Archive for the 'Business' Category

Deny Climate Deniers Some Business!

Hi All,

This new app is making the rounds on social media, but here’s a blog from my friend Connor Gibson at Greenpeace explaining how YOU can avoid buying products from the Koch Brothers!

Avoid buying Koch Industries products with new phone app!

Posted on May 15, 2013 by 

Here’s a cool new toy. popular article on Forbes today details a new smart phone app called “Buycott,” which is catching the attention of shoppers who want to make sure their money spent on groceries and other basic products isn’t enriching corporations with bad records on social and environmental responsibility.

Take Koch Industries. Greenpeace has written extensively about the Koch brothers’ $67 million in support for groups that deny climate change science and promote industries that pollute our air and water, our politics, and our health. The millions of dollars going to groups like ALEC and the State Policy Network also serves to break unions, privatize education, and water down healthcare reform.

Those are good reasons not to give a dime to the multi-billionaire Koch brothers, who own the vast majority of Koch Industries’ private stock. Yet many consumers may not realize that buying products like Quilted Northern toilet paper or Brawny paper towels contributes to Koch profits through their giant pulp and paper subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific. Nor perhaps did the incoming Obama Administration realize that the 2009 inaugural carpet was made by a Koch subsidiary called INVISTA. What a crummy business deal–the President buys your carpet, then you coordinate hundreds of millions of dollars from billionaires determined to defeat his re-election bid…if only there had been an app!

Read the rest of Connor’s Blog here

Gender Gap in Youth Green Jobs

Right now, a lot of youth are fighting to stop the tar sands. A lot more are just trying to find a job. Last year, Michael Davidson and I wrote about our work to try to understand if green jobs could be youth jobs. The results were pretty good — young people were underrepresented in green job creation in the U.S., but not by much.

This year, we tried to see if the situation had changed. Turns out not much – U.S. youth probably are still getting fewer green jobs compared to other age groups and compared to how many jobs we have in the economy overall. So, pretty good news. And if investing in clean energy and climate change-fighting solutions will create more jobs than business as usual, or  more fossil fuel investments — and the green jobs research says it will — then that will probably mean more jobs for youth. Green jobs will be youth jobs.

Gender Differences in U.S. Youth Green Jobs

Young women have not benefited from green job creation as much as young men.Source: Muro, Mark, Jonathan Rothwell, and Devashree Saha. 2011. Sizing the Clean Economy. Washington: Brookings Institution. Available at http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/Series/resources/0713_clean_economy.pdf. Accessed October 1, 2011.Source: 2012. Table 15. Employed persons by detailed occupation, sex, and age, Annual Average 2011. Washington: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unpublished work tables from the Current Population Survey. Received March 1, 2012.
Brookings data sums to more than 100% due to rounding.

But then we asked — which youth will have those green jobs? And here things don’t look so great.

We got pretty good data for male/female breakdown within youth jobs (at least for ages 16-24, and without data on transgender youth). When we matched this gender data up with the green jobs and youth data, we got this table. The categories are from a cool Brookings Institute clean energy jobs report, but don’t worry too much about them. Instead, check out the gold boxes at the bottom right.

In the overall economy, young men and women are almost even in how many of us have jobs — we’re 6.4% of all jobs in the economy for dudes, and 6.0% for girls (putting it together, youth have 12.4% of all jobs in the economy, compared to 10.9% of the clean energy economy).

But in the clean energy economy (at least as of 2011), male youth have about 7.5% of all the jobs, while female youth only have 3.5%. This is basically the same trend I found for all age groups in past research – men outnumber women for direct green jobs. I also found disparities across races and ethnicities, but there isn’t good data on this for just youth, so more work is need to understand where else youth green job creation might be unequal.

The good news is what we’ve said before – if investing in green jobs creates more jobs overall, this will probably mean more jobs in total for both genders. But, for now at least, men will benefit comparatively more.

Can we change this? Probably. But so far, we haven’t even been talking about the issue. Now that we know the situation, we can start figuring out solutions to help make sure green jobs are green jobs for all.

Want much more detail? Dive into the full report (don’t worry, it’s only 17 pages, and most of those are tables).

