Booming secondhand clothing sales could help curb the sustainability crisis in fashion

November 27, 2020 by  
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Booming secondhand clothing sales could help curb the sustainability crisis in fashion Hyejune Park Fri, 11/27/2020 – 01:00 A massive force is reshaping the fashion industry: secondhand clothing. According to a new report, the U.S. secondhand clothing market is projected to more than triple in value in the next 10 years  — from $28 billion in 2019 to $80 billion in 2029 — in a U.S. market currently worth $379 billion . In 2019, secondhand clothing expanded 21 times faster than conventional apparel retail did. Even more transformative is secondhand clothing’s potential to dramatically alter the prominence of fast fashion — a business model characterized by cheap and disposable clothing that emerged in the early 2000s, epitomized by brands such as H&M and Zara. Fast fashion grew exponentially over the next two decades, significantly altering the fashion landscape by producing more clothing, distributing it faster and encouraging consumers to buy in excess with low prices. While fast fashion is expected to continue to grow 20 percent in the next 10 years, secondhand fashion is poised to grow 185 percent . As researchers who study clothing consumption and sustainability, we think the secondhand clothing trend has the potential to reshape the fashion industry and mitigate the industry’s detrimental environmental impact on the planet. The next big thing The secondhand clothing market is composed of two major categories, thrift stores and resale platforms. But the latter largely has fueled the recent boom. Secondhand clothing has long been perceived as worn out and tainted, mainly sought by bargain or treasure hunters . However, this perception has changed, and now many consumers consider secondhand clothing to be of identical or even superior quality to unworn clothing. A trend of “fashion flipping”  — or buying secondhand clothes and reselling them — also has emerged, particularly among young consumers. While fast fashion is expected to continue to grow 20% in the next 10 years, secondhand fashion is poised to grow 185%. Thanks to growing consumer demand and new digital platforms such as Tradesy and Poshmark that facilitate peer-to-peer exchange of everyday clothing, the digital resale market is quickly becoming the next big thing in the fashion industry. The market for secondhand luxury goods is also substantial. Retailers such as The RealReal or the Vestiaire Collective provide a digital marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment, where people buy and sell designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès. The market value of this sector reached $2 billion in 2019 . The secondhand clothing trend also appears to be driven by affordability, especially now, during the COVID-19 economic crisis . Consumers not only have reduced their consumption of nonessential items such as clothing , but also are buying more quality garments over cheap, disposable attire. For clothing resellers, the ongoing economic contraction combined with the increased interest in sustainability has proven to be a winning combination. More mindful consumers? The fashion industry has long been associated with social and environmental problems, ranging from poor treatment of garment workers to pollution and waste generated by clothing production. Less than 1 percent of materials used to make clothing are recycled to make new clothing, a $500 billion annual loss for the fashion industry . The textile industry produces more carbon emissions than the airline and maritime industries combined . And about 20 percent of water pollution across the globe is the result of wastewater from the production and finishing of textiles. Consumers have become more aware of the ecological impact of apparel production and are more frequently demanding apparel businesses expand their commitment to sustainability . Buying secondhand clothing could provide consumers a way to push back against the fast-fashion system. Worldwide, in the past 15 years, the average number of times a garment is worn before it’s trashed has decreased by 36%. Buying secondhand clothing increases the number of owners an item will have, extending its life — something dramatically shortened in the age of fast fashion . (Worldwide, in the past 15 years, the average number of times a garment is worn before it’s trashed has decreased by 36 percent.) High-quality clothing traded in the secondhand marketplace also retains its value over time , unlike cheaper fast-fashion products. Thus, buying a high-quality secondhand garment instead of a new one is theoretically an environmental win. But some critics argue the secondhand marketplace actually encourages excess consumption by expanding access to cheap clothing . Our latest research supports this possibility . We interviewed young American women who regularly use digital platforms such as Poshmark. They saw secondhand clothing as a way to access both cheap goods and ones they ordinarily could not afford. They did not see it as an alternative model of consumption or a way to decrease dependence on new clothing production. Whatever the consumer motive, increasing the reuse of clothing is a big step toward a new normal in the fashion industry, although its potential to address sustainability woes remains to be seen. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Pull Quote While fast fashion is expected to continue to grow 20% in the next 10 years, secondhand fashion is poised to grow 185%. Worldwide, in the past 15 years, the average number of times a garment is worn before it’s trashed has decreased by 36%. Contributors Cosette Marie Joyner Armstrong Topics Circular Economy Fashion Apparel Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Photo by  gabriel12  on Shutterstock.

