Archive for the 'Best Practices' Category

(Chronologically Listed)

another ooops story: of road salt and watersheds

road salt impacts

My grandots in snow country will love this one! It's a real howler about our "system blindness". And about how un-sustainability means doing all the wrong things.

Wudja believe all that road salt we spread for "safety" purposes actually ends up somewhere our groundwater and streams. (You mean there is no "away" place we can throw this stuff?) Duh!

Yet, it took these new studies from Toronto and Minneapolis to make us realize road salt is a huge mistake (via treehugger).

Nor is this just about the impacts on aquatic life and drinking water. It's also about destroying roads, shortening the life of cars, and killing vegetation. WTF?

Published by Ken on March 5th, 2010 tagged Best Practices, Ecosystems Research, Island Ecosystems, Systems Thinking | 1 Comment »

think “one pound per mile”: on emissions reduction priorities

1lb emissions

Embedding balanced thinking in every day life is an essential part of the "resource literacy" we're promoting, right?

So, sustainability thinking involves much broader awareness of emissions 'metrics' the numbers in this chart. Wanna know the relative emissions impacts of, say, plastic bags versus driving. Here ya go!

Let's see: if we use an average of one plastic bag a day, we could go two weeks before accumulating the equivalent of one pound of emissions.

Now, perhaps if we all held in our minds the "one mile, one pound" metric associated with our vehicles, we might work harder to reduce our miles.

Published by Ken on August 19th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

will KIUC listen to McKinsey? on energy efficiency strategy

McKinsey report

McKinsey unleashed another blockbuster on energy efficiency clearly showing how to get the first 30% of cost-savings and emissions-reductions, concurrently with developing new green energy sources (via greeninc).

The upshot would be 23% less energy demand by 2020, and trillions not needed for new energy generation.

Meanwhile, KIUC is betting against any such thing, assuming instead that energy demand will continue to grow fast (because efficiency won't work), and so we must soon add another fossil fuel generator (because green energy is unreliable).

We've noted many flaws in KIUC's plans, and next Tuesday evening you can see their business-as-usual (BAU) approach in action.

Published by Ken on August 1st, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

sustainability ain’t philanthropy: Werbach on corporate strategy

adam werbach

Sustainability is not about "doing good" or "protecting the environment", says Adam Werbach, and corporations must integrate sustainability into their core business strategies (via SFS).

"Yes, it's important to reduce waste and toxins in a company to protect our diminishing natural resources", says Werbach.

Still, "an environmental strategy is not enough to sustain most businesses for the long haul", says Werbach, and "too often, a 'sustainability strategy' is simply an environmental strategy with a new name."

Instead, Werbach urges business to focus on a "strategy for sustainability", and underscores the difference with three telltales. A company has a strategy for sustainability when it:

Published by Ken on August 1st, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

Mayor as playuh: Kauai’s lineman for county sustainability

kauai mayor

Pinch me! For the first time, our island's political leadership is stepping up to the sustainability challenge, and I'm feeling better about our chances with this big guy up front.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho isn't just mouthing the "S" word...he's serious about preparing Kauai for the sustainability transition coming down on his watch.

Carvalho is launching a series of newspaper columns on sustainability and is learning to fold-in the sustainability theme with his daily "stories" as he moves from appearance to appearance.

Ya gotta like Carvalho’s chances as a cheerleader for the behavior changes that are integral to these transition times.

Published by Ken on July 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

Hawaii climate change funds escape guv veto

HI climate change

Bravo for state legislators who last week overrode Governor Lingles' veto of SB266!

So, there will be a climate change task force to study the potential impacts of rising sea levels, eroding coast lines, ocean acidification, fiercer storms, and other expected affects of climate change, and to suggest response strategies...all funded with $100,000 a year to be diverted from the state tourism fund (via gristmill).

Grist's Jonathan Hiskes notes that the fed’s climate change report forecasted severe effects on U.S. Pacific islands if climate change continues unchecked.

Lingle had argued that the state's emissions reduction task force was already addressing climate change.

Published by Ken on July 20th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Climate Change | Comments Off

unsustainability = not thinking of the whole system

kalo connection

While being interviewed for a forthcoming Ode article to feature Hawaii's influence on Obama and his thinkng about sustainability, I mentioned that, in the Hawaiian patheon, the `aina ("nature") is a sibling.

The interviewer chuckled, as if this was a 'cute' concept.

