The One Planet, One Life Blogger

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Oct 13

Idea 16: Sustainable Building

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainableenergyeconomicsconsumptionconsumer

Professor of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin

In the summer of 1999, I received a call from Laura Bush. She and then-governor George Bush wanted a design for a house that would blend into the landscape of an extraordinary piece of land they had just purchased in Crawford, Texas. We talked at length about environmental systems, and Laura was clear at the outset that they wanted to do everything possible to protect the land. It is exceptionally beautiful, with deep bluffs, streams and stands of native live oak.

The house is designed to use a quarter to a third of the energy of a normal house its size. With some modification, it could run entirely off the grid. There are dozens of features that contribute,

Oct 06

Idea 15: Efficiency

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainableenvironmentenergyeconomicsconsumptionconsumer

Mayor of Salt Lake City

In Salt Lake City, we've been able to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in our municipal operations by 31 percent in four years. We've eliminated 143 cars from the city's light vehicle fleet, and replaced 41 SUVs with smaller, more efficient cars. By retrofitting all city and county buildings with compact fluorescent bulbs, we save the city $33,000 a year. We then invest one third of that in wind power, making Salt Lake City the state's largest purchaser of wind power. We also changed all the city's traffic lights from incandescent bulbs to LED lights, which saves about $50,000 a year in electricity while also reducing annual carbon emissions by 500 tons. Those are just a few small, easy changes that net

Sep 29

idea 14: Sustainable agriculture

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainablematerialismconsumer

Executive director, Environmental Sustainability for Aveda

Since our inception in 1978, our focus has been on producing plant-based personal-care products. Currently, 90 percent of the essential oils that go into our products are certified organic, and, as we continue to learn about the functionality of plants, we are able to use even more. That's been a lot of work for our suppliers. In terms of the industry, we're certainly a leader, as a lot of companies have come into organics. In the scope of personal- care products, we're small but we've been a catalyst for so much change. The packaging of products, to how stores get designed, we're always getting chased. So it's good to see the big players step in and say there's some

Sep 22

Idea 13: Our earth is in critical condition and we are the life support

Posted by Will Adams in sustainablemodern worldglobal warmingenvironmentenergyawareness

President, The Apollo Alliance

Today the environment is at the forefront of everyone's thoughts, not only in this country but also worldwide. I haven't seen an issue with such a magnetic capacity to bring people together since the Civil Rights movement.

Excessive temperatures have a greater impact on the poor who have less access to air conditioning and proper heating. Poor people have less access to health care to deal with climate-related medical problems. Water is a major problem worldwide, either because there's too much of it-the poor tend to live in flood zones-or not enough that's safe to drink.

The most powerful mechanism of change is our right to vote. We have the ability to elect officials who are going to focus on and

Sep 15

Idea 12: A chance to fix a neighborhood

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainablemodern worldeducationeconomics

Executive Director And Founder, Sustainable South Bronx

A chance to fix a neighborhood
There is a huge hole in our economic fabric where clean tech should be. And residents of this community can be trained to fill these "green collar" jobs. Instead of all these economic-growth agencies pushing for stadiums or big-box stores where the average wage is $7 an hour, the city could invest in cleaner transportation systems such as barges and rail lines to connect us to the rest of the city. We could take all the waste grease from the food industry that now gets trucked here for disposal and process it instead into biodiesel fuel. Workers will install "green roofs" on commercial buildings, which will provide cooling and generate

Sep 08

Idea 11: The ocean's food chain is at risk

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainableoceansglobal warmingfisheriesenvironmenteducationecosystemconsumptionclimate changeawareness

President of H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics and The Environment

The ocean's food chain is at risk
We were one of the first to call attention to the acidification of the oceans. The oceans take up a huge amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year. A portion of that carbon gets turned into carbonic acid, so that the more carbon dioxide there is in the atmosphere, the more acidic the oceans become. The oceans are now 30 percent more acidic than they were before the Industrial Revolution. It's the most chilling change I've seen in my professional career. If it continues, tiny organisms at the base of the food chain will have their shells dissolve while the animals are still alive. It will

Sep 01

Idea 10: New stores will use less energy

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainableenvironmentenergyconsumptionconsumer

Vice President for Sustainability, Wal-Mart

New stores will use less energy
Hurricane Katrina was a big turning point for us. It showed us that we've got a role we can play that might be greater than we realized. Two years later, we have prototype stores-the first is in Kansas City, Mo. It uses LED lighting in the freezers, and a heating and cooling system without a fan. That store uses 20 percent less energy than a store we'd have opened in 2005. One product we're promoting heavily are compact fluorescent light bulbs, or CFLs. They account for only 5 percent of light-bulb sales, but at Wal-Mart we've been redoing our aisles to make CFLs more visible. Today 20 or 30 percent of the light-bulb aisles will be CFLs, mostly at eye

Aug 25

Idea 9: Small changes quickly add up

Posted by Will Adams in educationawarenessactivism

President and Founder, Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology At Hackensack University Medical Center, N.J.

