In today’s Weekly Update from Dot Eco, we will be looking at the top sustainability-related stories from around the world as reported by some of the organizations that compose our Community Council. These leaders in the field of international sustainability offer comprehensive reporting on the day-to-day events that shape our planet.
Want to Create Jobs? Make People a Priority
By Jay Coen Gilbert
The New York Times recently published an article by Joe Nocera entitled “What is Business Waiting For?” Nocera argues for businesses’ responsibility to address unemployment and hire more workers. He also references financial risk expert Marc Groz’s proposal of a “contingent commitment facility.” Using this facility, a company would agree to hire X number of new workers. However, the commitment would only become binding if other companies in the same industry agree to do likewise.
Mr. Groz’ concept of a ‘contingent commitment facility’ seems an interesting idea, but it doesn’t address the systemic problem: namely, that business needs to make “people a priority, not just earnings.”
Up In Smoke: Urbanization + Climate Change
By Molly Bergen
Now, for the first time in history, more people live in the world’s cities and towns than in rural areas. While the role climate change plays in driving this demographic shift has yet to be fully explored, the theme of the U.N.’s World Habitat Day this year (celebrated annually on October 3) focuses on the complex relationship between urbanization and climate change.
With cities’ tall smokestacks and creeping urban sprawl, it’s easy to understand the link between urban growth and air pollution. The release of fumes into the atmosphere by industrial powerhouses and thousands of households increases the greenhouse gas emissions that directly contribute to climate change. However, the relationship between city sprawl and climate change is also seen in reverse; the impacts of climate change on rural areas, such as drought and famine, are causing many people to migrate to cities in search of work.
David Suzuki Foundation
Can Oil Be Ethical
By David Suzuki
In his book Ethical Oil, Ezra Levant raises an important point about the moral implications of products and activities in the global economy. I applaud the move to raise ethics to greater prominence in discussions around trade and economics. Questions around social justice, poverty, environment, and violence have propelled movements leading to action against sweatshops and child labour in the garment industry, to fair trade and shade-grown coffee products, to boycotts of California grapes and trade with apartheid South Africa.
Green Cross International
Pacific Typhoons Highlight Need for Strong Risk Management
By Paul Garwood
The ongoing typhoon season in the Pacific, which has wrought havoc in the Philippines and Japan, underscores the increasing global threat posed by extreme weather events and critical need for risk management to prepare and respond to such disasters, according to a senior United Nations official and Green Cross International.
Sustainability Standards Unfolded in Nicaragua
By Marta Maireles González
Given the increasing regulatory importance of sustainability standards in coffee, it is essential to understand how standards are perceived by local farmers and whether there is a perception that standards contribute to improved livelihoods and market access. González’ research, conducted in late 2009, sought to address these questions by focusing on the perceptions of small, medium and large-scale coffee farmers in Northern Nicaragua. In particular, the research explored why farmers do or do not implement standards and what farmers specifically think about Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, UTZ CERTIFIED, C.A.F.E. Practices, Organic, and 4C in terms of better profits, new markets, and improved conditions on the farm.