tis the season

Skip the hassle of the malls and stores, and make a charitable donation in lieu of presents.

Researching various charities and companies is a simple way to know every dollar you spend aligns with your belief system.

Websites like Charity Navigator (https://www.charitynavigator.org/) are incredibly valuable when deciding which organization to make a donation. Charity Navigator rates each non profit organization on several criteria. For example some of the categories are financial performance metrics, accountability and transparency, revenue and expenses, as well as compensation of leaders. A copy of their IRS statement can be viewed also.

Here is a list of environmental non profit charities that received a perfect score on Charity Navigator:

Appalachian Voices (appvoices.org)  MISSION: Appalachian Voices brings people together to solve the environmental problems having the greatest impact on the central and southern Appalachian Mountains. Our mission is to empower people to defend our region’s rich natural and cultural heritage by providing them with tools and strategies for successful grassroots campaigns. Because the threats to our mountains do not respect state boundaries or political ideologies, we tackle them by reaching out to a broad spectrum of people from across the region. We believe that success is most likely when a diversity of people are involved and empowered to work together for change, and all our programs are guided by this commitment to build a broad base of public support for environmental protection in the southern mountains.red tapestry

Long-tailed Sylph

Amazon Conservation Association  (http://www.amazonconservation.org/)                  MISSION: Founded in 1999, the Amazon Conservation Association (ACA) works to conserve the biological diversity of the Amazon. We work to protect biodiversity by studying ecosystems and developing innovative conservation tools to protect land in the region while supporting the livelihoods of local communities. We work by forging ties with governments, nonprofits and people who depend on the rainforests for their livelihood, with the goal of saving rare species and habitats and learning from the land. Scientific research guides our approach, which strives for concrete, measurable achievements. ACA has offices in Washington, DC.

The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (https://chattahoochee.org/)   MISSION:    The Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s (CRK) works to advocate and secure the protection and stewardship of the Chattahoochee River, its tributaries and watershed, in order to restore and preserve their ecological health for the people, fish and wildlife that depend on the River system. Established in 1994, CRK is an environmental advocacy organization with more than 6,000 members dedicated solely to protecting and restoring the Chattahoochee River Basin – drinking water source for 4 million people. CRK actively uses advocacy, education, research, communication, cooperation, monitoring and legal actions to protect and preserve the Chattahoochee and its watershed.

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Environmental and Energy Study Institute (https://www.eesi.org/) MISSION: EESI is dedicated to promoting environmentally sustainable societies. EESI advances innovative policy solutions that set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path. The climate crisis is urgent. The solution is achievable. A healthy climate and a healthy economy go hand-in-hand. Energy prices must reflect their true costs. U.S. leadership is essential. EESI was founded by a bipartisan Congressional caucus in 1984. EESI serves as a trusted source of credible, non-partisan information on energy and environment solutions. Transforming energy infrastructures, transportation systems, land use management practices, and community designs creates new opportunities for American entrepreneurs and creates good jobs.

 

boker on PATH Trail

 

 

The PATH Foundation (https://pathfoundation.org/)  MISSION: Founded in 1991, The PATH Foundation is an organization with a mission to develop a system of interlinking greenway trails through metro Atlanta for commuting and recreating. In just fifteen years, PATH has developed more than 100 miles of trails throughout northern Georgia and has become a nationally recognized model for trail-building success. PATH’s linear parks have become part of the landscape in urban and rural areas, in affluent and impoverished communities. PATH trails are bringing people together from all races, ages, income levels and cultural backgrounds.

Image result for southern environmental law centerThe Southern Environmental Law Center (https://www.southernenvironment.org/) MISSION: The Southern Environmental Law Center uses the power of law and policy to protect the environment in six states: Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. SELC’s attorneys work in all branches and at all levels of government to defend healthy air and clean water; to protect the region’s forests, coasts, wetlands, and other native landscapes; and to promote vibrant and livable communities across the Southeast.

may everyday be your thanksgiving

gracious and green thanksgiving tips for all-year round

  • Change the word order:        Thanksgiving

    Giving thanks

     Switch the order of words around from time to time. Something so simple can make one consider a concept in a different light. Often times a word or phrase loses its meaning and the original purpose gets lost. 

