Perdue to Install Solar Installation Spanning 2 States

In what Perdue believes to be one of the largest commercial solar installations on the East Coast, the company has announced they are installing 11,000 solar panels divided between two different facilities. The agribusiness company has entered into a 15-year agreement with Washington Gas Services, Inc. (WGES) to purchase the electricity generated by the solar panels at a set price. WGES will own and operate the system that is expected to generate an average of 3,700 megawatt hours of electricity each year, or approximately enough electricity to power 340 American homes. At peak production, the panels could produce at much as 90 percent of the electrical demand for each facility.

The ground-mounted panels will cover nearly 10 football fields. Nearly half of the solar installation will be located at the Perdue corporate offices in Salisbury, Maryland and the remaining will be located at their feed mill in Bridgeville, Deleware. The panels are being installed by Standard Solar Inc.

“Stewardship is one of our company’s core values, so this is a perfect fit for the way we do business,” said Steve Schwalb, Perdue’s Vice President of Environmental Sustainability. “Using solar power means we’ll have a clean energy source that doesn’t pollute or create greenhouse gases, while lowering Perdue’s energy costs over the life of the project.”

Perdue has also engaged in several other “green” projects. Last year they began renovation their corporate office and hope to obtain LEED certification for environmental leadership from the U.S. Green Building Council. Three years ago, the company began the first to sign a Clean Waters Environmental Initiative with the EPA to aid poultry growers in adopting better pollution prevention practices.

Harry Warren, president of WGES said of the project, “By hosting this project, Perdue is also helping both Maryland and Delaware achieve their statewide solar energy goals. “The Maryland and Delaware Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards Acts call for a growing contribution from solar energy each year through at least 2022, and Perdue’s project will contribute significantly to Maryland’s and Delaware’s total solar power production goals for 2012 and beyond.”

Waste Management Developing Organics Facility in Florida

Waste Management is developing a new organics facility in Okeechobee, Florida. The facility, which will sit on eight acres, will process yard, food and clean wood waste to produce soil amendments as well as bagged lawn and garden products that may be sold back to the public as an alternative to chemical fertilizers. The facility will be sited adjacent to Waste Management’s existing Okeechobee Landfill operation and will be the company’s first attempt at a dedicated composting site and should be operational by spring of 2011.

“We want to extract the highest value possible from the materials we manage. Recycling organics through composting and other technologies that may produce energy, transportation fuels or specialty chemicals enables us to generate more value from this specific material stream,” said Tim Hawkins, market area vice president for Waste Management. “With this facility, we will be able to offer southern Florida customers dedicated organics processing capability as well as generate beneficially useful products such as nutrient-rich organic compost that can close the loop with local homes and businesses in South Florida.”

Recycling is becoming more and more important in waste management and companies are looking for creative and cost effective ways to reduce waste and lessen environmental impact. Waste Management (WM) is looking at organics recycling as one possible solution to both waste management but also as a new revenue stream. To accelerate their pathway into the marketplace, WM acquired a major equity interest in Garick LLC, a manufacturer, marketer and distributor of organic lawn and garden products. In addition, the company has invested in technologies to convert waste into transportation fuels, petrochemicals and chemicals.

According to WM, North America generates over 80 million tons of organic waste each year. In the United States, approximately a third of municipal solid waste is organic, including food, yard and wood waste. Approximately 65 percent of yard waste and 2.5 percent of food waste collected in the United States is currently diverted from disposal.

An In-depth Look At Waste’s Role in Energy

A few months ago, I did a review of the book, The Story of Stuff. While the book was good, I was alarmed at the author Annie Leonard’s, unflattering views of waste-to-energy. For decades, municipal waste companies have been burning their trash. Known as incineration, Leonard says that this causes a multitude of problems, the first being burning pollutes and spews toxins into the air.

She writes, “Waste-to-Energy Plants Should Be Called Waste of Energy…But here’s the deal: first off, the little bit of energy recovered from burning trash is a very dirty energy, releasing far more greenhouse gases than burning natural gas, oil, or even coal. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, waste incinerators produce 1,355 grams of CO2 per kilowatt hour; coal produces 1,020, oil 758, and natural gas 515.”

