Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Sprawling Diversity of the Climate Protest Movement

People all around the world are standing up and calling for climate action. A wide diversity of different groups and demographics are organizing and they are demanding that we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

A growing and increasingly united climate protest movement is being led by women and young people. Hundreds of thousands of people who have never protested before are taking up the fight.

We are seeing protests from indigenous people, faith groups, health workers, agricultural collectives and unions. There are protestors from all walks of life--both young and old, elite and working class--all striving towards a common aim.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Radically Different Approaches to Climate Protest: Extinction Rebellion & the Sunrise Movement

On the surface the Extinction Rebellion (XR) and Sunrise are polar opposite protest movements. Sunrise is bright and optimistic while XR is dark and brooding bordering despair. While XR is composed largely of elites from the UK, the Sunrise movement includes an ethnically diverse group of young people from working class neighborhoods all across the US. The differences don't end there. They have dissimilar tactics and differing goals.

Sunrise Movement

The Sunrise movement is an optimistic US organization with a cheerful propensity to break into song. They were founded as a lobby group in support of the Green New Deal more than a year and a half ago. In that time they have succeeded in influencing the environmental policy of the Democrat Majority in the House of Representatives.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Climate Change was the Hot Topic at the World Economic Forum in Davos

Climate change was the dominant theme at and this year's World Economic Forum (WEF). Panel discussions covered a wide range of related topics and including global warming, ocean sustainability and biodiversity. Al Gore, David Attenborough and Jane Goodall were among the participants.

This year's Global Risk Assessment report released at the WEF in Davos revealed, yet again, that climate change and related phenomenon are among the greatest risks both in terms of impact and likelihood. The report surveys nearly 1,000 decision-makers (public sector, private sector, academia and civil society) who are asked to assess the risks facing the world.  Over a ten-year horizon, extreme weather and climate-change policy failures are seen as the gravest threats.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Training - Advanced Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program

The Center for Sustainability and Excellence (CSE) Advanced Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program will take place on February 21 and 22, 2019 at Emory Conference Hotel located at 1615 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA. This is the leading program that can help you become a certified sustainability expert within your organization. 

The Practitioner Program in Atlanta focuses on key challenges that professionals have to face in the field of Sustainability, Supply Chain,Corporate Responsibility and Corporate Communications.

The challenging two-day training in Atlanta aims to give you all the latest practical tools and resources required to implement or upscale corporate sustainability in order to drive your initiatives to the next level by generating value and creating effective strategies. Executives from Fortune 500 companies, local governments and academia have trusted CSE and participated in our advanced training to become Certified Sustainability (CSR) Practitioners and earn a unique recognition in the Sustainability and CSR field.

Friday, January 25, 2019

How a Company Gave Color to Rainbow Village


Although it reads like a fairy-tale this is a real life account of the transformation of a slum into a beautiful and prosperous community. It is also a story about how responsible businesses can help local communities.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Climate Inaction vs Income Inequality: The Underlying Unity Behind these Antagonistic Protest Movements

There are two very different motivations driving protesters. There are those who are demanding climate action and there are those who are frustrated by the growing income inequality gap. The former are on an urgent mission to save the planet while the later are preoccupied with meeting their basic needs.  On the surface these two groups appear to be diametrically opposed to each other.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Opposition to Canada's Carbon Tax

Despite the merits of carbon pricing Canada's Conservative premieres are united in their opposition to the country's proposed climate tax. The political dynamics are heating up in Canada ahead of a federal election that is scheduled to take place on October 21, 2019.  It remains to be seen whether Canadians are as intent on self abuse as their neighbors to the south or their former colonial masters across the pond.

As of yet there is no right-wing brexiteer nor any Trump style wannabe vying for the Prime Minister's job. However, Doug Ford the new premiere of Ontario, is a populist with an irrational disregard for the environment. True to his word Ford has systematically dismantled Ontario's support for the green economy and climate action including carbon pricing.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Combating Environmental Racism as the Nexus Between Civil Rights and Eco-Advocacy

Today is MLK Day. On this occasion we celebrate the life of one of the greatest people ever to walk on American soil. Decades after his murder, Martin Luther King continues to breathe life into a new civil rights movement that includes efforts to combat prejudice alongside support for equal access to the basic necessities of life like clean air and clean water.

Women's March Calls for Environmental Justice

The Women's March is an annual worldwide protest. The first Women's March took place on January 21, 2017 the day after Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States. The sexism of the commander and chief helped to make the inaugural event the largest single day of protest in US history.

Climate protests are at the heart of growing resistance to Trump and women are leading the charge. This makes sense given that climate change and environmental degradation disproportionately disadvantage women.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Event - Powershift: Young and Rising Climate Crisis Youth Organizing

Powershift: Young and Rising — Climate Crisis Youth Organizing will take place starting on February 14th and conclude on Monday February 18, 2019. It will take place in Ottawa, on the land of the on the land of the Algonquin, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, and Anishinabek. At this event hundreds of young people will converge to build a powerful and intersectional youth climate justice movement. They will affirm that they are the generation that has the power to counter the damage done, and build the future we know is possible.

Event - Intersolar Europe 2019 Conference and Expo

Intersolar Europe 2019 is an annual conference and exposition that will take place on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 to Friday, May 17, 2019 at the Messe München exhibition center in Munich, Germany. This is the world’s leading exhibition for the solar industry and its partners. The event’s exhi­bition and conference focus on the areas of photovoltaics, solar thermal technologies, solar plants, as well as grid infrastructure and solutions for the integration of renewable energy. Since being founded 27 years ago, Intersolar has become the most important industry platform for manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, service providers and partners of the solar industry.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Climate Change has Already Caused Mass Extinctions

There is an historical precedent for the civilization ending climate crisis we are facing. An extinction event hundreds of millions of years ago has terrifying parallels to modern day climate change. We live in the age of the anthropocene, a time when human activity is decimating life on planet Earth in what is being called the sixth mass extinction event.

Around 252 million years ago an extinction event wiped out almost all life on Earth. This includes 70 percent of all vertebrate species and 96 percent of all marine species.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Are Benefit Corporations the New Face of Capitalism?

The B Corp may give us some indication of what the future of capitalism looks like.  An increasing number of people are disgusted with the growing inequality between rich and poor. The ubiquitous feelings of marginalization and hopelessness are a recipe for disaster. At the very least they create fertile grounds for the rise of populist leaders who propagate fear and division.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Climate Change is the Real Emergency Border Walls are a Ruse

The climate crisis is a real emergency the border wall is not. The window of opportunity to act on climate change is closing. Despite warnings from scientists, we are not seeing enough action from governments, especially the US federal government. We are on the cusp of civilization altering tipping points from which we will not be able to recover yet US President Donald Trump is preoccupied with building a border wall.  He has denied the existence of climate change, while threatened to declare a state of national emergency to build his wall. He has pledged to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement while his administration has systematically dismantled environmental protections and climate action.

Monday, January 14, 2019

8 Factors Driving Corporate Activism

Value systems drive activism and these efforts are increasingly intersecting with corporate self interest.  Companies have a vested interest in combating consumer skepticism. They know they cannot ignore consumers' distrust nor can they avoid the growing demand that businesses act in an ethical manner. Apart from the inherent value of doing the right thing, there are powerful incentives and disincentives that are driving corporate activism. Here are eight reasons why companies are feeling compelled to act.

1. BOTTOM LINE BENEFITS

It pays for business to be ethical. Companies like Patagonia have demonstrated how ethical conduct enhances their reputation, reinforces customer loyalty and improves the bottom line. This is in line with research shows that consumers are more likely to buy products and services from a company they deem to be responsible. According to a Nielsen survey released at the end of last year almost half of US shoppers indicate they would change their consumption habits to reduce their environmental footprint. This poll indicates that US consumer are increasing their purchases of sustainable products at four times the rate of non-sustainable products. The survey indicated that there has been a 20 percent increase in the purchase of sustainable products since 2014. In 2018 US consumers spent $129 billion on sustainable products and by 2021 that spend is expected to increase to $150 billion. Businesses benefit from science-based climate action and a recent CSE study is among a large pool of research that confirms the bottom line benefits of sustainability.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Event - Solar World Congress in Santiago Chile (Call for Participation)

The Solar World Congress (SWC) will take place on November 4-7, 2019 at the Centro Parque in Santiago, Chile.  This new and modern conference center is situated in a public park, with convenient access and many good hotels nearby. It has both an outdoor area, ideal for an exhibition, and indoor conference facilities. SWC will also include the 9th Edition of the International Conference on solar heating and cooling (SHC). There will be many parallel activities taking place alongside these conferences as well as a post Congress Technical Tour to visit landmark solar facilities in Northern Chile.

Event - Biological Solutions for the Global CO2 Challenge

Biological Solutions for the Global CO2 Challenge will take place on June 3-4, 2019 at EMBL in Heidelberg, Germany. Successful reduction of atmospheric CO2 levels to pre-industrial levels is among the most pressing current challenges for scientific innovation. Given the scale of its impact on the global ecosystems and socio-economic implications, innovative solutions are urgently needed at the chemistry as well as biological front. The EMBL conference “Biological Solutions for the Global CO2 Challenge” will bring together scientific leaders, industrial players, as well as policy makers to discuss how synthetic biology and metabolic engineering can contribute to sustainable CO2 capture and conversion.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Women are at the Forefront of Historic Change

Women are claiming their rightful place in the halls of political power and they are changing the world in the process. Nowhere is this more evident than in the blue wave that solidly rebuked the GOP's leadership in the US midterm elections of 2018.

In recent years women are making their voices heard with unprecedented vigor and in unprecedented numbers. The day after Trump was inaugurated women staged the single largest day of protest in US history. They came out again to demonstrate against Trump's first year in office with a day of national protest. Almost 2.5 million people came out for the second annual Women’s March to fight for women’s rights, resist Trump and denounce the Republican agenda. At these demonstrations they carried signs like "grab him by the midterms" and that is precisely what they proceeded to do.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Anthropogenic Species Extinction is a Crime Against Nature

Year after year we are witnessing the extinction of more and more species. To be fair species extinction has been part of life on Earth since life originated on this planet but what makes contemporary extinctions unique is the fact that they are happening 100 to 1000 times faster than the normal natural rate of die-offs. Species extinction is being accelerated by human activities including climate change. Thousands of species are currently under threat from habitat loss, deforestation, poaching and climate change. The problem will get worse as habitats continue to shrink, forests continue to be destroyed and the climate continues to warm. Many of the species that are disappearing have yet to be identified by scientists.

According to a 2017 paper in Nature Climate Change a review of 136 studies published between 1990 and 2015 concluded that 47 percent of the land mammals and 23 percent of the birds on the threatened list are affected negatively by climate change. Primates and marsupials were found to be the most at risk because of climate change.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Corporate Activism Targeting Trump will Increase in 2019

Corporate America has challenged Trump's leadership and they will engage in unprecedented levels of climate advocacy in 2019.   They will speak out against Trump's presidency because they realize that they have no choice, silence is no longer an option. Standing up to Trump is now synonymous with protecting their brands.

As explained in The Conversation: "Staying out of politics is no longer an option for the corporate world, even if its tactics can sometimes clash with strategies to optimise profits."

Corporate resistance to Trump is not new, however, it is intensifying. CEOs from companies like Tesla, Patagonia, Starbucks, General Motors, JP Morgan and Walmart have all spoken out against this president. They have repeatedly rebuked Trump and some played an uncharacteristically active role supporting Democrats in the midterm elections of 2018.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Conservation Success Stories are Shining Light into the Darkness

You would be forgiven for not noticing the good news stories in 2018 as they languish in the shadow of some devastating events. Brazil’s new president appears intent on destroying vast swaths of Amazon rainforest and Trump continues his reign of terror as the president of the United States.

Two major climate reports (UN and US) make it painfully clear that we are rapidly running out of time. Last year was the hottest year on record after 2015, 2016 and 2017 (20 of the warmest years on record around the planet occurred in the past 22 years). More than 3 trillion tons of ice was lost in Antarctica last year and carbon emissions in 2018 hit a record high.  Despite these occurrences there was lots of good news in 2018 and not just for the environment.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Business Will Lead Climate Action in 2019

Corporate support for climate action can counter the Trump administration and help to make 2019 a turning point for climate action.  In 2018 we witnessed the awakening of corporate America as a growing number of companies came to the realization that standing up to this president is synonymous with protecting their brands. As 2018 came to a close it became clear that corporate activism is now a force to be reckoned with. Each year a growing number of companies are adopting science based environmental governance strategies. "Business is pretty much the most powerful force on the planet. If you really harness it, what change could we create as a result?," B Lab UK's Kate Sandle said.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Event - OWP Japan Offshore Wind Power

OWP Japan (Offshore Wind Power) will take place on May 16-17, 2019 in Tokyo, JAPAN. The Key highlights of the agenda include the following:

Offshore wind opportunities in Japan and a regulator’s perspectives. How to construct a successful offshore wind partnership in Japan. Pilot case studies experiences including lessons from Taiwan and Europe. Financing and funding options as well as strategies for offshore wind projects. Offshore wind project risk, mitigation and insurance. Creating the supply chain – needs and opportunities. Offshore wind technologies for the Japanese environment.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Reasons to Hope that 2019 is a Turning Point for Climate Action in the US

We can certainly use a dose of hope in the wake of the brutal year that was 2018.  No amount of optimism can obscure the destructiveness of the Trump administration. However, this darkness is countered by the promise that 2019 will augur meaningful change. Democracy is under siege from within, however, the actions of the legislative and judicial branches of government have made it possible for the liberal constitutional state to survive this Russian made Trojan Horse. It is a credit to the system of checks and balances that the Republic has withstood repeated attacks from the commander and chief.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

The Dark Star of the Trump Administration in 2018

The year that was will go down in history as one of the darkest in the life of the Republic. While 2017 was an awful year 2018 was worse. The corruption of Trump and his administration became painfully clear last year. Nativism and hatred are defining features of this administration. Trump's tirades against the media and his aversion to science are now inextricably linked to this president and his demonstrably amoral administration. Their unilateralism and transactional approach to the world is now infamous.