Archive for January 14th, 2011

Department Of Interior Upholds Sovereignty For The California Valley Miwok Tribe

 

 

Department Of Interior Upholds Sovereignty For The California Valley Miwok Tribe

On December 22, 2010, Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk reestablished the government-to-government relationship between the California Valley Miwok Tribe, a federally-recognized tribe, and the United States government. The Assistant Secretary’s decision also recognized the Tribe as an organized entity and reaffirmed the authority of the Tribe’s governing body pursuant to its previously established resolution form of government. The Tribe commends the Assistant Secretary for upholding tribal sovereignty with this decision and for recognizing the inherent right of each federally-recognized Indian tribe to determine its own membership and form of government.

 

Acting as an organized entity and pursuant to its resolution form of government (Resolution #GC-98- 01), on January 7, 2011, the Tribe held a Special General Council meeting in which it elected Silvia Burley as its Chairperson. The Bureau of Indian Affairs recently certified the election results and acknowledged the current members of the Tribal Council as being Chairperson Silvia Burley and Secretary/Treasurer Rashel Reznor.

 

The Tribe is now focused on bringing up to date all tribally based programs and instituting guidelines on enrollment and the establishment of objective membership criteria for which to enroll future perspective tribal members. The Tribe is actively working on developing its enrollment criteria and hopes to have applications for enrollment available in the near future. Once it is finalized, the enrollment application will be available upon written request. The Tribe encourages all interested individuals who believe that they are of Miwok heritage and have an affiliation to the California Valley Miwok Tribe to apply to the Tribe and work within this enrollment process when it is completed. Please contact the Tribal Office for more information: (209) 931-4567

 

Source: Turtle Talk

EPA vetoes Spruce Mine permit

EPA vetoes Spruce Mine permit

Cross-posted from the Charleston Gazette

Word is just coming down that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has vetoed the largest single mountaintop removal permit in West Virginia history.

The move is part of an Obama administration crackdown aimed at reducing the effects of mountaintop removal coal-mining on the environment and on coalfield communities in Appalachian — impacts that scientists are increasingly finding to be pervasive and irreversible.

The final EPA decision document withdrawing the Clean Water Act Section 404 permit is available here.  EPA has also now posted some appendices to that document, including a response to comments.

EPA officials this morning were alerting West Virginia’s congressional delegation to their action, and undoubtedly preparing for a huge backlash from the mining industry and its friends among coalfield political leaders.

In making its decision to veto the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ approval of the 2,300-acre mine proposed for the Blair area of Logan County, EPA noted that it reviewed more than 50,000 public comments and held a major public hearing in West Virginia. EPA officials said their agency is “acting under the law and using the best science available to protect water quality, wildlife and Appalachian communities who rely on clean waters for drinking, fishing and swimming.”

Peter S. Silva, EPA’s assistant administrator for water, said:

The proposed Spruce No. 1 Mine would use destructive and unsustainable mining practices that jeopardize the health of Appalachian communities and clean water on which they depend. Coal and coal mining are part of our nation’s energy future, and EPA has worked with companies to design mining operations that adequately protect our nation’s water. We have responsibility under the law to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.

The agency also said:

EPA’s final determination on the Spruce Mine comes after discussions with the company spanning more than a year failed to produce an agreement that would lead to a significant decrease in impacts to the environment and Appalachian communities. The action prevents the mine from disposing the waste into streams unless the company identifies an alternative mining design that would avoid irreversible damage to water quality and meets the requirements of the law. Despite EPA’s willingness to consider alternatives, Mingo Logan did not offer any new proposed mining configurations in response to EPA’s Recommended Determination.

In addition, EPA argued:

EPA believes that companies can design their operations to make them more sustainable and compliant with the law. Last year, EPA worked closely with a mining company in West Virginia to eliminate nearly 50 percent of their water impacts and reduce contamination while at the same time increasing their coal production. These are the kinds of success stories that can be achieved through collaboration and willingness to reduce the impact on mining pollution on our waters. Those changes helped permanently protect local waters, maximize coal recovery and reduce costs for the operators.

Readers will recall that the Obama EPA began looking more closely at the Spruce Mine in September 2009.  But debate over the proposed operation dates back to the late 1990s, when then-U.S. District Judge Charles H. Haden II issued an injunction that blocked the mine, which then was proposed for more than 3,000 acres. After the Haden ruling, the company reduced the size of its proposal and the operation underwent much more intense scrutiny, in the form of a full-blown Environmental Impact Statement by the Corps of Engineers, which approved the new mining configuration in January 2007.

