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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)
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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)

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The City of Green Shoulders

"Let's go. The bus arrives in seven minutes."

Wouh. What? Seven minutes? How do you know? Sure it's not eight, or I don't know, five? "I checked the app, dad. That's how I move around."

My daughter and I raced out of Wormhole Coffee Shop and made it to the six corners of North, Damen and Milwaukee right on time. Spot on. Seven minutes.

I was captivated. It was the second day of a two-week visit my wife, son and I made to Chicago to attend Maydi's graduation (shout out to Columbia College Chicago), but for me it became as much a family trip as a fact-finding and relationship-building trip around the sustainability built into this amazing city just in the last seven years.

The ambitious process began in earnest with the 2008 announcement by then Mayor Richard Daley of the city's Climate Action Plan, reported in this +Scientific American story at the time:

Chicago had some catching up to do, as other U.S. cities were already underway with their own initiatives. But the Windy City's aggressive push made heads turn nonetheless, given its size and rust-belt reputation.

Three years later, Daley successor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel entered City Hall and broadened the program with Sustainable Chicago 2015, a 24-goal agenda in line to be extended past this year's expiration. See the latest status report here:

The 24 goals are divided into seven categories covering the city's most significant climate and environmental impacts and opportunities: the economy, energy, transportation, water, parks & food, waste, and climate change.

The results are mind-blowing by any account. Chicago now ranks first in the nation in LEED building certifications per-capita, and the Retrofit Chicago initiative has attracted dozens of high-rises downtown and slashed their energy bills by 7% since 2012.

"LEED is now a default mode," Brian Imus, +USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) Illinois director, told me in his office -- so much so, in fact, that "we're now evaluating our role going forward." Imagine that.

Neighborhoods have been integrated big time. Data is now public on energy use at every neighborhood in this city of neighborhoods. The Retrofit Chicago Residential Partnership, Solar Chicago, and the Chicago Neighborhood Energy Challenge drew thousands more homes than anticipated.

The Challenge has thus far reduced energy costs by 20% across Logan Square and Humboldt Park, the area where I lived for much of the 70s and 80s.

Density, central to any sustainable urbanism design, had accelerated prior to Daley's 2008 climate-action launch, thanks to the redevelopment of numerous communities. Wicker Park, down Division and North avenues from Humboldt, was no-man's land when I biked and rode the bus to Holy Trinity High School and later DePaul University. Today, it is chic-ville, home to the Wormhole, Filter Coffee Lounge (pictured) and dozens of the coolest spots you will find in any city. The DePaul district around Fullerton, Lincoln and Clark, and many others, have undergone a similar transformation.

The green thing is taking them all to new heights. Transportation is a major driver. Apps, like that used by Maydi, are featured on the Transit Chicago website: -- a major reason for the double-digit hike in mass-transit ridership under Sustainable Chicago 2015.

When you're not moving around in trains and buses, you're likely doing it on a bike -- weather permitting -- thanks to Divvy, a ride-sharing service of the city that in just the last two years has placed 300 stations and 3,000 bikes in neighborhoods throughout Chicagoland.

To drive you even further into biking, the city has created more than 65 miles of new bike lanes, part of a goal to reach 100 by year-end. If you must still use a car, Zip Car and other vehicle-sharing firms have added hundreds of cars to their fleets, and charging stations are being installed everywhere to encourage the purchase of EVs and plug-in hybrids.

So successful have these neighborhood and retrofit wins been -- along with the city's other green initiatives -- that companies expanding in and relocating to Chicago are increasingly opting to set up at or near downtown and the inner city, according to Tom Bartkoski of World Business Chicago, the public-private partnership in charge of promoting the city for business development. I paid him a visit to discover what Chicago is doing right on that front.

"That's where the talent is at and wants to live. It's part of the funky culture that has emerged in these neighborhoods, so the companies are following along," he said.

Speaking of WBC's efforts to attract firms, cleantech is one of the priority target industries. My trip coincided with this year's Clean Innovation Bridge, a city and WBC initiative run by Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust (CET) to matchmake cleantech entrepreneurs and start-ups with capital and corporate partners.

