Category Archives: News

Empowering Women is a Key Solution to Global Warming

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out Project Drawdown, which purports to “map, measure, model, and describe the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming.”  I am waiting to review the book, but the website is quite comprehensive and will become even more so on May 1 when technical summaries for each solution are made available.

Led by Paul Hawken, Project Drawdown is the culmination of a multi-year effort by scholars and scientists across the globe to evaluate which global warming solutions are currently available and economically viable, have a large potential to reduce GHGs with minimal negative impacts, and can be scaled globally.

Surprisingly (because we don’t hear much about it), the largest proposed intervention is to phase out HFCs as refrigerant coolants.  While HFCs do not harm the ozone layer (as opposed to the CFCs they replaced), they have 1,000 to 9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere.  Replacing HFCs with propane or ammonium is estimated to reduce a whopping 89.74 Gigatons of CO2 by 2050.  Other top-five solutions include Onshore Wind Turbines (84.6 GT), Reduced Food Waste (70.53 GT), Plant-Rich Diets (66.11 GT), and Tropical Forest Restoration (61.23 GT).

What really excites me, however, are solutions #6 and #7: Educating Girls and Family Planning, which have combined potential emissions reductions of 129.2 GT of CO2 by 2050.  It is clear that educated women with access to family planning are more empowered and have fewer and healthier children.  Globally, this could result in humanity’s population peaking with one billion fewer people, which would have massive implications for our climate.

What’s even cooler about these solutions is that they are thinking systemically and outside the box of carbon offsets.  Of course it is vital that we reduce CO2 emissions as quickly and as fully as humanly possible.  No one argues with that (at least no one that believes in science). What I’m saying is that reducing CO2 is a necessary, but not sufficient response to global warming.

We also need to do so much more! We need to create local and resilient food systems.We need to preserve biodiversity and wildness. We need to fight for climate justice and for those unfairly burdened by the consequences of global warming. And we need to deconstruct and replace the economic and political systems, and even the mindsets and worldviews that got us into this situation in the first place.

Even if humans completely stopped emitting CO2 today there is still enough already in our atmosphere to cause massive sea level rise, increased disease rates and extreme weather events, declining agriculture, and much more. In addition to reducing emissions, it is equally vital that we focus on resilience in the race of certain changes and educating girl and women and providing access to family planning are some of the best ways to do that.

These solutions also demonstrate the limitations of carbon offsetting.  Nobody will ever be able to sell credits on the Voluntary Carbon Market for CO2 reductions associated with educating women and family planning.  The impacts are not discrete and impossible to measure except, perhaps, on the global population level and, even there, I suspect Hawken et al. are using  a lot of unproven assumptions.

In addition to challenges with efficiency, leakage, and additionally, offsetting constrains us to supporting only projects that are measurably mitigating emissions.  This is why Earth Deeds has developed an alternative method called “onsetting”, which drops the concept of carbon neutrality, prices carbon based on the Social Cost of Carbon, and allows funding (or time!) to go to local projects that are building resiliency — such as educating women!

Project Drawdown lays out a road map for how humanity can dramatically reduce global GHG emissions by 2050.  It also encourages us to think beyond emissions and to consider what got into this mess and what systemic solutions will build resiliency and healthy communities in a climate changed world.

 

Project and Team Spotlights, AASHE recap, Donating Time, and more…

Happy Solstice and and may your holidays be bright! if you are wondering how you can have a more eco-friendly and less stressful season, read these tips on greening the holidays. And, if you’d like to make a year-end contribution to help Earth Deeds support local solutions to global warming (nudge, nudge ;-), you can do so here. Thanks!
It was an exciting recently to follow the COP21 meetings, which resulted in the adoption of an historic international Paris Agreement, George Monbiot summed up the conference nicely when he said, “By comparison to what it could have been, it’s a miracle; by comparison to what it should have been, it’s a disaster.”
While governments are reaching new collaborations on climate change, it is more important than ever that citizens act collectively to find solutions both at home and at the societal level. As Bill McKibben has stated, we are “past the point where we’re going to manage to do it one light bulb at a time.” What can you do as an individual to make the most meaningful impact? Please read Clara Fang’s compelling blog post to find out.

