14 posts categorized "global warming"

October 10, 2010

If a Consumer Complained in a Forest about Climate Change, Would Anyone Hear Her?

The bigger question is, Would anything change because they did hear her? 

If a company takes a step towards sustainability do we applaud loudly in a blog post, or just let our dollars do the talking? Recently, a third option surfaced when Frito Lay took their compostable Sun Chip's bag off the shelves because of "customer complaints" regarding the noise.

Really? We have nothing more to do in our day than react to a crackly bag? Apparently over 44,000 did so on Facebook and that was enough for Frito Lay to back peddle.

Wow.

These postings weren't highly considered decisions, like the pro/con list that Beth Terry wrote about on Fake Plastic Fish, the Facebook posts were twitter length, gut reactions -- enough of them that Frito Lay pulled a production line. Do you have any idea how much money they must be losing to pull an entire production line?

Holy smokes, the bigger story isn't that they pulled the line regardless of its eco-friendly intentions, but that they LISTENED and then pulled the line. Yes, it was a wimpy move and no doubt will be cited as an example of packaging gone wrong in college courses and they could have turned the noise into, "the sound of doing the right thing" BUT AT LEAST THEY ARE LISTENING. For that, reason, I'm excited and have hope for a co-operative future. 

Today 350.org is holding a 10.10.10 party for Climate Change.  Climate Mama is hosting the Green Mom Carnival on the subject. While we took a step backwards for sustainability, let's take a moment to understand the new-found power in this moment.  We no longer have to go through the political system to evoke change when we have a direct connection to corporate decision makers at our fingertips. 

Think about the ramifications of that in a co-created capitalistic universe? What would you ask corporations to do to bring down Climate Change or...

September 23, 2010

The Bigger Question is Why Wasn't This Done Sooner?

Screen shot 2010-09-23 at 8.43.29 AM
This week Hillary Clinton announced a, “cross-cutting issue” that affects health, the environment and women’s status in much of the world. “That’s what makes it such a good subject for a coordinated approach of governments, aid organizations and the private sector.” 

The solution comes in the form of a not-so-everyday cook stove--one that on the $20 model is 50% more efficient, and with the "$100 model can capture 95% of the harmful emissions while burning far less fuel to produce the same amount of energy," according to NY Times article.  Smoke from open burning, "kills 1.9 million people, mostly women and children, from lung and heart diseases and low birth weight. Go here for the full article.

Clean burning stoves are an elegant solution to helping women, children and men have a carbon-free home, while not polluting the atmosphere from millions of fires and at the same time keeping more women safe as less fuel is needed and they don't have to forage as far in dangerous territories for wood. [thank you to good guy, John Broder for bringing the story forward]

But why wasn't it done sooner? It's such an easy and elegant fix for many issues; what held others from putting this idea from advancing? In a word, gender. That's not a criticism, it's a reality. If you don't touch the problem every day, you don't feel the issue. Around the world, cooking is women's work and because of that, it isn't on the top of the male mind to fix it. 

Hillary Clinton, a long champion of women's rights, is the spokesmodel for the issue along with Lisa P. Jackson from the EPA and others who have worked together to launch this project on a global scale. Granted, Hillary already admitted that she's not the type to stay home and bake cookies for her man, but she is sensitive to the issues of those who do and that's what makes the difference.

When gender is balanced at a partnership level, good things happen on a global level. Women's issues come to the forefront instead of overlooked. Under a "partnership" economic model, families thrive as well as business. In this case, nearly HALF the people on the planet use inefficient stoves in order to cook food. Providing clean burning stoves and replacing them every few years is a big economic boom to everyone in the supply chain.

It's proof that going green is a good thing for the economy even on its most basic level, and that the leadership for this change will be come from those who touch the issues everyday at home--women.

For more information contact Leslie Cordes, Senior Director of Partnership Development, Lcordes@unfoundation.org and check out www.cleancookstoves.org.

 

 

 

 

March 02, 2010

One woman, One message, JUST SAY NO, TO PLASTIC

I get asked all the time 'What can I blog about"?  Each time I use Beth Terry as an example, she's passionate about what she does and it's inspiring the world to take note and follow her lead - consume less plastic.

