Companion plants to consider for your spring garden

March 11, 2021 by  
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Like humans, good plant companions bring out the best in each other. Throughout the forest, certain plants need the same resources and will cause competition between plants. In contrast, companion planting ensures plants are good neighbors, supporting each other instead of clashing. As an example, look to nature, where smaller plants take shelter from taller trees. In the gardening realm, this means equitably sharing nutrients and upholding each other, in a very literal way. It also means improving the health and overall yield of individual plants. When it comes to your garden, think about partnering up some classics that will benefit your landscape and your favorite garden-fresh recipe . Benefits to companion planting Choosing the right plants to combine in a space means being able to use every square foot. Intercropping results in lower plants growing upward by using taller plants as support. It also means different plants aren’t fighting for the same resources, so while carrots grow underground, an adjacent and shallow-rooted lettuce won’t infringe. Related: Top gardening trends of 2020 and what to watch for 2021 In addition, appropriately matched companion plants will provide insect control for the entire space. Similarly, many flowers attract desirable insects (like bees !) that can help out in the garden, naturally. For example, carrots, dill, parsley and parsnip attract beneficial insects like praying mantises, ladybugs and spiders that dine on problem insects on other garden plants. Other benefits of one plant to another include natural shade protection, weed suppression and healthier soil. The famous trio — The Three Sisters Any book on companion planting will mention a Native American discovery known as “ Three Sister Planting .” This trio brings together corn, beans and squash and serves as a perfect example of the power of companion plants. The corn, tall and sturdy, supports the beans below that naturally climb the stalk. The beans, like all legumes, balance nitrogen in the soil, which feeds the corn. Meanwhile, the squash, often in the form of pumpkins, quickly develops large leaves that provide shade and natural weed-blocking for both the beans and the corn. Companions to popular spring crops Here are some excellent suggestions for what to pair with the most popular plants going in the ground this spring. Tomatoes When you get the tomatoes in the ground, surround them with dill and basil to protect them from invasive hornworms. Lots of crops partner well with tomatoes, including asparagus, beans, carrots, celery, lettuce, melons, mint, onions, parsley, peppers, radishes, spinach and thyme. As you move through the seasons, replace the cool weather, early season options with those that perform better during the summer heat. Cabbage Although you don’t want to put cabbage next to tomatoes, they do have several companions in common. Intermingle sage to deter cabbage moths. Also add in beans, celery, cucumbers, dill, kale, lettuce, mint, onions, potatoes, spinach and thyme as the weather and seasons allow. Radishes Radishes are quick-growing, cool weather veggies perfect for spring planting. Radish is also a great partner for other garden inhabitants, because it grows underground. Common radish companion plants include basil, beans, carrots, cucumber, coriander, lettuce, melons, onions, peas, spinach and tomatoes. Keep radishes away from kohlrabi and hyssop. Lettuce All leafy greens appreciate the cool days of spring and start to struggle with the heat that summer brings. The many varieties of lettuce partner well with just about anything else you’re able to plant, and some plants will even keep lettuce shaded and cool enough to extend its season a bit. Good garden neighbors for lettuce include asparagus, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach, strawberries, sunflowers and tomatoes. Just keep lettuce away from broccoli. Peas Snow, snap and string peas also excel in a spring garden, especially when paired with beans, carrots, corn, cucumbers, radishes and turnips. Do not allow peas to share garden space with onions and garlic. Onions and garlic Like co-workers after a garlicky lunch, these plants deter a wide range of pests. Even with their notoriously strong statement as a vegetable, the plants are mild and friendly with most garden neighbors. The exception is beans and peas, which are stunted when paired with onions and garlic. Potatoes Avoid putting potatoes next to sunflowers. Otherwise, they are fairly happy in any neighborhood. They do especially well when coupled with beans, cabbage, corn, eggplant and peas. Overall good neighbors There are some plants that are generally seen as good neighbors to everyone. As pest control, marigolds are universally acknowledged for the ability to repel nematodes, a particularly aggressive little bugger. Nasturtiums, in contrast, draw aphids toward them, keeping the insects from munching down nearby tomatoes, lettuce, kale and cabbage. Related: Companion planting for beginners Although toxic to livestock, tansy can be a welcome addition to the garden as a repellent for cutworm , which can decimate asparagus, bean, cabbage, carrot, celery, corn, lettuce, pea, pepper, potato and tomato plants.  Many herbs including catnip, hyssop, rosemary and sage will scare off the cabbage moth, an enemy of crops like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnip and radish. Also note that you can improve your pest control by avoiding planting large groupings or rows of the same type of vegetable, which can serve as a bullseye for problematic pests. Space considerations In addition to balancing out each other’s needs, companion plants work together to provide the greatest yield in the smallest space. Efficiency and organization in your garden means placing quick-growing spring selections like lettuce, spinach, radishes, swiss chard and carrots in between the early buds of long-season crops like melon, pumpkin and squash. With this technique, the quick crops will be ready for harvest before the sprawling plants need more real estate to grow. Images via Adobe Stock

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Companion plants to consider for your spring garden

Nestlé and Microsoft on financing circular innovations

February 22, 2021 by  
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Nestlé and Microsoft on financing circular innovations Elsa Wenzel Mon, 02/22/2021 – 01:30 A circular economy looks different within each industry, but its broad vision of healing the harm from the industrial economy’s extractive, polluting original sins is appealing more to a variety of businesses. A small number of influential large companies are creating internal funds to support sustainability goals specific to circular economy initiatives, such as designing out waste and recovering materials from products used internally or sold in the market. The eyes of traditional investors are widening to the landscape as well. It’s an early-stage, sometimes loosely defined space, where many solutions remain unproven, but the long-term payoffs in terms of sustainability and cost reductions could be enormous. That’s the hope of several early movers in circular economy investing, who shared their insights at the GreenBiz 21 virtual event in early February.  Nestlé and Microsoft are among the noteworthy corporations putting considerable investments behind circular programs involving products and services, in service of their sustainability targets and with an eye to spark broader change across their industries. “I would almost challenge people to not think of it as, ‘I have to set up a fund separate from,’ but it’s more of, ‘How do I set up our business to operate differently going forward?’” said Anna Marciano, head of U.S. legal sustainability at Nestlé USA. “If we’re going to make sure that we’re using more recycled content, if we’re going to ensure that we’re going to reduce carbon emissions, then we need to be tracking that. So then our procurement team needs to be monitoring that and they need to be held accountable for all of our ESG commitments.” If you’re going to use more recycled content, you’re going to use alternative materials for packaging, you have to be ready to make the capital investment needed in your infrastructure in your factories. One goal of Closed Loop Partners (CLP), entering its ninth year, is to bring together institutional investors with strategic corporate investors who seek to build a circular economy for their supply chains while helping their sustainability goals. (CLP’s private-equity Closed Loop Leadership Fund , launched in 2018, counts Nestlé, Microsoft and Nuveen among its investors.) “I have heard more in the last few years, probably than ever before, companies talking about investing off their balance sheets to achieve some of these goals, which I think is new vernacular for a lot of companies,” said Bridget Croke, managing director at CLP. Nestlé’s circular recipe Also about one year ago, Nestlé launched its $2 billion sustainability fund , to support companies developing innovative packaging and recycling technologies through 2025. (The company’s first investment was in the Closed Loop Leadership Fund.) The producer of coffee, candy and cocoa also created a nearly $260 million venture fund in support of planet-friendly packaging technologies. Its broader sustainability targets include getting to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.  Nestlé’s circular plans include, by 2025, reducing virgin plastics in packaging by one-third and making all of its packaging reusable and recyclable. But goals aren’t enough without something to back them up, Marciano said. “If you’re going to use more recycled content, you’re going to use alternative materials for packaging, you have to be ready to make the capital investment needed in your infrastructure in your factories,” Marciano said. “And so it becomes really critical for this to be a mindset shift to say, yes, this is absolutely what we need to achieve.” Nestlé knew it had to invest in designing packaging for the future to meet its packaging commitments, so it established its Institute for Packaging Science in 2019 in Switzerland. One pocket-size result is new recyclable paper packaging for Smarties candies, popular in the U.K. “That’s really where the strong collaboration, the collective action of financial investments come into play,” Marciano added. ”So we’re really targeting investments to help transform the recycling infrastructure, so we could advance the circular economy at the end of the day.” Microsoft’s circular formula Similarly, as a corporate citizen, Microsoft aimed to look beyond the four walls of its own operations toward suppliers and customers, and other industries it touches, to enable circular markets to grow, said Brandon Middaugh, director of Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund.  Like Nestlé, Microsoft also looks at translating its goals into circular economy action in terms of designing out waste, reusing and recycling materials and products, and replenishing natural resources that it uses — three pillars reflected by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The investment strategy includes identifying and prioritizing the major areas of waste that apply to Microsoft’s own supply chains and operations, including its devices, cloud infrastructure and campus operations, Middaugh said. One new initiative is to build Microsoft Circular Centers  to further the reuse of computer servers and other hardware from the company’s data centers.  “We really recognized that it was not enough to set the operational goal and to do that work internally. We needed to be partnering externally and reaching outside into the market to try to be an advance team for the innovation in the industry,” she said. Microsoft is one year into its $1 billion, four-year Climate Innovation Fund . Carbon, water, waste and ecosystems are the core focus areas for the software juggernaut, which is aiming to carbon negative by 2030, removing all the carbon it has historically emitted by 2050. If you are not going to invest, what’s the cost of not investing? The fund, a joint finance-sustainability initiative, is one of three balance-sheet ESG funds at Microsoft, in addition to others around affordable housing and racial equity.  Middaugh said it’s useful to have a unified playbook toward a single goal, which may lean on products, operational investments, employee engagement and even advocacy, using partnerships in civil society. For Microsoft, the main points are about being carbon negative, water positive, zero waste — and building a ” planetary computer ” that harnesses artificial intelligence (AI) to recommend resource protection measures, tree by tree. Tangible examples of these include reducing electronic waste and packaging hardware without waste. “Then it’s also about giving the tools for traceability and transparency that we, our customers, need to be able to track circular economy themes,” Middaugh said. Those areas of strategic importance cascade to the investment strategy as well. How to prove circular success? For traditional investors, sustainability with a sound return on investment is key, according to David Haddad, managing director and co-head of impact investing at Nuveen , a subsidiary of TIAA. “We want there to be an economic viability, because our time horizon tends to be relatively shorter than many of these larger companies.”  