Monday, August 31, 2015

Water Management is Big Business: Carrots and Sticks

A wide range of companies are responding to the growing demand for responsible water stewardship.  This includes products like software, printing, and decontamination. There are also powerful disincentives that encourage responsible water manage water management.

The number of companies that see the importance of responsible water stewardship has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. This is due to both opportunities and threats. Those who engage responsible water stewardship stand to benefit from cost savings while those who do not get on board are vulnerable to a wide range of risks. These risks include penalties for failure to comply with their legal responsibilities.

Responsible corporate water efforts run the gamut from sustainable water programs to innovations that diminish water use. Here are some examples of products designed to better manage water and a couple of examples of what can happen when companies fail to do so.

Event - Green California Schools & Community Colleges Summit and Exposition

The 9th annual Green California Schools & Community Colleges Summit and Exposition will be held October 29 - 31, 2015, at the Pasadena Convention Center 300 East Green Street in Pasadena California. The Green Market Oracle is once again proud to be an outreach partner for this important event.

This is the first and largest green schools event in California it offers insights into achieving the full range of benefits associated with a high performance green school. Among the benefits are cost savings that can free up funds for core needs and improved student performance. Districts that have made a strong commitment to sustainability have also earned respect and gratitude from the communities they serve.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

International Conference on Sustainable Development

The 3rd Annual International Conference on Sustainable Development on September 23-24, 2015, at Columbia University in NYC. This year’s conference theme is “Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): Getting Started.” The aim of the conference is to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions that can support SDGs, which will be adopted at the historic UN Summit immediately following the conference. World leaders, students, and professionals from around the world will come together for this conference.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Middlebury Institute’s IEP Program: Focused on Today’s Sustainability Issues (Video)

Middlebury Institute’s International Environmental Policy degree program is designed to attract students who want to play a part in setting international agendas for worldwide sustainability issues and initiatives.

Expanded Water Tool Reveals the Actual and Future Risks and Costs (Videos)

An expanded version of a tool has just been released that provides actionable information to help businesses manage their water risks. It obvious to everyone, including businesses that water is a finite resource that is in growing demand. It is becoming increasingly evident that water is a strategic asset. Now more than ever businesses want a better understanding of their exposure to water risks. In addition to risk mitigation water is increasingly being understood as a cost saving opportunity. Businesses are also concerned about water scarcity as a constraint to growth. While having the information to craft the right water policy can be instrumental to success, water is currently undervalued and the real price remains elusive.

Friday, August 28, 2015

A Brief History of Responsible Water Stewardship at Nestlé

Responsible water management is a critical issue for Nestlé and their stakeholders. In recent years the company has made great strides in water efficiency and stewardship. This is important with more than a third (38 percent) of their factories situated in water-stressed regions.

While Nestlé now claims that it welcomes the growing level of stakeholder interest in water issues this was not always the case. Nestlé now aims "to minimise the impact of our operations on natural water resources and the communities they support." However, these objectives were not always core concerns for the company.

Obama Ignores Jindal and Talks About Climate Change 10 Years after Katrina

President Obama was in New Orleans on Thursday to mark the tenth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, but he did not heed Gov. Bobby Jindal's warnings to avoid the topic of climate change. Since the devastation that occurred on August 29th 2005, the city has undergone massive reconstruction, however, the threat of climate change induced extreme weather persists. Katrina was the costliest and most damaging storm in recorded history. The category 5 hurricane caused between $108 and $250 billion in damages and killed as many as 2000 people. In the city of New Orleans alone, the hurricane costs the city $6.6 billion and killed over 150 people.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Sustainable Systems Management Degree from the University of Minnesota

A new program has been created that is designed to prepare students for the vast number of green jobs that are now available. To reflect the increasing importance of sustainability, the University of Minnesota has recently changed the curriculum and renamed the Bioproducts Marketing and Management degree program. The degree is now named Sustainable Systems Management.

Sustainable Communities: Public Works (Infographic)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Performance Contracting Offers Water and Energy Savings for Schools and Governments

A new report suggests that western public school schools and government facilities can reduce energy and water usage and save vast sums of money by using performance contracting. The western states covered in the report are Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

Performance Based Contracting is a results-oriented contracting method that grantees a particular outcome. This approach focuses on the outputs, quality, or outcomes that are tied to a contractor's payment. If the contractor fails to meet the contracted objectives the contractor must make up the difference.

According to a study released at the end of July by Western Resource Advocates and McKinstry, there are almost $1 billion worth of savings to be had.

