Climate Divestment Interview #2

The University Alumnus:  Kyuwon Kim(Interview conducted by Martha van Gelder, associate editor of the Green American magazine) “Universities are very sensitive to how they are portrayed.” Kyuwon Kim and two recent university graduates, Elysia Petrone and Yasmin Parodi, are attempting a unique method of pressuring universities to divest from fossil fuels. The three friends are asking Maclean’s Magazine, a current affairs publication that annually ranks Canadian universities, to add an “ethical investment” ranking to its report. Green America/Martha van Gelder: How did you get involved with the divestment movement? Kyuwon Kim: I met Elysia and Yasmin at a workshop in Toronto that was run by the Sierra Youth Coalition back in October. The three of us had a big interest in the divestment campaign because we came from different 350.org chapters, which inspired us to take action. Green America/Martha: How did you get the idea to use the universities’ rankings as a way to encourage them to take action? It is such a unique approach! Kim: At the end of each year, Maclean’s publish a universities issue in which it ranks Canadian universities based on class size, funding, reputation, student support, etc. Most Canadian high school students use it when they search for universities. I used it myself! We noticed that there was nothing that mentioned ethical investment, so we started a petition asking Maclean’s to include information in its university rankings that reference the ethicality of their endowments. Green […]

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New Tool for Fossil Fuel Divestment

The Fossil Free Index tracks the stock market’s performance, minus the oil, gas, and coal industries.  Given the link between burning fossil fuels and global climate change, financial professionals are increasingly searching for investment opportunities that exclude oil, gas, and coal companies. Fossil-Free Indexes LLC (FFI), an environmental, social, and governance index and research company released its first broad American market fossil-free index last week. The announcement of the new index is a timely contribution to the growing fossil fuel company divestment movement across the country.  Market indices represent the value of an entire stock market at a single moment, and may be used to track changes over time. The Fossil-Free Index is based on the Standard & Poor’s 500 index, omitting any fossil fuel companies identified by FFI’s “The Carbon Underground 200,” a proprietary list cataloguing some of the most carbon-intensive investment options. The release of the index, coming in the same week as the Rhodium Group’s “Risky Business” report on the broad economic effects of climate change, strengthens the message that a warming globe is most certainly not good for businesses. As rising temperatures and more intense weather events become commonplace, so do the risks of damage to critical infrastructure and natural resources. By seeking out opportunities for economic growth while minimizing the negative effects of greenhouse gas emissions (by decentivizing them altogether), investors can help shift focus away from climate- damaging fossil fuels, and towards efficient, clean, […]

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Businesses Nationwide Support Methane Regulation

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Businesses nationwide are speaking up in favor of climate regulation.  The US Chamber of Commerce often gives the impression that businesses oppose environmental regulation. But across the country, thousands upon thousands of businesses are speaking out and saying that well-crafted regulations of carbon emissions are good for businesses. There is increasing evidence that fracking for natural gas is harming local communities […]

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Green Businesses Nationally Support Clean Power Plan

Twenty-five business groups, including Green America, representing a broad range of industries and regions nationwide, announced on March 31, 2016, that they are filing a friend of the court brief (an “amicus brief”) in support of the national Clean Power Plan, the strongest action to-date for addressing climate change. The groups say that unrestrained climate change will burden national, state and local economies with increased costs and business disruptions from droughts, flooding, reduced agriculture productivity, extreme weather, rising seas, and other disturbances. In addition they point out that the Clean Power Plan will boost economic growth by generating new market-based solutions and new jobs in renewable energy. The Clean Power Plan has been challenged in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Given the current vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court and the potential for a 4-4 deadlock, the decision of the Circuit Court takes on greater importance. Leading the groups is the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC), which has a membership network spanning more than 200,000 businesses. Richard Eidlin, Vice President of Policy and Campaigns, said: “This powerful coalition of business organizations believes that the Clean Power Plan is our country’s best current hope for addressing climate change – a major threat to all businesses. It calls for significant reductions of greenhouse gases and wisely provides states abundant flexibility in how to cut emissions. This enables states to take advantage of developing trends, such as in renewable energy and […]

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Sustainable Businesses Take a National Stage at 2016 Green Festivals

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Sustainable businesses have never been more important. Going green for businesses has the power to make massive changes in our systems –  from the old ways of consuming massive resources to new ways that address climate change and resource protection. At the Green Festival Expos, businesses come together to show the enormous capacity they have to reduce environmental and social impacts. […]

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Why Allergy Sufferers and The Sleep-Deprived Find Relief With A Natural Latex Mattress

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Guest post by Cheryl Hahn, Owner, CozyPure(R), certified member of Green America’s Green Business Network NATURE’S ABSOLUTE BEST MATTRESS MATERIAL In 1931, the world’s first latex mattress was introduced as an alternative to horsehair, kapok and cotton batting. The features were appealing. It didn’t have to be flipped, it stayed fresh, it stayed responsive, supportive, and it kept its shape. […]

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Why 2016 Is the Year of Solar

Guest post from EnergySage, a partner for clean energy 2016 is poised to be the best year yet for solar. At some time during the next few months, the U.S. will reach a milestone of one million solar homes, and industry experts predict that this solar momentum will continue throughout the year. If you’ve been thinking about installing a solar energy system, 2016 is the year to go for it. Read on to find out why we’re now beginning the Year of Solar. Solar is more accessible than ever in 2016  The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research are predicting that the costs of going solar will continue to drop in 2016, while electricity prices are going to continue to increase. Lower costs mean that it will take even less time for consumers to achieve payback on their solar investment, and in 2015, the average national payback period for solar shoppers in the EnergySage Solar Marketplace was just 7.5 years! Solar panels generate electricity for 25 to 35 years, and a shorter payback period means you benefit from more free electricity over the lifetime of your solar energy system. Experts agree that low-cost solar financing options are necessary to support homeowners installing solar. In 2016, it’s becoming easier than ever to access solar financing, thanks to new state-level initiatives like Massachusetts’ Mass Solar Loan program. Programs like Mass Solar Loan offer low-interest fixed-term solar loans to homeowners, and sometimes offer additional support to solar shoppers who meet particular income requirements.   Government […]

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