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Booming secondhand clothing sales could help curb the sustainability crisis in fashion

Unilever sets $1.2B sales target for meat and dairy alternatives

November 23, 2020 by  
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Unilever sets $1.2B sales target for meat and dairy alternatives Cecilia Keating Mon, 11/23/2020 – 00:30 Unilever has announced plans to dramatically increase sales of plant-based meat and dairy alternatives over the next seven years as part of a new sustainability program designed to shrink the environmental footprint of its food brands. The Anglo-Dutch consumer goods giant said last week that it plans to sell more than $1.2 billion worth of plant-based foods and dairy alternatives within the next five to seven years, largely by boosting sales from its The Vegetarian Butcher brand and increasing the number of vegan alternatives across its extensive portfolio. Unilever acquired plant-based meat company The Vegetarian Butcher in late 2018 and since has expanded the brand into more than 30 countries and secured a major supply deal for the firm’s vegan patties and nuggets with Burger King. In the same time frame, it has launched a number of vegan products for its most high profile brands, including Hellman’s, Magnum and Ben & Jerry’s. “As one of the world’s largest food companies, we have a critical role to play in helping to transform the global food system,” said Hanneke Faber, president of Unilever’s food and refreshment division. “It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all. These are bold, stretching targets which demonstrate our commitment to being a force for good.” The plant-based meat market is expected to expand rapidly in the coming years to meet burgeoning consumer demand for sustainable food products, with one analysis from Barclays predicting the market will grow by more than 1,000 percent over the next 10 years to reach $140 billion by 2029. It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all. Unilever also announced plans to bring forward its goal of halving food waste from its global operations by five years to 2025, a move commended by Liz Goodwin, senior fellow and director of food loss and waste at the World Resources Institute. “Food loss and waste have massive impacts in terms of cost to the global economy, the environment and society,” she said. “We know that food loss and waste contributes about 8 percent of global greenhouse emissions as well as wasting the land and water used in production of food. We need as many companies as possible to step up and prioritize the issue of food loss and waste and take action to reduce it.” In addition, Unilever committed to lowering calorie, sugar and salt levels across all its products and doubling the number of products that deliver “positive nutrition” globally by 2025, which it defines as products containing “impactful” amounts of vegetables, fruits, proteins or micronutrients such as vitamins and iron. Jessica Fanzo, associate professor of global food and agriculture at John Hopkins University, commended Unilever for its commitment, which she said would encourage people to embrace more sustainable diets. “The average person’s daily diet will need to change drastically during the next three decades to make sure everyone is fed without depleting the planet,” she said. “By improving food production and food environments, transforming eating habits, and reducing food waste, we can begin to solve these problems.” Pull Quote It’s not up to us to decide for people what they want to eat, but it is up to us to make healthier and plant-based options accessible to all. Topics Food Systems Alternative Protein Plant-Protein BusinessGreen Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Jaap Korteweg is a ninth generation farmer and founding father of The Vegetarian Butcher.  Courtesy of The Vegetarian Butcher Close Authorship

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Unilever sets $1.2B sales target for meat and dairy alternatives

