Rep. Ocasio-Cortez releases Green New Deal resolution

February 8, 2019 by  
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On February 7, House Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) released an official resolution for the highly debated “Green New Deal.” The resolution provides further information on the broad goals of the original proposal, however it remains abstract and nonbinding — and that is only if the House votes to approve it. The resolution delivers a more tangible framework upon which Ocasio-Cortez and her team plan to push for co-sponsors and move the resolution to the House and Senate floors. The summary report indicates that legislators would begin to assemble the “nuts and bolts” of the plan by drafting specific Green New Deal bills. The document specifies five ambitious goals to be completed in 10 years, reduced from the proposal’s original seven goals . Five Green New Deal Goals 1. Ensure net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers 2. Create millions of high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all 3. Invest in infrastructure and industry to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century 4. Guarantee clean air and water, climate and community resilience, healthy food, access to nature and a sustainable environment for all 5. Promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future and repairing historic oppression of frontline and vulnerable communities While the resolution focuses on an equitable transfer to renewable energy and a reduction in carbon emissions, the Green New Deal is an all-inclusive economic overhaul that also promises broad access to jobs, fair wages and healthcare. NPR’s Danielle Kurtzleben breaks down some of the notable and far-reaching objectives that fall under the above-mentioned goals, including: • Attaining 100 percent renewable energy by 2020, including transferring away from nuclear energy • Upgrading “all existing buildings to energy-efficient” • Incentivizing farmers to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions • Investing in the electric car industry and expanding high speed rails to compete with and eventually stamp out the airline industry • Guaranteeing jobs with adequate wages and comprehensive benefits for all Americans • Ensuring “high-quality healthcare” for all Americans The resolution continued to be revised after it was released, with many media outlets updating their published stories throughout the day. Does the Green New Deal have the support it needs? Ocasio-Cortez from the House is also joined by Senator Edward Markey (D-MA), who is working to garner support in the Senate. Related: Is the Green New Deal the all-inclusive climate plan we need? Though the document’s summary cites that 92 percent of Democrats and 64 percent of Republicans support the Green New Deal, the controversial responses do not seem to support this claim. In fact, the current co-sponsors, published by Axios , include “Reps. Brendan Boyle (Pa.), Joaquin Castro (Texas), Yvette Clarke (N.Y.), Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Ro Khanna (Calif.), Ted Lieu (Calif.), Joe Neguse (Colo.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.),” all of whom say their support is pending final language. Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, has been called out for her lack of support for the Green New Deal. On Wednesday, she was quoted in Politico saying: “The green dream or whatever they call it, nobody knows what it is, but they’re for it right?” In addition to politicians on both sides of the aisle, journalists and climate experts argue the Green New Deal is wildly ambitious. Environmental Fellow Jesse Jenkins,  interviewed by NPR, contends that reaching carbon neutrality by 2050 is already a major challenge, so reaching zero-emissions by 2030 — as the resolution mandates — will be next to impossible. However, Ocasio-Cortez told NPR’s Morning Edition , “Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us.” Political activists across the country — largely led by a youth organization called the Sunrise Movement — are showing up at congressional offices to pressure their representatives to come out in support of the Green New Deal by the end of February. Even if the resolution does not pass, which many believe will be the outcome, the activists hope that the mounting attention will make climate change a key issue — if not the most central issue — in the upcoming 2020 presidential race. Can Americans curb climate change? The resolution explains that the U.S. contributes an alarming 20 percent of the world’s carbon emissions and is in the position to become a leader in drastic green economy development. Despite the Trump administration’s recent break from global climate commitments, statistics show that the U.S. has already made the most significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions since 2000. Though the data indicates the U.S. has only made an 8 percent reduction, given that the U.S.’s total contribution to pollution is among the highest, this 8 percent reduction equates to 760 million metric tons, nearly as much as the sum of the European Union’s reductions. Though significant, this accomplishment still does not change Americans’ title as the world’s largest polluters per-capita. The U.S. indeed has the numbers to make a difference; what it needs now is for these types of policies to have the support that this vision could be our reality. + Green New Deal Resolution Via NPR Image via SCOOTERCASTER / Shutterstock.com

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Rep. Ocasio-Cortez releases Green New Deal resolution

