In their criminal trial, activists argue they had no choice but to trespass and stop oil pipelines.
The four activists trying to turn of the pipelines in Minnesota planned to let the world know what they accomplished. A film crew followed them to the pipeline. They knowingly risked being arrested. Similarly minded individuals consider turning off the pipeline to be civil disobedience. Just as members of the Civil Rights Movement risked arrest. The activist believe inspiring others and bringing attention to the cause is worth the risk.
What They’re Arguing
The activists presented a necessity defense earlier this year, arguing they exhausted all legal tactics to stop climate change. Prosecutors challenged the judge’s decision to allow the activists to use a necessity defense, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals dismissed it in late April.
Other less extreme tactics have not been effective in stopping governments and corporations from using fossil fuels. Demonstrations, documentaries, and non-profit organizations prove to be poor weapons against policy and industry. In the minds of the organizers behind the protest, climate change is an emergency that will not wait on slow-moving legislation or reluctant corporations.
Prosecutors and stakeholders against the activists expressed concern about other activists being encouraged to commit more crimes. In response, one of the defendants said she hoped others would be inspired to participate in future acts of civil disobedience.
Chances of success
One of the activists’ cohorts was unable to use the necessity defense. His judge believed he was using his case as an opportunity to put energy policy on trial. However, the four activists being tried in Minnesota now have permission to use the necessity defense. The necessity defense has succeeded in the past. Charges against activists in Massachusetts were dismissed. Perhaps these activists will find the same outcome.
Industries are starting to see the light when it comes to climate change. Whether something is being done or not… depends on the company.
Ceres, a sustainability advocacy group performed an analysis of the largests companies in the US spectrum. With over 600 companies included, industries range from agriculture to retail to technology. The report is well-rounded, allowing anyone to check out the environmental performance of 10 different industries. Generally, the more climate change is threatening an industry’s business, the more action it is taking to prevent it.
Who is Doing What?
Ceres gathered and published company scorecards, ranking each company in Tier One, Two, Three, or Four. A company in Tier Four is just starting an sustainable practice while a company in Tier One is leading the pack. Ceres measured companies in different types of accountability and performance. Accountability includes disclosure, dialogues with stakeholders, and management accountability. Performance includes renewable energy, policies, transportation, and diversity.
Improvements… of a sort
Comparing Ceres’ 2014 findings to their 2017 findings illustrates a general increase in practices encouraging sustainability. It appears, at least on the surface, corporations are starting to get their act together. Sixty-four percent of the groups Ceres studied pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and one-third of the companies have made commitments to add renewable energy to their processes. However, only 36 percent of company had pledges with deadlines, and only nine percent had science-based goals aligning with Paris climate agreement’s goal to stop global warming at two degrees.
Changing corporate policy and practice will be the key to effectively mitigating climate change. The advances made in the last few years are promising, but not nearly enough. Corporations need to continue seeking ways to be sustainable, and a great way to start is exploring solar energy. SolFarm would love to help.
To explore Ceres’ detailed report yourself, check out:
Sudan, the last Northern White Rhino male, died yesterday.
Conservationists expected the death. Sudan, an elderly rhino, developed an infection on his back leg. He leaves the last two Northern White Rhinos, two females, behind. Sudan and the two remaining females were unable to produce children. However, scientists harvested sperm and eggs. Hopefully, conservationists successfully use IVF to bring the species back someday, using Southern White Rhinos as surrogates.
The Northern White Rhino is the second rhino species to face almost certain extinction. The Western Black Rhino went extinct in 2013. One thousand Eastern Black Rhino currently roam Kenya, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Outside of rhinos, seven species are thought to be extinct all over the world. As of 2017, 27 new species are considered possibly extinct or extinct in the wild. With species smaller and less researched than rhinos, it is hard to tell when a species is truly extinct.
The IVF procedure is not guaranteed to work, and it will cost more than nine million dollars. Bringing the Northern White Rhino back is much more expensive than protecting it in the first place would have been. For almost every species, the cost of prevention is much cheaper than what it takes to turn back the clock.
