It will take personal sustainability to meet the global challenges we face

July 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

It will take personal sustainability to meet the global challenges we face Chris Gaither Mon, 07/06/2020 – 02:15 Earth Day, when we remember the planet’s fragility and resilience, was when I finally understood that I had nothing left to give. It was April 2017. After two decades of striving in my career, I had risen to a role of great impact: a director on Apple’s Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives team. My boss, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, had entrusted me with orchestrating the company’s annual Earth Day celebration. And, wow, had we stepped up our game that year. We released a 58-page environmental responsibility report and a series of animated videos about Apple’s environmental achievements, posing curious questions such as “Do solar farms feed yaks?” We turned the leaf on our logo green at hundreds of Apple stores around the world. Even bolder, we announced ambitions to make Apple products out of entirely recycled or renewable materials. I drank beer and hugged the brilliant people from so many Apple teams who had pulled all of this off. I smiled. But mostly, I wanted to fall into bed. To inspire Apple employees, we created an hour-long presentation for Lisa to deliver in Town Hall, the campus theater where the first iPhone was announced. And we brought musician Jason Mraz to play an Earth Day concert on the green lawns of One Infinite Loop. Whew. Surrounded by thousands of my colleagues as Mraz performed, I drank beer and hugged the brilliant people from so many Apple teams who had pulled all of this off. I smiled. But mostly, I wanted to fall into bed. Insistent inner voice That wasn’t new. The enormity of my job, leading strategy and engagement for Lisa’s team, usually left me exhausted — especially after Earth Day, when I felt like one of Santa’s elves just after Christmas. What was different? This time, when I told myself I’d bounce back soon, I knew I was lying. Underneath my sheen of accomplishment and pride, a quiet and insistent inner voice told me I was depleted. Cooked. Burned out. That voice was right. As May deepened, so did my sadness and fatigue. The physical and emotional crisis overwhelmed me. Nearly every day, I sat in my glass-walled office and tried to avoid eye contact with my colleagues so they wouldn’t see my tears. I felt like I was failing at everything. I couldn’t gain any momentum on projects. My well of creative energy had run dry. My body no longer allowed me to pretend that this hard-charging life was right for me. Previous injuries flared up, sending lightning bolts of pain along the nerves in my hands, feet and back. As I tried to ignore the pain, my body kept turning up the volume: a 3 out of 10, then a 4, then a 7. My body seemed to be asking, “Can you hear me now?” The pain reached a 10 that spring of 2017. And still I tried to soldier on. Don’t be an idiot, I told myself. Your boss served President Barack Obama, and now she reports to Tim Cook. You have a wonderful team. You have a great title and lots of stock in the world’s most valuable company. Even better, you get to tell stories of the powerful work Apple is doing on climate action, resource conservation, natural-disaster relief and HIV prevention. You show others what’s possible. You become what Robert Kennedy (whose photo hangs on the wall of Tim’s office, alongside Martin Luther King Jr.’s) called a “ripple of hope,” spreading inspiration through customers, investors, suppliers, policymakers and industry. Listening to your spirit So what if you feel down? Most people would kill for this job. Suck it up. Here’s the thing: You can’t think your way through an existential crisis. You can’t talk your way out of burnout. You need to listen, deeply, to your spirit. You need to honor what it’s telling you. And my spirit was telling me something profound: For the previous few years, I’d devoted myself to corporate and planetary sustainability. But along the way, I’d completely lost my human sustainability. Only when I hit the depths of my crisis did I understand that I needed to quit the job I’d worked so hard to get. Only when I hit the depths of my crisis did I understand that I needed to quit the job I’d worked so hard to get. I’d let the burnout go for so long that stepping off the corporate treadmill was the only way I could truly recuperate from the punishment of two decades of high-stress work, long commutes, poor health habits and time away from my family. So that’s what I did. I sat across from Lisa in her office, swallowed hard past the lump in my throat and told her I was leaving to recover my well-being. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and I haven’t regretted it for a moment. In the three years since, I’ve come back to life. I’ve gotten well. I’ve crafted a career of purpose and meaning. I’m an executive coach who helps leaders — especially environmental sustainability leaders — nourish and inspire themselves so they can keep doing the work they love. Why am I telling you this story? Because, my friends, I see myself in you. I see you suffering under the weight of the environmental crisis. I see you struggling with weariness, depression and burnout. I see you decide you can’t take a day off when the planet is burning. I see you sacrifice your own sustainability for planetary sustainability. I get it. You keep going because you have a big heart. You’re called to do this work, maybe by your love of wildlife or natural places, or by a deep desire for racial and economic equality. The problem is, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t have the energy or creativity that you need to do great work. And great work, maybe even transcendent work, is critical right now. That’s why I’m starting this series with GreenBiz. I’ll be writing regularly about ways you can tend to your human sustainability. Purpose. Love. Natural beauty. Breath. Poetry. Stillness. Rest. I’ll use as examples things my clients and I get right, things I get wrong (so, so wrong) and things I still struggle with every day. My hope is that you’ll reconnect with that wise voice inside you, and the spark that brings you most alive, so you can be at your absolute best. Because, to find solutions to our most pressing problems, the world needs you at your best. Pull Quote I drank beer and hugged the brilliant people from so many Apple teams who had pulled all of this off. I smiled. But mostly, I wanted to fall into bed. Only when I hit the depths of my crisis did I understand that I needed to quit the job I’d worked so hard to get. Topics Leadership State of the Profession Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off The author with Lisa Jackson at the Apple campus, Earth Day 2017. Photo courtesy of Chris Gaither.

