In 2002, Green America (then Co-op America) and Global Exchange launched a new, visionary, and exciting event to build the green economy that quickly spread from coast to coast. Our idea was weekend-long celebrations, Green Festivals, to introduce people to the purpose, products, services, and impacts of an economy that truly works for people and the planet. For those already committed to green living, Green Festivals provided even more inspiration, opportunity, and information to help them take further steps to green their homes, communities, and workplaces. (more…)
Plastic pervades all aspects of our lives – from the wrapping on the food we eat to the microfibers that wash out of the clothes we wear. We are producing nearly 300 million tons of plastic every year and more than 8 million tons end up in the ocean each year. These plastics break down into smaller pieces, which are then consumed by marine life and eventually us when we put seafood on our plates. The packaging industry is responsible for 40 percent of plastic pollution and represents one-third of all trash, most of which are one-time use items such as saran wrap, grocery bags, and plastic bottles. (more…)
On August 1, the Environmental Protection Agency was sued by 15 states and the District of Columbia after their attempt to delay enforcement of Obama Administration ozone pollution standards.
Environmental groups also filed their own lawsuits against the EPA for trying to delay methane and ozone pollution regulations. In July, Green America joined dozens of environmental, health, indigenous, religious, and other organizations in testifying at the EPA against a proposed 2-year delay in implementing already-approved methane pollution standards.
Fran Teplitz, Co-Executive Director of Green America, participated on behalf of the Green Business Network, making the business case for moving forward immediately without any delay or weakening of the EPA’s methane pollution regulation standards. She stated:
“A growing number of business leaders have come to recognize that policies that support workers, communities, and natural eco-systems also best serve the long-term interests of our economy. We see time again that exploitation of the labor force or the environment, while potentially financially profitable for certain sectors in the short term, ultimately does not serve our national interests well over time. With methane regulation, policy makers need to take into account the serious consequences that will result if the already-approved methane standards are in any way delayed or weakened.”
Her testimony also made the following points concerning impacts on business: In terms of climate pollution, businesses—especially small business—will benefit from actions to mitigate climate change. Methane emissions have 80% times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide, making it a major cause of the climate crisis. Regulation of methane can therefore make a significant difference to climate change mitigation efforts.
Among the many disruptions caused by climate change are its economic impacts, especially for small businesses that are far less capable of responding successfully than are large corporations. In the sectors of agriculture, landscaping, fishing, tourism, recreation, and others – the impacts of climate change are likely to be profound.
Between 2009 and 2015, oil and gas companies operating on public and Native American lands flared, vented, or otherwise lost enough natural gas to serve the needs of 6.2 million U.S. homes in one year, according to the US Department of the Interior. Reducing this gas pollution is essential to the health of people and the planet.
Green America members are speaking up. During the EPA’s public comment period on methane standards, more than 9,800 people (businesses and individuals) signed our letters to the EPA in support of immediate action to control methane pollution. Protecting human health and mitigating climate change should be priorities for any Administration.
Although we’ve seen victories such as the Trump Administration withdrawing its plan for the 1-year delay of ozone pollution regulation, the fight is not over. Under the Trump administration, we face an adversarial EPA head Scott Pruitt, who has many times cast doubt on the idea that climate change poses a threat to the United States.
Green America will continue to mobilize people in their economic roles—as consumers, investors, workers, and business leaders—to protect people and the planet.
The horrifying events over the weekend in Charlottesville are just the latest events demonstrating the rise of hate in the United States.
White supremacists marched through the streets and the University of Virginia, wielding torches and explicitly aligning themselves with Nazis and the KKK, shouting racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant slogans on Friday. On Saturday, the white nationalists and supremacists engaged in violence against counter-protesters. A man, who is believed to be part of a white supremacist group, drove his car into a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one and injuring many. Police arrested a suspect, who faces a hearing on August 14.
These events are shocking, and they are just the latest in a growing series of hateful attacks against people of color, women, immigrants, Jews, and Muslims. Just a week before, the Dar Al-Farooq Islamic Center in Bloomington was bombed, and is part of a growing series of hate crimes against Muslims. The Council on American-Islamic Relations has reported that hate crimes against Muslims in 2017 increased 91 percent compared to the same period in 2016.
The lack of an appropriate response to these events from the Trump administration is also deeply disturbing, especially since a number of white nationalists and supremacists explicitly cite the administration as encouraging their behavior. In response to the horror in Charlottesville, President Trump condemned the violence “from many sides,” instead of calling out the white nationalists and supremacists. In response to the mosque bombing in Minnesota, the president has been silent, and White House adviser Sebastian Gorka, has suggested the attack was actually a fake.
With the White House failing to address hate, and actually acting as a driver of it, it is up to us to take action to support people who are under attack.
Vigils are being organized across the country in response to the violence in Charlottesville. Please join one of them to stand against hate.
And, take action in favor of acceptance, and support immigrants, religious minorities, and people of color in your communities every day. Green America’s weekly Resistance Summer actions will help you find actions you can take as a community member and with your dollars, for example, supporting minority and immigrant owned businesses.
Together, we can take action to create a country that is open and accepting.
Green Business Network Members: We Want to Hear From You
Please use this form to raise your business voice against hate and for a society that respects all people. We will share your company’s statement in an updated version of this post.
In 2003, Debi Sarandrea and her husband sold their computer business and went on an extended sailing trip to the Exumas Islands in the Bahamas. At the end of the trip, Sarandrea met a woman who owned a franchise of a popular cleaning service who raved about how she found the business so rewarding—the hours supported her family life and she liked being able to help people. It was that day on her trip that Sarandrea planted the seed for Harmony Clean, Inc. (more…)
Volvo Shakes Up the Auto Industry with Commitment to Only Plug-In, Hybrid, and Electric Cars by 2019
Volvo made an announcement this month that is sure to shake up the auto industry. Starting in 2019, all new Volvos will be either plug-in, hybrid or electric. In the same week, France announced that it will phase out all fossil fuel- powered cars by 2040. (more…)