Alexis Petru

Passionate about both writing and sustainability, Alexis Petru is freelance journalist and communications consultant based in the San Francisco Bay Area whose work has appeared on Earth911, Huffington Post and Patch.com. Prior to working as a writer, she coordinated environmental programs for various Bay Area cities and counties for seven years. She has a degree in cultural anthropology from UC Berkeley.

U.S. power plants withdrew as much water as farms did and four times as much water as all Americans did in 2005, according to a report from the Union of Concerned Scientists.

California’s Hidden Water Consumer: Power Plants

As California suffers through its fourth year of record drought and Gov. Jerry Brown imposes mandatory water restrictions for the first time in the Golden State’s history, the debate rages on over who consumes the most water and who should be responsible for cutting back: farmers, residents or the beef industry? But there’s another major consumer of water in California and the United States: power plants.

Attendees gather at the 2014 Women's Leadership Conference sponsored by MGM Resorts.

What Does Women’s Leadership Mean in 2015?

Nearly a century after women were granted the right to vote and a half century after the Equal Pay Act, the United States has yet to have a female president, and in Fortune 500 companies, women hold less than 20 percent of board seats and only 4.8 percent of CEO positions. As TriplePundit kicks off our new series on women’s leadership, we posed this question to some of the women we admire most: What does women’s leadership mean in 2015?

Smog Mask at China Fashion Week

Couture Smog Masks Unveiled At China Fashion Week

We’ve all seen the powerful images of residents in China’s most polluted cities wearing face masks to protect themselves against the dangerous levels of smog. But at last fall’s Mercedes-Benz China Fashion Week, designers incorporated the respiratory gear into their shows — highlighting China’s air pollution problem and the government’s failure to improve air quality.

Homeless Airbnb Listing

Airbnb Campaign Brings Attention to NYC Homeless

If you’re looking for a place to stay on your next trip to New York City, Airbnb user Jamie has a posting that sounds promising: a “Hot Bedroom w/ Semi-Private Terrace” for only $11. But on closer inspection of the post and accompanying photo, it appears Jamie’s “hot bedroom” is actually the sidewalk under the awning of a Manhattan office building, and Jamie is holding a cardboard sign that reads, “Homeless. Need Money.” This fake Airbnb posting is part of an innovative campaign to raise awareness about the Big Apple’s growing homeless population on the popular housing-sharing platform.

Guardian-Newspaper-300x168

Can the Guardian’s Climate Campaign Effect Real Political Change?

There’s one important issue that journalism has consistently failed to cover properly: climate change. But a new campaign from the United Kingdom’s Guardian is looking to change that, aiming to not only educate the public on climate change, but also inspire individuals, governments and companies to take action on the issue.

Chinese woman wearing face mask

Documentary on China’s Air Pollution Spurs National Debate, Government Censorship

Last week, “Under The Dome,” a biting documentary about China’s air pollution problem went viral in the country, garnering more than 300 million views – the equivalent of more than a fifth of China’s population watching it, according to the Guardian. But on Friday, Chinese video websites deleted the film, under orders from state censors, the New York Times reported.

Wild Tussah handbag

Designer Handbags Provide Jobs, Preserve Ancient Cultures

The term, “sustainable fashion,” has many meanings: It can refer to clothes and accessories made from organic, naturally dyed fabrics; apparel made by workers who receive a living wage; or high-quality garments made to last for decades to come. But for tote and handbag maker Wild Tussah, sustainability means more than providing a fair income for the artisans that make each bag by hand; it’s about preserving the long-standing but disappearing tradition of weaving in Vietnam.

Chinese factory

Has China Reached Peak Coal?

According to energy data released by the Chinese government last week, the country’s consumption of coal fell by 2.9 percent in 2014 – the first dip in 14 years, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) reports.

Solar panel installation

SunEdison Invests $5M To Boost Solar Workforce Diversity

A new program from renewable energy development company SunEdison and nonprofit solar installer GRID Alternatives aims to build a more diverse solar workforce. Last month, the organizations announced the launch of the RISE (Realizing an Inclusive Solar Economy) initiative, which will provide women and members of underserved communities with solar job training and job placement through GRID Alternatives’ workforce development program.

Vegetables

Dietary Guidelines Consider Planet’s Health

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” These seven words are author and sustainable food advocate Michael Pollan’s sage advice on how to eat a diet that is healthy for both people and the planet. And now it appears the U.S. government is poised to adopt similar nutritional recommendations. Last week, the nation’s top nutrition panel, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, released its latest report — which argued for a “sustainable diet” high in plant-based foods and lower in calories and animal-based foods.

BP Gas Station

BP: Put A Price on Carbon, Let The Market Cut Emissions

One of the world’s six major oil and gas companies supports a global price on carbon – and no, this is not an early April Fool’s joke. In the latest version of its annual Energy Outlook report, BP recommends that governments set a meaningful global price on carbon emissions to level the playing field for businesses and let the market choose the best climate solutions.

Smartphones

Sprint Offers $5K to Students Who Find Innovative Ways to Recycle Smartphones

Have a bright idea for a new way to recycle an old smartphone? This week, Sprint launched its first-ever Smartphone Encore Challenge that invites students to come up with innovative and profitable ways to give new life to these unwanted devices or their components – for the chance to win $5,000 to turn their business plan into reality.

Landfill

Recycling Startup: Market Should Be ‘Main Driver’ of Environmental Change

Leftover pizza dough into ethanol fuel and old uniforms into pet bed stuffing – where some peak into a business’ dumpster and see only trash, Rubicon Global finds opportunity. The Atlanta-based waste management company wants to help corporations cut their waste streams, find innovative recycling options for their unconventional waste materials and slash their garbage bills by as much as 20 to 30 percent, Rubicon told the New York Times.

Starbucks Coffee Cups

Report: Food Industry Needs to Take Responsibility for Its Packaging Waste

Nearly a third of the United States’ solid waste stream is product packaging – a Capri Sun drink pouch, a Starbucks coffee cup or an Arrowhead water bottle – according to nonprofits As You Sow and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). But Americans only recycle an estimated 51 percent of these packaging materials, the organizations say, and less than 14 percent of all plastic packaging – the fastest-growing type of product packaging. And leading companies in the fast food, beverage and consumer goods/grocery industries are falling short when it comes to addressing the environmental impacts of their packaging, the two groups say, releasing their findings in a joint report last week.