Original post:
It will take personal sustainability to meet the global challenges we face

This sustainable Jackson Hole residence has a LED-lit indoor slide

July 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

The Jackson Tech House not only has spectacular views of the Teton Range from its location high on a double sloped site, but it also has a number of unique and sustainable features. The style of the exterior incorporates a modern-yet-rustic look with natural moss rock and unpainted corral board wood siding, while the inside contains surprising features such as heated ramps and an indoor slide. The project was designed by Cushing Terrell and Hoyt Architects . The multiple layers of the home that hug the surrounding terrain are connected by heated concrete ramps, and the main level connects to a recreation room with an indoor slide embedded with color-changing LED lights . Related: Passive House-inspired home ushers in spectacular Grand Tetons views For added sustainability, there are solar panels incorporated into the design as well as a number of green roofs and sustainable furnishing materials, including dark wood, concrete and steel accents. Some of the custom features in the Jackson Tech House include flat-screen panels inlaid into the entryway floor and an adjustable system of chainmail shade curtains that work on a trolly. The inlaid floor screens can be used to display artwork, photos or other images. There is a pair of triple-stacked bunk beds in one bedroom; another bedroom holds two sets of bunk beds near a corner window with views of the rugged terrain outside. The yard that surrounds the front door is landscaped with drought-resistant plants and succulents. Outside, a Pickard steam injection pizza oven is included in the outdoor kitchen and dining space so that the owners can make and enjoy meals while enjoying the beautiful views of the Wyoming mountains. Inside, the kitchen features an extra-long bar island with a gas range and hood, stainless steel appliances and hardwood flooring on a raised platform. In the family room, which opens up into the kitchen, a mechanized fireplace has doors that slide up and out to stay hidden when not in use, and there is a designated slot for firewood. + Cushing Terrell Photography by Gibeon Photography via Cushing Terrell

Read the rest here: 
This sustainable Jackson Hole residence has a LED-lit indoor slide

Parent shares process of making life-size board game from cardboard

June 25, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Parent shares process of making life-size board game from cardboard

Every parent can attest that kids often enjoy playing with the box a gift comes in more than the gift itself, and who’s to blame them? Plain old cardboard offers endless opportunities to create costumes, doll houses and massive, interactive board games. With this in mind, Luanga Lue Nuwame went straight to the recycling pile when looking for boredom busters for his household during the pandemic. The result turned their entire living room into a real life game. The best part is, since the family has already hammered out a basic design, you can replicate this upcycled project at home. The inventor commented that this is a “transforming modular game that can be configured into an infinite number of ways.” The Big Sunny Board Game Challenge is more than a game; it’s an adventure. First came the actual building of game pieces, requiring precise cutting of the octagonal floor spaces, each colored and given its own activity icon. Even rolling the dice is a game in itself with giant dice that bounce across the room. At this point, strategy kicks in while the player moves the homemade, life-size cardboard cutout the distance of one die and moves their body the distance of the other die. Related: Get serious about climate change with this board game Once on a new game space, players must participate in the listed activity. Of course, creators of the game can make these spaces represent their own interests, but The Big Sunny Board Game Challenge features a chore challenge, dance-off, safe space, roll again, trivia space and more. Perhaps your board could include other recycling projects and other environmentally friendly activities. During the process of building the game board, the creator produced a series of explanatory videos on YouTube’s Homemade Game Guru — a channel dedicated to showing viewers how to make creations out of cardboard. With the game complete, he’s also included the first father/daughter game challenge to explain how the game works. To create your own The Big Sunny Board Game Challenge, start saving your cardboard, brainstorm some game “tasks” and get cutting. + Luanga Lue Nuwame Images via Luanga Lue Nuwame

Read the original:
Parent shares process of making life-size board game from cardboard

Solar-powered bungalow in Australia promotes indoor-outdoor living

June 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Solar-powered bungalow in Australia promotes indoor-outdoor living

This bungalow-style home combines a thermal chimney system with solar power to improve energy efficiency. The young family who bought the original home wanted to present the rest of their community with a welcomed sense of connection through indoor-outdoor living, multiple entryways and a large-scale colorful mural on the side of the house. The two-level project in Melbourne, Australia was led by Gardiner Architects and completed in 2018. The thermal chimney effect is achieved by having the two stories spaced around the home’s stairwell, so that cool air is drawn from below and exhausted at the top. Sheet metal and shiplap cover the exterior. There are also solar panels fitted to the roof and a skylight to bring natural light inside. The brick wall, which runs down the middle of the building, works thermally as a heat sink and cool sink, while the concrete floor and efficient insulation provides additional assistance in thermal regulation. Despite only having ceiling fans and no air conditioning, the temperature inside remains comfortable throughout the year, even during the summer months. Related: Solar-powered home embraces tree canopy views in all directions The home incorporates three different zones: the children’s bedroom upstairs, the adult bedroom downstairs and the living spaces toward the back. A main, informal living space and sporadic communal spaces provide plenty of opportunities for activities, and an additional ground-level common area has the flexibility to be used as a study, homework room or space for long-term projects, such as artwork or puzzles. This concept adds to the sustainability elements of the home, as the designers are able to provide more amenities in a smaller footprint. As with most homes with young children, the clients wanted a house that would help center the family around the kitchen. Because the family enjoys gardening with herbs and vegetables, making kombucha, bee keeping and preserving fruit, they wanted a large, open kitchen that connected to the dining and living spaces and also the backyard. A sizable kitchen window opens to a butler’s pantry, and large glass doors open to the deck. Windows in the living room are designed to fold back, allowing inside activities to merge with outdoor ones with ease and creating the ability to connect larger gatherings of neighbors or family. A green roof was incorporated as an extension of garden space and a spot for the family to keep their bees. + Gardiner Architects Via Houzz Photography by Rory Gardiner via Gardiner Architects

