DO JUST 1 THING - BLOG

WYD this summer?

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What are you doing this summer?

Check out our rundown of what we're up to and tell us what you're into lately.

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Science says your voice has more power than you might think. The New York Times' Climate Fwd newsletter recently suggested one thing you can do to move things in a positive direction on climate change is to be a climate communicator. "'Family and friends are our most trusted source of information,' said Connie Roser-Renouf, an associate professor at George Mason University who specializes in science communication. 'Talking about what you do and giving people a sense that they can do to make a difference is extremely important.' ... 'Interpersonal communication is much more powerful than mass media information,' she said. 'It’s the people we talk to and care about that persuade us.'" So talk about climate. Share climate-related stories on social media. Invite your friends and family to get involved in climate activism. Your voice has power.

As you're out and about in the warm weather this summer, try to travel as sustainably as possible. Take public transportation, avoid flying, and share your travel whether in the form of piling friends into one car rather taking multiple cars or using shared resources like a Zipcar. Our partners at Zipcar are allowing our supporters to join for free and also receive $15 in credit to get you started this summer.

Got a green product, service, or initiative you want to get into people's hands? We're co-hosting the official closing event for Climate Week NYC this September! On Friday, September 27, we're putting together a Marketplace of the Future, featuring various technologies, products, and services that will shape the sustainable future we want to see. We'll also say goodbye to technologies of the past with a museum-like exhibition of the unsustainable products we hope will die once and for all (e.g., the plastic bag, the combustion engine). There are lots of opportunities for exhibitors, sponsors, and media or non-profit partners to get involved so get in touch for details. And mark your calendars to attend - tickets will be available soon!

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SPOILER ALERT: On a recent episode of HBO's Big Little Lies, Renata's daughter, Amabella, faints in class. When they rush her to the hospital, they learn that the cause of her fainting spell was overwhelming anxiety brought on by the dismal outlook on climate change. The plot point winds up being a comical but very real take on the fact that many people, including a lot of young people, are experiencing rising levels of anxiety over our looming ecological crises. Many news outlets and academics have looked at the issue of "eco anxiety" in recent years. One academic sums it up: “I totally understand why people might feel powerless in the face of climate change. It feels like anything you do is totally insignificant compared to the scale of the challenge we face. And it's true that political leaders and big businesses bear the bulk of the responsibility." However, he provides some tips for what indivdiuals can do: “Firstly, make climate change a factor in the decisions you make around what you eat, how you travel, and what you buy. Secondly, talk about climate change with your friends, family and colleagues. [See above for advice about being a climate communicator.] Finally, demand that politicians and companies make it easier and cheaper to do the right thing for the climate.”

How about you?

What are you reading/watching/listening to? Anything you're into right now that you want to share? Reply to this e-mail with your climate, environment, conservation, etc. obsessions and we'll include them in upcoming updates to our supporters.

WYD for the environment?

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We're beginning a series where we talk to a range of people and organizations about what they're doing to make a positive impact for the environment.  Our first features Zipcar.  Here we hear from Stephanie Aboulafia, Regional Community Marketing Manager NYC.

How do you see Zipcar making a positive impact on your members' environmental footprint?
Zipcar’s mission is to enable simple and responsible urban living. For us, that means providing people in cities like New York the option to get around without the cost and hassle of owning a car. We’ve found that over 50% of NYC members ditch their personal cars and use car sharing instead, which has lots of positive environmental benefits, like reducing carbon emissions by more than a ton. This same amount of carbon emissions is reduced by saving 32 bags of trash from the landfill – so the savings are significant! 


Do you see an increased interest from your members in recent years around making a positive impact?
Our growing community of Zipsters underscores the increased desire people have for sustainable transportation options. And because more and more people are choosing to share cars rather than own them, we’re freeing up important space for people, and all the things that make cites fun, vibrant, and healthy places to live. Over 26,000 cars are taken off NYC streets because of Zipcar – and with that space, nearly 300,000 bicycles can be added throughout the city. 

Our Do Just 1 Thing campaign is all about simplifying things to empower people to sift through the overwhelming amount of information about our environmental challenges and solutions in order to make a positive impact in just minutes.  If you could recommend people do one thing to make a positive impact, what would it be?
Switching from owning a car to sharing one is easy and has a huge impact on the environment. Studies show that each Zipcar reduces the need for up to 13 personally-owned cars on the road, which means fewer carbon emissions and less traffic. We’re making the switch even easier this Earth Month by offering free memberships. Those who are interested can visit here to join.

