Monday, March 31, 2014

Most Recent IPCC Report Omits Green Climate Fund

One of the biggest changes to the most recent installment of the IPCC AR5, concerned the removal of a key number from the executive summary. The missing figure is the annual sum that rich countries have agreed to give poor countries for climate change mitigation. While mention of the $100 billion figure remains in the full 2,500 page report, it was removed from a 48-page executive summary read by the world’s top political leaders.

The most recent IPCC report was released at the end of March, 2014, in Yokohama, Japan. The body of the WGll report points to a World Bank estimate that shows how poor countries need $100 billion a year to try to offset the effects of climate change. At present they are receiving only a tiny fraction of that amount.

A Scientist who Disagrees with the Conclusions of the AR5 WGll

The findings of the recently released second part of the IPCC AR5 report were disputed by Richard Tol. He is the sole contributor who sought to downplay the adverse economic impacts of climate change.

Although it at first appears farcical, Tol was seriously trying to argue that climate change will be economically beneficial. However, his research was largely discounted as it is the only study that suggested climate change would have a positive impact on gross domestic product.

"Of the 19 studies he surveyed only one shows net positive benefits from warming. And it's the one he wrote," said Bob Ward, an expert reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, policy and communications director of the Grantham Research Unit on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics.

IPCC AR5 WGll Report: An Impending Climate Catastrophe

The conclusions in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report are distressing, but there may still be time to avert a climate catastrophe. The second part of the Fifth Assessment Report was released at the end of March and it paints a bleak picture of our current situation and the future prospects for life on planet Earth.

There is no more comprehensive summary of the current state of climate change science than the IPCC reports. These reports cover the scientific, technical and socio-economic information on climate change..

The UN's IPCC is the world's leading scientific body on climate information. Their work includes assessing the future risks from climate change as well as our ability to adapt. A total of 309 authors and editors from 70 countries contributed to the second part of the IPCC's fifth Assessment Report. It reviewed the findings of a vast number of researchers then it distilled the data to create a 2,500 page report.

Global Warming Continues Unabated Despite a Seemingly Endless Winter in Parts of North America

Even if it is still cold and stormy in parts of North America, the data reveals that the global warming trend is strong and getting stronger. As some of us are still waiting for the first flowers to bloom, winter may seem eternal. Cold weather can give the impression that the heat may be abating somewhat, however the facts reveal that global warming shows no signs of easing.

Sustainability Communications Positively Impact Reputation and Performance

Effective communications are of particular importance to companies focused on sustainability. When done right effective sustainability communications are able to engender the perception of sincerity which can positively impact both a company's performance and its reputation.

A 2012 Hill+Knowlton Strategies Survey found that the public's trust in companies was declining as their access to information was increasing. However, more recent research suggests that the declining levels of trust can be addressed through honest communications focused on a company's sustainability efforts.

According to a 2013 online survey by Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Americans are more likely to trust and respect those businesses that effectively communicate their sustainability efforts and projects.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Webinar - Getting Value From EH&S Software & Technologies

This complimentary Webinar on How To Select EH&S Software: Product Benchmark, will take place on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 4pm-5pm BST (11am - 12 noon EST and 8am - 9am PST) Has operational risk management been moved up the corporate agenda and are you in an EH&S or operations role and in need of better data, reporting and analysis to meet the CEO’s requirements?
Are you planning to invest in a new, enterprise-wide environment, health and safety application from a firm like Enablon, Gensuite, Intelex, KMI or SAP? Is your current combination of in-house IT systems and spreadsheets not able to meet new environmental and OSHA regulatory requirements? Are you in an EH&S or operations role and in need of better data, reporting and analysis to meet the CEO’s requirements?

Event - Verdantix Summit: Getting Value From EH&S Software & Technologies

This event will take place on September 30, 2014, at the Sheraton in Boston. This one day Verdantix Summit will feature industry experts, panel debates and topic workshops. Join more than 200 EH&S corporate leaders, industry experts and technology suppliers at the only North American event of 2014 focused on EH&;S software. Participants will learn about best practices for system selection, deployments and upgrades; network with peers and justify investments.

