Getting Green on the Road

Seth-LeitmanElectric cars are cool, electric cars are fun, electric cars don’t pollute the air we breathe, so why aren’t there more of them on the road? My co-host Brian Horowtiz and I chat about this and other topics, with my guest Seth Leitman, Green Living Guy. Seth is an EV car aficionado, and author of a series of books called the Green Guru Guides. He is working with the Solarize initiative in Westchester County to promote solar energy. Seth will be lecturing and touring colleges this Spring, to spread the word about green living. For more information go to greenlivingguy.com

 

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1602: Slick Water

slick-water-andrew-nikifourkIt is no secret that mainstream media coverage of environmental issues is slow-moving, and many stories go un-reported in the press. Climate change deniers spout their ideology with reckless abandon. Enter my guest this week, Andrew Nikiforuk, an award winning environmental writer based in Calgary, Canada, who has written a new book about the hydraulic fracturing industry entitled Slick Water: Fracking and One Insider’s Stand Against the World’s Most Powerful Industry. The book traces the saga of Jessica Ernst, and the path she takes to hold Encana Oil and Canada’s environmental government agencies, responsible for secretly fracking hundreds of gas wells around her home, in a rural area northeast of Calgary. A cover-up ensues, which leads Ms. Ernst to take legal action against the various parties for their role in contaminating land, water and air in her community. For more information andrewnikiforuk.com and to amazon.com to check out his new and older works.

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What the Climate Accord Means at Home

By Susan Lutz

treaty-paris-UN
Photo by UN.org

With the agreement of a landmark accord reached between 196 nations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and commit to truly working towards change, the planet has a chance to survive. We have a shot at making it.

Something happened when I heard the news of the accord. I didn’t rush to look up all the details of the agreement. Instead of wondering about the facts, I felt a sense of peace. It was as if what we do on the local level and in our homes really does matter. When nations all over the globe decided to finally get to work on these issues, get our priorities straightened out, and look the problem in the eye, it made the daily tasks I do in my home actually feel like they make a difference.

If the nations had fought to no avail, looked the other way, or ignored the problem, and gone home without an agreement, I think all of us would have felt a little differently. Perhaps in a subtle way, we might have stopped working so hard. We might have lost hope. It is hard to fight such a large battle without the unity of nations and without leadership at the highest levels.

Now, I can look again at my habits that help curb waste, lower greenhouse gases, and bring stability and life into our existence. Sorting out trash and recycling, and using that glass bottle over and over again, doesn’t seem like wasted effort. Taking the bus or carpooling feels like a good choice. Buying less stuff finally feels like it adds up to a real solution.

With acknowledgement at the highest levels, we can now look optimistically towards our future. It’s time to look into new ways to lower my impact on the planet. None of this change is easy, but we’ve spent too much time taking the easy way out. There’s something we can do every day to change things for the better.

Now that the big players are part of the game, we have a chance at winning.

WECAN: Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network

Maxine-Abba-Meg_2This weeks episode takes us to the Global Women’s Climate Justice Day of Action at the UN, sponsored by the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN). This event was attended by women from over 50 countries. To have such a collection of amazing women in one place, who presented stories of courage and resilience in combating climate change was deeply touching. Women play a key role in adapting solutions to climate change, and it was an honor to speak with WECAN founder Osprey Lake, environmentalist visionary Sally Ranney, as well as Neha Misra founder of Solar Sister, Harriet Shugarman Executive Director of ClimateMama, Executive Director of CELF Katie Ginsberg and student Coreena, and Patricia Gualinga-Montalvo, Indigenous Leader of Ecuador, whose interview was translated by Amazon Watch’s Executive Director Leila Salazar-López. For more information visit wecaninternational.org

 

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COP21

michael-charles-tobias-the-many-shades-of-green

“Between its celebrations of privilege, and the angst of its reckonings, human life gathers unto itself a chaos of contradictions… If we are ceaseless tamperers, we are also from time to time unobtrusive, Though we shout, so may we whisper.” (Michael Charles Tobias, quote from his work, After Eden: History, Ecology and Conscience) My guest this week is Michael C. Tobias, President of Dancing Star Foundation, who is a global ecologist, humanitarian, explorer, author, filmmaker, educator and animal rights activist. 195 nations are set to converge in Paris, a city recently struck by incomprehensible acts of terrorism, for the COP 21 (Conference of Parties), with the hopes of reaching an agreement to to set limits on carbon emissions to reduce the detrimental effects of global warming. Rich and poor nations must gather to form partnerships to be agents of change, rather than agents of destruction. Negative ideology has to be redirected, and ethics, compassion and morality, along with science and technology must lead the way to solutions. For more information go to www.dancingstarfoundation.org

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#1538: NY Senator Liz Krueger

liz-krueger-500How compassionate is the New York State Compassionate Care Act of 2014 legalizing the use of medical marijuana? My guest this week, New York State Senator Liz Krueger, a lead advocate for legalizing marijuana for both medicinal and also for recreational use, gives us some insight into the pros and cons of the current bill, and why it needs to be enhanced to allow coverage for more diseases. Senator Krueger has also sponsored the Fossil Fuel Divestment Act to limit the investment in oil and gas stocks in NYS pension funds. For more information go to: nysenate.gov/senators/Liz-Kruger or send a tweet @LizKrueger

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#1529: Going Solar, Baby!

