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Friday, July 21, 2017

Happy Birthday, Mrs Green and Mrs. Green's World/RNN

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Mother Nature has a best friend.  That best friend is Gina Murphy Darling of Mrs. Green's World.  And here at RNN, we are lucky enough to call her our friend as well.

Mrs Green, one of the cornerstones of the RNN radio programs, is celebrating 10 years of broadcast.  In that time she has marshaled a legion of supporters who are, everyday, making a positive difference in the world.  Her passion, boundless energy, humor and pure love inspires listeners, guests, experts, leaders across the globe.  Mrs Green walks unwaveringly into the bright lights of sustainability.

I've spent a lot of time with Mrs. Green.  In the studio, in the car driving between cities and shows, at events and on SKYPE exchanging ideas on forming  an iron-clad consensus around mastering a resilient, green economy.  I listen to her shows and read her blog.  She teaches me and forces me to rethink much of life.  There is always practical, pragmatic advise on contributing to my community and my world.  She engulfs an audience and brings that audience to their own journey of transformation and triple-bottom line choices focused on quality of life.  Everyone counts in Mrs Green's World.  It is inclusive and leads us to bonding around social and economic equity. 


Her tag line:  "We don't tell you what to think, we just want you to".  In essence open the doors for us and, on our own talent, to walk through.

Mrs Green, as I have learned, is a very good business person.  Her show has grown in sponsors, advertisers, listeners.  Why is that important?  Because, of course, it is the essence of what we believe and promote here--that going green brings true success.   We get leaner, more efficient, shed costs, increase our asset base and benefit greatly from the growth in this changing, digital economy.  Like everything in life, she walks the talk of investing in green because, in today's world, that is where true value lies.  She refuses to let anyone sit on the sidelines and miss this historic opportunity.

Ten years, is a long time to be a champion.  It is a long road of cajoling a reluctant world into making better choices.  It can be a grind.  But, despite the challenges, look at Mrs Green today--more vibrant, and alive than ever.  More resolute, smarter, harder working and articulate than when she started   She has not stepped down, not once.  She is climbing and she is taking us with her.  She is stirring a global fire of needed change.  Mrs Green does not put limits on dreams, ambitions, goals, aspirations or hope.  Her love is equally shared with all.   Her love, like Mother Nature's is pure, refreshing, healthy and enduring. 


God bless Mrs Green as she carries a heavy environmental load for the next ten years with unsurpassed glee and job.  RNN celebrates her decade of amazing accomplishments, and look forward to the remarkable milestones she will speed through with us as we give back to Mother Nature and her beautiful, enduring planet.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power/For Your Information

There is an inconvenience in facing dangers.  We all live, at least, at time, in denial.  Today, there's no time for denial.  No time for equivocating.  It is a time for action.  Let's move ahead in unison and commitment.  
Watch a special panel with Vice President Gore and four Climate Reality Leaders.
More than a decade after former US Vice President Al Gore helped get millions talking about the climate crisis with An Inconvenient Truth, he returns to the big screen next week with the exciting new film An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
An Inconvenient Sequel arrives at a critical moment in our movement’s history, as Americans fight back against an administration that prioritizes the interests of fossil fuel corporations over the health of our planet.   
The film follows Vice President Gore as he travels the world and works with scientists, activists, and ordinary citizens to build an international coalition ready to confront the greatest challenge of our time. 
We’re thrilled to share that An Inconvenient Sequel also showcases our Climate Reality Leadership Corps trainings, reminding us what can happen when regular citizens stand up and speak out to protect our shared home. 
The film will be released in New York and Los Angeles on July 28, before hitting theaters nationwide on August 4. To watch a preview of An Inconvenient Sequelcheck out the trailer below.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Good News from Sierra Club on Drive Electric

Drive Electric

There have been some exciting electric vehicle (EV)-related news items recently, including some that haven't gotten the attention they deserve. For example, when the US Conference of Mayors unanimously passed its 100% clean energy commitment recently, it included vehicle electrification components. Sierra Club's EV and Ready for 100 Campaigns created this factsheet to help activists and city officials urge their cities to make 100% clean transportation commitments. I hope you'll use it in your city. 