Leonard continues, “Second, let’s step back and look at the grand scheme of things for a moment. When you bum something, the most energy you can recover is a fraction of the energy value (the “calories”) of the actual material; you can’t recover any of the energy investments of that thing’s entire lifecycle….If the ultimate goal is to conserve energy, we could “produce” far more energy by reusing and recycling Stuff than we ever could by burning it.”

So in a nutshell, waste-to-energy pollutes, it has a negative net energy, it doesn’t create jobs, they don’t eliminate the need for landfills and they are not economically feasible to name a few reasons to not like the energy source. You’ll also note that for the most part, these are the very same reasons (minus the waste-to-energy reduces pollution) opponents support waste-to-energy.

So who is right and why should we care? Well I was bothered knowing that millions and millions of people have visited her website and watched her videos and they may be getting outdated information. So I’m taking action.

In just a few weeks, the Municipal Solid Waste to Biofuels Summit is taking place in Chicago. On February 10-11, 2011, hundreds of people will be coming to together to discuss the up and coming waste-to-energy technologies. Leading up to this conference, I’m kicking off a 7-part series, “An In-depth Look at Waste’s Role in Energy Development.”

This series will explore the developments of waste-to-energy from the 70s or so until now. It will delve more deeply into Leonard’s claim that waste-to-energy plants actually produce more greenhouse gases than coal, oil and natural gas, It will discuss the opportunities and challenges in the industry, and it will feature various companies’ technologies who are excited for the opportunity to “clean” up the misconceptions surrounding waste-to-energy.

Environmental Watch List of 2011

Environmental Watch List of 2011. The 10 environmental hot topics range from issues like oil spills and offshore drilling to breakthroughs in wind and solar energy and the military’s increased use of renewable energy. The full report evaluates 10 judicial, legislative and other actions that the top-ranked law school considers to significantly affects humans and the natural world.

“We can continue our short-sighted addiction to fossil fuels or we can adopt innovative, healthier, more sustainable practices,” said VLS Dean Jeff Shields. “The Environmental Watch List will help improve public understanding of how to use the law to take action on the critical issues of our time.”

The 2011 Watch List:
1. Congressional failure to enact climate change legislation – will states take over where federal failed in 2011?
2. The nation’s worst oil spill – Deepwater Horizon Disaster
3. First U.S. greenhouse gas rules – Will the EPA’s efforts to restrict global warming pollutants survive judicial and political challenges?
4. Climate change in the courts – Supreme Court case that would allow public nuisance lawsuits against major air polluters.
5. California’s climate law dodges a bullet – Voters kill Prop 23 in November elections
6. EPA clamps down on mountaintop removal coal mining – Looks at the EPA’s crackdown on the coal industry’s practice of tearing off mountain peaks
7. Wind and solar projects make breakthroughs – Including offshore wind and solar projects on public lands
8. Supreme Court reviews genetically modified crops – Looks at the Supreme Court’s first ruling on so-called Frankenfoods
9. EPA’s water transfer exemption remains in force – Conflict over transferring polluted water from one water body to another.
10. U.S. military going green – Looks at how the military is reducing its dependence on fossil fuels

You can learn more about each issue and delve into the debate on their dedicated Environmental Watch List 2011 website.

Joanna’s Best Books of 2010

There are a few things I have learned over the last two years of reviewing books. First, no matter how much you “dislike”, or disagree with an author, you always learn something from him or her  – always. Second, there are always two sides to every story and we all need to do a better job of learning more about both sides.

With those thoughts, now onto the real purpose of this blog: my top books of 2010.

Best Economic Book: The Economics of Food by Patrick Westhoff

Best Environmental Book: Green Gone Wrong by Heather Rogers

Best Energy Book: The End of Energy Obesity by Peter Tertzakian

Best Global Warming Conspiracy Book: Energy & Climate Wars by Peter C. Glover and Michael Economides

Most Fun to Read: No Impact Man by Colin Beavan

Best Book of 2010: The Boy who Harnessed the Wind: by William Kamkwanba

If you have an idea for a book that you would like me to review in 2011, please send me an email at Happy Holidays, thanks for reading DomesticFuel and may 2011 bring you much health and happiness.

Will Biogenic Emission Regulation Curb Biomass Growth?

