Sustainable Agriculture in Practice: Cultivating the land, alleviating poverty

| Saturday October 18th, 2008 | 0 Comments

wisp1.jpg Okay, I missed Blog Action Day’s Alleviating Poverty drive this past week, but I figure a little journalistic license is in order given the nature of the cause. Fortuitously, this gives me the opportunity to report on how efforts to alleviate poverty and foster ecologically and economically sustainable agricultural practices can work hand in hand.
The IUCN’s World Initiative on Sustainable Pastoralism is championing a cause, and people, that have traditionally been neglected, and exploited. According to a recently released WISP report, “pastoralism provides direct and indirect benefits to the environment in dryland areas and deserves more recognition of this contribution.”
Working side by side with Save the Children’s “Africa Region Pastoral Initiative” WISP also aims to help realize related United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by working to alleviate poverty among pastoralists worldwide, particularly children. “Historically marginalized, pastoralists across sub-Saharan Africa are asking for change for their children and themselves,” states the group in its July 2008 “Children on the Move” report.

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Top 10 Green Jobs with Salaries Over 100k

| Saturday October 18th, 2008 | 0 Comments

gold.jpgIn this time of economic uncertainty, it’s reassuring to hear that we’re in the right field! Forbes has the hook on the increase in environmental jobs with salaries over $100,000.
They feature the top 10 environmental jobs in this salary range:

1. Chief Sustainability Officer

These are the folks who keep their company in line: making sure government regulations are met and suggesting environmentally friendly initiatives.

2. Environmental Engineer

Environmental Engineers minimize the environmental impact of construction and development projects. The demand for environmental engineers is projected to grow by 25% by 2016.
3. Environmental Lawyer
Environmental lawyers can represent environmental groups or their adversaries. Obviously the green choice is the former – Forbes doesn’t specify which one is the big economic winner, but I’m guessing the oil companies pay more than NRDC.
4. Climatologist/Environmental Meteorologist
Climatologists study the weather. Very important as we all become more interested in what’s happening with global warming.
5. Renewable Energy Manager
Lots of jobs managing all those new renewable portfolio projects for the utilities or the solar, wind, and biofuel companies.

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Designers Create Cardboard Box House

| Friday October 17th, 2008 | 2 Comments

cardboard2.jpgIf your future is as bleak as the planet’s, you will have had visions of a cardboard box existence. Lighten up, cardboard boxes can be fun! If they come blessed with a designer’s touch, that is.
Australian architects Stutchbury and Pape designed a cardboard box that takes no more skill to put together than an average Ikea wardrobe. The house is extremely low cost in terms of daily living. For energy usage, it relies only on 12-volt batteries or photovoltaic cells. And there’s a composting system which ingeniously produces nutrient-rich water for gardening.

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E+Co; Leading Innovation in Energy

Tori Okner | Friday October 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

logo-header.gifAs part of Blog Action Day, we introduced you to the public purpose investment company, E+Co. To recap, E+Co is a non-profit that provides local energy entrepreneurs in developing countries with business development services as well as investment capital. Active in 28 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America, it has fostered the growth of 180 enterprises, offering an additional 4.3 million people access to clean energy, and offsetting 3 million tons of carbon.
E+Co is a renowned expert in program development: it was recently awarded 2008 Sustainable Investor of the Year by the Financial Times and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group, and is a member of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE). With a successful model in place, the organization is now in a position to shift gears and focus on scaling up. E+Co’s membership commitment to the Clinton Global Initiative reflects that decision. Its current business plan sets three target goals for 2012: create partnerships and generate the necessary funding to invest $190 million of services and capital in local energy businesses, bring clean, modern energy to an additional 17 million people, and offset over 15 million tons of carbon.

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Weekly Green Business Wrap-Up

| Friday October 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Rochester Institute of Technology announces first green doctoral programRochester Institute of Technology Offers the First Green Doctoral Program

New York State has approved the first doctoral degree in sustainability to be offered by the Rochester Institute of Technology. The program, presented by the RIT Golisano Institute of Sustainability, focuses on sustainable production. The goal is to advance research and education in alternative energy development, green product development, industrial ecology, and pollution prevention.

