Carbon Credits

As we have learned, climate change solutions are easier said than done. How do we get the entire world on the same team in regards to fighting climate change while preserving the country’s best interest. One of the biggest problems with climate change is the output large corporations have during their business practices with little to nothing set up to reduce their footprint on the earth. What these companies need is an incentive or an easier way to help fight climate change while keeping their business running. This is where the carbon credit system comes in that was first drafted up at the Kyoto Protocol in 1997.

Carbon credits work like modern day credit cards where you can continue buying stuff on credit and pay it back later. The one thing about carbon credits is many corporations and large businesses are running out of time and need to pay back what they did to the earth now. When you purchase a carbon credit as a company you are investing in sustainable projects that happen around the world. The projects that are part of this program get funding for their sustainable project and the corporation gets to write off that they are offsetting their footprint by a given amount. This allows the business to keep practicing what they do while investing in other projects. They do not have to make cuts or open up different sectors of their company just to fight climate change.

The carbon credits do work but of course it is not an ideal permanent fix to climate change. There are certain companies that will always be pumping out toxins into the environment that are far worse than buying some carbon credits to fix them. But companies big and small that want to make a change without reorganizing their business benefit from this program. One of the biggest successes in carbon credits is allowing the funding of small scale projects. Projects that could lead to a long term solution have a way of getting funding that means something and this could continue to push their project forward.

https://www.conserve-energy-future.com/carbon-credits.php

 

 

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Banning the use of micro beads

In 2015, California banned the sale of micro beads (the little plastic beads used as exfoliators in personal products), which will take affect in 2020. These tiny plastic beads easily slip through water treatment plants and make their way into the ocean, where they can hurt marine life. Eventually even making it into the food web as the beads resemble fish eggs, a favorite food of many fish. Illinois is even planning on implementing this as micro beads are present in most of the waterways including the Great Lakes. Many companies have voluntarily switched to biodegradable exfoliants like apricots, almonds, or cocoa beans. When the ban is effective companies will have no choice to change their products or they cannot sell in those states. Politics has a direct effect of environmental issues. Without the ban of micro beads these states enacted companies may have never switched from plastic to biodegradable micro beads, further adding to the problem of plastics in water and food supply.microbead

 

 

 

https://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313157701/why-those-tiny-microbeads-in-soap-may-pose-problem-for-great-lakes

https://www.nrdc.org/experts/elizabeth-murdock/california-bans-plastic-microbeads-key-step-reducing-marine-plastic

https://www.popsci.com/what-are-microbeads-and-why-are-they-illegal

China’s Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law

China Air Pollution

Image source: https://financialtribune.com/articles/people-environment/56230/china-to-levy-pollution-tax-on-industries

The Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law was implemented by China in 1987 and then amended in 1995 and 2000. The purpose of this law is to prevent air pollution, safeguard public health, and encourage economic and social sustainable development. The issue that prompted for this law to be enforced and revised yet again is China’s urgent air pollution problem. In China, air pollution kills about 1.1 million people a year. In addition, China is the world’s largest emitter of climate-warming greenhouse gases, which is especially unfortunate for its large and concentrated population. Due to this, the Legislative Affairs Office of China’s State Council drafted revisions of the Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law, released them, and then accepted comments on them from the public between September 9 and October 8, 2014. The law considers control of multiple air pollutants through planning, clear standards, and environmental protection requirements for construction projects. Whereas the initial law focused on control of individual pollutants, the revised one encourages a shift to co-control of multiple air pollutants. The new drafted law also proposes a shift from focus on individual areas where the pollution is generated to regional management. Key policies focus on areas such as coal combustion, motor vehicles, and dust-blowing activities by using a combination of economical, legal, and technological administrative measures. This plan intersects politics around environmental issues by strengthening the environmental protection responsibilities of governments and also intertwining the environmental protection obligations of citizens. By this law, legal responsibilities will be strengthened by increasing the penalties and consequences for violations. This law also hopes to promote social awareness on the issue, establish heavy air pollution alerts, improve product quality, and create a long-term mechanism to prevent and control air pollution.

Sources:

“China’s Surprising Solutions to Clear Killer Air.” National Geographic, National Geographic Society, 17 Oct. 2017, news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/china-air-pollution-solutions-environment-tangshan/.