According to the National Alliance of Forest Owners (NAFO), the inclusion of biomass emissions (biogenic carbon emissions) in the EPA’s Clean Air Act greenhouse gas permitting program hinders growth of renewable energy. However, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is countering their argument saying that there is public data on investments in biomass showing that it is in fact growing. The irony is that both groups cite the same study from Forisk Consulting to support their claims although the study was in fact funded by NAFO.

In December 2010, Forisk Consulting released a study titled, “Economic and Regional Impact Analysis of the Treatment of Biomass Energy Under the EPA Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule.” According to NAFO, the study found that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Greenhouse Gas Tailoring Rule’s current treatment of biomass energy emissions will put over 130 renewable energy projects “at risk” for cancellation or delays.

“The Tailoring Rule is a powerful deterrent to forest biomass energy investments and job opportunities,” NAFO President and CEO David P. Tenny said of the study’s findings. “We’re already seeing the economic impact of the Tailoring Rule, as renewable energy projects are delayed or stopped altogether due to regulatory uncertainty. Left unchanged, the Tailoring Rule threatens the long-term viability of the biomass energy sector which, in turn, undermines the renewable energy goals of the Administration and Congress.”

Back in September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it was considering equating biogenic carbon emissions with fossil fuel emissions under the Tailoring Rule, which requires the accounting and reporting of greenhouse gas emissions under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2). Biogenic carbon emissions are those that are naturally created during the combustion and decay of woody biomass. In the past, the EPA has always considered them carbon neutral.

However, according to EDF calculations, existing and announced wood bioenergy projects increased during the past year by nearly 35 percent–from 112 projects to 151 projects–across 11 southern states alone: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. (Only data from the southern U.S. is publicly available for the past year). According the report, the total expected demand for wood biomass increased by 10 million green tons, a 76 percent hike in wood biomass demand across the region.

“The science clearly shows that not all sources of biomass are equal in terms of their climate change impacts,” said Will McDow, manager of EDF’s Southeast Center for Conservation Incentives, and a member of both the North Carolina Forestry Technical Advisory Committee and Forestry Council. “The industry has known that EPA was planning to include biogenic emissions in permitting requirements in some way since last spring, yet this fact clearly has not dampened investors’ enthusiasm for bioenergy in 2010.”

McDow concluded, “The stakes are too high for EPA to rush to judgment in making biomass emission rules because these biomass plants will produce greenhouse gas emissions for 20 to 30 years. EPA needs to take the time to get the accounting right for biomass emissions to spur the right investments and policies our nation needs to protect forest sector jobs and the natural resources we depend upon.”

What Do Oil Spills, Education & The Volt Have in Common?

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is far from over and but when it is, just what do you do with all that waste? In the case of the oil-soaked, plastic absorbent booms that floated in the Gulf of Mexico, they are ending up as parts for the Chevy Volt. This according to General Motors who is telling their story today during a radio media tour. GM estimates that they will save more than 100 miles of boom material off the Alabama and Louisiana coasts from landfills and create enough parts to supply the first production run that is now underway.

“Creative recycling is one extension of GM’s overall strategy to reduce its environmental impact,” said Mike Robinson, vice president of environment, energy and safety policy at GM. “We reuse and recycle material byproducts at our 76 landfill-free facilities every day. This is a good example of using this expertise and applying it to a greater magnitude.”

Heritage Environmental collected the boom material and then Mobile Fluid Recovery used a massive high-speed drum to spin the booms until they were dry. This process eliminated all the absorbed oil and wastewater. Then using its patented process, Lucent Polymers turned the booms into the physical state necessary for plastic die-mold production where finially, GDC converted it into auto parts. The components, which aid in vehicle air flow and water deflection, are typically comprised of post-consumer recycled plastics and other polymers, and recycled tires from GM’s Milford Proving Ground vehicle test facility. Now, 25 percent of the composition includes the boom material.

In case you’re wondering, who was the very first consumer owner of the Chevrolet Volt? Rick Henderson, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group, has purchased the first Volt for $225,000. All proceeds from the online auction, which closed on Dec. 14, will benefit science, math, engineering, and technology education initiatives through the Detroit Public Schools Foundation.