Event - 6th Annual Wind Operations and Maintenance Summit

This event will take place on April 14-16, in Dallas, Texas. The summit is an ideal opportunity to meet with North America’s most prominent Operators, Developers, Technology Innovators and Leading ISP’s from across the wind O&M field. With contributions and attendance from Iberdrola, NextEra, EDPR, EDF, E.ON, Infigen, AES, Google, JP Morgan, AIG, Acciona, Alliant, BP Wind, Duke Energy and a senior level delegation with 40 percent of wind farm owners confirmed – this promises to be North America’s most significant O&M business forum for 2014

Event - SB'14 San Diego | Sustainable Brands

This event will take place on June 2 - 5, 2014 in San Diego California.  Companies and non-profit organizations are finding success through better business models, smarter product design and collaborative partnerships that contribute to a regenerative economy. Meet the brand leaders who are re-imagining business solutions with breakthrough innovations that shift cultural norms and enhance stakeholder value. Sustainable Brands is the global network that brings these companies together.

Event - 2014 Cause Marketing Forum Conference: Crowdfunding and More!

This event will take place on May 28 and 29 at the JW Marriot in Chicago. There is only 9 weeks until the 2014 Cause Marketing Forum Conference (CMF2014), the only annual event where you'll find "your" people - those actively and passionately focused on strategic partnerships between company and cause.

Event - Transform West

This event will take place on May 6-7, 2014 at the Marriott Gaslamp in San Diego, California. The Transform West gathering enables participants to "connect with the people who connect electric power in North America." The event features hand picked experts including:

Video - Spider-Man 2 the Most Sustainable Blockbuster Ever



This video gives you a behind the scenes glimpse at the most eco-friendly blockbuster in motion picture history.


Video - Spiderman is the 2014 Earth Hour Ambassador



Spiderman is the first superhero ambassador for Earth Hour, the global movement organised by WWF. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Video - Earth Hour Blue Crowdfunding Tutorial



Earth Hour is a movement using the power of the crowd to protect the planet. This year Earth Hour launches Earth Hour Blue, a digital crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for the planet.

Video - Earth Hour 2014 (2 Minutes)



For the past few years, Earth Hour has made a massive impact around the world thanks to the power of the crowd. But for 2014, they will be launching Earth Hour Blue, this is something different, bigger and bolder than before.

Video - Earth Hour 2014 (60 seconds)



For the past few years, Earth Hour has made a massive impact around the world thanks to the power of the crowd. But for 2014, they are doing something different, something bigger and bolder. This year Earth Hour is unleashing Earth Hour Blue.

Earth Hour - Cape Town is the Global Earth Hour Capital for 2014

WWF’s Earth Hour City Challenge (EHCC) has awarded Cape Town, South Africa the title Global Earth Hour Capital 2014. The city is recognized for its ambition and pioneering actions to combat climate change in its effort to bolster quality of life for its citizens. Cape Town succeeds last year’s winner Vancouver, Canada.

Cape Town stood out as a role model for the global South with a showcase of green programs and actions other cities can replicate. Cape Town also demonstrates how city strategies to reduce carbon development and battle climate change can also help tackle other development priorities such as food, energy and water security.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Earth Hour Blue - New Crowdfunding and Crowdsourcing Platform

Earth Hour Blue is a new revolutionary crowdfunding and crowdsourcing platform for the planet. This all-new digital platform was launched this year to capture the power of the crowd and engage people around the world beyond the lights out event. The crowdfunding section of the platform allows participants to financially support and deliver positive, tangible changes to the environment and communities all over the world. The Earth Hour Blue platform enables people to add their voice to some of the biggest environmental campaigns across the world.

Earth Hour - Past Achievements

The first Earth Hour was held in Sydney Australia on March 31, 2007. It has since grown into a global movement with hundreds of millions of people from more than 7,000 cities and towns in 154 countries across every continent switching off their lights for Earth Hour. As of 2013, Earth Hour had a digital reach of 345 million. Earth Hour is a simple idea that turned into a global phenomenon, with hundreds of millions of people coming together to display a commitment to protect the one thing that unites us all - our planet.