President Obama's New Renewable Energy Initiatives

At the start of a national climate and energy tour President Obama has outlined plans to further his efforts to move the US away from fossil fuels and towards renewables. These plans include support for distributed energy and home based efficiency. The first stop of his tour brought him to Nevada, which has emerged as a hotbed of cleantech activity.

On Monday August 24th President Barack Obama and Senate Minority Leader, Nevada's Harry Reid attended the eighth annual National Clean Energy Summit. The conference took place in Las Vegas, a city that is surrounded by solar plants. The President delivered an address at the Mandalay Bay convention center which is part of a complex that includes a 20 acre solar array on its roof.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Water is a Key to Sustainable Development

The theme of World Water Week 2015, (August 23-28) is "Water for Development." This year's theme is crucially important issue as water is central to development issues around the world. There can be no sustainable development, nor can we hope to eradicate poverty in the absence of a keen focus on water.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Free Sustainable Water Management Software for Universities

Water and wastewater modeling software is now available for free to students and professors at universities around the world. The GIS-centric water and wastewater modeling software is a special student edition of both InfoWater and InfoSWMM. The software address every facet water management and protection. Essentially it contains everything that is need to plan, design, operate, secure and sustain water distribution. This includes predictive analytics, systems dynamics, optimization functionality. Some of the specific features are dynamic water quality simulations, valve criticality and energy cost analysis.

Water Purication for Developing Countries (Infographic)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Event - Colorado Green Schools Initiative September Meeting

This meeting will take place on September 16, 2015, from 7:30 AM MDT to 9:00 AM MDT at The Alliance Center, 1536 Wynkoop St, Denver, Colorado CO 80202. This is one of several meetings planned, these meetings are free for all to attend.


Event - Water for Development: World Water Week 2015

The United Nations' World Water Week, takes place on August 23-28, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden. The theme for this years Word Water Week event is "Water for Development." This annual event is designed to bring awareness to the globe’s water issues. While the event is taking place in Sweden, people around the world are supporting the event. Poverty eradication is intimately connected to water.

Chemical Plant Explosion in Shandong China (Video)

On August 22 another chemical plant exploded in China. This follows the explosion at a Chinese chemical plant in Tianjin on August 14. The two blasts were a bit more than a week apart and they occurred just a few hundred miles from each other. The August 22 explosion took place in Zibo city in Shandong province. It is known to have killed 1 person and injured 9. These two explosions raise some serious questions about the unlawful proximity of these chemical plants to residential areas. Here are two videos of the chemical plant explosion in Zibo city.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Underwater Pipeline Breaks and Catches Fire in Moscow (Video)

A pipeline belonging to Gazprom Neft burst and caught fire in the Moscow River on Wednesday August 12. Local news agencies reported that one child and two adults suffered burns from the incident. This amateur footage from the Guardian shows a large oil fire on the surface of the Moscow river.

The Water Crisis and Development: World Water Week 2015 (Video)

The scarcity of clean water in certain places around the world is one of the most daunting challenges in the world today. Each day almost 1000 children under 5 die from diarrhoea caused by contaminated water. More than 2.4 billion people – a third of all humanity – have no access to sanitation. And as populations grow, water is set to become a new source of danger, of conflict, given the rapid urban expansion of Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Meanwhile, as climate change accelerates, we are likely to see more extreme and frequent droughts, floods and typhoons. Again, people in emerging economies are likely to be the hardest hit by water-borne disasters.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Educational Tool Assesses Scientific Veracity of Online Content

An educational tool has been developed that can assess the veracity of climate related online content. The resource helps to separate fact from fiction in the complex world of climate science to the general public. This tool is an ideal companion for those engaged in climate education. The resource was developed by Dr. Emmanuel Vincent, a tropical cyclone expert at the University of California.

US Proposals to Cut Methane and Other Pollutants

As an extension of his Climate Action Plan President Obama through the EPA has announced a series of proposals that will reduce methane and other harmful emissions. While there are there are already some voluntary programs to reduce methane emissions, the EPA has proposed new regulations that will significantly reduce methane in the oil and gas sector as well as in landfills.

