June 15, 2011

Challenges to the environmental network

kiwanjaEarlier this month a group of environmental experts, activists and scientists gathered in Aspen, Colorado, for the 2011 Aspen Environment Forum. Solving – and communicating – the challenges facing the planet was top of the agenda, and I was invited to sit on a panel that focused on the use of social media.

There was increasing interest in social media given events this year in the Middle East. According to the forum website, “Recent social movements in North Africa and the Middle East have shown the power of social media and mobile devices to accelerate change at the grassroots level. What lessons does that experience hold for the environmental movement? Can Facebook and Twitter somehow catalyze an environmental revolution as well – and is it happening already?”

You can watch the one-hour discussion above. The panel was made up of:

Ken Banks, Founder of kiwanja.net/FrontlineSMS and a partner in Socialbrite

William Powers, prize-winning writer and author of the New York Times best-seller “Hamlets BlackBerry: Building a Good Life in the Digital Age”

Courtney Hight, Co-Director of Energy Action Coalition and Power Shift

Charles Porch, who heads up Facebook’s efforts to help non-profits use the platform

Ned Breslin, CEO of Water for the People

The 2011 Aspen Environment Forum is presented by the Aspen Institute in partnership with National Geographic and provides a critical framework for committed voices to address a significant milestone: a global population of 7 billion and how to reconcile Earth’s finite resources with its ability to sustain our expanding human needs. I hope you’ll pitch in your thoughts.

April 18, 2011

Sustainability starts at the local level

 

How the Office Sustainability is helping Miami go green

sustainatopia-logo JD LasicaAt Sustainatopia the other day, Angela Sager, an Energy Management Specialist in the Office of Sustainability at Miami-Dade County, describes how her office works with companies devoted to energy efficiency, renewable energy and community energy campaigns.

green-bicyclingWhile the federal government may be at the forefront of funding innovative programs that will take us to our shared energy future, it’s the programs at the local level that will get us there. Miami’s Office of Sustainability, for example, is administering a $12.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and is welcoming enterprises that are demonstrating innovative approaches to energy.

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo

Miami-Dade recently unveiled a very cool site, green.miamidade.gov, which highlights green businesses, showcases best-of-breed projects and offers sustainability tips and rebates for some simple high-efficiency changes in the home.

Angela describes how her office is working on private-public partnerships to develop relationships to grow the market in south Florida for renewable energy or renewable fuels.

Related

Outtakes from Sustainatopia (Socialbrite)

Fighting poverty by enhancing social entrepreneurship (Socialbrite)

August 24, 2009

Mokugift: Plant a tree for $1 to fight global warming

By Katrina Heppler, envisionGOOD.tv
and JD Lasica, Socialbrite

Last week, guests at the Digital Summer event in San Francisco “planted” 940 trees in Honduras with the help of partner Mokugift. Co-founder Hans Chung (whom we met at two previous awareness2action events) was in attendance, showing off on his laptop the site’s global reach: You can plant trees in Central America, Africa, Asia — countries such as Belize, Haiti, Nicaragua, India, Cameroon, Ethiopia — for a donation of just $1 per tree. Since the site’s launch, more than 75,000 trees have been planted.

treestandWe have a long way to go: Through its Billion Tree Campaign, the United Nations Environment Programme is calling on citizens globally to plant 7 billion trees. That’s one tree per person. As the site says, “Ordinary people can fight global warming.”

UNEP has partnered with Mokugift to make it easy for everyone to plant a tree. You can help spread the word through social media, including embeddable widgets like the one below. Mokugift tracks how your inspiration spreads from one friend to another friend, and to subsequent friends (3 degrees). You can see the total number of people you inspired and the total number of trees planted by them. For every 10 trees planted by people inspired by you (all 3 degrees), you will get a free tree.

As the site points out, “Sharing the inspiration with your friends is as important as planting a tree yourself.”

Katrina recently caught up with Hans at a cafe in San Francisco’s Union Square. In the video above, hear what Hans has to say about Mokugift and the UN program.

Remember, it costs only $1!


Plant a Tree

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August 6, 2009

How the National Wildlife Federation uses social media

National Wildlife Federation from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaRecently I had the chance to sit down with Danielle Brigida, social media outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, the enormously important nonprofit organization that inspires Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. They do that by combating global warming, protecting wildlife and wildlife habitats and connecting people with nature.

NWF (which is not a government agency, as some think) has been a leader in the use of social media over the past year, and a major reason for that has been Danielle’s work within the organization as well as outside, interacting with supporters and putting a human face on the institution.

“We have a new wave of members and donors coming in — people who want to get their hands dirty,” Danielle says in this 6-minute video interview conducted along a busy street in Berkeley, Calif. “Social media is a great way to start the conversation — and then you have to take it offline. You’re not having a big giant brand tell you what to do anymore. All of our members have a say in what we do.” Many of NWF’s program managers are using Twitter to connect with people and to use it as a sort of instant focus group.

Continue reading

April 22, 2009

Carbon footprints, nation by nation

Breathing Earth

kiwanjaJust in time for Earth Day: the site Breathing Earth, which is described as a “real-time simulation which displays CO2 emissions from every country in the world, as well as their birth and death rates.” The data used comes from reputable sources, although the site admits that a simulation on this scale can never be 100% accurate. Worryingly, they note that the CO2 emission levels shown are much more likely to be too low than too high. Yikes.

This is a fascinating site, and one which throws up numbers on a scale large enough to scare the best of us. Since I started writing this brief blog post, for example, the world population has risen by over 2,000 and total CO2 emissions have exceeded an incredible 760,000 tons. The United States alone was responsible for approximately 175,000 of that.

If you ever need reminding of the relentless march of global population growth, and the increasing impact that our growing numbers are having on the planet, there can’t be many sites better than this.

This entry originally appeared at Kiwanja.net.