All this apocalyptic weather and talk of climate doom (1) gets me antsy to do something political, so last week I went to the annual Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL)2 conference. Along with 150 other climate activists from across the country I sat through two days of briefings and seminars and powerpoints in a nondescript conference center outside Washington DC, followed by a day of lobbying on The Hill. There was the usual conference-y mingling, banter, and goofing off, and I had a blast. Each of us was scheduled for six meetings with legislators about climate change and the “Save Our Climate Act” (H.R. 3242)3, four of us in each meeting. Early Tuesday morning we all mobbed onto the Metro which whisked us over to Capitol Hill.
Being from Massachusetts, I met mostly with blue-state pols. The meetings were convivial and the same message repeatedly emerged: climate legislation has no chance of passing if Republicans maintain a House majority after the 2012 elections. You know the story; right-wing Republicans use their majority to block any progressive legislation (especially climate bills) and if nothing gets accomplished, that’s okay with them. Just to be clear: I’m distinguishing the Right from Conservatives, who sometimes cooperate with others to solve the country’s problems.... read more
Join Keen For Green and environmental-minded people around the globe today, June 18th 2012. Let our world leaders know that Fossil Fuel subsidies must end now. Tweet and Facebook #endfossilfuelsubsidies.... read more
Contributed by John Lehnert, Presidio Graduate School MBA graduate, 2011.
Every year, students from Presidio Graduate School's International Club venture abroad to put their sustainability training into action. Some students will pursue careers in international development. One group recently went to Thailand, with help from a Presidio student who is Thai himself. Their journey -- installing solar panels, learning about renewable energy, and teaching others about design thinking -- is described below.
January 2012: On a sunny day in western Thailand, our Presidio Graduate School group joined dozens of schoolchildren on a bare field for a game of soccer. We shared high fives after each goal—a fun conclusion to a day during which we installed a solar panel at a school near the Burmese border.
After 20 hours of flying, our group of 14 (mostly students, with a few alumni and significant others) met in Bangkok and headed north in two vans. Crossing the flat central expanse of rice fields, we reached our first stop, Chiang Mai. We led a workshop for university students and faculty on design thinking: a collaborative process in which teams define a problem, brainstorm solutions, select the best ones and then have fun making prototypes.... read more
Have you read the American Lung Association's State of the Air 2012 report? If not, I urge you to check it out immediately. Visit the website and see what the grade is for where you live. You may be surprised.
The good news? Things are getting better. Air quality is improving.
As I plumped myself down to watch Greenfire Productions’ new documentary, Ocean Frontiers, I was ready for a fight. Not to actually be in a fight, mind you, I just wanted to watch one from the comfort of the plush seats at the New England Aquarium’s IMAX theater. Ocean Frontiers starts with a familiar setup; ecosystems stretched to breaking, rickety regulations that are hardly adequate, and everyone wanting a bigger piece of the pie, or at least to keep what they have. I anticipated such well-worn narratives as right vs wrong, perceptive vs blind, spiritual vs benighted -- the usual. But that’s not what I got. Ocean Frontiers shows four coastal communities who sidestepped the gridlock of their eco-struggles and found solutions that worked for everyone, and for the ocean. (Conflict of interest alert: I’m on Greenfire’s board.) ... read more
Trudee Lunden is a writer, marketer, and songwriter with a passion for the environment. Not only does Trudee live a green lifestyle, but she integrates her love for the planet in her songwriting. Trudee has co-written 2 songs about electric cars: Wired and Electricity.... read more
Hell&LulaIndie/electro band Hell&Lula not only makes awesomely danceable music; they care deeply about the environment, too. They are currently running a PledgeMusic campaign to help their Cool Bus, a converted school bus, run on waste vegetable oil (WVO) from restaurants. Check out their PledgeMusic page to donate some money and get cool stuff while you're at it! ... read more
I’m just minding my own business, and suddenly all these eco-leaders are up in my face telling me to get angry about Global Warming? Bill McKibben -- who never raises his voice -- says I should stop being cynical and start being angry about Global Warming. The ever-methodical League of Conservation Voters emails me to “get angry, and fight this one out!” Even climate scientists, always so calm as they gaze into the abyss, are telling us to get angry. I always figured: if the climate scientists aren’t freakin about Global Warming, then I needn’t be freakin. And, now they’re freakin.... read more
Talk about a cover-up. Just today, the Boston Globe disclosed that electricity giant NStar has been conducting a secret operation that allows their customers to pay more to get their electricity from wind power rather than a carbon-polluting source. Actually, the program, “NStar Green,” isn’t a company secret -- but I hadn’t heard of it, none of my neighbors had, and Brookline Climate Action had to go door-to-door to tell people about it. It might as well be secret.
I don’t think NStar Green is some big, bad greenwashing scheme. NStar probably let the program languish because investing more money in it would yield little profit. And that’s okay, because it’s not NStar’s job make clean energy -- or dirty energy. It’s NStar’s job to make money. A corporation is responsible for making profit, and anything after that is optional as long as it’s legal. ... read more