Archive for August, 2009
People are compelled to act when the alternatives are worse. This gem from Sharon Astyk captures the essence of all the study I've been doing since launching this blog 3 years ago.
Says Astyk, "It is not necessary to offer optimism...We know it may already be too late...What people feel is a necessity, a sense of urgency and a shared crisis." (via casaubonsbook).
As one of Astyk's commenters puts it, "we need to forget about the top national political leaders doing much, or even much at the state level. We also can’t think of ourselves as survivalists with a bunker mentality."
Published by Ken on August 25th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Systems Thinking | 1 Comment »
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'...like 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 | Comment now »
There are many solid reasons to watch this presentation at last week's Hawaii Conservation Alliance conference, especially including where Ramsey Taum ends up after a marvelous romp through native insights on sustainability.
Taum opens with this quote from Marcel Proust: ""The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes." Then he adds, "Sustainability acknowledges the systemic relationships between activities and entities that at first glance may not reveal their connectivity." Yeah, try them new 'eyes'!
Taum's presentation is all about the special sustainability challenges in these islands, sitting on the mountaintops of the "Blue Continent".
Published by Ken on August 12th, 2009 tagged HI-specific, Sustainability Science | Comment now »
Have to say our island sustainability conversation continues to amp up, and I'm getting more and more "pinch me" moments as our community learning and dialogue advances. Seems like only yesterday that sustainability was 'fringy' stuff...
Sadly for most of us, getting in this conversation takes some homework. For openers, we gotta change how we think, and that's as tough a task as there is.
Published by Ken on August 9th, 2009 tagged Community Initiatives, Sustainability Science | Comment now »
Aside from the savings on carbon-spewing (of the inter-island variety), one reason I didn't go this year is because I can get all the good stuff this way...without leaving our treehouse! It's like the next best thang to virtual conferencing.
And kudos to HCA's Deanna Spooner and crew for another smash hit conference! And mahalos to the dozens of scientists and policy wonks who shared their work and latest thinking!
Published by Ken on August 7th, 2009 tagged Island Ecosystems | Comment now »
As Copenhagen looms, Obama's science advisor John Holdren says "industrialised nations need to get their acts together..and developing countries have to join pretty soon, or we're going to be cooked" (via newscientist).
Holdren still sees a chance for Senate passage of "commitments that will move us onto a declining emissions trajectory", and if so, "we will see a degree of progress at Copenhagen that will surprise people."
For now, Holdren sees cap-and-trade as a vital stepping stone, with "more ambitious" targets to be added over time.
Such adjustments are "likely", says Holdren because two things are going to happen:
Published by Ken on August 3rd, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Systems Thinking | Comment now »
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).
Published by Ken on August 1st, 2009 tagged Best Practices, Energy | 1 Comment »
With our military budget now approaching $700B annually, a new report from IPS urges Obama to shoot for a minimum of $30B in each of the next 20 years for climate change initiatives, including R&D and retrofits for government facilities (via grist).
Grist's Kate Sheppard notes that this need not be a zero-sum game, since climate action could be funded from carbon cap revenues (if they ever emerge from Congress).
Still, 'twould be smart to ratchet down on the gunboats as we ratchet up the green generators. Even with the stimulus package, Obama's military spending is still 9 times higher than climate action.
Published by Ken on August 1st, 2009 tagged Climate Change, Island Vulnerabilities | Comment now »
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: