Day: July 20, 2015

Climate Change Seen as Top Global Threat

Read the full story from the Pew Research Center.

In advance of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this December, many publics around the world name global climate change as a top threat, according to a new Pew Research Center survey measuring perceptions of international challenges. This is particularly true in Latin America and Africa, where majorities in most countries say they are very concerned about this issue. But as the Islamic militant group ISIS maintains its hold in Iraq and Syria and intensifies its grisly public executions, Europeans and Middle Easterners most frequently cite ISIS as their main concern among international issues.

Global economic instability also figures prominently as the top concern in a number of countries, and it is the second biggest concern in half of the countries surveyed. In contrast, concerns about Iran’s nuclear program as well as cyberattacks on governments, banks or corporations are limited to a few nations. Israelis and Americans are among the most concerned about Iran’s nuclear program, while South Koreans and Americans have the greatest concern about cyberattacks relative to other publics. And apprehension about tensions between Russia and its neighbors, or territorial disputes between China and surrounding countries, largely remain regional concerns.

These are among the findings of a new Pew Research Center survey, conducted in 40 countries among 45,435 respondents from March 25 to May 27, 2015. The report focuses on those who say they are “very concerned” about each issue.1

The $520 million White House bid to widen access to solar

Read the full story from GreenBiz.

When solar panels first started appearing on rooftops, the buildings beneath those roofs were uniformly wealthy.

The up-front investment required to install solar, at $10,000 or more, was usually just too big a barrier for most U.S. households, not to mention those living paycheck to paycheck. The same could be said for small- or medium-sized businesses with tight cash flow.

In recent years, however, new business models from companies such as SunPower, Sungevity, SolarCity and Sunrun began extending leases and power purchase agreements to residential and commercial markets, making solar more accessible by cutting upfront costs.

Evolving investment models from such companies as Solar Mosaic and NextEra Energy Partners, through instruments such as yield cos and green bonds, have also emerged to democratize solar to some institutions, like schools.

Still, even with today’s busy solar market — as illustrated by a 75 percent jump in new installations this year compared to last year alone — the renewable energy market remains largely divided between “haves” and “have nots,” largely separated by long-established income and property ownership disparities.

Now, the Obama administration is aiming to start changing that. Last week, the President — fresh off of announcing a $4 billion renewable energy fund with private investment partners — has unveiled a set of initiatives to bring increased access to solar energy and solar jobs.

Can Collectively become the ESPN of sustainability?

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

In my baby boomer circles, I hear critical comments about the content of the website Collectively, which has a mission to make sustainable living mainstream with a focus on millennials.

I, too, scratch my head and wonder about the seemingly quirky array of stories. For instance, the headline features from the past few weekly newsletter feeds I received were:

People React to Two-Way Mirror Toilet at Glastonbury

OITNB’s (Orange is the New Black) Ruby Rose Destroys Gender Binaries in Her Stunning Video

Because You’re Worth It: L’Oreal Is Now 3D Printing Human Flesh

At first, these stories made me uncomfortable. Then I realized that I am not the target audience. The fact is, boomers like me, especially in the corporate world, have had a decades-long, massive failure reaching any consumer segment with relevant, motivating sustainability content. As a matter of reality, many companies think more of “greenmuting” to avoid getting in trouble and stirring up the activists.

Thank goodness this new approach by Collectively is starkly different. It’s a refreshing sign that they’re headed in the right direction.

Three things you must teach your kids if you care about the environment

Read the full story in Ensia.

“Reduce, reuse, recycle” is a good start. But what the next generation really needs to know is how to overcome political polarization, science phobia and lazy thinking.

Siting wind farms more quickly, cheaply

Read the full story from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

When a power company wants to build a new wind farm, it generally hires a consultant to make wind speed measurements at the proposed site for eight to 12 months. Those measurements are correlated with historical data and used to assess the site’s power-generation capacity.

At the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence later this month, MIT researchers will present a new statistical technique that yields better wind-speed predictions than existing techniques do — even when it uses only three months’ worth of data. That could save power companies time and money, particularly in the evaluation of sites for offshore wind farms, where maintaining measurement stations is particularly costly.

Reduce, Reuse, Remove The Cellophane: Recycling Demystified

Read the full story from NPR.

It’s easy to think we’re being virtuous when we fill up the blue recycling bin and put it on the curb. But it’s clear we have embraced some magical thinking when it comes to what can be recycled.

Morning Edition asked its social media followers to share what puzzles them the most about the recycling process. Then, NPR’s Dianna Douglas visited a waste management plant in Elkridge, Md., to get the answers from Michael Taylor, director of recycling operations for the plant.

Distillers Join the Fight Against Food Waste

Read the full post at Civil Eats.

These companies are turning ugly and overripe fruit into high-end spirits like brandy and liqueur.



Why We’re All a Part of the Green Electronics Conversation

Read the full post at Triple Pundit.

Have you ever seen one of those signs in your office encouraging you to recycle electronics? It exists for good reason: In 2014 alone, 41.8 million metric tons of e-waste was shipped to developing countries, posing an immense risk to environmental and human health. Electronics are evolving at a blistering pace, and device lifespans are shortening. Combine those with an exponential increase in global demand, and it can seem impossible to reverse the trend.

Fortunately, experts from around the world are already thinking holistically about these issues, and working to develop innovative solutions. Those experts will gather in September at the Emerging Green Conference to discuss ways to ensure that electronics are key contributors to the circular economy, rather than prime examples of how not to design a product ecosystem.

The Greening Of Sports — And Where We’re All Headed Next

Read the full story at ESPN.

I’ve always been passionate about the preservation of natural resources and the protection of wildlife, but I’d never connected that personal interest to my professional life as a sports journalist until I got involved with the Green Sports Alliance.

The GSA works to promote environmentally preferable practices (think renewable energy, healthy food, water conservation, safer chemicals, recycling and so forth) to preserve healthy, sustainable communities. Two weeks ago, I moderated a panel at the GSA’s fifth annual summit, a three-day event featuring more than 800 athletes, teams, vendors and venue representatives. I was shocked to discover how much the sports world has embraced the green movement and just how much I’d been missing. Here’s what I learned.

Less Than Zero

Read the full story in ProPublica.

Despite decades of accepted science, California and Arizona are still miscounting their water supplies.

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