Tag: Noreen Wise

What is a Circular Economy? | Reversing Climate Change

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 21, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

LIGHTBULB! The solution to the climate crisis is for the global economy to shift from a linear economy to a circular. For the past 250 years — ever since the Industrial ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Revolution began in 1760the world has been operating under a linear economy of take-make-waste. Under this paradigm, we take natural resources, make a lot of products and then dispose of the waste. Typically, disposing of the waste nets a negative impact on the environment as well as our health.

The linear cycle is often very inefficient, destroying far more natural resources than necessary, and leaving behind dangerous toxins everywhere. Corporations often build inefficiency into their business plan intentionally in order to increase revenue. For example, if a company manufactures a cheap product (let’s say a refrigerator) and it breaks easily, the consumer will have to buy a new one faster. Corporations are incentivized to produce a flimsy refrigerator. They make more money being inefficient. However, there are  negative consequences for the global community with this business plan: increased carbon emissions, poisoning of the environment and the fueling of climate change.

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The circular economy model is built on the concept of reduce-reuse-recycle . In a circular  economy the manufacturer will produce a very high quality refrigerator that will last a very long time. They’ll make money servicing the hardy refrigerator for the consumer. In creating a higher quality product, the company reduces the number of refrigerators it manufactures which results in a whole series of advantages from natural resources, to the environment, and to the public.

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The circular model builds economic, natural, and social capital.” Again, these are all positives. Breaking down every piece of the economic puzzle so that we can move toward a circular economy to save our civilization, is quite tedious, but must be done. There are layers of issues that need to be analyzed. The product itself, and all its parts, as well as the packaging. The reuse and recycle aspects of the product, the parts and the packaging have variations depending on purity, and other fine details. Take for example glass.

Glass packaging is truly amazing. It can be recycled forever. It will never lose its purity on its own, only when accidentally mixed with cardboard or paper, etc. To keep glass from becoming impure, the new philosophy is to create large community recycle bins where townspeople can drop their glass off for recycling once a week. Northern Virginia is piloting this test program. Curbside pickup of glass has been cancelled in Norther Virginia. Large collection bins have been delivered in key locations around town. We’ll now wait and see the benefits of this minor change in the way glass is recycled, so it can then be rolled out in every community in the United States.

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There will be business winners and losers, of course. Fossil fuels and plastics will each be phased out. These industries have benefitted from the linear model for many decades, but will eventually be eliminated by the circular. There’s already pushback, but the transition from linear to circular is inevitable. It’s the only way our civilization can survive.

Plastic packaging MUST be replaced with glass and aluminum, as well as other easy to recycle natural alternatives, or reused as the material to create new products. In nations with large leaves on most trees, the leaves have been harvested for packaging. Recycled paper is also being converted for packaging. There will be many innovations on this front in the upcoming months and years. Keep your eyes wide open as new solutions debut one after the other. For example, straw make-overs have been so much fun to watch. Aluminum straws, paper, and just this week there was a fabulous article about pasta straws being a fab sensation.

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You know that any article dealing with the economy is only scratching the surface. Economics is not only a college course, but a college major. The subject is massive, especially when you factor in the global layers. So, one step at a time. In the transition from linear to circular, the EU is leading the way in the West. It’s been transitioning for over seven years now. China is aggressively converting as well. China is the world leader in nailing “reduction” through manufacturing the most long-lasting building materials: aluminum, steel, and cement.

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America hasn’t yet begun to rush. Only 16% of US companies are currently using circular principles, however a total of 62% responded positively to a February 2019 survey stating they plan to transition. Investment Funds have begun moving the needle by rewarding corporations that are a match for the circular economy goals and creating a special fund, “BGF Circular Economy” Fund.

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We citizens can do our part by recycling religiously, composting daily, purchasing products packaged in glass, eliminating plastic, planting trees and gardens, the list is endless. Begin today, and again proceed one step at a time. We can save our children’s future, and alleviate their daily stress. LET’S GO!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Setting Up Our Home Compost Bins ASAP

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 15, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

For the millions of us searching for effective next steps in reducing atmospheric carbon, as well as lowering our personal carbon footprints, having a home compost bin is a significant step forward. The best part, is how easy compost bins are to step up and maintain.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, 51% of trash is compostable. This food that is thrown away in landfills turns into methane. Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2. But when food waste is composted and then layered into the soil, the soil becomes so rich with nutrients that it substantially increases the amount of carbon the soil can sequester, which lowers our atmospheric carbon level, and reduces the global temperature.

Homes, restaurants, and large dining facilities — whether that be school cafeterias, hospital and corporate cafeterias, mall foodcourts, and large banquets and conference centers — should all be tapped into the simple compositing process. Be on the lookout at restaurants in your area. Most healthy and organic venues now have compost bins.