EPA began the veto process in October 2009 and issued in March 2010 a preliminary determination that the mine would cause unacceptable impacts. EPA held a public hearing in May 2010, and EPA Regional Administrator Shawn Garvin issued the formal recommended veto in October 2010.

In today’s announcement, EPA outlined these concerns that the proposed mining operation would have:

– Disposed of 110 million cubic yards of coal mine waste into streams.

— Buried more than six miles of high-quality streams in Logan County, West Virginia with millions of tons of mining waste from the dynamiting of more than 2,200 acres of mountains and forestlands.

— Buried more than 35,000 feet of high-quality streams under mining waste, which will eliminate all fish, small invertebrates, salamanders, and other wildlife that live in them.

— Polluted downstream waters as a result of burying these streams, which will lead to unhealthy levels of salinity and toxic levels of selenium that turn fresh water into salty water. The resulting waste that then fills valleys and streams can significantly compromise water quality, often causing permanent damage to ecosystems and streams.

— Caused downstream watershed degradation that will kill wildlife, impact birdlife, reduce habitat value, and increase susceptibility to toxic algal blooms.

— Inadequately mitigated for the mine’s environmental impacts by not replacing streams being buried, and attempting to use stormwater ditches as compensation for natural stream losses.

UPDATE: It’s important to clarify this from EPA:

EPA’s decision prohibits five proposed valley fills in two streams, Pigeonroost Branch, and Oldhouse Branch, and their tributaries. Mining activities at the Spruce site are underway in Seng Camp Creek as a result of a prior agreement reached in the active litigation with the Mingo Logan Coal Company. EPA’s Final Determination does not affect current mining in Seng Camp Creek.

EPA also said:

With today’s action, EPA has exercised its Section 404(c) authority only 13 times in its history of the CWA. EPA recognizes the importance of ensuring that its Section 404(c) actions are taken only where environmental impacts are truly unacceptable and will use this authority only where warranted by science and the law.

But, as EPA has said before, none of the previous 12 permit vetoes involved projects that had already been permitted. But there was one instance, in 1978, where EPA rejected major changes proposed in a permit that had already been issued for a landfill in Florida.

Reactions began coming almost immediately after EPA made its announcement.

Joe Lovett, director of the Appalachian Center for the Economy and the Environment, said:

It is a relief after all of these years that at least one agency has shown the will to follow the law and the science by stopping the destruction of Pigeonroost Hollow and Oldhouse Branch.

Today, the EPA has helped to save these beautiful hollows for future generations. Unfortunately, the Spruce Mine’s impacts are not unique. Although we are grateful for the EPA’s action today, EPA must follow through by vetoing the scores of other Corps permits that violate the Clean Water Act and that would allow mountaintop mines to lay waste to our mountains and streams.

The Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition said:

We breathe a huge sigh of relief today and we thank the EPA and the Obama Administration for enforcing the Clean Water Act. We are so pleased that this historic veto of the Spruce No. 1 Mine permit halts the destruction of Pigeon Roost Hollow.

Spruce No. 1 is the only individual permit to have undergone a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The science completely validates what we have been saying for more than a decade: These types of mining operations are destroying our streams and forests and nearby residents’ health, and even driving entire communities to extinction. This type of steep slope coal mining is destroying our cultural heritage and our future.

We will continue our work to halt other illegal permits, both in-progress and pending. These other permits should also be subject to an EIS.

W.Va. Senator Joe Manchin said:

Today’s EPA decision is not just fundamentally wrong, it is an unprecedented act by the federal government that will cost our state and our nation even more jobs during the worst recession in this country’s history.

While the EPA decision hurts West Virginia today, it has negative ramifications for every state in our nation, and I strongly urge every Senator and every Member of Congress to voice their opposition.

The National Mining Association said:

EPA’s veto of an existing, valid permit for the Spruce No. 1 mine threatens the certainty of all Section 404 permits—weakening the trust U.S. businesses and workers need to make investments and secure jobs. The Spruce permit was issued after a robust 10-year review, including an exhaustive Environmental Impact Statement. EPA participated fully in the comprehensive permitting process, and the project has abided by every permit requirement.

EPA has taken this unprecedented action—never before contemplated in the nearly 40 years since the enactment of the Clean Water Act—at a time of great economic uncertainty. NMA urges the administration to step back from this unwarranted action and restore trust in the sanctity of lawfully granted and abided by permits and the jobs and economic activity they support.

