From the New York Times, May 30, 2008:
The Bush administration, bowing to a court order, has released a fresh summary of federal and independent research pointing to large, and mainly harmful, impact of human-caused global warming in the United States.
The report, released Thursday, is online at climatescience.gov, along with a new report updating the administration’s priorities for climate research.
Most of the findings, like the spread of warmth-loving pests and the inevitable loss of low-lying lands to rising seas, are not new. But the report included new projections of how the poor, elderly and communities with lagging public-health and public-works systems will face outsize health risks from warming.
Among the report’s new conclusions on health: “An increased frequency and severity of heat waves is expected, leading to more illness and death, particularly among the young, elderly, frail and poor.” It added that deaths from cold would decline, but said uncertainties on both projections made it impossible to characterize the overall risk.
It gave high odds (essentially a two out of three chance) that Lyme disease and West Nile virus would have expanded ranges because of warming. The report gave the same odds that some food- and water-borne diseases would also increase among susceptible populations, but said “major human epidemics” were unlikely as long as public-health systems remained effective.
Under a 1990 law, presidents must submit a report to Congress every four years summarizing what is known about impacts of climate change and other global environmental problems on the United States.
The last such assessment, undertaken in the Clinton administration and published in 2000 in the early days of the Bush presidency, was attacked by groups and industries opposing restrictions on greenhouse gases. References to it were deleted from some government reports by political appointees in the White House.
Environmental groups sued to force the completion of a new study. In court, the White House contended that a series of more than 20 studies requested by President Bush in 2003 satisfied the 1990 law, but Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong of Federal District Court for the Northern District of California rejected that assertion last August and ordered a comprehensive assessment to be published by the end of May.
“This assessment is an example of what federal scientists can and should be doing when they are freed from political interference and allowed to actually do their jobs,” said Kassie Siegel, climate program director for the Center for Biological Diversity, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat who was the lead author of the 1990 law, strongly criticized the White House.
“The three-year delay of this report is sadly fitting for an administration that has wasted seven years denying the real threat of global climate change,” Mr. Kerry said in a statement. “In these lost years, we could have slowed global warming and advanced clean energy solutions, but instead America’s climate change strategy has been at best rhetorical, not real.”
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
Published: May 30, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008
From the New York Times, May 30, 2008:
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Video courtesy ZDNet (added July 17, 2008).
Friday, May 23, 2008
O Ambassadors is a new school-based program for children and youth which seeks to inspire youth to find solutions to global problems. From their website:
"O Ambassadors™ is an exciting new joint project of Oprah’s Angel Network and Free The Children that will inspire young people to become active, compassionate and knowledgeable global citizens.
The program connects young people in North America with people around the world to create lasting change by working toward the UN Millennium Development Goals. Participants address problems such as hunger, poverty and limited access to education."
You can visit the website to apply to start an elementary or high school club, find educator curriculum, select a world region on which to focus, find other O Ambassadors clubs, and play the O Ambassadors Game. The site offers plenty of resources for students and educators and also offers a community action page for those who want to help.
The O Ambassadors project is scheduled to be the topic of discussion Monday, May 26 on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The most popular keywords searched on our site are "sustainable shoes." Although we have highlighted the following companies before in our "Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week" feature, we thought they are worthy of a second look.
Keen Footwear began in 2003 with their Hybrid design: part shoe, part sandal. Their Ventura shoe line is 100% vegan and created through environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. Their Transport bag collection is created from mostly recycled aluminum and reclaimed rubber from factory floors. Shoe boxes are made of 100% recycled materials, soy-based inks, water-based glues, biodegradable materials, and are smaller than standard shoe boxes, resulting in less materials, labor, and waste. They are currently preparing their first Accountability Report, following the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, they are seeking Fair Labor Association accreditation, and The Keen Foundation supports environmental and social causes.
Simple Shoes is a company of Deckers Outdoor Corporation and since 2005, they have sought to be the leader in sustainable footwear design and manufacturing. Their vast line of products use recycled plastic, organic cotton, cork, recycled car and bicycle tires, recycled inner tubes, jute, bamboo, hemp, natural crepe rubber, latex, and felted wool. Boxes are made from 100% recycled materials. Through their Toepeeka line of shoes, they donate $5 to StopGlobalWarming.org for each pair sold.
TOMS Shoes began in 2006. For each pair of these comfy shoes purchased, they will give one pair to a child in need in Argentina or South Africa. To date, TOMS has donated over 60,000 pairs of shoes during Shoe Drops. In 2008, they plan to give away 200,000 pairs of shoes. Shoes are manufactured in China and Argentina following fair labor practices. They have created the nonprofit, Friends of TOMS, where you can give aid to those in need or apply to participate in a Shoe Drop. For Tomorrow: The TOMS Shoe Story, a documentary, recently previewed at the Tribeca Film Festival.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
- that he enjoyed the lively online debates;
- he has a competitive spirit and the right to express his own opinion;
- he made a mistake in judgment, not ethics;
- at the time he started posting in this online community, he was a relative unknown and had not become a public figure;
- he was wrongly accused of attempting to manipulate Wild Oats' stock price and his last posting on the topic was 5 months prior to beginning talks of acquisition;
- his postings were not an attempt to increase Whole Foods' stock price.
His lesson learned? That he has become a public figure and his public and private lives are closely intertwined and impact one another.
The company donates 3% of revenues (administered by the BetterWorld Charitable Foundation) to nonprofit organizations through grants that help children, education, fair trade, and the environment. Their goal is to donate $1 million per year by 2012.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
The Global Rich List calculator is the work of Poke (PokeLondon & PokeNewYork), a creative company for interactive media. The Global Rich List calculator seeks to "make people aware of the big injustices in the world. Please help...by donating some money for the people in need." They encourage you to donate JUST ONE HOUR'S SALARY and the calculator explains how far that money will go to do some good. Donations are given through CARE International which helps people in 70 of the world's poorest nations.
Monday, May 19, 2008
- Net Impact's Student Guide to Graduate Business Programs provides a student perspective on their graduate business program's coverage of social and environmental themes in the curriculum.
- The Association for the Advancement of Sustainabilitly in Higher Education (AASHE) maintains a list of undergraduate and graduate sustainability programs in a wide range of disciplines, however, you must be affiliated with a university that is a member of AASHE in order to access the list.
- The Aspen Institute's Beyond Grey Pinstripes offers a ranking of the top 100 graduate business programs worldwide integrating social and environmental themes into the curriculum.
Alliant International University
Arizona State University
Bainbridge Graduate Institute
Ben & Jerry's Climate Change College
Blekinge Institute of Technology
California College of the Arts
Clinton School of Public Service
Colorado State University
Dominican University of California
Green Mountain College
Illinois Institute of Technology
Maharishi University of Management
Michigan Technological University
New College of California
Portland State University
Presidio School of Management
Royal Holloway, University of London
San Francisco State University
Saybrook Graduate School
University of California, Santa Barbara
University of Colorado at Boulder
University of Denver
University of East Anglia
University of Michigan
University of North Carolina
University of Oregon
NOTE: Please check our website (in the right sidebar) for the most up-to-date list. Additional schools are listed there.
UPDATE: Please also see our more recent post for online degrees in sustainable business and our list of best business programs in sustainability.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Friday, May 16, 2008
The Slow Movement began in the food industry as Slow Food, using local sustainable agricultural products as an alternative to factory farmed, genetically modified, and/or fast foods and a return to the home cooked meal and family time. The slow movement has now spawned other "slow" applications:
- slow travel - using public transportation, bicycles, walking, and trains as an alternative to high emissions automobiles and airplanes and taking time to immerse yourself in the local experience
- slow shopping - buying local, organic, and/or fair trade as an alternative to items mass produced abroad; shopping at local stores and markets as an alternative to mass retailers; shopping at second-hand stores as an alternative to new merchandise
- slow sport & slow exercise - enjoyment of yoga, tai-chi, Pilates, and other physical sports and exercises which still offer health benefits while promoting calmness and relaxation
- slow design - designing safe non-toxic products for cradle-to-cradle usage (recycled new uses) instead of cradle-to-grave (throw away)
- slow work - taking time to enjoy your workplace and job and taking time to rejuvenate as an alternative to the hurried fast-paced stress-filled days we often have at work
- slow money - investing longterm in local sustainability projects (and accepting the possibility of slower returns) as an alternative quick returns in corporate stock investments
- slow cities - cities designed for pedestrian and bicycle usage as an alternative to cities designed for automobiles and taking time to get to know our town and neighbors
- slow books - taking time to enjoy reading
- slow schools - returning to basics in education, connecting children to learning, involving parents in learning, bringing "slow" values to children
- slow thinking - seeking deeper understanding, taking time to collect your thoughts, recapturing the imagination and creativity of childhood
- slow living - appreciating and implementing the value of slowing down our lifestyles
- slow medicine - "an approach that encourages less aggressive — and less costly — care", particularly for the elderly
- slow sex - need we say more?
Could "slow" be good for business? The term "slow business" generally has negative connotations referring to a decrease in business activity - which results in decreased profitability and oftentimes reduced hours or layoffs for employees.
The Industrial Revolution, the Technological Revolution and Globalization are business eras that have continued our push for increased speed, quantity, and domination. Perhaps it's time for "Slow Business" and for a shift toward connection, experience, appreciation, quality, and inclusion.
What would "Slow Business" look like? "Slow Business" would suggest a return to "old-fashioned" business practices:
- reconnect with the world and with others (with your surroundings)
- engage local suppliers
- operate in an ethical and just manner
- keep your word; nurture trust (with employees, community, suppliers, and all stakeholders)
- care and concern for others
- treating others with respect (employees, stakeholders, supply chains, labor)
- seek to offer a service or product that others genuinely need, rather than creating demand for built products
- reverance for the natural environment in all your operations and activities
- allowing employees to nurture the mind, body, and spirit
- developing relationships and appreciation
- more down time to allow a focus on quality, enjoyment, and taking time to experience your existence
To learn more about "Slow Business" visit the Sloth Club.