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There are many ways composting space can be set up. It all depends on where you live and whether you’re able to have a larger outdoor bin.

  • In the kitchen, it’s best to have a small bin, with a handled bucket  that can be lifted out of the lidded container.
  • All food scraps we normally stuff into the sink disposal, will instead by placed in the compost bin.
  • The small compost bin should be emptied each night into the larger bin that is either stored in the yard or garage.
  • It’s important that the large bin is ventilated, and turned with a large stick once a week.
  • Air enables the compost to process faster.
  • An official compost bin has a lower hatch close to the ground, that can be opened when the compost is ready, and easily removed to place in soil around the yard.
  • If you live in a condo or apartment and want to keep everything light, you may want to try a small lidded container on your porch or patio that you can empty by layering into a nearby forest floor regularly.

 

Hands emptying a container full of domestic food waste
photography by AdobeStock

Schools Districts have jumped into the act in a big way, transforming the composting process into a learning lab. Many schools share their composting efforts through social media and it’s very exciting to see students energized by being part of this planet saving effort.

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Teachers really enjoy these interactive, climate action learning labs, too. Win/win experiences are positive and invigorating, making learning fun and joyful. What parents doesn’t love that?

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If you don’t have time or yard space to set up and maintain your own compost bin,  a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin.
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one.
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound.
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding… literally.

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So, take the leap. It’s super easy and will instantly contribute to carbon reduction!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Corporate Climate Action | Which Corps Are Keeping An Eye On Consumer Expectations

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 9, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Many individual Americans are rushing forward with climate action, doing their best to lower personal & household carbon footprints by targeting the 5 major categories for quick action:

  1. ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300Home – switching to solar, managing efficiency
  2. Transportation – Hybrid or EV autos, walk more
  3. Food – eat minimal dairy & red meat, home composting bins to be applied to garden & forest soil
  4. Stuff – buy less stuff in general, and buy used whenever possible
  5. Nature – huge focus in cutting carbon; our oceans can’t hold anymore carbon, we must all become gardeners and planters: trees, flowers, shrubs, ground cover, compost, compost & more compost (nutrient rich soil from compost will enable soil to hold much more carbon)

And now, with the holiday shopping season quickly approaching, it’s time to focus on America’s large corporations with intense scrutiny as we decide where to spend our holiday shopping dollars. Let’s make Climate Action an important criteria for patronage.

For example, Target Stores, one of the huge shopping mecca’s for Black Friday deals, has assured consumers that 500 of their stores will be fitted with solar panels on roofs come November. Go, Target! Your customers appreciate your concern over the rising global temperature. But can you go one step further, and please remove all single-use plastic shopping bags from your cash registers and force shoppers to use reusable bags. Thank you!

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There have been several recent headlines highlighting corporations who’ve taken bold steps into sustainability and climate action. From Marriott Bonvoy hotels eliminating single-use plastic toiletries, to Nike opening a massive distribution center that uses 100% renewable energy. And what about Apple’s commitment to lowering carbon levels… is our favorite Apple green or red?

Further, just yesterday, Act One Climate 100 released it’s Corporate Climate Action Progress Report. Act One Climate 100+ is a group of 370 investors managing $35 trillion in assets of the worlds largest carbon emitters . Their website notes that their goal is to:

  • Curb emissions
  • Improve governance and
  • Strengthen climate-related financial disclosures

Awareness and accountability make a significant difference, especially when billions of global citizens are then armed with facts enabling us to separate climate action focused corporations from profit-above-all-else focused corporations and spend our money accordingly.

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So this holiday season, before hitting the stores or clicking online, we must first Google to see what each brand and retailer is doing to fight global warming. We only have a few years to get this right. We must act immediately. Numerous companies have created innovative solutions. There’s no time to hesitate, though. If a company isn’t onboard with climate action, then they’re off board. There’s no neutral position. We the consumers hold all the power this holiday season. It’s imperative that we let our climate action feelings be known and simply shout “NO” to inaction by using our wallets to express our feelings and priorities.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Longworth HOB & Critical Compost | Climate Action

Washington (GGM) Analysis | October 4, 2019
NoreenByLine-a by Noreen Wise

Success in reducing atmospheric carbon levels to the targeted 350 PPM from the current 412 PPM will come from tiers of immediate action. If every tier nails its targets, we’ll save the globe and civilization. This should motivate us to Act Now, especially when we consider how basic and easy many of the “actions” are for lowering carbon.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300The main TIERS:

  • Individual carbon footprint
  • Corporations, businesses & organizations
  • Local, state & federal government and agencies
  • Farms
  • Nature
  • Miscellaneous

All we have to do as individuals is focus on the tiers that we fall under. The greatest obstacle to succeeding at carbon reduction though, is missing the small, easy opportunities that we fail to recognize. The ones right under our nose that we would be able to execute immediately if we were more aware.

