Thursday, November 29, 2018

National Governments Failing to Act on Climate Change

The most recent data indicates that not only are we are far from where we need to be to slow global warming, we are falling further behind. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising again and the planet is getting hotter. After three consecutive years of decline, global emissions began to rise again in 2017. They are expected to increase even more in 2018.

The UN emissions gap report was released ahead of the upcoming COP 24 meetings in Katowice, Poland where governments will meet to discuss their failure to achieve the targets laid out in the Paris climate agreement.

At 53.5 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, global emissions have reached historic levels. Worse still they show no signs of peaking. If we are to stave off the most cataclysmic impacts of climate change we must urgently reduce emissions. Scientists have determined that we need to keep temperatures from rising above the upper threshold limit of 1.5 - 2.0 degrees Celsius. Earth has already warmed 1.8 C since the beginning of the 20th century.

Webinar - The Science of Resilience in Decision-Making

This webinar will take place on Wednesday, Dec 5th 2018, 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM EST. Erica Goldman, NSCE Science Policy Director, will moderate a multi-disciplinary discussion on climate resilient infrastructure. She'll be joined by specialists in engineering, water resources, urban planning and natural hazards. Erica will moderates a multi-disciplinary discussion on climate resilient infrastructure. This 90-minute webinar is sponsored by ASU's School of Sustainability in partnership with the National Council for Science and the Environment and will explore:
  • Resilience as a paradigm to understand infrastructure at a systems level
  • Social science as a critical component in planning for and understanding resilience
  • Resilient design as a continuum, rather than an endpoint
  • The role of social and institutional infrastructure in disaster response and planning for climate impacts

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Sustainability Benefits the Bottom Line

A slew of studies have demonstrated that there are financial benefits associated with corporate sustainability performance. Recent research adds to the body of evidence linking ESG performance to a strong ROI.

These are the findings of a new report that also shows that an increasing number of companies are integrating the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into their reporting paradigms. The fact that the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is the dominant platform makes sense given the fact that new GRI standards are compatible with SDGs. The report also indicates that an increasing number of companies reporting to the CDP, an organization that supports corporate disclosures of environmental impacts.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Trump Hides New US Climate Report to Conceal the Costs

The release of a major new climate report on Black Friday is entirely consistent with the subterfuge that defines the Trump administration. The hope was that by releasing it on the busiest shopping day of the year no one would notice the economic toll foretold in the report. It is a savage irony that Trump is using the consumer spectacle of Black Friday to hide a study that predicts massive economic consequences from unchecked climate change. It should be obvious by now that Trump disavows facts that are inconvenient. He won't accept the conclusion of his own intelligence services regarding Russian interference. He equivocates on the CIA's conclusions about the murder of a journalist by Saudi Arabia. He even disputed the death toll from Hurricane Maria because it revealed how his administration's neglect killed hundreds in Puerto Rico. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Event - United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights

This event will take place on November 26-28, 2018, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. The central theme for the 2018 Forum will be: "Business respect for human rights – building on what works".

Friday, November 23, 2018

Thanksgiving Under Trump and the Awakening of Corporate America

Thanksgiving under Trump is a partisan affair. This is but the most recent American tradition that is being undermined by this president. Instead of unifying Americans Trump is lauding himself and sewing conflict. He spews his caustic venom to erode the center and breed division.

Trump's shameless capacity for self promotion knows no bounds. In a public call to US military leaders he maligned the judiciary for ruling against his immigration policy. Rather than focus on Thanksgiving well-wishes for all Americans he used the occassion to attack his enemies and sell his narrative.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Standing Up to Trump is Synonymous with Protecting your Brand

The times are changing and resisting this presidency may be a smarter play than trying to play it safe by staying under the radar. There was a time when openly contradicting the president of the United States was unthinkable. However, in the context of Donald Trump, failing to do so may represent a serious risk. Consumers want companies to take an ethical stand and they will reward companies with loyalty for being responsible corporate citizens. They will also punish companies for failing to do so. Many CEOs have come to the realization that it is safer to speak out than it is to be quietly complicit with the Trump administration. This is why they are openly refuting this president in ever growing numbers.  This includes some of the CEOs of leading corporate organizations.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Democrats Preparing to Fight for Voter Rights

On January 3 the wingnut party will end and a House full of shiny checks and balances will ring in the new year. Voting rights will be at the top of the agenda when the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives. This battle will be the backdrop to both impeachment proceedings and the 2020 presidential election. Its a winning message for Democrats and hard sell for the GOP.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Event - Pathways to Sustainability conference

Pathways to Sustainability conference will take place on January 24, 2019 at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht. A wide spectrum of researchers and partners will come together for this annual free conference.

The programme of the upcoming conference features keynotes from Sheila Jasanoff (Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard University), Jeroen Willemsen (founder of the Green Protein Alliance), and Diederik Samsom (chair Klimaattafel Gebouwde Omgeving, nuclear physicist and former politician). Sustainability from various perspectives.

Event - International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability

The Fifteenth International Conference on Environmental, Cultural, Economic & Social Sustainability will take place on January 17-19, 2019 at UBC Region Square in Vancouver, British Columbia.

The conference features research addressing the following annual themes:

Friday, November 16, 2018

Trump and Republicans Ignore the Costs of Climate Change

Even if you can get beyond Trump's callousness, it is hard to understand how anyone could support his irresponsible economic policies.  This is about more than just the ballooning deficit associated with his tax cuts.

