Even Rolling Stone Gets It — Why Don’t We?

Continue Reading Full Article →

Once upon a time we had a concept called global warming. Then we had something called climate change — we called it climate change to make it easier to digest, although that didn’t seem to help the many conservatives in government who refuse to admit such a thing is even possible.

With the name change, there’s an added benefit that the temperature can go up or down, hurricanes can blow, and freak weather patterns can appear all under the same broad category of description. But even with melting ice caps, record droughts and any number of outrageous weather patterns, some individuals and organizations are still dragging their feet about climate change. Others are turning an absolutely blind eye….

Read Full Article

Software to Hold “Greenwashers” Accountable

Continue Reading Full Article →

It’s no secret that “going green” has become the next big thing in the corporate world. Riding the wave of consumers’ growing interest in environmental sustainability, companies are launching major ad campaigns to tout their green credentials. But many of their claims are misleading or downright false. The ads are compelling, but how are we to know who’s telling the truth? “Greenwashing” is eroding the credibility of well-intentioned green businesses and turning would-be green consumers into skeptics. …

The development of Enterprise Carbon Accounting (ECA) software is well underway, with roughly 60 vendors bringing solutions to market. ECA software enables companies to track their carbon footprint and the footprint of their suppliers as well as the impact of customer use of their products. It’s a promising innovation that can help us manage corporate America’s environmental footprint, but it’s still at the early stages of adoption. We need a number of things to happen for the ECA market to mature and develop environmental accounting to the same level as financial accounting….

Read Full Article

Notes from Canada – Good Luck, Earthlings

Continue Reading Full Article →

Appearing in Toronto, award-winning author and columnist Gwynne Dyer delivered a dire report on Earth Day’s Eve. Along with Dyer, environmental lawyer and Canada’s Green Party leader, Elizabeth May, shared an urgent message. May warned that we have about a month to convince the Canadian media to convince the irresponsible Canadian government to put climate change on the agenda of the G20 meeting in Toronto in June 2010, or our great grandkids will not live in a civilised world.

The G20 allows the host nation to set the agenda. In June, the G20 meets in Toronto. Canada’s Prime Minister, arguably representing as much as 35% of Canada, will not put climate change on the G20 agenda for 2010. Canada has one month to make the change that will permit the G20 to act this year as a globally responsible organisation. Good luck, Earthlings….

Read Full Article

Fee and Dividend – A Better Plan to Reduce CO2

Continue Reading Full Article →

For many years, the words global warming meant little to me. I was quick to dismiss climate change as a hoax or a natural phenomenon and continue to live as I always have. Then, one day, I heard someone on the radio ask, “Whether it’s man-made or a natural occurrence, shouldn’t we be doing something about it?” This comment stuck in my mind, and through a number of events, my thinking slowly changed….

One bill in Congress to address climate change uses a cap-and-trade approach. Cap and trade sets a carbon cap for utilities, transportation, and manufacturing. While this sounds like a great way to limit carbon emissions, the details are dicey to say the least. Businesses will have no true financial incentive to decrease reliance on fossil fuels, the amount of carbon allowed is still a mystery, and — even if it works — it won’t be fast enough. We need something more transparent and effective, and we need it now.

Citizens Climate Lobby and a number of other climate-oriented organizations came up with a solution: the Fee and Dividend plan. Under this proposed legislation, an escalating carbon fee will be imposed on fossil fuels at their point of entry into the economy, whether it be at mines, wells, or ports. This fee will raise the price of fossil fuels and make clean energy technology more competitive.

Read Full Article

Storms of My Grandchildren Provides Ample Evidence of Global Warming

Continue Reading Full Article →

Those of us who have been following developments on climate change and global warming are asked, “If the planet is getting warmer, why is it so cold in 2009?” James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climatologists, says that he often is asked the same question. So, he has published an essay titled, “If Its That Warm, How Come Its So Damned Cold?” and placed it on his website….

I have just read Hansen’s new book, Storms of My Grandchildren: the Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity. The book is a wonderful example of science written with clarity.

More importantly, Hansen tells policy makers what they need to do to reverse the steady climb in greenhouse gases, especially carbon dioxide. He argues for stopping the burning of all fossil fuels….

