Thursday, 24 May 2012 16:13

Killer Climate Change

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The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 that estimates 150,000 additional American deaths in the country’s top 40 cities by 2100 due to the excessive heat caused by climate change.

The top three deadliest cities outlined in the analysis of peer-reviewed data include Louisville, Detroit, and Cleveland.  Some other cities projected to have thousands of heat related deaths by the end of the century are Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Columbus, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Providence, St. Louis and Washington, D.C.

Why cities?  Because that is where two-thirds of the U.S. population lives, and many municipal services there are not prepared to help people effectively beat the heat.  Urban areas have high concentrations of poor with little to no access to air conditioning.  Although everyone is at risk, children, the elderly, the obese, and those on medication are the most vulnerable. 

We’re already seeing how global warming can kill with hundreds of heat related deaths annually.  Extreme heat causes heat exhaustion and heat stroke and worsens illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.  In 2006, a two-week long heat wave in California caused 655 deaths, 1,620 excess hospitalizations, and more than 16,000 additional emergency room visits, resulting in nearly $5.4 billion in costs.  However, Chicago had an even deadlier record-setting heat wave in 1995 when more than 700 people died due to the excessive heat.

Some cities are learning from their experiences or heeding the warnings, and strengthening their municipal services.  Chicago, Philadelphia, and Seattle have already put measures in place to lessen the risk from excessive heat days.  Measures include improving the city’s heat warning system, emergency services, and establishing cooling centers.

There is hope; we can save lives by reducing emissions and improving emergency services.  Some examples of climate change mitigation are supporting reforestation projects and using more renewable energy such as wind energy.

Read the report and get more information at http://www.nrdc.org/globalwarming/killer-heat/.

Private Flight Advisors, LLC , a new CarbonFree® program partner, is a comprehensive private jet charter and advisory firm focused on safety, value, service, and security.  PFA’s mission is to deliver each client maximum value and service on each and every flight.  That mission now includes a commitment to offset jet fuel emissions from each client flight that PFA books. 

Private Flight Advisors has partnered with Carbonfund.org to offset the hourly jet fuel emissions from all client flights they book, by supporting Carbonfund.org’s energy efficiency, renewable energy and reforestation projects.  

 “Energy efficiency has become exceptionally important in the private aviation industry, specifically with the cycle and propulsive efficiencies of jet engines. Through this new partnership, we are supporting projects that apply to new technologies, processes and practices to achieve the same outcome while using less energy,” explains Bryan Ellis, Chief Operating Officer of PFA. 

PFA’s Jet Solutions Management maintains a goal to help clients develop and manage a portfolio of jet solutions, analyzing each client's requirements, preferences, and budget and then advising as to the best solution for that specific trip. We applaud Private Flight Advisors’ decision to add environmental responsibility to their mission to provide maximum value, service and safety, including environmental stewardship, to their clients’ flights.  

LEI Electronics and EcoAlkalines™ are ecstatic to be able to announce that EcoAlkalines™ Batteries, the World’s first Landfill safe, Certified Carbon Neutral Alkaline Batteries have been certified meet LEED standards.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)® Green Building Program is a voluntary, consensus-based global rating system for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.  LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) with the intent on providing building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. LEED is based on a credit system and points are allocated based on the potential environmental impacts and human benefits of each credit. Under the current LEED credit system, EcoAlkalines™ batteries can help earn one prerequisite and one point under the LEED category of Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) rating system.

For more information on LEED standards visit www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CategoryID=19 

Eco Alkalines™ have been reviewed by a LEED AP third party – Above Green, LLC. Above Green has provided us with a LEED certified technical statement which explains exactly which prerequisites and points Eco Alkalines™ batteries can be used to count towards.

As per Above Green, LLC:

EcoAlkalines are the world's first certified carbon neutral batteries. Manufactured with 0% Mercury, 0% Lead, 0% Cadmium – EcoAlkalines™ set the standard for responsible disposable alkaline batteries. Because of these qualities, EcoAlkalines are considered an environmentally preferable product. If you own and operate a LEED Certified building, include EcoAlkalines™ as part of your purchasing policy, and earn points toward certification and recertification of your facility.” 

Applicable   Credit Category and Credit Name

Number   of Points

MRp1: Sustainable Purchasing Policy

          Prerequisite

MRc1: Sustainable Purchasing - Ongoing Consumables

1

  • Materials and Resources Prerequisite 1 ("MRp1"): Sustainable Purchasing Policy requires facilities managers to develop a comprehensive purchasing plan, which sets goals for the purchasing of environmental friendly products.
  • Materials and Resources Credit 1 ("MRc1"): Sustainable Purchasing - Ongoing Consumables focuses on the implementation of MRp1, specifically in the procurement of environmentally friendly ongoing consumables, including batteries.

Carbonfund.org is pleased see one of our Carbon Neutral Certified Products recognized by the USGBC as meeting LEEDs Green Building Program Standards and congratulates LEI Electronics on this achievement. For more information about EcoAlkalines™ please visit: http://www.leiproducts.com/eco-alkalines and to learn more about Carbon Neutral Certification through Carbonfund.org please visit: http://carbonfund.org/offset/product-certification.

Friday, 18 May 2012 23:08

Animals Also Affected by Climate Change

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A new study named, “Dispersal will limit ability of mammals to track climate change in the Western Hemisphere” from the University of Washington released on Monday, May 14, 2012 examines how 493 animals will fare as they attempt to outrun the rising heat from climate change. 

The article, authored by Carrie A. Schloss, Tristan A. Nuñez, and Joshua J. Lawler, was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and says on average 9.2% of the mammals in the study migrate too slowly to keep pace with expected climate shifts.  In some places, such as the Amazon basin and parts of the Appalachian Mountains, up to 39% of animals may be unable to find suitable climates in a warming world.

Contrary to popular belief, although temperature changes are expected to be more extreme in mountainous regions, equatorial-dwelling mammals may have a rougher time moving their ranges fast enough.  This is because temperatures at the equator have been fairly static and the animals that live there are adapted to steady temperatures.  Conversely, animals that live in the mountains don’t have as far to go to find cooler temperatures.  Flat lands are also a problem for mammals.  For example, animals that live in the Central United States or the Amazon basin will need to travel farther to beat the heat.

Mammals that take several years to mature, such as New World monkeys, disperse more slowly and this puts them in danger of extinction.  The study indicates that a whopping 87% of animals are expected to have smaller dispersal ranges.  Of which, 20% will probably result from limited dispersal abilities rather than less suitable climates.

The analysis provides additional information on how humans might help these animals and our own plight.  Reducing emissions is critical to slow down climate change.  However, it is also possible to ease animal migration barriers such as shopping centers, roads, and cities.  In fact, people could even build corridors to help the mammals reach safe havens in time.

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/.