Why wholesale markets matter to big power buyers

November 5, 2020 by  
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Why wholesale markets matter to big power buyers Adam Aston Thu, 11/05/2020 – 01:30 When a big brand such as Google, General Motors or Walmart unveils an eye-popping commitment to use more renewable energy, the news usually gets attention. And as these pledges have multiplied in number and scale, corporate energy buyers are having impacts beyond the headlines. They’re reshaping larger U.S. power trends by pulling investment into renewables. Already, roughly half of the Fortune 500 have climate and clean energy goals; over 250 large companies have committed to using 100 percent renewable energy. Corporate buyers have collectively deployed over 23 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy over the past five years, according to the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). Over the next decade, renewable energy demand from Fortune 1000 companies could add 85 GW. To speed progress, REBA and its membership of 200-plus energy buyers and sellers have launched a set of guiding principles to standardize wholesale electricity markets across the U.S.  By making it easier for big power buyers to synchronize terms with utilities and project developers, the principles should stimulate investment, drive down renewable energy prices and, the alliance hopes, boost market competition while growing supply. REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 GW of new renewable energy projects over the next five years. Wholesale power markets already serve most U.S. consumers. The largest of these — such as the middle-Atlantic’s PJM or MISO, which spans Louisiana to Minnesota — straddle multiple states and coordinate the intricate flow of power from thousands of power plants, across millions of miles of wires, to tens of millions of customers. Today, roughly 80 percent of corporate power purchase agreements take place within existing wholesale energy markets, according to REBA.  The principles are significant because American businesses are making wholesale market design a central priority not just to meet their own clean energy goals but also to shape the market structures … Yet large swaths of the economy remain outside these regions. So standardizing rules for all the participants and extending wholesale markets across the entire country could enable even more deals.  In a document released during a breakout session at last week’s VERGE 20 event, REBA laid out key principles to organize extant and new wholesale markets. According to this roadmap, well-functioning wholesale energy markets are defined by three core principles which should: Unlock wholesale market competition to catalyze clean energy by ensuring a level playing field, large energy buyer participation, and services that provide actual value for energy customers. Safeguard market integrity through independent and responsive governance structures, transparency and broad stakeholder engagement and representation. Design to scale to the future by ensuring operational scale, customer-oriented options to meet decarbonization goals, alignment with federal and state public policy and predictable investment decisions. Improving wholesale markets “The principles are significant because American businesses are making wholesale market design a central priority not just to meet their own clean energy goals but also to shape the market structures that are critical to help decarbonize the entire power most affordably, for everyone,” said Bryn Baker, director of policy innovation at REBA. Operators should ensure customers have pathways to engage in decision-making, which is not always the case today, Baker explained. “Energy buyers can and want to have a seat at the table. It’s going to be really important that a broad cross-section of customer voices are present in these markets.”  From the perspective of a big buyer such as GM, an effective wholesale market can capture supply from a larger geographical area. This can help optimize for price, by buying wind one day in one region and switching to solar in another area on another day.  Diversity of sources reinforces grid resiliency, said Rob Threlkeld, GM’s global manager of sustainable energy, supply and reliability. In one region, solar power may be surging, while in another wind output is waning. “A wholesale market allows you to really match that generation with the load at the lowest cost possible,” Threlkeld said. A wholesale market allows you to really match that generation with the load at the lowest cost possible. “As we think about the wholesale markets, we want to drive toward a clean and lean grid,” Threlkeld added. “We’re moving from big, centralized plants to more decentralized operations … It allows us to optimize the grid itself, matching generation with load.” GM has accelerated its commitment to renewable energy, aiming to power 100 percent of U.S. facilities by 2030 and global operations by 2040. Wholesale markets can help, Threlkeld said, by hastening the deployment and procurement of cost-effective clean energy.  Energy consumers take the lead REBA’s efforts reflect wider trends in the energy industry, where households and big businesses alike are pushing energy companies to respond to their needs. “The conversation is shifting from a production focus to one where consumers are driving the next wave. It’s about what customers want and how they’re consuming power,” said Miranda Ballantine, REBA’s chief executive.  Localization of renewable energy is also guiding REBA’s agenda. In the past, companies had little choice but to contract renewable capacity from far-off markets. Today, more are seeking to procure renewable energy near their facilities on the same grid they operate. “More companies are saying that they want to time match those renewable electrons with their consumption,” Ballantine said.  Google recently unveiled plans that highlight the challenges corporate energy buyers face in upgrading their renewables sourcing from such a first-generation approach, where they may still use local fossil-generated energy but net that out against purchases elsewhere. In April, the internet goliath unveiled complex software-based plans to dynamically match its actual minute-by-minute consumption with low-carbon electricity supplies by region, a technical challenge no other large company has yet solved. For other companies, simply accessing regional grids with sufficient low-carbon energy remains a challenge. Somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of corporate assets are not in the kinds of regional transmission organizations (RTOs) that can draw and balance power from a wider region, Ballentine said.  “Those customers have very little opportunity in those markets to actually make choices to drive zero-carbon electrons to power their facilities,” Ballantine added. Absent organized wholesale markets, companies can’t really use their demand signals to drive change in the type of electricity they’re consuming.  Pull Quote The principles are significant because American businesses are making wholesale market design a central priority not just to meet their own clean energy goals but also to shape the market structures … A wholesale market allows you to really match that generation with the load at the lowest cost possible. Topics Renewable Energy VERGE 20 REBA Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GM’s Factory Zero program is building a new generation of EVs in a Detroit factory that will run on zero-emission power. Courtesy of General Motors Close Authorship