Database, IIP Industrial Efficiency Policy. “Air Pollution Prevention and Control Law (Revision).” IIP Industrial Efficiency Policy Database, 7 July 2015, iepd.iipnetwork.org/policy/air-pollution-prevention-and-control-law-revision.

 

A Glimpse of the World

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For over a century, The National Parks Services have been dedicated to preserving the natural beauty and educating America. All over the country, you can see diverse environments protected from the negative influence of industrialism and capitalism. That being said, there aren’t many places in America where Climate Change is as apparent as it is in our National Parks. Once lush and filled with biodiversity, National Parks have faced erosion, species endangerment, and disrupted habitats due to Climate Change. In response, the National Parks Services have created the Green Parks Plan. The Green Park Plan aims to directly address the causes and effects of climate change on the grounds of National Parks. The plan’s “call to action” details goals like being energy and water smart, committing to buying green, and making their grounds themselves more sustainable. By dedicating themselves to direct action, The National Park Services is taking another big step in their goal of maintaining and protecting nature. The National Parks have been a key player in protecting the environment since their inception.  In 2015, the National Parks services reported a 13% decrease in water use, diverted 50% of its waste away from landfills, and an 11% decrease in energy emissions. Different regions also accomplished their own goals, like the Midwest partnering with the Innovators Educational Foundation in an effort to increase the presence of solar-powered vehicles and parks in the Southeast holding climate-friendly workshops. Overall, America’s National Parks are taking important action to combat the negative effects climate change has on some of our most precious assets.

 

Sources:

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sustainability/upload/NPS-Green-Parks-Plan-2016.pdf

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sustainability/upload/NPS_Green_Parks_Progress_2015-Public.pdf

https://www.nps.gov/subjects/sustainability/green-parks.htm

Bad Apple to Green Apple.

Apple_Carbon_Footprint

Opposed to looking at a specific sustainability policy at a municipality level, I thought it would interesting to look at a shift in mission from a corporate lens. Apple, one of the largest tech companies in the world, has dramatically shifted their product’s focus to being more environmentally-friendly. From the types of materials being used to produce personal computers, phones, and media players to the types of materials being used in marketing/branding materials, Apple has fundamentally shifted the way their company operates. The company’s newest value has been reinforced through the hiring of a environmental policy strategist to coordinate the initiatives they wished to pursue. Because of this, Apple has rid the notion of its past and has now put policies in place to enhance the image of themselves and the world around them.

According to David Price of MacWorld, “Apple really did improve things. It stopped using arsenic, PVC and BFRs; the iPhone 3GS was free of all three. Its data centers are now based on renewable energy. (In 2012, Forbes reported on the company’s plans to build the world’s largest private solar array and fuel-cell farm for a new North Carolina data centre. In late 2016 Apple entered an agreement with a Chinese renewables firm to supply its Asian production facilities with wind power.) And after those accusations of secretiveness, the firm began to regularly publish product reports so consumers could check the materials used and the environmental damage done. You can read reports on Apple’s whole product range here” (Price, 1).

The issues of toxic/harmful materials, renewable energy, and climate change prompted the change in the company’s mission. The new policy push has ultimately eliminated much of the issues that initiated the concern to begin with, but on a LARGER scale. Now, consumers across the world are able to access progressive technology, while being conscious of the environment. The fact that Apple took no steps to combat this previously is devastating. But through the hard work of activism and lobbying, organizations have pushed Apple to change course on what comes next.

Who knows, maybe we will have an iPhone one day made from completely recycled materials.

Since this post can only be so long, I advise you, the reader, to dive into some of the following links to learn more about Apple, its mission, and their impact on the environment.

https://www.apple.com/environment/

https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/apple/complete-guide-apples-environmental-impact-green-policies-3450263/

https://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2012/02/22/how-apple-went-from-environmental-laggard-to-leader/#66f104ee7715

 

