Yes, climate marches are working

July 5, 2019 by  
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If you’re on social media or watch the news, you probably noticed that protest marches have increased in incidence and popularity in this era of Trump. The President’s political and personal actions have sent the opposition out on the streets, including mass protests for issues from women’s rights to climate change and everything in between. Up until recently, social scientists believed aggressive protests alienate activists from potential supporters, but the massive popularity of recent climate marches have turned this idea on its head. The popularity of the People’s Climate March (2017) and Youth Climate Strike (2019) spurred participation from all walks of life and changed the stereotypical face of an activist to be– well, anyone. This critical shift may render marches one of the most powerful political tools. Trump’s election was a “blessing for the climate movement.” His anti-environment policies, like closing national parks and slashing the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, have galvanized the opposition and united groups that don’t agree on much except that Trump is terrible for the environment. Related: Climate change will push 120 million into poverty Climate fanatics have become likeable A new study from Penn State University examined public opinion before and after the March for Science and the Peoples’ Climate March, both in 2017, and found that unlike previous marches, these helped boost likability and support. So, what is different about climate activists? All of the nearly 600 people interviewed heard about the marches through the media, but did not attend. The results of the survey indicated that across political affiliation, participants reported that the activists were “less arrogant, less whiny and less eccentric” than other activists. Clearly, activists have a negative connotation in the minds of the American public, but something about these climate marchers was slightly different. Activists get a bad rep A widely cited study on activism from 2013 concluded that depending on the tactics, certain acts of civil disobedience lose supporters. For example, acts viewed aggressive, militant or wasteful (think: throwing red paint on a fur coat) mostly earn activists scorn— but not support. These feelings of scorn reduce peoples’ willingness “to adopt the behaviors that these activities promoted,” the research team from the University of Toronto reported . “If you were a bystander in 2017, if you were looking at the march, you’d see people of faith, labor unions, people of color and frontline communities,” the director of the People’s Climate Movement, Paul Getsos said about the March. “It wasn’t your typical kind of activist march; it counters the narrative that no one cares about climate change. If we were just mobilizing the usual activist base, I know for a fact it wouldn’t have had the same impact.” What is the point of marches? In general, the goal of a march is to inspire people to support the cause and to get government to act. In her article “ To have impact, the People’s Climate March needs to reach beyond activists ,” Jill Hopkes argued the goal of marches needed to be to gain attention and support from people who did not already support the cause. Garnering this far-reaching impact is incredibly important and it’s where marches can get it right or get it wrong. Surprisingly, survey respondents of the University of Tornoto study, who identify as conservative, reported an increase in what researchers call “collective efficacy.” This means an increase in their belief that together, we can solve the climate crisis . Climate marches, because of their palatability and sheer numbers, may make a difference in terms of gaining supporters across the aisle, but will that lead to action? In an op-ed for Grist, Director of Climate Justice for the Center for Popular Democracy, Aura Vasquez, argued that this intentionality to reach not only across aisles but across cultures is critical. “It’s about sending a message of unity that crosses color lines and income scales. It’s about demonstrating the diversity of the climate movement, the diversity that gives us our strength,” wrote Vasquez. Related: Polls show climate change is a determining issue for 2020 elections The Climate Movement started at Standing Rock Aura Vasquez also makes sure to give credit where credit is due, citing: “Standing Rock is when the movement truly bloomed, bringing together thousands of people from every corner of the country to block a pipeline that threatens ancient water sources and blatantly disregards treaties with sovereign First Nation.” As the protests at Standing Rock bubbled and grew into something larger than just a small sect of activists, the indigenous-led movement began to make “a powerful argument that wove together environmental, racial and economic justice, water protectors were able to attract both die-hard climate activists and allies brand-new to the cause,” said Vasquez. From there, the momentum for the climate and science marches grew. Suddenly, with over 300 marches throughout the country, the climate movement became something that everyone could get involved with, even those who weren’t militant (or privileged) enough to skip out on work and fly to North Dakota to protest a pipeline. Inclusive tactics will reach non-believers Researchers and critics of general marches have suggestions for how the activists can be more inclusive and effective, including more carefully selecting who is the face of the protest and what messages they use in order to avoid the “whiny, arrogant and eccentric” stereotype. Seasoned environmentalists may have thought people would join their fight when the science came out over 30 years ago that fossil fuels were altering the climate. But the truth is that emissions have gotten drastically worse. It’s clear, then, that facts from scientists might convince some, but they aren’t enough to sway the public. Climate Outreach suggests that the visuals used by both the media and the activists themselves also have a role to play in their reputation and supporters they attract. According to the climate communication advisors, visuals that show the negative impacts of climate change alongside positive solutions help people understand the gravity of the crisis. Climate Outreach also encourages “careful use” of protest imagery, since many people still do not identify with activism. However, to the extent that protest images show diversity and unification– rather than aggression– this new research indicates these images may be the turning point toward finally achieving political action, together. Via Grist Images via Mark Dixon, NiklasPntk , filmbetrachterin

