Past Presentation | The Sea of Cortez is one of the most lush, bio-diverse seas on this planet. Or at least it was. Located between mainland Mexico and the California Baja Peninsula, the Sea of Cortez has been called the “Aquarium of the World” being home to over 950 varieties of fish and 30 species of marine mammals. But this maritime treasure and the creatures that call it home are in danger.
Now Playing | In May 2010, Rulindo, Rwanda launched an ambitious plan to bring access to water and sanitation services to the entire district population. This film explores the story, challenges and ultimate success for reaching over 330,000 people with safe water in the rural and mountainous Rulindo District, and how this project is inspiring sustainable water (infrastructure and sanitation) models around the world.
Past Presentation | 20 years ago, a young group of social entrepreneurs started a company to sustainably harvest acai in the Brazilian rainforest. Along the way, they joined a movement of purpose-driven companies looking to change the world through an alternative economic model. These "triple bottom line" businesses measure success not only financially but also socially and environmentally. Their practice of "conscious commerce" addresses some of today’s most challenging issues. This award-winning documentary empowers viewers to be part of the solution by "voting with their dollars" and supporting brands and products that make positive change for the planet.
Past Presentation | This significant documentary explains the spectacular financialization of environmental conservation. If nature had a price, wouldn’t corporations and governments be less likely to destroy it? Wouldn’t putting a price on nature overturn what economist Pavan Sukhdev calls “the economic invisibility of nature”? Reality, of course, turns out to be rather more complex. What guarantees do we have that our natural inheritance will be protected? Should our ecological heritage be for sale? Is the best way to protect nature to put a price on it? Wouldn’t putting a price on nature overturn what economist Pavan Sukhdev calls “the economic invisibility of nature?”
Now Playing | We pollute the environment upon which we depend. An exploration of the paradox of sustainable skiing and how we can protect the places we love.
Past Presentation | A short film that documents visionaries Michael Lewis (of Growing Warriors) and Rebecca Burgess (of Fibershed) as they collaborate to re-introduce industrial hemp to the American landscape.
Past Presentation | Vermont herbalists Jeff and Melanie Carpenter sold their natural products business to buy raw land and start an organic farm to grow medicinal herbs, rather than source them from half-way around the world.
Now Playing | A documentary short that focuses on a sustainability project in Cojímar, Cuba
Now Playing | In 2008, a sustainable development project began in the middle of the Kenai Fjords of Alaska, 3 hours by boat from the nearest port of civilization. Told from the points of view of crew members, project coordinators and the Native Alaskan corporation that owns the land itself, the film is both a celebration of and a blueprint for sustainable construction, as well as an exciting battle against time and the elements deep within wild Alaska.
Past Presentation | This film highlights the Danish non-profit, INDEX: Design to Improve Life ® (INDEX) and the film explores its history as an international design competition and highlights the most innovative INDEX award winners. Showcased is how design can be used to plan and build affordable housing, to prevent blindness, to destroy landmines, to deliver vaccines and blood in remote areas, to clean up the oceans and to help prevent infant and mother mortality, among others. Sustainable designs/inventions that embrace the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability are examined.
Past Presentation | A world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
Past Presentation | Though focused on West Virginia, this film serves as a cautionary tale for a world heavily relying on fossil fuels and the hefty price it exacts from society. Responding to one of the worst yet least publicized industrial contamination disasters in the US, courageous Appalachians fight to defend their human right to clean water and persevere in their quest for truth and justice. Coal Rush dramatizes the human and societal costs to a democracy of relying on cheap energy and the environmental hazards that can affect any of us - rural or urban.
Now Playing | The path to successful bio-intensive market gardening in the Last Frontier involves an enthusiasm to work in partnership with nature; to steward the soil and the multitude of organisms it contains and supports. As Alaskans contemplate the reality that a staggering 95% of food found in the grocery stores is imported, Emily Garrity and her Twitter Creek Garden operation are chipping away at this food insecurity and providing a roadmap for others to emulate. Aspiring to provide alternatives to the destructive standards of commercial agriculture, life-long Alaskan, Emily Garrity, shares her hard-won secrets in this biopic short film.
Now Playing | Join Maya van Rossum, Founder of Green Amendments For The Generations, in her exploration of New Mexico’s biggest environmental issues and the role a NM Green Amendment could play in the fight for environmental justice with: Senator Antoinette Sedillo Lopez, legislative sponsor of the New Mexico Green Amendment; Emma Rose Cohen, CEO/Founder of the sustainable business Final; Beata Tsosie-Peña, Environmental Health and Justice Program Coordinator for Tewa Women United; Artemisio Romero y Carver, founding member of Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA); and Dee George and Penny Aucoin, fracking waste accident victims impacted residents of Otis, NM.