Small changes quickly add up
We are only as healthy as our planet. And, unfortunately, it's obvious that we're not doing a good job in keeping our planet healthy for our children. It's clear to me and to many experts in the field that environmental toxins play a role in some childhood cancers and other illnesses. But people get overwhelmed. They believe the problem is just too big. When people saw "An Inconvenient Truth," they were saying, "How can I save the glaciers? How can I save the polar bears?" All you have to do is make simple changes. Most of us use the same cleaning products our mothers used.

Aug 18

Idea 8: God told us to protect his earth

Posted by Will Adams in goddivinecreatorcreationawarenessawakeningawaken

Vice President for Government Affairs, National Association of Evangelicals

God told us to protect his earth
The protection of the environment is a Biblically rooted epic task straight from God. The status quo [of how we are treating the earth] is simply unacceptable. The idea that we can continue as a nation without exhibiting leadership to the rest of the world in this crisis is simply anathema. We have to be at the forefront of providing energy-efficient green solutions across the board, from autos to heating and air conditioning. We have to show leadership if India and China are to follow. Yet we're at the back of the line; that's not American. I'm a Ronald Reagan sunny conservative, and I know for a fact that evangelicals

Aug 11

Idea 7: Look at the crisis as an opportunity

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainableenvironmentenergyclimate changeawarenessawakeningawaken

Founder and CEO, Bloom Energy

Look at the crisis as an opportunity
I think the debate about the climate crisis in this country has been framed the wrong way. We've been talking about it from the perspective of the cost to society, rather than the point of view of the opportunity for profit. People are missing that this is a $4 trillion market for energy, and that's before we factor in the supply-demand imbalances that will occur as China and India ramp up their energy use. There is both a climate crisis and an impending energy crisis, and as Stanford economist Paul Romer has said, a crisis is a terrible thing to waste. Energy is just the capacity to do work, and work is what creates economic output. I'm not against

Aug 04

Idea 6: Being green is just good business

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainablematerialismmaterialeducationconsumptionconsumer

Director of Corporate Responsibility, Intel

Being green is just good business
As the largest chip manufacturer worldwide, Intel has been leading the area of environmental excellence for decades. For us, being green is just part of the way we do business. One thing that plays to our advantage is that our manufacturing process essentially gets refreshed every few years. We can anticipate that, so instead of having to retrofit facilities, we've applied a philosophy of design for environmental health and safety that projects eight to 10 years down the road. With each step we take in successive generations of the chip, we employ different manufacturing recipes every two years. So when we went from the eight-inch wafer to the 12-inch

Jul 28

Idea 5: Everybody can do something

Posted by Will Adams in environmenteducationcompassionawareness

Environmental Activist and Producer of 'An Inconvenient Truth'

Everybody can do something
One important lesson I've learned in advocating environmental progress is that the perfect is the enemy of the good. It's not about everyone doing everything. Those days are over. In fact, that's part of what held back the movement. We can't hold people up to a gold standard, because that's unattainable. We're all guilty of being part of this problem. I have a swimming pool that I keep heated for our kids and a house that's got a big carbon footprint. I recognize that and try to do other things, not to justify it but to do the best I can. I can't do everything. But it's about everybody doing something. And if everyone would do something, we

Jul 21

Idea 4: Cutting down trees can lead to malaria

Posted by Will Adams in unsustainablesustainablehabitat loss

President, Wildlife Trust

Cutting down trees can lead to malaria
One of the most important and overlooked ecosystems in the world is in areas of rapid land conversion, where agriculture is encroaching on wilderness and where wildlife, livestock and humans are in close proximity. When you talk about emerging diseases, that's where they're emerging from. Nipah virus, which was first identified in Malaysia in 1999, is an example. Pig farms were carved out of forested areas, and fruit orchards were planted next to the pig enclosures, which brought pigs into contact with fruit bats, the natural reservoir for Nipah virus. The virus spread to pigs and then to the farmers, and the ones who caught it had a 40 percent mortality

Jul 14

Idea 3: We've got to get our kids outdoors more

Posted by Will Adams in materialismenvironmentawareness

Honorary Doctorate and Visiting Scholar, Clemson University; Former Director, National Park Service

We've got to get our kids outdoors more
Linking our children back to nature is one of the most challenging environmental issues we have. When I used to come home from school, my mom and dad just said, "Go out and play, and come back in time for dinner." But today, because of security issues, children aren't going outside and playing in nature as much anymore, because we want to know where they are every minute; there's a greater need for supervision. And, as much as we love our technology, many children prefer to come home and be on a computer and in a chair rather than being out of doors-it's what Richard Louv [a visiting

Jul 07

Idea 2: Energy efficiency is the ultimate answer

Posted by Will Adams in sustainablesolar energymodern worldglobal warmingenergyconsumerclimate change

Commissioner, California Energy Commission

Energy efficiency is the ultimate answer
If we're going to survive global warming, there are two things we must do. We have to move in the direction of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and we have to improve energy efficiency. You can measure it in different ways-passenger miles per gallon of gas, lumens per watt-but we need to think in terms of doubling efficiency. Not "conservation," which implies sacrifice. Efficiency doesn't involve sacrifice. If you compare a modern refrigerator with one from 1973, which was the year of the OPEC oil embargo, it's bigger, it's gotten rid of CFC refrigerants, its inflation-adjusted price is two thirds less-and it uses 75

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