I'm guessing that the interviewer missed the message: our 'modern' thinking has led to a loss of consciousness about our place as a part of natue.

As John R. Ehrenfeld stressed in his marvelous presentation at Delft last April, we cannot even see that our 'consumption' has become a form of addiction that is destroying nature itself.

Published by Ken on July 15th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

where we’re headed: top minds on past/future perspectives

speakers sterling + orlov

The best guy to envisage the near future gave the closing keynote at Reboot's "Practical Visionaries" conference last month, and now you can watch Bruce Sterling's fascinating 40 minute presentation. Kewl!

And the best guy to remind us about the lessons of the near past gave a marvelous romping speech in Dublin last month, and now you can watch Dmitry Orlov draw parallels between the demise of the Soviet Union and America's current state of affairs. Kewl.2!

Either way, our outlook is so screwy that these views just might help you get your mind around the grimness of what’s coming…

Published by Ken on July 13th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Systems Thinking | Comments Off

Lihue sustainability: AIA submits planning recommendations

lihue mill artist conception

Recall the AIA confab last Fall that focused on sustainability in Lihue's Development Plan? Well, the SDAT team has just filed their recommendations, and they're worth a look (via KPAA).

"Focus on long-term sustainability", "meet uncertainties head-on", and "consider a pause on development activity until the plan is fully worked out" are three of their top recommendations. Oh, and, “stick with it”, once adopted. Kewl!

One especially intriguing suggestion focuses on the abandoned Lihue Mill, which the planners think might perform a great "gathering" function if it were redeveloped as a microbusiness incubator and food distribution center (as illustrated).

Published by Ken on July 7th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

KIUC forecast update: on cooking the numbers

KIUC forecast update

You're anxious to know what's in KIUC's updated Equity Management Plan, right? You want to know how rate increases and investment in renewables will impact our coop's financials in the years ahead, right?

Good luck! Although it was approved at the Board's April meeting, this document is still not available on the KIUC website.

Good news! It is available as an appendix to KIUC's request to the PUC for a rate increase...though it's not easy to get (go to this PUC Documents page and search for 2009-0050, then click on Volume I of the Verification Exhibits and go to page 315...whew!)

Published by Ken on July 7th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 2 Comments »

indigi-new economy: Adamson on sustainability and hard times

rebecca adamson

"We will find abundance through hard times when we find each other", says First Nation’s Rebecca Adamson.

"Abundance comes not from stuff…An indigenous system is based on prosperity, creation, kinship, and a sense of enough-ness. It is designed for sharing."

Adamson's wisdom flows through a marvelous interview by Sarah Van Gelder in the "New Economy" issue of Yes!

"Fear makes scarcity self-fulfilling. The more fearful, the more you go out and buy. And pretty soon you run out of money and go into debt, and pretty soon the planet runs out of natural resources and places to put all the garbage."

Published by Ken on June 17th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

exploring eco-Edmonton: host with the most for sustainability

edmonton ICLEI

Tomorrow will be this city's turn to shine the light on local initiatives for sustainability.

As host of ICLEI's triennial World Congress, Edmonton has packed the day with 14 "mobile workshops" that will take the local leaders from 57 countries out into the city and region of Edmonton (by foot, bus or bicycle) to explore sustainability in action.

In a break from traditional congress proceedings, these workshops will "connect leaders by providing a stimulating and contextual networking and socialising opportunity for participants to experience several of Edmonton’s sustainable development projects firsthand." Want inspiration? Checkout Edmonton’s many collaborating stakeholder groups’ inter-linked initiatives.

Published by Ken on June 15th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

energy performance in the tropics: on ceiling fans and retrofits


Our little treehouse is blessed (not) with black asphalt shingles, and enjoys shading only until 1PM, plus there are no ceiling air vents, so we're big fans of big fans.

Venting the hot air which shouldn't have accumulated in the first place, is a huge energy drain for us...since we use 2 ceiling fans, 2 window fans, and 4 face fans during a large fraction of our day.

Fact is, fans are our #3 energy user, right behind our water heater and refrigerator.

So, I’ve been looking at fans from an energy efficiency and integrated retrofit perspective. Here’s what I’ve learned, so far…

Published by Ken on June 14th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Green Building | 1 Comment »

tiny card speaks volumes: on reinforcing the footprint message

tiny biz card

When I caught this idea at Ogilvy's "On Recession" site, I went straight into production, and Voila!

