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Renewable Energy Industry News Roundup: Oct. 31 - Nov. 6, 2016

A new report shows that global offshore wind capacity could reach 400 GW by 2045, Germany gets the world’s first hydrogen powered, emission-free train, and the U.S. Department of Transportation announces a new plan that will help drivers with electric vehicles power up across the country. Read these stories and more in this week’s renewable energy news roundup.

Tags: Wind Energy, Renewable Energy Technology

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Renewable energy industry news roundup: August 22–28, 2016

Tech companies look to renewable energy as power-hungry data centers become a growing part of their operations, the U.S. government's SunShot Initiative continues to hit it goals in decreasing the price of solar, and more CEOs list sustainability as a top business concern. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy industry news roundup.

Tags: Wind Energy, Renewable Energy Technology, Clean Jobs

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Renewable energy industry news roundup: August 15–21, 2016

The first offshore wind farm in the United States completes construction, wind energy prices continue to drop while the amount of energy capacity continues to soar, and NASA sets its sights on reducing CO2 emissions created by jet travel. Read these stories and more in this week's renewable energy news roundup.

Tags: Wind Energy

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Renewable energy industry news roundup: Dec. 6-13, 2015

This week in renewable energy was indeed a busy one. On the global stage, the United Nations approved a landmark climate accord in Paris and more companies joined RE100's mission for 100% renewable energy. In Ecotech Institute's backyard, Sunrun Inc. will bring 800 solar energy jobs to Colorado and Utah's first utility-scale solar farm went online. This news and more in this week's renewable energy roundup.

Tags: solar energy, renewable energy technology, clean jobs

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Renewable energy industry news roundup: Oct. 4-11, 2015

In this week's renewable energy news update, states like Minnesota and California are taking renewable energy into their own hands and encouraging their utility providers to increase clean energy offerings including solar energy and wind energy, while nationwide companies like Comcast work to expand home energy management. In addition, the International Energy Agency is optimistic that more than a quarter of all energy produced by 2020 will be green and Citibank agrees that green efforts will save the global economy trillions of dollars.

Tags: renewable energy technology, solar energy, wind energy

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Renewable energy and jobs: Annual review 2015

In this second edition, IRENA estimates that renewable energy employed 7.7 million people, directly or indirectly, around the world in 2014 (excluding large hydropower). This is an 18% increase from the number reported the previous year.

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5 Ways We Could Get More Solar Power

There's a solar boom happening in America. In the last six years, installations of solar panels have jumped 1,700%. Prices for solar energy have fallen 50% to 70%. There's now a well-established ecosystem of installers and service companies, and plenty of finance options, too.

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How to get a solar-based future, according to MIT

The MIT team behind The Future of Solar Energy, a study released in early May, believes solar alone has the potential to address climate change by mid-century, but warns that are three potential hurdles solar must overcome to fulfill its huge potential.

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Earth Day 2015 and the Rising Role of Renewable Energy

Earth Day always means a great deal to us here at Ecotech Institute. It’s an honor to be part of an industry where students, faculty and alumni strive to make an impact not only for our planet, but our economy as well. This is a growing field, with jobs on the rise as more and more people realize that it’s imperative to start figuring out the best means to use renewable resources.

As we celebrate Earth Day 2015, we want to continue to be on the forefront of helping lead our nation toward an energy efficient world, where renewable resources are used responsibly and effectively.

Tags: renewable energy technology

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Four Women Who Have Made a Mark in Renewable Energy

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’ve been sharing on Facebook and Twitter the stories of four women who’ve made their mark in renewable energy. These individuals are making an impact in green economics, environmental policy, and in the solar and wind industries. Check out each of their stories.

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Sustainable Business 2.0

“We are seeing sustainability being embedded more deeply into businesses. It is being seen as a skill that people can’t do without. If we are not addressing these issues at business schools, we won’t capture the huge opportunities that sustainability issues create.” ~Andy Cartland, co-founder of sustainability-focused recruitment company Acre

The Guardian headline caught my eye: Sustainability now key selling point for business schools attracting students. While the article focused, unsurprisingly, on the UK, it did address the issue of business sustainability from a global perspective.