In global EV news, Volvo has committed to only come out with new car models by 2019 that are "electrified" in some way, though Green Car Reports' editor John Voelker provides a sobering take on that announcement. What seems truly magnifique is that France pledged to ban all diesel and gasoline vehicles by 2040, and the UK has moved to do so by 2050

We've published a couple of EV articles recently on Vice Impact, Huffington Post, and Sierra Club Compass that we think you'll find interesting and that we hope you'll share: 

1) Lyft Will Provide 1 Billion Autonomous Electric Car Rides Per Year By 2025 

2) Driving an Electric Car is One Way to Resist Trump's Climate Attacks 

Sustainable Agriculture Certification Marks 20 Years Working for Traceability and Transparency/RNN

Growth in organic markets is key to changes in our economy.  We see it here on the food side.  Of course over the past months we've profiled this growth on the radio show as well.

Organizations like the one profiled in this story on our main site, Food Alliance, help pave the way for increasing sales by auditing and certifying the quality of products.  Ultimately, it leads to a stage when all farms, in this case, will get certified or get left out of the race for better returns and profits.

$160 million worth of Food Alliance Certified products sold in 2016.

At a time when consumers worldwide are increasingly seeking more socially and environmentally responsible products, the non-profit Food Alliance is celebrating 20 years as the most comprehensive certification for sustainable agriculture and food handling in North America.
“Working collaboratively with a wide range of stakeholders to develop sustainability standards and criteria, Food Alliance has shown that greater transparency and continuous incremental improvement of management practices benefit farmers, the food industry, consumers, and the planet,” said director Matthew Buck. “We remain committed to partnering with the research, advocacy, and business communities to define and deliver Good Food for a Healthy Future.”
“Food Alliance has conducted over 1,000 farms, ranch, and facility audits,” he added. “That experience has given us insights into how farm and food businesses benefit from the implementation of more sustainable practices, what values retailers and consumers want to be represented in the food they buy, and what social and environmental marketing claims are both credible and compelling.”
Food Alliance started in 1994 as a project of Oregon State UniversityWashington State University, and the Washington State Department of Agriculture, with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, to develop standards for sustainable agriculture. Food Alliance was launched as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 1997. Stahlbush Island Farms outside Corvallis, Oregon became the first Food Alliance certified farm in September that year — and now markets Food Alliance certified frozen fruits and vegetables nationwide. Director of Agriculture Quality & Compliance Tina Galloway said, “Now there is a growing chorus of claims about where food comes from and how it is grown. Food Alliance was there back at the beginning of the conversation and has always been a steadfast, credible and authentic advocate for sustainability.”
Over the last two decades, Food Alliance has diversified by product category and geography.  Criteria for livestock were introduced in 2000. Certification for food handlers, including packers, processors, and distributors, debuted in 2006. Programs followed for grassfed livestock claims (2009), farmed shellfish (2011), and nursery products (2012). Food Alliance certification has also spread from the Pacific Northwest to 25 US states. An update to Food Alliance standards and criteria implemented in 2015 now allows certification anywhere in North America.
In 2016, Food Alliance partnered with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Rainforest Alliance to develop a Grasslands Alliance standard for regenerative grazing in North America. That draft standard is posted for public review and comment at Starting in 2017, Food Alliance will also be providing audits for the National Audubon Society’s Conservation Ranching program for restoration and enhancement of habitat important to grassland birds.
In 2016 sales of Food Alliance Certified products reached $160 million, a figure representing the farm gate value of fresh products, and added a wholesale value of processed products. Since the inception of the program, over $1.2 billion in Food Alliance Certified products have been sold.

