For those of you who picked up your free usable bag last week at the Union, you’re in good shape if you decide to move to Austin!
“Austin, Texas, has passed a law restricting plastic and paper retail carryout bags. The law, which will take effect March 1, 2013, allows for three options: paper or plastic bag of thicker construction with handles, or reusable linen or woven bags, says Bob Gedert, director of Austin Resource Recovery, in an interview. Because of the replacement options, the city is characterizing it as a bag regulation, not ban.
The new law differs from what Austin City Council proposed in December, which involved a 52-cent interim fee for single-use bags. Gedert says administrative challenges, retail relationship to challenges and being accountable to the public made that “too difficult a path to take.”
Read more about this interesting and controversial step, HERE.
“Contrary to popular belief, humans have failed to address the earth’s worsening emergencies of climate change, species’ extinction and resource overconsumption not because of a lack of information, but because of a lack of imagination, social scientists and artists say.
At a conference of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Vancouver, British Columbia, experts argues that the path to a truly sustainable future is through the muddy waters of emotions, values, ethics, and most importantly, imagination.
Humans’ perceptions of reality are filtered by personal experiences and values, said David Maggs, a concert pianist and PhD student at the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
As a result, the education and communication paradigm of “if we only knew better, we’d do better” is not working. Maggs told attendees at the world’s largest general science meeting. ‘We don’t live in the real world, but live only in the world we imagine.'”
Want to learn more about reality or the lack thereof? Read more HERE.
“Fans of beer will soon have yet another reason to imbibe, when a new partnership between Anheuser-Busch (now AB-inBev) and a company called Blue Marble Bio takes off. The two firms have launched a venture to convert brewery waste into a group of carboxylic acids that have a wide variey of commerical uses, including the manufacture of shaving creams and soaps. This renewable source of carboxylic acids will help the chemical industry along as it transitions out of petroleum-based formulas, and as a side benefit, the process also yields biogas that will be used to generate renewable electricity.
With the new venture, Anheuser-Busch also pushes the “green beer” movement up a few notches beyond the kind of measures that have becom expected from resopnsible beverage companies, such as water conservation, waste reduction and the intallation of renewable energy.”
Read more HERE.
This is a few weeks old, but worth the read!
“As we prepare to enjoy this Sunday’s Super Bowl rematch between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots, let us spare a moment to memorialize the dear dispatched Green Bay Packers. But give the Packers’ organization credit: they’re not sitting home pouting. Instead they’re using the early playoff exit as an opportunity to get started on improvements to Lambeau Field, which included recycling the stadium’s aging scoreboard, according to Green Bay, Wis., ABC affiliate WBAY.
The Packers are working with Waste Management (it must be more than sheer coincidence that the two organizations sport identical yellow and green color schemes) to recycle the enormous device. An estimated 90 percent of the scoreboard is recyclable, including steel, aluminum, vinyl, wiring and circuit board materials and LEDs, although it will have to be shipped to Minneapolis for processing since Waste Management’s Milwaukee recycling center is not large enough for the job.
To quote a cheeky commenter on WBAY’s website, ‘This is not the first time the Packers organization has tried throwing something out and where their trash ended up in Minnesota.’
The latest from Mark Gunther of GreenBiz.com:
“I’d like to believe that we can shop our way to be a better world. It’s unlikely. If our economy is going to become more just and sustainable, change will have to come from the top down, not from the bottom up.
This roll of toilet paper explains why.
Called Moka, this bathroom tissue comes from a company called Cascades, which is headquartered in Montreal. It’s made from 100 percent recycled paper, and it has a lower carbon footprint than conventional toilet paper. Moka costs less to manufacture than ordinary white toilet paper and uses less bleach. And it works fine. Trust me – the company sent me a sample roll.
‘It’s beneficial for us, for consumers and for the environment,’ says Isabelle Faivre, US Marketing Director for Cascades.
The trouble is, you can’t buy Moka in a store.
