Category Archives: In the News

Green isn’t just for the Irish: Earth-Friendly St. Patrick’s Day

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If you are already going green this St. Patrick’s Day, you should think about making the holiday a real green event by becoming more eco-friendly.

That’s because,  the ‘Green’ holiday is anything but! Think of all the waste from cups, banners, confetti, hats and trinkets.

Our planet needs more than luck to save its environment. It needs everyone doing their part – even a small part – to make it safe and less toxic. And the best part: you’ll be wearing the green’ every day if you start thinking eco-friendly!

And it’s easy to get greener than ever this holiday:

  • Buy locally brewed beer. What’s St. Patrick’s Day without a beer for most individuals?” When you buy beer that is ‘less travelled’ plus put it in a reusuable beer mug or glass, you are hitting a pot of ‘green’ gold!
  • Eat green. Locally-produced food (including corned beef and cabbage) will not only support the local economy while providing you with the freshest food, but also reduce the need for long-distance food distribution that now accounts for up 17 times more greenhouse gas.
  • Leave the car behind. Take a cue from those in Ireland and walk if you can. Or find alternative ways to get to parties by taking a bus, train or share a cab to the Irish destination.
  • Plant something green. If you’re concerned about your carbon footprint – the amount of carbon dioxide generated annually as the result of your person consumption – become a modern Johnny Appleseed and put down some trees.
  • Use environmentally responsible house cleaning products. Once the festivities are over, let the house sparkle like a pot of gold by cleaning it with eco-friendly, chemical free cleaners.

 

New Job Opening: Community Outreach Director at Bay Area Resilient by Design

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The Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge  (RbD) is a proactive response to the increasing threat of climate change in the San Francisco area.

Bay Area and international designers, architects, developers, and financiers will work to create and implement visionary, realistic, and replicable solutions that enable neighborhoods and communities to adapt now to the future effects of rising sea levels, increasing storms and flooding, and seismic vulnerabilities.

Currently, RbD is searching for their community outreach director, which is a 15 month position. Find out more here: http://t4ci.org/about/pdf/RbD_COD-03062017.pdf

 

And that’s the way it is: T4CI salutes Walter Cronkite

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Walter Cronkite

On this day in 1981, Walter Cronkite, did his final sign off as the anchor for CBS news.  He had held the post since 1962, and is as iconic as the news he covered.

As ‘the most trusted man in America’, he reported many events from 1937 to 1981, including:

  • bombings in World War II
  • the Nuremberg trials
  • combat in the Vietnam War
  • the Dawson’s Field hijackings
  • Watergate
  • the Iran Hostage Crisis
  • and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, civil rights pioneer Martin Luther King, Jr., and Beatles musician John Lennon.

He was also known for his extensive coverage of the U.S. space program, from Project Mercury to the Moon landings to the Space Shuttle. He was the only non-NASA recipient of a Moon-rock award.

That’s what most people remember… yet, there is so much more. Cronkite was passionate about environmental issues and sustainability, long before it was cool to be.

An avid sailor, Cronkite became an advocate of the conservation of rivers, lakes, bays, and seas. He kept a framed photo over his desk of the earth rising as seen from the moon, to keep reminding himself to help protect the planet.

Cronkite had CBS Reports investigate two environmental catastrophes that occurred that year in 1969: the Santa Barbara oil spill  and the Cuyahoga River fire in Ohio. And the old reporter saw the future:  “The North American continent seemed ringed by oil slicks off Alaska, off Nova Scotia, off Florida, and most dramatically, in the Gulf Coast off Louisiana,” he said. And that changed the way the news covered the environment.

CBS News producer Ron Bonn recalled precisely when Cronkite put the network on the front line of the fight:

 It was New Year’s Day, 1970, and Walter walked into the Broadcast Center and said, ‘goddamnit, we’ve got to get on this environmental story.'”

When Walter said ‘goddamnit,’ things happened.”

Cronkite and Bonn launched “Can the World Be Saved?” news segments in the spring of 1970. Pollution, over-population and even climate change were stories that became major news as a result. And Cronkite shared his judgments openly: to make change, we had to demand it.

Cronkite’s insisted CBS News played a major role in publicizing the first Earth Day in the United States, on April 22, 1970 which included  CBS News Special Report anchored by the veteran journalist.