What We Can Do About It
This should be a wake-up call. While poachers threaten rhinos the most, other species disappear forever because of climate change and the pollution caused by the extraction and burning of fossil fuels. As temperatures rise around the world, ecosystems working seamlessly for thousands and millions of years are starting to unravel. As oceans warm, acidify by absorbing increasing amounts of carbon dioxide, and are over-fished, aquatic species disappear. As ice caps melt, islands and coastal regions are flooded, unique ecosystems are ruined.
Solar is part of the solution to save the world. The investment into a solar array not only shrinks a power bill, it helps protect the organisms we share this earth with. Do your part today.
Something new is giving solar a hand, and solar is returning the favor. Solar shepherds are leading in a useful flock.
One of the solar industry’s biggest cost is landscaping around solar farms. Tall vegetation might impede energy production if it shades the panels, but the panels are placed to maximize energy production, not fit a lawnmower. One rock lobbed from a lawnmower blade, and a panel is ruined. Most of the work is done with weed eaters. All around, it is just a hassle.
The Smithsonian reported on a technique beyond your average weedeating. Sheep are creating innovation. Small enough to fit between the solar panels, gentle enough not to break anything, and hungry enough to eat the grass, they are the perfect lawn care service for solar farms. Rotating herds of grazing sheep from solar farm to solar farm allows the panels to produce energy unhindered and safe from debris slung by a mower. Solar shepherds own the sheep and rotate them around different solar farms. It is making a splash in the solar world. Several states already take advantage of sheep (and support local agricultural business).
Individuals lucky enough to own land and sheep can lease their land to a utility or large company looking to go green, like Apple or Ikea, and have their herd make sure the land stays ideal for solar. A savvy rancher in Hawaii was able to work that deal. Even if people do not want to lease land, there are ways to utilize their sheep.
Helping Local Business
North Carolina is home to Sun Raised Farms, a solar farms maintenance contractor. Sun Raised Farms uses the herds of local farmers. In a time of struggle for small farms, the opportunity to make income from more than one source is vital.
Solar growing in North Carolina helps other industries too. Hopefully, solar and agriculture have a long profitable symbiosis.
1) Solar Dancing Toys:
Need a pick me up? These solar powered dancing flowers are sure to bring a smile to anyone’s face. Flowers aren’t your style? No worries! Click to see a complete selection of solar dancing toys including: The Pope, Bugs, Hawaiian Dancers, Animals, and more!
2) Solar Powered Window Socket:
Because when you are on the go and the outlet is too far away, stick your solar powered window socket anywhere you want! Airports, cars, bedrooms, or even your local supermarket- Charge your phone on the go.
3) This Solar Powered Boat:
Follow this boat that’s on a mission to promote the preservation of the earth’s water! The most precious resource on earth has ben compromised by crude oil and plastics. With an array large enough to spin some cart-wheels, or jump some rope, the system is powerful enough to run for 3 days without any sunlight.
4) Solar Powered Street Signs
What is Asheville to do when enough people ignore the stop signs? Stick a solar panel on top that power up some flashing lights around the sign. Maybe if the citizens wont stop for the sign, they will at least stop to see the pretty solar panel.
5) Solar Roadway®
While this unique invention is still in the works, designers have produced a few prototypes and have high hopes for the future of power generation.
6) The Solar Lawn Mower
Search “Solar Powered Lawn Mower” on any search engine and you will be surprised. We are all trying to cut our carbon footprints and save some money any way we can but buying a solar powered lawn mower is taking it to the next level.
7) Wearable Solar Inventions: Dresses, bikinis, Eye Glasses, Hats, You name it, its out there.
Talk about pushing boundaries, we now have solar powered clothing that can charge our electronics on the go! Solar light-up dresses, cell phone charging eye glasses and backpacks, as well as solar powered fan-hats.