The Bridge is part of a broader push to make Chicago a global leader in cleantech innovation, a mission that also includes initiatives by the University of Chicago, the Illinois Institute of Technology, Energy Foundry and other organizations.

"Cleantech is a priority for us," WBC President & CEO Jeff Malehorn told the audience, a point he made clear when he was introduced to me a few minutes prior by the CET's energetic CEO, Amy Francetic.

"Our goal is for these entrepreneurs to come in search of capital and partners and set up their global hubs right here in Chicago," Deputy Mayor Steve Koch also told the audience.

Yes, along with companies from every other industry moving to the city. It's hard to pinpoint the precise weight Chicago's neighborhood and green improvements represent in these corporate relocation decisions -- the main appeal is the talent itself, plus location and industry ecosystems -- but the correlation is at the very least intriguing: Chicago has now ranked two years straight as the #1 corporate relocation city in America by Site Selection magazine, comfortably ahead of second-place Houston. See the coverage here and here 

The vibrancy of those neighborhoods, the transportation options, the lower energy bills -- I don't know about you, but it seems to me like a clear no-brainer. If you're looking for talent, relocate to a city giving that talent the lifestyle choices they want, and the convenience and lower cost offered by sustainability are proving decisive in keeping those knowledge workers happy. Certainly in Chicago.

It's one of the reasons I was so looking forward to our May 13-25 trip, because back home in Puerto Rico, where I've lived since 1988, I'm leading a neighborhood-based initiative called Footprint Zero -- under the auspices of the local USGBC Chapter -- to get the Caribbean island and U.S. territory on the climate warpath so many other visionary cities, states and countries have already joined.

We're in the planning and design stage, which is why I visited Karen Weigert at City Hall and was thrilled when she agreed to become a sort of mentor. She's the city's Chief Sustainability Officer, and her 2015-and-beyond plan is already textbook for us.

So are Living Cities and Sustainable Urbanism, the first co-authored and the second fully authored by the dean of the field in America, pioneer of the USGBC's LEED for Neighborhoods standard we're using as the centerpiece of Footprint Zero, and a demigod at the +Congress for the New Urbanism. I met Doug Farr at his downtown office, not far from CNU's, and received some kind words and key advice on the initiative. We're honored to have him on board.

We're also honored to have partnered with Aleen Bayard, CEO of Footprint Partners -- the name similarity is purely coincidental. I reached out prior to the trip, and she bent over backwards to offer priceless advice and arrange meetings, including Weigert's, with the help of JLL's Robert Best.

We're doing this in Puerto Rico, as is Chicago and every other urban area, because cities matter. They matter to the climate struggle perhaps more than any other single source of emissions and resource depletion, since about 80% of all carbon hails from the world's cities.

The critical contribution Chicago is making, and we hope Puerto Rico will make, is speed. Raw speed. Radical urgency. Big ambition. At the +WeMeanBusiness Coalition, they're calling it the Breakthrough Challenge, a phrase coined by sustainability extraordinaire +John Elkington in his co-authored book by the same name: 

The thinking is simple: despite everything done on sustainability to date, all the renewables and corporate platforms, all the transit apps and neighborhood redevelopments, emissions are still rising. So given the little time we have left before the worst of climate change becomes irreversible and reversing course becomes impossible, we must abandon green-business-as-usual and adopt bold, breakthrough climate action.

That means accelerating solutions, including everything being done now and then some, at unprecedented speed and scale in cities everywhere. In my own book-in-progress, I call it hypergreening 

It is precisely why we wish to set up what Aleen calls an EcoSister City relationship with my former home town -- because if we can inspire others to move at the utmost speed and scale, just like Chicago is inspiring us, we may give ourselves a fighting chance at saving the planet from climate catastrophe, and in the process, reward ourselves and future generations with urban spaces and choices far more livable and uplifting than today's.

Indeed, it is the ONLY chance we have as a human race. We HAVE to get cities right, and that means getting neighborhoods right, since the former is merely a collection of the latter. Where people want to live. Where we want companies to set up shop.

