Believe it or not, there is some good news out there on the carbon footprint trail. Thanks to Mathis Wackernagel, whose work I have appreciated even without posting more since 2011, and to his whole team for sharing this:
The US per capita Ecological Footprint dropped nearly 20% during the last eight years of available data (2005 and 2013), a total reduction that matches the entire Footprint of Germany. Continue reading
Thanks to Justine E. Hausheer for Modeling Logging’s Impacts on Biodiversity & Carbon in a Hypothetical Forest over at Cool Green Science:
Tropical forests are widely celebrated for their biodiversity and increasingly recognized for their carbon sequestration potential. But what’s less often acknowledged is halting logging entirely will make climate change worse, as wood is one of the most sustainable building materials.
So how can conservationists help nations meet the demand for wood products and protect forests, while minimizing both biodiversity loss and carbon emissions? Continue reading
Thanks to EcoWatch for this note about the Google site that helps residents of major cities in the USA think more clearly about solar as an option:
Thanks to Anthropocene, for this article, which adds to today’s green food theme:
I already mentioned this session earlier, but I just got this snapshot in my inbox, which we took at the end of that discussion, so another quick comment. After an excellent Q&A (there is more than one CEO of a global brand visible in the audience if you know who to look for, among lots of other top industry talent and future leaders) we decided to turn the camera on everyone present, ourselves included, and our ask was simple: stand if this session has given you an idea what you will do differently starting Monday morning. Everyone stood, of course. So this snapshot, this call to action, was a way to do a reality check when the time comes…
Meatless is not even a concept yet for some, but we’re working on that. Many of us contributing on this platform have already started taking it seriously even if not totally converted–reducing meat consumption rather than going all out vegetarian, let alone vegan–for all kinds of good reasons.
We have already expressed our interest as best we can without having yet tasted one of these, but thanks to this Guardian review we are now a step closer to the impossible. We do not need to have tasted it to have high expectations and hopes to match the ambitions of the company:
Impossible Foods is on the cusp of big things. But as the company lines up its first burger chain, it still needs to show it can convert the meat-loving masses Continue reading
If Mr. Trashy has a silly ring to it, so be it. The medium is the message:
The Inner Harbor Water Wheel, or “Mr. Trash Wheel” to locals, combines old and new technology to harness the power of water and sunlight to collect litter and debris flowing down the Jones Falls River.
The river’s current provides power to turn the water wheel, which lifts trash and debris from the water and deposits it into a dumpster barge. When there isn’t enough water current, a solar panel array provides additional power to keep the machine running. When the dumpster is full, it’s towed away by boat, and a new dumpster is put in place. Voilà!
Thank you, Mr. Trash Wheel.
Thanks to Cool Green Science:
Charles Vigliotti at his compost facility in Yaphank, N.Y. CreditGrant Cornett for The New York Times
The photo above looks almost surreal, but this is not fake news:
What a decent man, we say every time we see news of Jimmy Carter. This story is no exception, and we especially appreciate the example he is setting with this action:
PLAINS, Ga. — The solar panels — 3,852 of them — shimmered above 10 acres of Jimmy Carter’s soil where peanuts and soybeans used to grow. The panels moved almost imperceptibly with the sun. And they could power more than half of this small town, from which Mr. Carter rose from obscurity to the presidency. Continue reading
Farmers and chefs looking for their perfect match at Bluejacket, a restaurant and brewery in Washington, D.C. Dan Charles/NPR
Thanks to the folks at the salt, over at National Public Radio (USA), one of the greatest investments any country has made in broadcast news and features:
By Dan Charles
…Ashley Heaney and Mark Heaney, from Green Acres Family Farm in Gapland, Md., are sitting in a booth on one side of the room, looking expectant and a little tense. They have a cooler full of eggs from their pasture-raised chickens beside them. This is their chance to show off those eggs to a collection of big-city chefs.
They’re here for matchmaking, though not of the romantic sort. It’s an annual “speed-dating” event where farmers get set up with chefs, in an effort to put more local food on restaurant tables. Continue reading
The United Nations, and its subsidiary the World Tourism Organization, are promoting the celebration of 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. We just celebrated 20 years of working in the sustainable tourism space, and UNWTO’s efforts help focus our attention now on the next decade’s worth of effort:
“With more than one billion international tourists now traveling the world each year, tourism has become a powerful and transformative force that is making a genuine difference in the lives of millions of people. The potential of tourism for sustainable development is considerable. As one of the world’s leading employment sectors, tourism provides important livelihood opportunities, helping to alleviate poverty and drive inclusive development.”
– United Nations Secretary-General, Banki-moon
World Tourism Day Message, 2015
A few days ago Arnay, the General Manager of Chan Chich Lodge, posted a snapshot of the sightings board just outside the reception area, where guests share what they have seen on any given day while trekking with guides, or trekking solo. 2016 was not exceptional for Chan Chich, but it was another year of exceptional opportunity to witness the abundance that comes with committed conservation.
The big cats made their presence known day after day after day. The entire food chain on which they depend was right there with them, well balanced in the 30,000 acres of forest that Chan Chich protects, surrounded by an additional nearly half million acres that other private conservation-minded land-owners protect in northwest Belize. Continue reading
An impression of the town square at the Babcock Ranch development in Florida. Photograph: Babcock Ranch
For every redemption story there seems to be at least one more redemption puzzle. Conundrums. This is one of those. We want to love the scheme for some of its nobler aspects, but then realize it is impossible to do so unconditionally. And finally, simply, impossible:
When this particular chef develops a thought into action, we are at least curious. When he shares a short essay on how the future of food might work, such as A Blueprint for the Future of Food, we take note. The following is from Turning Points, exploring how key moments from this year might signal something important coming in the year ahead.
Turning Point: France becomes the first country to outlaw food waste.
Not long ago, just before boarding a trans-Atlantic flight, I overheard a woman tell her friend that she had packed her own water bottle because she disliked wasting all the plastic bottles given out on planes. A few minutes later she was on the phone with another friend, explaining that she was on her way to Europe for the weekend to shop and relax. Continue reading
Illustration by Emily Woodworth
There have been moments in recent months when continued attention to the little details we see, and link to concerning incremental improvements in environmental sensitivity, social responsibility, or any other sustainability metric seems akin to “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.” Political turmoil, and specifically political commitment to dismantle environmental protection in various influential countries, might make incremental change seem even less significant to some. These deck chairs are different. Every instance of care and action is a data point worthy of attention, and we will continue to connect the dots. Today, from the Field Museum of Chicago and their awesome Green Team:
THE FIELD MUSEUM’S GREEN TEAM
A Greener Field (the Museum’s “green team”) began as a grassroots recycling effort in 1989, and now has over 40 members representing every area of the Museum. Staff members who share the Museum’s commitment to improving sustainability attend monthly meetings which provide an outlet for them to share successes and challenges in terms of greening their departments, as well as a vehicle to initiate and help implement institution-wide programs. From bike sharing programs to recycling and composting Continue reading