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E journalusa climate action _goes _local

  1. 1. The Bureau of International Information Programs of the U.S. Department of State publishes eJournal USA. Each journal examines a major issue facing the United States and the international community, and informs U.S. DepArtment of StAte international readers about U.S. society, values, thought, VolUme 16 / nUmber 2 and institutions. published August 2011 Each eJournal is published in English, followed byInternational Information Programs: electronic versions in French, Portuguese, Russian andCoordinator Dawn L. McCall Spanish. Selected editions also appear in Arabic, ChineseExecutive Editor Nicholas Namba and Persian. Each journal is catalogued by volumeDirector of Publications Michael Jay Friedman and number.Editorial Director Mary T. Chunko The opinions expressed in the journals do not necessarilyManaging Editor Karin Rives reflect the views or policies of the U.S. government. TheAssociate Editor Andrzej Zwaniecki U.S. Department of State assumes no responsibility forProduction Manager Janine Perry the content and continued accessibility of Internet sitesDesigner Sylvia Scott to which the journals link; such responsibility resides solely with the publishers of those sites. Journal articles,Cover Designer Diane Woolverton photographs, and illustrations may be reproduced andPhoto Editor Ann Jacobs translated outside the United States unless they carry explicit copyright restrictions, in which case permission must be sought from the copyright holders noted in the journal. Editor, eJournal USA IIP/PUBJ U.S. Department of State 2200 C Street, NW Washington, DC 20522-0501 USA E-mail: eJournalUSA@state.gov eJournal USA
  2. 2. About This Issue Corbis Images In 2010, Mexico City introduced the largest bike-sharing program in North America to reduce air pollution from private cars and taxi cabs.A s a global phenomenon, climate change is an issue that we usually look to the internationalcommunity to address. Local communities, however,are increasingly taking the lead in developing innovative,grass-roots approaches to mitigating and combatingthe causes and effects of global warming. According toa study by the United Nations Development Program,most investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions andto adapt to climate change must take place at the locallevel. In the United States, local governments and private AP Imagescitizens have been working to cut those emissions, withoutwaiting for solutions at the international level. Baoding, China, is transforming itself into a manufacturing This issue of eJournal USA examines what it means center for renewable energy equipment.to think globally about climate change — and to actlocally. Climate Action Goes local shows how communities businesses and communities in Central America, East Asia,and non-profit groups worldwide are initiating programs Middle East, Southeast Asia and the United States arethat counter climate change, and why leadership from partnering to leverage their resources, thereby multiplyinglocal officials and buy-in from local populations and the impact of their programs.businesses are necessary for such programs to be effective. The success of the local efforts described hereinAn excerpt from local Action: the new paradigm in suggests that local governments and communities are wellClimate Change policy by Tommy Linstroth and Ryan Bell positioned to achieve tangible environmental benefitsoutlines advantages local governments have over higher- without sacrificing economic growth and development.level governments in developing, monitoring and adaptingclimate change programs to serve their constituencies. This volume also recounts how local governments, the editors eJournal USA 1
  3. 3. The 2006 Copa de Balonismo at Barigui Park in Curitiba, Brazil. AP Images Curitiba boasts close to 30 parks and wooded areas.eJournal USA 2
  4. 4. U.S. DepArtment of StAte / VolUme 16 / nUmber 2 Climate Action Goes Local 4 Seattle’s Climate Strategy Pays Off 26 Sweet Resolution Saves Water Jonathan hiskes, Pacific northwest The Coca-Cola Company whets the appetite for corresPondent, sustainable industries water conservation in Central America. Magazine Pioneering climate policies required convincing 29 Villagers Protect Forests, voters and enlisting businesses. Watersheds A local pilot project in Vietnam is expanded 9 California: Changing the Game nationwide. on Climate terry taMMinen, President, seventh 34 Green Building Program Takes Off generation advisors in the West Bank A 2006 state law has inspired other U.S. states to Where energy supply is limited, energy savings take action. are valued.12 Cisco: California’s Climate Law Is 36 Students Battle for Innovative Good for Business Energy Solutions laura iPsen, vice President and general An international competition in the Netherlands Manager, cisco systeM’s connected energy spawns ideas to help the environment and One California-based company says the state’s industry. 2006 climate law has generated clean-energy jobs. 38 Local Governments Take the Lead15 Grass-roots Climate Activism Soars on Climate in India toMMy linstroth, PrinciPal, trident karuna singh, country director, earth sustainable grouP; ryan bell, sustainability day india ProJect Manager, county of alaMeda, Mobilizing people against global warming in a california region where most struggle to survive. Local governments have the flexibility to devise and implement successful climate programs.20 Local Citizens Must Join Climate Debate 40 Glossary: Definitions of the terms that appear One young Indian activist argues for a in a bold typeface. comprehensive approach to development. 41 Additional Resources23 Banking on Wind A South African bank invests in renewables to become energy-lean and climate-friendly. eJournal USA 3
  5. 5. Seattle’s Climate Strategy Pays Off Jonathan Hiskes AP ImagesFacing the threat of water shortages stemming from global warming, Seattle has changed its energy and water policies.I t is difficult to imagine a water shortage in Seattle, Seattles leadership inspired more than 1,000 other U.S. Washington. In this famously drizzly city in the cities and towns to agree to the same target. Northwestern United States, views of Puget Sound Former Mayor Greg Nickels, who led the city fromand freshwater lakes beckon from almost every hilltop. 2002 through 2009, said it all started with dire warningsTwo snow-capped mountain ranges, the Olympics and the about water supplies.Cascades, rise on the city’s eastern and western flanks. “When I became mayor, climate was not on my list of Yet the threat of water shortages — triggered by glacier to-dos,” he said. “I filled some potholes and had to deal withmelt and accelerated by warming temperatures — has the aftermath of 9/11, trying to put people back to work. Iinspired the city of 609,000 to embark on one of the most assumed a couple of things: One, that climate change wasambitious climate protection plans in the nation. The city something that was off in the future and would happen tohas launched plans to cut energy waste by insulating and other places first. And two, that the federal government wasretrofitting buildings, to reduce driving by building new doing something about it. I was wrong.”transit networks, and to position itself as a hotbed ofclean-energy jobs and innovation. Mayor Leads The Way The results have been clear for several years: In 2008— four years ahead of a deadline —Seattle met the Kyoto The urgency of the threat hit home, city insiders say,Protocol goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions during a senior staff meeting in January 2005. The city’s7 percent below 1990 levels set for the United States. utilities director told Nickels that melting glaciers could eJournal USA 4