Zipcar was really the very early leader in the sharing economy space. There's a lot of potential for the sharing economy to push things in a more sustainable direction as sharing resources can inherently be a more sustainable model.  How can we make sure that things move in that more sustainable direction?
The biggest thing we can do to encourage sustainability is to continue to make sustainable choices as a company and support other organizations and modes of transportation that share a similar mission. Zipcar partners with a number of public transit agencies like NYC DOT and non-profits like Earth Day Initiative to ensure we’re enabling city dwellers to live simpler, more responsible urban lifestyles. The more options people have to get around, the more likely they are to live car-free or car-lite.

Corporations wield a lot of power when it comes to sustainability as they can shape the behavior millions of individuals.  What role do you see corporations playing in addressing environmental challenges?  
At Zipcar, we believe that the future is shared and that both businesses and consumers play a significant role in creating smarter, cleaner cities. Can you imagine a world with one million fewer cars on the road and cities with more green space than parking lots? This is a vision we believe will be a reality. Pretty exciting.

Who do you admire?  Not necessarily in the world of sustainability, but in any domain.  Who do you look up to who is making a positive impact in the world?
I have been lucky enough in my career to be surrounded by many powerful leaders that have made an impact on me. At Zipcar in particular, we have an amazing group of female employees that have climbed the corporate ladder, have happy and healthy families, and are good and inspiring people who are passionate about working at a company that is making a difference in the world. These women are exactly who I admire and hope to become one day.  

Trump's Tariffs on Solar Mark Biggest Blow to Renewables Yet

Source: International Trade Commission, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Source: International Trade Commission, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

"Just the threat of tariffs shook solar developers in recent months, with some hoarding panels and others stalling projects in anticipation of higher costs. The Solar Energy Industries Association projected 23,000 job losses this year in a sector that employed 260,000."

Read the full article from Bloomberg.

Switch yourself to solar or wind now! 

Source: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/20...

NYC Sues, divests from oil firms over climate change

Image above: Martin Meissner, File/Associated Press

Image above: Martin Meissner, File/Associated Press

"'We’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits,' the mayor said. 'As climate change continues to worsen, it’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient.'”

Read the full article from The Washington Post.

Switch yourself to solar or wind now! 

 

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ny...

Love solar power but got no rooftop? "Shared solar" is coming for you.

(Image above:  Sketch of a shared solar project in Seattle.  (Stephanie Bower, via Seattle City Light) )

(Image above:  Sketch of a shared solar project in Seattle. (Stephanie Bower, via Seattle City Light))

"To date, solar power has mostly been available to utilities (as big power plants) or individual home and business owners (as rooftop panels).

Left out has been ... well, everyone else, those of us who are not utility executives and do not have the money, wherewithal, or suitable rooftops to install solar ourselves. That's a lot of people who love solar power but have no way to get directly involved in it.

Happily, that situation is rapidly changing, thanks to the growth of shared solar. Shared solar refers to small-scale solar installations that multiple individuals co-own, or that divide their power output among multiple "subscribed" individuals. It's a way for all those non-rooftop folks to directly support clean energy, while also supporting local jobs and economic development."

Read the full article from Vox.

Switch yourself to solar or wind now! 

Learn more here.

"What can I do about climate change?"

"Often people ask me “What can I do about climate change?” Well madams and sirs, this Earth Day, just talk about it. Talk about climate change. Earth Day’s purpose was and is to raise awareness, to get people fired up. We are living in an extraordinary time. The climate science is clear, yet many of our leaders succeed in denying it."  - Bil Nye in a piece he wrote for Earth Day Initiative in 2015 for our collaboration with Metro Newspaper.  

Take action now.  Take 60 seconds to sign up for clean energy via your regular utility bill.  It's the easiest way to have a huge impact.  Sign up now and receive a $25 Visa gift card when your service starts.

Earth Day Initiative rings the NYSE Closing bell

Our team rang the closing bell at the NYSE on Friday to mark the launch of our Count to 50 campaign, counting down to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by switching people over to clean energy.  Executive Director, John Oppermann, was joined by Earth Day Initiative staff and supporters to mark the occasion.

