Wednesday, 29 September 2010 20:25

Coral Reefs Could Be Gone by 2100

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Did you know that coral reefs affect over 500 million people? While these majestic ocean structures only cover 0.1% of the sea floor, they provide important goods and ecosystem services, such as supporting fisheries, food supplies and tourism. Recent estimates, though, put the demise of coral reefs at less than a century. Coral reefs and their constituent organisms, corals, are threatened by climate change. If coral reefs collapse, some countries could face economic hardship and hunger. Over 100 nations currently protected by wave-resistant reefs will be more vulnerable to storms and flooding. It all comes down to warming sea temperatures. "The increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations since the industrial revolution has driven increases in the average tropical ocean temperature by nearly 0.5°C, a sea level rise of 17 cm, and an increase in surface ocean acidity..." This according to a study published by the Institute of Physics (IOP). As a general rule, the thermal threshold for corals occurs at approximately 1°C above the long-term summer maximum for a region. Damage to corals have already been observed in the form of coral bleaching, which is most commonly caused by stress from temperature change. Here's an example of bleached corals: Global temperatures are continuing to rise. In fact, between 2000-2005, it's been estimated that greenhouse gas emissions grew four times faster globally than the preceding 10 years. Click here to learn how you or your business can reduce emissions today.
Delegates from around the world are traveling to London for the First International Conference on Ethical Certification, which begins today. Event organizers at InSource have teamed up with Carbonfund.org to mitigate the environmental impact of this important conference entitled Certification, Consumption and Change (CC&C) for thought-provoking discussions on the future of product certifications. The CC&C conference will be a carbon-neutral event, supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects. Carbonfund.org supports several projects around the world from forest conservation in the Amazon to the Nez Perce Reforestation Project in the United States that reduce emissions and help protect the environment and biodiversity. A few weeks ago a HuffPost article listed London as one of the most polluted cities of the world. So this is a great start, hopefully one that other events and conferences follow toward a healthier, cleaner planet.
Monday, 27 September 2010 17:33

PBS' Roadtrip Nation Charts New Paths

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Marking seven seasons on PBS, Roadtrip Nation has embarked on a new journey across America. The show gives youths a chance to learn about the paths they can take by meeting leaders from all walks of life. This time the show begins in Costa Mesa, California and will travel to New York City, while taking on issues from green jobs to overcoming fear. What started as a documentary series with an RV painted green has grown to include an innovative educational curriculum, campus events and multimedia content. Carbonfund.org is an environmental partner of the series, helping Roadtrip Nation reduce its climate impact in support of third-party validated carbon reduction projects. Check out this trailer about the show. To find your local public television station's airtime, click here. Having trouble viewing the video? Try watching it directly.
Monday, 27 September 2010 16:40

One Last Taste of Summer...

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The autumnal equinox marked the end of summer and is one of two days during the year when day is nearly equal to night.  If you’re like me and you’re not ready to let go of summer yet, treat yourself to one of summer’s prime delights–wine and cheese. Pairings Wine & Cheese takes the guesswork out of one of summer’s greatest pleasures. They go through the painstaking process of personally tasting and selecting delicious wines to go with magnificent artisan cheeses. As they say, “We taste and sip, sip and taste until we find the perfect wine and cheese taste combination that’s guaranteed to make everyone smile.” So help summer last just a little bit longer and treat yourself to a delicious wine and cheese pairing at Pairings Wine & Cheese. As an added bonus, Pairings Wine & Cheese makes all of their wine shipments carbon neutral by donating to Carbonfund.org’s third-party validated carbon reduction projects.
With 550,000 downloads in its first 5 months, CauseWorld became a simple, fast-growing way for consumers to donate to charities while shopping. The app, available for iPhone and Android, has now yielded over $1 million in donations, which its developers are calling a "mobile consumer phenomenon." Users earn "karma points" for charity by checking-in via GPS to retail stores and restaurants. No purchase is necessary to earn points. Through partnerships with Carbonfund.org and other leading charities, and monetary support from Citigroup, Procter & Gamble, Kraft Foods and Sears, CauseWorld allows users to donate karmas collected to reduce their carbon footprint by supporting third-party validated carbon reduction projects, feed families in America, or provide clean water in developing countries. "CauseWorld was a trial app we built to see if people will do more than just talk and text with their phones when they're out shopping," said shopkick Co-Founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding. "We had millions of check-ins in just the first weeks. In Manhattan there isn't a block left where users have not checked into a store or restaurant with CauseWorld." The popular app has helped users provide clean water for 80,000 people for a month in Africa, offset 5.7 million pounds of carbon emissions, provide 336,000 meals and more. shopkick is a Palo Alto-based startup funded by Kleiner Perkins's iFund, Greylock Partners and Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn. You can download the app right from Carbonfund.org's home page here.
Friday, 24 September 2010 17:35

