omaha, nebraska (402) 681 - 9458 | info@verdisgroup.com

Our home to share our thoughts and host an (e)discussion about the opportunities sustainability presents and how our world will be changing as a result. From savvy strategies for clients to our fleet of Schwinn 10-speeds and everything in between; we invite you to the conversation and hope that we can explore true.green. together.


The mission statements of UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, and Clarkson College focus on patient care, healthcare education, research, and community outreach. Transportation—moving people around—is not a part of any of their respective missions. However, to achieve those missions, their people (employees, students, visitors, and faculty) must be able to move from one location (e.g. home) to another (42nd and Dewey campus). Thus, as the institutions continue to grow their positive community impact and add new buildings, the demand for transportation increases. Typically, this means more cars.

So what are these institutions going to do about the increased transportation demand?

They basically have three options (the first one doesn’t count):

  • Don’t grow. Not an option for a national healthcare leader.
  • Build out. Build more surface parking, which requires tearing down buildings and creates sprawl.
  • Build up. Build more parking garages at over $20,000 per parking stall.
  • Get creative. Find ways to get people to campus without using their cars every day.

If transportation is approached with the assumption that everyone will drive, parking becomes the obvious solution (Option #2 or #3). But when an organization sees transportation as fundamentally about moving people, driving a car and the parking that is required as a result becomes just a solution of many (and an expensive one at that as reported in Parking Problems? Transit Programs As a Cost-Effective Solution). When this comprehensive view of moving people is combined with an increased emphasis on wellness, millennials driving less, and a new Dodge St. BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), there is an opportunity to expand their positive impact without the burden of providing as much parking.

True to form in their leadership and innovation, UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, and Clarkson College got creative. We partnered with key stakeholders from all three institutions to design their new TravelSmart program, which was launched in June. TravelSmart is available to all employees and students at Screenshot 2015-06-24 12.24.26UNMC, Nebraska Medicine, and Clarkson College. The program promotes transportation options that will decrease parking demand, including activities such as walking, biking, carpooling, and taking the bus.

We helped design and implement a comprehensive employee input and engagement process to ensure the TravelSmart program met the real needs of the their employees and students. It included surveys, focus groups, forums, and more to select and refine the right components of the program.

One key finding from this process was that active transportation isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. Some employees or students have limitations on how they get to work based on where they live or their schedule. However, there are enough people willing to shift their travel mode to active transportation when the infrastructure and programmatic support is in place. This group is large enough to reduce the need to build more parking.

As a result, there are several ways the TravelSmart program makes it easy for people to use active transportation options:

  • Free online service to help connect carpool partnersScreenshot 2015-06-30 12.00.51
  • Free carpool parking passes
  • Free Omaha Metro bus passes
  • Free secure, indoor bike parking and access to lockers and shower facilities
  • Free guaranteed rides home in emergency situations
  • Daily-rate flexible parking for the days a participant needs to drive alone to campus

Already, employees are choosing to become TravelSmart participants and leave their cars at home.

TravelSmart saves money for employees and the institutions, improves employee attraction and retention, supports a culture of active living, and improves air quality in the city. There are great benefits for employees and students that participate –  a healthier lifestyle, less stress, fewer costs associated with driving and parking, and improved environmental conditions. Employees and students are not the only winners: patients, families, and community members also benefit when these institutions use their property to carry out their core missions, rather than for parking lots.

 

 

 

 

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Team Verdis at the Pancake Party.

Happy Holidays from Team Verdis! Here we are at Verdis’ 5th anniversary pancake party where we fed over 100 of our amazing friends and clients pancakes and a smorgasbord of toppings.

I find it helpful to regularly take time to reflect on the path that has led me to where I am now. Today is one of those days when I look outside at the leafless trees. Even though they appear dead, I know their roots are throbbing with life as they store and process the energy and stories of this past year—all in preparation for bursting forth new life in spring.