Read Full Article

SPG Solar – Bill O’Reilly and Me

Continue Reading Full Article →

I did not set out to pick a fight with Bill O’Reilly. As a new edition of the old saying goes: Don’t pick fights with people who use power by the gigawatt.

But let this be said: O’Reilly drew First Blood.

It happened just a few hours after the Irvine (California) Unified School District selected my company, SPG Solar, to install solar energy at 21 of its campuses. The new energy system will save the district $17 million over 20 years; will generate about half the energy the schools need; and best of all for this cash-strapped district: It all comes at no cost….

Read Full Article

Dispatches from Copenhagen – Wednesday, Two Days Remaining

Continue Reading Full Article →

COPENHAGEN — The anxiety and anticipation rising in the conference center are palpable as the fault lines become more distinct and several entities attempt to resurrect negotiations. It’s Wednesday morning in Copenhagen, there are far fewer NGOs, a lot more press, and sightings of presidents and prime ministers scuttling to meetings. It’s difficult to make sense of everything that is taking place at these talks. But one thing is clear, the sense of urgency has heightened, and time is running out for nations to strike a deal….

Read Full Article

Dispatches from Copenhagen – Sour and Souring

Continue Reading Full Article →

COPENHAGEN — The climate change talks taking place in Copenhagen are on life support. One week in to the conference, and with one week to go, progress towards a worthwhile climate change deal has been slow. In order to salvage COP15, negotiators will have to double down in order to reach a deal.

Monday’s major news was a group of African nations walking out on negotiations, then, in dramatic fashion — late in the evening hour — choosing to come back to the negotiating table. The story behind the walkout is that, last week, the Danish government reportedly had met with a group of wealthy nations, including the US, outside of the formal process. The parties agreed to a draft “text” that could eventually become the agreement that the Copenhagen conference produces. Several poor nations were angered by what they perceived as a backdoor deal that favored rich nations. The mood has been sour — and souring— ever since, culminating in today’s walkout….

Read Full Article

Reverb Greens Rock Concert Scene

Continue Reading Full Article →

If you’ve been to a rock concert — or any kind of outdoor music venue, for that matter — you know that a lot of waste is generated in the process putting on the event. Most visible is the waste the fans leave behind — plastic drink cups, paper napkins, nacho trays, cardboard carriers — all sorts of trash that could be composted or recycled, if handled properly.

But what most of us will never see is the amount of waste generated by the band and their crew. Lauren Sullivan and her husband, Adam Gardner, have a solution for that. Their nonprofit company, Reverb, works to green concerts for each band while also educating fans about local nonprofits — a definite winning combination.

Blue Planet Green Living (BPGL) recently spoke with Sullivan to find out how Reverb works and what motivated the couple to start it.

SULLIVAN: Adam and I began Reverb back in 2004. It emanated from both of us being part of two distinct worlds. Adam was and is a touring musician by trade. He’s in a band called Guster, which has a pop, rock, indie sort of vibe that is very accessible. He still writes, records and tours with the band. …

Read Full Article

The Great Energy Debate Pop Quiz

Continue Reading Full Article →

The energy issue is very confusing, and frankly, most of us will never catch up with the experts on all the details. Still, there are some basic facts that are good to know. Do you know them?

True or false? When it comes to global warming and air pollution, nuclear power is one of the most dangerous forms of energy.

Not true. The accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island left lots of people worried about nuclear plant safety, but if you’re worried about climate change, nuclear power is one of the least dangerous forms of energy we have. Generating electricity from nuclear power releases virtually no carbon dioxide (the major green house gas) into the atmosphere, and it doesn’t cause air pollution either. …

Read Full Article

Book Review – Who Turned Out the Lights? Your Guide to the Energy Crisis

Continue Reading Full Article →

Being an environmentalist means I have to choose from a million aspects of concern, direction, and interest. Planet Earth is facing a flood of problems, too many for one writer to assimilate, even for one magazine. For me, there is too little time to read about all the daily assaults on our planet, let alone verify the data in print; seek out authorities on the subject; interview them; type, edit, and post their points of view.

Being a journalist, as well, compounds the problem. Now, it is just as important to seek the opposing opinions and compare conflicting scientific data. Every topic has many angles, often many points of view, and frequently, two polar-opposite conclusions.