Past Presentation | Daniel Balima is a senior horticulturist from Tenkodogo, a small Sub-Saharan African town in Burkina Faso, where he lives with his large family and has worked since he was born 67 years ago. Daniel as a child falls ill with polio and, although growing without the use of his legs, he is able to follow his father in the family nursery, walking on his hands. He works immediately with great passion and talent so much that his disability, which for many in Africa means a marked destiny, is for Daniel an opportunity: "I could take two paths: begging or taking my life in hand and devoting myself to work with dignity." Daniel has chosen and won this great challenge and, every day, he sows and cultivates with great effort and gratitude many vegetables and plants. In over fifty years of activity he has given life to more than a million trees and this is what is most important for Daniel because, as he tells us, his country, because of the drought, needs many trees and does not stop, on the contrary, he dreams of planting another million.
Music festivals are increasingly turning to sustainable energy sources, a move that's both challenging and costly.Suzanne Bearne reports for the BBC.In short:Festivals like Glastonbury and Shambala are pioneering the use of renewable energy sources, including wind turbines and solar panels, to power their events.Significant investments are being made in connecting festivals to the national grid and using sustainably sourced hydrogenated vegetable oil for power.Efforts are also focused on reducing energy demand, with initiatives like energy tariffs for traders and promoting sustainable transport options for attendees.Key quote:"Audiences are increasingly expecting their festivals to take action. The primary driver of ticket sales is still where your friends go, and also the line-up. But audiences are expecting their festivals to be sustainable, so I think there's increasingly a business case for being a more sustainable business."— Chris Johnson, co-founder of Shambala FestivalWhy this matters:The shift toward sustainable energy in music festivals reflects a growing public demand for environmentally responsible practices and showcases the potential for large-scale events to operate sustainably, impacting both public perception and environmental health.One Ohio River town that’s using outdoor recreation to boost its economy.
The Brazilian Amazon has long been home to small and mid-sized sustainable businesses that use forest nuts, fruits and other products, and it's an incubator for new ones
John Sterman brings workshops with management flight simulators to businesses working toward environmental sustainability.
Washing the dishes, cooking a meal, catching a flight, doing some banking, at a glance, the tasks and routines of our everyday life can appear as a collection of mundane and uninspiring experiences. However, there are brands working to avoid that appearance, and make these routines more meaningful in a variety of ways. Our Place turns a single kitchen pan into a stylish statement against unnecessary waste and carbon neutrality. Blueland uses dish soap and body wash to address plastic waste, and a more efficient supply chain, while Pinterest finds unexpected and inclusive ways to add more joy and utility to the daily scroll. Here are the brands elevating our everyday: Alaska Airlines Since its founding, Alaska Airlines has been defined by its West Coast roots—and routes. In its nascent days, it provided bush planes for isolated communities in its namesake state, and still crisscrosses California and the Pacific Northwest, where wildfires and water scarcity are big issues. “Growing up in those places instilled in us an ethos of real consciousness around place,” says Diana Birkett Rakow, the company’s SVP of public affairs and sustainability. That awareness has inspired a sustainability focus; its five-point plan to reach net-zero by 2040 includes a switch to sustainable aviation fuel, proposed electric-propulsion jets by the end of decade, and carbon offsets. With the clock ticking on other goals, like getting from 1% to 10% sustainable fuel by 2030, the airline is bolstering its efforts with both internal and external support. From the CEO down, 10% of every employee’s bonus opportunity is based on the airline’s performance in meeting its goals. Alaska has also found partners for its efforts initiatives, which include replacing plastic water bottles with Boxed Water cartons in flight, investing in manufacturer ZeroAvia to develop a hydroelectric power train, and even starting a venture fund to identify promising environmental startups. “We can’t change the system on our own,” Birkett Rakow says. “But we can bring partners together and take actions that help create a positive flywheel.” —Talib Visram Avocado Green Brands The bulk of discourse around mattresses in recent years has been whether it came from a store or a box, but Avocado has made its name as one of the first Climate Neutral-certified brands, offsetting more than the sum of its scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, and advocating for legislation that will help fight the climate crisis through its partnership with CERES and the American Sustainable Business Network. The brand in 2021 produced an eight-part podcast called A Little Green, that follows one of its execs, Christina Thompson, as she explores her impact on the environment, and how we can challenge the status quo and become climate leaders in our own communities. Sleep on that. Cloud Paper The bamboo-based toilet paper and paper towel brand is taking aim at global deforestation one wipe at a time. Backed by an impressive list of backers, including Marc Benioff, Mark Cuban, Ashton Kutcher, Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Oseary, Code.org CEO Hadi Partovi, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, NFL star Russell Wilson, and Ciara, the brand celebrated Earth Day 2021 with a fake campaign for a brand called Flush that told you which old growth forest you were wiping with. Dawn The P&G-owned brand has worked to design products to help people use less water and energy, but also be more accessible. Its Powerwash Dish Spray was designed to work on contact, without running the tap to create suds, helping households save up to 120 gallons of water per week, while the brand’s EZ-Squeeze bottle—one