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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • March 21, 2011

    What's the Link between Population and Nuclear Energy?

    Japan's nuclear disaster got me thinking about energy demand. Nuclear power advocates justify the decision to power plants with uranium as the best way to meet energy demands that are increasing because world population is growing. I couldn't help but wonder: why aren't we talking about reducing population as part of our global strategy to minimize dependence on power sources that pollute the environment and threaten people's health?

    Bob Engelman  I asked Bob Engelman, a Vice President at the Worldwatch Institute and one of the country's most respected experts on the link between population and the environment, to weigh in. Read his post, then let us know how you think population should figure into the calculations we're making about our energy future.

    Always sensitive to talk about, the topic of population is hard to keep under wraps when news keeps reminding us that we live in a finite world. The costs of food and energy are rising despite a global economy in low gear. The likelihood of stemming the rise of the atmosphere’s greenhouse gas concentrations seems farther away than ever. And as Japan’s nuclear nightmare has reminded us yet again, there is no truly safe way to provide the energy that 6.9 billion people need to live decently. We’re pressing hard against limits set by the laws of physics and biology. The idea that we can easily trim our individual consumption to come into balance with nature—worthy as that effort is—looks increasingly naïve.

    If people in the developed world slash their per capita greenhouse emissions by half, their effort could be counterbalanced by people in developing countries boosting theirs by just 11 percent. Global per capita emissions would still be inequitable—and unsustainably globe-warming.

    Are there too many of us?

    Peachtreeroadrace When I ponder how hard it will be to save the global climate, the oceans, forests, fisheries and non-human species, the answer seems obvious. But that answer is dangerous. To say we are too many is to imply some of us should go away fast, or at least that people should be made to have fewer children than they’d like.

    The conversation looks easier if we start with some core values:

    Continue reading "What's the Link between Population and Nuclear Energy?" »

    March 15, 2011

    Nuclear disaster in Japan, oil disaster in the Gulf. What's next?

    Japan fire The nuclear meltdown in Japan and the recent oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico may seem unrelated, but they're not. Both catastrophes occurred because we've made three fundamental mistakes in the way we generate energy.

    1) We have relied on centralized power plants that use dangerous fuels to meet energy demand. Most countries that can afford it build large power plants so they can centralize energy production. Big centralized power plants are easier to regulate than a bunch of smaller, dispersed facilities. And because they generate a lot of energy at once, big plants appear to streamline power production. But in addition to being outrageously expensive, centralized generating facilities require massive amounts of dangerous fuels to operate consistently. If that fuel is oil or coal, recovering it usually wrecks the physical environment (we saw that in spades during last year's Gulf Oil disaster); burning it causes global warming and sickening air pollution. If the fuel is uranium, using it generates radioactive nuclear waste that must be stored for thousands of years.

    Continue reading "Nuclear disaster in Japan, oil disaster in the Gulf. What's next?" »

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