And here’s what we’ve been up to lately at Earth Deeds.

AASHE
Daniel and Clara attended the 10th anniversary Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) conference in Minneapolis from Oct. 26-27. In addition to meeting with many sustainability directors interested in Earth Deeds, we are excited to join a Working Group to explore how ACUPCC signatory schools can go beyond offsetting in accounting for their carbon emissions. Sounds like a job for Earth Deeds!

Donating Time
At AASHE, we heard from schools interested in working with Earth Deeds in ways that engage students bodies rather than their wallets. So, we will soon allow users to contribute TIME (through volunteering for a organization or project) rather than money to account for their carbon emissions! We’re using a hoped-for minimum wage of $15/hr to account for one’s emissions so 1 mT of CO2 would equal $40 or 2.67 hrs.  Stay tuned as we’re excited to see where this goes!

Team Spotlight – Individual Onsetting
So far, Earth Deeds has focused on allowing “Teams” to measure and account for their collective emissions.  Now we are creating the ability for individuals to onset their emissions and contribute to a range of organizations. We currently have 10 organizations set up for “parallel” or “split” payments on Paypal (including 350.org) and expect to add many more over time.  Check it out here!

Project Spotlight – Fundacion En Via
Pacific Lutheran University is using Earth Deeds to support En Via, a non-profit organization located in Oaxaca, Mexico. Their microloan program gives women the opportunity to create or expand small businesses; their educational programs help women with their businesses, personal finances, and use of loans; and their ecotourism model directs funds into communities, while connecting people to the ideas, strength and power of women working hard to improve their future.

Happy holidays everyone and have a very blessed new year!

 

Earth Deeds Update 9/24/15

Happy Fall Equinox! At this time of great change, I am heartened that Pope Francis will call for climate action from political leaders in his Rally in Washington DC on Thursday. Let’s join the Week of Moral Action for Climate Justice by donating, signing the petition, or sharing their page.

Lots of change is happening with Earth Deeds as well!  Jeff Mazur, our part-time CFO, moved to Amherst around the same time my family and I moved to Kingston, Ontario.  I was also at Findhorn in July where I had the honor of being elected President of the Global Ecovillage Network so I have lots to juggle these days.  Here are some past and upcoming highlights at Earth Deeds:

PROJECT Spotlight: Sandele Foundation, Gambia

In March, I had the privilege of helping teach on an Ecovillage Design Education course at the Sandele Eco-Retreat and Learning Center in the Gambia.  In addition to working with local villagers to develop an ecotourism plan for 20 miles of coastline we are excited to use Earth Deeds to enable ecotourists to support local solutions to global warming.  Sandele was also recently announced as a Semi- Finalist for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge!  Let’s hope they win!

TEAM Spotlight: Intercultura

Students travel from all over the world to study Spanish at the Intercultura Language School in Costa Rica. Now they can onset their travel and give back to their host community by supporting La Asociacion CREAR, which offers environmental education programs for local community members. Check out this short video that students watch in their orientations and let others know about this opportunity. Thanks!

Journal Article 

Earth Deeds’ part-time Communications Manager, Clara Fang, and I co-authored an article entitled The Myth of Climate Neutrality: Carbon Onsetting as an Alternative to Carbon Offsetting that was published in the April, 2015 issue of Sustainability: The Journal of Record.  The article explores the controversy of carbon offsetting and proposes onsetting an alternative system that enables institutions to measure, reduce, and price their emissions and support campus and community-based sustainability projects.  Let me know if you’d like me to send you a PDF of the article.

Website Upgrades  

“Parallel payments” are now working on our site so we can set up Projects to directly receive contributions rather than us needing to collect and disburse funds.  Yay!  And our calculator now offers equivalencies of users’ carbon emissions to help them understand their real-world impacts.  For example, a round-trip flight from New York to New Orleans emits ~1 tonne of CO2, which is approximately equivalent to watching ~11,000 hours of TV or the annual emissions of someone living in El Salvador!
AASHE

I will be speaking about onsetting at the Association for Advancing Sustainability in Higher Education conference on October 27th.  They have expressed interest in onsetting the entire event in 2016, which would engage over 2,000 sustainability professionals to work with Earth Deeds.

