Princess, a division of Carnival Cruise line, the largest passenger cruise company in the world, has pleaded guilty to seven felony charges and will pay $40 million after employees on a cruise ship were caught dumping oiled waste into the seas and lying to cover up their actions. This as an issue of management that is not limited to Princess or Carnival, but to whole areas of business practice that continue to ignore their responsibility to apply best management practices and the best available technology to operations such as waste disposal.
We do not know enough about our planet and the impact of human technology on its basic systems. It is beyond idiotic to think we can grow our population and consumption this much, this quickly, and have no impact. But it is also foolish to overstate what we know and ask policymakers to invest trillions of dollars on impacts we have not yet seen. Scientists need to be encouraged and funded to present facts, projections and options.
If you had the experience of hearing Leon Billings teach and tell stories, it is hard to believe his voice is no longer with us. He was a great American and an important figure in American environmental history.
The climate issue seems to generate a high level of ideologically based politics, emotional rhetoric and political symbolism. It is time to move past symbols to pragmatism and political reality.
Earth Institute Executive Director Steve Cohen discusses what sustainability leaders can learn from American environmental leaders of the past through a new course taught at Columbia University by Leon G. Billings and Thomas C. Jorling, authors of the Clean Air Act.
My Columbia University colleagues Bill Eimicke and Alison Miller recently joined me in authoring a new book entitled Sustainability Policy: Hastening the Transition to A Cleaner Economy. If all goes well, Jossey-Bass publishers will release the book in early 2015. Our work focuses on how American government at the federal, state and local levels can work with the private sector to speed up what I see as the inevitable transition to a renewable economy. While there is a lot of action at the state and local level to promote sustainability, the federal government remains inert and pathetic. At the federal level, we see an ossified executive branch that cannot build a website or manage health care for veterans, a legislative branch that has forgotten how to compromise and legislate, and a Supreme Court willing to equate money with political speech.
Earth Institute Executive Director Steve Cohen discusses the changing natures of work and opportunity in the transition to a sustainable economy.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has allowed the Mayor’s Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability to lose many of its most talented staff, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is using capital funds meant to finance environmental facilities to help pay for the Tappan Zee Bridge. These two progressive elected officials talk the talk of environment and sustainability, but environmentalists are unsure if they walk the walk.
The images and stories of the devastation caused by Japan’s massive earthquake is heart wrenching. We see countless examples of extraordinary acts of human courage and generosity as the local, national and world communities struggle to respond to this catastrophe. Japan, a nation that has long ensured that its buildings were built to withstand earthquakes… read more
After the intensity and optimism of last year’s Copenhagen climate meetings, the U.N. climate talks have returned to a less highly charged, lower key set of diplomatic exchanges.