10 Things to Know by 10 a.m. – July 28

Oliver728a1. Climate change policies could hit California consumers at the pump early next year; come January 2015, gasoline and other fuels will fall under the state’s cap-and-trade system for reining in greenhouse gas emissions, and Californians can expect to see a jump in their gas prices that already register as the highest in the country.

2. Bees continue to drop like flies as their massive death toll reached 10 million since 2006, an estimated $2 billion loss for the United States. Agriculture in the U.S. depends on the insect to pollinate $15 billion worth of crops annually, a third of the food we eat, and is now working with the Obama administration to combat bee population loss. Star Tribune’s in-depth exposé here and here.

3. As the renewable energy industry grows worldwide, Triple Pundit released its “A to Z of Unusual Renewable Sources” this past week. The piece highlights use of everything from algae to chocolate to dance floors, among many others, to help produce and harness renewable energy.

4. Economists and environmentalists alike continue to ask one question about climate change: what is the cost of inaction? In a bipartisan effort to measure economic risks of unchecked climate change in the U.S., the following independent analysis American Climate Prospectus was released this month.

5. A two-year check in of NASA’s revolutionary green building in Mountain View this past week proved it to be the “greenest building ever built.” The building, a potential model for future architecture and smart home technology, produces twice as much energy as it consumes each year. Read Huffington Post’s coverage and interview here.

6. As environmental labels abound, it becomes easier and easier for consumers to make sustainable purchases…and for greenwashing to trick consumers. The good news? According to a recent study by Triple Pundit, the variety of tools is actually proving effective and sustainable purchasing continues to increase.

7. Last week, San Francisco played host to “Stories & Beer,” a fireside chat featuring Michelle Ferguson, VP of Marketing for Clif Bar, and Ben Mand, VP of Marketing for Plum Organics. Some talk highlights included food product companies moving towards organics, building consumer trust and total business transparency. In case you weren’t one of the lucky few to attend, here is a video of the panel discussion – sorry I couldn’t include the beer in this post.

8. New studies report that the United States rates only second to China in illegal ivory imports – and San Francisco could be one of the worst offenders, particularly Chinatown. The shattering statistics have U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife cracking down on ivory imports, implementing even stricter legislation and punishments. Currently, 96 elephants are killed a day for their tusks.

9. As global demand for cocoa is projected to grow $98.3 billion in 2016, CSR Asia and Oxfam joined together to address sustainability across the cocoa industry. Their research, Inclusive Business in Asia: A Study in Cocoa, calls for development of more inclusive business approaches to benefit “smallholder producers, consumers and participants” across the value chain.

10. With species going extinct every day, Russia decided to conduct an experiment to study weightlessness and the ability to reproduce, and sent geckos into space last week; unfortunately, they lost contact with the biosatellite. Despite Russia’s assurance that the geckos will continue to orbit safely (at least until they run out of food), the internet is up in arms and #gogetthosegeckos began to trend on Twitter.

Life After Graduation

FrontGradSorry for the time away my friends. Since last writing a few things have changed…to say the least.

I’ve finished university and graduated with concurrent degrees – a Bachelors of Science in Journalism: Public Relations, and a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies. That’s me there, in the green cap! (photo credit: Grace Helen Photography)

I’ve also moved – from rainy Eugene, Oregon, to foggy San Francisco, California. Apparently my pale skin and red hair have a vendetta against sunshine.
Finally, I’ve started a job! I’m the Sustainability Fellow at Ketchum PR in San Francisco. You can check out more in my interview with PR blog Coffee and Cardigans here.

But don’t worry. Just because I’m living the dream doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned the good fight! Every week I report to my PR team the top news and trends in sustainability. I spearheaded the idea actually. It’s called “10 Things to Know by 10 a.m.” I carefully sift through papers and magazines and the web to find the most relevant stories, both for my clients and my team. All before 10 a.m. on Mondays.

I’ve decided that you too should be benefitting from these lists! So, starting next week, I’ll be posting far more regularly – once a week actually – to keep you up to date. The opinions are my own, and though I try to maintain some sense of objectivity, please feel free to spark debate. You’ll be hearing from me again very soon.