severe weather warning for ice has also been issued for northern Scotland. On the upside, the worst-hit areas of the Thames are expected to see some improvement this week.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Event - The 2014 Solar Show Africa

The Solar Show Africa will take place on March 11 - 12, 2014, at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johanesburg, South Africa. This event is the continent's largest solar exhibition. It is part of Power & Electricity World Africa which attracts 4,500+ participants annually. It is the only African event that attracts regional and international developers, power producers and utilities, industry, government and large energy users - year after year.

Event - The Future of Capitalism: New Metrics, New Models, New Outcomes

The Future of Capitalism will take place on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm, at Loyalty One, 438 University Ave., 12th Floor, Toronto, Canada. This event is subtitled, "New Metrics, New Models, New Outcomes." It will address strategies for the new economy and competing in an economic system that rewards shared values, well being and inclusive prosperity. Attendees at this event will hear from Mark Anielski, one of the world's leading experts on the emerging metric of well-being...the new bottom line.

Event - Ecochem: Global Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering

The Ecochem Global Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Event will take place at the Congress Center Basel, Switzerland, 11-13 November 2014 Apply here if you are interested in becoming a speaker. A vision for the future of the chemical industry. The world's most influential industry and government leaders, scientists and innovators from across the chemical industry and value chains, sharing new visions for the sustainable design, production and use of chemicals.

Event - Sustainable Water Management Conference

Sustainable Water Management Conference will take place on March 30 - April 2, 2014 at the The Curtis Hotel- A Doubletree Hilton Hotel, 1405 Curtis Street, Denver, Colorado.

The conference will present solutions for 
  • Balancing the benefits of conservation with the costs
  • Managing infrastructure
  • Developing robust supply models 
  • Watershed management plans
  • Water reuse
  • Resource management
  • Green infrastructure and more. 

Event - The 2014 Sustainability in Packaging Conference

The 2014 Sustainability in Packaging conference will take place on March 5-7, 2014 at the Renaissance Orlando at SeaWorld, 6677 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, FL (the Renaissance Orlando is a Green Lodging Palm 1 Certified Hotel). At this event you will hear about the latest successes and challenges that leading brands, converters and packaging innovators have faced as they strive for truly sustainable and profitable packaging.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Video - Research Shows that Nature is Good for Mental Health

Although hardly surprising, new research confirms what most of us already know, nature is good for our mental health. Research by Dr Ian Alcock shows that having access to green spaces in town and cities create immediate and long lasting improvements in people's psychological well being.

Video - Toxic Clothes: Direct Action at Burberry

This video is one of many direct actions organized by Greenpeace activists. In addition to a social media firestorm, Greenpeace has also staged a number of direct actions to encourage major clothing brands to "detox." In this video, a group of rogue mannequins got sick of modeling clothes made with hazardous chemicals so they decided to tell Burberry to stop using these little monsters in to make their clothes.

Video - The Success of Greenpeace's Detox Fashion Campaign

A growing movement is demanding that the fashion industry clean up its act. The combination of social media and direct action have succeeded in convincing a number big brands (including Zara, Mango, Valentino, UNIQLO and H&M) to commit to toxic-free fashion. The effectiveness of these campaigns is a warning for clothing and textile manufactures to remove toxins from their products.

Video - Nike, Adidas and Puma Agree to Detox

Thanks to a protracted campaign to Detox Fashion, Nike, Adidas and Puma have all signed up to eliminate all toxic chemicals from their products and supply chains.

Video - Resistance to the Hazardous Chemicals in our Clothes

Toxic fashions are polluting waterways in Asia and Mexico. Global fashion brands like Calvin Klein and GAP are using hazardous chemicals and dyes to make our clothes. These chemicals poison our rivers, and people who wear these clothes are subjected to traces of these hazardous chemicals. While a number of major brands have already signed on to Greenpeace's Detox Fashion campaign, there are a number of others who still need to be convinced.

Video - UK Storms and Flooding in February 2014

The seemingly endless series of storms that have inundated the UK continues into the second week of February. More rain and more flooding is reportedly widespread for a country still trying to recover from weeks of storms and flooding.

Video - UK Storms and Flooding in January 2014

Due to some of the wettest and stormiest weather ever to hit the United Kingdom much of England, Scotland & Wales have been inundated by flooding early in 2014. River banks burst and flooded lakes. The worst flooding includes Somerset, Aberystwyth, Christchurch, Dorset, Oxfordshire, South Wiltshire, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Isle of Wight. Storm surges driven by high tides and powerful winds slammed the coasts all across UK on the weekend leaving thousands of homes under water.

Video - Climate Change Valentines for Politicians in Australia

AYCC volunteers in Canberra, Australia, surprised politicians with a valentines Day message: "It's not the thought that counts, it's real action." As explained by these activists, Romance and politics have one things in common: "Actions speak louder than words."

Related Articles
UK Valentines Day Cards Against Fossil Fuels
A Love Letter to the Earth and its Inhabitants on Valentines Day

Friday, February 14, 2014

Greenpeace's 5 Step Detox Program for the Fashion Industry

What are the steps required to detox the fashion industry? Greenpeace has proposed 5 crucial steps.

Step 1 - Commit to Detox
Step 2 - Spot the monsters
Step 3 - Come clean
Step 4 - Beware of the unknown monsters
Step 5 - Be accountable

Russia Imprisons Environmental Activists Ahead of the Sochi Olympics

While Russia is trying to portray the 2014 Olympics in Sochi as the greenest ever, they are silencing those who threaten to expose the truth about the environmental toll of the games.

