Monday, April 25, 2005

Working 9 to 5 on climate change: An office guide

Working 9 to 5 on climate change: An office guide: "Working 9 to 5 on climate change: An office guide is based on the experiences of the World Resources Institute with its CO2 reduction commitment and will help other office-based organizations understand climate change and the practical steps they can take to measure and reduce their CO2 emissions. Readers of Working 9 to 5 on climate change will discover tips on how to gain organizational support for a climate commitment, find out the information they need to calculate their CO2 emissions and set a reduction target, and receive suggestions on how to reach it.

Four simple calculation tools also accompany Working 9 to 5 on climate change that can be customized to the needs of individual offices. Each tool contains simple instructions and examples to facilitate understanding of the tool. Using data input by the user, the tools calculate the following:

* CO2 emissions from fuel used for heating and transportation (direct_emissions.xls)
* CO2 emissions from purchased electricity (indirect_emissions.xls)
* CO2 emissions from business travel by air, train, bus and car (business_travel_emissions.xls)
* CO2 emissions from employee commuting (commuting_emissions.xls)"

Eco-Search - the Environmentally friendly Search engine

Eco-Search - the Environmentally friendly Search engine

Sunday, April 24, 2005

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: The Future of Eco-evangelism

a side note: ABC News ran a piece on this topic this week as well, and I thought it interesting that their shot of the nice ecologically-mindful Christian shoppers were in Wal-Mart. The Bible has a bit on that: beware of those who mix the truth with lies.

AlterNet: EnviroHealth: The Future of Eco-evangelism: "This Earth Day could mark the birth of new alliance between environmentalists and Christians -- and that's good news for our planet."

Thursday, April 21, 2005

DeLay's fumes cloud energy bill

(if you want to read the whole article at Salon, you'll have to watch a short ad to get a Salon daypass) News | DeLay's fumes cloud energy bill: "Methyl tertiary-butyl ether, designed as a clean-air additive for fuel, has turned out to be fairly nasty stuff. Just a few drops of MTBE, as it's known, can make a water supply unusable. In larger concentrations, scientists say, it causes cancer. The chemical, in widespread use for decades, has been detected in nearly 2,000 water systems in 29 states, and that number is still rising. Although the companies involved -- including some of nation's largest oil refineries and suppliers -- have known for more than 20 years that MTBE was fouling waterways, they've been reluctant to get involved in the cleanup and are facing mounting litigation from affected communities.

Now these four little letters are absolutely guaranteed to raise the Bush administration's collective blood pressure as it tries to get an energy bill through Congress. But the MTBE threat the administration is most concerned with isn't environmental; it's political. Once before, House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's dogged determination to protect MTBE producers from legal jeopardy dragged the administration's entire energy plan down to defeat. And he's at it again. [...]"

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Some Like It Hot

Let's just say this article makes the class' assessment of Exxon Mobile look a little light:

Some Like It Hot: "...Mother Jones has tallied some 40 ExxonMobil-funded organizations that either have sought to undermine mainstream scientific findings on global climate change or have maintained affiliations with a small group of “skeptic” scientists who continue to do so. Beyond think tanks, the count also includes quasi-journalistic outlets like Tech (a website providing “news, analysis, research, and commentary” that received $95,000 from ExxonMobil in 2003), a columnist, and even religious and civil rights groups. In total, these organizations received more than $8 million between 2000 and 2003 (the last year for which records are available; all figures below are for that range unless otherwise noted). ExxonMobil chairman and CEO Lee Raymond serves as vice chairman of the board of trustees for the AEI, which received $960,000 in funding from ExxonMobil. The AEI-Brookings Institution Joint Center for Regulatory Studies, which officially hosted Crichton, received another $55,000. When asked about the event, the center’s executive director, Robert Hahn—who’s a fellow with the AEI—defended it, saying, “Climate science is a field in which reasonable experts can disagree.” [...]"

As the World Burns

Mother Jones is featuring a large collection of articles on various environmental topics:

As the World Burns

social activists rewarded with Goldman Environmental Prize - Activist priest wins environmental prize - Apr 18, 2005: "...Tamayo is one of two prize winners chosen from Latin America this year. The other is Isidro Baldenegro Lopez, a Mexican farmer who fought for land rights and forest protection in the Tarahumara mountains of northern Chihuahua state, home to some of Mexico's last old-growth forests.

Baldenegro spent more than a year in jail on charges he and a fellow activist were carrying assault rifles and marijuana seeds.

The plight of the two Tarahumara Indians became an international cause celebre in environmental circles, with Amnesty International declaring the two men 'prisoners of conscience.'

Baldenegro had long maintained his innocence, but the case came to a head last May when an investigation by Chihuahua state prosecutors concluded that four state policemen had abused their authority in arresting him.

The son of an Indian rights activist killed in the 1980s, Baldenegro organized a group of neighbors -- mainly women -- to block logging roads to prevent non-Indian loggers from cutting old-growth pine. [...]"

Young Is The New Old

Cascadia Scorecard Weblog: Young Is The New Old: "Are old growth forests growing back? According to an article in the Oregonian, new federal research shows that there are 600,000 more acres of old forest west of the Cascades than there were a decade ago. I'm suspicious.

The structural characteristics of old growth forests are enormously complex. It's a lot more than just a few trees with thick trunks. Though there are many competing definitions of old growth, foresters generally agree that there must be a diversity of tree ages and species: everything from hemlock saplings to Godzilla-size cedars. There are standing and fallen dead trees, whose slow rotting provides nutrients to the relatively poor soil typical west of the Cascades. And there are an abundance of mosses and lichens and shrubs.

Some even argue that old growth forests can never regenerate after being clearcut; or if they can regenerate, it will take hundreds of years. Clearcutting leaves the soil desiccated and prone to erosion. It also robs the forest of the conditions of later life--the big-biomass nutrients of decaying trees. (In fact, the research attributes much of the new old growth to forests regenerating in burned areas.)

The new inventory uses a rule of thumb--stands containing trees larger than 20 inches in diameter are considered 'old.' But that seems much, much too simple a measure. I'm happy to hear that forests on federal lands are aging and growing. But I'd prefer a more complete definition of old growth forests--a definition that speaks to their ecological complexity, their age, and their ability to provide shelter for wildlife."

Forests Grow, Owls Decline Under Plan Forests Grow, Owls Decline Under Plan: "A decade after the Clinton administration reduced logging in national forests in the Northwest, scientists have concluded the forests are growing, but the population of the threatened northern spotted owl has declined.

Scientists reported Tuesday that the Northwest Forest Plan, adopted by the Clinton administration in 1994, resulted in an 80 percent reduction in logging on 24 million acres of land in western Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

Since the plan was adopted, medium-aged to older forests have increased by 606,000 acres to 7.9 million acres, or to about 34 percent of all forest land in the region, said Melinda Moeur, program leader for old-growth monitoring for the U.S. Forest Service.

The plan also aimed to protect the threatened northern spotted owl, of which there are about 8,000 pairs in the region.

Officials expected an average annual decline in owl numbers of 3.1 percent until enough habitat grew to stabilize populations. But the actual decline has been steeper in some areas. [...]"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

the Shell Center for Sustainability is just one example...

This is a good article on the topic of the discussion that arose in class today.

CorpWatch: University, Inc.: "In 1998, the University of California at Berkeley struck a deal with Novartis, a Swiss agricultural-biotechnology firm (now called Syngenta), in which Novartis funded one-third of the research budget of a department within the university’s College of Natural Resources. In exchange, Berkeley gave Novartis exclusive patenting rights to one-third of the discoveries generated from the department and allowed Novartis to occupy 40% of the committee that decides where that research money is allocated.

The agreement ended in 2003, but was highly contested by both students and faculty. Dr. Ignacio Chapela, an assistant professor of microbial biology and a prominent critic of genetic engineering who lost his tenure at around the same time, went on to become the center of a fiery international debate.

The Novartis/UC deal might be the best known example of the kinds of challenges that arise when corporate interest and universities mix. But, as Jennifer Washburn, author of University, Inc.: Corporate Corruption of Higher Education, explains below, it is not unique. [...]"

