Sustainability Reads: March 31- April 6

This week was especially eventful in the world of sustainability, which we take as a good sign that people may be catching onto this whole climate change- care about the environment- thing. Here are this weeks reads:

New Study Illustrates Higher Natural Capital Value of Agroforestry vs. Monoculture
Natural Capital refers to the economic value or benefits that natural resources provide. This multi-stakeholder study reveals that agroforestry exhibits higher natural capital than monoculture. According to these two pilot projects in the long-term it makes economic sense to work with natural landscapes for ag, not against and money talks:

  • In Natura’s pilot, the total environmental value of agroforestry (R$410,853), where palm oil cultivation was integrated with trees and crops such as banana and cacao, was three times as high as that of palm oil monoculture (R$122,253 per hectare). The study also showed that agrofrestry contributed to a diversification of farmer income and minimized the risks of pests and diseases in cultivation.
  • Results were similar in the case of Monsanto’s soybean cultivation: The environmental value associated with one hectare of soybean production (R$1,031 per hectare) was 11 percent higher than one hectare covered with a mix of 80 percent soybean and 20 percent indigenous Cerrado forest (R$1,139 per hectare). Article by Aarthi Rayapura on Sustainable Brands, study supported by many, available on Trucost.

5 finance models bringing clean power to the people
Article came out at just the right time, I keep hearing about how cheap and the impressive growth in solar in the past few years, but I cant say that I know that many people that are reaping in the benefits. Here are 5 models to change that:

  1. Solar bonds
  2. No-money-down storage
  3. “Yieldcos”
  4. Crowdfunded solar
  5. Climate bonds

For sake of space and all the great articles this week, check out the full article by Chris Nelder on to learn more about these innovate models.

Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come
After the latest IPCC report was released, we saw various different headlines detailing the report. The New York Times went with “Worst is Yet to Come”. Of course this is something that shouldn’t be surprising, but the fact that major newspapers and magazines in the United States is even headlining climate change and the IPCC’s conclusions is a significant change from the past. Along details from the report like the fact that world’s food supply is at considerable risk”, this NY piece also mentions that despite our grim situation, there does seem to be one possible source of hope. The recent study found that there is now “growing evidence that governments and businesses around the world are making extensive plans to adapt to climate disruptions”. This new report is supposed to be the most accessible yet to available to policymakers, providing them with specific guidelines of situations and recommendations. This report is also expected to be used intensely to develop an international climate treaty. By Justin Gillis at the New York Times.

Bags of Mountain Air Offered in Smog-Addled Chinese City
As if we weren’t all scared and depressed reading or watching Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, in China a tourist company has shipped bags of air for citizens of  Zhengzhou from  Laojun Mountain. Although this was mostly done as a promotion act, the fact that citizens were lined up to get a breath of fresh air (and claimed that they wish they could have gotten more breaths of the air), demonstrates the desperate situation in many of China’s cities. Published in the Wall Street Journal.

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