Why sustainability professionals should embrace Black Lives Matter

September 21, 2020 by  
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Why sustainability professionals should embrace Black Lives Matter Charles Orgbon Mon, 09/21/2020 – 00:45 Long before corporations acknowledged Black Lives Matter, they championed the plights of specific endangered species. Corporate conservation campaigns used phrases such as “Save the [insert your favorite animal],” which have been catchy, effective and oddly similar to the language we’re now using to educate people about the status of Black life in America. The Disney Conservation Fund protects lions, elephants, chimpanzees and thousands of other species. Ben & Jerry’s brings awareness to declining honeybee populations. Coca-Cola appropriately is the longtime ally of the poster child for climate change, the polar bear. As a kid, I, too, was influenced by Coca-Cola’s messaging. At just 11, I thought I could stop global warming, so I created a blog with articles urging people, “Save the polar bears.” No one challenged me by asking, “What about the tigers? The tigers…matter, too! All endangered species matter.” The fact is, polar bears were (and still are) drowning due to global problems. If we addressed the root causes of those global problems such as reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, in fact, all endangered species would fare better. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” works similarly to “Save the polar bear,” only that Black people are drowning in a sea of systemic racism instead of a rising sea of melting ice. Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good. When someone says something such as “Save the polar bears,” they are also indirectly revealing other information about themselves. Perhaps they eat organic, use public transportation, recycle or take military-style showers. Likewise, when we say “Black Lives Matter” we are actually making a declaration about our belief that injustice somewhere is a threat to justice everywhere. All lives truly matter when those that are the most marginalized matter. Want to know how well our society is tackling climate change? Look to polar bears. If they’re doing good, we’re doing good. Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good. I spend a lot of time thinking about how white people are just awakening to the systemic racism that continues to thrive in every aspect of American life and how this systemic racism continues to affect me daily . If so many people have gone so long without acknowledging the reality that people of color experience every day, it’s not surprising that these issues have gone on for so long. Watershed moment Sometimes a watershed moment is needed to bring attention to a crisis. After all, no one cared about polar bears until Mt. Pinatubo’s 1991 volcanic eruption, which greatly influenced our scientific understanding of anthropogenic global warming and its impacts on arctic life. The catastrophic event was one of the most significant watershed moments for climate activism. Now, the Black Lives Matter movement is amid a watershed moment. White people are awakening from their own hibernation and acknowledging that, yes, as the statistics suggest, racism still exists. For example, Black people and white people breathe different air. Black people are exposed to about 1.5 times more particulate matter than white people. Give more than just a cursory glance to Marvin Gaye’s ” Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology) ” and you’ll discover its truisms: “Poison is the wind that blows from the north and south and east.” Researchers have found that toxic chemical exposure is linked to race : minority populations have higher levels of benzene and other dangerous aromatic chemical exposure. Lead poisoning also disproportionately affects people of color in the U.S., especially Black people. A careful examination of our nation’s statistics reveals myriad racial disparities. The polarity of experiences is startling. This influenced many well-intentioned white people to examine numerous situations and ask, “Is racial bias truly at play here?” I challenge that that’s not the question we must ask when we live in a world with such disparate statistics for communities of color. It’s much more powerful to ask, ” How is racial bias at play here?” Those who fail to confront how racial bias is often at play attempt to live in a colorblind world that does not exist. When tipping service workers, when selecting your next dentist, when making employment decisions, when raising children, seriously consider that the world is not colorblind. And to create a more equitable world, we have to fight more aggressively to counteract the evil that already exists. This is what it means to be anti-racist, or as the National Museum of African American History and Culture counsels, “Make frequent, consistent and equitable choices to be conscious about race and racism and take actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives.” So, what can allies do? Step 1: Take out a sticky note. Step 2: Write out the words ANTI-RACIST. Step 3: Put it on your laptop monitor and do the work. It’s a daily practice to filter your thoughts, communication and decisions through an anti-racist lens. Pull Quote Want to know how well our society is tackling racial injustice? Look to Black people. If we’re doing good, we’re all doing good. Topics Social Justice Equity & Inclusion Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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Why sustainability professionals should embrace Black Lives Matter

