Tuesday, 22 September 2009 10:43

Autumnal Equinox - Can You Balance Your Footprint?

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Today at 5:18pm summer ends when the sun crosses the equator for the autumnal equinox. Though summer will be gone, it will be fondly remembered by many who spent time on beaches, at the grill or in the woods. Most meteorologists are predicting another summer on or around June 2010. Click here to learn more about the autumnal equinox. A popular activity on the equinox is to try and balance an egg vertically. With the earth and sun so perfectly aligned, this has to be the ideal time to stand an egg on it's head. Though this may seem like a trivial pursuit, egg balancing is an action that I am sure many will take today. If you can do it, please take a picture and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ! I will post it on this blog. If you are unsuccessful in your attempts to balance an egg, try balancing your carbon footprint. Did you know that you can calculate the impact of your home, travel and pretty much anything else using Carbonfund.org's carbon calculators? Click here to calculate and offset your footprint. Balancing an egg today may be cool, but balancing your carbon footprint may be the best way to start off a new season. Have a great fall!
CFDIn the DC metro area, it's Car Free Day, encouraging commuters to consider alternatives to driving. If more people biked, took transit or walked, not only would it free up some room on the highways and roads, it would reduce air pollution and encourage exercise. In fact, the DC metro area has some of the lowest air quality in the country. Although as a region DC has some avid runners and great trails, more people could take advantage of the area's outdoor offerings especially on weekends. The events are in conjunction with World Car Free Day, each Sept. 22. Learn more about the events around Car Free Day here. Also, you can offset your carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org in support of outstanding projects that are reducing carbon emissions in the US and abroad. Get started- calculate your carbon footprint!
newsweek09Newsweek released its 2009 Green Rankings of America's largest companies, and Carbonfund.org partners including Dell, Staples and Motorola came out among the leading companies! Dell was recognized for its renewable energy use as well as having its operations carbon neutral through carbon offsets. In addition, Newsweek recognized the company for its product take-back and recycling programs. Carbonfund.org has worked with Dell on its Plant a Tree for Me campaign. You can learn more about it and donate here. We've also worked with Staples on in-store/point-of-purchase and other efforts of the company. In addition, the company has increased the use of recycled content in the paper it sells and energy efficiency at its stores. Motorola, which also purchases renewable energy, launched the world's first carbon neutral mobile phone after working with Carbonfund.org to certify the MOTO W233 Renew phone carbon neutral, earning the CarbonFree® Certified label-- the first label in the US for carbon neutral products. Motorola will soon be launching a carbon neutral mobile phone certified by Carbonfund.org in Latin America as well. We applaud our partners for earning the Newsweek honors and look forward to continue working with our partners in helping them achieve their environmental & climate goals. Congratulations!! Learn more about Carbonfund.org's business programs, for small and large businesses.
Monday, 21 September 2009 11:49

Obama Administration to Refocus on Climate Change

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As we've been writing on the Carbonfund.org blog, there's a growing view that action, and strong action, need to be taken on global warming- perhaps the greatest environmental challenge facing the world today. Although countries remain split on how best to arrive at an international agreement on climate change at the upcoming COP15/Copenhagen climate talks, upcoming events such as the UN General Assembly meeting this week give diplomats and national leaders the chance to iron out differences. Jim Tankersley of the Los Angeles Times writes that President Obama and the Administration are expected to refocus on climate change. This could mean, for example, balancing the current healthcare discussions in Congress, with discussions on climate change. Among the challenges are time, given that the climate talks are slated for December. Tankersley notes,
If the US Senate fails to pass a climate bill before Copenhagen, 'it would open the United States to the charge that it does not take its international commitments seriously, and that these commitments will always take second place to domestic politics,' Ambassador John Bruton, head of the European Commission Delegation to the United States, warned last week.
Obama is expected to give a speech at the United Nations General Assembly tomorrow addressing, among other topics, global warming. Separately, Reuters reported that the President will stress at the COP15 climate talks that climate change is a shared problem and every nation must respond, according to US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice.
Friday, 18 September 2009 16:11

Fashion For A Cause

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Fashion Fights Poverty is causing waves in the fashion community by making this year’s Annual BenFashion Fights Povertyefit CarbonFree®. Every year Fashion Fights Poverty brings the top eco and ethical high-end fashion designers to the nation’s capital. In what the Washington Post describes as “one of the largest fashion fundraisers in Washington, DC,” the Annual Benefit raises money to combat poverty in some of the poorest parts of the world. By focusing on sustainability, eco friendly, and ethical designs, Fashion Fights Poverty sets the bar for responsibility in the fashion industry. This year’s Annual Benefit exemplifies that commitment, as Fashion Fights Poverty has offset the event's carbon footprint with Carbonfund.org. Take their message to heart – know where your clothes come from, who makes them, and what they’re made out of. We can all make an impact and help better the world through fashion.
Thursday, 17 September 2009 10:18