See the original post here:
Solar-powered bungalow in Australia promotes indoor-outdoor living

Plastic rain is contaminating protected habitats

June 24, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Plastic rain is contaminating protected habitats

The term “pristine” environment is no longer applicable even to the most remote locations on Earth. Recent research has established that plastic rain is now pouring in the most protected areas in the western U.S. The research, which was published in the journal Science , reveals that 11 protected areas in the western U.S. receive rain that is contaminated with plastic microparticles. Over a period of 14 months, the researchers collected rainwater samples across 11 areas that are known to have the most pristine environments. The rainwater in these protected areas was found to be highly contaminated with plastic particles. The researchers revealed that the 11 protected areas receive over 1,000 metric tons of microplastic each year. Related: Record high amount of microplastic found on seafloors Research director and environmental scientist Janice Brahney of Utah University said, “We just did that for the area of protected areas in the West, which is only 6 percent of the total U.S. area.” Brahney’s comments indicate that plastic rain might be a much bigger problem in areas that are not protected. This research confirms a situation that is already spreading around the world. In recent years, several studies have found increasing amounts of microplastics in rainwater, especially in protected habitats, like the French Pyrenees and the Arctic . When microplastics mix with rain, they freely flow into rivers and oceans. Consequently, they affect the natural environment and the lifespan of many species. Scientists are now saying that plastic rain is a much more complex problem than acid rain. In the past few decades, the increase in the amount of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere resulted in acid rain in many parts of the world. Thankfully, efforts to control the emission of these gases have reduced acid rain significantly. Unfortunately, the microplastic problem is not one that can be solved overnight. We do not have a proper mechanism to trap the microplastics in the atmosphere. Even stopping the production of plastic today will only be half of the solution. To worsen the situation, the world still produces and uses plastics in large amounts. A Consultancy McKinsey publication reports that plastic waste is expected to rise from 260 million tons in 2020 to about 460 million tons in 2030. Although the research on plastic rain was only conducted in a handful of locations, it shows the gravity of the situation. If action is not taken to control the production and use of plastics, we are looking at a future where both water and air will be full of microplastics. + Science Via Wired Image via Dennis Kleine

Read the original post:
Plastic rain is contaminating protected habitats

How we can fight the pandemic by embracing circularity

June 12, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on How we can fight the pandemic by embracing circularity

How we can fight the pandemic by embracing circularity Garry Cooper Fri, 06/12/2020 – 01:30 Throughout the pandemic response, a key issue has been a lack of communication and coordination to get personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies to where they are most needed, with many areas of the country suffering from severe resource shortages as a result. The only truly successful solution has been, and will continue to be, to strategically adopt two core elements of a circular economy model: reuse and resource sharing. The key goals of the circular economy are ” designing out waste and pollution, keeping products and materials in use, and regenerating natural systems .” Unlike in our current linear economic model, which generally discards materials once used, the circular economy enables more value to be extracted from an item by eschewing the “take-make-waste” pattern. In a situation where supply is limited, the circular model gets far more use out of the same supply. While the need for a circular economy has been growing for decades, especially as the impacts of climate change have begun to loom larger, this pandemic has caused that need to increase dramatically. Taking on the circularity principles of reuse and resource sharing — and equally important, having a more coordinated approach around those efforts — is critical for directing supplies to the places where there is the greatest need in a timely and equitable fashion. My company, Rheaply, has pivoted our resource-sharing technology to aid in this approach. In partnership with the city of Chicago, we built Chicago PPE Market , a platform that provides small businesses and nonprofits access to a network of local manufacturers and suppliers of PPE at cost-controlled rates, helping them protect their staff and prevent further spread of the virus. Within the first week of the platform going live, we onboarded 1,555 small businesses, with over 165,000 listings and 2,100 transactions for items such as face coverings, protective shields and various sanitizers. Yet we are just one company contributing to the efforts to fight the pandemic. To truly fight the virus, we must all adopt a circularity approach, sharing physical resources and human capital. Even beyond the pandemic, this approach will allow us to more efficiently and cooperatively operate as a global community. The first step is to change the way we think about the resources we have. To do so, we must do the following: Establish a community-oriented mindset.  With healthcare professionals advising “social distancing,” we are all keeping physically distant from others, even as states begin to reopen. Mentally, however, distancing is a way of making people think more about others. You distance yourself to protect everyone, not just yourself. We have to think about fighting this virus as a team effort, not as something that just healthcare professionals can do.  We also have to think about that “team” more broadly. To combat the virus effectively, the team has to be made up of your family, your friends, your co-workers, your neighbors, your city, your state, your country — the global community. For most people, the most effective way to help the team is to practice social distancing in order to prevent the spread of disease. But for those with the power to do so, it is imperative to think about the broader team and allow for human capital and medical supplies to be allocated to places where the need is greatest now, while also planning for sufficient healthcare workers and PPE to fight the virus when it spikes in new areas. Think about the resources you have that might help others. There may be other ways to help that may surprise you.  Check your cabinets . Consider what resources you might have in your home or business. If you’re a dentist whose practice has been forced to temporarily close or whose practice has a surplus of supplies that could benefit healthcare providers, consider donating or selling those items to institutions in need. If you’re a graduate student working in a lab, think about the gloves, gowns and masks you’re not currently using and donate them. If you’re not in charge of the supplies at your organization, make the case to your superiors for donating supplies. Think about your skills . Not all resources are tangible. If you’re someone who is healthy, consider how your skills could be used as resources to benefit others. One example would be people who have put their sewing skills to work to make masks. Another would be individuals who use 3D printers to make PPE . Pivot your business . If you’re a manufacturer or other business owner, think about how your business could alter its offering to make a difference. If you have the resources and access to certain supply chains, you may be able to shift to manufacturing PPE. Businesses ranging from hockey equipment manufacturer Bauer to fashion brands have begun creating masks. You might be surprised to see how your business’s strengths could be directed toward fighting the virus.  If we spread this way of thinking, both about supplies and human capital, then we can create a system where we all can rely on each other. Think about using, not owning, resources.  Question the way you think about items. Plenty of items don’t need to be owned, but instead just used for a period of time (properly decontaminated N95 masks or face shields) — you may have items that could be reused by those currently in greater need. Ask yourself, “What is the true value of idle resources that I’ve put aside?” If you’re not using an item, then it is of little value to you, whereas it may be of great value to someone else. For items that should not be reused (gloves), think about how much of these items you actually need. Ask yourself, “Do I need this many gloves right now?” In many cases, your need is probably less dire than the need of overwhelmed healthcare providers.   At the same time, we also should be thoughtful about how we treat and value the skills of our healthcare workers. Those who oversee healthcare providers can’t think of healthcare providers as belonging exclusively to certain institutions; instead, they have to think about them as having transferable skills that could provide a huge benefit to institutions and communities around the country and the world.  If we spread this way of thinking, both about supplies and human capital, then we can create a system where we all can rely on each other. If you lend a hand now, then others will be more willing to help you when you are in need. These times are tough, and it’s easy to start feeling helpless. But practicing and advocating for the principles of a circular economy are crucial ways to help. You have the power to make a difference. Let’s get started. Pull Quote If we spread this way of thinking, both about supplies and human capital, then we can create a system where we all can rely on each other. Topics Circular Economy Corporate Strategy Climate Strategy Reuse Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Rows of N95 respiratory mask, used as personal protective equipment. Shutterstock Faizzamal Close Authorship