Scaling Circular Fashion in North America: Part 2

September 15, 2020 by  
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Scaling Circular Fashion in North America: Part 2 What will it take to transition the fashion industry toward circularity at scale? The need for urgent action is clear: While the lifespan of individual garments dwindles, the environmental footprint of the apparel industry continues to grow. But where there’s inefficiency, there’s often opportunity. From renewable and recycled inputs to new business models such as repair, rental and recommerce to end of life management and more — like enabling technologies, policies and partnerships — the apparel industry is ripe for a makeover. Building off the aspirational ‘future of circular fashion’ explored in part one, part two of this two-part session will focuses on redesigning the apparel industry of today, unlocking untapped value and scaling circular fashion in the North American market. A continuation of Part 1: https://youtu.be/_lTD3p5g6rA Speakers Beth Esponnette, Cofounder, Unspun Beth Rattner, Executive Director, Biomimicry Institute Debbie Shakespeare, Senior Director Sustainability, Compliance & Core PLM, Avery Dennison Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 23:11 Featured Off

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Forging a Resilient Circular Supply Chain

September 14, 2020 by  
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Forging a Resilient Circular Supply Chain Where should supply chain management and circular strategy overlap, and how can your supply chain advance the circular economy? From repair and remanufacturing to material reclamation, there are numerous ways to fold circular principles into your company’s supply chain. But what does it take to build these circular initiatives throughout a dispersed supply chain? What ROI can these changes afford? Can a circular supply chain hold more resiliency than its linear counterpart? Join this session to hear from companies forging robust, resilient, circular supply chains. Learn about the challenges they’ve faced as well as the risk mitigation and value they’ve seen as reward. Speakers Stephanie Potter, Executive Director, Sustainability and Circular Economy, US Chamber of Commerce Foundation Deborah Dull, Product Leader, GE Digital George Richter, Senior Vice President, Supply Chain Management, Cox Communications, Inc. James McCall, Senior Director, Global Climate and Supply Chain Sustainability, Procter & Gamble This session was held at GreenBiz Group’s Circularity 20, August 25-27, 2020. Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 09:39 Featured Off

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Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library to honor conservation and community

September 14, 2020 by  
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After the passing of his wife and mother, Theodore Roosevelt traveled to the Badlands of North Dakota. Journeying through the United States, he took the same route that The Henning Larsen + Nelson Byrd Woltz design team would make more than 135 years later to visit the future site of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library . The team’s vision? To honor the landscape and community that the past president came to love all those years ago. “There is a unique and awe-inspiring beauty to everything about the Badlands that you simply cannot experience anywhere else,” said Michael Sørensen, design lead and partner at Henning Larsen. “The landscape only fully unfolds once you are already within it; once you are, the hills, buttes, fields, and streams stretch as far as you can see.” Related: San Francisco library boasts a green roof and LEED Gold status That persistent landscape is what inspired the team to design a property that will pay homage to the important cultural and ecological history of the Badlands that was so important to Roosevelt in his time of need. “The design fuses the landscape and building into one living system emerging from the site’s geology,” said Thomas Woltz, principal and founder of Nelson Byrd Woltz. “The buildings frame powerful landscape views to the surrounding buttes and the visitor experience is seamlessly connected to the rivers, trails, and grazing lands surrounding the Library.” The design will also serve to educate a national and international audience as well as hopefully create a new generation of those who would work to conserve the Badlands, according to Woltz. The building itself is made up of four sections. A large tower (the Legacy Beacon), will become a formal landmark visible from throughout the area to bring the community together, create a hub and help guide the way for visitors. The lobby follows a spiral path to the main exhibition level meant to mimic the way Roosevelt would have gathered around the hearth. Each phase of the exhibition contains a space that overlooks a specific part of the surrounding landscape. + Henning Larsen + Nelson Byrd Woltz Images via Henning Larsen

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How BASF’s reciChain aims to improve traceability of recycled plastics