of Dawn’s most researched and tested products ever—is designed to dispense dishwashing liquid accurately with only one hand. Dawn also this year committed to help protect and care for a million birds and marine mammals by 2030 through its partnerships with International Bird Rescue and the Marine Mammal Center. Greenwood When Greenwood launched in 2020, it drew attention for being the first digital bank with all Black founders—Ryan Glover, civil rights icon and former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and rapper Killer Mike. Since then, the bank has focused on addressing racial inequities in the financial system. Greenwood acquired the Gathering Spot, which operates Black-focused networking and work space clubs in three cities. Glover says it has made Greenwood the country’s largest combined fintech and community platform for Black and minority consumers, reaching one million people. Greenwood is also building a content arm with digital shows, podcasts, and even name, image, and likeness deals. Indeed More than a job board, Indeed has made itself into a complete platform to better serve both job seekers and employers. Over the past year, the brand has launched Interview Days: Restaurant Jobs with OpenTable, a U.S. hiring initiative aimed to accelerate the recovery of the food and beverage industry by providing free hiring tools to help businesses and restaurateurs source, screen and host interviews. The Indeed Hiring Platform launched in 2022, and allows employers to manage and accelerate the hiring process—from posting through interview—directly on Indeed, with no additional software, all aiming to enable faster, more efficient access to a diverse pool of job seekers looking for the perfect fit. Kahoot Learning should be fun, and education platform Kahoot does just that with 40 million monthly participants, with a combination of content partners like Disney, NASA, and the World Health Organization. Last December, over 3,500 students participated in the European Interschool Kahoot, learning about the refugee and migrant experience and fostering inclusivity. And in April, Indiana-based teacher Stephen Auslander hosted the Kahoot! Cup, with more than 3,200 students from over 50 countries playing with the overall message, “We’re more alike than we’re different.” Lifewtr The brand wrapped its bottles in culture for its 2021 Life Unseen campaign, which worked with actor, writer and producer Issa Rae, who invited 20 diverse filmmakers, musicians, artists, and fashion designers to showcase their work on Lifwtr’s bottle labels. As part of the campaign, the brand also published an interactive tool that reveals the representation gaps that exist across the creative industry for women, the LGBTQ community, people of color, and people with disabilities. Mastercard The act of paying for something can be incredibly simple, but Mastercard has worked to expand that this past year with its new Touch Card for blind and partially sighted people, setting a new global standard for payment card design that enables people to tell, with a touch, which card they are holding. That inclusive product design builds on its work with True Name (to ensure the name on a person’s Mastercard reﬂects their true identity) which was also expanded globally to 30 European markets. Our Place While traditional kitchenware brands and stores feature hundreds of products, Our Place focuses on fewer, well-made products to minimize waste. Its Always Pan, for example, is designed to replace eight pieces of cookware. The immigrant- and female-founded brand reached full carbon neutrality this year. Pinterest In an effort to become a more inclusive platform, Pinterest spent the past year expanding its search capabilities in the beauty space for users with textured hair, and reining in ad content that could be harmful to users’ body image. Last August, Pinterest’s visual search team added a search mechanism to filter hair inspiration images based on pattern—including curly and coiled—and protective styles, like twists and braids. Similar to the skin tone search feature that the company released in 2018, this new AI-powered search tool can pinpoint and recognize hair patterns and surface the appropriate Pins. In the little more than a year since the feature launched, Pinterest has seen a significant increase in texture-specific search requests, including “naturally wavy hair cuts with layers” and “protective hairstyles braids.” Pinterest also expanded its body neutrality initiative, amending its ad policy in July 2021 to ban all mentions of body mass index and weight loss, building on an earlier ban on ads for diet products, or featuring before-and-after imagery. One year later, the company self-reported a 20% decrease in “weight loss” searches and a trend away from activity related to diets. —Rachel Kim Raczka Plantega Bodegas are a way of life in New York City, and Plantega is a brand bringing plant-based food options to a much broader audience through the city’s network of shops. In 2021, it launched in 14 locations across four NYC boroughs, from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, to Jamaica, Queens, with a goal to bridge the gap between plant-based food manufacturers and independent corner stores, while helping spark a shift toward more sustainable eating. Vital Farms This is a brand that prides itself on the cruelty-free treatment of its hens to the sustainability of its supply chain, but also manages to turn those ideals into fun, compelling content. Its traceability initiative allows you to see a 360-degree video of the farm and the hens that laid your eggs, and in 2021, they took it a step further. Vital Farms built a custom, hen-friendly camera into a pasture where hens that lay the company’s eggs wander, to get a firsthand look at their daily life. The camera features a pressure-sensor platform that, when pecked or stepped on by a hen, sets off the shutter, producing black-and-white images of the hens’ surroundings, including vast pastures, their flock, and the family farmers who care for them. The photos were then featured in a national billboard campaign, as well as online and in a limited-edition coffee-table book. This article is part of Fast Company’s 2022 Brands That Matter awards. Explore the full list of brands whose success has come from embodying their purpose in a way that resonates with their customers.
