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10 Things to Know About Food on World Food Day

October 16 is World Food Day. It offers the opportunity to strengthen national and international solidarity in the fight to end hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. With falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures making it difficult to feed growing populations, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. Here are some facts to consider: There will be 219,000 people at the dinner table tonight who were not there last night—many of them with empty plates. Ensuring adequate food supplies was once a rather simple matter, the sole responsibility …

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Money talks: Climate change is going to be really bad for business

Over the past couple of weeks, a group of cold, calculating experts have been spouting warning after warning about the severity of the climate threat. No, I’m not talking about climate scientists (though they've just had something to say on the topic too). I’m talking about the capitalists. You know, the bankers, the insurers, the service firms, and the economists who are worried that there’s a lot less money to be made on a boiling planet. And who recognize that taking steps to shift to clean energy sources and solve climate change can be darn good for the economy and …

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8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy

The economy has stalled and so has the war on climate change. But a new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance shows that dozens of cities are boosting their local economies while dramatically reducing greenhouse gases. City Power Play:  8 Practical Local Energy Policies to Boost the Economy illustrates how Chattanooga, TN, is adding over $1 billion to the local economy in the next decade by implementing one of the most advanced smart grids while delivering the fastest internet service in the country.  Sonoma County, CA, has created nearly 800 local jobs retrofitting over 2,000 properties for energy savings …

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150 Plants Retired: Another Major Milestone Hit in Moving Beyond Coal

Today, the Sierra Club and a growing coalition of over 100 allies announced the retirement of the nation's 150th coal plant. This is a huge milestone in the ongoing campaign to move the country beyond coal by 2030. Meet retiring coal plant #150: Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts. It's a massive 1,500 megawatt plant that is the largest remaining coal plant in New England, and it's one of the biggest polluters in the state. We can breathe easier knowing that yet another dirty coal plant will retire its massive air pollution. According to the Clean Air Task Force, …

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Hug a Government Worker Day

Ten years ago this week, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected governor of California and he appointed me to be the Secretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Until then, neither of us had given serious thought to serving in government, but the experience changed our lives and, although you may not know it, changed yours too. In 2003, Schwarzenegger was best known for bodybuilding, action movies, and driving Hummers, but even before he was elected, he was equally serious about environmental protection and after school programs for at-risk kids. These two issues may seem unrelated, but Schwarzenegger saw kids in his …

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The Power of Multi-Day Walks and Rides

Over the last two years, as part of my work on the climate crisis, I’ve been part of two multi-day bike rides and two multi-day walks, all of which were valuable in a number of ways. The two bike rides were the five-day, 300 mile, NYC to DC Climate Rides in 2012 and 2013, and the two walks were the 50-mile March on Blair Mountain in 2011 and the 100-mile Walk for our Grandchildren this past July.   All of these actions had significant impacts upon the people who took part in them, including me. Combining action on an issue …

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Tar Heels Continue to Pressure School to Divest

If you're like me, you're looking for some positive news as the government shutdown and stalemate continues to affect millions of Americans. Let me help - check out the inspiring students of the University of North Carolina Beyond Coal team. Recently, after two years of pressure, the UNC Board of Trustees' Finance and Infrastructure Committee agreed to meet with these hard-working students to discuss moving the school's $2.1 billion endowment out of the coal industry and into clean energy (that's them at the meeting above). By the time October 25th arrived, the buzz around this meeting had reached a peak …

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The Price is Wrong

[A short excerpt from the following was previously published on the "Triple Crisis" blog of Dollars & Sense magazine] For United States climate activists to succeed, they must demand serious government spending on energy efficiency and renewables - spending comparable to the current war budget. Calling for hundreds of billions in annual green public investment has potential for the popular appeal needed to build a powerful grassroots climate movement. That investment would be the best policy as well. Massive clean energy spending would not only provide jobs and economic growth on a grand scale. It is the most effective way to …

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Why Congress Reminds Me of NASCAR

NASCAR and Congress have much in common. They both go round and round in circles burning up vast amounts of resources without ever really going anywhere. Both are driven by big-monied sponsors although only the racing companies are transparent about who those sponsors are. NASCAR is implementing a host of green measures to try to compensate for the fact that its cars get 5 miles per gallon and emit enormous amounts of greenhouse gasses.   Similarly Republican Congress members bluster and grandstand trying to divert attention away from the damage being inflicted by the Tea Partyers. The fact that both of …

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U.S. Carbon Dioxide Emissions Down 11 Percent Since 2007

By Emily E. Adams Carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels in the United States peaked at more than 1.6 billion tons of carbon in 2007. Since then they have fallen 11 percent, dropping to over 1.4 billion tons in 2013, according to estimates from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Emissions shrank rapidly during the recession, then bounced back slightly as the economy recovered. But shifting market conditions, pollution regulations, and changing behaviors are also behind the decline. Oil is the largest source of carbon emissions in the United States. After a steep drop following the 1979 oil crisis, emissions …

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