September 12, 2020 by  
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How BASF’s reciChain aims to improve traceability of recycled plastics The vision for BASF’s reciChain project is to take circularity into the real world by increasing traceability of recycled plastics. The company created a plastic additive that enables the traceability. Mitchell Toomey, director of sustainability for North America at BASF, shared an example of how it could work on a laundry detergent bottle: “Once that product goes to the end of its life and goes into recycling, it can be scanned an tracked at that point in time to give the recycler some information about what it contains,” he said, noting that the tracker could show the types of resins and plastics the packaging is made of. Toomey added that once a product is recycled, the tracker can be maintained through multiple uses. The pilot will need to be scaled to have a big impact but BASF is already working with partners across the value chain. “We believe by showing this proof of concept and showing that such a tracking material could actually work, we could revolutionize how sorting and recycling goes,” Toomey said. John Davies, vice president and senior analyst at GreenBiz, interviewed Mitchell Toomey, director of sustainability for North America at BASF, during Circularity 20, which took place on August 25-27, 2020. View archived videos from the conference here . Deonna Anderson Sat, 09/12/2020 – 14:47 Featured Off

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How BASF’s reciChain aims to improve traceability of recycled plastics

Commercial trucking’s future is in the details

September 8, 2020 by  
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Commercial trucking’s future is in the details Rick Mihelic Tue, 09/08/2020 – 01:45 One downside of a career as an engineer is that you are trained to notice detail. Robert Downey Jr., playing Sherlock Holmes in the 2011 movie “Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows,” is asked what he sees. His answer: “Everything. That is my curse.” It can make you the invaluable go-to person for information and analyses, and it also can make you the brunt of sarcasm and stereotyping. You are what you are. I had my son snap this photo as we were driving. I thought this one image captured a great deal of salient points I’ve learned after several years of researching medium- and heavy-duty alternatives such as battery electric, fuel cell electric and a variety of hybrid systems for the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). Let’s start with the obvious first: Feeding North America requires trucks and truck drivers. Trucks require energy. This energy has to be replenished regularly. COVID-19’s impact on the North American supply chain, hopefully, has heightened everyone’s appreciation that while food does grow on trees, a truck and driver probably has to get it to you. Over 70 percent of all freight moved in the United States is on trucks. If the trucks don’t move, you do not get food, toilet paper or masks. Those trucks are driven by people. They are taking risks now, and always have, to get you products you need to survive. The trucks need energy, whether diesel, gasoline, natural gas, electricity, hydrogen, propane, etc. That has to come from somewhere on a reliable and consistent basis or you do not get fed. Diving deeper into the photo: Fleets are commercial businesses that exist to deliver product to you. “Free delivery.” It’s a great advertising tag line, but there are no free rides; someone always pays somewhere. Buried in the cost of products are the costs of getting the product from its point of origin to you, the consumer. You may never see it, but fundamentally at some level you understand that the primary purpose of businesses is to be profitable. Embedded in the price you pay for goods are things such as vehicle maintenance, insurance, driver labor, warehouse labor, packaging labor, fuel energy, transport tolls, packaging disposal and, of course, profit margin. Profit is the whole reason a business exists in the first place. Companies that do not make a profit eventually collapse. Little of this detail is visible to you as a consumer. You generally have just a price and applicable taxes on your receipt. Occasionally “shipping and handling” are itemized, but this is probably only the last leg of the delivery. The “supply chain” is all of that infrastructure that gets the product to your door. Many corporations exist to make money from finding and delivering energy to transportation. There is a phenomenal amount of money invested, profits made and infrastructure tied to transportation related energy. They know change is coming. Energy providers such as Shell want to be around for a long time, so they are diversifying into a number of possible energy streams. Vehicle and component manufacturers are similarly diversifying with examples such as Cummins trying to cover most of the alternative technologies in their product portfolio. Utilities such as Duke Energy are getting engaged as well, forecasting major growth in demand for electricity, whether that’s for charging battery electric vehicles or for producing fuels such as hydrogen for fuel cell electric vehicles. Fleet operators such as UPS are experimenting with many alternatives trying to get experience to aid in planning investments. Venture capitalists also are everywhere seeking the next great investment. NACFE presented in its ” Viable Class 7/8 Alternative Vehicles Guidance Report ” the “messy middle” future, where a wide range of powertrains and energy forms are competing for market share. The future is not known yet. This diversity of choices is powering investment in all the alternatives as companies try to position themselves for this future. Prudent regulators are attempting to be technology-neutral while incentivizing significant improvement in market adoption, performance, affordability, emissions and durability. Fifteen states have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop action plans to ensure 100 percent of all new medium- and heavy-duty vehicle sales are zero-emission by 2050 with an interim target of 30 percent zero-emission sales by 2030. California already has enacted regulations requiring all trucks and vans sold in the state to be zero-emission by 2045. The near future may be the “messy middle,” but the longer view is heading toward zero-emission technologies. The gas station/truck stop paradigm is not necessarily the future. It’s an easy trap to fall into that we predict the future based on past experience. Psychologists label this sometimes as a familiarity bias. The gas station/truck stop paradigm we have evolved into may not reflect the future of transportation. Think of past examples. When the Eisenhower administration rolled out the national highway system in the 1950s, fuel stations and towns on venerable Route 66 suddenly found that they had been bypassed by the new multi-lane freeways. Higher speeds enabled by the freeways enabled fuel stations to be farther apart and co-located at key exits. The transition from coal steam trains to diesel electric ones in the 1940s and 1950s saw many fundamental shifts in infrastructure, with trains no longer needing water and coal refill stops. The development of jet commercial aviation in the 1960s largely eliminated the passenger rail system in the U.S. The advent of portable cellular phones has eliminated the ubiquitous phone booth system and all its infrastructure. Today, transportation is seeing daily innovations in alternative energy powertrains in parallel with major innovations in automation. The future is not known, but I bet the traditional gas station/truck stop will not look or operate like the ones of today. Even simplistically, a fully autonomous truck will not need to stop for food, snacks or a bathroom break. It won’t need to be located near convenient shopping or restaurants. As the alternative powertrains mature and become more capable, ranges will improve dramatically. When EVs come into existence that are capable of traveling 500 to 600 miles, energy stations planned around vehicles with a 100- to 200-mile range may be as endangered in the future as were the Route 66 gas stations in the past. Concepts in Europe to electrify highways with either in-pavement wireless or overhead catenary charging might eliminate fuel stations entirely. Some regions with growing numbers of EV cars have found that they primarily charge at home, and they rarely see a commercial charging station. Other regions see heavy use of commercial charging stations, but they may be tied to locations such as shopping centers or grocery store parking lots. In predicting the future, I like to refer to the cautionary note required on nearly all investment advertising, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” Predictions are easy. Really knowing the future is easier once you get there. Topics Transportation & Mobility Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Courtesy of Connor Mihelic Close Authorship

