Jan Lee

Jan Lee is a former news editor and award-winning editorial writer whose non-fiction and fiction have been published in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K. and Australia. Her articles and posts can be found on TriplePundit, JustMeans, and her blog, The Multicultural Jew, as well as other publications. She currently splits her residence between the city of Vancouver, British Columbia and the rural farmlands of Idaho.

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Elon Musk, Experts: A Zero-Emissions Vehicle Should Be VW’s ‘Punishment’

Tesla’s Elon Musk and an impressive list of other tech leaders are calling for the California Air Resources Board to get creative. They want CARB to implement a new approach to the diesel cheating scandal by requiring Volkswagen to step up to the plate and come up with a zero-emissions vehicle. Forget the idea of penalizing the company with heavy fines and recalls that will go nowhere, say the experts. That’s so 20th century and ineffective.

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Renewables Surge as Tax Credits OK’d Another 5 Years

On the surface, Congress’ approval of another five years of wind and solar tax credits seems like a hat tip to recent accomplishments at COP21. But the extension came with some odd bedfellows — like a landmark bill to open the path to fossil fuel exports and more money to fund a dying horse-racing industry.

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Climate Health, Indigenous Land Rights Are Linked: COP21 Report

A semi-remote Brazilian tribe has turned high-tech in an effort to protect its tropical forest, which is being devastated by poachers. It’s the latest effort to safeguard indigenous lands, which hold more than a fifth of the worlds trees. That’s according to a report that was released at COP21 last week, calling for global action to ensure that the forests that are vital to offsetting carbon emissions aren’t cut down for commercial profit.

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Experts: Diversity in Silicon Valley Starts with Computer Science Access

Computer science drives much of what we benefit from today, from the apps on our phones to the medical treatments we receive in hospitals. And, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that demand is going to balloon by 2020. Yet the lack of cultural and gender diversity in tech industries suggest we’re nowhere on track to reach that imminent demand. Nor are our schools. We speak with two of many educational companies and organizations that are working to change that by starting at the beginning: with the nation’s youngest and brightest learners.

A carrot grown in the Negev Desert, Israel.

Building a Case for National Water Management: Let There Be Water

Israel’s arduous journey to water independence is a fascinating story full of gutsy characters, big dreamers and amazing accomplishments. But for today’s global challenges, it’s more than a good read, as author Seth Siegel explains in his book, “Let There Be Water: Israel’s Solution to a Water-Starved World.”

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Not Just Bubble Wrap: Sealed Air’s Diverse Food Care Program

It’s been more than a half-century since Bubble Wrap was created and we’re still fascinated with it. Its creator, Sealed Air is too, but these days the company has even bigger goals, and one of them is to enhance the world’s food security by stopping cross-contamination and reducing global food waste.

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The Global Food Waste/Energy Nexus: Is Buying Local Always the Best?

Food production can be a pricey business, especially when it comes to processing and production. But with regards to the energy costs for commercial transport, not all researchers are convinced that buying local produce and meats is universally better for the planet. The trick isn’t in whether we ship our foods from other areas of the world, but how responsibly and efficiently we handle it.

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The Bay Area’s Affordable Housing Options: Band Aid or Panacea?

Whether you live in Oakland, the densely-packed neighborhoods of San Francisco or the comfortable ‘burbs of Lafayette, housing is expensive — and, for many, prohibitively so. We speak with three Bay Area housing experts to find out what cities are (and aren’t) doing to ensure affordable housing is a right for everyone, and how tech companies can step up to the plate to help in their communities.

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Madoff Ponzi Scheme Judgments Slam ‘Gatekeepers’ Ernst &Young

The auditing firm Ernst & Young is the latest to feel the heat from the Madoff scandal. Last week the firm lost its case in a suit alleging that it had been negligent in its auditing of a feeder fund that helped contribute to Madoff’s scheme to defraud investors. Their liability is a stinging $200 m and tops Citco’s settlement earlier this year of $125m. Meanwhile, more money will be allocated to victims of the fraud, as prosecutions and suits gradually wind up and officials continue to search for more missing funds.

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Sea Level Rise: Who Should Take Responsibility in Silicon Valley?

Sea level rise is a global problem. In Silicon Valley, many businesses believe its a far away problem with distant answers. Bad news: It’s a closer threat than we thought, and for California’s Tech Titans, figuring out whose responsibility it is to lead the charge against an eroding coastline is only one part of the problem.

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Just in Time for COP21:Climate Change Is Now Real, Thanks to Exxon

An old but powerful New York state law may have profound implications for Exxon, which is being investigated for misrepresenting its knowledge that its business decisions could cause climate change. And this time, prosecutors don’t have to prove intent. They only have to demonstrate that “common honesty” was not upheld in its business decisions. An email and a fairly exhaustive investigation by journalists and environmentalists have set the stage for a new kind of legal wrangling.

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It’s Time to Rethink Restaurant Food Waste

A whopping 49 million pounds of food is wasted per day in full-service restaurants in the United States, according to a 2005 University of Arizona study that looked at what goes into our landfills from the restaurant sector. Another 85 million pounds, the study says, is dumped in fast-food restaurants. That’s prompted a consortium of federal, state, local and private organizations to look at ways that food waste can be cut back, and what can be done to ensure what can’t be served will not reach the landfill. We speak with the EPA to get a sense of how federal agencies are helping to restructure our view on food, and what’s on our plate.