What about you and your city? Are you engaged? How is your neighborhood doing?

#climatechange   #carbon   #sustainability   #globalwarming   #Chicago   #PuertoRico   #sustainablecities  
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I've lived here in Chicago for over 20 years. 3 months out of the year it's the most beautiful city on Earth.
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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)

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The only question now is: How FAST!

How fast can this scale. How fast can we roll it out to homes and buildings everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE, because that's where it's needed. In every corner of the planet.

Check out the Powerwall here:

#carbon   #climate   #climatechange   #sustainability   #energy   #energyefficiency  
Tesla's new batteries for home and utility storage are "the missing piece" in Elon Musk's solar and electric car future.
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+Barry Heaven The lack of economics training may actually be an advantage, as orthodox economics (in which I'm trained / indoctrinated) almost wholly fails to recognize this conflict.
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Nice short case study

Pass it on: how one scientist went from denial to belief.
Listen to Climate Connections episodes free, on demand. Yale Climate Connections takes a solutions-based approach to climate change and its impacts, with a focus on actions being taken by individuals and entities to help reduce associated risks. Listen to over 25,000 radio shows, podcasts and live radio stations for free on your iPhone, iPad, Android and PC. Discover the best of news, entertainment, comedy, sports and talk radio on demand with St...
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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)

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Don't forget the other side of the coin

With so much attention going to carbon emissions and energy as focal points in the struggle against climate change, we mustn't take our eyes and minds off the equally important battle to save the world's resources and biodiversity.

As this fantastic summary-article says, resource preservation and regeneration are vital solutions to avert climate change, but they're life-critical in their own right:

Reminds me of my dear friend Pablo Cruz (pictured), the longtime director of the U.S. Forest Service in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico and chief protector of the El Yunque Rainforest on the island.

His calling in life has become to keep urban pressures from harming the forest more than they already have. His fine team of biologists continually documents the rich biodiversity alive in this amazing habitat and don't tire of educating anyone who will listen on the deep value these resources bring to our lives.

The same can be said of everyone with a similar calling in forests everywhere. And oceans, rivers, lakes and all nature parks and wilderness areas.

The challenge posed by the article has indeed become the next frontier in our crusade to save them all, and with them save humanity, as the author makes clear:

"How do we make this reality understandable, accessible and cool? We have a plethora of conservation organizations, institutes, think tanks, and agencies. They are necessary, but they mostly deal in science and policy, and their jargon is as opaque as carbon gas and methane are invisible. Science and policy are important, but they are tools. What we need is a new kind of vector, a bridge from ideas to inspiration and action."

Culture must be part of this new vector, say the authors and Wild Foundation leaders. So must marketing and the game-changing work communicators can do to trigger this bridge.

The challenge is out. We only have 10-15 years to turn this around, or else. There is zero time to waste.

Marketers and artists of the world, UNITE!!

#climate   #climatechange   #globalwarming   #naturalresources   #sustainability   #greenmarketing   
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"It's becoming part of the consciousness"

Fascinating and accurate cultural take on what's happening here. People are beginning to realize, if still mostly subconsciously, that humanity is in deep trouble if we don't wake up and move quickly.

#climate   #climatechange   #globalwarming   #sustainability   #carbon
Christmas 2014 is over. Now it's back to reality for another 364 days. To start you off, I'd like to examine how our society, most of the year at least, has become obsessed with something...
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Evan Brody, in a decade or two, or maybe three of four, we may have a "runaway earth." Check out the methane hydrates wild card. Its scary.
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Pressure? Yes, but of another kind.

Of everything written on the outcome of Lima COP-20, this one is perhaps the clearest and most succinct.

Read it?

OK, here's the real deal. This peer pressure won't work, the name-and-shame montage under the elegant sounding Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC). Recall the name. We'll certainly be hearing it a lot. It is the world's new climate-change framework, sure to become a more formal agreement a year from now in Paris.

