• Four Unexpected Champions of the Clean Transportation Revolution

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    Filed in Energy , Environment & Climate , on by Worldwatch Institute

    Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector are growing faster than those from any other sector. With the transportation sector already accounting for nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, investing in public transportation is a critical strategy to address global climate change.

    Strategies to curb transport emissions, such as by transitioning to electric vehicles, depend primarily on pushing forward new efficiency-maximizing technologies for transportation networks and individual vehicles. Yet adoption rates have been slow, in part because vehicle owners and transportation providers lack the resources to finance the transition of their fleets.

    How Can the Transportation Transition Begin?

    Creative financing for the transport sector can be adapted from existing efforts to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The building sector has benefited from the involvement of ESCOs, or businesses that fund and install energy-saving equipment, charge the building owner a fee to pay back for this installation, and guarantee that the costs will not exceed the financial savings associated with the new product or system.

    Who Could Champion the Shift?

    A T-ESCO requires a handful of direct stakeholders, including: an entity interested and willing to play the part of the ESCO; a client or fleet manager interested in reducing energy consumption; and an ... Read More

  • Herbs Help Dairy Farms Abandon Antibiotics

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Healthcare & Nutrition , on by Worldwatch Institute

    Joining forces, dairy farmers in the Netherlands and Uganda are learning from Indian experts about using medicinal herbs to prevent animal diseases and reduce the widespread reliance on antibiotics for livestock.

    Many of us picture dairy farms with rolling green pastures and lazily grazing cows, but the vast majority of commercial dairy products come from intensive industrial farms optimized by modern technologies. Yet these “high-tech solutions” may also be the root of the industry’s main challenges.

    A common problem on dairy farms—especially large-scale industrial farms—is mastitis, an udder infection that is responsible for 16.5 percent of dairy cattle deaths in the United States. In addition to shortening the cows’ lifespans, mastitis results in the production of lower-quality milk, with lower cheese yield and a shorter shelf life.

    Dwindling Defenses

    The most urgent problem related to antibiotic overuse is the development of drug resistance—when bacteria evolve to become stronger “superbugs” that are able to survive subsequent antibiotic applications. This resistance makes it increasingly difficult to cure bacterial infections in livestock as well as in humans, since many human medicines rely on the same types of drugs being used for livestock. Losing the effectiveness of antimicrobials renders many medical therapies increasingly risky, including organ transplantation and ... Read More

  • Pembina reacts to B.C. budget 2016 – Budget disappoints with lack of direction on climate action

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    Filed in Environment & Climate on by Pembina Institute

    VANCOUVER — Matt Horne, B.C. associate director at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the release of the B.C. government’s 2016 budget:

    “Today’s budget, unfortunately, continues the four-year stall in the province’s progress on climate action. While the costs of climate change were highlighted, any hint of the government’s new plan to respond to climate change was largely absent.

    “The lack of direction is disappointing given the time the province has had to advance its Climate Leadership Plan. While we weren’t expecting the full details, we were expecting an indication of progress. For example, the budget could have indicated how the government will navigate the 2018 end of the carbon tax freeze, or how funds will be made available to pay for the investments that will need to be part of the plan.

    “The premier talks about the importance of having the courage to say yes. With B.C.’s carbon pollution increasing, this government needs to quickly find the courage to say yes to climate leadership.”

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  • Sustainable Development Goals: Will The World Stick to Its New Year’s Resolutions?

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    Filed in Environment & Climate , Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy , on by Worldwatch Institute

    As those of us who struggle to keep our resolutions know, following through on a New Year’s commitment isn’t easy. This year, however, the world has big plans. Last September, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit 2015, 193 countries signed on to tackle 17 goals and meet 169 targets “to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want” and “to heal and secure our planet” by 2030. On January 1, 2016, these Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) came into force. Will the world be able to stick to its New Year’s resolutions?

    Learning from the Past

    The SDGs were designed to overcome the shortcomings of their predecessors, the recently expired Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While these eight objectives to halve global poverty between 1990 and 2015 were praised by some for bringing a focus on human development factors—rather than pushing solely for economic growth—the agenda also was criticized for being difficult to implement equitably across countries and within communities.

    Shifting into Synergies

    Building on the concept that people and the planet are intimately interconnected, the earlier MDGs were expanded to include environmental and human rights issues. The UN’s 2030 Agenda recognizes the importance of “the link between sustainable development and other relevant ongoing processes in the economic, social and environmental ... Read More

  • 5 Big Ideas to Save Our Global Food System

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food on by Worldwatch Institute

    The key bases of our agricultural systems—the world’s land, water, and climate—ensure that farmers can feed the world. But these resources are being depleted, even as global demand for agricultural products is expected to mushroom in the coming decades. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) predicts that demand will be 60 percent higher in 2050 than in the three-year average for 2005–07. If nothing is done, this growth could overwhelm our food systems.

    To save our global food system, it’s time to focus on conservation and efficiency. Here are five big ideas for doing this:

    1. Combating food waste.
    2. Reducing meat and biofuel production.
    3. Increasing water productivity.
    4. Conserving agricultural land.
    5. Infusing ethics into food trade.

    Food trade will become an indispensable nutritional lifeline,” writes contributing author Gary Gardner in State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability. “As such, food trade cannot be treated as just another exchange of goods, and food cannot be treated as just another commodity.” Instead, protecting access to food as a human right will ensure that food cannot be withheld for political reasons. Already, 28 countries have explicitly listed a right to food in their national constitutions since the FAO advanced this concept in 2004.