    “The First Thanksgiving 1621” by Karen Rinaldo

  • When you sit down for a meal, look around, light a candle, breathe in the peace of having a roof over your head, safety. Many people in the world could only wish to be so lucky. 
  • Use cloth napkins, real flatware, cups and dishes. Take time to care for these items. This is ecologically friendly and creates a formality in commonplace. Real tableware can be special everyday if you make it special.  I know from experience that many family gatherings opt for plastic disposable utensils, cups and dishes to make things easier. And while, yes, it may be easier to just throw a plastic fork away in the trash, the disposal in reality is not easy. Millions of tons of discarded plastic ends up in the ocean. 

    https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/07/are-alternate-utensils-for-take-out-an-envrioment-friendly-option/

    Read more:

MotherJones Article: Impact Analysis of Single Use Plastic Disposable Cutlery  (https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/07/are-alternate-utensils-for-take-out-an-envrioment-friendly-option/)

Impact Analysis of Single Use Plastic Disposable Cutlery  (https://commons.pratt.edu/sesresearch/wp-content/uploads/sites/157/2017/12/Aswitha_Kadekar-Capstone_Presentation.pdf)

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http://www.endofthenet.org/archives/10516/life-of-a-plastic-spoon

WE HAVE A LOT OF RESOURCES THAT WE TAKE FOR GRANTED

Read excerpt from Oxford University Press article about Environmental Privilege:

Environmental privilege is a related phenomena, and while it seems to be an understudied area of privilege (and not the only one) it is still important, probably more than we realize. One way I teach about privilege is through the lens of the Person in Environment perspective. Looking at any human being, we can see that their particular personhood—built on their age, gender, race, and wealth status—combines with their environment—a conglomeration of geography, culture, space and time—to create a type of privilege. This privilege reflects itself in a person’s lived experiences, including their experiences of nature’s bounties and burdens.

The best place to begin learning about any privilege is self-examination.

Excerpt from article reflecting on Environmental Privilege from Stanford (https://www.stanforddaily.com/2015/05/06/environmental-justice-lessons-for-the-wilderness-romantic/)

It’s a privilege to be able to travel to national parks, buy organic food or drive an electric car. It’s a privilege to be distanced from the world’s most pressing environmental issues: Rainforest destruction happens on other continents and river cleanups happen in other neighborhoods. It’s a privilege to periodically worry about these issues, rather than confronting them daily. Thanks to various socioeconomic and political forces, it’s a privilege that exists only for a few — namely, members of the developed world’s upper classes.

As with other forms of privilege, environmental privilege comes with some massive blind spots.

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  • Give thanks to the ability to turn on the tap and drink clear, clean water. Water is a finite precious resource.  Image result for israel water shortage advertisement

 

 

 

  • Give thanks to the rainforests the “Lungs of the Earth” Watch a BBC video here: (http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20130226-amazon-lungs-of-the-planet)Although deforestation rates have now declined – hitting an all time low in 2011 – the forest is still gradually disappearing, reducing the region’s scale and biodiversity.But this felling also has an impact on the planet as a whole because the forest also plays a critical role in cleaning the air we breathe.

    It does this by sucking up the global emissions of carbon dioxide from things like cars, planes and power stations to name just a few.

    Without this “carbon sink” the world’s ability to lock up carbon will be reduced, compounding the effects of global warming.

 

 

 

 

 

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Should the United States sign the COP 21 Accord de Paris?

COP 21 Paris Agreement or Accord de Paris

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Climate change is an issue that will have detrimental effects on the planet’s ecosystems. Much debate exists surrounding how to address it, assess it, and what to do about it.  The Paris Agreement is a well intentioned attempt to address climate change but will ultimately fail to accomplish its goals and the United States should look to other ways to reduce CO2 emissions. The Paris Agreement is an international agreement to address climate change. Its goals to “is to hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels (EU Commission, 2015).”  It has been signed by 194 countries and the European Union, although the United States has decided to withdraw from the agreement as soon as it can do so, in 2019 (Restuccia, 2017). When assessing whether to sign the Paris Agreement, countries must evaluate how effective it will be at controlling climate change.  There is ample evidence that the agreement does not go far enough, is not fair to all signatories,  and perhaps does not take all climatic factors into account.