Earth Hour 2014 - Focus on Business

Every year, hundreds of thousands of businesses, governments and organizations come together to call for action.  It is a call to take responsibility for our environmental impact and join a growing international community who are committed to leading global environmental change.

The first Earth Hour event was on March 31, 2007. On that day WWF-Australia inspired people in Sydney to show their support for climate change action. They succeeded in convincing more than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses to turn out their lights out for one hour in the first Earth Hour event.

Earth Hour - An Introduction for the Uninitiated

Earth Hour is a worldwide grassroots movement uniting people to protect the planet. Organized by WWF, Earth Hour is a global call to action that engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues.. This annual event is celebrated by hundreds of millions of people around the world making it the largest environmental action in history. In 2014 the event takes place on Saturday March 29th. At 8.30 pm in your local time zone. At that time people across the globe will switch off the lights of their homes and businesses for one hour.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Responsible Corporate Water Leadership: Beer and Jeans

Responsible water stewardship is an important and growing concern for businesses around the world. A proactive corporate position on water management is both good business and critical for the well-being of communities. The challenges associated with water have encouraged some corporations to explore innovative solutions. Here are some of the benefits associated with responsible corporate water stewardship as well as two disparate examples of corporate water leadership.

Recycling or Reclaiming Water: A Sustainable Solution for Industry

Recycled or reclaimed water is increasing its value to industries. Reclaimed water is a process whereby waste water (sewage) is treated to remove solids and certain impurities. Traditionally eclaimed water meets water quality requirements for biodegradable materials, suspended matter and pathogens. In more recent conventional use however, the term refers to water that is not treated as highly in order to offer a way to conserve drinking water. This water is given to uses such as agriculture and sundry industry uses.

Air Purifying Hardwood Floor is Revolutionary but is it Safe?

There is a new flooring product on the market that according to its manufacturers can purify the air, but is it safe? Hermetically sealed homes may be energy efficient but they may also lock in airborne toxins. According to a new WHO report, 4.3 million deaths in 2012 are attributable to indoor air pollution. This new product could be a revolutionary way of improving indoor air quality. However, this air purifying hardwood floor is the first of its kind, so there is no history that can be studied.

The new flooring product is called Pure Genius® smart hardwood flooring and it is manufactured by Lauzon Distinctive Hardwood Flooring one of the leading hardwood flooring manufacturers in North America. The company distinguishes itself through its environmental commitment which includes "sustainable resources" and other initiatives. On their website they list the conversion of wood pellet residue into fuel as one of their environmental initiatives.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WHO Report Reiterates the Fact that Air Pollution Causes both Climate Change and Disease

According to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report air pollution causes both climate change and disease. Particulate matter, including major climate forcers such as black carbon soot (one of four climate pollutants known collectively as short-lived climate pollutants or SLCPs), is linked to diseases as ischaemic heart disease, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, respiratory infections, and lung cancer. SLCPs are also the second leading cause of global warming behind carbon (CO2).

Webinar - Energy Procurement in 2014: Products & Programs to Optimize Savings

The Energy Procurement in 2014: Products & Programs to Optimize Savings webinar will take place today, Wednesday, March 26, 2014 - 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. The webinar will include the participation of ConEdison Solutions and Energy Manager Today. This timely one-hour energy management webinar will address the current state of the retail energy market, and specific products and programs that can help you optimize energy savings during volatile periods.

During the past few months we have witnessed some of the coldest days on record. In such extreme conditions, customers tend to use much more electricity, which means their bills are likely to be noticeably higher than normal. In addition, power prices tend to spike, creating a more volatile energy market and further impacting energy bills.

CN Plans to Phase Out Rail Cars that Caused the Lac Megantic Disaster

On March 25, Canadian National Railway announced that it would phase its fleet of older rail cars that carry flammable liquid including fossil fuels. These tanker cars came under public scrutiny after the tragic derailment and explosion of the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic (MM&A) tankers carrying crude oil in Lac Megantic. The fiery derailment decimated the town and killed 47 people.