Joanne Kenen, POLITICO’s former health editor, is the Commonwealth Fund journalist-in-residence at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a Politico Magazine contributing writer and contributor to the Nightly newsletter.
If you were traveling through Panama last November, you weren’t traveling far. Protests erupted, closing down streets, delaying supply chains, canceling travel plans, and virtually bringing the entire country to a standstill. The reason? Citizens expressing their displeasure with the government’s renewal of a contract with First Quantum, a Canadian mining company, extracting copper from […] The post Panama’s Path to Sustainable Tourism appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
UK advertising watchdog says firms could not corroborate claims on environmental impact of air travelAdverts from Air France, Lufthansa and Etihad have been banned by the UK’s ad regulator due to concerns they have misled customers about the environmental impact of air travel.The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has banned three adverts identified in July using artificial intelligence that suggested flights operated by leading airlines were sustainable. Continue reading...
MIT alumnus-founded FarmWise uses autonomous machines to snip weeds while preserving crops, eliminating the need for herbicides.
A powerful new approach can help developing countries make road construction and maintenance greener and more affordable.
Past Presentation | This episode looks at a range of sustainable practices young Edmontonians are engaged in to bring local, healthy and delicious food to local tables. Host Paula Humby plants an apple tree.
Nowadays, sustainability plays a huge role in deciding vacation spots, hotels, restaurants, and packages. Many businesses advertise themselves as eco-friendly or sustainable, and it can be tough to determine whether they comply with the requirements. The Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT) developed a certification that can help tourists identify those businesses that are, in fact, […] The post <strong>Costa Rica’s Certification of Sustainable Tourism</strong> appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
Researchers have discovered that graphene naturally allows proton transport, especially around its nanoscale wrinkles. This finding could revolutionize the hydrogen economy by offering sustainable alternatives...
Now Playing | A day in the life of Patrick Lang living a sustainable life in Malibu… filmed before his home and community were consumed by fire in the fall of 2018.
Safely growing seafood in federal waters could help stabilize supply for consumers, drive job creation and meet the demand for sustainably sourced, nutritious protein.
Virgin Atlantic flight, partly funded by government, hailed by ministers but criticised by campaignersCan UK’s ‘jet zero’ hopes take off with a plane fuelled by used cooking oil?The first transatlantic flight by a commercial airliner fully powered by “sustainable” jet fuel will take off from London Heathrow this morning.The Virgin Atlantic flight, partly funded by the government, has been hailed by the aviation industry and ministers as a demonstration of the potential to significantly cut net carbon emissions from flying, although scientists and environmental groups are extremely sceptical. Continue reading...
