This moment: An open letter to the GreenBiz community

June 2, 2020 by  
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This moment: An open letter to the GreenBiz community Joel Makower Tue, 06/02/2020 – 02:11 In the wee hours of Nov. 9, 2016, shortly after Donald Trump was declared the 45th president of the United States, I sat down and penned a note to the GreenBiz community. A lot of us were shocked, confused, depressed and angry that this vulgar man, who saw climate change as a hoax and “beautiful clean coal” as our savior, would be setting the national agenda at such a critical time. It was “a stunning and devastating indictment of decency, fairness and inclusion,” I wrote that morning. And: It will be critically important, for both our individual sanity and our collective future, that we stay the course, double down, make every program, project, partnership and product count. That was then. The past few days, in the wake of the national upheaval over the death of yet another black man at the hands of yet another white police officer, have been similarly filled with angst and anger within the sustainability community. “What do we do?” we’ve asked one another. Should we simply stay the course, doubling down on our work on climate and the clean economy, which is growing more urgent by the day? Or do we stop, take stock and rethink what we do? Today, I’m not sure that staying the course is, in and of itself, what’s needed. It may be time for a radical rethink: Given all that’s changing, what does the world need of us now? Whether you come from privilege or poverty, whether your education comes from the best schools or the streets, whatever your politics or identity, this is a brutally tough moment. The coronavirus and economic crash already had laid bare the inequity and disparity among the classes and races: those who have a job and those who don’t; those who are able to earn a living at home versus those who must risk going to an employer’s workplace during a pandemic; those who are able to afford food, shelter and healthcare, even amid economic upheaval, and those who can’t; those who feel comfortable walking or driving or just being outside their home, and those who fear that any moment could lead to their becoming the next George Floyd, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice or Sandra Bland. Now, all of those inequities and disparities have been cast into the open. To the extent they existed in the shadows — festering societal problems to which those with power and privilege largely threw up their hands — they are now center stage. To the extent these problems could be ignored — that one could live life without having to reckon with race, poverty and inequality — they have been thrust onto our individual and collective doorsteps. To the extent they were topics relegated to hushed, private conversations — well, those conversations are full-throated, 24/7 and inescapable. To the extent these problems could be ignored — that one could live life without having to reckon with race, poverty and inequality — they have been thrust onto our individual and collective doorsteps. The calamities of 2020 — the physical, economic, social and psychological crises we’d already been confronting these past few months — have contributed to this raw moment, the culmination of centuries of systemic oppression and institutionalized racism. Words of comfort, of healing and hope, aren’t cutting it, and they shouldn’t. For those of us working in sustainability, it raises some fundamental questions. Among them: What led you to this work in the first place? Was it to protect the unprotected? To ensure the well-being of future generations? To engender community resilience? To create solutions to big, seemingly intractable problems? Or maybe, simply, “to make the world a better place”? If so, then this is the moment to live up to those lofty goals — fully and, most likely, uncomfortably. That means having difficult conversations with family, colleagues, friends and peers. It means recognizing — really, truly recognizing, not just mouthing the words — that nothing is sustainable if people are in pain. It matters little how much renewable energy is generated, how many circular supply chains are created, how much organic or regenerative food is produced if our fellow citizens are being exploited, discriminated against, threatened and worse. This is what ‘sustainability’ should be about — the security and well-being of all species. This is what “sustainability” should be about — the security and well-being of all species, including humans — and it no doubt will provoke nodding heads among many of you. But nodding heads aren’t enough. They never were and certainly aren’t now. This is a moment for the private sector to step up. Not just in helping to calm and heal, although that will be a critical task in the coming days and weeks, but also to lobby for justice: economic justice, racial justice, criminal justice, climate justice. And to deeply understand what these terms even mean, and how they relate to creating the societal value that is the beating heart of business.  This is a seminal moment that is testing all of us — those in sustainability, certainly, along with most everyone else. And as we work on or support societal solutions — and countless ideas are likely to come out of this, from every conceivable source — it’s important to ask some simple but profound questions: Who’s setting the rules? Who’s calling the shots? Who’s being heard? Who’s left out? Who’s benefiting from the status quo and from the proposed solutions? Does it empower the marginalized or merely placate the restless? These are the kinds of questions that have been woefully absent in the past. And we are living with the result. If we are to change the course, not simply aim to get back to some elusive “normal,” these questions will need to be asked and answered. Failure to do that will lead us right back to where we are. I’d like to end on a positive, hopeful note, much as I tried to do back in November 2016. But hope and positivity are in short supply right now. So I’ll just say this: Don’t underestimate your power in this moment. You may not feel powerful, particularly in light of the deafening voices screaming in the streets and on our screens. But there is power in us all: to care for those around us, to contribute time and resources at the community and national levels, to take the time to truly comprehend the issues before us and to understand that silence is complicity. Pull Quote To the extent these problems could be ignored — that one could live life without having to reckon with race, poverty and inequality — they have been thrust onto our individual and collective doorsteps. This is what ‘sustainability’ should be about — the security and well-being of all species. Topics Policy & Politics Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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This moment: An open letter to the GreenBiz community