When I watch the National Geographic channel and see how many organic items (hair, bones, seeds) can be found thousands of years later by archaeologists, it makes Beth's message even more powerful. As my husband and I watched this ABC segment on Beth, we are re-motivated to further tighten up our own consumption. Even If you don't believe in climate change, the least we can all do is commit to pollution change. 

December 06, 2009

Business Climate Change - Move one woman and you'll move many

Picture 72 It's Sunday night and the votes and endorsements have yet to tallied for who won the Hopenhagen contest for sending a citizen to Copenhagen Climate Conference

As the counting continues, we have much to be proud of. While others spent weeks building up their headcount of voters, Diane (here) made it to the top of the charts in three days. Imagine what we could have done if we knew about the contest sooner. Diane is also hosting our Green Mom Carnival this month.

Helping Diane up in the ranks took many, MANY women (and men). The list is a cross section of the change agents from those helping companies watch their carbon footprints to women who are relentlessly educating others. The Eco Mom Alliance, who threw in their support is a terrific example of women not only changing their carbon footprint, but getting companies to change theirs via their momfluence. 

We work to inspire and empower women to reduce global warming and propel an environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable future. To do this, we utilize the historically proven power of education, mothers and community action, and in this way create a global network of change leaders - an EcoMom Alliance.

I met Eco Mom founder Kimberly when we shared a panel at an LA conference. She spoke about the hands on changes her group of 7,000 moms were making and I spoke about the standards that needed to be endorsed to put everyone on the same playing field. Today her group is 12,000 strong. 

I have to ask, are there any men-only-groups doing the same thing? I'm not asking to point fingers as much as to make a point - after the speeches and promises at Copenhagen, the women who have been working hard on Climate Change issues before the conference will be the ones still working after the conference closes. 

June 01, 2008

Could Women Preserve Agricultural?

Coral_rose_2 Coral Rose gave me a head's up on this story that asks, Could Women solve the food crisis? It recognizes the women who keep 80% of third world nation's fed. (thanks Coral)

On Tuesday, the United Nations will open a "food summit" in Rome. Leaders and high-level officials from around the world will meet at the Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters. The F.A.O. says they will discuss the effects of rising food prices, limited resources, climate change, increased energy needs and population growth. ... The International Center for Research on Women says one answer is investing more in female farmers. ... Rekha Mehra is the director for economic and development issues at the Washington-based nonprofit. She says improving women's ability to get resources and technology can directly increase agricultural productivity.... After all, women produce as much as eighty percent of the food in developing countries.

Coral has been doing her part as well. She's been working in the organic farming for the fiber industry the majority of her career. In her blog post today, she addresses how changing agricultural practices which will be needed to bring down climate change emissions.

"The Rodale Institute’s 23-year findings show that organic grain production systems increase soil carbon 15 to 28%. Moreover, soil nitrogen in the organic systems increased 8 to 15%. The conventional system showed no significant increases in either soil carbon or nitrogen in the same time period. Soil carbon and nitrogen are major determinants of soil productivity.

HandsOver on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, (thanks Diane ) Barbara Kingsolver, Steven Hopp and Camille Kingsolver record what it's like to grow your own the old fashion way. Growing your own was called everyday life when I was 16, now 40 years later I'm still growing things. Looks like the things I learned from my mother, stuck.

Over on Kitchengardners.org, Marge Braker, of Preserve shows us how to make your own small batches of homemade jam in about 15 minutes. Like Barbara, she's preserving more than jam, she's preserving a way to eat better and more backyard local.

The more we change, the more we need to stay the same in some areas. How about you - it's June 1, isn't it time you planted a few seeds?

July 04, 2007

Get Ready for Voice Activation at BlogHer 07

I am beyond excited for BlogHer 07. At one point I thought about not attending. I had to balance the fun of a hot time in The City with working practically the next day in Vegas at the Sustainable Furniture show. When BlogHers ACT was added to the roster, I confirmed my ticket for Chi Town. I wanted to be at ground zero when BlogHer puts the power of blogs and women's hearts behind ONE topic for ONE year.

It will change the world. 

When explaining bloggers as a "media" to business, I often tell them, "Bloggers are like cats, if you want their attention you have to pet them, feed them or give them something to chase." For this cat, BlogHers ACT is the ultimate chase and that's why I'm going and that's also why it will work.

