Friday, 11 May 2012 13:56

Can Humans Survive on Earth?

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A new report released on Monday, May 7, 2012 in Rotterdam, the Netherlands by environmental think tank Club of Rome indicates human life on Earth may not be sustainable if we continue to over consume the planet’s resources and only think in the short-term.  The path we’re on is leading us to an expected 2°C rise in temperature by 2052, where we dangerously approach the point of no return.  The future doesn’t look any brighter either.  By 2080, temperatures will reach a 2.8°C rise, and global climactic changes may be unavoidable.

The report entitled, “2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years” and authored by Jorgen Randers raises some critical questions concerning how many people the planet can truly support, whether or not runaway climate change will prevail, and if quality of life will improve or decline.  Randers used meticulous research and compiled information from over 30 of his peers in the field to develop the report.  His conclusions were that:

  • While humankind has begun the process of adapting to the Earth’s limitations, the response could be too slow to engender meaningful change.
  • Global economies will rise and fall.  The United States will decline while Brazil, Russia, India, South Africa and ten leading emerging economies (referred to as ‘BRISE’ in the Report) will advance.
  • China, because of its ability to act, will be a success story.
  • Poverty will still be a big problem at 3 billion in 2052.
  • Global population peaks in 2042, because of falling fertility rates in urban areas.
  • Global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grows much slower than expected, because of slower productivity growth in mature economies.
  • Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to grow and may very well result in self-reinforcing climate change.

Now that you’re sufficiently scared about the bleakness of our planet’s future, it is important to note that the Report says the main cause of these problems is the exceptionally short-term political and economic model to which nations principally subscribe.  

“We need a system of governance that takes a more long-term view”, said Professor Randers, speaking in Rotterdam. “It is unlikely that governments will pass necessary regulation to force the markets to allocate more money into climate friendly solutions, and [we] must not assume that markets will work for the benefit of humankind”.

This means that the two main ways you can make a difference are to get involved politically and make choices that have an economic impact.  There is no other planet in our solar system so uniquely suited to sustaining human life and we need to work towards keeping it that way.

Carbonfund.org welcomes PLAYN Eyewear to the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program.  PLAYN designs and produces handcrafted eyewear and delivers directly without middlemen. As a one-stop distribution company, PLAYN manufactures their own collections, ships them from the factory to the lens lab and from the lab to your doorstep. This one-stop delivery process reduces costs and environmental impact at the same time.

PLAYN aims at long-lasting quality and timeless designs. All plastic frames are handcrafted from Cellulose Acetate (Zyl), a thermoplastic made from renewable resources, such as tree-pulp and cotton. Their packaging is light, small and made from natural carton materials. To ensure best quality, their premium prescription lenses are cut and coated by a German master optician.

This year PLAYN joined the CarbonFree® Business Partnership in order to offset their operational carbon footprint resulting from productions and shipments.

“As a big fan of our planet, I weigh the environmental impact of my decisions carefully. Yes, we consume energy and materials, but I feel that the best way to do justice to these resources is by creating useful products with smart designs, materials and processes.” - Denis Beyer, Product Designer 

Carbonfund.org thanks PLAYN Eyewear for joining the CarbonFree® Business Partnership.

 

Monday, 07 May 2012 09:01

Plan Your Block Island Spa Getaway at Koru Eco Spa

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Koru is the Maori symbol for an unfurling fern frond and a term meaning a renewal or rejuvenation. The Maoris are the indigenous population of New Zealand, a country with a shared love and appreciation of the outdoors.

Koru Eco Spa, nestled 12 miles off of coastal Rhode Island on Block Island, the smallest town in the smallest state in the country, shares the Maoris’ love of nature.  As a small but full service spa that strives to lead the way for a greener future, Koru prides itself on being a little spa with a big mission. 

The team at Koru Eco Spa is passionate about spreading positive change, environmental awareness, and holistic health in a laid-back, upbeat spa environment.   Koru is an eco-friendly spa, with the environment and their customers’ health as the top priority. Respect and care for the environment is always at the forefront.  Koru Eco Spa uses non-toxic paint, furniture made from reclaimed wood, and uniforms of organic cotton.  All spa products at Koru are organic.  