Rep. Nick J. Rahall, D-W.Va., issued this statement:

The EPA’s unprecedented action today to veto a previously granted permit for the Spruce No. 1 Mine, though highly disconcerting, is far from surprising; Arch, the miners, the community, and I have been opposing this action for months. This veto reaches well beyond one coal mine; it threatens the economic security of every business that relies upon these Clean Water Act permits and that depends upon a fair and consistent permitting process While this Administration claims that it will not take similar action on any other permit, there is nothing to prevent it, or any future EPA, from reaching back to veto a previously granted permit now that this line has been crossed. The good news, if there is any, may be that by EPA’s finalizing this threatened action, the matter can now be taken before the courts, where I hope it will receive a thorough hearing and expeditious reversal.

Acting Gov. Tomblin issued this statement:

This news is devastating to the Southern Coal Fields and our entire state. The Spruce Number One permit was issued years ago after undergoing a comprehensive permitting process. It is hard to understand how the EPA at this late hour could take such a drastic action. We will continue with all efforts to get this decision reversed. Businesses need stability to succeed. I believe we can mine coal in an environmentally safe manner and I will continue to fight this decision.

UPDATED:

So far, none of the politicians have mentioned the serious questions EPA raised about whether much or most of the coal at this site could have been mined by Arch Coal using less damaging mining plans. We discussed that possibility previously in two Coal Tattoo posts, here and here.

For more on that, turn to page 75 of the EPA Final Determination document, which says, in part:

… The permittee has presented only limited alterations to the permitted project that it believes would likely result in environmental improvements. These proposals included additional compensatory mitigation projects, new mine construction practices, and increased water quality monitoring.

EPA maintains, however, that there appear to be additional practicable alternative project configurations and practices that would significantly reduce and/or avoid anticipated environmental and water quality impacts to Pigeonroost Branch and Oldhouse Branch.

… Mingo Logan Company has expressed a willingness to take some additional steps focusing on best management practices to reduce impacts, but has been consistently unwilling to consider needed actions to further reduce the 35,000 feet of direct impacts to valley fills on headwater streams or to phase valley fill construction in a manner that would allow for effective assessment of, and an adaptive management response to, adverse impacts to wildlife habitat  and anticipated water quality problems.

Updated: Here’s a statement just issued by United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts –

It’s never a good day when hard-working people lose their jobs. The current and future job losses caused as a result of this decision will cause great difficulties for the Spruce mine workers, their families and their local communities.

“Although we do not represent the workers at the Spruce mine, every job is precious in the coalfields and we don’t like to see any lost. It is truly unfortunate that the EPA and the mine operator could not come to an agreement that would allow many of those jobs to be saved.

“As we move forward from this day, we must be about the work of creating good, safe coal jobs in the coalfield communities, not eliminating them. We believe that can be done within a reasonable regulatory framework and with a willingness on the part of government to share

 

http://climatevoices.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/breaking-news-epa-vetoes-spruce-mine-permit/

Protesters invade government office over “Tar Sands” trade deal

 

 

Protesters invade government office over “Tar Sands” trade deal

Cross-posted from No Tar Sands

(a video is available at the original website, ClimateVoices )

On January 14th 2011 a group of protesters invaded the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and demanded a meeting with Stephen Green, the new Minister for Trade. Calling themselves the “Big Society Trade Negotiators”, they were concerned that trade negotiations between the EU and Canada, due to start in Brussels the following Monday, would dramatically boost Europe’s involvement in the Canadian Tar Sands -the most destructive project on earth. They occupied the lobby and conducted a noisy teach-in about trade and the Tar Sands. They only left after the Minister offered them a meeting at a later date.

Unbeknownst to most citizens, the EU and Canada are in the midst of negotiating an ambitious free trade deal (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA) that could open up the European market to imports of carbon-intensive Tar Sands oil for the first time [1]. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the talks is the plan to allow multinational companies like BP and Shell to sue national governments over social and environmental regulations [2]. This is happening despite the increasingly urgent need for governments to crack down on the destructive and dangerous activities of such companies.

British shareholders, NGOs and campaigners have expressed increasing concern over the involvement of UK banks and oil companies in the highly polluting extraction of “dirty oil” from the Tar Sands [3]. Emitting three to five times as much CO2 as conventional oil drilling, the Tar Sands industry is destroying the livelihoods and health of local Indigenous communities and decimating ancient forests and wildlife across an area of Alberta larger than England [4]. The proposed trade deal would increase Europe’s involvement in the project and significantly expand the market for this dirty oil.

