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Category Archives:

Sustainability

Key Takeaways from COP27

The United Nations held its annual Climate Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt over the past few weeks, and while it wasn’t easy, in the end 200 countries signed on to a breakthrough agreement that addressed one of the most persistent sticking points: the disparity between the nations responsible for most of the pollution that is driving climate change, and those that have contributed the least emissions but are suffering some of the most extreme effects.

The new 12-page agreement established a compensation fund to address losses and damages for countries with the lowest carbon footprints, including smaller island nations like Vanuatu and less industrialized nations in Africa.

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Monday is Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Last year, President Biden officially recognized the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, celebrating the cultures and contributions of Native Americans in the US. Formerly known as Columbus Day, the move toward celebrating Indigenous people and culture rather than European colonialism began when South Dakota began observing Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 1989.

On a planet faced with catastrophic climate change, Indigenous people around the world are faced with some of the most extreme challenges (while contributing the least emissions), and have much to offer when it comes to time-tested ways to conserve resources and protect the environment.

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Puerto Rico Needs Support After Hurricane Fiona

It’s been a relatively quiet hurricane season in the Atlantic so far this year, but Mother Nature walloped Puerto Rico with a Category 1 hurricane that caused island-wide blackouts on Sunday. As in 2017, organizations are working to send solar equipment and technical expertise (and Solar One is participating in those efforts; see details below), there are things that individuals can do to help.

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Ravenswood Generating Station to Go 100% Renewable

Ravenswood PlantThe four red and white smokestacks that loom over the western edge of Queens are a familiar sight to New Yorkers, but a plan to convert the Ravenswood Generating station to 100% renewables could mean that their days of spewing smoke are coming to an end.

Ravenswood currently supplies about 20% of NYC’s electricity by burning natural gas and oil, running four large generator, the largest of which is nicknamed Big Allis. As Solar One got to see on a field trip there many years ago, the amount of fuel required to keep the turbines spinning at Ravenswood is awe-inspriing…and terrifying. It also contributes to some of the worst air quality in town; child asthma rates in the three NYCHA housing developments that surround the plant are significantly higher than in the rest of Queens.

Its emissions are also at odds with New York’s ambitious climate goals, which is why the current owner, Rise, Light and Power, is working on a plan to convert to zero-emissions, 100% renewable generation.

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States Are Using Green Amendments for Climate Protection

At the end of June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the federal Environmental Protection Agency did not have the authority to mandate emissions from power plants in West Virginia v. EPA. This decision has been widely seen as a blow to the country’s ability to meet its climate goals, which would also give other countries an excuse not to meet their own.

But now some states are responding by introducing climate amendments to their constitutions, enshrining the right to a clean and healthy environment in their own Bills of Rights.

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Sustainable Irrigation Could Help Feed More than a Billion People

Climate chaos, soaring inflation, drought, war- if you’ve been following the news lately, you’ve seen the dire predictions of a looming food crisis. And even more people will need food in the years to come. In fact, a new study from Stanford University’s Carnegie Institute estimates that the global food supply will need to double by 2050 in order to feed everyone adequately.

At the same time, we can’t meet this need by simply doubling the amount of land we use to grow crops. Deforestation and habitat destruction are among the forces driving climate change in the first place.  But according to the Carnegie Institute study, we don’t have to. We can use the farmland and technology we already have to raise crop production yields to levels that will be sufficient to meet our future needs.

One of the most powerful tools we have to do that is sustainable irrigation.

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