Living With Climate Change – Session 9 (Week 9: Population, Consumption, Economics & Actions)

Glossary

Session 09 Glossary  (pdf)

GENERAL

How It All Ends Greg Craven’s 10 minute video about Pascal’s Wager.

The Story of Stuff Short 2:35 minute version  OR The Story of Stuff Full length 21:16  – This animated look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns, made in 2009 it is still a timely watch. Created by Annie Leonard. It has now become The Story of Stuff Project.

Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Still Matters: In fact, getting politicians and industry to address climate change may start at home (Oct 26, 2018) Leor Hackel & Gregg Sparkman, Slate – Science

Green America – Green Living

The Carbon Mistake: Why carbon is not always the appropriate target of our efforts (May 17, 2020) Alan Journet

INFORMATION RELATED TO KEY QUESTIONS

Key Question 1. What are the implications of human population and consumption for climate change?

Population

The Population Question ((Nov 18,  2022) by Somini Sengupta, Global correspondent, Climate for The New York Times. [This link is good, however, The New York Times limits monthly access if you don’t have an account.]

I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. Here’s why. (Nov 29, 2018) by David Roberts, Vox.

Remember the Population Bomb? It’s Still Ticking  (New York Times, 2017) [This link is good, however, The New York Times limits monthly access if you don’t have an account.]

Consumption
Consumption – General

Oregon Greenhouse Gas Sector-Based Inventory Data Greenhouse Gas emissions data reported by Oregon’s DEQ from 1990 to 2021.

Oregon’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions through 2015: An assessment of Oregon’s sector-based and consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions (May 2018) A report by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality.

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns (2017) – The UN website for Consumption goals which includes dozens of reports, meetings, global partnerships, news.

Overshoot day – Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.

Local Waste-not Guide – In honor of past member Louise Shawkat who was the original creator/teacher of this MCP session on consumption, here is a link she shared to an extensive recycling guide from socks to electronics compiled by Ashland resident, Debi Smith. Although created in mind for Ashland residents, it includes many resources and drop of locations throughout the Rogue Valley and by mail.

 Food

UN Food Loss and Waste Database – The database contains data and information from openly accessible reports and studies measuring food loss and waste across food products, stages of the value chain, and geographical areas.

Cool Food Pledge – A movement for food institutions that helps organizations commit to and achieve a science-based target to reduce the climate impact of the food they serve. Members are guided through a three-step approach: PledgePlan, and Promote.

Project Drawdown on food waste. Roughly one-third of the world’s food is never eaten. By reducing loss and waste, we can reduce the need for land and resources used to produce food as well as the greenhouse gases released in the process.

World’s largest meat company, JBS, increases emissions by 51% in five years despite 2040 net zero climate target, continues to greenwash its huge climate footprint (April 21, 2022) Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, by DeSmog. “Some government and business leaders are saying one thing – but doing another. Simply put, they are lying – and the results will be catastrophic.” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered (April 15, 2022) New York Times by Julia Moskin et al. – An in-depth, hyperlinked article about all aspects of how your diet affects climate change and what you need to know about eating meat, diary, seafood and produce, and preventing food waste. (NYT has a limited number of freely accessed articles, after which you hit a paywall.)

Brazil’s Cattle Sector Played Large Role in Fires During 2020 Moratorium (Nov 2021) Frontiers in Forests and Global Change by I.H. Schelly et al – the cattle sector contributed disproportionately to the fires in 2020, in terms of both the number of properties involved and the area burned. Improvements in both supply chain policies and overall environmental governance in the Amazon are likely needed to avoid recurrences of the catastrophic scale of fires during the 2020 season.

Yes, plant-based meat is better for the planet: The environmental debate over meatless meat, explained. (Nov 18, 2021) Vox, by Matthew Hayek and Jan Dutkiewicz – In-depth investigative article covering all aspects of the argument for alternative meats.

Animal Agriculture Responsible for 57% of Greenhouse Gas Emissions From Food Production, Study Finds (Sep 15, 2021) EcoWatch by Brett Wilkins – Discusses results from Nature Food study showing Global food production accounts for more than a third of all greenhouse gas emissions, with meat and dairy responsible for twice as much planet-heating carbon pollution as plant-based foods.

Climate-Friendly Food Is Easier Than We Think (March 27, 2021)  Edwina Hughes, Richard Waite and Gerard Pozzi, World Resources Institute. With people increasingly aware of the climate impact of their lifestyles, the spotlight is falling on the food we eat. Agriculture and related land-use account for nearly a quarter of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But not all foods are created equal…

Meatless meat is becoming mainstream — and it’s sparking a backlash (Oct 7, 2019) By Kelsey Piper, Vox. The growing pushback against Impossible and Beyond burgers in fast-food chains, explained.