As I reflect on where Verdis has been in 2014, I see a year of abundance:

  • Abundant positive impacts from our clients’ conscious actions
  • An abundance of support and recognition from you, our community
  • Abundant joy and creativity as we invest in and develop our team

Abundant Impacts

Just as we care deeply for our team, we care deeply for our clients. From our vantage point, we see first-hand the results of our clients’ intention to flourish in ways that also help Omaha’s people, environment, and economy thrive. Here are just a few of the many highlights from 2014:

As these community leaders better steward their resources, they focus their energy and resources on more fully living their core missions, setting a great example for their communities.

Abundance of Support and Recognition

We do not do our work in a vacuum. We are part of several larger ecosystems called Omaha, Nebraska, the Midwest, and earth, just to name a few. We recognize we are supported by these interdependent systems, and we see our job as paying attention to the needs present in these systems and responding to them from our strengths. Abundance naturally comes when we live in this sweet spot of listening to the world’s needs and using our strengths to create a flourishing community.

The community noticed the abundant impacts of the partnership between Verdis and our clients. This year, with great gratitude and humility, we received the following recognition for the hard work of our clients and Team Verdis.

2014 Awards

 

  • Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s December Small Business of the Month. This award recognizes Greater Omaha’s exceptional small businesses that excel in business excellence and demonstrate vision, community engagement, and entrepreneurial spirit.
  • WasteCap Nebraska’s 2014 Service Provider of the Year. This award is presented to a service provider that delivers exemplary and innovative sustainable business services and applies the highest possible standards for responsible resource management.

 

This recognition is just the tip of the iceberg of the support we receive daily from mentors, community members, friends, and family that help us succeed in living our purpose each day. Thank you to each one of you who has helped us get to where we are on our journey. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Team Abundance

As a small firm, celebrating our 5th birthday this past year, we know how important it is to develop and grow ourselves. We strive to create a culture where we can flourish and provide the best possible service to our clients to help them thrive.

  • Craig is participating in the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Omaha Class 37 where he is honing his leadership skills, gaining a deeper understanding of the ins and outs of the city of Omaha as an interdependent system, and meeting exceptional people who choose Omaha as their home.
  • Newest member of our team! Janie Moody, born just last month, is the newest member of the Moody Clan and therefore Verdis’ youngest team member. Janie gives all of us new perspective as we watch her see the world with brand new eyes and is one more person who will inherit the world we leave her.
  • I, Daniel continue to dive further into Biomimicry, the conscious emulation of life’s genius, to apply nature’s lessons of flourishing to our clients. I have also been integrating sustainability with leadership development to help individuals and organizations become more mindful in their use of energy and other resources. I continue to grow in my leadership and facilitation skills by facilitating leadership trainings in Washington, DC, Iowa, and right here in Omaha, along with attending trainings in Green Bay, WI and Iowa.
  • Chris is further refining his intimate knowledge of how humans impact and are impacted by their physical and social environment by immersing himself in behavior change and engagement research findings from top journals and webinars.
  • Kay is staying current on climate change science and its impacts through research from the global perspective of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, such as the 2014 release of its Fifth Assessment Report, down to local implications as highlighted in the University of Nebraska at Lincoln’s Climate Change Implications for Nebraska Report. She has also kept tabs on the worldwide climate movement culminating in a historic moment with the People’s Climate March in September.
  • Brent is digging deeper into the intricacies of sustainability in higher education and travelled to Portland in October for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s national conference. At the conference, he learned about many universities’ innovative sustainability programs and how their lessons-learned apply to our current and future clients. He also met peers and potential partners from all corners of the country.
  • Sally was part of the inaugural Citizens’ Academy for Omaha’s Future where she learned some of the inner workings of city government and took a closer look at how to improve pedestrian flow and safety at one of Omaha’s most confusing intersections—Saddle Creek Rd. and Cuming St. She is also immersing herself in the local community through the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Young Professional events such as the Young Professionals Summit.