For all the reasons stated in the article, though, it won't get the job done. We're so deep in this hole that it requires far greater ambition and a structure with teeth. But then again, we've known that for some time now. We've known they wouldn't and won't be up to the task. And we know why.

We also know the rest of us can't simply leave it up to them. We MUST move on our own fronts, as so many already are, and that includes another brand of pressure altogether.

You know what surface tension is, the molecular pressure that keeps an item attached to a surface. The classic example is a drop of water on top of a table. As the table is tilted, the drop hangs on for dear life, not yet rolling down, until the tilt becomes too slanted and the molecules can no longer adhere. The drop then rolls down. Rapidly.

We're currently witnessing the exact same thing in the world's climate crisis. The people are tilting the table. Pressure is building from below. The powers that be are resisting and trying hard to hold on. But it's only a matter of time, only a matter of how quickly we can create a slope steep enough to loosen and break their grip.

And then their emissions will tumble like the falling drop. Rapidly. Suddenly. A social tipping point will be upon us, and today's majority opinion in favor of climate action -- at home, at work and in government -- will finally become voter pressure for the laws we've been waiting for, consumer pressure for sustainable brands to become bestselling goods and services, and peer pressure amongst ourselves to spread the magic of a simpler, low-carbon lifestyle.

THAT's the pressure that will solve climate change, provided we'll still be on time. If the INDC is all our leaders can do, well that will be all they can do. The rest is up to us.

The rest is up to YOU.

#climatechange   #LimaCOP20   #sustainability   #globalwarming   #carbon  
The agreement reached in Lima, Peru, would be a breakthrough in 20 years of efforts to create a global warming accord, but it falls short of what scientists say is needed.
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La voluntad de ser líder

COP20 volvió a decepcionar, como todas estas conferencias climáticas suelen hacer. La utilidad del proceso se ha reducido al margen de las cosas, ante la urgencia abrumadora de la crisis que nuestros líderes no tienen la capacidad de enfrentar como adultos, precisamente el llamado que hace este caballero en un pasillo en Lima (foto).

Dicho eso, hay que admitir a la vez que esto no es nada fácil. Basta con mirar el ejemplo de nuestros países latinoamericanos, tal como destaca el reportaje abajo de +The Guardian. El Brasil de Lula logró unos avances que Dilma ahora retrocede, pero ella entonces encamina unos acuerdos prometedores. El grupo de los seis países que forman AILAC mostraron en Lima el liderato que todos esperábamos, pero algunos de ellos, particularmente el país sede del Perú, traicionan en sus propias políticas nacionales.

Es así en el resto del planeta, con políticos, empresarios y hasta las mismas ONGs que pretenden ser más rectas. La hipocresía se ha convertido en parte de la lucha -- algo irónico, como una comedia trágica de Shakespeare, llena de personajes muy complicados.

Pero dentro de todo, vale destacar el nuevo liderato, las nuevas voces de acción y esperanza, que podemos ver en América Latina. AILAC tendrá sus contradicciones, pero es sin equivocación un esfuerzo genuino de girar la marcha hacia una dirección más refrescante y efectiva. Brasil y México, los dos colosos de la región, empujan a las grandes potencias a moverse más de lo que de otra forma harían. Costa Rica es...pues Costa Rica, el gran ejemplo. Uruguay y Colombia emergen con movimientos importantísimos.

Nuestras empresas se unen, también, aunque hay que decir que no tanto como reclama el momento. Esta es hoy la gran oportunidad que tienen ellas y que tenemos los que podemos influir sobre ellas.

Precisamente por las paradojas inherentes al proceso de gobernar y de acordar pactos globales, ya no podemos contar con los políticos para imponer soluciones desde arriba. La UNICA esperanza ahora son las empresas y su capacidad de innovar y llevar al mercado a gran escala las marcas y soluciones que reduzcan dramáticamente la huella de carbono de todo comprador de esos bienes y servicios, sean ellos consumidores particulares, las mismas empresas en sus gestiones de compra y suministro, los gobiernos y otras instituciones.

