Sustainability Blog - The Grid
The largest non-volcanic landslide in the modern history of North America occurred on April 10, 2013, when two avalanches spilled rock into a famous Utah copper mine. The slide freed enough debris and dust to bury New York City's Central Park 66 feet deep, according to a new University of Utah study that provides the first detailed look at the disaster.
Utahans have mined Bingham Canyon since 1904, excavating a pit three-quarters of a mile deep and 2.5 miles wide. The U.S. park service made it a national historic landmark in 1966. The mine is owned by Rio Tinto-Kennecott Utah Copper.
"Polar vortex" has taken an uncontested lead in the competition for buzzword of 2014. It's brought Arctic chill to the continental United States, disrupted industries and cities, and most, curiously, turned Donald Trump into a climate realist. Sort of.
Here's a thought. What if Trump is right? An alternative, charitable reading of the tweet reveals Trump to be an impassioned climate change policy advocate with up-to-date knowledge of peer-reviewed science as it relates to our current cryogenic state.
Every once in a while, there’s a big idea that forever changes the way we live and the tools we use. Think electric light bulbs, washing machines and, maybe, Amazon’s dream of drone deliveries. Ford’s new concept car with rooftop solar panels looks like it could be next on the list. Don’t bet on it.
Ford is showing off its new C-Max Solar Energi at next week’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. The wagon’s solar cells are, on their own, insufficient to power electric driving, so the car comes with a special parking canopy that concentrates the sunlight like a magnifying glass. Throughout the day, the semi-autonomous car moves itself back and forth a few feet to get the most sunshine. It’s a plugin that doesn’t need to plug in.
Day breaks above a rolling, moss-covered forest. Adorable, red-capped mushrooms and furry critters stretch out in the young day's sun, as round notes from a cello -- then a flutter of woodwinds -- rise to a flute-driven crescendo.
A sentient tree lowers a branch down to this computer-animated paradise to cradle and raise aloft… a FedEx delivery truck.
Somehow it’s already year-end, a time to look back and try to make sense of what’s happened. Creating any “top” list of stories from 12 months is nearly impossible. But as I’ve done for the last 4 years, I’ll attempt to summarize some of the latest stories about the big environmental and social pressures on business, and how some innovative companies are dealing with them.
This year, like recent years, saw some continuation of big trends: with a few exceptions, the international policy community keeps failing to come to a meaningful agreement on climate change; carbon emissions just keep rising; transparency is increasingly unavoidable and keeps gaining technology-enabled traction; pressure from big companies on their suppliers keeps going up.
InsideClimateNews.org -- A decision 90 years ago by the people of Sacramento, Calif. to oust a private electric company and start a government-owned utility has been the unlikely inspiration for Berliners trying to wrest control of Germany's largest grid from a coal-fired utility.
While little known in America, the creation of Sacramento's Municipal Utility District was the model for a November referendum to give Berlin a municipal utility that would pump more clean energy into the grid. The 1923 vote in Sacramento helped the California city build a rare, green record—constructing the nation's first big solar plant, voting to shut down a nuclear reactor and approving a goal of slashing climate-changing emissions by 90 percent by 2050.
InsideClimateNews.org -- Jerry Skinner stands in his garden, looking into the distance at the edge of a forested mountain. Amid the lush shades of green, a muddy brown strip of earth stands out. It's the telltale sign of a buried pipeline.
"The pipelines are all around this property," Skinner said. "When I came here, the county had an allure that it doesn't have anymore. I'm not sure I want to live here anymore."
InsideClimateNews.org -- As environmentalists began ratcheting up pressure against Canada's tar sands three years ago, one of the world's biggest strategic consulting firms was tapped to help the North American oil industry figure out how to handle the mounting activism. The resulting document, published online by WikiLeaks, offers another window into how oil and gas companies have been scrambling to deal with unrelenting opposition to their growth plans.
The document identifies nearly two-dozen environmental organizations leading the anti-oil sands movement and puts them into four categories: radicals, idealists, realists and opportunists—with how-to's for managing each. It also reveals that the worst-case scenario presented to industry about the movement's growing influence seems to have come to life.
Dumb Question sat down recently with Jeff Seabright, Coca-Cola's vice president of environment and water resources.
Q: It’s really hard to compare or rank companies based on their sustainability strategies. Take Coke and Levi’s. Coca-Cola can make drinks without sugar and caffeine. But Levi’s makes what it calls “waterless jeans,” which comes close to eliminating water use in the last phase of production.
ImpactIQ.org — Some of the biggest names in institutional finance are starting to bank on sustainability.
Morgan Stanley this month announced a five-year goal of $10 billion in client assets for its “investing with impact” program, which offers investors a range of products targeting social responsibility and environmental sustainability. The company also said it would put $1 billion of its own money toward a "sustainable communities" initiative to preserve affordable housing that is at risk of becoming either too run-down or too expensive.