Women (still) are getting the back seat when it comes to being acknowledged. With the right topic tracked, however, BlogHers ACT will provide the acknowledgment women deserve and that will start a chain reaction like never before. Why? Because business is watching and reading blogs. What is written on the Internet cave wall by their key consumers carries clout. What women care about, business cares about. Notice how fast the Super Bowl went from frat jokes to practically Disney in less than three years. Women ranted, business listened and the Super Bowl, and it's advertising, went mainstream. That's clout.

And now that we have their attention... let's crank it up.

For example: Elisa reminded us of what has become marketing lore, 83% of the consumer dollar is influenced by women. In my industry (furniture) women influence 94% of the decisions. So, let's connect some dots. About 75% of the CO2 emissions are attributed to one industry - buildings and their furnishings. Think about it, what's more prevalent than cars - offices and homes. Then think about the raw materials and transportation needed to build, heat, cool, light and furnish that asset? Think too about all the wood that is required and where that wood comes from... If all we did was band and blog or buy FSC certified wood, we could influence how fast the furniture and the building industries would mend their ways. The standard does the heavy lifting, we just have to demand it.

Some of the good guys are doing it on their own, but that's slow and frankly we are running out of time to stop dangerous and irreversible global warming.

Business will always follow the money and with that leverage, we can change the world.

June 26, 2007

The Wisdom of Crowds of Bloggers. Post your first vote now.

Bloghers_actThink of it - 11,000 blogger all talking about the same topic for one full year. All of them carving their opinions into the Internet cave wall and asking others to carve in theirs. All those opinions being picked up by companies who pay to know what blogger's think.

Wisdom_of_the_crowds_2  James Surowiecki, stated on Wisdom of the Crowds that "the many are smarter than the few and how collective wisdom shapes businesss, economies, societies and nations."  BlogHers ACT is out to prove or disprove that notion. (great read, BTW, pick up a copy)

If you want to be a part of it, sign on and select your topics. It's FREE TO DO and you can participate as a BlogHer or him.Consider it part of a mini-experiment in self-actualization.

I'm keeping my figures crossed that the "crowd" will pick Global Warming and then specifically hone in on Sustainable Standards which will keep our little capitalistic ways in line while lowering emissions. It's specific and very trackable goal that will force companies into compliance faster than any law. It also needs to be done NOW in order to be put into action over the next 10 critical years. Once a "real plan" for curing global warming is in place, then we can focus on all the other excellent suggestions. Saving the world from irreversible global warming and economic collapse seems like job #1 to me.

The market needs to be rattled. You would think by now that everyone knows about global warming and are working to help stop it. Manufacturers, retailers and consumers all need to be educated. The sales person I talked to today needs some guidance. He works at one of the biggest furniture store chains in the US. (30% of the CO2 going into the atmosphere is from clearcutting or burning of our forests, homes and furniture use a lot of wood)

MARY: I'm looking to replace my two livingroom chairs, do you have any green or sustainable furniture that I could look at?

SALES PERSON: We have a chair with micro fiber, that's pretty durable.

MARY: I mean green, or eco-friendly.

SALES PERSON: I've afraid it only comes in teal. (I wish this was a joke, but he really said that.)

Needless to say, the conversation stopped. Even if they did have something, this dude wasn't going to be able to explain what made it safe to buy.

Until both sides of the buyer/seller equation are up to speed, we have no hope of making this world sustainable and emission free.

April 20, 2007

One Issue Campaign and Edward's One Corp

Who am I going to vote for this year? The person who shows the most leadership in preventing global warming. It's a one issue campaign as far as I'm concerned. Right now, I'm leaning towards John Edwards (and you thought I'd say Hilliary).

*****

Why Edwards? Because he has already put together a green core (called One Corp) to start working on the Global Warming problem BEFORE he is elected. That's great for saving the planet and also great for building a big base of supporters with their hearts and minds first. It's what leaders should do, bring people together for altruistic reasons other than just to "get them elected." That's leadership in action.

*****

I can see One Core cementing together the global warming action of millions of individuals - which is very cool. Global warming will take decades to fix. Keeping up the motivation will be the hardest part. Having a group of friends to share the experience with is critical. Magazines, websites, even other programs can provide ideas, but it's the "GROUPS" and good old peer pressure that will be the driving force to pull this off and change the direction of global warming. Ultimately, whomever is elected will be the commander and chief of those groups. If Edwards is elected, those who supported him and the global cause will already by organized and re-energized to put his plans into faster action.

