Category Archives: Climate

Changing Food and Climate: An Engagement Journey Begins

Changing Food and Climate: An Engagement Journey Begins

One of the biggest challenges with developing Greenpeace’s Less Is More campaign to reduce industrial meat & dairy worldwide was deciding how we could campaign to change people’s mindsets on how eating cheap meat and dairy they eat while also campaigning in a more traditional way to compel governments to take meaningful action to stop subsidizing the worst practices.

This need to balance positive solutions campaigning with our more tried-and-true techniques would have to be evident in our digital approach as well. I was tasked to being the project lead on the Less Is More website to come up with some solutions for Greenpeace offices all over the world to encourage people to make small steps to change food for the sake of our planet, especially in mitigating climate change.

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Team Plant: Greenpeace’s Crack Team of Kids To Change The World

Team Plant: Greenpeace’s Crack Team of Kids To Change The World

It’s really gratifying to see a concept that was just and idea in a few people’s brains get translated into a solid script and then into a viral video. In online advocacy, this often doesn’t happen but a great idea and flawless execution paid off.

For the launch of Greenpeace’s Less Is More global campaign to reduce industrial meat and dairy production for the sake of the planet, three campaigners at Greenpeace International – Alessandro Saccoccio, Dawn Bickett and myself, brainstormed some ideas to really articulate how we’re trying to trigger a major shift in consumption patterns in a positive way. Continue reading

Planet 4: Greenpeace’s WordPress Based CMS Goes Live

Planet 4: Greenpeace’s WordPress Based CMS Goes Live

It’s really great to see a global organization like Greenpeace push itself to adopt best-in-class, open source technology to adapt to the changing appetites and gnat-like attention spans of audiences in the modern age. People have lots of avenues to channel their desire to preserve the natural world and lots of great non-profit organizations to choose from to save this planet. I wrote in an earlier post about my role in helping Greenpeace arrive at the wise decision to embrace the WordPress CMS after careful evaluating of other solutions including Drupal. It took the better part of a year but the Planet 4 open source CMS is now a tangible product for the world to see.

I had the good fortune of being the only global campaign strategist to sit on the Steering Committee of the Planet 4 project for more than a year, where about a dozen of us from our Engagement and IT departments helped steer the process of empowering a small internal team of talented project managers, designers and developers – the Planet 4 team – to deliver a nimble prototype that could be replicated by multiple offices. Continue reading

Adventures in Virginia’s Renewable Energy Fights

Adventures in Virginia’s Renewable Energy Fights

In summer and autumn 2017, there was a palpable sense of grassroots, progressive energy across the state of Virginia. After all, it was the first major state election cycle since the advent of the Trump administration. I had spent a lot of volunteer time in 2017 working on Fairfax County renewable energy issues at the county supervisor and school board level for much of the year and also speaking as a Climate Reality Leader.

Whenever I had the chance, I reminded people how critical it was to vote in the state election as most climate progress could only be achieved at the state level with Trump in the White House. In fact, fellow environmental activists managed to rally more than 100 people confront then gubernatorial candidate Ralph Northam during one community event on his wishy-washy stance on the Atlantic Coast and WB Xpress pipelines. Citizens stressed that the projects would increase our carbon footprint and create more price increases for taxpayers. We let several Democrats know this cycle that business as usual and doing the bidding of Dominion Energy was no longer acceptable. Continue reading

Taking Your House Solar: Five Things You Should Know

Taking Your House Solar: Five Things You Should Know

Find out more about Tesla Energy SolarCity

It’s not easy being a solar guinea pig. But in the Commonwealth of Virginia, that’s what many of us have become. I’m talking about the thousands of others like me rolling the dice to solarize their home and see if it pays off despite an unfriendly atmosphere. At times, it can feel a little bit like you’re on your hamster wheel going around in circles. Solar energy in Virginia is still in its primordial phase.

The state ranks an abysmal 38th out of 50 states, according to Solar Power Rocks.  Virginia boasts anemic state tax credits, rock bottom renewable energy credits, weak RPS laws (which encourage diversification to more renewables) and lots of other impediments. We’re talking about a meager 241 megawatts compared to 1,591 megawatts in Massachusetts.  Much of this is due to the dominance of one power company, Dominion Energy (feel free to swing by their Facebook page to give them a piece of your mind after this post). They dictate not only what kind of power most customers get but also dictate terms to legislators in the capital of Richmond.

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Why Brazil’s rotten meat scandal is a big problem — and not just for Brazilians

Why Brazil’s rotten meat scandal is a big problem — and not just for Brazilians

Reprinted from greenpeace.org

Have you heard about the shocking rotten meat scandal that’s shaking the Brazilian society and economy this week? Over the weekend, Brazilian police unveiled an investigation exposing systemic bribing of Brazilian meat inspectors by major meat-packing companies (some of them top global companies) to conceal dirty meat by paying them to issue false “fit-to-eat” certifications.

Details emerging from the investigation include practices such as adding chemicals to meat to conceal rotting odor, adding pigs’ heads to sausages and adding cardboard to processed poultry as filler. Some families are afraid to eat the meat in their freezers. Local press is also reportingthat Brazil’s former agriculture minister admitted to caving into political pressure to appoint a livestock superintendent who would support the rotten meat cover-up scheme. Continue reading

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project: Getting Inspired to Lead On Climate

Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project: Getting Inspired to Lead On Climate

Greetings from Denver! I’m still processing the incredibly inspiring three days I spent at the Colorado Convention Center with roughly 1,000 other people who were lucky enough to be selected as part of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Leadership Corps. As if I didn’t have enough to do working on fighting climate change at Greenpeace!

Seriously, the reason I began investigating the work of the Climate Reality Project is because my current Greenpeace portfolio keeps me focused squarely on food and sustainability issues internationally, especially our addiction to heavy-meat diets. Since Greenpeace doesn’t currently have an active food campaign in the United States, I find that I spend most of my time thinking about cows and chickens overseas.

Yet as an American citizen living in the age of a Trump presidency,  I felt compelled to devote some of my time in environmental battles certain to take place inside the United States in the next four years. I’m tremendously concerned about Trump’s threat to pull out of the historic Paris Climate Accords, his appointments of climate denier Scott Pruitt to the EPA (who thinks CO2 doesn’t contribute to global warming), former Texas Governor Rick Perry to the Department of Energy (who couldn’t even remember the department he now runs) and ex-Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson (a company that lied about climate impacts to the public) to the State Department. I just couldn’t sit on the sidelines. Since all politics are local, why not focus on civic engagement, local politics, renewable energy and climate change at the local level – in my case, the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C.?

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Greenpeace Open Sourcing Its Digital Strategy with Planet 4

Greenpeace Open Sourcing Its Digital Strategy with Planet 4

Reprinted from Velocitize

Environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) Greenpeace is at the forefront when it comes to driving environmental change. With offices in more than 40 countries, Greenpeace is directly helping to move the needle on global environmental issues such as climate change and deforestation, and as such is one of largest and most visible NGOs in the world.

Its website, Greenpeace.org, plays a central role in its mission to save the planet by acting as a front door to educate users and as portal to encourage activism.

Greenpeace recently announced Planet 4 — the successor to Planet 3 and the codename for the redesign of Greenpeace.org — which aims to deliver a better content experience and provide a more streamlined navigation for its global supporters to take action. Continue reading

Why Greenpeace and WordPress need each other

Why Greenpeace and WordPress need each other

Greenpeace is about to embark on an exciting digital initiative called Planet 4 — a sea change in how we present our vision and campaigns to our supporters, volunteers and the wider world. Planet 4, or P4 for short, is our name for a next-generation content management system (CMS) and also the process of building it and getting to market. We want to do much more than “manage content” — we would like to redefine it, reshape it and make it much more user-centric where our supporters take center stage and the content reflects them as much as it does Greenpeace.

But “next-generation” isn’t entirely accurate because Planet 4 has a lineage and that lineage is WordPress. In essence, Planet 4 will be a customized version of the most widely used CMS on the planet with the intent on saving the planet.

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Why African Farmers Are Challenging International Aid Agencies

Why African Farmers Are Challenging International Aid Agencies

I recently had the privilege of visiting the Greenpeace Africa office in Johannesburg, South Africa, to work with our newly formed team to figure out what’s wrong with agriculture in Africa and how do we build a campaign around fixing it. One daunting but not insurmountable barrier was we really wanted to work with farmers in East Africa, specifically Kenya, but we didn’t have much by way of full-time staff. Most people were in Johannesburg. But we did have some great partners like the Kenya Organic Agriculture Network and Institute for Culture and Ecology.

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If Climate Change Is So Urgent, Why Aren’t We Talking About Cows?

If Climate Change Is So Urgent, Why Aren’t We Talking About Cows?

One thing that has always puzzled me about the climate movement is why we don’t see more digital ink devoted to cows. Cows, you say? Yes, cows. If you were to itemize lifestyle changes that the average person could adopt to make a significant impact on their climate footprint, essentially there would be four.

First, a person could invest in rooftop solar panels on the family home from providers like Vivint or SolarCity, store the energy in a lithium-ion battery like a Powerwall and sell the excess back to the local utility grid. Second, that person could purchase an electric vehicle like a Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt or Tesla Model 3 and make that their primary commuting vehicle. Third, he or she could call their financial advisor and ask to divest their stock and mutual fund portfolio from any fossil fuel companies and channel that money to sustainable investment products. And fourth, he or she could change the way they eat by adopting part-time vegetarianism and reducing consumption of beef and pork.

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The Vision of Dragonfly Expeditions

The Vision of Dragonfly Expeditions

This mini-documentary was produced for an ecotourism company in the Florida Everglades. Davin Hutchins shot the footage and completed the editing independently.

Dragonfly Expeditions explores the biologically diverse tropical regions of our world.  We specialize in travel to the Caribbean and to Central and South America.  From the Yucatan peninsula, down the Caribbean coast of Central America, the top of South America, the islands of the Caribbean, the Bahamas, and Florida from Orlando to the Keys – everything that touches the Caribbean. We explore rainforests, historic capitals, coral reefs, volcanoes, Mayan temples, aquamarine shallows, remote backcountry and jungle canopies.

Kingston and Coal Lobby’s Grip on the EPA ‏

Kingston and Coal Lobby’s Grip on the EPA ‏

In March of 2000, during the last days of the Clinton administration, the EPA decided coal ash was a hazardous waste. Then, two months later, it flipped. If the EPA had stuck to its guns, the Kingston Coal Ash disaster in Tennessee might have been averted. Now, momentum is building to federally regulate coal ash.

Produced for The American News Project / Huffington Post.