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10th year of the pioneering SuperHomes Open Days

This year marks the 10th year of SuperHomes, the innovative and multi-award winning national network of over 200 homes which have all reduced their carbon footprint by a minimum of 60%. SuperHome owners will open their doors this September as part of our Open House events, and there is a record 100 free events occurring this year across the UK. 

SuperHomes is a project managed by the National Energy Foundation, an independent charity that aims to reduce the use of energy in buildings.
The Open Days are a great opportunity for visitors to see for themselves both the challenges and benefits associated with making older homes more energy efficient, and view retrofit technologies in action. The free Open House events occur every September where the SuperHome owners provide honest and detailed accounts of their renovation stories and offer invaluable advice and guidance.
Since 2007 SuperHomes has been at the forefront of domestic eco-retrofit and the network continues to lead the way in carbon conscious renovation. To date, 222 homeowners have all transformed their properties through environmentally minded renovation resulting in lower energy bills, smaller carbon footprints and a huge increase in comfort levels.
SuperHomes include all types of houses, ranging from Grade II listed 16th Century ironstone properties to 1990’s build ex-council houses; from 6 bed Victorian mansions to 1940 terraces; from idyllic ecolodge retreats in rural Snowdonia to single story flats in the heart of London.

The technology found within and around the properties is innovative and market leading, and our SuperHomes offer exceptional, and often unique, examples of green technologies.

In addition to the more mature aspects of green renovation such as external wall insulation, solar PV panels and heat pumps, our houses boast a variety of cutting edge technologies such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) systems, green roofs, biomass boilers, and even whole house airtight membranes.

SuperHomes are pioneers in renewable technology and energy efficiency.






We have a number of SuperHomes opening for the first time this year. This includes our most recent addition Pamela whose 1920s ex-Council house in North London is carbon neutral! She achieved this by installing many technologies, including Solar Water Heating, Solar PV Panels and Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery. Visit Pamela on 16th/17th September on a free tour. Another interesting first time opener is Paul from Flintshire who retrofitted his 1960s home for under £10,000, and still managed to achieve a carbon saving of 64%! Visit Paul for a tour on the 9th September to learn about how to keep eco-retrofit affordable. To find an Open Day near you please visit http://www.superhomes.org.uk/get-inspired/events/.

Energy used in the home accounts for more than a quarter of total energy use and carbon emissions in the UK. Houses in the UK are some of the least energy efficient in Europe, and the majority of the housing stock is made up of older homes which are typically very energy inefficient. Without tackling this problem and improving the energy efficiency of homes we will not be able to meet our emissions target of an 80% cut in emissions by 2050 to meet the requirements of the legally binding Climate Change Act. Open House events like SuperHomes are great ways to distribute knowledge and passion about retrofit, and persuade people to take the carbon conscious decision to reduce energy use in their home.

The current, post-Green Deal (the Coalition Government’s flagship energy efficiency policy that was scrapped in 2015), climate, with lowered green incentives and a distinct lack of interest from subsequent governments has seen the focus on eco-retrofit waver. Yet the refurbishment of our homes and buildings is one of the greatest challenges we face to reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change. SuperHomes harnesses the enthusiasm of our energy saving pioneers to stimulate community-led renovation.
SuperHome Open Days occur throughout the year with a co-ordinated national event throughout September. Most of our openings coincide with Heritage Open Days (7-10th September) and London Open House (16/17th September). To find out more visit www.superhomes.org.uk
To help SuperHomes celebrate this anniversary we’ve partnered with the Ecology Building Society who are supporting this year’s September openings.

SuperHome owner #59, Mark Brown stands in front of his 1980’s detached house. The High Wycombe property has achieved 90% carbon savings. Visit on 9th/10th September.

Isolating the US from green policies would make it less competitive by @marintoironi

We have seen with astonishment a recent resolution from American government, announcing its commitment ditch its Climate Change Action Plan.

After COP21 the world became a block against climate change as never before. That includes not only policies but also the consolidation of the concept of global leadership that emerges as a solid and stable pillar that marks the beginning of an effective interconnected system of joint action. However, this is not suitable for anti-globalist forces that see in this kind of initiatives a threat for their isolationist strategy that helps them to boost a far right agenda. Surprisingly climate change action has become dangerous from a nationalist political perspective.




Trump makes America an isolated Nation not only on political and foreign affairs terms but also regarding green policies and a world that is moving towards a joint action focus.

The U.S. is not rich enough in natural resources to be self-sustaining in future decades. Isolate US from global green policies in addition to not investing on innovation is an explosive combination that would make the U.S. less competitive and no resilient. Indeed, green policies are part of being resilient at national level but are not enough if is it not in conjunction with global action and cooperation: that is the only resilient way out. That goes directly in relation to a global and safe system of international relations…. not multiple-selective-bilateral relations. Even if there were political will for investing in green energies like solar or wind, they’re will not being enough if is not under good and healthy international relations. It´s for this reason the imperative for generating a new trend and a new culture among American people: to reduce individual consumption, invest in green clean energies and above all on innovation.Taking in account that US is the country that spends more in energy than the rest of the world. Americans constitute 5% of the world’s population but consume 24% of the world’s energy.

If there is a boycott from US to a global joint action by cancelling international agreements this could only be translated in loneliness in resilient terms.

That´s not good news for American people although good for those American industries that are not willing to invest in clean energies. Paradoxically one of the main argumentations for this switch in American focus was “recovering our jobs” however it doesn´t seem to include the ones generated by clean energies.“8.1 million renewable energy jobs that exist globally, 3.5 million are in China, compared to less than one million in the U.S.”.*China will invest £292bn in renewable power by 2020, which means new and more employment at national level. Investing in renewables is it also part of a growth strategy.

This “break” with the rest of the world is it also a break within America as it goes against the will of many citizens that have seen in climate change action a priority in the political agenda. Which represents a stronger political failure worst than the investment in itself. Going back in time and loosing all the work done at Educational level, making citizens aware of their commitment with the environment, means literally destroying an emerging American green culture as well as divided a community of ideas and potential. Joint action is the way out at global and national level.

US will become weaker and this lack of investment and sensibility towards the new challenges would make it vulnerable concerning the most important aspect of a society: Education.

Cooperation will become the only way for surviving and become resilient from a world hit by multiple crises. Joint action represents the way out that US will not have if there continue in this line of isolation and “personal” foreign affairs relations. No commitment with international agreements in addition with no solidarity is generating a negative spiral. This is not only about a unilateral anti-global focus it will generate an anti-US boycott against American products and no cooperation in times of crises.

That is the devastating impact of Trump´s anti-green policies that are not just focusing in destroying this industry but the impact that creates: becoming not competitive. Not even their allies are in line with this focus. Russia -despite their intention to have a good relation with US- has developed a strong investment in clean energies, e.g. bio fuels.

Saying no to investment in clean energies means saying no to sustainability in the medium term and saying yes to profits to private interest in the short term.

In terms of competitiveness, the development of clean energies has become part of a modern industrial and commercial way of living and producing. US will become an outsider that even there new and bilateral alliances will not accompanied them.

The only basis to explain this resistance to be out of a green global world is because of a short-term vision on financial investment. There is not a logical or visionary reason that could support a decision that will leave US behind on new technologies. Hence, more vulnerable for facing a world submerged in multiple crises. An unjustified denial for investing in innovation completes this stage of chaos in which short-termism is leading the way without vision and a smart strategy able to make US resilient.

 

*http://bit.ly/2jd6rSl

*Surrealist picture: Hossein Zare




Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 2 Building Buy-in : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

Increasing employee involvement in workplace sustainability programs is one of the top challenges for organizations. This is not surprising as most businesses face issues with competing priorities, while implementing programs that are informal and voluntary. This post is going to make a departure from the usual topics that are discussed about sustainability buy-in. It will focus on three key questions and strategic approaches that are effective at building sustainability momentum within an organization.