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Will Your Next House Be a Tiny Home?

October 2, 2020 by  
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Although the American dream used to involve a white picket … The post Will Your Next House Be a Tiny Home? appeared first on Earth 911.

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Will Your Next House Be a Tiny Home?

Earth911 Inspiration: We Belong to the Earth

October 2, 2020 by  
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Today’s Earth911 inspiration is from Chief Sealth of the Suquamish … The post Earth911 Inspiration: We Belong to the Earth appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Inspiration: We Belong to the Earth

Girl Scouts Camp Trivera combines STEM and sustainable architecture

September 9, 2020 by  
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Focusing on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education , with an architectural emphasis on integral sustainability, Camp Trivera is the first Girl Scouts campground of its kind. The space will serve as an educational and community center for the future female leaders of tomorrow in an outdoor setting. Inhabitat caught up with Shannon Evers, the CEO of Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma, to learn more about Camp Trivera. The facility is set to open in September 2020 in Oklahoma City. Inhabitat: This project has $12.7 million and three years of planning behind it. Can you speak a little bit about the inspiration behind it and how it came to be? Evers: Our mission: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma is proud to lead the way within our community and for the broader network of Girl Scouts throughout the country. Camp Trivera is a space dedicated to progress as a green oasis in the heart of Oklahoma City and a site for girls to pursue STEM education. Related: Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM Girl Scouts have been involved since the very beginning of the design process for Camp Trivera. When municipal planning for a new turnpike prompted the closure of a previous campsite, Girl Scouts hosted girls of all ages to discuss a dilemma — part of Camp Cookieland and area homes would be destroyed to make way or Camp Cookieland could be sold to provide land for the project. After a weekend of group discussions, the Girl Scouts’ vote was unanimous to sell Camp Cookieland, and we began the process of envisioning a new camp together. Our goals were to:  • Offer a centralized location in Oklahoma City where residents of surrounding communities could come together,  • Leverage partnerships that would heighten learning opportunities for girls, • Provide a comfortable space for girls and adults that are new to experiencing the outdoors while also providing progression for everyone to learn new skills along the way, and • Influence the next generation of STEM leaders by using the property to inspire girls to learn about science, technology, engineering and math. The new camp will be located east of the Oklahoma City Zoo and Myriad Botanical Gardens in the heart of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District. Our vision has come to life at Camp Trivera, and every time I walk the site, I see the elements our girls have selected. The site features three treehouses , a sleeping porch for hammocks and a zipline spanning four city blocks, which provides unique access into the Oklahoma City Zoo. There are also outdoor campsites where girls can stargaze and dream under the night canopy. Outdoor areas encourage independence and an appreciation of nature while indoor activities teach campers by allowing them to observe nature — even though we’re technically located in a big city. Camp Trivera’s STEM focus centers on the anticipated demand for future STEM professionals. Nationally, Girl Scouts of the USA is committed to helping 2.5 million girls find their place in the pipeline for STEM careers by 2025. Sparking girls’ interest in STEM from an early age with expert guidance is key. We look forward to providing the next generation of female leaders with the tools they need to consider a STEM career. Inhabitat: How will the camp function as a green space? Evers: Camp Trivera will utilize about half of a designated 40-acre parcel near downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s capital. Master gardening techniques will be taught on-site, along with lessons in conservation and how to take care of the space. Outdoor camping also gives participants a chance to be independent and learn how to take care of themselves in nature. Hiking , canoeing and archery will be just some of the activities offered in addition to a zipline that stretches more than four city blocks into the Oklahoma City Zoo’s Sanctuary Asia elephant enclosure, which is located just across the camp’s lake. Varied Girl Scout programs will also teach girls about the natural environment around them, including programs around everything from astronomy and animal habitats to swimming and rock climbing. Weddings, private events and community celebrations will also take place at Trivera, with intentional green space and minimal environmental impact as part of the amenities offered. Inhabitat: What are some of the sustainability design aspects of this project? How will it limit environmental impact? Evers: The site was designed with conservation in mind, and we used it as an opportunity to teach girls about conservation. Several efforts can be found throughout the site. All outdoor lighting is Dark Sky Rated to help minimize light pollution and allow girls to see the stars. Plumbing elements help reduce water use by 30%, and a rainwater harvesting system collects water from the rooftops to feed plants surrounding the building. Related: Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees Girl Scouts worked with an arborist during construction to determine which trees could be removed and which trees would be preserved to minimize impact on the existing landscape. Girls also added a butterfly garden to restore natural habitats that were affected by construction. We have also identified several 100- to 200-year-old trees on the property that will be tagged and protected as a learning opportunity for girls. We used windows as a design feature to maximize natural light and also allow girls to see the outside from key program spaces. We incorporated and reused historical picnic benches that were already onsite to provide gathering spaces throughout the property.  