Hablamos de soluciones energéticas renovables, abastos y eficiencias de agua, transporte urbano, edificios verdes, agricultura orgánica de alto rendimiento, todo tipo de producto de consumo: jabón y detergente, electrónicos y juguetería, ropa y accesorios, muebles y decorativos -- en fin, TODO, tanto el producto final como el ciclo de producción completo y el comercio justo y circular que lo trae al mercado, así como la promoción de una vida muchísimo más sencilla, solidaria y en comunidad que precisa de MENOS cosas materiales para ser feliz. Ayer mismo publiqué aquí un post sobre las soluciones de vanguardia que recopila y presenta la organización Sustania:

Repito: ESTA es nuestra gran oportunidad y el momento es AHORA. La providencia magnífica que tenemos es que esta nueva forma de producir, consumir y vivir es absolutamente SUPERIOR a la presente y totalmente consistente con el objetivo de reducir la pobreza en nuestros pueblos.

La sostenibilidad ahorra dinero, mejora la salud y nos colma de grandes conveniencias cotidianas. Las empresas por su parte se abren al crecimiento fantástico de estos bienes y servicios verdes en un mercado globalizado que superará los 10 billones de consumidores. La oportunidad es histórica, verdaderamente sin precedente.

La única pregunta es: ¿Quiénes serán las empresas líderes? ¿Quiénes harán las apuestas e inversiones en esta nueva economía? ¿Quiénes tendrán la visión y la voluntad?

La Comisión Global que preside Felipe Calderón lanzó el reto en agosto, mediante el estudio y plan de acción llamado The New Climate Economy que nos presenta las oportunidades con una claridad esperanzadora. Debe ser documento de trabajo de toda junta directiva en América Latina y toda región del planeta. No cubre todas las áreas, pero es un comienzo estupendo.

Nadie sabe si lo vamos a lograr a tiempo, porque tiempo no queda mucho. Lo que sí sabemos es que no lo vamos a lograr si no nos movemos con el más alto sentido de inteligencia y URGENCIA. Sí sabemos que no lo vamos a lograr si esperamos que lo hagan los políticos. Por lo tanto, sí sabemos que la única forma de lograrlo es esta Nueva Economía y que ella está enteramente en NUESTRAS manos, no la de los gobernantes.

Está en nuestros productos, marcas y soluciones, en la forma de producirlas y distribuirlas, en cuán asertivamente convenzamos a nuestros públicos a que las compren y cambien su conducta, desplegando las más avanzadas tendencias de comunicación y los más amplios e inspiradores movimientos e iniciativas de comunidad y solidaridad.

Ese es nuestro desafío, mis amigos. Vamos. Let's do it!!!!!

#sostenibilidad   #sustentabilidad   #cambioclimatico   #sustania    #LimaCOP20   #sustainability   #globalwarming   #energiaverde  
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Regional powers like Brazil and Peru see themselves as key facilitators for Paris deal, but critics say they should also take bold action on emissions domestically
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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)

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So how do we feel about this?

At some point, we have to read and reread this article, this mother of all messages, and answer that question. How DO we feel about this?

Because the author is so right. Everything we know about human beings suggests we as a people will not take the steps needed to escape catastrophe, which is due to begin in earnest near mid-century and escalate to uninhabitable degrees by century's end.

It is, as the article posits, POSSIBLE to fall short of 2C, but only if we act in such a manner and change behavior at such speed and scale as has NEVER occurred in human history.

The thing is, that is not to say it can't happen this one first time. There is a first time for everything, we're told since we're five. Everything is possible if you put your mind to it. The ultimate resource is human ingenuity. Etc., etc. Yes, we know. And in this instance, we already have the means to avoid 2C. If we put our minds to it, technically we CAN get it done.

So the challenge is to turn technical possibility into historic, unprecedented reality. Is there still hope? Of course. We just have to move like never before.

I'm in. Are you?

Let's do this.

#climatechange   #climate   #sustainability   #globalwarming   #carbon  
It's still "possible" to avoid horribly grim outcomes, but ... not likely.
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Great news. Now we wait. And act.