Looking to Spring

With winter just beginning, we will savor this season of winter as we continue to create meaningful change while simultaneously energizing our root system so we can extend our branches even higher next year. With our deep care for our clients, community, team, and world, and the unending support from the community, I can’t wait to see what will come alive in 2015 to build on the energy and developments of 2014!

But, before we jump too far ahead and get to spring, we want to wish you Happy Holidays & a Flourishing New Year from Team Verdis!

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Nebraska’s businesses and economy face a great risk due to climate change, according to a new risk management study that assesses the impacts of climate change on jobs, crop yields, infrastructure, and energy production.

A bi-partisan group including former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Wall Street titan and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and other prominent businesspeople and public officials launched the Risky Business Project that developed this study called “Risky Business.”

Our current economy and society have been organized and built around normal weather patterns with some resilience to occasional extreme weather events. Due to climate change, weather events that are today considered “extreme” will soon be considered “normal.” This increase in extreme weather poses risks to our current economy and societal structures.

Through a risk assessment, the study looks at the likelihood of possible future scenarios and the risks associated with each. If we continue with carbon emissions associated with business-as-usual, the risks for Nebraska by 2050 include 2x-3x more days over 95°F each year than currently and average summer temperatures increasing by 1°-3°F.

Nebraska is likely to see anywhere between 22 and 46 days over 95°F each year and average summer temperatures between 75-78.6°F by mid-century.

Nebraska is likely to see anywhere between 22 and 46 days over 95°F each year and average summer temperatures between 75-78.6°F by mid-century.

This rise in temperature could increase the demand for electricity, primarily from air conditioning, by 2.2 – 6.7%. With increased electricity demand across the region, Nebraskans could see energy expenditures increase by 2.0 – 10.6%. The heat will also reduce labor productivity by as much as 1%, primarily for outdoor workers in such industries as construction, utility maintenance, landscaping, and agriculture.

By mid-century, Nebraska farmers could see crop yields either slightly increasing by 1.5% or dropping as much as 24%. By 2080-2099, crop yields look even worse with a decrease between 10-57%.

From the defense industry, to insurance companies, to healthcare, several of Omaha’s largest industries are studying the impacts of climate change on their organization in order to manage risk. The report indicates we must take action immediately:

“If we act today to move onto a different path, we can still avoid many of the worst impacts of climate change, particularly those related to extreme heat. We are fully capable of managing climate risk, just as we manage risk in many other areas of our economy and national security—but only if we start to change our business and public policy decisions today.” –Risky Business

So what can we do?
The value of a risk analysis is to help prevent or minimize negative surprises and unearth new opportunities. With climate change, there are two necessary approaches to minimizing risk: mitigation and adaptation.

Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. What we emit today will impact our climate for at least another 100 years. To mitigate risks associated with future climate change, we must reduce or eliminate emissions today.

Organizations in Omaha have begun to take steps to reduce emissions. OPPD has taken a bold step by outlining its plan to reduce electricity demand while simultaneously increasing renewable energy generation, both of which reduce greenhouse gases.

And we have clients that are taking major steps forward as well. The University of Nebraska at Omaha is working on a Sustainability Master Plan that will outline steps the university can take to reduce emissions and improve its bottom line. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium has already cut energy use per square foot by 7%, while saving over $100,000 each year, and the Omaha Public Schools have cut emissions over 42,000 metric tons and saved $2 million in the last four years. Just to name a few.

Adaptation is also necessary, because the impacts of climate change are already being felt from coast to coast.

Many businesses are developing adaptation plans that include both addressing new challenges as well as discovering opportunities they didn’t know existed. Farmers continue to shift to sustainable agricultural practices and use technology to adapt to changing weather. Irrigation research and technology continues to enable farmers to use less water while maintaining or improving yields, and the Land Institute cultivates perennial crops. Each of these practices saves farmers money while improving resilience to the risks of climate change.

