Environment

Dreams Come True on the Cool Block

Ten years ago, a Big Idea constellated in the mind of pro-social behavior change researcher and innovator David Gershon, CEO of the Empowerment Institute. The idea was to operationalize the modest goal of keeping the planet viable into the long-term future and improving the quality of life for humanity at the same time.

China Solar and Wind Surges as Coal Peaks

Kitty Bu starts each morning in Beijing checking the air quality report; many days she must keep her one, three and five year old inside all day. Estimates range from 600,000 to 1.6 million that die prematurely in China each year due to air pollution. Since China’s...

The Puyallup Watershed Initiative: A New Approach to Community-Centered Change

1,000 Square Miles of Shared Future In 1873, just eight years after its founding, the city of Tacoma was chosen as the terminus for Northern Pacific Railroad’s transcontinental route. Upon winning this coveted prize, the leaders of the day dubbed Tacoma the...

Paris Climate Agreement Will be Ratified

The European Parliament approved ratification of the Paris Climate Agreement, taking us well past the threshold of nations and collective emissions needed. The agreement is not legally binding for 30 days. We are on a path to breathing cleaner air; our children are...

Creating a Smart, Resilient Water Future

Today, cities are confronted with a unique challenge: they face budget constraints and aging infrastructure, yet increasing customer expectations. In addition, cities must often deal with the impacts of urbanization, climate change, and an aging workforce. To meet...

Zero-Net-Energy Schools

In the Marx Brothers comedy classic Duck Soup, Groucho as a nation’s president said, “Why a four-year-old child could understand this report. Run out and find me a four-year-old child. I can’t make head nor tail out of it.” When it comes to zero-net-energy (ZNE)...

Climate Change: Creating an Abundance of Private Sector Opportunities

The effects of climate change present daunting challenges for government at all levels. And, it’s only going to get worse. According to a July 2016 report from the RAND Corporation, roads, bridges and seawalls will require ongoing attention because of the ravages of...

Faster, Higher, Stronger: Let’s Celebrate the Urban Olympians

Billions are watching outstanding athletes from 200 nations compete in Rio. I was in awe when I attended the Olympics in Atlanta, Sydney, and Salt Lake. The Olympic motto is three Latin words: citius, altius, fortius – faster, higher, stronger. It is time to...

Mayors Leading on Creating Sustainable, Connected Cities

Cities are the places where we live and interact. We expect our city leaders to keep them healthy, safe and vibrant. Mayors fill the potholes, provide needed services to people and grow the economy. Even more, the nation’s mayors are leading the charge to develop...

Coal-Free and Nuke-Free California

California will soon be coal-free and its last nuclear plant will be replaced with renewables. It is true that grid imported coal and nuclear power make up a small and declining part of total system power, but the percentage keeps falling with improved demand...

Energy Productivity Will Be a Lynchpin of Achieving a 2-Degree Carbon Future

The narrative on energy is one of possibility and progress. Recent events on the international climate calendar, from the seventh annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) to EE Global have brought energy productivity issues to the forefront of low carbon solutions...

Getting to Zero: US Cities Innovating Their Way to Zero Waste

The United States is the world’s top producer of waste, sending approximately 240 million tons of garbage to landfills annually. That’s about one quarter of the world’s waste, produced by about 5% of the world’s population.  We’re...