And traditional institutional investors are challenged by the need to make a certain return within a relatively short time frame, maybe five or 10 years, which may not be enough for a market to mature.  Ways to reduce the risk around investments can include investing in research and innovation; proving that new business models are moving in a certain direction and integrating that into the business; and exploring longer-term contracts, according to Croke. Nestlé’s sustainability fund is already driving results, said Marciano, who is also division general counsel for Nespresso USA and International Premium Waters. “We have access to more recycled plastic already, we’re able to integrate it into our Stouffer’s business, into our Coffee mate business, into our water business,” she said. “So we see it working already. And it’s only been a few months in.” Middaugh noted that Microsoft focuses on metrics around the use of recyclable materials; landfill diversion in terms of solid waste and the construction and demolition waste at its campuses, and an overlapping focus on embodied carbon. “And in terms of how we integrate those with the rest of the decision process. It’s really around assessing the impact, assessing the risk and then looking for that impact and risk-adjusted return,” she said. For Nestlé, measuring circular economy success involves improving recycling rates beyond the company itself by spurring improvements in recycling infrastructure more broadly, encouraging consumers to recycle too. But that’s tricky. The question of measuring social impacts, not just the environmental ones most companies have prioritized, is another matter. Haddad noted that as an impact investor, there’s no cookie-cutter recipe, but Nuveen works closely with each young company to determine relevant metrics, and any failure to be able to report on those alongside financial performance will make it a no-go for funding. Croke agreed that limited tools for tracking certain metrics related to circular goals are difficult for companies or municipalities, but a bonus to working with large tech companies is being able to identify and address data gaps and useful technologies. Partnerships and collaborations are essential How does a sustainability advocate make the business case for investing toward circular, sustainable solutions? What’s the benefit of leveraging the company’s balance sheet or other capital? Early corporate movers may offer useful examples. Croke noted that some companies may find it hard to identify such investment opportunities and run up against limits to the size of deals they can take on. “And so the ability to invest through other funds helps sometimes open up opportunities to invest in things that might be too early-stage or small that need some de-risking,” Croke said. Partnerships with third-party leaders can help when trying to apply lessons to the rest of the business from initiatives around circular servers, recycling and reuse, Middaugh said. She, Marciano and Croke agreed that no organization should try to go it alone when addressing a systemic challenge as large as growing a circular economy. For example, it’s upon Nestlé to share its expertise in sustainable packaging, collaborating with other stakeholders to make sure it’s not introducing harmful materials into products. Such relationships can improve the wheel in multiple areas. And policy advocacy is another spoke of the wheel for Nestlé. Middaugh added that collaborations should involve early-stage innovations and pilots — such as sharing information with other companies exploring advanced materials — as well as later-stage infrastructure buildout. Microsoft is working with suppliers to update its supplier Code of Conduct to reflect its carbon and sustainability goals, also providing the tools to help its partners meet their goals.  The coming transition CLP draws connections across that ecosystem by backing circular efforts by municipalities, recycling facilities and material recovery facilities (MRFs). It has invested, for example, in Amp Robotics , which offers early-stage AI for recycling facilities, and PureCycle Technologies , whose technology turns polypropylene back into virgin-quality material. CLP started an innovation hub to support pre-competitive ideas. Croke agreed that data points around diversion of material and greenhouse gas impacts, to name just a couple, are relatively simple to understand. “What I think is sometimes more interesting, and a little bit harder to measure is the catalytic impact that’s being had, we’re all trying to completely transform a supply chain, the way that the supply chain works from being linear to being circular, and the linear supply chain is quite scaled,” she said. “The economics are very efficient today.” However, there’s going to be a lead-up time to building up the scale for new, circular models. In time, costs will expand for existing linear systems, becoming less attractive to newly affordable circular ones.  “But what we’re finding is that there are definitely specific investment opportunities today that are profitable, that makes sense for the institutional kind of partners make sense for our corporate partners, and hopefully create the levers that unlock, value and scale for the rest of the system,” Croke added. Haddad advocated for companies to recognize private equity firms as a force multiplier. “We can really bring capital to bear and our experience with boards and governance to scale those things,” he said. Marciano insisted that it’s not necessary to invest millions of dollars to get started. Pick up the phone and talk to people, and take other small steps to explore circular possibilities. “If you are not going to invest, what’s the cost of not investing?” she said. “Think of it that way, and really try to inspire others within your organization to take a chance … What’s the worst that could happen? You asked for the money and you’re told no or not yet. But at least you’ve already planted the seed, that you believe that the money is needed and could make a difference.” Pull Quote If you’re going to use more recycled content, you’re going to use alternative materials for packaging, you have to be ready to make the capital investment needed in your infrastructure in your factories. If you are not going to invest, what’s the cost of not investing? Topics Circular Economy Finance & Investing Corporate Strategy GreenBiz 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) On Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off  Illustration of circular economy in industry. Shutterstock MG Vectors Close Authorship

