Better Living Through Well Being
A new research report from a nonprofit economic research institute reveals micropolitan cities with populations between 10,000 and 50,000 fared better economically during the COVID-19 pandemic than larger metropolitan cities in the U.S. The “Most Dynamic Micropolitans” report ranks the top 25 of those cities in their nationwide study. Micropolitans at the top shared certain characteristics. Areas offering a mix of broadband connectivity and access to the outdoors became a respite from the difficulties of pandemic-era city life and the shuttering of urban amenities. Micropolitan cities driven by food production and processing found success because such operations remained open throughout the pandemic to prevent food shortages. The positive changes in fortune for micropolitans were largely due to the stabilizing benefits of a diversified economy rather than a dependency upon a single industry.
The report concludes that sustainable growth of communities requires a solid foundation of economic diversity to carry through unforeseen events. Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship can catalyze new manufacturing, which will create jobs that will likely pay well and provide a high quality of life.
A consensus document among ministers and secretaries of Agriculture of 32 countries of the Americas will be presented at the COP27 in November. The document, supported by the Inter-American Institute for the Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), warns of an impending crisis due to the combined effect of increased food insecurity and the global climate situation.
The point was made that these countries, including in the Caribbean and Central America, have been affected by the growing impact of climate change exacerbating problems leading to increased poverty, hunger and the price of food, contributing to global food insecurity. The ministers of Agriculture are working to ensure that especially the most vulnerable countries are given increased access to climate financing funds to strengthen adaptation.
The IICA says the agriculture sector of the Americas wants to join forces with the rest of the world because agriculture is part of the solution to the factors that caused the climate crisis. In fact production methods in the Americas have been improving their sustainability for years, incorporating practices and technologies that allow for sustainably increasing food production and reducing its environmental footprint.
The Atlantic Council, Embassy of Iceland, and Green by Iceland convened key players in the energy transition and green energy solutions at the U.S.-Iceland Clean Energy Summit in Washington, D.C. in September. They joined Icelandic and U.S. government leaders, businesses, and civil society groups to discuss opportunities to strengthen international cooperation to achieve ambitious climate goals.
When Iceland began to study geothermal energy a century ago it didn’t make financial sense. Now Iceland has become the world’s largest green energy producer per capita and a leader in harnessing renewable energy. They now have the potential to help other countries do the same.
Iceland’s foreign minister says lack of energy is becoming and immediate threat even in very prosperous societies. Civilization as we know it cannot survive without energy. With risks imposed by climate change, unless we fundamentally reform our energy production and consumption, we will not find a sustainable path. He believes strengthening energy security and addressing climate change are not mutually exclusive.
Bioenergy Devco hosted methane reduction experts from the EPA and Global Methane Initiative at the Maryland Bioenergy Center to demonstrate their success in developing the largest enclosed food waste recycling anaerobic digester in the United States. The end product of the facility is renewable energy and nutrient-rich soil products. The anaerobic digestion technology used is a completely natural process to keep our air, water, and soil cleaner while simultaneously returning nutrients to the soil and providing renewable energy.
Other articles of interest in this TMIS eNewsletter for Fall 2022:
* “Before It Disappears” sand billboard in Northern California designed to bring awareness to urgent need to protect kelp forests.
* Initiative leads working group on first carbon credit methodology for mass timber construction.
* Certified sustainable seafood meets consumers needs for affordable, healthy, planet-friendly protein.
* New definition reinforces more than three decades of evidence-based research support for walnut consumption.
* Scholar and scientific researcher unlocks the root causes of executive burnout, addiction, anxiety and more in new book Trauma & the Mystery of the Subconscious.
* International Monarch Monitoring Blitz campaign to support monarch butterfly conservation efforts reaches new record for participation.
* Announcing launch of global ocean conservation and sustainability initiative Spongebob Squarepants: Operation Sea Change.
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From the Front Page of TMIS News
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New Rankings of America's Small Cities and Towns Offers Clues About How Local Economies Survive Global Disruptions
COVID-19 shocked the global economy, and the reverberations of that disruption were felt acutely in America's micropolitans, where resident populations number 10,000 to 50,000. How did some not only survive but thrive during the pandemic? That is the subject of Heartland Forward's most recent research report, Most Dynamic Micropolitans.
Researchers ranked and analyzed the economic dynamism of 536 micropolitan areas across the United States by studying changes in key economic conditions from 2015 through 2020, with special attention to the change in employment from September 2020 through September 2021 to better understand communities' ability to rebound from the early months of the pandemic.
