Sustainability Reads: October 2- October 15

The head of the U.S. EPA, Scott Pruitt, is now trying to repeal the Clean Power Plan, which regulates carbon emissions from power plants. As expected, many are shaming the decision and will fight against it. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reiterated that “NY won’t abandon its commitment to a cleaner, greener future” and billionaire Michael Bloomberg pledged $64 million to non-profits working to transition the U.S. towards more renewables, such as Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal campaign.

On the subject of New York, the efforts of our friends at the Gowanus Canal Conservancy (GCC) were included in a NY Times article profiling the polluted, dynamic, and evolving Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. The GCC is the “canal’s resident environmental group,” and has been working towards a sustainable canal and community for over ten years through various projects, including planting a small marsh of native grasses. Industrial activities since the late 1800s, sewage, and general surface runoff have polluted the canal to the extent that the U.S. EPA designated it a Superfund site in 2010. As the large-scale cleanup that accompanied the Superfund status begins and developers move in, the future of the canal is being set. Per the article, the Gowanus Lowlands manifesto proposed by the GCC “conjures a dreamscape of sloping grassy knolls, maritime meadows, performance spaces and picnic spots. The reality will probably be a bit different, but the city has said it will push developers to create varied ways to enjoy the waterfront, beyond the paved walkways and benches…” Thank you to the GCC for their continued dedication to a Gowanus Canal that’s good for people and the environment, and the inspiration for all of us to understand the environmental concerns in our communities. Is there a Superfund site in your area? Check this U.S. EPA site.

In exciting corporate social responsibility (CSR) news, 36 apparel companies pledged to source 100% sustainable cotton by 2025. Some well-known brands include H&M, IKEA, Levi’s, Nike, Sainsbury’s, Woolworths, Adidas, Burberry, Burton Snowboards, and Timberland. Target is particularly stepping up its sustainability efforts by committing to sourcing 100% sustainable cotton by 2022 and reducing toxic chemicals from the products they sell (i.e., PFCs and flame retardants from apparel and general R&D in “green chemistry”). Walmart and CVS are the other two retailers taking on toxic chemicals.

The State Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released this year’s ranking of U.S. state’s energy efficiency policy and program efforts. The top five ranking states are 1.Massachusetts 2.California 3.Rhode Island 4.Vermont, and 5.Oregon. Idaho and Virginia also received recognition for most improved.

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Tip of the Week: Check out Anthony Bourdain’s movie Wasted! The Story of Food Waste, which came about this week. It’s showing in select theaters and at home via various streaming services.


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