For more systemic change, the report authors say “it is time for all American business leaders and investors to get in the game and rise to the challenge of addressing climate change.” This includes investors incorporating risk assessment into capital expenditures and balance sheets, and the public sector instituting policies to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Ultimately, this is a problem of today, not some far off generation. Every decision we make today will either increase the likelihood of negative climate impacts or will help us manage the risk so we can thrive in Nebraska.

How does your organization plan to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts?

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TINSTAFP In high school economics I learned that There-is-no-such-thing-as-a-free-lunch (TINSTAAFL)—basically that I can’t get something for nothing. Somewhere, someone pays for what I get for free. This brings me to TINSTAFP: There-is-no-such-thing-as-free-parking. But I bet most people probably think there is free parking all around them, especially in Omaha. How many times a week do you park for “free”?

When you park at work? How about at the grocery store? Going out to eat? At the kids’ soccer game?

Chances are if you live in Omaha, you park for free (nearly) all the time. Two exceptions may exist in downtown and midtown Omaha where there are more places to live, more entertainment, and more businesses within a few blocks of where you park. Because of higher demand for land use, a parking spot is more valuable and one way to recover part of the cost is to charge for parking. But just because parking appears free doesn’t mean you aren’t somehow paying for it. Parking has real costs and someone somewhere is paying for it. When you park for “free” at the store, restaurant, or at the movies, you are still paying for parking in the form of slightly higher prices that the business uses to cover the cost of owning and maintaining the apparently “free” parking. When you park for “free” on a city street, you are still paying for parking in the form of taxes that fund road construction and maintenance. Like I said before TINSTAFP.

You’ve Got Questions

Between the widely held notion that parking is free and a desire to quantify the value of transit came the following questions:

  1. Do transit programs reduce parking in Omaha, Nebraska?
  2. How much does a transit program cost compared to parking?

These questions were answered by a study Verdis conducted to dig into the real costs of parking specific to Omaha and compare them to the cost of transit. A summary of the answers to these two questions is below. To dig into the data deeper, you can read the Executive Summary and the full report: Parking Problems? Transit Programs As a Cost-Effective Solution. The full study goes into details about:

  • Effectiveness of existing transit programs at colleges like Metropolitan Community College’s Pass to Class and UNO’s MavRide and at Omaha employers like Union Pacific and Pacific Life
  • Models for setting up a transit program at your organization
  • Tax advantages of transit programs
  • Details to nerd out on all the costs associated with building, operating, and maintaining parking lots
  • Along with all the supporting data behind the numbers

We’ve Got Answers

Existing Bus Pass Programs Reduce Parking Demand In short, what we found is that yes, transit programs do reduce parking demand at the organization that provides the transit program. In the organizations surveyed:

  • Students participating in their college-provided bus pass program are reducing the number of parking spaces needed by 172 spaces each day.
  • Employees that participate in and employer-provided bus pass program are reducing the number of parking spaces needed by 67 spaces per day.

Potential for Further Parking Demand Reduction: The study also found that bus pass programs are not reaching their full potential at colleges and businesses. There are still students and employees who would use a transit program, or would be willing to try it out, if they knew it existed or if the program was expanded.

  • At local Omaha employers, there is potential that over 45% of trips to work by employees wouldn’t need a parking space if transit programs met full program potential (chart 12).
  • At employers participating in the study, for every 100 additional participants, parking demand could be reduced by as much at 54 spaces per day.
  • At UNO, for every 1% increase in MavRide program participation, one could see a reduced need for parking by up to 25 spaces per day.

The nice thing about transit is that you don’t have to use it every day. Some people ride the bus a couple days a week and drive the others. It is about finding what works for you and the people at your organization. Remember, for every person who rides the bus even one day a week, that is a parking spot is freed up for that day. So you may be thinking this is no big deal, transit programs get more people on the bus and fewer driving their cars to school or work. The big deal is that each parking space saved means real dollars saved. For every parking spot that isn’t built, the organization saves over $20,000 for a single garage space and over $3,500 for a space in a surface lot. And when the monthly cost over the life of a parking space is compared to the monthly cost of transit, transit wins out nearly every time. How Much Does A Transit Program Cost Compared to Parking?

