10 Books to Counter Consumerism

June 18, 2020 by  
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We are constantly bombarded by messages that tell us we … The post 10 Books to Counter Consumerism appeared first on Earth911.com.

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10 Books to Counter Consumerism

France Takes Producer Responsibility to New Levels

June 18, 2020 by  
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Buying less stuff is one of the most obvious ways … The post France Takes Producer Responsibility to New Levels appeared first on Earth911.com.

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France Takes Producer Responsibility to New Levels

Why the private sector needs to invest in conservation agriculture right now

June 6, 2020 by  
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Why the private sector needs to invest in conservation agriculture right now William Ginn Sat, 06/06/2020 – 02:00 This is an excerpt from ” Valuing Nature ” by William J. Ginn. Copyright 2020 William J. Ginn. Reproduced here with permission from Island Press, Washington, D.C.  Resistance to change is universal. For example, despite more than 30 years of good science and best practices that support conservation agriculture in the United States, less than 5 percent of U.S. soy, wheat, and corn farmers use cover crops, and only 25 percent have adopted crop rotation and conservation tillage practices, even though the country is losing more than 10 billion tons of soil each year as well as more than $50 billion in social and environmental benefits. One challenge is the increasing percentage of farms owned by investors who lease land year to year to the highest bidder, which gives farmers little incentive to invest in conservation practices that might take years to be fully realized. Nevertheless, [The Nature Conservancy (TNC)], along with a consortium of farmers’ groups and a contingent of seed and fertilizer companies, has set a goal of getting half of the country’s wheat, soy, and corn crops into conservation tillage by [2025] (PDF). To achieve this goal, the same kind of incentives, extension services, and creative financial mechanisms being advocated for in the developing world are going to be needed in the United States too. Building capacity and providing patient capital at the farmer level is a big challenge; at NatureVest, it is referred to as the last-mile problem. Although big-picture interventions are often understood in theory, the capacity of farmers to implement these solutions on the ground is often quite limited. Nearly everywhere these challenges exist, we need to dramatically increase the number of intermediaries who can help farmers through the difficult but necessary transition to new cropping and livestock-raising systems. It is all high-risk business, and as such, it is not always successful. Several years ago, TNC entered into an agreement with an agricultural consulting company in Argentina with the objective of helping farmers improve sheep-grazing practices. Years of overgrazing had left the region’s grasslands substantially degraded; in fact, at one point in the early years of Patagonia’s colonization, more than 45 million sheep roamed free. Today, the region is home to between 5 million and 8 million sheep, but even that number may be too many. Building capacity and providing patient capital at the farmer level is a big challenge; at NatureVest, it is referred to as the last-mile problem. The restoration plan, called the Patagonia Grassland Regeneration and Sustainability Standard, or GRASS for short, incorporated conservation science, planning, and monitoring into the management plans of wool producers. The idea was not new: rather than grazing sheep in one place continually, they are moved in and out of different pastures depending on the conditions of the grasses. This practice encourages more diversity of native grass species and expanded yields from the revitalized pastures. Done well, ranchers, sheep, native plants, and animals can thrive together. But what motivates ranchers to make these investments in better management and fencing? The basic business idea of GRASS was to improve management practices on ranches and produce a certified wool product that would attract buyers willing to pay more for sustainably grown wool. The program attracted two early adopters, Patagonia, Inc ., a brand committed to sourcing their raw materials sustainably, and Stella McCartney , a high-end clothing manufacturer and daughter of Paul McCartney. Prior to this venture, both companies had been buying their wool primarily from Australia and New Zealand, but for Patagonia in particular, a shift to sourcing from Argentina provided a nice opportunity for alignment with their brand. Dozens of ranches signed up to participate, and many saw measurable yield improvements, even though the initial wool purchases were small. Despite the program’s early successes, the program became unraveled when the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released video footage of alleged animal abuse occurring at some of the ranches. As chief conservation officer of TNC at the time, I can say that I was not very happy with these practices, but I thought some of the allegations were overblown. For example, PETA considers docking tails of sheep to be inhumane, yet it is long-standing practice that arguably improves the health of animals. Nevertheless, both Patagonia and Stella McCartney abruptly ended their contracts with GRASS, and without a market partner, the program has failed to scale to a commercial model. Although any improvement in grazing is useful, the expected impact across the landscape now seems a distant objective. Because feeding the world is an absolute imperative, farmers, investors, and aid organizations continue their quests for new models of sustainable intensification that will both feed more people and restore the soils and hydrological systems that are essential to agriculture. Providing capital in a way that reaches the hundreds of millions of small farmers across the globe as well as the necessary skills and technical expertise is a challenge that will remain for years, but business opportunities abound. Our shared natural assets — soil, water, and a stable climate — will only increase in value as the world demands more food. Pull Quote Building capacity and providing patient capital at the farmer level is a big challenge; at NatureVest, it is referred to as the last-mile problem. Topics Corporate Strategy Food & Agriculture Biodiversity Books Food & Agriculture Conservation Conservation Finance Collective Insight GreenBiz Reads Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Flock of sheep in Patagonia, Chile. Shutterstock gg-foto Close Authorship