Rocky Mtn. Institute and AASHE partner with colleges to fight global warmingRocky Mountain Institute and AASHE Partner with Colleges to Pursue the Best Weapons to Battle Climate Change

Keeping with our higher education theme, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education have announced a partnership with 12 colleges to study best practices for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other strategies to fight climate change. The announcement of the program and the selection of the participating colleges was made by the institute earlier this week. 

Solid Ram Device will help IT become more energy efficientDensity Dynamics Begins First Production Run of New Solid Ram Device

Density Dynamics Corporation announced yesterday the release from R&D into the first production run of its new solid ram device (SRD). The SRD product line addresses the cost, footprint, and high performance requirements of IT, most particularly the energy use problems of transaction oriented data centers identified by IBM’s Project Big Green. Density Dynamics is a pioneer in the field of green solid RAM storage devices.

California unveils latest plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissionsCalifornia Unveils Latest Plan to Curb Greenhouse Gas Emissions

ON Wednesday the California Air Resources Board released a comprehensive climate change plan that, if approved, will impact every sector of the state’s economy. The plan is in line to meet the goals of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 calling for a reduction in California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

Carbon TradeEx America launches in April of 2009Kielnmesse Group Announces Launch of Carbon TradeEx America in April

Building on the success of Carbon Forum America organized earlier this year in San Francisco, the Koelnmesse group announced earlier this week the launch of Carbon TradeEx America, set to take place April 7–9, 2009 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Carbon TradeEx America will be an opportunity to help “engage in a dialogue with market participants and low-carbon technology suppliers about the business opportunities presented by the emerging carbon markets in the United States”, says Carbon Markets & Investors Association president Abyd Karmali.

 

Wells Fargo Launches Sustainability FundWells Fargo Launches Its First Sustainability Fund

 Ah, the joys of investing and banking these days! Wells Fargo Funds Management announced the addition of a Social Sustainability Fund to their lineup of 125 mutual funds in the Advantage Funds family. The fund will invest in 30 to 50 large caps funds that demonstrate strong business fundamentals and whose stock price is trading at a discount (aren’t they all right now?). Overlaying those criteria fund managers will consider environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors as well as a social responsibility index (SRI) screen when determining their stock picks.

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Dancing with the Devil

Tom Szaky | Friday October 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment

HT-Pencil-Case-lo-res.jpg
Over the last few years I’ve heard a lot of talk in the environmental and social entrepreneurship communities about the importance of ‚Äòscalability’ in social ventures. Simply put, scalability is basically the ability for a system to expand. It’s one of the key indicators for grant or investor funding…but it often clashes with “green” values.
For example, the last few years have seen the vast majority of typical “green” products offered primarily in niche markets – co-ops, natural food stores, smaller chains and, of course Whole Foods Market. Now most supermarkets have at least a small organic offering (an aisle, maybe two…and a small section in the produce department).
But to effect real, fundamental change, don’t we have to be focusing on the mainstream? Isn’t it more effective to put those eco-friendly products in Target and The Home Depot and *gasp* Wal-Mart, where the vast majority of American Consumers actually shop?

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Starbucks: Green or Greenwashed?

Sarah Lozanova | Friday October 17th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Many give Starbucks credit for revolutionizing the American coffee drinking experience. With 11,000 stores in 44 countries, what impact does this company have on the world with its strong global presence?

Disposable Cups

Starbucks stores use billions of cups annually. This requires enormous quantities of natural resources and energy before finding their way to landfills. Starbucks does however use cups that contains 10% post consumer recycled content.
Although this might sound like a meager quantity, Starbucks has helped shape the industry. This 10% achievement required authorization and testing by the Food and Drug Administration and had not been permitted previously.

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What If Clients Expect a Card? Can You Do It Green? – Recycled Holiday Cards

| Friday October 17th, 2008 | 1 Comment

cards333.jpgThis is a guest post by John Simonetta, owner of Proforma Green, an eco-friendly promotional items consultancy. John’s blogs are designed to keep us up to date on the “greening” of his industry.

It is October and in the promotional products industry that means it is time to start talking about holiday cards.
Most companies find holiday cards a great way to show appreciation to their best clients or to send a special thank you to their employees.
Most green purists will likely say skip the card, save a tree and send email instead. The problem is that a lot of clients expect cards.
So what to do?