  6. 6. densiTy: a neW ConCepT For seaTTLe Nickels understood that compact, walkable neighborhoods were necessary to support bus and light-rail networks. But while the city abounds with nature lovers drawn to the nearby mountains and waterways, many of them don’t see the connection between protecting the environment and higher housing densities in their urban neighborhoods. Seattle is one of the largest American cities with more single-family homes than high-density mulit-unit dwellings. AP Images “I don’t believe citizens have fully embraced the importance of dense, compact neighborhoods,”As Mayor, Greg Nickels was instrumental in devising a climate strategy said Mann, who now works as an environmentalfor Seattle and in reaching out to other U.S. cities in the mid-2000s. sustainability consultant to the city. For example, a plan to allow taller buildings near a create water shortages much sooner than the public new light-rail station in the Mount Baker neighborhood expected. And because most of the city’s power supply has faced opposition from local residents concerned that comes from hydroelectric dams, water shortages could greater density would bring traffic congestion and crime. also create an energy crisis. "People need yards and open At the same time, 141 space to be mentally healthy," countries were about to ratify the The city’s utilities director Pat Murakami, a nearby resident, Kyoto climate treaty, without the told Nickels that melting told the Seattle times. "Are we participation of the United States. glaciers could create water supposed to live like sardines Nickels told his staff that Seattle crammed into a can?" had to step forward even if the shortages much sooner than To make the case for higher federal government wasn’t ready. the public expected. urban density, the city has had “He put his hand down and the help of an energetic group looked across the table, and said, of sustainability advocates. ‘We aren’t thinking big enough,’” recalled Mike Mann, Seattle-based writer Alex Steffen promotes “bright the former director of the city’s Office of Sustainability green urbanism,” the idea that marrying environmental and Environment. When the mayor mentioned signing values with technology and smart land use allows city the Kyoto treaty, Mann said, “Staff members’ jaws kind of neighborhoods to be more social, healthy and prosperous dropped as they realized he was dead serious.” than auto-dependent suburbs. Local non-profits Climate Nickels launched the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Solutions, Great City and the Sightline Institute work to Agreement to enlist other mayors in committing to the link the environmental leanings of Seattleites with large- greenhouse gas emissions targets. Later that year he scale public plans. traveled to the United Nations climate talks in Montreal "I want to participate in a real revolution, not make to spread the message that plenty of U.S. local leaders futile gestures," Climate Solutions Policy Director KC were prepared to act on climate change. Golden said. "Thats why retreating back to just private Back at home, he had to convince Seattleites that and local action alone wont work." it was time for bold steps. Most of Seattle’s electricity The centerpiece of Seattle’s green urban vision comes from hydroelectric dams, which have a much lower has been the remaking of the South Lake Union carbon footprint — an estimate of how much carbon neighborhood near downtown. A decade ago, the site dioxide is produced by an entity such as a company — was an expanse of car lots and underused warehouses. than coal- or gas-fired power plants. That means the Through partnerships between the city and private bulk of the city’s greenhouse gas emissions come from investors, it has become a bustling high-tech corridor transportation, and that replacing car trips with transit is anchored by nine buildings that house the headquarters key to cutting the citys carbon footprint. of online retailer Amazon.com, Inc. The transformation has worked, says Mann, because it included things eJournal USA 5
  7. 7. AP ImagesThe city has invested in public transportation, including light rail, to reduce the source of most of its greenhouse gas emissions — cars.that appeal to residents and office cost him the environmental voteworkers: a streetcar line, shops and "I don’t believe citizens in the 2009 election, leadingrestaurants, and a waterfront park have fully embraced the to an unexpected victory bywhere a Navy shipyard once stood. environmentalist Mike McGinn. “When you increase [urban] importance of dense, But the progress of thedensity, it’s got to work for people,” compact neighborhoods." campaign Nickels started hasMann said. “It’s got to have continued under the new mayor.amenities and public spaces and The city is building out a 15-not just big Soviet-style housing towers that people don’t year light-rail plan that Nickels promoted and voterswant.” approved. Recycling and compost rates are among the highest in the nation. Cruise ships bound for Alaska now Cars Versus Trains plug into the electric grid while at port, rather than idling their engines along the waterfront. Elsewhere, reducing transportation emissions hasbeen more difficult. The city and state are poised to Leaky BuiLdings geT MakeoVerbegin construction on a multi-billion-dollar road tunnelbeneath the downtown waterfront. The plan includes Perhaps most promising, the city has launched anno room for rail lines, and sustainability advocates say innovative program to reduce energy waste from leakyinvesting so heavily in an auto-only project is short- buildings. In the United States, buildings accountsighted. for nearly 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions Nickels, after negotiating to trim the size of the nationwide. Seattle’s Community Power Workstunnel, agreed to support it. Many believe that decision program, backed by $20 million in federal economic eJournal USA 6