Two weeks ago, I promised this newsletter would have more to say about the emotional sustainability of climate coverage and climate activism—which seems to be a theme of late. In the wake of the most recent U.N. climate report, for example, several prominent voices in the climate space have returned to the question of how to frame climate news optimistically, so that people don’t feel too overwhelmed.In a world where fossil fuel executives, meat megacorporations, and the like possess vastly more wealth and power than activists, tone probably isn’t the primary challenge in climate communication, as Kate Aronoff argued last week. At the same time, it’s true that sustainability continues to have the reputation of being a lot of work. And that’s a fascinating conundrum—because despite the plethora of popular articles promising five, 10, 12, 20, 22, 40, 58, or 101 ways to live more sustainably and fight climate change, a lot of the easy answers about how to live more sustainably involve doing less.Four years ago, climate writer Mary Annaïse Heglar penned a classic essay at Vox about being tired of people confessing their environmental sins to her. Too often, she wrote, people feel they need to “convert to 100 percent solar energy, ride an upcycled bike everywhere, stop flying, eat vegan,” or else they’re bad environmentalists. “And all this raises the price of admission to the climate movement to an exorbitant level, often pricing out people of color and other marginalized groups.” Personal action isn’t irrelevant in the fight for a livable future, she wrote, but it’s not the best place to focus one’s efforts, particularly if people then get overwhelmed and stop at the personal—neglecting to vote for robust climate policies because they’re so busy trying to find a place to recycle those pesky plastic bags. A lot of people clearly feel sustainable living means doing more: taking more time to sort recycling or buying special reusable containers, sourcing clothes from thrift shops or researching the most sustainable varieties of seafood. A lot of people also want guidance about how to live more sustainably (how to have a more sustainable yard, for example, was one question I recently heard raised in a meeting) but feel intimidated by the amount of work it might require (killing off your grass and installing a bunch of native plants is pretty daunting for nongardeners).But let’s take that sustainable yard question as a good case study. Sure, there’s a case for killing off your grass, planting a meadow of native plants, as The New York Times recently urged to ward off the insect apocalypse, or even adding a frog pond, as Emma Marris suggested at The Atlantic. But if you’re not ready or equipped to do that, there really is one easy trick to make your yard more sustainable: Do less. Mow it less frequently—the estimates on emissions from gas-powered lawn mowers vary, but all of them are staggering (greater than a car operating for an equivalent amount of time), and longer grass is more hospitable to insects and other wildlife anyway. Apply pesticides or herbicides less frequently—the runoff is terrible for watersheds (in fact, that might be an easier way to help amphibians than installing a frog pond). If you’re in a water-strapped part of the country, water it less frequently.Greater effort doesn’t necessarily mean greater environmental friendliness. This holds for so many other things as well, like clothes shopping. Donating your clothing or looking for sustainably produced labels has some serious limits, as recent reporting on the deluge of unused clothing donations and greenwashing of the fashion industry has shown. The real way to dress sustainably, as a growing number of experts acknowledge, is simply to buy less. The real way to make your commute more sustainable may not be to spend hours researching and then financing the latest e-bike, but to work less—by pushing for a four-day workweek, as Kate wrote about last year. You’d think that this would be a popular “solution” in a world where people are always bemoaning how little time they have, how little cash they have, how bad inflation has gotten. Yet “do less” isn’t always what people want to hear. Perhaps that’s because “do less” has a hint of austerity to it or because doing less may require swimming against the flow of a culture obsessed with aesthetics. Try doing or not doing anything remotely unorthodox with your lawn in a neighborhood with a neurotic homeowners’ association, and see how that goes. (Although, that being said, this Maryland couple sued those bougie troglodytes and won, so there’s hope.) Buying fewer clothes means ignoring the pressure to engage in competitive social signaling.Yet it’s worth remembering that it’s precisely this culture of aesthetics over substance that the corporations driving climate change have relied on again and again: by championing the idea of a personal “carbon footprint” in the first place, to make people feel guilty about their own lifestyles instead of questioning fossil fuel companies’ culpability; by marketing gas stoves as a lifestyle upgrade or plastics as convenient and more pleasant to use; by trend-churning to force seasonal purchases; and a multitude of other examples.If individual consumers are going to take on the task of fighting all this, perhaps the least they can do for themselves is—instead of adding 20 items to their to-do lists and shaming themselves for falling short—choose the path that saves them time and money, by rejecting the cult of aesthetics in the first place. There’s beauty in that too.Good NewsRenewable electricity generation surpassed coal in this country for the first time in 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports. Bad NewsOver a year after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine catapulted heat pumps and home insulation to the top of the Western European political agenda—to save on winter fuel—an independent report has found that the United Kingdom only “stuttered further” in 2022 on its path to energy efficiency. The chair of the independent commission blamed insufficient funding and an overreliance on “low-stakes incremental changes” and called for bolder policies. “The risk of delay in addressing climate change,” he said, “is now greater than the risk of over-correction.”Stat of the WeekThat’s the degree to which stricter limits on fine-particulate-matter air pollution could reduce mortality rates among older Black and low-income people in the U.S, according to a new study. Read the New York Times write-up here.Elsewhere in the EcosystemThe Gospel of DisasterSlate has a pretty wild story this week about the Christian relief organizations that are stepping up to the plate to help communities recover from climate disasters when the Federal Emergency Management Agency fails to get the job done (unfortunately a frequent occurrence, due to persistent underfunding):The Christian relief organizations that have stepped in as first responders—with little oversight—are diverse, spanning from well-intentioned community churches with decades of goodwill to billion-dollar evangelical charities that use far-right outrage to fundraise and take advantage of disaster to spread their gospel.The overwhelming majority of these organizations’ on-the-ground volunteers serve out of genuine compassion. But some of the country’s largest disaster charities are helmed by far-right extremist leaders who encourage volunteers to make proselytization a main part of their mission, bragging in press releases about how many disaster victims “prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.” For Samaritan’s Purse, that leader is president and CEO Franklin Graham, the evangelical titan who has called Islam a violent religion, compared trans people with pedophiles, and praised Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay policies, saying LGBT people will burn in “the flames of hell.”Read Nick Aspinwall’s story at Slate.This article first appeared in Apocalypse Soon, a weekly TNR newsletter authored by deputy editor Heather Souvaine Horn. Sign up here.
