Friday, March 29, 2013

This Week in Sustainability: 03/22-03/29

So in our effort to stay relevant we have decided to pay more attention to the news.  It's important to understand what others are doing, and to see the whole picture as well as the details.  So without further ado, I present to you the Sustainabilty Club's first installment of what I hope to be a weekly publication.

This Week in Sustainability 

"Portland argues the definition of "Sustainable."

From: All Things Writing
This week's Portland Business Journal is taking a stab at symantix, as it debates what it really means to be "Sustainable."  As many logicians would tell you definition is key to correct debate, so I'm interested to see their outcome.  I have personally felt for a while now that the term has been overused and underexplained; or in  some cases abused for the sake of business or politics.  As Ecotrust President Astrid Scholz puts it, “You don’t have to care about ‘sustainability’ to use it,” she said. “You can attract dumb capital, so to speak, just by virtue of getting a financial return and getting it to do the right thing.”1  

If we continue to simply slap the sustainable label on anything that we want, we will continue to have a bloated market of overpriced, limited-use products.  Mr. Mason Walker2 Feels that even though the term is "clunky" its definition will have little impact on the market, due to the innovative nature of trying to be sustainable.  Either way I feel that by opening up the conversation more we can increase the chance of people and companies actually taking that route.

Related articles:

"Distill Sustainably; Drink Responsibly"

From: Lee Howell Photography
I want to give a shout out to Bacardi Limited for reducing their Greenhouse Gasses by 16% and increasing their water efficiency by 11% in 2012.  This is added to the fact that their company goals were only 1% for both categories!  Rather than just meeting the mark and calling it a day they produced solutions to create across the board more eco-friendly products.  Besides those two, Bacardi has been covering some major ground these past few years I've come to find out.  I highly recommend you checking this article out for the numbers!3  Also if you'd like to check out their fiscal report you can find that here.4

Related articles:

"Sustain Louisville"

From: Capstone 2013
Mayor Greg Fischer of Louisville Kentucky has made the final changes to the city's FIRST Sustainability project.  *I am so freaking excited about this one!*  So the plan is made up of 19 Goals and 63 Initiatives all aiming at beautification, community growth, and ecological consideration!  They are starting with themselves, as they'll be decreasing their Government Buildings' energy usage by 30% over the next five years.  They are also going to be revolutionizing their stoplight system and general roadways to decrease Transportation related emissions 20% by 2020. Though, with what they are proposing I can see that number going even higher.  In part, to do this they are going to be launching a massive biking and walking campaigns.  Please check out their main page5 and you can be sure that I will be following this project in the future!

These are just a few to mention, cited from James Bruggers who wrote the article I first found.6

Sustain Louisville has 19 goals. Here are some: 
• Increase recycling citywide by 25 percent by 2015. 
• Divert 50 percent of waste from landfill by 2025 and 90 percent by 2042. 
• Reduce vehicle miles traveled by 20 percent by 2025. 
• Expand local food system by 20 percent by 2018. 
• Decrease energy use citywide per person by 25 percent by 2025. 
• Mitigate risks of climate change impact by 2018. 
• Establish robust urban tree canopy by 2018.

Related Articles:

"Los Angeles to be first Coal Free city by 2025"

From: Coal Free UNC
So I wanted to wrap this up with some news local to our community. I just found out about this today, though it was announced March 22cnd.  Currently our city's energy consumption is about 39% coal coming from 2 sources, Utah and Arizona. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is planning on letting our contract with the Arizona mine expire without renewal in 2015, and converting the plant in Utah to produce Natural Gas.  This is a major step forward and I hope to see bluer skies in my great city.  For more on this check out the Los Angeles Times' article7, National Geographic's Article8, or check out the National Sierra Club's video9 below!

Related Articles:

So there you have it! Those are just a small slice of the great work going on in our country and will no doubt become inspiration for more to follow.  It was a great learning experience and I hope you enjoyed it too!  Please share this with your friends and followers and be sure to check in next Friday as we bring to you:

This week in Sustainability.

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