So, let’s take a step back from sustainability specific issues and ask a couple of deeper questions and do a bit of exploring possible approaches.

What motivates us at work?

Dan Pink, an expert on human motivation and the author of the New York Times best seller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, shows us that there is a huge disconnect between what science knows and what business does. He discusses how 40 years of proven research on human motivation goes largely ignored by companies. Dan outlines, with case study examples, that using intrinsic motivators, across the board, increases engagement, productivity, creativity and satisfaction.

According to Pink, the key drivers to increasing employee performance, productivity and satisfaction are:

Purpose – doing things because they matter and are in service of something larger than ourselves; a higher or outward looking mission

Autonomy – a desire to be self-directed; ownership & responsibility in areas of day-to-day work, life balance, career development, organizational direction, etc.

Mastery – the urge to get better and better at something that matters – learning new skills and build our capacity to address new challenges/talks

In Dan Pink’s TED talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation”, he reveals the substance of his findings from his book. He discusses how the carrots and sticks approach to incentivizing, outside of a surprisingly narrow set of circumstances, largely never works and often destroys creativity. The proven secret to high performance is intrinsic motivation, the drive to do things that matter.

Practical Application: The key here is weaving these 3 drivers into your programming to inspire employee involvement and commitment. I often hear people say, “I tried that once and it didn’t work”. One-off and ad-hoc attempts at fostering buy-in do not work; it’s necessary to use strategic, consistent and embedded approaches to build commitment, community and a supportive culture. Creating momentum may take a bit of time, but consistency builds credibility, accountability, aids in measurement and provides a platform for effectively communicating relevant messaging.

How does being purpose driven increase buy-in and participation?

The latest trend in the corporate world is the shift to establishing a company brand promise and growing profits through purpose-driven business strategies. Research shows purpose-driven organizations that foster shared-value experience a higher level of trust, ability to innovate, employee and customer satisfaction and overall profits.

Simon Sinek, the author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”, tells us that customers don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Your company’s why is the larger purpose that inspires you to do what you do every day beyond the objective of solely making money.

According to John Mackey & Raj Sisodia, the authors of “Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business”, there are four general categories to consider when determining your organization’s “why” or higher purpose:

1.   Improving quality of life through service

2.   Furthering human knowledge through discovery and knowledge sharing

3.   Achieving excellence, beauty and mastery

4.   Doing the right thing




In Simon’s TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, he discusses the why (higher purpose), how (value proposition) and what (impact and scale of your offerings) of your business and the importance of starting with and discovering your why. Successful and innovative organizations start with a clear why and create aligned experiences (how) and products (what) around their brand that inspire employees, customers and investors.

Practical Application: Sustainability and corporate responsibility (CSR) initiatives are valuable alignment points to illustrate purpose-driven brand experiences that resonate with employees, customers and investors. Aligning sustainability-related activities with organizational purpose and business objectives provide a powerful platform to foster shared value, trust and ultimately buy-in from various stakeholder groups.

How do we build momentum when implementing internal initiatives?

How does an idea get widely adopted over time? We can look to the diffusion of innovation theory, developed by Everett Rogers in 1962. In his book, Diffusion of Innovations”, Rogers explains how, over a period of time, an idea gains momentum and spreads within a social system. This is essentially what Derek Sivers was illustrating in his “how to start a movement” video that was highlighted in Part 1: Steps to follow in this post series.

The theory, illustrated by a bell-curve, is broken into segments: adopters, innovators (2.5%), early adopters (13.5%), early majority (34%), late majority (34%) and laggards (16%). The theory outlines how each category of adopters acts as influencers for the next segment under the curve.  A key effect in the model, which is often referred to the as the tipping point (16%), is where the rate of adoption accelerates and takes on the momentum needed for the innovation to be widely adopted.

