Ominous Headlines but We Can Avert the Worst

Governments Must Act and So Should We

The UN Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change released an ominous report this morning about the consequences of our collective inaction to combat global warming. Here’s what the headlines say:

Fox Business: “UN report: Global warming is likely to blow past Paris limit” (article)

CNN: “Earth is warming faster than previously thought, scientists say, and the window is closing to avoid catastrophic outcomes” (article)

The Guardian: “Major climate changes inevitable and irreversible – IPCC’s starkest warning yet” (article)

A resident watches a wildfire on Evia island, Greece, as the region endures its worst heatwave in decades.
A resident watches a wildfire on Evia island, Greece, as the region endures its worst heatwave in decades, which experts have linked to the climate crisis. Photograph: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images

The first step to react in a crisis is not to panic. The second is to evaluate the situation, get up to speed quickly, and then take action.

If you’re not up to speed with the circumstances causing global warming and what we can do to avert the worst, then I suggest Climate Solutions 101 by Project Drawdown. “Climate Solutions 101 is the world’s first major educational effort focused solely on solutions. Rather than rehashing well-known climate challenges, Project Drawdown centers game-changing climate action based on its own rigorous scientific research and analysis.”

If you are a business leader or influencer then why not consider how your business or companies you influence impact climate change, strategizing to exploit opportunities, and taking steps to be a social responsible company or enterprise? Here’s a starter for businesses, 10 actions Companies Can Adopt to Fight Climate Change.

Consider the case study of Interface, a global manufacturer of commercial and residential flooring, and the world’s largest manufacturer of modular tile. Company founder Ray Anderson had launched the company on an audacious path in 1994 to become not only a sustainable, but a regenerative, business. This story shows how integrating sustainability can not only make a difference in the world, but also provide a pathway to tremendous business growth: “Purpose At Work: Lessons From Interface On How To Lead With Purpose,” by Simon Mainwaring writing for Forbes.

For individuals, in addition to switching to alternative-fuel vehicles and adding solar panels to our rooftops, incorporating more plant-based foods into our diets is perhaps the most significant way we can make a positive difference. In fact, a study by Oxford University suggests that veganism is the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact. Essentially, avoiding meat and dairy is estimated to reduce the average person’s carbon footprint from food by nearly three-quarters.

We can avert the worst consequences of climate change if government, industry, and individuals realize our predicament and take meaningful actions to transform systems and society. Time to get to work!

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!

Are You Hopeful or Worried on Earth Day?

Today marks the day we consider the health of the Earth. We all lead busy lives, so it is fitting that on this Earth Day we especially take some time to reflect on the human impacts of climate change. Those that closely follow climate change know that, depressingly, there is only a slim chance that we can reduce warming our planet enough to avert catastrophe for our children and theirs.  

Fortunately, there have been many recent events showing that more and more people are paying attention. By events, I don’t mean the wildfires, hurricanes, droughts, freezes, and other more frequent natural disasters. I mean the increasing divestiture of fossil fuel interests; the increased deployment of clean energy technologies including solar, wind, geothermal, and electric vehicles; the increased attention of better land management and the call for improvement of animal agriculture, including an end to factory farming; and among others, the increased attention to our oceans regarding the multiple crises of ocean acidification, pervasive overfishing and bottom trawling, and plastic pollution.

There are other promising signs that positive momentum is building. Look no further for the groundswell than from Greta Thunberg and the younger generations. Or the recent book and initiatives by Bill Gates. Or the recent private-partnerships of General Mills, Netflix, LinkedIn and other business leaders with the esteemed Project Drawdown organization. Perhaps most notable, is the absolute reversal of the US government, and its reengagement in climate-change mitigation, re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement, and – heralded just today – big targets announced in the Leaders Summit on Climate (Earth Day Live).

