Cities

Low Impact, No Publicity

Simple people

I don’t dislike No Impact Man. He is more intentionally political than his detractors portray him to be, and I think his yearlong stunt of living without toilet paper in NYC has been eye-opening for a lot of people, and amusing for many others. I admit that the “happy green” genre of books that are appearing a lot now, exemplified by Sleeping Naked is Green (by Vanessa Farquharson), make me nauseous: a hot twentysomething journalist makes sacrifices such as “buying only green cosmetics” while traveling to eco-resorts by plane and making amends with carbon offsets. But I was, until recently, …

Why Does Oklahoma Want To Drown New York?

As the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee began hearings on carbon regulation, debate ran along traditional battle lines, but with a new script. Democrats Barbara Boxer (CA) and John Kerry (MA) moved away from discussing the environmental impacts of climate change – – and the reason, therefore, to take action to reduce carbon emissions – – and focused instead on the economic benefits of a domestic clean energy economy. Meanwhile, Republicans James Inhofe (OK) and Lamar Alexander (TN) complained that energy bills would rise and Americans would lose jobs. It’s a good thing that Congress is finally looking at …

PBS NOW - Electric Car Dreams

The long and wind-powered road

The Danes have an enduring relationship with wind. This is symbolized by the big, honking wind turbine that looms like a bird of prey over the parking lot outside the Bella Center, the venue for the U.N. Climate Change Conference Denmark is hosting in December. It was a Dane, physicist H.C. Oersted, who discovered electrical induction, the principle at work inside wind and other electric generators. Danish farmers brag they were the first in the world to generate electricity from wind. The Danes are now hard at work cracking one of the great challenges of wind power: the fact that …

How to Actually Solve Climate Change, Part Whatever

Energy Trust and the Big Hope

If you’re like me, and spend a lot of the day drinking coffee and getting increasingly paranoid with the creeping suspicion that solving climate may not be possible, it’s good when you find glimmers of hope in the wreckage. One of those glimmers (actually more like a tractor beam) is called Energy Trust, an organization in Oregon that, if widely copied, would move us well on the way to solving climate change. I recently spent a few hours with my friend Greg Stiles, who helps run their business sector programs, and I was blown away by their creativity and success. …

Green Jobs Now

Weatherizing Portland

Clean Energy Works Portland is a groundbreaking new program that enables Portland residents to improve the energy efficiency of their homes and pay for the improvements over time through their utility bills. A contractor performing a blower door test to identify air infiltration and leakage throughout a home.Energy Trust of OregonBut the most exciting and unique aspect of the program is the Community Workforce Agreement that was developed by representatives of labor unions, community groups, businesses, community colleges, and other stakeholders. It is a comprehensive plan to make sure that new jobs created by Clean Energy Works Portland are high …

Mass. religious, environmental leaders beseech Obama to take action

WWLD: What Would Lincoln Do?

Dear President Obama, cc: Sen. Kerry, Rep. Markey Our nation faces the gravest threat to our security and well being and the most profound moral challenge since the great struggle to end slavery. We were blessed, then, to be led by another tall, slim politician from Illinois. However, the terrible prospect of climate cataclysm, though just as grave, is more encompassing and final and calls for Presidential leadership of a higher order then even President Lincoln displayed. Lincoln triumphed over partisan politics and a ghastly civil war, but he did so by hewing to a moderate course, never straying beyond …

Listen to the coal guy!

Why it’s better to invest in efficiency than to hold electricity rates down

Joe Romm draws attention to some extremely interesting thoughts from Glenn English, head of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. NRECA represents 900-plus small, not-for-profit, typically coal-based utilities in the Midwest. We tend to think all coal utilities are after more free allowance allocations under a cap-and-trade system, but as Climate Wire (sub req) reports, last week English said that … … “the basis for a deal” on climate would not revolve so much around allowances, but around whether people in coal-dependent regions would get enough help with efficiency retrofits on homes so they can manage potential electricity spikes. These …

the rhymes they are a-changin'

Eve of Destruction (New Millennium)

Ken rewrote this song — one of our favorites in the “music for the apocalypse” category — as a rallying cry for the Day of Climate Action this Saturday, October 24, everywhere. He had to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes beforehand to get his voice that gritty. We’ll be at the Boston Under Water Festival in downtown Boston.  Please join us in the spirit of 350, wherever you are. (Find an action near you at 350.org.) Eve of Destruction (New Millennium) music, Barry McGuirenew lyrics, Ken Ward The Arctic ice, it is a’meltin’The polar bears, they are swelteringYou’ve heard …

Interns saving the world

Climate Corps interns save Fortune 500 firms $54 million

Climate Corps. Photo: Environmental Defense FundBack in May I wrote about the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps, a cadre of 26 MBA students who were then prepping for summer internships at Fortune 500 companies. Their mission was to green up corporate operations to save money and cut carbon emissions. With winter on the way and school back in session, I checked in to see how successful the Climate Corps was at combining the students’ financial smarts, technological know-how — half are engineers by training — and environmental ethic. Pretty successful, it turns out. According to EDF, the interns identified …

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