That’s because Moka is being, er, rolled out exclusively in the away-from-home market. That is, it’s being sold to distributors who supply office buildings, schools, colleges, hospitals, restaurants and hotels. ‘Companies have that need to look green, to make them feel better about themselves,’ says Faivre. But consumers aren’t ready to accept off-color bathroom tissue.”
Read more on the issues of changing consumer behavior HERE.
How have your consumer habits changed? What is important to you in making the decision to buy a product?
The Hershey Co. said three of its manufacturing facilities achieved zero waste-to-landfill (ZWL) status.
The Hershey, PA based candy retailer said in a news release that two plants in Hershey and another in Hazelton, PA, recycle about 90 percent of operational waste generated. The remainder of the waste goes to nearby Pennsylvania waste-to-energy incinerators in Bainbridge and Harrisburg.
“We achieved ZWL at these facilities through a rigorous process of eliminating waste, recycling and convertings waste to energy,” said Terence O’Day, senior vice president of global operations for Hershey.
The company’s Hazleton plant achieved ZWL status this month. Its West Hershey plant became a ZWL facility in October 2011. In addition, an ongoing $200 million to $225 million expansion of the facility is a ZWL project. The company’s Reese plant, located in Hershey, achieved ZWL status in 2010.
Hershey said it aims to continue improving its recycling and energy efficiency progrmas at all of its U.S. facilities.
SPECIAL NOTE: Hershey Kiss wrappers are recyclable!
White Wave Looks to the Farm to Improve Environmental Footprint
“Of all the various sources of greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most little-known to the average consumer may be those from the wide-eyed cow and its environs.
“Some estimate that dairy industry emissions, including those from cow burps and manure, are responsible for about 2 percent of total emissions in the U.S. For some firms like White Wave Food Company, those dairy emissions account for a significant slice of their carbon footprints.
“White Wave, the Broomfiled, Colo.-based maker of Silk, Horizon Organic, International Delight and Land O Lakes, has been targeting its dairy carbon footprint for years. Between 2006 and 2010, the company cut its emissions 16 percent per gallon of product, exceeding its 10 percent goal for the time period.”
What to learn how … read more HERE.
Chevrolet Introduces Environmental Labeling on All Vehicles
“This March, Chevrolet will start providing customers with information on a number of the environmental features of their vehicles, via “Ecologic” environmental window labels that will initially appear on the 2012 Sonic, the company’s new sub-compact car.
“Later on, labeling will be rolled out across the entire 2013 vehicle line in North America, and in doing so, Chevrolet will be the first automotive brand to provide a label of this kind on its vehicles.”
Read more HERE
Read GreenBiz.com Senior Writer Marc Gunther’s take on a newly released “100 Best” list…
“I’m skeptical about efforts to rank and rate green or sustainable companies, and I have been for a time. [See 100 Best Corporate Citizens? What a CROck!] It’s terribly difficult to compare big and small companies, retailers with manufacturers, software firms with oil companies, etc. We once tried at FORTUNE, and gave up because we decided it couldn’t be done right.
“Having said that, I’m impressed with the rigor and methodology used by a Canadian magazine called Corporate Knights to produce its 8th annual list of Global 100 Most Sustainable Companies, which it calls “the most extensive data-driven corporate sustainability assessment in existence.” The ratings are transparent and they encompass social as well as environmental metrics, among them energy, carbon, waste and water productivity, diversity and employee turnover, safety and, interestingly, the ratio between CEO and average worker pay — a revealing metric that most such rankings do not include.”
Climate in Classrooms
27 Jan 2012
Read the full post at Dot Earth.
There’s much to explore about the challenges in teaching about the evolving relationship between people and their climate.
This subject was once pretty straightforward. After all, it was a relationship that was largely a one-way phenomenon. Climate changed. People adapted or moved. (The extraordinary books of Brian Fagan are an ideal guide.)
As humanity’s growth spurt plays out, the accumulating greenhouse gases from fossil fuel combustion — along with the impacts on clouds or sunshine from other emissions and impacts from land surfaces — have made this a two-way relationship. And that makes teaching about this subject particularly challenging, given the durably wide range of perceptions not just of the science, but of how to respond to it.
Source: Environmental News Bits