Even after his retirement on this day in 1981, he was outspoken for the planet.

In 2004, he wrote an op-ed that criticized then President George W. Bush’s State of the Union address:

(Bush) spoke of the nation’s problems and the dangers it faces, particularly in regard to national security, but he gave no indication that he recognizes the dangers of global warming.

Surely it has been brought to his attention that scientists are increasingly alarmed over the rapidity with which the world’s environment is being poisoned by the refuse of human endeavor. Climate change and the extinction of species are the focus of their deep concern. They warn that there is no time to spare: Unless we begin a major effort by the end of this century, further efforts will be too late…

…The politicians seeking office, including the president seeking reelection, are unlikely to give the environment the attention it deserves unless the people demand it. And the people aren’t going to demand it unless somebody brings the problem, and particularly its urgency, to their attention.

The media has a responsibility on their shoulders whose importance cannot be exaggerated: to give the story of our deteriorating environment the attention it needs to alert the population to action. That action would demand that governments – city, state and national – generate and enforce the laws that can at least begin the immense job of cleaning up our lands, our seas and our air so that living things, including humans, shall not perish from the Earth.

One must wonder, what the “most trusted man in America,” who died in 2009, would think about today’s news coverage and it’s impact on the planet he loved.

What do you think?  What would he encourage his viewers to do?

Project Equity in the news

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Project Equity is working to create an equitable, sustainable economy in low-income communities through employee-owned and cooperative businesses. These kind of businesses have shown to increase job quality and stability, invest locally, and have demonstrable positive impact on job creation and environmental sustainability.

We knew what wonderful things they were doing… and now so does the San Francisco Bay area. Check out the coverage in the SF Chronicle here.

Quiz: Yellowstone National Park

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Way back 145 years ago, Yellowstone was made into the first national park in the US.

Native Americans had lived and hunted in the region that would become Yellowstone for hundreds of years before the first Anglo explorers arrived. Abundant game and mountain streams teaming with fish attracted the Indians to the region, though the awe-inspiring geysers, canyons, and gurgling mud pots also fascinated them.

John Colter, the famous mountain man, was the first Anglo to travel through the area. After journeying with Lewis and Clark to the Pacific, Colter joined a party of fur trappers to explore the wilderness. In 1807, he explored part of the Yellowstone plateau and returned with fantastic stories of steaming geysers and bubbling cauldrons. Some doubters accused the mountain man of telling tall tales and jokingly dubbed the area “Colter’s Hell.”

Before the Civil War, only a handful of trappers and hunters ventured into the area, and it remained largely a mystery.

The key to Yellowstone’s future as a national park, though, was the 1871 exploration under the direction of the government geologist Ferdinand Hayden. Hayden brought along William Jackson, a pioneering photographer, and Thomas Moran, a brilliant landscape artist, to make a visual record of the expedition. Their images provided the first visual proof of Yellowstone’s wonders and caught the attention of the U.S. Congress, who in 1872 made it a park.

What do you know about this special place?  Take our quiz to see!

How much do you know about Yellowstone National Park?

In honor of the 145th anniversary (technically on Feb. 29th) of Yellowstone being made the first National Park, we wanted to test your knowledge about the historic area.

Who painted the White House green?

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It’s President’s Day. Not only can we enjoy a federally-mandated day off from work, but we can also take time to reflect on the leaders of the United States.

By the nature of their position, the POTUS has a platform to work to help the world in so many ways, including environmental and sustainable issues.

While some many not believe such issues are important to Americans – and the world, others have become a champion.  Here are some of the most pro-active presidents when it comes to a greener world:

Not so much love to the earth on Valentine’s Day

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 As much as we love the sentiment of Valentine’s Day, we don’t think you would love the outcome of the holiday, when it comes to the environmental impact.

Take a look at this infographic to see what can happen when you take the traditional route to showing your love.  (And share it with your friends!)

Instead, show your love to the earth as well by

  • choosing fair trade flowers and chocolates
  • getting things locally
  • giving vintage jewelry (it’s hip too!)
  • and honoring others with a donation in their name

Check out http://t4ci.org/sponsored to find a wonderful charity where your donation will help the world.

