2015 September: Union of Concerned Scientists Palm Oil Scorecard 2015
Production of palm oil can contribute to deforestation and global warning--or not. The color-coded Scorecard shows where some major companies and retail store brands stand on the issue.
Their tests found GMOs in "virtually all of the samples we tested of products that made only a 'Natural' claim", contrary to what most consumers would expect from the label. GMOs are especially prominent in corn and soy based foods. GMO labeling is mandatory in many countries but not in the U.S. Consumer Reports thinks it should be mandatory in the U.S., based on the precautionary principle of better safe than sorry. "Some animal studies suggest that GMOs may cause damage to the immune system, liver, and kidneys." GMOs are strongly defended by seed companies such as Monsanto, which manufactures the weed killer Roundup which doesn't harm GMO crops, but "superweeds" have sprung up which are not killed by Roundup.
For more information on labels, see Products and Services, "What's in a Label?"
Too many bees competing for scarce food sources could make life difficult for urban bee colonies and "may also affect other species that also visit flowers", say scientists who advocate planting "more flowers rather than adding new hives", especially for inexperienced beekeepers.
2013 April 18: Pollinators necessary to life as we know it
According to the Xerces Society, pollinators make reproduction possible for "more than two-thirds of the world's crop species."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service has a leaflet on Native Pollinators that describes the services pollinators provide in nature and agricultural systems and the many billions of dollars they are worth to the U.S. economy. "The leafet presents the habitat requirements of a variety of native pollinators and offers practical ideas for their conservation and management". It includes a table of "Crops dependent upon or benefited by insect pollination" and one of "General native pollinator habitat requirements". The leaflet concludes that "Despite their value, native pollinators are declining and often under-appreciated in terms of their services to healthy ecosystems. Human activities have destroyed and fragmented native pollinator habitat. However, landowners can work to increase native pollinator habitat on privately-owned lands by planting appropriate vegetation, providing water, limiting pesticide use, and providing the habitat needs for specific groups of pollinators (bees, butterflies, moths, flies, beetles, bats, or hummingbirds)".
The Xerces Society also has a Fact Sheet on providing nesting opportunities for native bees.
The Great Sunflower Project shows how citizens can help "by growing some pollinator friendly plants in your yard and then recording how many pollinators vist them." The website also provides a wealth of links to informative articles on a number of related subjects, such as Pollinator Partnership's information about the effects of honeybees, which are not native, on other bee species, such as native species.
2013 April 11 Truthout interview: less consumption, not "green" businesses, key to saving planet?
Ozzie Zehner, in an interview by Steve Horn, says the environmental movement has been taken over by so-called "green" businesses that are anything but green in their supply chains, production lines, and impacts on the environment. He says, for example, we do not have any such thing as clean energy; that "alternative energy technologies rely on fossil fuels through every stage of their life". He argues that as long as the movement is tied to increasing production rather than decreasing consumption, it is doomed to failure.
2012 December 27: plan for Macrosustainability and its Development by environmentalist Thomas W. Hutcheson, Ed.D.
Dr. Hutcheson describes "an imperative to plan for the ecologically sustainable development of economic ativity". This plan needs to be an overarching one to integrate existing, interdependent systems so that they work together, rather than separately and sometimes at cross purposes, to move toward a global economy that uses energy and materials in a way that is ecologically sound in the real world.
2012 July 29 New York Times article by Berkely scientist Richard Muller, published by Reader Supported News: The Conversion of a Climate Change Skeptic.
Muller's team analyzed data going back 250 years and concluded, contrary to his earlier skepticism, that "humans are almost entirely the cause" of global warming. He states that "These findings are stronger than those of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change...." They used data going back much farther, from far more temperature stations, than did the IPCC. Details of the analysis are published at berkeleyearth.org.
2012 December 5: James Boyce on The Real News Network says "20,000 People a Year Die From Effects of Fossil Fuel Generation".
Dr. Boyce says that fossil fuel burning disproportionately impacts communities of low income and color. "So the idea that it doesn't matter where we cut emissions, which is basically the idea behind offsets, behind cap and trade, and even behind carbon taxes, that you just put a single price on carbon and let the chips fall where they may, doesn't make a lot of sense once you realize that the public health benefits to be obtained by cutting emissions are far, far greater in some locations than in others."
2007 Dec 19 U.S. News & World Report, FAQ: The End of the Light Bulb as We Know It, by Marianne Lavelle .
New U.S. energy law mandates phasing out of incandescent bulbs starting 2012. Article answers frequently asked questions about compact fluorescent bulbs (cfls), such as costs, longevity, color, mercury, recycling, and alternatives to cfls.
Kristina Egan is the Director of Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. This talk was delivered to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Falmouth, Massachusetts on 2006 August 5. Ms. Egan maintains that development that limits sprawl and is based on regional planning can be a part of the solution to our need for more environmentally friendly and socially just communities, rather than a part of the problem.Jane Goodall at the Paris Climate Summit
Democracy Now interviews Jane Goodal on the importance of saving the rainforests, denial of human causes of climate change, our evolutionary connections to other animals, her reasons for being a vegetarian, and her hope for the resilience of nature along with increasing awareness of climate change dangers to save the planet.
BBC Guide with text, diagrams, and a video shows how greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. Most scientists blame human behavior for significant warming of the earth. Many predict disastrous effects on life as we know it unless we take steps in the very near future to dramatically reduce emissions that cause greenhouse gases.
Climate.gov: Climate Science 101: What is the Difference Between Weather and Climate?
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration video "presentation by Wayne Higgins of NOAA�s Climate Prediction Center clarifies the relationships and differences between weather and climate, as well as the differences between natural climate variability and human-induced climate change." Running time 79:16
"Database of [U.S.] State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency": clickable map shows financial incentives and rules for your state or territory, as well as federal incentives.
Energy Star: U. S. government program for energy savings and efficiency.
SunAngle: Free program that runs in your browser, from Sustainable By Design. The site says "This tool calculates solar angle data based on date, time, and location." Paid tool calculates "sun angle data for a series of dates and/or times".
The website of Fine Homebuilding Magazine: Lots of how-to tips, instructions, illlustrations, and videos; a very practical site for all kinds of home building issues, not just green building.
Union of Concerned Scientists: "Science for a healthy planet and safer world"
Ocean Arks International: Ecological solutions for the twenty-first century. Founded by Dr. John Todd, this organization focuses especially on the world's waters. Dr. Todd has developed eco-machines that replicate methods used in nature to maintain healthy ecosystems.
350.org: campaign to reduce the atmospheric carbon dioxide level to 350 parts per million, the maximum level scientists say we need to maintain to save the planet.
Cape and Islands Self-Reliance
Non-profit organization on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA that promotes eco-friendly, sustainable practices and provides a buying co-op whereby members can save money on energy.
Cape Cod Center for Sustainability
Based on premise that the health of Cape Cod's economy, environment, and social system depend on how we deal with the interrelationships between them. Sustainability Indicators Council produces sustainability indicators reports and considers where to go from there.
Center for Environmental Philosophy
Valuable study tool, recipient of an academic excellence award. Links to information pertaining to environmental ethics and philosophy, education, funding, associations, and publications.
From the website: "Ceres is a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership. We mobilize a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy."
Union Guide to Environmental Labels
This guide from the publishers of Consumers Reports provides a wealth of information on the meaning of environmental labels and processes involved in applying them. You can search for information on a label to get detailed information about it. For example, entering "fair trade" in the "Search by Label" box and pressing the Enter key takes you to a page that tells you the organization, program, and category associated with the label. Clicking on the label name then takes you to a page that gives you a label report card, type of products that use the label, explanation of the label's meaning, evaluation of the label by Consumers Union, and more. You can also search by product or certifier.
Energy Star (not to be confused with energystar.com). From the "About Energy Star" page: "ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices." Applies to products, homes, and businesses.
Comprehensive, up-to-date, international coverage of environment news. Many of the articles relate to animal welfare as well as other facets of environmental concerns.
Comprehensive, well-organized, attractively designed Internet clearinghouse for environmental organizations. News headlines, many links to environmental resources, link to Animal Concerns Community, interactive maps, discussion groups.
EPR Working Group
EPR stands for Extended Producer Responsibility. The group promotes environmental responsibility on the part of producers throughout a product's life cycle. They are concerned with sustainability, safety, and social justice. Many products end their lives in landfills or incinerators that are often located in neighborhoods of poor people or people of color, and many are exported to developing countries where environmental safeguards are lacking.
America (formerly Co-Op America)
Non-profit organization that provides information and news about the environment and conservation, as well as human rights and socially responsible investing. Responsible Shopper, a program of Green America, allows you to compare many companies and industries on the bases of workplace, environment, and willingness to disclose information to the public. Responsible Shopper also notes things companies have been criticised and praised for, such as environmental practices, sweatshop labor, community and labor relations, diversity in the workforce, and charitable contributions.
Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at UMass Amherst: Environmental and Energy Economics. Professional studies that point toward environmental justice.Sierra Club
Grassroots environmental organization with information on issues, politics, ways to take action, ways to enjoy the outdoors. The site has a store that sells books, note cards, calendars, clothing, bags & packs, and watches.
Information on green business, such as recycling, renewable energy, environmentally friendly building, forest management, and socially responsible investing. Produces the online magazine, "Sustainable Business Insider," an extensive job listing service, "Green Dream Jobs", and a networking service for environmental businesses.The site also has a link to a page that lists shareholder resolutions concerning socially responsible business practices.
Union of Concerned Scientists Provides news, action alerts, a variety of publications, and programs for improving our lives through scientific knowledge. For example, the Clean Vehicles Program provides information on technology such as hybrids and ethanol, and helps states adopt vehicle emissions standards similar to the California standards, which are tougher than the federal standards under the U.S. Clean Air Act.