Day: October 19, 2021

U.S. wants federal contracts to reflect climate risk

Read the full story from Reuters.

The Biden administration on Thursday began a process to amend federal procurement rules to require the U.S. government – the world’s largest buyer of goods and services – to factor the risks of climate change into its contracts.

Brewing up energy savings

Read the full story and listen to the podcast episode from U.S. DOE.

The craft brewing industry accounts for almost a quarter of the $100 billion U.S. beer market. In this episode, the folks at Deschutes Brewery in Oregon take us through the energy-consuming process of making beer and how the Department of Energy’s Better Plants Program benefits the breweries through reducing energy and water costs.

Companies won’t reach their science-based targets without suppliers on board

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Many companies provide voluntary disclosures relating to Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions. However, investors, customers and other stakeholders are looking for information beyond this.

How adding rock dust to soil could help get carbon into the ground

Read the full story at e360.

Researchers are finding that when pulverized rock is applied to agricultural fields, the soil pulls far more carbon from the air and crop yields increase. More studies are underway, but some scientists say this method shows significant benefits for farmers and the climate.

New chemical safety assessment tools developed to help the electronics sector clean up its supply chains

Read the full story at Environment + Energy Leader.

Last week, green chemical solutions advocate Clean Production Action unveiled GreenScreen Certified for Cleaners & Degreasers in Manufacturing, a tool to assess chemical safety in the industrial sector.

P2 Financing

Pollution Prevention (P2) projects often have costs (e.g., new equipment, contractor services) that require cash disbursements upfront, with potential savings (avoided costs) accruing over time. For small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), these projects must often compete for limited resources with other internal business priorities that are essential for revenue generation. Small businesses may not be used to borrowing money from external sources or may not realize that it’s possible to do so at affordable terms.

Some lenders can make loans for P2 investment more accessible to SMEs by using a variety of techniques to lower or spread financial risk thereby reducing the borrower’s cost of financing (e.g.,  lower interest rates and/or longer payback periods to decrease regular loan payments). P2 financing tools can make small business loans more attractive to lenders. Small businesses can contact their lenders and state P2 programs for more information on options for financing P2 projects.

This U.S. EPA webpage includes tips for securing financing for P2 projects.

Solar panels help French winemaker keep climate change at bay

Read the full story from Reuters.

A roof of solar panels shades Pierre Escudie as he inspects the last plump grapes to be harvested at his vineyard in southwest France, after a year of hard frosts and blistering heat that damaged many of his neighbours’ crops.

The solar panels insulate the grapes during periods of extreme cold and shield them from the sun’s harsh rays during heatwaves. The panels also rotate to allow more light to hit the vines on more overcast days.

Land acknowledgments meant to honor Indigenous people too often do the opposite – erasing American Indians and sanitizing history instead

A portion of a map that erases the borders Colonial powers drew, and shows instead the Indigenous territories, treaties and languages of North America. Native Land Digital, CC BY-SA

by Elisa J. Sobo (San Diego State University), Michael Lambert (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and Valerie Lambert (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

Many events these days begin with land acknowledgments: earnest statements acknowledging that activities are taking place, or institutions, businesses and even homes are built, on land previously owned by Indigenous peoples.

And many organizations now call on employees to incorporate such statements not only at events but in email signatures, videos, syllabuses and so on. Organizations provide resources to facilitate these efforts, including pronunciation guides and video examples.

Some land acknowledgments are carefully constructed in partnership with the dispossessed. The Burke Museum at the University of Washington in Seattle describes this process:

“Tribal elders and leaders are the experts and knowledge-bearers who generously shared their perspectives and guidance with the Burke. Through this consultation, we co-created the Burke’s land acknowledgement.”

That acknowledgment reads:

“We stand on the lands of the Coast Salish peoples, whose ancestors have resided here since Time Immemorial. Many Indigenous peoples thrive in this place—alive and strong.”

Land acknowledgments have been used to start conversations regarding how non-Indigenous people can support Indigenous sovereignty and advocate for land repatriation.

Yet the historical and anthropological facts demonstrate that many contemporary land acknowledgments unintentionally communicate false ideas about the history of dispossession and the current realities of American Indians and Alaska Natives. And those ideas can have detrimental consequences for Indigenous peoples and nations.

This is why, in a move that surprised many non-Indigenous anthropologists to whom land acknowledgments seemed a public good, the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists requested that the American Anthropological Association officially pause land acknowledgments and the related practice of the welcoming ritual, in which Indigenous persons open conferences with prayers or blessings. The pause will enable a task force to recommend improvements after examining these practices and the history of the field’s relationship with American Indians and Alaska Natives more broadly.

We are three anthropologists directly involved in the request — Valerie Lambert of the Choctaw Nation and president of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists; Michael Lambert of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and member of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists; and EJ Sobo, an American Anthropological Association board member charged with representing interests such as those of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists. We’d like to further illuminate this Indigenous position, not from the association’s perspective but from our perspective as scholars.