2016 Florida Water Policy

The steady influx of algae in south Florida beaches –that has swamped the waterways– thrust water policy to the forefront of everyone’s attention. Due to the fact that Florida is partially dependent upon tourist generated revenue from various beach locations, addressing gaps within the existing water policy and improving upon them was essential. In early 2016, Florida legislators passed the Florida Senate Bill 522 which was essentially a water policy legislation –effective in July 2016. The purpose of this improved policy is to preserve and restore Florida’s water and natural resources for future generations. Additionally, this policy aims to increase public access to conserved lands, ensure that Floridians receive proper access to safe clean water for conservation efforts, and protect Florida’s environment. The implementation of this bill also establishes transparency between the local government and its residents to ensure that tax dollars are efficiently distributed to water quality or restoration projects. This promotes better management practices and helps increase the clean/safe water supply. The Florida water policy focuses on a few main categories essential for effectively working towards water conservation; public access to public lands, water supply, and outstanding Florida springs.  Public Access to Public Lands requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to publish an online database of conservation lands with information on recreational opportunities, the location of lands, and amenities available for guests. Water Supply requires additional information related to all water quality or water quantity projects as part of a 5-year work program. The Outstanding Florida Springs (OFSs) includes all historic springs within the state of Florida. The Outstanding Florida Springs requires the implementation of the Florida Springs and Aquifer Protection Act which focuses on the protection and restoration of Outstanding Florida Springs (OFSs). 

  1. https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2016/02/florida-adopts-water-policy-legislation/ 
  2. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/opinion/os-ed-water-policy-explainer-front-burner–072716-20160727-story.html 
  3. Picture: http://www.assignmentpoint.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/water-conservation. jpg

China and sustainability: connecting the dots between economy and ecology

The sustainability issues facing China are tied to economic development and the problems are growing in size and frequency. Sustainability is huge problem in china due to amount of the energy they release everyday from public transportation and factories. There are lots of reports on the country’s deteriorating environment and the problems this cause – from air pollution to “cancer villages” near dirty factories to the devastation caused by partially man made droughts and floods.

For our generations, the basic meaning of sustainability meant simply having enough to eat. Since china started adopting free enterprise in the early 1980s, an estimated 400 million have been lifted out of absolute poverty and it now has a prosperous middle class. But unrestrained growth has brought problems of its own. These include rampant corruption, growing social unrest because of the widening gap between rich and poor, and a wide array of environmental problems.

Policies

This is the part where a lot of things will be changed, as Beijing looks to tighten regulations and enforcement in critical areas of the economy to drive change. The most widely used tools to date have fallen into several categories.

Technology

With the dynamics and complexity of the issues that China faces, the role of technology (or clean tech) will play a role with Awareness and engagement campaigns

Some of the problems with NGOs,  particularly as agents of awareness. With a history of poor ties to central government, which often views NGOs with suspicion, only a few of them actually been able to gain enough traction to stability their operations.

 

Air pollution in Beijing China :

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/china-sustainability-economy-environment-ecology

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/sustainability-policy-is_b_7735064.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delaware Littering

Delaware has a sustainable laws just like other countries. There is a total of 7 sustainable laws in Delaware alone. One basic thing that is prohibited is littering.  There are penalties with disobeying the order from lawmakers not to litter. “First conviction: minimum fine of $50 and up to eight hours community service. Second conviction within two years: minimum fine of $75 and up to 25 hours community service.If the offense occurred on or along a Delaware byway, as defined in §101(a)(9) of Title 17, an additional penalty of $500 must be imposed for every first, second, and subsequent offense” (ncsl.com).  This was put into place not only to help us and the environment but it was also causing financial issues. There were thousands of bags found on the street and road ways compared to 1010 in 2007. The lawmakers spent over 14,000 just to remove them. There are signs of improvement even though the problem isn’t all the way fixed. There is still a lot of work to be done and lawmakers and implementing punishments and laws to make it all better.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/environment-and-natural-resources/states-with-littering-penalties.aspx