Rogers also identified, in the Diffusion of Preventative Innovation, five characteristics that directly affect the probability of adoption of a specific innovation:

1.   Relative advantage – new idea is better than what is already available or in use

2.   Compatibility – compatible with their current habits and values

3.   Complexity – relative ease of use

4.   Trialability – potential adopter may trial it on a limited basis

5.   Observability – innovation is observed in use by other members and their results

Practical Application: When creating your programming, it is key to weave the success characteristics throughout your programming. Explore the five characteristics like a checklist and identify how your program stacks up in each area and where there are areas for improvement.

This model is also an incredibly useful marketing tool. Use the profile for each segment to create a targeted marketing strategy. This approach, using each segment profile, allows for the crafting of relevant and compelling marketing tactics and messages to effectively increase the rate of momentum and adoption.

Want to learn more?

Watch for the next installment of our 6-part “Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization “ series. Part 3 will focus on how to scale your program, no matter the size, function or structure of your organization.

Start a conversation! Please leave a comment, question or share your experiences below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

Start a Sustainability Movement in Your Organization Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Connect with Wendy on :

Twitter: @EngageIntl

LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.







Start a #Sustainability #Movement in Your #Organization: Part 1 – Steps to Follow : Wendy Firlotte @EngageIntl

​When I talk to organizations of all sizes and functions, their biggest pain point is essentially the same, lack of participation.  Consistently, the two biggest challenges I hear are obstacles to increasing stakeholder buy-in and deal with competing priorities in the workplace.

In corporate responsibility & sustainability, we talk about being purpose driven and embedding sustainability within the organization, but what does that mean exactly? Essentially, we are looking for ways to mobilize employees and resources toward a shared sustainability purpose. In other words, what we want to know is how do we start a sustainability movement? This is the first installment of a 6 part series where we will discuss what starting a sustainability movement means, what it takes and the key elements for success.

Before getting into how to start a sustainability movement within your organization, let’s watch a TED talk by Derek Sivers (3 mins) and break down the basic steps and key insights of starting a movement in general.

Observed steps and key insights from the video:

  1.    Leaders need to create actions that are easy to follow and show the first follower how to follow. The first followers will then show everyone else how to follow.
  2.    Leaders embrace followers as equals, so it’s about the movement, not about the leader.
  3.    The first follower is an underestimated form of leadership. It takes courage to stand out and do something new and different.
  4.    Actions must be public. It’s important to not only show the actions of the leader, but also the followers. New followers will emulate other followers, not the leader.
  5.    After the first few join, others will join because it’s less risky. Then you hit the tipping point.
  6.    Afterward, those who were sitting on the fence before, have no reason now not to join. They won’t stand out, they won’t be ridiculed, but they will be part of the in-crowd if they hurry.
  7.    Then you have a movement.

I love that these insights are clear and simple, but I also wanted to add some key ideas that relate these steps to engaging employees in internal sustainability programs; many of these will be discussed in greater detail later in the series.

Create relevance for the program beyond company purpose. If a mission isn’t relevant to employees on a personal level, outside of work, it’s not likely to resonate with them at work either. How does your company’s sustainability agenda align with a greater purpose, allowing employees to contribute to the global good? Are you relating similar actions in their daily lives at home?

The UN Sustainable Development goals are a great way to create greater overall relevance. It provides a collective (global) way forward to address the world’s most pressing issues, but allows companies to choose the goals that align with their purpose and materiality priorities. With this greater vision and purpose, employees can participate make the broader connections with the meaning behind their brand experiences.

Meeting people where they are. A key element to increasing participation is by creating programming to engage employees that reflect their varying levels of understanding and willingness to participate. Do you have activities planned to accommodate these levels of employee involvement to meet them at their highest level of engagement and potential impact?

Law of diffusion of innovation principle. According to research, the required percentage of uptake in order to achieve the tipping point when adopting new innovations is only 16 %. (That lovely number makes the task seem more manageable, right?) Here is a great talk by Simon Sinek, where he discusses the law of diffusion in more detail.

