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

Bad, Better, Best: The Climate Impact of Meat

August 21, 2020 by  
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The average American eats 220.9 pounds of meat per year. … The post Bad, Better, Best: The Climate Impact of Meat appeared first on Earth 911.

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Bad, Better, Best: The Climate Impact of Meat

Earth911 Inspiration: The Generation That Pays the Price

August 21, 2020 by  
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Today’s Earth911 inspiration is from Wangari Maathai, the first woman … The post Earth911 Inspiration: The Generation That Pays the Price appeared first on Earth 911.

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Earth911 Inspiration: The Generation That Pays the Price

Tips for a Green Dorm Move-In Day and Sustainable College Year

July 29, 2020 by  
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College may not nearly as social this year but you … The post Tips for a Green Dorm Move-In Day and Sustainable College Year appeared first on Earth 911.

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Tips for a Green Dorm Move-In Day and Sustainable College Year

Maven Moment: Summer’s Fresh String Beans — 3 Ways

July 29, 2020 by  
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I love string beans and so did my Mom. She … The post Maven Moment: Summer’s Fresh String Beans — 3 Ways appeared first on Earth 911.

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Maven Moment: Summer’s Fresh String Beans — 3 Ways

Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

July 22, 2020 by  
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In recent years, the rate of melting ice has been on the rise because of global warming . But the reduced amount of ice makes it difficult for polar bears to capture seals for food. A CNN report shows that polar bears are getting thinner and giving birth to fewer cubs as the sea ice dwindles. Now, a new study in the journal Nature has revealed that polar bears could be extinct by the year 2100 if humans do not put an end to global warming. According to the study, polar bears are being pushed to the brink of extinction because of current human practices. The study indicates that if humans continue emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, the polar bears might not exist past the year 2100. Related: Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threats global supply of freshwater Polar bears have been ranked as the largest terrestrial carnivores. But the survival of this species depends on the Arctic’s sea ice. Polar bears only feed during the Arctic winter, when the waters are frozen. They use the ice to stand on while capturing seals, stocking up on this food in the form of body fat to prepare for the summer, when the ice has melted. If the warmer summer weather lasts longer than anticipated, the polar bears are likely to die due to a lack of food supply. Péter K. Molnár, one of the study’s authors and assistant professor at University of Toronto Scarborough, explained that the polar bears use the ice because they aren’t skilled enough to swim and catch the seals. The polar bears cannot feed if there is no ice in the Arctic . According to the study, polar bear cubs are the most vulnerable, followed by the adult mothers. If the mature males lack food, they are likely to feed on the cubs. Given that polar bears are already producing fewer cubs than before, it is important to protect the offspring by ensuring that there is ice for the older bears to fish. “Ultimately, the bears need food and in order to have food, they need ice,” Molnár explained. “But in order for them to have ice, we need to control climate change .” + Nature Via CNN Image via Margo Tanenbaum

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Polar bears could go extinct in 80 years if global warming persists

Zero-waste Orford Mews to bring energy-positive homes to East London

July 22, 2020 by  
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London-based property developer gs8 has unveiled designs for Orford Mews, a pilot project for a sustainable residential development in the North East London district of Walthamstow, which is currently undergoing regeneration. Designed by architect Michael Lynas of Studio Anyo , the contemporary, nine-unit development will serve as a landmark project for energy-positive, zero-waste housing. Orford Mews is expected to achieve and exceed RIBA 2030 operational energy and embodied carbon targets. Orford Mews will consist of eight family houses and a single three-bedroom apartment on a long linear site. The project will rely on local materials and local labor wherever possible to reduce the project’s embodied carbon count and to support the community. All of the non-contaminated materials from the existing buildings in the finished development will be reused. The contemporary and minimalist design will be mainly built from timber and reclaimed brick, and it will feature sloped roofs topped with living moss. Climbing vines will also be encouraged to grow up walls to contribute to a cooling microclimate and improved air quality. Related: Dark Chalet in Utah will generate over 350% more energy than it needs In addition to greenery around and on top of the houses, residents will have access to community garden spaces designed by landscape designers at London Glades. Residents will also enjoy little, if any, utility bills thanks to the energy-positive buildings integrated with renewable energy and designed to follow passive principles for reduced energy consumption. Passive design strategies include compact massing for minimized heat loss and strategic window placement for daylight capturing and heat retention. Orford Mews will also include a multifunctional well-being space for the community, a reuse center that encourages circular living choices and a Neighborhood App developed to provide real-time energy usage stats and suggestions to reduce energy consumption. “When we set out four years ago with a goal to develop a flexible framework to build one of the most sustainable projects in the world, we chose Orford Road as the pilot to prove that if we could achieve our carbon and energy-positive , zero-waste aspirations on a site this small and constrained, then it could be viably rolled out across any size development,” said Ben Spencer of gs8. “The next stage is implementing the innovative framework we’ve created and prove that developing truly sustainably doesn’t need to mean compromising on design quality or financial viability.” + gs8 Images via gs8

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Zero-waste Orford Mews to bring energy-positive homes to East London

Companies push Congress to promote climate action. Is anyone listening?