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Why the private sector needs to invest in conservation agriculture right now

Episode 223: Climate action and racial justice must converge, urban forest credits

June 5, 2020 by  
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Episode 223: Climate action and racial justice must converge, urban forest credits Heather Clancy Fri, 06/05/2020 – 02:00 Week in Review Commentary on this week’s news highlights begins at 13:00. This moment: An open letter to the GreenBiz community Al Gore: Climate action is “bound together” with racial equality and liberation How the Navajo got their day in the sun It takes a village to succeed in climate tech Features The quest for net-positive buildings (22:35) The pressure for companies and cities to consider the climate crisis — and associated risks — in post-COVID 19 recovery strategies is increasing. How feasible are net-positive buildings, and how might our new economic landscape affect their development? We discuss the issue with Ryan Colker, vice president of innovation for the International Code Council; and Andrew Klein, a professional engineer who is a member of ICC and code consultant for the Building Owners and Managers Association International. Growing a carbon market for urban forests (34:45) The process of issuing carbon credits for reforestation projects in places such as rainforests as well established — not so much when it comes to trees growing in the shadow of skyscrapers. Mark McPherson, executive director of City Forest Credits, talks about the nonprofit’s mission to plant and preserve more trees to towns and cities, and how companies can get involved. Extending the life of medical equipment (43:25) The iFixit repair site just added the world’s largest medical equipment repair database, a free resource for hospitals having trouble fixing equipment quickly — a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The site’s CEO and founder, Kyle Weens, joins us to chat about the project and why more product vendors should rethink their repair and service policies. *Music in this episode by Lee Rosevere:  “Southside,” “More On That Later,” “Night Caves,” “Curiosity” and “As I Was Saying” *This episode was sponsored by UPS. Virtual conversations Mark your calendar for these upcoming GreenBiz webcasts. Can’t join live? All of these events also will be available on demand. The future of risk assessment. Ideas for building a supply chain resilient to both short-term disruptions such as the pandemic and long-term risks such as climate change. Register here for the session at 1 p.m. EDT June 16. Supply chains and circularity. Join us at 1 p.m. EDT June 23 for a discussion of how companies such as Interface are getting suppliers to buy into circular models for manufacturing, distribution and beyond.  Resources galore State of the Profession. Our sixth report examining the evolving role of corporate sustainability leaders. Download it here . The State of Green Business 2020. Our 13th annual analysis of key metrics and trends published here . Do we have a newsletter for you! We produce six weekly newsletters: GreenBuzz by Executive Editor Joel Makower (Monday); Transport Weekly by Senior Writer and Analyst Katie Fehrenbacher (Tuesday); VERGE Weekly by Executive Director Shana Rappaport and Editorial Director Heather Clancy (Wednesday); Energy Weekly by Senior Energy Analyst Sarah Golden (Thursday); Food Weekly by Carbon and Food Analyst Jim Giles (Thursday); and Circular Weekly by Director and Senior Analyst Lauren Phipps (Friday). You must subscribe to each newsletter in order to receive it. Please visit this page to choose which you want to receive. The GreenBiz Intelligence Panel is the survey body we poll regularly throughout the year on key trends and developments in sustainability. To become part of the panel, click here . Enrolling is free and should take two minutes. Stay connected To make sure you don’t miss the newest episodes of GreenBiz 350, subscribe on iTunes . Have a question or suggestion for a future segment? E-mail us at 350@greenbiz.com . Contributors Joel Makower Topics Podcast Carbon Removal Equity & Inclusion Offsets Collective Insight GreenBiz 350 Podcast Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 56:55 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz Close Authorship