Sean Parker’s wedding violations result in new app for California coastline

January 4, 2019 by  
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What started out as a high-profile beachside wedding turned into a useful and long-term solution to beach access issues along the California coastline. When Napster founder and original president of Facebook Sean Parker started planning his 2013 beachfront wedding to then-fiance Alexandra Lenas, he had no idea that he was breaking land usage rules. With a redwood grove in mind, he simply leased the space from the hotel that fringed the area. He then spent months having the perfect set built. It included a 20-foot high fence, Roman pillars, bridges, a faux cottage and rock walls. Things were shaping up for the idyllic wedding when the California Coastal Commission (CCC) showed up and shut down progress. A little known agency, the CCC is responsible for maintaining access to over 1,200 miles of coastline. Enforcing a 1972 voter mandate, the organization aims to regulate the coast so that it is accessible to more people in a responsible way. So when the CCC heard a report of Parker’s construction, it came in with some harsh news — the hotel that Parker was leasing from did not have permission to lease him the space. Not only that, but the site of the wedding was supposed to be a public camping area that had been closed by the hotel six years earlier due to water quality issues without permission from the CCC. Related: California approves rule to require solar panels on new houses Fines for limiting beach access run high, and even though it wasn’t Sean’s fault, he sat down with the CCC to figure out a solution. According to the Coastal Act, violators can be fined $1,000 to $15,000 per day that they are in violation. That added up to a whopping $2.5 million dollars, which Parker agreed to pay on behalf of the hotel. Instead of going to the CCC, however, the funds were used to create hiking trails, fund field trips, reopen the campground, fix the water issues and otherwise promote public access to the Big Sur area. But the story doesn’t stop there. During conversations that eventually resulted in the CCC allowing the wedding to continue at the site, representatives mentioned the idea of developing an app where iOS users could find information about the 1,563 access points up and down the California coastline. Parker jumped on board and agreed to develop the app. Unveiled in December, the YourCoast app spent five years in development with teams from both sides working together. Parker’s team brought the technology to the table and received the decades of detailed information collected by members of the CCC. In the past, the constantly updated spreadsheet of information gathered about each access point was published in a book every few years and was periodically updated on the CCC website. Now, each access is shown on a map within the app, with additional information about each one when you click on it. With the financial and technological resources Parker provided, the public now has up-to-date data on closures, access points and photos of each path. The app also delineates amenities of each beach, such as whether there is wheelchair access, restrooms, off-street parking, lifeguards or fishing . Many of the access points are well disguised by natural overgrowth or less-than-helpful neighbors. Some are merely a small sign, fence or alley access, so without the YourCoast app, most people never know about them. Others are falsely marked with “No Parking” or “No Beach Access” signs to further discourage visitors, which is in direct violation of the Coastal Act. The CCC has a huge responsibility for such a small organization. The creation of the app has brought the commission from an era where it still doesn’t have Wi-Fi in the main office to an online resource available to any iOS user. Plans are in the works to also make the app accessible to Google and other Android users. Related: Southern California is losing its clouds, increasing the risk of more intense wildfires While the information is now front and center to the public, there is still the ongoing problem of policing businesses and residents along the coast who actively restrict access to the beach. In fact, the six- to 10-person violations team has a backlog of thousands of cases. The app allows users to report violations and submit pictures of their own, so that they can help with the problem. Some areas of the coastline are very remote, and with that much territory to cover, it’s difficult for the CCC to monitor it all. For those users that visit the more remote regions, YourCoast allows them to download information for use without cell service. Although it was an unusual course of events that brought Parker and the CCC together, both parties are happy to have found a creative solution that brings great value to the public and facilitates the goals of the CCC in promoting access to state coastlines. Additional sections of the settlement agreement required Parker to safely remove all the infrastructure used in the wedding, and he must produce an educational video for the public and ensure that it goes viral. + YourCoast Via LA Times Images via USFWS , James Smith and Inhabitat

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Sean Parker’s wedding violations result in new app for California coastline

Shifting the system — using new mobility as a tool for community goals

January 3, 2019 by  
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As city populations continue to grow, city governments must manage ever-increasing demands, consider trade-offs between differing values, and achieve their goals with limited capacity and funds.

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Shifting the system — using new mobility as a tool for community goals

Here’s why climate policies don’t really kill jobs

January 3, 2019 by  
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An environmental economist provides the evidence.