NIKA Water Now Available at Whole Foods

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NIKA Water, which is CarbonFree® Certified, is now sold at several Whole Foods stores in Southern California. NIKA hope to bring a voice to the world’s poor who lack the basic right to clean water and simple sanitation through the sale of its water:  100% of their profits support clean water projects in impoverished countries, and NIKA has pledged that for every bottle of water it sells, it will ensure another plastic bottle is recycled. To accomplish this, NIKA is partnering with schools located in states that do not have container deposit laws to host recycling drives. Click here to learn more about NIKA.
I think you have to take chances in life. You probably get three, four or five chances in life to jump and see what’s going to happen. And if you don’t, you’ll always regret it. —Eric Carlson
Today marks Carbonfund.org's 7th anniversary and its inspirational growth from a start-up nonprofit to a national leader in fighting climate change. Often, knowing how things began provides a great deal of insight about an organization. I had the opportunity to sit down with Carbonfund.org's founders Eric and Lesley Carlson to talk about the beginning, where the organization is, and where it's going. What was the biggest challenge of turning Carbonfund.org into a national leader? EC: We had a big hurdle to get over in convincing people that you can reduce your carbon footprint at an affordable price. Once we were able to do that, the entire market changed. There were groups charging $20 or so to offset a ton of carbon. We knew we could do it in the $5-$6 range, and that’s what we charged at that time. After we got over that initial hurdle of saying basically a certified ton is a certified ton, we were off to the races. It was that explanation that got our first large partners. Now we’re known for both our high-quality projects and our low cost-per-ton. Was it difficult to balance family with a shared work life?  Did you take turns worrying about work and family? LC: Absolutely, and really when starting on a mission that has a great impact, one’s going to talk about it a lot. It’s hard to separate work and home. How we did it was deciding that Eric would take the lead on the organization, and I’d take more of a part time role so that someone would take care of the kids. Do you have advice for young families starting on an entrepreneurial path? EC: I think you have to take chances in life. You probably get three, four or five chances in life to jump and see what’s going to happen. And if you don’t, you’ll always regret it. So being an entrepreneur, taking that chance, leaving that job, hiking that mountain or doing whatever it is you decide—you should. It’s exciting and those opportunities almost always work out better, whether they are instantly successful or not. So I think young people should become entrepreneurs. Now, how you manage that within your family, within your relationships, is a challenge, and you need to work at that almost as hard as running your organization or business. LC: I think there have to be rules to ensure some balance. At some point the work discussion has to end so you have time for specific days or hours that are only family-oriented. Starting an organization takes a lot of work and time, a lot of thinking and conversation. But it’s nice because your family is then invested in something; our daughters definitely feel they’re part of the organization we’ve created. What are Carbonfund.org’s key priorities? LC: You hear people talk about some of the solutions. The Obama administration talks about green jobs, and just the other night Bill Clinton was talking with David Letterman about green jobs and how easily the transformation can be made. Carbonfund.org’s role needs to be helping make solutions easy and affordable, including keeping the message simple—that there are simple solutions out there, while building support for understanding and reducing one’s carbon footprint. What are Carbonfund.org’s biggest accomplishments from your perspective? EC: One of our biggest accomplishments is that we’ve been able to prove there’s a viable market for carbon. There were academic reports that said it would cost $50-$100 to reduce one ton of carbon. Those of us in the energy-efficiency sector and other industries knew that wasn’t the case. At $50-$100 ton, there is no climate legislation because it simply breaks the bank. We were able to show that you can reduce carbon for $10 or less a ton, and that these are the types of carbon reduction projects that people will support. Please click here to read more of this Q&A with Eric and Lesley Carlson.
This year’s Virgin Mobile Festival is poised to bring a day of free music to the D.C. metro area. At Saturday’s concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion will be M.I.A., Pavement, Ludacris, Thievery Corporation, LCD Soundsystem, Joan Jett, Matt and Kim, Jimmy Eat World, T.I., Chromeo and more artists on several stages. Instead of taking money, Virgin Mobile FreeFest’s motto is “We’ll take care of the tickets. You take care of the karma.” They are trading tickets for volunteering, taking donations, and have the message on the grounds to “get involved.” Last year, volunteers donated about 30,000 hours and raised $80,000. They turned Merriweather “green.” And they invited nonprofits to educate the public on ways to get involved. That’s where Carbonfund.org comes in. Virgin Mobile FreeFest has invited us to spend the day there talking with concertgoers on how to Reduce Where You Can, Offset What You Can’t. Carbonfund.org will have a booth to hand out information on reducing one’s carbon footprint and offsetting. The festival itself is taking many reduction measures including composting, recycling, biodegradable food service items, running on B99 biodiesel fuel, and, of course, carbon-offsetting. We will see you at the festival! Have an event you would like to offset? Click here.