environment

environment

Ushma Pandya shares a post from her company’s blog on what NYC schools are doing to move towards zero waste and what businesses can learn from them.

Tens of thousands of people representing many industries and sectors gathered for COP26 in Glasgow this fall 2021 to determine what it would take to accelerate climate action. While discussions and debates take place on global stages, other steps are being taken on a local level, including but not limited to grassroots environmental efforts, sustainability initiatives within institutions, and more. In New York City, we see a demonstrated commitment and interest among many stakeholders to become better stewards to the environment, starting with our schools.

Involving key stakeholders

When people think about key stakeholders in any educational institution, principals and teachers may be the first groups of people to come to mind. While they are important stakeholders, we also find that facilities and food service team members are essential partners in any zero waste effort.

This year, Think Zero collaborated with a school in Manhattan, NYC to engage their facilities and food service teams in a number of waste reduction trainings and help them realize the important role they play in keeping the school compliant with city and state waste regulations. We made a visit to the school to assess the waste infrastructure and understand their challenges and barriers to waste management on campus. After our data collection was collected, we developed tailored content for food services and facilities teams and delivered hands-on trainings and activities with each group. We also answered any questions they had regarding waste and recycling in school and in their everyday life.

Engaging key stakeholders in any setting is crucial to reaching ESG and zero waste goals. We often collaborate with cleaning and facilities teams, cafeteria and food service staff members, and other individuals to help our clients achieve their waste reduction and diversion goals.

Key points include:

  • Engaging future leaders
  • Implementing zero waste programs

  • Involving key stakeholders

 

Read the full article, What Are NYC Schools Doing to Go Zero Waste, on ThinkZerollc.com.

Tanya Khotin provides insight into the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through better land-use practices.  

Land use activity contributes approximately 24% of all global greenhouse emissions or more than 10 Gigaton. New ground-breaking research by the @Inevitable Policy Response (IPR) shows that not only will we reduce these emissions without much sacrifice, but we will reverse the damage by allowing forests and nature to return to what they do best — sequester emissions, aid biodiversity, and protect our air, water, and soil.  Land use will go from being a net emitter to a net carbon sink. This is a revolutionary concept that opens a lot of opportunities for investors. 

Land-use or rather land-abuse can be traced to mainly three things – beef production, industrial agriculture, and, of course, how we manage our forests and other natural areas. Let’s quickly discuss these, starting with beef, whose production to satisfy the expensive tastes of initially the Developed and now the Developing world has directly caused deadly deforestation and biodiversity loss (not to mention premature mortality, and not only of the cows).

One very NOT fun fact: we are providing housing, food, and medical care for 1bn cows (and 60 + billion chickens, pigs, etc.) while many of our planet’s 8 billion people are malnourished, homeless, and lack healthcare. And we know where the beef is. Three of the top exporters of beef –Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay — have more cows than people. *

Globally, beef is a whopper – 14% of total global emissions – roughly equal to global transportation emissions. And it’s the worst kind of emissions – methane – which has over 80x the warming power of CO2 over the first 20 years after it reaches the atmosphere. And even though beef is less than 20% of our diets, its supply chain is 80% of the greenhouse emissions in the food sector.

 

Key points include:

  • Three mutually reinforcing mechanisms
  • Energy for industry and heavy transportation sectors
  • Ag tech and sustainable ag

 

Read the full article, Land-use: a secret weapon in the war against climate change, on LinkedIn.

Alun Thomas shares a short post on the “green steel” initiative in the UK. 

The first consignment of “Green Steel” i.e., steel produced without consuming coal, just shipped to Volvo. This is one of many such initiatives 

The EU is exploring extending its Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) to the steel industry, levelling the playing field and ensuring that Green Steel has competitive advantage over conventional steel via its emissions trading system, whether that steel is imported or manufactured in the EU.

Cumbria County Council approved the construction of Woodhouse Colliery in 2020. After some delay, UK Government called it in for review. This is about coking coal used to make steel, and not about coal to fuel power stations. Could a green light for a coal mine therefore be reconciled with the nett zero commitment?