Daily operations also focus on sustainability and environmental stewardship. From recycling and encouraging reusable water bottles to teaching “leave no trace” principles and harvesting invasive plant species to feed to the elephants at the zoo, these best practices are sure to influence future generations’ outdoor habits. Curriculum lessons also include information about soil contamination, agriculture, global warming and noise pollution, in addition to other topics. Inhabitat: How important is it for you to be able to show girls real-life applications for STEM outside of classroom settings? Evers: To be competitive in the global market, over the next decade the U.S. will need an astounding 1 million more STEM professionals than it’s on track to produce. In fact, reports show that STEM occupations are growing at double the rate of other professions. At Girl Scouts, we’re committed to filling the STEM workforce pipeline by launching a multi-year initiative to engage girls in hands-on STEM programs that will inspire our future leaders. But it’s easier said than done. By the time most girls are in third grade, they’ve already formed their STEM identity and have decided if STEM is something they are good at or not. Our goal at Girl Scouts is to provide girls with unique experiences to try new things in a safe space so by the time they are in class, they already have knowledge and expertise that set them up for success and give them confidence to speak up.  STEM will be an integral part of Camp Trivera, where we will show Girl Scouts real-world applications for STEM outside the classroom . Our STEM focus goes beyond textbooks. Camp Trivera will allow us to offer after-school learning and badge-earning opportunities influenced by former Girl Scouts who are leaders in their respective fields. A NASA-certified instructor will lead designated courses in astronomy. With nearly every female astronaut having been a Girl Scout, the possibilities are endless. From space travel to medicine and more, the camp will host the next generation of female leaders following in the footsteps of Dr. Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space and a Girl Scout alumna. Programming was incorporated into the buildings’ intentional design. For example, the ceiling in our STEM lab was left exposed to show engineering principles at work through air ducts, waterlines and other building systems. A teaching kitchen demonstrates the science of cooking, along with math elements like temperature conversions, weights and measures and how cooking times affect an outcome. The practical application of these school subjects is immediately visible through cause and effect for Girl Scouts when they see how those factors impact things we use every day. Inhabitat: Why is it important to combine these more contemporary elements of STEM education with traditional outdoor activities, like camping? Evers: Early childhood and mid-level education studies consistently demonstrate the value of hands-on activities as a primary teaching tool. Working through problems in a real-world setting can help girls excel as problem-solvers. Camp Trivera offers various levels of camping, from traditional campsites to indoor sleeping rooms with domestic amenities. Girls can slowly be introduced to camping where they are most comfortable. Combining outdoor experiences with STEM also makes it more fun. For instance, our zipline, ‘The Monarch Flyway’, will zip girls across the Zoo Lake while they also learn about butterflies and the science of flight. Our rock wall also serves a dual purpose and teaches girls about geology, fossils and time. Inhabitat: Are there any other unique architectural or conceptual aspects that set this project apart from other Girl Scout camps? Evers: Camp Trivera is unlike any other Girl Scout camp in the U.S. With a STEM surprise around every corner, Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma has taken traditional camp activities and turned them into fun, STEM learning opportunities. Its unique features include a replica of the 2020 night sky permanently incorporated into its constellation-filled ceiling. A Wall of Women showcases more than 100 outstanding local and national female STEM leaders, a pully system in the stairway teaches girls about simple machines, and a technology and art installation in the bathrooms teaches guests about conservation. The camp’s sleeping options are varied too. Girls will have the ability to sleep in a treehouse, hammock or quadruple bunk-bed. Even seemingly small details are significant and part of the site’s intentional design. Floor-to-ceiling windows bring the outdoors inside as much as possible, and the varied colors of the brick used on our walls plus an indoor rock wall represent the earth’s strata and the varied geology found in nature. Camp Trivera is a legacy project that will serve generations of Girl Scouts from across the country, the communities they represent and our own community in Oklahoma City. + Camp Trivera Images via Girl Scouts Western Oklahoma

