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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
By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 9, 2015
Our modern global economy struggles with the challenge of using limited natural resources without exhausting them. It’s hard to design regulations that ensure we don’t over farm the land, don’t overfish the seas, don’t overcut the forests and don’t take too much water from our rivers and aquifers. As populations grow, these questions become ever more pressing. The same challenges apply when it comes to limiting what we dump into our environment, for example, water pollution, pesticides and the gases that cause climate change. A little pollution can be OK. Too much pollution kills. All these... read more
By Susan Inglis Doug Pierce George Vallone
Posted on: March 2, 2015
In 1861 before a Painesville Ohio crowd, Lincoln said “I have stepped out on this platform so that I can see you and you can see me, and in this arrangement, I have the best of the bargain.” We also have the best of the bargain in writing this story of leadership in state and municipal sustainable procurement because visibility and communication are key to helping to end rampant “greenwashing," which is misleading or in some cases, false claims being made about a product’s environmental benefits. In addition to being the biggest barrier to progress on global health and environment, including... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: February 24, 2015
A beast of a trade pact is lumbering, claws outstretched, towards American small business owners, consumers and workers, and it’s not clear if anyone can stop it. The beast is called the “Trans Pacific Partnership” or TPP. Behind the lofty language of partnership, and the stated goal of stimulating trade worldwide, it aims to strengthen multinationals at the expense of nearly everyone else. Most importantly, and most dangerously, the pact undermines the power of governments everywhere to encourage local entrepreneurship, protect consumer health and assets, and preserve clean air and water.... read more
By Claudia Viek
Posted on: February 17, 2015
Women-owned businesses can be found in all industries and sizes, but many of them are hidden in plain sight in home-based enterprises. These small businesses are making a difference in local economies - even those run from the family dining room table. Take Gisele as an example. She started off making tamales in her kitchen, then began selling at the weekly farmers market, and finally moved to La Cocina’s kitchen incubator in San Francisco. Now, she runs a full-service catering business, creating opportunities for others in the process. Or take Melanie, whose 12 employees research and write... read more