Growers are using images taken from space to quantify how much carbon is stored in their soil and validate the credits they’re selling.
You know what I really love reading while plutocrats turn the U.N. climate conference into meaningless blather? The onslaught of seasonal service pieces about how to make my Christmas tree more sustainable. They’re completely unhinged.Let’s start with the central question driving these stories: Should you buy a real or artificial tree? Most people want a simple answer—and for what it’s worth, most experts say the more sustainable option is a real tree, unless you reuse your artificial one for decades. But it won’t take long perusing the Google hits before you conclude that, whatever you pick, you’ll need a horticultural degree and a lot of time if you want to celebrate Christmas without feeling like a planet-destroying little shit. CBS ran a piece this year suggesting people buy tree species native to their region—for example, a Douglas fir if you live in the Pacific Northwest—and “look for local nurseries that protect their soils from erosion and minimize harm to surface and groundwater from runoff.” This on its own may be tough, since the nursery industry is now dizzyingly complex and not particularly local.And once the holiday season is over, you’re supposed to dispose of the tree responsibly so it doesn’t end up in a landfill and produce methane as it decomposes. If your municipality doesn’t offer tree-chipping services, and you don’t have a yard in which to compost your tree, CBS adds that “trees can be used as an erosion barrier for sand or soil or as fish habitat in lakes. They can even be donated whole to zoos, where the trees provide entertainment for animals … or they can be tossed into a bio-burner to provide heating for buildings. Some people even feed trees to goats.”Now, you might balk at sourcing local goats to eat your Christmas tree. But that’s only because you haven’t read how complicated it is to turn your tree into a fish habitat. Per the story linked above: “As an avid angler, your boat likely has an electronic fishfinder with GPS capabilities. You can use your fishfinder to scan the bottom for the best areas lacking any cover. Take into consideration seasonal fish transitions, relation to deeper water and close proximity to a main river channel.” Once you’ve heaved your tree into the inky depths below, “keep it a secret and mark the location with a GPS waypoint.” That way you can return to slay the little fishies attracted to your tree and eat them for dinner without any fear that other anglers will steal your catch. The spirit of Christmas, folks!I’m cherry-picking the most ludicrous suggestions here, but only a little. A WBUR item last year urged people to buy an organic tree or keep their artificial tree “well-dusted and vacuumed around regularly so their PVC materials don’t shed heavy metal dust.” This admittedly sounds like a good tip. But having read that their tree is poisoning them, people might be reluctant to follow the next suggestion: “Try to keep your [artificial] tree as long as possible to avoid waste.” Salon says that in order to calculate whether a real tree or artificial one is better, you should factor in the distance you are driving to the Christmas tree farm. Sentient Media, a nonprofit focusing on factory farming, suggests the best option is specifically “an artificial tree purchased second-hand” or “a potted live tree that can be replanted outside after the holidays.”The Washington Post this year endorsed potted trees as well, disdaining cut conifers because even if your municipality shreds them into mulch, the wood chipper is powered by fossil fuels. The proposed solution is mind-bending:This year, consider rethinking the Yule tradition by opting for a young potted tree instead.… Many of these Tannenbaums—ranging from tabletop-sized to seven feet tall—can work well in smaller living spaces. And after Santa has visited, they can be planted outside to extend (hopefully) fond memories of the holidays. All it takes is a smidgen of planning, a touch of maintenance, a well-executed exit plan and the right tree.I see versions of this “plant your Christmas tree” a lot, and find it perennially confusing. Even if you suppose The Washington Post is read solely by homeowners, what percentage of them have the kind of yard that could absorb a Christmas tree being planted outside year after year? Are these people living on multi-acre estates? And if so, why are they also in “smaller living spaces”? If the idea is to dig the tree up again the next year, do people understand how hard that is? Do they have backhoes? That’s before we get to the “smidgen of planning,” which involves a “two-inch layer of pebbles” to foil bathroom-seeking house cats, pre-digging a hole outside before the ground freezes, moving the tree after Christmas to an unheated garage for a week to “acclimate,” moving the tree—still in its pot—back to the hole in the ground, and then in spring taking it out of the pot and planting it in “dirt and compost,” mulching the top, and watering it.So basically, in order to have a sustainably decorated living room this holiday season, you need to start your own Christmas tree farm.What makes this all so maddening is that sustainability around this time of year is a real problem. American households generate an estimated 25 percent more trash between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than they otherwise would, resulting in one million extra tons of junk each week. But here’s the thing: If you celebrate Christmas, all you really need to do to make it