Posts Tagged ‘climate change’

Earth Hour 2016 – Turn Off the Lights

digital banner for 2016 Earth Hour for climate changeGeez–we just had to re-set our clocks, switch out batteries in our smoke detectors, and now we’re supposed to turn off all the lights in our homes and workplaces for an hour?! Enough with the household appliances and devices–you’re cramping my style, Good Karma! Back off!

OK, tomorrow I can do this, but if you tell me I have to drive backwards for a week or something similar, we’re going to have to sit down and talk about this. But tomorrow, Saturday, March 19, is Earth Hour, from 8:30-9:30pm your time, in whatever timezone you inhabit. For that hour, join the people of 172 nations and turn off your lights. You won’t be alone–households around the world as well as businesses, landmarks, corporate buildings, and more will all go dark to shed some light on climate issues. One dark hour…and hopefully many, many conversations sparked among your family and friends, about how to make a change.

Your commitment to the planet, and thereby to all of us (thank you) is huge, and easily displayed by this dimming of lights.

Use your power to change climate change.

Watch the videos below for the 2016 campaign and highlights of 2015 Earth Hour.

Climate Reality Leadership Corps

CRP_logoOK…c’mon now. You simply cannot be part of the breathing human race and NOT know that our climate is shifting in some pretty dramatic ways. OK, maybe an infant. If you are a newborn, I will cut you some slack, but everybody else..unh unh.

Now I am perfectly clear that some of us have different theories or thoughts about what is the cause of the change, but we are definitely not in stasis. Whether it is a human-made crisis or completely natural cycle or some combination of both is not my immediate point. My point is, there are absolutely actions we, as a species, can take to not exacerbate the situation…and there are absolutely actions we can take or are taking that can, in fact hasten changes in a bad way. Taking no action pretty much gets us the latter train speeding up toward a mess scenario as well. I’m all about change, but not in this context. Just ask the bucket in my shower catching all the water as it heats up so I can use it to water some plants…or the brown-lawned park down the road…or the farmers in California’s Central Valley where I grew up…

So Vice President Al Gore–inventor of the interwebs, remember him? He has been running a program for some time that I only recently discovered. At the tail end of last year I was in Boston and met several folks that were a part of this movement, and now is the chance for you to join as well. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps is a group of committed citizens who are dedicated to solving the climate crisis now and for future generations. There is no fee to attend training (and the training is actually a pretty deep dive into the science, both physical and sociological science, of the issues)—the next round is happening in Cedar Rapids, Iowa May 5-7. Young people and adults apply and must be accepted (spots are still available) to go through the training and become members of this august community of global activists.

Once you become a leader, you’ve got some work to do–but it’s really cool:

“Within a year of completing the training with the Climate Reality Leadership Corps you are required to perform ten “Acts of Leadership.” Acts of Leadership come in a variety of forms and can be completed in your local community. Examples of Acts of Leadership include giving a presentation, writing a blog, writing a letter to the editor, organizing a film screening, organizing a climate change-related campaign, meeting with government leaders, and organizing a day of action. Most Acts of Leadership will come from giving presentations, including speaking events you arrange yourself and events arranged for you through requests that come in through Climate Reality. The Climate Reality Leadership Corps will offer as much support as possible but you will be responsible for seeking out opportunities to take action.”

Can you hear this calling to you? I sure can (and subsequent trainings, if this is short notice, will follow in Canada and Florida, later this year)

350 is the Magic Number

Photo:, Vilandai, India school children

Photo:, Vilandai, India school children

As we find ourselves in December with record breaking warmth throughout much of the nation, following harrowing storms on both coasts (with more on the way for the Pacific Northwest), more than a few folks have been wondering: “WTF with the weather?!”

Climate crisis is no longer passably deniable no matter how far you’ve got your head shoved in the sand—sure, if you are in the habit of dismissing science elsewhere in your belief system, you might well be able to convince yourself that there is no global warming–but for the REST of us…we gotta do something. is a global grassroots campaign to get us motivated and into action about the climate. The number 350 is the target that scientists warn we must bring our greenhouse gasses DOWN to, to assure our safety and longevity. Our number is currently 392 parts per million of CO2–so we’ve got some work to do. 350 is organizing via a grand scheme, trying to motivate communities everywhere, all at once. They do massive worldwide actions, with thousands of events in hundreds of countries occurring simultaneously. Getting back to 350 will take some pretty grand actions, empowering sustainable energy resources is just the beginning, as are new paradigm plans regarding planting instead of clear-cutting, reducing waste, protecting biodiversity and habitats zones, and more. It will require a global treaty, and making this simple to understand and easy to remember number part of the planet-wide discussion is a meaningful step. We needn’t remember a lot of science, but we do need to hold leaders’ feet to the fire about 350.


Not too hard to embed in the old brain pan, is it? Speak of it, call it out, activate around it. 350–we can get there, but only together.


Corporate Forestry

FedEx Enchanted Forest

It is, of course, very popular to find fault with large corporations these days (very popular, and not an incredible challenge, actually…so many international companies make themselves easy targets). Since multi-nationals are a part of our universe, I am always pleased when I discover ways they get things right. A couple of large companies have recently come to my attention for their focus on climate change and their efforts to engage the public in environmental care.

HSBC, one of the world’s largest banking and financial institutions, has partnered with volunteer service company Earthwatch, the Climate Group, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and WWF to inspire action and dig deeper into climate change with their 5-year Climate Partnership. The goal is to engage at least  100,000 of HSBC’s international workforce to take on decisive action for the environment. They have already set up regional climate centers in China, India, Latin America, North America, and Europe for local research programs and field work, since forests are so different from place to place. HSBC employees can elect to work in the Climate Champion program, working with the scientific community, to help monitor forests, and educate their colleagues, families, friends, and communities.

Federal Express has launched an online initiative (via facebook), called the Enchanted Forest, as a partnership with the Arbor Day Foundation and FedEx’s own eco-focused organization, EarthSmart (solutions for a more sustainable world). When you go into the animated Enchanted Forest and elect to plant a virtual tree, FedEx translates that action into planting a real tree, aiding reforestation projects in areas affected by wildfires and drought. Click to plant often, and encourage others to do the same, as large companies can put some focus on green that isn’t printed at the treasury.

Turn Off the Lights–Earth Hour 2012

Tonight, from 8:30-9:30pm in whatever time zone you find yourself, try flipping the switch off on lights for Earth Hour, when people around the world take an hour’s worth of dark time to rededicate themselves to the environment. Last year’s efforts were joined by more than 5,200 cities and towns across 135 nations, squarely putting the (turned off) spotlight on climate change. It is the world’s largest voluntary action for the environment–just sixty-plus minutes (the plus of the logo for what you are willing to do beyond the hour). Light a candle and enjoy the company of family and friends, maybe come up with a few more ideas of what you are willing to do for the planet. It’s easy to be a part of the movement–just flip the switch for our future.

Earth Hour Coming to a Dark Home/Office/Public Space Near You

Earth Hour is right around the corner. On Saturday, March 26, at 8:30PM (in whatever time zone you find yourself), people around the world will shut off their lights for an hour and commit to taking action to better our environment. Think now of ways to be a steward of the earth and up the ante of your commitment to a sustainable future. Cities, hotels, businesses, and more are getting in on the act. Whistler, British Columbia is hosting the world’s first Bike-Powered Concert to celebrate, as well as spotlighting candlelight dinners at the ski resort restaurants. Worldwide, Relais & Chateaux restaurants will turn off the lights for that evening’s dinner service. 131 countries and territories are planning events and ways to recognize the movement, making a powerful and publicity-friendly statement about climate change.

What will you do with an hour in the dark?