Yes, it is the best of news, for energy-related emissions to have stabilized in a year (2014) of global growth. So the rush to efficiency and renewables is working.

Or is it? It is certainly part of the explanation, but we have to wait for a more complete picture. First, the mid-year revision of this data. Second, further signposts that will tell us if this is a one-year phenom or the start of a long-term planet-saving trend.

Were it to be the latter, it would mean we're off to the races. This just covers energy-related emissions. There are others, of course, plus biodiversity data. But clearly, to go from a 5% rise in emissions to a flattening of the curve not only reaffirms that we're taking positive steps, but emboldens those and many other steps.

More importantly, it tells those who may be standing on the sidelines unsure what to make of climate change that they, too, can contribute if they choose to get in on the act.

And then progress can become exponential. Maybe, just maybe, the action curve will then pass the much-awaited tipping point, the point beyond which action becomes a force so powerful and widespread that it overwhelms the most persistent effort to deny or block, and converts the most passive citizen, company and government into an agent of change.

Because we must never rest on our laurels. Stabilization is but the first step in a multi-decade march to save the planet. To halt the rise of emissions does not mean we've STOPPED emissions. We're still emitting at climate-busting levels. The longer-term and frankly far more daunting challenge is to REDUCE emissions -- by 5%-10% per year for the next 30-40 years.

And for that, it won't be enough for the remaining 500-or-so gigaton carbon budget to remain buried underground. We must convert the world's systems and lifestyles with unprecedented depth, commitment and urgency.

For that to happen, the world's New Climate Economy must be turbo charged. Climate-saving policies, suppliers, brands and deals of all kinds MUST become the order of the day, the headline grabbers in CNN and the Wall Street Journal -- the business that transforms every corner of the planet.

Everyone's celebrating that we may have halted emissions while continuing to grow our economies. The far bigger question, for which we have yet no clear answer, is whether we can sustain growth and development while slashing emissions that dramatically for such an extended period of time.

For if we don't, were we to fail THAT challenge, today's stabilization news will be but a positive footnote in an otherwise nasty story.

#climate   #climatechange   #sustainability   #globalwarming   #carbon  
This story originally appeared on Climate Central. Solar, wind and other renewables are making such a big difference in greenhouse gas emissions worldwide that global emissions from the energy sector flatlined during a time of economic growth for ...
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Gas prices were the driver renewables didn't contribute much to total generation.
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Let's break through

Last week's relaunch of The B Team offers the world a uniquely compelling proposition. Can we take the group's focus on big business and turn it into a powerful movement to finally and massively convert small and midsize companies (SMCs) to sustainability? And cities? And districts within cities?

Most of the action on green has thus far been taken by large enterprises and certain state, city and national governments. Largely absent has been the segment that easily represents the bulk of most local economies around the world, as this recent +The Guardian article attests:

Tragically, for all their noise, neither large companies nor governments are yet breaking through to the degree of ambition desperately needed to save humanity from 4C-6C by century's end. And if #LimaCOP20  is any indication -- and it most certainly is! -- we KNOW #ParisCOP21  will keep us horribly short. To most, Paris has become THE hope for mankind, and any gain achieved there in December will be welcome news, not the least because it will likely spark hopeful action on multiple fronts. But let's not kid ourselves; COP21 will NOT get the job done. It alone will not avert 2C.

So SMC conversion is a front we simply cannot afford to leave out of the equation. We don't stand a prayer of SOLVING the crisis without SMCs, and I have yet to see a concerted effort to bring SMC change agents in at the speed and global scale needed.

That's where I see the grand potential of The B Team and its 10-point Plan B. Plan A, say the group's founders, is green-business-as-usual. The "B" in its Plan, by contrast, is for Breakthrough, the group having adopted the Breakthrough Capitalism agenda of one of its original mentors and founders, +John Elkington, known widely as one of the movement's elders and pioneers and today the Executive Chairman of the London-based firm, Volans, that delivers Breakthrough as a service:

Volans caters to big business, though the Breakthrough agenda it and The B Team promote is easily adoptable by any visionary SMC. Volans even holds Breakthrough labs and events for cities, something we can presumably expect Team B to get into, as well.

