Saturday, December 19, 2009

The US --SO Not Really Green It Isn't Funny

If you haven't been watching Democracy Now's coverage of Copenhagen for the past two weeks you'd think that the US is so far ahead of every other country in wanting to address climate change that everyone is dragging their feet and we have to give them a kick in the butt to get things going.

Hillary Clinton's kick in the butt was an offer of 100 billion dollars ==and she said take the offer now as it was only on the table for 24 hours. This was blatant bullying to get poor nations to accept a result from the conference that would doom some island states within a period of a few years, and add greatly to instability in other parts of the world due to crop failures as a result of weather instability.

To put it most simply--

350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in "Parts Per Million" in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.

Results from Copenhagen--770 ppm--and this is non-binding


Apparently, there were secret talks taking place at Copenhagen among the Big Guys--

Leaked Admission of Higher Temps Adds to Summit Uncertainty

The summit was shaken up Thursday after confidential UN documents showed the currently proposed emissions cuts would increase global temperatures by an average three degrees Celsius. The disclosure contradicts promises from world leaders to cap increases at two degrees. The new figure is double the 1.5 degrees called for by developing countries, which would require limiting C02 emissions at 350 parts per million. Jade Lindgaard of the French news website Mediapart broke the story yesterday on Democracy Now!

Jade Lindgaard: “A very interesting leak today from the UNFCCC secretariat showing that the targets of reduction emissions that countries now, today, are putting on the table, these targets do not allow to stay below two degree rise in temperature. And they even say that it could lead us to a rise of three degree in temperature, which is, as we know, catastrophic if that ever happens.”

Monday, December 7, 2009

Sun Chips--Healthier You, Healthier Planet?

Couldn't resist using this photo as it cracks me up. Sitting in a tent, drinking a giant Bud & munching on Sun Chips--what could be better?

(from )

Their chips claim to be healthier--ok, that's good. Ingredients list is excellent, actually. If you have to eat junk food, it's a good idea to choose one with a slight nutritional value.

18 gms of whole grain

30% less fat

less salt

0% trans fat


And Sun Chips, in comparison with other Green-grabbing big corporations , are pretty upfront in their ad copy--they state that

So we've started using solar energy instead of fossil fuel to help make SunChips® in our plant in Modesto, California. And although Modesto is only one of the eight plants we use to make SunChips® snacks, for us it's a small step in the right direction.

They do full disclosure on the compostable bag. Even so, how many people eating Sun Chps have an active compost pile, or access to a community one? Not many, I would guess.

Like you, we dream of a world with less waste. To truly address the impact of our packaging we knew we had to create a better bag. And guess what? We found the answer in nature.

Today, 33% of every 10 1/2 oz. size SunChips® bag is made with renewable, plant based materials. This is our first step to reduce the amount of non–renewable materials we use for packaging.

But the really exciting news is that in 2010, we plan to introduce the first fully compostable chip bag of its kind. These innovative bags are designed to fully decompose in about 14 weeks when placed in a hot, active compost bin or pile.

They are sponsoring a contest with a big prize--that's good.

Submit your earth-saving idea

At SunChips® brand, we believe small steps can bring about big change. So we’ve teamed up with National Geographic to create the Green Effect™. The five best green ideas will receive $20,000 in funding, and will each be profiled in National Geographic magazine. Then, each of the five winners will travel to National Geographic headquarters in Washington D.C to present their idea to environmental leaders. Deadline for inspiring millions of people ends June 8th.

Well, baby steps--but in the whole scheme of things--Frito Lay is just not green--it is a 12 billion dollar business- a part of Pepsi, the world's largest snack food company--& represents about 1/3 of Pepsi's total business. If they truly went sustainable it would be huge.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Dow Chemicals--commited to the environment

It's the 25 year anniversary of Bhopal, and just checking in on the state of things--it's not very good. Water is contaminated, lingering health problems are beginning to affect a third generation--

Research by the Indian Council for Medical Research shows that 25,000 people have died from the consequences of exposure since 1984. About 100,000 people are chronically sick, and more than 30,000 people live in water-contaminated areas around the factory, according to government figures, the Times Online reports.

India's government has previously acknowledged that about half a million people were affected by the incident, considered the world's worst industrial accident. (UPI)

--so what does Dow, who now owns Union Carbide, have to say about Bhopal--

A Legacy Acknowledged

imageIn response to growing public outrage over its handling of the Bhopal disaster's legacy, Dow issued a statement on December 3, 2002 explaining why it is unable to more actively address the problem. The statement went to thousands of journalists and others. (For selected responses, click here.)

"We are being portrayed as a heartless giant which doesn't care about the 20,000 lives lost due to Bhopal over the years," said Dow President and CEO Michael D. Parker. "But this just isn't true. Many individuals within Dow feel tremendous sorrow about the Bhopal disaster, and many individuals within Dow would like the corporation to admit its responsibility, so that the public can then decide on the best course of action, as is appropriate in any democracy.

"Unfortunately, we have responsibilities to our shareholders and our industry colleagues that make action on Bhopal impossible. And being clear about this has been a very big step."

On December 3, 1984, Union Carbide--now part of Dow--accidentally killed 5,000 residents of Bhopal, India, when its pesticide plant sprung a leak. It abandoned the plant without cleaning it up, and since then, an estimated 15,000 more people have died from complications, most resulting from chemicals released into the groundwater.

Although legal investigations have consistently pinpointed Union Carbide as culprit, both Union Carbide and Dow have had to publicly deny these findings. After the accident, Union Carbide compensated victims' families between US$300 and US$500 per victim.

"We understand the anger and hurt," said Dow Spokesperson Bob Questra. "But Dow does not and cannot acknowledge responsibility. If we did, not only would we be required to expend many billions of dollars on cleanup and compensation--much worse, the public could then point to Dow as a precedent in other big cases. 'They took responsibility; why can't you?' Amoco, BP, Shell, and Exxon all have ongoing problems that would just get much worse. We are unable to set this precedent for ourselves and the industry, much as we would like to see the issue resolved in a humane and satisfying way."

Shareholders reacted to the Dow statement with enthusiasm. "I'm happy that Dow is being clear about its aims," said Panaline Boneril, who owns 10,000 shares, "because Bhopal is a recurrent problem that's clogging our value chain and ultimately keeping the share price from expressing its full potential. Although a real solution is not immediately possible because of Dow's commitments to the larger industry issues, there is new hope in management's exceptional new clarity on the matter."

"It's a slow process," said Questra. "We must learn bit by bit to meet this challenge head-on. For now, this means acknowledging that much as it pains us, our prime responsibilities are to the people who own Dow shares, and to the industry as a whole. We simply cannot do anything at this moment for the people of Bhopal."

But don't be too critical--they ARE sponsoring the

Dow Live Earth Run for Water

The Dow Live Earth Run for Water is the largest solutions-based initiative aimed at solving the global water crisis in history. Taking place on April 18, 2010, the event will consist of a series of 6 km runs/walks (the average distance many women and children walk every day to secure water) occurring over the course of 24 hours. The events will feature live musical performances and water education activities in an effort to ignite a massive global movement to put an end to this epidemic. (More)

Phew, I'm relieved.......nothing to worry about long as there are live musical performances, everything's all right....