One Giant Step

From Awareness to Action

Action for sustainability doesn’t just happen once someone knows something they didn’t know before. Despite the fact that many environmental education and communication programs focus on the delivery of information, there is significant research to indicate that awareness alone is not enough to compel behaviour change. “Research in the field of environmental education and in commercial marketing has shown that there is no cause-and-effect progression from knowledge to attitude to behaviour as educators have long believed” (Martha Moore, Brian Day, and Mona Grieser, Environmental Education and Communication for a Sustainable World, GreenCom, 2000). Just because we know the costs and… read more

California Cap and Trade

Cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions

On January 1st, 2013, California will become the first state in the United States to implement a cap and trade program on carbon emissions for companies in the state. Similar to other cap and trade programs, California will set an overall ceiling on carbon emissions and assign allowable emission amounts for individual polluters, and charge for excessive emissions. Portions of the allowances will be allocated to utilities, manufacturers and others, and the remainder will be auctioned off. An interesting component of this cap and trade program is the number of allowances issued by the state will be reduced over time,… read more

Mercury Rising

Earth's rising temperatures

One major crisis phenomenon that keeps haunting the geologists is the constantly rising temperature. Alone in the past 50 years, the average earth’s temperature has risen by over 0.8 degrees. As per data analyzed by NASA scientists, 2011 was the ninth warmest year in 132 years of recordkeeping. The direct effect of the same can be seen in the rising sea levels that further lead to more absorption of the sun’s heat. The resultant of this rising heat is the never ending vicious circle. The rising temperature accelerates the rate of melting of the polar ice caps. This leads to… read more

Lessons from Niger Delta

Niger Delta, Africa

The Niger Delta is an oil-rich part of Nigeria. Oil prospecting and extraction operations have been undertaken by multinational companies such as Royal Dutch Shell, which was part of the controversial case The Social and Economic Rights Action Centre and another v Nigeria (“SERAC case”) which was heard by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In a nutshell, the SERAC case was a lawsuit where the plaintiffs argued that the government of Nigeria was directly involved in oil production through the state owned Nigerian National Petroleum Company in a joint venture with Shell Petroleum Development Corporation, and that… read more

Saving the Reef

The Great Barrier Reef

The world’s largest coral reef with an eco-system is the Great Barrier Reef located off the coast of Queensland, Australia. The eco-system is composed of over 2,900 individual reefs, 900 islands stretching for over 1,600 miles over an area of approximately 133,000 sq. mi. More than nearly half the reef has vanished in the last 27 years. A coral reef ecologist, Katharina Fabricius, from the Australian Institute of Marine Science told LiveScience that she has been diving to the reef since 1988 and has studied the decline. To gather their data, Fabricius and her colleagues surveyed 214 different reefs near the Great Barrier… read more

Which Activist Are You?

Which environmental activist are you?

Take your pick. Apparently you can be light green, bright green, dark green…or no shade of green at all. As environmentalists, it’s interesting for us to not only consider our personal “shade of green”, but to also reflect on the specific roles we play as activists. When we challenge our own environmental perspectives (not just the perceptions of others), we have the opportunity to grow professionally and personally. We have the opportunity to be more effective in our actions toward a healthy and prosperous world. It all starts apparently with a certain shade of green… For those of you who… read more

The Problem with GMO’s

Genetic modification

Genetic Modification. GMO. Frankly, it sounds quite scary. What’s also scary is the fact that we need eight syllables to describe something quite simple: Fiddling about. The problem with modifying something that already exists in a state of modification (ie. evolution – meaning that the plant or animal was genetically modified through a natural process occurring over thousands of years to fit best with its surroundings) is that well, first of all, forcibly adapting another thing to our own benefits just doesn’t make any sense in the long term. Singling out a single species of wheat, for example, out of… read more

Clean Coal Conundrum

Carbon sequestration

The term “clean coal” sounds paradoxical, but it is theoretically clean.Well, if “clean” means “not in the air”. Theoretically, coal can be “clean” in two different ways. Carbon sequestration captures the emissions from burning coal before they exit through the smokestack, and stores them deep underground where they can’t escape. The technology isn’t available for carbon sequestration now, and likely won’t be for decades. Further, the process isn’t economically viable, but if it is a component of a clean energy policy, then its progress will accelerate from additional resources. The other way to have clean coal is to use what’s called a “scrubber”, which… read more

Privatizing Water Sources

Privatizing Water Sources

Water is increasingly becoming a very important commodity, the depletion of fresh water sources around the globe has led to the belief that the next world war may be over fresh water. This may seem an exaggeration, however, the impression of the gravity is no hyperbole. There is a big debate as to whether water should be privatized and thus not be controlled by government. For purposes of this article, the main question is whether owners of land must also be the legal owners of all water and water sources within their land. I would like to submit that from… read more

Emissions Track The Economy

Emissions Track Economy

According to a recent study released by the International Energy Agency (IEA), CO2 emissions in the United States have experienced the greatest fall since 2006. The study was conducted in a global perspective, comparing developed nations and regions to each other, including the United States, China, Russia, India, and the EU as primary sources. Global fossil fuel emissions increased on the whole, but U.S. emissions managed to drop by 1.7%. This is attributed to an ongoing switch from coal to natural gas, combined with a mild winter which caused less energy demand for heating. Further, there has been a drop… read more