Environment Forum

Map: Oil spill forecast

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Top 10 trends in sustainable business

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– Giselle Weybrect is author of The Sustainable MBA: The Manager’s Guide to Green Business. Any views expressed  are her own. –

Sustainability is taking the business world by storm. It seems that every day a new company is getting on board in an incredible range of different ways. While some are still only approaching it on a very superficial level, plenty of others are really taking sustainability seriously, exploring what it does and can mean to their business, their suppliers, their employees, their customers and the role that they can plan in strengthening society and the environment while also running an increasingly successful business.

Here are ten interesting trends happening right now around the world in sustainable business.

from James Pethokoukis:

Volcanoes, healthcare reform and global warming

Over at Edge, a variety of scientists give their take on the Iceland volcano eruption and its impact on air travel. Two really stood out to me. The first also highlights the problem of defensive medicine; the second shows the downside to action dealing with global warming:

DANIEL KAHNEMAN

Psychologist, Princeton; Recipient, 2002 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

Imagine a public official who considers an action that involves a small and ambiguous risk of disaster. Imagine further that the best expert judgment available is that the expected social benefit of the action is large and that the risks are real but tolerably small. Such situations inevitably create a conflict between the interests of society and those of the officials who are charged to decide on its behalf.

Hindsight and personal accountability are the problem. Decision makers can be certain that if the worst happens their decision to act — however justified it was ex ante — will be perceived ex post as a horrendous mistake. They face the possibility of devastating blame and guilt, as well as career-destroying consequences. The risks are asymmetric because the costs of playing it safe are likely to be negligible.

Will ‘range anxiety’ limit the electric car?

Will consumers be buying hybrid-electric cars like today’s Toyota Prius and Ford Escape for the next few decades or are the hybrids just a milestone on the road to all-electric vehicles?
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The answer to that question may come down to two words: Range anxiety — the fear that when an all-electric car’s battery runs out, the driver will find him or herself stranded on a roadside with no way of charging up.

Auto and battery executives at a green-tech conference held in Cambridge, Massachusetts by Lux Research were divided on whether hybrids will be a long-term fixture of the automotive landscape or would quickly give way to all-electric cars like the forthcoming Nissan Leaf.

Greenpeace International Executive Director talks US Senate climate bill and campaign strategies


Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s International Executive Director, sat down with Reuters in San Francisco and chatted about the US Senate climate bill and where the non-profit is focusing its campaigning energies.

Introducing 100 innovations

Gunter 9.2007-3

One man alone does not make a movement. But can he influence one?

There are no limits is the attitude espoused by PhD, MBA, entrepreneur, eco-designer, and visionary Gunter Pauli (above), who is now pouring his life’s work into a project to spark a new way of doing business, ergo a new economy.

He calls it the Blue Economy, because it’s not enough to be green and good to the environment. Blue creates a competitive and sustainable society and blue thrives on innovation. Blue is better than green, he asserts.

The 54-year-old founder and former CEO and president of Ecover is releasing the English and Korean editions of his book The Blue Economy at the Business for the Environment B4E Global Summit in Seoul today, Earth Day. It is to be published in 14 languages.

A better way to clean water?

CHINA WATER

Treating water for human consumption is costly and energy intensive. Is there a more efficient way to do it?

Gunter Pauli thinks so.

In the first innovation explored by PhD, entrepreneur and eco-designer Pauli in the ZERI Foundation’s two-year essay and video project The Blue Economy, 100 Innovations, 100 Million Jobs, the self cleansing mechanism found in natural water sources is identified as a possible solution to treating water without the huge cost in chemicals and energy.

Rivers clean their own water all the time, and for free, Pauli says in his essay. Their secret? A combination of gravity and a swirling motion called the vortex. If there were a way to replicate that function in water treatment facilities, it would mean energy savings and less cost for producers down to consumers.

This Earth Day, call for clean energy

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– Michael Brune is Executive Director of the Sierra Club, the largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States and author of Coming Clean: Breaking America’s Addiction to Oil and Coal. –

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, and people are looking back at an amazing 40 years of environmental successes. Americans have come together in their neighborhoods, cities, states and nationally to demand cleaner air and water – and they have been successful.

This should serve as an inspiration for the current and future work to help our planet and the challenges we face along the way. While our rivers were at one time catching fire, it is now our rapidly warming planet we turn the focus to.

Bolivia global warming summit: a lifeline for “Mother Earth”?

boliviaChanging the world is no doubt a daunting task but that’s what leftist Bolivian president Evo Morales and thousands of environmental activists, representatives of grassroots groups, and the envoys of some 90 governments are striving to do this week in the small village of Tiquipaya, in central Bolivia.

    The World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth started on Monday with a speech by Morales that was radical because it called for a new economic system, but was also peppered with some other surprises.
    Morales, an Aymara Indian who herded llamas as a boy and never finished secondary school, said that eating chicken fed with hormones causes “sexual deviation” in men and that European men lose their hair because they eat GM food.

    Overall, Morales’ speech was meant to stir dissent against capitalism.
    He said that consumerist lifestyle and global warming were cause and effect, and that the only way to stop temperatures from rising is to implement a economic model that he calls “vivir bien” or “to live well” – a political philosophy that draws from ancient indigenous traditions.
    “Humanity is at a crossroads and must choose whether to continue the path of capitalism and death or take the path of harmony with nature,” he said before a crowd of people in a soccer stadium under a blazing sun that left many – including this correspondent – wishing they had put on sun block.
    His message has struck a chord in thousands of people worried about global warming, who have travelled from all corners of the world to discuss a solution to what Morales likes to call “the climate crisis”. Bolivia has been among the most vocal opponents of the Copenhagen Accord, the non-binding deal from a summit in December backed by about 120 government and meant to keep any rise in temperatures below 2.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial times.morales

from Global News Journal:

Biofuels’ green credentials called into question

Biofuels were once seen as the perfect way to make transport carbon-free, but a series of EU studies are throwing increasing doubt on the green credentials of the alternative fuel.

The latest to be released gave a preliminary assessment that biodiesel from soybeans could create four times more climate-warming emissions than conventional diesel.

The European Commission has not helped itself by keeping many of the studies hidden -- the most recent being an annex cut from a published report that was only released after Reuters and several NGOs used transparency laws to gain access.

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