Call To Green Action

When the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), was signed into law by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, California became the first state in the nation to address the issue of Climate Change. California will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 statewide by the use of alternative energy; biofuels; hybrid vehicles and the nation’s first-ever emission trading program called Cap & Trade. When AB 32 became law, the state made a commitment to ensure that low-income and minority communities are engaged in California’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis. However, the state has yet to take action to that end.

Under the Cap & Trade provision of AB32 California will hold the first greenhouse gas emission auction in November of 2012. The proceeds from this auction are expected to range between $500 million to $1 billion. By law, the proceeds from this auction can only be used for those programs that address Climate Change.
As a part of its Green Initiative, the California Black Chamber of Commerce is supporting legislation by the Speaker of the Assembly John Perez with AB 1532 ; Senator Fran Pavley with SB 1572 and Senator Kevin deLeon with SB 535 to allocate funding from the proceeds from the Cap & Trade auction that will assure that California keeps its commitment to engage and protect disadvantaged communities by programs that include: local green job creation; green job education for youth and veterans; energy efficiency upgrades; health studies in climate change impacted communities; urban greening.

The California Black Chamber of Commerce urges you to write; fax and email your local legislators to support AB1532 (Perez); SB 1572 (Pavley) and SB 535 (deLeon) to assure that California keeps its commitment to provide resources from the Cap & Trade auction for disadvantaged communities statewide.
For more information about this and other CBCC Green Initiative go to: http://calbcc.org/blog/about-the-chamber-foundation/programs/energy-the-environment or contact the California Black Chamber of Commerce at: cbbc@calbcc.org and (916) 463-0177

Remember: you can make it happen; watch it happen or you will wonder “what happened?”

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THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO “HMMM”

As a host of a weekly radio and a public speaker, I like to shake up my audience’s pre-conceived notions about various subjects.  Bring up Republican and environmental in the same sentence and people think you are stating an oxy-moron like: military intelligence; bureaucratic solution or clean coal.  There is this perception that conservatives are anti-environment. Of course recent talk by Republican candidate Newt Gingrich about shutting down the U.S. EPA when he ran for President or Meg Whitman when she ran for California Governor eliminating AB 32 (California’s Climate Change Policy) added fuel to that perspective.

Well, it looks like I have arrived just in time for a bit of an environmental history lesson. Hold on to your earth shoes…most of the significant federal and state environmental laws were produced in Republican administrations or by Republican legislators!  Do you remember who signed the U.S. EPA in being?  It was Republican President Richard Nixon in 1970!  For good measure he also signed the Clean Air Act (amid a lot of hollering and screaming form industry) into law that same year.  In 1972, he signed the Clean Watergate I mean Clean Water Act into being    For the first time, America would stop the dumping of chemical and hazardous wastes into our oceans, streams and rivers. His Republican compadre in California, Governor Ronald Reagan (the first of two actors that became a California Governor) was signing the California Hazardous Waste Control Act, thrusting California as a national leader in environmental protection.  The man who became President when Nixon resigned, Gerald Ford signed the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA or as I like to call it “the lawyers and consultants life-time employment act”); the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 1976.  These landmark acts caused industry to manage hazardous and toxic wastes from cradle to grave.  While in California (the wild, wild west) in 1976 Republican Assemblyman Jerry Lewis created the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) the most beloved governmental agency this side of the IRS. Serious steps would be taken to improve the air quality in southern California.

Ronald Reagan won one for the Gipper when he took the demotion from California Governor to become U.S. President and signed the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act (CERCLA….aka sue who?) in 1981; the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments in 1984; the Superfund Amendment and Re-authorization Act (SARA…who was no lady) in 1986.  Reagan’s Republican replacement in California, George Deukmejian was Governor when California voters approved Prop 65 – The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (or as I call it “the sign and label makers full-time employment act”) in 1986.  Also in 1986 Governor Deukmejian signed the Tanner Act (a waste is a terrible thing to mind) into law making California counties inventory and monitor their hazardous waste disposal. Reagan’s Republican replacement in DC, President George (not dubya) Bush signed the Clean Air Act Amendment in 1990 amid of a more hollering and screaming from industry.  A year later in 1991 California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) was created by Governor Pete Wilson.  Later in 1991 the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) began. These moves solidified California’s position as national environmental leader.

We fast forward to 2006, when the second Hollywood actor to become a California Governor, Arnold (the Govenator) Schwarzenegger signed the Global Warming Solutions Act into law to rollback California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels. This law was and still is the most ambitious regulation since Prohibition.  A few years later in 2008, the Govenator signed the Green Chemistry Initiative into law to provide safe consumer products in California.  These laws thrust California into the position as the global environmental policy leader.