View original here:
How we can fight the pandemic by embracing circularity

It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards

June 2, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards

It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards Carol Goodstein Tue, 06/02/2020 – 00:00 Hunting and gathering for food is taking on a whole new meaning of late. The ever-lengthening line at my local Whole Foods starts to wrap around the outside of the store before 7 a.m., as socially distanced shoppers — securely donned in gloves, masks and even plastic face shields — wait nervously to scavenge for their week’s worth of essentials along with their COVID-19 indulgences: the extra bars of Hu chocolates and Enjoy Life cookies, in my family’s case. We once thought of foraging as an activity engaged in only by our very remote ancestors and distant “primitive” people. But the spread of COVID-19 has heightened the subsistence survival instinct in all of us. In a way, we are not so dissimilar from “primitive” people in places such as the Amazon Basin as we might have thought.  And now, we’re all vulnerable to the same pandemic virus. Only with virtually no resistance, no access to medical treatment and a government that condones the deforestation and development of their lands, it’s far worse for indigenous people. Companies and consumers everywhere have a role to play. In fact, COVID-19 has created an opportunity for companies to be more cognizant and compassionate in their approach — more aware of the direct and indirect responsibility for the impact they have on people in places where they operate. So as the spread of COVID sickens and kills front-line workers in meat-packing plants across the country and suppliers are forced to curtail operations — leaving the meat section of local supermarkets looking, well, a little lean — what about the places where this meat comes from, namely Brazil, which according to the USDA is the world’s largest beef exporter? Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation. While many companies are doing right by their workers in U.S. plants, why not — in the spirit of cognizant corporate citizenship, stakeholder accountability and stewardship, let alone brand reputation — help to protect people in Brazil that are not only particularly vulnerable to the virus but whose very survival is directly linked to the protection of forests?  While the current pandemic may be overwhelming America’s medical system, killing our healthcare workers, tanking our economy and generally frying our collective nerves, the indigenous people of Brazil — the country from which a lot of our meat as well as the soy used to feed farm animals is produced — have virtually no access to healthcare, let alone hand sanitizer. President Jair Bolsonaro, along with slashing funding mandated to protect indigenous rights and proposing to open up oil and gas exploration and hydropower development on indigenous territories, effectively eliminated the availability of rural healthcare by driving out the thousands of Cuban healthcare providers who used to service indigenous communities prior to his presidency. As the nationwide death toll in Brazil soars above 11,000 and reliable data on indigenous infections and deaths is hard to come by, a recent survey by the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples’ Association found the virus has reached 38 groups in the country with 446 cases of the new coronavirus and 92 deaths reported as of mid-May, mainly in the Brazilian Amazon. Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation, up by nearly 64 percent in April, compared to the same month last year, according to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research. Last month alone, more than 156 square miles of rainforest were destroyed — an area about the size of Philadelphia. While indigenous people are locking down like the rest us, when they do, their lands are left even more vulnerable to brazen land grabbing, which also has been alarmingly on the rise.  Well before the pandemic, Bolsonaro made no secret of his intention to open the Amazon to increased economic activity, and he’s been determined since the start of his time in office not to let indigenous tribes stand in his way. As he said, “They don’t work. They don’t bring in money for Brazil, only burdens.” Meanwhile, Bolsonaro has downplayed the effects of the virus even more than other presidents, describing it as a “little flu” and a trifling “cold” and accused the media of manufacturing “hysteria.” Emboldened by Bolsonaro’s stance, indigenous leaders have been targeted in increasing numbers over the past year — even before the outbreak of the virus. Last year, there were at least 10 documented indigenous murders, as Bolsonaro effectively has declared open season on indigenous peoples who stand in the way of economic expansion, writ deforestation. While the Bolsonaro administration has made its dismissive if not genocidal attitude toward indigenous people patently clear, agribusinesses operating in Brazil could, just for example, step in. The opportunity to display corporate social responsibility has taken on new urgency as indigenous leaders call out these businesses as culprits in the ravaging of their lands and families. “What we are asking from the multinationals is that they not buy commodities that cause deforestation and conflict and that are produced on indigenous lands. We are also demanding that bilateral trade agreements … demand respect for indigenous rights and ensure there are no products linked to deforestation coming into their countries,” declared Dinamam Tuxá , coordinator and legal adviser to the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil. While a number of soy and beef producing companies have set time-bound targets for eliminating deforestation from their supply chains, deforestation continues to escalate.  Shoppers at Sam’s Club, Safeway and Target may notice a paucity of meat at their local megastores, but all of us have a collective responsibility to protect the indigenous people who help to protect lands and species on which we all depend.  In addition to banning, or at least dramatically reducing deforestation, why don’t companies, while they’re at it, support communities who know a thing or two not only about hunting and gathering but about protecting the lungs of our world? Pull Quote Tribal people living in the Amazon Basin have been made even more vulnerable to the virus by the recent uptick in deforestation. Topics Forestry COVID-19 Equity & Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

Here is the original:
It’s time to prioritize the survival of indigenous people, the world’s forest stewards

Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets

May 26, 2020 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets

Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets Kathrin Winkler Tue, 05/26/2020 – 08:00 A few months back (and forever ago), our professional colleagues in our Sustainability Veterans group expressed their thoughts on the most important attributes for advancing a sustainability career. Our goal was to share lessons that we learned in the trenches to help those following us to build on our experiences. But we never experienced anything like the coronavirus pandemic. As unprecedented as these times are, and as uncertain as the near future may be, some past events offer small but important parallels that could yield tools and ideas for how to proceed. In your career, was there a crisis in which you learned something useful to pass on to those dealing with the current and unfolding situation created by COVID? To that end, we asked our vets to offer a succinct response to: “In your career, was there a crisis (such as the Great Recession or other major disruption) in which you learned something useful to pass on to those dealing with the current and unfolding situation created by COVID?” The answers are varied and disparate — and, in some cases, even contradictory. Together, they remind us that there is no one universal answer, that companies and cultures differ, and that while we may see echoes of the past in our world today, we are traversing entirely new territory, compass in hand, but without a map. About the Sustainability Veterans: We are a group of professionals who have had leadership roles in the world of corporate sustainability. We are exploring new ways to further engage and make a difference by bringing together our collective intellectual, experiential, emotional and social capital — independent from any individual company — to help the next generation of sustainability leaders achieve success. Here’s what they had to say: Observe to solve: On Sept. 11, I was in Malaysia watching events unfold from half a world away. I learned to take a step back, watch and then figure out where to have the biggest impact. We are still in crisis mode. Take time to be observant before deciding on how sustainability can be a solution.  — Dawn Rittenhouse was director of sustainable development for DuPont from 1998 until 2019. Up Is down: My favorite crisis example is Apollo 13. In my experience, successful crisis management forces organizations to see externalities and ecosystems which have not always been self-evident. “Normal” isn’t “normal,” “up” is “down” and crisis unleashes untapped human capital, innovation, creativity and laser-focus on what can be done versus what cannot. — Mark Buckley is founder of One Boat Collaborative and former vice president of sustainability at Staples. Shifting focus: During times of crisis we get a glimpse of the next emerging issue and how companies can impact for the long term. Following the financial crisis, we focused on more corporate transparency and accountability. Today, we have the opportunity to advocate for equity — in healthcare and access to resources. — Cecily Joseph is former vice president of corporate responsibility at Symantec. She serves as chair of the Net Impact board of directors and expert in residence at the Presidio Graduate School. Take the long view and put people first. Recognize that we are all part of an interdependent global community. Both are vital for dealing with the immediate crisis, and for ongoing and future crises.   — Bill Weihl was Google’s Green Energy Czar, leading climate and clean energy work, then spent six years at Facebook as director of sustainability. In 2020, he founded ClimateVoice. The calm voice : With all the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 virus, sustainability managers should strive to be the calm voice of reason for the company. Help your company understand that how they respond to people in this time of crisis must continue to balance the people, planet and profit equation of sustainability. — Paul Murray , president of Integrated Sustainable Strategies, is retired vice president of sustainability at Shaw Industries and previously director of sustainability at Herman Miller. Follow the counterintuitive : Crises remind us that systems are complex, interconnected and difficult to “fix,” and yet there are leverage points which have disproportionate ability to move the system in the right direction. Unfortunately, because they are counterintuitive we almost always push on them the wrong way . In your rush to solve whatever problems COVID-19 has created for you, investing time and effort in a systems-thinking approach will always improve the outcome. — Sarah Severn is principal of Severn Consulting. She spent over two decades in senior sustainability roles at Nike, leading strategy, stakeholder engagement and championing systems thinking and collaborative change. A silver lining : For those of us working in corporate sustainability, one silver lining is that we’re comfortable with complexity and change, and our modus operandi is to plan for the long term.   — Ellen Weinreb is a sustainability and ESG recruiter, founder of Weinreb Group and co-founder Sustainability Veterans. Jump in : In a crisis, I always believed that our team should jump in big-time, especially if what’s happening is related to a social/environmental predicament. For example, in the early 2000s, my McDonald’s team got very involved in the obesity problem. I never thought I’d be spending 75 percent of my time for a few years on this, which also means you don’t work on other efforts that are important. — Bob Langert is retired vice president of sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation and editor at large for GreenBiz. The rest will follow : We were in the law library at Dell, watching the horror of the World Trade Center exploding with a plane. The room was full, but stunningly silent. However, within minutes, we had all hands on deck, locating our team members and confirming their safety. People came first, above all. As they should, and do, now. Take care of your teams, your family and those you love. Help others less fortunate. The rest will follow. — Trisa Thompson is a lawyer and former Dell Technologies chief responsibility officer. Volunteer and dig in : I learned an important lesson after the anguishing loss of Alaska Flight 261. Even if it’s not part of your normal job function, look for volunteer opportunities to dig in and help. Your day job is going to be there for you when you are finished. By helping others, you will help yourself deal with grief and anxiety, and the deep (and new) relationships forged with fellow volunteers will never be forgotten. — Jacqueline Drumheller evolved her career in corporate environmental compliance to a role launching and spearheading Alaska Airlines’ formal sustainability program. Stop. Look. Listen. A moment (or extended period) of crisis requires a deep breath, an assessment of impact and understanding of implication across the full stakeholder spectrum. One can’t always control the initial damage, but can manage emotions, actions and the example set for others to follow in charting the course necessary for recovery. — Mark Spears retired from The Walt Disney Company after nearly 30 years, spanning a series of finance, strategic planning and sustainability roles. He serves as founder and chief strategist at common+value, a sustainability consultancy. Go overboard : In 1986, I was working for Sandoz when we had the big warehouse fire in Switzerland that contaminated the Rhine River. We responded by coming up with the most stringent warehousing guidelines in the world; previously warehousing was viewed as a low-risk activity. The lesson learned was that we went overboard with our standards because we were under strict orders to make sure we never had another such incident. — Jim Thomas has led sustainability programs at Novartis, Gerber, JCPenney and Petco. Tone down the celebration : Though the scale differs, in 2008 people were losing their jobs and afraid for their futures. One of the best tools in our toolbox had always been the celebration of success, but we learned that it was not the time for self-congratulation. Rather, we needed to focus on listening, empathy and building personal, community and business resilience. — Kathrin Winkler is former chief sustainability officer for EMC Corporation, co-founder of Sustainability Veterans and editor at large for GreenBiz. Immediate vs. restorative : The 2008 financial crisis sparked hopes of a fundamental shift from short-term profits to longer-term values. As the economic downturn persisted, financially stressed companies and consumers made decisions more on value — what they could afford — than values. There is a lesson for we who hope for a different future coming from the COVID-19 crisis. We need to address immediate needs before building consensus on a restorative future. — Bart Alexander is former chief corporate responsibility officer at Molson Coors. He consults on leading sustainable change through Alexander & Associates LLC, and climate change action through Plan C Advisors. Pull Quote In your career, was there a crisis in which you learned something useful to pass on to those dealing with the current and unfolding situation created by COVID? Contributors Bob Langert Topics Leadership State of the Profession Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

More here:
Advice for thriving amid crisis, from 14 sustainability vets

Now is the best time to build a home you never want to leave

May 19, 2020 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Now is the best time to build a home you never want to leave

