A New Face at the Helm of The Oldest U.S. Green Group

Read the full interview at Yale Environment360.

The Sierra Club has chosen Aaron Mair as its president, the first African-American to lead the largest U.S. environmental organization. In an interview with Yale Environment 360, he talks about the lack of diversity in the environmental movement and what can be done to change that.

The trouble with inequality

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

The Wall Street bonus pool for last year was roughly double the total earnings of all Americans who worked full time at the federal minimum wage.

The New York State Comptroller recently reported that the size of the bonus pool paid to securities industries employees in New York City was $28.5 billion. Dividing this total among 167,800 workers yields an average bonus of $172,860, which seems plausible enough. For sure, some received much, much bigger bonuses, and many received nothing.

What about the total earnings of full-time workers at the federal minimum wage? The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are 1.03 million full-time workers paid an hourly wage of $7.25 or less. These people tend to work around 40 hours a week on average. If they all earn $7.25 per hour and work 50 weeks per year, the total earnings of this group come to nearly $15 billion.

Put another way, we now live in a society and participate in an economy where the total earnings of all full-time U.S. workers in earning the federal minimum wage, make only half of what 167,800 Masters of the Financial Universe earn in bonuses alone.

Bonuses are also just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to widening income inequality. The issue of grossly uneven economic opportunity underscores much more fundamental dysfunction in the status quo.

Even as cities across the country begin to undertake lofty debates over climate resilience and decoupling economic growth from environmental impacts, long-entrenched patterns of dire income disparities — along with glaring patterns of social injustice where poor people are hit hardest by pollution — make it clear that our society is far from sustainable in many respects.

The military spy turned sustainability warrior – drones have come of age

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Drones have come a long way, from their military origins as sinister hardware for spying and remote warfare to their more recent use by conservation charities monitoring whaling ships and rare bird nests.

This year’s Drones for Good awards finalists included social enterprises hoping to develop unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to deliver vaccinations in Africa, provide better planning in India’s slums and help with international disaster relief planning.

Andrew Revkin on energy, politics, species adolescence and the fate of the Earth

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Revkin was the keynote speaker at the Michigan State University Environmental Science and Policy Program’s “Fate of the Earth” symposium April 1. The conference schedule was filled with leading researchers on sustainability issues who all addressed the same theme that Revkin explores in his blog: How will the human race sustain itself on a planet with dwindling resources?

From antibiotics to fossil fuels: the inconvenient truth about sustainability

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Humanity has spent the last century creating life-changing luxuries. Here’s why our next move should be learning how to wean ourselves off these wonders.

Should governments make emerging technologies a priority?

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

It’s been 20 years since Newt Gingrich sacrificed one of the most inspirational and educational 20th century institutions — the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment — on the altar of federal budget cuts. What a sad day that was.

Founded in 1972, the OTA ran for 23 influential years, employing a staff of about 200, two-thirds of them professional researchers. Of these, 88 percent had advanced degrees, mainly in economics, engineering and the physical, life and social sciences. They did heavy-duty investigative work on emerging technologies — and, as a tiny sidebar effect, had a profound impact on my own thinking and work.