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The consolidated promises of the Paris accord do not provide an adequate mitigation of warming and reduction in emissions. Journalist, Gebru Jember Endalew wrote scientists estimate that “full implementation of current pledges would still put the world on track for 3.5° degrees of warming by the end of the century (Endalew, 2017).” “As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned,” James Hansen, NASA scientist who discovered climate change, with not much faith in the Paris Agreement, also stated that the accord “is pointless unless greenhouse gas emissions are taxed across the board (Milman, 2015).” The policy will not be effective unless there is a direct consequence for those not in compliance. Achievement of the emissions goals, begins with unified plans for implementation “to be strengthened over time, both in ambition and scope (Rogelj, J. et al., 2016).”

“Understanding how fairness conceptions vary between countries – and what background variables explain this variation – is crucial for understanding the negotiation process and outcomes, and for identifying which institutional arrangements are universally acceptable (Tørstad, 2018).Defining how countries are compared and which factors should be considered in determining the terms and goals of the Paris Agreement is still complicated. Statistics such as GDP, agriculture, globalization, energy resources are used to assess its development level and would also be included in determining expectations and/or subsequent contributions for said country. This would be considered a commensurability problem described in the reading Assessing the Risks of Technology, by Evan and Manion, disparate costs and benefits cannot be compared with one another (Evan, 2002).

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Aside from the negative consequences of industrial greenhouse gas and CO2 emissions, it is possible that other factors may contribute to climate change. In the film, Six Degrees Could Change the World, the narrator stated that: “Six thousand years ago, much of the American West was part of a vast desert dominating the continent. A minor shift in the earth’s orbit caused the summer sun to warm slightly, just enough to radically transform this entire region (Lyna, 2007).”  When variables outside of human control are projected into the uncertainty of scientific predictions, a convoluted debate is opened about probability, catastrophe, and the nature of reality. This unfortunately, creates a lack of confidence in climate change policy and also deflects responsibility from the emissions industries.

In conclusion, the politics of climate change are complicated and divisive. The Paris Agreement does not implement enough to meet the goals of reducing emissions nor does it factor in the numerous variations between governments when addressing fairness in policy, and finally the cause of climate change is still open to variables of uncertainty. The United States should invest in alternative solutions and research in regards to climate change and emissions reduction.

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The Paris Agreement – United Nations Treaty Collection:   https://treaties.un.org/pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=XXVII-7-d&chapter=27&clang=_en

European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/international/negotiations/paris_en

Endalew, G.J. (2017). Least Developed Countries, Addressing our climate reality. D+C Development and Cooperation https://www.dandc.eu/en/article/least-developed-countries-demand-robust-rulebook-implement-paris-agreement-and-call-adequate

Evan, W. and Manion, M. (2002) Assessing the Risks of Technology, excerpted from Hoepfl, M. and Raichle, B. Dubuque. Starting the Dialogue: Perspectives on Technology and Society (2009).  

Lyna, M. (2007). Six degrees could change the world [Video file]. National Geographic      Production.

Milman, O. (2015). James Hansen, father of climate change awareness, calls Paris talks ‘a fraud.’ The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/12/james-hansen-climate-change-paris-talks-fraud

Restuccia, A. (2017). Trump administration delivers notice U.S. intends to withdraw from Paris climate deal. Politico. https://www.politico.com/story/2017/08/04/trump-notice-withdraw-from-paris-climate-deal-241331

Rogelj, J. et al. (2016). Paris Agreement climate proposals need a boost to keep warming well below 2 °C. Nature volume 534, pages 631–639. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature18307

Tørstad, V. & Sælen, H. (2018). Fairness in the climate negotiations: what explains variation in parties’ expressed conceptions? Journal Climate Policy Volume 18, 2018 – Issue 5: Including Special Thematic Section: Public Perception and Support for Climate Policies. Pages 642-654. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14693062.2017.1341372?needAccess=true&journalCode=tcpo20

 

 

 

 

 

the most of things

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Most of things are hidden from us.

