Category Archives: New solutions

Protecting old growth forests & reducing livestock will hugely mitigate climate change

Biodiversity Plan & Aichi TargetsI was just reading a fact sheet on the contributions that Aichi (Japan) Biodiversity Targets can make to land-based climate mitigation. My son Ivan Wei brought it back from COP21 – the Paris climate talks that happened in December 2015. It brought out some quite interesting points:

  • Old growth forests provide better greenhouse gas mitigation than newly planted ones. Meaning, let’s take care of our trees.
  • Organic, eco-friendly agriculture is a great way to sequester carbon and get it out of the air, where it causes climate change.
  • 1/3 of food is being lost to spoilage and waste. By sharply reducing food waste, we will reduce the amount of new cropland that gets planted, which will in turn dramatically mitigate climate change.
  • We need to manage livestock growing much better and probably reduce our meat consumption.

The facts are pulled from the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, a multi-country 10 year framework adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. Here’s the full Aichi Targets & Biodiversity Plan Synopsis.

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A love letter from #EarthToParis – short video narrated by Morgan Freeman

Earth to Paris
Source: United Nations Foundation video
#‎LoveEarth Add your voice to the global call for climate action‬: http://www.earthtoparis.org/

Film by Nirvan / GOOD. Narrated by Morgan Freeman. Music: “Allegro Prestissimo” performed by Yo-Yo Ma & Bobby McFerrin, courtesy of Sony Music Entertainment. Nature footage courtesy of Moving Art by Louie Schwartzberg. Produced by SpecialOrder.co.

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President Obama Announces COP21 Climate Agreement

Pres Obama on Climate Accord
Source: White House
President Obama announces the global agreement to combat climate change that was just reached in the COP21 climate talks which culminated in Paris today, on Saturday 12 December 2015:

We cannot be complacent because of today’s agreement. The problem’s not solved because of this accord … it creates the mechanism, the architecture for us to continually tackle this problem in an effective way.

More at the White House blog

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About the webinar: What is Energy Democracy and Why Does It Matter?

Denise Fairchild
Source: Webinar Archive of What is Energy Democracy and Why Does It Matter?
Streamed live on Nov 12, 2015
Featuring:
Janet Redman, Institute for Policy Studies (moderator)
Denise Fairchild, Emerald Cities Collaborative
Meghan Zaldivar, PUSH Buffalo
Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network

As the climate crisis heats up, and its impacts on the economy and people’s lives become more pronounced, concerned people everywhere are looking for new alternatives. Energy democracy seeks to replace the current corporate fossil-fuel economy with one that puts racial, social, and economic justice at the forefront of the transition to a 100% renewable energy future.

By energy democracy we mean bringing energy resources under public or community ownership and/or control, a key aspect of the struggle for climate justice and an essential step toward building a more just, equitable, sustainable, and resilient economy.

We’ve invited key energy democracy leaders to kick-start a conversation on why energy democracy is so important.

Here’s the webinar archive:

Long Island mom’s TEDx Talk: overcoming eco-grief & becoming an ecofeminist

Heidi Hutner's TedX Talk
Source: Heidi Hutner’s TedX Talk
ClimateMama recommends friend Heidi Hutner’s TED Talk: “Eco-Grief and Ecofeminism”. In this stirring 15+ minute talk, Heidi chronicles her journey from cancer patient at age 35 through “eco-grief” to a determination to act … Previously she wanted to hide from looking at how ecologically messed up our world had become.

When Heidi learns from a family friend of her own mother’s ecofeminism, she becomes fascinated with taking action. Her eco-grief lifts, Heidi’s life is transformed and her message is: the same can happen to you.

…the blinders flew open & eco-grief set in … feel that grief because then you will be called to act and you will join us and we will fix this thing.

How CSOs (combined sewer/water systems) work, why they’re bad

CSOs
USEPA and New Jersey Future
CSOs are Combined Sewer Overflow systems put in place centuries ago when stormwater was considered to be as much a public inconvenience as sewage is – instead of being regarded as the asset it really is. After all, nobody can live without water and for various reasons, we have less clean water today than any other time in history, so there’s a growing awareness of how much we need to treasure and protect our water resources.