The fact that I try to keep an open mind on these issues is exactly why I like this book. The writers, Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson, have tried to present both sides of every energy issue, or at least, remain neutral in their presentation. The book gives “just the facts,” not opinions, and provides extensive end notes for the reader to verify all sources. …

Read Full Article

Activists Spread 350 Message ‘Round the World (and Here in Iowa)

Continue Reading Full Article →

October 24, 2009, in what may well be the largest environmental action yet to occur, 350.org mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to make a statement about climate change. From the Maldives sea floor to the pyramids of Giza, from the Sydney Opera House to the Eiffel Tower, from a rooftop in Shanghai to the steps of the Old Capitol on the campus of the University of Iowa — across the planet, in 181 countries — we stood, swam, danced, climbed, rode, kayaked, bungee jumped, surfed, dove, sat, lay, or did any number of other creative actions in protest and a plea.

Why?

Scientists calculate that the level of CO2 in the atmosphere is currently at 390 parts per million (ppm). They also tell us that the only safe level is 350 ppm or below. We need some carbon in our atmosphere — until the Industrial Revolution it was about 275 ppm — but we’re in the danger zone now, and global warming is causing devastating changes. …

Read Full Article

Carbon Day Chicago Promises “Music And More For A Better World”

Continue Reading Full Article →

This past May, the Illinois State Legislature was among the most recent legislative bodies to designate September 15 as Carbon Day, an official State holiday. State Representative Karen May and State Senator Susan Garrett sponsored the resolution.

Illinois’ Carbon Day festivities will coincide with other activities around the globe. The kickoff event will take place in Chicago at Lincoln Park, and will feature live music, a tree tour with arborist Jose Eduardo Medina, and possibly a speech by a politician involved in environmental issues, according to Brae Hattaway, the coordinator of the event. “We put a lot of effort into getting Carbon Day moving, and we got done really quickly,” said Hattaway, referring to the upcoming Chicago event. “The time to do this is now…”

Read Full Article

Choosing to Value a Sustainable Life

Continue Reading Full Article →

Yesterday we introduced you to author James Glave, a very down-to-earth, environmentalist who is working to reduce his family’s carbon footprint. He is also active in his community, helping to not only spread the environmental message, but also to make the island he lives on more sustainable. In today’s post, Glave talks about pressing environmental issues that confront both his own community and Canada at large.

Read Full Article

Saving the Planet with a Laptop and a Hammer

Continue Reading Full Article →

I believe I swing a pretty mean hammer. Just talking with author James Glave about his book, How I saved 1/6th of a Billionth of the Planet, inspired me to go out to the tool shed and polish up my 20 oz., curved-claw Estwing. I missed it, and I missed the smell of pine sawdust. Glave made me realize something else I had missed through all my years of construction: Everything I had built for the last 20 years, I had built wrong; I had not considered my planet.

For Glave, moving to Bowen Island, British Columbia, raised ethical issues about his family’s carbon footprint. Commuting — and shipping in supplies — from Vancouver to Bowen requires a ferry ride, which by itself substantially increases each resident’s impact on the environment. So when he wanted to build a small office/guest house next to his home, he decided to do it with the least-possible carbon footprint. He chronicled the building of the “Eco-Shed” and its impact on both his family and the Bowen community in his book. I talked with Glave from his home on Bowen Island, to find out more about the man and the impact of his work on his community.

Read Full Article

A New Alchemy: Turning Heat into Power

Continue Reading Full Article →

Look at the sky over any city or town on a winter day. See those columns of steam or smoke rising from the chimneys? What you’re looking at is wasted energy. Amazingly, at least 56% of the energy produced in the U.S. is wasted. It escapes as heat, radiating out of boilers, leaking through the roofs of power plants, and billowing out of smoke stacks and steam pipes. But that will change, if Loy Sneary has anything to say about it.

Read Full Article

UNFCCC Meets on Climate Change

Continue Reading Full Article →

Global warming is the biggest single environmental threat humanity has ever faced, because every aspect of our lives will be affected by it. Greenhouse gases are the major cause of global warming, and human activities are largely responsible for the excess of these gases in our atmosphere. The United Nations Climate Change Conference is meeting December 1–12, in Poznań, Poland to prepare for the final Conferences of the Parties (COP), which will establish legally binding obligations for developed countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

Read Full Article