Share employee experiences. Create fun, engaging, and relatable experiences for participating employees to share and inspire others to get involved. You could highlight and share articles, videos, blogs, pictures, posts, tweets, etc. Harness the powerful resource of employee influence and amplification in networks, on social media and word of mouth.

Cultivate followers and equip them to be advocates. Advocates and enthusiasts can be your strongest resource. We are very much social beings and are strongly influenced by our peers. Often sustainability practitioners feel overwhelmed when implementing programming as they say, “it’s just me!” I say look for ways to mobilize your employees and make them all owners and leaders. Create a clear process to show your followers how to follow, so they can then easily communicate the process to other potential followers.

Focus on key messaging and ongoing dialogue.  Be consistent in your messaging, frequency and contact channels with your communications and engagement. Focus on regular messaging communications, activities and feedback. If we want activities to be embedded into our organizational ethos, it needs to be part of an ongoing conversation, not only a few times per year when specific activities are launched.

Want to learn more? Watch for the next installment of her 6-part “Start a sustainability movement “ series. Part 2 will focus on building stakeholder buy-in at every level of the organization.




Start a Sustainability Movement Series:

  • Part 1: Steps to follow
  • Part 2: Building buy-in at every level
  • Part 3: How to scale
  • Part 4: How to systemize
  • Part 5: All in for sustainability
  • Part 6: Fostering culture & embedding sustainability

Leave a Comment! We would love to hear your thoughts! Please leave a comment or question below. Also feel free to post any burning issues that you would like to see covered in this series.

You can find Wendy on Twitter:@EngageIntl or LinkedIn: Wendy Firlotte

Wendy is a Sustainability Employee Engagement Specialist. She specializes in translating high-level strategy and vision into purpose driven, embedded and aligned employee action. She’s a great asset to our guest blog here on CrowdLeaf.




Announcement of a regular Green Show on @VoiceFMradio by @rwscarter

Some of you have already listened to @rwscarter on VoiceFm recently, some of you are so dedicated that you have heard both of his appearance so far. Credit where it is due, that cannot have been as easy as listening to Adam from Green Hampshire or Denise from ‘Eco Hair and Beauty‘. Both the earlier show and the now regular slot. On that occasion (my first VoiceFm appearance) I was with the wonderful Denise Baden from Southampton University who was discussing the great initiative ‘Eco Hair and Beauty’ which have written for us here at @CrowdLeaf before. She also discussed the sustainability agenda in Cuba- which she tied in rather nicely with her musical ‘Fidel’. More of that can be found here along with a link to that guest appearance below.




Like wise the new green show on VoiceFM – hosted by Xan Philips and the green agenda taken forward by @rwscarter on Xan’s ‘The Business show’ every first Thursday of the month from 8pm- 9pm.

The December the 1st episode can be found above – With the inside scoop on all things Christmas ,Autumn Statement, local green campaigns, national crowdfunding news and the green agenda and insights, from £5 notes to electric vans.

As @rwscarter is now a regular guest- the first in the sequence of Green issues radio appearances os merely the start, we want your green news, campaigns and insights to share live on air. At the moment this scheduled be broadcast every first Thursday of each month from 8 PM however we are both human and sometime this may change, so keep an eye on our twitter and on here. You can tune in on 103.9FM or find us online at : http://www.voicefmradio.co.uk   . If you happen to miss the show but still want to listen, perhaps you want to take us for a train journey, or on a long walk  – there is both a listen live and as you’ve  probably noticed from the links above a ‘listen again’ option.  Thanks as always for being here with us – keep your green news, campaigns, opportunities and more coming our way. Equally there is room for suggested sustainability/green/conservation songs – please do share your suggestions.




The Green Crowd – A Partial Follow up to Deep Impact  Conference

Following on from the Deep Impact Conference this November just gone, I managed to talk to some really cool people. People like Ian Tracey from Innovate UK and The Knowledge Transfer Network, Bill  Morrow, Helen Farmer, a speaker from Indigogo, Jon Terry from PWC , and more.

