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Green-collar jobs are here on earth

Listen to NPR today for a conversation about green-collar jobs

The drumbeat of interest in "green-collar jobs" just gets louder. Today at 4 p.m. EDT, I'll be on Wisconsin Public Radio's "Here on Earth" call-in show, along with Keith Schneider from the Apollo Alliance. The show is an hour long, and you can listen live or later here.


Are you the next green entrepreneur?

Ten entrepreneurial lessons to get your green biz going

Is it your career ambition to start your own green business or nonprofit endeavor? Join the club, my friends. Among recent college graduates and late-Boomer career-changers, "starting my own enterprise" is high on the list of preferred careers. And why not? When I turn on NPR in the morning, I'm often greeted by an ad (I mean, an "underwriting announcement") for the Kauffman Foundation, celebrating "the entrepreneurs who start businesses and change the world." Such is the power of the entrepreneurial idea. Hard to imagine a foundation buying air time to celebrate "the people who take jobs at the DEP …


Best Buy tests free e-waste recycling program to ease its eco-impact

Electronics retailer Best Buy announced on Monday that it's testing a free electronic-waste recycling program in 117 of its stores in the Baltimore, Minneapolis, and San Francisco areas, plus a few other select stores in the East and Midwest. Customers can bring in up to two e-waste items per day for free recycling, including TVs, computers, video-game consoles, VCRs, and the like. "We want to take the time to learn if we can handle this before we go any further," said Best Buy spokesperson Kelly Groehler. "We know the need is there and the waste stream is there. We think …


Industrial ag-onistes

The WSJ on fertilizer markets so manipulated, they might make a Saudi prince blush

For all the misery it has caused, the global food-price crisis has at least forced people to think more seriously about food production. I can think of few things more taken for granted in modern post-industrial society than fertilizer. Few people know people know what fertilizes the fields that produce the food they eat -- fewer, I'd bet, than know the source of their drinking water or electricity. To modern consumers, all of these things appear as if by magic. But with food prices hovering at elevated levels and hunger protests simmering in the global south, stuff like fertilizer is …


U.N. report forecasts continued high food prices for the next decade

Food prices worldwide are likely to remain relatively high for at least the next decade, according to an analysis by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Biofuel demand, high energy costs, and commodity speculation will continue to keep food prices high in the long term, despite periodic dips in price. Climate change is also expected to increase food prices by driving down future crop yields. The FAO forecast that wheat prices could be up to 60 percent higher in 2017 and vegetable oil prices could rise up to 80 percent. "Biofuels are the largest new source of demand for …


Dow Chemical ordered to clean up dioxin downstream of headquarters

Dow Chemical on Wednesday was ordered to clean up dioxin in homes and yards downstream of its Michigan headquarters, the result of dumping dioxin-laden chemicals in nearby rivers for decades. Test results revealed yesterday show dioxin levels in and around a number of houses some 20 miles downstream exceed by a few times the level considered reasonably safe by the U.S. EPA. Dioxin levels in the tainted yards averaged twice the safe limit; one yard sample was found to exceed safe levels by some 23 times. Dioxin is carcinogenic and extremely toxic, though Dow contends dioxin-laced soil doesn't threaten people …


Sapphire Energy hopes to soon power your car with algae

Sapphire Energy says it has successfully turned algae into biofuel, raising hopes that a viable oil alternative could be produced without need for agricultural land. The indeed-sapphire-colored fuel produced by the year-old company is coaxed from algae, sunlight, non-potable salt water, and carbon dioxide. Sapphire says its fuel is equivalent to conventional crude in both chemical makeup and price, and could be processed in existing refineries and used to power existing cars. And though vehicles burning the fuel will still produce tailpipe emissions, the company says the CO2 pulled from the atmosphere for production will effectively make the whole shebang …


Exxon shareholders reject resolution to shake up management

Exxon shareholders have rejected a high-profile resolution to strip one management role from current Chair-'n'-CEO Rex Tillerson and hire an independent chairperson. The influential Rockefeller family, along with various other investors, had pushed for the split. "Despite top-notch individual directors, [Exxon's] record over the last decade, particularly regarding climate change, demonstrates that debate has been lacking," explained Karina Litvack of investor F&C Asset Management. The resolution received only 39.5 percent approval at an annual shareholder meeting Wednesday; a resolution to adopt greenhouse-gas reduction targets was also shot down. Exxon did, however, make good on its policy to not overtly fund …


Let's take a call from our listeners

Listen as I talk green collar jobs on NPR

Interested in the promise of -- and questions about -- the growing "green collar jobs" movement? Listen Wednesday, May 28, at 11 a.m. EDT as I discuss it on NPR's Radio Times, a popular call-in show from WHYY in Philadelphia, the station that also brings the nation Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Bracken Hendricks of the Center for American Progress will also be part of the program. Listen live (or later) here.


McDonald’s Australia will sell certified-sustainable coffee

Starting next year, all coffee sold at McDonald's in Australia will be certified sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance. The country's 484 so-called McCafés make 5,000 cups of joe per hour; Mickey D's pockets 20 percent of the more than $1 billion that Aussies spend on away-from-home coffee. The Rainforest Alliance certifies coffee farms that reduce pesticide use and treat farmers decently. Enthuses Catriona Noble, chief operating officer of McDonald's Australia, "For our customers, the decision means they can feel even better about the great tasting McCafé coffee they love, while for our business it marks another important step forward in …