The Biggest Global Health Threat of the 21st Century

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[caption id="attachment_2397" width="199" caption="Increased temperatures and unpredictable rainfall can compromise our food supply."]Increased temperatures and unpredictable rainfall can compromise our food supply.[/caption]
What is the biggest global health threat of the 21st century? Is it swine Flu? AIDS? Obesity?   According to a group of 18 leading doctors from around the world in a recent letter to the British Medical Journal & Lancet it is climate change. Here are some of the ways that climate change affects human health: 1)      Food Supply: Increased temperatures and unpredictable rainfall can reduce crop yields, affect livestock and compromise our food supply. 2)      Extreme Weather Events:  Climate change may cause more heat waves, cold waves, storms, floods and droughts.  This can increase the risk of food and water shortages and water- and food-borne diseases.  Heat waves can claim the lives of the weak, and elderly as in Europe’s 2003 summer heat wave which claimed the lives of over 30,000 people. 3)      Disease: Many diseases carried by insects such as malaria, and dengue fever thrive in warmer climate conditions and climate changes can prolong and intensify the transmission of these diseases. 4)      Air Quality: Warmer temperatures mean a higher frequency of smog which exacerbates respiratory conditions such as asthma and other chronic lung diseases. In recent years the polar bear has become the prominent face of climate change, but we need to refocus on the human faces affected by the changes in our environment. We must emphasize the children, families and communities whose health will be affected by these changes and concentrate less on the polar bears.
The main theme at this year's Green Intelligence Forum in Washington, DC presented by The Atlantic magazine is climate change- perhaps the greatest environmental challenge to face the world, as the problem affects every nation and ways of life. Industry, NGO and government representatives participated in today's discussion on both policy and pragmatic approaches to solving climate change. I attended on behalf of Carbonfund.org. Was2045486Most participants see the value of cap-and-trade as a policy and economic solution. A good analogy of cap-and-trade was expressed by Phil Sharp, president of the policy organization Resources for the Future. "Cap-and-trade is like a budget on how much carbon is allowed to be emitted into the atmosphere." Bills such as the American Clean Energy and Security Act, which passed the House, use the mechanism to cost-effectively reduce emissions over time. Timing-wise, while healthcare is currently debated in Congress, some see a climate bill debated in the Senate this year. Maggie Fox, president and CEO of the Alliance for Climate Protection, said the momentum to move legislation exists this year, and that's necessary for political will. World Resources Institute (WRI) President Jonathan Lash said, "Congress will decide that doing nothing is worse than doing something." A lot of the momentum will come from the Administration, which over the summer has engaged key Midwestern states on the issue of global warming and why proposed legislation would benefit farmers and other stakeholders. The chairman of the Clinton Climate Initiative of the former president's foundation, Ira Magaziner, said that what motivated the foundation to get involved on climate change pilot projects is the sheer avoidance of the problem by many. The US and other countries have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or "our children and grandchildren will pay very serious consequences." The Initiative has worked with cities such as Los Angeles on ways to reduce energy consumption, such as by street lighting. 80 percent of the electricity used for street lighting in many cities is wasted as heat; whereas new approaches such as using light-emitting diodes (LED's) can result in up to 60 percent energy savings. Some of the major needs cited in addressing climate change are more access to capital and financing for research & development (R&D), and more focus on energy efficiency by companies as well as individuals to reduce energy consumption. Google's director of climate change and energy initiatives, Dan Reicher, said it will take a commitment by the US to invest in clean energy and other technologies to address climate change. A wind farm, for example, can take $500 million to build. By comparison, it took about $25 million in venture capital to start Google. If the US doesn't invest in R&D to address climate change, technologies will be developed in other countries rather than here. Siemens Industry sees a lot of opportunities for energy savings from buildings. Daryl Dulaney, the appointed president & CEO of the company, estimates that 38 percent of all carbon emissions come from buildings. Institutions, commercial building owners and lessees will need to do what they can to reduce this substantial carbon footprint. The country's commitment to addressing climate change doesn't have to cost a lot. In fact, notes WRI's Jonathan Lash, from the carbon trade part of cap-and-trade, states as well as the federal government can realize savings and revenues; about $12 billion a year could be realized by states from carbon credits allocated for renewable energy and energy efficiency. As we know at Carbonfund.org, carbon offsets are supporting innovative projects in renewables, energy efficiency and reforestation that are making emissions reductions today and help the transition to a clean energy future. Offsets are part of current bills such as Waxman-Markey to help achieve emissions reductions.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 16:12

