Archive for Sustainability

We Are Missing a Real Opportunity to Help Our Fellow Citizens in Puerto Rico

The disaster that Hurricane Maria visited on Puerto Rico, as terrible as it is, offers us the opportunity to create a model of sustainability. The question is, will we take that opportunity or simply recreate a system that is not sustainable.

sustainability hurricane mariaIn a recent Op-Ed, Richard Branson and Amory Lovins offered an idea that I have been taking about to many. Instead of rebuilding an archaic fossil fuel power system that can be destroyed by storms, is expensive to maintain, causes a financial drain on the island’s economy and leaves its residents at risk due to the whims of an indifferent administration, we can spend the money that must be spent on developing a resilient renewable energy infrastructure.

This infrastructure should be a combination of solar and wind powered systems where every home has some relationship and tie in to that structure. Either independently…solar on each home, or a combination of that and more centralized wind systems where they are feasible. In addition, the use of micrograms should be strongly considered…especially where wind is the source.

I have not done the full cost, but I would propose that it may well be less expensive when life cycle analyzed to build this decentralized system than to try and use the current model.

We should not squander this opportunity.

Read the full article:
How to Keep the Lights On After a Hurricane
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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Small World Does Not Mean Environmentally Connected…at Least for Coffee

Ok, so those who know me know that I like good coffee. I know that coffee has a relatively large carbon footprint so I do try to minimize my impact by buying the most sustainably harvested coffee that I can find.

small world coffeeI thought that I had found a source in Small World Coffee in Princeton. The name seems so friendly. And indeed they do some good work. They are a small local company and they hire locally. To be fair, they also make very good coffee.

I wondered about whether the name, which certainly implies global thinking (mind you they never say anything about that) so I asked a few questions about the sources of their coffee. Was it organic, Fair Trade and/or Rain Forest Alliance Certified?

The answer that I received was disappointing. The owner’s answer was really such a dance around the issue. Claims that farmers wouldn’t harm their sources of income, that good coffee means proper farming methods, that they have long relationships with their sources…all cop outs…

I also tried another brand, also a small company and also local. Black River Roasters offers third party certified coffees that meet one or all of the criteria. So, I switched my brand. In other words, I used my small purchasing power to send a message.

Try it some time…sending a message that is.

Read my email communication:
Wayne DeFeo discusses Small World Coffee

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Former EPA Administrator Warns of Future Mistakes

epa administratorWe all know that those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it. Mr. Ruckelshaus, having served two terms as EPA administrator should know. He was there at the beginning and again to fix the problems created by another President who did not get it. People want clean air and water and land. Business needs a strong Federal program that creates a uniform field of play with regard to the environment. Finally, we all benefit from environmental sustainability….especially the economy.

Well, I have said before that I have always admired Mr. Ruckelshaus. He gets it. Maybe, just maybe, the new Administrator of the EPA can understand the lessons of history and think about the future.

Read the full article:
A Lesson Trump and the E.P.A. Should Heed
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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Maybe saying the words “Climate Change” should be avoided. Say “Economics” instead.

It is heartening to read an article that shows that people can embrace environmentally conscious ways of running a business without being labeled an environmentalist. A farmer in Kansas has, “embraced an (sic) environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water.”

climate change economicsWhat was that? A farmer in the heartland of America? Yes. The key throughout this article is not that he is doing this, it is that he is doing this because it makes economic sense. In the same breath, he will not use the words “Climate Change.” And he is right.

I really don’t care about the argument for or against climate change any more (well I do from an intellectual exercise standpoint), but I do care that we all take actions that encourage sustainability. I have tried to make this point to people for many years.

Sustainability is not about terms, it is about Environmental, Economic and Social responsibility that in the end causes the economy to grow and to continue to be able to grow.

Well, it makes sense that a farmer would understand that concept!

Read the full article:
In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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