commentary

Wake Up, Generation Clueless!
October 14, 2007 09:34 AM -

In the USA, there seems to be a strange obsession with New York Times columnists from their lofty perch to denigrate the youth climate movement as quiet, timid, or dare I say it…apathetic. I guess as young people we just don’t quite get the magnitude of the climate crisis. Former Vice President Al Gore said, “I can’t understand why there aren’t rings of young people blocking bulldozers, and preventing them from constructing coal-fired power plants.” as reported in Nicholas Kristof’s article, The Big Melt. Friedman unloaded this one on us today.

Ingredient Composition Becomes More Important as Organic Personal Care Product Market Evolves
October 12, 2007 07:06 PM -

London – The natural & organic sector is the fastest growing in the North American cosmetics & toiletries industry, with sales increasing by 20% a year. Organic Monitor projects the market share of natural & organic personal care products to expand from 8% this year to 15% in the coming years.

High market growth rates are because of the rise in ethical purchasing and ‘mainstreaming’ of natural & organic products. Distribution in mass market retailers is increasing as retailers focus on ecological and natural products. Mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target are introducing natural & organic personal care products, supermarkets like Safeway and Loblaws are expanding product ranges, whilst drugstores are launching exclusive products.

Will Nobel mean Gore will run for president?
October 12, 2007 06:12 PM - Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Now that former Vice President Al Gore has won the Nobel Peace Prize, will he use the buzz from the award to launch a late bid for the presidency in 2008?

People close to Gore, 59, do not think so but thousands of Democratic activists are pleading with him to reconsider and join the crowded Democratic field.

In brief remarks in Palo Alto, California, on Friday, Gore did not address the presidential race but did not rule it out either.

Rating the SRI Funds
October 12, 2007 12:33 PM - Michael Kramer, M.Ed, AIF

Investors face a persistent challenge in understanding the varied criteria used by socially responsible mutual funds to select portfolio holdings. As there are no universal standards for the industry, a fund that excludes only tobacco from consideration, or that has a specific religious or other focus, is grouped in the socially responsible investment (SRI) category with dozens of other funds which apply a broader range of ethical criteria to the selection of companies. Like the concept of sustainability, social responsibility can address a combination of variables, such as avoidance and affirmative screens, shareholder advocacy, and community development investing. Fund companies may address industries, corporate practices across sectors, and numerous international issues, by conducting social research using internal and external resources in unique ways.

Full Sail Ahead For Wind Energy
October 11, 2007 01:34 PM - Bruce Mulliken

Find a site. Buy’em. Plant’em. Plug’em in. Aside from the growing worldwide demand for clean power, it’s relatively easy to build wind energy capacity. Why would anyone consider building a nuclear power plant of say 1000 megawatts - which can take years to build - when power developers can buy off-the-shelf products (those megawatt-class wind turbines) and plant them in the soil for the same amount of power as the nuke in a very short period of time?

(Given recent announcements of record, ten-years-ahead-predictions, greenhouse gas emissions along with record Arctic ice melt, we might not have enough time to build nukes or develop mythical clean coal power plants.)

The announcement of plans from German renewable provider Conergy for a 1000 megawatt wind farm in the Australian Outback serves as a reminder as to how big and how smart and how much potential the wind energy industry still has. The wind is not only still in the sails of the wind energy industry, the wind is getting stronger as well.

Full Sail Ahead For Wind Energy
October 11, 2007 01:34 PM - Bruce Mulliken

Find a site. Buy’em. Plant’em. Plug’em in. Aside from the growing worldwide demand for clean power, it’s relatively easy to build wind energy capacity. Why would anyone consider building a nuclear power plant of say 1000 megawatts - which can take years to build - when power developers can buy off-the-shelf products (those megawatt-class wind turbines) and plant them in the soil for the same amount of power as the nuke in a very short period of time?

(Given recent announcements of record, ten-years-ahead-predictions, greenhouse gas emissions along with record Arctic ice melt, we might not have enough time to build nukes or develop mythical clean coal power plants.)

The announcement of plans from German renewable provider Conergy for a 1000 megawatt wind farm in the Australian Outback serves as a reminder as to how big and how smart and how much potential the wind energy industry still has. The wind is not only still in the sails of the wind energy industry, the wind is getting stronger as well.

Rave Reviews: Emily Katz - Portland Fashion Week
October 9, 2007 08:27 AM -

With all of Portland Fashion Week's exciting eco-events less than two weeks away, we are amped to have more of Emily Katz' intelligently simply line in our store again. Dedicated to using sustainable fabrics; such as soy jersey, hemp/recycled poly denim, water resistant fleece and organic cotton fleece; Portland-based Katz is a perfect example of modern, stylish, versatile clothing that is also "green".

Book Review: Climate Change and Can We Stop It?
October 9, 2007 08:01 AM - Bill McKibben

A review of controversial books on climate change and the environmental movement by Bjørn Lomborg and Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger.

During the last year, momentum has finally begun to build for taking action against global warming by putting limits on carbon emissions and then reducing them. Driven by ever-more-dire scientific reports, Congress has, for the first time, begun debating ambitious targets for carbon reduction. Al Gore, in his recent Live Earth concerts, announced that he will work to see an international treaty signed by the end of 2009. Even President Bush has recently reversed his previous opposition and summoned the leaders of all the top carbon-emitting countries to a series of conferences designed to yield some form of limits on CO2.

Should Organics be Tested for GMOs?
October 4, 2007 07:18 PM - Ken Roseboro

Iowa - A recent disturbing incident of GMO contamination of organic soybeans raises the question of whether organic foods should be tested for genetically modified material. The US National Organic Program rules prohibit GMOs in organics but don't require methods to prohibit GMO contamination or establish thresholds for adventitious GM presence. The Organic & Non-GMO Report surveyed organic industry experts to obtain their thoughts on the question of testing.

According to Billy Hunter, an Iowa-based organic inspector, many organic food companies are ignoring the genetically modified food threat. "Many companies have their heads in the sand about the issue," says Hunter, who conducts organic inspections for certifiers such as Quality Assurance International and Oregon Tilth, as well as audits for a non-GMO certification firm.

"Heads in the sand doesn't solve the problem"

The Nature Of The New World
October 4, 2007 03:02 PM - Lester R. Brown

We recently entered a new century, but we are also entering a new world, one where the collisions between our demands and the earth’s capacity to satisfy them are becoming daily events. It may be another crop-withering heat wave, another village abandoned because of invading sand dunes, or another aquifer pumped dry. If we do not act quickly to reverse the trends, these seemingly isolated events will occur more and more frequently, accumulating and combining to determine our future.
Resources that accumulated over eons of geological time are being consumed in a single human lifespan.