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Yes, climate marches are working

Henning Larsen breaks ground on BEAM Platinum-targeted Shaw Auditorium in Hong Kong

April 23, 2019 by  
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Shortly after completing the “greenest school” in Hong Kong , Copenhagen-based Henning Larsen has broken ground on yet another sustainability-minded project— the Shaw Auditorium for The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Designed with modular seating, the multipurpose auditorium will be a flexible space that can accommodate a wide range of cultural events from concerts and musicals to conventions and exhibitions. The elliptical building will also feature climate-optimized design for reduced energy consumption and is expected to become the first of its kind in Hong Kong to achieve the city’s BEAM (Building Environmental Assessment Method) Platinum sustainability rating. Located on a hilltop overlooking Sai Kung Bay, the Shaw Auditorium will serve as a gateway to the university campus and a hub where academic and student life intersects. The building consists of three concentric rings stacked together to optimize panoramic views of the landscape through walls of glass that illuminate the interior with natural lighting. The facade will be painted white to reflect sunlight; the stacked rings are slightly offset to create balconies that double as sunshades . “Our design aims to become an example of a sustainable subtropical architecture, hopefully influencing the construction industry in this region to design with more consideration to our climate,” Partner and Design Principal at Henning Larsen, Claude Bøjer Godefroy explains. “We also aimed to create the most transformative and innovative auditorium in this region to match the reputation of the University, and to make sure the venue will be lively at all times.” Related: Hong Kong’s “greenest school” champions environmental stewardship Shaw Auditorium’s modular seating can be adapted to fit a variety of programs and is able to seat 850 to up to 1,300 visitors, while the hall can also be turned into a large flat floor area. As a result, the auditorium can take on different “modes” and morph from its default “Learning Commons” setup to accommodate concerts, conferences, theater productions, banquet halls, exhibitions and congregations. The curved auditorium walls can even be used as a 360-degree projection screen for an immersive audio-visual experience. The building also includes auxiliary classroom spaces, public furniture and an integrated cafe. The project is slated for completion in 2021. + Henning Larsen Images via Henning Larsen

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Henning Larsen breaks ground on BEAM Platinum-targeted Shaw Auditorium in Hong Kong

Carnival Corporation is polluting oceans while on probation

April 23, 2019 by  
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The popular cruise liner Carnival was charged in 2016 for excess ocean pollution, yet the company is still breaking U.S. laws. New court findings show that Carnival’s fleet of cruise ships have dumped more than half of a million gallons of oil, sewage and food waste into the ocean from April 2017 to April 2018. Carnival is currently on probation for violating ocean pollution standards and is being monitored for any further violations. Between the springs of 2017 and 2018, the company had as many as 800 events related to illegal dumping of materials and substances. According to the Miami Herald , many of the incidents were not intentional and involved things like furniture items accidentally being dumped overboard. Related: Plastic pollution is causing reproductive problems for ocean wildlife But around 24 of the reports were related to sewage , oil or food dumping. An additional 19 of the incidents involved burning fuel in areas that have been deemed protected zones. The company reported the events either in official log books or to authorities. Although Carnival clearly has improvements to make, the report of findings praised the company for being cooperative with authorities, both on shore and on board the vessels. Carnival has also implemented measures to cut down on future violations, which is at least a step in the right direction. One area that needs significant improvement is Carnival’s flawed system for internal investigations. The study found that Carnival needs to give more power to its compliance manager, Chris Donald, who was appointed by the courts to oversee environmental issues . Without proper authority, Donald has little influence over making policy changes that affect the whole company. After being convicted for large-scale pollution in 2016, Carnival promised to pay $40 million in fines and remain on probation for five years. For reference, the company made over $3.2 billion in profits last year. The company is currently in its second year of probation, and court filings continue to show violations of environmental law. Via Miami Herald Image via Carnival Corporation