GM Reaches Zero-Landfill Plants Goal

General Motors has announced that it has reached its global operations commitment set in 2008 to convert 50 percent of its 145 plants to landfill-free status by the end of 2010. Currently, 52 percent, or 76 of its worldwide facilities, now take all its waste generated from normal operations and reuse, recycle or convert it to energy. GM’s first facility to achieve landfill-free status was an engine plant in Flint, Mich., in 2005.

On average, more than 97 percent of waste materials from GM’s zero-landfill plants are recycled or reused and less than 3 percent is converted to energy at waste-to-energy facilities, replacing fossil fuel use.

“We’re committed to reducing our environmental impact,” said Mike Robinson, vice president of Environment, Energy and Safety Policy at GM. “Whether it’s a facility that’s already achieved landfill-free status or one of the many that are nearly there, every site is serious about finding ways to reduce and reuse waste.”

The first step in the process for each plant was for employees to focus on reducing the amount of waste generated. From there, as much as possible, the waste was recycled. Each month, the plants monitor, measure and report on their performance against waste-reduction goals. The collected data, that originally set the stage for the landfill-free initiative, demonstrates what materials are being generated, reused and recycled, and reveals areas for improvement. Ultimately, The results helped form a process that enables all facilities to replicate best practices.

According to a GM news release, this year the company has recycled or reused 2.5 million tons of waste materials at its plants worldwide that would fill 6.8 million extended-cab pickup trucks. If parked end-to-end they would stretch around the world.

“It’s all about being creative, lean and rethinking traditional manufacturing processes,” said John Bradburn, manager of GM’s waste-reduction efforts. “When you think of what it would take for a family of four to not produce any trash for a year, that’s quite a task. This is 76 sites around the world and about 70,000 employees committed to the cause.”

Bradburn continued, “I believe our employees were willing to engage because they could relate to what it means. People don’t want to be wasteful; they want to help the environment. It’s become a sense of pride for those that work at those facilities, and it reflects in quality and throughput.”

ACORE Calls for Global Renewable Energy Standard

During COP-16, the ongoing global climate talks taking place in Cancun, Mexico, the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) called for a global agreement on the adoption of a 25 percent renewable energy standard by the year 2025 to be called the Global Renewable Energy Standard (G-RES). In addition, ACORE went further and asked the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to be designated as the lead agency to support the implementation should an agreement be passed.

“The world seeks leadership and guidance on the best path to a cleaner, safer environment and stable atmospheric ecosystem. But it is clear to most of us that there is no single path – that this is a matter of many paths that together get the world to where it needs to be,” said Michael Eckhart, President of ACORE.

He continued, “We know today that three of the cornerstone paths to climate protection are the adoption of renewable energy, investment in greater energy efficiency, and protection of the rainforests as the Earth’s lungs. It is time to have concerted action on each of those three paths, getting started on what we know will work. I believe we can agree on the adoption of renewable energy here this week at COP-16, and we hereby call on the conference to introduce the measure and test it with a vote. We believe it can pass, and call on other associations and NGOs to encourage their governments to agree.”

ACORE put forward the following draft resolution that they believe most countries can meet while still achieving economic growth and employment.

RESOLVED, that the undersigned nations commit to a Global Renewable Energy Standard (G-RES) in the amount of 25% by the year 2025. That is, that each signatory nation shall hereby be committed to a goal of supplying not less than 25% of its national energy supply from renewable energy sources, herein defined as wind, solar, hydro, ocean, geothermal and biomass sources of electricity, fuels, heat and other end-use forms of energy; and to a process of international collaboration through the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as the designated lead agency for implementation. The G-RES shall provide for two implementing mechanisms: direct installation of renewable energy systems sufficient to meet the goal, and the sale/purchase of Global Renewable Energy Certificates (G-RECs) between nations.

In the past, other groups have signed a memorandum of understanding on the 25 percent by 2025 goal including ACORE, the Chinese Renewable Energy Society, the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, the European Renewable Energy Council, and the World Council for Renewable Energy (WCRE). In addition, other groups around the world have promoted a “25x2025” goal including the Energy Future Coalition in the U.S.