Whether you are still sheltering in place or your area’s lockdowns are just lifting after months indoors, right now is the perfect time to contemplate what you like about your home and what you’d like to change. Thankfully, Deltec Homes makes it easy to plan your future legacy home. This North Carolina-based builder is known for producing distinctive, resilient round houses and was also featured on ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”. Now, it can make your own dreams come true by offering extensive support, from planning to payment, in the home-building process. Many people are taking advantage of Deltec Homes’ tools to remotely design their eco-friendly dream homes. A small deposit gives you access to Deltec Homes’ full resources, including a wealth of experience building houses around the world and start-to-finish support for designing and building a new, sustainable home. Related: Building homes that fight against climate change How to design a home you never want to leave If you’ve never designed your own house — and many people haven’t — you might wonder how on earth you do this remotely, without an architect sitting by your side. Deltec Homes clearly explains its 360 collection of round homes and its Renew collection, which is designed to make it easy to reach net-zero energy goals. The company will work with you every step of the way to create a home better than you could ever imagine. The round houses in the 360 collection are incredibly fun to customize. Now that you have been spending more time at home than ever, you’re probably thinking a lot more about how you want your space to work for you. How many bedrooms do you need? Would you like designated space for a home office? Do you want flexible spaces that can serve as a study room during the day and a child’s playroom or craft room in the evenings? Perhaps you would love a deck, where the family can get together for a breath of fresh air. Do you want your home to embrace biophilic design? Renew has three basic designs: Balsam, a contemporary take on a mountain cabin; Solar Farmhouse, which is a modern farmhouse with solar capabilities; and Ridgeline, the most modern looking of the three. Each of these options allows you to customize features such as windows, siding, air ventilation and porches to make your home as comfortable and eco-friendly as possible. Thankfully, the Deltec Way strives for each home to be a sanctuary that seamlessly blurs the line between indoors and outdoors; think large, beautiful windows and uninterrupted sight lines. At every step, Deltec Homes will help you and your home embrace nature and sustainability — it is just the Deltec Way. Once you decide on your exact floor plan, Deltec Homes prefabricates your house in its factory, then ships it to the building site. Your own builder takes it from there, assembling and finishing your dream home. Deltec Homes has more than 5,000 homes in every state in the U.S. as well as over 30 countries and five continents, so no matter where you choose to call home, you are joining thousands of other people who love their unique Deltec homes. What’s more, Deltec Homes isn’t just helping you build your next house — it helps you build your legacy home. These high-quality, resilient homes are built to last and actually reduce the total cost of ownership over time. Deltec Homes are often comparable to custom homes, but they are built to last much longer by following stringent, precise standards to significantly reduce your energy costs and total ownership costs. Saving energy and designing legacy homes isn’t just good for you — it’s great for the planet and future generations, too. Deltec Homes embraces sustainability and resilient design — it’s the Deltec Way Deltec Homes prides itself on following the Deltec Way, which means connecting customers to nature and our planet while also protecting them from the elements. The planet will thank you for buying a net-zero energy home, which is one of many green design options offered by Deltec Homes. The company’s homes aren’t just sustainable — Deltec Homes embraces this green philosophy in its own factory, which runs on 100% renewable energy and diverts about 80% of its construction waste away from the landfill. In addition to connecting homeowners with nature and the planet, the Deltec Way also emphasizes connecting our homes with the planet. From using only the best materials to working with nature, rather than against it, Deltec Homes ensures each house can withstand extreme weather while also embracing all of the beauty Earth has to offer. Deltec Homes implements a unique, 360-degree design to ensure that wind diverts around the home. This prevents wind pressure from building up on a traditionally flat side of the home — this wind pressure typically leads to damage such as collapsed walls. The added benefit of the 360-degree design is the light-filled, panoramic views of nature that can include dreamy sunrise-to-sunset views. Of course, the round layout is just part of the equation to Deltec Homes’ hurricane-resistant designs. The company uses a comprehensive approach to make its homes more resilient , including special attention to engineering, construction and materials. This approach has resulted in a 99.9% survival rate for these hurricane-resistant homes. In fact, there have been Deltec Homes that have withstood some of the most devastating hurricanes of our time, including Hurricanes Dorian, Michael, Katrina, Harvey, Hugo, Irma, and Sandy. Deltec Homes is actually considered “the original green builder” and has been working on creating high-quality homes since 1968. Along the way, it recognized the need for sustainability to be central to its core mission — Deltec Homes are designed to stringent sustainability standards. Last year, one of its homes even won a Department of Energy (DOE) Zero Energy Ready Home housing innovation award . These homes have been designed to stand the test of time and look good doing it. Luckily, these experts are ready to give you a helping hand in designing and building a sustainable legacy home for your family. Deltec Homes offers financial peace of mind Despite the pandemic, right now is a smart time to start planning the house of your dreams, thanks to Deltec’s homeowners assurance plan. Deltec Homes is offering financial peace of mind through its new refund flexibility policy. Any deposit placed in the first half of 2020 is fully refundable if the homebuyer loses their job or has a COVID-19-related health issue during this time. Deltec Homes is honoring those on the front lines of the pandemic by extending its usual 7% military discount to all healthcare and other essential workers who place a design deposit by June 30. Whether homebuyers are working in a hospital, delivering packages or keeping the electric grid or public transportation systems in operation, Deltec Homes recognizes these essential workers. These difficult times have also prompted Deltec Homes to increase its customer service support by extending hours and offering more remote consultations. If spending more time at home has made you yearn for a house that is designed exactly the way you want it, there’s no better time than right now to contact Deltec Homes . + Deltec Homes Images via Deltec Homes