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Girl Scouts Camp Trivera combines STEM and sustainable architecture

The 6 months post-lockdown could determine Earth’s future

June 19, 2020 by  
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The  coronavirus  lockdown has left people marveling over clean air in Los Angeles and images of African penguins strolling through Cape Town. But emissions will rebound in a geologic blink of the eye. Energy expert Fatih Birol, executive director of the  International Energy Agency  (IEA), gives the world six months post-lockdown to get on track before the planet spirals into irreversible damage. “This year is the last time we have, if we are not to see a  carbon  rebound,” said Birol. Related: Coronavirus and its impact on carbon emissions According to the IEA,  governments  will spend about $9 trillion globally over the next few months to bail out their floundering economies. Exactly how that money is spent can make or break the planet’s future. “The next three years will determine the course of the next 30 years and beyond,” Birol told the Guardian. “If we do not [take action] we will surely see a rebound in emissions. If emissions rebound, it is very difficult to see how they will be brought down in future. This is why we are urging governments to have sustainable recovery packages.” The IEA published its own report outlining plans for a green recovery. This report prioritizes creating more green jobs instead of returning to the high-carbon economy. It also suggests jobs that will reform energy generation and consumption, such as constructing wind farms, erecting  solar panels  and retrofitting existing buildings to improve energy efficiency. April saw global carbon dioxide emissions plunge by an average of 17%. Unfortunately,  emissions  have already rebounded to within 5% of 2019’s levels. Birol is not alone in calling for a green recovery. Experts all over the world are urging reform. Some countries are listening. The EU has promised to center its economy on a new European green deal. Whether global leaders will follow through on putting their dollars into lowering emissions is not yet clear. + The Guardian Image via Pexels

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We Earthlings: 4 Questions for Conscious Shopping

May 19, 2020 by  
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Before you make your next purchase, ask yourself these four … The post We Earthlings: 4 Questions for Conscious Shopping appeared first on Earth911.com.

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We Earthlings: 4 Questions for Conscious Shopping

