Tag Archives: sustainable

Kids in the Outdoors – Our Future Depends on It

A program intended to insure that American Children have the opportunity to experience the great outdoors, builds on a Forest Service tradition of conservation and education.   “The challenges associated with climate change and water will not be resolved in a few years. It will take generations. Kids must understand why forests are so valuable so they will grow into citizens who support conservation,” according to USFS.

Educators, parents—and resource managers—are increasingly concerned with the growing disconnect between children and nature, and the kind of future we are creating for our children.  The Forest Service has a tremendous number of ongoing activities to help connect children with nature.  >Learn More via http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/conservationeducation/about/?cid=fsmrs_100571

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Free “State of Green Business” Report Lists Water Risk as a Top Trend

state of green biz report cover“State of Green Business” is Greenbiz.com’s seventh annual assessment of corporate sustainability trends and metrics. In the free report (download here), Greenbiz identifies the 10 Top Sustainable Business Trends of 2014.

Toppping the list in the 108-page document is “Collaboration Becomes an Accelerator.” Rather than reinventing the wheel on every issue, collaboration can address systemic challenges more easily and quickly. At No. 2 is “Chemical Transparency” and at No. 3 is “Water Rises as a Risk Factor.”

“Companies, communities and countries are coming to recognize that water is increasingly being paired with the words “crisis” or “risk,” states the report. Climactic shifts causing more common storms, floods, and drought, along with growth of consumption, are driving the rise in risk.

Read more: http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/01/21/state-green-business-2014

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Greenwashing Takes “Green” Industries to the Cleaners

greenwashingThey used to mean something. Words like “sustainable,” “eco-friendly,” “green,” “low-impact,” and “natural” set apart products and services that were better for our environment.  But once these terms became trendy, the practice of “greenwashing” (so rampant now it has its own Wikipedia page) has rendered these words virtually meaningless.

First reported by Forbes and Business Pundit, now the web-based Greenwashing Index, developed by the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, is a clearinghouse for dishonest greenwashing in the media.

But greenwashing products like soda, coal and bottled water may be the most damaging to genuinely “green” companies, practices and products.  As these terms are devalued, how does a company, like Trout Headwaters, for example, set itself apart?

One word we’ve used quite a bit to describe our services is “sustainable.” Once an important identifier, sustainable and sustainability have become junk words that can mean whatever people want it to mean, from environmental perfection to, well, nothing.   As a recent article in a Charleston newspaper pointed out, when Smithfield, the U.S.’s largest factory hog processor announces, “Sustainability is integral to the way we conduct business at Smithfield Foods every day,” and Monsanto, the giant multinational maker of chemicals and genetically-engineered seed, declares it is “A Sustainable Agriculture Company,” all we can say is, “Really?!”

How are consumers to know if products and practices are truly sustainable, green, and eco-friendly, or if they are just being duped by a greenwashed marketing campaign?  We all just have to be more vigilant, and do our homework.

In our industry of freshwater resource renewal and repair, we define sustainable as “works with nature,” “adds multiple values,” “self-sustaining,” “maintenance-free,” and “improves over time.”  Maybe we’ll have to coin a new term.

You may also like: 10 Questions to Ask Before Restoring Your Stream or Wetland

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Sustainability Jargon Buster – 10 Essential Terms for CEOs

from naturalcapitalforum.comsustainability jargon

Steve Jobs once said: “Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

The World Forum on Natural Capital aims to turn the debate into action. This Sustainability Jargon Buster can open up the debate and get things moving.

Read more: http://www.naturalcapitalforum.com/blog/blog/108/Sustainability-Jargon-Buster-10-essential-terms-for-CEOs

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None of the world’s top industries would be profitable if they paid for the natural capital they use

by David Roberts for Grist

The statistics are staggering.  According to a  recent report by environmental

consultancy Trucost on behalf of The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) program sponsored by United Nations Environmental Program report, if the top 20 region-sectors ranked by environmental impacts, none would be profitable if environmental costs were fully integrated.

The report tallies up the total “unpriced natural capital” consumed by the world’s top industrial sectors. “Natural capital” refers to ecological materials and services like clean water or a stable atmosphere; “unpriced” means that businesses don’t pay to consume them. The majority of unpriced natural capital costs are from greenhouse gas emissions (38%), followed by water use (25%), land use (24%), air pollution (7%), land and water pollution (5%), and waste (1%).

The total unpriced natural capital consumed by the more than 1,000 “global primary production and primary processing region-sectors” amounts to $7.3 trillion a year — 13 percent of 2009 global GDP.

“That amounts to a global industrial system built on sleight of hand, “ writes Roberts, “As Paul Hawken likes to put it, we are stealing the future, selling it in the present, and calling it GDP.”

Read more: http://grist.org/business-technology/none-of-the-worlds-top-industries-would-be-profitable-if-they-paid-for-the-natural-capital-they-use/

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Impact Investment on the Rise

Heather Connon reports for Green Futures Magazine on the rise of socially responsible funds. (http://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/about-us)

There can rarely have been a better time for proponents of sustainable investment to make their case. This year started with the scandal of horsemeat being passed off as beef, exposing fraud and a lack of rigour in the (often tortuously complex) food supply chain; in the last two years, environmental catastrophes – including hurricanes Irene and Sandy, the prolonged US drought, and flooding in Australia and the Americas – have added to evidence of global warming; and the financial crash has exposed flaws in the banking system so substantial that they threaten the existence of the global economic system.