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Episode 223: Climate action and racial justice must converge, urban forest credits

Risk, doubt, and the burden of proof in the climate debate

May 16, 2020 by  
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Risk, doubt, and the burden of proof in the climate debate Barbara Freese Sat, 05/16/2020 – 14:20 Excerpted from ” Industrial-Strength Denial: Eight Stories of Corporations Defending the Indefensible, from the Slave Trade to Climate Change ” by Barbara Freese, published by the University of California Press. © 2020 by the Regents of the University of California. The above is an affiliate link and we may get a small commission if you purchase from the site. The Hubris of Denial: Risk, Doubt, and the Burden of Proof There are many reasons why the risks of climate change would not fully register in the human mind. In addition to the denial-provoking gravity of the threat, climate change is not the type of risk our minds evolved to detect. It is gradual, and it derives largely from the familiar and widespread practice of burning fossil fuels. It is something we all contribute to and cannot just blame on enemy evildoers. And it manifests as natural phenomena like heat waves, droughts, fires, storms and floods; we need experts, assessing global data and long-term trends, to tell us if what is happening is truly unusual. As such, climate change just does not provoke the sense of threat we would get from a stalking tiger, a hostile attacker or an eerie and unrecognizably novel situation. All these factors surely make it easier for climate deniers to internally deny the risk and to convince others to do the same. But what exactly are they still denying? The Heartland Institute has for years hosted conferences where climate deniers talk to each other and the media (events known to critics as “denial-paloozas”). At one such event in 2014, speaker Christopher Monckton surveyed the room and declared that everyone there agreed that humanity’s “emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases have contributed to the measured global warming since 1950.” His point was to make it clear that “we are not climate change deniers.” Monckton also predicted additional CO2-emission-driven warming in the decades ahead, though less than the consensus predictions. (He undermined his bid to appear reasonable, though, when he went on to berate the media for ignoring facts that “go against the climate Communist party line.”) What continues to define these people as “deniers” in my book is their unshaken belief that climate change is simply no big deal and there is no reason to go out of our way to prevent more of it. “There is no need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and no point in attempting to do so,” as one recent Heartland document succinctly put it. One reason people might be confused about how much climate deniers actually accept about the science is the vitriolic rhetoric of so many of them. Only two years before this conference, Heartland had issued its press release saying that manmade global warming was a “fringe” view (held by mass murderers, etc.) and that still believing in it was “more than a little nutty.” After this conference, in 2016, Heartland’s science director gave a speech titled “Man-Caused Global Warming: The Greatest Scam in World History” (rather than one called, say, “Man-Caused Global Warming: We Agree We’re Causing It But Predict Less Warming Than Others Do.”) [node:field-gbz-pull-quote:0] Charles Koch is among the deniers who accept that our CO2 emissions are causing global warming, but he is confident the climate is “changing in a mild and manageable way.” It is worth noting here that evidence from psychological studies suggests that the experience of power promotes “illusory control” — that is, a belief among power holders that they can control outcomes that are actually beyond their influence. Contrast Charles Koch’s view with that of one of the pioneers of climate science, Columbia’s Dr. Wallace Broecker. He is winner of the President’s National Medal of Science for, among other things, shedding light on the abrupt climate changes of earth’s distant past. The “paleoclimate,” he says, shows that the “Earth tends to over-respond. . . . The Earth system has amplifiers and feedbacks that mushroom small impacts into large responses.” He does not view climate change as mild and manageable. On the contrary, he says, “The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks.” It is worth pausing here to appreciate the breathtaking hubris of this now-dominant strain of climate denial. These deniers accept that humanity’s pollution has disrupted a fundamental, complex and awesomely powerful planetary system with a history of violent shifts, yet they express complete confidence that the global changes we are inadvertently unleashing will be harmless, even beneficial. It is a bit like a pregnant woman who, after learning that a drug she is consuming causes sometimes devastating chromosomal changes, especially as it accumulates in the body, continues to consume it in ever greater quantities, somehow confident her baby will only benefit from the resulting genetic mutations. Maintaining such wholly unfounded confidence (and selling it to others) requires spinning every uncertainty your way by keeping the burden of proof perpetually on those pointing to a climate threat. Sometimes this spin is explicit, like when the Global Climate Coalition argued in 1996 that “the scientific community has not yet met the ‘burden of proof ’ that greenhouse gas emissions are likely to cause serious climatic impacts.” More often, it is implicitly built into the conversation, as it was in so many other public debates, like those over leaded gas, ozone and tobacco. And because there is no discussion of who should initially bear the burden of proof, there is also no discussion of whether to revisit the question and shift that burden once the evidence reaches a certain point. Whoever does not bear the burden of proof gets the benefit of the doubt and thus has an incentive to exaggerate or manufacture doubt. The tobacco industry responded to this incentive (“doubt is our product”) as do climate deniers. A recent analysis of decades of ExxonMobil’s climate change communications by Harvard science historians Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes found that while 80 percent or more of the company’s internal documents and peer-reviewed papers acknowledged that climate change is real and human-caused, only 12 percent of its paid “advertorials” aimed at the general news-reading public did so. Instead, 81 percent of these ads raised doubts. [node:field-gbz-pull-quote:1] Oil and gas executives were recently reminded of the value of raising scientific doubt by Rick (“win ugly or lose pretty”) Berman, who explained in his secretly taped 2014 presentation that “people get overwhelmed by the science and [think] ‘I don’t know who to believe.’ But, if you got enough on your side you get people into a position of paralysis about the issue. . . . You get in people’s mind a tie. They don’t know who is right. And you get all ties because the tie basically insures the status quo. . . . I’ll take a tie any day if I’m trying to preserve the status quo.” Imagine how different the climate debate would be if — after decades of analysis and mountains of data pointing to extreme danger — we now finally shifted the burden of proof and started demanding that climate deniers prove the safety of continued pollution. Where is the proof that we can safely raise atmospheric CO2 to levels not seen on earth for millions of years, since long before humans existed, when the earth was much warmer and seas far higher? What is your alternative explanation for the melting ice, shifting ecosystems, growing extremes and other evidence of warming? Show us the sophisticated computer models that accurately simulate the climate system, that factor in ongoing pollution, and that still show a stable future climate with no significant risk of catastrophic changes. Demonstrate precisely how we can be confident that pushing CO2 levels higher will not trigger the feedback systems that in Earth’s past have repeatedly amplified small changes into extreme planetary transformations. Those urging us to heedlessly continue down our current polluting path would need to show evidence of virtually complete scientific consensus, including assurances from all the major scientific academies and relevant scientific societies throughout the world, that pushing CO2 concentrations ever higher was safe. (We would not, however, insist on agreement from all scientists, even those who were the most financially and ideologically invested in the opposite conclusion, because that would be ridiculous.) And wherever there was a gap in our knowledge — about exactly how our complex climate and life on earth would react to these unprecedented changes — that uncertainty would not make us feel safer. We would understand that it increases risk because what we don’t know can hurt us. Pull Quote Maintaining such wholly unfounded confidence (and selling it to others) requires spinning every uncertainty your way by keeping the burden of proof perpetually on those pointing to a climate threat. Whoever does not bear the burden of proof gets the benefit of the doubt and thus has an incentive to exaggerate or manufacture doubt. Topics Risk & Resilience Books Risk Disaster Recovery Collective Insight GreenBiz Reads Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Anya Douglas Close Authorship

