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By Michael Green
Posted on: April 16, 2015
March 31, 2015 marked an important deadline on the road to the Paris climate talks this coming December. Nations present at last year’s climate negotiations agreed to release their intended nationally determined commitment (INDC) by this deadline. These INDC's or pledges are to create transparent landscapes and provide more time for countries to continue developing the framework for a comprehensive global climate treaty by the end of 2015. Thanks to the Obama administration, the United States was one of the few countries that met this deadline. The administration’s announcement followed the... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 13, 2015
America’s entrepreneurs have long applied chemistry to make new products that enrich our lives. But sadly, many chemical innovations have turned out to be dangerous, even deadly. Asbestos and formaldehyde cause cancer and have been largely banned from consumer products. Bisphenol A, an additive to plastics, makes plastics clear and tough but is believed to disrupt human hormones. A few consumer companies, such as Seventh Generation, Method and Naturepedic, have devoted themselves to making products that are safer to use while still getting the job done. Behind these familiar names stand other... read more
By Jake Kornack
Posted on: April 8, 2015
Given the seemingly stagnant nature of American politics, the bickering between the left and the right in Congress, and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor, it is easy to lose faith in our political system and use pessimism as our guiding light. Some six months ago, I found myself disenchanted by a political system that seemed incapable of producing high-paying, meaningful jobs; an economy that incessantly demanded higher levels of pollution and mindless consumption; and the growing economic and social pressures on the average American family. Then, on November 12th, 2014 I... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 6, 2015
American consumers have begun to care more about sustainability and to express their concerns as they shop. Increasingly, consumers want to know how the stuff they buy affects the planet and how it affects the people who produce it and sell it. This emerging change in consumer behavior prompts retailers to give consumers better information. The giant retailer Target rolled out a “Sustainable Product Index” in 2013. A few weeks ago, Wal-Mart rolled out a major new program, called “Sustainability Leaders,” designed to shine a favorable (green) light on suppliers who design and market more... read more
By Kristen Wolf
Posted on: April 1, 2015
Raising animals can be a dirty job, in more ways than one. Windhaven Farms is a local meat distribution company. We sell beef, pork chicken and rabbits to restaurants in the Kansas City area, and each animal is sourced from a specific farm. We focus on the animals as much as possible and are always trying to improve our farming practices - that includes raising chickens and hogs out on the pasture, using locally-produced feed. There’s one other thing that we keep worrying about, and that’s water. Obviously, the animals we raise need clean water to survive, and it helps when we process the... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 30, 2015
Consumer preference is shaping up as a powerful force to promote environmental sustainability. Many consumers have shown themselves willing to choose sustainably produced and environmentally friendly products, particularly when these products also save money (like fuel-efficient cars) or promise health and other benefits (like locally produced organic food). However, it’s not clear whether consumers’ preference for sustainability is strong enough to power the change we need. Experts are particularly worried about the large, developing economies of China and India. If the burgeoning middle... read more
By Wendy Chun-Hoon
Posted on: March 26, 2015
As we celebrate Women’s History Month and the incredible contributions women have made to our society, I think of two trailblazing women who are continuing the tradition of fighting against injustice: Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro. These women just introduced legislation in their respective chambers that would allow people to continue to receive a portion of their wages when they need time off for family or medical reasons. They recognize that at some point everyone needs to take time to recover from a serious illness or surgery, care for an elderly parent or bond... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 23, 2015
Sustainable and socially responsible business is about to get a big boost. Earlier this month, online crafts retailer Etsy filed to go public in a deal projected to raise $100 million or more. This initial public offering is poised to legitimize the "triple bottom line" and boost investment in this emerging sector. Brooklyn-based Etsy is well regarded as an online retailer of handmade and vintage items including clothing, home furnishings, jewelry, art and foods. With strong support from leading venture capitalists including Accel Partners, Etsy has grown into a powerhouse with nearly $2... read more
By Michael Peck
Posted on: March 18, 2015
There are two major and intertwined, socio-cultural movements driving local economic sovereignty change on a nationwide basis regardless of red or blue state affiliation. The first is land and rooftop-based community solar and the second is the ubiquitous springing-up of worker cooperatives. Connecting these two transformation trends can center the shifting and often contradictory thematic currents driving populist energy and enthusiasm leading to consensus just in time for the 2016 presidential elections. First, cooperative community solar. In red states such as Georgia, Florida, and both... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 16, 2015
With the price of oil settling in at around $50 a barrel, down roughly half since last summer, it’s time to ask what the drop means for sustainability. It may seem like an easy question. After all, with oil so cheap, it’s harder to make the business case for renewable energy. But the situation is not as simple as that. There’s no question that that cheap oil creates winners and losers. Airlines win big, since jet fuel is a big part of their operating cost. Fertilizer manufacturers and other chemical companies win big, since they use oceans of oil to make their products. The oil companies... read more