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Six Celebrities Who are Passionate about Sustainability

Most conversations about celebrities revolve around what designers they’re wearing or whom they’re dating. But these big names in entertainment have used their status and resources to bring the spotlight to a more important issue: sustainability ...

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12 Clean Energy Articles to Start the New Year

I admit it. I am an information junkie. I have 380 blogs/news sites to which I subscribe in Feedly, my favorite RSS reader. Suffice it to say, I peruse the headlines of perhaps 1,000 items most every day, give or take a few LOL cats. Given my obvious interests, many of these articles relate to ...

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Who's Afraid of the Clean Power Plan?

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s proposed Clean Power Plan. However, if you follow network news and/or popular political blogs, you’ve more likely heard it referred to as ...

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Viva la Solar Revolution!

America could power itself 100 times over with solar energy. That is a Nov. 20 Washington Post headline describing a report by Environment America Research and Policy Center, Star Power: The Growing Role of Solar Energy in America. Other report findings include ...

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Climate's Big Deal

Veterans Day 2014 will be memorable as the day the U.S. and China perhaps turned the tide in the battle against global warming and climate disruption. Physicist and Founding Editor of Climate Progress ...

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Clean Energy: Win, Lose, or Draw?

“Win, lose or draw, here’s one nonpartisan issue on which Republicans and Democrats alike should agree: Clean energy works for America.” Did Clean Energy win, lose or ...

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Renewable Energy Costs Dropping: Treats, Not Tricks

The price of utility-scale solar power is 59 percent below where analysts thought it would be at this point back in 2010. The leveled cost of solar power (taking full account for the cost of installation, maintenance, investment, depreciation, and all the other factors in an energy source’s life cycle) is already ...

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The Times, They Are A-changin’

As an avid follower of science and sustainability news via an increasingly unwieldy collection of RSS feeds, I have been stunned by the events of this past week. I’ll start with one of the more visible news events: The 400,000 folks who participated in ...

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Meet the Brains behind the “Energy Moonshot”

You’ve probably heard of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or as Fast Company’s Jessica Leber elaborates, “the military’s research agency that funds the development of mind-reading science, cyborgs, and deadly robots.” But have you heard of ARPA-E? As you might can guess from the title of this article, the “E” stands for Energy. Indeed, ARPA-E is the U.S. Department of Energy’s analog to DARPA, and it’s only five years old.

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The Future of Electrical Engineering Technology

There are a lot of exciting things happening in the world of electrical engineering technology. What might be most exciting is how the potential developments of today will drive tomorrow. For example, how will the technologies of today change what power sources look like in 2064? Luckily, the writers at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering's (commonly called IEEE or I-triple-E) Spectrum magazine recently explored this issue and others as part of a special report that marked the 50th anniversary of the magazine. If everything goes the way they hope, the future could be one of individuals and businesses being able to have more control over their own individual power sources.

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What's the Triple Bottom Line?

It is hard to believe, but there was a time when no one even thought to question the sustainability of a business. As awareness grew on the significant impact corporations have on people and the planet, pressure was put on businesses to act more responsibly. In order to address consumer concerns, businesses began to look for a way to measure more than just profit, and two more bottom lines were added to the mix. The Triple Bottom Line (TBL) is a framework that allows businesses to measure its sustainable development and make sure it is meeting its goals. Today, a business could never be successful if it completely disregards how its practices impact our world. In the book The Triple Bottom Line, Andrew Savitz writes, "a sustainable business stands an excellent chance of being more successful tomorrow than it is today, and remaining successful, not just for months or even years, but for decades or generations." For these reasons, it is very likely the company you join will use TBL to evaluate its performance.

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5 Surprising Facts About Wind Power

Wind power has shown tremendous potential as a source of renewable energy. Its popularity is also steadily increasing. Adoption of wind power in the U.S. can be seen in celebrations of Global Wind Day on June 15 across the country, as well as through initiatives to increase wind power use by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program. While you may have heard about some of the benefits of wind, we want to share some facts that you might not know about and blow you away.

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Let Me Tell You a Story...

As a communicator in the field of renewable energy, I can tell you that very few people's minds are changed by "facts." The overwhelming science-based evidence is quite clear on topics ranging from immunizations not causing autism to humans causing global warming. But try to convince someone who believes otherwise simply by quoting research statistics, and I'll bet you get nowhere.

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4 Sustainable Ways to Celebrate Summer Solstice

The Summer Solstice is just around the corner. According to the Farmer's Almanac it's on June 21. The Summer Solstice (there's a Winter one too) marks the time when the sun reaches its farthest point north of the equator. For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere that means it's also the day of the year that has the most sunlight. To help you celebrate the longest day of the year, we've put together this list of sustainable ways enjoy it. Add your own in the comments!

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Explore the power and possibilities of wind on Global Wind Day

Global Wind Day is celebrated on June 15, with hundreds of events organized around the world designed to help promote wind power energy and it's potential for creating a sustainable environment. The worldwide observance was originally coordinated in 2009 by The European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) through a network of partners.

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It’s The End Of The World As We Know It

“It’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)” ~R.E.M.

“NASA-funded study: industrial civilization headed for ‘irreversible collapse’?” asked a March 14 article by Nafeez Ahmed on The Guardian’s web site. Such headlines always catch my eye; I’ve been an avid reader of the history of the end of the world since the 1970s classic The Limits to Growth. More recently, there’s been Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, and multiple updates to The Limits to Growth, including Jorgen Randers’ 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, which I covered in a previous blog post.

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Who Is Winning at Solar Energy? Industry Updates from Around the U.S.

There’s never been a better time to look for jobs in the solar energy industry. The U.S. Department of Energy recently reported that its 2011 SunShot Initiative has been completed by 60% in 3 years. This means it’s nearly 2/3 of the way to its goal of achieving cost-competitive utility-scale photovoltaic energy in the U.S. The project was originally slated to take 10 years, but with 60% completion by year 3, it’s way ahead of schedule. Costs for installing solar voltaic panels have dropped significantly in the past 3 years, making the way for more widespread solar energy adoption – and potentially more jobs for solar technicians.

 

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What Components Are In A Solar Energy System?

Changing sunlight into electricity, along with storing it and controlling it, fall to the main components of the PV system. The two primary types of systems in use today are stand-alone and grid-tied. Understanding their main components, how they work and how they work together makes it easy to understand why the grid-tie approach is by far the most common system in use today.

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Can We “Re-Wire” Humans to Survive?

We like to think that we control our own minds. However, an increasing volume of research indicates the great extent the collective weight of evolution—embodied in a few pounds of gray matter—drives human behavior much like the proverbial tail wags the dog.

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Earth as Dune: Water, Energy—and Politics

This is our entry for Masdar’s Engage: The Water-Energy Nexus blogging contest. Please vote for this entry here!

“A man’s flesh is his own; the water belongs to the tribe.” ~Frank Herbert, Dune

One year ago, there were record floods on the Mississippi River. This year, barge traffic is grinding to a halt as record drought slows the once-mighty river’s flow to a mere trickle of its former self. As I write this, we have just experienced our 333rd consecutive month of global temperatures higher than the 20th-century average. Welcome to global warming and its chaotic twin, global “weirding,” where there is only too much or too little—never just enough.

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Getting Down to Green Business

Ah, targeted advertising: It seems I can’t visit an environmental web site without receiving an ad for a “green” MBA degree program. But all these ads make me want to ask: Just who are all these green MBAs going to manage? In other words, who’s actually going to be doing all this important green work?

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What’s the Economy For?

Perhaps we should start an “Ecotext Book Club” to share and discuss books relating to the business Triple Bottom Line of people, planet, and profits. Recently I finished the marvelous 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years. Now I am reading What's the Economy For, Anyway?: Why It's Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness by David K. Batker and John de Graaf.

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The Winds of Change

Our economy runs on energy. However, the price that’s now needed to develop new oil sources—approximately $100 per barrel—is the same price that brings on economic recession. There is no statistical correlation between how much oil is pumped out of the ground and how much is paid at the gasoline pump.

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What is Crucial?

Every few months a small group of us former pupils drag our old mentor out of retirement for a “Sustainable Futures” reunion seminar. Two weeks ago, while our beloved Dr. Edward “Ed” Passerini was in town, he also graciously agreed to speak to my graduate class on Information Management. Wow. I don’t know about the rest of the class, but I was blown away.

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Tax “Bads,” Not “Goods!”

Sometimes I wonder if anyone running our country paid any attention in Econ 101. If you tax something, people tend to buy or use less of it, if they can. So why do we tax jobs (income)? Even if most of us can’t do without them, it would seem that taxing them less might encourage us to make more of them.

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Broader Education, Not Wider Roads

Last week, thanks to the folks at The Institute of Sustainability (TIOS) and The Green Register, I had the wonderful opportunity to hear Ed McMahon speak. No, I wasn’t with a psychic channeling Johnny Carson’s former sidekick; I was with sustainability and environmental policy expert Edward T. McMahon, co-founder of Scenic America and current Senior Resident Fellow with the Urban Land Institute.

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America: We’re (Tied For) Number Two…

Want to hear something amazing? China has more honor students than the U.S. has total students. Let that sink in a moment…

China just passed us in clean & renewable wind energy capacity, and they are on track to double that capacity by 2015. It’s much the same story with China and solar power. China is putting all those honor students—backed by heavy government subsidies—to good use.

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Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Actually, if coal were the subject of AC/DC’s song, it could be titled “Dirty Deeds Done Cheaper Than Dirt” because, thanks to American taxpayers’ subsidizing of coal, the U.S. government recently sold 721 million tons of coal for literally cheaper than dirt.

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The True Cost of Oil

“Crude oil output reaches an undulating plateau of around 68-69 mb/d*, by 2020, but never regains its all-time peak of 70mb/d reached in 2006.” ~International Energy Agency, World Energy Outlook 2010, November 2010

In case you missed it, the quote above was the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s admission that the world probably hit “peak oil” in 2006. It is helpful to remember that the IEA is not known as an alarmist or progressive-green agency; quite the opposite, in fact. So when the IEA admitted not only that we have hit peak oil, but also that our present use of fossil fuels has us on-track for catastrophic 11°F global warming, many of us were taken aback.

*Million barrels per day

 

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A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years?

Begin with the end in mind, advised leadership guru Stephen Covey. So I am opening this article with the closing words of the book I am reading, 2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by Jorgen Randers. Who could disagree with this end? “Together we could create a much better world.”

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Cool the Engines

Although the classic rock band Boston is always “cool,” its home city has been anything but cool lately. In April, inexperienced Boston Marathon runners were asked to sit out the event due to dangerous record high temperatures. The first full day of summer set another Boston high-temperature record.

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Quotes on Critical Thinking

In the Higher Education sphere, one of our main goals is to impart critical thinking skills to students. We try to teach that asking, “How do you know what you think you know?” is much more important than memorizing any particular collection of so-called facts. Questioning our individual versions of reality has never been more important, as there has never been more at stake. So to get those rusty mental gears spinning, here is some well-oiled advice from critical thinkers past and present:

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A Declaration of Interdependence

Perhaps, amidst all the fireworks and flag-waving of July 4, we actually gave some thought as to what it means to be independent. But, successful revolutions aside, I’d like to ask: Are we truly independent? In 1835, shortly after the newly United States of America won its hard-fought independence from Britain, a visitor from France toured the fledgling country and wrote down his observations. In this famous treatise, Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville, under the heading “Tyranny of the Majority,” wrote, “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America.” American founding father John Adams himself once said, “The Declaration of Independence I always considered as a theatrical show. Jefferson ran away with all the stage effect of that... and all the glory of it.”