Through research of parking costs at several Omaha locations and the cost of existing transit programs, the study was able to pinpoint an apples to apples comparison of the cost per space per month to compare to a 30-day unlimited transit pass.

Bus Pass Program Costs: Regardless of who pays, a 30-day unlimited ride pass will cost between $42-$55 per pass. Organizations who become Metro Partners can receive bulk discounts reducing the cost of the 30-day unlimited ride pass to $42. Tax advantages can bring this cost even lower. Parking Costs: Parking costs vary based on several factors. Is parking provided by the employer or leased? Is it a garage or surface lot? Is there a shuttle provided between the parking lot and the college or business? Regardless of who pays, the following are the costs of parking in Omaha:

  • Employer Leased + Provided Parking: Monthly leased parking ranges between $48 per space for surface parking and $70 for garage parking.
  • Employer Provided Surface Parking: The cost for providing surface parking, including land, design and construction, and operations and maintenance, ranges between $73 – $163 per space per month. (20 years at 4% interest)
  • Employer Provided Garage Parking: The cost for providing garage parking, including land, design and construction, and operations and maintenance, ranges between $119 – $224 per space per month. (35 years at 4% interest)
  • Parking Shuttles: When needed, parking shuttles can cost on average between $13 – $28 per space per month.

Conclusion Simply put, transit programs reduce parking demand and transit programs cost less than providing parking for employees. Transit programs work for some employees and students, it never will be used by everyone, nor should it be expected to be. The point here it to provide better transportation options so those who choose to enjoy their commute on the bus can do so, making it more pleasant for them and for those who choose to drive on a now less congested road. So what are you waiting for, get a transit program set up at your organization today! Feel free to contact Daniel or Metro if you are interested in setting up a transit program.

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Over 1,700 sustainability coordinators, faculty, students, and staff descended into Nashville, TN this week for Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) 8th Annual Conference & Expo. This year the theme was Resiliency and Adaptation, taking a hard look at how we can be resilient in the face of climate change and how we can adapt to the changes that are already being observed across the country, from increased numbers of severe weather events to animals moving their habitats north. There are even impacts that include where I live in the Midwest.

If attendance is an indicator of the importance of a topic, then behavior change is definitely one of the more important conversations that happened this week as adaptation and resiliency were discussed in depth. The sessions where employee and student engagement were connected with behavior change were overflowing with attendees. In the past there has been a big emphasis on technological and an organization’s structural solutions, but now more than ever the sustainability profession is talking about the importance of each individual’s choices – that is, their behavior. There are currently gaps in the industry around how to effectively create a culture of sustainability among an organization’s faculty, students, and staff. People are hungry for this information.

There are many questions, studies, and pilots of new products and programs. By trying new programs with proper monitoring and evaluation, people are beginning to get a better understanding of how best to engage in the creation of sustainable culture. Colleges across the country such as the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Minnesota, and American University in D.C. are engaging students in a variety of ways.

One great example of innovation occurring in creating a culture of sustainability comes from the University of Minnesota. They developed five key green measures that help organizations inventory existing sustainability behaviors and identify motivations and barriers to sustainable behaviors. After an initial assessment, the GreenFive are used to help identify the best combination of programs and outreach that will help foster a culture of sustainability.

One of the questions I asked over and over of the speakers and product developers was “How long is this behavior sustained after the program is over, or after participants sign on once to create an account?” At this time, no one could say for certain. However, in programs that ask participants to track individual behaviors such as recycling a can or making a trip by bike instead of car, speakers were sharing that it is relatively easy to get people to sign up initially, but to get them to sign back on more than once to continue to track behaviors was a challenge.