Using the "clean edge" business card stock from Avery, I designed a bite-sized layout that prints 4 per card.

Then, I simply fold and snap out the cards and cut each one into fourths.

Hai! Dozo! Yes! Please take it! Herewith, my new business card.

It seems to better fit my footprint reduction efforts, right alongside my tiny treehouse home and my trailered ebike transport.

I’ve tested it with friends in the Lihue Business Association, who seemed to get the message…after they stopped laughing!

Published by Ken on June 10th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

KIUC’s unbelievable load forecast (Part III): on sustainability

From a sustainability perspective, each KIUC decision must meet three tests.

First, is it SMART: Does it account for peak oil?

Second, is it SAFE: Does it achieve the required emissions reductions to avoid catastrophic climate change?

Third, is it FAIR: Does it promote equitable access to resources?

A quick assessment of KIUC's "GenX" proposal suggests that it only partially meets the first test, is not likely to meet the second, and major questions remain regarding the third.

Here's why. "GenX" uses fossil-fuels, so its purchase would actually move us away from oil-independence in the short run. That’s a show-stopper, right?

Published by Ken on May 27th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

KIUC’s unbelievable load forecast (Part II): on false choices

flawed forecast

KIUC is sitting on a consultant's forecast that says our morning peak load will need new generating capacity by 2013.

Accordingly, KIUC is now on a fast track to purchase a $75 million 35MW fossil fuel generator, called GenX, to be sited in Kapaia.

...Which is why KIUC lobbied against the legislative moratorium on new fossil fuel plants.

Yet, why did KIUC unquestioningly accept the consultants forecast? And how did fossil fuels emerge as the top candidate?

One might expect KIUC to pull out all stops to avoid any additional fossil fuel reliance, and several alternative strategies come readily to mind.

Published by Ken on May 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

KIUC’s unbelievable load forecast (Part I): on unthinkable acts

going backward

Still haven't seen KIUC’s Energy Management Plan (EMP), just adopted despite opposition by Ben Sullivan in his first KIUC Director’s meeting. (Yeah! Ahh!).

Sadly, the BAU boyz (business-as-usual) 'freight train' had a full head of steam before Sullivan came aboard.

Worse, KIUC's plans could lock us into energy choices that move us in the wrong direction.

Sure, the Strategic Plan talks about transitioning to 'green' energy, yet KIUC’s first major expenditure will be for another fossil fuel plant. Yikes!

This prospect should be unthinkable, yet the BAU framework produced this decision...and we’ll need a sustainability framework to produce dramatically different decisions.

Published by Ken on May 26th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »

Hawken to seniors: you are brilliant, and the Earth is hiring

paul hawken at commencement

Every campus should be lucky as UPortland to have Paul Hawken speak to graduating seniors. Here's why (via charityfocus).

"Basically, the earth needs a new operating system, you are the programmers, and we need it within a few decades", says Hawken.

"Forget that this task of planet-saving is not possible in the time required. Don’t be put off by people who know what is not possible. Do what needs to be done, and check to see if it was impossible only after you are done".

According to Hawken, "working for the earth is not a way to get rich, it is a way to be rich."

Published by Ken on May 18th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Climate Change | Comments Off

not so fast! on the virtues of slow money for sustainability


Greed got away from us...the quarterly-numbers crew insisted that valuations keep climbing...and lots of folks lost everything.

So, what if we were satisfied with less? What if NOT all our financial resources went into the fastest growing funds?

What if a fund for sustainability initiatives on Kauai was just about the safest place to put your money? How hard could it be to create such a fund?

Been wondering about this as we contemplate our island's sustainability transition, and assess the scale of new social investment required to get'r done. Naturally, I’ve been inspired by the "slow money" movement (via triplepundit).

Published by Ken on April 29th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Community Initiatives | Comments Off

ecological footprint goes prime time: calculator on CNN

footprint calculator on CNN

My parting shot at the Leadership Kauai confab on sustainability was to suggest that the most "radical" question you can ask these days is: "What's my footprint?"

Why? Because you'll be shocked to discover how many planets it would take if everyone lived like you, but also because you'll learn some things about the relative significance of energy, food, travel, and home consumption.

CNN gave this question a whirl over the weekend and joked about the 4.8 planets that newscaster Josh Levs calculated for himself (via nextnowcollab).

'Tis kewl that good buddies at Footprint Network got major play for their insightful work.

Published by Ken on April 28th, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Ecological Footprint | Comments Off