more sustainable is buy less stuff.Do that however you like. Repurpose items you already have—ladders, Christmas cards, books—into gorgeous tree-like installations. Reduce the gift-wrapped goods (and wrap the gifts you do buy with paper from your recycling bin). Whether you’re religious or secular, there are many customs and traditions that don’t require consumerism. Some surely have universal appeal: Bake cinnamon rolls or some other indulgence, spend an evening by candlelight, volunteer at your local food bank, host a soup potluck. For the die-hard “my Christmas must look like a Dickens adaptation!” folks, add a Smoking Bishop or a Yule log.Some environmental activists would argue that all this “sustainable Christmas” talk is a dangerous distraction anyway, since households—particularly lower-income ones—aren’t the biggest problem when it comes to either emissions or trash; fixating on Christmas sustainability is exactly what fossil fuel executives want and exactly the kind of stuff that makes people think environmentalism is no fun. There’s an element of truth to that. But a lot of people, me included, want to live their values. For the sake of those people, let’s not make sustainability sound like it takes weeks of research, specialized manual labor, and thousands of dollars. It’s quite easy, more fun, and even a bit radical to spend your holiday on things—and with people—you actually enjoy. But whatever you do, please don’t get yourself arrested dumping a tree in the lake as part of some well-intentioned clandestine op.Good News/Bad NewsThe Environmental Protection Agency has proposed stricter limits on lead in drinking water, with utilities required to remove almost all lead water pipes across the country by 2033—10 percent of pipes each year for 10 years. Probably shouldn’t have taken the richest nation on earth this long to decide to stop poisoning children, but there you go.Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels probably won’t happen at this point. Limiting it to two degrees will be hard enough. Bill Gates, unhelpfully, has already given up on that too, and thinks as long as we stay below three degrees it won’t be too bad. A lot of research suggests he’s wrong about that. “Every tenth of a degree matters,” a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insisted earlier this year.Stat of the Week375 millionThat’s the number of electric vehicle batteries the Salton Sea in Southern California could produce, according to recent analysis, if extracting lithium from the “geothermal brine” currently used to power turbines becomes cost effective. Read more at the Nevada Current.Elsewhere in the EcosystemAddress of His Holiness Pope Francis to the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Climate Change (COP28)As mentioned last week, Pope Francis has been way more willing than any leader of a rich nation to denounce fossil fuels and capitalism as the cause of climate change. He had to skip attending COP28 in person due to illness, but he sent a speech to be read aloud by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin.It has now become clear that the climate change presently taking place stems from the overheating of the planet, caused chiefly by the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere due to human activity, which in recent decades has proved unsustainable for the ecosystem.… We find ourselves facing firm and even inflexible positions calculated to protect income and business interests, at times justifying this on the basis of what was done in the past, and periodically shifting the responsibility to others. Yet the task to which we are called today is not about yesterday, but about tomorrow: a tomorrow that, whether we like it or not, will belong to everyone or else to no one.Particularly striking in this regard are the attempts made to shift the blame onto the poor and high birth rates. These are falsities that must be firmly dispelled. It is not the fault of the poor, since the almost half of our world that is more needy is responsible for scarcely 10% of toxic emissions, while the gap between the opulent few and the masses of the poor has never been so abysmal. The poor are the real victims of what is happening: we need think only of the plight of indigenous peoples, deforestation, the tragedies of hunger, water and food insecurity, and forced migration.Read the full address on The Vatican’s website.This article first appeared in Life in a Warming World, a weekly TNR newsletter authored by deputy editor Heather Souvaine Horn. Sign up here.
Research demonstrates a pathway to sustainably produce biojet fuel domestically and meet the country’s growing aviation fuel demand. Every day in the United States, 45,000...
Now Playing | Joep van Dijk is a passionate climate scientist. He likes to search for extreme examples that show how life can be lived sustainably. This documentary follows Joep on his CO2-neutral journey from Amsterdam to the United States of America and shows how this choice inspires himself and others to live a climate conscious life.
Researchers caution that harvests must be sustainably managed to preserve populations for future generations. In a new research study, scientists Stewart Edie of the Smithsonian, Shan Huang of the University...
A new discovery by the Polytechnic University of Milan opens up new perspectives in the field of sustainable chemical synthesis, promoting innovative solutions that allow...
Bitcoin has a carbon emissions problem due to the vast energy consumption of mining. In fact, bans on cryptomining have popped up around the world...
Costa Rica is often referred to as the poster child for environmental conservation. The country has achieved a remarkable feat of reversing deforestation that had once threatened its rich biodiversity. With nearly 52% of its landmass covered in forests, the country has become a model for reforestation efforts globally. However, as the world grapples with […] The post Costa Rica’s Reforestation Victory: Contemplating Sustainable Preservation appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
Birthdays, weddings, and funerals: Why people who care about the climate are bringing those values into rites of passage.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday will outline voluntary standards aimed at promoting sustainable investment and discouraging the practice of misleadingly marketing business activities as environmentally friendly, known as greenwashing. Yellen will make the comments in New York at the Bloomberg Transition Finance Action Forum in New York City, according to excerpts released by the...
Sustainable diets have been around for ages, but an emerging cookbook genre signals a new appetite for change.
Atacama Biomaterials, co-founded by Paloma Gonzalez-Rojas SM ’15, PhD ’21, combines architecture, machine learning, and chemical engineering to create eco-friendly materials.
Both approval and ranked choice voting put fire under the feet of elected officials to do the right thing for the environment — or risk being voted out. The post Reform Our Elections to Secure a Sustainable Future appeared first on The Revelator.
Virtuous proclamations and campaigns from clothing brands can often amount to greenwashing, or in some cases, “clearwashing,” where the information doesn’t tell consumers much.
Starbucks announced plans to open a new sustainability learning and innovation lab at its Hacienda Alsacia research and development headquarters in Alajuela, Costa Rica. The lab will be a center for virtual and in-person learning opportunities for Starbucks employees, students, researchers, and leaders from around the world. It will also serve as a hub for […] The post Sustainable Solutions: Starbucks’ Innovative Lab in Costa Rica appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
The discovery of new quantum materials with magnetic properties are believed to pave the way for ultra-fast and considerably more energy efficient computers and mobile...
At the 64th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council in Brazil, international funds were approved to develop projects in Costa Rica. Initiatives such as “Accelerating the transition to zero net emissions, the nature-positive economy in Costa Rica,” “Beyond 30×30: ensuring sustainable marine systems in the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor (ETPMC),” “Project GloLitter: […] The post Funding Approved for Costa Rica’s Sustainable Development Projects appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
If your aim this year is to be more eco-friendly and sustainable when travelling, here are a few ways how you can do just that… The post Want to be more eco-friendly when travelling? Here’s how appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.
California has spent billions of dollars in recent years to reduce homelessness, but the problem is only getting worse. Lawmakers should rethink their approach and consider solutions that involve the private sector and repeal laws that make it too expensive to build housing.
Portions of this essay were previously published as “Walmart’s Ocean: Certifications, Catch Shares, and the Ripple Effects of Corporate Governance on Marine Environments” in Big Box USA: The Environmental Impact of America’s Biggest Retail Stores. Eds. Bartow Elmore, Rachel Gross, and Sherri Sheu. 2023. Colorado University Press. The lawsuit alleged that “as Walmart knew or […] The post Op-ed: Walmart’s Outsized Catch appeared first on Civil Eats.
Norway’s government has made a deal with two large opposition parties to open the Arctic Ocean to seabed mineral exploration despite warnings by environmental groups that it would threaten the region's biodiversity
Canary Media thanks Sense for its support of the Home of the Future series. In East New York, a residential area in the outer reaches of Brooklyn, a 14-story apartment building rises from the site of a demolished water pumping facility. With airtight insulation and advanced ventilation, the new brick-clad…
Scientists developed a novel, sun-activated catalyst that reduces reliance on rare metals and enhances the efficiency of esterification reactions, crucial for products like medicines and...
Cities around the globe are investing in new sustainable initiatives to reap the economic and environmental benefits for their communities. On Wednesday, April 5 at 9:00 a.m. ET, join Washington Post Live for a series of conversations with White House Council on Environmental Quality chair Brenda Mallory and Maryland Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller (D) about building greener cities and addressing historical environmental inequities. BlocPower CEO Donnel Baird, Carnegie Mellon School of Architecture’s Erica Cochran Hameen and New Urban Mobility Alliance director Harriet Tregoning will also discuss the role of buildings in designing more sustainable cities.
Scientists have grown cow muscle cells inside grains of rice to create a new food product that could supply protein with a lower carbon footprint than beef
Significant strides are being made to alleviate load shedding by enhancing the performance of Eskom’s power stations. The country is faced with both an electricity crisis and a climate crisis, which we must tackle together. As we intensify our efforts to address the electricity shortfall, we remain committed to reduce our carbon emissions through a […] The post Power crisis and climate change: A sustainable path ahead appeared first on SAPeople - Worldwide South African News.