    Read more from Gaelle Gourmelon, ... Read More

  • 2016 Sustainable Investing Themes: ESG Integration, Climate Change and Inequality

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    Filed in Fair Trade, Finance & The Social Economy on by GreenMoney Journal

    Sustainable investing is gaining momentum and increasingly taking its place at the center of mainstream investment conversations. We believe we are at a critical moment of change where integrating environmental, social and governance considerations into quality investment strategies is not only considered acceptable as a part of sound investment management, but is viewed as core to prudent investing and value creation. Growing interest by individual and institutional investors is driving the financial services industry to create ever more numerous and rigorous investment tools. The focus is on utilizing top-drawer traditional investment techniques combined with ESG considerations to provide improved sustainable investing options for investors to consider. As this virtuous circle continues, we believe strong growth in sustainable investing will continue this coming year and beyond as this increasingly sought-after approach is utilized by mainstream investors.

    • Mainstream financial service firms and investors will increasingly look to integrate environmental, social and governance considerations.
    • Climate change will be a more central focus for investors than ever before. Climate change will crescendo as a topic in the news as nations and corporations make pledges leading up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris.
    • Economic inclusion will become an increasingly important topic for investors – not just ... Read More
  • New map reveals job-creating power of green building sector in B.C.

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    Filed in Construction, Development & Real Estate , Environment & Climate , on by Pembina Institute

    The Pembina Institute’s newest interactive map quantifies the number of jobs in B.C.’s green-building sector and pinpoints where energy-efficient homes and buildings are located in the province.

    Released today to coincide with Buildings Day at the United Nations climate-change conference in Paris, the B.C. Green Buildings Map shows that this growing sector already employs tens of thousands of British Columbians. These jobs are found in both our biggest cities and our most remote communities.

    The innovative companies in the green-building sector are literally the building blocks of the clean economy in the province, turning the climate challenge into an economic opportunity. B.C.’s government has taken steps to support this sector, but must take further and faster action to meet its greenhouse-gas emissions targets and accelerate the growth of the clean economy.

    Homes and buildings use nearly a quarter of the electricity consumed in B.C. They also generate over 10 per cent of our province’s carbon emissions.

    Last week, over 80 companies, organizations and cities threw their support behind the Call for Action on Energy and Climate in the Building Sector. The joint declaration urges the province to take bold measures to reduce emissions from homes and buildings.

    B.C.’s Climate Leadership Team has recommended that the province accelerate ... Read More

  • GreenPages Directory Supports Consumer Choice for Non-GMO Products

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    Filed in Agriculture & Food , Dining & Entertainment , Healthcare & Nutrition , Personal Care & Cosmetics , on by GreenPages Directory

    There is increasing opposition to the use of Genetically Modified Organisms, more commonly known as “GMOs”. GMOs are artificially produced variants of plants or animals in which the genetic makeup of the organism has been altered to contain one or more genes not normally found in the organism’s DNA. Through genetic engineering, genes that control specific desired attributes in the native species are forced into the DNA of the GMO to give the host a similar trait. Because the genes of different, unrelated species are used, this process is called transgenic.  GreenPages Directory supports consumer choice for Non-GMO products and listings that are identified as such can be viewed here: http://greenpagesdirectory.net/certifications/browse/non-gmo

    The most common use of GMOs is in the farming industry where crops can be made resistant to parasites, frost and even herbicides. However, there are many applications for the modifying of organisms and the same biotechnological processes used to create corn impervious to RoundUp herbicide are used to produce Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST) to increase milk production in dairy cows; just as potatoes are modified to produce the effects of anti­cholera vaccine and spider genes are inserted into goat DNA to produce milk proteins that are stronger than ... Read More

  • Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage This Summer!

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    Filed in Healthcare & Nutrition , Personal Care & Cosmetics , on by Vitalia Health Care, Inc.

    This summer has been one of the hottest recorded in history. While hot temperatures means we can enjoy all that beautiful Vancouver has to offer outdoors, it also means we need to be careful and protect ourselves from the harmful effects of the radiation from the sun.

    UV radiation damages our cells and can lead to wrinkles, brown spots, sun burns and skin cancer. The good news is that there are many great supplements you can take to protect your skin cells from UV damage. These supplements provide the antioxidants your skin needs to protect and heal from the damage of UV radiation. My favorite supplements include Grapeseed extract, Resveratrol, Vitamin E, Green tea and Glutathione. Click here to learn more about how you can protect your skin from sun damage and cancer naturally!

    Yours in health,

    Dr. Tasreen Alibhai, ND

     

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  • Leaked report says a ban on bee-killing pesticides will have little impact on industry

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    Filed in Ecosystems, Wildlife & Biodiversity , Environment & Climate , on by Sierra Club Canada

    A leaked report from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) will make banning bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides a lot easier.

    An economic analysis of the use of neonicotinoids on soy and corn crops shows a very tiny benefit to a very few farmers. Corn growers in some parts of Ontario may be seeing an economic benefit of only 3.6% while soy planters see almost no benefit (0.4%). These numbers are orders of magnitude lower than the doomsday predictions of the agro-chemical industry.

    “Banning neonicotinoid pesticides will have almost no impact on corn and soy production, and the vast majority of farmers will actually make more money not using them,” said John Bennett, National Program Director, Sierra Club Canada Foundation.

    Read the full story and news release on the Sierra Club Canada website: http://www.sierraclub.ca/en/Bee-Math

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