Polar Express

I’ve got a thing about polar bears…not the animated googly ones on Coca-Cola holiday commercials, but the real deal. I know they may have a different thing for me if we were ever to meet (like seeing a big, neon, EAT AT JOE’S sign and arrow over my head), but I find them stunning and mysterious…and their plight is devastating. polar

Hurtigruten, an expedition cruising and sailing company, voyages with their clients to some of the most remote destinations in the world like Antarctica (top of my own, personal bucket list), Greenland, and through the Arctic Circle. They’ve just announced a new “Climate Pilgrimage” expedition that takes you to the front lines of climate change research in the Arctic.


The cruise company prioritizes education and exploration and passengers are immersed in culture, geography, history, botany, and wildlife on all of their trips, and this 11-day excursion has a volunteer component as well. You’ll venture to Northern Norway and the Arctic island of Spitsbergen on the state-of-the-art, polar-ready MS Fram, and you’ll visit research stations, track wildlife, participate in field studies, and meet with top researchers. The May 29, 2010 departure is priced from $4,823 to $9,516 per person, double.

The trip description: The first two days are spent in Norway’s Tromso, visiting the Polar Environmental Centre, where climate scientists discuss the task at hand and the status of the research being done.  A stop in Europe’s northernmost cities, Honningsvag, includes a visit to the North Cape Plateau, and a stop at Gjesvaerstappan – a unique bird cliff where the Norwegian Polar Institute has done research on a host of seabirds including puffins, gannets, auks and guillemots.

The remainder of the trip is spent exploring the remote Arctic island of Spitsbergen where polar bears, Svalbard reindeer, Arctic foxes, whales, walruses, and ringed and harp seals and dozens of other animals and migratory birds still roam the stunning landscapes of their natural habitat — a natural classroom to learn about and see the effects of climate changes.  On Bjornoya (Bear Island), participants observe the changes to bird habits at one of the largest concentrations of seabirds in the Northern Hemisphere.  Research in Hornsund, Spitsbergen’s most southern fjord, includes polar bears and the feeding grounds of auks, while in Bellsund, guests learn about the phenomenon call surging glaciers.  Ny Alesund has been the jump off point for several historic attempts to reach the North pole – Amundsen, Ellsworth and Nobile are some examples of explorers.  Guests will explore a large glacier front and possibly enjoy an Arctic beer at one of the world’s northernmost pubs.

The warming of the Arctic now allows vessels to cross the 80th parallel – something not possible less than 20 years ago.  Walruses, whales and polar bears rule this region and the MS Fram will treat guests to a close look at the marginal ice-zone and its large yearly variations.  The final two days are spent exploring Isfjorden, Spitsbergen’s largest fjord system, observing giant bird cliffs, and visits to the University Centre of Svalbard and Svalbard Museum in Spitsbergen’s capital town of Longyearben.

Want to meet me there?


Earth Overshoot Day…overshot

It was supposed to be today—October 6…but we’re worse off than we thought. Just two years ago, October 6 was Earth Overshoot Day, the day of the year when we have used up all the resources for the year that the planet could renew…and the day we go into resource deficit spending. Well–this year we used it up even faster and hit the wall on September 25. We are now living beyond our ecological means. In less than 10 months we have used the resources it takes the planet a full year to regenerate. gasgauge_2009

“It’s a simple case of income versus expenditures,” said Global Footprint Network President Mathis Wackernagel. “For years, our demand on nature has exceeded, by an increasingly greater margin, the budget of what nature can produce. The urgent threats we are seeing now – most notably climate change, but also biodiversity loss, shrinking forests, declining fisheries, soil erosion and freshwater stress – are all clear signs: Nature is running out of credit to extend.”

Think about ways to lessen your global footprint. Every one of us can make a difference. The  Global Footprint Network is devoted to sustainability, and has an entertaining, interactive (and depressing) calculator to discover your earth demand and how many planets would be required if everybody’s lifestyle was the same as yours. Then there are ways listed to help and volunteer. Check them out here. And then walk to work…