http://www.greenecoservices.com/category/delaware/

http://www.greenecoservices.com/taxpayer-cost-of-litter-in-delaware-over-14000/

FIFRA

Insecticide- (n.) a substance used for killing insects

Fungicide- (n.) a chemical that destroys fungus

Rodenticide- (n.) a poison used to kill rodents

People get annoyed in the summer when there are bugs always trying to bite us and take our blood. We get all itchy and bathe ourselves in bug spray. Not only do we get annoyed when bugs come to us, but we also get annoyed when they decide to make holes into the fruits and vegetables we plant during the spring and summer. There’s nothing MY dad hates more than choosing a beautiful tomato, turning it around, and realizing that some insect has already had breakfast, lunch, and dinner in that one tomato. If my dad gets annoyed with one tomato, how do farmers feel when their job requires these tomatoes, or whatever crop they have, have become infested with insects? There immediate go-to product is probably a pesticide. If there are insects? insecticide. Fungus? fungicide. Rodent? Rodenticide. Farmers end up spraying their crops with whatever they need to get rid of pests. But, how does that affect us in the long run? There is a chance that WE eat some of that pesticide. “Pesticides are used to control various pests and disease carriers, such as mosquitoes, ticks, rats and mice. Pesticides are used in agriculture to control weeds, insect infestation and diseases.” (Why We Use Pesticides n.d) We’re all probably okay with that, but, have we thought of the consequences it could have? Some pesticides could actually penetrate the skin of fruits to protect the fruit on the inside. We probably have eaten some kind of pesticide. “Pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-target plants.” (Aktar, Sengupta and Chowdhury 2009)

illud-pérou-anglais-1-2

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwjVx5720bXXAhUEwYMKHYNXCCUQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.semaine-sans-pesticides.fr%2Fdecouvrir-levenement%2Fpesticide-action-week%2F&psig=AOvVaw0x6lCEt50T1q8pfOxY0HnU&ust=1510459405194001

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) established in 1996 was made to protect human health and the environment. in 1910, the U.S. began to regulate pesticides, and over the years, it was been revised to better help the people and the earth. According to the EPA, “the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) provides for federal regulation of pesticide distribution, sale, and use. All pesticides distributed or sold in the United States must be registered (licensed) by EPA. Before EPA may register a pesticide under FIFRA, the applicant must show, among other things, that using the pesticide according to specifications ‘will not generally cause unreasonable adverse effects on the environment.'” (EPA n.d.) Pesticides are capable of hurting consumers and hurting our soil, FIFRA is controlling which pesticides are good enough to use to protect us.

Works Cited

Aktar, Wasim, Dwaipayan Sengupta, and Ashim Chowdhury. 2009. Impact of pesticides use in agriculture: their benefits and hazards. Mach. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2984095/.

n.d. EPA. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-federal-insecticide-fungicide-and-rodenticide-act.

n.d. Why We Use Pesticides. Accessed November 10, 2017. https://www.epa.gov/safepestcontrol/why-we-use-pesticides.

 

SF Commuter Benefits Ordinance

According to the EPA, “A typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year” making cars and trucks a very large contributor to global warming. As our major cities continue to grow in population size, policymakers and environmentalists are continuously looking for new ways to reduce traffic congestion to  its subsequent environmental destruction.

SFtraffic

San Francisco, one of the top 10 most sustainable cities in the country, has discovered a way to reduce vehicular carbon emissions and traffic through the implementation of the “Commuter Benefits Ordinance” (SF Environment Code Section 427).  Effective in 2009, this ordinance requires all employers with at least 20 employees, full or part time, to offer employees at least one of three pre-tax dollar benefits:

“1. A payroll-deduction program allowing employees to pay for transit passes or vanpool charges using pre-tax dollars;

2. An employer-paid public transit pass or reimbursement for equivalent vanpool charges, in an amount not to exceed the current price of a San Francisco MUNI Fast Pass ‘A’;

3. Free transportation on a company-funded bus or van between the employee’s home and place of business.”

This policy encourages employees to use pubic transit, van pooling, ride-share, or biking as their main mode of transportation. Not only does it provide economic benefits for employees, it greatly reduces their individual carbon footprint, making this policy a win/win.

It has since procured such positive results in SF that there are now nine Bay counties who have issued the ordinance. On the East Coast, New York city has also taken notice of it’s success and has implemented the same commuter benefits ordinance last year.

Other local benefits to this environmental and economical ordinance are a reduction in traffic congestion and more parking space availability. Looking at this ordinance with a wider lens, it helps to conserve oil as it lowers the demand for individuals to purchase their own car, and our dependency on foreign oil and other auto-related resources is also lowered.

“Today, commuter benefits have joined health, retirement and disability at the top of the list of voluntary benefits offered by companies. Multiple surveys show the transit benefit to be one of the most popular with employees” (commuterbenefitsworkforus.com). With such positive results and high demand, this policy stands to show continued growth across the U.S. and act as major contributor for what will hopefully be a major reduction in carbon emissions.

source: https://sfenvironment.org/sites/default/files/policy/sfe_tr_commuterbenefitsregs_reg_sfe13-01-cbo.pdf

http://www.commuterbenefitsworkforus.com/history.html