An independent journalist, researcher and writer, my work roams across the nexus where ecology, technology, political economy and sociology intersect and overlap. The lifelong quest for knowledge of the world and self -- not to mention gainful employment -- has led me near and far afield, from Europe, across the Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa and back home to the Americas. LinkedIn: andrew burger Google+: Andrew B Email: huginn.muggin@gmail.com

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Underpaying Workers Raises Pressure on Strained Government Agencies

Prodded into action by protesting low-wage workers employed by huge service-sector companies such as McDonalds and Walmart, city governments around the country have or are considering raising minimum wage levels to what’s considered a fair living wage of $15 per hour. As has long been the case, detractors assert that raising minimum wages will stifle economic growth and new business formation.

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Government Fossil Fuel Subsidies Total a ‘Shocking’ $5.3 Trillion

Dramatically higher than previously estimated, fossil fuel subsidies exceed what the world’s governments spend on health care, according to the International Monetary Fund. What’s more, they’re likely to remain this high — despite fossil fuels being the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, the main culprit driving climate change.

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Renewable Energy Now Employs 7.7 Million People Worldwide

Renewable energy job numbers rose 18 percent year-over-year to reach 7.7 million in 2015, according an annual jobs review from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The agency anticipates that renewable energy deployment will double by 2030, which would drive employment across the value chain up to the 17 million level.

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California’s Renewable Energy Plan Will Save $51 Billion a Year

During his inaugural address back in January, California Gov. Jerry Brown called for 50 percent renewable energy by 2030. The clean energy plan “is economically sound, environmentally beneficial and achievable,” according to a detailed analysis and policy guidance report from Strategen Consulting.

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Smallholder Farmers: The New Global Food Frontier

A new global food scare is under way. While the last one led to the proliferation of industrialized agriculture in developing countries, this time around some prominent multinational corporations are coming to the aid of the world’s 2.5 billion smallholder farmers. These forward-thinking firms are partnering with locals and NGOs to launch market-based initiatives that revitalize smallholder farms and rural communities.

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‘Alternative’ History of Nokia Shines a Light on Globalization’s Dark Side

Executives and investors benefited, and labor suffered, as Nokia experienced its ups and downs, according to an “alternative corporate history” of the company. Aimed at presenting the workers’ perspective, the report was released GoodElectronics Network the day before Nokia’s annual shareholders meeting in Helsinki.

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Refrigeration Battery Could Lower Supermarket Energy Use By 40 Percent

The capacity to deliver continuous electricity for refrigeration is one of the central planks of the modern-day food distribution system. Enter Berkeley, California-based Axiom Energy and its Refrigeration Battery: a water- and ice-based backup cooling system designed for use in large supermarkets and food distribution facilities.

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Offshore Wind is (Finally) Coming to the U.S.

On Monday, Deepwater Wind broke ground on what’s expected to be the first utility-scale offshore wind farm in U.S. waters. At a planned 30 megawatts, the Block Island Wind Farm project marks what the Sierra Club calls “a watershed moment for American clean energy development.”

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Grave Threats Face World’s Seventh Largest Economy

The economic value of the world’s oceans “rivals that of the world’s largest economies,” researchers from the World Wildlife Fund, Australia’s Global Change Institute and the Boston Consulting Group wrote in a report issued on Thursday. The ocean would rank seventh on a ranking of the world’s top 10 economies, yielding $2.5 trillion worth of goods and services annually. Unfortunately, ocean resources “are eroding rapidly,” according to the report.

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New York State College’s ‘Field of Dreams’ Goes Solar

U.S. schools are taking great advantage of renewable energy market reforms and incentives. Coming online on April 17, a 2.5 megawatt solar field at Houghton College in western New York is expected to produce over 3 million kilowatt-hours of renewable electricity every year. And it will avoid over 2,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year in the process.

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Apple Forges Historic Partnership on Forests

Apple is making waves in conservation and green energy as well as Internet and computing technology. On April 16, Apple and the Conservation Fund announced they are partnering to protect over 36,000 acres of working forestlands in Maine and North Carolina.

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Energy Storage Emerges as Key to Solar Growth

Recipients of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s ‘Energy Pioneer’ awards, Greensmith and Stem are pioneering the use of intelligent energy storage systems in the U.S. Integrating diverse renewable and conventional energy generation and advanced energy storage systems, the companies are paving the way toward a smarter, cleaner and more cost-effective energy future.

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Residential and Commercial Solar Funds Raise Nearly $2 Billion in Q1

Investor confidence in the solar energy sector continues to grow. Highlighting a strong quarterly rebound in corporate solar sector finance in Q1’15, residential and commercial solar funds raised a record-high of nearly $2 billion during this year’s first quarter, according to Mercom Capital’s latest quarterly report.