Thursday, 29 August 2013

Voices of Sustainability Experts around the world

This week we present a selection of sustainability initiatives by countries, individuals and corporates that impressed the Sustainability Experts enough that they tweeted about it.  We hope that these stories inspire many others to do the same as only collective actions can save the world from the effects of Climate Change and Global Warming.

 Bill McKibben : Germany stands number 1 in solar power generation. It expects to receive 80% of its energy from renewable resources by 2050. here  

 Simon Mainwaring : Employees at the semiconductor chip maker Intel recently devised a new process that reduced the company’s chemical waste by 900,000 gallons each year, saving $45 million annually. Another team developed a plan to reuse and optimize networking systems in offices, which cut energy costs by $22

Simon Mainwaring : Solar Panels being installed in White 

Adam Werbach : 15 companies, representing 70% of global farmed production, are committing that 100% of their production will be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council by 2020 .here

Adam Werbach  :   Sustainability and communications, now and soon. here   
John Friedman  : Sustainability and communications, now and soon. here

Alice Korngold : Sierra Energy, has spent the last several years testing a waste-to-energy system called the FastOx Pathfinder. The FastOx is now being prepared for delivery to Sierra Energy’s first customer: the United States Army. here

Neil Hawkins China to spend huge amounts to fight air pollution. It is twice the size of the annual defence budget. here

 Julie Urlaub : People jumping to light up the christmas tree. here

 Julie Urlaub : Arizona State University (ASU) not only teaches sustainable business but  practices it    also. here

 Julie Urlaub Recycle Force, a company that recycles electronic waste and also help people coming out o prison to transition back to the society. here

Julie Urlaub Useful tips to reduce garbage at home. here

Sunita Narain : Kerala High Court, July 25, ordered the demolition of all 59 villas in well-known chain of luxury resorts on an island in the backwater of Kerala within three months due to violation of various norms and laws. here

Reach Scale More and more offices are converting their terrace to a roof garden and a bee sanctuary. This not only has huge environmental benefits but also provide a good place for a quick break for the employees, and to entertainment

Neil Hawkins DOW gives electric car to its employees to commute within the work site. here

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Voices of Sustainability Experts from all over the world

Welcome to a new blog series. The blog will highlight the latest trends in the tweets of the world's leading Sustainability Thinkers.  An overview of the tweets and a few links that can be explored is what you will find in this blog series.
Today we start with voices of few Sustainability thinkers in America, which are listed in the “Twitter list: 30 most influential sustainability voices in America”

Earlier the term Climate Change or Global Warming were used in a generic manner, but as the effects of Climate Change are now showing up, more and more people are tweeting about the rising temperatures.

Here are a few interesting tweets on rising temperatures and reduced /unseasonal rainfall

  • The temperature in Austria cross the 40ºC breaking the record as of 39.7° (103.4°F) in 1983.
  • Europe has seen the hottest month – this July, since 2006
  • Temperatures in Canada --- about ten degrees above normal.
  • Exceptional heat is giving birth to wildfires in northern Canada and even in Alaska.
  •  China has seen its worst heat wave in at least 140 years.
  • People in New Mexico are experiencing the effects of climate change. Almost 87% of the region is in a drought. The effects of drought are very severe.
  • Extreme heat and lack of rainfall is killing thousands of Salmon in Alaska. 
  • The early arrival of rains and the above –average temperature in Southeast Asia has created an environment suitable for mosquito breeding leading to an outbreak of Dengue fever.
                                                     Other Interesting Tweets
  • Socially aware Consumers:    Around 50% of global consumers are willing to pay more for socially responsible products, especially in the younger generation.
  • Collaborative partnerships to halt Climate ChangeAt the recent Sustainable Brands conference, one message was given time and again that individual corporate sustainability efforts aren’t enough to halt climate change. A collaborative partnership — even between competitors is the way to go.
  • Art from Debris: Pam Longobardi, a professor at Georgia State University, uses marine debris to create works of art. The Plastic-collecting artist won a prestigious award
  • Battle over pumping  water during droughts: The Ontario's Ministry of the Environment gave Nestlé a new five-year term, but added two new conditions that meant the company would have to reduce its take of water during droughts. These conditions were removed later. The environmental groups launched an appeal to force the Ministry and the food giant Nestlé to stick to the conditions. The battle over pumping water during droughts is heading to a full environmental hearing in Ontario.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Sustainability in Religion

On a recent trip to Shirdi, it was interesting to realise how a small town has been built around this particular temple of worship. Tourism in the area is booming with many 3 star and 4 star Meditation and Spa hotels as well as restaurants. Even the popular Italian restaurant “Little Italy” too has found its way to Shirdi! Not to mention the number of shops selling souvenirs such as idols, beads etc. 

For, me, this raises the question as to how a small town such as this, can accommodate these many tourists during the peak season or even throughout the year?  What impact could it have on the natural resources of the area – the electricity load, water taken up and the waste disposed in the area? How does it affect the local people? 

The same queries apply to all the areas where billions of tourists visit every year leading to the need for more accommodations, restaurants and toilets – all of which need plenty of resources (primarily energy and water) and leads to even larger amounts of waste (solid waste and waste water). So are the religious leaders and house of worship itself trying to ensure the eco-balance in these areas and how are they influencing the local public to do the same?

A few months ago, a Ganesha Temple in the city of Coimbatore, decided to set up its own solar panels and became one of the first ever temples to run on solar energy. The electricity generated may be used for all the lighting appliances, cooking food, as well as fans for all the devotees. This act in turn encouraged the rest of the society to explore using solar energy for their own needs. For a state like Tamil Nadu which often suffers from regular power cuts, (up to 16 hours a day!)  and has abundant sunlight (we know that!), this form of energy would help industries function more efficiently. 

In Malayasia, the temple committee sought help from NGOs and ministry to help them set up a solar generator and panels at the Sri Maha Mariamman temple in Sungai Salak in Lukat, Negri Sembilan  which is now the first solar-powered religious edifice in the country.

The growing Muslim community in England decided to set up a Mosque in the city of Cambridge using environmentally sustainable principles. The chairman of the Trust Abdul Hakim Murad stated that the Mosque will be using the latest conservation technology and green roofs so as to ensure that it has a minimal carbon footprint. This project was intended to be Europe’s first ecologically responsible mosque which hopefully would encourage Muslims all over the world to become more environmentally responsible.

In Scotland, Bridge of Allan Church is among 180 eco-congregations  which have made commitments to help the country tackle climate change by encouraging churches to adopt environmentally friendly ways of functioning while engaging the local communities. 

Even the Sikh community in India and abroad have moved towards sustainable practices being encouraged by their Gurudwaras. Dr. Singh ( Eco-Sikh , Convener) stated that “this way of thinking is core to Sikh Theology and now its time to practice the love of air, water and the mother earth as described in the Guru Granth Sahib” and what better way than to practice it in a house of worship.

These are but few of the many examples as to how faith and religion can impact a society and its people and direct them towards a more responsible path. I look forward to many more examples of the same.

It is encouraging to know that Religion is also becoming aware of the need for sustainability and imparting it to the people it influences.