Spotlights

International Sustainability Standards: Pros and Cons
December 13, 2011 03:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Sustainability is an economic, social, and ecological concept. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society and its members are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals indefinitely. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire globe. With that said how do you specifically define what is sustainable? Economic needs are fairly easy to figure out; ultimately it is do you make a profit or not. Social needs will depend on the society involved and every society is different. There is a difference between urban and rural needs for example much less North Africa, China, and the US. Ecological standards will also vary because it is far from clear how much resilience that an ecosystem has and as a result there will be constant and shifting debate on those standards.

International Sustainability Standards: Pros and Cons
December 13, 2011 03:11 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Sustainability is an economic, social, and ecological concept. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society and its members are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals indefinitely. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire globe. With that said how do you specifically define what is sustainable? Economic needs are fairly easy to figure out; ultimately it is do you make a profit or not. Social needs will depend on the society involved and every society is different. There is a difference between urban and rural needs for example much less North Africa, China, and the US. Ecological standards will also vary because it is far from clear how much resilience that an ecosystem has and as a result there will be constant and shifting debate on those standards.

New Mapping Tool Reveals Thousands of Record-Breaking Extreme Weather Events in 2011
December 12, 2011 03:08 PM - Editor, NRDC

NEW YORK (December 8, 2011) — In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken in communities throughout the US., as detailed in a new interactive extreme weather mapping tool and year-end review released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The powerful web-based tool allows Americans to draw the connections between climate change and extreme weather in the cities and towns in which they live. "From heat waves to floods to fires, 2011 was a year of extreme weather for communities throughout the United States. This alarming, yet illuminating data is indicative of what we can expect as climate change continues," said Kim Knowlton, NRDC Senior Scientist who spearheaded the development of the web-based tool. "Actions can be taken today to limit the worst effects of climate change. Our leaders need to make climate change preparedness a priority, if these events will be occurring more frequently and with more intensity." The national survey provides a unique aggregation of state-by-state extreme weather, detailing a range of extreme weather events including record-breaking temperatures, rainfall and snowfall in each state. The survey found at least 1,302 heat-related records, 1,090 rainfall records and 549 snowfall records were broken in counties across the nation. Especially hard-hit regions include the Midwest and Northeast, which endured heavy flooding and the greater Texas region, which endured an extended period of wildfires, extreme heat and drought.

New Mapping Tool Reveals Thousands of Record-Breaking Extreme Weather Events in 2011
December 12, 2011 03:08 PM - Editor, NRDC

NEW YORK (December 8, 2011) — In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken in communities throughout the US., as detailed in a new interactive extreme weather mapping tool and year-end review released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The powerful web-based tool allows Americans to draw the connections between climate change and extreme weather in the cities and towns in which they live. "From heat waves to floods to fires, 2011 was a year of extreme weather for communities throughout the United States. This alarming, yet illuminating data is indicative of what we can expect as climate change continues," said Kim Knowlton, NRDC Senior Scientist who spearheaded the development of the web-based tool. "Actions can be taken today to limit the worst effects of climate change. Our leaders need to make climate change preparedness a priority, if these events will be occurring more frequently and with more intensity." The national survey provides a unique aggregation of state-by-state extreme weather, detailing a range of extreme weather events including record-breaking temperatures, rainfall and snowfall in each state. The survey found at least 1,302 heat-related records, 1,090 rainfall records and 549 snowfall records were broken in counties across the nation. Especially hard-hit regions include the Midwest and Northeast, which endured heavy flooding and the greater Texas region, which endured an extended period of wildfires, extreme heat and drought.

New Mapping Tool Reveals Thousands of Record-Breaking Extreme Weather Events in 2011
December 12, 2011 03:08 PM - Editor, NRDC

NEW YORK (December 8, 2011) — In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken in communities throughout the US., as detailed in a new interactive extreme weather mapping tool and year-end review released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The powerful web-based tool allows Americans to draw the connections between climate change and extreme weather in the cities and towns in which they live. "From heat waves to floods to fires, 2011 was a year of extreme weather for communities throughout the United States. This alarming, yet illuminating data is indicative of what we can expect as climate change continues," said Kim Knowlton, NRDC Senior Scientist who spearheaded the development of the web-based tool. "Actions can be taken today to limit the worst effects of climate change. Our leaders need to make climate change preparedness a priority, if these events will be occurring more frequently and with more intensity." The national survey provides a unique aggregation of state-by-state extreme weather, detailing a range of extreme weather events including record-breaking temperatures, rainfall and snowfall in each state. The survey found at least 1,302 heat-related records, 1,090 rainfall records and 549 snowfall records were broken in counties across the nation. Especially hard-hit regions include the Midwest and Northeast, which endured heavy flooding and the greater Texas region, which endured an extended period of wildfires, extreme heat and drought.