In June of this year the EPA announced that it was preparing plans to limit methane. On August 18, 2015, the EPA publishes more details of the new rules. The standards are intended for the oil and gas sector. They are designed to reduce methane, VOCs and other toxic air pollutants. Under the proposed regulations the oil and gas industry would have to cut methane emission by 40 to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Colorado Parents Support Green Initiatives in Schools

Parents in Colorado support green values and want to support environmental initiatives in their children's schools. This was the finding in a 2014 survey by the Colorado Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

In addition to support for a range of green school initiatives the results of this study indicate that there is also strong support for the teaching of sustainability.

key findings from the survey

Global Temperature Data Underscores the Urgency of Climate Action

A large and growing body of evidence reveals that the Earth is getting warmer. Month after month, year after year, we are seeing above average global temperatures. Heat waves are smashing records all around the world. July 2015 was no exception even by the standards of a warming world. July is traditionally the hottest month of the calendar year, but all the hottest months of July have occurred in recent years and in 2015 the midsummer month went down in history as the hottest month ever recorded. However, if we want to come to an understanding of how temperature readings provide support for global warming we need to look at the longer term. When examined in a wider context, the heat records that were set in July are part of an ominous warming trend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Certificate in Clean Energy from NYU

New York University (NYU) has an energy efficiency and renewable energy certificate program for experienced business professionals. The Clean Start program provides a comprehensive background for those who want to start a company or switch careers. The classes are part time and take place in the evenings and weekends allowing professionals to work while they attend school. Study involves hands on learning and mentor-ship.

El Niño and Global Warming are Locked in a Feedback Loop

Planetary warming is caused by El Niño and warming in turn increases the likelihood of an extreme El Niño event. Current warming can be largely attributed to El Niño and this effect will increase as the climate warms. Research reveals that rising concentrations of anthropogenic greenhouse gases are increasing El Niño effects and accelerating planetary warming.

The record breaking heat we experienced in July 2015 is being attributed to a building El Niño event. In August the ocean surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific were already 3 degrees Celsius above the long term average temperatures.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Sustainability Ranking of US Colleges and Universities Reveal the West is the Best

Sierra magazine's much anticipated annual ranking of colleges and universities is now in its ninth year. This year the Cool Schools top ten ratings known as the "Eco-Valedictorians" is dominated by west coast schools and the state of California in particular. Two campuses of the University of California (Irvine and Davis) are at the top of the list. A total of five campuses belonging to the UofC have won half of the 10 best spots. When you add Seattle's University of Washington and Portland Oregon's Lewis and Clarke, a total of seven of the ten top schools are located on the west coast.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Event - Change Management Workshops

The Conference Board Change Management Workshops will take place on November 03 - 04 November, 2015 at Loyola University in Chicago, IL. The event is ideal for organizations that are struggling with change and looking to find new ways to lead business transformation in a world of constant and inevitable change.

Event - Sustainable Brands 2015 Buenos Aires

SB Buenos Aires 2015 Conference will take place on September 1 - 2, 2015, at La Rural - La Rural Exhibition and Convention Centre, Palermo, 2602-3100, Avenida Sarmiento Buenos Aires Argentina. At Sustainable Brands' conferences brand, sustainability & design leaders find inspiration, tools and partnerships to drive business success and positive impact. Sustainable Brands Buenos Aires is part of a global network of conferences, including San Diego, London, Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul, Kuala Lumpur, Barcelona and Bangkok. The Argentine edition is organized by URBAN Communication Group, in collaboration with Sustainable Life Media and a wide network of partners and sponsors in Argentina and the world.

Event - EA Business Summit

Environment Analyst’s inaugural Business Summit will take place on September 22, 2015 at One American Square in London UK. This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to meet and mingle with senior management of many of the top SME environmental consultancy firms, along with their suppliers, clients, partners, investors and advisors. It’s the first such gathering of its kind in the UK and a perfect opportunity to network with your peers – and your (potential) partners and clients.

Event - CR Reporting and Communications Summit (ECRC15)

The ninth CR Reporting and Communications Summit will take place on November 10 and 11, 2015 at the Tower Bridge Hilton in London. ECRC15 is focused on driving efficiency and change through sustainability reporting and building trust and relevance with stakeholders.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Shade Balls: Everything You Always Wanted to Know but were Afraid to Ask

Los Angeles has dumped 96 Million plastic "shade balls" into a California reservoir to block the sun's ultraviolet rays. The black spheres are expected to prevent harmful chemical reactions. The innovative balls were made by a company called XavierC, which has drawn upon decades of testing for their design. 

Although it has been widely reported that these balls have been dumped into the reservoir to reduce evaporation and help LA adapt to severe drought conditions, the primary focus of the initiative is to keep the drinking water supply safe. However, as an ancillary benefit the shade balls are expect to stop as much as 300 million gallons of water from evaporating.