Since we work with organizations specifically on behavior change, we were honored to have been selected to co-present with the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) on their very successful Live Green Pledge program. The room was packed with 75 attendees eager to hear how the UNMC pledge program was helping people “Make it Stick”–to actually change their habits for the long term. The way this pledge program is structured is not just as a tool that gets people to change one behavior once, but as a tool that helps foster long-term sustained positive behavior change.

Over 1,700 total students, faculty and staff have participated in UNMC’s Live Green Pledge. This is a simple to deploy, yet sophisticatedly designed tool using the best environmental behavior-change psychology to help increase the success rate of participants. Our research has shown that between 70%-85% of pledge participants are still engaging in the positive behavior one full year after they took the pledge. No one else at the conference had evidence of sustained behavior change a year after participating in a green competition or other pledge program.

Fortunately so many bright people from across the country are working to find the best ways to foster sustainable and thriving organizations through culture and behavior programs. As Verdis continues to use our pledge, we will continuously improve it as new research comes out about behavior change programs

The AASHE Conference and Expo provides a great forum every year to advance best practices, research, and ideas that are helping create a brighter future for everyone.

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Just before all the snow melted in the middle of January, I walked to pick up my daughter from her first day back at school after the holiday break. The first thing she did when we started to walk off the school property was ask if she could put on her boots because there was a pile of snow taller than her which she wanted to climb.

You see, many days we pick her up in our car because our days are so full and fast. Right now, however, I’m on paternity leave for the birth of Aderyn’s baby brother Rohan so I’m helping out with everything around the house, including getting Aderyn to and from school. One of the reasons we chose to live where we do is precisely because it is a “very walkable” neighborhood with a walkscore of 71. Add to this all the recent attention to how sitting is killing us and I thought it would be a good practice for me to walk to pick up my daughter, and of course, there are the environmental benefits and cost savings of not driving.

Aderyn didn’t really expect to walk home; she merely had her shoes on and wasn’t prepared for an adventure going home. As soon as her boots were on, her feet were climbing up the snow pile, and after only a few minutes of conquering it, she wanted to slide down on her bottom to get back on the ground. Sadly for her, school clothes aren’t conducive to sliding down snow piles.

As quickly as the pile invited her to climb it, a large empty lot full of melting snow invited her to run through it, picking up snow on the way, which ended up as broken snowballs on and in my coat.

snowy walks = an adventure waiting to happen

Really, who would have imagined walking home would lead to so many adventures? Trekking through the vacant lot allowed us to pass through a friendly neighbor’s yard as a shortcut where Aderyn picked up a two-inch piece of ice the size of a cookie sheet! No surprise it didn’t last long before she smashed it on the sidewalk to see all the pieces it broke into.

Back on the sidewalk the name of the game was “throw snowballs at daddy” again, which was really quite fun as I dodged, ducked, and got hit with snowballs. The game was only interrupted long enough to splash in puddles along the way.

Next, we made our mark in the snow on top of a short retaining wall where we guided our gloved hands through the snow, knocking plenty off in the process. We soon turned down the big hill by our house where Aderyn’s imagination ran as fast as someone sledding down the hill. In fact, she began to imagine how fun it would be to sled down the 2 1/2-block hill on the snow-packed sidewalk, of course only to magically stop before crossing into the street. When I pointed out how hard it would be to stop a sled moving at that speed, she thought a hill as high as the trees might do the trick to slow us down. And once we would be stopped at the top of this hill-as-high-as-the-trees, we could start over by sledding down the backside of the giant snow hill.

By the time we figured all this out we were feeling even more adventurous so we cut through an old abandoned alley to get to our house from the backyard. All of this made me feel like our journey home from school was just like the kids’ dashed trail in Family Circus comics.

The point is, none of this would have happened had we driven home. Not to mention it was the slow pace that created enough space in my mind to be so present to Aderyn, especially when she asked if we could go sledding. Luckily for me, I had the presence enough to say yes. However, the sledding, getting “air-time”, and pulling daddy down the hill stories will have to wait for another time.