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Governor Schwarzenegger’s Green Building Initiative and California’s prisons

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Friday October 17th, 2008 | 4 Comments

CA%20prison.jpg
The U.S. has the highest prison population in the world, and California is the state with the most prisons. The largely rural San Joaquin Valley where I have spent most of my life is home to the majority of California’s prisons built since 1980, including the largest women’s prison in the world in Chowchilla, a town with a population of 18,780.
The prisons affect the environment of the San Joaquin Valley, an area with one of the worst air basins in the country. According to a 2004 article in Art Journal, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) blamed the prisons “for increased traffic flow in rural areas, which in turn contributes significantly to the rise of air pollution in the Central Valley.” The article went on to point out that “some people have compared the construction of prisons in the Central Valley to the creation of small, densely populated, hinterland cities in the toll that they exact on the existing landscape.”

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Paul Detering: Solar Stays Hot in San Diego, Despite Market Meltdown

| Thursday October 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

detering150.jpgDetering is CEO of Tioga Energy. He is a veteran entrepreneur with 20 years experience in clean technology.
Right now I’m in San Diego, which has become the Mecca of Solar, literally overnight. Solar Power International 2008 has drawn thousands of people from around the world to talk shop and deals. And where I feel like I am living The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
There is tremendous excitement and enthusiasm here in San Diego’s convention center and Gaslamp district.¬† My breakfast meetings start early (7AM) and the days are filled with meetings about very real opportunities and projects. ¬†¬†Finding a quiet corner to meet is impossible.¬† Occasionally, I meet in one of the private meeting rooms hosted by some of the big players attending the conference. But usually it is in one of the many large “meeting rooms” on the upper level.¬†
 
These rooms are great.  They typically have 5 to 10 tables and are well stocked with water, sodas and ice where 3 or 4 meetings are underway simultaneously in multiple languages РGerman, Spanish, Japanese, English Рthe Solar World right before my eyes. Very exciting.  
 
At the conference day’s end, its thousands of solar enthusiasts spill out of the convention center and cross the street. Some people are so eager to get to the Gaslamp District and continue making their solar connections, that they attempt jaywalking. A crossing guard, looking out for our safety, has been kindly, but firmly, threatening people with tickets to keep us in line.¬†

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San Francisco Provides Comprehensive Incentives In Push For Solar Power

Justin Sternberg | Thursday October 16th, 2008 | 1 Comment

solar-time.jpgIn July, San Francisco launched GoSolarSF a 10-year solar rebate program designed to accelerate the build out of the city’s clean energy infrastructure. On September 30th, Mayor Gavin Newsom announced that applications for new solar installations have quadrupled since then, putting the city on track to double its installed capacity by next year. Under the program, city residents will receive rebates between $3,000-$6,000 off the cost of a solar system, while businesses are eligible for up to $10,000 in savings.

San Francisco has identified 1600 business as likely candidates for solar installations. Combined, the target businesses use a total of 170 MW of power. The city’s current solar installation capacity is 5 MW – a ¬Ω percent of the city’s 1 GW of total annual consumption. With help from a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy, San Francisco will begin offering these businesses free energy efficiency and solar audits. The energy efficiency audits will be conducted first and are designed to drive down the businesses’ consumption of energy, thereby enabling smaller and less costly solar systems to cover their remaining energy needs.

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The Millennium Project and The Business of Helping People

| Wednesday October 15th, 2008 | 1 Comment

My contribution for Blog Action Day and its focus on eliminating poverty looks at three organizations working to create positive change for the billions of people living this moment in poverty:

The UN Millenium ProjectThe UN Millennium Project:
Commissioned in 2002 by the United Nations Secretary-General, the Millennium Project sets forth a development plan to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and reverse the crushing poverty and disease for so many of earth’s inhabitants.

In 2005, an independent advisory team headed by Jeffrey Sachs presented their final recommendations to the Secretary-General  in a synthesis report called Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

Kiva - loans that change livesKiva
Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. It is the first “person-to-person micro-lending website empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.”