Composting is the best example of a basic missed opportunity. For example, take the Longworth House Office Building dining hall in Washington, DC where thousands of constituents, lobbyists, and House Representatives eat breakfast and lunch Monday through Friday each week. Sadly, Longworth does not currently compost, despite the fact that the US Botanic Garden is across the street and would thrive on weekly fresh compost, as would the massive acres of capitol grounds that are also across Independence Ave.

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According to Exploring Green , Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment:

  • 51% of “trash” dumped into landfills is compostable
  • Annually, the world throws away approximately 1.3 billion tons of food
  • 3.3 billion tons of CO2 is released each year to process the wasted food (production, harvesting, transporting and packaging)
  • Wasted food thrown away in a landfill releases methane
  • Methane increases global warming 21 times that of CO2
  • On the other hand, wasted  food that’s composted and layered into soil, increases the soil’s nutritional content which increases the amount of carbon it can sequester

Thus, composting uneaten food at home, at work and in restaurants and dining halls is a no-brainer. In fact, many school districts are jumping in. Capitol Hill dining halls would only have to change one of its two trash signs to “FOOD/COMPOST.” This is so easy, it’s scary.

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Trash sign at Longworth HOB dining hall. A red asterisks has been placed on the items that can be composted. The uneaten food would have to be removed from the packaging before it’s dumped into the compost bin.

Our oceans sequester approximately 25% of atmospheric carbon and nature 28%. The big challenge with ocean carbon sequestration is that it increases water temperature as well as acidity. The increase in water temperature, melts the glaciers which raises the global water levels. The higher temperature also causes changing climate which becomes that much more extreme.

To save humanity from climate extremes, the focus is now on increasing carbon sink in nature and in soil, and trying to lower ocean temperatures. Nature — which means planting more trees and greens, and elevating the nutritional values in soil — is one of the new climate action touchstones on the carbon sequestration front. In short, compositing has become a vital necessity. Thus, missed opportunities sound the alarm.

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Composting has become such a critical factor in the success of lowering our atmospheric carbon levels, that a whole new industry is starting to take shape. CompostNow.org is a compositing service for home, office, and restaurants.

  • They provide heavy duty plastic bin
  • They pick up full bin each service day, and leave an empty one
  • They track waste & compost creation by the pound
  • Members earn compost! Very easy and rewarding.

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When the carbon facts are this simple and the cost a bare minimum, and #ActNow only a matter of changing signs, it’s unfathomable how anyone would pass on this opportunity. Come on, Longworth… let’s FIX THIS!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Energy-Storage Batteries | A Whole New Industry

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | September 16, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

With the global climate crisis focus upon us, which begins Friday September 20, 2019 with a massive worldwide #ClimateStrike, and continues for a full week of events, the entire globe will be fixated on how we can quickly find and execute the cure and save millions of lives, and in certain regions, entire populations.

ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-300This year has seen an unprecedented uptick in the switch to solar energy, with California leading the way.  EV car sales are leaping tall buildings. The increase in clean energy is so significant, that the new big industry mushrooming overnight is that of storing excess clean energy, to be used after the sun goes down, or when supply runs out. There are investors and innovators popping up in many countries, looking to produce the highest quality energy storage batteries — small ones for homeowners, and massive ones known as “utility scale” for corporations, towns, cities, etc.

It would be very smart if fossil fuel communities jumped in quick to seize the opportunity and transition coal and oil workers into clean energy storage careers.

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Batteries are very important in enabling energy companies to store the excess energy generated by a sunny or windy day, to then be used at night, or on a very still day, when there’s no strong wind force. Critical requirements for high quality energy storage batteries include the following:

  • Capacity & Power – measured in kilowatt hours (kWh), we should get stackable kind so we can easily increase capacity as need grows
  • Depth of Discharge (DoD) – the amount of the battery that has been used, a battery’s use level has a floor; the higher the DoD (ie 80%), the more the battery can be used before needing to be recharged
  • Round trip efficiency – it takes a certain amount of energy to store energy, so the higher the efficiency, the more energy you’ll receive from your battery; the efficiency rate is measured as a percent, the higher the percent, the higher the efficiency (30% is bad, 80% is good)
  • Battery life & warranty – clean energy storage batteries have a “cycle” of charging and draining; battery life is listed as a specific number of cycles, ie 4,000; a warranty will read something to the effect: 4,000 cycles or 8 years at 65% of it’s capacity… meaning at the end of the warranty the battery will have only lost 35% of it’s initial capacity.
  • Manufacturer – there are no so many different brands that it’s difficult to determine which is the best, so it’s important to compare using the above four critical features

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Companies around the world hoping to become the top clean energy storage producers. Here are 7 to keep your eye on:

  • Tesla
  • Vivint Solar
  • LG Chem
  • Eos Energy Storage
  • Sonnen
  • Nissan
  • Sunverge

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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What? Why so many life-threatening new gas plants opening?