Formula E Electrifies New York and Richard Bransen’s DS Virgin Team Shines/RNN

More on Formula E and more from our main network site at Renewable Now

Use this link to look at the video and see the remarkable work NYC had done in reducing emissions.  The City is a great venue for showcasing Formula E's commitment to EV technology:

This past weekend New York City was the place to be as the city played host to the world’s premier electric motorsport league, Formula-E.
In a historic race  Sam Bird became the first driver to win an international motor race in New York, with a superb drive in the FIA Formula E Qualcomm New York City ePrix.
The DS Virgin Racing driver had to work hard for his win. His rookie team-mate Alex Lynn scored a stunning pole position on his debut, while fellow front row starter Daniel Abt of ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport both had to be overcome before the Brit could lead the race.
Once he worked his way into the lead, Bird pulled out a comfortable advantage, which meant he was able to re-join still in top spot following his mandatory mid-race car change. However, he could not afford to relax in the closing stages.
When a broken driveshaft caused Nick Heidfeld to stop at the side of the road, the Qualcomm Safety Car was deployed and Bird’s lead over the TECHEETAH of Jean-Eric Vergne was neutralized.
This left just two nerve-wracking laps for Bird to endure before he could etch his name into motor racing history. But he timed his restart to perfection and gave Vergne no opportunity to deny him the landmark win.
“It was incredible!” he said. “Firstly, it’s incredible that we’re here and congratulations to everyone at Formula E for putting this event on, I can imagine how difficult it was, but it’s been an amazing week so far. We had pretty good speed today. We learned a lot from Berlin and that was a real turning point for us, it may not have looked like it at the time, but I think we demonstrated that this weekend. Also hats off to my team-mate this weekend Alex Lynn, who did a scintillating job in Super Pole to take pole position.”
After a battling first part of the race, Vergne was able to stay out for a lap longer than most of his rivals before making a car switch. This allowed him to move into second place during the pitstops and even though he couldn’t quite get close enough to put pressure on Bird, with his new TECHEETAH team-mate Stephane Sarrazin in third, Vergne was very pleased with his day’s work.
“As a team, we’ve worked really hard this season and finally it’s our first double podium with my team-mate and that’s what I feel most happy about. As for myself I believe the start cost me the win. It was extremely dirty off-line and everybody who started on the left-hand side lost a position. I had a pretty safe beginning of the race, I lost a couple of positions, which I knew we would get back again, and that’s what I did and I finished the first stint in second position. I pushed hard to save more energy than this guy [Bird], but he didn’t make any mistakes and he deserved the win.”
Sarrazin started the race in 11th, but was the man on the move during the first half of the race, fighting his way up to fifth before the stops and then gaining a further position to run fourth going onto the final lap. When Daniel Abt overshot the hairpin following an issue with his car, Sarrazin dived through to record only his second podium in Formula E – the previous one coming in Long Beach in season two.
“I feel very good, it’s a great day for us at TECHEETAH. I made a small mistake in qualifying which meant I started from P11, but I knew I had a good car for the race and I started to overtake, and then I got a bit lucky on the last lap with Abt going straight on.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Pope endorses campaign to put 'Laudato Sì' into action

We are very excited to see the Pope's endorsement of GCCM.  RNN was one of the first media outlets to introduce you to GCCM, and we've followed their progress for two years.

Congratulations to GCCM.  Good group doing excellent work around the world.

A view of planet earth: our common home  - ANSA
 On Care of our Common Home”, Pope Francis has endorsed a pledge campaign that aims to mobilize at least 1 million people to directly engage in turning the encyclical’s message into action. 

Organized and promoted by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the pledge  calls on those who sign to answer the call of Laudato Sì by praying with and for creation, living more simply, and advocating to protect our common home.
The "Laudato Sì Pledge campaign" has received support from Church leaders from around the globe including Cardinal Turkson, Cardinal Tagle, Cardinal Ribat, Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Marx. It has also garnered the support of major environmental leaders.
Tomás Insua, Executive Director of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, said, "We are grateful and inspired by Pope Francis' endorsement of the Laudato Si' Pledge. With 1.2 billion Catholics around the world, we have a critical role to play in tackling climate change and the wider ecological crisis. Pope Francis has already changed the discussion around climate change and this pledge is inviting us to put the Church's teachings into action and answer the urgent call for strong political action and lifestyle change put forth in Laudato Si'."
The Pope's endorsement adds to the momentum of recent Catholic climate action: Pope Francis requested that Angela Merkel uplift the Paris climate accord during the G20 summit, several Catholic organizations recently divested from fossil fuels, GCCM joined other Christian groups calling on governments to take strong action before the G7 last month and the Movement’s Executive Director joined other scientific, political and faith leaders in publishing a letter in Nature Magazine pushing the G20 to recognize the urgency of the climate crisis.