Minneapolis Energy Options: Energy, Markets, and Democracy

Cross-posted from Solutionaries.net referencing a Minneapolis Star Tribune opinion piece published May 23: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/153296235.html

Last November, I sat down with a couple of long-time Environmental Justice organizers in Minnesota and had a conversation about Minneapolis’s energy future. I had been notified by an lawyer that the franchise agreements (20 year agreements that allow the major local utilities to use the public right of way to distribute electricity and natural gas to Minneapolis energy users in exchange for paying Minneapolis about $24 million annually) were expiring in 2014. In our conversation, we figured we should do something about it to ensure the next 20 years of energy development was founded on energy efficiency, clean energy, and community ownership of our energy system.

Fast forward six months and we have a coalition of a dozen groups leading the Minneapolis Energy Options campaign, support from many of our local elected officials, and insight into the many ways that state regulation partners with utilities to limit the options cities have taking steps towards more affordable, efficient, clean, and community-based energy development. We’ve learned of the work of dozens of other cities that have moved to take control of their energy purchasing, generation, and/or distribution, whether through innovative franchise agreements with cooperative utilities, community choice aggregation (which allows a local governments to choose what power they buy, distributed by the local utility), and forming new municipal energy utilities. We believe Minneapolis should keep its options open rather than locking in 20 more years of business as usual – we want to enable the city to explore the option of municipalizing while evaluating negotiations of the franchise with an eye towards enabling Minneapolis residents and businesses to take charge.

And recently, we opened that discussion in an Op Ed in the Star Tribune: http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/153296235.html

Read more about what we could achieve and what this means for energy action, democracy, and how movements relate to markets:

Continue reading ‘Minneapolis Energy Options: Energy, Markets, and Democracy’

Climate Activist Punks Big Oil’s “Vote4Energy” Commercial Shoot

Posted on Behalf of Connor Gibson, Greenpeace Activist.

If you had the chance to talk to Big Oil directly to its big oily face, what would you want to say?

I recently had such a chance at a commercial shoot run by the American Petroleum Institute, the major lobbying and public relations front for the oil industry (ie ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Shell, TransCanada and just about every major oil company). Here’s what I had to say:

Through recorded audio, we got to expose API’s upcoming “Vote4Energy” campaign, which debuts January first on CNN during major political programs. Audio recordings from inside the Vote4Energy commercial shoot can be found on the Greenpeace website, and on Yahoo News. More can also be found at the Checks and Balances Project, where Deputy Director and youth climate leader Gabe Elsner has more recordings from inside the shoot.

Continue reading ‘Climate Activist Punks Big Oil’s “Vote4Energy” Commercial Shoot’

Occupy Denialism

Occupy Denialism: Toward Ecological and Social Revolution

This is a reconstruction from notes of a keynote address delivered to the Power Shift West Conference, Eugene, Oregon, November 5, 2011.

All of us here today, along with countless others around the world, are currently engaged in the collective struggle to save the planet as a place of habitation for humanity and innumerable other species.  The environmental movement has grown leaps and bounds in the last fifty years.  But we need to recognize that despite our increasing numbers we are losing the battle, if not the war, for the future of the earth.  Our worst enemy is denialism: not just the outright denial of climate-change skeptics, but also the far more dangerous denial — often found amongst environmentalists themselves — of capitalism’s role in the accumulation of ecological catastrophe.1

Recently, climate scientists, writing in leading scientific journals, have developed a way of addressing the extreme nature of the climate crisis, focusing on irreversible change and the trillionth ton of carbon.  Central to the scientific consensus on climate change today is the finding that a rise in global temperature by 2° C (3.6° F), associated with an atmospheric carbon concentration of 450 parts per million (ppm), represents a critical tipping point, irreversible in anything like human-time frames.  Climate models show that if we were to reach that point feedback mechanisms would likely set in, and society would no longer be able to prevent the climate catastrophe from developing further out of our control.  Even if we were completely to cease burning fossil fuels when global average temperature had risen by 2° C, climate change and its catastrophic effects would still be present in the year 3000.  In other words, avoiding an increase in global average temperatures of 2° C, 450 ppm is crucial because it constitutes a point of no return.  Once we get to that point, we will no longer be able to return, even in a millennium, to the Holocene conditions under which human civilization developed over the last 12,000 years.  Many of you are aware that long-term stabilization of the climate requires that we target 350 ppm, not 450 ppm.  But 450 ppm remains significant, since it represents the planetary equivalent of cutting down the last palm tree on Easter Island.2.

Continue reading ‘Occupy Denialism’

The Billion Dollar Green Challenge Launches

Credit: Michael Drazdzinski

Solar panels adorning the tops of Harvard buildings. A bright, towering wind turbine on the St. Olaf campus. Libraries and dormitories chock full of blue recycling options and even composting bins inside the dining halls, at the University of Washington.

Campus sustainability has come into its own over the last decade, with renewable energy, tray-less dining, and sustainability director jobs popping up at campuses across the country. While many colleges and universities can implement some or all of these programs to reduce their carbon footprint, many projects are done piecemeal, without a regular source of funding or the institutional support to make it the first step in a larger commitment.

Being a sustainable campus can be so much more than just a green garden or showcase project. Sustainability projects can often reduce the overall operating costs for the campus, saving energy and money, keeping tuition low. But high upfront costs can be a barrier to administrators experiencing steep budget cuts and rising energy costs.

One way for any college or university to achieve these results is through a sustainability financing mechanism called the Green Revolving Fund.

On the main stage at the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s national conference in Pittsburgh, PA, the Billion Dollar Green Challenge will be launched in front of the largest gathering, to date, on sustainability in higher education. The Challenge is inviting colleges to establish green revolving funds to invest in significant energy efficiency upgrades on campus.

At the time of the launch, 32 institutions have joined the Challenge’s Founding Circle. Founding Circle participants range in size from large institutions such as Arizona State, Harvard and Stanford, to small and innovative institutions such as Northland College, Green Mountain College and Unity College.

Green revolving fund projects are diverse and versatile, and can be easily adapted to a school’s priorities. Have an active student body? Consider operating a student-driven fund, like at Oberlin College’s EDGE Fund, where students work with faculty and staff to initiative sustainability projects. Want to retrofit your campus buildings? Take a page from the University of Pennsylvania’s Energy Reduction Fund, which reduces energy through building upgrades.

Existing green revolving funds prove that sustainability efforts can be profitable and even fund larger and more ambitious projects, as they have an average return on investment of 32 percent annually.

Clearly, the benefits of joining the Challenge and operating a green revolving fund are numerous. They are a bright spot in a rocky economy, helping to create green jobs in campus communities while substantially reducing operating costs. The Challenge is a broad network of like-minded institutions focused on improving campus sustainability throughout their operations.

For participating institutions, it will be a best practice forum for what kinds of projects have proven successful, what programs have had difficulties, and what programs you should consider on your own campus, based on real-life examples.

As energy prices rise and concerns about resource scarcity increase, it is a risky venture to not invest in environmental initiatives on campus. By joining the Billion Dollar Green Challenge, institutions can both save energy and grow money.

Visit GreenBillion.org for more information and see if your school might be a good fit.

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Mark Orlowski is the Executive Director of the Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) and Emily Flynn is Manager of Special Projects at SEI.

Tim DeChristopher: Solar Mosaic “transforms our energy system in the fundamental way” we need

Cross-posted from Solar Mosaic Energy 2.0 Blog

Tim DeChristopher understands why he’s going to jail. As he told Rolling Stone in a recent interview, “What I did was a threat to the status quo, so I understand why those in power want to put me away.”

Tim represents a new breed of disruptive, bold climate activists who are putting their lives on the line to bring about the transformational change we need. And he considers Solar Mosaic part of that transformation. Asked what it would take to fundamentally transform our energy system, he pointed to Solar Mosaic as proof that we’re on our way. For the folks at Solar Mosaic, this is both a huge compliment and a great expectation to fulfill.

A quick recap on Tim: One the eve of Obama’s inauguration, a 27-year old economics student from Utah entered an auction set up for oil and gas companies, became the top bidder, and won the lease rights. He had no intention of paying for the land; he was acting to protect public land from destructive extraction. Despite the fact that the leasing plan was flawed and has since been revoked, Tim faces up to ten years in prison for his actions. His sentencing was recently rescheduled for the tenth time and is slated for late July. To read Tim’s full story, click here.