Vote-Solar-the-many-shades-of-green“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun and I say, it’s alright.” – George Harrison

New York State is committed to achieve 50% renewable energy by the year 2030. The Shared Renewable Program is part of that push, and Governor Cuomo recently stated that “this program is about protecting the environment and ensuring that all New Yorkers, regardless of their zip code or income, have the opportunity to access clean and affordable power.” This week’s show takes us to the #Solar4All Community Celebration sponsored by Solar One and Vote Solar. We heard from the NYS Energy Czar Richard Kaufman, as well as many other New York elected officials, who have worked to get this program off the ground. We spoke to Peter Olmsted and Adam Browning of Vote Solar, who are instrumental is developing policy for solar projects in New York, and beyond. We also spoke to Elana Laichena, Program Manager for Here Comes Solar, a project of Solar One, which promotes many solar initiatives. The Shared Renewable Program will help improve neighborhood health, resiliency and create opportunity, as renters, businesses, and homeowners will be able to participate in renewable energy projects, and receive tax credits on their utility bills. For more information go to votesolar.org, herecomessolar.nyc and sharedrenewables.org

#1529: Going solar, baby! by The Many Shades Of Green on Mixcloud

#1528: Green Summer Special

Betsy-Imerschein-of-the-E.-4th-St.-Cultural-District-The-Many-Shades-of-GreenIt’s summer time, which means that your inner zen takes control, and dreams of lush green forests, cool lakes, warm oceans and tropical gardens become reality. Be a sustainable citizen, consider the environment, and tool around in an electric car. While camping, keep the bugs away with natural herbal products. Join me and my guests this week, Rusti (Paula) Wolintz, realtor extraordinaire, BFF and electric car owner to be. Bonnie Rogers, expert herbalist and founder of Bonnie’s Herbals, and Brian Horowitz, my co-host today, who is the host of The Rock and Roll History Show. Our discussion takes us from consumer concerns about plug-in vehicles to how lavender can keep mosquitos away. For more information, go to bonniesherbals.com, electric-vehiclenews.com, and rvvagabond.com.

#1528: Green Summer Special by The Many Shades Of Green on Mixcloud

#1525: 2015 Clearwater Music Festival

Abba-and-M-clearwaterNeither rain, nor fog, nor soggy dew could dampen the spirit of the Clearwater 2015 Festival. We spoke to many environmental activists and green entrepreneurs who are creating ideas, and spreading the message about the need to be proactive stewards of Mother Earth. Music echoed throughout the festival, with many performers motivating the populace to take a stand and raise their voices on environmental and social justice issues. Music icon David Crosby, sang new songs with lyrics that commented on the nation’s current state of affairs, and implored people to email, call or show up at the offices of their elected officials and make some noise. Pete Seeger would have been proud to see his vision perpetuated. For more info go to clearwater.org.

#1525: 2015 Clearwater Music Festival by The Many Shades Of Green on Mixcloud

#1512: Man Swarm

Dave-ForemanWhat comes first, the Earth or Earthlings? There are a lot of us humans on the planet, and we have to start thinking about keeping our numbers down. Join me and my guest Dave Foreman, activist, author, and founder of Earth First!, the Wildlands Project, and the Rewilding Institute, as we discuss his latest work, a new revised of edition of his popular title, MAN SWARM: How Overpopulation is Killing the Wild World, which is co-authored with Laura Carroll, author of The Baby Matrix. Population is one factor in the environmental degradation of the planet. Should there be a one child policy in the US or should we stop having babies altogether? What can be done to solve this problem? Tune in to find out. For more information go to rewilding.org

#1509: Bedford 2020

Bedford2020_trans-01This week’s program takes place at the Bedford 2020 Summit and Solar Action Day. We spoke to Andrew Revkin, writer of the Dot Earth Blog for the New York Times, as well as Peter Olmsted, East Coast Regional Director for Vote Solar. We also spoke to Mayor Michael Cindrich of Mt. Kisco, NY about the solar projects on his agenda. Keynote Speaker Amory Lovins, of The Rocky Mountain Institute, spoke about new energy technologies that are on the horizon for the future of electricity. It was a gathering of innovators, educators and community, all working to promote solar and other renewable energy, in an effort to help create actionable solutions to green house gas emissions. A special thank you to Heather Flournoy for her hard work and hospitality. For more information go to bedford2020.org, dotearthblogs.nytimes.com and votesolar.org

Victory or Failure at Lima COP 20?

lima_cop2By Mikey Kohlberg

There is no time to waste on Climate Change, so I will dive right into this week’s post! According to this United Nations Press Release, the COP 20 climate talks held in Lima, Peru earlier this December were intended to “Build on New York City’s UN Climate Summit of September of 2014” after the #PeoplesClimateMarch. The talks that center around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, or SDG’s, seem simple enough when you take a look (Please check them out!). However, they are ideals that run into real world complications from corporate and political interests which often compete with environmental and humanitarian needs. My goal in blogging to you, dear reader, is to summarize how some of these complications relate to 2014’s COP 20 results and the future of international climate negotiation.