One thing is certain: the Breakthrough agenda is THE agenda for a future free of devastating climate change and resource depletion, particularly when combined with the New Climate Economy launched by the Global Commission last summer  

Breakthrough is about about catapulting to a whole new level of sustainability, one driven by profound internal and societal systems change to achieve zero impact.

Elkington is the first to say that the number of large companies and cities today that fully get Breakthrough and are implementing it effectively can hardly be counted with one hand. And he is also the first to say we have just now begun what is likely the final decade we have, 2015-2025, to get EVERYONE on Breakthrough mode, or else.

Three years ago, I wrote this G+ post where he asserted 2012-2022 as the decade we couldn't get wrong:

I don't know how much longer we have to keep moving the Decisive Decade Goalpost, but the science is clearly telling us he may very well be right this time around. The remaining carbon budget will be history, and we with it, unless we move at Breakthrough speed NOW, so that we may get to Zero and become contagious change agents by 2025. The idea is not to WAIT until 2025, but rather to act TODAY so we can save this thing between now and then.

What I love about Team B is that its leaders have issued an open invitation to ANY company that wants to join, embrace the 10-point Plan B, move toward Breakthrough and become the cutting-edge leaders of tomorrow. To stretch our goals and become Breakthrough Companies, as it were.

That includes SMCs, and so exciting do I find these possibilities that I've decided to incorporate Plan B into my own work agenda, essentially to extend the invitation to as many SMCs, districts and cities as I can reach in NorAm and LatAm, the region I can more easily cover. I encourage ALL of you to do the same wherever you are.

In the case of SMCs, stretch goals can coalesce around three basket categories: 1) Operations, particularly culture and radical resource efficiency to get to Zero impact -- in carbon, water, waste, forests, species, oceans, minerals and the like -- 2) Revenues, which entails turning their green products and brands into market disruptors -- insurgents that dethrone unsustainable incumbents in every corner of the planet -- and 3) Social, or going significantly beyond operations and collaborating with every possible stakeholder to move the rest of society toward Breakthrough.

As Unilever CEO and B Team leader Paul Polman (pictured) has become fond of saying, no business can succeed if society fails, and we have to agree with him when he says society WILL fail if we don't take this battle to a whole new level. It behooves everyone, including the world's SMCs.

This is an opportunity to, as Elkington says, help others achieve the far higher FQ we collectively need to save the planet. That's short for Future Quotient. There is IQ (rational and intellectual intelligence), EQ (emotional intelligence) and now FQ:

Unless we move toward Breakthrough FQ and adopt this new way of looking at businesses, neighborhoods and cities, I fear we will remain stuck in a less evolved (not to say outright dumb, clearly not very intelligent) understanding of what it takes for our companies and species to survive and thrive in the decades to come.

So what do you say? The scale of change is monumental, and we have zero time to waste. Find your place in this space, and let's get going.

#climatechange   #climate   #carbon   #greeneconomy   #globalwarming   #sustainability  
Geneva, 5th February, 2015 – Today, Leaders of The B Team running some of the world’s largest companies, called upon world leaders to commit to a global goal of net-zero greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 – and urged business leaders to match this ambition by committing to bold long-term targets. The B Team’s ambition builds on recent talks …
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excelente....!pendiente una conversación Alex Diaz
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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)

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Rather limited vision, don't you think?

Activism is good. Always has been. Lots of wins through the centuries. Today's climate activism is no exception.

But as I read leading activists outline their 2015 priorities in this story, I can't help but think how limited the entire concept of activism has become, or perhaps has always been. This variety is synonymous with protest and combativeness: the folks who block coal plants and neighborhood fracking, or lobby lawmakers and lead voter registration drives to knock out the rascals, or as has suddenly become fashionable, recruit diverse communities to join these and other such efforts.

Again, absolutely nothing wrong with that. I've joined many a protest and combative effort over the years myself. Those trenches are vital to achieve the objectives we all share.