  8. 8. stimulus (American Recovery and with businesses and hospitals. ButReinvestment Act) funds, aims Cruise ships bound for by testing out new ideas, its fullto fix several of the barriers that Alaska now plug into influence could be much greater.keep owners from retrofitting their “Cities are the location of a lotbuildings. the electric grid while at of emissions because they’re centers First, it offers low-cost ($95) port, rather than idling of industry and population,” Mannenergy assessments to help home andbusiness owners understand where their engines along the said. “But they’re also laboratories for solutions. They’re going to generatetheir buildings are wasting heat waterfront. the ideas the federal government willand electricity. Second, it partners come back to, at some point, out ofwith the community investment institution Enterprise necessity.” Cascadia to offer 20-year loans for energy-efficiencyinvestments. This solves the finance dilemma for many Seattle journalist Jonathan Hiskes writes about cleanhomeowners — investments such as good insulation and technology, environmental innovation and the urbanduct sealing pay for themselves over time but carry steep environment. He is the pacific northwest correspondent forupfront costs. Sustainable Industries magazine. Finally, Community Power Works is piloting a“carbon reduction incentive fund,” essentially a reward-based carbon market that pays building owners subsidies the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflectbased on the amount of carbon dioxide emissions the views or policies of the U.S. government.savings they achieve. Community Power Works ismodest in scope; it aims to retrofit 2,000 homes, along AP Images The Bertschi elementary school in Seattle is among several dozens schools nationwide that recycle rainwater and wastewater. eJournal USA 7
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  10. 10. California: Changing the Game on Climate Terry TamminenT he California Global Warming Solution Act of 2006 established a comprehensive program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sources throughoutthe state. The law, known as AB32, calls for a reduction inCalifornias emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, with mandatorycaps beginning in 2012. Getty Images eJournal USA 9
  11. 11. AP ImagesThis fuel station in San Francisco is one of about 200 in California that offer compressed natural gas for vehicles. California’s Global CaLiFornia inspiraTionWarming Solutions Act of "I’m more confident than ever that2006 was passed to make a action taken at the state and local Since AB32 was enacteddifference in California and five years ago, other statesthe world. As head of the level will have a significant impact in America have followedworld’s eighth-largest economy, on lowering emissions." California’s lead. Our state’sthen-Governor Arnold climate policies have inspiredSchwarzenegger knew that a majority of U.S. states toCalifornia’s policy approach to global warming could have move forward on a range of climate change mitigationan impact in the United States and around the world. actions. Many states have developed climate action When we first proposed the legislation to California plans that include specific greenhouse gas reductionlawmakers, we encountered the typical opposition targets. They have also established renewable portfoliofrom industry groups that feared new mandates would standards that require power producers to generate aresult in higher costs for businesses. We ultimately certain portion of their energy from clean sources, andproved, however, that measures to solve climate change passed legislation that addresses transportation, energy— including energy efficiency, the development of efficiency and other climate-related needs.renewable energy and alternative transportation fuels, and Together, these efforts are having a significant impactcarbon trading — would boost the economy and create on America’s greenhouse gas emissions and helpingthousands of new jobs. (See “Cisco: California’s Climate the United States meet the non-binding emissions targetlaw Is Good for business” on page 12 for more about President Obama announced at the 2010 climate summitCalifornia’s climate legislation and job creation.) in Copenhagen: a 17-percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2020. In fact, U.S. emissions have been falling since 2007, mainly because of the economic recession. But in the future, these emissions are expected to grow much more slowly than they did in recent decades, thanks eJournal USA 10
  12. 12. to current investments margin, which says a lotin renewable and clean about what is importanttechnology and alternative to voters: a greenfuels, the U.S. Department economy, jobs and aof Energy says. healthy environment. AB32 was a game- CaLiFornia as changing piece of inTernaTionaL pLayer legislation because it put into law a roadmap for California’s actions comprehensive actionhave also had an impact on climate change.on policies overseas. In Having been involved inSeptember 2009, California the drafting of that lawand more than 30 other and now witnessing theU.S. states hosted the first tangible impact it has hadGovernors’ Global Climate on inspiring action acrossSummit in Los Angeles, the country and restdrawing some 1,200 of the world, I’m moreparticipants from across the confident than ever thatworld. The summit focused action taken at the stateon action being taken at and local level will havethe state and local level a significant impact onand how those actions are lowering emissions.building environmentally California is doing AP Imagessustainable economies while its piece to try to haltsimultaneously reducing climate change, a trulygreenhouse gas emissions. global problem.  As California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger promoted renewable Meeting again the energy through legislation, executive powers and his personalfollowing year, Governor endorsements. terry tamminen isSchwarzenegger joined other president of Seventhprominent leaders at the summit to announce a new Generation Advisors (SGA), a consultancy helpingglobal organization, the R20-Regions of Climate Action. governments worldwide implement clean energy and climateThe goal of R20 is to develop and implement low- change policies. earlier, he served as the Secretary of thecarbon and climate-resilient projects through cooperation California environmental protection Agency for Governoramong local governments around the world. By building Arnold Schwarzenegger and was the primary architect of thea new green economy, the group says, global carbon state’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.dioxide emissions can be reduced by 75 percent by 2020and increases in Earth temperatures can be capped at 2 Kristina Haddad and Sasha Abelson of SGA contributed todegrees Celsius — a goal scientists say will help us avoid this article.catastrophic climate change. The MoMenTuM hoLds up the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the U.S. government. As expected, there have been some attempts to derailthe momentum put in play by California’s historic climatelaw. A proposition supported by oil companies was placedon the ballot in November 2010. Proposition 23 soughtto freeze AB32 until California’s unemployment ratedropped below a certain rate. California voters had theirsay at the polls, defeating Proposition 23 by a 24-percent eJournal USA 11