In the CSO model, both clean street stormwater and sewage waste are channeled through municipal pipes into the municipal sewage waste treatment facility. That’s a waste of taxpayer funds right out of the box, because there’s no need to treat street water that’s already, just about clean. And even worse, the CSO system becomes a huge public health hazard when there’s a big weather event and CSO-connected sewage plants close off their incoming pipes to avoid becoming overwhelmed and flooding. When this happens, both effluent and water in the municipal pipes are pushed out into nearby natural bodies of water.

This is not only a truly icky phenomenon. It’s also damaging to the waterways’ ecosystems and obviously makes using them for recreation while sewage is present, entirely out of the question.

In a NJ Spotlight Opinion Piece, Daniel J. Van Abs offers a synopsis of the CSO problem:

The Romans developed a technology, now called combined sewers, to move sewage and stormwater off the streets and out of the city. London revived the use of combined sewers in the 1800s. Many cities in this country also built combined sewers from roughly 1860 to the 1920s, including 21 New Jersey municipalities, where they still exist. Initially, the combined sewage and stormwater were discharged directly to rivers, lakes, and bays, getting it out of the city as quickly as possible. Only later was treatment added – sometimes.

H2 Oh No! is a short video about CSOs from the Center for Urban Pedagogy.

Both Rutger’s Water Resources Department in New Jersey and New York’s Riverkeeper recommend on-site treatments to contain stormwater where it falls by sequestering it in the leaves of plants and trees at street height or in green roofs, getting it to percolate into the ground or capturing it in cisterns and rainbarrels for later use.

Here’s a CSO factsheet from Riverkeeper showing on-site treatments effectively provide for stormwater management. This keeps stormwater away from sewage lines and consequently, reduces the incidents of CSO pollution.

ECJ Green Drinks Paterson Area & Brunch for Bees Event

Bernie Sanders meets Green DrinksAugust Environment & Climate Justice Green Drinks Paterson Area
27 August 2015 at 12 noon
Sultan Restaurant
429 Crooks Ave, Paterson, New Jersey 07011

Everyone is welcome 🙂 and there’s never a meeting charge.
Mayor información – More information:
ejgreendrinks.org | 201-477-8711

ABOUT GREEN DRINKS
Green Drinks are gatherings where we discuss Environmental Justice, climate change and sustainable living issues in English and Spanish!

A lot of knowledge is shared around the table each month along with tasty food and good conversation. Come spend a couple interesting hours with the friendliest bunch of EJ nuts you’ll ever meet.

Please support our host venue by eating or drinking something while we chat.

Bee flyingAUGUST DISCUSSION AGENDA

  1. Brunch for the Bees – what are we eating and drinking that bees pollinate? What foods and drink don’t need pollinators?
  2. Delta incinerator company is trying to locate facility in Paterson. It needs to be stopped.
  3. The Wei Family is setting up a community garden. How can you help?
  4. Buying a home or property in Paterson as a community collective initiative to Occupy the City
  5. Pres. Obama’s Clean Power Plan

ORGANIZERS
Kimi Wei, Ivan Gomez Wei, Ariel Lopez Wei, Joseph Dunsay and Sally Gellert

JOIN GD MAILING LIST

SEPT 2015 NJECJ GREEN DRINKS SCHEDULE
Newark cancelled this month due to Labor Day
Hackensack WED 16 SEPT 7-9 PM
Paterson date TBA
(more at http://ejgreendrinks.org/)

Spots still open in drought policy webinar starting 1pm today 8/20

There’s room for a few more registrants in this webinar, which already has 500 participants. Sign up here.

This is the second webinar in the Food, Water and Energy Nexus Webinar Series and pathways to a sustainable future, co-hosted by Arizona State University’s School of Sustainability.

Drought in the SW United States – Water Policy of the Past, Present and Future
20 Aug 2015
1:15 to 2:45pm EDT

ECJ Green Drinks Paterson Area & Brunch for Bees Event – August 2015

Green Drinks 150729

ej green drinks with words, smallABOUT GREEN DRINKS
Green Drinks are gatherings where we discuss Environmental Justice, climate change and sustainable living issues in English and Spanish! A lot of knowledge is shared around the table each month along with tasty food and good conversation. Come spend a couple interesting hours with the friendliest bunch of EJ nuts you’ll ever meet. All are welcome.

Please support our host venue by eating or drinking something while we chat.

AUGUST DISCUSSION AGENDA

  1. Brunch for the Bees – what are we eating and drinking that bees pollinate? And what foods and drink don’t need them?
  2. A company is trying to locate a waste and sewage sludge in Paterson. It needs to be stopped.
  3. The Wei Family is starting up a community garden in Paterson. How can you help?
  4. A collective is forming to buy a Paterson home or property as a community based initiative to Occupy the City.
  5. Pres. Obama’s Clean Power Plan

TO JOIN GREEN EVENTS MAILING LIST visit http://j.mp/joingd

SEPT 2015 NJECJ GREEN DRINKS SCHEDULE
(More info at http://ejgreendrinks.org)
Newark cancelled due to Labor Day 7-9 PM
Hackensack this month on WED 16 SEPT 7-9 PM
Paterson DATE TBA (Check this page)

ORGANIZERS
Kimi Wei, Ivan Gomez Wei, Ari Lopez Wei, Joseph Dunsay and Sally Gellert

Green Drinks NJ Environment & Climate Justice Discussions
Mayor información en español e inglés en http://ejgreendrinks.org
Questions | Preguntas – Kimi 862-203-8814

Suggested Energy Master Plan talking/writing points from Environment NJ

climate change
Brazil’s 50graus produces street signs stickers that show true climate realities
Doug O’Malley, Director of Environment New Jersey, comments: “We need to compel the BPU to meet the goals of the 2007 Global Warming Response Act. Specifically, we need to tell them what a good Clean Energy New Jersey Energy Master Plan should look like. Here are some sample talking points I helped put together for this week’s hearings – feel free to share them widely so folks feel more comfortable taking a piece and expanding on it.”

Doug also suggests focusing in on just one or two points and expanding on them. For example, if you can tie in a single point with a personal story or concern, that can be very powerful.

Doug O’Malley’s Energy Master Plan 2015 Talking Points List

  • Less fossil fuel pipelines, oil trains, off-shore LNG facilities and fracking waste, and fossil fuel power plants in our neighborhoods like the Newark Energy Center.
  • More solar and wind generation, specifically with 3,000 MW of off-shore wind energy
  • 30% of our electrical energy to come from renewable sources by 2020 through a stronger Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)
  • 30% reduction in energy use by 2030 through an Energy Efficiency Resource Standard and a robust Combined Heat & Power program
  • 80% of our energy (for both electricity and total energy) to come from renewable sources by 2050 through a visionary Renewable Portfolio Standard.

    We should be moving the state forward, not backwards, towards clean energy. New Jersey’s energy future should be built on increased solar and wind generation and more energy efficiency. We need demand response programs, green job creation, and a commitment to reducing our dependence on fossil fuels. The BPU needs to stop promoting doubling down on fossil fuels and work towards energy efficiency and clean energy programs.

    The 2011 Christie Administration Energy Master Plan hurts New Jersey’s environment and economy and undermines clean energy and green jobs. This plan will continue to send jobs and money out of New Jersey while adding more pollution, and hurting our public health.