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Reinventing Fire

How about some environmental good news, for a change? I’ve been reading Reinventing Fire by Amory Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute, and I’m so stoked that I have to share!

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Good Jobs, Bad Government

Recently Alabama passed a law banning sustainable development. Meanwhile, Virginia lawmakers are ordering politically-offensive words like “sea level rise” and “climate change” expunged from a $50,000 study to determine the impacts of climate change on the state’s shores. (I can see the title of the report now: “The Report on That Which Must Not Be Named.”) North Carolina appears poised, as comedian Stephen Colbert derisively put it, to pass legislation that makes sea-level rise illegal. But first there was Tennessee, which earlier this year passed a law prohibiting teachers from being punished for discussing the “scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses” of global warming and evolution—in other words, question established science, not current authority.

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New Perspectives: Green Roofs and Climate Change

Last Friday, I saw life from a couple of new perspectives. One of them was from the roof of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB)’s Hulsey Center. The other was from “The Big Switch,” a presentation by James Hrynyshyn, science blogger of “Class: M” blog fame.

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Do You Want to Change the World?

Ah, spring. The time of graduations, commencement ceremonies, and speeches about changing the world. Along with the latest viral videos of commencement speeches by celebrities, we have a tremendous amount of advice about changing the world, amassed from the collective stores of the world’s religious figures, philosophers, and authors.

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From Star Trek to Prehistory: UAB Guest Speaker Ponders “The Big Switch”

If you are a Star Trek fan, you probably know what “Class: M” means. If you follow the popular science blogs at ScienceBlogs.com, you also may know that this is the title of communications consultant and freelance science journalist James Hrynyshyn’s regular blog. For the rest of you, James explains: “’Class M’ is a Star Trek reference, specifically to planets like Earth that tend to support abundant life and civilization. There are plenty of other letters in each direction in the alphabet, the implication being that the current condition of our climate is but one of many possibilities.”

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Play a Game… Save the Planet

Who says saving the planet can’t be a matter of fun & games? Certainly not “eco-entrepreneur” and sustainability professor Scott Cooney. But then again, Cooney lives and teaches in Hawaii, so perhaps that state’s laid-back lifestyle has influenced his philosophy as well as his game—GBO Hawaii.

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Our Urban Planet

Sometime in 2008 our planet passed a major milestone. At that time, for the first time in our history, there were more people living in cities than in non-urbanized areas. Sometime around Halloween of last year, our planet passed another milestone—adding its seven billionth person. This means that more than 3.5 billion humans are now crowded into the world’s urban areas.

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Sustainability: Not Living Beyond One’s Means

Did you celebrate Tax Freedom Day on April 12? In case you didn’t know, according to the Tax Foundation, that’s the day Americans collectively earned enough money to pay all our tax obligations for this year. Less-known than Tax Freedom Day, and certainly not a reason to celebrate, isEarth Overshoot Day, which last arrived on September 27, 2011. Figuratively-speaking, that was the day we began living beyond nature’s means to supply us.

 

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LEEDing The Way

Today’s most influential back-to-nature movement isn’t being led by hippies or tree-huggers. It’s being led by architects, construction workers, and the everyday folks who are buying and living in modern “green” buildings.

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Oikos or It’s All Good Housekeeping

What do the words economics, ecology, and ecumenical have in common? They are all derived from the Greek work for household, house, or family: oikos.[i] In other words, they’re all about good housekeeping, whether the house in question is a single family home or the planet that is home to us all.

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Do You Think That Food Grows On Trees?

The answer to the somewhat tongue-in-cheek question posed by this blog’s title should be yes… food does indeed grow on trees. It also grows on other perennial plants[i]—and we should be growing more of these kinds of food plants, for our health and for the future of our planet.

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The Wearing of the Green

Regardless of how the term “green” strikes you in these days when both green washing and green bashing are popular, it seems both pro- and con- green folk set aside their differences and embrace the color around March 17.

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