Those micropolitans at the top shared certain characteristics, including access to outdoor recreation, industries that focused on food production or processing and specializations in oil and gas. The data suggests that the strongest way to ensure sustainable economic development is industry diversification. Micros that also provide natural amenities are among those that avoided economic ruin during the pandemic.
Consensus in Costa Rica on the road to COP27: Ministers of Agriculture of the Americas reaffirm commitment to sustainability, warning that climate actions should be science-based, to safeguard productivity and prevent a deepening crisis
San Jose, California
There was overwhelming consensus among ministers and secretaries of Agriculture of 32 countries of the Americas that will support the action of these countries at COP27. All agreed that climate actions to boost the sustainability of agriculture should be science-based, as a means of safeguarding and boosting productivity and to avoid compounding the ongoing food crisis, which is already a cause for concern.
They also emphasized that farmers alone cannot shoulder the burden of the damages resulting from climate change or the sole responsibility for the necessary investment to transform the agriculture sector. Thus, it is imperative that developed countries honor their commitments to provide international financing.
These were some of the messages included in a consensus document arising out of a meeting that was also attended by representatives of multilateral credit agencies and global climate financing funds.
The two-day meeting was convened by the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) at its headquarters in San Jose, Costa Rica, to discuss the strategic role of the region's agriculture sector in tackling climate change, ahead of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) in November, and to coordinate regional positions for this forum. The session also encouraged the sharing of information and experiences that will support the action of the countries.
US and Iceland Government Officials, Business Leaders Strengthen International Cooperation to Achieve Climate Goals
In September, The Atlantic Council, the Embassy of Iceland and Green by Iceland hosted the U.S.-Iceland Clean Energy Summit, Our Climate Future. The Summit convened Icelandic and U.S. government leaders, businesses, and civil society groups to discuss opportunities to strengthen international cooperation to achieve ambitious climate goals. Prime Minister of Iceland Katrín Jakobsdóttir; Iceland's Foreign Minister Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir; U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree; Iceland's Ambassador to the U.S. Bergdis Ellertsdóttir; and officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense, Energy, and State; joined top executives from companies including Microsoft, BlackRock, Carbfix, Carbon Recycling International, Landsvirkjun, HS Orka, ON Power, and Running Tide to discuss opportunities and challenges to accelerate public and private partnerships to advance the energy transition and achieve urgent climate goals.
"Politicians and big corporations carry the biggest accountability," said Jakobsdóttir. "We can do a lot as individuals – I can take my bicycle and go to work and all that. And that's very important to make those decisions as an individual. But it's us politicians who need to create a society where it is easy to make those decisions. Where it is actually easier to make climate-friendly decisions than climate-hostile decisions. For the big corporations, who are the biggest emitters, we have to hold them accountable."
The summit aimed to highlight recent advancements in clean energy, including geothermal and carbon capture utilization and storage, and to draw attention to technological solutions to accelerate the energy transition and seek ways to enhance cooperation and sharing of knowledge between Iceland and the United States. The need for greater ambition in decarbonizing the energy system while ensuring energy security stood out as another major theme throughout the day.
The Global Methane Initiative and Climate and Clean Air Coalition Tour Maryland Bioenergy Center to Discuss the Methane Reduction Impact of Enclosed Anaerobic Digestion
Bioenergy Devco and its Italian subsidiary, BTS Biogas, hosted a group of policymakers, industry leaders, technical experts, and researchers from around the world at its state-of-the-art facility in Jessup, MD to view the largest enclosed food waste recycling anaerobic digester in the United States. Touring the international group from the EPA, Global Methane Initiative and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition was a unique opportunity to see first-hand the advanced capabilities of community-scale anaerobic digestion to reduce methane and other climate pollutants and to create renewable energy.
The Maryland Bioenergy Center – Jessup processes 110,000 tons of food waste annually, helping to decarbonize organic waste streams in the greater Baltimore and Washington regions. Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that naturally transforms food waste, such as fats, oils, food processing waste, proteins, and fresh-cut produce, into renewable energy and nutrient-rich soil products. Unlike most anaerobic digestion facilities in the United States, Bioenergy Devco operates enclosed food waste co-digestion facilities, allowing for multiple waste streams to coexist in the anaerobic digestion process while maximizing energy yield. This technology provides a non-fossil fuel source of energy to power our communities while reducing CO2 and methane emissions.
Bank of the West Creates First Disappearing Billboard for a Disappearing Habitat
San Francisco, California
Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, is bringing awareness to the urgent need to protect kelp forests with its latest marketing campaign, "Before it Disappears." Bank of the West commissioned artist Andres Amador to create a sand billboard on Dillon Beach in Northern California to bring attention to the threat climate change poses to coastal ecosystems, and the role finance can play in advancing a more sustainable future.
Experience the full interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/9078351-bank-of-the-west-sustainability/
"When you deposit money in the bank, it goes out into the world to finance things," said Ben Stuart, Head of Growth & Transformation and Chief Marketing Officer at Bank of the West. "Putting your money into institutions that align with your values is one of the most impactful actions you can take as a consumer or business. Our Money Matters survey found only 23 percent of Americans know what their bank finances. We hope 'Before It Disappears' raises awareness about the connection between banking and the environment."
In some parts of California, more than 90% of kelp forests have disappeared over the past 10 years. Kelp forests play a critical role in protecting the planet by helping to sequester carbon and reduce the impact of climate change. Through Sustainable Surf's SeaTrees program, Bank of the West has helped fund the restoration of over 3,000 square feet of wild kelp forests along the Palos Verdes peninsula.
Pioneering the First Mass Timber Carbon Removal Methodology
The Timber Finance Initiative, Green Canopy NODE, South Pole and Gordian Knot Strategies are pleased to announce they have joined efforts in creating the first mass timber carbon credit methodology. They are developing a globally applicable carbon credit methodology for mass timber construction in Verra's Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) GHG crediting Program. Verra will serve as the independent standard-setter for the methodology.
The Working Group will bring together a team of field and technical experts. Together, it will develop a concept note to be submitted to Verra's VCS Program, the world's leading greenhouse gas program, later this year. The final methodology will then be developed by the Timber Finance Initiative and South Pole. A rigorous carbon methodology will help realize the climate value of stored carbon in mass timber construction and help scale mass timber as a negative emissions technology and low-emissions building material.
Current estimates show that up to 40 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions originate from the built environment. Furthermore, up to 60 percent of the world's existing building stocks will be built and rebuilt within the next two decades, laying a tremendous challenge and opportunity to set more sustainable trends in the construction sector. Mass timber has been identified as a renewable and low-emissions alternative to concrete and steel. If timber is procured from sustainable forest management, mass timber mitigates climate change twofold: By removing CO2 (Carbon Dioxide Removal) from the atmosphere and storing it long-term in buildings and by replacing Green House Gas (GHG)-intensive conventional building materials.
American consumers changing grocery shopping habits due to environmental concerns
New findings released by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) show that people are increasingly changing their diets for environmental reasons as concerns over climate change grow. Following a summer of life-threatening heat waves, extreme storms, unprecedented flooding, and other weather events exacerbated by climate change, some shoppers are taking control of their impact on the environment through their food choices.
Conducted by independent insights consultancy GlobeScan for the MSC, the international not-for-profit responsible for the world's most widely used sustainable seafood ecolabel, the study1 found that 31% of global respondents who said they changed their diet in the past two years did so for a variety of environmental reasons. These include to eat more sustainably sourced food (17%), to reduce climate change impact (11%), and to protect the oceans (9%). These conscious consumers aim to shop for products that meet their personal environmental values, and a growing group of shoppers strive to be "climatarian"2 in their decision making. Californians reported the highest number of consumers reporting changing their diets for environmental reasons, at 40%, with Pacific Northwesterners not far behind at 39%.
In addition to the environmental worries causing consumers to change buying habits, rising food costs and overall inflation are new concerns
shaping purchasing decisions. In the US, the price of groceries is up 13.5% according to the Consumer Price Index3, with an up to 4% increase expected by December 2022 for food-at-home prices4. Increasingly, the challenge for conscious consumers is to stock the fridge and pantry with affordable meals that are also nutritious and environmentally friendly.
Seafood offers a healthy, planet-friendly protein, and a recent study reported that seafood harvesting produces less carbon than the production of meat. Wild-caught seafood was found to have a low carbon footprint due to the lack of land use or need for inputs (feed, water, etc.). Seafood can meet the desires of conscious consumers and climatarians with options in many aisles of the grocery store, and at every price point.
Walnuts Meet the Criteria for "Healthy," According to a New Proposed Definition by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration
Walnuts meet the criteria for a "healthy" food based on the important nutrients they provide, according to a long-awaited announcement from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) detailing a new proposed definition and criteria for healthy foods. This announcement, released in conjunction with the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, marks the first time the criteria for "healthy" has been updated since the 1990's. A nutritional powerhouse, walnuts supply 4g of protein, 2g of fiber, and are the only nut to provide an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5g).1
"Walnuts are highly versatile, accessible and play a valuable role in a variety of recommended dietary patterns. We are delighted to see FDA officially recognize walnuts as a healthy food," shared Robert Verloop. "Today's announcement affirms the decades of nutrition research that reinforce the important contribution of walnuts in a healthy lifestyle, providing additional reason to move walnuts beyond the baking aisle and highlight them among other healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables."
According to the latest 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines, more than half of Americans do not meet the recommended intake for nuts.2,3 However nuts, such as walnuts, are advised for consumption to help support the reduction of saturated fat by substituting in unsaturated fat.2 The fat in walnuts is mostly comprised of good polyunsaturated fats (13g/oz) and omega-3 ALA (2.5g/oz), an essential fatty acid that may play a role in heart health.4,5
New Book to Delve into the Mystery of the Subconscious and its Role in Helping Process and Heal Trauma and Executive Burnout
In his ongoing personal mission to help individuals overcome trauma, and help raise awareness of the impact of trauma, anxiety and executive burnout has on contemporary society, rabbi, researcher & founder of Sabra Enterprises David Dardashti is announcing the release of a new book, Trauma & the Mystery of the Subconscious.
The book details insights from both scientific research and David's over 35 years studying Kabbalah & the human subconscious, 30 years as a business executive, and 15 years working directly with trauma sufferers, with a particular penchant for corporate and executive cases.
"For too long, trauma has been underrepresented as a root cause for so many contemporary ailments, particularly in the business and corporate world," said David Dardashti.
"The goal of this book is to show how trauma is both simpler than people might realize, while being more complexly integrated into how we evolve and mature as people."
The new piece of writing takes a deep focus on the human subconscious, and how it plays an indispensable role in managing and processing unaddressed emotional trauma, and as a result, holds the power to heal the multiple neurological and physical challenges it can cause, when properly stimulated.
Monarch Butterfly Conservation Supported by Record-Breaking North American Community Science Monitoring Blitz
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC), in partnership with Espace pour la vie, is proud to celebrate and thank volunteers across North America who answered the call to support monarch conservation efforts between 29 July and 7 August 2022.
For the second year in a row, engagement in the International Monarch Monitoring Blitz received enthusiastic participation, surpassing the rates of previous years, with a new record of more than 2,600 participants from across 75 states, provinces, and territories in North America. This support resulted in nearly 6,000 observations. In the context of the recent listing of the North American migratory monarch butterfly by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on its Red List of endangered species, this trinational effort in community science demonstrates the vital importance and value of continental collaboration.
"The International Monarch Monitoring Blitz results demonstrate community interest and engagement to support conservation efforts for the migratory monarch butterfly population. The increased participation reflects how communities across North America have intensified efforts to gather information that will contribute to conservation and the research concerning this now endangered species," said Alessandro Dieni, Mission Monarch Project Manager at the Insectarium, one of five Espace pour la vie museums.
Paramount Consumer Products and Nickeilodeon Announce Launch of Global Ocean Conservation and Sustainability Initiative Spongebob Squarepants: Operation Sea Change
New York, New York
Paramount Consumer Products and Nickelodeon today announced the launch of SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change, a brand-new global ocean conservation and sustainability initiative. Through partnerships with several non-profit organizations, SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change aims to help remove and divert five million pounds of ocean plastic over the next four years by funding cleanup projects. At the same time, Paramount Consumer Products will work with current SpongeBob SquarePants consumer products partners to drive more sustainable practices and reduce single-use plastic in products, and curate partnerships with new brands to create innovative product lines. Additionally, the initiative will engage millions of SpongeBob fans around the world with on-the-ground events and educational resources that connect them with ways to become a part of the movement and take action in their own communities.
"Since its debut almost 25-years ago, SpongeBob SquarePants has become globally beloved for its contagious optimism and irreverent humor, but at its core the series has always had an intrinsic connection to the sea leading us to launch SpongeBob SquarePants: Operation Sea Change to help protect the home of the very creatures that inspired Bikini Bottom," said Veronica Hart, Executive Vice President, Global Franchise Planning, Paramount Consumer Products. "With this initiative not only are we funding change but reinventing how we do business by creating a connected global effort around sustainability, while also being afforded the opportunity to honor the legacy of the incomparable Stephen Hillenburg, Marine Biologist and SpongeBob SquarePants creator, who was so deeply committed to preserving our oceans and marine life."
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