Tag Archives: environmental

Climate change is now an acceptable conversation topic

From a Calgary Herald report:

“The Holy Grail is figuring out how to get the public engaged on this issue. The problem is that the typical output of climate studies is statistical information that’s impenetrable to most people,” said Karen Akerlof. “If you can help people feel they’ve actually experienced what’s happening, they may be able to better acknowledge the risks.”

Researchers found 27 per cent of people felt they had personally experienced global warming…(this feeling) was so meaningful, it positively predicted concern for local risks related to climate change: think forest fires, drought, changes to animal and plant species, and public health.

This is obvious but still worth reporting because I’m finding people more open to the question, do you think this is global warming?

Mostly I receive warm responses and pleasant discussions. Which is so different from years ago when it would spark political arguments or a heated debate on the merits of being environmental.

I want to urge you to ask the question and discuss it with people. You may find yourself engaged in a charming conversation. And maybe pass along a green tip or receive one in return.

 

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New corporation type – B Corporation – for sustainable “benefit corporation”

B Corporations are a new kind of company that uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. (It’s like a LEED certification or Fair Trade certification, but for a business, not just a building or a bag of coffee.) B Lab, a non-profit, describes the B Corporation movement like this:

When you support a B Corporation, you’re supporting a better way to do business. Governments and nonprofits are necessary but insufficient to solve today’s most pressing problems. Business is the most powerful force on the planet and can be a positive instrument for change.

To read more about B Lab and the B Corporation movement, take a look at this companion post.

B Lab provides a rigorous independent third-party framework for assessing how you’re doing as a business when it comes to employee, community, and environmental interests. Etsy has gone through the assessment and we learned so much about what we are doing right and where we can improve. After successfully completing the independent B Lab assessment, we are proud to announce that Etsy is now a Certified B Corporation™. There are over 500 certified B Corps but Etsy will be among the biggest, along with mission-driven companies like Patagonia and Seventh Generation.

I think becoming a Certified B Corporation is one of the most important things Etsy has ever done. It helps us keep an eye on the “mindful, transparent, and humane” values we aspire to, and also keeps us focused on our intention to “plan and build for the long-term,” not just when it comes to Etsy but for the world at large. Like other Certified B Corporations, B Lab is publishing our scores from the assessment. In being transparent, we are openly challenging ourselves to continually improve how we impact the world with our company. Like most businesses, we are imperfect, but we are publicly committing ourselves to upholding our values and grading ourselves for the long-term. This is how we hope to make a better world and inspire other companies to do the same.

via – Etsy News

 

Etsy’s score – 80.1

Patagonia’s score – 107.1

Seventh Generation’s score – 116.3

SimCity 2013 – goes green with limited resources, pollution, and sustainable principles

Any computer gamer old enough to remember floppy disks probably paid at least a fleeting visit to SimCity, the legendary franchise that let players build — and destroy — the metropolises of their imaginations. After passing through half a dozen incarnations in the two decades since its debut, the game is back, and its creator, Maxis Studios, says that this time, it’s putting more than bricks and mortar into the mix.

Slated for release in 2013, the new SimCity invites players to grapple with tough choices about energy generation, environmental costs and the responsibilities shouldered by inhabitants of a planet with finite resources — choices faced by real policymakers on the very real planet Earth.

To the game’s original repertoire of fire stations and governor’s mansions, power lines and city budgets, Maxis is adding a cocktail of new challenges, including limited resources and the spillover effects of pollution.

more on the “green” design of the gameScientific American

 
The official trailer, which doesn’t contain any reference to the pollution or green aspects, just natural disasters:

 
// Thx to Nasry Al-Haddad

Radioactive ocean currents reach Southern California

Radioactive particles released in the nuclear reactor meltdown in Fukushima, Japan, following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami were detected in giant kelp along the California coast, according to a recently published study.

Radioactive iodine was found in samples collected from beds of kelp in locations along the coast from Laguna Beach to as far north as Santa Cruz about a month after the explosion, according to the study by two marine biologists at Cal State Long Beach.

The levels, while most likely not harmful to humans, were significantly higher than measurements prior to the explosion and comparable to those found in British Columbia, Canada, and northern Washington state following the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, according to the study published in March in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

The highest levels were found in Corona del Mar.

via LA Times

Ballona Wetlands – 600 acres of Los Angeles coast will soon be restored

In a first step toward restoring one of Southern California’s few remaining wetlands and opening it to the public, the state has approved spending $6.5 million for planning a massive restoration of the degraded Ballona Wetlands.

(In the plan) initial proposals call for spending $100 million to remove concrete levees and truck out tons of sediment dumped on the property, allowing water from Ballona Creek and the sea to flow into the wetlands. Bike paths would be built atop earthen flood-control berms on the reserve’s perimeter and public boardwalks would allow visitors access to the site without disturbing plants, birds and other wildlife.

“We have the potential at Ballona to restore this degraded and damaged habitat and return it to a beautiful, sustainable natural refuge for people and wildlife,” Luce said.

The vast coastal wetlands once spanned 2,000 acres at the mouth of Ballona Creek, covering much of what is now Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Venice. Only a quarter remains today, much of it a dry, fenced-off expanse of brush that is littered with garbage in places, surrounded by high-rises and subdivisions and criss-crossed by congested boulevards.