There were three arguments for the project to go ahead as reported by Mining Technology. My observations in italics.

The new mine displaces coking coal imported from the USA with a nett CO2 reduction. The savings from reduced transportation are trivial relative to the saving by switching to green steel.

There is currently no alternative to the use of coking coal in steel production. But there will be well within the lifetime of this mine.

It is good for the local economy. There must be better ways to create much needed jobs in Cumbria than those that harm the planet.

Back in 2014, when this project was first announced, the arguments for the project may well have seemed sound to most people. It is a sign of how quickly the world is changing, and why it is hard to change it more quickly, that sentiment has moved against it. Not enough to kill it dead – but painfully, in instalments.

 

Read the full post, A new coal mine! Or not?, on ThemaConsultancy.com. 

 

Ushma Pandya shares a blog post from his company’s website that highlights key statistics on the use and recycling of plastic and how a new act will affect your life. 

In March of 2021, a new version of the 2020 Break Free from Plastic Pollution Act was reintroduced into Congress. The federal bill, which is sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (CA) will be the most extensive set of policy solutions to the plastic pollution crisis ever introduced in Congress. In the rest of this article, I will explain: How we got to this point, what the BFFPPA hopes to achieve, how it will affect you, and how you can help get it passed.  

Plastic and the overall pollution that comes with it is one of the largest existential crises we are facing today. Here are some quick facts about plastic and why it has become such a huge problem. 

91% of plastic is never recycled – breakfreefromplastic.org 

More than 350 million metric tons of plastic are produced each year – Nature.com 

The United States generates more plastic waste than any other country in the world – Sciencemag.org 

10 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans annually – plasticoceans.org 

50% of all plastic produced (380 million tons per year) is for single use purposes only – plasticoceans.org 

World plastic production has increased exponentially from 2.1 million tonnes in 1950 to 147 million in 1993 to 406 million by 2015 – National Geographic 

There will be more plastic in our oceans than fish by 2050 – The Ellen MacArthur Foundation 

 

Key points include:

  • The BFFPPA
  • How the BFFPPA will affect your life
  • How to get involved

 

Read the full article, Break Free from Plastic Pollution, on ThinkZeroLlc.com.

 

 

Supriya Prakash Sen shares a pertinent reminder on big picture problems that we all face, and offers a solution that could be a small step in financing but a leap towards a sustainable future.

In the midst of a pandemic, the past year has been chilling at best, and a nightmare at the worst of times. However, we are lucky to be alive. Now, as vaccines get rolled out, it remains for the survivors to pick up the pieces, mourn our dead, brush off the crumbs of our past and move ahead into trying to cobble a more sustainable future.

This week, with all of us still being holed up at home, I thought it would be a good idea to make a visit to the Singapore Zoo, the River Safari and the Night Safari – where we haven’t been in years. My love of animals and wild life is tempered with the sadness from knowing I may be the last generation to actually see any of this in the wild. The shrinking habitats, the splintering of these habitats (one lonely tiger can hardly go and find his mate across the void to the next one), and the absolute filthy pollution by humans and garbage makes it almost inevitable that the last few majestic animals can only be found in a zoo.

The same is true of every other habitat- whether it is our marshlands, swamps, oceans, freshwater rivers, or frozen icelands. Every species, from reptilian to mammal to bird, is being nudged off the face of this earth by our insatiable appetite for more, more, more!

On the other hand, our #instagram generation is so good at making new concepts like Cat Cafes etc…and the business of “Humanizing pets” is actually a theme, getting VC $ and many shiny new startups to exploit this new trend. This just goes to show, that humans are not all selfish; most do appreciate the innocence of animals in our lives. We just don’t pause to do anything about it.

 

Key points include:

  • restoring the ecological balance, one settlement at a time
  • the overlay of culture, habits, skills, behaviors to ensure this is not in vain
  • the economics, the financing, and the incentives so it stays that way

 

Read the full article, Urgent Need to Restore Lost Wildlands, on LinkedIn.