Why the Food Movement is Alive and Well

silverware 2 up closeMark Bittman’s recent New York Times op-ed, “Let’s Make Food Issues Real,” is a grim assessment of the current state of the food movement – in fact, he questions whether a food movement exists at all.

Bittman states that the lack of major change to government food policies means the food movement is not winning. “I’ll believe there’s a food movement when Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are forced to talk directly about food issues,” Bittman writes.

I’ll take that bet. With the drought in California threatening the nation’s produce and the other impacts climate change pose to our food supply, I think it’s likely that the next group of presidential candidates will discuss food issues on the campaign trail.

But even if politicians take up the banner of the food movement, new legislation should not be the sole indicator of success. Food companies are increasingly making changes to their products, practices, and sourcing in response to consumer demand. State policies and federal agency priorities are also shifting. Read more

Summer Heat Brings Industry Call for Climate Deal

Andrew Hutson photo

As I write this blog, it’s hot outside.  I mean really hot.  At 97 degrees today here in the North Carolina Piedmont – with a heat index of 100 degrees – it’s thirteen degrees above the average high for June.

Summers have been getting hotter here, as they have in most parts of the world, since I moved to the South from my native Michigan fifteen years ago.  And the weather has gotten weirder. Way weirder.  Too much rain at times, not enough at others.  Hot when it should be cold, cold when it should be hot.  Bigger storms. You get the picture… you’re experiencing it too.

Yet, somehow, I’m hopeful.

Read more

Changing the Methane Numbers Game

Adding to the drumbeat for action on the supercharged climate pollutant methane, Showtime’s “Years of Living Dangerously” series recently spotlighted methane emissions leaking from America’s oil and natural gas infrastructure.


One theme of the May 19 episode hinged on a numbers question: Just how much methane is getting out? This question, a common one in the methane arena, refers to the national methane leakage rate for the entire oil and gas supply chain.

Various numbers, as low as 1 percent, were suggested for the national average with 4 percent, 11 percent and even 17 percent reported by scientific studies in some oil-and-gas producing regions. The problem is, it’s the wrong question.

We should stop fixating the debate on just how bad the problem is, when we know there is a problem and we can address it with confidence today.

Read more

Treasure Hunting for Gigatons

While on her way to present at the Conference Board Business and Sustainability Conference, Gwen Ruta's flight ran into weather and she got rerouted to Harrisburg, PA. Her misfortune was my luck as I got to present her slides and participate in a great conversation about what companies are already doing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The thrust of Gwen's presentation is that we can actually make money addressing the first 20% or so of the climate change problem. These 4 to 5 gigatons of "low hanging emissions" come from energy inefficiencies that actually cost firms money. A sizable chunk of the opportunity lies in two areas where we know we can have big savings – buildings and corporate fleets. Read more

And We're Off: Launch of the EDF Innovation Exchange

I confess, it was the title in the job posting that caught my eye first – Director, Innovation Exchange for Environmental Defense Fund. I wanted a business card that said that.

Reading the actual job description didn't hurt either. I'm a "big thinker with a solid track record" who can "build a new initiative that will inspire, inform and engage Fortune 1000 companies in reducing their environmental footprint" right? What could be better than spending my days building a human network, thinking about "innovation," focusing on environment issues, working with influential businesses and doing it for a well respected non-profit?

However, the real clincher has been getting to know the Corporate Partnerships team inside of EDF, the group I work most closely with. These folks are good. Of course, they are smart, dedicated, imaginative and (bonus!) fun to work with. But even better, they've been producing solid results for years. Read more