Join the campaign by greening your life in just minutes!  countto50.org

The left and right agree: Fox News destroyed EPA chief Scott Pruitt over climate change

"Wallace noted that the EPA, under Obama's administration, had set a number of health milestones attainable by 2030 — if the Clean Power Plan were implemented. Those included 90,000 fewer asthma attacks, 300,000 fewer missed work and school days, and 3,600 fewer premature deaths per year.

“Without the Clear Power Plan, how are you going to prevent those terrible things?” Wallace asked Pruitt."

Stand up for our country's health and economic prosperity.  Take 60 seconds to support a clean energy transition through your monthly utility bill.  countto50.org

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fi...

Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined

"In the United States, more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the Electric Power Generation sector's workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. It's a welcome statistic for those seeking to refute Donald Trump's assertion that green energy projects are bad news for the American economy.

Just under 374,000 people were employed in solar energy, according to the report, while coal, gas and oil power generation combined had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000. The boom in the country's solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity. The gulf in employment is growing with net generation from coal falling 53 percent over the last decade. During the same period, electricity generation from natural gas increased 33 percent while solar expanded 5,000 percent.

Fuel production and electricity generation together directly employed 1.9 million workers last year, according to the report, with 55%, or 1.1 million, working with fossil fuels. The DoE identifies another 2.3 million jobs associated with energy transmission, distribution and storage.

Solar energy added 73,615 new jobs to the U.S. economy over the past year while wind added a further 24,650."

Support clean energy in your daily life.  Make the switch in just minutes.  countto50.org

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/niallmccarthy...

Energy Department climate office bans use of phrase ‘climate change’

M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

"A supervisor at the Energy Department's international climate office told staff this week not to use the phrases "climate change," "emissions reduction" or "Paris Agreement" in written memos, briefings or other written communication, sources have told POLITICO.

Employees of DOE’s Office of International Climate and Clean Energy learned of the ban at a meeting Tuesday, the same day President Donald Trump signed an executive order at EPA headquarters to reverse most of former President Barack Obama's climate regulatory initiatives. Officials at the State Department and in other DOE offices said they had not been given a banned words list, but they had started avoiding climate-related terms in their memos and briefings given the new administration's direction on climate change.

The Office of International Climate and Clean Energy is the only office at DOE with the words "climate" in its name, and it may be endangered as Trump looks to reorganize government agencies. It plays a key role in U.S. participation in the Clean Energy Ministerial and Mission Innovation, two international efforts launched under Obama that were designed to advance clean energy technology."  

Take action now.  Switch your own home to clean energy and support climate action in a matter of minutes.  countto50.org

Photo credit:  M. Scott Mahaskey/POLITICO

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/03/ener...

American Academy of Pediatrics opposes roll back of Clean Power Plan

The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 66,000 primary care pediatricians and specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults.  This is what they had to say about the roll back of the Clean Power Plan.

"The American Academy of Pediatrics opposes the Executive Order issued today that rolls back critical protections for children's health. The Order would stop all work to defend the Clean Power Plan, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule limiting carbon emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired power plants. These power plants generate approximately one-third of all U.S. greenhouse gas pollution, a leading contributor to climate change. Without this rule in place, our children, who are uniquely vulnerable to changes in the environment, will disproportionately bear the burden of dirty air, increased incidence of vector-borne illnesses, increased natural disasters, heat-induced illness and death.

"According to the World Health Organization, more than 80% of the current health burden resulting from the changing climate occurs in children younger than five years old. Children breathe faster than adults, spend more time outside and have lungs that are still developing, meaning any environmental changes will have a more significant impact. For children who suffer from asthma, poor air quality can turn outdoor activity into a real risk to their health.

"As pediatricians, we know it is impossible to separate the status of our environment from its impact on our patients' health. The Clean Power Plan took significant steps forward for children by addressing the public health issue of climate change and by helping to improve air quality. Clean air should not be a luxury, and it should not be determined by ZIP code. We urge President Trump and his administration to support policies that ensure a safe environment for children and families across the country, rather than those that undo the gains we've made."

Take 60 seconds to take action on climate change in your own home now!

Source: https://www.aap.org/en-us/about-the-aap/aa...

Green your lifestyle in minutes this Earth Day!

This spring we're rolling out a broad-reaching campaign that will count down to the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.  It's aimed at satisfying all the demand we see out there for simple ways for people to make a green impact.  Join our campaign by switching over to clean energy in a matter of minutes and stay connected as we roll out new green actions you can take each season.  countto50.org