Can Current Economic Climate Help With Sustainable Development?

March 1, 2009 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Sustainable Development


Are you concerned about the negative impact that the oil industry has on the sustainable development initiatives for our Earth?  The world’s out-of-control dependence on fossil fuels causes the oil industry to rape the environment every day.  It’s nothing new that these fossil fuels add to the carbon releases to our atmosphere.  Thus, we are increasing the problem of global warming and climate change.

Now, let’s put a favorable twist on our current economic climate.  Yes, people have lost jobs and businesses have failed due to our current global crisis.  Sad as it is, there are a few good things that can and will come as a result.  Let’s list a few less obvious ways that our current crisis can have a positive impact on sustainable development:

  • Fewer sources of pollution due to industry slow-down of production operations
  • That means fewer employees burning fuel on the way to work
  • The industry plants themselves will use less energy because their operation is reduced
  • These industries will be forced to find more efficient means of production and operation

Pump Jacks
I attended a meeting with a ranking official of one of the world’s top oilfield services companies yesterday.  In particular, he has charge of the United States and Mexico.  (A little insight: just one small office of this global corporation has been averaging between 4-6 million dollars in revenue each month of the year.  He recently laid-off 41 employees at this small office.)  Below are a few explanations he had for a slow down in his industry.  Bad news for his employees; good news for the environment.

  • Drilling rigs accross the U.S. have gone from 2,000+ down to around 1,200.
  • Predictions are that the number of drilling rigs will drop to around 700 in a few months.
  • The bulk of oilfield production is natural gas, not oil.  And, gas production is slowing.
  • As industry operations slow, they use less natural gas.
  • Natural gas storage capacity is at about 95%.  So, no one wants to buy more natural gas.

What does all this mean?  As mentioned, storage capacity is almost maxed out.  Industry, the main consumer of natural gas, has slowed down.  Demand for natural gas is low.  So, those storage facilities have no where to send their supplies.  And, it doesn’t make much sense to produce the gas if there is nowhere to store it.

How is this good news for the environment, you ask?  Short answer: the affected industries will be forced to find ways to cut down on energy use.  Example, one of the many things the above-mentioned oilfield services executive suggested was that employees stop the engine of their trucks when just idling.  That act alone will save millions in his large corporation.   And, the oil industry will naturally turn to exploring alternative sources of energy, because they will want to keep their respective companies profitable.

Sounds over-simplified?  Maybe.  I have faith a lesson will be learned here.

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How Will the Economic Stimulus Plan Affect Environment and Energy?

February 15, 2009 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Sustainable Development


Reading through this story in Yahoo News (see quotes below) you can see a rough explanation of where stimulus money is planned to be directed.  An effort is being made; a good sign.  But, reading through the story you can’t help but wonder if throwing money at our economic problems will help or hurt.  Part of the reason things got to this point is due to unwise spending, loaning, and profit-mongering.

Yes, putting money in the right places will go a long way to helping with our present dire situation.  However, a shift in attitude and ideas must come along with it.  If we are to repair what has been broken, we need to look beyond simply throwing money at the problem.  Hopefully, our legislators will realize this also.

Before we get into Environment and Energy, let’s take a look at just how the stimulus plan can get our nation even further into debt:

National debt:

One thing about the president’s $790 billion stimulus package is certain: It will jack up the federal debt.

Whether or not it succeeds in producing jobs and taming the recession, tomorrow’s taxpayers will end up footing the bill.

Forecasters expect the 2009 deficit — for the budget year that began last Oct 1 — to hit $1.6 trillion including new stimulus and bank-bailout spending. That’s about three times last year’s shortfall.

The torrents of red ink are being fed by rising federal spending and falling tax revenues from hard-hit businesses and individuals.

The national debt — the sum of all annual budget deficits — stands at $10.7 trillion. Or about $36,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.
National Debt
Interest payments alone on the national debt will near $500 billion this year. It’s already the fourth-largest federal expenditure, after Medicare-Medicaid, Social Security and defense.

This will affect us all directly for years, as well as our children and possibly grandchildren, in higher taxes and probably reduced government services. It will also force continued government borrowing, increasingly from China, Japan, Britain, Saudi Arabia and other foreign creditors.

Now, let’s look at how the stimulus plan will affect the environment and energy; hopefully on a positive note:  Read more

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Green Cleaning To Help The Environment

January 31, 2009 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Sustainable Development


Green CleaningDo you know the environmental impact of the basic cleaning
supplies that you have cleaned with for most of your life?  Due
to the new Green cleaning marketing that you see everywhere,
people are learning.  While cleaning with the basic products
that we have always used, you might not realize that you may
actually be making your home a lot more toxic.  Many of the
cleaning supplies are petroleum based and the toxins that are
in them are not good for the air that you breathe and the
environment around you.

Green cleaning is an easy, basic habit you can adopt to do your part in
sustainable development.  Cleaning your home is something you do already.
So, simply changing the products that you already use to clean with really
doesn’t amount to any extra work on your part.  Imagine having a positive
impact
without any extra work.

There are many products on the market today and so many websites that you
can visit in order to get tips and tricks on how to clean using natural
products.  It would be irresponsible to continue to use the old, toxic
products to clean because you’re actually damaging instead of helping to
save the environment.  Actually, you could be saving yourself more money
due to the fact that Green cleaning is less expensive. You can go to the
store and look for the products that have the bold word green printed on
them and read the label to see if they are green cleaning products.

Once you find these products, compare the prices of them with the prices
of the regular cleaning products that you have been using.  You will be
surprised at the difference you will save by going green. There are
probably products on the shelf that clean just as good as your basic
non-green products but you just were not informed.  Not sure which products
to use?  There is so much information on the Internet in order to tell
people that it is easy to get into Green cleaning and they should take
advantage of all the information that is available.

If you have a chance to do your part in helping to clean up the environment
and make the earth healthy again, then basic, Green cleaning is an easy way
to give you that chance. Throw away all of your non-green cleaning supplies
the correct way and research on all of the other substances you can use
that will still have the same affect in keeping your home really clean and
smelling fresh but with an extra additive called giving. By doing this,
you are giving to the environment the stability that it so desperately needs.

The following are some Green cleaning products that I know are good:

The Natural Basin, Tub and Tile Cleaner

The Natural Toilet Bowl Cleaner

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Major Players in Sustainable Development

January 2, 2009 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Sustainable Development


Sustainable development requires the input of all the major stakeholders in
the climate change solution phase.  That means that governments,
non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other concerned parties cannot
set about on a sustainable course of action until some sort of agreement
is reached with any party that might raise an objection that could put the
project in danger.

Sometimes public input on policy changes can keep the bill that is
politically expedient from becoming a law that appeases everyone and fixes
nothing
.  Major stakeholders in the climate debate include just about
everyone, but some special groups that have been very active include
native and indigenous peoples, residents of island nations, commerce and
business groups
, environmental activists and human rights campaigners, to
name just a few.

It is very important that these groups have a chance to sit down on a
regular business and state their concerns or compliments about how climate
change mitigation is being handled.

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Sustainable Development Creating New Business Opportunities?

November 30, 2008 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Sustainable Development


Ever wondered where the term “Sustainable Development” comes from?  In 1987, the Brundtland Report first coined the term.  This report proposed that business, governments and civil society work together on global issues, notably environmental degradation [due to climate change] and poverty alleviation. In 1992, the forerunner of the WBCSD took things a bit further when they were invited to participate in the Earth Summit in Rio.

The WBCSD tackles sustainable development issues through 3 main Focus Areas. These three focus areas are:  Energy & Climate, Development, and Sustainable Ecosystems.  They title these areas as follows:

  1. Energy & climate: The next industrial revolution - low-carbon economy and patterns of energy consumption
  2. Development: Doing business with the world - economic development and poverty alleviation (NOTE: 3 billion global citizens currently subsist on less than US$ 2.00 per day)
  3. Ecosystems: Sowing the seeds of a sustainable future - sustainable management of the world’s ecosystems

Our world faces conflicting issues:  meet demands of rapid population growth, mostly in so-called developing countries, in tandem with reducing negative impacts on society and the environment. Any misstep could be very grave according to WBCSD President Bjorn Stigson in the newly published book Creating A Sustainable Economy: Investing in the Future.

It has been twenty years since the coinage of the term sustainable development, and we are at a point that we can no longer simply “talk” about it.  There is urgent need for action.  Business could be the factor to step in and start cleaning things up.  Arguably, short-sighted business practices -mainly in the industrialization era- were a major contributing factor that got the world into such dire straits to begin with.  I am pro-business, but I can’t change the facts.  Realizing past indiscretions in the business community, it seems as though a great many organizations are willing to start turning things around.

There is hope.  Over the past two decades, business has accepted a new role.  And, with it’s new commitment comes new responsibilities and new expectations on business.  This creates new challenges for business, but it also stimulates new and exciting business opportunities.  What do we expect from this new role:  provide goods and services that people want at prices that are affordable while reducing negative impacts on the environment and not hastening resource depletion.

Notice some material included is paraphrased from World Business Council for Sustainable Development.  Please see the above link for the full story!  Very informative.
(Note:  that website only keeps archives for 90 days.  Better read the article quickly.)

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Collecting Hazardous Waste?

November 24, 2008 by Tommy Linsley  
Filed under Sustainable Development


As more people try to share a smaller, usable landmass, disposing of all
our trash will undoubtedly be a major concern in the 21st century.  The
patterns of waste disposal in North America will fall under the scrutiny
of sustainable development plans.  As it is, the rate of collection for
recyclable materials is actually quite high, especially in urban and
suburban areas.

Unfortunately, because of this, the trash that is brought to dumps is
actually many times more toxic today than it was 30 years ago when the
problem of overwhelmed landfills was becoming apparent to consumers.

Unfortunate for us again, the danger from this waste getting loose in the
environment is even more serious and precarious than ever.  Increased
danger of containment systems being breached is very real.  Caution,
pressure on forest and agricultural land mounts: erosion due to major
storm events, thanks to climate changes, could unleash these toxins on
already fragile and damaged ecosystems.

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