‘What was once yours is now ours’

No data exists to demonstrate that land acknowledgments lead to measurable, concrete change. Instead, they often serve as little more than feel-good public gestures signaling ideological conformity to what historians Amna Khalid and Jeffrey Aaron Snyder have called – in the context of higher education’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts – “a naïve, left-wing, paint-by-numbers approach” to social justice.

Take, for instance, the evocation in many acknowledgments of a time when Indigenous peoples acted as “stewards” or “custodians” of the land now occupied. This and related references – for example, to “ancestral homelands” – relegate Indigenous peoples to a mythic past and fails to acknowledge that they owned the land. Even if unintentionally, such assertions tacitly affirm the putative right of non-Indigenous people to now claim title.

This is also implied in what goes unsaid: After acknowledging that an institution sits on another’s land, there is no follow-up. Plans are almost never articulated to give the land back. The implication is: “What was once yours is now ours.”

Additionally, in most cases these statements fail to acknowledge the violent trauma of land being stolen from Indigenous people – the death, dispossession and displacement of countless individuals and much collective suffering. The afterlives of these traumas are deeply felt and experienced in Indigenous communities.

But because non-Indigenous people are generally unaware of this trauma, land acknowledgments are often heard by Indigenous peoples as the denial of that trauma. This perspective is reinforced by a tendency to cast Indigenous peoples as part of prehistory, suggesting that the trauma of dispossession, if it happened at all, did not happen to real or wholly human people.

Further, land acknowledgments can undermine Indigenous sovereignty in ways that are both insidious and often incomprehensible to non-Indigenous people.

For example, non-Indigenous people tend to seek local “Indigenous” affirmation of their acknowledgment performance, such as by arranging for a conference blessing or Welcome to Country ritual. Such rites often feature the voices of people who, in Indigenous Studies scholar Kim TallBear’s words, play at being Indian – that is, those who have no legitimate claim to an Indigenous identity or sovereign nation status but represent themselves as such.

A man dressed in Native American clothes, Iron Eyes Cody, giving President Jimmy Carter a Native American headdress. Neither man was Native American.
Actor Iron Eyes Cody, left, with President Jimmy Carter in 1978, built a decadeslong career on pretending to be Cherokee. He was of Italian descent. AP Photo/Peter Bregg

Sovereignty and alienation

Appropriation of American Indian and Alaska Native identity by individuals who are not members of sovereign tribes, referred to as “pretendians” by actual American Indians and Alaska Natives, is endemic. Actor Iron Eyes Cody, for instance, built a decadeslong career on it despite his Italian heritage.

Demographic data suggests that pretendians outnumber real American Indian and Alaska Natives by a ratio of at least 4 to 1. In some cases, pretendians persist in their claims in the face of clear documentation to the contrary.

When non-Indigenous people allow pretendians authority regarding land acknowledgments and blessing ceremonies, it irreparably harms sovereign Indigenous nations and their citizens. The most threatening message communicated by these acts is that American Indian identity is a racial or ethnic identity that anyone can claim through self-identification. This is not true.

American Indian identity is a political identity based on citizenship in an Indigenous nation whose sovereignty has been acknowledged by the U.S. government. Sovereign Indigenous nations, and only these nations have the authority to determine who is and is not a citizen, and hence who is and is not an American Indian or Alaska Native.

Anything less would undermine the entire body of Indian Law, undoing tribal sovereignty. As Rebecca Nagle of the Cherokee Nation explains in “This Land,” American Indians and Alaska Natives would effectively cease to exist.

And so, particularly when they perpetuate misunderstandings of Indigenous identities, land acknowledgments done wrong are heard by Indigenous peoples as the final blow: a definitive apocalyptic vision of a world in which Indigenous sovereignty and land rights will not be recognized and will be claimed never to have really existed.

Respect and restoration

Land acknowledgments are not harmful, we believe, if they are done in a way that is respectful of the Indigenous nations who claim the land, accurately tell the story of how the land passed from Indigenous to non-Indigenous control, and chart a path forward for redressing the harm inflicted through the process of land dispossession.

What many Indigenous persons want from a land acknowledgment is, first, a clear statement that the land needs to be restored to the Indigenous nation or nations that previously had sovereignty over the land.

This is not unrealistic: There are many creative ways to take restorative measures and even to give land back, such as by returning U.S. national parks to the appropriate tribes. Following from this, land acknowledgments must reveal a sincere commitment to respecting and enhancing Indigenous sovereignty.

If an acknowledgment is discomforting and triggers uncomfortable conversations versus self-congratulation, it is likely on the right track.

Elisa J. Sobo, Professor and Chair of Anthropology, San Diego State University; Michael Lambert, Associate Professor of African Studies and Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Valerie Lambert, President of the Association of Indigenous Anthropologists; Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

How food companies meet demands for sustainability

Read the full story in Food Processing.

Sustainability is far more than a buzzword now. What do consumers (and others) expect, and how can those expectations be met?

This startup is using sunlight and captured CO2 to make jet fuel

Read the full story at Fast Company.

In a field in the desert next to a freeway in Tucson, Arizona, the sun beams down on a large mirror in a research park, powering a small reactor nearby. Inside that reactor, captured carbon dioxide is being transformed into synthetic jet fuel.

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