Chemical Blast and Inferno Devastates Town in Northern China (Video)

What has been described as a sea of fire has engulfed a Chinese port town. A series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in the port city of Tianjin, in northern China on August 14, 2015 have left at least 85 people dead and more than 720 people injured. The explosions originated in shipping containers carrying hazardous materials and quickly spread to other areas where toxic chemicals and gas were stored.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources

In 2015 The Green Market Oracle is reprising its annual Green School Series. Over the course of the last five years The Green Market Oracle has published more than 300 articles related to environmentally oriented academics, sustainable infrastructure and green initiatives in pedagogical settings. In the coming weeks we will post articles on a daily basis related to the green schools movement which is central to efforts that contribute to the growth of a well informed population, an environmentally sustainable economy and ultimately a healthier planet. The focus on green schools is a key part of the Green Market Oracle's mission to help facilitate the convergence of sustainable capitalism and the global environment.

The Climate Investment Fund's Low Carbon Development

With a value of $8.1 billion the Climate Investment Fund (CIF) is the largest fund for climate smart development in the world. The CIF had been a leader in such investments since 2008. There is growing demand for "climate-smart" development capital that helps the world transition to a low carbon economy. In addition to helping those in need the goal is to play a role in keeping global temperatures from increasing more than 2° Celsius.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Sustainability Initiatives Almost Double Revenues

Engaging sustainability has been shown to be a profitable move and this is corroborated by new research which shows that it can increase revenues by more than 90 percent. Corporate sustainability initiatives are sometimes dismissed as too costly, however a study of some sustainability pioneers reveals that incorporating sustainability into strategic planning and investing in related R&D can have a dramatically positive effect on innovation, profits and growth.

According to research published in June 2015, the revenues of firms engaging sustainability increased by an average of 91 percent compared to 2010. The study called, "Driving Revenue Growth through Sustainable Products and Services," was conducted by The Conference Board in collaboration with the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute.

Sanders is the Best Presidential Contender on Climate and the Environment

For anyone who is serious about protecting the environment and combating climate change Democratic Presidential contender Bernie Sanders is by far the best candidate. The Vermont Senator has the most comprehensive policy positions on climate and the environment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Innovate or Die: The Next Big Trend in Sustainability

Innovative approaches to sustainability are rapidly becoming the next frontier of corporate differentiation. Being more innovative is not only essential to improve the bottom line, it is also a pathway to growth.

The combination of rapid technological change and slow economic growth are driving innovation. At the macroeconomic level innovation is essential to profitability and economic growth, at the level of the individual organization, innovation is increasingly a key success factor.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The Challenge of Sustainability: Economic Growth and Emissions Reduction

We can simultaneously grow and enhance our sustainability efforts. These two goals are both compatible and mutually reinforcing. Research reveals that we can meet the dual challenge of economic growth and combating climate change. This means that companies can enhance their bottom line while reducing their climate change causing greenhouse gas emissions.

In business sustainability is about capitalizing on emerging trends, while reducing negative economic, social and environmental impacts. First and foremost sustainability must deliver net economic benefits. However, economic development must be achieved through providing long-term customer value, profitability and share holder return but not at the expense of practicing good business ethics.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Trump is Unelectable: So Say the Koch Brothers and Others

Trump may be may be many things but one of the things he is not is electable. It would be easy to dismiss Trump, but at this stage he is the unchallenged leader in the Republican presidential race. Trump is a leader in many ways. In addition to being a first class asshole, Trump is a climate denier of the first order. He is among those who believe that cold weather and snow disprove the veracity of global warming. "With the coldest winter ever recorded, with snow setting record levels up and down the coast," Trump said last February, "the Nobel committee should take the Nobel Prize back from Al Gore."

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Event - James Beard Foundation Food Conference

The sixth annual James Beard Foundation Food Conference, subtitled "Rethinking the Future of Food" will take place on October 19 and 20 at the Conference Center (730 Third Avenue) in New York City. Building on last year’s theme of prescriptions for a healthier America, the conference will look at what lies ahead in three compelling areas: the future of health, the future of the kitchen, and the future of the farm.

Event - Environmental Journalism Conference: Weather, Water and Energy

The 25th annual SEJ Environmental Journalism Conference will take place on October 7 - 11, 2015 at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma. The campus is home to the National Weather Center, which is the source of every single tornado and severe thunderstorm watch in the United States. The changing nature of extreme weather is an increasing part of all our beats; you will not want to miss a chance to see this center and talk to its experts.

Event - Sustainable Brands: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This event will take place on August 25-27, 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The flair and culture of Rio de Janeiro continues to inspire brand, sustainability and design leaders to spark the innovation that leads toward a flourishing future. Understand the value that brands create when they become aware of the impact they have on the world around them.

