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

 

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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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

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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.

 

Death and Carbon Taxes

In order to combat the effects of climate change, the government of British Columbia instituted a carbon tax which began in 2008. This tax attempted to curb carbon dioxide emissions by gradually increasing the tax over time from $5 to $30 a ton. Natural gas and other types of consumer fuel also have taxes ranging from 5 to 7 cents per liter. With the province of British Columbia being a hub of ecotourism and industry this legislation was implemented to preserve the environment for future generations.  

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ET Photography 

 

The carbon tax has been largely effective in reducing carbon dioxide emissions with an overall reduction of 5.5% from 2007 to 2014. Due to the revenue generated by the carbon tax, many other corporate and income taxes were able to be cut by the government. As a result, the economy in the province has steadily grown with companies and individuals recognizing its commitment to more sustainable and healthy living. In order to get more companies and individuals to adhere to these regulations would require more gradual increases to the tax.

Environmental issues are often the subject of intense scrutiny by national governments as political parties struggle to gain the support of voters which results in a lack of effective legislation. However, as evidenced by the province of British Columbia legislation on a smaller scale can prove to be immensely effective and serve as a foundation for nationwide reform goals and policies.

Sources:

Environment, Ministry of. “British Columbia’s Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax.” Province of British Columbia, Province of British Columbia, 7 Apr. 2017, www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/climate-change/planning-and-action/carbon-tax.

Porter, Eduardo. “Does a Carbon Tax Work? Ask British Columbia.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 1 Mar. 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/02/business/does-a-carbon-tax-work-ask-british-columbia.html.

Proposition 67: California Plastic Bag Ban

California Plastic Bag Ban

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In November of 2016, Californians voted and approved Proposition 67, banning single use plastic bags from retailers across the state. Shoppers are forced to bring their own reusable bags or pay ten cents to receive a recycled paper bag. This takes what is being done in Chicago to the next level, banning all plastic bags and truly stopping them from polluting the environment. Plastic bags use non-renewable materials in the production process, and use a considerable amount of energy to make and transport across the country. They are difficult to break down in landfills and frequently pollute the environment. A state of this size taking such an initiative can really set the pace for progress in this country. Furthermore, companies that collect garbage in California are already reporting a decrease in litter one year after the passing of the ban.

1. What is its purpose and what issues prompted the rule to be put into effect in the first place?

Plastic bags are extremely wasteful and harm the environment. By banning them at the state level, the goal was to reduce the amount of litter and remove this difficult to recycle item out of stores.

3. Has it been productive? If yes, in what ways? If not, what can be done to encourage people to abide by these regulations?

This has been productive. Charging a fee for providing a bag has increased the number of reusable bag users, and litter from plastic bag use has decreased dramatically. Less plastic bags harming the environment and less going into the landfills. The pricing aspect has truly worked here, much like it does in Chicago, however, California really takes it a step further by banning them altogether.

Sources:

“What’s So Bad About Plastic Bags?” Onegreenplanet.org, One Green Planet, 17 Dec. 2014, http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/whats-so-bad-about-plastic-bags/.

Luna, Taryn. “Californians Say Farewell to the Plastic Bag.” Sacbee.com, The Sacramento Bee, 10 Nov. 2016, http://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article113898813.html.

Rosengren, Cole. “Cleanup Crews Report Litter Reduction One Year after California Passes Bag Ban.” Wastedive.com, Waste Dive, 9 Nov. 2017, http://www.wastedive.com/news/cleanup-crews-report-litter-reduction-one-year-after-california-passes-bag/510504/.

Waste management in German

In German, the waste management was the fundamental policy of environmental protection act. The basic concern of this policy is trying to avoid waste and keep the waste recycled. The first uniform national waste disposal act in German, the Abfallbeseitigungsgesetz (AbfG), was adopted in 1972. During the last century, German faced a lot of disasters that was caused by pollution. Based on that, Germany noticed environmental protection was necessary and urgently. Therefore, they promulgate a series of laws and regulation which related to the environmental protection.

The basic act of waste management in German is the sorting of garbage. Germany separate garbage based on a lot of usages, such as glass, paper or food waste. All of the garbage should be sorted and throw to the specific place where they belong to. Sometimes there will have polices who are specifically charged for garbage go to people’s house to check how they sort their garbages. After people sort the garbage, the transport verticals will send them to the place where they can be recycled. A lot of other countries didn’t even start sort garbage in people’s life. Then, unsorted waste will cause more issues for recycling. Therefore, asking people to sort garbage would be the first step in managing waste.

The waste management act is the policy that asks people to join in by themselves. When people start to notice and emphasize the importance of protecting the environment, waste management will be the next step for people to acting. Usually, we try to improve environment after it already been polluted. It is the issue for a lot of countries. It would spend longer time for us improving the environment than protecting it at the beginning. I think people should focus on the waste and recycling issues in order to create a sustainable world.

“german AbfG”的图片搜索结果“german waste management”的图片搜索结果

Sources:

http://www.umweltbundesamt.de/en/topics/waste-resources/waste-management/waste-regulations

http://germanlawarchive.iuscomp.org/?p=303

https://www.howtogermany.com/pages/recycling.html

Clean Water Act of 1972

Passed in 1972, the Clean Water Act was a response to the nearly unchecked dumping of pollution into our waterways. At the time, two-thirds of the country’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters had become unsafe for fishing or swimming. Untreated sewage was being dumped into open water. The goal of the Clean Water Act was to reduce pollution in all U.S. waters to “restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of our nation’s waters.” The law called for “zero discharge of pollutants into navigable waters by 1985, and fishable and swimmable waters by 1983.” The Clean Water Act (CWA) established the basic guidelines for regulating the release of pollutants into the waters of the United States and is responsible for regulating quality standards for surface waters. The foundation of the CWA was enacted in 1948 and was called the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, but the Act was significantly expanded in 1972 and the “Clean Water Act” became the Act’s common name.

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Under the CWA, the EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. The EPA has also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters. The CWA made it unlawful to discharge any pollutant from a point source into navigable waters, unless a permit was obtained. Point sources are discrete passages such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need to obtain a permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.

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The Clean Water Act has been instrumental in improving the health of rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. It has stopped billions of pounds of pollution from fouling the water, and dramatically increased the number of waterways that are safe from swimming and fishing. Even with all the progress made after 30 years of regulation, water pollution is still a big problem in the U.S. Today, 40% of the rivers, 46% of the lakes, and 51% of the estuaries monitored are said to be contaminated further highlighting the importance of the CWA.

 

Sources

https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/summary-clean-water-act

https://www.boem.gov/Environmental-Stewardship/Environmental-Assessment/CWA/index.aspx

Using the Past to Move Forward (Japan’s Basic Environment Law)

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One of Japan’s many environmental policies/regulations include the Basic Environment Law & Plan. The Basic Environment Plan was initially put into place in December 1994 using the Law as a guideline. Before the Basic Environment Law, however, most policies involving environment were based on the Nature Conservation Law & the Basic Law for Environmental Pollution Control. In order to sustain these two laws and their efforts to preserve the environment & crack down on pollution caused by manufacturing, the laws had to be revised to react to the rapid urbanization of Japan (which brought into conception the Basic Environment Law). The law aims to build society in Japan in a way that is environmentally and economically stable while simultaneously contributing to global conservational efforts. It also addresses a number of issues including: the responsibility of the state, local governments, corporations, and citizens, prevention of air, water, and radioactive pollution, and more. Not only do Japan’s policies target large corporations to cut down on mass waste and consumption, the individual also plays a large role in its policy. Some of the more specific parts of the law require the address of the prime minister, especially those with concerning highly polluted areas of Japan. Over time, Japan has adapted the law to such areas after large incidents of mercury & cadmium poisoning and related deaths. Overall, however, the laws have proven to be quite effective in some areas and has shown to curb pollution in Japan whilst still allowing for growth of the nation. Today, Japan is also noted for being one of the least polluted countries worldwide, while still being one of the most advanced. Much of this can be attributed to the many fines that are enforced through the Basic Environment Law and many of the policies that fall under it.

Sources:

https://www.env.go.jp/en/laws/policy/basic_lp.html

http://www.env.go.jp/en/laws/policy/basic/ch1.html

Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006

Back in 2006, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a landmark piece of legislation in an unprecedented bid to fix California’s air pollution problem. The general goal of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is to use the power of regulation to create the fourth largest in the world cap-and-trade system for carbon-based emissions to reduce the state’s output of greenhouse gasses to 1990 levels by the year 2020 or about a 30% total reduction in pollution. The law itself has been a slow implementation of much of the enforcement not coming online until around 2012. This was done allow the California Air Resources Board to draft more specific regulations as well as to give corporations time to reduce their emissions before the lawfully took effect. Overall the system has been very productive as a revenue-generating machine with over two billion of CO2 allowances sold with most of that money going toward pollution mitigation projects such as California’s High-Speed-Rail project. However, the law has had less of an effect on overall emissions due to the enormous number of personal vehicles in the state. However, this may soon change due to the law soon affecting gasoline wholesalers that could raise gas prices anywhere from 13 cents to upwards to 50 cents per gallon by 2020. The hope is that these higher gas prices will discourage people from using their polluting cars and onto greener public transportation. Unfortunately, while the cap-and-trade systems are used in Europe and Asia their implementation at a national level in America has been historically difficult. On top of that, it is very doubtful the current administration would even consider any of these policies. Regardless a nationwide implementation of the system currently used in California will most likely be needed in the future to combat the ever-growing threat of climate change.

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Sources:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-jerry-brown-climate-change-1500992377-htmlstory.html

https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-cap-and-trade-is-working-in-california-1411937795

https://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/capandtrade/capandtrade.htm

https://www.c2es.org/content/california-cap-and-trade/