Monday, December 31, 2018

Kids are Turning to the Courts to Demand Climate Action

There are waves of legal actions from kids around the world demanding that their governments act to combat climate change. In the absence of science based climate action a court-ordered mandate to reduce emissions may be our best hope of protecting our planet for future generations.

Kids are leading the call for climate action as a matter of survival. They are protesting the inaction of their political leaders and turning to the courts to demand that governments reduce greenhouse gas emissions and phase out fossil fuels. As these kids point out, they are being forced to act because adults are behaving like irresponsible children. Emboldened by leaders like 15 year old Greta Thornburg kids around the world are coming together to demand action.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Kids Are Fighting for their Lives

The warming world has dire implications for us all but it is especially dangerous for kids. They are more susceptible to heat, infectious diseases, air pollution, and food insecurity. They are forced to reckon with the realization that adults are destroying their future by failing to do what they must to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Studies show that children are disproportionately affected by climate change. The World Health Organization estimates that climate change related diarrheal illness will kill 48,000 children younger than 15 by 2030 and nutritional deficiencies are expected to kill 95,000 children in the same time frame. Children are also at greater risk of sickness and death from extreme heat, droughts and air pollution.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Young People are Leading Climate Activism and Giving Us Reason to Hope

We live in a world where the adults are acting like children and the children are acting like adults. There is no escaping the conclusion that we have not done enough to protect kids from climate change. In defense of their futures children are taking it upon themselves to expose our unconscionable failure and demand climate justice. One of the world's leading advocates for climate action is 15 year old Swede Greta Thunberg. While some may see her as an angel, others think she is more like a ghost from Charles Dickens popular novella, A Christmas Carol. Either way the message Greta delivered at COP24 is reverberating around the world. She pulls no punches and tells it like it is. She reflects on her future and she imagines that if she has children one day they may ask her, "why you didn’t do anything while there still was time to act." She then makes an appeal to parents saying: "You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes."

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Like a Dickensonian Ghost Greta Thunberg Offers a Chilling Rebuke and a Haunting Warning


Fifteen year old Greta Thunberg spoke truth to power at the recent UN COP24 climate talks. Her address on behalf of environmental non-governmental organizations was one of the most powerful speeches ever delivered on climate action. Like a ghost from Charles Dickens' 1843 novella, A Christmas Carol she shows us what we have done, what we are doing and what we must do. She cuts through our excuses for inaction and exposes the insanity of our failure to do what common sense dictates we must. Here are the full transcripts of two speeches that she delivered at COP24:

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Festering Rot that is Corruption in the Trump Administration

Despite promises to "drain the swamp" Trump and his administration have been defined by ethics violations and rampant corruption. On the campaign trail Trump repeatedly vowed to end government corruption. Instead he has made it worse in ways that most could not have imagined.

Trump has been tied to shady deals, questionable financial partners, hush money, conspiracy, tax evasion, illegal payments, and conflicts of interest.

Although Trump has disparaged his own government (intelligence services, the Department of Justice, and the FBI) a report at the end of last year concluded that most Americans share the view that the White House is the most corrupt institution in government.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Corporate Activism and the End of Silence

Corporate activism is growing and ushering in a new era. Never before have corporations been more involved in activism or felt more compelled to engage. What corporate leaders say or don't say can have profound consequences for their personal reputations and the reputation of the brands they lead. Businesses are standing up for environmental issues, LGBTQ rights, immigration policies, sexual harassment, gun safety and climate action.

As they come to the realization that ethics are as important as cost and quality, businesses are doing more than just leveraging issues to sell their products and services. They are engaging in brand activism campaigns that build awareness and promote a message.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Green New Deal: The Moonshot of Our Generation

Democrats are proposing a Green New Deal to confront climate change. Newly elected legislators are joining forces with venerable law makers to promote government support for climate action. On December 10th more than 1000 young people went to the Capitol to support the proposed deal. A number of high profile supporters were present for an online town hall that drew thousands of viewers. There is widespread support from both progressive politicians and organizations, there are already 38 Congresspeople who have stood up to support Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) proposal for a Select Committee for a Green New Deal.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Fashion Industry's Leadership at COP24

The fashion industry was on hand at COP24 and  they are working to transform the industry from an environmental Luddite to and environmental leader.  The industry has a well earned reputation for being environmentally destructive. Despite valient attempts from some clothing manufacturers to clean up their act, the industry is often wasteful and highly polluting.

The fashion industry, especially fast fashion, is among the dirtiest industries on earth.  Dozens of fashion brands came together at COP24, in Katowice Poland to sign a Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action under the auspices of the UN Climate Change Convention secretariat, UNFCCC.  This document is aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement and is targeting net-zero emissions by 2050.

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Achievements and Shortcomings of COP24

"We will all have to give in order to gain. We will all have to be courageous to look into the future and make yet another step for the sake of humanity."

Michal Kurtyka, senior Polish official

After 12 days of intense negotiations in Katowice Poland almost two hundred countries signed an agreement that keeps the Paris Agreement alive.  As has become habitual at the annual UN climate meetings known as the Conference of the Parties, officials had to work overtime to come to an agreement.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Event - Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD 2019)

The 7th International Conference on Sustainable Development (ICSD 2019) will take place on September 4, 2019 09:00 - September 5, 2019 19:30, in Rome, Italy. The Conference theme is: "Creating a unified foundation for the Sustainable Development: research, practice and education".

Friday, December 14, 2018

What Businesses are Doing at COP24

Members of the business community were present at 24th Conference of Parties (COP24). The UN climate talks in Katowice, Poland showcased a wide range of private sector accomplishments. They also supported a number of studies which indicate that adopting less environmentally harmful practices is good for business.

