The Absurdity of Calling a Bottled Water Company Carbon Neutral

Can a bottled water company ever be truly carbon neutral? The bottled water brand Evian announced recently that it has been audited and certified by the Carbon Trust as a carbon neutral brand in the U.S. and Canada. Evian’s corporate parent, Danone made a commitment at COP 21 to become carbon neutral worldwide by 2020. In January 2018, bottles of Evian water with the Carbon Trust certification seal will be available

A carbon neutral footprint is defined by the Carbon Trust as “one where the sum of the greenhouse gas emissions produced is offset by natural carbon sinks and/or carbon credits.” Smaller bottled water producers have already achieved carbon neutral status, including Icelandic Glacial and Norway’s Isklar. Continue reading “The Absurdity of Calling a Bottled Water Company Carbon Neutral”

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s Failed Leadership Mangles Environmental Protection, Endangers Millions Devastated by Extreme Weather

Scott Pruitt is Damaging Hurricane Recovery and Preparedness

Sierra Club press release Friday, September 21: 

Despite his dogged efforts to dismantle the agency he leads and refocus it on protecting corporate polluters instead of the American people, somehow Polluting Pruitt just can’t seem to catch a break with the press outside Breitbartlandia.

Why? Well, for the past few weeks at least, it’s because his policies are undermining the long and

Well, for the past few weeks at least, it’s because his policies are undermining the long and short-term recovery from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Heckuva job, Pruitt.

It’s hard to put it more succinctly than Thomas Friedman in the NYT:

“Trump has recently fired various knuckle-headed aides whose behavior was causing him short-term embarrassment. The person he needs to fire is Scott Pruitt. Pruitt is going to cause Trump long-term embarrassment.”

What’s Pruitt screwing up? Let’s count the ways… Continue reading “EPA Chief Scott Pruitt’s Failed Leadership Mangles Environmental Protection, Endangers Millions Devastated by Extreme Weather”

The Message of a Better Tomorrow Resonates Across the U.S. (and the globe)

Last month I spoke with Cyril Dion, a French filmmaker, writer, and activist. Dion co-produced the documentary Tomorrow with the actress, director, screenwriter, and musician Melanie Laurent.

Tomorrow won the 2016 French César for Best Documentary. After a successful release in more than 20 countries, the film made its U.S. debut in the Bay Area the weekend of April 14.  When we talked the following Monday, a tired yet determined-looking Dion said he was encouraged by the overwhelming enthusiasm for the film’s message of solutions and empowerment.

That enthusiasm continues. In a nation beleaguered by uncertainty and antagonism, Tomorrow has clearly struck a chord across the U.S.

As of this writing, Tomorrow is held over in  NY, LA, San Diego, San Francisco, among other cities.

The road to Tomorrow

Like any mother, Melanie Laurant wants a better future for her childrenShortly after Laurent gave birth to her first child, she learned of the  2012 Nature article, Approaching a state shift in Earth’s biosphere.  Co-authored by Anthony Barnosky,  a paleobiologist, professor emeritus of integrative biology at UC Berkeley and currently executive director of the Stanford Jasper Ridge Biological Reserve, the paper’s stark warning of a rapidly approaching biological tipping point was an alarming awakening for a new mother in the 21st century.

We can avoid the severely – and suddenly  – altered world that potentially awaits Laurent’s child and the two billion other children expected on the planet by 2050. But the time to act, the article warned, is now. Waiting until after an ecological collapse to find viable solutions will be too late.

Fighting catastrophe fatigue

With that dire message, Laurent, Dion and a crew of four set out to tell a different story. We can imagine a better future for our children. If that sounds improbable, we need only look at what people all over the world are doing right now to shape the future of their families, communities, and the

The film acknowledges the urgent message from Barnosky’s work, and that of many others, but doesn’t dwell on the darkness. Instead, it focuses on active solutions.

Filmmaker Cyril Dion“People feel helpless… that they are too small to do anything about it,” Dion says.

“I really wanted to make a tool to empower people. To show them that we can start where we are and we can also build a movement.”

A better world, the film posits, can rest on four pillars, looking at each one in turn:

    • Agriculture:  For anyone living in the industrialized world and born after 1950, the idea of anything other than industrial farming is an esoteric “niche.” It’s hard to imagine that the exact opposite might be true.

    • Energy: A low carbon energy economy is the right side of history. A continued “business-as-usual” reliance on high-carbon, extractive energy sources is the wrong side of history. Everybody know that. Well, almost everybody.
    • Education: The chances of success for a single individual, and thus an entire society, rests on a good education.

    • Democracy: How we choose our leaders demands an informed and engaged citizenry (see above). Oligarchy is what happens when people don’t know or don’t care, allowing fear and emotion to dictate their decisions.

There are innovative solutions for each. Solutions not only “being tried,” but working and expanding.

People from all walks of life making a better Tomorrow, today

A world reimagined

In another interview yesterday, Barnosky told me he remains optimistic. Messages like the one in Tomorrow are important, he says. It demonstrates  the groundswell of community action globally, suggesting a different narrative for a “global economy.” One that starts with people and communities, connected through a shared belief in their own power to effect change. Not by “saving the world,” but by working in their own communities, their own little plot of land. Think globally, act locally.

But it’s also about being present, here and now, and imagining the kind of future we want.

“If we can imagine the world differently,” says Dion, “it’s going to have an impact on the economic and political structure.”

“We are human beings, so we imagine first. We first need to change the vision, the narrative of the world.”

Tomorrow shows a world reimagined, but real.

Tomorrow – Trailer from Under The Milky Way on Vimeo.