Archive for 2009

Thanks for the Shout HuffPo

Check out our recent shout out from The Huffington Post . Here’s what they had to say or read the whole post here on Huffington Post’s Green website . . .

There are so many pieces to the puzzle of what is happening at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. As countries come to the talks with different concerns and unique challenges there is much at stake.

These fantastic videos–created by Gabriel London of Found Object Films , in partnership with the UN Foundation , TckTckTck and Timberland’s EarthKeeper Network , show what is at stake in these negotiations.

Huffington Post blogger and environmental journalist Olivia Zaleski reports.

The campaign encourages viewers to get involved by signing a petition urging leaders to take action in by setting emissions targets. You can sign the online petition at donttellusitcantbedone.com or go to the Earthkeepers website to join the discussion and stay informed through regular dispatches from Gabriel and Olivia.

COPENHAGEN VIDEO DISPATCH #1

For more dispatches from Copenhagen check out the Earthkeepers Youtube Channel HERE .

“Please Help the World,” The Opening Film of COP15′s Opening Ceremony

“Please Help the World,”
directed by Mikkel Blaabjerg Poulsen

“Please Help the World,” a frightening short film about a young girl who implores politicians to help the world after waking from a nightmare about the impacts of climate change.

COP15, DAY 1: Does Collective Energy Mean Collective Action?

It seems the world has arrived . . .
not just in Copenhagen–but at a universal moment of collective action.

This morning, a reported 34,000 people from every country in the world poured into the giant plenaries of Copenhagen’s Bella Center. Many were there to negotiate, some to advocate, others to deny, protest or simply take in the spectacle. Whatever the reason, the energy was collective.

Kicking off this message, Danish Prime Minister, Mr Lars lokke Rasmussen and top UN climate official Mr Vyo de Boer.

“The time has come to reach out to each other and deliver…the time to issue statements is now over” said de Boer. “Never in the 17 years of climate change negotiations have so many different countries made so many pledges. The time to act is now . . . to ensure people don’t suffer in the future.”

De Boer’s words echoed–literally–through the center’s fifty-some pre-fab halls as thousands of attendees collectively tuned into, “Please Help the World,” a frightening short film about a young girl who implores politicians to help the world after waking from a nightmare about the impacts of climate change. But in contrast to the film, the opening ceremony and the first day in general was hopeful and optimistic.

BUT I wonder what the sentiment is outside the brightly lit spectacle of the Bella Center . . . is the world optimistic, doubtful–does anyone even care?

Let me know what you–at home–are thinking, anticipating, hoping for. Do you think an agreement is possible? What should happen? What MUST happen?

Leave your thoughts below and tomorrow I’ll show you why leading IPCC scientist Dr. Stephen Schneider is hopeful, but anxious for the next two weeks.

Stay tuned.

See You In Copenhagen . . . Wait, We’re Here!

Seventy days ago, at the Climate Week Opening Ceremony in New York City, brilliant filmmaker, Gabriel London , released the short-film series, “See You in Copenhagen.” The films played to a crowd of climate legislation influencers United Nations policy leaders–including Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Danish Minister of Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard.

Through impassioned imagery, the films tell the stories of the real people–the innovators, entrepreneurs and UN Ambassadors–behind the Climate Change "policy puzzle." Simultaneously, the series highlights the urgent need for upcoming action on climate legislation.

Inspired, I joined Gabriel London’s efforts to call for action. First, I lent my voice to his series–literally by introducing and tracking three abridged episodes.
Watch the first episode here–explaining why small island nations, like Grenada, have so much at stake.

Though great, the series is "See You in Copenhagen." Now Gabriel and I are actually IN COPENHAGEN! The need for action is no longer "upcoming," but here and now. With said urgency, Gabriel and I have teamed up with Earthkeepers to bring you daily–from the ground reports–on anything and everything related to COP15. The events here–as they unfold before us–IN Copenhagen.

We’ll be here for the next two weeks of negotiations so be sure to leave your thoughts and suggested questions (for interview subjects such as green entrepreneur Shai Agassi and Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientist Stephen Schneider ) IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW.

Til tomorrow, signing out from Copenhagen.
Can’t wait to see what happens!

