Sustainability Reads: October 24- November 6

On November 4, 2016, the Paris Agreement went into effect, committing countries to the GHG emissions reduction targets they submitted. Yay! What a historic day that should spur some serious action on climate change. And we need it, particularly in the United States. One current and very visible opportunity would be to make strong efforts to stop the Dakota Access (oil) pipeline, which is already being built to run through four states bringing environmental destruction.

Dakota Access pipeline: the who, what and why of the Standing Rock protests
A Native American-led protest against the pipeline has been in progress for months and is receiving increasing attention and support. Protestors and journalists have been subject to violence by the local law enforcement with over 400 individuals jailed. The pipeline threatens the Standing Rock community’s water supply as well as sacred land and brings to light serious social and environmental issues we need to address as a society. Millions of people went to Facebook last week to show solidarity with the protestors by checking into the reservation with the hashtag #NoDAPL.

Although we have a lot of work to do when it comes to sustainability, here are a few articles to illustrate how things are already changing and some advice for the week ahead:

Renewable energy capacity overtakes coal
A new report shows that the installed capacity of renewable energy sources (wind, solar, and hydro) overtook coal for the first time ever, accounting for more than half of the increase in power capacity globally in 2015. When it comes to solar last year, half a million panels were installed every day around the world and specifically in China, two wind turbines were set up every hour. Now that is renewable energy at scale and it’s a big deal. International Energy Agency report, article by Andrew Walker at BBC.

Tesla boss Elon Musk unveils solar roof tiles
The CEO of Tesla showcased some new exciting products: solar roof tiles, which are said to eliminate the need for traditional panels, and a longer-lasting battery for residential and industrial applications. Tesla is in the process of merging with Solar City and although they are not the first to make solar roof tiles, the company says theirs are above and beyond what’s currently available. The new generation of batteries is expected to be released this year and solar roof tiles mid-2017. On the Guardian.

Looking ahead, please don’t forget to exercise your right to vote on Tuesday, November 8th. Let’s get/keep climate deniers out of office and support candidates who want to make the places we live more sustainable. State and local legislation can also support or hinder sustainability so make sure you are informed on the issues. Additionally, if you are looking for something to watch in the next few days, check out Leonardo Dicaprio’s film Before The Flood. National Geographic is streaming it free for another two days!

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