Here’s a cool new toy.A popular article on Forbes today details a new smart phone app called “Buycott,” which is catching the attention of shoppers who want to make sure their money spent on groceries and other basic products isn’t enriching corporations with bad records on social and environmental responsibility.
Those are good reasons not to give a dime to the multi-billionaire Koch brothers, who own the vast majority of Koch Industries’ private stock. Yet many consumers may not realize that buying products like Quilted Northern toilet paper or Brawny paper towels contributes to Koch profits through their giant pulp and paper subsidiary, Georgia-Pacific. Nor perhaps did the incoming Obama Administration realize that the 2009 inaugural carpet was made by a Koch subsidiary called INVISTA. What a crummy business deal–the President buys your carpet, then you coordinate hundreds of millions of dollars from billionaires determined to defeat his re-election bid…if only there had been an app!
“I have a question–who bought this Koch Industries carpet? Are you serious?!”
The President’s staff aren’t alone. You may well have Koch products in your house. Continue reading →
Correction: this post listed KS Sen. Julia Lynn as a supporter of the RPS freeze–she is not and her name was removed below.
A recent flood of Koch-supported think tanks, junk scientists and astroturf groups from inside and outside of Kansas are awaiting the outcome of a bill this week that could stall progress on the growth of clean energy in Kansas.
States around the country, including Texas, Ohio, Missouri and North Carolina are poised to cut back on government support for clean energy jobs using model legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC, which brings companies together with state lawmakers to forge a wish list of corporate state laws behind closed doors, is coordinating this year’s assault on state laws that require a gradual increase of electricity generated by clean energy sources.
This fossil fuel-funded attack ignores the good that wind energy has done for Kansas, a state known for its bipartisan support for its growing wind industry (see key report by Polsinelli Shughart). The state now has 19 operating wind farms that have brought millions to farmers leasing their land and millions more to the state, county and local levels (NRDC). The American Wind Energy Association says that Kansas wind industry jobs have grown to 13,000 with the help of incentives like the renewable portfolio standard.
Unfortunately, clean energy is not palatable to the billionaire Koch brothers or the influence peddlers they finance. Continue reading →
I was recently humbled to accept an invitation from UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, to join her Global Civil Society Advisory Group. In reflecting on the appointment, I’d like to call to your attention the passionate environmentalist and politician Wangari Mathaai.
It’s almost a year since Wangari’s passing; I spoke at memorial services for her in both Durban and London. As we enter a critical era for both environmental and gender rights, women like Wangari become important not only for the work they do and ideals they uphold, but for their lasting memory as beacons for inspiration, action, and change.
UN Women was created only two years ago next month, and its aim was to accelerate UN goals promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. I accepted the invitation because I believe Gender Equality is not only a basic human right, and that its achievement has enormous positive ramifications, but because there is an oft-unspoken outrage when it comes to women who suffer most from environmental injustices. Continue reading →
Wake up and smell the frack fluid! But don’t ask what’s in it, at least not in Ohio, cause it’s still not your right to know.
Ohio is in the final stages of making an Exxon trojan horse on hydrofracking into state law, and it appears that the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) connected Exxon’s lawyers with co-sponsors of Ohio Senate Bill 315: at least 33 of the 45 Ohio legislators who co-sponsored SB 315 are ALEC members, and language from portions of the state Senate bill is similar to ALEC’s “Disclosure of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Composition Act.”
…disclosure of fracking fluids? On behalf of ExxonMobil?!
Frack fluids include unknown chemicals that gas drillers mix with sand and large amounts of water. The mixture is pumped underground at high pressure in order to retrieve gas and oil by fracturing shale formations. These are the chemicals that have caused widespread concern among residents near gas fracking operations, concerns echoed by doctors who don’t know how to treat patients harmed by exposure to chemicals that oil companies keep secret. Oil companies like XTO Energy, a subsidiary of ExxonMobil, the first company lined up to drill in Ohio’s Utica shale. Continue reading →
In the 40 years since our first Earth Day, we’ve come a long way in understanding our environment and how our activities affect its health and wellbeing. We’ve passed laws, changed our habits and vowed to do better for the sake of future generations.
This Earth Day, I pose a challenge to you—go out of your way to save the environment in your daily lives. I’m sure you’re a dynamo at bringing canvas bags to the supermarket, taking public transportation as much as you can and only using compact fluorescent light bulbs in your lamps—but what else can you do?
It’s not enough to do “the easy” stuff to save the environment. Challenge yourself to do more this Earth Day. Think of all those “green tips” you’ve seen on websites or heard your friends talking about. Grab onto two or three new ways to save the planet and make them a reality in your life. Then, once you’ve perfected those—get moving onto more—and so on and so on! Keep learning about the world around you and don’t be afraid to dig deeper to find out the truth when you think there’s more to the story.
This is the only planet we have, let’s treat it right so future generations will have clean air to breath, fresh water to drink and biodiversity to discover.