The business community is vulnerable to climate change. As explained by ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO., "a failure to address climate change will hurt us all."

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Economic Arguments as a Pretext to Torpedo Climate Action

National governments and conservative commentators commonly invoke economic arguments to justify climate inaction. However, a slew of studies flatly contradict the contention that the cost of climate action outweighs the benefits. Upon closer inspection it becomes clear that the economic argument is a ruse. There are a couple of factors driving this fraudulent economic argument. The first is the politics of conservative governments, the second is industry, particularly fossil fuels.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Resistance from Oil Producing States is Killing Climate Talks

Fossil fuel producing states are making progress very difficult at COP24.  Instead of climate action the world's leading oil producers are opting to defend their oil interests.   Member states are falling far short of the objectives laid out for the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24).  The scientific report that was meant to inform these proceeding is being resisted by the world's three largest oil producers, the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia.  Even Poland, the host nation for COP24 is putting the brakes on climate action in an effort to protect its coal industry.

Monday, December 10, 2018

COP24 Goals and Objectives

The 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP24) will be held in Katowice, Poland, it runs from December 3 - 14. This meeting hosts representatives from United Nations member states, including government ministers and subnational leaders. There will also be CEOs, the leaders of nonprofits, and faith-based organizations. The goal of the meeting is to hammer out a framework for implementing the Paris Agreement, which was reached in 2015 at the 21st conference.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Event - Conference on Sustainability in Engineering 2019

Conference on Sustainability in Engineering (CSE) will take place February 22nd - 25th, 2019 at the University of Northern British Columbia. The theme "Triple Bottom Line", will provide a foundation of knowledge on sustainability, while considering social, economic, and environmental implications. CSE 2019 will equip students with the knowledge required to tackle challenges related to sustainability. The Conference on Sustainability in Engineering is the CFES' newest conference, ratified at PM 2018. The conference aims to raise awareness about issues in sustainability and environmental engineering, and encourage students to discuss and design solutions to counter them. The Conference on Sustainability in Engineering (CSE) is a three-day national conference to educate and engage engineering students on issues of sustainability and how they can tackle it within their engineering career and everyday life.

Event - 2019 Shareholder Activism Summit

The 2019 Shareholder Activism Summit will take place on January 24th 2019. The Summit will once again unite activists, board directors and corporate management to discuss the state of play in activist engagement and what to expect in the upcoming shareholder season.

A full day of interviews, panel discussions, and presentations by practice experts, strategists, advisors, activists and investors makes this one-day program an invaluable gathering, needed to effectively manage through the ever-evolving landscape of proxy fights and settlements. Share views and practices on the evolution and current state of shareholder activism in the US and abroad, with a focus on how engagements continue to shape efforts between directors, public company management and activist investors, all seeking positive outcomes.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

The Life and Funeral of George H.W. Bush Defines Leadership for a Nation that has Lost its Way

The funeral for George H.W. Bush takes place at a time when the nation's values are under siege from within. The Bush funeral calls us to remember what great American leadership looks like. In these dark times remembering a leader who is loving, humble, honest and self-effacing gives us reason to hope.

After lying in state at the US Capitol the coffin of the 41st president of the United States traveled by motorcade to Washington National Cathedral for his funeral and some final farewells. The touching 3 hour ceremony that ensued showcased a man of faith who believed in causes larger than himself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

A Life of Service: George H.W. Bush a Good Man and a Model President

George H.W. Bush (June 12, 1924 – November 30, 2018) was a humble family man who has contributed enormously to the history of the United States and the world. One of his enduring achievements was the 1990 amendment to the Clean Air act.  He is best known for being the 43rd Vice President of the United States from 1981 to 1989 and the 41st President of the United States from 1989 to 1993. After he left office he continued to be active in humanitarian activities

He leaves behind an impressive legacy of service. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor Bush postponed his university studies and when he turned 18 he enlisted to become one of the youngest aviators in the US Navy. After the war he attended and graduated from Yale University.

Monday, December 3, 2018

Beware the Ides of March: Climate Denial and Trump's Demise

Trump's climate denial is part of a maniacal litany of lies that may help bring his presidency to an end. The facts are beginning to coalesce and they are painting a convincing portrait of a corrupt and dishonest president with delusions of grandeur.

Trump resists as best he can maligning truth tellers and spouting self-serving narratives. He savages fact based sources of information like science and the media, while trying to portray himself as a victim of a "witch-hunt". However, two reports strike at the heart of this pessimal presidency, one has already been released and the other, the most damning of all is expected to drop in 2019. To all but his minions, Trump's predicament is a direct corollary of his own actions.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Event - International Sustainability Transitions Conference

The 10th International Sustainability Transitions conference will be held from June 23-26, 2019 at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. The IST onference theme is Accelerating sustainability transitions: Building visions, unlocking pathways, navigating conflicts.

IST 2019 is hosted by the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University in association with the Sustainability Transitions Research Network (STRN). Accelerating sustainability transitions Building visions, unlocking pathways, navigating conflicts.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Event - NCSE 2019 Annual Conference: Sustainable Infrastructure & Resilience

NCSE 2019 Annual Conference: Sustainable Infrastructure & Resilience will take place on January 7-10, 2019 at the at the Omni Shoreham Hotel located at 2500 Calvert St NW, Washington, DC 20008. The National Council for Science and the Environment works with scientists, educators, policymakers, business leaders, and officials at all levels of government to inform environmental policy and decision-making with the use of science. NCSE programs are designed to foster leadership and education around timely and pressing issues at the intersection of science, policy, education, and decision-making. The programs also advance interdisciplinary education and develop international cooperation and engagement.