A couple of Russian environmental activists who have spoken out against the nations ecological crimes were locked up for the Olympic games. One such individual is Yevgeny Vitishko an ecologist and activist who was prevented from publishing a report detailing environmental damage caused by Olympic construction. He was sentenced to 15 days in prison for the crime of swearing in public.

UK Valentines Day Cards Against Fossil Fuels

In the UK, Valentines Day 2014 is being marked by a national day of action. Valentines Day events are part of People and Planet's Go Green Week which is taking place from February 10-16, 2014. Students and staff from colleges and universities all across the UK are taking part.

On Valentines Day, Friday February 14th there is a national day of action in the UK that includes Fossil Free rallies across the country. These Valentines Day events also include cards for University Vice Chancellors (VCs) and politicians.

During Go Green Week, students in the UK are shining a spotlight on educational institution’s links to the fossil fuel industry. They engaged in a number of events including mass rallies and colourful, creative stunts on campuses. The Valentines Day message calls on universities to go Fossil Free.

A Love Letter to the Earth and its Inhabitants on Valentines Day

Valentines day is an opportunity to express love to people we care about, shouldn't the day also be about finding ways of communicating our love for the planet. No matter where we are, regardless of our power or wealth, we are all dependent on the Earth for our sustenance. Here is a love letter expressing gratitude for nature, and all those who work to make a better world.

We have many reasons to be grateful this Valentines Day. We are crafting positive environmental narratives that are getting more people on-board. A movement is being born that is infused with what can only be described as "eco-morality".  A new religious psychology and ethics is emerging that reinforces the environmental message. The new breed of environmentally concerned citizens gives us reason to hope that we will be able to tackle the difficult issues we face.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Another Water Contaminating Coal Industry Spill

On February 11, another toxic spill of coal-industry effluent contaminated a stream in Kanawha County, West Virginia. A total of 100,000 gallons of coal slurry has contaminated Fields Creek and turned the water black. Such slurry is know to be full of carcinogens, toxins, and heavy metals.

Earlier in 2014 Freedom industries was responsible for a leak that poisoned the drinking water of 300,000 people. The contaminate was MCHM, a chemical used to wash coal. This time the culprit is Patriot Coal and the contaminate is slurry aka sludge, which is a byproduct of coal mining and preparation.

Purtex an Eco-freindly Alternative to Toxic Textiles

Purtex is a product that replaces many of the toxic chemicals used in clothing. Purtex is an eco-friendly, 100 percent solvent-free polyurethane treatment for textile finishing and coating. It is a solvent-free, water-based polyurethane emulsion that can be quickly and easily applied to any textile. It is completely safe, both to the people who work with it and to the natural environment.

While many major clothing companies are cleaning up their acts others are lagging behind. This constitutes a dangerous reputational risk for those who ignore consumer desires for safer and healthier clothing. The most common reason that companies use of toxins is due to the mistaken belief that there are no alternatives or that it is too expensive.

McKibben on the Physics of Climate Change

Here is an article by Bill McKibben written at the end of last year. While we await President Obama's decision on the fate of the Keystone XL,  its contents are prescient for the realities we face today. 

Change usually happens very slowly, even once all the serious people have decided there’s a problem. That’s because, in a country as big as the U.S., public opinion moves in slow currents. Since change by definition requires going up against powerful established interests, it can take decades for those currents to erode the foundations of our special-interest fortresses.

"Catastrophic" Ice Storm Slams the Southeast and Heads North

The US southeast from Alabama through South Carolina was hit with a very unusual ice and snow storm. Officials and forecasters in several states in the Deep South called the storm "catastrophic." The storm is being blamed for at least 15 deaths in the South and hundreds of car accidents.

The winter storm has impacted an area stretching from northern Florida all the way to Maine, but it is being felt most in the South where people are least accustomed to ice and snow. 

Already three quarters of a million people are without power and that number is expected to increase as more ice and snow fall. These power outages could leave people in the cold, dark for days. An ice storm in the Atlanta area in 2000 left more than 500,000 homes and businesses without power. After a snowstorm stranded thousands two weeks ago, the mayor of Atlanta, urged people to stay home. This left the business district virtually devoid of life. The area includes the headquarters for companies like Home Depot, UPS, Delta and Coca-Cola.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

List of Hazardous Chemicals Lurking in Your Clothes

Greenpeace has significantly raised the profile of toxins in our clothing, they have also produced studies which detail the pervasiveness of these chemicals in our clothes. It is important to note that clothes at every price range, from bargain brands to high end retailers all contained these toxins. Here is a list of six hazardous chemicals that are commonly found in many clothing items that are widely available around the world.

Bushfires, Climate Change and the Insane Policies of Australia's Federal Government

Although you would never know it by looking at the policies of Australia's ruling government, there is a clear connection between bushfires and climate change. January's record breaking heat waves have created the right conditions for a number of Australian bushfires that broke out in February. High temperatures dried out the landscape and contributed to the spread of fires. The flames are being fanned by high winds. The largest bushfires in and around Snowy River, National Park, are producing dense clouds of smoke. The three largest fires have already burned around one hundred thousand hectares (this figure does not include a number of other smaller fires).

Fire officers in the state of Victoria are urging residents to be prepared to evacuate and a town of 3,000 is considering evacuating in Queensland after two years with almost no rainfall.

At one point Prime Minister Tony Abbott's climate denying Federal Government rejected claims that bushfires are linked to climate change. However, a report by scientists indicates the two are indeed linked. At the end of last year Abbott's top business adviser, Maurice Newman referred to the "delusion" of global warming. These comments came as Australia ended its hottest year in more than a century of data collection, with 2013 eclipsing the record set in 2005. The new government is working hard to increase coal exports including a terminal that endangers the Great Barrier Reef.