  • Christie denies Sandy is result of climate changeWe need much more aggressive clean energy goals and the Christie Administration has slowed our advances in clean energy – like the ones in the 2008 Energy Master Plan that called for 30% of our electrical energy to come from clean, renewable sources by 2020. New Jersey was on track to meet the 2008 goals, until Governor Christie repealed the previous plan’s aggressive goals. The Christie Administration rolled the 2020 goals back to 22.5% and there’s concern this standard will be cut even further.
  • The BPU Energy Master Plan doesn’t acknowledge the importance of the state Global Warming Response Act. The legislation, passed in 2006, mandated carbon reductions of 20% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, which sets forward an aggressive timeline for carbon reductions over the next 35 years.
  • The Energy Master Plan still strongly endorses the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure across the state, especially expanding gas pipelines and gas power plants in our communities. From the fights against the South Jersey Gas pipeline through the Pinelands to the efforts to stop the bi-state PennEast pipeline that has been proposed in Mercer and Hunterdon County to the placement of four new gas power plants in the state, including in the heart of the Ironbound community in Newark, expanding fossil fuels is harmful to New Jersey residents.
  • The BPU Plan is silent on the EPA Clean Power Plan, which will federally reduce power plant pollution by 32% over the next 15 years. While the reductions are less in New Jersey (23%), it still means we need more investment in clean energy and energy efficiency to reduce New Jersey’s overall base load power demands.
  • We need a more aggressive solar energy carve-out: New Jersey was second in the nation in solar before the Christie Administration took office and we are now seventh in solar installations. We previously had 10,000 jobs in solar and we now have only 5,500, as other states have caught up to New Jersey’s policies.
  • We need to ramp up invest in energy efficiency, especially for weatherization for the residential sector, and Combined Heat & Power programs for the commercial sector. Energy efficiency programs can be a boon for consumers and businesses alike, but New Jersey has now fallen to the 19th state in the country making progress on energy efficiency, from being previously in the top 10. We are massively behind on the 2011 Energy Master Plan goal for 1500 MW from Combined Heat & Power program for commercial businesses. The Energy Master Plan should explicitly be clear that the state budget process needs to stop continually raiding the Clean Energy Fund, which has now lost $1 billion during the Christie Administration.
  • We’ve already hurt our state by pulling out of RGGI: Gov. Christie’s initial decision to pull us out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) cost our state $50 million a year in revenue and more than 1800 jobs in 2011. The program has gotten stronger in the last 4 years, and New Jersey has now squandered close to $200 million that could be invested in energy efficiency program that would save consumers money.
  • We’re stalled on the 2011 Energy Master Plan goal for Off-Shore Wind: New Jersey was poised to be the first state in the nation with offshore wind, especially after Gov. Christie signed off-shore wind legislation into place five years ago calling for 3000 MW of off-shore wind, although the 2011 EMP only set a 1100 MW goal. Offshore wind projects could provide a vast majority of our energy needs but now other states are leapfrogging ahead of us.
  • The Energy Master Plan needs to do more to support and expand clean energy, energy efficiency and public transportation, VMT (Vehicle Miles Travelled) reduction programs and zero emission vehicle infrastructure, which reduces air pollution and our dependence on fossil fuels. Energy efficiency is the most cost effective way to reduce greenhouse gases and help lower energy costs. Energy efficiency cuts peak demand, preventing the use of peaker plants, which prevent blackouts, air pollution, and saves New Jersey residents’ money. Energy efficiency creates jobs and will reduce our greenhouse gas pollution. Public transportation clearly provides an opportunity for residents to avoid traffic and their carbon emissions by taking NJ Transit, VMT reduction program can fund measures to encourage corporate and private car-pooling and electric vehicle charging stations, with enough penetration in public streets and private parking lots can provide a way to relieve range anxiety.

Thanks for the share Klaus Rittenbach. Klaus also comments:

The energy calculation issue is a huge issue. We are not going to hit the 2011 EMP stated goal of 22.5% of renewables from electricity generation by 2020 as per the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). BPU is saying we are on track. It would be good to challenge their numbers directly.

The EMP is a narrowly focused document and does not get to the full energy picture. The biggest issue is that the EMP doesn’t deal with energy used for transportation at all, which is the biggest source of carbon emissions in the state.

NJ Assemblyman Den Benson shared his own list of what a strong EMP should contain.