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sports events leave a giant 'ecological footprint'

New Scientist Breaking News - Sports events leave a giant 'ecological footprint': "Large sporting events have an 'ecological footprint' thousands of times the size of the pitches they are played on. That's according to researchers who have calculated a sporting event's environmental impact for the first time.

Andrea Collins of Cardiff University in the UK and her colleagues looked at the 2004 soccer FA Cup final, held at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. They converted the energy and resources used on the day of the match into an ecological footprint - the hypothetical area of land required to support the use of those resources. Energy consumed, for example, was converted into the area of forest needed to soak up the carbon dioxide generated in its production, while food consumption was represented as the amount of farmland needed to make it. This method gave the match a footprint of 3051 hectares.

More than half the footprint came from transport. The 73,000 supporters collectively travelled nearly 42 million kilometres to reach the match. Fewer than half travelled by car, but car use generated 68 per cent of the transport footprint. If those fans had travelled by bus instead the footprint would have been 399 hectares smaller.

Food was the second-largest contributor, weighing in at 1381 hectares for the 36,500 snacks consumed. The researchers say this could easily be reduced: for example, substituting all the beef with chicken would have taken 428 hectares off the footprint.

The impact of waste disposal, at 146 hectares, was surprisingly low, says Collins. Recycling would have trimmed this by 39 hectares. [...]"

blog test: why is education an environment issue?

BBC NEWS | Africa | 'Failure' to educate world's poor: "...The Global Campaign for Education says 100 million children are still not going to school and it blames rich countries for failing to provide the funding necessary.

It grades 22 of them in what it calls a school report card.

Two countries, Norway and the Netherlands get an A grade, but the US and Austria receive the bottom F grade.

The assessment is based in part on countries' spending on development aid in total and on education programmes in particular. [...]"

I know mom said don't wipe your nose on your sleeve, but...

It beats the hell out of supporting Kleenex! Go to the website to write a letter and learn more about the campaign against Kimberly-Clark.

CorpWatch: Greenpeace: Stop Kimberly-Clark/Kleenex from Wiping Away Ancient Forests: "Kimberly-Clark is the largest manufacturer of tissue products in the world and owns the brand names Kleenex, Scot, Viva, and Cottonelle. It is a highly profitable company raking in 1.7 billion dollars in profits last year. Unfortunately much of its profits are based on turning ancient forests into disposable paper products that consumers use once and then throw away or flush down the toilet. Kimberly-Clark is also one of the least progressive tissue product manufacturers continuing to rely on massive amounts of virgin fibre to produce its products - it uses over 2.5 million tonnes of virgin tree pulp each year and less than 19% of its fibre in North America comes from recycled sources. The industry average for recycled fibre use is 60%. and major and minor competitors of K-C have taken very progressive steps to become more sustainable.

In November, Greenpeace Canada and the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) launched a US/Canada public campaign against Kimberly-Clark in an attempt to stop it from further wiping away ancient forests. Kimberly-Clark is not a responsible corporation and we are working to expose its environmental record."

Friday, April 15, 2005

Federation of Houston Professional Women

This scholarship has very little publicity, but is for Houston women attending Texas schools.

Federation of Houston Professional Women

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Washington state becomes first to enact green building law

greenbuilding_signed: "Gov. Christine Gregoire today signed the high performance green buildings bill into law, making Washington the first state to require that new public buildings meet 'green building' standards of energy efficiency, water conservation and other environmental standards.

'With this bill, Washington state is taking the lead to build schools and other state buildings that do a much better job of protecting Washington's air, land and water,' Gregoire said at a signing ceremony at Washington Middle School in Olympia. A planned remodeling and addition to the school will meet the U.S. Green Building Council standards for such things as using recycled materials, ensuring better ventilation in buildings and reducing water and energy use.

'One of my hopes is that by showing the way, we will encourage everybody from mall developers to homebuilders to use the same green building techniques that schools and other government buildings will be using,' Gregoire said.

Under the new law, all major public agency facilities exceeding 5,000 square feet, including school buildings receiving state funding, would be required to meet the green building council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards."