Welcome to another two weekly review of energy and environmental events and developments from both here in New Zealand and around the world. As always, we hope you find our collection of stories to be of interest in what continues to be a rapidly evolving area.
Urban areas are generally seen as non-sustainable and polluted. Sue Lebeck, through a series of four articles, introduces how to build smart cities. The first article talks about standardising connectivity as a way to enable future ICT opportunities. The article also talks about management of energy and water efficiency and increasing use of renewable energy.
In another two articles Sue Lebeck focuses on smart transportation networks, public lighting and smart buildings. She includes urban resilience in her discussion as this is critical to a wide range of urban centres that are threatened by disasters. In all cases standards are presented as a way to enable sharing of the innovations. In the final article of the series Sue presents urban food waste minimisation and food production in urban areas. She says sustainability can attract innovative financing and initiatives like crowd funding can be used to support smart interventions in urban areas.
Business is built on innovation and the coalition “We Mean Business” is mobilizing to find solutions for sustainability. The coalition encompasses transnationals with experience in mobilizing resources and lobbying governments.
It is common knowledge that self-assessment is critical for progress. Anne Shiraishi summarises six reasons for companies to report to the CDP. Self-awareness and connecting with customers are both central to reporting. In another article Martin Smith talks about how retailers can win Millennials through sustainable products. Social networking can be a tool for spreading the news from peer to peer that is popular with Millennials. Henk Campher supports this notion by explaining how consumer taste evolves over time and more and more sustainable brands are occupying shelf space.
The Environmental Leader reports consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable delivery of products. The article also says, unlike the average worker, higher income earners are more reluctant to accept this, for reasons left to anyone’s imagination.
Ron Pernick looks at using carbon emissions as a raw material. Instead of storing carbon dioxide as gas it could be converted to solid products and be stored more reliably. Students at MSU have managed to recycle cow poop back to clean water and fertilizer. That would mean less pollution per cow for those like New Zealand facing increasing pollution from dairy cows.
If progressive business like all the above is keen on finding viable solutions then we may ask why some policy makers want to take that away from them through scepticism?
In our next articles we look at the UN launch of six principles for a sustainable food industry. Ensuring food security and access to safe and nutritious food for a rapidly growing population is a challenge for the world’s food and agricultural sectors.
Outlined in this article are the 6 key requirements for a successful and sustainable industry. The FAB (Food and Agricultural Business) Principles establish a set of values for companies in this sector wanting to act responsibly, by bridging between their practices and the public good outcomes sought by government and business policy makers.
We next look at our close neighbours in Australia and in particular their current leader Tony Abbott. Tony is currently on a crusade to find like-minded leaders throughout the commonwealth to push back against President Obama’s action plan to curb emissions.
While using the jobs platform to push his and others agendas we feel Tony and others (New Zealand was mentioned unfortunately) like-minded politicians may well be out of step with how most residents of planet earth feel about current global changes.
El Nino will change the world’s weather in 2014. Tony Abbott should take note of the potential for further scorching droughts in Australia. While some nations and regions may benefit from potential El Nino weather patterns, other nations will suffer. India relies heavily on monsoon rains, these are already delayed and 40% below expected averages (not good when this is how crops are mostly produced due to no other irrigations options). Red Cross and World Food Program all monitor developments closely and water conservation and food stockpiling is already underway in some countries because of the potential problems El Nino can create.
Thanks for taking the time to read this issue and look forward to catching up with you again. If you have any items of interest you would like to submit, then please feel free to forward them.