Rockefellers Got Rich From Oil, Switching to Renewables

As the UN climate summit continues there is good news coming from it. It’s worth noting that Canada is not part of any of this good news thanks to the climate-change denying Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The “pro-corprate” Harper is actively doing the opposite of corporations: supporting renewable energy. Even Shell (of all companies!) has called for stricter carbon regulations.

Yesterday it was announced that the Rockefeller family, who made billions from oil, have changed their mind on the planet-destryoing industry. The Rockefeller Brothers Fund is divesting from all oil companies and focusing on renewable energy sources. This means that the efforts of Global Divest-Invest has helped to transfer $50 billion dollars from oil-backing to renewable-backing.

Rockefeller Brothers Fund director Stephen Heintz said the move to divest from fossil fuels would be in line with oil tycoon John D Rockefeller’s wishes,

“We are quite convinced that if he were alive today, as an astute businessman looking out to the future, he would be moving out of fossil fuels and investing in clean, renewable energy,” Mr Heintz said in a statement.

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Ozone Layer is Recovering

Many years ago a bunch of countries decided to take action to stop damaging the ozone layer in the hopes that it will eventually recover. It’s great to see that the efforts of working together to protect the environment of come to fruition and let’s hope we see efforts like this directed towards climate change.

Scientists said the development demonstrates that when the world comes together, it can counteract a brewing ecological crisis.

For the first time in 35 years, scientists were able to confirm a statistically significant and sustained increase in stratospheric ozone, which shields the planet from solar radiation that causes skin cancer, crop damage and other problems.

From 2000 to 2013, ozone levels climbed 4 percent in the key mid-northern latitudes at about 30 miles up, said NASA scientist Paul A. Newman. He co-chaired the every-four-years ozone assessment by 300 scientists, released at the United Nations.

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A Rebel Architect in Vietnam Creates Green Space

Al Jazeera has a series on rebel architects who are improving the world around them. In the documentary they released today they look at award-winning architect Vo Trong Nghia’s work in reshaping Vietnamese buildings to contain more green space.

This film follows Nghia as he tries to find support for his vision to create a vertical farming city; and at the same time to implement low-cost housing solutions for those left behind by Vietnam’s economic boom.

“Green architecture helps people live harmoniously with nature and elevates human life by embracing the powers of the sun, wind and water into living space. If the current way of thinking does not change, sooner or later citizens will actually live in concrete jungles. For a modern architect, the most important mission is to bring green spaces back to the earth.

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TreeCanada Maps Its Impact

TreeCanada has planted around 80 million trees! They do this because trees make the world a better, healthier place for everybody. They also plant trees to rejuvenate school yards (ones that got paved over at some point) and to bring back areas damaged by industrial uses to their . This past month they launched an interactive map of their plantings.

The map displays a satellite image of Canada with interactive buttons that allow you to explore its tree planting initiatives. By clicking on an icon, visitors can learn about the location and number of trees planted, as well as the program and sponsor associated with that project. Below the map, further details are available, including the species of the trees planted and the environmental benefit expected. The map is currently populated with trees planted in 2013, however, over time the map will grow to include planting sites from past and present years.

“At Tree Canada, we believe that investing in trees will benefit both human and environmental health,” Mr. Rosen said. “Trees help communities by providing shade, absorbing excess water, producing oxygen and providing habitat for wildlife. As our many sponsors can attest to, when you invest in trees, you invest in a legacy that will benefit communities for decades to come.”

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China’s Changing Waste Management

China’s rate of economic development has caused massive change in the country and that includes the impact on waste management. Waste from consumer goods, industry, and other “good” things for the economy causes huge problems around the world. China is now at a turning point that can see interesting solutions to problems the developed world has had an easier time dealing with.

The sheer amount of pollution in China is causing people in the city to protest government policies. Environmental consciousness is growing in China.

Chinese waste management stands at a watershed moment. Rising environmental consciousness among the educated, urban middle class—who insist on clean air, clean water, and a clean landscape—may compel the Chinese government to act.

One foreign observer I spoke to noted that contemporary Chinese protests are “always environmental.” Recent events seem to support his point. Grist has reported on artist-activists who make pollution the central feature of their work. And in May, protests exploded after locals caught wind of imminent groundbreaking on a new garbage incinerator in Hangzhou, south of Shanghai. It is the latest example of what has become widespread opposition to burning waste.

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