There will be another protest in Brussels on Monday 17th January outside the negotiations themselves, involving UK, European and Canadian groups, and Indigenous activists [5].

Jess Worth from the UK Tar Sands Network said: “Stephen Green has been parachuted in by the coalition government as Trade Minister. Completely unelected, this former Chair of HSBC was rapidly handed a seat in the Lords and then began his new job on the 1st of January. Given that HSBC is the world’s 13th largest investor in the Tar Sands, we are concerned that he will put the interests of oil companies and the Tar Sands industry ahead of environmental and social concerns in these, his first major trade negotiations. So the Big Society Trade Negotiators have come to help him make the right decisions.”

Emily Coats, also from the UK Tar Sands Network, added “The CETA trade negotiations between Canada and the EU are in full swing, yet most citizens have never heard of them. Climate scientists have warned that further Tar Sands extraction could lock us into disastrous and unstoppable climate change, but Europe is sleepwalking into major involvement with the project. We’re calling for the talks to be put on hold until there can be proper public scrutiny, and the many social, environmental and Indigenous rights problems can be addressed.”

FULL BRIEFING AVAILABLE HERE Stop Tar Sands Trade Talks!

ENDS

Notes for editors

[1] The CETA negotiations are about halfway through and due to be completed towards the end of 2011. The next round of talks will take place in Brussels next week.

[2] For a full explanation of the problems with CETA, please see “Keep Europe out of the Tar Sands!”, a briefing by Council of Canadians, Indigenous Environmental Network and UK Tar Sands Network, available at http://www.no-tar-sands.org/?page_id=58

[3] The last 18 months have seen a growing number of organisations taking action against British banks and companies with links to the Tar Sands. Both BP and Shell have faced shareholder resolutions over their Tar Sands investments, as well as protests at their offices and petrol stations. The Royal Bank of Scotland has also come under fire for being the 7th largest global investor in the industry, using British taxpayers’ money, and were targeted by the Camp for Climate Action, who camped for a week in the grounds of their global headquarters in Edinburgh last summer. For more information see:

Indigenous Environmental Network: http://www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html

UK Tar Sands Network: http://www.no-tar-sands.org/

FairPensions: http://www.fairpensions.org.uk/tarsands/news

Platform: http://blog.platformlondon.org/category/tags/tar-sands

Camp for Climate Action: http://www.climatecamp.org.uk

[4] For more information on the destructive nature of the Tar Sands, please see:

Indigenous Environmental Network: http://www.ienearth.org/tarsands.html

Dirty Oil Sands: http://dirtyoilsands.org/

UK Tar Sands Network: http://www.no-tar-sands.org/

[5] For more information on the upcoming action contact Suzanne Dhaliwal, UK Tar Sands Network, on tarsandsinfocus@gmail.com or +44 7772694327

 

 

http://climatevoices.wordpress.com/2011/01/14/protesters-invade-government-office-over-tar-sands-trade-deal/

Why Permaculture

Why Permaculture

Energy Descent, Solar Case Study

by Chuck Burr

sopermaculture.org (December 31 2010)

This is the second solar electric home we have had. The first was off the grid at 11,300 feet in Telluride, Colorado with batteries and a backup propane generator. Restoration Farm in Ashland, Oregon is grid-tied and has three tracking arrays. We are net metered with Pacific Power and pay additional power we need beyond what we generate. The farmhouse is heated with a masonry wood-burning stove and the barn loft apartment with propane. One dwelling cooks with electric and the other with propane. Otherwise we do not have large electric draws beyond lighting, refrigeration and computers. System installation cost was $50,000 of which 92 percent was paid for a collection of grants.

Solar Power Generation Deficit

What I am finding is that a solar electric system, despite having three solar arrays does not cover the energy needs of our farm. The chart below {*} shows this year’s actual power use vs what we generated. This chart would be more favorable in the southwest four-corners area of the US where we used to get 300 sunny days per year. But in the Pacific northwest and other parts of the country where we have largely cloudy winters, we use up any surplus generated during the summer and the system runs in a deficit. Note how the green kilowatt hours (“kwh”) generated line only rises above usage for about three plus months. The end of the year is shocking as generation drops off to almost zero and energy use rises just from electric space heat.