Forget the groundhog; focus on wetlands

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Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow and has determined that, on this Groundhog Day, winter isn’t going anywhere soon.

Yet, in all the pomp and circumstance of the annual occasion, Phil forgot to mention it is also World Wetlands Day, and how losing wetlands has more effect on us than his weather forecasting.

Chances are, you are more familiar with a wetland than you are with a woodchuck. Wetlands are a critical part of our natural environment. They protect our shores from wave action, reduce the impacts of floods, absorb pollutants and improve water quality. They provide habitat for animals and plants and many contain a wide diversity of life, supporting plants and animals that are found nowhere else.

On this day in 1971, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar to provide the framework for national action and international cooperation for the conservation and wise use of wetlands, which cover more than 6 percent of the earth.

However, that doesn’t mean the wetlands are doing as well as the famous rodent. Here are the facts:

  • Global wetlands have declined between 64 – 71 percent since 1900.
  • The annual cost of the loss of wetland ecosystem services is more than $20 trillion.

Instead of worrying about how accurate a groundhog can be predicting the weather, which statistically is only 36 percent since 1969, consider instead using this day to support our wetlands. Go to t4ci.org/sponsored to see the many sponsored projects which are making a difference.

MLK: more than a civil rights leader; an environmental justice visionary

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When we think of Martin Luther King, Jr, the environment and sustainability are not what comes to mind. However, his vision of basic civil rights went well past freedom, equality, and the end of racial segregation. He also believed everyone has the right to clean air, water, and soil, as well as a right to live in healthy and nurturing natural environments.

Here’s what he said in 1967:

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality. Did you ever stop to think that you can’t leave for your job in the morning without being dependent on most of the world? 

You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over for the sponge, and that’s handed to you by a Pacific islander. You reach for a bar of soap, and that’s given to you at the hands of a Frenchman. And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the morning, and that’s poured into your cup by a South American. And maybe you want tea: that’s poured into your cup by a Chinese. Or maybe you’re desirous of having cocoa for breakfast, and that’s poured into your cup by a West African. And then you reach over for your toast, and that’s given to you at the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker. And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning, you’ve depended on more than half the world.    

This is the way our universe is structured, this is its interrelated quality. We aren’t going to have peace on Earth until we recognize this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.” – 1967 Christmas sermon on peace       

Environmentalists watched as King’s movement moved the conscience of the nation and pressed Congress to enact the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and other landmark legislation aimed at making racial equality the law of the land. His actions planted the seeds of the environmental justice movement.

The result was the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act, and  the National Environmental Policy Act. It makes environmental considerations mandatory for major actions undertaken or permitted by the federal government and guarantees that public environmental concerns will be heard.

As former US Attorney General Eric Holder said:

“Dr. King did not have the chance to witness the impact of the movement that he began. But he left with us the creed that continues to guide our work. His enduring words, which he penned from a Birmingham jail cell, still remind us that, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’”

How will you honor MLK’s work today and everyday?

New Jobs: Help the Bay Area become more Resilient by Design

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The Bay Area: Resilient by Design Challenge  (RbD) is a proactive response to the increasing threat of climate change in the San Francisco area.

Bay Area and international designers, architects, developers, and financiers will work to create and implement visionary, realistic, and replicable solutions that enable neighborhoods and communities to adapt now to the future effects of rising sea levels, increasing storms and flooding, and seismic vulnerabilities.

To lead this challenge in 2017,  RbD is looking for two seasoned professionals, in two contracted, 15-month roles:

  1. Executive Director  – The executive director will manage the 15‐month project, which includes convening and reporting to the Executive Committee and leading the RbD staff team. The executive director will be responsible for recruiting additional team members to execute deliverables, and build and manage a wide of array of partnerships, including those with funders and various advisory panels responsible for implementing  different aspects of the program such as community engagement, science and research and public communication.  For a complete job description and to apply go to: http://www.t4ci.org/about/pdf/RbD_ED_12162016.pdf
  2. Design Competition Director – The design competition director will lead the competition process, including all events related to the competition and will serve in a deputy role to the executive director. For a complete job description and to apply go to:
    http://www.t4ci.org/about/pdf/RbD_CD_12162016.pdf