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Risk, doubt, and the burden of proof in the climate debate

How a strong shared sense of purpose can help companies succeed

May 2, 2020 by  
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King Arthur Flour, the oldest flour company in the United States, is an example of purpose in practice.

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How a strong shared sense of purpose can help companies succeed

Chef Mark Reinfeld opens a vegan culinary school in Colorado

April 15, 2020 by  
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If you’re interested in vegan food, you may already be familiar with Chef Mark Reinfeld. He was the founding chef at the Blossoming Lotus restaurants in Hawaii and Portland, Oregon, has authored eight cookbooks and was inducted into the Vegetarian Hall of Fame in 2017. For more than 20 years, Reinfeld has trained everybody from home cooks to top vegan chefs and consulted with corporations around the world. Now, he’s opening a brick-and-mortar vegan culinary school this fall ( pandemic permitting) in Boulder, Colorado. Reinfeld took some time to talk with Inhabitat about his new Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy. Inhabitat: What kind of students will attend your culinary school? Reinfeld: So the main program is we want to train people for a career in the plant-based culinary world. So we’re calling that the aspiring chef. We’re looking to have that be a four-month nationally accredited culinary program. We’ll offer job placement and support and help people get gigs out in the real world with the training. Related: Pixie Retreat — behind the scenes in a raw commercial kitchen And then we’ll do consulting, like professional chef trainings. So if you’re a chef out in the real world but you didn’t know anything about vegan or plant-based, you could come and take anywhere from a one- to five-day training. Then we’ll also be offering evening classes for date nights and vegan desserts, or vegan holidays, as well as kombucha-making and cheese-making, all-day and weekend workshops. The idea is to have it be a real community center where we’ll have movie screenings and we’ll be able to do benefit fundraising events for vegan and other environmental organizations to raise awareness and funds for some of those. Inhabitat: Besides yourself, who will be teaching the courses? Reinfeld: We’re going to have guest chefs come to teach. Fran Costigan is on the books to be the first visiting chef to do a course on vegan desserts. Miyoko offered to do a cheese-making class. If you look on the website on the Our Team page, you’ll see a lot of the leading voices in the plant-based culinary world will be passing through to do either a presentation or a cooking class with their expertise. Inhabitat: What else are you planning for the school? Reinfeld: My wife is a vegan naturopathic doctor, so she’s developing an eight-part Food is Medicine component of the aspiring chef program. We want to empower students with a basic knowledge of the health of a plant-based lifestyle. We’re also going to be working with the local medical community to create a CME, continuing medical education credit, for doctors and nurses to learn about the healing qualities of plant-based foods. Dr. [Michael] Greger and Dr. [Joel] Kahn have agreed to come to the school and teach. We’re bringing in the medical community that way, too. Inhabitat: Are you getting more acceptance now from the medical community about plant-based eating? Reinfeld: Yeah. Definitely, the movement is growing. And Dr. [Kim] Williams, who was the president of the American College of Cardiology, he’s also expressed a willingness to come to the school . He said cardiologists are either vegan or they haven’t seen the data. He’s a well-respected person there. Inhabitat: Tell us more about your motivation. Reinfeld: I like to consider what I do as food activism . Basically, by educating people on the how-to part of plant-based cuisine, like how to bring plant-based food into your daily rotation, I put in the activism category because you’re empowering people with the gift of their own health. Then, if they’re aware of the environmental impact or the animal welfare components, well, those benefits will occur whether people are aware of them or not. If they are aware of them, then it goes even further, I think. Inhabitat: What is your vision for the future of veganism in general and your students in particular? Reinfeld: I’ve been plant-based for 20-plus years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes occur — more recently than in years prior. It just feels like it is reaching a tipping point where it will be considered more mainstream to eat more plant-based. I would love for the students to be innovators and leaders. As far as where they wind up, whatever type of food service sector there is now will become more and more plant-based. Opportunities in any of those emerging plant-based industries like food trucks, restaurants , personal chefs that are able to help people have a foundation for a healthy, plant-based lifestyle. I could see them writing cookbooks and developing recipe formulas for major companies or consulting with companies on how to bring more plant-based foods into their food service. Part of what we think is cool is the people that come here to train will go back to their communities around the world and have their plant-based knowledge there. Inhabitat: What’s the best thing about being a vegan chef? Reinfeld: I like to show people that you can have food that’s amazing and still be plant-based. Inhabitat: What else should readers know about you, your work and the academy? Reinfeld: We’re really striving to create the best environment that we can for people to learn about the plant-based lifestyle and the cuisine in whatever way people are wanting to go with it. Whether it’s a home cook who wants fresh ideas for her family or a chef who’s been in the restaurant business for 20 years but needs training in plant-based cooking or a deep four-month immersion into cuisine and lifestyle… everyone’s welcome. + Vegan Fusion Culinary Academy Images via Mark Reinfeld

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Chef Mark Reinfeld opens a vegan culinary school in Colorado

Where is capitalism headed?

April 11, 2020 by  
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The 2020s will be the worst of times for those clinging to the old order, yet potentially the best of times for those embracing and driving the new.

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Where is capitalism headed?

A clarion call for inventors and investors

March 28, 2020 by  
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Geoengineering and environmental technologies are the vaccines author Thomas Kostigen believes we need to cure the planet’s ills.

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A clarion call for inventors and investors

How to build a flood resilient future

March 14, 2020 by  
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A new book shows how we can adapt the built and natural environment to be more flood resilient in the face of climate change.

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How to build a flood resilient future

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