10 Things to Know by 10 a.m. – July 14

SSBlogPic1. With the World Cup over, it’s time to see if FIFA carries out its promises to alleviate the tournament’s environmental implications. Sao Paulo was awarded host city on promises to offset the Cup’s greenhouse gas emissions; FIFA is now responsible for buying credits for upwards of 27.5 million tons of greenhouse gases.

2.  BBC announced that it will be banning climate skeptics from the air for fear of misinforming the public. With 97 percent of scientists in agreement about the source of climate change (hint, it’s us), BBC fears creating a false sense of balance on the issue’s anthropogenic nature.

3. Last week, a study on organics came out, proving that organic produce has far more antioxidants and far less toxic metals and pesticides than its conventionally grown counterparts. However, the study, the largest of its kind, has been called “inconclusive,” as the products’ overall effects are still unknown.

4. In response to the Kendall Jones’ hunting controversy last week, an old photo of Steven Spielberg was reposted on Facebook with the Jurassic Park producer posing next to a triceratops movie prop, with the caption: “Disgraceful photo of recreational hunter happily posing next to a Triceratops he just slaughtered.” Unfortunately, the snide political commentary generated real fury from dim-witted conservationists who thought the director actually killed an animal…that had already been dead for millions of years.

5.  A new Greenpeace “Carting Away the Ocean,” CATO, report came out last week, marking significant improvement in the sustainable seafood industry. In 2008, no major retailers hit all requirements for sustainable seafood production and sale; this time around, 22 of 26 major retailers passed, with four even scoring as “good” – Whole Foods, Safeway, Wemens and Trader Joe’s.

6. CSR Asia teamed up with Oxfam for a “Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil” last week. The conference targeted palm oil produced in Asia, one of the largest producing areas in the world, in hopes of producing a product that is more socially, ecologically and environmental beneficial, despite a lack of current legislation and jurisdiction.

7. Tesla’s new supercharger delivered outstanding results in first month on the market, and hopes to continue to improve over the following months. In June alone, the supercharger saved 168,000 gallons of gas, 4.2 million pounds of CO2 offset and fueled 3.7 million miles of travel – the equivalent of going to the moon and back 7.5 times.

8. A new National Grid study suggests that the price of electricity could double over the next 20 years. The increase would come as a result of the U.S. reaching 90 percent dependency on foreign oil and a slump in North Sea gas and oil production.

9. Nearly 92 years since the last grizzly bear was killed in California, a new petition is in the works to bring the animal back to the golden state. The initiative proposes to bring part of the diminishing Alaskan population down south for fear of the potential effects of climate change on the northern most bears.

10. With festival season well on its way, more and more event organizers are considering festival’s two most significant environmental issues: transportation and waste. Green coach companies, banning of plastic water bottles and post-event tent donations are just some of the ways festivals like Glastonbury and upcoming Outside Lands are coping with festivals’ long standing environmental implications.



Petri Dish Patty

Screen Shot 2013-08-18 at 8.41.17 PMChicken or fish? Man, how I wish choosing meat was simple as it is on wedding RSVPs. Now you’re flooded with options like organic, hormone-free, cage-free or some other alternatives even I don’t fully understand. But what if the stores start carrying another option? Yes, like so many others right now, I’m talking about vitro meat.

I’m sure you heard of the alleged $330,000 hamburger tested out two weeks ago. And if you didn’t initially hear about the petri dish patty, I’m sure you heard the outcries coming from everyone from environmentalists to consumers to politicians. But in the midst of the sea of opinions, the facts are a little fuzzy.

First, let me just clear something up. Not every hamburger is going to cost $330,000 – it’s a concept in its infancy right now, and though that may seem obvious to some, you’d be surprised how many people are fooled by the price tag. Paying that much for a burger is impractical…but so are our current rates of meat production.

How impractical you may ask?

In the US, 70% of all our grain production goes to feeding livestock. Right now to produce one pound of beef, a farmer would need at least 13 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water. That is an inefficient system…and that’s not even looking at the environmental concerns. Livestock currently accounts for about 20% of the world’s green house gas emissions, and livestock runoff is the largest water pollutant in the US.

Close to ten percent of Americans are (or have been) vegetarians – it’s obvious we’re starting to care about where our meat comes from. Regardless, we can’t seem to kick this hamburger habit, and I think that’s where petri dish patties and test tube tacos is going to come into the picture. A few cells from a cow can produce 10 tons of meat. Now that is an efficient system…once we get the price down in 10-15 years.

I wouldn’t consider myself a vegetarian or a vegan, actually I wouldn’t even put a label on it (though perhaps in saying this I’m inadvertently labeling myself as a hipster), but I care about where my food comes from. I don’t eat meat unless I know where it came from, and call me crazy, but I think vitro meat might be a decent a solution. Yes it seems far-fetched and science-fiction-esque, but let’s celebrate the innovation here. We’re making something out of practically nothing…something I wouldn’t mind smothering in barbeque sauce on a bun.

R.I.P. Photojournalism?

LatCameraShotely there has been a lot of talk about the death of photojournalism. But honestly, I think it’s quite the opposite.

Photojournalism is simply being reborn.

With the accessibility of camera phones and photoshop, a once nitty-gritty and highly revered profession is changing into something far more domestic. And while most of my fellow journalists detest the change, I am far more optimistic.

As an amateur photographer and videographer, I revel in the new opportunity. As a PR professional, footage has never been more attainable. And in an increasingly visual and digital world, what’s there to complain about?

So don’t whine about the death of photojournalism; rather celebrate its rebirth! For mankind loves a challenge, and with every instagram shot we are forced to rise up and improve.

The field is changing, so you can either drag your heels or join the revolution. My suggestion? Evolve…evolve and take lots of pictures.

Dreaming of a White Christmas

mp517This term I’ve been lucky enough to take a class titled International Environmental Politics from the amazing Ron Mitchell here at the UO. Yes, the class is a lot work (and involves a 20-page research paper), but it has proved invaluable to me. The supplemental articles were informative and the slides were concise, but what really made the class stand out is that it asked the tough questions.

Unlike some college courses, Ron’s class actually encouraged thinking. We struggled through topics and questions that don’t have a simple solution. Most recently we’ve been discussing the ever-present danger of climate change. More importantly, we’ve been discussing what the hell we’re supposed to do about it.

And it isn’t easy. There isn’t just some simple solution to climate change. We can’t throw money at the situation or invent some new technology. If we want to get anything done there has to be actual change…and that’s a scary thought!

But what’s scarier? If I stay in Oregon after graduation, settle down, have kids – those kids will never see snow in their backyard. If we keep at the rate we’re going, keep producing more than we consume and consuming more than we need, my kids would never get to experience snowfall. No snow angels, no sledding, no frost bitten noses. And unless they were looking at the tip of Mount Hood, they’d never get a white Christmas.

For me, snow in Oregon puts everything into perspective. Thinking about far off countries and how they are affected by climate change, thinking about remote islands disappearing and natural disasters – it’s almost too much to handle. It’s easier to just look away. But thinking about snow in Oregon? There’s something to change. I might not be able to save the whole planet, but I sure can dream of a white Christmas.

Where I’ve Been…

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Sorry it has been a while since my last post. Rather than explaining all of what I have been up to, I thought I’d show you. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, right? Well what about a moving picture… Check out this quick video I produced on what my news team does over at DuckTV.
I’ve taken on a lot more responsibility over at DuckTV as web producer these past couple months, and hence my blog writing has been more than sporadic. I apologize and promise there will be more environment and media posts coming your way soon!

Nonprofit Public Relations: The Do’s and Don’ts

Screen Shot 2013-02-11 at 9.41.45 AMThe more I delve into the world of nonprofit and environmental organizations, the more I notice how the field all too often puts public relations on the back burner. What should nonprofits be doing to keep their PR alive? I did a bit of digging in Nonprofit Management & Leadership for a public relations class and stumbled across the following article:

Kelly, K. (2000). Managing public relations for nonprofits. Nonprofit Management & Leadership, 11 (1), 87-95.

Noticing how nonprofits fail to pay enough attention to PR, Kelly compares two different texts, Jason Salzman’s Making the news: A Guide for Nonprofits and Activists and Janel M. Radtke’s Strategic Communications for Nonprofit Organizations, to find the do’s and don’ts of nonprofit PR.

Do use the media to get people’s attention. Getting people to notice your nonprofit doesn’t distract from your work – it highlights it. No one ever looked at an organization and said it has too good of a relationship with the public.

Don’t blindly try and get the media’s attention. Whoever said there’s no such thing as bad publicity was certainly mistaken. Journalists can make or break your nonprofit, so think strategically (and ethically) before giving them a call.

Do set objectives. This is emphasized over and over again…for good reason.  If you don’t know what you want out of a campaign, then you’ll have no way of tailoring it for those specific needs; without knowing where you want to end up, how are you supposed to know how to get there?

Don’t set objectives that you can’t follow up on. In PR we love talking numbers, and your objectives are no exception ­– objectives should be verifiable and based on product not process. Being vague might be easy and appealing, but when it comes to objectives specificity is key.

Do maintain your nonprofit’s integrity. One of the main reasons nonprofits don’t pay attention to PR is for fear of distracting from “doing the real work” – but that doesn’t have to be the case. Inform the public of who you are and what you’re doing…without being a sellout.

Kelly uses the article to highlight key factors in both the theory and practice of nonprofit public relations, and I hope to use all of her do’s and don’ts in my own future in the public relations field.