Tip Section: Conserve Water

Okay, who remembers the Star Trek – Next Generation scene where an alien describes humans as bags of mostly water?  It’s true!  Our bodies contain over 90% water, which is a strong hint that it is a precious resource we should not squander.  Repairing a leaky toilet can save 200 gallons of water per day! Running your dishwasher with only full loads can save 100 pounds of carbon dioxide and $40 per year. Let’s conserve and protect our water resources both for our own health and the health of our planet!

 

Take care everyone and please feel free to contact us if you have any thoughts or questions!

Earth Deeds Birthday Update 2/20/15

Dear Earth Deeds Supporters,

First, please join me in wishing Earth Deeds a Happy 2nd Birthday! Time flies… Given 2014 was the hottest year on record, we’re feeling a growing fire under our butts to scale up and help others account for their unavoidable carbon emissions and support local solutions to global warming. Here’s some exciting news:

 

Project spotlight – Global Ecovillage Network IT

Last December, I attended the Global Ecovillage Network Summit in Senegal, where the Prime Minister presented the first government-level ministry of ecovillages and the famous singer, Youssou N’Dour, pronounced himself a GEN ambassador!  We are also trying to make the event carbon conscious and support GEN’s online networking efforts. Please check out and contribute what you can to this Project and share it with others so we can meet our goal of $1,500.  Thank you.

 

Team spotlight – Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Boulder

CCL, a rapidly growing volunteer-based lobbyist organization, worked with Earth Deeds to onset the travel carbon footprint of their members in the Boulder Chapter. Members raised almost $5000 for Citizens Climate Education Corp (the national organization). Two generous members matched contributions up to $2,500. Earth Deeds is hoping to work with more chapters and provide further help to CCL in 2015.

Two Guest Blog Posts – Check them out!

Carbon Onsetting as an Alternative to Offsetting
CEF accelerates sustainability in 80 of the world’s most powerful companies. We hope to do more Guest Blog Posts in a few months.
Carbon Onsetting: A Complement – or Alternative – to Offsetting
SB is a community of over 348,000 sustainable business leaders. Our next goal is to present at and onset one of their conferences.

 

Earth Deeds Onsets its 2014 Emissions

Earth Deeds onset its 2014 travel emissions (9.12mT and $337.44 at $37/mT) by supporting three organizations: CCL (see above), GEN IT (see above), and Handprinter.org, which helps users measure and expand their positive impacts. Handprinter is very complimentary to Earth Deeds and we hope to find ways to collaborate in the future.

 

Upcoming Events

Earth Deeds will present at the Smart and Sustainable Campuses Conference in Baltimore (March 30-31) and the Northeast Campus Sustainability Summit (April 9-10).  We may also be onsetting 1-2 big conferences in the fall, but will wait until they are confirmed to share more.  Please let us know if you know of an event you think we should be at or help become carbon conscious.  Thanks!

 

Tip section – Change your Diet
A meat-free diet can dramatically reduce your carbon pollution. A vegetarian diet generates only half the CO2 of a diet which consists of 30% meat, dairy and poultry. Even cutting down to one meat portion every other day helps.  And if you want to go further, did you know there are more than 1,400 species of edible insects?  You can reduce your carbon footprint by literally looking under your foot! Let us know what you think of this idea!

Take care everyone and please feel free to contact us if you have any thoughts or questions!

Earth Deeds Update 7/3/14

I hope you are all well and enjoying life wherever.  On the eve of “Interdependence Day” and my daughter Pema’s 10th birthday, I am very pleased to offer the following Earth Deeds updates:

Two New Team Members

While Shanti is less involved these days as he attends to other commitments, please join me in welcoming two new core members to the Earth Deeds team:

David Adamson (Sales/Development), led three green building product sales companies from 1992 to 2014 and was Development Director for The Nature Conservancy in Colorado from 1987 to 1991.  David lives in Boulder with his wife, Stephanie and their two boys, Elijah and Abe.

Diane Dandeneau (Sales/Chief Technology Officer), co-founded the Green Heart institute in 2005, creating carbon education tools and now consults with environmental companies helping bring their missions to fruition.