Most recently, Koru Eco Spa launched its own new non-toxic organic sunscreen line, Block Island Organics which offers safe and effective sun care products.  In addition, Koru Eco Spa uses stones from the local beach in hot stone massages, honey from the local bee farm in body and facial services, and organically grown herbs and flowers from local growers in nail and body services.  And through its a five-year tenure in the CarbonFree® Partnership program, Koru Eco Spa offsets its operational carbon emissions.

"I believe in standing up and being an active part of the solution. Carbon offsetting is one step in the journey towards environmental sustainability that is easy for anyone to do and it makes a powerful statement." - Lauren von Bernuth, Owner of Koru Eco Spa 

We thank Lauren and the team at Koru Eco Spa for their ongoing CarbonFree® Partnership and their commitment to sustainable spa operations.

Friday, 04 May 2012 11:53

May 5th is Climate Impacts Day

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If you read our earlier blog post on the connection between extreme weather and climate change http://carbonfund.org/blog/item/4605-un-climate-panel-report-links-global-warming-and-weather-extremes, you’re already aware of this issue and have connected the dots to an extent.  But perhaps you walked away from the blog post asking yourself, what can I do about climate change?  Well here is an event in which you can participate.  This Saturday, May 5, 2012 is Climate Impacts Day. 

Climate Impacts Day is a global day of action that spotlights people around the world who are connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change.  The focus of individual events varies among assorted communities spanning the globe.  Follow this link to find an event near you.  http://act.climatedots.org/event/impacts_en/search/#

Next steps after connecting the dots between extreme weather and climate change are to connect the dots to solutions.  Clean energy, food-based initiatives, and political organizing for climate action are just a few solutions anyone can put their efforts toward to address climate change and its impacts.

There are also a couple things we can do regarding the impact of climate change.  We must adapt to the impacts that are we are already seeing, and the impacts we know are coming.  Then it’s important to organize to make our governments and businesses take the bold action needed to prevent the truly catastrophic effects of climate change, the effects to which we cannot adapt.  This includes eliminating the use of fossil fuels and moving to renewable power sources as soon as possible.

Extreme weather and climate change may seem like a far-off problem, but it is here and there is something everyone can do.  Attend a Climate Impacts Day event.  Learn more at http://www.climatedots.org/.

Alder Associates formed in 2001 with the commitment to use combined skills and experience to leverage their clients' success, and bring a seamless combination of knowledge and expertise that enhances clients' thinking, leadership and organizational capability.

As part of their commitment to their own operational success and sustainability, Alder Associates recently joined the CarbonFree® Business Partnership program.  We commend Alder Associates for making this commitment to environmental responsibility and thank them for their partnership.

Alder Associates works with clients to co-design fully integrated approaches in which leadership alignment and strategy implementation are dominant and integral threads in the fabric of the business.  Alder Associates provides a seamlessly integrated set of capabilities: strategy implementation, leadership development, and cultural transformation. 

For more information, visit http://www.alderassociates.com/index.html.

A corporate responsibility report means that a company is taking responsibility for its actions. More and more we see that corporate responsibility and corporate sustainability are becoming synonymous with each other. And it makes sense – responsibility, sustainability, and accountability are all good business practices and all illustrate a company’s commitment to both the community and planet. To communicate these commitments, businesses often engage in reporting practices highlighting the steps they are taking in corporate responsibility. Sometimes referred to as a Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) or a Corporate Responsibility Report (CRR), these corporate communication tools have become essential to alerting stakeholders of the recent goals met as well as some of the objectives for the future. In fact, 2011 KPMG International Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting finds that 95% of the 250 largest companies in the world now report on their corporate responsibility (CR) activities.

Carbonfund.org partner, MWW Group, takes CR a step further and seeks to be “good corporate citizens” communicating that companies have an obligation to look beyond the walls of their business and into the community and world in which they operate. Earth Day 2012 marked the official release of MWW Group’s 4th Annual Corporate Citizenship Report that highlights the three core areas of their corporate responsibility initiatives which include, working with nonprofits and organizations for the greater good; working with clients to enhance their corporate responsibility and sustainable practices; and a commitment to continuously improve their CSR efforts. This approach allows them to highlight their philanthropy support, their environmental work, and their commitment to leading by example.

