Monthly Archives: April 2009

Copenhagen”Off Sets” –The Big Picture Game

Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

 

Copenhagen Cont’d. 

Think Global: Act Local Act for ALL

by Suzanne Maxx

 

We put the countdown to Copenhagen’s Climate Conference up on World Team Now’s website with exactly how much time we have left, because of the mounting pressure to have some specific measurable results in Copenhagen (UNFCCC).  The importance of raising awareness about this critical global treaty for our world is palpable — especially now before the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012 as per the road map created in Bali, approved by the 2007 UN Climate Change Conference.  There are several events designed to increase the chances of Copenhagen’s success from the UN’s framework; one announced at G20 by President Obama.  The USA will host a “Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate” in a preparatory session with 16 major economies, April 27th & 28th in Washington DC. to help facilitate a U.N. agreement on global warming according to The White House, inviting both “developed” and “developing” counties. The U. N. scheduled events leading up to Copenhagen, the first round was March 29th –April 8th, the others are June 1st-12th and then August 10th-14th all of these in Bonn, Germany; September 28th-October 9th in Bangkok and last November 2nd-6th with the location to be confirmed.  In addition to these events Media Mogul turned Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi will host a conference in La Maddalena, Italy in July, riding G8. These events intend to strengthen communications, and step up points of agreement such as deforestation and clear cutting of tropical rainforests, global levels we can cut carbon emissions that will at least create sustainability, a deadline date, and a plan for enforceability, all so the Summit in Copenhagen we will end up with a global treaty with targets that are reasonable.  So far the areas of agreement are around clear cutting our trees and rainforests, the precious lungs of our planet — the logging and burning of which accounts for a fifth of CO2 pollution. When I flew over these sites of deforestation I wept with the pain of baring witness to a massacre.

 

There is a need for a leadership position here amongst all the countries that are members of the UN that demand “the lead by example” model of accountability. With the help of some behind the scenes experts and people who have spend years in the financial world designing a market made of “carbon off sets”, or the cost of pollution, like the UK & USA team, Blood and Gore-they have a first movers advantage as does the USA now with “green” opportunity.  I am not sure if China’s push for a global currency reserve should be dismissed easily. This is one of the first times in my life since beginning World Team in 1989, which I have not been embarrassed about being born in the United States, since embarking on this mission.  Obama’s stand for change shows he is willing to pick up where Gore left off with regards to the environment, and to carve out an action plan by 2012 on the premise of the Carbon offset game that would auction the U.S.’ emission trading credits and cut back  to 1990 emission levels by 2020. The Dec 7-18 conference will map out what is next for the future with an emission reduction plan, and hopefully spell out a game of carbon credits, wherein the caps-and-trade are offsets and will become a global market with commodities that will re-value and transform our monetary system, but with new legislation, if all goes according to plan.

In time for the events that happened in Bonn this March and perhaps going by the “big picture” plan, Chairman Henry A. Waxman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and Chairman Edward J. Markey of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee drafted clean energy legislation for the USA. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (ACES) is a comprehensive approach to America’s energy policy that charts a new course towards a clean energy economy.  According to Waxman, “The American Clean Energy and Security Act” will create millions of new clean energy jobs, save consumers hundreds of billions of dollars in energy costs, enhance America’s energy independence, and cut global warming pollution and for more detailed information visit the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s site .

The stakes are high, it is our future and if you still don’t believe all the scientists who have proven that our planet is warming by human activities, NASA‘s look and this new report from the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows the decade-long trend of shrinking sea ice cover is continuing at a surprisingly fast rate. New evidence from satellite observations show ice caps thinning as well. Researchers from the Snow and Ice Center report the largest cover this winter was 278-thousand square miles less than the average largest cover for 1979 to 2000, making this winter’s maximum ice extent the fifth lowest on record. They explain, “Arctic sea ice works like an air conditioner for the global climate system. It naturally cools air and water masses, plays a key role in ocean circulation, and reflects solar radiation back into space. Scientists believe ice cover to be an important measure of the health of the Arctic.  Look at the vanishing ice to bear witness to the change of our earth. 

 If you are wonder what you can do about all of this besides trying to understand it, join World Team Now, and allow the synergy of team to move us all into a responsible future, and join us in celebrating Earth Day,

 

Copenhagan-The Big Picture

 

Courtesy of NASA

Courtesy of NASA

 

Think Global: Act Local  Act for ALL 

By Suzanne Maxx

The reality of one home and shared resources for us all is starting to take priority for many who had been previously concerned only about personal survival or achievement.    Global philanthropy is an at all time high —  ironically this comes at a time when personal survival is challenged and despite these times many people seem to  continue to seek the bigger picture, beyond their own challenges.  Regardless of country, we are all dealing with the world now, and our potential future.  We all have a need for air, water, earth, and energy.  Our collective resources are shared and how we use them regardless of where we are, affects us all.  An emergent question is how we put a value or “price” on responsibility to these elements.  What can that replace or transform our present monetary structures and support the global “eco”mony/ology ?  This is what humanity is beginning to awaken to with our global environmental movement.  How do we live on earth in balance with our resources?
 
Growth is challenging.  Is there a higher reason we all are being called to look at the way we have structured the game of life in our world now? Here’s to human evolution, and global transformation.

 

This is an exciting time for those of living inside the environmental and social movement for two decades or more…. Our time is now — people, like you are listening, and want to participate, as we are all stake holders in our children’s home.  With perseverance, the battles to convince people of the existence of environmental and social challenges facing the planet are not over, but we have succeeded to begin to educate the masses.  Multi-media telecommunications have shrunk the world, and some powerful leaders (without countries) have emerged on the global scene — thank you, Yvo de Boer, Al Gore, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and Bono. Now the challenge lies in doing the work to create the change in enough time for the change to take hold so humanity has more options.  The speed at which we are able to move now is exhilarating, if not overwhelming.  Just when I’m ready to post about G20”, or “solar energy”, something changes or the technology advances — it is a challenge to keep pace with accuracy with the speed at which the transformation is happening.  Please forgive me if by the time you are reading this the information is obsolete.

For the future direction of humanity and our global environment, one thing is clear; there is a lot riding on the potential of the upcoming United Nation’s Conference in Copenhagen.   The possibility of a global treaty that is enforceable and honored by the world for our world — could be a global game changer or life transformer.  One of the challenges with the U.N. model is the way the world is divided, described, and regulated — by the concepts of categorizing countries by their “development”.  Is there a more powerful framework to view with the world?  Does it serve us to label the USA as “developed” and China and India as “developing” nations?  We have to at least try to work within the U.N.’s global framework as it is the only global framework we have now.  Just like we have to work within our challenged systems like our legal, educational, political, monetary and healthcare systems, as that is what we have now.  How can the “systems” better serve humanity, and what role can the machine play in the transformation?

The outcome of a powerful Global Treaty could be like what The Constitution is for the USA, or like what the Declaration of Human Rights distinguishes for the world. Personally I have been following this dream of a global treaty for our environment, since Rio De Janeiro 1992, when I was there where it all began in the global community, at The Earth Summit/Global Forum.  Then the treaty was just emerging as the “The Climate Change Treaty” or more formally; “The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC or FCCC), with more nations ratifying this global document than any other in the history of our world — for our environment. The idea behind the climate treaty is aimed at stabilizing greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent change in our climate system.  It became The Kyoto Protocol, after a rocky history of trying to get the USA to ratify, but the distinctions between developing and developed countries made the playing field questionable, when developing giants like China and India would not have to play by the same rules as the USA, for more history click here.  The UNFCCC or FCCC roots grew back to The Earth Summit /Global Forum, formerly The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The acronym “UNCED” remained the joke that many told which summed up a strong underlying truth, of the outcome for many with the frustration of what was “UN-SAID” in the United Nations’ conferences. We believe at World Team Now name’s are significant.  What about a new name for what could become “The Copenhagen Treaty” (It would be nice if we could evolve past the place it was created, and call it something that could have meaning for all in the World;  like “The World’s Action Treaty for Environmental  Resources and Sustainability”, with the acronym; “WATERS”…. This name is more encompassing as it could allow the off set, trading game to apply to more than Climate Change but also to other environmental contaminants that affect our earth and humanity offing a reward for the clean up, and cost to pay for those who chose to take our collective resources.
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

EPA in Action-Moving Forward

picture-040By Suzanne Maxx


Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency

Last week EPA continued to be in the limelight, moving faster now that they have the chance to reap the resources much needed for growth. They are not only getting financial support to be more effective, but also people are now re-awakening to the importance of our environmental resources for our world.

EPA’s Region 2 had a landmark week starting Monday March 30th with “Translating Science to Policy”- Protecting Children’s Environmental Health, a daylong power house event.  We all have a stake in children’s health, so when the science can translate to policy, change emerges.

• “Translating Science to Policy”- Protecting Children’s Environmental Health

March 30th 2009, Alfred Learner Hall, Columbia University,-New York City, USA
“We are guardians of the things we all value,” said Lisa Jackson Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during the key note for “Translating Science to Policy”: Protecting Children’s Environmental Health, a conference at Columbia University, hosted jointly by Columbia’s Center for Children’s Developmental Health and WE ACT for Environmental Justice. “EPA is an advocate for the people, and we are back on the job,” — obviously words the audience was ready to hear — from Administrator Jackson based on the standing ovation she received.

After a decade of research the all day event celebrated how scientific data gathered is being translated into public health policy for environmental justice. This is a joint effort to use science to prove the impact that environmental factors have on the health of children and now to generate policy to benefit people. The specific measureable results of community based research projects provided the data about how contaminates effect all of us.

“The conversion of New York City’s bus fleets to clean diesel and the installation by EPA of permanent air monitors in Harlem and “other hot spots” are among the outcomes for which the our partnerships’ research and policy work between “WE ACT” and Columbia’s Mailman Center for Children’s Environmental Health, and NIEHS Center for Environmental Health has been given substantial credit” said WE ACT’s Executive Director Peggy Shepard. Climate Change is not only important just because of what it does to the environment, but also because of the effect it has on human health, so presented here is the opportunity for integrated policy for both health and climate.

The topics of the day explored fossil fuel, climate change, air pollution from traffic, endocrine disrupting chemicals found in common consumer products, pesticides and prenatal exposure to chlorpyrifos and diazinon-all put our children’s health at risk. Great experts in the field presented — from Director Frederica Perera PhD, and Patrick Kinney Sc.D of Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health at Mailman School of Health, Columbia University to Sara Steingraber, PhD., Scholar in Residence, Division of Interdisciplinary and International Studies, Ithica College—and the afternoon key note by Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D, D.A.B.T., A.T.S., Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

The studies were focused on pregnant women and children through different stages of development. In one study they measured the effect of what is called “fine particular matter” which translate to pesticides, diesel, dust, second hand smoke, mice & roach allergens with 500 mom’s who wore a back pack that measured the quality of the air they were breathing . The City Pesticide Bill came as a result, and Local Law 37 for safer pesticides now exists. It is refreshing when science becomes a determining factor in decision making and inspires new policy.

If you thought things that cause global warming only effected the climate’s change , think again, it effects the DNA of us all—the effect of environmental toxins on people has been something hard to measure, but with the success of this program there is now more scientific evidence. Scientific studies are proving that environmental pollution plays a big role in public health. In one study done by analyzing the centrifuge chemicals in the DNA, and the umbilical cord blood, scientists have been able to see how environmental factors play heavily into the development of children.

They gathered a cross section of people (cohorts) for their studies in Poland, China, USA and the World Trade Center Site. Measured was how environmental contaminates, for example fossil fuel related-polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHS) can effect cognitive development. Learning about our exposure to environmental toxins, is challenging but it is inspiring to know we are becoming aware and there are people out their committed to necessary scientific research to use these finding to create policies to protect us all.

Science to Policy for People — sums up what happened at the event at Columbia University that focused on protecting children’s environmental health. The presenters did a good job of engaging the audience even if one didn’t understand the soup of contaminants with ingredients like CO2, Pb, O3, BTEX, CH4, H2S, NOx, PAHs, VOCs and PM2.5 PM10 we knew Diesel, have smelt it, and could clearly understand our challenge; we all are called to become more aware. It’s more than eating the right fish (see NRDC’s sushi chart), and changing a light bulb, but that it is a good place to start.

Friday’s event in Albany with the largest EPA Grant ever for water infrastructure projects in New York announced jointly by Governor Paterson and EPA’s Administrator Jackson, booked end this landmark week for EPA’s Region 2.

Even though Columbia University’s CCLS has been an unofficial base for World Team Now in NYC, I wouldn’t have known about the Monday event if EPA’s Walter Andrews, didn’t extend an invitation. I contacted EPA recently when I came across some seemingly insurmountable environmental obstacles with World Team Now’s New York City building project. After some brief discussions about Brownfields, Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (LUST), wetlands and landfill contaminates, I discovered Walter happened to work with my mom at EPA years ago in this Region 2 office. There are some very dedicated public servants at EPA, and Walter Andrews is certainly one. It is a small world with caring passionate people who remained faithful to public service and the mission the agency was created for — to protect our environment. Thank you to Walter and to all at EPA we value the fact that your work can move forward to serve the public now.

To share the knowledge and give it with the wisdom to the lives of all people is a huge undertaking –we at World Team Now envision and embark on with our journey. The challenge is really reaching each one of you and your family and our public at large.
Are you willing to help? Are you willing to share the information about health and the environment? If you care to go deeper, below are some site to explore in addition to ours at World Team Now  http://www.worldteamnow.org. We at World Team Now hope we can help accomplish our collective mission.

 http://www.epa.gov/