May 18, 2020 by  
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Companies push Congress to promote climate action. Is anyone listening? Joel Makower Mon, 05/18/2020 – 09:15 What happens when more than 300 business people descend, virtually, on Capitol Hill to advocate for climate action amid a pandemic and economic crisis? Logic would dictate that these well-intentioned lobbyists-for-a-day would be met with a resounding shrug. After all, with two of the most devastating events to hit the United States happening simultaneously, there doesn’t seem to be much room to talk about anything else. As with so many other things these days, logic is not always the best guide. That’s my takeaway from last week’s LEAD on Climate 2020 , organized by the nonprofit Ceres and supported by other sustainability-focused business groups. It was the second annual opportunity for companies to educate legislators and their staff on the need for congressional action on the climate crisis. Among the larger participating companies were Adobe, Capital One, Danone, Dow, eBay, General Mills, LafargeHolcim, Mars, Microsoft, NRG, Pepsico, Salesforce, Tiffany and Visa, along with hundreds of smaller firms . Last year’s LEAD (for Lawmaker Education and Advocacy Day) event brought 75 companies to Capitol Hill. This year’s garnered 333 companies, including more than 100 CEOs, to have video meetups with 88 congressional offices — 50 Democrats, 36 Republicans and 2 Independents — from both the House (51 meetings) and Senate (37 meetings). Some had as many as 70 companies in attendance. This year’s bigger turnout no doubt had to do in part with the ease of meeting from one’s sequestered location — no travel, no costs and a lot smaller carbon footprint — but also from the growing push to get companies off the sidelines on climate action advocacy, whether motivated by external pressure groups, ESG-minded investors, employee concerns or a company’s own board or C-suite. To be quite frank, it was some of the most valuable conversations we’ve had with members on climate in a long time. Last year’s LEAD event focused specifically on carbon pricing; this year’s focus was broadened, Anne Kelly, vice president of government relations at Ceres, the event’s organizer, told me last week. “We reframed it knowing that long-term solutions like carbon pricing are important, but that there were immediate opportunities that companies could speak to.” That, too, may have broadened its appeal. For Nestlé, the event was an opportunity “to have meaningful conversations with Congress on climate change and on our priorities,” said Meg Villareal, the company’s manager of policy and public affairs, in an interview for last week’s GreenBiz 350 podcast . “To be quite frank, it was some of the most valuable conversations we’ve had with members on climate in a long time. I think the virtual platform created an opportunity for us to have very in-depth discussions about what company priorities are and how we want to see Congress engage on climate going into the future.” Among Nestlé’s interests, Villareal said, was scaling up renewable energy use in its operations. “We also want to develop agriculture initiatives for carbon storage and reforestation and biodiversity that help support our carbon initiatives. That was definitely a key piece of some of the conversations we had as well.” Her company is a founding member of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance , along with Mars, Danone and Unilever. “We put out a set of climate principles last May that have five principles as part of it, the first of which is creating a price on carbon.” Several congressional allies participated, first among them Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island), who has a strong record on climate advocacy. It appeared that his role in the event was primarily to cheer the companies on and give them insight into the Capitol Hill zeitgeist. Bank shot Whitehouse made it clear that while CEO pronouncements on their company’s climate commitments are good, they only go so far. “CEOs may say we support a carbon price,” he explained. “No, they don’t. I happen to know that because I have the carbon price bill in the Senate. And nobody’s ever come to me and said, ‘We want to support your bill.’ You can’t underestimate the continued opposition and challenge that the fossil-fuel industry presents. They’re still really strong here and really powerful.” The senator cited the American Beverage Association as a case in point. “Coke and Pepsi both have terrific climate policies. They do all the stuff they should be doing. But they pretty much control the American Beverage Association because of their size. And the American Beverage Association has not lifted a finger, period” to support climate action, he said. CEOs may say we support a carbon price. No, they don’t. I have the carbon price bill in the Senate. Nobody’s ever come to me and said, ‘We want to support your bill.’ Whitehouse advocated what he called a “bank shot” — perhaps an unintentional play on words — as a way to build pressure on companies through their investors. “We put pressure on Marathon Petroleum for the climate mischief that they have done — particularly the CAFE standards, the fuel efficiency standards mischief, that they’ve been string-pulling-on behind the scenes. They could care less when I call them out on that. But their four biggest shareholders are BlackRock, Vanguard, State Street and JPMorgan. And all those entities care quite a lot when they’re funding climate misbehavior. And they get called out on it themselves. So, you can use the pressure that the financial community feels to defend itself now against these climate and economic crash warnings to bring pressure to bear on even very recalcitrant companies.” The human factor I had the opportunity to speak during the LEAD training day, the day before they “hit the Hill” for their member meetings. As part of that, I interviewed Leah Rubin Shen, energy and environment policy advisor to Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware), who co-chairs the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus with Sen. Mike Braun (R-Indiana). I asked Shen, a trained electrochemist with research experience in energy storage technologies and green chemistry, for some insights into what it takes to change minds on Capitol Hill. “I’m a scientist,” she responded. “I think there are plenty of things that we could do tomorrow, or today even, that would make all of our systems much more robust and resilient, and set us on the right path. But politically, it’s just really difficult. As tempting as it is to just say, ‘Well, this is what experts say,’ or ‘This is what people say we should be doing’ — I wish that were enough; it’s not. It needs to be something that will resonate back home.” Storytelling is key, she noted. “Don’t discount the human element. Facts and figures are helpful — ‘This is how many jobs we have in your state,’ or ‘This is what our annual revenue was last year.’ Those things are important and helpful. But being able to tell a story is something that will resonate with a lot of staffers and members both.” Nestlé’s Villareal experienced that in a conversation last week with a congressman from Florida “with whom last year it was a bit of a difficult conversation, particularly around carbon pricing,” she told me. “So, this year, we tried a new approach with that office. We didn’t go in and lead with the ask on carbon pricing but wanted to have more of a general conversation about the companies in his district and how we are prioritizing our carbon principles and our climate principles. And it led into a very healthy discussion on carbon pricing and why the companies in his district were supportive of it. It was a very productive and surprisingly good conversation, and we were really pleased coming out of it.” We have to make these introductions on a large scale so that Congress knows if they act on climate, the broad business community will have their back. The whole exercise isn’t just about getting members of Congress to support climate action. It’s also letting them know that if they do, they’ll get business support.  “We have to make these introductions on a large scale so that Congress knows if they act on climate, the broad business community will have their back,” explained Anne Kelly. “Most lawmakers think that big businesses only want to break the rules, not call for new ones.” Among other things, she says, members generally aren’t aware of corporate climate leadership, science-based targets or large-scale renewable energy procurement by companies. The LEAD exchanges help them understand such things.  According to Kelly, the success of the virtual advocacy day — which she dubbed a “high-impact, low-footprint and low-budget model” — and the enthusiasm by participating companies has led Ceres to consider upping the frequency of LEAD events, from annually to quarterly. “Based on the rave reviews, I’d say many colleagues are hooked,” she added. I asked Villareal, one of those enthusiasts, what advice she’d give someone who hasn’t yet dipped their toe into the congressional advocacy waters. “It can always be scary to try something new, but it is so worth it,” she replied. “In the end, you get tremendous benefit from using your voice and especially on critical and positive issues like climate.” I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote To be quite frank, it was some of the most valuable conversations we’ve had with members on climate in a long time. CEOs may say we support a carbon price. No, they don’t. I have the carbon price bill in the Senate. Nobody’s ever come to me and said, ‘We want to support your bill.’ We have to make these introductions on a large scale so that Congress knows if they act on climate, the broad business community will have their back. Topics Policy & Politics Carbon Policy Featured Column Two Steps Forward GreenBiz Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off GreenBiz photocollage via Shutterstock Close Authorship

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Companies push Congress to promote climate action. Is anyone listening?

Why the electric vehicle wave is still coming

April 29, 2020 by  
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Buckle up: this year will be rough, but this road trip still looks promising.

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Why the electric vehicle wave is still coming

COP26: Postpone, virtual or as you were?

March 30, 2020 by  
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This year’s U.N. climate convention and a planned summit of its sister treaty, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), are more important than usual. So far, neither has been postponed.

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COP26: Postpone, virtual or as you were?

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