J500 Media and the Environment


On the up and up by marisabreg

It’s a difficult thing to resolve the needs of workers for decent work, the needs of a (failing) economy and the needs of our climate in crisis, right?

Well… maybe not.

Like Matt and Alex, I’m working as part of the labor group and had the opportunity to speak with Emil Ramirez, assistant to the director of the United Steelworkers, District 11 (Steelworker Heartland) earlier this week. With Matt and Alex, we’re looking at the relationship between labor (workers, leaders, etcetera) and the climate – especially green/clean energy.

I spoke with Emil about “green collar” jobs, the connection between the environment and the economy and communication, among other things. One of the things Emil told me a bit about is the Blue Green Alliance, an association between the USW and the Sierra Club that focuses on climate disruption and clean energy, fair trade and reducing emissions.

The Blue Green Alliance is one of a number of national groups that have initiatives dedicated to clean energy and “green collar’ jobs.

To name a few, the Center for American Progress has a Green Recovery Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy; Van JonesGreen for All has a Green Jobs Now initiative to build an inclusive green economy with an emphasis on fighting poverty; and of course, Al Gore’s We Campaign.

All of these organizations are coordinating efforts to show that good jobs, the economy and the environment are not mutually exclusive. With the right efforts and response, the U.S. (and Kansas) can create/modify decent jobs with the climate in mind.

Marisa B.

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World Officially Upside Down: Sierra Club Endorses Clorox Product by bobbygrace
April 5, 2008, 4:06 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics | Tags: , , , , ,

Clorox\'s new Green Works line

Clorox has an interesting new line of biodegradable cleaning solutions called Green Works and an even more interesting endorsement, the Sierra Club.

Unlike the organic food industry, Clorox is tying itself very closely to Green Works products by placing the Clorox logo plainly on the product. People trust Clorox as a brand that cleans well and is making it a point that Green Works works as well as all their other cleaners. If Clorox is able to convince people that biodegradable cleaners are just as good as any other, it will be an enormous step toward a more natural home cleaning future. Green Works is also pricing itself below other “green” cleaners on the market, making it more affordable and attractive.

If you are not familiar with the Sierra Club, they are an organization that has been promoting environmental awareness and combating the use of toxic substances since 1893. Endorsing a company who continues to sell products with toxic substances like bleach is bound to upset many environmentalists, especially with money involved.

Is this a step toward the universal removal of toxic chemicals from home cleaning products or a degradation of the Sierra Club authority?

via: NYTimes, No Impact Man

Bobby Grace



The hardest working photog in the enviro business by travisjbrown

Who is the greatest environmental photographer in this history of the environment and photography?

Funny you should ask—considering I just spent my morning researching that exact topic.

Ansel Adams would be your man. I know, I never thought of it before now, either. Until now, I just thought he made pretty outdoor pictures that people put in their offices when they didn’t know much about art.

Now, I know you instantly scanned through your mental environmental photographer Rolodex and picked out your favorite modern environmental photog but I seriously doubt they hold a CFL to Adams’ efforts.

After years of photographing nature, Adams became so inspired that he became a full-blown environmental advocate, according to this essay by Peter Barr. He joined the Sierra Club board of directors, he lobbied congress for environmental aid in King’s River Canyon, and he was assigned to photograph national parks by the Department of Interior (however, this project quickly ended because of WWII). Adams personally met with LBJ, Johnson, Ford, and Carter to discuss environmental policy. He was also awarded the Conservation Service Award by the Interior Department and recieved a Presidential Medal of Freedom for his environmental efforts. Thats what I call a hard-working advocate.

And just look at the man’s stuff:

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Ansel Adams. Bridveil Fall. Yosemite, 1967

Waterfall: “I am nature. Hear me roar. RAAGH!”
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Ansel Adams. Snake River, Grand Tetons, 1942

Mountain: “I see you eyeing me. I will destroy you. Do not screw with me.

“The photographer showed Americans the beauty of nature. But he also put alot of American problems in perspective.

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Ansel Adams. Freeway Interchange, Los Angeles, 1967

This photograph was taken in 1967—an era when a lot of people (aka hippies) were complaining about what was wrong with the world, while driving around in psychadelic buses powered by fossil fuels and love.