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Earth911 Reader — Sustainability: The Texas Weather Massacre and Bill Gates’ Green Vision

February 20, 2021 by  
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Extreme Weather Breaks Texas’ Fossil Fuel and Renewables Energy Grids … The post Earth911 Reader — Sustainability: The Texas Weather Massacre and Bill Gates’ Green Vision appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Reader — Sustainability: The Texas Weather Massacre and Bill Gates’ Green Vision

Is your environmentalism intersectional? It should be

December 4, 2020 by  
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Is your environmentalism intersectional? It should be Deonna Anderson Fri, 12/04/2020 – 01:30 In late May and then in June when companies and individuals were posting black squares across social media as a symbol of their commitment to Black lives, in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, eco-communicator Leah Thomas was thinking of a more concrete, tangible way to improve the environmental movement in a way that intentionally includes Black, Indigenous and other communities of color. In that moment, Thomas founded Intersectional Environmentalist (IE), a mission-driven organization committed to dismantling systems of oppression by amplifying historically silenced voices in the environmental movement, along with co-founders Diandra Marizet, Philip Aiken and Sabs Katz.  “We want transparency. We want people to be inclusive, and we want people and companies not to be silent on these issues anymore because that’s how we’ve gotten to this point in the first place,” said Katz, director of communications at IE. “By continuing to be silent, we will only perpetuate these negative aspects of society.” I spoke with Katz (pictured left) about what the organization has been building since it was founded in June, its new partnership with TAZO and the Intersectional Environmentalist team’s hopes for 2021.  This interview has been edited for length and clarity. Deonna Anderson: What has Intersectional Environmentalist been up to since you founded the organization a few months ago? Sabs Katz: It has been a little bit of a whirlwind just really understanding the amount of growth that we’ve had in less than six months. But we’ve been focusing our efforts on a couple of different pillars that are really central to IE as a business. One of them is community building. We do that through our Instagram page. And we have a website as well that aggregates a lot of educational resources that look at different topics and look at different communities for people who are interested in learning more about intersectional environmentalism. So we’ve been focusing on community building there.  We’ve also been developing an accountability program for businesses to incorporate intersectional environmentalism into their workplace. And we’ve been focusing on really developing and hoping to set a standard as a business and show other companies that you can be a mission-driven company and still pay your workers fair wages. You can still be profitable and have all of these positive initiatives that can make a difference in the world and yeah, not really compromise your values. Anderson: Can you describe what intersectional environmentalism is and how that’s different from environmental justice and climate justice or how those things might work together? Katz: I’ll start off with a little bit of background. Intersectional theory and critical race theory has been studied largely by Kimberlé Crenshaw , a professor and a lawyer. And she really inspired Leah Thomas, our founder, to incorporate this idea of intersectionality into environmentalism because a lot of times, when we do hear the term intersectional it’s applied to feminism. So Leah, when she was in college, heard and understood intersectional feminism and identified with that but noticed that within the environmental space there wasn’t really a lot of that applied to people’s environmentalism.  And historically the environmental movement has been very white-washed. So after the murder of George Floyd in May, she came out with this graphic that ended up going viral that said environmentalists for Black Lives Matter and defined intersectional environmentalism, a form of environmentalism that advocates for both people and the planet and identifies the ways that injustices are done to certain groups of people without minimizing or silencing under-amplified voices within this space. Intersectional environmentalism … is more of a framework for one to achieve environmental justice. So someone can be an intersectional environmentalist with the goal of attaining climate justice.         View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by Leah Thomas (@greengirlleah) Anderson: Because the GreenBiz audience is mostly corporate sustainability professionals, I’m curious about your business accountability program. Can you tell me how that program works?  Katz:  Right after we were created, there were a lot of companies reaching out to us who wanted to partner with us in different ways or just to find out how to incorporate a more intersectional perspective into their business, into their CSR goals. We developed this accountability program because we wanted people to continue doing the work, and we didn’t want to lose the momentum of people being activated and using their voices. The accountability program is made up of four modules over the course of four months, so there’s one module per month.  There are a couple of different aspects but one of them is largely an online coursework program where the company can participate and learn more about intersectional environmentalism. They can learn more about why it’s important to have sustainability goals and also have diversity goals. I feel like when we see a lot of companies that participate in sustainable practices, it’s very non-human-focused in many ways.  For example, a lot of fashion companies might use organic cotton or maybe they’ll use recycled plastic. But one thing that they might not necessarily talk about is how the production of plastic can cause pollution. A lot of chemical factories or factories that create plastic are located in largely BIPoC [Black, Indigenous and people of color] communities and cause negative health consequences. We want to really encourage companies to lean into those conversations and not minimize those conversations that are deemed maybe a little bit too political. Because what we’re seeing a lot of is that a lot of new folks in Gen Z, a lot of millennials, want to be supporting companies that are transparent. They want to support companies that have a stance against social injustice and environmental injustice. So it’s not only something that is good for moral’s sake. It’s good business practice as well. Anderson: It sounds like you are encouraging businesses to take a more holistic approach to the way that they achieve sustainability within their business versus just their bottom line and thinking more about people. Katz: Absolutely. And within the environmental space for so long, the conversation has been very focused on conservation or it’s been focused on like plastic in the oceans, all of which are obviously very important conversations to have. But we are not really talking about the ways that humans are being negatively impacted by the effects of the climate crisis and disproportionately BIPoC communities and low-income communities are being impacted. And those are the voices that continue to be erased within the environmental movement because it seemed a little bit too political. But when these are realities that are happening every day, it does no good to continue ignoring or to continue silencing those voices when we should be all fighting for an environment that is just for everyone. So that is one of our main goals with this program. Anderson: Intersectional Environmentalist recently launched a partnership with TAZO Tea to help with the launch of IE’s first cohort of interns, with a $250,000 donation from the tea brand. I’m curious about how the internship program works and also how the partnership came about. Katz: Leah Thomas, our founder, had been in contact with somebody from TAZO. They’re a huge fan of Leah herself. And so this has been a conversation