All well and good; yes, all well and good. What worries me is that, while these efforts are supremely admirable and absolutely necessary – finally “a start,” they won’t be enough to reverse the effects of physics and rising temperatures. The only thing that can counteract physics, is physics itself. That means not just a change in attitudes, but changes in business models and industrial policies that promote these hard changes; changes in international oversight and coercion for countries to meet their climate obligations; changes in the international treatment of women and girls, and of family planning; changes in taxation and penalties for every entity and every person that over-pollutes greenhouse gases, and incentives for those that don’t.

Do we have the will to meet these types of necessary changes? How will we do it? For example, do we abandon the employees and employers that are in the path of the storm, the fossil fuel companies, the animal agriculture companies, the fisheries, and others? Should we instead re-invest in their transition to clean and sustainable futures? Will we put teeth into the international agreements, with meaningful incentives and penalties? Will industry and business leaders embrace more efficient, clean, and sustainable futures that may contradict the capitalist model? Will individuals consider adopting plant-based diets, driving more fuel-efficient vehicles, and having fewer children?

These are the thoughts I have on Earth Day. I believe people and industry can realize the straits we’re in and that their changes will make a difference. And I believe governments can act together to encourage, invest, and enforce necessary changes towards a cooler planet. I am hopeful but I am concerned. We can do it! But will we.

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!

How to Save Our Vanishing World

As reported by CBS news, “Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned conservationist, desperately wants the world to pay attention to what she sees as the greatest threat to humanity’s existence… Her soft-spoken grace somehow helped cushion what was otherwise extremely sobering news: ‘I just know that if we carry on with business as usual, we’re going to destroy ourselves. It would be the end of us, as well as life on Earth as we know it,’ warned Goodall.”

Time running out to save biodiversity as species go extinct, leading scientists say

The question is not whether our human resolve will be great enough to avert disaster (i.e. what the warning signs are telling us about climate change, extinction of species, and the vanishing of the world as we know it), but how we will do it. Everyday the sun shines is another day for optimism in our collective human spirit and ingenuity. And ingenuity begins when the biggest of problems reveal themselves.

Today, all it takes is a computer or smartphone and a few Google searches to discover the full scope of what we’re up against. The good news is that we can take meaningful action and re-plot our planetary trajectory away from global warming and the sixth mass extinction. But time is running out.

How can we save our vanishing world? Acknowledge the challenges before us. Heed the warning signs and educate yourself about the extent of the crisis. Seek out solutions like from Project Drawdown and get involved, or create your own solutions like these ambitious sisters.

Each one of us has a role to play. We can change our individual behaviors which in aggregate can change the world. Consider your purchase decisions and consuming less overall. Consider reducing meat and dairy in your diet. Consider some of the best ways to reduce greenhouse gases at home.

We’re all in this together. Just as we find common purpose in fighting our way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, together we can fight to change course and save our vanishing world.

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!

Time to be Alarmed?

Alarmist announcements have a tendency of polarizing an audience. Yet at some point, we all need to know what the stakes are about climate change and how we can help. Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot make a simple case to Protect, Restore, and Fund.


If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!




“Step Up World” and Participate in the Global Climate Action Summit!

Set aside some time this week and get inspired at the Global Climate Action Summit.

“Airing from the Summit’s livestream and streaming on Facebook by multiple partner organizations, Step Up, World will bring the Summit to the world and the world to the Summit through an energetic live program that combines news, high-level interviews, and commentary. This will include original curated segments featuring major events taking place across San Francisco and across the planet that capture the excitement of the international climate action movement that the Summit embodies.”

“Join us at the Step Up, World studio as we delve into the discussions and announcements of the Global Climate Action Summit, and hear from some of the world’s biggest voices for climate action. There’s no time to waste – it’s time for ambition. It’s time for action. It’s time to Step Up, World!”

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!

Electric Cars Just Got Cooler

Wondering how to make a positive impact on our environment? Driving or ride-sharing in an electric car or bus are easy answers. With every mile driven, we displace harmful tailpipe emissions that impair the health of humans and the planet.