Beyond Meat uses climate change to market fake meat substitutes. Scientists are cautious (Sept 2019) CNBC – “Beyond and Impossible go somewhere towards reducing your carbon footprint, but saying it’s the most climate friendly thing to do — that’s a false promise,” said Marco Springmann, a senior environmental researcher at the University of Oxford.

To Shrink Your Carbon Footprint, Ease Up on the Dairy. Lovers of butter, champions of cheese: Please, slow down. In a recent study documenting the carbon footprint of the American diet, NRDC policy experts reported that while beef consumption fell significantly between 2005 and 2014, our appetite for many dairy products grew. And unfortunately, aside from whatever you may have picked up at the butcher counter, that hunk of gouda is one of the most greenhouse gas–intensive foods you can add to your shopping cart.

Video (5:39) The diet that helps fight climate change  (2017) – Climate Lab is produced by the University of California in partnership with Vox. Hosted by conservation scientist Dr. M. Sanjayan, the videos explore the surprising elements of our lives that contribute to climate change and the groundbreaking work being done to fight back.

Eating Seafood Can Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, But Some Fish Are Better Than Others (Feb 2018) Ecowatch by Oceana. Small schooling fish are low impact because catching them doesn’t burn much fossil fuel, the major source of emissions for fisheries. Ninety percent of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with wild seafood come from fuel use…

Palm Oil Was Supposed to Help Save the Planet. Instead It Unleashed a Catastrophe. (Nov 2018) New York Times Magazine, by Abraham Lustgarten – A decade ago, the U.S. mandated the use of vegetable oil in biofuels, leading to industrial-scale deforestation — and a huge spike in carbon emissions. [This link is good, however, The New York Times limits monthly access if you don’t have an account.]

The Chocolate Scorecard – A scorecard rating chocolate manufacturers based on criteria such as Deforestation and Climate, Child Labour, Agroforestry, among others.

Plastics

How plastics contribute to climate change (August 20, 2019) Yale Climate Connections by Brooke Bauman. Under a business-as-usual scenario in which policies continue to foster plastics production, the sector’s fossil fuel consumption will only increase. Today, about 4-8% of annual global oil consumption is associated with plastics, according to the World Economic Forum. If this reliance on plastics persists, plastics will account for 20% of oil consumption by 2050.

Plastics and Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet (May 2019) report by CIEL – Center for International Environmental Law. Amidst growing concern about the impacts of plastic on the oceans, ecosystems, and human health, there’s another largely hidden dimension of the plastic crisis: plastic’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.

Yes! Magazine “The Solving Plastic” Issue. (Summer 2021) See especially the feature story by Erica Cirino “Plastic World or Plastic-Free World?” and Small Works graphic story by Sarah Lazarovic “How to Get Rid of Throwaway Culture”

Synthetic Polymer Contamination in Bottled Water  (Sept 11, 2018) Frontiers in Chemistry by Mason SA, Welch VG, Neratko J. Eleven globally sourced brands of bottled water, purchased in 19 locations in nine different countries, were tested for microplastic contamination using Nile Red tagging. Of the 259 total bottles processed, 93% showed some sign of microplastic contamination.

Discovery and quantification of plastic particle pollution in human blood (May 2022) Environment International, by H.A. Leslie et al – the first known study to detect and quantify polymers from plastics in human blood

Plastic Pollution Our World in Data (2018) by Hannah Ritchie and Max. A creative commons site. This report focuses on plastics pollution. This report includes a FAQs on plastics and a slide deck summary of global plastics.

Countries Tried to Curb Trade in Plastic Waste. The U.S. Is Shipping More. (March 12, 2021) New York Times by Hiroko Tabuchi and Michael Corkery – Data shows that American exporters continue to ship plastic waste overseas, often to poorer countries, even though most of the world has agreed to not accept it. [This link is good, however, The New York Times limits monthly access if you don’t have an account.]

Infographic: Seven common types of plastics, with symbols and applications, (2021) European Environment Agency

Recycling Modernization Act (Senate Bill 582) Oregon. The new law became effective Jan. 1, 2022 and recycling program changes will start in July 2025. This system-wide update will make recycling easier for the public to use, expand access to recycling services, upgrade the facilities that sort recyclables, and create environmental benefits while reducing social and environmental harms, such as plastic pollution. Producers and manufacturers of packaged items, paper products and food serviceware will pay for many of these necessary improvements and help ensure recycling is successful in Oregon.

UN Environmental Programme Resolution 5/14 “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument” (June 2022) At the resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly a historic resolution (5/14) was adopted and will be overseen by an intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) on plastic pollution.

World’s nations start to hammer out first global treaty on plastic pollution (Feb 23, 2022) Science by Erik Stokstad – Negotiators from 193 countries are setting out to create a negotiating committee that will try to hammer out, within 2 years, a new global treaty intended to curb plastic pollution.

 Clothing

Pros and Cons of 6 Natural Fabrics (2019) by Lydia Noyes in Mother Earth Living. Which kind of fabric is best for the planet?

Are These Trends Green or Greenwashed? (Winter 2019) by Eleanor Greene in Green America.org. We fact-checked the claims of trendy companies advertising green options.

Unraveling the Fashion Industry (Winter 2019) Eleanor Greene, editor, Green America.org. It’s easy to ignore the huge influence garments have on workers and the planet. Luckily, activists and businesses are working to make the fashion industry better. If you wear clothes, you can too.

Unpacking Toxic Textiles (Winter 2019) by Asher Weinstein, Green America.org. Business as usual in the garment industry is bad for people and the planet, from agriculture to factories, from stores to our closets.

Helping governments and stakeholders make The Sustainable Development Goals a reality. Explanation of the goals

The Story of Microfibers (video: 2:47) Most of us wear synthetic fabrics like polyester every day. But these synthetic fabrics, from which 60% of all clothing on earth is made, have a big hidden problem: when they’re washed, they release tiny plastic bits — called microfibers …

All birds How much did your outfit cost the planet? Now any brand can use our Carbon Footprint tools to label their emissions.

Changing consumption habits

Earth 911 Recycling Resource Guide – On the top of their page you can enter an item that you are trying to recycle and it will tell you the closest location for recycling.

Bokashi cycle. Bokashi fermentation is the simplest, least costly, and fastest way to recycle organic waste. It eliminates virtually all greenhouse gases, and sequesters virtually all carbon to the soil, where it is safely and slowly taken up by microbes, fungi and plants. Bokashi fermenting can be done all throughout the year, produces neither heat nor gases, and eliminates nuisance factors like odors and vermin.

FoodKeeper App – This US government App helps you understand the best storage for food and beverages to help maximize the freshness and quality of items.

Lend Me a Plate – Program in Ashland OR for borrowing dishes for large events

Food Label Guide (Green America). How do you sort the fact from fiction and get to the bottom of how your food is produced? Fortunately, there are several legitimate certifications that have high standards for animal welfare and environmental practices. These typically ensure compliance through audits and inspections. Included here is a comprehensive list of common food labels, rated based on how well they adhere to the standards they claim to ensure.

Earth 911 Recycling Resource Guide – On the top of their page you can enter an item that you are trying to recycle and it will tell you the closest location for recycling.

Greenhouse 100 Polluters Index (2021 report based on 2019 data) by U of Mass Amhert’s Poltical Economy Research Institute (PERI)

The Fallacy of Our Carbon Footprint (April 2021) Yes! Magazine by Emma Pattee – Big Oil deflects the responsibility by saying citizens should do more to stop climate change

Transforming Waste Tool: How communities have defined zero waste EPA webpage on what US communities are doing about Zero Waste, featuring a 2015 Resolution by US Mayors.

Accelerating Circularity – A US textile NPO whose mission is to establish systems that will use the embedded value and resources in existing textiles for new products, reducing the millions of tons of textile waste annually going into landfills and thereby supporting the reduction of the industry’s GHG emissions.

What Retailers Like Amazon Do With Unsold Inventory (Dec 19, 2019) CNBC feature story. 13:36 Youtube video. Every year, Amazon and other retailers end up with billions of pounds of excess, unsold inventory that they’re sending straight to landfills, or incinerating.

Key Question 2: What are some economic issues?

Climate Science Basics (350.org) We’re an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-centered renewable energy for all. We are calling for a deeper transition, one which places energy justice at the beating heart of its values. We are moving forward into the world we want to see, leaving no one behind. And we are doing this with the urgency the climate crisis demands of us.

Good Company Southern Oregon regional greenhouse Gas Inventory  (2011) The first inventory undertaken of greenhouse gas emissions from this region.  Previously posted on the Rogue Valley Council of Governments web site but relocated with permission to SOCAN when RVCOG removed it.

Good Company Renewable Energy Assessment for Jackson and Josephine Counties (December 2011) An analysis by the Good Company of Renewable Energy options for Jackson and Josephine Counties; a little dated but the patterns are probably still relevant. Previously posted on the Rogue Valley Council of Governments web site but relocated with permission to SOCAN when RVCOG removed it.

Inventory of US Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks (2020) EPA. EPA develops an annual report that tracks U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and sinks by source, economic sector, and greenhouse gas going back to 1990.

The Fallacy of Endless Economic Growth (Sept 2018) Christopher Ketcham What economists around the world get wrong about the future.

How It All Ends The 10 minute video about Pascal’s Wager.

Key Question 3: What are the main individual actions we can take to reduce GHG emissions?

Big Oil’s History of Greenwashing: Big Oil has been greenwashing for decades, here’s how we all can make a difference. (2024, #5) Mary Meade, Your Green Life/Green America.

SOCAN’s ‘What We Can Do’ list

5 Ways Families Can Help Tackle Climate Change (Jan 20, 2020) By Greg McDermid, Joule A Bergerson, Sheri Madigan; EcoWatch

Align your banking and credit cards with your values (Spring, 2024) by Cathy Cowan Becker, Green America. If you bank with or use credit cards issued by one of the four biggest US banks—JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Wells Fargo, or Bank of America—or other conventional banks, this is probably the largest part of your carbon footprint. That’s because these four banks have plowed $1.37 trillion—that’s trillion with a T—into coal, oil, gas, fracking, pipelines, and other dirty fossil fuel projects since the Paris Agreement in 2015, as documented by the “Banking on Climate Chaos” report.

Banking on Climate Change A 2024 analysis of the top 60 banks and their $6.9 trillion investment in global destruction.

The Power of Divestment (Green America) A discussion of the importance of divesting from institutions that support fossil fuels.

The Top 200 Fossil Fuel Companies 350.0rg’s Go Fossil Free. The Carbon Underground 200 is an annually updated listing of the top 100 public coal companies globally and the top 100 public oil and gas companies globally, ranked by the potential carbon emissions content of their reported reserves.

Banking on Climate Chaos (2022) Fossil Fuel Climate Report. Since Paris 2015, Banks have funneled $4.6 trillion to fossil fuel corporations.

Electrify Your Home (March 2022) Brian Stewart, Electrify Now (video 1:22:36)

Electrify Now: Empowering everyone to create our clean energy future. Source of ideas of what you can do to electrify and link to webinar recordings (3 horizontal lines on top right).

Electrify Ashland Now! A volunteer Action Team of the Ashland Climate CollaborativeElectrify Ashland Now! promotes clean energy upgrades in Ashland homes.

Ashland All Electric Home Fact Sheet 3.24.22

Are Local Climate Efforts Enough? (Aug 30, 2018) by Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. A study released by Data-Driven Yale has found that local and regional commitments are important, but are not enough to compensate for lack of action at the national level.

Carbon Offsets (Carbon Credits):

Carbon Offsets, Explained by Joelle Novey, Green America. Caution should be used when purchasing Carbon Offsets. Green America provides information about considerations.

First-of-its-Kind Study Casts More Shade on Forest Carbon Offsets (March 23, 2023) by Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. This report report casts doubt on the accuracy and reliability of the carbon credits companies and individuals purchase to offset their climate-polluting emissions.

Sources of Calculators and vendors of Offsets:
Offsets for power
  • Arcadia Power accredited by the Better Business Bureau, certified Green-e, and part of the Department of Energy’s National Community Solar Partnership. (Link to check availability on webpage).
  • Blue Sky Renewable Energy for Pacific Power customers
Certification programs
  • The International Carbon Reduction and Offsetting Accreditation (ICROA) is a leading industry Accreditation Programme committed to enhancing integrity in the voluntary carbon market in support of the Paris Agreement Goals.
  • Green-e® Climate A global third-party certification program for carbon offsets
  • Gold Standard  We manage best practice standards for climate and sustainable development interventions to maximise impact, creating value for people around the world and the planet we share.

Key Question 4: What are the collective actions we can take to reduce GHG emissions?

The Solutions Project Let’s create the future we want.

An Introduction to the Cap & Trade Versus the Tax/Fee and Dividend Approach  Alan’s summary of the main differences

Legislative Session Ends without Much Needed Solutions to Wildfire Funding Issues (March 8, 2024) Alex Baumhardt, Oregon Capital Chronicle

Contact your State Representatives, and Legislative Leaders to support legislation:

Find your Federal Senators & Representative.

Find Your Oregon State Senator & Representative

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