Sunday, March 26, 2017

Haagen-Dasz and hedgerows help bees

Almond production in California has a horrible environmental footprint. In addition to needing water, the monocrop approach (planting the same crop as far as the eye can see) is hurting bees. Did you know that 90 percent of the honey bees get transported to those fields to pollinate the almond trees?Haagen-Dasz is taking the lead by preferring suppliers who plant hedgerows of flowering plants.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What do climate change and Brexit have in common?

Several years ago, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman tied climate change to the Syrian crisis. It had produced a devastating drought. Assad's response was inadequate and led to anger ....kaboom, tensions erupted.

Now former VP Al Gore takes the story one step further. All the refugees flowing into Great Britain created a backlash and voila, Brexit.

Read his logic here. What do you think?

 Is CO2 behind Brexit?! Al Gore says GLOBAL WARMING led to shock Leave victory - Express

Friday, March 24, 2017

How nature makes us feed good, be good

Humans often think of themselves as separate from nature, not part of it. Now more than half the world's population lives in cities. So it's even more important to understand how important access to nature is to our own well-being.

Here's a summary of interesting research which shows how it helps us "feel good and do good." Keep in mind that access to nature doesn't have to be in wilderness. It can also be in your backyard bird feeder or an abandoned lot. Watching a videos on nature can have similar effects.

So get out this weekend!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

2016 hottest on record, El Niño released CO2 from oceans

The World Meterological Organization released its report on climate change in 2016. Its all bad news of course, hottest year on record and the El Niño actually forced the oceans to release some of the stored CO2, keeping us above 400ppm for the whole year. (Preindustrial levels were around 280.) This article has a nice info graphic summaring the findings.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

What is Education for Sustainability, really? Now we know


We all have been trying to educate kids and adults about sustainability for a long time but until now, there has not been consensus about what it included. Was it just about the environment or also social justice and economics? Different groups had different standards. What were the key concepts and skills that should be reinforced? How would you know if your students were learning what they needed to create a sustainable society?

Now, after a several-year process, developing consensus with the thought-leaders in the English-speaking world, The Cloud Institute has released this consensus document, 

EFS Benchmarks and Standards 1.1

(launched at the Green School’s conference this week)

AZ Administrators and teachers: I encourage you to map this document to your existing curriculum. Are you missing anything? Once a school has mapped their curriculum against these standards, it will help others teaching a similar grade level to do the same. The Sustainability Alliance can post these on our website for you.

NAU School of Education: Can you embed this into your teacher training? Could a class project involve mapping this to State standards?

SEDI: Perhaps you can use this framework for your Teachers Award Program, organizing materials under these standards and specifically seeking best practices where we have holes.

IB programs in Sedona: Can we map these against the IB standards and then share with the IBO?

Having a shared set of benchmarks and standards will help us all be more effective.  Please share this document with others who can benefit from this groundbreaking project.  If you are in Arizona, you can share your map with the Sustainability Alliance and we will make it available to others. Direct comments and questions to The Cloud Institute.

7 reasons business sustainability is accelerating

Big business is well aware of the need for pursuing sustainability. And they push on their suppliers, so this strategy filters down through the supply chain. Here are 7 trends that are driving sustainable business in 2017.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Why your employees work better with a breath of fresh air

Air quality standards in buildings actually undermine employee productivity. Here are some interesting studies that show how air quality and temperature affect decision making and other aspects of productivity and what you can do to optimize air quality for your business.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Is this the future of farming?

It might be more efficient, but there's something creepy about growing food in buildings where the plants never see the sun or feel a breeze. Will these foods have the same micronutrients? Will we shrug when bee colonies collapse and give up foods that need pollinators? No more warm peach juice oozing down your chin? I do like the cabinet that grows lettuce in the living room, though. Take a look at these photos and tell me what you think.

Monday, March 13, 2017

IKEA's sustainability director explains how climate action helped the company

IKEA's former sustainability director explains why climate action makes sense for business and for the US economy. He also offers a few principles for companies to follow.

UK grocery hasn't sent food waste to landfill since 2009

This UK grocery donates food that can be eaten. What can't now fuels their trucks with bio-methane.

Friday, March 10, 2017

CleanSeas Campaign kicks off. 10 things you can do to help

The UN is taking aim at cleaning up our oceans.

"Each year, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic ends up in the oceans, wreaking havoc on marine wildlife, fisheries and tourism, and costing at least $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems. Up to 80 per cent of all litter in our oceans is made of plastic.According to some estimates, at the rate we are dumping items such as plastic bottles, bags and cups after a single use, by 2050 oceans will carry more plastic than fish and an estimated 99 per cent of seabirds will have ingested plastic." Source.

This article explains what you can do to help.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Your students on Ted Talks?

You know Ted Talks, right? The short and inspiring presentations intended to change the world. Now they offer a free curriculum for students, Ted Ed Clubs, that helps kids identify their passions, prepare concise presentations and upload them to Ted. Pretty cool!

55 years after Silent Spring, UN takes on pesticide industry

Remember the misinformation from the tobacco industry? Climate denial from oil companies? Now it appears the UN is accusing chemical companies of similar tactics.
new report, being presented to the UN human rights council on Wednesday, is severely critical of the global corporations that manufacture pesticides, accusing them of the “systematic denial of harms”, “aggressive, unethical marketing tactics” and heavy lobbying of governments which has “obstructed reforms and paralysed global pesticide restrictions.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Community solar can save everyone money

There are barriers to putting up your own solar panels. Maybe your house has too many trees around it or you rent your business space. Community solar can take advantage of land or large commercial rooftops. It can also bring down the cost of installation (in part because the inverter, which converts DC to AC, is a significant cost which you need no matter how large the array).

Rocky Mountain Institute's SHINE program has been working to bring down the cost of and support the creation of community solar projects. Learn more: