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.


Yellowstone River Oil Spill Prompts State of Emergency

For the second time in four years, the state of Montana is facing the consequences of an oil spill in the Yellowstone River. Crews discovered the leak on Saturday and by Monday, the governor had declared a state of emergency.


eBay Foundation’s Plan to Get Indonesian Businesses Online

The eBay Foundation’s recent partnership with website creator Kolabo may spell great potential for small businesses in Indonesia, where websites are still a growing concept. But it’s also helping to change the concept of selling to customers, by permitting small startups to reach bigger markets overseas.


Stuffed Animal Tours: Compassionate Tourism of the Future?

A nursing supply company in southern Japan has come up with a compassionate way to take its elderly clients on travel tours: by sending their stuffed animals ahead for the photo shoot. Elderly or mobility-challenged individuals who aren’t able to attend the cherry blossom festival can send their elected emissaries on the trip.


Ecolab’s Minnesota Offices to Go 100 Percent Solar

Add another one to the list: Yesterday Fortune 500 company Ecolab announced that its Minnesota offices will be going completely solar. It’s signed a deal with SunEdison to build the solar gardens needed to offset Ecolab’s energy usage. The deal is all in keeping with Minnesota’s solar energy legislation, which is designed to boost solar energy investment and production by 2020.


‘Solar Gardens’ Growing New Potential for Energy in Minnesota

Minnesota’s solar energy legislation, combined with Xcel Energy’s new Solar Rewards Community program, has the potential to open the door for solar investments across the state. The best part, notes Fresh Energy Executive Director Michael Noble, is it affords investment opportunities in every community.


Eat a Lionfish, Save a Coral Reef

NOAA scientists are reaching out to consumers for help to save the Atlantic reef systems, and their call is being heard by fishermen (and women) as well as culinary chefs. The lionfish, an invasive species whose spiny fins make it a formidable foe to native fish stocks and is killing coral reefs, needs to be reduced in number, say scientists. Bring your knife and fork.


Elk River Pollution Indictments Announced in West Virginia

This last week marked the one-year anniversary of a chemical spill that shut down the tap water for nine counties in West Virginia and brought the city of Charleston to a commercial standstill for more than a week. It also marked the announcement that the four top executives of Freedom Industries — the company responsible for the spill — have now been indicted for violations under the Clean Water Act. The CEO, Gary L. Southern, who had been hit by numerous lawsuits, has also been indicted for scheming to defraud bankruptcy creditors.


Oil Spill in Singapore Strait Puts Endangered Turtles at Risk

Environmental groups are waiting to see whether a 4,500-ton oil spill, which occurred last week when two ships collided in the Singapore Strait, will make landfall on Bintan Island. If so, Indonesia’s endangered turtle populations could suffer — and so could the island’s vibrant eco-tourism industry.


Hellmann’s Drops Suit, Unintentionally Boosts Vegan ‘Mayo’ Sales

Hellmann’s decision to drop a suit against its startup competitor Hampton Creek was more a lesson in changing attitudes about food than right-or-wrong values. With an increasing focus on vegan foods and consumer support for small, innovative concepts that are touted as sustainable, Just Mayo was the expected winner in this tussle. But it may just point to a new trend in food marketing, too.


Vancouver, BC Canada: 2030

What will Vancouver, Canada’s largest West Coast city look like in 2030? One writer takes us on an imagined journey, using technology already in the making and concepts designed for a sustainable city of the future.


10 Ways Politics Shaped the Environment in 2014

How important was environmental protection in 2014? Well, to be honest, our findings are a mixed bag. While California comes out first for its progressive efforts to stop the effects of toxic chemicals, other regions of North America fell woefully short in bolstering legislation against greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. But on the whole, 2014 was a get ‘em done year.


The Avian Flu: The Low-Down for the New Year

British Columbia, Canada, Washington state and now Oregon — it’s been a breathtaking few weeks for the ag industry, as it wrestles with the implications of avian flu infections. Here’s our short overview of what’s happened this month and what it may mean for the poultry industry – and the consumer – next year.

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5 Innovators That Transformed the Climate Change Battle in 2014

Climate change warriors come in all sizes this year. From inspired scientists to committed corporations that see another way to track and minimize climate change and carbon footprints — the numbers of innovators that took up the challenge this year far exceeds our room for print. So, we’ve picked five of the most interesting. Judging from these accomplishments, 2015 should be a very interesting year.


eBay’s Christmas Gift to ALEC: No Renewal

Cutting ties with a lobby organization right before Christmas can be risky business — that is, unless you know that your consumer base really wants you to. eBay’s announcement last week that it would be dropping its membership in ALEC is telling. So are the announcements by other similarly influential companies that have objected to ALEC’s bold climate change policies.