Remember these classic New York coffee cups? Well, now you can have one that won’t burn your fingers and you can use it over and over again!
Get them here: http://www.retroplanet.com/PROD/23792
Remember these classic New York coffee cups? Well, now you can have one that won’t burn your fingers and you can use it over and over again!
Get them here: http://www.retroplanet.com/PROD/23792
All of Carl Hiaasen’s books are fall out of your chair funny. And many have an environmental angle which he weaves in effortlessly. Bad Monkey is no exception.
“Here is Hiaasen doing what he does better than anyone else: spinning a tale at once fiercely pointed and wickedly funny in which the greedy, the corrupt, and the degraders of what’s left of pristine Florida—now, of the Bahamas as well—get their comeuppance in mordantly ingenious, diabolically entertaining fashion.”
Get thee to a bit of shade and enjoy a good laugh with a talented author!
It is sweltering outside which should make thinking about ice a welcome reprieve. One must tackle climate change from all sides and in all mediums.
Prefer to watch something than read another article? Here is a film called Chasing Ice that will get you inspired to do your part to ensure we have a bright future.
There is more than one way to motivate someone to incorporate the necessary changes for fighting climate change into one’s business and everyday life. Everyone learns differently: some by reading, some by doing, some by seeing.
Below are some images by artist Edward Burtynsky who focuses on nature as it is changed by industry. His landscape photographs of ship breaking, mines, recycling, pollution and more are both stunningly beautiful and poignant as we see the effects of industry.
Shipbreaking #2 Chittagong, Bangladesh 2000
Nickel Tailings No. 34 Sudbury, Ontario 1996
Oil Spill #9, Oil Slick at Rip Tide, Gulf of Mexico, June 24, 2010
Kennecott Copper Mine, Bingham Valley, Utah 1983
Where Corn Is King, a New Regard for Grass-Fed Beef
Matthew Staver for The New York Times
Family members moved bulls on the Lasater Ranch in Matheson, Colo. The family markets much of its beef to retailers like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers.
By KATHRYN SHATTUCK
BASSETT, Neb. — Isolation comes with the territory in the Sandhills of Nebraska, where grassy dunes laced with wet meadows undulate above the Ogallala Aquifer, and the thinning towns are few
Tom Lasater, who runs his family’s beef-marketing business in Colorado, has discussed a collaboration with Prescott Frost.
In the four years since he settled here, Prescott Frost has found himself set apart more than most. In a state where corn is king, he is on a quest to breed a better cow for the grass-fed beef industry — one that can thrive without chemical pesticides, antibiotics, hormones and, the clincher, grain — and to market his own brand of artisanal meat.
A great-grandson of the poet Robert Frost, who tended Ayrshire cattle in Vermont, the Connecticut-born Mr. Frost has spent a lifetime taking the road less traveled by. He put down roots on 7,000 acres in what he calls the Napa Valley of ranchland, home to more than 700 species of native grasses and forbs: bluestem, buffalo, reed canary, brome — the salad bar on which grass-fed beef is raised.
“If change is going to come to the cattle industry, it’s got to come from educated people from the outside,” Mr. Frost said, quoting from Allan Nation, the publisher of The Stockman Grass Farmer, considered the grazier’s bible.
Change comes slowly closer to the 100th meridian, the line of longitude bisecting East from West, where the average annual rainfall drops to less than 20 inches, acreage is measured in the thousands and the big city can be a day’s drive away. Where the great cattle herds once roamed, grass finishing — an intricate and lengthy ballet involving the balance of protein and energy derived from the stalk, with the flavor rendered by earth, plants and even stress — is a nearly lost art. Recent tradition dictates that animals be fattened for the slaughterhouse as quickly and as profitably as possible, on average between 14 and 18 months of age with the help of grain. These unconventional ranchers, their cattle idling in pastures for two or more years before reaching maturity, elicit cocked eyebrows.
“There’s a cultural kind of fear-mongering that is involved,” said Fred Kirschenmann, a distinguished fellow at the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University and the president of the board of the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, N.Y. “The attitude out there is that grass-fed is for the crazies.”
In late April, Mr. Frost was attending the Slow Money National Gathering in Boulder, Colo., where food producers trawled for investors, when he found himself at lunch with Tom Lasater of the storied Colorado and Texas ranching family. Dining on burgers and kale salad, the men could have been mistaken for oenophiles as they debated the nuances of dry aging and terroir, or how various grasses and soil conditions affect the taste of meat.
“When the wine industry started out in California, nobody had a language for what a bouquet was,” Mr. Frost, 55, said. “Vintners had to come up with a way an audience could have a conversation about hints of raspberries, of camomile. And that’s what we have to do with beef.”
The next week, Mr. Lasater, 42, who in 2009 settled in Denver to run his family’s beef-marketing business, paid Mr. Frost a visit to discuss a possible collaboration.
“He’s a fellow maverick,” Mr. Lasater said. “Finding someone like Prescott is like finding a needle in a haystack.”
The connection was easy to understand. Each had been educated at Eastern boarding schools (Mr. Frost at the Putney School in Vermont; Mr. Lasater at the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire), had lived abroad (Mr. Frost in Paris and Rome; Mr. Lasater in China and Hong Kong) and had spent time in California (Mr. Frost as a stockbroker and decorative painter in Los Angeles; Mr. Lasater as an Internet entrepreneur in Silicon Valley).
And though Mr. Frost took up farming in 2003 after inheriting land in Illinois while Mr. Lasater grew up in the saddle, each was focused on addressing the distribution imbalance between the heartland and the coasts, and on increasing name recognition of their brands.
“The intrigue and the interest in eating grass-fed beef is more in the areas of urban concentration, and where you have the cheaper land is more in the rural Midwest areas,” Mr. Kirschenmann said. “In New York, land is so expensive that farmers can’t afford to raise animals from birth to butcher on grass.”
After beef samples sent to food writers received enthusiastic reviews, Mr. Frost created a monthly Internet club, at PrescottFrost.com, that offers organic, grass-fed ground beef and hot dogs, with steaks as a bonus for subscribers. All the meat, his own and that of other producers, relies on the genetics masterminded by his partner, Rick Calvo, who fine-tunes their ranch’s two herds: Mr. Frost’s Murray Greys and Mr. Calvo’s Red Angus.
“You want a minimum-input type cow, with more depth of body, more thickness, good udder structure and a good disposition,” Mr. Calvo said. “An angry cow is not a very good eating experience.”
In the mid-1990s, Mr. Lasater’s father, Dale Lasater, whose holistic management techniques have been chronicled in National Geographic and the documentary “Food, Inc.,” decided to market the Beefmaster, his family’s breed.
“We learned that just because we liked our beef didn’t mean that anyone else in the world did, or even really cared what grass-fed beef was,” Tom Lasater said. “For the first 10 years it was a real uphill battle.”
Lasater Grasslands Beef sells about 75 percent of its product through retailers like Whole Foods and Natural Grocers, with the remaining 25 percent online.
“Grass-fed beef is getting to a point where it’s almost an interesting business,” Mr. Lasater said the afternoon before heading to California to speak with investors. “It sounds fairly simple, but when you get into the nitty-gritty of raising the beef and trying to supply people on a timely basis — what they want, when they want it and how they want it — it’s actually complicated, because you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.”
A month ago, the Lasater Ranch in Matheson — some 30,000 acres of shortgrass prairie 70 miles southeast of Denver that runs along the cottonwood-lined Big Sandy Creek, now dry — received its first rain in more than a year.
“The grass is very green and the ranch looks great, but six weeks ago we were wondering what happens if we have to move cattle off,” Mr. Lasater said. “Whole Foods doesn’t suddenly stop wanting cattle, and all of your other customers don’t suddenly disappear.”
Recently, Mr. Frost was recuperating after a harried drive back to Nebraska from New York and Connecticut, where he, too, had tried to drum up investors.
“How lucky am I?” he asked as the rush of a flow-well broke the early morning silence. “It’s amazing to be part of something that has the potential to be so huge in terms of the planet and sustainability. I say it’s revolutionary.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has tried to curb soda consumption, ban smoking in parks and encourage bike riding, is taking on a new cause: requiring New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting.
Dozens of smaller cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, have adopted rules that mandate recycling of food waste from homes, but sanitation officials in New York had long considered the city too dense and vertically structured for such a policy to succeed.
Recent pilot programs in the city, though, have shown an unexpectedly high level of participation, officials said. As a result, the Bloomberg administration is rolling out an ambitious plan to begin collecting food scraps across the city, according to Caswell F. Holloway IV, a deputy mayor.
The administration plans to announce shortly that it is hiring a composting plant to handle 100,000 tons of food scraps a year. That amount would represent about 10 percent of the city’s residential food waste.
Anticipating sharp growth in food recycling, the administration will also seek proposals within the next 12 months for a company to build a plant in the New York region to process residents’ food waste into biogas, which would be used to generate electricity.
“This is going to be really transformative,” Mr. Holloway said. “You want to get on a trajectory where you’re not sending anything to landfills.”
The residential program will initially work on a voluntary basis, but officials predict that within a few years, it will be mandatory. New Yorkers who do not separate their food scraps could be subject to fines, just as they are currently if they do not recycle plastic, paper or metal.
Mr. Bloomberg, an independent, leaves office at the end of the year, and his successor could scale back or cancel the program. But in interviews, two leading Democratic candidates for mayor, Christine C. Quinn, the City Council speaker, and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, expressed strong support for the program — including the plan to eventually make it mandatory.
Sanitation officials said 150,000 single-family homes would be on board voluntarily by next year, in addition to more than 100 high-rise buildings — more than 5 percent of the households in the city. More than 600 schools will take part as well.
The program should expand to the entire city by 2015 or 2016, the sanitation officials said.
Under the program, residents collect food waste — like stale bread, chicken bones and potato peels — in containers the size of picnic baskets in their homes. The contents are then deposited in larger brown bins on the curb for pickup by sanitation trucks.
Residents of apartment buildings dump pails of food scraps at central collection points, most likely in the same places they put recyclable material.
It remains to be seen whether New Yorkers will embrace the program, given that some may cringe at keeping a container of potentially malodorous waste in a typically cramped urban kitchen, even if it is supposed to be emptied regularly.
The city has historically had a relatively mediocre record in recycling, diverting only about 15 percent of its total residential waste away from landfills.
In the latest 12-month period recorded, the Sanitation Department issued 75,216 summonses to home and building owners for failing to recycle. Officials expected that more summonses will be issued in the current fiscal year, because the department has redeployed personnel to recycling enforcement.
Still, the residential food-waste program would represent the biggest expansion of recycling efforts since the city began separating paper, metal and glass in 1989.
“It’s revolutionary for New York,” said Eric A. Goldstein, a senior lawyer with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a prominent environmental group. “If successful, pretty soon there’ll be very little trash left for homeowners to put in their old garbage cans.”
The city spent $336 million last year disposing of residential trash, exporting most of it to landfills in Ohio, Pennsylvania and South Carolina.
Food waste and other organic materials account for almost a third of all residential trash, and the city could save about $100 million a year by diverting it from landfills, said Ron Gonen, who was hired last year as deputy sanitation commissioner for recycling and sustainability, a new job at the department.
Experts have long criticized recycling as a weak spot in Mr. Bloomberg’s environmental record. But he appears to want to close out his tenure with a push to improve the program.
In his State of the City address in February, Mr. Bloomberg called food waste “New York City’s final recycling frontier.”
“We bury 1.2 million tons of food waste in landfills every year at a cost of nearly $80 per ton,” he said. “That waste can be used as fertilizer or converted to energy at a much lower price. That’s good for the environment and for taxpayers.”
The city does not handle commercial waste — businesses must hire private carters. But the administration intends to propose legislation that would require restaurants and food businesses to recycle their food waste.