All-electric vehicles (EV) just get cooler by the day. They may soon be the fastest vehicles on the planet. While the non-electric Hennessey Venom F5 holds that distinction (top speeds over 270 mph), the all-electric Tesla Model S screams from 0 to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds as the world’s fastest production car. And the fun isn’t about to end anytime soon with companies like Rimac Automobili building the supercars of the future, or Porsche gunning for Tesla with its upcoming super-cool Mission E.

Joining the rEVolution

If renting, leasing, or buying one of these beauties is not in the offing, the bevy of practical EVs keeps growing as well, including the more affordable options such as the Chevrolet Bolt EV, Tesla Model 3, and Nissan Leaf.

If you’re in the market to purchase, it’s best to consider the total cost of ownership when comparing electric and other vehicles. Kelley Blue Book’s 5-Year Cost to Own tool is a great way to help you home-in on a vehicle. With government incentives totaling up to $10,000 in states such as California, EVs have begun to be a good economic choice. The key factor that will drive down EV prices over time is the cost of battery output.

EV Prices Will Fall

“Since the first electric vehicle (EV) prototype was built in 1828, the central challenge has been making good on a lightweight, durable battery with adequate range,” according to Project Drawdown. “In its absence, internal combustion engines have dominated the automotive landscape since the 1920s, and the atmosphere has paid the price.”

According to the 2016 annual report from EV Box, a leading electric charging hardware and software provider, “EV battery prices will drop faster. WardsAuto reports that battery prices are already falling faster than expected, and could go below the magic mark of $100/kWh by 2030… Once battery prices fall below $100 per kWh, US electric-car sales alone can grow by 1 million all-electric vehicles a year, with plugin hybrids responsible for another 1 million sales. The EV market share then, would explode from about 1% today to over 10% in just a decade.”

Under normal conditions, we should expect government incentives to continue until this mass EV adoption occurs. Pollution and climate change are driving these policies and represent a dramatic departure from past energy policies, considering countries like Germany, China, and India plan to make the switch to electric and hybrid vehicles from gasoline and diesel — some declaring an altogether imminent end to gas and diesel cars.

EV Market Will Grow

According to the International Energy Agency in its Global EV Outlook 2017, the global electric car stock surpassed 2 million vehicles in 2016 after crossing the 1 million threshold in 2015 (Figure 1). See chart below for the rapid growth of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs).


But Wait: EVs Still Have a Long Way to Go

Understanding that globally there are over 1.2 billion vehicles on the road, and about 72 million passenger cars produced each year, it will take decades before EVs fully penetrate the market. As noted by Green Car Congress, and with a less optimistic view, by 2035 “just 2.5 percent of those [vehicles are projected to] be battery electric, plug-in hybrid, or fuel-cell vehicles — the rest will run on gasoline or diesel fuel.”

Making up 14% of global greenhouse gases (GHG), transportation is a good place to focus climate-change mitigation efforts. However, faster adoption of EVs are necessary to make a collective impact on our planet’s carbon footprint. Fortunately, some cities like Palo Alto, California, know the realities and inertia of the automotive industry and are working hard to set an example for other communities with “moonshot” carbon-neutral goals, including fully electrifying their fleet of vehicles.

Thankfully as well, some automobile manufacturers are also setting examples, inspired perhaps by… the new competitive advantages of leaving behind the internal combustion engine (vis-a-vis Tesla), and a future of foreboding government regulations to shake up the status quo. Volvo announced that after 2019, every car it produces will have an electric engine, Mercedes-Benz, announced that it will be electrifying its entire vehicle lineup by 2022, and Volkswagen said it will ‘Electrify’ all 300 of its cars and SUVs by 2030.

As trend-setting as Tesla may be in igniting the wave of coolness that now favors electric cars, the onus is squarely on them now to deliver. Automating the production of the Tesla Model 3 for the mass market is among the biggest challenge being faced with the thousands of pre-order-deliveries slipping a month or more. But with favorable EV regulations, growing infrastructure, funding and tax incentives, environmental benefits, and the coolness factor all going Tesla’s way, don’t doubt for a minute that purchasers will get their cars. It’s just a matter of time. And for cool and the climate, it’s safe to say that most people are willing to wait.

Drive an EV and Spread the Word

Whether it’s the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf, or a supercar of the future, you can make an impact on the environment and your surroundings by driving or ride-sharing in an EV. You can get involved today by learning more about electric vehicles and considering to join an EV association like the Electric Auto Association or ROEV Association. You can also make suggestions to your civic leaders that EV fleets and infrastructure make sense for your community and future. And by all means, spread the word about the benefits of EVs, and together we can promote more rapid adoption. Yes, EVs just got cooler, and are a fun actionable step we can take towards a cooler climate.


If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!


Manage a Fleet?

Do you manage a fleet and are considering electrifying or converting it to alternative fuels?  Consider contacting carbonBLU. Their consultants specialize in developing and implementing sustainable fleet strategies, empowering you with the knowledge and tools you need to succeed.

Are you interested in managing the energy consumption of a fleet or evaluating the performance of a fleet conversion? Consider contacting GreenTraks. Review a recent GreenTraks presentation and case studies for a fleet conversion of over 100 heavy-duty refuse trucks from diesel to liquefied natural gas (LNG) and renewable natural gas (RNG), performed by the City of Sacramento.



All of the Above


If you’re like me, every time you go inside a music store you want to play all the guitars. Even when I couldn’t play a chord, I still wanted to play them all!

When contemplating what we can do in the face of dramatic climate changes, there are numerous paths we individuals can take. In fact, knowing the seemingly impossible task of turning our Titanic of a civilization around with each of its depleting systems, and yet seeing the options before us and the headway of change already begun, leaves me feeling more energized and optimistic than ever. Seeing the beast before us, we can slay it! True, we are in an allegory of David and Goliath, but you know who wins that battle.

On the ground, other battles are being waged. Hurricane Irma has devastated the Caribbean and is beginning to unleash her fury on the U.S. as Floridians have evacuated in mass. All this while the full scope of tragedy has only recently taken shape with Hurricane Harvey leaving Houston literally submerged, with at least 70 fatalities and estimates of over $150 billion in damage. If there is any consolation, and there is not much, it’s that while old-school energy production was shut down or shuttered for days or weeks, renewable energy like wind kept on producing, albeit with some issues and under treacherous circumstances.

These storms make the clear case that a focus on resiliency is key. Resiliency is our ability to adapt and bounce back when things don’t go as planned, and it begs for an “all of the above” energy strategy. By diversifying our energy supply while ultimately relying less and less on fossil fuels, provides us with the greatest security in cases of severe weather and other cataclysmic events such as war, earthquakes, and the like.

Where each of us can make a difference, is in a similar “all of the above” strategy when it comes to the many solutions available to sequester and reduce heat-trapping emissions. Individually, we just need to choose one or more areas where we feel the most passionate or where we can make the greatest impact. Then collectively and working in parallel, we can solve the climate crisis. The obvious benefit is in restoring the world’s environmental balance, and leaving a hopeful future for our children.

If you love cars, why not join the zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) revolution in your area? Or if you’re a foodie, why not incorporate more plant-rich meals in your diet and learn about the plethora of ways to improve food supply and the reduction of waste? If you’re a mom or care about the health and welfare of women and girls, why not get involved in education programs that lay foundations for girls in underdeveloped areas to live happy fulfilled lives? The list of solutions truly goes on and on, and it’s all about finding the area where you can get involved.

In a world that is changing all around us like never before, creating a foreboding sense of uncertainty and anxiety, this list of Solutions from Project Drawdown is an exciting, provocative, and important remedy and resource that should inspire you and others to be part of the global warming solution. So why not consider today the area where you will make your biggest contributions?

Mother and daughter: Boys & Girls Village, Connecticut

If you’re new to Sustainability X, welcome! We will present solutions to the climate change crisis over the coming weeks and months, and how you can get involved. Please join our movement and follow us by clicking the “FOLLOW” link in the footer below!