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ReGeneration Roadtrip: Saving the planet, one borough at a time, video

Greening the South Bronx and empowering its community with Green Worker Cooperatives

    This is a guest post from my travel partner, Todd Dwyer, head blogger for Dell's ----- After spending 35 years of her life punching the clock for someone else, South Bronx resident Gloria Walker is ready to start working for herself. Fortunately for her, there's an organization in her neighborhood devoted not only to giving people like her their shot at business ownership, but also at making South Bronx a model for grassroots green initiatives the world over. Launched about five years ago, Green Worker Cooperatives is the brainchild of Omar Freilla, an easygoing and enterprising gentleman …


ReGeneration Roadtrip: There's no green business like show business, video

Film Biz Recycling aims to roll credits on the wasteful film industry

When a director yells "cut!" on the set of a TV show, commercial, or feature-length film, the cameras may stop rolling but production is far from over. While editors are looking at raw footage, producers are eyeing premiere numbers, and actors are reading over new scripts, someone else is tearing down the sets and getting props off the lot. But where does this stuff end up? Too often, it's the landfill, says Eva Radke, founder of Film Biz Recycling. Once tasked with dumping sets herself, Radke knows the business -- and the folks in it -- from her years of …



How to actually deliver green-collar jobs to those who need them

Over the next few decades, converting the Pacific Northwest to a place of compact, walkable communities that run on superefficient, renewable energy system -- a climate-safe economy -- will be a lot of work: paid work. But for all the exciting announcements of solar jobs and green-tech investment that pepper the newspapers, the skill sets of today's workers are not yet aligned with the needs of this future. In previous posts in this series, I have described three good uses for revenue from the auctioning of carbon permits: dividends for all, buffering the incomes of low-income families, and upgrading the …


Sustaining what, and for whom?

Christine MacDonald on Big Green NGOs and soy expansion in Brazil

Cargill and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have a long-standing relationship dating back to the 1980s. Cargill and TNC share a mutual interest in developing science-based, improved agricultural management practices that guarantee the productivity and enduring health of the ecosystem and landscape.  -- From a joint Cargill/TNC document [PDF] dated February 2006 --- In her new book Green Inc., Christine MacDonald argues that that large environmental NGOs have compromised their agendas in exchange for corporate cash. (See Mark Pawlosky's recent review of Green Inc. for Grist.) I haven't read the entire book yet, but I did catch an excerpt published by …


Starbucks accused of big-time water-wasting

Starbucks wastes some 6.2 million gallons of water each day through a health policy that requires a constantly running tap at each store, says a breathless indictment in British tabloid The Sun. A Starbucks spokesperson confirms the use of a dipper well, which uses "a stream of continuous cold fresh-running water to rinse away food residue, help keep utensils clean, and prevent bacterial growth." Dipper wells are common at coffee and ice-cream shops, but the gigantuousness of Starbucks' global operations is such that, according to the The Sun, the amount of wasted water could sate the thirst of "the entire …


How is Lehman Brothers like a cod fish?

We have another billion-dollar resource at risk: the ocean

The financial collapse of the past couple of weeks offers striking parallels to the collapse of ocean wildlife. How is what's happening in Wall Street and in financial capitals around the world like what's happening in our seas? Lehman Brothers and Canadian cod aren't coming back The word "collapse" appears in nearly every thoughtful report on the financial crisis, and it's also a common metaphor in the scientific reports on fishery depletion. It's accurate in both cases because the notion that you can borrow more than you can afford, or spend more than you earn, inevitably produces a sudden and …


Carbon offsets still booming despite financial crisis

The carbon-offset market in the United States is still booming despite the financial crisis, with offset sellers reporting continued gains even in the face of rising offset prices. Analysts say the carbon market's relative strength could mean consumers' green guilt knows no bounds or that the country's recent economic troubles have not hit most would-be offset buyers -- typically college-educated upper-middle-class folks -- as hard as others. Offsets have also remained popular among businesses as an easy way to buy a slice of sustainability and boost the ol' public image. "This is an issue that a lot of people care …


U.S. hits solar snooze button

Sharp to boost thin-film solar capacity six-fold to 6,000 MW by 2014

The world's second-largest maker of solar batteries plans a massive increase in capacity to meet soaring demand. Bloomberg reports: The company will raise the capacity to 6 gigawatts as early as 2014, from 1 gigawatt estimated for 2010 ... Sharp, which lost its market-leading position to Thalheim, Germany-based Q-Cells AG last year, is focusing on expanding its solar-cell output through thin-film technology. This uses 1 percent the amount of silicon needed for conventional models ... One gigawatt of power is enough to light up at least 200,000 households of four people in Japan ... Yes, the United States created the …


ReGeneration Roadtrip: Moos you can use, video

Methane digesters make dairy good sense

When Shawn Saylor was in high school, he built a science-fair-sized solar-powered home, complete with tiny solar cells and working lights. (He got an A.) These days, Saylor is a fourth-generation dairy farmer working on an entirely different renewable energy project. The Hillcrest Saylor Dairy Farm in Rockwood, Pennsylvania, produces some 6,000 gallons of milk a day. But the farm's other export isn't made in a milking room -- it's made in an underground tank 16 feet deep and 70 feet in diameter. Saylor describes his methane digester as a "high-efficiency stomach" processing the leftover energy the cows weren't able …


Bear markets and bull clean-tech investments

Cleantech venture investment hits record $2.6 billion in third quarter

And what are the three hottest technologies? Smart grid, algae (advanced biofuels), and, surprise surprise, thin-film solar. Venture capital investment in clean tech has been soaring in recent years because of high energy prices along with the growing concern and growing action on global warming. You might think that VC investment would be hurt by the financial downturn, as credit freezes up and capital markets lose money. But in fact VC investment is aimed at payoffs in the three- to five-year time frame and beyond. People who understand that oil prices are inevitably going up in the medium-term (assuming we …