that’s been going on for a little bit going back and forth because TAZO has been wanting to take a stance and wanting to invest in environmental justice organizations. We as IE have always known that we want to pay people for their work, and we don’t believe that people should be giving free labor. And we believe unpaid internships should be abolished because they’re just frankly not fair. And they take opportunities away from people who might not be able to work for free. A large part of what we do is find ways to make sure that we can pay all of our activists, all of the activists on our team. We’re still pretty young. Sometimes our budget’s a little bit scrappy. But we don’t want to take advantage of people. So this partnership is really a collaboration in many ways because of TAZO’s desire to really support a lot of these environmental justice initiatives. It does no good to continue ignoring or to continue silencing those voices when we should be all fighting for an environment that is just for everyone. And our goal is to continue growing as a team and also ensure that everybody on our team is paid fair wages. All of our interns are paid $21 an hour. And we just want to make sure that we set the standard, like I said before, to show companies that regardless of how big or how small you are, there are ways that you can fund your interns. And so we don’t want these huge companies, especially companies that are much larger than us, to think that it’s still OK to have unpaid internships when there are ways to really fund that.  Anderson: Has the internship already started for these folks? Katz: Yes, the first official day was Nov. 10 on Tuesday right after the election. So it was kind of a whirlwind. But yes. They started a couple of weeks ago. We have a creative cohort of interns. We have eco-communication, social media, environmental justice research interns. And it’s been really exciting hearing the feedback. I know we received well over 1,000 applications, and the applications were only open for a week. So it really shows the desire and the need for more companies to really be imbuing these ideals of social justice and environmentalism within their business. And it’s showing that people want to do this work, and people really want to make their voices heard and be a part of a community that is making a real difference in the world. Anderson: It seems to me that your partnership with TAZO is kind of unique. Are there opportunities for other businesses to get involved with IE? And do you have visions of ways that businesses can get involved outside of your business accountability program and things like this partnership with TAZO? Katz: Absolutely. I think one thing that I forgot to mention earlier is that we do partner very thoughtfully with certain businesses. For example, today we’re doing a series of cookouts with Impossible Foods. We do a lot of social media partnerships. We partnered with Allbirds, a sustainable footwear company. And they created a bunch of posters that were put up in New York City. They were put up in [Los Angeles] and San Francisco in partnership with IE. We are very open to doing partnerships in many different ways. That being said, we want to be very thoughtful and considerate and develop relationships with these businesses rather than having it be a one-off thing because we’re really focused on that community-building aspect. I would say there are definitely other ways to partner with us, not just within that accountability program respect. Anderson: I’m looking forward to seeing what those other partnerships become. Pivoting a bit, 2020 is almost over — it’s been an interesting year, and IE was started this year. I’m curious as we go into 2021, what are some of IE’s hopes about the impact that you have on the environmentalism movement? Katz: I’ll split it up into two different answers. The first one, what are our hopes? Our hope is really to bring intersectional environmentalism to the mainstream environmental movement and have that be the focus of every future environmental conversation. We don’t want it to just be talking about the polar bears. Obviously, we want to talk about the polar bears. But we want to really have the conversations of how are people being impacted? And who are the folks who are most impacted by the negative aspects of the climate crisis? We can no longer continue to ignore the ways that BIPoC communities are being disproportionately impacted.  We’re already seeing climate refugees, folks who are no longer able to live within their communities or within their countries because the weather is too hot to live there or the conditions, the air conditions, the air pollution conditions make it no longer a viable community. We really want folks to not shy away from these conversations. When we look at a lot of environmental organizations, a lot of environmental nonprofits, the largest ones are ones that focus on conservation. They focus on nature. They focus on animals. All of which are absolutely wonderful.          View this post on Instagram                       A post shared by IE (@intersectionalenvironmentalist) But when we look at how often environmental justice organizations are funded, the amount of money that goes to funding these companies and these initiatives is minuscule compared to something like the World Wildlife Fund or the Nature Conservancy, not to disparage those organizations whatsoever. But I think it reflects a larger issue in that why are we not funding this research? Why are we not funding these initiatives? So we’re really hoping to shift that conversation in many ways. We’ve already heard stories of students in universities who are asking their schools to implement intersectional environmentalist courses into their coursework and make those required courses for any environmental majors.  Those would be one of the more grassroots initiatives that we hope to see, and we hope to continue seeing. And then in terms of IE as a business, we are looking to expand a little bit. Right now we are a for-profit, and we very consciously decided to become a for-profit because we wanted to show that you can be a mission-driven organization and still make money and you can still pay people fair wages. One of our goals for 2021 is to create a nonprofit arm so that area can focus on doing a lot more of the grassroots work, whether that’s through our mentorship program, which we’re still continuing to flesh out, or funding grants for sustainability of intersectional environmentalist organizations.  We’re fleshing out that arm in 2021. We’re also hoping to create a media house almost like Jubilee with the goal of really highlighting a lot of these stories of environmental injustice and really bring it to the forefront so that people can no longer ignore these conversations. Anderson: Is there anything we didn’t talk about that you feel is important for GreenBiz readers to know about the work that you are doing at IE?  Katz: I just want to reiterate that a lot of people and a lot of young consumers nowadays, they want to be able to support companies that take a stance when it comes to social justice, when it comes to environmentalism. We don’t need to see just the black squares on social media. We want to see real action being taken. We want transparency. We want people to be inclusive, and we want people and companies not to be silent on these issues anymore because that’s how we’ve gotten to this point in the first place. And by continuing to be silent we will only perpetuate these negative aspects of society.  And not to shy away from them because, like I said, folks want to be supporting these companies … There will always be some folks who don’t want to have that conversation, who don’t want companies to necessarily feel like they should be having that conversation. But at the end of the day, it’s the right thing to do. And it’s the way of the future. And we have to continue having these conversations in order for us to have a future that is intersectional. Pull Quote It does no good to continue ignoring or to continue silencing those voices when we should be all fighting for an environment that is just for everyone. Topics Social Justice Environmental Justice Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Illustration by  GoodStudio  on Shutterstock.

