Devolution Needed For Climate Action

Considering the backlash the federal government has received concerning climate initiatives (or perceived lack thereof) and the Kyoto Protocol, it has become apparent that action must be taken at the local level. With 75 percent of the world’s energy consumption and 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by the world’s largest cities, change has to begin in each city. But as a recent article on the BBC news website points out, without personal motivation, people are reluctant to change their habits.

The article suggests that motivation may come from the process of devolution, putting the power of action into the hands of local governments, local businesses or corporations and local communities. This is achieved through initiatives that empower each entity and allow them to be involved in the decision-making process. Examples of these initiatives can be seen in many metropolitan areas throughout the US. In the summer of 2003, Boston’s mayor created the Green Building Task Force to promote LEED standards for new large-scale building projects as well as to make recommendations for greening existing structures. Recently, Washington D.C. became the first major city in the U.S. to require private developers to adhere to the US Green Building Council Standards. In addition, state and local governments are beginning to offer homebuilders initiatives to build green, creating a rise in local green building programs and ensuring that new homes meet strict energy standards established by local governments.

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Green Is Universal For NBC

nbc website Green Is Universal For NBC

NBC Universal launched their “Green Is Universal” campaign on November 4th in the hopes of (via their site) “entertaining, informing and empowering Americans to lead greener lives.”

Back in August, Fox announced that their hit show “24” was going green. Then “America’s Top Model” joined the good fight. But these are just individual shows. NBC is a whole network. Actually, it’s an enormous conglomerate of channels that include Bravo, Sundance, SciFi, USA, Telemundo and many other big impact, big moneymakers including Universal Studios.

Using the clever integration of environmental action and themes into their shows (including unscripted ones on CNBC, MSNBC and NBC Sports), and filling the breaks with eco-themed ads and PSAs, NBC seems hell-bent on spreading the green gospel. They’ve even gotten on-air heavyweights like Tom Brokaw, Matt Lauer and Bob Costas into the act and are throwing an eco-fabulous wedding on “Days of Our Lives”.

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Meat Biz Generates More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Transportation

pigs foodindustry 02 Meat Biz Generates More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Transportation

More news from the Global Warming front: Don’t just switch from gas to hybrid, eat less meat. What some people have known for years is now becoming a new focus for environmentalists. Meat production is perhaps (actually, it’s scientifically proven) a greater factor in global warming than even the biggest SUVs. And animal-rights folks are miffed at Al Gore for not focusing attention on the issue in An Inconvenient Truth.

The New York Times reported in August that the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization confirmed “the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined” — a rather shocking revelation given that automakers have taken the brunt of the greenhouse gas complaints.

If you’ve ever driven across southern Kansas like I have, you might start to see the picture more clearly – mountains of manure and thousands of acres of cows penned in so tight that they have barely any room to move. Of course, this revelation is nothing new. Frances Moore Lappe wrote about the dangers of overproducing beef in her seminal 1971 book, Diet For a Small Planet, and earlier this year the Christian Science Monitor released some statistics about the amount of CO2 emissions from beef production.

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Angelina Jolie Writes For The Economist

angelina jolie 01 Angelina Jolie Writes For The Economist

As if Angelina Jolie didn’t have enough on her plate. In addition to making movies, raising four kids, acting as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and globe-trotting with Brad Pitt, the Academy Award winning actress and Hollywood royalty can now add “writer” to her already impressive resume.

No, she’s not jumping on the celebrity-penned-children’s-book bandwagon, Ms. Jolie will be contributing an article the atrocities in Darfur to the prestigious “World in 2008” supplement published by the economic and political weekly The Economist.

“The World in 2008”, which contains predictions for next year, will also feature articles written by U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the Dalai Lama, French president Nicolas Sarkozy, New York mayor Michael Bloomberg and Mexican president Felipe Calderón.

Published tomorrow and available internationally, “The World in 2008” will remain on newsstands all year.

For more information or to download audio interviews with some of the publication’s authors, click here.

Alec Baldwin Appeals to Hillary Clinton

alec baldwin 01 Alec Baldwin Appeals to Hillary Clinton

Remember when Ronald Reagan’s administration tried to officially declare ketchup a vegetable in order to save money on school lunch programs? Well, now that health and obesity issues are on the rise, concerned parents are wanting solutions and asking for them from the current presidential candidates.

One such concerned parent is actor Alec Baldwin. Baldwin has personally written Senator Hillary Clinton asking her to vote against the controversial Farm Bill that will bring more unhealthy food into our schools.

Sources suggest Baldwin did this to challenge Clinton and see how she stands on the issue of childhood obesity.

The Farm Bill, which will set agricultural policy for the next five years, has gained a lot of criticism for bringing high-fat and high-cholesterol foods into our school food programs. At the root of the issue, some feel, are the enormous profits going into the pockets of major agribusiness and manufactured food companies.