New Mapping Tool Reveals Thousands of Record-Breaking Extreme Weather Events in 2011
December 12, 2011 03:08 PM - Editor, NRDC

NEW YORK (December 8, 2011) — In 2011, there were at least 2,941 monthly weather records broken in communities throughout the US., as detailed in a new interactive extreme weather mapping tool and year-end review released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council. The powerful web-based tool allows Americans to draw the connections between climate change and extreme weather in the cities and towns in which they live. "From heat waves to floods to fires, 2011 was a year of extreme weather for communities throughout the United States. This alarming, yet illuminating data is indicative of what we can expect as climate change continues," said Kim Knowlton, NRDC Senior Scientist who spearheaded the development of the web-based tool. "Actions can be taken today to limit the worst effects of climate change. Our leaders need to make climate change preparedness a priority, if these events will be occurring more frequently and with more intensity." The national survey provides a unique aggregation of state-by-state extreme weather, detailing a range of extreme weather events including record-breaking temperatures, rainfall and snowfall in each state. The survey found at least 1,302 heat-related records, 1,090 rainfall records and 549 snowfall records were broken in counties across the nation. Especially hard-hit regions include the Midwest and Northeast, which endured heavy flooding and the greater Texas region, which endured an extended period of wildfires, extreme heat and drought.

Contest Challenges Youth to "Get to Know" Their Wild Neighbors
November 23, 2011 02:35 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Renowned wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Wyland are challenging American youth to get outdoors and "get to know" their wild neighbors of other species by entering the Get to Know Contest. Youth age 5-18 are invited to create art, writing photography and video entries based on first-hand experiences with nature, which they can submit at www.gettoknow.ca until November 30, 2010. Bateman and Wyland hope the Get to Know Contest will inspire youth to build meaningful connections with nature. "The investment we are making by connecting youth with nature is the most important one we can make for this generation," says Wyland. Youth disconnection from nature stems from the trend of young Americans spending progressively more time indoors, to the detriment of healthy outdoor activity. As of 2010, American school-aged youth are packing a staggering 53 hours a week in front of entertainment media screens — up from 44 hours per week in 2004. And while they are aware of global environmental issues like climate change and deforestation in the Amazon, they often cannot name ten different plants and animals in their own backyard. "Caring for this planet begins with getting to know our neighbours of other species", reiterates Robert Bateman, who started the Get to Know Contest in Canada in 2000.

Contest Challenges Youth to "Get to Know" Their Wild Neighbors
November 23, 2011 02:35 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

Renowned wildlife artists Robert Bateman and Wyland are challenging American youth to get outdoors and "get to know" their wild neighbors of other species by entering the Get to Know Contest. Youth age 5-18 are invited to create art, writing photography and video entries based on first-hand experiences with nature, which they can submit at www.gettoknow.ca until November 30, 2010. Bateman and Wyland hope the Get to Know Contest will inspire youth to build meaningful connections with nature. "The investment we are making by connecting youth with nature is the most important one we can make for this generation," says Wyland. Youth disconnection from nature stems from the trend of young Americans spending progressively more time indoors, to the detriment of healthy outdoor activity. As of 2010, American school-aged youth are packing a staggering 53 hours a week in front of entertainment media screens — up from 44 hours per week in 2004. And while they are aware of global environmental issues like climate change and deforestation in the Amazon, they often cannot name ten different plants and animals in their own backyard. "Caring for this planet begins with getting to know our neighbours of other species", reiterates Robert Bateman, who started the Get to Know Contest in Canada in 2000.

International Sustainability Standards: Pros and Cons
November 8, 2011 05:07 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Sustainability is an economic, social, and ecological concept. It is intended to be a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society and its members are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, and planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals indefinitely. Sustainability affects every level of organization, from the local neighborhood to the entire globe. With that said how do you specifically define what is sustainable? Economic needs are fairly easy to figure out; ultimately it is do you make a profit or not. Social needs will depend on the society involved and every society is different. There is a difference between urban and rural needs for example much less North Africa, China, and the US. Ecological standards will also vary because it is far from clear how much resilience that an ecosystem has and as a result there will be constant and shifting debate on those standards. Over the past two decades a growing number of voluntary sustainability initiatives and other multi-stakeholder alliances have emerged to improve the livelihoods of the millions of commodity-dependent producers and manufacturers around the world. The growth of such initiatives represents an important opportunity for all stakeholders to participate in the greening of global supply chains and improvement of producer livelihoods. The multiplication of these initiatives makes it increasingly challenging for all stakeholders to stay abreast of the latest developments and best practices across the voluntary sector. Moreover, it is exceedingly difficult to assess their utility and performance, let alone the steps required to mainstream best practice.

Everything you might want to know about Carbon Offsets
October 31, 2011 07:17 AM - R Greenway, ENN

Companies, and individuals concerned with their impact on climate try a number of measures to reduce their emissions of air pollutants which impact the greenhouse effect of our atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is the reality that our atmosphere traps a portion of the heat we get from the sun, and from fires (both natural and man made) and other anthropgenic heat sources. Some of the gasses released by our industrialization, home heating and cooling, and transportation activities contribute to the atmosphere trapping more heat than would occur in the absence of these activities. There are emissions which CANNOT be eliminated or reduced as much as we would like. For these, companies turn to Carbon Offsets. What are Carbon Offsets? When companies or individuals purchase Carbon Offsets they are paying someone else to reduce THEIR carbon emissions (a major contributor to global warming). There are companies which assist other companies and individuals in purchasing Carbon Offsets. As in any new market, there is a learning curve for participants. Are the offsets real, are the being sold more than once? These and other questions illustrate how much needs to be learned.

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