I got to talk,  to the experts, to the people in the room and the people making the alternative finance industry grow. So obviously  I asked them about sustainability I asked them about the future of green issues. Below is a video of what they had to say with regard to using crowdfunding in the green, sustainability and conservation communities which we here at CrowdLeaf all make up.
Do you  know what they said?

Have a listen.





They agreed, the future of the planet belongs to us, it is our time, it is our time, it is our time… our time to take the bull by its horns to take the money from the industries that destroy the planet and put the money into industries that create the future. Save today and preserve yesterdays species and planet today ready for tomorrow.

People seemed to enjoy the day, the world was put to rights and issues such as the ‘Grey Suit Factor’ in the Women Unbound report which highlights some really interesting work showing women doing as well as and better than men in crowdfunding campaigns. Some of the best crowdfunding practices and views from both the UK, the US and across europe surrounding the future of alternative finance. Which has been done with Barry James, who as CEO, co-founder and instigator of the Crowdfunding Center and the Deep Impact Conference worked with PwC and many more ( including me over a few pints) to create a report that may yet change the way we see the ‘glass ceiling’ and most importantly how we get past it.

Distinguished speakers such as Sarah Warman who is the Commander in Chief of the task force for the crowdfunding success BrewDog , Bill Morrow CEO and founder of Angels Den, Kathleen Monigue from Crowdfund Better USA, Tim Wright from Twingables, Julian Swan from The Imagination Factory, Michelle Rodger from Tartan Cat Communications, Jon Terry from PwC, Clive Lewis from ICAEW Chartered Accountants, Jamie Veitch who coordinated the first ‘Community share issue’ into media in 2014 and many more.

It was a great day, I really enjoyed the day and found out some really interesting things going on in the world of Alternative finance, fin-tech and some really interesting and cool products such as FormCard which I think might go someway to giving a better name to plastic. I am still opposed to plastic, but the thing that gets me most is the single use plastic, the plastic bags and the broken bits of plastic our grandkids, grandkids will be digging up, so any sort of reusable plastic will go a long way to cutting the level of waste both now and in the future.

View more about FormCard here from their crowdfunding campaign information video.

 



Solar Impulse 2 the Record-breaking #solar plane is back in #Switzerland 

Some of you may have read my piece a little while back surrounding the adventures of Solar Impulse 2. I’ve just stumbled upon this news that is has now gone back to Switzerland.




That was some achievement and if it’s the way forward and it defiantly has a part to play even if it’s just switching planes to hybrid states for now. Then to all involved what a cracking job!

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/solar-impulse-2_record-breaking-solar-plane-returns-to-switzerland/42610858

The Purse is Mightier Than the Pen – by @GeorgeMonbiot

Having attended a fantastic talk on Loneliness by George on the 5th of November 2016 I got to talk to a man who has inspired many to tackle climate change, to keep it in the ground, to fight for the world in which we all live. It was a humbling experience and to hear him talk with such passion about loneliness (an area of real potency for me) too was a real honour. Thanks George and all who like you continue to inspire in the face of unprecedented destruction and seemingly immovable and irreversible tides. Some sections of this take on more significance then many would have expected, particularly over level of will and US involvement with climate deals following the presidential election.



The climate crisis is here, now, but a compromised, corrupted media doesn’t want to know.

By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 3rd August 2016

What is salient is not important. What is important is not salient. The media turns us away from the issues that will determine the course of our lives, and towards topics of brain-melting irrelevance.

Television channel controllers, perhaps the least accountable arbiters in public life, see themselves as edgy and provocative, but they have purged from the schedules almost all challenges to established power. Newspapers style themselves defenders of free speech, but within their own pages most of them stamp out dissenting voices and dissonant topics. If you are scarcely aware of what confronts us, don’t blame yourself.

This, on current trends, will be the hottest year ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015; the one before in 2014. Fifteen of the 16 warmest years have occurred in the 21st Century. Each of the past 14 months has beaten the global monthly temperature record. But you can still hear people repeating the old claim, first proposed by fossil fuel lobbyists, that global warming stopped in 1998.