EPA chief wants scientists to debate climate on TV/Reuters

Wow, you've got to love this.  Public debate, outside of some of our political debates, is a good thing.   Since there's huge disagreement, and lots of data on both sides, this would have keen public interest.

Kudos to the EPA Chief for suggesting a face off.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is in the early stages of launching a debate about climate change that could air on television – challenging scientists to prove the widespread view that global warming is a serious threat, the head of the agency said.

The move comes as the administration of President Donald Trump seeks to roll back a slew of Obama-era regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels, and begins a withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement - a global pact to stem planetary warming through emissions cuts.

"There are lots of questions that have not been asked and answered (about climate change)," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told Reuters in an interview late on Monday.

"Who better to do that than a group of scientists... getting together and having a robust discussion for all the world to see," he added without explaining how the scientists would be chosen.

Asked if he thought the debate should be televised, Pruitt said: "I think so. I think so. I mean, I don’t know yet, but you want this to be open to the world. You want this to be on full display. I think the American people would be very interested in consuming that. I think they deserve it."

Pruitt, one of the most controversial figures in the Trump administration, has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change – one of the main points of contention in his narrow confirmation by the Senate.

Transcript of Reuters interview with EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt

While acknowledging the planet is warming, Pruitt says he questions the gravity of the problem and the need for regulations that require companies to take costly measures to reduce their carbon footprint.

"It is a question about how much we contribute to it. How do we measure that with precision? And by the way, are we on an unsustainable path? And is it causing an existential threat?" he said in the interview.

Since taking up his role at EPA, he has emerged as one of the more prolific Trump cabinet appointees, taking steps to undo more than two dozen regulations, and influencing Trump’s decision to pull the United States from the Paris climate change deal, agreed by nearly 200 countries in 2015.

Pruitt rejected global criticism of the United States for pulling out of the climate deal, which Trump has said would have cost America trillions of dollars without benefit

"We have nothing to be apologetic about," Pruitt said. "It was absolutely a decision of courage and fortitude and truly represented an America First strategy with respect to how we are leading on this issue."

Pruitt said the United States had already cut its carbon output to the lowest levels in nearly 25 years without mandates, thanks mainly to increased use of natural gas - which burns cleaner than coal.

"Red Team, Blue Team" Tactics

Pruitt said his desire for the agency to host an ongoing climate change debate was inspired by two articles published in April – one in the Wall Street Journal by theoretical physicist Steve Koonin, who served as undersecretary of energy under Obama – and one by conservative columnist Brett Stephens in the New York Times.

Koonin’s article made the case that climate science should use the "red team-blue team" methodology used by the national security community to test assumptions. Stephens’ article criticized claims of complete certainty in climate science, saying that it "traduces the spirit of science."
Pruitt said scientists should not scoff at the idea of participating in these debates.

"If you’re going to win and if you’re so certain about it, come and do your deal. They shouldn’t be scared of the debate and discussion," he said.

Pruitt said debate is not necessarily aimed at undermining the 2009 "endangerment finding," the scientific determination that carbon dioxide harms human health that formed the basis for the Democratic Obama administration's regulation of greenhouse gases. He said there may be a legal basis to challenge the finding but would prefer Congress weigh in on the matter.

In the interview, Pruitt added that he intended to deal "very aggressively" with automakers that use devices to cheat emissions tests, and would also seek to boost accountability for companies to clean up polluted sites under the Superfund program.

He said EPA was also not ready to decide yet on a change proposed by Trump’s special adviser Carl Icahn to the U.S. biofuels program, that would shift the burden of blending biofuels like ethanol into gasoline away from refiners to companies further down the supply chain.

Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Marguerita Choy