Even before the Lac Megantic disaster, the safety of these rail cars were called into question. Concerns about the DOT-111 tank car were in evidence in a 2012 report from the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). According to the NTSB there have been at least five investigations into safety of the tanker cars, including accident investigations in Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The UK's Ruling Conservatives Abandon Climate Change Leadership

Despite recent historic flooding in the UK, the British government's March 19 budget confirmed that it is all but abandoning efforts to combat climate change. The writing was on the wall with the appointment of Owen Paterson as environment secretary in 2012.

Owen Paterson

UK Conservatives sent a powerful message when Owen William Paterson was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2012. Despite his moderate climate change voting record, he is a climate change skeptic, who is resistant to the science. He ignored David MacKay's offer of a briefing on climate change science.

Duke Energy Does it Again: More Coal Ash in Public Water

Coal ash spills came into the popular consciousness with the widely reported Dan River Disaster. However, this is far from the only spill of coal ash. Less than two months after Duke energy spilled 30,000 tons of coal ash which decimated 70 miles of the Dan River, there was a repeat. However, this time was different, this time it was clearly intentional.

Duke energy was photographed deliberately dumping wastewater from toxic coal ash into public waterways. The Waterkeeper Alliance released aerial surveillance photos that caught Duke Energy red handed. The images show workers pumping wastewater from two of Duke Energy’s toxic coal ash lagoons into a canal that drains into the Cape Fear River, a source of public drinking water.

The Clock Keeps Ticking as People Continue to Ignore Scientific Warnings about Climate Change

Humans are the cause of climate change and they are also the chief impediment to efforts designed to address it. Despite warnings from almost every reputable scientific organization on Earth, people still manage to deny the veracity of anthropogenic climate change. Nick Cohen penned an article for the Guardian with the ominous title, "The climate change deniers have won."

In the article Cohen points to an usually alarming tone in a warning from the American Association for the Advancement of Science which stated that "human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes."

Monday, March 24, 2014

Focusing Youth on the Relationship Between Weather and Climate for World Meteorological Day 2014

World Meteorological Day is celebrated every year on March 23 and as we experience ever more extreme weather events attributable to climate change, this day has acquired an ominous importance. This year's World Meteorological Day theme is “Weather and climate: engaging youth."

Young people alive today will suffer from even greater impacts from climate change in the second half of the 21st century. So this day is an opportunity to encourage youth to learn more about our weather and climate system and to get involved in efforts to combat climate change. Sadly only a small percentage of people actively engage climate issues, so this day is an opportunity to encourage people to act.

"There is no standstill in global warming," said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud. "The warming of our oceans has accelerated and at lower depths. More than 90 percent of the excess energy trapped by greenhouse gases is stored in the oceans. Levels of these greenhouse gases are at record levels, meaning that our atmosphere and oceans will continue to warm for centuries to come.

Barge Spills Oil Off the Coast of Texas Endangering Birds

A barge off the coast of Texas has spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil endangering the habitats of tens of thousands of migratory birds. On Saturday March 22, 2014 a barge collided with a ship off the coast of Texas and spilled a fifth of its almost million gallon cargo of heavy crude oil. Although crews worked feverishly to contain the spill with booms and empty the remaining oil from the leaking barge, much of the oil is unrecoverable.

The Unconscionable Cost of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill

The Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska was one of the worst environmental disasters in the history of the United States. Compounding the problem was the fact that it occurred in one of the most rich and sensitive wildlife refuges in the world.

The 10.8 million barrels of crude oil that spilled out of the grounded ship covered an area roughly 10,000 square miles and contaminated 1,300 miles of coastline. The spill was devastating to wildlife. In total 1,800 sea otters, 250 bald eagles and 22 orcas were killed by the spill.

Despite a cost of 2 billion dollars, that cleanup effort was unable to remove the vast majority of the oil spilled. Greenpeace estimates that only 7 percent of the oil was removed from the site.