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | September 9, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

The climate crisis keeps growing more alarming as climate change inflicts serious consequences. The out of control fires in the Amazon rain forest last month, devastated hundreds of millions of trees. Trees sequester carbon, lowering the worlds’sST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-250
atmospheric carbon levels. And although there’s been significant global effort to lower the PPM carbon level by transitioning quickly to clean energy, and we’ve been trending lower in 2019 — moving from 415 PPM to 411 PPM (YAY!) — the goal is to actually reach 350, so we still have a long way to go.

And then disaster struck… again. We now must transition to clean energy that much faster. Thankfully we can do this. Solar energy is much less expensive than building new power plants, cost consumers less per moth, and can actually earn households money if they invest in a battery that stores excess solar energy. With this clear vision in place, and with a united purpose of saving lives, which may be our own, what is the point in initiating a plan that’s the opposite of this? It seems ludicrous and life-threatening.

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With headlines like that of this morning’s,As Earth faces climate catastrophe, US set to open nearly 200 (dirty) power plants“, climate deniers are doing an excellent job at undermining America’s influence in the world. Gas power plants are expensive, dirty, and will kill innocent people across the globe. We see this now. We see innocent Bahamians, with one entire Bahama island demolished, 70,000 people without homes, no sanitation, completely reliant on the kindness of others, yet dozens of evacuees on one humanitarian cruise ship were removed.

The US is behind the majority of other nations in the world on transitioning to clean energy. This makes us look indifferent to the suffering of others, backwards and greedy. In fact, in opening 200 new dirty power plants, we actually are all of these terrible things.

  • US is world LEADER in carbon emissions from power plants “emitting 2.70 billion tons” of carbon, followed by China who emits 2.66 billion (China has a population of 1.43 billion though, while US population is only 329 million). So US carbon output at this level almost seems criminal, at the very least negligent.
  • Texas has the most power plants and oil reserves and emits 12% of US carbon, that’s an incredibly irresponsible number. There are 50 states. California emits 7% of US’s carbon emissions but has a population of 39.75 millions, while Texas only has 29.09 million.
  • It’s far less expensive to install solar panels than to build a gas power plant, even though gas is less expensive than coal power plants.
  • Clicking through the EnergySage link to get a Solar quote is just like scrolling through Expedia or kayak for a travel quote.

So what’s the point here? Natural gas power plants do not make economic sense. They pollute the air, undermine health, and do indeed kill innocent people through climate change events. There is no economical or moral justification for 200 new gas power plants. Wong choices like this one, reinforce the world’s perception that the US is idifferent to the suffering of others (that we inflict ). That we’re driven by the blind greed of a few, no matter what the climate and human consequences are to the 99%. And the few that are mapping out this nonsensical strategy, only have scream “climate denier” to gt away with it.

We need to hold these executives accountable. Denying climate change, and thus furthering the crisis, is the equivalent of admitting guilt.

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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Seriously, Switching to Solar Now Is So Easy | Check This Out

Washington (Gallant Gold Media Hill Report | Analysis | September 6, 2019)
NoreenByLine by Noreen Wise

During this urgent global climate crisis, with all eyes are on the world’s atmospheric carbon level — measuring 415 PPM in May 2019, with the goal of returning to the late 1980’s level of 350 PPM — we must immediately change gears following the catastrophic loss of a large chunk of the Amazon rainforest due to ferocious forest fires.

SOLUTION: It’s time to step up the America’s transition to solar energy. ST-SAGA-CovFrnt-72-250
Additionally, let’s plant more trees on every continent ASAP.

In July 2019, the atmospheric carbon level actually dropped a bit to 411.77 PPM which was very exciting. There are so many countries and so many millions of global citizens working tirelessly, making sacrifices and changing our lifestyles in our effort to lower our carbon footprint, which in turn lowers the atmospheric carbon level. It’s nice to see that our committed efforts are netting positive results. It was only a few weeks later, however, that the Amazon rainforest was consumed with fire. Argh, now the CO2 level will rise again.

So, we must move quickly to counter the effects of the fires.

We know we’re going to have to switch to solar at some point, let’s take the leap right now so we can save more lives. There are much too many benefits not to switch ASAP:

It’s exciting to find excellent resources that make transitioning easier. EnergySage is just that, a user-friendly resource that makes the transitioning process stress free.

It only takes a few clicks to save the world and our futures… Let’s Go!

© Copyright 2018 – 2019. ALL Rights Reserved.
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