Let’s hope Alec’s starpower will have more weight than our nation’s children…

Changing Your Lifestyle | Changing the Climate

sea ice 02 Changing Your Lifestyle | Changing the Climate

BBC News reported earlier this week that people around the world would make sacrifices if they thought it would help the environment despite resistance to change from politicians and government bureaucracies. In a poll conducted by Globescan, over 22,000 people across the world were asked several questions ranging from support for higher energy taxes to making personal sacrifices.

Major findings:
1. There is strong support for higher energy taxes if these taxes go towards development of cleaner new technologies.
2. Responses in both China and the U.S. (the two most polluting countries) overwhelmingly support cleaner, greener policies.
3. A majority of those polled feel that energy prices on the worst polluting energies (coal and oil) will need to rise significantly before these sources will fall from favor by both individuals and industry.

4. An overwhelming majority worldwide report that lifestyle changes are necessary to reduce the amount of climate-changing gases.

sea ice 01 Changing Your Lifestyle | Changing the Climate
It’s time for a change… According to Doug Miller, president of Globescan, “The principal message for political leaders is that they are leaving a significant amount on the table by not asking their citizens to play more of a role [in combating climate change].” So, why aren’t politicians paying more attention – especially in the US where people are constantly polled and where politicians often respond quickly to polling information?One reason may be that increasing taxes has become a political “third rail” in late-20th /early-21st Century, and so has regulation; we are still dealing with the mess caused by 1990’s de-regulation of utilities in US. Another is that stricter environmental policies is bad for business (remember Bush’s reaction to Kyoto?).

Most important, however, the poll shows that people recognize the consequences of their actions at the individual level. So why wait for the politicians? If the people lead, the leaders will follow.

Click here to get the full results from the poll.

Will Population Control Guarantee Utopia?

overpopulation 01 Will Population Control Guarantee Utopia?

The Director of the British Antarctic Survey claims that the global population is much higher than the Earth can sustain. In a new environmental opinion series from BBC News entitled The Green Room, the Director states that solving environmental changes such as climate control are impossible without first tackling the issue of over-population.

In the recent Montreal Summit “beyond Kyoto”, over 10,000 delegates came together to discuss the control of carbon emissions. While an announcement was made after the summit stating that over 40 decisions were made (an “historic success”, it was ruled), Chris Rapley with Viewpoint, part of BBC News, feels the decisions made might not be sufficient to sustain an acceptable quality of life for future generations. Rapley writes that it’s almost impossible to bring together 10,000 delegates to make any kind of positive decisions in regards to the substantial amount of environmental issues currently at hand.

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Opportunity Green | Movers and Shakers

opportunitygreen01 Opportunity Green | Movers and Shakers

If you’re wondering where all the prime movers and shakers in green business will be this Saturday, ponder no more. They’ll be at UCLA for a sustainability conference known as Opportunity Green. The conference boasts “the best and the brightest entrepreneurial CEOs, executives, professionals, designers, investors and bloggers”, all focused on creating sustainable enterprises that turn a profit. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

This Weekend Checkout Opportunity Green At UCLA

opportunitygreen01 This Weekend Checkout Opportunity Green At UCLA

If you’re wondering where all the prime movers and shakers in green business will be this Saturday, ponder no more. They’ll be at UCLA for a sustainability conference known as Opportunity Green. The conference boasts “the best and the brightest entrepreneurial CEOs, executives, professionals, designers, investors and bloggers”, all focused on creating sustainable enterprises that turn a profit. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

UCLA | Water & Climate Change Conference

waterpolicyconference UCLA | Water & Climate Change Conference

From UCLA’s Sustainable Resource Center Director comes news of an important conference for water and environmental reform. Scheduled for Wednesday, November 14 and Thursday, November 15 at L.A.’s downtown Sheraton Hotel, the conference (dubbed From Sizzle to Substance) will examine the crucial connection between water resources and climate change. Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Greenwashing as a Corporate Marketing Strategy

yukonhybrid 01 Greenwashing as a Corporate Marketing Strategy

I came across the term “greenwashing” recently while surfing through the blogosphere. I didn’t know what it was, so I did some investigating. Wikipedia describes greenwashing as “a term that is used to describe the actions of a company, government, or other organization which advertises positive environmental practices while acting in the opposite way.” Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Al Gore Speaks Climate Crisis on 30 Rock

al gore 30rock 01 Al Gore Speaks Climate Crisis on 30 Rock

Seeing Al Gore on 30 Rock Thursday night reminded me why he’s the coolest nerd in existence. I worked on An Inconvenient Truth and was duly star-struck by him every time he came into the office — even though there is no need to be.

He is one of the nicest, most polite men ever.

Working on An Inconvenient Truth was a very emotional experience. During the filming and the editing — before the awards and the Nobel Prize — it still was hard to reflect on a world in which Gore wasn’t president. I worked on the section of the film in which he discussed the 2000 election, and would come home nights and cry at how sad it was for everyone — for America, for him, for his family and for me.

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