Kiva has been mentioned before on this blog, and the idea of micro-finance is nothing new to the readers of Triple Pundit. But I have a personal affection for Kiva since I became a member over a year ago. In that time I’ve seen Kiva expand its reach into the lives of people all over the world. People looking for a way up through their own hard work. The belief that the entrepreneurial spirit can change lives is the driving force behind Kiva. 

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Beyond Microfinance: Eliminating Energy Poverty

Tori Okner | Wednesday October 15th, 2008 | 1 Comment

blog%20action%20day.jpgIn honor of Blog Action Day, Triple Pundit is pleased to highlight E+Co. A public purpose investment company (read: non-profit investment co), E+Co goes beyond microfinance by providing local energy entrepreneurs in developing countries with business development services as well as investment capitol. Using their enterprise centered business model E+Co investees provide clean, affordable energy to homes, businesses, and communities around the world. As E+Co works to fight poverty and climate change, they are creating a new energy finance paradigm, building off best practices from the philanthropic and venture capital sectors.
E+Co Chief Executive Officer, Philip LaRocco founded E+Co 14 years ago with the conviction that, “energy is key to alleviating poverty.” Now they have offices in ten countries and are invested in businesses in 28 countries across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. E+Co investees enable 4.3 million people to access clean energy. The field offices assess each enterprise with metrics that reflect the triple bottom line, including job creation, income growth, CO2 offsets, land reforested, and finance leveraged and repaid. Innovation is rewarded where entrepreneurs focus on sustainable solutions to local energy needs.
Readers: Check back later this week for more on E+Co and their quest to provide universal, sustainable energy. Share your thoughts now as Blog Action Day aims to spark web engagement and highlight successful efforts to END POVERTY!

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How to get 400+ MPG Shipping Freight

| Wednesday October 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

GenSet%20diesel%20locomotive.jpg When you think of freight trains, what comes to mind? Loud. Graffiti covered. Blocking your way for 10+ minutes at the intersection as it lumbers by. But what if I were to tell you it was one of the greenest methods of shipping, and at least when it comes to CSX, it’s getting greener by the day?
I was surprised to learn this too. CSX, a 180+ year old company with 21,000 miles of tracks from Chicago east, really wants to walk to the talk when it comes to greening its operations. And to talk about it in 21st century terms (i.e. blogs, social media, microblogging, etc.) Which is why they went to the expense and effort to fly several of us green bloggers to Chicago, put us up in a nice hotel, and took time to learn about what we do, and tell us about what they’re up to. I think it’s admirable that a company made that much of an effort to do this right.
That said, what’s so green about them? On a basic level, there’s this: Since 1980, they have increased the fuel efficiency of their trains by 80%. No other ground based form of transportation can come even vaguely close to that achievement.
What else?
Lubrication.

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Save Energy, Money, and Support Green Collar Jobs with One Phone Call

| Wednesday October 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

rising%20sun.jpgIt’s easy for those of us consumed with the ins and outs of the new green economy to get a little obsessed with the latest technological solution. The fact of the matter is that for families that are struggling to pay their $40 per month electric bill, the investment in efficiency upgrades is simply out of reach. It’s so easy to save money when you consume less energy, yet the cost of capital improvements can be insurmountable. That’s where Rising Sun Energy Center in Berkeley, California comes in.
Rising Sun Energy Center is going low tech: they conduct free energy audits and provides free CFL lightbulbs, faucet aerators, and low flow showerheads to Bay Area home owners. In the summer of 2008, 70% of the homes served were low-to-moderate income homes. Rising Sun provided 2,133 households with energy saving hardware and information, installed 21,944 energy and water saving measures in Bay Area households, and provided an annual savings of approximately 349 Mwh and 6,632 therms. In financial terms, this is no small potatoes: we’re talking about over $1,363,000 in energy dollars over the lifetime of the measures installed, just for the summer 2008 installs. Mary Ellen Burns, a student working on her MBA in Sustainable Management, who worked for Rising Sun over the summer through a PG&E internship, states,

I came to Rising Sun extremely interested in technical solutions to climate change like thin film solar. What I realized is that there is an incredible amount of difference we can make in people’s lives by changing their electricity bill from $120 to $60. We don’t have to go to Africa, there is so much we can do here at home to make people’s lives a little easier.

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