Copyright 2013 Trout Headwaters, Inc.

Copyright 2013 Trout Headwaters, Inc.

Awareness of the need for new ways of investing is growing, and there are some tentative signs that it is having some impact on investor behavior. EIRIS, the environmental consultancy, calculates that British investors had almost £11 billion invested in ethical funds in 2012, a 10-fold increase since June 1996, and a survey by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association in 2011 found “early signs of a step change in the number of corporate pension funds that are responding to the case for responsible ownership and investment”. Across the world, investment institutions now have $13.6 trillion of assets incorporating environmental, social and governance concerns into their strategies, according to the latest report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, accounting for more than a fifth of total assets under management. Investment managers responsible for $6.5 trillion of foreign capital investment have signed up to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment, launched in 2006.

Read more: http://www.forumforthefuture.org/greenfutures/articles/rise-impact-investment

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20 Years! World Water Day 2013 Focuses on Water Cooperation

world water day 2013 logoWorld Water Day is held annually on March 22 as to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day.
Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. In 2013, in reflection of the International Year of Water Cooperation,(http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/water-cooperation/en/) World Water Day is also dedicated to the theme of cooperation around water.

Water Cooperation

The fulfillment of basic human needs, our environment, socio-economic development and poverty reduction are all heavily dependent on water. Good management of water is especially challenging due to some of its unique characteristics: it is unevenly distributed in time and space, the hydrological cycle is highly complex, and perturbations have multiple effects. Rapid urbanization, pollution and climate change threaten the resource while demands for water are increasing in order to satisfy the needs of a growing world population, now at over seven billion people, for food production, energy, industrial and domestic uses. Water is a shared resource and its management needs to take into account a wide variety of conflicting interests. This provides opportunities for cooperation among users.

How to Get Involved

Here’s how UNESCO says you can get involved.

Read more: http://www.unwater.org/water-cooperation-2013/home/en/

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Washington Post: Nutrient Trading has “Promise”

The Washington Post Editorial Board published a commentary Sept. 30, 2012 in support of nutrient trading as a strategy for reducing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. The approach, which has environmental groups split, is meant to reduce the 250 pounds of nitrogen and 20 million pounds of phosphorus entering the bay each year from farms, storm drains, and water treatment plants.

“Pollution trading takes advantage of the fact that it is easier to cut pollution in some places than in others. A farmer who can cheaply cut his runoff beyond what regulators require could be awarded credits and sell those to a nearby water treatment plant that would have to install very expensive equipment to meet its required cuts in pollution. The farmer makes money, the plant saves money and the EPA’s pollution cap is met efficiently,” says the Post.

But the commentary also acknowledges the skeptics that say it will be difficult to track and monitor whether the system is deployed fairly and serves to reduce pollution levels. But says the Post, “More traditional anti-pollution measures haven’t worked. All the more reason to try a strategy that could be cheaper and more popular — and, therefore, more politically sustainable.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-market-to-save-the-chesapeake-bay/2012/09/30/f64c5172-08e9-11e2-858a-5311df86ab04_story.html
You may also like: Chesapeake Bay Environmental Groups Clash Over Nutrient Trading http://troutheadwaters.com/clubecoblu/?p=2946

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Rare Conservation Campaign for Sustainable Fisheries Management – Onon River, Mongolia

Rare Conservation Fellow Gankhuyag “Gaana” Balbar helped facilitate the construction of three fishermen clubhouses where the fishing clubs (established during his Pride campaign with Rare) will operate from and where locals and visitors will need to go to purchase fishing permits, confirm a fishing guide, and receive information on catch-and-release techniques and regulation.  Additionally, he conducted a learning site visit to the Khovsgol region to share the successes and experiences of fishermen in the Onon River.  This visit was done in collaboration with a University of Montana master’s student, Dan Bailey who works on taimen conservation in Mongolia, and fly-fishing outfitter Fish Mongolia.  Campaign materials are now spreading to more parts of the country.

Awarded an additional grant from Rare for the 2012 fiscal year, Gaana and WWF-Mongolia will use these funds to continue the successful momentum of the original campaign.  They will produce additional campaign materials (in particular new billboards, which was one of the most successful materials in the original campaign), organize meetings between the fishing clubs and the soum governors, and conduct fishing club workshops and a competition among the fishermen of six soums.

Read more at Rare Conservation: http://www.rareplanet.org/en/campaign/campaign-sustainable-fisheries-managementonon-river-mongolia

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Washington Post Reports “Little Substance” at Rio+20 Earth Summit

The Washington Post reports on the Rio+20 EarthSummit in Rio de Janeiro, “The actual negotiations in Rio have produced little of substance, beyond an abstract commitment to craft ‘sustainable development goals’ in the future.  The Brazilian government, which is hosting the meeting, took out language which would have committed countries to reaching three U.N. goals by 2030: ensuring universal access to electricity and heating; doubling the global rate of energy efficiency improvement; and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.”

According to the Post, Rebecca Lefton, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress wrote in an email: ‘The text is disappointing to many who were hoping that Rio would be a once-in-a-lifetime event redirecting the world with a clear plan for a clean and prosperous future.’

On a brighter note the article says there is, “much evidence that both political and business leaders are finally accepting the idea that a healthy environment is good for the economy.”

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/on-eve-of-rio-summit-americans-see-environment-deteriorating/2012/06/19/gJQAy4choV_story_1.html

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