Category Archives: Sustainable World Coalition Blog

Urban Tree Canopies

By Rachel Roberts

1445747_68989977Did you know that tree in your backyard is part of a $2.4 trillion infrastructure?

Almost 80% of the United States’ population lives in urban areas dependent on the many benefits provided by urban trees and forests.

Typically, the term “urban forests” refers to the publically and privately owned trees within an urban area, including in backyards and along streets. Recently, however, the term “urban forests” has been used to reference the plans developed by an increasing number of U.S. cities to preserve their trees. Cities with comprehensive urban forest plans include New York, Philadelphia, and Portland, among many others.

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Envision 2050: The Future of Oceans

By Pete Smith

Strategies for removing carbon from the atmosphere all have down sides. The biggest? Their ability to lull us into complacency.



The best way to keep your floor dry is to avoid spilling a bucket of water onto the floor, rather than to deliberately tip the bucket and then develop technologies to dry the floor. The same is true of greenhouse gases: We need to prevent their emission now rather than focus on developing ever more complex and risky solutions to remove them from the atmosphere in the future.

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More Problems for California – State of Emergency Declared for Oil Spill

By Rachel Roberts

A beach after an oil spill.

A beach after an oil spill. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

California Governor Jerry Brown declared a State of Emergency last week following a leak in an underground oil pipe owned by Plains All American Pipeline. This declaration helps to free up emergency state funding and resources to help mitigate the effects of the spill.

The oil spill spans nine miles of the Southern California coast with 4 miles of beach saturated with oil—a total area that was more than the U.S. Coast Guard anticipated when they were notified of the spill.

According to Plains All American Pipeline, currently 21,000 gallons of oil have leaked into the ocean; however, a worst-case scenario could result in nearly 105,000 gallons of oil spilled. Because the pipeline is underground, it will take officials a couple of days to determine the actual amount of oil spilled.

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Putting the World’s Challenges at the Heart of Business

By Paul Polman

Business must make a bigger difference to global challenges by leveraging its scale, influence and resources to drive transformational change at a systemic level.



Editor’s note: Greenleaf Publishing’s Reframing the Game: The Transition to a New Sustainable Economy will be available at the end of the month. North American purchasers can buy copies here. This excerpt is published with permission from Greenleaf Publishing.

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California Salmon Keep On Truckin’

By Rachel Roberts

554573_80226358The California drought has been affecting more than just residents and farmers—since February, state and federal wildlife agencies in California have been deploying convoys of tanker trucks to help transport hatchery salmon downriver to the San Francisco Bay.

Stafford Lehr, the Chief of Fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, said about the operation, “It’s huge. This is a massive effort statewide on multiple systems.” 35,000-gallon tanker trucks are loaded with baby salmon and then transported on Highway 99 for an hour and a half to San Francisco so they can live out their adult life in the sea.

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Shelling Out Oil in Seattle

By Rachel Roberts

Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last Thursday, the first of two Shell oilrigs which are expected to partake in Arctic oil exploration arrived in Seattle. The highly controversial rigs were met by environmental activists as Shell plans to store equipment in the Port of Seattle.

Activists were situated on shore and in kayaks off the city’s waterfront. They viewed this as an opportunity to bring attention to the many adverse effects that opening a new fossil fuel frontier (especially in the Arctic) will cause. Kayaker and protestor Jordan Van Voast said on the issue, “Unless people get out there and put themselves on the front lines and say enough is enough, then nothing will ever change. I’m hopeful that people are waking up.

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We know what sustainable development should look like — now let’s do it


By Felix Dodds

Will the new UN Sustainable Development Goals lead to a sustainable future? It’s up to us.

Fifteen years ago, more than 190 countries, with input from many stakeholders, established a set of eight Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, to guide global development work. Ranging from reducing by half the number of people living in extreme poverty to improving development governance, the goals represented an attempt by governments to set a limited number of priorities. In reality, they showed an inability to deliver on more ambitious action plans agreed in the 1990s at a number of United Nations conferences and summits. Some but not all of the MDGs have been achieved, in part due to the financial crisis in 2008.

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The Downside to K-Cups

By Rachel Roberts

1443723_82961772We all have our coffee addictions, but believe it or not, some coffee addictions are worse than others. Although incredibly convenient, the amount of waste that single-serving K-Cups produced in 2013 was enough to circle the earth 10.5 times (that’s 8.3 billion K-Cups).

K-Cups are made out of No. 7 composite plastic, which means they are not recyclable. John Sylvan, the inventor of Keurig, told The Atlantic in a recent interview that “I feel bad sometimes that I ever did it.” In fact, Sylvan himself doesn’t even own a Keurig.

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Climate Change—Banned Once Again

By Rachel Roberts



To many, climate change is an important, critical and urgent topic. To others, like the Wisconsin Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, talking about it is simply a waste of time.

Last Tuesday, the three-person Wisconsin Board of Commissions of Public Lands voted 2-1 to ban staff members from discussing climate change while on the job. The board is made up of Secretary of State Doug LaFollette (D), Attorney General Brad Schimel (R) and Treasurer Matt Adamczyk (R).

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Want to Change the Future? Pay Attention to the Past

By Peter Dykstra

From Mandela to MLK to McKibben, history offers lessons aplenty for climate activists.



We all know the plotline: Single-minded, passionate activists attempt to take on immense money and power, hidebound ideology and bureaucratic paralysis to turn the tide on the most important issue ever.

We could be talking about climate change. But we could also be talking about the abolition of slavery, marriage equality or countless other political struggles from history. Each of those other movements holds a bonanza of lessons for climate activists on how sweeping change succeeds or fails.

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