Trump's insensitivity is legendary but his comportment towards politicians dealing with hurricanes and wildfires has been nothing short of shocking. Trump's handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico paints a sadistic portrait of a president who just does not seem to care. He verbally assaulted Tallahassee mayor and Democratic Gubernatorial contender Andrew Gillum as Hurricane Michael was about to make landfall.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Trump Called an "Idiot" as he Blames the Victims for California's Wildfires

As Californians combat three major forest fires Trump takes to Twitter to blame the state for forest mismanagement and threatens to withdraw federal funding. The president is once again misinformed as these are urban interface fires and have nothing to do with forest management. These statements prompted California Firefighters Union President to call Trump "an idiot". 

Monday, November 12, 2018

Corporate Activism in the 2018 Midterm Elections and Beyond

Companies are increasingly departing from their traditional apolitical stances and the 2018 midterm election in the United States was no exception. While many companies encouraged their employees to vote, others extended this message to their partners and the general public. Some companies wore their social conscience on their sleeves while others actively endorsed environmentally concerned candidates.

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Event - Nature & Me

Nature & Me is a presentation that will take place on December 3, 2018 at the Moment Factory, 6250 Park Ave, Montreal, QC Montreal, QC. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. and the presentation begins at 7:15 p.m.

For many of us, our everyday connection to nature isn’t what it used to be. What does that mean for our quality of life and economy? Join them for an engaging discussion on our relationship with nature and how it stands to impact our future.

Event - Social Impact Investing Summit

The Social Impact Investing Summit 2018 is being held in London on December 6-7, 2018 at The Great Hall Kensington Conference and Events Centre, Hornton St, Kensington, London, UK. This years keynote and speakers include BCG, Bloomberg and Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Voter Suppression and Resistance to Republican Efforts to Subvert Democracy

One hundred and forty eight years after the 15th amendment granted all Americans the right to vote and people are still fighting for voting rights in the US. The gains made by Democrats in the 2018 midterms are all the more remarkable given the ways in which the GOP has subverted democracy and skewed the playing field in their favor. Trump and Republicans allege electoral fraud as a pretext for voter suppression. While voter fraud is a ruse voter suppression is a very serious impediment to democracy in the US. 

There are 18 states that have passed voter ID laws that make it harder for certain communities to vote. Joe Biden recently said that there are 70 pieces of legislation introduced by Republicans in 34 states that constitute voter suppression. Voter suppression contributed to Trump's electoral victory in 2016. As a senior Trump official told Bloomberg "we have three major voter suppression operations under way."

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Environmental Victories in the 2018 Midterms

There were two under-reported environmental success stories during the 2018 midterms that are worth noting. The first is a constitutional amendment to ban oil and gas drilling in Florida's state waters and the second is the electoral victory of clean energy advocate Sean Casten in Illinois.

The fact that the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives is a major step towards holding the president and the GOP accountable. This vote was a repudiation of Trump. Exit polls confirmed that Trump was on the ballot and the results in the House indicate he did not fare well. Trump's candidates lost in vast swaths of America including in areas where Trump won decisively in 2016.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Environmental Voters May Hold the Balance of Power

Environmentally concerned citizens could play a pivotal role in the midterm elections of 2018.  There is so much at stake in these elections not the least of which are efforts to check the erosion of environmental protections and the neglect of climate action.

On November 6th voters will decide the outcome in 435 House seats, 34 Senate seats and 36 Governors races.

This election is critically important for the future of the nation and the health of the planet. In the wake of the most recent UN climate report we are forced to concede that we are in need of urgent action if we are to avoid tipping points from which we may not be able to recover.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Ruse of Blaming Both Sides and How Republicans Spawned this Treachery

Abetted by the ruling government in Washington hate is increasing in the US and lies are the norm. Some decry the hateful rhetoric on both sides, they blame both Republicans and Democrats for the dysfunction in Washington. However, there are not two sides to the issue of hate speech in contemporary American politics just as there are not two sides to the scientific consensus on global warming. While Democrats are far from blameless, to suggest that there is some kind of equivalency between the two parties is like the President's suggestion that there is some form of moral equivalency between Neo-Nazis and those that oppose fascism.  To illustrate this point the vast majority of terror attacks are committed by white people associated with the radical right. Only a tiny fraction of this violence comes from the extreme left.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Trump's Caravan of Lies

Trump's incessant lies and savage insensitivity fuel the divisions that are so prevalent in America today. Trump is the most dishonest president in American history and his capacity for deception is eclipsed only by his capacity to make people hate. He deceives to whip Americans into a frenzy of passionate xenophobia.

By the most recent count Trump has lied 6,420 times in his first 649 days of office. That is an average of around ten lies per day.  He kept lying after the assassination attempts against more than a dozen leading Democrats. He continued to call the mainstream media the enemy of the people after 2 pipe bombs were sent to CNN. Disparaging the truth-tellers is a pillar of Trump's strategy of disinformation and manipulation.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Resurgence of Hate In America

Trump inflames the very worst in human nature. He is hardly the first to exploit the politics of division, like other demagogues he leverages hate and exploits fear. This tactic dates back to the mists of prehistory. What makes this truly terrifying is that it is taking place in a mature democracy like the United States. The three disturbing acts of domestic terrorism in recent days are part of a general trend of increasing hate crimes taking place in the US. This includes violence from white supremacists and antisemitism. These events cannot be divorced from the rhetoric coming from the president. They have cemented Trump's position as the most hate inspiring leader in recent times and one of the most hateful presidents in the history of the Republic.

STAND APART Change Leadership Certificate (Cornell University)

STAND APART is a Change Leadership Certificate offered by Cornell University. This is an online certificate where you can learn from Cornell's top minds. All certificates are personally developed by Ivy League faculty.  This flexible, interactive programs fits into your busy life and can power your career. Cornell’s standard of excellence can help you stand apart.