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New Arizona highrise takes sustainable luxury to another level

September 7, 2020 by  
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This 12-story residential tower doesn’t just boast an impressive luxury highrise  condominium  design, but also an award-winning green building design. The luxurious 7180 Optima Kierland is located in one of North Scottsdale’s most desirable areas, with lavish amenities throughout and a vertical landscape system with self-containing irrigation. The building debuted a new  green  design created by David Hovey Jr., Optima’s president and head architect. The architectural firm has already earned a reputation for its unique buildings that marry design with innovation and sustainability. Related: A massive green wall grows up the side of this luxury Italian hotel Both the rooftop and ground level feature  luxury  amenities. The 12th floor Sky Deck includes a cutting edge design that utilizes railings just beyond the skyline to create a negative-edge view, giving residents the sensation of floating above the city. The top floor Sky Deck also contains the state’s first rooftop running track, a heated lap pool, various seating areas and a spa complete with cold plunge pools, a steam room, a sauna and hydrotherapy capabilities. There is also an outdoor theater, indoor screening area, a fire pit area and an indoor/outdoor fitness studio. On the ground floor, residents enjoy an additional gym and spa, a covered dog park and dog wash, a game room, a catering room and more. Sustainable elements include perforated panels on the facade along with sun-screening louvers to create textured shadows. During construction, builders used post-tension concrete and aluminum. A variety of energy-efficient and carbon-reducing design aspects, combined with water-conserving plumbing fixtures, give the building added eco-friendly elements. The building’s most impressive  sustainable  feature has to be the innovative vertical landscape system; built-in self-containing irrigation and drainage allow for vibrant, colorful plants that start at the edge of each floor and grow up and over the building. A six-acre park accented by a water feature and landscaped with  drought-resistant , desert climate plants surrounds the building. This green space helps reduce ambient temperature, creating a microclimate that lowers the temperature by between five and nine degrees. + Optima Kierland Images via Optima Kierland

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Scaling circular fashion in North America: Part 1