Deforestation Decline Debunks Land Use Change Theory

Rainforest deforestation rates have reached new lows, which further challenges the theory of international land use change that has been used to penalize corn ethanol for its carbon footprint.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva announced today that deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon declined 14 percent from August 2009 to July 2010, reaching the lowest rates ever recorded for the second consecutive year.

Satellite images analyzed by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show that an estimated 6,450 square kilometers of forests were cleared in the 12-month period, bringing rates to their lowest since monitoring started in 1988. The record-breaking decrease represents a major contribution to reducing Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions, as global negotiations progress at the 16th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP16), currently underway in Cancun, Mexico.

Renewable Fuels AssociationIn a post on the Renewable Fuels Association E-xchange blog, Vice President of Research and Analysis Geoff Cooper says this development is yet another blow to the already roundly rejected hypothesis of international land use change (ILUC) first proposed three years ago by Environmental Defense Fund attorney Timothy Searchinger.

“Today’s announcement by Lula is just the latest exhibit in a recent barrage of evidence that is undermining the argument that ILUC is a significant concern in the context of U.S. biofuels expansion,” writes Cooper, noting that annual U.S. ethanol production stood at 3.4 billion when deforestation peaked in 2004. “In 2010, the ethanol industry will produce nearly 13 billion gallons. So, Amazon deforestation has fallen 76% since 2004, while U.S. ethanol production has increased 279% in the same period.”

Cooper adds that he hopes the news out of Brazil will be greeted warmly by the environmental community, but he doubts it. “Unfortunately, I have a feeling the response from NRDC and others may go something like this: “Well, how much lower would deforestation have been without biofuels in the U.S.?” This response, of course, dodges the real issues at hand and resorts back to hypotheticals and computer models.”

Wind Energy Powers COP-16

It is only fitting that wind energy would supply power to an environmental conference. The United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-16) is in full swing in Cancun, Mexico and renewable energies are taking center stage. Cancun’s windmill will produce 1.5 megawatts on each day, enough energy to power 1,500 houses. This according to the President of Mexico, Felipe Calderón Hinojosa.

“Mexico can generate up to 71 megawatts due to its geographic conditions. This will mean a reduction of as much as 2,000 tons of CO2,” stated Hinojosa during the inauguration of the windmill, just one day before COP16 kicked off on November 29, 2010.

Energy used for the Conference will be produced by the the windmill along with solar cells installed at the Moon Palace Hotel. This is a joint project with Italy. In addition, the country will “capture carbon” to offset the carbon produced during COP-16.

In the beginning of Hinojosa’s administration, Mexico generated only 2 megawatts of clean energy. The goal of the administration is to produce 2,160 megawatts by the end of the term. This means that 26 percent of the total energy produced in Mexico would be from renewable sources. Mexico is one of the leading countries in its reduction of CO2 emissions, right after Germany and South Africa.

Thank You EPA!

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is celebrating 40 years on December 2, 2010. To commemorate their anniversary, Green For All, a national organization dedicated to building a green economy, launched The site lists several of EPA’s more important accomplishments and encourages Americans to share those successes through social media tools like Facebook and Twitter.

EPA’s actions have….

  • • Reduced 60% of dangerous air pollutants in the air we breathe.
  • • Prevented 205,000 premature American deaths in 1990 alone by providing cleaner air, and prevented hundreds of thousands more in subsequent years.
  • • Saved Americans more than $55 million in water and sewer bills in 2008.
  • • Cleaned more than 2,000 American rivers and lakes that were identified as impaired in 2002.
  • • Prevented 18 million American child respiratory illnesses in 1990 alone by providing cleaner air, and prevented millions more in following years.
  • • Increased recycling in American families and businesses that went from recycling about 10% of trash in 1980 to more than 33% in 2008.
  • • Increased the number of Americans receiving water that met health standards from 79% in 1993 to 92% in 2008.

Several accomplishments important to the biofuels industry include the implementation of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS2) that set the goal of using 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2022. The EPA also announced a historic ruling last month in which they approved the use of E15 in conventional vehicles manufactured after 2007.

Brazil Ethanol Industry On Display At COP-16

In an effort to showcase decades of renewable energy use, the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) will be participating in events during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-16) and the World Climate Summit (WCS) which are taking place in tandem in Cancun, Mexico from November 29-December 10.