Developers and environmental activists wrangled over the site for decades before the state agreed in 2003 to spend $139 million to acquire it as an ecological reserve.

via LA Times

 

And, nationally wetlands are still disappearing:

A national wetlands inventory released this week by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that between 2004 and 2009, the lower 48 states lost a net average of 13,800 acres a year. That compared with a slight annual gain in wetlands during the previous six year-period.

“Wetlands are at a tipping point,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said. “While we have made great strides in conserving and restoring wetlands since the 1950s, when we were losing an area equal to half the size of Rhode Island each year, we remain on a downward trend that is alarming.”

via LA Times

The 2012 Environmental Film Festival – 180 movies, 30,000 attendees

Welcome to the 20th Anniversary Environmental Film Festival!

While 1,200 people attended the inaugural Festival, today the Festival has expanded to become the world’s largest showcase of environmental film, attracting an audience of over 30,000 (in Washington D.C.).

The 20th anniversary Festival, our largest and most ambitious yet, presents 180 engaging and thought-provoking films, including 93 Washington, D.C., United States and World premieres, from 42 countries.

A centerpiece of our 20th anniversary year is a retrospective of the work of Academy Award-nominated director Lucy Walker, who will screen her latest film, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom.

via 2012 Program Guide (pdf)

 

You can click the link above for the PDF guide or visit the EFF website for the online guide. I highly recommend attending as most films are free and include amazing Q&A after every film.

I attended last year and was completely blown away. This year looks even better with topics like:

Inside a whale's mouth and African Wild Dogs (photos)

Beautiful photos from National Geographic’s Best Environmental Photos 2011. Here are my two favorites:

Fish flee the gaping maw of a Bryde’s whale, which surprised…(the photographer, who said) he snapped the picture while also fleeing the whale.

A pack of African wild dogs attacks a warthog in northern Botswana.

They live in packs that are usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair. The female has a litter of 2 to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack. These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. Social interactions are common, and the dogs communicate by touch, actions, and vocalizations.

African wild dogs hunt in formidable, cooperative packs of 6 to 20 (or more) animals. Larger packs were more common before the dogs became endangered. Packs hunt antelopes and will also tackle much larger prey, such as wildebeests, particularly if their quarry is ill or injured. The dogs supplement their diet with rodents and birds.

African hunting dogs are endangered.

Check out all the photos, including the winner (of homeless children in a scrap yard): Best Environmental Photos of 2011.

Then if you’re really interested here are the 2010 photos.

Inside a whale’s mouth and African Wild Dogs (photos)

Beautiful photos from National Geographic’s Best Environmental Photos 2011. Here are my two favorites:

Fish flee the gaping maw of a Bryde’s whale, which surprised…(the photographer, who said) he snapped the picture while also fleeing the whale.

A pack of African wild dogs attacks a warthog in northern Botswana.

They live in packs that are usually dominated by a monogamous breeding pair. The female has a litter of 2 to 20 pups, which are cared for by the entire pack. These dogs are very social, and packs have been known to share food and to assist weak or ill members. Social interactions are common, and the dogs communicate by touch, actions, and vocalizations.

African wild dogs hunt in formidable, cooperative packs of 6 to 20 (or more) animals. Larger packs were more common before the dogs became endangered. Packs hunt antelopes and will also tackle much larger prey, such as wildebeests, particularly if their quarry is ill or injured. The dogs supplement their diet with rodents and birds.

African hunting dogs are endangered.

Check out all the photos, including the winner (of homeless children in a scrap yard): Best Environmental Photos of 2011.

Then if you’re really interested here are the 2010 photos.

Homemade organic toothpaste: baking soda and water (that's it!)

A few months ago I made the switch from store toothpaste to the homemade version. There were so many recipes available on the internet that it was hard to find the right one. After several months of experimenting I’ve found the perfect recipe:

Baking Soda + Water

I can’t believe it either, but it works really well. Baking soda is a natural cleanser that helps control pH balance and neutralizes any substance that causes stains or odors. This means that not only will your family’s teeth shine, but they will have much less phlegm.

This also allows you to help your kids skip all the chemicals in the store-bought toothpaste, including fluoride which has some controversy surrounding small children.

No exact measurements are required, but you will notice that baking soda tends to stay dry. So just add a little water every so often.

I store mine in a used plastic container and that’s it!

You really can’t beat this deal since baking soda is so cheap. Plus, you have no waste products, a great bonus considering that very few of those toothpaste tubes are recyclable.

Should you be tempted to try out some of the other homemade toothpaste recipes, here is some advice.

Absolutely skip the hydrogen peroxide. I can’t believe people recommend this but they do say it matches the “cleaning power” of store toothpaste. That’s a scary thought.

I’ve also tried adding salt, coconut oil, and vegetable glycerin. Only coconut oil wasn’t dreadful and is promoted as “naturally anti-bacterial and anti-viral,” but I didn’t notice any benefit.

Finally, if you want some flavor I recommend cinnamon, but add just a dash as it is pretty powerful. Many sites also recommend mint but it hasn’t worked for me. I’ve even used fresh garden mint to no avail. Maybe I need to grind it to dust, mortar and pestle style.

I hope this helps you make the switch and make sure to let me know how it goes!

Classic magazine ad from Ipana.

Photos: CRZ (baby), Nesster (Ipana Ad)