Arctic sea ice covered a smaller area last winter than in any winter since records began. In Siberia, an anthrax outbreak is raging through the human and reindeer populations, because infected corpses locked in permafrost since the last epidemic in 1941 have thawed. India has been hammered by cycles of drought and flood, as extreme heating parches the soil and torches glaciers in the Himalayas. Southern and eastern Africa have been pitched into humanitarian emergencies by drought. Wildfires storm across America; coral reefs around the world are bleaching and dying.

Throughout the media, these tragedies are reported as impacts of El Nino: a natural weather oscillation caused by blocks of warm water forming in the Pacific. But the figures show that it accounts for only one fifth of the global temperature rise. The El Nino phase has now passed, but still the records fall.

Eight months ago in Paris, 177 nations promised to try to ensure that the world’s average temperature did not rise by more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial level. Already it has climbed by 1.3C – faster and further than almost anyone predicted. In one respect, the scientists were wrong. They told us to expect a climate crisis in the second half of this century. But it’s already here.

If you blinked you would have missed the reports, but perhaps the most striking aspect of the Democratic platform (the party’s manifesto) approved in Philadelphia last week was its position on climate change. Hillary Clinton’s campaign now promises a national and global mobilisation “on a scale not seen since World War II.” She will seek to renegotiate trade deals to protect the living world, to stop oil drilling in the Arctic and Atlantic and to ensure America is “running entirely on clean energy by mid-century.”

There are some crashing contradictions in the platform. To judge by one bizarre paragraph, the Democrats believe they can solve climate change by expanding roads and airports. It boasts about record sales in the car industry and promises to cut “red tape”, which is the term used by corporate lobbyists for the public protections they hate. But where it is good it is very good, reflecting the influence of Bernie Sanders and the nominees he proposed to the drafting committee.

Trump, on the other hand – well, what did you expect? Climate change is a “con-job” and a “hoax”, that was “created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive”. His platform reads like a love letter to the coal industry. Coal, it says, “is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.” He will defend the industry by rejecting the Paris agreement, stopping funds for the UN’s climate change work, ditching Obama’s clean power plan and forbidding the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating carbon dioxide.




What’s most alarming about the platform is that Trump didn’t write it: the deranged and contradictory bluster of the Republican party leadership is a collective effort. But at least it clears something up. Though boasting of his great wealth and power, he poses as the friend of the common citizen and the enemy of corporate capital. On every significant issue in the platform, corporate capital wins. To read it is to discover where the land lies and where the lies land.

Incidentally, Trump’s executives don’t share his belief that climate change is a hoax. His golf resort in Ireland is seeking permission to build a wall – not to keep out Mexicans, but to defend his business from rising sea levels, erosion and storm surges caused, the application says, by global warming. If you can buy your way out of trouble, who cares about the other seven billion?

It’s not that the media failed to mention what the two platforms said about humanity’s existential crisis. But the coverage was, for the most part, relegated to footnotes, while the evanescent trivia of the conventions led the bulletins and filled the front pages. There are many levels of bias in the media, but the most important is the bias against relevance.

In Britain, the media largely failed to hold David Cameron to account for his extravagant green promises and shocking record. Theresa May has made some terrible appointments, but the new climate change minister, Nick Hurd, is an interesting choice, as he seems to understand the subject. The basic problem, however, is that the political costs of failure are so low.

To pretend that newspapers and television channels are neutral arbiters of such matters is to ignore their place at the corrupt heart of the establishment. At the US conventions, to give one small example, The Washington Post, The Atlantic and Politico were paid by the American Petroleum Institute to host discussions, which provided a platform for climate science deniers. The pen might be mightier than the sword, but the purse is mightier than the pen.

Why should we trust multinational corporations to tell us the truth about multinational corporations? And if they cannot properly inform us about the power in which they are embedded, how can they properly inform us about anything?