A central question for the next mayor and City Council will be when to make residential recycling of food waste mandatory, with violators subject to fines. Garbage disposals remain relatively rare in the city.
Mr. de Blasio called diverting trash from landfills “crucially important to the environment and the city’s fiscal health” and said he would like to have a mandatory program within five years.
Ms. Quinn said the City Council would take up a bill this summer to require pilot programs across the city to ensure that voluntary recycling of food waste continues, regardless of who is mayor.
She said a mandatory program should be in place by 2016.
“We’re going to lock it in,” she said. “When New York makes composting part of everyday life, every other city will follow through. This is going to create an urban trend.”
Sanitation officials said they had been heartened by recent pilot programs.
At the Helena, a 600-unit building on West 57th Street in Manhattan, bins are kept in the trash rooms on each floor and emptied daily by workers.
The building’s owner, the Durst Organization, said the weight of the compostable material had been steadily rising, to a total of 125 pounds daily.
In the Westerleigh section of Staten Island, the city offered 3,500 single-family homes brown bins, kitchen containers and compost bags last April. Residents were told to separate out all foods, and even soiled paper like napkins and plates. Already 43 percent are placing their bins out on the curb for weekly pickups, said Mr. Gonen, the senior sanitation official.
Ellen and Thomas Felci, neighborhood residents, said they were eager to take part in the program — “for the good of the city,” Mrs. Felci said.
Everything now goes into the brown bin: things like corn husks and broccoli stems, but not meat (because Mr. Felci, 65, said he feared raccoons).
Mrs. Felci, 62, said that a week into the tryout she noticed a bad smell coming from the container, which she had placed next to the sink in the kitchen.
She solved the problem by dumping the contents into the bin outside more regularly and putting baking soda in the bottom.
But across the street, Joe Lagambina, 58, shunned the program. He said that recycling plastic and metal was already a burden, and that he would not separate food unless it was required by the city. He said his three daughters often mixed trash with recyclables.
“I’m the one who has to separate everything,” he said. “I go outside and there’ll be regular garbage in the blue can. It’s a pain.”
“I have enough work,” he said.
Here’s another cool thermal mug for your morning coffee courtesy of Jonathan Adler. Save trees, water, carbon and GHGs by reusing one of these stylish mugs for your java!
Get them here: http://www.lifeguardpress.com/category/thermal-mugs/jonathan-adler
Despite the unpopularity of a European aviation carbon emission tax, the world’s airlines are ready to discuss global measures.
Last week, airlines called on the aviation authorities to find a way to curb emissions after 2020.
The announcement, which calls on the International Civil Aviation Organization, the civilian sky’s U.N. regulating body, to adopt an across-the-board, market-based mechanism to offset emissions, was made during the International Air Transport Association’s 69th annual meeting, in Cape Town.
“We can give them a direction we want them to go,” said Tony Tyler, the head of the association, about the recommendations to the governing body in a video statement.
The International Civil Aviation Organization hopes to steer governments away from a patchwork of national rules and toward a single, global, market-based mechanism.
“Such a patchwork would be an administrative nightmare,” said Paul Steele, the association’s environmental director at a news conference.
The industry group represents 240 of the world’s airlines, which operate 84 percent of all civilian flights. The association has called for environmental standards before, but this is the first time it has called for comprehensive binding regulations.
Since 2010, the association has been in favor of a 1.5 percent annual increase in fuel efficiency from 2010 to 2020, with carbon neutral growth by 2020. By 2050, the association wants net emissions cut by 50 percent from 2005 levels.
As Rendezvous reported last year, Europe and the rest of the world have been in disagreement over whether foreign carriers should take part in the European Emission Trading System when landing at European destinations. A European Union rule, in place since last year, would have taxed carbon emissions on flights terminating or originating in Europe, even for non-European airlines.
Last summer, a group of non-European nations met in Washington to condemn such taxation. Then President Barack Obama disappointed environmentalists when he signed a bill into law that actually prohibits United States airlines from paying the tax when landing in Europe, in contravention of international law.