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ESW Beauty makes eco-friendly sheet masks your skin will love

November 26, 2020 by  
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Eco-conscious skincare connoisseurs often face a dilemma. We know single-use products cause unnecessary waste, yet the sheet mask craze shows no sign of stopping. It’s easy to see why sheet masks remain popular; when you can simply rip open a package, slap on a mess-free sheet mask and go about your day, it’s hard to go back to multi-step wash-off or peel-off masks. Still, few people would argue that the convenience and skincare benefits of sheet masks outweigh the environmental harm and extra waste these products create. Offering a solution to this puzzling problem, ESW Beauty ‘s Raw Juice Cleanse Sheet Masks will help your skin without harming the environment. What is ESW Beauty? Started by Elina Sofia Wang, ESW Beauty began as part of Wang’s search for a cleaner lifestyle. While struggling with health issues, Wang started drinking raw juices and exploring clean beauty options. Unable to find sheet masks that suited her needs, the ESW Beauty founder decided to make her own. By combining a non-toxic, cruelty-free and eco-friendly formula with Wang’s love for raw juices, the Raw Juice Cleanse Sheet Masks were born. What goes into an eco-friendly sheet mask? As the ESW Beauty website so eloquently states, “Our mission is to develop beauty products made with clean, ethically-sourced, and sustainable ingredients . We firmly believe product formulation and ingredients should be held to a higher standard.” What does this mean for ESW’s sheet masks? First, it guarantees that each mask’s formula prioritizes clean ingredients. That means no parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances or dyes, formaldehydes, alcohol, silicones or animal-derived ingredients. No animal-derived ingredients ensures that these sheet masks, both the serum and fabric, are fully vegan . As a company of animal lovers, ESW Beauty also keeps its products cruelty-free, pledging to never test on animals. This dedication to vegan and cruelty-free formulas earned ESW certifications from both Leaping Bunny and PETA. But what about the waste issue with sheet masks? To minimize single-use sheet masks’ environmental impact, ESW takes a two-fold approach. Starting with the packaging, ESW’s mask pouches use recyclable low-density polyethylene (LDPE), a material that, while plastic, has been found by a Danish Environmental Protection Agency study to produce the smallest environmental impact among alternatives such as paper , bioplastic and cotton. Once you open the pouch, the mask itself uses a material called cupra (also known as cupro), a sustainable and biodegradable fabric made from cotton linter, which is usually discarded as waste during cotton processing. Reviewing the sheet masks Packaged in an inviting white and blue box, a free editorial sample of ESW Beauty’s Masking & Juicing Essentials Set arrived at my door for review. After unboxing, I surveyed the exciting products inside. The eco-friendly beauty and skincare field isn’t typically known for eye-catching aesthetics, but ESW’s clever designs eschew the industry-standard brown and green color scheme in favor of something more fun. The colorful, bottle-shaped mask pouches not only fit with the raw juice theme but are also a delightful addition to my bathroom counter. Masks aren’t the only treats this kit has in store. In addition to a box of all five sheet masks in the Raw Juice Cleanse line, the full Masking & Juicing Essentials Set includes a clear tote bag, canvas sheet mask travel pouch, clear glass bottle and sprout headband. Right now, ESW Beauty is also including free stickers with every order. While the clear tote, canvas pouch and glass bottle are all cute and handy parts of the set, I was most excited for the sheet masks (obviously) and sprout headband. Before trying out the masks, I slipped on the soft sprout headband to keep my hair out of my face. The headband’s soft material might cause it to slip down your head if you have fine-textured hair, but for me, it did a good job of staying in place. Upon first trying out one of the masks (the delicious-sounding Strawberries & Cream Soothing Raw Juice Mask ), I was pleased to find that it included plenty of serum. No dry masks here! The soft mask material is a great vessel for the serum and contoured well to my face for the entire 20-minute application time. As the weather turns colder and starts drying out and irritating my skin, this mask and The Pink Dream Moisturizing Raw Juice Mask were my favorites for helping my skin recover and look healthy again. But what if your skin needs some extra, targeted attention? If you need a rejuvenating boost, the Pineapple Bliss Revitalizing Raw Juice Mask can help get your skin glowing again. I also enjoyed the Deep Detox Pore Control Raw Juice Mask ‘s slight tingle; I could feel the mask working and appreciated how smooth my skin felt afterward. As a baby-faced 23-year-old, I didn’t expect to see major results from the Green Reset Anti-Aging Raw Juice Mask , but I did notice a slight improvement in the fine lines on my forehead after use. Whether you want something need-specific or simply a luxurious, eco-friendly moisture boost, ESW Raw Juice Face Masks are a choice that your skin and the environment will thank you for. + ESW Beauty Images by Grae Gleason / Inhabitat Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by ESW Beauty. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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ESW Beauty makes eco-friendly sheet masks your skin will love

Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year

September 10, 2020 by  
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Over 2 million acres of land have burned in California this year alone, according to the U.S Forest Service. Unfortunately, fires are still breaking out and more destruction is expected. The state is bracing for the worst as summer comes to an end. Normally, the period preceding fall is the most dangerous in terms of fire outbreaks, and California has already witnessed more acres burned so far this year than ever recorded in a similar period. Currently, two of the state’s largest fires in history are still underway in the San Francisco Bay Area. More than 14,000 firefighters are deployed to handle these fires and others around the state. During the Labor Day weekend, a three-day heatwave aggravated the situation. Triple-digit temperatures and dry winds are making it hard for firefighters to control the flames. Related: Redwoods, condor sanctuary are damaged in California wildfires The continued increase in temperatures and forest fires is affecting services for the residents of the state. Pacific Gas & Electric, the largest utility company in the state, said it might cut power to 158,000 customers this week. According to the company, this move would be taken to reduce the risk of its powerlines and other equipment starting more wildfires . According to Randy Moore, regional forester for the U.S Forest Service in the Pacific Southwest Region, the state will close all eight national forests in southern California to prevent further damage. He said that the closures will be re-evaluated each day, based on the available risks. The service is monitoring daily temperatures and other weather aspects that are likely to lead to fire outbreaks. This decision consequently means that all campgrounds within national forests remain closed. “The wildfire situation throughout California is dangerous and must be taken seriously,” Moore said. “Existing fires are displaying extreme fire behavior, new fire starts are likely, weather conditions are worsening, and we simply do not have enough resources to fully fight and contain every fire.” Via Huffington Post Image via Steve Nelson / Bureau of Land Management

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Wildfires have burned 2.3M acres across California this year

World’s highest temperature, 130F, recorded in Death Valley

August 19, 2020 by  
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On Sunday, August 16, the U.S. National Weather Service recorded the highest temperature reading ever on Earth in Death Valley, California . High temperatures in Death Valley are the norm, but the new high beats previous temperature records and is sounding the alarm on global warming. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature of 130°F (54.5°C) is still awaiting verification after it was recorded by weather monitoring equipment in the area. The occurrence of the highest temperature in Death Valley coincides with a heatwave on the West Coast. The National Weather Service has predicted that the temperatures here are expected to rise further within the week, but the heatwave has already had a devastating impact in California. Residents are experiencing days of blackouts, because the heat is believed to have caused damage to power supply equipment. Related: Global warming to cause more deaths than all infectious diseases Brandi Stewart, who lives and works at the Death Valley National Park , spends most of her time indoors during the month of August each year. The temperatures in the valley can get to unbearable levels this month, and the new record is not a surprise to the residents. “When you walk outside it’s like being hit in the face with a bunch of hairdryers,” Stewart told BBC . “You feel the heat and it’s like walking into an oven and the heat is just all around you.” Before this record, the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 129.2°F (54°C). The former highest temperature reading was also recorded in Death Valley in 2013 and has remained unchanged until Sunday. However, there are disputes about a higher reading that was recorded a century ago. The 1913 record of 134°F (56.6°C) in the Death Valley has been widely disputed and is not officially recognized. There have also been other questionable previous high temperature records that surpass the Sunday reading. Besides the disputed 1913 Death Valley reading, a 1931 record of 131°F (55°C) in Tunisia was also been under scrutiny. If the latest Death Valley reading is verified by the National Weather Service, it will be officially recognized as the highest temperature ever recorded. Via BBC Image via Jplenio

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World’s highest temperature, 130F, recorded in Death Valley