Earth Day is upon us - Sunday, April 22 - it's time to get personally involved hugging trees and each other as we prepare for the ultimate test of our humanity.

February 13, 2007

One Planet Living, what the U.K. can teach us

If Climate Change has taught us one thing it's that we have to think outside our borders. One country may lead the way and that country just may be the U.K.

He_header Kristin Darguzas, a Canadian whom I met through BlogHer, told me about Turn Up the Heat. It's a book not yet available in the U.S. by George Monbiot. He also has a blog by the same name that takes corporations and individuals to task. George throws the first challenge and ultimate issue with:

"My fear is not that people will stop talking about climate change. My fear is that they will talk us to Kingdom Come."

He has a point. First people become aware, then they change a light bulb and then they begin to feel the enormity of the problem and throw words at it.

George throws words too, at those who are running their solution through the greenwash cycle. His critical thinking made me think. He takes on Richard Branson and his multi-million dollar offer to anyone who can come up with a solution, while his own Virgin Airlines continues to fly. To George, that's greenwash. "Spin does not become a substitute for action." Meanwhile, back in the states, the NY Times shows Branson and Gore together in a climate exchange as Branson offers his $25 million to world of science. I assume he flew to the states on one of his jets.

It makes you think, just what am I willing to personally give up to save the future of the human race? Is that trip to Ireland now off the dream list? Maybe. How much do I cut back and what do I just cut out?

The Stern report, another U.K. initiative from HM Treasury department, projects what will happen if we don't get our climate under control. To start with, storms the size of Katrina will bankrupt insurance companies. Add in the floods and famine and you have the makings of a full economic collapse. That tells me that cutting out, should supersede cutting back.

One_planet_living_logo Keeping both ecological and economic worlds and in balance is the ultimate solution. Again, we can turn to the U.K. for a look at who is leading the way. One Planet Living has joined forces with global thinkers to find the ideas that put us in balance, quickly. They issued 10 guiding principals which START with bringing down CO2 emissions. There's no point in cleaning up the water if the climate above it is killing off the planet.

I like their approach. I like that they bring solutions to the site from every country. While Monbiot is busy holding holding the green torch to corporate toes, this group is championing those who are doing the right thing, right now.

It's inspiring to read what's on their agenda - One Planet Products UK, One Planet Economy, One Million Sustainable Homes... you get the idea. If you are at all interested in forming a global, sustainable society, One Planet Living is well worth bookmarking.

February 06, 2007

There's No Stopping the Climate Shift?

Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the first of several reports to put an end (or a beginning) to what exactly is Global Warming. The opinions of 2400 scientists from 130 countries were combined, analyzed and peer reviewed over the last six years. They all agreed, it's getting hotter and man made activity most likely caused it, by either adding CO2 to the air or cutting down the trees that could take the CO2 out of the air.

For those of you who skipped seeing "An Inconvenient Truth," take the time to read the report's 20 pages. Over 2400 scientists can't be wrong and having one report puts us all of us on the same page - Global Warming is here to stay... apparently for a long time.

Page 12 of the report concerns me the most: "Anthropogenic warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to the timescales associated with climate processes and feedbacks, even if greenhouse gases were to be stabilized." Yikes!

That makes sense, when I really think about it. Earth is a closed system. We took CO2 out of the ground (oil, coal, gas) where it wasn't part of the air and then put it into the atmosphere. It's not as if it's going to leave the gravitational pull of the earth, nor turn back into oil and slide back under earth's crust. The only natural way out is for plants to breathe it in and convert it back into oxygen and that's going to take a while.

Friday's LA Times frontpage headline read "No Stopping Climate Shift..." I didn't like reading "no stopping," we're a take change, see results, sort of society and we don't like to take "no" for an answer. It makes me want to throw in the green towel right now, but I won't.

Personally, I want to err on the side of "trying." I use to drive a low mpg car until I knew better, then I switched to a high MPG and bike more. I used to buy fruit flown in from Chile, now I eat what's in season and locally grown. Little by little as more products and services become available, I'll incorporate them into my life. I'll do it for the same reasons that I did it before we knew that climate change was so irreversible, because it makes the planet a better place and those who make and maintain green type businesses are just, well, more ethical in my opinion. They put "green living" ahead of profits and that makes them someone I want to support.