Needless to say whenever I walk up to get her after school her first question is now, “Did you walk?” quickly followed by, “Let’s have an adventure!”

Where did you walk today?

What adventures do you make time for in your day?

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“Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” will make you think twice about ignoring the earth’s temperature and CO2 emissions. It’s an article I invite everyone who will be alive tomorrow to read.

Illustration by Edel Rodriguez

Bill McKibben just wrote “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math” with math that will make you think twice about ignoring the world’s temperature and CO2 emissions. It’s an article I invite everyone who will be alive tomorrow to read.

Never mind the scary picture above used in Rolling Stones for this article, it’s a bit dramatic, even though this is some serious stuff to think about. I find it important to not let doom and gloom overshadow hope, but it is important to be aware of challenges facing us.

3 numbers summarizing this challenge from the article:

  • Celsius – What the world (2009 G8 Summit, the Major Economies Forum, and the Copenhagen Conference) has agreed is the limit of warming we want to (can?) live with. Where we are now: .8° Celsius
  • 565 Gigatons – Our Carbon Budget over the next 40 years. 565 Gigatons is the amount of CO2 that humans can pump into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.
  • 2,795 Gigatons  – The known amount of CO2 potential in the ground–5 times larger than our Carbon Budget. Fossil fuel companies are planning on burning all 2,765 Gigatons with business as usual, in fact making investments based on the potential return of $20 Trillion, despite what it will do to our ability to live on this planet.

What implications do these numbers have for you–in your life, in your work, at home, and in your community?

For me, I see a hotter future, though I’m not sure how it will get hotter than today’s projected high of 104°F, and more extreme weather events. What will we need to do in our community to adapt to this? What will it look like to live in a hotter future with more extreme weather events? What is the economic, social, and environmental impact of extreme weather events (think floods of 2011 and the drought of 2012)?

With as difficult as it is to predict the future, I do know two things, one is that we need to rise to face this challenge head on and stop pretending it will go away on its own, and two, doing so will take an investment today for our future. It will cost us more right now, but for good cause, it is insuring against the risks of doing nothing. Investments, by their very nature take time, energy, and resources today, to make for a better tomorrow.

The fee and dividend plan referenced by Bill McKibben is a system that minimizes the hardship on everyone, while increasing efficiencies and decreasing reliance on fossil fuels so we can stay within our carbon budget.

This will take political will, a decision we as a country have to make for our future. This makes it absolutely necessary to invest in energy and resource efficiency; imperative that we generate our energy with clean, renewable sources. This isn’t hard stuff, even now, organizations are making changes every day to become more efficient and to generate renewable energy. All it takes is a decision, a conscious choice, to make this investment now.

After thinking about the implications that this new earth has in my life, I’d to keep our planet similar to the Holocene, the 11,000-year period of climatic stability, that we will be leaving if we continue on our current path. I’m willing to invest now in my future. Are you?

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Two weeks ago a new video from Incubate Pictures in association with the Post Carbon Institute was released that summarizes the fundamentals of energy as the underlying force for the way of life of many people in a fun, concise, albeit pessimistic, way. It has since gone viral and there are people embracing it as prophetic and others criticizing it as unrealistic. Where do you fit in that spectrum?
I’ll warn you now, it is pessimistic (just look at the title)–a bit too pessimistic in my estimation, but still a good overview of energy fundamentals and a thought-provoking discussion starter. I have given presentations very similar to this for the past five years to organizations and communities, and then we discussed what implications it has for their way of life and their community. So I can vouch for the credibility of their information.

As you watch the video, here are a few questions to think about:

  • Is this a realistic portrayal of where we are?
  • If so, what opportunities are there for us today?
  • If not, what alternative do you think is most likely?

I’d love to discuss the implications the information in this video presents for businesses, communities and individuals. I see great potential and opportunity as our energy sources and world change. The question is, how will we engage those changes?

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