Engaging with Teams, Projects, and Partners

With Beta v.1.0 of our website in hand, we are now reaching out to organizations and projects and finding lots of interest in Earth Deeds.  For example, on a recent trip to Boulder (to meet with David and Diane and make a bunch of presentations), we attracted interest from Naropa University, CU-Boulder, and even the City of Boulder!

We also recently disbursed onset funds to 10 projects in CISabroad’s host communities. Many of them are now wanting to Partner with Earth Deeds to help others fight global warming and support their work at the same time.  This could lead to dozens or even hundreds of new Teams and Projects!

We’re especially excited to work with study abroad providers, schools, ecotourism organizations, and higher education.  Please contact us if you are connected to an organization you feel might be a good fit with Earth Deeds.  And if you’re affiliated with a college or university, please check out my White Paper and let us know who we might contact to talk further.  Thanks!

Free Webinar on Catalyzing Carbon Consciousness

In collaboration with Gaia Education, I will offer a free webinar on July 15 at 11:00am EST on how we can respond to global warming and support local resiliency and sustainable community development.  Read more information and register to join this conversation.  Please also share with others you feel might be interested.  Thanks!

Video Series: Part 3 – How Are We Responding?

I’ve been developing a series of short videos to introduce folks to Climate Change and how Earth Deeds is making a difference.  In our last update, I shared Part 2 – Where Are We Heading? Next up is  Part 3 – How Are We Responding?  Please let me know what you think.

Watch the Video

 

And More…

In other news, we have redone our Business Plan (now 5.0!) and are in the process of a deep redesign of our website to make it even more useful and easier to navigate.  Please let me know if you’d like a copy of our Business Plan or have thoughts about our website.

Thanks again for all your support and I look forward to hearing from you.

Happy Birthday Earth Deeds

Earth Deeds BirthdayDear Earth Deeds Supporters. Earth Deeds incorporated on February 20, 2013, so we are today, officially one year old.  Happy Birthday Earth Deeds!  We’ve gone through a lot of changes in our first year; from our birthing as an L3C with a name, a logo, and a business plan; to developing our Minimal Viable Product website; to running successful pilots with a UMass class, NextGEN and several study abroad organizations; to presenting at a number of conferences and other events.  It now it feels like we are taking our first steps to truly walking.

Climate Leadership Finalist

Second Nature LogoBig news!  Our pilot project with Pacific Lutheran University (measuring and transforming the carbon footprints of their ’14-’15 semester study abroad programs) was selected as a Finalist for the 2014 Climate Leadership Awards.  This is exciting for three reasons: First, in partnership with Planet Forward, Finalists are invited to produce a short video that the public can view and vote on in April.  Last year’s videos drew around 50,000 votes. SecondSecond Nature, will feature each Finalist in a month-long series on climate leadership around Earth Day. And third, Finalists will be highlighted at the annual fall ACUPCC Annual Presidential Summit, which brings together university Presidents and Chancellors to share leadership and best practices around sustainability in higher education. We are thrilled to have these opportunities to tell our story and connect with forward thinking academic leaders about how to make their campuses and programs carbon conscious.  Wish us luck and we’ll let you know when it comes time to vote!

Beta Launch

In preparation for all this attention, we are making another push on the Earth Deeds website in the hopes of launching a beta version by the end of March.  We already have a list of beta-testers and other supporters we will be reaching out to, but if you would like to get involved somehow, please let us know.  Thanks!

Video Series: Part 1 – What is Climate Change

Finally, as I mentioned in our Holiday Update, I have been developing a series of short videos to introduce folks to Climate Change and how Earth Deeds is making a difference.  I will share these videos one-by-one in our upcoming updates.  First up is “What is Climate Change? Please let us know what you think in the comments or email us directly at directors <at> earthdeeds.com. Thanks again for your support and we look forward to hearing from you.

In community,
Daniel Greenberg, CEO

 

Language Matters

Language is important.  The words we choose can make all the difference when communicating ideas, especially when the ideas are new — like Earth Deeds.  After working with lots of possibilities, we surveyed our Advisory Committee to get their feedback on how to describe what we do in just a few words.  Informed by the insights from 38 respondents, we are moving forward with the following terms and phrases to describe Earth Deeds.

Twitter Pitch:

Earth Deeds offers innovative online tools for understanding and then transforming carbon footprints through supporting sustainability projects.

 

Tag Line:                                                                      Ecolabel:

Earth Deeds Logo Vert full

carbon-certificate36

Transforming Carbon Footprints

 

We are using “transforming carbon footprints” to describe our primary work and avoiding connecting Earth Deeds to carbon offsetting for several reasons:

  1. The current carbon offsetting industry lacks transparency, trust, and consumer choice; is inefficient in transferring funds to projects; and is unable to work with small, local, and non-mitigating projects; and
  2. Many feel the concept of carbon offsetting is akin to buying an absolution of ones sins (aka “indulgences”), which is not a healthy or effective way to actually create sustainable societies.

We choose instead to focus on transforming our environmental impacts into positive action to create a better world.

Please let us know if you have any additional thoughts or suggestions.  Thanks again for your support!

In community,
– Daniel

 

Earth Deeds Update – 9/13/13

Dear Earth Deeds Supporters,

I trust you are all well and enjoying the day.  It’s been over a month since our last update, but we’re working hard and would like to share with you the following exciting developments:

  • NextGEN Square LogoNextGEN Funding: While at the GEN-Europe Conference, I worked with NextGEN, the youth group of the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), to measure their CO2 footprint and raise funds for two NextGEN projects.  We ended up raising $811, which is being shared with two projects.  Here are comments from the recipients:
    • OmSunisa Jamwiset (Nature Youth Camp in Thailand) – “I feel thankful for this donation and that others have faith in what we are doing. In addition to our reforestation work, some of the money will support a NextGEN empowerment training in northern Sri Lanka for 40 youth who will afterward take initiatives for positive change in their villages.  So this gift will keep giving!”
    • Linda Kabaira (SCOPE Programme in Zimbabwe) – “I am grateful to Earth Deeds for empowering NextGEN youth to learn and share about carbon consciousness and for supporting SCOPE. The SCOPE Programme brings permaculture into classrooms to help young Zimbabweans become responsible citizens with regard to natural resources management, food security and food sovereignty.  Earth Deeds funding will help SCOPE reach out to more young people in Zimbabwe and create more create local, resilient communities.”
  • Valley Venture Mentors: We have advanced to the final round of Valley Venture Mentors, an entrepreneurial incubator in the Pioneer Valley.  Our audition “Pitch” will be on September 25th.  Wish us luck!
  • UMass Amherst Class: Earth Deeds will be the primary case study for a Social Entrepreneurship class in UMass’ Isenberg School of Management this fall.  Over 30 students will help us further develop our business model, financials and marketing.  Exciting!
  • Executive Overview: We recently completed a beautiful 6-page Executive Overview to share with potential investors.  Let us know if you’d like to see it.
  • AASHE: I will be offering a presentation about our first pilot, “Beyond Carbon Offsetting: Making a Sustainable Living Class Carbon Conscious” at the AASHE conference in Nashville on Oct. 7.  This will be a great opportunity to share Earth Deeds with like-minded folks within the academic world.
  • Other Upcoming Events: We may also be presenting at PowerShift in Pittsburgh (Oct. 18-21) and will have a table at Bioneers by the Bay (Oct. 25-27).  Come see us there!
  • Wiser.org_Logo Advanced Search:  We continue to develop Earth Deeds online tools.  One recent feature we’re excited about is the ability to search over 112,000 organizations on Wiser Earth – the Social Network for Sustainability.  We are hoping to implement similar searches with other networks (e.g. GENTransition Network) and become the largest clearinghouse of sustainability projects in the world!

Thanks again for your support.  Please like and share our Earth Deeds’ page on Facebook if you haven’t already and feel free to contact me directly if you have ideas or would like to get more involved.

In community,
– Daniel

Teaser Feedback From Advisors

I hope you are well and enjoying the day.  It’s been a while since we’ve been in touch with Earth Deeds’ Advisors, but we’ve been working hard and will share updates in a separate email in a few days.

Right now, we’d like to ask for your feedback on a new Executive Overview we created specifically for potential investors.  Please take a few minutes to check it out and then respond to this short Survey to offer your thoughts and suggestions — by this Friday, Sept. 13 if possible, so we can compile responses and work with our designer on revisions the following week.  Thank you SO MUCH for your ongoing support and we look forward to hearing from you!