The 25th Anniversary of the Oil Spill from the Exxon Valdez



On March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez ran aground near Prince William Sound in Alaska. That epic spill released 10.5 million gallons of crude oil in what was then the worst environmental disaster in US history. This spill 25 years ago illustrates the true cost of oil. It ravaged the local ecology, killed scores of wildlife, cost billions of dollars, and it lingers in some areas to this day.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Event - The Proudly for Purpose Telesummit: Demystifying the Purpose Economy

The Proudly for Purpose Telesummit: Demystifying the Purpose Economy will take place on March 24 – 28, 2014. Join 12 thought leaders as we explore the purpose economy. Register here FREE to discover how our economy is shifting from profit-driven to purpose-driven, and what it means to you and your company.

There is growing global awareness that the existing business model is ‘self-serving’ and outdated, and that growth and wealth need to be defined by a holistic mix of ethical, natural, financial, manufactured, intellectual, human and social capital. Our economy is entering a new period where purpose arises as the ultimate capital and the cornerstone of making a difference to the kind of lives future generations have the right to expect.

Event - The Responsible Business Summit

The Responsible Business Summit will take place on May 19 - 20, 2014 in London, UK. This is the sustainability event of 2014. It will showcase how businesses are sewing corporate responsibility into the heart of their business strategies. It will also demonstrate how leading companies are evolving their CR strategies.

The event will feature 24 cutting edge industry debates. These independently researched and structured sessions are built around the key issues and opportunities.  The Responsible Business Summit is the meeting place for business professionals looking to learn the latest about corporate responsibility and sustainable business.

Event - The Energy Thought Summit (ETS)

The Energy Thought Summit (ETS) will take place on March 24-25, 2014, in Austin, Texas. This event will bring the world’s thought leaders together for two days to debate the state and future of energy — expect smart dialogue, and an engaging setting on- and offline.

Event - 2014 Power Up Energy Expo

This premier energy conference along the Gulf Coast will take place on April 28-30 in Florida at the Pensacola Beach Hilton. Now in its sixth year, Power Up attracts hundreds of industry professionals from all sectors of the industry to discuss the latest, cutting-edge technologies and most innovative projects around the world. This event is brought to you by the Gulf Coast Energy Network.

Event - 8th Annual Green California Summit & Expo

The Green Market Oracle is proud to once again be an Outreach Partner for the Green California Summit & Expo. This event will be held on April 8-9, 2014 at the Sacramento Convention Center.  There are only a couple of weeks before the event convenes so register now. See details of how our readers can receive a special 20 percent discount at the bottom of the page.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Video - Water's role in Post-2015 Development Agenda (UN-Water Chair Michel Jarraud)



In a one-year-long expert consultation process, UN-Water's 31 Members from the United Nations system and 36 international Partners have come together to analyze what role water could have in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The result is a consolidated technical advice from the UN system to Member States to prioritize water through a dedicated global goal with five interlinked targets. The proposed goal builds on and extends existing commitments such as the Millennium Development Goals and the priorities agreed at Rio+20. Its overall framework universally applicable but responds to particular national circumstances.

Video - World Water Development Report


In view of the fact that the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals will likely to include increased access to water and energy services, this fifth edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report seeks to inform decision-makers(inside and outside the water and energy domains), stakeholders and practitioners about the interlinkages, potential synergies and trade-offs, and to highlight the need for appropriate responses and regulatory frameworks that account for both water and energy priorities. The Report provides a comprehensive overview of major and emerging trends from around the world, with examples of how some of the trend-related challenges have been addressed, their implications for policy-makers, and further actions that can be taken by stakeholders and the international community.

Video - Sustainable Forest: How Grey County Forests Try to Manage Conservation and Economic Activity



Grey County forests help us conserve important natural habitats while also providing significant economic impact and serving as hubs for recreational activity. Working with OSC Media House, Grey County is creating a series of videos to share the magic of "Our Forest." The "Our Forest" videos will tell the story of our forests by sharing the history of our landscape, demonstrating how we manage our forests and sharing the knowledge of the people who act as stewards of our remarkable natural assets.