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Carnival Corporation is polluting oceans while on probation

FEMA scrubs statistics on Puerto Rico’s lack of water and electricity from website

October 6, 2017 by  
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After Hurricane Maria — a category 4 storm — knocked out power for Puerto Rico ’s 3.5 million citizens, the FEMA website became a major lifeline for Americans to stay informed of recovery efforts. However just yesterday vital details vanished from the agency’s website – including statistics on how many people have access to electricity and clean water . Now, only information that showcases recovery efforts in a positive light is available. As a result, it is difficult to know the true extent of damages in Puerto Rico, and how citizens are coping with the aftermath. On Wednesday, the website clearly stated that 5 percent of Puerto Rican citizens have access to electricity and 50 percent have access to clean water. Later that night, the information was erased. As Gizmodo reports, more “positive” information is now shared, including the percentage of hospitals open (92 percent) and the percentage of grocery stores open (65 percent). There’s no longer any data on water availability – instead, there’s a new section on “Water/Wastewater Impacts,” and the only thing it reveals is that 64 percent of wastewater treatments are functioning. Also, instead of an Infographic detailing recovery efforts, there is now a photo of helicopters delivering relief supplies and another of a soldier hugging Puerto Rican residents. Information on the number of federal staff (14,000) and FEMA personnel (800) on the ground are still available on the website. Information on open airports (100 percent) and miles of roadway cleared in total (20 miles) is forefront and centered on the website, as well. When pressed for question, a FEMA spokesperson told The Washington Post that the information is still available on the Spanish website , which Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló maintains. Reportedly, the FEMA spokesperson had no idea why the federal agency was erasing information from its own site “that made it look bad.” Related: The Puerto Rico nursery still up and running thanks to solar power Some suspect President Trump’s recent visit had something to do with the agency deleting valuable statistics. When Trump visited the island earlier this week, he seemed more concerned with his reputation than actually helping the less fortunate. In fact, Trump “jokingly” told the storm-ravaged people that he was spending too much money on them. “I hate to tell you, Puerto Rico, but you are throwing our budget out of whack,” Trump said. “We’ve spent a lot of money in Puerto Rico .” The President added that Hurricane Maria wasn’t a “real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina. FEMA spokesperson William Booher told The Washington Post: “Our mission is to support the governor and his response priorities through the unified command structure to help Puerto Ricans recover and return to routines. Information on the stats you are specifically looking for are readily available.” + FEMA Via Gizmodo, The Washington Post Images via Hayales De Coama , FEMA , CNN, The Japan Times

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FEMA scrubs statistics on Puerto Rico’s lack of water and electricity from website

Sustainability leadership amid fear and pressure

August 22, 2016 by  
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Lessons for leaders: Believe in the positive side of people; don’t shy away from conflict; and know that your reputation has less to do with what you do than how you do it.

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Sustainability leadership amid fear and pressure

The Report Report: Rate the raters and build your reputation

March 4, 2014 by  
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Here's the latest crop of reports covering key management issues for sustainability professionals.

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Are the Proposed Revisions to LEED Forestry Standards Greenwash?