Did these conservatives enact environmental laws to save the bald eagles; the kangaroo rat; the polar bear on the shrinking ice float or the rain forests?   Probably not.  The reason is that a sustainable economy makes a sustainable society and these laws made good sustainable business sense and created jobs.  Who knows maybe the environmental protection was just an unintended benefit!

The author Leonard Robinson, has over 35 years experience in environmental management.  He is a consultant; free-lance writer; former Gubernatorial appointee and hosts a weekly radio show in Sacramento called “Going Green With EnviroBro”.

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GREEN & SEXY

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel” – Maya Angelou

“Green & Sexy”? Sounds like the two words are polar opposites. I use the tagline “Green & Sexy” on my radio show. Although more and more people are being enlightened on green, the image a lot of people have is that of a thin vegetarian with a pissed-off facial expression in earth shoes hugging a tree. On my weekly radio show, I try to change the pre-conceived notion of “green”. For example, I am a carnivore that loves the environment and loves to laugh. I want the beef; pork; poultry; lamb; fish that I eat to be free of toxins. I don’t want pharmaceuticals in my food either. I will get my medication from Rite Aid, not my beef! I believe that we need to: address Climate Change; use alternative and renewable energy sources; do more reuse, reduce and recycle when it comes to avoiding the use of landfills. It is “sexy” to be “green” !
Before you jump to conclusions, by sexy I mean:

  • Desirable
  •  Stimulating
  •  Humorous
  •  Suggestive
  •  Move To Action

Beer commercials use “sexy” innuendo all the time. They would have you believe that by consuming their products, you become the Marketing101life of the party – or- the most interesting man in the world – or you get to keep your man card. When in actuality what you can get is a: hangover; beer gut; arrested for drunk driving if you consume too much. Women are not immune either. By using certain beauty products they infer that you will look like Beyonce; become the next Elizabeth Taylor; or oiled well-muscled men will carry you to and fro. When in actuality, women’s beauty products are the most toxic consumer products. Car insurance commercials make you laugh; mesmerize you with a deep baritone voice; amuse you with a lizard with an authoritative accent or compare themselves to being a good neighbor all the way to you signing the dotted line. While the reality is that they are betting you a large sum of money that you won’t get in a serious accident and you are holding the line by betting a small monthly fee that you will. Everyone loves and desires that new car smell. In reality that scent is the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the degassing of the insulation and carpeting in the new car.

On the surface being energy efficient; driving a hybrid car; recycling; composting and lowering your carbon foot print are not “sexy” to most. In fact there is a perception that being green is more costly; time consuming and boring. In reality the opposite is true. However, people’s perception is their reality and the more data you present that challenges their beliefs the more entrenched they become in them. Two of the six emotional needs of humans (another story for another time) are significance and connection. Law 13 of the 48 Laws of Power by author Robert Greene states “When Asking for Help, Appeal to People’s Self-Interest, Never to their Mercy or Gratitude”.

To get the mainstream engaged in the Green Economy, we have to move beyond the conversation of the polar bear on the shrinking ice float or the disappearing rain forest. People may care about those issues; however they do not care enough to make a fundamental change in their lifestyle. The dialogue has to be on the order of “ hey if you go green, you would be: more attractive – or – able find your niche in terms of a job; career or business – or – able to save or make money – or – (dare I say it?) be more sexy!”

During my foray in state government I have heard the term ‘sexy” applied to such mundane things as: policies; regulations and even the budget!! Visualize getting the mainstream to go green to the Bell Curve. The 10-15% champions are out there and need no or very little motivation. You have the 10-15% naysayers who are negative and very loud. In the middle you have a large number who are waiting to be courted; cajoled and convinced. They are asking the basic question: WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) The naysayers are claiming going green is an economic and social Armageddon. The green champions are countering with the polar bear on the ice float; the disappearing rain forest; the endangered species? Is it any wonder green is losing ground? As humans we are either pain-directed or precept-oriented. Most of us will do more to avoid pain than to gain pleasure and the plight of the polar bears; rain forest and endangered species are not painful as unemployment; jobs leaving the state and country; the economy.

It is a known fact that women are more green than men. You want men to go green? Pose an attractive woman next to a hybrid car or recycled product. In a breathless voice have her profess that real men have “small” carbon footprints. Show that the Tesla electric car is a “chick” magnet. For our female consumers, especially the bargain hunters, give better examples how living and buying green can save money. Reframe the green message that will make the mainstream (the large lump in the bell curve) feel “sexy” about being green. Call reusable products environmental heirlooms! Smile when you take about being green. You cannot tell someone that you are earth-friendly with a snarl on your face. Change the guilt trip strategy when trying to convince someone to be green if they don’t do something to a message of all the great thing happen when you go green.

Making the green message sexy means to also make the message culturally and socially relevant. I find it interesting how particular groups always want to ban a particular product as an environmental protective measure for beaches and coastlines. Not only is that practice not very effective, it put economic burden for the replacement products on the inner cities that can hardly afford it. What should be done is that the groups take a holistic and inclusive approach in their message to prevent littering.
Repeat after me “Green AND Sexy!”

The author Leonard Robinson, has over 35 years of experience in environmental management. He is a consultant; free-lance writer; former Gubernatorial appointee and hosts a weekly radio show in Sacramento called “Going Green With EnviroBro”.

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Green Economy 101

The Green Economy is not coming; the Green Economy is here! The Green Economy is an economy where growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution; enhance energy and resource efficiency. Business in the Green Economy will be conducted based on triple bottom-line deliverables: people; planet and profit (also known as the 3Ps). There are those that advocate that we should put Green Economy policy and technology on hold “until we dig ourselves out of the current economic hole”. Well, I believe that the best way to dig ourselves out of a hole is to first stop digging!”  It is this author’s position that the Green Economy will ultimately pull us out the current economic slump. For example, Climate Change policy will help protect the environment and create jobs as well.

Now, my reasons for embracing the Green Economy has little to do with the polar bear on the shrinking ice float and the disappearing rain forests.  My reasons include: the air pollution in the Inland Empire that greatly affected my daughter’s asthma; and our country’s heavy reliance on foreign oil for energy from countries that hate us when we have renewable sources (sun; wind and geothermal) for energy.  Also, as mentioned earlier the job creation potential is irresistible.

The time is now for everyone who is not already engaged to get engaged in the Green Economy.  Not next week…not tomorrow..now!  First and foremost to capitalize on the Green Economy, we must have a grasp of the Green Economy vernacular. Here are a few of the terms to get you started:

Benign by Design – a green chemistry principle of designing product using non-toxic material

Biodegradable: A product which is made of natural, raw materials that will decompose or rot into the earth without having a negative effect on the environment

Biofuel: This refers to all variety of fuels, both gas and liquid, that are derived from biomass–and hence are renewable, as opposed to fossil fuels. For example: wood, ethanol (derived from corn), and the mouthwatering new one, french fry grease

Brownfield – is land previously used for industrial purposes or certain commercial uses that is contaminated by low concentrations of hazardous waste or pollution, and has the potential to be reused once it is cleaned up

Cap and Trade – is an administrative approach used to control pollution in a nation, region, or industry by providing economic incentives for achieving reductions in the emissions of pollutants

Carbon Footprint – is greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly and indirectly by an individual, organization, event or product (see: www.coolcalifornia.org)

Carbon Offset – is a financial instrument aimed at a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. One carbon offset represents the reduction of one metric ton of carbon dioxide or its equivalent in other greenhouse gases

Climate Change – is a change in average global temperatures over time caused by natural events and human activities

Cradle To Cradle – is a method used to minimize the environmental impact of products by employing sustainable production, operation, and disposal practices and aims to incorporate social responsibility into product development

Environmental Justice – is the inequitable environmental burdens borne by groups such as racial minorities, women, residents of economically disadvantaged areas, or residents of developing nations.

Global Warming – is the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century and its projected continuation

Green – means the product or service is created through environmentally and socially conscious means

Green Chemistry – is the design, development, and implementation of chemical products and processes to reduce or eliminate the use and generation of substances hazardous to human health and the environment

Green Collar Jobs – work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and development (R&D), administrative, and service activities that contribute substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality

Greenhouse Gas (GHG) is a gas in an atmosphere that traps heat such as: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone

LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides standards for environmentally sustainable construction

Nanotechnology – is the study of the control of matter on an atomic and molecular scale with structures of the size 100 nanometers or smaller, and involves developing materials or devices within that size.

Renewable Energy – is energy generated from natural resources—such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat

Smart Grid – delivers electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology to save energy, reduce cost and increase reliability and transparency

Sustainability – meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs by: reducing consumption of resources – such as water and energy; better building practices to reduce energy waste; more fuel efficient engines; increasing recycling or the use of recycled materials; protection of forests and soil all over Earth

Like the advent of the internet, the Green Economy is bringing forth new opportunities almost daily. Current businesses across the board from custodial services; day care centers; nail shops; event planners; beauty products to IT services can “green their roll” and capitalize on the Green Economy.  Having a grasp on these terms will give an understanding to figure out the impact of the Green Economy on you; your family and your bottom line.

The author Leonard Robinson, has over 35 years experience in environmental management.  He is a consultant; free-lance writer; former Gubernatorial appointee and hosts a weekly radio show in Sacramento called “Going Green With EnviroBro”.

The author Leonard Robinson, has over 35 years experience in environmental management.  He is a consultant; free-lance writer; former Gubernatorial appointee and hosts a weekly radio show in Sacramento called “Going Green With EnviroBro”.

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