Earlier this year, the European Union announced a “stopping of the clock” in its demand for non-European carriers to participate in its emission trading program. At the time, Connie Hedegaard, the E.U. commissioner for climate action, described the move as allowing the rest of world to catch up.
The air association’s most recent announcement was welcomed in Brussels.
“It is a very strong message that the airline industry seems ready to support a single global market-based measure to keep their emissions in check,” Ms. Hedegaard said in a statement sent to reporters last week.
“The E.U. is ready,” she said.
Airline travel is thought to cause 2 percent to 3 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. According to a National Geographic report, an average passenger airplane burns four liters, or a little more than a gallon, of jet fuel for each kilometer each a passenger flies. This number is already a 40 percent improvement over jet fuel efficiency in 2000.
Though the number of flights may still be climbing (Rendezvous reported last year on the one billionth international arrival in 2012), new planes are becoming increasingly fuel-efficient.
“This is a responsible industry. We are the only industry in the world that has set itself clear targets in terms of emission standards,” said Mr. Tyler, according to the video statement.
Should emission reduction mechanisms be suggested by the airlines themselves? Are the association’s guidelines sufficient?
To quote the venerable Richard Branson, it’s all about People, Planet, Profit. Here’s an excerpt from his blog about adding social awareness to your everyday business habits and how easy it can be:
The world has shifted dramatically over the last several years and you can now feel the energy and hear the buzz everywhere you turn about business becoming a force for good. With this in mind, we are really pleased to be launching the B Team with a great group of leaders later this week.
We’ve been working with Virgin Unite and partners over the last several years to make this happen, so it is incredibly exciting to see it get lift-off. Hopefully this collective group of leaders will help speed up the pace towards a better way of doing business that puts people and planet alongside profit. This new direction for business is a tremendous chance for entrepreneurs all over the world to build successful businesses and to make a significant difference at the same time. If you put charity on one side and for-profit businesses on the other, we see the beautiful hybrid models in the middle as the greatest opportunity of our lifetime.
As momentum gathers pace, so does jargon and confusion about what is a “good business”. There are constantly new names popping up from impact investing, to conscious capitalism, to shared value, to a whole host of others. The danger is that “doing good” becomes linked to a specific label, rather than ensuring every single business has a positive impact on people and planet. We’ve tried to step back with our businesses and simplify it down to a few core definitions to help them get their heads around the opportunities:
Purpose Driven Businesses – businesses that make a difference and also make a profit. MPESA is a great example of this as they are a company that started to bring financial services to the poor. They’ve now reinvented the finance industry in places like Kenya where 31% of the GDP is carried over their network by over 17 million customers. Another great example is Airbnb, helping to shake up the hospitality sector and make better use of our community assets. Over four million customers later, they are proving to be a formidable force.
Social Enterprises – businesses that put all their profit back into scaling the response to the issue. Muhammad Yunus really is the grandfather of this model with Grameen Bank and over $13.6 billion in loans so far. The Big Issue is another great example of this type of business.
Value Based Businesses – profit making businesses that have the right people and planet values alongside profit at their core. It encompasses building the right values into any business we start, as did Patagonia and Ben & Jerry’s. It also includes transforming existing businesses. Many businesses who have embarked on this process, such as Marks & Spencer, have shown that it is also good for your bottom line. M&S has already realised well over £220m in savings since they kicked off their program to become the world’s most sustainable major retailer.
Catalytic Organisations – organisations set up to break down barriers and get capital flowing into new hybrid models. They include some of the pioneers in this area like Acumen and Root Capital. The Carbon War Room is making excellent progress in several industries such as shipping. The B Team will also hopefully make a big difference.
Looking forward to being part of the “hybrid revolution” in the years to come (scratch that name – just added another one to the mix!)
By Richard Branson. Founder of Virgin Group
A slight tweak to an every day habit can make you an instant conservationist! Bring your own mug to your favorite coffee joint instead of taking a paper cup and suddenly you have saved the paper, the chemicals, carbon, energy and water expended in making the cup, and the emissions getting it to the counter.
Love the look of your venti? Try this one on for size: