Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The American Clean Energy Party

Earlier this month, Eban Goodstein shared an idea to create the American Clean Energy party - ACE - in this article on grist.org.

The entire article is worth the read, as it's a compelling idea.  Goodstein lays out 3 main components that the ACE party would be built around:
1) The American Permanent Fund: Every year, each American family receives a check for $1,000, and rising. The source? A fee on big polluters
2) Clean energy leadership: Thirty billion a year to capture global leadership in the clean energy technologies that will rewire the world.
3) Green collar jobs, today: A large-scale loan guarantee program to finance energy efficiency retrofits of state, city, and federal buildings -- putting millions of Americans to work.

The aim of the party would be to run ACE-endorsed candidates in the primaries of both major parties, with the intention of shifting the debate to the most critical issue of our time - the climate crisis.

I like the concept for a lot of reasons - it will work to engage more people in the political process; it would be built around a positive vision for an energy-independent, safe, secure, clean-energy future; and it holds promise to provide the common ground needed to move past the counter-productive, divisive, partisan stalemates that are so common in our political culture these days.

ACE isn't a party yet - just an idea.  But it is an idea that has legs.  So stay tuned, and share the idea --hopefully, the right people with the necessary resources will come together to make something like ACE a reality soon.

Stay going.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Carbon Nation

A new movie - Carbon Nation - from director Peter Byck is set to launch next month, and from watching the trailer it looks like it's going to be exactly what we need to prompt real action on climate and energy - covering all the angles like social justice, ecosystem health, economics, jobs, and national security.

With a focus on solutions, I'm hopeful this will serve as the long-awaited answer to An Inconvenient Truth.

Stay going.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Write a Letter, Be Counted

Before the holidays, I wrote about an emerging campaign called The Million Letter March.  The concept is to get as many people as possible to write a personalized, hard-copy letter to their representatives, encouraging them to show some leadership on climate action, and work to recognize the true costs of emitting greenhouse gases by putting a price on carbon.

With the new Congress, much of the focus is still on ideological, political bickering.  A strong showing of personalized letters will show that there is support for climate action - and doing so through this project which tracks the letters, will help show the collective impact of many people understanding the importance of moving on this issue.

It will take about 5-10 minutes to write and print your letter, record it in their system and put a stamp on the envelope.  So please go to www.millionlettermarch.org and click "Write Your Letter" at the top of the column on the left.  They have some sample text if you're looking for inspiration - below is a copy of what I sent.  It's not necessary to make every point about why pricing carbon is important - national security, health, driving innovation, saving lives, protecting ecosystems, creating jobs, etc. etc. - but make one or two that are particularly important to you and send it off!!

Dear Senator,
Please do everything in your power to put a price on carbon.  Climate disruption from greenhouse gas emissions is already wreaking havoc on people in the US and around the world, and the longer we wait to take meaningful action, the worse it will get.  The economic impacts of this disruption will be enormous. More importantly, there is no way to put a price on the hundreds of millions of lives that are at stake, or on a species, or a place.  
We must do everything in our power to eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions as quickly as possible. I support the Million Letter March Principles, found at www.MillionLetterMarch.org, and would welcome a carbon tax.  We need to adopt a science-based target of 350 parts per million atmospheric concentrations of CO2, and take the most sensible and effective measures of getting there. 
Putting a price on carbon immediately is a necessary first step.  Luckily, it is also one that will drive innovation, produce entire new industries, and create millions of jobs. 
Please support a price on carbon through fair, effective climate legislation. Thank you, and I look forward to your response. 

Georges Dyer

Stay going.

GreenHeroes TV

In my opinion, one can't hear Ray Anderson's story - about setting his carpet company, Interface, on a new course towards sustainability - too many times.

Here's a good new version from GreenHeroes TV - a cool site where you can hear from sustainability leaders of all kinds:

On a mobile phone?

Click the image to watch the video in H.264


Stay going.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

LED Lights Are Here

Finally, LED lights are becoming affordable - and more and more common.  We bought our first LED bulbs a couple months ago at Home Depot.  Out of curiosity, I had stopped in to see if they were carrying them yet.  I didn't see any and asked the first HD employee I saw.

"Sold out," he said, "should get more in Friday."

I looked at the one empty slot on the shelves - amidst hundreds of options for different bulbs of all types, shapes and sizes.  "That's a good sign," I thought to myself.

I went back the next weekend and picked up a few bulbs that fit these weird candelabra fixtures we have in our new rental.  They're not super cheap - about $14 for a pack of two.  But they use about 90% less energy than the old incandescent bulbs, so they'll pay for themselves over time.  And when I see the coal plant burning less than a mile from our house, and know that we just took demand down a notch, that's priceless.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Take the Leap - Go to Sweden for Year

Five years ago I took a bit of a chance and attended the Master's in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) program at the Blekinge Institute of Technology (BTH) in Karlskrona, Sweden.  The program was just in its second year and largely an unknown, but I knew from how a friend in the first class described the program, that the odds were good it would be worthwhile.  It far surpassed my most optimistic expectations. 

BTH now offers two groundbreaking Master's programmes. These programmes come with the great opportunity of being free for all EU/EEA and Swiss citizens, and compared to tuition in the US, the international fees are very reasonable (around $10,000 per year).  

The network of graduates from this program is out in the field, all over the world, doing incredible things to move society towards sustainability.  We're a tight-knit group, actively supporting each other in our work, and there are few places in the world that I can't find a place to stay through the alumni network.  

Anyone interested in sustainability, who is ready to take a leap and bring their leadership to the next level should absolutely apply to one of these programs.  Applications open on the 1st of December 2010 and close 17th January 2011.  The process is straight-forward and online: www.bth.se/sustainability

BTH is a top ranked sustainability research and education institution currently recruiting bright, early – mid career professionals for their cutting-edge Master's programmes.

The Master's in Strategic Leadership towards Sustainability (MSLS) and the Master's in Sustainable Product Service System Innovation (MSPI) are underpinned by the science-based Framework for Strategic Sustainable Development (widely known as The Natural Step Framework), spearheaded by Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, a global sustainability leader and programme co-founder.

MSLS explores the baseline science of strategic sustainable development coupled with the skills required for organizational change. The programme produces graduates who can deliver organizational leadership for strategic change towards sustainability.

MSPI enables students to design and innovate for positive socio-ecological impacts of products, services, and product-service systems throughout their life-cycles. This programme produces graduates who can deliver outcomes that meet user needs while generating competitive advantages in the expanding sustainability-driven market.

The Swedish state kindly pays for tuition fees for these Master’s programmes for European students and courses are taught in English. BTH is located in the beautiful coastal city of Karlskrona, a UNESCO world heritage site on the southeast coast of Sweden.

Again, applications open on the 1st of December 2010 and close 17th January 2011.

Please see the website portal www.bth.se/sustainability for more information and APPLY TODAY!! 

Stay going.