Water Risk Tool: The Convergence of Business and Conservation


This free, easy to use online tool allows users to map production facilities, supply chains and commodities. The new updated version of the website includes data on more than 120 agricultural commodities – including cotton, palm oil and corn – making it the most sophisticated tool for tracking water risk exposure. For the first time, users of the tool - like major corporations - will be able to assess water risk for specific agricultural commodities. This is a major advancement that offers a powerful and more accurate measure of true exposure. The filter has already assessed 50,000 facilities and now includes information on more than 130 commodities and 43,000 additional watersheds.

Water Stewardship Steps: Developing a Water Strategy

The water stewardships steps approach is designed by WWF to help situate and better understand the differing activities of companies and to show where different companies were acting on water issues. The steps do not represent a wholesale description of action for every company, especially considering that the local nature of water will dictate where some companies engage. They also do not distinguish sectoral and geographic differences, associated risk exposure, and the scale at which a company wants to (or has to) act.

These steps help guide any Water Stewardship strategy. While they are basic in definition there is a lot of depth and detail to each step. There is clearly an overlap between steps, meaning that they should not be seen as prescriptive and contained, but rather fluid and inter-connected.

The 2014 World Water Development Report (fifth edition): Water and Energy

In view of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, likely to include increased access to water and energy services, this fifth edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR 2014) seeks to inform decision-makers (inside and outside the water and energy domains), stakeholders and practitioners about the interlinkages, potential synergies and trade-offs, and to highlight the need for appropriate responses and regulatory frameworks that account for both water and energy priorities.

Infographic - Water Use in Hospitals Offices Schools Restaurants and Hospitality

World Water Day 2014 Advocacy Guide

All across the globe, communities are celebrating International World Water Day. This year's theme is water and energy. The close relationship between water and energy cannot be overstated. The demand for both is growing and the supply of each is dwindling.

Water is an essential part of energy generation and transmission. This is particularly true for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Energy is also a crucial element of water access. At present about 8 percent of global energy is used for pumping, treating and transporting water.

The rapid growth of hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" as it is colloquially called highlights the relationship between water and energy. Fracking uses and contaminates huge amounts of water.

Infographic - The Water Energy Nexus




World Water Day 2014: Water and Energy

March 22 is World Water Day, the theme for 2014 is Water and Energy. Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent. Energy generation and transmission requires utilization of water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Conversely, about 8% of the global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers.

Video - Forests = Life



Forests are essential for the survival of people everywhere. They nurture us, inspire us and shelter us. They are also at the heart of sustainable development. In 2012, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as the International Day of Forests to "celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests".

A Visual Representation of Global Forest Change

The University of Maryland has assembled a global forest map from a time series analysis of 654,178 Landsat images. These images span the years 2000 to 2012.

This map offers a convincing visual representation of recent deforestation.
 
To view the interactive map click here.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Business of Forests: Primer, Tool, Guide and Best Practices

Here are two resources for responsible forest management. The first is a primer, comprehensive guide and resource kit from the Rainforest Alliance on sustainable forest management. The second  focuses on best practices from the nonprofit group, the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD). This group specializes in providing sound, evidence-based information, tools and training for humanitarian development professionals worldwide.

The Business of Responsible Forest Stewardship

Businesses have an essential role to play in forest conservation. A number of companies are developing policies for sustainable forest management. For the last few years companies like Lego, Mattel and Hasbro have been engaged in responsible forest stewardship focusing on efforts to stop using unsustainable paper products from Indonesian rainforests.

A sustainable forest industry is in the collective best interest as wood and related industries are big business accounting for nearly 1 percent of global gross domestic product. The non-monetary benefits from forests, such as water, energy, shelter and medicine, are estimated to be two to three times as great.

As revealed in the 2013 fourth annual Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) Report, companies like Colgate-Palmolive, Groupe Danone, Gucci and Heinz are now disclosing their forest footprints.