If humanity fails to prevent climate breakdown, the industry that bears the greatest responsibility is not transport, farming, gas, oil or even coal. All them can behave as they do, shunting us towards systemic collapse, only with a social licence to operate. The problem begins with the industry that, wittingly or otherwise, grants them this licence: the one for which I work.

www.monbiot.com




The Climate Change Challenge to Overcome in the UK Agriculture Sector – Jason Light

With explicit consent Jason Light has allowed us to repost his article as titled above : Originally posted on Jason’s linkedIn profile, this gem looks at what is involved in the challenge for the UK Agriculture sector to lower and neutralise their footprint in the fight against climate change.

Article below:





 

Just a week after some DBEIS published Wave 18 of the Environmental perception stats, which continued the trend of increased public support for the low carbon activities. DEFRA published a update to it’s Agriculture GHGs Indicator Framework which show there is a little way to go in that sector.

The Climate Change committee attribute approximately 10% of the UKs emissions to the Agriculture and forestry sector.

Despite equating for around half that of the Power, Transport and Industry sector emissions, 2013s estimated 48MtCO2e is about a third of the UKs 2050 carbon target. The latest figures found that 47% did not believe any action to reduce their emissions was necessary, worryingly this is an increase of 7% from this time last year.

The stats appear to show a divide between small business owners and large in the sector, with the latter far less likely to support action.

Overall the DEFRA update paints a fairly stagnant picture across the indicators, but there are glimmers of hope in that around 57% of respondents have carried out carbon reduction measures.

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of the authors employer. 




@MarIntroini : The Resilient Cities System. That is #Sustainable & #Green #Cities

I would like to take this opportunity to once again thank the great @MarIntroini  for writing another guest post for us.

The piece was also posted here on Mar’s blog.

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Resilience seems to be just another fashion word that defines the need of renewed architecture projects and technology systems. However resilience is a holistic concept that demands and in-depth review of current standards of living as well as the built of new economic-financial codes under the framework of a strong political will. The capacity of changing a status quo that is not responsive is the challenge for facing uncertainty effectively.

Since the start of the modern era, cities become a factor of development but also of chaos. More and more people migrate to urban areas and is expected that 70% of the world population will live in cities by 2050 which create the ambitious goal for a modern way of living: an urban life that includes the benefits from nature. By the contrary of what we could imagine, it´s possible! Changing rural for urban life does not necessary means loosing the contact with nature and a clean environment. Is a matter of innovation and changing habits: vertical gardens, green roofs, parks, more walk able areas, plants turn to generators of electricity, transport powered by clean energies, solar, wind energy, urban farming, etc. All of the above are green pieces of an urban puzzle that boost resilience.

Climate change and their growing threats have exposure our weakness to face crisis and the lack of adaptation methods that encompasses a new normal of drought, floods and an unusual weather that affects crops, hence food habits. Emergency situations are not only a matter of humanitarian aid –that need to be reshaped according to the new reality- but of adaptation policies that are also an urgent matter, even if there results may not be perceived in the short term. Prevention measures are not a priority anymore but adaptation to make resilience a real goal; through strong innovate policies that could go in harmony with those adaptive policies.

To get to 100% resilient cities is paramount to be aware of the need of a systemic process in which all elements are of equal importance. There is one pillar that has a key role: innovation in technology and architecture in conjunction with the creativity of building new behavioural codes political and individually.Without innovation all sides of this revolutionary process means nothing if it is not combined with a strong political will and a smart distribution of resources.

In this process of adaptation, education plays a paramount role to produce “adaptive minds” able to become a catalyzer of changes by reforming the system in a holistic way. Therefore politics, economics, finances and civil society must joint together in an effort to change habits and boost creativity towards green minds.

To achieve those goals a reform of the entire system in a strategic plan in which political old codes are left aside and a new political class emerges to design with creativity and determination the path for a reformed system.

Being Green is not another fashion attitude but an essential pillar to become resilient towards the new challenges that the environment is posing. A change of mind is the password to start this creative process of living in “green code”.