IceWind demos new residential wind turbine in Texas

June 29, 2020 by  
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Residential micro wind turbines may one day become a popular way for people to produce their own power at home. Over the Fourth of July weekend, folks in Port Aransas Beach, Texas will be able to see a new Icelandic turbine in action during a special demo. The Icelandic renewable wind power company IceWind has invented this new home energy product. Home builder Daryl Losaw, IceWind’s San Marco, Texas-based investor, is excited to demo the tiny turbine to Texans. “We have a great story and showing off the turbines is the best way to tell it,” Losaw said in a press release. Unlike the horizontal axis wind turbines one sees at wind farms, IceWind’s new residential model sports vertical axes. Related: Windwords proposal turns wind turbines into public art IceWind has turned a decommissioned coal power plant in Reykjavik into its headquarters. The company is now in the final stages of development. “The concept is simple: We’re taking time tested technologies and bringing them into the modern era,” said IceWind CEO Saethor Asgeirsson. “Using super-strong materials such as aerospace-grade aluminum, carbon fiber, and high-grade stainless steel, our turbines are built to withstand anything.” This includes Iceland’s furious winds, which regularly surpass 50 mph during the island country’s dark and chilly wintertime. “It’s actually quite funny,” Asgeirsson said. “We are the only people in Iceland who get excited when there is crazy wind in the weather forecast. While everyone else is hunkering down at home, we’re huddled around a computer, excitedly watching our data feed.” IceWind has two product lines currently in development. In addition to the micro turbine for homes, the company is also working on a model to mount on telecom towers that will work in extreme arctic conditions. They’re already selling turbines in Iceland and plan to expand into the European and North American markets later this year. “I am looking forward to showing potential customers a rugged, bird-safe, micropower generation method, that represents independence from fossil fuels over this appropriate weekend,” said Losaw of the Port Aransas demo. “Hopefully, it will inspire beachgoers to look at energy in a new way.” + IceWind Images via IceWind

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Ottan Studio transforms green waste into home decor

June 29, 2020 by  
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Green design start-up Ottan Studio is committed to producing upcycled decor  out of food and green waste. By collecting materials such as fruit peels, expired grains, vegetable residues, tree leaves and grass, the company can create colorful and trendy furniture with absolutely  zero waste . The process works by first collecting  waste  from places such as local retailer companies, food producers and greenhouses before cleaning, drying and grinding the materials. These materials are then added to green resins and injected into molds to create a range of products. Ottan Studio can turn the pulp from five glasses worth of carrot juice, or the peels from four glasses worth of orange juice, into an entire lampshade. Related: Granby Workshop unveils ceramic dinnerware collection made from 100% waste According to the company, the designers want to stray away from the idea of wood being an absolute sustainable material, as the industry’s consumption habits on a global level are continuing to damage and  destroy forests . If more sustainable consumption and production models aren’t changed, Ottan Studio’s website explains, all of the world’s forests could be wiped out in as little as 100 years. Going even further, the studio pledges to plant one tree for every product sold. By using materials that would otherwise be wasted, such as peels, leaves and cut grass, the company is proving that you don’t need to cut down trees to create stylish products that are perfect for the  minimalist  home. To make its products even more unique, Ottan doesn’t use any additional dyes or colorants, so the original and natural colors of the  upcycled  waste materials are reflected in the final result. Materials such as purple onion, red pepper and pomegranate retain their pinkish-hue, products made using lemon peels and lentils stay yellow and the leaves collected from tree pruning produce a soft green color. Since the products are handmade, no two items are identical and everything is one-of-a-kind.  + Ottan Studio Images via Ottan Studio

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Ottan Studio transforms green waste into home decor

‘I Am a Plastic Bag’ is made from recycled single-use plastic bottles

March 2, 2020 by  
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Following the sold-out success of “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” in 2007, designer brand Anya Hindmarch has launched a new product, called “I Am a Plastic Bag”, aimed at recycling single-use plastic and leaving behind a net-zero carbon footprint from production. The initial “I Am Not a Plastic Bag” release was a campaign to raise awareness about disposable plastic bag usage. According to a press release from the company, “The British Retail Consortium estimated that in 2006, the U.K. alone used 10.6bn plastic bags, and this figure dropped to 6.1bn in 2010. Specifically, Sainsbury’s cut the number of bags they gave away by 58% in the two years that followed the campaign, giving out 312m fewer bags in 2008 than 2009 and saving 13,200 tonnes of virgin plastic over two years.” Related: Patagonia’s Black Hole Bags are made from recycled plastic bottles Thirteen years later, Hindmarch has decided to shift focus. Instead of centering the campaign around reducing plastic bag usage, the new “I Am a Plastic Bag” is made from a soft, cotton-like fabric constructed from recycled plastic bottles to spotlight the excessive waste generated from single-use plastic. The manufacturing process begins by washing and sorting the collected bottles before they are shredded and turned into pellets. The pellets are then converted into fibers that are spun and woven into fabric . To achieve the weather-resistant finish, the bags are coated in a recycled PVB made from old windshields. Anya Hindmarch partnered with a Taiwanese company for the finish, which appears to be the only one of its kind that has achieved Global Recycled Standard (GRS) certification. After considering faux options, the company decided the least impactful trim was real leather. It sourced the natural meat byproduct as a way to recycle the material. Collected from a tannery in Northern Italy, the leather doesn’t travel far to the manufacturing line. While Anya Hindmarch designers don’t believe that carbon-offsetting is the answer for an industry known for excessive waste and pollution , they also partnered with EcoAct, a global climate change consultant. EcoAct has been measuring the emissions from the I Am a Plastic Bag production in order to make the process carbon-neutral. As a statement of what the line stands for, Anya Hindmarch closed its doors for three days, completely filling the store with 90,000 discarded plastic water bottles and a post on the door explaining the cause. A limited selection of bags was pre-launched in February at London Fashion Week, and the complete four-color collection will be widely available in April. + Anya Hindmarch Images via Anya Hindmarch

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