Anna Fahey

Anna Fahey is a senior communications strategist at Sightline Institute, a Seattle-based research and communications center working on sustainable solutions for the Pacific NW.

Sustainababy

Growing up green: How to shop for a green baby

Photo courtesy Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr I guess I’ve known all along that introducing a baby into the family meant introducing a whole slew of stuff into our lives — much of it bulky, expensive, and — often — plastic. But I’m fighting all the media and social cues to go on a shopping spree at Babies R Us. Instead, my husband and I decided to buy only one or two essential items new, like a state-of-the-art super-safe car seat. But, for the most part, we’ve managed to “go green” as we’ve outfitted ourselves for pregnancy and parenthood — from …

Clean Energy Economy

Is China winning the clean energy race?

Photo: Elizabeth Thomsen Today, in global talks, in the Senate, on the street, you still hear a murmur here and there about “not doing anything until India and China sign on.” And this previously pervasive attitude, however obsolete, may already be coming back to bite industrialized nations. Indeed, the big honchos in the West may find themselves borrowing and begging for new technologies that China has been busy perfecting all along. Or maybe we’ll just be sulking about the fact that China’s economy is happily unhitched from the fossil fuel rollercoaster long before ours… Could it be that China is …

In the game or on the sidelines?

Northwest businesses weigh in — or bow out — on energy policy

This fall, Northwest-based global businesses Nike and Starbucks led a group of consumer brands to publicly champion muscular, science-based climate and energy policies. These companies are on the field, playing hardball politics in support of serious efforts to address climate change and jumpstart a clean energy economy. At a moment when the biggest climate and energy bill ever is moving in Congress, the EPA is finalizing its ruling on greenhouse gases, and Obama just announced major strides on tailpipe standards for auto emissions, where are all the other Northwest companies on climate policy? Amazon? Microsoft? Boeing? Mostly, as far as …

It’s time for climate policy.

American Public Wants Climate Policy

After reading earlier this week that only 24 percent of Americans know what cap and trade is (and in the same day, that 88 million votes were cast in last week’s round of American Idol), I needed a little pick-me-up. Luckily, it arrived today in the form of new Pew survey numbers indicating strong public support for the essential ingredients of a national cap and trade program. Who cares if people can name the policy — they know what they want. So, just the US House Energy and Commerce Committee was sharpening their pencils to begin marking up the American …

Connecting the economy-energy-environment dots

Seeing the light in the Pew poll on Americans' top priorities

At first glance, the latest poll numbers from Pew Research Center on Americans' top priorities for the new president might appear worrisome to climate policy advocates. Global warming is in last place in the top 20, and the environment in general slipped down in the list since last year. Andrew Revkin over at New York Times' Dot Earth blog goes so far as to say, "America and President Barack Obama are completely out of sync on human-caused global warming." (There are some startling new numbers from Rasmussen on that question ...) But I'm convinced that's not the point. The fact is, solutions that will address the top two concerns -- the economy and jobs -- as well as several other top 10 concerns -- energy, terrorism, helping the poor -- are all wrapped up in the best solutions for combating climate change. The fossil-fuel roller coaster has long whiplashed family budgets, and our economy remains shackled to its adrenaline-boosting unpredictability. Any economic recovery we muster in coming months will sputter if we fail to reduce our fossil-fuel dependence. As soon as the economy rebounds, oil prices are sure to shoot up again, negating the economic gains that we've made. Our job now -- and Obama's -- is to encourage fellow lawmakers and citizens to connect the dots and stop seeing the economy, energy policy, and the environment as even vaguely separate issues.

Step right up to the fossil fuel roller coaster!

Survey: Oil and gas industry leaders say the era of cheap gas is over.

The cost of oil has been a rollercoaster ride since the 1970s. Thankfully, we’ve hit a low in this season of recession, foreclosures, and a major Wall Street meltdown. But nobody expects the ride to be over — and the only way to go now is up. Just ask oil industry insiders. A recent survey of senior oil and gas professionals by (auditing and consulting firm) Deloitte revealed growing concern among the top brass of the fossil fuel industry about the affordability and sustainability of oil and gas in the near future, along with a surprisingly strong belief in the …

Moral obligation, patriotic duty

State poll shows Oregonians ready and willing to do what it takes to halt climate change

The National research firm Public Opinion Strategies recently conducted a survey of 500 likely Oregon voters to assess views on the issue of climate change and to gauge support for the basic principles of policy measures like the proposed cap-and-trade system in the Lieberman-Warner Act (a.k.a. the Climate Security Act -- legislation that was recently defeated last week in the U.S. Senate, but marked a step forward on national climate policy.) The survey, which presents arguments for and against cap-and-trade, clearly indicates that Oregon voters support this kind of climate legislation (72 percent). Beyond that, 73 percent deem it our "moral obligation" and "duty as Americans" to reduce global warming pollution. The poll, commissioned by the Nature Conservancy, found that global warming is the most frequently named environmental concern of Oregon voters, and more than four in five say it is a serious problem. Perhaps more importantly, 83 percent of Oregon voters say they're ready to make some changes (including personal sacrifices) to fight climate change. And 81 percent say they would be willing to pay higher energy prices every month to reduce global warming pollution produced by power plants (the single greatest proportion -- 21 percent -- choose the top of the price range: $45 per month).

High gas prices, healthy new habits

Gallup shows Americans making smart choices to break the gas habit.

It took soaring fuel prices for old habits to shift. But they're shifting alright. Just take a look at these poll results -- Gallup finds that big numbers of Americans are making changes in their daily lives to deal with higher gas prices. Here's a snapshot:

Green pay day

Green-collar jobs are real

There's lots of buzz about green-collar jobs these days (sort of like blue-collar jobs, but with a sustainable edge) -- whether you're listening to Obama, McCain, or Clinton; Gregoire, Kulongoski, or Schwarzenegger. You hear this kind of thing a lot: A study conducted by the RAND Corporation and the University of Tennessee found that producing 25 percent of all American energy fuel and electricity from renewables by the year 2025 would produce the following: "$700 billion of new economic activity, carbon emission reduction by 1 billion tons, and 5 million new jobs." Fine and dandy, but, some might ask "where are those five million new jobs? When will we see them?" Some skeptics have begun to ask whether it's bordering on hype. Big projections are just that - big projections. But there's nothing like local industry reporting 2000 new jobs here and 500 jobs there -- right in our neck of the woods -- and a steady stream of investment dollars to keep skeptics pondering the possibilities. So, we're happy to report a real-live green-collar workforce is materializing in the Northwest, and it's likely the wave is just gathering strength. With more policy measures encouraging green-tech investments and training programs it could swell to something much bigger. Looking at Oregon's green-collar boom, Ted Sickinger of the Oregonian calls it a "small tsunami." Some real numbers from Oregon and Washington:

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