How COVID-19 can shape the response to climate change

May 13, 2020 by  
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How COVID-19 can shape the response to climate change Terry F. Yosie Wed, 05/13/2020 – 02:31 Part Two of a four-part series. Part One can be found here . As the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, insights are emerging on how to repurpose what’s been learned for the benefit of climate change mitigation. To date, most of the focus on the pandemic-environment nexus has been short-term. A number of environmental activists, for example, have recommended that temporarily reduced air pollution levels be made permanent through regulatory controls. Conversely, the Trump administration has used the pandemic as an argument to issue an open-ended suspension of the enforcement of environmental laws. These examples reflect the battle lines being drawn for an even larger conflict that is emerging over climate change policy.  Three key facts Three key facts highlight the growing stakes in play for climate change decision making. First, many parallels exist between arguments that deny the existence of climate change and the assertion that COVID-19 is a large-scale hoax designed to reduce personal liberty, confiscate the purchase and use of weapons and alter the traditional American way of life. Using Facebook and YouTube as principal social media organizing platforms and Fox News as a megaphone to broadcast their views, “denialists” have proven their ideology to be adaptable across multiple issues, including climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion and vaccinations against communicable diseases. Recent Washington Post investigations have reported linkages among groups that organize and financially support denialist demonstrations. Some of these groups also fundraise in behalf of the Trump re-election campaign. As the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, insights are emerging on how to repurpose what’s been learned for the benefit of climate change mitigation. Second, a principal argument used against greenhouse gas controls — that they rely upon data and protocols developed by scientific experts — has garnered substantial public support when applied to combating the COVID-19 pandemic. This result occurs because individual citizens understand that their personal well-being is at risk. Thus, they are more receptive to receiving guidance on how to mitigate this risk from medical professionals that they know of and trust. Also, the medical advice provided is both direct and practical — shelter-in-place, wear a mask, maintain social distancing. A similar opportunity exists to provide more specific climate change mitigation advice from independent scientists and professional bodies directly to citizens whose awareness of climate risks continues to grow. Third, there is overwhelming evidence that both the coronavirus pandemic and climate change damage were knowable and preventable. Numerous scientific reports, intelligence community assessments and public pronouncements from well-known public health or technology authorities such as Bill Gates warned, over a period of years, of the probability of a pandemic. The inability to respond to these warnings represents a system-level failure on the part of those responsible for protecting public health. A similar failure towards a system-level set of risks is unfolding with accelerating climate change. Over the past three decades, an elaborate evidence-based system has been in place for evaluating scientific data, modeling temperature changes and effects as varied as the melting of polar ice caps, sea level rise, heat waves and droughts and the spread of disease vectors. Unlike their health scientist counterparts, climate scientists have encountered a longstanding, organized campaign of skepticism and denial — funded by dark money business interests — about their peer-review procedures and their conclusions. This has resulted in direct harassment of both Individual climate scientists and established scientific bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and has directly slowed policymakers’ and civil society’s ability to respond to life-threatening climate risks. COVID-19 outcomes for climate change planning At this juncture of managing the COVID-19 crisis, three significant outcomes have emerged that can inform responses to the climate crisis: People have connected their personal well-being to expectations of government action. They expect the institutions of government (and civil society organizations) to act on their behalf by defining essential economic activities, providing needed medical infrastructure (hospital capacity, critical supplies and tests) and maintaining civil order. Governmental officials, medical professionals and citizens have embraced the need to “bend the curve” for COVID-19 incidence and mortality. Citizens believe they have a responsibility to each other by sheltering in place, frequently washing their hands, maintaining appropriate distances, limiting their mobility and wearing masks outside of their homes. This has occurred for reasons of self-interest but also stems from moral and ethical values and notions of good citizenship. Actions to bend the climate curve Public support for a goal to “bend the climate curve” can be built but will require national and International efforts to limit/reduce future greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and contain a worldwide temperature increase to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius over the next few decades (the two pre-eminent metrics for measuring success in bending the curve).  Three types of actions are required to achieve this goal: policy initiatives that can acquire sufficient political support to be enacted within the next two years; interventions by investors on climate governance; and behavioral change through moral and ethical appeals to individuals and groups. Policy actions Policy actions should be guided by the “Bill Gates Principle”: People should not waste idealism and energy on a policy that will not cause any reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Policy actions should encompass regulatory, tax and budgetary actions. They include: Rejoining the Paris Climate Accord , with the objective of renegotiating more ambitious climate targets and timetables with added transparency. Setting a U.S. objective of decarbonizing the economy through a policy of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 across all major industry sectors. Appropriate interim objectives also should be established. For example, the U.S. government and the utility industry should establish a goal for phasing out coal-fired power plants by 2030. The