I take a lot of inspiration from Tim, for his personal resolve and his commitment to confronting the inadequacies of the grey economy and spurring on a new energy transformation. I’m also inspired to witness this new paradigm taking hold in concrete ways around the country. Indeed, Solar Mosaic – which aims to democratize clean energy in Oakland, California and around the country – represents a radical departure from traditional top-down fossil fuel systems.

DeChristopher speaks of a future that promotes local power, justice and prosperity for all, and an economy based on human goodness. Solar Mosaic embodies these tenants, putting the energy in the hands of people, creating jobs and helping community institutions save money, and building an economy that reflects the values we strive to live by.

Will Green Jobs Be YOUTH Jobs?

This post was co-written with Michael Davidson.

Image credit: UOPowerShift09Just in case our 5 years of swarming state capitals decked out in green hard hats, running campaigns calling for more jobs in clean energy, and vowing to only vote for candidates who support renewable energy companies hasn’t made it clear — youth really want more green jobs.

While young people have been some of the biggest advocates for green jobs, no one has really tried to answer the question of whether green jobs will be youth jobs? Will more green jobs mean more jobs for youth, or will young people miss out on the very green jobs we’ve worked so hard to create?

So far, the answer has been “we don’t know.” That’s because, despite all of the green jobs studies that have been done, none of them has really looked at the different kinds of people who actually get green jobs (one exception is for income and education level). This is especially true across different races, ethnicities, genders, and, yeah, ages. So, we set out to change that, writing the first study we know of to look at youth access to green jobs, and also the first written by youth. Continue reading ‘Will Green Jobs Be YOUTH Jobs?’

24 Hours of Awesome: Starting Now!

Cross posted from Greenpeace’s staff blog. Blogpost by Chris Eaton.

Right now a Guinness World Record attempt is underway, and you too can make your mark on history.  For the next 24 hours, Greenpeace’s ‘Unfriend Coal’ Campaign is taking aim at the record for most Facebook comments within a 24-hour period.

Comment and share, that’s all you need to do.  But collectively we need to do it 50,000 times to set the record within this timeframe: http://bit.ly/f9YMAR.

Hit up www.facebook.com/unfriendcoal to leave a comment now!  Then ask your friends to help set the record as well.

Greenpeace is also delivering your messages directly to Facebook staff all day on a scrolling screen outside their office, so post your comment now and be seen.  The 50 best commenters will win a t-shirt from the ‘Unfriend Coal’ Campaign.

Tips to help us set the record:
– You have to ‘like’ www.facebook.com/unfriendcoal to comment
– Comment multiple times – it still counts!
– “@nametag” ten friends in the comment so they can join in the record too.
– Share the link on your profile
– Stay on topic – Facebook and renewable energy.  Send your message to Facebook staff.  Ask questions.  Give opinions.  Spark debate.  Tell your story!

Why is Greenpeace doing this?  Because it would be awesome to hold a World Record.  And because the Earth Day deadline that we gave Facebook to announce a plan to go coal-free is fast-approaching.  As of yet, there has been no indication that the company plans to replace dirty coal and nuclear with clean, renewable energy.

Just two of Facebook’s data centers use the same amount of electricity as over 65,000 average American homes.  We are asking Facebook to power those data centers – and all future ones – with renewable energy, and to ‘unfriend’ dirty coal and dangerous nuclear.  We’re pretty sure that 50,000 comments on their website will get Facebook’s attention.

Today we are showing Facebook staff the huge global support that exists for a coal-free Facebook.

Go speak your mind.  Be part of a Guinness World Record attempt for the greatest number of comments on a Facebook post within 24 hours!

http://www.facebook.com/unfriendcoal

The Wind Farm Wars

The news that residents in Eastern Oregon are trying to halt production of a new wind farm because of health concerns over noise, lights, stress reminds me of similar, community-related issues occurring around the country related to wind energy

This potential stoppage is not the first of its kind. Recently, a different proposed wind farm in Oregon was put on hold after the discovery of an eagle’s nest in the area.

The wind farm in Eastern Oregon, residents say, will be loud, obstructive eye-sores. Residents also fear that the wind farm will be harmful to their health, cause property values to decrease, and endanger wildlife. One teacher feared the harmful effects of the farm’s proximity to a local school.

Continue reading ‘The Wind Farm Wars’


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