According to the UN Press Release, there have been concrete accomplishments that set the stage for next year’s Climate Summit in Paris. Naturally, the UN is going to say positive things about their own conference, so their boastings need to be taken with a few grains of salt.

One such area of contention that seems to be sugar coated is the global commitment to financing the mitigation of climate change. Apparently for the first time ever, total assets of the Green Climate Fund were measured at around $10.2 billion US dollars. This is in response to the pledge of industrialized nations to raise $100bn by 2020 for “concrete mitigation actions“, which was agreed upon in the Cancun Conferences of 2010. Although this sounds like good news, it is still unclear if these industrialized nations are taking mitigation steps seriously. Are they just an effort to look good in front of the World? Is the money really being promised with a legitimate effort at mitigating climate change?

Ahmed Sareer, negotiator for the Maldives, voices his concern in a Guardian article saying, “There has been a clear commitment of $100bn a year but how are we really being offered? Even when they make those pledges how do we know how much is going to materialise? There is no point of knowing that behind the wall there is a big source of funds available unless we can reach it. We are told it is there in a nice showcase, but we don’t get to meet it. We don’t get to access it. These are difficult issues for us.”

Also, the Environment Minister of India, Prakash Javadekar, expressed his disappointment towards the developed nations pledge of $100 billion by 2020:

We are upset that 2011, 2012, 2013 – three consecutive years – the developed world provided $10bn each year for climate action support to the developing world, but now they have reduced it. Now they are saying $10bn is for four years, so it is $2.5bn”

Although some aspects of the conference seem to be positive at a first glance, many times with UN Climate Conferences there is more to the story. Another self-proclaimed achievement of the COP 20 in Lima notes that many Latin American countries have submitted their carbon emissions measurements. The UN says this data would encourage funding for UN programs like REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) and allow them to sell off undeveloped forest regions for carbon offsetting. And although REDD is widely supported- even by Jane Goodall, who is seen as one of the world’s leading environmental activists- as a good solution to deforestation, there is serious controversy as to whether the organization helps to reduce deforestation and carbon emissions.

Anne Peterson, from the Global Justice Ecology Project, reveals in a Democracy Now! interview that ,“REDD is really — has been designed as a way for — and is being pushed by the United States — as a way for industries and Northern countries, industrialized nations, to avoid actually reducing their emissions at the source. So, countries and companies can continue polluting by saying that they’re protecting forests somewhere else that will supposedly sequester the carbon that they’re putting out into the atmosphere. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely no credible science behind the notion of offsets. So, in fact, what’s going to happen is, because they’re not reducing their pollution, because they’re not reducing their carbon emissions, global warming will continue, which will inevitably damage, destroy and completely eliminate forests.”

But proponents of REDD’s implementation say that it reduces emissions while respecting indigenous rights. Steve Zwick writes in his article in The AnthropoZine that “Indigenous people have traditionally been the best stewards of the forest, and well-run REDD Projects aim to harness this stewardship by partnering with them.”

Others disagree. Chief Ninawa Huni Kui, president of the Federation of the Huni Kui and an indigenous rights activist in Brazil, traveled to Lima for the COP 20 to voice the opposition of 10,400 indigenous Brazilians in 90 villages. In Amy Goodman’s interview, he says, “We are saying that the climate change proposals that the government is tabling here at the United Nations are false solutions to climate change. Specifically, we are here to denounce REDD—R-E-D-D, Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation.” He states in the same interview that, “The impacts (of REDD) are the following: The community is no longer to fish in their own land, to cultivate food, to practice agriculture. All of these activities are banned and have been declared illegal, and people are jailed if they participate in agriculture or go fishing.”

So basically, the holistic goodness of REDD remains a controversy that is intricately woven with indigenous rights and international policy. Perhaps I will cover this controversy in depth at a later date, so until then, stayed tuned! I hope my words here spark your interest and participation in these climate change debates because they are shaping our future. The climate crisis is dire and needs real action. We at TMSOG want all the good-hearted people in the world to be informed so that hopefully we can have a unified political voice aimed at making the world a slightly better place to live in, if not for us, then for our grandchildren. As Dr. Emanuel Bronner, the magic soap creator, preached, “We are all One, or None!