The FFD report acknowledged improvements in reporting from a number of other companies including Boots UK, Next, Kingspan Group and Whitbread Group. According to the FFD there has been a 15 percent increase in the number of companies that voluntarily disclose their forest footprints between 2012 and 2013.

Woodland Crops: Sustainable Harvests from Forests

Forests are most commonly identified as a source of wood and associated products but very few realize that they are also home to a host of woodland crops. Aboriginal people have known about the vast array of uses for forests dating back to antiquity. The growing importance of sustainability may well prove to be a catalyst advancing the growth of woodland farming. Collecting the forest's bounty (wildcrafting) is different than woodland farming which involves larger production volumes.

The wonderful thing about woodland crops is that rather than cut down trees they need the dappled light provided by the forest canopy to grow. Getting involved with woodland farming generally involves thinning out the forests and opening up the understory. While almost any shade-tolerant plant or fungus will grow in a wooded setting, it is always best to work with species of flora that are indigenous to the area you are farming. 

Managing Deforestation Through Policy and Monitoring

When combined with the right policies, new monitoring capabilities may significantly enhance our capacity to manage forests. As an homage to the International Day of Forests on March 21, here is a review of forest management policy recommendations and new global monitoring solutions. 

After a United Nations General Assembly resolution in 2012, the International Day of Forests was observed for the first time in 2013. The day is meant to acknowledge forests, trees and climate change. On this day, people raise awareness about the value of arboreal ecosystems and they explore the different ways that we can protect them. The day is specifically designed to incorporate forests into future climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.

International Day of Forests 2014

"As we deliberate on the post-2015 development agenda, let us acknowledge the vital role of forests and pledge to work together to protect and sustainably manage these vital ecosystems."

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Message for the 2014 International Day of Forests

This global celebration of forests provides a platform to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests and of trees outside forests.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Forests for Sustainable Development: UNHQ Special Event on the International Day of Forests

On March 21, from 10am to 1pm, The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Chamber will host an event that will be chaired by Mr Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. It will feature a keynote speech by Ms Susana Malcorra, Under-Secretary-General, Chef de Cabinet, Executive Office of the Secretary-General.

The theme of the event is Celebrating Forests for Sustainable Development, and will include a Panel discussion on “Women as agents of change for forests and sustainable development” with inspiring speakers from forest heroes to film makers, as well as award-winning short films. The event will conclude with a general discussion.

Global Deforestation/Reforestration and Climate Change

Forests provide priceless ecological, economic, social and health benefits yet they are currently being decimated at a rate of 13 million hectares annually. This is about more than habitat loss for animals, plants and insects or even the livelihoods of one quarter of the world's population. Deforestation is also a leading cause of climate change. Forests account for 12 to 20 percent of the global greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The EPA's Efforts to Reign in Climate Pollution from New Power Plants and the Supreme Court

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working to reign in climate change causing pollution from new power plants but as with all such regulatory efforts they get a great deal of resistance from businesses and their political minions.

The effort to reduce carbon pollution from new power plants is currently being reviewed by the US Supreme Court. Beginning in February the country's highest court began hearing oral arguments for Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA.

The case threatens to slow down the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon pollution in certain industrial sectors. This is yet another attack by the fossil fuel industry on the EPA’s regulatory authority.

The Collapse of Human Civilization and How to Avoid It

We are on the verge of irreversible tipping points, but there is still time to avert catastrophe. The combination of unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution may unravel our civilization.  This is the conclusion of a new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center. Based on historical precedents this research indicates that if we continue on our current course we may very well see the collapse of global industrial civilization in the coming decades.

Citing historical data from the last 5,000 years, they show that there are numerous examples of precipitous collapse of human civilizations. A few examples cited by the researchers include:

France Restricts Both GMOs and Cars: Vivre La France!

In an ecological one two combination France has dealt punishing blows to both genetically modified foods and fossil fuel powered cars. France is making an environmental stand by challenging genetically modified foods (GMOs) and auto emissions. In a brazen move the country has issued a decree that bars Monsanto's genetically modified maize known as MON 810. They are also restricting cars from entering Paris.