Cities replace citation fees with school, pet supply donations

August 15, 2019 by  
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In many towns around the country, getting a parking ticket is an opportunity to do good. Police departments in cities from across the country allow parking violators to pay for their ticket by donating school or pet supplies to local schools or shelters. In some towns, news of the program spread so fast that even people without parking violations contacted the police with donations. In Muncie, Indiana, officers had to dispatch a police vehicle to pick up contributions at donors’ homes. Their program focused on pet supplies after a police officer’s daughter noticed the shelter was overwhelmed with hundreds of abandoned kittens during the breeding season. Nearby towns were calling the Muncie police department asking for details on how they could run similar donation programs. “Nobody likes to get a parking ticket. But if you can pay it forward and give a donation of school supplies that will help somebody, it kind of makes it less bad,” said Las Vegas city spokesman, Jace Radke. Related: A guide to going green for the back-to-school season Las Vegas has operated a similar donation program since 2016, with just a one month window in the summer for donations. Parking violators between June and July have 30 days to bring in un-opened school supplies of equal value and their ticket is waived. So far this summer , the police department has collected $1,707 in donations that they hand over to a local nonprofit affiliated with the school system. “It’s reached people that don’t even have a parking ticket to pay. They just want to do good,” said Erin Vader from Olathe, Kansas, which runs a similar donation program. Most tickets eligible for the donation program are small, low-risk tickets that equal about $25, as is done so in Muncie. For the majority of the programs, larger tickets, or more serious violations that might require a court hearing are ineligible to meet the donation option– including parking in a handicap space, or in a fire lane. Via Washington Post Image via Pexels

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Cities replace citation fees with school, pet supply donations

Woman arrested in Florida for stomping on sea turtle nest

June 18, 2019 by  
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Last weekend, a woman was arrested and taken into custody for prodding and stomping on a protected sea turtle nest on Miami Beach in Florida. The woman, Yaqun Lu from Hudsonville, Michigan, was reported by bystanders, who saw her actions and alerted the police. The police also witnessed her stepping on and poking at the turtle nest. The section of the beach where the nest was situated was blocked off by tape and “Do Not Disturb” signs, indicating that the area is a protected nesting site. Three species of turtles typically nest along Miami Beach: loggerhead turtles, green sea turtles and leatherback turtles. All three turtles are protected by the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973. It is also illegal to interfere with sea turtles, their nests or their hatchlings, according to Florida state legislature. Related: Study finds microplastics in sea turtles around the world According to a Miami Beach website on the importance and vulnerability of turtle nesting sites, “It is important not to disturb [sea turtle] hatchlings, eggs or nests since hatchlings need to crawl to the sea unimpeded. Touching nesting females, taking flash pictures of nesting females or hatchlings or digging into nests is prohibited by law.” Nesting season typically runs from April to October. Female turtles can lay up to 100 eggs per nest and approximately seven nests per season. Predators, marine debris and illegal fishing have contributed to the decline in sea turtle populations worldwide. It has not yet been publicized why the woman was interfering with the nest; however, spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez of the Miami Beach police department said, “Thankfully, it appears the eggs were not damaged.” Lu is being held on a $5,000 bond and is facing a felony charge of harassing a turtle nest. She will be represented by a public defender. Via Huffington Post Image via Mitch Lensink and TravelingOtter

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Woman arrested in Florida for stomping on sea turtle nest

Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

March 19, 2018 by  
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The Swiss police are electrifying! The Basel-Stadt canton announced in a recent press release that they plan to replace their fleet of diesel vehicles with seven Tesla Model X-100D electric vehicles. Although the purchase will be expensive, at about $147,000 a piece, the police are convinced their overall costs will fall. Plus, they expressed concern about reducing their environmental impact . In addition to lower maintenance costs, the police expect the resale value of Tesla vehicles to be greater than that of their existing fleet. And they aren’t concerned with running out of juice while on a high-speed chase. “With a current charge the Tesla drives at least 500 kilometers,” they wrote in their press release. “Vehicles of the alerting patch cover an average of 200 kilometers per day per day.” Related: Dubai police unveil electric hoverbikes Dutch security firm Force Pro have customized the Basel city police’s new vehicles, according to regional daily the Basellandschaftliche Zeitung . Force Pro sales director Theo Karanfantis told the paper cited connectivity and communication as among the Tesla vehicle’s key benefits. “A conventional car brings a police officer from A to B,” he said. “What Basel police are now buying is a laptop on wheels”. Two charging stations will be installed at Kannenfeld and Clara police stations, according to the press release. Lastly, the police said the Tesla X-100D is the only electric vehicle on the market that is capable of meeting their needs. + Basel Police Via The Local Images via Tesla

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Swiss police to replace diesel fleet with 7 Tesla Model X-100Ds

Police brutally attack DAPL demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets, and sub-freezing water cannons

November 21, 2016 by  
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As protests over the in-progress Dakota Access Pipeline continue to grow near Standing Rock, North Dakota, demonstrators seek new ways to carry on a peaceful resistance in the face of brutal police force. Late on Sunday afternoon, self-proclaimed ‘water protectors’ attempted to remove the burned out cars police had previously used to barricade the bridge on Highway 1806, partly in an effort to gain visibility along the roadway. Morton County Sheriff’s Department, still supported by supplemental National Guard soldiers from other states, responded by firing rubber bullets into the crowd at close range, exploding tear gas bombs and concussion grenades, and shooting water cannons at the demonstrators despite the sub-freezing night air. The result was a chaotic scene where dozens of wounded protesters were left to ward off hypothermia after being soaked with icy water in 25F weather.