{*} See http://www.sopermaculture.org/SOPI/Blog/Entries/2010/12/31_Why_Permaculture__Energy_Decent%2C_Solar_Case_Study.html

Manufacturing Costs Never Recovered

The above discussion even ignores the energy used to manufacture the solar equipment, transport and install it. This indirect energy investments will never be recovered through electric generation surpluses – which is actually a net energy loss. Howard T Odum, in his book A Prosperous Way Down: Principles and Policies (2001), calls this concept of energy analysis which considers all embedded energy costs Emergy with an “m”.

The photo to the right {*} shows the inverters and breaker box required in additional to the solar arrays themselves. All of these components require a tremendous amount of energy to be manufactured in separate plants around the world, then integrated into one system.

Every alternative energy solution is manufactured with fossil fuels. Without fossil fuels there are no alternatives; renewable power is not renewable once fossil fuels are gone. Look at the alternatives as transitions back to what once worked.

Permaculture – Photosynthesis is the Only Answer

David Holmgren, co-originator of Permaculture, notes in his book Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability (2002) that, “It may be that the natural conversion of sunlight to electric charge that occurs in all green plant photosynthesis after one billion years of natural selection may already be the highest net Emergy possible”.

That is the point, nature has spent literally three billion years developing life on earth that must rely solely on local sunlight and ecosystems to store and circulate that captured solar energy. Once we burn the last economically recoverable stores of ancient sunlight, we will be back to living off of current local sunlight.

The Transition Generation

This generation is probably the or one of the last fossil fuel generations. Our children or theirs will be the transition generation from stored ancient sunlight back to present local sunlight. Remaining fossil fuel reserves are probably best used for permanent infrastructure projects – use a tractor today to swale your property, build a water farm storage pond or develop an urban gravity water system. We need more energy decent tools – a hand crank flour mill or nut huller is more useful than an electric one when the power is out. You get the idea.

We also need exponentially more small farms, permaculture teachers and a completely re-tooled education system to prepare students for the bright, more stainable and thriving low-energy future.

Low Energy Permaculture Systems

A well designed permaculture homestead or community can rely largely on local sunlight for food production, fertility renewal, heating, cooling, water, and trombe power tools and refrigeration systems. I have plastic greenhouses that are warmer during the day than my modern house with R-30 insulation. Good design is everything. I got up early this morning to dial in my solstice sunrise and sunset compass which I hope to use for a far more energy efficient dwelling in the future.

Like an ecosystem, integrated or holistic systems take the least energy to maintain because the output of one element is the input of the next element. In permaculture we put energies and resources that enter our systems to as many duties as possible. We can make ten inches of rain per year do the work of 100 inches or harvest heat and methane from our compost. Permaculture designs get out of nature’s way and allow succession to continue without holding it back with fossil fuels. We stack functions and thereby increase yields and fertility.

Call this the teaser trailer for permaculture as in permanent-culture. To learn more about low-energy permaculture system design, take a Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) course at your local independent permaculture institute.

_____

Chuck Burr is the author of Culturequake: The Restoration Revolution (2009). He is a farmer, educator and founder of the Southern Oregon Permaculture Institute (SOPI) and Restoration Farm in Ashland, Oregon. He serves on nonprofit boards, was a software CEO, interned for President Reagan and has an MBA. He has been a traveler, mountaineer, rock and ice climber. http://www.sopermaculture.org/SOPI/About.html.

http://www.sopermaculture.org/SOPI/Blog/Entries/2010/12/31_Why_Permaculture__Energy_Decent%2C_Solar_Case_Study.html

Bill Totten http://www.ashisuto.co.jp/english/

http://billtotten.blogspot.com/2011/01/bill-totten-httpwww.html

Need a primer on Biomimicry?

Biomimicry in Action

Janine Benyus, is co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild and founder of the Biomimicry Institute, and in 2007 was honored as one of TIME Magazine’s International Heroes of the Environment.

Rio+20 or Bust?

Rio+20 or Bust?

Martha

By CSRwire Contributing Writer Martha Shaw, CSRwire.com

The first intersessional meeting to plan for the Rio+20 Earth Summit 2012 kicks off United Nations International Year of Forests with high stakes.

The United Nations has flipped the calendar from the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity to 2011 International Year of Forests. The new year was marked by the first intersessional meeting of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development called UNCSD (Rio+20). The two days of meetings, January 10-11, were well attended and highly motivating to the hundreds of participants who gathered to prepare for Rio+20, also referred to as Earth Summit 2012. The Rio+20 will take place in Rio de Janeiro on May 14-16, 2012, 20 years after the first Earth Summit 1992 in Rio and 10 years after the second Earth Summit 2002 in Johannesburg. Though the name “summit” in the UN land of acronyms typically refers only to meetings of heads of State, the term has become acceptable, and the conferences embrace a diverse cast of characters.

It was noted that there has been insufficient progress made in 20 years to stave off the consequences of an increasing population with decreasing resources. Cited was rampant unregulated behavior of individual consumption of goods, lack of environmental and social regulations imposed on business, and failure of governments to govern theft from the commons. Global leaders are looking to areas where there is progress, however, which can help chart a course for the future.

One point that appears to be unanimous is that Rio+20 needs to be the summit that saves the world. The planet itself may persist in some form despite man’s brutal attack on natural systems, but the health and survival of our own species remains in limbo. So what will it take for the UN to save the world?

It isn’t going to be business as usual. What is unique to the upcoming Rio+20 is that together we are reinventing a whole new field, namely a Green Economy, which is yet to be defined. A new green economy must address the interdisciplinary nature of society, environment and economy far more extensively than has ever been done before. Our economies need to shift to achieve human well-being without ultimately destroying the environment upon which well-being depends.

One of the interesting things about UN processes, especially those that involve environmental issues, is that these days they involve not just countries negotiating with each other, but civil societies, labor unions, local governments, scientists, NGOs, and now a significantly increasing number of businesses. This adds to the complexity of negotiations and puts pressure on pre-summit intersessional meetings, preparatory meetings and conferences to come to conclusions prior to the summits – in the interest of time.

Traditionally businesses have entered the dialogue through NGOs. At the UN on Monday, the new Business Action for a Sustainable Economy (BASD2012) was announced as a collaboration between three existing business NGOs, the International Chamber of Commerce, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and United Nations Global Compact.

The UN Member States discussed the crucial role business must play in the Rio+20 Earth Summit. BASD 2012 held its first formal event focused on the business role in advancing sustainable development. This event, “Introducing BASD 2012,” was intended to build momentum toward Rio+20 by demonstrating the achievements of the private sector in contributing to economic, social and environmental (ESG) goals.

Though there was agreement that neither governments, societies nor NGOs can function economically without business, issues were raised about the dangers of greening greed and losing control of resources to ubiquitous multinational corporations – some of which are larger in scale than nations. Another thread of discussion took place about what constitutes the national boundaries of a business. Though we can celebrate achievements of the private sector in contributing to ESG goals, the marginalization of resources and destruction by unregulated business was of concern.

Yet businesses have been looking to governments to make decisions about regulatory guidelines that have not been forthcoming. Without these guidelines businesses have no choice but to self-regulate, which in some circles is a conflict of interest. It was also pointed out that trillions of dollars a year are lost to corruption within governments.

Earth Advertising presented the concept of a widespread business survey regarding goals for Rio+20 that includes, but extends beyond, the membership of the BASD2012 to businesses of all sizes, including those eco-preneurs and pioneers who founded the robust global networks that began the sustainable business movement.

Turning to nature for answers in both organizational behavior and clean tech innovation is a field known as biomimicry. One scientist showed examples of how many of the problems we seek to solve have already been solved by nature. Not only does science need a seat at the negotiation table, but so does science education or we will be dealing with a society that cannot understand the concepts being negotiated on its behalf.

In 2012, 20 years after the first Earth Summit, global leaders will return to Rio de Janeiro to assess progress made and chart a course for the future. At the first intersessional meeting this week, the attendees questioned whether their thought processes were innovative enough to solve the complex problems facing our global society in a time of financial crisis. If their level of commitment is any sign of the future, then Rio+20 could be a turning point for the better in the evolution of man’s relationship with our environment. As the meetings came to a close, many of the attendees flew off into a blinding snowstorm to catch another meeting in Panama City on sustainable consumption and production (SCP). These are some of the hardest working people on the planet and they deserve a preliminary round of applause.

About Martha Shaw

Martha Shaw is a contributing writer for CSRwire covering clean technology and other topics. Martha has been named an Adweek Creative All Star and is the winner of international awards in communications. She is a member of the Climate Literacy Network, Fellow of the Explorers Club, board member of NYSES and CEO of Earth Advertising.

This commentary is written by a valued member of the CSRwire contributing writers’ community and expresses this author’s views alone.

Readers: What do you think, Rio+20 or bust? Where do you think the sustainability movement needs to go in the new year? Share your thoughts with us on Talkback!

Free Biodynamics book downloads

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