“Our 2012 CCR report is an overview of the good work being done by our firm, our employees, and our clients in the communities we serve,” said Michael Kempner, president and CEO at MWW Group. “It is a representation of our commitment to corporate social responsibility.  The report demonstrates that we believe our 'Matter More' philosophy makes us not only a more responsible business, but a better business, and that we’re guided by a holistic strategy that not only helps us reach our CSR goals but attain our business objectives, as well.”

To read more about MWW’s approach please visit their CCR Landing Page.

 

U.S. Green Building Council and Lucid's Campus Conservation Nationals 2012 inspires college students across the country to compete to reduce their electricity and water consumption

The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), through its USGBC Students Program and in partnership with Lucid, Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation, is pleased to announce the results of the 2012 Campus Conservation Nationals (CCN) competition. This year, nearly a quarter-million students at 100 colleges and universities across the U.S. collectively saved 1,739,046 kilowatt-hours of energy, equivalent to 2.6 million lbs of CO2 emissions and $157,925 in savings — effectively removing 151 U.S. homes off the grid for a year.  This year's results surpassed the original competition savings goal of one gigawatt-hour of electricity. Students also saved 1,554,814 gallons of water, equivalent to 10,300 shower hours.

"When you see a mobilization this large to actively reduce energy consumption and promote sustainability, it's clear that students are tired of waiting around for decision makers to address the issues at hand," said Pat Lane, USGBC Students program lead at the Center for Green Schools. "The individuals we work with through USGBC Students are eager to put in the hard work it takes to see real change set in. The 1.74 gigawatts saved is just the beginning, as our students work to leave lasting sustainable legacies on their campuses and take those experiences into the job market."

. . . . . . .

Carbonfund.org Foundation was honored to serve as one of the "teammates" to the 2012 Campus Conservation Nationals and provided a commemorative e-certificate to each participating school recognizing their campus' contribution to averting a cumulative 2.6 million pounds of CO2 emissions during the competition.

You did it! More than half a million trees planted in the course of five years.

 On Arbor Day (April 27), Dell, Carbonfund.org Foundation and The Conservation Fund are pleased to share the success of our Plant-a-Tree Program. Since 2007, thousands of customers have donated more than $2.3 million to plant native trees and restore deforested areas. Trees provide many environmental benefits: they help trap CO2 from the atmosphere, filter water, prevent soil erosion, slow flooding and create habitat for animals. Thanks to your donations to Plant-a-Tree, we’ve helped plant more than 528,000 seedlings, which will trap more than 400,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent in their lifetime — the equivalent to annual greenhouse gas emissions from 80,228 passenger vehicles*. (*Source: Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator. http://www.epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-resources/calculator.html#resul)    

“While every individual donation to Plant-a-Tree is relatively modest (it’s only $2 to offset the CO2 emissions of your notebook, for example), we know that even ‘small change’ can change the world,” said Jena Meredith with The Conservation Fund. “With each gift, we can clean the air we breathe and filter the water we drink – and that’s no small feat. It’s something that each of Dell’s customers can be proud of.”

Together with Dell and its customers, The Conservation Fund and Carbondfund.org have used Plant-a-Tree donations to restore 1,629 acres — almost twice the size of New York’s Central Park.

“Each Plant-a-Tree location has tremendous need,” said Meredith. “These lands used to be fertile forests, and they can be again – with your help. Together we can bring these lands, and the wildlife that depends on them, back to life, one donation at a time.”

On behalf of our customers, Dell was pleased to accept an award from Carbonfund.org, in the Lifetime Achievement category of the 2011 For Planet and People Awards. "Carbonfund.org is thrilled to honor Dell for their leadership helping to solve climate change by developing an innovative program that is having real and positive effects for our planet," said Eric Carlson, president of Carbonfund.org. "The ‘For Planet and People Award’ highlights the extraordinary efforts of Dell, their employees, customers and stakeholders to be part of the solution to climate change."

Go to Dell Plant-a-Tree to participate, and share your experience with people so you can help us regrow forests again. Plant-a-Tree is about more than planting trees; it is the connection between people and their environment to create a better world for the present and future generations.      

PLANT-A-TREE ROOT REPORT

Small change – big results

Donations: $2.3 million

Trees:  528,000

Tons of CO2*:  409,000

Acres: 1,629

Parks and wildlife locations: 11

*Estimated over 100 years