It is as if Adams was telling us “Hey guys, take a step back and look at all this progress. Maybe we need to slow down and meditate on this for a while. I mean, check this other picture. Goodness, are those some pretty trees or what?”

You know, come to think of it, I’m going to have to get me an Ansel Adams for my office. Maybe it’ll make me feel like I’m working amidst nature

-Travis Brown



Your environment news recap by rarab

So, while the rest of my classmates were spending their Spring Break partying like rock stars (okay, maybe washed-up, homeless rock stars…), I was busy here in town holding down the fort, keeping track of all the gloom-and-doom news, making sure the world didn’t explode. (Not on my watch, dammit!)

It turns out that while we were on break, several major environment-related stories unfolded. In an effort to get everyone back up to speed, here’s a convenient recap of some of the top stories.

Gov. Sebelius vetoes Holcomb plan

The biggest news, for Kansans, at least, happened on Friday, when Gov. Kathleen Sebelius vetoed the Holcomb coal plant initiative. Three cheers for the Gov!!! The veto is seen as a major victory by environmental protection groups. Just look at how Sierra Club spokesperson Stephanie Cole put it:

“It sends a message that Kansas is willing to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem,” Cole said of the governor’s veto. “Kansas is sort of ground zero right now for the global warming debate.”

Ground zero for the global warming debate. Trot that one out the next time some nattering nabob of negativism asks, “So what is the matter with Kansas?”

Actually, it turns out that the “matter” with Kansas is the same problem with most states–we have a majority in our state legislature that is more concerned with special interests (rich energy companies) than the public interest. Toward that end, the state House has already pushed through a new bill for the Holcomb plants:

The new bill would put restrictions on the plants’ carbon dioxide emissions–the first CO2 limits in state law. It also contains new provisions designed to encourage increased use of wind energy.

But it also has the same provisions Sebelius opposed, including ones stripping the secretary of health and environment of some power.

Sounds like a good compromise, no? No. Look closer and you’ll see that the new bill seeks to strip Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Rod Bremby from his ability to enforce standards for carbon emissions stricter than the current (pathetic) federal levels. Bremby, you’ll recall, saved the day when he stood up to the plants, denying them air permits on the basis of the damaging levels of greenhouse gases they would emit.

This new bill would strip him of his ability to make those judgments–and give that power to our legislators–and it wouldn’t require any new standards for plants already in existence. Moreover, this new deal makes no mention of sharing the burden of the pollution that would occur as a result of these plants. Although both Colorado and Texas will receive the power generated from the Holcomb plant, only Kansas will be left to deal with the polluted waters (namely high mercury levels) created by the plants’ output.

So, clearly, this battle is far from over. Still, Gov. Sebelius and Sec. Bremby scored another victory in this latest round. Stay tuned…

Celebs save the planet with lame entertainment

Meanwhile in the entertainment world…it appears that two more celebrities have taken up the cause of saving our planet. No, this time it’s not about the number of squares you can spare, but it’s almost as good.

If you happened to catch Britney Spears “acting” on “How I Met Your Mother” last night, you may already know that Brit-Brit is saving the environment by auctioning off her wardrobe from the episode to benefit an environmental organization.

Too bad the girl doesn’t wear panties–could have brought in a couple extra bucks, might’ve been able to save a rain forest in South America.

And, finally, Keanu “Whoa” Reeves is making an update of the Cold War classic, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” However, instead of dealing with the threat of nuclear Armageddon (as if that weren’t enough of an environmental problem), the film is getting a sexy makeover, and now it will be about warding off global warming. Or as the star so eloquently put it:

“The version I was just working on, instead of being man against man, it’s more about man against nature. My [character] says that if the Earth dies, you die. If you die, the earth survives. I’m a friend to the earth.”

Huh?…er, I mean…Whoa!

Okay, so that’s your news recap for this week. Welcome back–now get back to work saving the planet!

–Ranjit

Can Britney’s outfit save the planet?

Can Britney’s outfit save the planet?!!

photo courtesy of cbc.ca