September 1, 2020 by  
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Scaling circular fashion in North America: Part 1 What could a circular fashion industry look like in 2050? The need for urgent action is clear: While the lifespan of individual garments dwindles, the environmental footprint of the apparel industry continues to grow. But where there’s inefficiency, there’s often opportunity. From renewable and recycled inputs to new business models such as repair, rental and recommerce to end of life management and more — like enabling technologies, policies and partnerships — the apparel industry is ripe for a makeover. Part one of this two-part session explores what the circular fashion industry of 2050 has in store. Experts and innovators share their aspirations for the future of manufacturing, traceability, and fabric innovation. Speakers Cory Skuldt, Associate Director, Corporate Citizenship Beth Esponnette, Cofounder, Unspun Beth Rattner, Executive Director, Biomimicry Institute Debbie Shakespeare, Senior Director Sustainability, Compliance & Core PLM, Avery Dennison Ellie Buechner Tue, 09/01/2020 – 13:02 Featured Off

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North Carolina denies permit for extension of Mountain Valley Pipeline

August 13, 2020 by  
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North Carolina has made a step toward clean energy by denying the permit needed for further construction on a pipeline. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) has  denied a key permit to the Mountain Valley Pipeline that would have extended the project by 75 miles. The Mountain Valley Pipeline was expected to be extended from where it ends in Chatham, Virginia to Graham, North Carolina. The project had been earmarked to follow a route that would see it cross over 207 streams and three ponds. Among the water sources that would have been affected by the project are the Dan River, home to many endangered species , and the Creek Reservoir, which is the main source of drinking water for Burlington, North Carolina. NCDEQ issued a decision to stop the pipeline from being extended, casting doubts over the likelihood of the project ever being completed. Related: Appalachian Trail spared from Atlantic Coast Pipeline “Today’s announcement is further evidence that the era of fracked gas pipelines is over,” said Joan Walker, senior campaign representative for Sierra Club. “We applaud the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality for prioritizing North Carolina’s clean water over corporate polluters’ profits. Dirty, dangerous fracked gas pipelines like Mountain Valley threaten the health of our people, climate, and communities, and aren’t even necessary at a time when clean, renewable energy sources are affordable and abundant.” When issuing the ruling, the NCDEQ noted that the risks involved in developing and running the project are not worth the trouble. Further, there have been doubts about whether the Mountain Valley project will ever be completed. Although the developers claim that 92% of the pipeline is complete, it has been established that only 50% of the project has been completed. North Carolina has been making positive strides toward clean energy. Companies that pollute the environment with greenhouse gases are now being challenged to look at better, greener options. The decision to deny permits to such projects just shows the state’s commitment to a more sustainable future. Via EcoWatch Image via Gokul Raghu M

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North Carolina denies permit for extension of Mountain Valley Pipeline

Migratory birds triumph over Trump administration

August 13, 2020 by  
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Migratory birds had a victory on Tuesday when a federal judge struck down the Trump administration’s latest anti-bird move. By rewriting the Migratory Treaty Bird Act (MTBA), Trump wanted to allow polluters to kill birds without repercussions. The MTBA was first enacted in 1916 and codified into federal law in 1918 to protect birds that were going extinct. Originally, it covered certain species of birds in Canada, which was then part of Great Britain, and the U.S. Later, the act broadened to include more species and more countries, including Mexico, Russia and Japan. The MTBA is one of the oldest wildlife protection laws in the U.S. and was one of the National Audubon Society’s first big victories. Related: US and Canada in drastic crisis with 3 billion birds lost since 1970 Since 2017, Daniel Jorjani, solicitor for the Department of the Interior, has pushed to change the rule. Jorjani’s proposed update would punish construction companies, utilities and other industries, whose work sometimes kills birds , only if they intentionally harmed avian populations. This contradicts the spirit of the act, which urges companies to consider migratory patterns of birds in a project’s development phase. Fortunately for migratory birds, U.S. District Court Judge Valerie Caproni upheld the act. “That has been the letter of the law for the past century,” Caproni said. “But if the Department of the Interior has its way, many mockingbirds and other migratory birds that delight people and support ecosystems throughout the country will be killed without legal consequence.” Environmentalists and bird advocacy groups celebrated the victory. “We’re elated to see this terrible opinion overturned at a time when scientists are warning that we’ve lost as many as 3 billion birds [in North America] in the last 50 years,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “To relax rules, to have the unhampered killing or birds didn’t make any sense [and] was terrible and cruel really.” Via EcoWatch and Audubon Image via Wolfgang Vogt

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