October 7, 2011 by  
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Toronto Star Ad Yesterday, during the GreenBuild 2011, the  world’s largest green building conference,   ForestEthics and three other organizations ran an ad in the Toronto Star warning  that new forestry standards proposed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) would drastically lower its standards, and would effectively greenwash other destructive practices which the USGBC and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) were ostensibly designed to rise above The advertisement depicts the U.S. Green Building Council’s logo with one small change: it now reads “U.S. GreenWASH Building Council”, followed by the headline “The Proposed Changes To LEED Aren’t Just In The Fine Print.” ForestEthics, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation, and Rainforest Action Network are the advertisement’s signatories. Executive Director of Forest Ethics, Todd Paglia said, “An environmental standard that rewards forest destruction might be what big logging companies want, but it will be the last thing green building owners and architects want to be associated with.” The Forestry Standards Issue: At issue are proposed changes to the LEED rating systems that concern forestry standards and wood used in building construction. The advertisement projects that the new standards would reward the use of materials sourced from recklessly clearcut forests and rainforest destruction-– precisely the types of impacts the green building movement has sought to challenge. It concludes that for LEED, all wood is good wood unless illegally logged. Opponents to this change feel this revision ignores the negative impacts of industrialized logging. Currently, only wood products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) are eligible for LEED points, which will no longer be the case. The opponents also cite a major report about the precarious state of the world’s forests in The New York Times on October 3rd. The article notes that as the world increasingly relies on forests to absorb carbon,  water, generate oxygen, protect habitats, and produce key ingredients for medicine, forests are disappearing due to logging, land use changes, and increasing feedback loops from a changing climate. The LEED Side of the Story What LEED is actually proposing is a clear set of metrics , proposed as the USGBC Forest Certification System Benchmark, that any forest certification system must meet in order to be recognized within LEED. Under the newly proposed credit language, wood certification systems would be evaluated for eligibility to earn points towards LEED certification against this measurable benchmark that includes - Governance, Technical/Standards Substance, Accreditation and Auditing, Chain of Custody and Labeling USGBC has been studying this issue for two years with input from a widely diverse set of stakeholders, and with the support of internationally recognized experts from the Yale Program on Forest Policy and Governance and Life Cycle Assessment experts at Sylvatica. The idea is to allow USGBC’s to identify its own goals and to create transparent rules of access. Under such a system any certification scheme that meets USGBC’s benchmarks will achieve LEED recognition and not just FSC. Illegal logging is an issue of major global concern, and there is widespread stakeholder support for stemming trade in illegally produced timber. USGBC can increase its effectiveness in promoting responsible wood use by focusing not just on rewarding the top performers, but also “weeding out the bottom”, i.e. wood from destructive forestry operations so it is never used in a USGBC project. Instead of USGBC choosing certification programs, certification programs would choose to conform to the specific set of performance requirements established by USGBC for recognition in LEED. So, the new standards that are currently been proposed are not exactly greenwash. It seems like the USGBC is taking a broader approach to the forestry standards and FSC will not have the monopoly in certification.The USGBC also had opened these changes to public comment, so the organization is definitely trying to be transparent in its operations. Both USGBC and FSC have received some flak in recent times that have harmed their reputation. There are both pitfalls and advantages to this system so what remains to be seen is the final outcome of the public comment and resultant effect on the certification process.

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Are the Proposed Revisions to LEED Forestry Standards Greenwash?

Sports Teams Growing Green Thumbs

May 27, 2011 by  
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While the trend to going green may have been met with some hesitation in some circles, it has been picking up steam in the world of professional and collegiate sports in recent years. Professional sports teams in recent years have jumped on the green bandwagon to satisfy the green demands of many fans; along the way, the teams have teamed up with non-traditional sponsors and trimmed costs too

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Sports Teams Growing Green Thumbs

Lighthouse Stadium is a Glowing Green-Roofed Beacon

October 22, 2010 by  
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In the city of Belfort, France a new green-roofed stadium has arisen on top of the centuries-old fortification of a defensive wall. The glass-shrouded green-roofed sports complex stands in smart contrast with the neighboring 17th century stone walls, and at night it gives off a gentle glow signaling “game on”

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Lighthouse Stadium is a Glowing Green-Roofed Beacon

Green-Roofed 8 Tallet Complex Officially Opens In Denmark

October 21, 2010 by  
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Read the rest of Green-Roofed 8 Tallet Complex Officially Opens In Denmark http://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/ohttp://www.inhabitat.com/wp-admin/options-general.php?page=better_feedptions-general.php?page=better_feed Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: 8 house , big , Bjarke Ingles Group , Green apartment , green roof

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