Who Attends

People who have energy, impulse and resources to transform companies and, thus, transform the business to a more sustainable model.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Family Health and the Clean Power Plan (Videos)

Not only will the Clean Power Plan help to protect future generations from climate change it will protect the health of families.

Air pollution increases respiratory illness in vulnerable populations. It is projected that the EPA's green power plan could prevent 3,500 deaths, 1,000 hospital admissions from heart and lung disease, 220 heart attacks.

Homage to Jon Stewart: Thanks for Putting Denial on Display and Making us Laugh in the Process (Video)

The Daily Show hosted by Jon Stewart has come to an end after 16 years. He has educated more young people with his hilarious parodies than any news show on television. Stewart's material was often little more than verbatim reviews of the outlandish antics of the Republican party, and in particular their farcical approach to climate change. As evident in the clip below, some truly absurd statements have come from Rep. Steve Stockman the Republican member of the House of Representatives from Texas.

Unbelievably, this man sits on the House Committee on Science and Technology. Republicans like Stockman are scientifically illiterate climate denying Luddites. While they provide fodder for comedians, the terrifying reality is that such men wield real power. As Jon points out in this clip, their refusal to accept the science of climate change could be dismissed as mere ignorance were it not for the fact that many of them receive generous support from the fossil fuel industry.

President Obama Introduces and Explains the Clean Power Plan (Video)

Early in August US President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency made history in the fight against climate change. In recent years the US has made more progress decreasing its GHG emissions than any other nation on earth. The Clean Power Plan is the biggest step yet in the effort to curb climate change. It will significantly add to the President's legacy by reigning-in climate change causing carbon pollution from energy plants and coal powered plants in particular. Coal powered plants are among the worst culprits. Together power plants are responsible for almost one third (30%) of America's GHG emissions.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Harper Gets Pummeled on the Economy and the Environment in the First Canadian Federal Election Debate

The ruling Conservatives were hit by a barrage of interrelated economic and environmentally focused attacks in the first debate of the federal election in Toronto. In addition to Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the debate included Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May. By most accounts Harper took a beating, even though his party tried to claim he won the debate. During the debate Harper's misrepresentations include his statement that emissions have gone down. He also lied when he said that the economy is growing.

Climate Change a No-Show in the First Republican Presidential Debate

Despite a letter from Jerry Brown and the urgings of Tom Steyer, few were surprised that climate change was a non-issue in the first Republican debate.

Ten of the 17 Republican candidates took the stage for the first GOP presidential debate of the 2016 in Cleveland. Not one of the front runners addressed the issue the a number of polls suggest is important to American voters on both sides of the aisle. However, at the earlier debate featuring the other candidates, climate change was briefly mentioned.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Health Benefits of Combating Climate Change and the Clean Power Plan

The Clean Power Plan and other government mitigation efforts are not only about reducing the impacts of one of the worst threats ever faced by humanity, they are also about addressing one of the foremost health issues of our times.  The health impacts from climate change and air pollution have been widely documented. In response to these threats the Clean Power Plan is a government prescription that is in the national interest. It will protect human health by significantly reducing climate change causing greenhouse gases and air pollution.

Republicans at Odds with Americans on Climate Change and the Clean Power Plan

Republicans including the candidates who are vying for the GOP's presidential nomination have failed to appreciate that voters are concerned about the health impacts of climate change and air pollution and they want governments to do something about it.  This concern extends to support for the Clean Power Plan. While Republicans and dirty energy disregard the evidence on climate change and oppose the Clean Power Plan a number of polls suggest that the GOP's resistance to the Clean Power Plan is at odds with the will of the American people.

A recent survey by Public Policy Polling suggests that this position is at at odds with the views of the American people. According to a public opinion poll in eight battleground states people are concerned about climate change and they support the Clean Power Plan. This same poll showed that Americans do not support Mitch McConnell's suggestion that Republican governors should drag their feet on the implementation of the plan.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Clean Power Plan for the Health of Latinos: Congresswomen Sánchez Testimonmy to the EPA

On July 29th, 2014 by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez gave her testimony to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In this testimony she explained why she is particularly concerned about the impacts of air pollution on the Latino community.

She spoke about the need to reduce pollution and her concern for public health and she explained why she is concerned about the well-being of her Latino constituents. She said that power plant emissions are a health risk of particular significance for Latinos.  With 31 percent of Latinos living within 30 miles of a power plant, they are165 percent more likely to live in counties with unhealthy levels of particulate matter pollution. This translates to high rates of asthma among Latinos. There are currently over 3.6 million Latinos in the US that suffer from asthma, including one in ten Latino children.