Obama administration’s Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards should be maintained and periodically updated. Removing all energy subsidies , including those for solar and other renewables. The latter have achieved a level of market competitiveness and will succeed in gaining expanded access to various energy markets. Fossil fuel companies, a growing number of which are heavily indebted or experiencing reductions in their customer markets, should compete in the future only on a market-clearing basis and not as rent-seeking enterprises. Avoiding transfer of public funds to large, carbon-intensive companies. Innovation potential is higher when funds are directed at new technology development rather than larger, more heavily capitalized firms with existing access to credit markets. Investor actions Investors have become increasingly active in engaging multinational companies on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments. Their influence is greatly strengthened by the performance of ESG or sustainability fund investment portfolios when compared against traditional benchmarks such as the S&P. Moving forward, investors should be: Intensifying engagement with CEOs and corporate boards on climate governance and commitments. Increasing synergy involving Climate Action 100+ (and allied partners) advocates, ESG-focused investment firms, individual analysts and shareholders have achieved some impressive gains in recent years and should accelerate. Shell Oil Company’s April 16 declaration to become a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, followed shortly thereafter by a similar announcement by French oil giant Total, are examples of such engagement. Investors should espouse that all Fortune 500 companies achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 with interim, transparent reporting benchmarks established for 2030 and 2040. Advocating the elimination of deferred carried interest. This refers to the preferred tax treatment received by hedge fund and private equity fund managers. Current rules treat carried interest income as a long-term capital gain (taxed at a U.S. rate of 23.8 percent) rather than as ordinary income (subject to a rate of 39.6 percent). This favored tax treatment is completely artificial, and benefits investors primarily interested in accumulating short-term gains rather than longer-term focused portfolios such as investments in sustainable energy. Carried interest deferral also contributes greatly to social inequality. Recommending that the financial transaction tax (FTT) be raised . Presently, each stock transaction is taxed at a rate of 2 cents per $1,000. Raising the FTT to $1 for each $1,000 of transactions will disincentivize high-frequency trading, create fairer markets, encourage longer-term possession of stocks and lessen inequality. Mobilizing citizens Persuasive facts directly engaging citizens must accompany policy and investor actions if a growing public awareness of climate change is to mobilize an aggressive movement to support greenhouse gas reductions. A citizen mobilization strategy should include: Expanding philanthropic support for grassroots citizen participation to distill climate change science into usable, actionable knowledge. This can be done by establishing academic fellowships, research centers and grants to develop position papers and other content; training citizens to participate in government decision making; and multiplying citizens’ voices at the grassroots levels and through social media. Leading philanthropists should pool their resources, using nonprofit, tax-deductible organizations, to invest at least $1 billion annually within the next two years and subsequently. Unlike the “dark money” contributions of foundations, whose aim is to weaken health and environmental protections and sow political divisions, the sources of pro-climate change philanthropy should be completely transparent. Convening community climate risk commissions to evaluate risk scenarios, the resilience of current infrastructure (drinking water systems, the electricity grid, subways and bridges). The outcome of this effort — ideally a collaboration of local governments with universities, nongovernmental organizations, progressive businesses and interested citizens — would be the development of a community climate plan to identify key local risks and recommended priorities and budgets for their resolution. Expanding the moral and ethical rationale for climate actions. The moral basis for reducing climate risks includes: self-preservation of humans and ecosystems that sustain all life forms; expanding economic opportunities that broadens the middle class, expands the social safety net and rewards investors; creating a fair and more equitable society; and protecting the earth for future generations. Coupling moral arguments with expanded economic opportunities (job creation, purchase of newer and cleaner products, investing in companies with highly rated environmental, social and governance portfolios) can unleash powerful incentives at market scale to transform enterprise management and consumer behavior to better manage climate risks. Contemporary society already has entered the era of system-level risk from climate change. By way of context, scientists evaluating the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic have concluded that mitigation measures taken in January-February were far more effective in avoiding disease incidence and mortality than later initiatives to self-isolate and shut down non-essential economic activities. In a similar fashion, delays in implementing climate mitigation and adaptation measures across the globe will result only in more draconian setbacks to life as we’ve come to know it. Leadership consists of mobilizing governments, businesses and citizens to support initiatives that can begin to bend the climate curve in the next two years. Pull Quote As the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to unfold, insights are emerging on how to repurpose what’s been learned for the benefit of climate change mitigation. Topics Climate Change COVID-19 Policy & Politics Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Catherine Zibo Close Authorship

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How COVID-19 can shape the response to climate change

10 tips for a successful online meeting or workshop

March 19, 2020 by  
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In a world where meetings are forced to go online, here are suggestions to make your next meeting — well, infectious.

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10 tips for a successful online meeting or workshop

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