According to UNICA, nearly 50 percent of all of Brazil’s energy comes from renewable sources. This is three times the global average and UNICA believes this gives Brazil a leading role in the search for solutions for global warming and climate change. To demonstrate their technologies, UNICA will conduce a seminar on alternatives to minimize emissions from transportation in emerging countries on December 6 at the Cacao Room in Hotel Moon. The organization will also at the Brazil Pavillion with support from the Brazilian Export and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil, who will also be at the upcoming AG CONNECT Expo in Atlanta, GA on January 7-10, 2011).

Marcos Jank, UNICA’s President, points out that Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions measured in 2006 would have been 10 percent greater without the contributions from the sugar and ethanol industries. “Over the 35 years of large-scale use of biofuels in Brazil, more than 600 million tons of CO2 were kept from the atmosphere while the country saved US $240 billion that didn’t have to be spent on foreign oil,” said Jank.

He also notes that ethanol is moving beyond the fuel tanks of cars and buses and is also being tested as fuel to power generators, farm implements and machinery, as well as to fly planes. In addition, ethanol is used a replacement for fossil fuels in resins, fine chemicals and “green” plastics. The result, says Jank, is a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Continue reading

Global Leaders Want Action During World Climate Summit

International business leaders are calling for immediate action during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP-16) and the World Climate Summit (WCS) that are both set to begin on November 29, 2010 in Cancun Mexico. A group of global investors with collective assets worth more than $15 billion are asking global leaders to “take action now in the fight against global warming or risk economic disruptions far more severe than the recent financial crisis.”

The group is pushing for the passage of policies that limit carbon and spur the development and growth of low-carbon technologies. In a statement they cite potential climate-related GDP losses of up to 20 percent by 2050 and highlight the economic benefits of shifting to low-carbon and resource-efficient economies.

However, there is little hope that global policies will be passed, and less so that they will be enforced, in part due to the hesitation of the U.S. government in passing any policy to limit CO2 emissions such as cap and trade.

According to Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, an organization representing investors and environmentalists, “Current investment levels fall well short of what is needed to stem the rise of global temperatures and adapt to a warming world. Strong government policies that reward clean technologies and discourage dirty technologies are essential for closing the climate investment gap and building a low-carbon global economy.

California scored a minor victory during the November elections when Prop 23, a regulation that would in essence have undone California’s environmental and low-carbon policies was defeated. Those supporting Prop 23 wanted green polices scaled back claiming that the companies footing the bills to install low-carbon technology would go bankrupt and employees would lose jobs – the opposite of what policy makers are aiming for during an economic recession. Continue reading

Book Review – The Story of Stuff

Many years ago on a high school field trip, we were taken to the local landfill. It was nearly full and the city needed to do something – find somewhere to take its trash. Out of this field trip came my first environmental inspiration. I researched recycling and determined that at that time, the only way to get people to participate would be to give them bins that would be picked up at the curb. I pitched it to my class, they joined in the effort…we went door to door …and the during the next election, the resolution passed.

I felt pretty good for years to come but that enthusiasm has waned as I’ve learned that recycling programs are barely effective and we still generate too much stuff. “The Story of Stuff” came of out the internet movie sensation by the same name. Author Annie Leonard has been traveling around the world for more than 20 years learning about the world’s obsession with “Stuff.”. Not only do we have too much, but its too toxic. According to Leonard, we’re also using our natural resources far faster than the Earth can replenish them.

Leonard explains that the expanding economic system is about to hit a wall. It is running up against the limits of our planet’s capacity to sustain life. Economists predict that with the rate of growing populations, especially those in countries like China and India, coupled with the amount of CO2 emissions created from the production and transportation of our Stuff, we’re in trouble.

“Put it simply, if we do not redirect our extraction and production systems and change the way we distribute, consume, and dispose of our Stuff – what I sometimes call the take-make-waste-mold-the economy as it is will kill the planet,” writes Leonard.

While I don’t agree with her wholeheartedly, I do agree that she is on to something. I can’t tell you how many times in the past few years I’ve purchased something I usually don’t even need and it has a crazy amount of wasteful packaging. I am now even more aware as Leonard takes you through the entire process of Stuff from extraction, production, distribution, consumption, and disposal. Continue reading