  13. 13. Cisco: California’s Climate Law Is Good for Business Laura Ipsen Getty Images This nearly emission-free hybrid bus was introduced by San Francisco’s Municipal Transportation Agency in 2008, as part of a pilot program, in partnership with Cisco.I n november 2010, voters in California — America’s largest state with 37 million residents — turned down proposition 23, a ballot proposal to delay the historic2006 Global Warming Solutions Act. California’s law, whichwent into effect in January 2011, is the first comprehensivelegislative effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in theUnited States. Supporters of the California climate law came fromall sectors of society and included some of the largest U.S.corporations that make their headquarters in California. In October 2010, just a few weeks before thereferendum that would determine the future ofCalifornia’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, Courtesy of CiscoI outlined in a blog posting why our company stoodbehind the law and why we were publicly urgingCalifornians to do the same. Proposition 23 wouldhave rolled back California’s low carbon standard, the Cisco’s Home Energy controller helps utility customers monitorimplementation of the world’s second-largest cap-and- and control their energy use. eJournal USA 12
  14. 14. trade market, and rules requiring utilities to source good For The enVironMenT,33 percent of their electricity from renewable sources good For Businessby 2020.Those who supported the ballot measure saidthe state climate law would cost jobs and deepen the At Cisco, we see first hand why climate policies caneconomic recession. We argued that it would do just the be good for business. Our Connected Grid technology,opposite. for example, helps power companies supply electricity in a more efficient way and inVesTing in The FuTure consumers and businesses better control their Our state is known for power consumption. Ourinnovation and for making products and services are insometimes difficult decisions demand not only becausethat will pay off down the it is in utilities’ interestline. California knows how to cut expenses — butto invest in the future, and at also because a number ofCisco we know we must do them now have to changethe same. the way they do business Since our state legislature under California’s Globalpassed the law, California Warming Solutions Act,has become a magnet for and under carbon-fuelinvestments in renewable standards enacted by otherenergy and clean-energy states. We are also tappingjobs. Already by 2007, such into the rapidly growingindustries supported 125,000 market for renewablejobs in our state and that power, most recently bynumber reached 500,000 deploying a unified Ciscothree years later, according to network for First Wind’sthe California Employment utility-scale wind farm inDevelopment Department. Utah. Between 2005 and 2010, When California votersthe state attracted more than turned down Proposition AP Images$9 billion in clean-energy 23 with a 62-percentventure capital, nearly two- majority in 2010, theythirds of all such capital Actor David Arquette appeared in online videos, urging voters to invested in the future of our oppose Proposition 23.invested nationwide. It is no state and in our nation. Atcoincidence that, as of 2010, Cisco, we were proud to beour state is home to five of the top 10 cities for attracting part of that effort. clean-tech startup companies, according to a report bySustainLane Government, a database of environmentally laura Ipsen is senior vice president and general manager atsustainable policies. Cisco Systems, Inc., a San Jose-based networking technology Such investments would have been threatened if company with more than 72,000 employees worldwide andProposition 23 had passed and the climate law been $40 billion in 2010 revenues.stalled. It would have jeopardized California’s leadershipin innovation and created uncertainty among businessesabout the state’s commitment to building a green energy the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflecteconomy. It would also have threatened capital investments the views or policies of the U.S. government.and put thousands of clean-tech jobs at risk. eJournal USA 13
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  16. 16. Grass-roots Climate Activism Soars in India Karuna Singh W hat would happen if 1 billion people got together and made 1 billion efforts to promote environmental sustainability and combat climate change? AP Images eJournal USA 15
  17. 17. Courtesy of Earth Day Network - IndiaPeople in Kolkata marked Earth Day 2011 with pledges to take action to help the environment. That was the central question guiding the balance between fulfilling material needs andglobal environmental advocacy group Earth Day sustaining the country’s fragile ecology.Network in August 2010 as it opened its first office With 1.2 billion people and one-third of thein India, a country where rapid economic growth world’s poor, India remains highly dependent onis lifting millions out of poverty and providing agriculture. The rural economy, coupled withthose already in the middle class with enhanced a 7,500-kilometer-long coastline, makes Indiapurchasing power — all of which comes at an extremely vulnerable to climate change. Floods,environmental cost. droughts, heat waves, cyclones, storm surges, The mission of the new Earth Day Network displacements, diseases and pests are no longeroffice in Kolkata is to help Indians recognize the forecasts for a distant future; they are occurringthreat and challenges posed by climate change, today. Such challenges could severely test India’sand to encourage each individual to take action to systems of governance and its institutional andavert a looming environmental crisis. Through the social resilience.campaign called A Billion Acts of Green, Earth Day So how can Indians be mobilized to tackleNetwork seeks to frame the public discussion about climate change?climate change in India To find out, Earth Day Network’s India staff tapped Indian environmental leaders for advice The ChaLLenge — and poWer — oF a BiLLion eFForTs on developing culturally appropriate, effective messages and strategies for Earth Day 2011. Satisfying the needs and aspirations of India’s Chaitanya Kumar, national coordinator for theincreasingly affluent population requires a delicate Indian Youth Climate Network (IYCN), said that eJournal USA 16
  18. 18. Courtesy of Earth Day Network - India Students in New Delhi participate in the 2011 Earth Day Networks campaign A Billion Acts of Green.climate change activism in particular by expandingIndia needs to focus less Climate change activism in India India’s green space, and toon consumption and more needs to focus less on consumption conserve and protect wateron protecting and growing resources.natural resources. and more on protecting and “There are two basic growing natural resources. grass-rooTs adVoCaCygroups of people in India,” yieLds groundsWeLLKumar explained. “Thepoorest of the poor, who are impacted most by To raise environmental awareness andclimate change, form the majority group. Their encourage sustainable economic growth, Earth Dayreal concern above everything else is livelihood. Network partnered with several nongovernmentalThe smaller group of affluent Indians is not organizations to reach citizens at the grass-rootsimmediately impacted by climate change.” level. The goal was to help people understand Noting that 800 million Indians earn less the conflict between material sufficiency andthan $2 a day, Nazeeb Arif, senior executive at environmental impacts of growth, and to helpITC Limited, a company that has reduced its them discover ways to bridge that divide.carbon footprint to zero, observed that “these 800 Over the past year, Earth Day Network hasmillion are already [struggling to survive], so you sponsored several programs that culminated oncannot ask them to consume less.” And Arivudai Earth Day 2011 in some 200 cities and districtsNambi, director of the Climate Change Program across India. Earth Day Network collaborated withat the M.S. Swaminathan Foundation, echoed that local organizations to hold events in urban centers,observation. “There is a difference between survival in second-tier cities, and in village after village ofemissions and luxury emissions,” he said. each of the country’s major regions. The consensus from the experts was that there People came by the hundreds to participate,was an immediate need to build natural capital, in attracted by the range and creativity of the eJournal USA 17
  19. 19. MoBiLizing a young CounTry India has a large young population: 72 percent of its citizens are below the age of 40. So it makes sense for Earth Day Network to target this important group. Innovative programs in hundreds of schools and colleges inspire youth to be paryavaran mitras, or friends of the Courtesy of Earth Day Network - India environment. The participation, which is ongoing, has been impressive: • 40,000 city students are discovering nature by spending time in forest reserves. • 10,000 tribal children have learned about the usefulness of trees and been involved in tree-planting projects.A 2011 rally organized by nongovernmental groups in support of solar • Hundreds have found joy in organizedlanterns in the Sunderbans, a region in West Bengal. bicycle games.programs. As Maneesha Together, these childrenSharma, director of anorganization that works in On Earth Day, Earth Day form a strong community of ambassadors for Earth.tribal areas, pointed out, the Network developed green Indeed, youth activismcommunity is the lead player in patches for kitchen gardens, around environmental issues is“making transformational change— changing how people live, work using runoff from public growing in India. Groups such as the IYCN have membersand do business.” On Earth Day, water pumps. who are committed, bold,her organization developed green knowledgeable and expert atpatches for kitchen gardens, using social marketing.runoff from public water pumps. IYCN’s novel Climate Solutions Road Tours In Leh, a mountainous region dotted with have sent volunteers travelling over thousandsBuddhist monasteries that saw massive destruction of miles in solar-powered electric cars, in vansfrom flash floods in 2010, community leaders running on waste vegetable oil and in biodieseljoined a padayatra, or foot tour, around villages to explain trucks, stopping en route to talk about renewableglobal warming. Volunteers from Pallishree spent a week and clean energy. Accompanying them was Solarwith fishermen’s communities around Chilka, the largest Punch, a group of young musicians from thebrackish water lagoon in Asia, sensitizing them to the United States who use solar power to amplify theneed to protect the lagoon’s fauna and flora. “It will sound of their instruments. Nationality aside,benefit you” was their key message. these youth are citizens of Earth first as they work In Almora, an area that faced rampant together to save their common heritage.deforestation in the past, women adopted trees; Earth Day Network also supported the Selfand in Kerala, farmers learned about organic Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), thefarming. Meanwhile, in northeastern India, an largest trade union for women, when it conductedarea rich in biodiversity, volunteers trekked for events in several districts to promote greenmiles to small hamlets to explain why greenery is livelihoods for women. SEWA volunteers discussedprecious and must be saved. greener methods of farming with women in rural parts of India. They also offered low-interest loans to allow women to shift to clean cookstoves, solar lanterns and other clean technologies. eJournal USA 18
  20. 20. Courtesy of Earth Day Network - IndiaAt the Bengal Home Industries Association even puppets stand up for nature and Mother Earth. Several large software companies and The groundswell of activities around Earthconsulting firms encouraged their employees to Day in India showed organizers how wide and deepvolunteer expertise to develop green technologies. the A Billion Acts of Green campaign has gone.“Typically, large and well-established industries Earth Day Network will build on this momentumbelieve in long-term planning,” said Surojit Bose, to ensure that, eventually, every day is Earth Dayassociate director of sustainability and climate in India. change at PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consultingfirm. “They are, therefore, well into understanding Karuna A. Singh is country director for earth Daythese [climate change] risks and building … India. She joined earth Day network in 2010.business strategies, and forming partnership before, she had spent 24 years at the U.S. Consulatemodels.” in Kolkata, most recently as a senior executive Government agencies and members of the focusing on environmental affairs.private sector and media supported these efforts.India’s National Council of Science Museumscommemorated Earth Day in all its 24 museums, the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflectreaching out to thousands. the views or policies of the U.S. government. eJournal USA 19
  21. 21. Local Citizens Must Join Climate Debate AP ImagesSchoolchildren participate in a drive to clean the Yamuna River in New Delhi.O n World Environment Day, June 5, 2011, meet, an event organized by the New Delhi-based The Latika Nayar and her family huddled in one Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Nayar is part of room of their comfortable New Delhi home. A a growing movement of environmental youth who aresingle fan and light were the only appliances they allowed starting to make themselves heard across India.to run that weekend. It would be their way to reducetheir carbon footprint, albeit for just two days, Nayar CaLL For youTh To aCTexplained to her parents, grandparents and younger sister. Nobody could send e-mail, watch television, talk on TERI wants to engage young people from differentthe phone or turn on the air conditioning that weekend countries in discussions about climate change and otherwith the temperature reaching 41 degrees Celsius. “My environmental challenges, and encourage them to takemother was a bit irritated — they all think I’m a little actions that make a difference in their communities, saidrebel — so I gave them all a long lecture on how we’re all Aditi Pathak, a TERI research associate. “The youth ofspoiling the environment,” the 22-year-old social worker today will be the direct brunt bearers of environmentalsaid. degradation and overconsumption of resources,” she Nayar spoke with some authority, having received said. “Therefore, they need to be actively engaged at thethe prestigious Green Globe award in the youth category local and national level in dialogues, discussions andjust a few months earlier. India’s film industry established deliberation on climate change and sustainability.”the awards to highlight the climate crisis. A participant The YUVA conference has grown from 148in India’s 2011 Youth Unite Voluntary Action (YUVA) participants when it was first held in 2009 to 190 in eJournal USA 20
  22. 22. river residents depended on for water and fish. It gave Nayar an opportunity to voice a belief she’s passionate about: Environmental problems cannot be dealt with in isolation; they must be addressed in a holistic manner. Bringing iT aLL TogeTher Nayar is convinced that environmentalists who focus just on trees, or economists who Courtesy of YUVA only think of development, are missing the big picture. To build a sustainable future for people on Earth, she said, we must first understand how our climate, health, economyStudents at the 2011 YUVA meet in New Delhi work on environmental case studies. and social structures all interconnect. “You cannot force people out of the forest because you want to protect trees,” Nayar said, “and you can’t expect tribal people to become vegans — fish is their staple.” Nations such as India that are lifting millions into the middle class have to find a way to expand their economies in an environmentally sustainable way without disrupting the lives of marginalized people, she said. Nayar’s team presented a plan under which the villagers in their case study pushed village authorities to put pressure on central government and got nongovernmental organizations to help. They also worked with the polluting factory because the plant brought jobs and tax revenues to the region. The team learned from their TERI mentors that microbes could be used to break down the chemicals in the river, and that there was technology available to prevent further pollution. “We were trying to show that when in a village you must speak up. If your issues are not mainstreamed you won’t be heard,” Nayar said. Their thoughtful presentation landed the students an invitation to the February 3, 2011, Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, a TERI-sponsored global Courtesy Photo conference at which the Green Globe awards are given out. “It was the best day of my life,” Nayar said of receiving her award. Latika Nayar She hopes to eventually earn a doctoral degree that will allow her to address environmental problems from2011. Of those, most came from India and the rest hailed a social perspective, making sure that local communitiesfrom 11 other countries. During the conference held are part of future green solutions. in early February 2011, the students were divided into — Karin rivesteams that were each given an environmental problemto solve. Nayar’s team tackled a case study in whicha large industrial facility had moved into a rural area, the views expressed in this article do not reflect official terIforced relocation of some villagers and polluted the local policy or that of the U.S. Department of State. eJournal USA 21
  23. 23. eJournal USA 22
  24. 24. Banking on WindNedbanks commitment to green energy assures itsstatus as Africas first carbon-neutral bank, and helpsmaintain its well-cultivated environmental reputation. Courtesy of Nedbank eJournal USA 23
  25. 25. Courtesy of NedbankKruger Park ranger Jantjie Mphela helps protect endangered ground hornbills as part of a conservation program sponsored by Nedbank. In late 2010, curious on The enVironMenTaLresidents of the Dunoon paThtownship near Cape Townwatched a 15-meter wind As Nedbank executivesturbine being installed next explain it, the investmentto a new bank in a local strip in wind power is just amall. Its not every day — in continuation of a corporateSouth Africa or anywhere journey that began aboutelse — that your local bank 20 years ago.will use wind power to fire In 1990, the bankup automatic teller machines, established a partnershipcomputers and lights. with the World Wildlife From an energy security Fund, an internationalpoint of view, however, it made conservation group, knownperfect sense. With supply as The Green Trust, whichshortages and rolling blackouts continues to this day. Soplaguing the overtaxed electric far, the trust has raised 100grid, the country’s second- million rands (about $14 Courtesy of Nedbanklargest retail bank is looking to million) for more thanrenewable power as it expands 170 wildlife and habitatits branch network. conservation projects across South Africa. The Dunoon branch of Nedbank is partially powered by a wind Then in 2010, turbine. Nedbank became the first African bank to eJournal USA 24
  26. 26. reach carbon neutrality, or net zero greenhouse gas on the coal-dependent national grid. But this will requireemissions. It achieved the status by investing heavily in a continued commitment to energy savings.energy efficiency and by purchasing so-called carbon Over the past three years, Nedbank has trimmedcredits from a forest protection program in Kenya’s about 36 million rands ($5 million) in operational costsKasigau Wildlife Corridor. by reducing business travel, installing energy-saving lights The carbon credit program, which helps businesses and appliances, and cutting back on paper and waterand individuals offset their greenhouse gas pollution by consumption.investing in emissions-reduction projects elsewhere, is The bank is also gleaning knowledge from othermanaged by a U.S.-based company, Wildlife Works. corporations that invest in green solutions. Stuart, for “For us, it’s important to be able to have our own example, is talking with MTN, a leading South Africanhouse in order before taking on mobile phone operator that hasa leadership role in the largerAfrican context,” said Brigitte "For us, it’s important to be able been wind turbines at panels with combining solar antennaBurnett, Nedbank’s head of to have our own house in order base stations in remote ruralenvironmental sustainability. before taking on a leadership areas. This approach may also “We looked at carbon work for Nedbank’s branchesneutrality to make sure that role in the larger African in areas with inadequate wind,our operations impact the context." he said.environment as little as possible,” The next wind-poweredshe said. “But we also saw it Nedbank branches are expectedas a great platform to create some leadership and some to open in the province of Port Elizabeth and in anotherthinking around how South Africa can play a part in part of the Western Cape. The bank is also lookingaddressing climate change.” into retrofitting existing branches and automatic teller machines with wind power or other clean-energy options. Be Lean, Be green “We pride ourselves on these achievements,” Stuart said. “I’m truly proud working for Nedbank.”  The Dunoon branch today gets about 35 percentof its electricity from the wind turbine, but that share — K.R.may grow to 75 percent once the bank has installedenergy-saving lights and more efficient air conditioningunits, said Ralph Stuart, Nedbank’s head of channel the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflectinfrastructure. As the bank ramps up investments in the views or policies of the U.S. government.renewable energy, it hopes to gradually lessen its reliance eJournal USA 25
  27. 27. Sweet Resolution Saves Water AP ImagesA Salvadoran field worker harvests sugar cane.J oe Rozza remembers the blank stares he received from increasingly vulnerable to climate change-related hurricanes his Florida secondary-school friends in the early 1980s and droughts, according to the United Nations. In 2009, when he proposed a plan for protecting the state’s several countries in the region declared a state of emergency fragile lakes and streams. because of lingering droughts that threatened crops and freshwater supplies. The likelihood of more frequent and Storm-water runoff? Polluted water? prolonged droughts in the future makes water monitoring and conservation a priority for the region. About 80 percent Much has changed since then. Today, Rozza travels of Central America’s fresh water is consumed by agriculturalthe world on behalf of the Coca-Cola Company to oversee operations — a percentage that the region cannot afford aswater and wastewater management projects initiated by the droughts make water increasingly scarce.Water and Development Alliance (WADA) — a partner-ship between his employer and the U.S. Agency for parTnership For WaTer ConserVaTionInternational Development (USAID). He is the company’sglobal water resource sustainability manager. Water is also important to huge corporations, including Everywhere he goes these days, people are aware of Coca-Cola, whose business depends on steady access tothe issue. Access to clean water has become a growing clean water and on economically healthy communities thatpriority for countries everywhere as populations increase can purchase their products.and climate change threatens water supplies. This is “Ultimately, improving [environmental] sustainabilityparticularly true in Central America, which is becoming and economic development opportunities in the developing eJournal USA 26
  28. 28. world will create business performance and helps managersopportunities not only for Access to clean water has become implement better practices. InCoca-Cola Company, but also a growing priority for countries many cases, the changes theyfor many other businesses,” make — such as installingsaid Rozza. everywhere as populations better machines — immediately By partnering on water increase and climate change help the factories save moneyissues, he said, Coca-Cola threatens water supplies. on energy and water. Thatand USAID have been able has helped the alliance sell theto pool their resources and idea to other companies andexpertise for a better outcome. In El Salvador and to overcome resistance to sometimes expensive capitalGuatemala the alliance is working with sugar refineries investments, according to GETF.and local governments to improve water and wastewater By March 2011, four refineries — all of themmanagement practices. The $362,000 project, which Coca-Cola suppliers — were part of the program, withbegan in 2009, is similar to other WADA projects more companies expected to join. WADA is pushing theundertaken in recent years in Australia, Brazil, China and suppliers to measure their performance against voluntarySouth Africa. production standards, such as the Bonsucro: Better Sugar The partners have hired the non-profit Global Cane Initiative, launched in 2010 to lessen the sugar-caneEnvironment & Technology Foundation (GETF) to work industry’s impact on the environment.with sugar mills in the two countries to make sure they Coca-Cola’s Rozza is glad he can leverage thecomply with environmental sustainability commitments company’s brand in the area of corporate responsibility.spelled out under a free-trade agreement between the “The programs we’re involved with, like WADA, areUnited States, the Dominican Republic and five Central resulting in real change for the better,” he said. American countries. The plan is to replicate the WADAprogram in countries covered by the agreement. — K.R. sugar indusTry and neW sTandards the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect GETF conducts audits of sugar refineries, the views or policies of the U.S. government.recommends changes designed to improve their AP Images Employees of Compania Azucarera Salvadorena harvest sugar cane for the sugar mill in San Julian, El Salvador. eJournal USA 27
  29. 29. eJournal USA 28
  30. 30. Villagers Protect Forests, WatershedsW hat happens if you collect money from hydropower companies and other river-based businesses and use the Courtesy of Winrock International proceeds to pay local families to protect the forest fromillegal logging? eJournal USA 29
  31. 31. es Imag is Corb Courtesy of Winrock InternationalFarmers from K’ho ethnic minority communities form patrols to guard the forest in the Da Nhim watershed. During a two-year pilot project in Vietnam’s Lam Asia — made headlines and prompted Vietnam’s primeDong province, the U.S. Agency for International minister, Nguyen Tan Dung, to issue a national decreeDevelopment (USAID) and its contractor Winrock making the Payment for Forest Environmental ServicesInternational, a non-profit development group, worked (PFES) program permanent.with power producers, tourism businesses, the Vietnamese The program helps protect biodiversity and sustaingovernment and local residents to put such a scheme in communities and businesses in the sensitive Mekongplace. The result: Illegal logging in the province dropped River basin. By protecting trees, the PFES scheme alsoby half between 2008 and 2010. Similar projects have helps reduce carbon dioxide emissions that are releasedbeen successful in the United States and Costa Rica. when logging occurs. “It’s crucial to enlist people locally,” said Barry enLisTing LoCaL peopLe Flaming, a program development specialist who focuses on biodiversity at USAID’s Asia office in Bangkok. The program in Vietnam enlisted nearly 8,000 “They are the stewards of local forests and watershedshouseholds, awarding each an average of about 11 million and are the ones that reap the benefit and costs ofVietnamese dong (about $537) annually in return for [these] activities. Local action can be very effective intheir members regularly patrolling and monitoring a projects such as this, but only if sufficient incentivessection of the forest. The effectiveness of such a grass- exist and there is appropriate political support for localroots effort — the first pilot of its kind in Southeast participation.” eJournal USA 30
  32. 32. Corbis ImagesA young K’ho woman legally collects firewood. Does her family help fight illegal logging? eJournal USA 31
  33. 33. 8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions from being released into the atmosphere. eduCaTion and inCenTiVes The organization helped Lam Dong Province establish Vietnam’s first provincial forest protection and development fund and create a mechanism for collecting money from hydropower and water companies and 59 tourism concessions. The group also conducted a broad education campaign to engage people on the ground — the farmers and local residents on whom the program’s success would depend. Twenty-four poster panels, 200 small billboards and 42 large roadside billboards were erected to teach people Courtesy of Winrock Inernational about the value of biodiversity and the role trees play in the ecosystem. The organization also distributed more than 14,000 brochures and helped Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development develop a 30-minute video about the PFES program that aired nationally. Local families learned how they could benefit financially from teaming up with neighbors and regularly patrolling a section of the forest. Participation grewVillagers read a billboard explaining the benefits of keeping the localecosystem intact. quickly, with 3,500 households joining in 2009 and another 4,500 the following year. Logging in Southeast Asia — some of it legal The Lam Dong forest teams also are charged withand much of it not — is a big contributor to global referring violations to local forest boards and maintaininggreenhouse gas emissions. The logging occurs to make dossiers that form the basis for the payments fromroom for agriculture that feeds growing populations, or participating businesses.to accommodate economic growth. Sometimes trees are The carefully crafted program has become a modelcut for lumber profits. The results of either practice can for other Vietnamese provinces and surrounding nations,be devastating. according to Winrock International. However, for the Trees absorb and store significant amounts of carbon program to have a real and lasting impact on illegaldioxide that is released when they’re cut. The degradation logging, the organization said, law enforcement in theof the forest also leads to erosion and build-up of silt in region must be better coordinated to ensure that arrests arewaterway. This can have a negative effect on hydropower made and offenders are fined in a consistent manner. plants downstream. When forests are cut and landscapesdestroyed, wildlife habitats and tourism suffer as well. — K.R. Nearly 17 percent of worldwide carbon dioxideemissions, the lead cause of climate change, comefrom deforestation, according to the U.N. Food and the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflectAgriculture Organization. Roughly half of those emissions the views or policies of the U.S. government.come from tropical Southeast Asian nations, withIndonesia leading the pack. In a January 2011 study, Winrock Internationalreported that the Vietnamese PFES program, if continuedsuccessfully, could prevent the loss of 14,000 hectares offorest between 2010 and 2037, and prevent more than eJournal USA 32
  34. 34. Courtesy of Winrock InernationalVillagers are trained to monitor water in the Da Nhim watershed. eJournal USA 33
  35. 35. Green Building Program Takes Off in the West Bank Courtesy of USAIDGreen building design and technology have cut by more than half, compared to a regular structure, water and energy costs of the 580-square-meter Safeer Center.S ix months after the Safeer Center opened in the the Safeer Center as a 10-year-old when the facility was West Bank, several of the 3,000 children, who housed in a rented building in Nablus. He has studied regularly attend after-school activities at the Center, the new building’s efficient insulation layers, which aregave the two-story facility rave reviews. visible through a cut-out in the wall. He also has taken “This is the first time that I’ve seen an environmentally an interest in the Center’s rainwater collection system andfriendly building. In fact, it’s also a child-friendly window shadings that reduce air conditioning costs.building!” said 14-year-old Sondus Hajeer, who enjoys “The idea of a green building was new for me andthe Center’s modern style and bright colors. a first for our camp. I really like the new building,” said Aqra. He was so inspired by the concept that he decided sTudying a green sTruCTure to study engineering with a specialty in environmentally friendly buildings. Jameel Aqra, like Hajeer, a resident of the Askar The Safeer Center, owned and operated by the non-refugee camp in the West Bank, began volunteering for profit Palestinian Child Care Society, moved into the new eJournal USA 34
  36. 36. building in December 2010. It is a better and healthier has been concern about cost and getting people past that,”facility for the many children that attend the Center’s she said. “People tell us, ‘We have a limited budget and weeducational programs. don’t want to do something too fancy, or to get technology The construction of the Center was funded by the U.S. we can’t maintain.’ So working with them, we try togovernment through the U.S. Agency for International emphasize that a green building doesn’t necessarily meanDevelopment (USAID). Over the next five years, USAID expensive technology. It can be something as simple asplans to support the construction of several more green which direction a building faces or sun shading.”buildings, which will serve as models in resource-challenged Once local leaders realize that green design featuresWest Bank and the Gaza Strip. will save their communities money in the long run, These buildings will be constructed as part of an resistance begins to fade, she said. In fact, the Safeerambitious U.S. government-funded $100-million program Center’s electricity costs were cut in half and waterto improve living conditions and spur environmentally usage reduced by two-thirds during its first six monthsand socially sustainable infrastructure projects throughout of operation. This has freed money for computers,the Palestinian territories. Through this program, USAID additional programs, new staff and other pressing needs.is also sponsoring a green engineering fellows initiative Such benefits, along with a recognition that greenfor recent university buildings, madegraduates, conducting from mostly localworkshops for materials, lead tolocal Palestinian more local jobsgovernment officials and healthierand industry communities,representatives, and are generatingsupporting public enthusiasm foroutreach on energy environmentallyconservation and other sustainableenvironmental issues. construction in First on the the region, Diener Courtesy of USAIDto-do list is a new said. So is the ideacommunity center of going back toin the northern West some of the smartBank, followed by building designsa green school that Some 3,000 children from the old and new Askar refugee camps in Nablus use the that were perfectedaims to become the Safeer pre-school education center. in the Middle Eastfirst LEED-certified generations ago,building in the area, and one of the first in the Arab world. such as courtyards that offer natural ventilation duringLEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental hot summer days.Design. It is a coveted, internationally recognized green- Energy costs in the Gaza Strip and the West Bankbuilding certification standard, which provides third- tend to be twice as high as in surrounding countriesparty verification that a building was designed and built because all electricity and fuel is imported. This has madeusing methods intended to improve energy savings, water people in the region eager to save when they can.efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, indoor “People quickly realize that green buildings translateenvironmental quality, and stewardship of resources. into a lot of benefits for them,” Diener said.  WhaT’s in iT For us? — K.R. Just like people anywhere else in the world, Palestiniansinitially had some misconceptions about green buildings, the opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflectsaid Kari Jorgensen Diener, a green building specialist at the views or policies of the U.S. government.CHF International, USAID partner in its communityinfrastructure development program. “The big challenge eJournal USA 35