Better Know a Partner: Mambo Sprouts

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At Carbonfund.org, we love to highlight the great work that our Mambo Sproutspartners are doing. I want to introduce our new "Better Know a Partner" series where we dive into what our partners do and how they're fighting global warming.  This week, I spoke with Mambo Sprouts. So what makes Mambo Sprouts so great? Mambo Sprouts is a one-stop resource for healthy and organic living.  Mambo helps consumers save on their favorite natural and organic products and features the latest natural health tips and healthy organic food product news and information. What steps has Mambo Sprouts taken to "Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can't"? We have used Carbonfund.org to offset the bus mileage of our Go Mambo! tours and our national business travel.  We also use biodegradable bags, recycled paper and folders.  We even donate used paper to a pre-school for reuse.  Mambo has also eliminated using envelops for our quarterly mailing and started printing with soy ink. What's your favorite healthy living tip? Eating healthy and organic doesn't have to be expensive.  There are so many ways to save on these types of products with Mambo coupons.  A combination of our coupons and the correct planning can really help when budgeting for your shopping trip. Why did you partner with Carbonfund.org? Mambo Sprouts partnered with Carbonfund.org in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of our Go Mambo! mobile sampling tours.  We are proud to feature the Carbonfund.org logo on our vans as they travel regionally each year.  Carbonfund.org has made it possible to make our tours CarbonFree® by offsetting the CO2 emitted by the vans and crew travel. Do you want to live healthy on the cheap?  Visit Mambo Sprouts.
Wednesday, 16 September 2009 15:44

Save the Beer!

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The fight to stop global warming has just been taken to the next level. First came the revelation that warmer temperatures threaten our coastlines, food supplies, access to clean water, and our way of life in general; now there are studies that indicates that even modest increases in temperature adversely impact hops - a critical ingredient in the production of beer! The study states that the quality of hops has been decreasing over the last 50 years. If this trend continues, this could mean more expensive pints at your local pub because suitable hops will be harder and harder to find. Now I don't know about you, but if every other reason to fight global warming wasn't enough, I hope that this hits home for you. Fighting global warming isn't about saving the polar bears or penguins - it is about maintaining the quality of life and the global conditions that have allowed for the amazing innovations of human kind, like beer. You owe it to your children to ensure that they have access to the same great hops that have made amazing lagers, ales, pilsners that we have grown to love (when they are of drinking age, of course!). And where would this world be with out the micro-brews that so enrich our lives and employ many? I don't want to think of a world without beer. Neither should you. Click here. Fight global warming now! Save the beer!
Tuesday, 15 September 2009 16:02

Global Warming: Leadership Needed in Advance of Dec.

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World leaders are preparing for December's big climate conference in Copenhagen; the real question is: who is going to lead? Conventional wisdom indicates that global warming by definition is a global problem and will require a global response. If global emissions must be cut by over 80% by 2050, then everyone is simply going to have to tighten their belts, embrace new technologies, and innovate so we can do more with less. But many developing countries, whose emissions are rising, are not in a position to easily reduce their emissions and have other pressing issues as well having to do with poverty, education, human rights, and clean water. copenhagenSo what is the solution? Let developing countries continue to pollute, focus on their people and hope that one day they will be able to finally reduce their emissions? Or do developed nations feel an obligation to help the nations that don't want to choose between economic and social development and reducing emissions? The nuance to this argument comes from the fact that historically countries with the highest carbon dioxide emissions grew the fastest and were able to offer the best quality of life to their citizens.  Click here to see emissions trends for countries from all over the world and you will see that the prosperous ones, the ones with some of the highest quality of life now, have been spewing thousands if not millions of metric tons of CO2 into the air for a long time. Since CO2 sticks around in the atmosphere for a long time, the increased emissions associated with producing those arguably sweet US cars in the past are probably still in the atmosphere. Because of these historical emissions from developed nations, groups all over the world, including the World Bank, are asking for the countries that have been most responsible for global warming to take charge of the fight to stop it.
Developing countries are disproportionately affected by climate change -- a crisis that is not of their making and for which they are the least prepared. For that reason, an equitable deal in Copenhagen is vitally important, said World Bank president Robert Zoellick.
The solution that is fleshed out in Copenhagen will hopefully strike a balance between development and the clean energy revolution. But regardless of where the rest of the world stands, those with the means must commit to reducing emissions in a real and enforceable way. We didn't get to the moon by asking the rest of the world to take an equal stake in the action. We got to the moon through stubborn determination - now our world is richer with a better understanding of the universe and life in general (with a whole slew of useful inventions to boot)! It is time to fight global warming with the same passion that we used to get a man on the moon. Want something that you can do today to fight global warming and support communities in developing countries? Check out Live Climate, where you can do both with one donation.