Upcoming sustainability-related webinars from a variety of companies:
Green City Webinar (May 21)
Virtual Energy Forum (June 10-11)
Greening Your Office 101 (June 11)
Top 10 Green Building Products of 2008 (June 18)
Green Purchasing (June 18)
Carbon Offsetting (June 25)
For a list of archived on-demand webinars, please visit our web site. You'll find them listed in the right sidebar.
Save the emissions - do it online!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
If you enjoy the vocabulary-building game at FreeRice.com, then you'll also enjoy FreePoverty.com. Test your geography knowledge and for each location you can find on the world map, FreePoverty.com will donate up to ten cups of water to those in impovershed areas who are without access to clean water. Donations will decrease the farther you are from identifying the exact location. Donations are funded by advertisers on the site and are sent to the World Food Programme. The site was founded by Chung-Guk Kim.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
According to the study, the U.S. IT industry is increasing energy usage at a rate of 10-20% annually. "If current data center power consumption continues to grow at the current rate, 10 new coal-fired or nuclear power plants will be needed by 2010 and 20 more (for a total of 30) by 2015."
Monday, May 12, 2008
Keynote speakers include Newt Gingrich (former Speaker of the House) and Mark Ginsberg (U.S. Deparment of Energy) and others. The online conference will feature speakers from Marriott, Unilever, Whole Foods, Raytheon, Microsoft, Whirlpool, Hewlett Packard, Dell, and Harvard University.
There will be six industry tracks for presentations (consumer products, healthcare, government, education, retail and high technology) and five interest tracks (corporate sustainability, green energy, energy management best practices, green IT, and putting renewable energies to work).
In remarks he prepared to give at a wind technology firm in Portland, Oregon, on Monday, the Arizona senator said he would seek international accords to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and would offer an incentive system to make businesses in the United States cleaner.
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Flowers - choose Fair Trade or organic flowers from a number of retailers (check Fair Trade Certified for a list of retailers).
Chocolate - choose Fair Trade chocolate.
Dinner or Lunch - choose a local restaurant that serves local and organic foods, or visit the farmer's market and you do the cooking!
Jewelry - why choose a conflict diamond or ruby when you can choose Fair Trade items or something made from recycled materials? Over 100 retailers are listed on the Fair Trade Federation website.
Gifts - Fair Trade, recycled, natural, or organic gifts of any kind or visit Changing the Present for gifts that benefit nonprofits.
Cards - send eCards through Care2, Blue Mountain Cares, Three Leaf Cards, Mother's Day for Peace, or any number of others that make a charitable donation when you send an electronic card. But you say you want the old-fashioned paper card? No problem. Purchase from (or make a donation to) Komen for the Cure, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Doorways for Women and Families, or Women for Women International.
New Ventures is seeking business plan submissions from entrepreneurs in Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, and Mexico. Small-to-medium sized enterprises (SME) with an environmentally- or socially-focused business model are sought. New Ventures is a program of the World Resources Institute that provides business advisory services and access to capital. According to their website, "New Ventures promotes sustainable growth in emerging markets by accelerating the transfer of capital to businesses that deliver social and environmental benefits at the base of the economic pyramid."
Application dates vary for each country. Application materials and information can be found at http://www.new-ventures.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=content&IDsecao=2
- Best practices for a specific type of campus sustainability initiatives.
- Costs and benefits of campus sustainability efforts.
- Relationships between campus sustainability and other indicators such as number and/or quality of applicants for admission, alumni donations, number and/or quality of job applicants, campus employee satisfaction, etc.
- Case studies of campus sustainability programs.
- A comparative evaluation of different approaches to campus sustainability.
- An assessment of the effectiveness of strategies used to foster sustainability on campus.
In addition to this new award for student research, AASHE offers two additional awards:
Campus Sustainability Leadership Awards recognize colleges and universities that have made the greatest contribution to campus sustainability efforts.
Student Sustainability Leadership Awards recognizes an undergraduate student "who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in promoting campus sustainability."
Submissions for all three competitions are due August 1, 2008.
Sunday, May 4, 2008
We are greatly disappointed to learn that Nau, Inc. (Portland OR) has closed its doors after only 14 months in business. Last year, we selected Nau as one of our Sustainable and Responsible Businesses of the Week. The company integrated sustainability throughout all its operations, from clothing made of organic and/or recycled materials to tracking greenhouse gas emissions to allowing customers to select an environmental charity for a 5% donation at the time of purchase (which resulted in $223,000 in donations during its time in business).
Nau, Inc. management cited difficult economic times as the cause for failure, stating that it was extremely difficult to attract investors to their revolutionary business model during this time of economic uncertainty. Questions have been raised by others about the impact of a recession on the current green movement. However, critics blame Nau's business model.