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Police brutally attack DAPL demonstrators with tear gas, rubber bullets, and sub-freezing water cannons

Ecocor starts production on groundbreaking new prefab passive homes

November 21, 2016 by  
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvRvvkXcfaQ The Goldenrod design is 1,051 square feet, and preliminary pricing is around $330,000. The original design comes with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, but Scott wanted extra space for a workshop . Scott’s Goldenrod will be one and a half stories tall. Ecocor was able to increase the size of the house through the use of an Ecocor Passiv Roof, which draws on the same materials as the Ecocor Passiv Wall. According to Pedranti , the roof increases home size “by capturing the area directly under the roof typically used for attic insulation.” The Ecocor Passiv Roof is the sole opaque roof in America to obtain certification from the Passive House Institute in Germany. Related: North America’s first fully prefabricated passive houses could revolutionize the housing market Scott grew up in a passive solar house built in 1979 by her parents. She said she was drawn to Ecocor and RPA’s Solsken Line because of their use of advanced technology and quality materials like cellulose insulation instead of foam insulation. The home will be complete in an estimated six to eight months. Customization took six weeks, and it takes an additional four to six weeks to manufacture the panelized roof and wall pieces. The panels will be shipped via trucks to Scott’s 8.7 acre site. Once there, the panels can be assembled in a snappy two weeks. After plumbing and electricity are put in, and the house is finished, Scott could move into her home in Spring 2017. + Ecocor + Richard Pedranti Architect Images via Ecocor

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Ecocor starts production on groundbreaking new prefab passive homes

Afghan Police Shoot Endangered Bird They Thought Was Wearing a Bomb

December 2, 2014 by  
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On a weekend in America dedicated to eating dead birds, an innocent and endangered bird became the most recent victim of Afghanistan’s fight against the Taliban . Motherboard reports that on Saturday Afghan police killed a “suspicious-looking” bird on a roadside because it was wearing an antenna, which they saw as a sign the bird could be wearing a bomb. Read the rest of Afghan Police Shoot Endangered Bird They Thought Was Wearing a Bomb Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: afghan , afghan police shoot endangered bird , afghanistan , bird , bomb , Emirates Center for Conservation of Houbara , endangered , houbara , police , roadside , shoot , taliban , Uzbekistan , Wildlife conservation

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Afghan Police Shoot Endangered Bird They Thought Was Wearing a Bomb

UN Reveals Billion Dollar Price Tag Associated with Environmental Crime

November 6, 2013 by  
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Photo of waste shipping container via Shutterstock Illegal deforestation , animal poaching and the shipping of toxic waste are all environmental crimes that cost the world billions of dollars each year, the UN recently reported. In order to promote greater cooperation between the police and environmental officials and stem such crimes, 500 law enforcement and environmental experts from around the world are meeting for the International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference in Nairobi this week.  Interpol and the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) have also teamed up to find solutions that will arrest lucrative environmental crimes that are destroying our planet. Read the rest of UN Reveals Billion Dollar Price Tag Associated with Environmental Crime Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Achim Steiner , animal poaching , environmental crime , Illegal deforestation , International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference , international fund for animal welfare , law enforcement and environmental experts cooperate , Nairobi UNEP and Interpol Conference , shipment of toxic waste , syndicated crime networks , UN Environmental Program Executive Director , United Nations Environmental Program        

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UN Reveals Billion Dollar Price Tag Associated with Environmental Crime

10 tips for engaging with activists

June 18, 2013 by  
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Here's how you can turn protests against your brand into positive change. For starters, don't call the police.

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10 tips for engaging with activists

Man Caught Trying to Smuggle Over Ten Percent of an Entire Endangered Species into Thailand

March 28, 2013 by  
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Smugglers already have to answer to the police if they are caught, but a 38-year-old Thai man may have to answer to a much higher authority for attempting to steal almost thirteen percent of an entire species. According to the watchdog group TRAFFIC , law enforcement arrested the man at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok and found that he was attempting to steal 54 ploughshare tortoises, a critically endangered species from Madagascar. Not only was he abducting a large number of rare animals, but his haul put a dent in the conservation efforts of organizations hoping to preserve the 400 individual animals thought to be left in the wild. Read the rest of Man Caught Trying to Smuggle Over Ten Percent of an Entire Endangered Species into Thailand Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: baggage , bankok , CITES , engandgered species , luggage , madagascar , ploughshare totroise , smuggler , suvarnabhumi international airport , Thailand , traffic

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Man Caught Trying to Smuggle Over Ten Percent of an Entire Endangered Species into Thailand

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