New Post: Will Denver Allow Fracking in its city limits?


After years of local battles across the state of Colorado, the fracking debate is about to come home to roost.

On Feb. 10, a coalition of youth, businesses, community and religious leaders announced their opposition to fracking — which is currently in the planning stages not only in Denver neighborhoods, but also the plateau up in the Rockies that supplies almost 40 percent of the city’s water.

The “Don’t Frack Denver” coalition assembled on the steps of Denver City Hall on Tuesday and warned passionately about the public health dangers posed by fracking. Then, the group delivered letters to the offices of Mayor Michael Hancock and city council, calling for an immediate moratorium on fracking in the city limits. Protesters also asked local politicians for support in the fight to stop fracking upstream in the South Platte River watershed, the city’s chief source of water.

“Fracking makes Coloradans sick, drives down property values, and contaminates our public water and clean air,” said Sam Schabaker, western region director of Food and Water Watch. “Denver’s exceptional quality of life is too precious to risk: Fracking must not take place in our community or watershed.”

Read more at Triple Pundit.

New post: A Powerful Tool for Getting Insight into State Energy Policy


Cross-post from my blog on Triple Pundit:

About 80 percent of energy regulation goes on at the state level, estimates Jeff Lyng, senior policy analyst at the Center for the New Energy Economy in Denver. But until last year, finding out exactly what states were doing was incredibly labor intensive: One had to go to each individual state government website separately.

Last year, however, the center unveiled the Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker – a simple, comprehensive, easy-on-the-eyes database of state-level public policy from across the nation. You can check the status of PACE in Arkansas, feed-in tariffs in Hawaii, or gas-tax replacements anywhere: free and searchable. (The kind of thing that the American Legislative Exchange Council has had for a while.)

“Most of the energy business is regulated at the state level. And states are leading. The mission of this center is to work with states,” said Lyng. (CNEE is a part of Colorado State University, with former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter as its director.)

Read more here.

New post on Triple Pundit: Data Center Renewables Starting to have a Ripple Effect


Last year, in its ongoing campaign to get Amazon to commit to renewable energy, Greenpeace gave out mugs one Tuesday at lunchtime outside the company’s headquarters in Seattle. The cups said “Amazon Web service is green” until staffers got back inside and filled them with coffee, at which point the heat changed the message to: “Why isn’t Amazon Web service green yet? Google is.” It wasn’t just mugs.

But Greenpeace’s campaign to get Amazon to go renewable for its massive data center operation won out last month, with a quiet announcement posted online that Amazon has “a long-term commitment to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for our global infrastructure footprint.” That footprint includes the multibillion-dollar cloud that is Amazon Web Services, which hosts the files for Netflix, Pinterest, AirBnB and many other massive companies.

Greenpeace’s renewable data center campaign has been remarkably successful, especially when you look at the size of these companies and the amount of energy the data centers consume…

Read more here.

The American People are Already With Us – (my post for 350 Colorado)


Cross-post from the 350 Colorado blog.

At three climate-change events I’ve been to during the last month, we learned about the greenhouse effect. Yep – the greenhouse effect. A little diagram of the sun’s rays bouncing off the earth’s surface and against the carbon dioxide. One of these events was a roomful of divestment activists, and the other, the assembled architects of a multi-year Climate Action Plan. Did we really need a refresher on the greenhouse effect?

Some of the assumptions that the climate movement should dispense with quickly are ideas that ‘most Americans’ don’t already know what climate change is, or don’t understand it, or don’t care. I have been in event after event where a climate activist raises a tentative hand and says, “how do we make people understand the science?”

This characterization of climate-change activists as a misunderstood pariah class may have been true 20 years ago, but the truth is – and this is good news, so get ready – Americans in general are on the same page as the climate movement. We have won the educational war, to an extent we don’t even realize.

Read more here.

Coverage of the Colorado Climate Summit, Nov. 2014


Three posts on Triple Pundit:

Latino Cultures Have a “Green” Legacy, Says Festival Founder-  December 4th, 2014

For Irene Vilar, the founder of the Americas Latino Eco-Festival… argues that Latino cultures in the U.S. and globally are inherently deeply ecologically aware because of traditional indigenous-based reverence for the earth. In fact, as she said at the Colorado Climate Summit in Nov., the poll findings are that “96 percent of Latinos believe in climate change” – findings that replicated elsewhere, including an NRDC poll that showed 68 percent of Republican Latinos want government action to prevent climate change.

Read more here.

‘Both Sides of the Meter’ at Colorado Climate Summit –  Nov.r 18th, 2014

Colorado is a hotspot for energy innovation: The city of Fort Collins is pushing the envelope with a net-zero energy central district. The Rocky Mountain Institute has been generating schemes for energy efficiency and clean energy for 30 years. And the city of Boulder has more solar panels than some states.

All of these were featured programs at the first-ever Colorado Climate Summit, held last weekend…Efficiency and solar panels on roofs aren’t enough, warned one clean energy expert.

“We have to look at both sides of the meter,” said Leslie Glustrom, pointing at a chart of Boulder’s carbon emissions that, despite tremendous work to reduce carbon emissions, showed marginal gains. Glustrom pointed out that Boulder is still dependent on a coal plant. “If you took that offline it would be like taking 150,000 homes off the grid,” she said.

 Read more here. 


U.N. Association Representative: Climate Change and War Are Linked – November 19th, 2014

During the Cold War, when Zuza Bohley was growing up in East Germany, being a pacifist was a crime. It was considered treason.

Treason, as in: Her entire family, made up of politically active pacifists, was subject to surveillance. Their home was watched by the Stasi, the East German secret police. Her father was imprisoned. At age 13, Bohley was taken captive at a friend’s birthday party and interrogated for four hours.

Read more here.


First blurry thoughts on environmentalism and death


I was an environmentalist before I experienced grief personally. Fervently so. But the experience was still very much tied to a sense of loss. Destruction of the natural world and its beauty – life itself – must be the core emotion of environmentalism. There  is an appreciation of beauty, and a knowledge of the interdependence of all things, and of course wonder that’s coached and directed by science. But these things are not enough to propel one into motion. They underlie things, and they are what is activated in the face of great loss and great destruction. It is the urge to protect, natural landscapes or a young child or a sick person, that what is defenseless. Nature is the most defenseless of all – the most vulnerable to the demands and whims of man, a longstanding moral test, a mirror of our own intentions.

Continue reading

How to Green the Internet


I haven’t published a post on eco-stuff in a long time, but I did today. I am alarmed that our tremendous efforts at developing a green economy are going to be stymied by big-business-centered Internet regulation. I hope this is the start of a conversation about how our media shapes our economy…

Environmentalism as a field has progressed over the decades by expanding analysis of new areas of our society, from mining policy to manufacturing to agriculture. Areas of human life that were once considered outside the purview of environmentalism are now central to our thinking about how to create a saner, more sustainable and just culture: legalizing backyard beekeeping or banning BPA in plastics, topics that weren’t even on the radar a few years ago.

In order for environmentalism to continue to progress, we must include a new plank as central to our work: an Internet that is sustainable, democratic, and that is structurally adapted to facilitate and speed up the world-wide transition from fossil fuel to renewables.

Read the rest at Triple Pundit.