Just flip a switch and the room is no longer dark. Haul the trash can out to the curb and it disappears on Thursdays. Buy a $8 bag of peeled shrimp, a throw pillow with a series of triangles printed on it or trendy jacket for $15.  How are things so inexpensive? So disposable? Target. Walmart. Dollar tree. Kroger. Made in China. Made in Mexico. Made in Pakistan. Made in Indonesia. These places are hidden from us, the people who craft these items are hidden from us. The conditions for their labor, freedoms, environment, and pay are hidden from us.

These “other” places and people do not really exist or matter because they exist on the other side of the veil.  The veil is an enchantment – a  distraction created by the most fantastical marketing. It numbs our guilt, exploits insecurities, feeds our narcissism, and keeps us complacent and exhausted by its whirlwind promises of some static end goal as the prize.

But the veil is wearing down – thinner and thinner.  This is the information age. This is the internet age. Nothing can hide. No one can be hidden.


From the BBC article:

The SOS in my Halloween Decorations

(https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-45976946)

Inside a notorious Chinese labour camp, a dissident smuggled an SOS letter into the Halloween decorations he was forced to manufacture. Years later, a woman in the US opened a box of fake tombstones and found his note. It seemed impossible at that moment that they would ever meet.

She’d picked it up for $29.99 from the supermarket chain, Kmart, a couple of years before that. It contained polystyrene headstones, fake skulls and bones, black spiders and a cloth drenched in imitation blood. […]she opened the box in her living room, a sheet of lined paper fell out.

On it was a message, neatly hand-written in blue ink.

“Sir,” it began. “If you occassionally buy this product, please kindly send this letter to the World Human Right Organization. Thousands people here who are under the persicution of the Chinese Communist Party Government will thank and remember you forever.”  Julie read on. The note said that the graveyard kit had been produced in unit eight, department two of Masanjia labour camp in Shenyang, China. Inmates there had to work there for 15 hours a day seven days a week: “Otherwise, they will suffer torturement, beat and rude remark. Nearly no payment (10 yuan/1 month).” Today 10 yuan is roughly equivalent to £1.10 or US$1.44.

Prisoners were detained on average for one to three years without a formal court sentence, the note continued. Some of them belonged to the spiritual movement Falun Gong. “They often suffer more punishment than others,” the note said.

You can listen to the interview on Outlook on the BBC World Service here


Excerpt from https://cladwell.com/blog/arentsweatshopsgoodforthirdworldcountries

What type of person do you want to be in your 80-or-so years on this earth?”

To Karl-Johan Persson, CEO of H&M: Do you want to be a man who allows his company to continue to do things like kill 21 Bangladeshi sweatshop workers, and who has “plausible deniability” when it comes to child labor?

To Edward Lampert, CEO of Sears Holdings: Do you want to be a man who allows his company to lock fire exit doors and force workers back to their desk when the fire alarm went off, killing 117 people and injuring over 200?

To Ashley Brooke, YouTuber: Do you want to be a person who gets views out of “hauling” piles of clothes made by kids, promoting a consumption pattern in our society that will make the problem even worse?


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Energy is another hidden “other”.

Williams Cos Inc resubmitted a water permit application with New York environmental regulators for the company’s proposed $1 billion Northeast Supply Enhancement natural gas pipeline project from Pennsylvania to New York.

(https://www.reuters.com/article/us-williams-northeast-supply-natgas/williams-resubmits-northeast-supply-natgas-pipeline-permit-with-n-y-idUSKCN1II1YR)

 

Deep layers of underground coal are all but gone in West Virginia after 200 years of relentless mining, leaving thinner seams of coal on top of the state’s beautiful mountains. But surface mining carries a huge cost: nothing less than mountains themselves. […] the Appalachian landscape is being fundamentally and irrevocably changed.

(https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/mountaintop-mining-affects-life-landscape-west-virginia)

 

 

Interactive map of coal mines in West Virginia (https://www.americangeosciences.org/critical-issues/maps/interactive-map-coal-mines-west-virginia)

Can anyone person or agency be responsible ?