Olivia

Covering Copenhagen

All eyes will be on the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen starting next week — and we’re pleased to offer real-time, daily coverage of the conference happenings here on Earthkeepers .  Introducing our Copenhagen reporting team:

Olivia Zaleski

OLIVIA ZALESKI is a journalist focused on environmentalism as it relates to business, corporate best practice and executive thinking. As the regular "green correspondent" for CNNmoney.com , Olivia can be found hosting CNN and Fortune Magazine’s Emmy-nominated series, "Business of Green ,” as well as hosting "Home Work ," the popular green do-it-yourself series for Money Magazine.  In addition, Olivia reports for Hearst Magazine’s "The Daily Green" and appears regularly as, ABC’s "Good Morning America Now " green expert. She has also contributed her commentary and advice to programs like Discovery Channel’s TreehuggerTV, PlumTV, the CW and nationally syndicated morning news program The Daily Buzz. Follow Olivia’s twitter account here or check in daily to the Earthkeepers blog for the latest from COP15.

Gabriel London

GABRIEL LONDON is a documentary filmmaker and writer.  As the founder of the documentary film production company, Found Object Films , Gabriel has produced and directed films that bring overlooked stories to a national audience, dealing with issues ranging from the death penalty to climate change. In the process, he has used his work to participate in advocacy campaigns, work for which he was awarded a Soros Criminal Justice Award . His films have been broadcast nationally on networks ranging from MTV to SpikeTV and as part of film festivals including IDFA, Urbanworld Film Festival, and Live Earth.

For the next two weeks, Olivia and Gabriel will be sharing the view from Copenhagen through videos and blog posts, interviews with key leaders attending the conference and coverage of key events.  (For Copenhagen coverage in 140 characters or less, you can also follow Olivia on Twitter .)

Saving the world in 14 days is a daunting challenge … and we’re hopeful that leaders gathering in Copenhagen are up for it.  If you haven’t already joined our campaign to encourage climate action at Copenhagen, do it now .

Then, come on back to Earthkeepers to follow along as Copenhagen unfolds.

Every Crawler Counts

This month, our friends at Seventh Generation launched the Million Baby Crawl , a new initiative to engage consumers in support of reforming the nation’s toxic chemical laws.

Million Baby Crawl is a virtual rally in which cyber babies descend on Washington, D.C. to make a stink (get it?) about all the toxic chemicals invading their bodies. At www.millionbabycrawl.com , you can create your very own crawler, watch videos of babies pontificating atop soap-boxes (like the one below), and spread the word. Every crawler represents a virtual signature on a petition which will be delivered to Washington, D.C. in January, 2010.

The federal law that should protect us from health-harming chemicals just doesn’t work: Since 1976, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has required safety testing on only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals on the market. We need a stronger chemical law to keep our families (and our environment) safe and healthy.

Seventh Generation has partnered with Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families , a growing and diverse coalition that includes nurses, parents, scientists, environmentalists and citizens from across the country who are united by their concern about toxic chemicals in our homes, workplaces and products we use every day.

Create your own crawler and support the effort for stronger chemical laws at www.millionbabycrawl.com .

Prime Time Earthkeeping

“We’re not policy makers, we’re not scientists, we’re not government. But we’re active participants in trying to build a solution so there’s an outdoors for your kids and for mine.”

- Timberland President & CEO Jeff Swartz talks climate change, consumer engagement and the role of business in changing the world on FOX Business:

Thanksgiving

We’re thankful for the leadership, vision and commitment of Bill Shore — Timberland board member and founder and executive director of Share Our Strength , the nation’s leading organization endeavoring to end childhood hunger:

I’ve always been an early riser. One of the things I love most about Maine in summer is that the dawn breaks as early as 4:30 a.m.  I’m usually waiting at the window to catch it. My writing or whatever I’m working on brightens with the new day.  This weekend before Thanksgiving in late November I am still up early. But the wait for daybreak is much longer. It is nearly 6:30 before I get to feel anything other than alone in the darkness.  Finally, a thin line of light appears on the horizon.

This long wait for darkness to lift must be what millions of our fellow Americans feel, trapped by recession, many for the first time in their lives, without jobs and increasingly without food, waiting … waiting… for the dawn to break. Two reports released this month evoke the words of poet William Stafford that “the darkness around us is deep.”

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its annual report, which showed a record 49 million Americans in 2008 struggling with whether they would have enough to eat. The number of children who experienced the most severe hunger increased from 700,000 to more than 1 million.

And just this morning, Share Our Strength released a survey, prepared by Lake Research Partners showing that this year, 62% of public school teachers are seeing children who regularly come to school hungry because they don’t get enough to eat at home.  The problem is serious enough that 63% of teachers use funds from their own relatively low salaries to buy food for hungry kids in their classroom.

In the darkness it is easy to misdiagnose a problem. When one does, the prescription for treating it is likely to be wrong.  That often happens with hunger in America. Children in our country are not hungry because we lack food, or because we lack food and nutrition programs.  We are blessed with abundance of both, and for more than 25 years there has been bipartisan support for effective food programs like school lunch, school breakfast and food stamps.

Children in America who are hungry are hungry because they aren’t enrolled in these programs.  Even in a weak economy, that is a solvable problem. But it requires more than the federal expansion of food and nutrition programs (which we also support). It requires working at the state and local levels to close the gap in the number of children who are already eligible for such programs but not enrolled or participating.

Maybe families don’t know the programs exist. Maybe kids can’t get to them. Our work is sometimes as simple as staffing a hotline to connect children with summer feeding sites in their neighborhood, or as complicated as lobbying for universal breakfast in the classroom, which tackles the challenge of kids not getting to school early enough for free breakfast, and the stigma that often prevents them from participating.

The barriers that keep children from programs that can prevent hunger are varied – and our strategy is tackling every one – state by state. Tomorrow, I’ll be in Denver with Colorado Governor Ritter to announce the launch of just such an effort, much as we’ve done with Governor O’Malley in Maryland and will be doing with others around the U.S. Our strategy is working, our network is growing in size and influence and we’re more certain than ever that we can end childhood hunger by 2015, but we need your continued support .

As governors with shrinking state budgets find themselves cutting social programs they’d prefer to grow, Share Our Strength’s strategy offers a ray of hope by bringing badly needed and already authorized federal dollars into their states to help feed children. Given projections that unemployment will remain at 10% or above through 2010, that states will continue to struggle with budget crises, as will food banks with shortages, Share Our Strength’s state-based strategy is the fastest, most realistic way to ensure that children get fed.

During the holiday season’s predictable media coverage of food banks and families in need of emergency assistance, it is worth noting that the USDA reports that just one in five families enrolled in programs like food stamps and school meals has actually visited a food pantry.  Standing in a line at a food pantry in crisis is the last place a family should be. If instead, they are taking advantage of programs that stretch their food budget, teach them how to shop for and cook nutritious foods, and ensure that their children have free school and summer meals, they will never need to be there. This is the work that Share Our Strength is doing, and we need your continued support.

Please make the most generous gift possible this year, and help ensure that our work continues.

As I finish writing this, the sun has climbed high in the sky. I’m reminded that increasingly Share Our Strength’s role is to help bring light where there has been darkness, to educate hungry families and local government officials about untapped existing resources for feeding kids.

Thanks for all you are doing to help. Our early successes leave us confident of achieving our ambitious goal of ending childhood hunger by 2015.  Once we do, there will be at least one less reason for families to wait anxiously for the dawn.

- Billy Shore

Don’t Tell Us It Can’t Be Done

In December, 192 nations from around the world will come together in Copenhagen to attempt to ratify a new global climate change treaty, designed to replace the soon-to-expire Kyoto protocol .

COP15 represents a significant opportunity to take action on climate change … an opportunity we’re strongly supporting through Don’t Tell Us It Can’t Be Done , a global movement encouraging citizens of the world to positively affect the process by challenging government leaders to set standards for emissions.

Make your voice heard by signing our online petition which asks world leaders to come to an agreement on fair and binding climate legislation in Copenhagen.  And, stay tuned for daily updates and exclusive interviews here on the Earthkeepers blog as our on-the-ground correspondent reports from the climate conference in Copenhagen.