More here: 
Now is the best time to build a home you never want to leave

The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

May 18, 2020 by  
Filed under Green, Recycle

Comments Off on The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

Farmers are burying onions, destroying tomatoes and grinding up heads of lettuce to return to the soil. Dairy workers are dumping milk. These images of food destruction have horrified Americans during the pandemic . Farmers shouldn’t have to destroy the crops they’ve poured their money, energy, time and strength into. Hungry people shouldn’t witness the destruction of food that they could cook for their families. But farmers and organizations are working to save this food and bring it to those in need. COVID-19 has hurt people in many ways, but the food supply chain has been hit especially hard. Since restaurants, hotels, schools and cruise ships have shut down, farmers have lost about 40% of their customer base on average. Some farms have lost their main outlets. For example, RC Hatton Farms in Florida has had to disk — that is, grind up and recycle into the soil — hundreds of acres of cabbage since the crop has lost its future as KFC slaw. Related: How to volunteer during COVID-19 Meanwhile, with the U.S. unemployment rate stretching toward 15% , more Americans could make use of those crops. The question is, how can the food supply chains be rerouted before all of the vegetables and milk spoil? Worldwide food insecurity may double this year because of COVID-19. In relatively affluent America, people are waiting in line for hours to get to food pantries. Fortunately, the world is full of clever and helpful people. From individuals to large organizations, people are devising ways to redistribute food to those who need it. From farms to food banks Food banks are nonprofit organizations that store food donated from retailers, restaurants, grocery stores and individuals. This food is then distributed to food pantries, where people can take home food to eat. Food pantries provide millions of free meals per year. With their restaurant and institutional clients closed by COVID-19, more farmers are trying to donate crops straight to food banks. But donation doesn’t come free. While most farmers would vastly prefer to donate their vegetables than to let them rot in fields, those crops don’t harvest themselves. Nor do they pack themselves for shipping or drive to the nearest food bank. Some states are working hard to facilitate getting crops to the people. At the end of April, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a $3.64 million expansion to the state’s Farm to Family program. By the end of the year, he expects this campaign to reach $15 million. The Farm to Family program is a partnership between the California Department of Food and Agriculture and the California Association of Food Banks. The USDA has approved redirecting $2 million in unused Specialty Crop Block Grant funds to the California Association of Food Banks. This will help cover costs of picking, packing and transporting the produce to food banks. “Putting food on the table during this pandemic is hard for families on the brink,” Newsom said in a press release. “It’s in that spirit that we’re expanding our Farm to Family program while also working to connect low-income families with vital resources and financial support. We thank our farmers for stepping up to donate fresh produce to our food banks . And we want families struggling to access food to know we have your backs.” In New Mexico, the state chapter of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) launched its own Farm to Foodbank program. The group will fund farmers to continue producing organic produce, which will be routed to food pantries. AFSC is also helping farmers buy supplies, such as seeds, masks, gloves and irrigation systems. In return, the farmers sign contracts promising produce to community members suffering from food insecurity. For example, farmers at Acoma Pueblo requested seeds and promised to donate a part of their crops to the senior center. Help from private companies Some companies are also assisting in moving surplus crops to food banks. Florida-based Publix Super Markets has long been donating food to Feeding America’s member food banks and other nonprofits. In the last 10 years, Publix has donated about $2 billion worth of food, or 480 million pounds. Now, the supermarket chain is stepping up its efforts and buying unsold fresh milk and produce from Florida and regional producers and donating these goods to Feeding America food banks. “As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” Todd Jones, chief executive officer of Publix, told NPR . Other supermarket chains have announced large monetary donations to food banks during the pandemic, including $50 million from Albertsons. Kroger Co. set up a $10 million Emergency COVID-19 Response Fund. To celebrate Earth Day , Natural Grocers donated $50,000 in gift cards to food banks. Individual giving Some farmers have taken direct action to get their crops to families. Idaho potato farmer Ryan Cranney invited the public to help themselves to his millions of unsold potatoes. “At first I thought we’d have maybe 20 people,” Cranney said in an interview . He was amazed when thousands of people drove to his town, with a population of 700, and hauled away potatoes. “We saw people from as far away as Las Vegas, which is an 8-hour drive from here,” he said. Of course, most of us don’t have millions of potatoes to spare. But we can still help food banks. In better times, food banks appreciate shelf-stable foods like peanut butter and tomato paste. But right now, the best thing you can do as an individual is to give money. Feeding America, the biggest hunger relief organization in the U.S, has about 200 member food banks. If you’re able to spare a few dollars, you can donate to its COVID-19 Response Fund . Via CBS 8 , Santa Fe New Mexican and Politico Images via Philippe Collard , Hai Nguyen , U.S. Department of Agriculture and Dennis Sparks

View original here:
The farm-to-food-bank movement rescues pandemic-related food waste

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1951 access attempts in the last 7 days.