There are other trenches, though, that can just as well be labeled activism: the mid-level manager or high-level board member at some company fighting the good fight from within, or the teacher trying hard to persuade the curriculum board to teach climate science, or the friend who talks his/her buddies into changing their behavior, and let's not forget the army of greenpreneurs, marketers and consultants who change behavior through the sustainable products and services they market and sell.

They're all "active" as well. They're just not protesting or adopting a combative approach, but rather a collaborative one driven by persuasion, marketing and softer, friendly brands of pressure.

To all of you on those fronts, consider yourselves activists, too. We're all part of the exact same team, only focused as we should be on different priorities. News media being what it is, the protesters capture the most attention. So perhaps those activists, the ones addressed in this article, should be called combatives and the other activists called persuaders.

Is this a fruitless game of semantics? I don't think so. Semantics are important. They play on the mind and can help motivate and unite. Words are powerful. As is activism.

In all of its varieties.

#climate   #climatechange   #sustainability   #globalwarming  
We quizzed more than a dozen leaders and thinkers about priorities for this coming year, and this is what they had to say.
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Well said, Alex. Everyone can be an activis in her or his own way.
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Alex Diaz (alexdiazeco)

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It's about time!

As the President said today, this is the right thing to do.

Hail to the Pope!

#Cuba   #Pope   #Obama  
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Green content marketing to place sustainability on hyperspeed
Thanks for your visit. This G+ page is dedicated to the indispensable fight against climate change and resource depletion. If you're interested, please peruse the posts, and let's add each other to our circles. 

Better yet, let's engage in online and offline activities and collaborate to write the stories and launch the initiatives that will ACCELERATE solutions and give humanity a chance. I believe profoundly in the power of the word, particularly when joined by images and film -- words with drama, words with punch, words with passion. They have always inspired crowds and moved mountains, and given the depth of today's climate crisis, we need the right words written and shared...more than any time that came before.

If you're a company or agency in your own climate crusade, let's talk about your sustainability content marketing. Let's write and spread the kind of compelling storytelling that has become the heart of digital marketing today -- articles, images and videos so captivating that people will love to share them widely across their networks. Visit my Linkedin page and ecoWords site in the links below and let's get in touch.

I also believe profoundly in the power of brands and projects. There is so much going on right now around the world to change the world, but if we know one thing above all else, it is that the sum of it all will not keep temperatures from rising past 2 degrees Celsius in the 10-15 years that remain to get the job done. Another notch beckons, a hyperspeed dimension, if you will, focused on replacing all things unsustainable with sustainable alternatives in every neighborhood across the planet. We simply HAVE to step it up, and we have to step it up NOW.

One neighborhood-level solution I'm thrilled to be involved with is Footprint Zero (Huella Cero in Spanish). Led by the Green Building Council's U.S. Caribbean Chapter, it seeks precisely the scale and speed this moment calls for, and uses the amazing LEED Neighborhood standard to trigger the change needed. Extremely exciting, innovative and game-changing.

Whenever I'm not busy working, blogging, googling, running, biking, traveling, coffeeing or familying, I'm also hard at work contributing to this big change -- and contemplating the consequences if we don't make it -- through the writing of The Hypergreen Neighborhood, my first book, because it's no longer "what" but rather "where" and "how fast."

So, welcome once more, and I hope to see you down the (G+) stream.
Green Content Marketing
The juncture of dramatic storytelling and passion-stirring marketing, a hybrid combination at the heart of the new digital marketing, because to get digital right, marketers must now also be journalists.
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    After three years in business journalism (second time around) and more than a decade in the local sustainability and marketing/pr trenches, I engaged various clients and partners throughout 2014 in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico across a range of writing assignments and stakeholder initiatives to combat climate change and promote the island in global markets. As 2015 began and my work on those local initiatives expired, I shifted my energies to the launch of ecoWords and its focus on sustainability and storytelling at a broader global level, as well as my work with the U.S. Caribbean Chapter of the Green Building Council to develop and roll out Footprint Zero and bring change to neighborhoods at fantastic speed and scale.
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