Tag Archives: climate change

Climate Justice and Sustainability Advocacy

The chief curator (me) at EarthSayers.tv, Voices of Sustainability, has created a new channel addressing Climate Justice. The impetus for doing so arose out of a study by the Yale yaleProgram for Climate Change Communication. They conduct scientific research on public climate change knowledge, attitudes, policy preferences, and behavior, and the underlying psychological, cultural, and political factors that influence them. Of particular interest was their audience research, Global Warming’s Six Americas. A must read.

For climate change communicators I assume that this study formed the foundation for your present programs and campaigns. However, for those of us sustainability advocates with an environmental, social, and economic bent the Yale Program research may have been missed given the information overload that climatographer Mark Trexler addressed in his whitepaper, The Problem of Infinite Information in Corporate Climate Change Decision-Making.

Initially, these are the voices we are advancing on the topic of Climate Justice with more to come.   Start with Linda Haydock of the Inter-community Peace & Justice Center’s What is Climate Justice?  Continue on with Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former imgresUnited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on  “Climate Change as a Human Rights Issue” and Julia Olson of Our Children’s Trust on “Securing the Legal Right to a Stable Climate.”  If you parent or work with the more youthful among us, especially millennials, you might want to listen to the conversation between Dr. James Hansen and his grand daughter, Sophie Kivlehan on ” Young Peoples Burden.”

There are other voices to include Pope Francis, M.E. Tucker, David Korten, Anthony Leiserowitz, Tim Brennan and HH Dalai Lama.

Most Americans say global warming is personally important to them, but don’t talk or hear about it much.”  Yale Program Climate Note of September 29, 2016

I can’t do much about the talking part, but I can improve on the number of people, like you, hearing about it.  It’s up to you to re-frame the conversation around climate change to climate justice and talk with your family, friends, and work colleagues.

“More than half of those who are interested in global warming or think the issue is important “rarely” or “never” talk about it with family and friends (57% and 54% respectively).”

Ruth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate, October 7, 2016, Portland, Oregon.

P.S.  What sparked my interest was the Yale Program report, Faith, Morality, and the Environment: Portraits of Global Warming’s Six America’s which led to an EarthSayers’ initiative, Faith and Climate Justice. More on Faith and Climate Justice in my next blog post.

IPCC Ocean Systems and Oceans Advocacy Part II

On Monday, March 31st, I published a blog post on  a concept video around OceansAdvocacy, proposing a web-based communications infrastructure to support aipccdvocates from all walks of life, but not representing any organizations they might be affiliated with, if they choose to do so.  The advocacy landscape is highly fragmented and many organizations, profit and non-profit, are not being successful at meeting their goals due in a large part to under-financing and being over whelmed by the problems brought upon us by global warming and the continued dislocation of entire countries because of war and  violence.  I think a citizen-rooted network of networks is required if the global village is to be more successful at oceans conservation. I visualized a connected oceans community, based on the Google product’s Maps, Earth, Google+, and YouTube, inspired in part by the recent release of the Global Forest Watch.

To add fuel to my suggestion, this is the final draft of the Ocean Systems, Chapter 6 of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report officially release d on March 31st.

The executive summary begins:
“Ocean ecosystems have responded and will continue to respond to climate changes of different rates,magnitudes,and durations (virtually certain). Human societies depend on marine ecosystem services,which are sensitive to climate change(high confidence),in particular the provisioning of food (fisheries and aquaculture) and other natural resources, nutrient recycling,regulation of global climate(including production of oxygen and removal of atmospheric CO2), protection from extreme weather and climate events, aesthetic, cultural, and supporting services.” [6.3, 6.4, 6.5]

I recommend reading the entire Executive Summary and other chapters of interest to you found here on the IPCC site.  As of this morning,  nearly 500 citizens have clicked on my 3/31/14 post, distributed through the 3BL Media Network, some viewing the attached concept video, and I am hoping that this update adds to an understanding of why we are at a critical juncture and heed Jimi Hendrik’s advice:jimmi quote wisdomRuth Ann Barrett, Sustainability Advocate,  April 2, 2014, Portland, Oregon. Call or email comments and suggestions. (ruthann@earthsayers.tv/415-377-1835)

P.S. There is an IPCC video here, Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability by IPCC, in the EarthSayers.tv special (and growing) collection on climate change.



Sustainability Alerts and the Financial Times

FT Prepare for Natural DisasterI am signed up to receive news alerts on the term, sustainability, from the Financial Times.  This last week I received seven alerts, several in the same day. What caught my attention was not so much the quantity, it was not that unusual actually, but the range of subjects in such a short period as well as the emotional content of the headlines. Warnings, critical roles, calls to prepare, and, to get things started, the most sweeping topic, the price (as in costly) of civilization.

October 14 The Price of Civilization (Jeffrey Sachs)
October 14 Prepare for More Natural Disasters (e.g. Volcanoes)
October 14 Adjusting UK Energy and climate change Policy
October 13, Waster: Dislike of leftovers makes households worst offenders
October 13, Climate change: Countries plan for unpredictable weather (agriculture and food production)
October 13, Nutrition: Ways to enhance its quality (technology improving nutritional value)
October 12, Small farmers have a critical role

You can search Google on the headlines to access the articles.

Sustainability and the other inconvenient Truth

Jonathan Foley in TEDx speech on the “other inconvenient truth” at the intersection of land, food, nightviewand the environment and how much of our resources we use for agriculture.  The images presented in this video are extremely informative, worth a thousand words each.

river1950Colorado River Photos

Jonathan Foley is director of the Institute on the Environment (IonE) at the University of the Minnesota and leader of  the IonE’s Global Landscapes Initiative. Foley’s work focuses on complex global environmental systems and their interactions with human societies.

rivernowWe typically think of climate change as the biggest environmental issue we face today. But maybe it’s not? In this presentation, Jonathan Foley shows how agriculture and land use are maybe a bigger culprit in the global environment, and could grow even larger as we look to feed over 9 billion people in the future.  We need to move towards the concept of Terra Culture.

Into the Cold by Sebastian Copeland

Just added to EarthSayers.tv, Oceans channel, a trailer of Sebastian Copeland’s new film, Into theScreen shot 2011-03-23 at 1.05.37 PM Cold.

The absolute top of the earth is a place few try to reach on foot. Even fewer succeed. With the vast arctic ice vanishing rapidly, photographer, extreme adventurer, and environmental advocate Sebastian Copeland sets out to reach the North Pole on the centennial of Admiral Peary’s reach in 1909. This inspiring documentary follows their tumultuous two-month trek—not just through piercing cold and merciless terrain, but straight into the depths of the soul. Visit the film site to buy the DVD.

It will give you the chills and, at the same time, help support the SEDNA Foundation and Global Green USA.

Sustainability and Web Search: Low Interest

This post is not about low interest on the part of our citizens searching on the Web for information about global warming, climate change, and sustainability, but low interest on the part of content producers towards Web search and how it is related to citizens searching, but not finding vital information on these and other sustainability-related issues.

Today’s New York Times article on Yahoo’s efforts to use search data to create search-generated content calls out a little known growth industry around the Web and highlights what every educator needs to know.

“Search-generated content has been growing on the Internet, as evidenced by the success of companies like Associated Content, which Yahoo recently bought, and Demand Media, which has used freelance writers to create an online library of more than a million instructional articles.”

Compare this to the old school educators and social activists who blanch at the phrase, content generation, and hold steady to the practices of print, and you will begin to understand why our citizens don’t get answers to their basic questions about global warming, climate change, sustainability or even about our oceans and water pollution.

It starts and ends with interest.

Yahoo and advertisers have a big interest in being in the top organic search results on key search terms because supplying relevant information when a person is in the buying cycle is a basic tenet of marketing success. Indeed, a recent article in DM News suggests Search Engine Optimization (part of what we are talking about) was once overlooked, but have realized it “doesn’t strain their budgets” and improved analytics make it “easy to understand the relationship between natural search rankings and revenue.”

Those in the business of education or those who would benefit the most from an informed public have shown very little interest.

The power of the Web has been highly commercialized largely because it is a buying machine. But it is also a learning and training machine, yet it just may be that to meet searchers needs is just too crass of a reason to create content that explains important concepts and issues and may interfere with the editorial and research freedom to publish what is important and what is not and to use language such as “eco-economics” and avoid prosperity in favor of ROI.   Yahoo points out (you really need to read the NYTimes article) to its journalistic detractors: “The information is valuable because editors can integrate it into their decision making. It’s an asset. It’s a totally amazing and useful tool that we have at Yahoo. But it does not lead Yahoo editorial content.”  A tool.

In other words, how can it not be crucial to understand that although there are 28M webpages out there on the subject of “global warming” less than 170,000 of them are titled to appear in top rankings (and thus be seen) to a search on the term, global warming, and even less on the question what is global warming? Yet there is significant search on this term, more on this term than on sustainability or climate change.

Screen shot 2010-07-05 at 4.32.39 PM

This chart (1) from Google Insights gives you a general idea of the popularity, if you will, of the three terms in relationship to each other. You can use the chart below to get some feel for search traffic on these terms which come from a snapshot (1%) of the search traffic over a years period of time using software called, WordTracker.   For nearly every sustainability-related topic that I looked at, the search on “what is” or “definition of” was relatively high and the number of Web pages with a title that grabs was low.  This is a great opportunity for organizations with a cause to gain traction with searchers out there who are entering or are in the learning cycle. In the hundreds of video programs we have reviewed for inclusion in our sustainability collection on EarthSayers.tv, the voices of sustainability, the titles reflect a general disconnect from what the video actually covers, choosing in some cases to emphasize the name of the person answering the question, what is sustainability, or the event at which the person attended and was recorded. These are just two examples of hundreds.

But first to change things, the educators and proponents of sustainability have to know and understand the capability of SEO and search engine marketing. Indeed, from my own experience, a greater interest in the Web would be a starting point for many of our leaders addressing environmental, social, cultural or economic sustainability, followed by increasing their (1) personal, (2) professional, (3) organizational, and (4) cause presence (brand) on the Web in all four categories,  and take a crash course on SEO so they can better align their language and messaging with their objectives and audience.  SEO by the way is complicated and is a learning experience for even the most seasoned of marketing professionals.

This is my agenda.

If you invite me to participate in a meeting around sustainability, this is what I am going to talk about; if you want me to increase your revenue for a sustainable product or service, this is what I am going to talk about and help you achieve; and if you ask me how to increase your membership, this is what I am going to talk about and make suggestions around. If you ask me about sustainability, I’ll probably refer you to one of the hundreds voices of sustainability found at EarthSayers.tv.

P.S. I included Walmart in the following chart to give an idea of corporate-related efforts to be in the top rankings, mostly using paid search, but increasingly using organic search more effectively.


Note: (1)

The numbers on the graph reflect how many searches have been done for a particular term, relative to the total number of searches done on Google over time. They don’t represent absolute search volume numbers, because the data is normalized and presented on a scale from 0-100

Lloyds of London Weighs in On Unsustainability

Lloyds of London, the global insurance giant, issued something of a warning to businesses on its Web site just last Friday. “Pressure is building on businesses to address the environmental impact of their operations,” the firm wrote. “Moves by intergovernmental bodies and investors suggest that they could soon be made more financially accountable for the pollution they cause… some experts are even predicting that many of the world’s biggest companies could see their profits cut by one third as a result of more stringent regulation, the abolition of subsidies and increased taxes.”

Excerpt from the New York Times article: Can Business Do the Job All by Itself?

Published: March 28, 2010

Emissions Reduction Currency System – Austrailian Style

Portland, Oregon, December 30, 2009

MaiaMaiaA small group of us had the opportunity this past week to meet with Sam Nelson visiting Portland from Australia thanks to the folks at Transition PDX.  Sam is the co-founder of the Maia Maia Project, an innovative community based Emissions Reduction Currency System.  He is also an owner of Greenbase, a business in Australia that provides emissions accounting services for over half the mining industry there, and is the past Director of a sustainable biofuels company based in London and India.

The Maia Maia project, the focus of his discussion, is a community based greenhouse gas emissions reduction currency system being trialed in Western Australia. Their local currency based on these reductions is called a ‘Booya’ after rock trading tokens used by the Native Nyungar people of this country.

The idea of using a local currency system to engage citizens in changing their behavior to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, household by household, person by person, comes from Sam’s view that as bad as the news is there is OPPORTUNITY in this crisis. This is a theme pursued in presentations about innovation and the world crisis by sustainability leaders such as Australian Dan Atkins and is a point of view driving results through action and innovation from both the top down and the bottom up, in this case in a community-based program.

For Sam opportunity has four qualities:

(1) Actions to do something are democratically available by changing things we do everyday;

(2) These changes are measurable- we can measure our effectiveness at reducing greenhouse gas emissions;

(3) There are economic benefits and real value in reducing greenhouse gases;

(4) Making changes is a “nice thing to do” meaning it is both personally rewarding as well as altruistic – our actions as individuals impact the community and our neighbors in a positive way.

The Maia Maia project logo with the three hands represents the involvement of community organizations (schools for example), the family, and businesses, all necessary participants in making the project work to significantly reduce the greenhouse footprint of the community.

On Climate Sustainability

From a member of the Responsible Initiative of Pakistan as part of a discussion on the need for “models who have lived or are living their lives in a sustainable manner” at a dialogue organised by the Climate Sustainability Platform at the University of Copenhagen, Centre for Africa Studies.


Governments become pro-people

Mega-companies become ethical

Politicians become honest to their vocation

Scientist become conscious of their integrity

Funders become open to traditional wisdom

NGOs become free from ‘tyranny of the project’

Youth become aware of their future challenges

You and I become fair to ourselves…

Then perhaps climate sustainability is possible’

– Dr. Faiz Shah of Responsible Business Initiative, Pakistan.

The source for this information is Malaysiakini as part of their coverage of the Copenhagen conference.

Environmental Sustainability and Aging Skyscrapers


Often times in a conversation it takes just one example to communicate a meaning of a word or concept. In the case of environmental sustainability such an example is the retrofit of the Sears Tower in Chicago. As detailed in today’s New York Times article, the Tower is “4.5 million square feet of office and retail space, 16,000 windows and 104 elevators.” Environmental sustainability is a crucial initiative in terms of buildings, especially existing buildings, because buildings are among the world’s largest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions. The good news is that retrofitting buildings to be environmentally sustainable makes sound business sense  with the energy savings being “equal to 150,000 barrels of oil a year.” These savings are expected to help redeem some of the project’s cost, which is to be financed through private equity investment, grants, debt financing and government funds.

There  are plans to open a first-floor center to educate the public about the redesign, and the developers offer the Towers as a model for other aging skyscrapers around the world.

Illustration by Rose Cassano, EarthSayers.tv, the voices of sustainability