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Here’s why climate policies don’t really kill jobs

Ecovillage in Copenhagen strives to meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals

December 20, 2018 by  
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Danish architecture firm Lendager Group has won an international competition for its design of the UN17 Village, a sustainable residential development that will introduce 400 new homes to Copenhagen , Denmark. Selected over shortlisted proposals from prominent firms such as BIG and Henning Larsen, Lendager Group’s winning design aims to create “the first building project in the world that translates all 17 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into tangible action.” The project will span an area of 35,000 square meters in the city’s southern district of Ørestad South and is slated for completion in 2023. Created in collaboration with NREP, MOE, Årstiderne Architects and Arup, the winning UN17 Village proposal will follow the UN’s 17 Global Goals with a design that will be built with recycled materials, renewable energy sources and other energy-saving strategies. The upcycled construction materials will also be locally harvested and processed to stimulate the local economy. In addition to creating 400 new homes, the residential development will also include a variety of public facilities such as a communal kitchen, workspaces, guest housing, a recreation center with a bathhouse and a communal laundromat fed with recycled rainwater. “The built environment is responsible for more than 40 percent of our global emissions ,” Lendager Group said in a press release. “However, it does not have to be this way. In nature, waste does not exist: organisms regenerate themselves and use dead organic materials as building blocks for future growth. The UN17 Village showcases how we can decouple growth from emissions by looking at waste as a resource, and by making sustainability and growth support each other without compromising on quality, aesthetics or price.” Related: BIG completes low-income “Homes for All” project in Copenhagen A healthy indoor climate will also be emphasized throughout. The home interiors will have a spacious feel and will be dressed in nontoxic and certified materials. Rooftop solar panels will fulfill the energy needs while an abundance of greenery and garden spaces will be integrated to promote sustainable living. + Lendager Group Images by TMRW via Lendager Group

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Ecovillage in Copenhagen strives to meet all 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Aligning business to the U.N. Global Compact has benefits beyond the bottom line

October 30, 2018 by  
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Sponsored: BASF has woven the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals into the solutions they provide — using chemistry to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

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Aligning business to the U.N. Global Compact has benefits beyond the bottom line

An approach to making the SDGs personal

October 4, 2018 by  
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Here’s one way we could bridge the gap between the global aspiration of the Sustainable Development Goals and the grassroots nature of the sustainable lifestyle movement.

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An approach to making the SDGs personal

Rest up, the biggest challenge yet awaits you

August 6, 2018 by  
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Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals needs to ramp up quickly. That’s where business comes in.

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Rest up, the biggest challenge yet awaits you

Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM

July 19, 2018 by  
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Girl Scouts of the USA has released 30 new badges with emphasis on environmental advocacy and STEM . The new badges round out last year’s issuance of educational programs for girls ages 5-18. In a statement, Girl Scouts said the new programs “address some of society’s most pressing needs, such as cybersecurity, environmental advocacy, mechanical engineering, robotics, computer science and space exploration.” Along with new opportunities to earn badges in Robotics, Mechanical Engineering and Cybersecurity, Girl Scouts members can earn badges for Environmental Stewardship. These badges prepare girls to actively protect the environment . The organization said, “Although Girl Scouts have been advocating for the environment since [its] founding 106 years ago, these badges are the first to specifically prepare girls to be environmental advocates who address problems, find solutions, and protect the natural world.” Related: The Girl Scouts of Utah built impressive summer cabins without a single drop of glue Girls in grades six through 12 will be immersed in outdoor experiences and learn how to actively serve as environmental advocates. Girls in kindergarten through grade five “learn how to respect the outdoors and take action to protect the natural world.” The new environmentally-focused badges are funded by the Elliott Wildlife Values Project , a Girl Scouts partner. In addition to hands-on training, the young women are equipped with “soft skills” that include “confidence and perseverance” as well as “hard skills” that instill successful decision-making practices for leadership positions. With STEM education for women emerging as a priority for many organizations as well as being included in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals , the Girl Scouts’ 2.6 million members have joined a powerhouse network committed to both shaping the future female workforce and protecting our world. The environmental and STEM programming will help develop thinking-patterns that are valuable in these technical fields of study. Moreover, the Environmental Stewardship programming will help girls of all ages gain leadership skills, engage with nature and make a positive impact on the environment. To learn more, join or volunteer, visit the Girl Scouts website . + Girl Scouts Images via Girl Scouts

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Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM

Framing the sustainability policy opportunity in Hawaii

June 28, 2018 by  
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Building on a long history of systems thinking and sophisticated natural resource management, Hawaii’s leaders continue to advance the sustainability of communities, the environment, and economic prosperity. In 2016, Hawai’i passed legislation formally aligning the state with the Paris Agreement on climate change. The State legislature with elected official and public and private sector partners launched the Aloha+ Challenge, which serves as a local mechanism to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Senate Majority Leader J.

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Framing the sustainability policy opportunity in Hawaii

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