Our powerful photo of the day comes from Port St. Joe, Florida. […]
U.S. cities are packed with about 5 million medium-sized buildings — schools, churches, community centers, apartment buildings. Most use way more energy than they should. Many also have poor airflow and dirty, out-of-date heating and electrical systems. Those conditions contribute to high inner-city asthma rates and other health concerns.
“These buildings are actually making children sick,” says Donnel Baird, who grew up in such a place. His parents, immigrants from Guyana, raised their kids in a one-bedroom Brooklyn apartment, relying on a cooking stove for heat. Baird eventually moved to the South and then attended Duke University, before returning to New York as a community organizer in 2008.
In 2013, Baird launched BlocPower, which provides engineering and financial know-how to retrofit city buildings. The technical part is cool: Engineers survey structures with sensors and smartphone apps, figuring out the best ways to reduce energy use, like replacing oil boilers with solar hot water. But the financing is critical; BlocPower builds the case for each project and connects owners with lenders. It has already retrofitted more than 500 buildings in New York and is expanding into Chicago, Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
“The biggest way for us to reduce carbon emissions right now,” Baird says, “is efficiency.”
Meet all the fixers on this year’s Grist 50.
President Trump’s first budget completely disregards our environment and the public lands which millions of American families use for recreation. If enacted by Congress, these cuts and program eliminations would wreak havoc on our outdoor economy and the millions of jobs it supports in local communities, and will undermine towns and cities working now to create a clean and healthy future. The President has declared these programs ‘unnecessary.’ We could not disagree more. There is absolutely no economic justification for pulling the rug out from ongoing collaborative local, state and federal efforts aimed at supporting parks, trails and other outdoor recreation needs, all of which sustain a burgeoning $646 billion economy that supports 6.1 million American jobs. Local leaders and communities are on their own as they work for a safe, healthy future for the families who live there. For example, by gutting funds for land protection through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), America’s most effective conservation program, the Trump plan will harm our national parks. A good example of how LWCF helps came just this week, when we transferred 42 acres of land inside Rocky Mountain National Park to the park. […]
A new, 50MW floating offshore wind farm just got approved. Why does this matter? […]
Our dreamy photo of the day comes from Essex, United Kingdom. […]
The Environmental Protection Agency has restored healthier air and cleaner water for millions of Americans. But the Trump administration is reportedly proposing a cut of 25% to the agency’s budget, which would severely damage its ability to keep protecting American families. The White House claims the cuts are to save money, but EPA’s entire budget is only 0.2% of total federal spending. As the Republican chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee, Rep. Mike Simpson (Idaho) said, there’s “not that much in the EPA [budget] for crying out loud.” But most importantly, as former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy put it, “This budget is a fantasy if this administration believes it will preserve EPA’s mission to protect public health.” The truth is these cuts are an excuse to reduce environmental enforcement, as current EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt did as attorney general of Oklahoma. So for those who have forgotten the value of EPA’s mission, here are ten facts to remember and share: 230,000: Lives saved each year by EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act in 2020. 2.4 million: Asthma attacks prevented each year by EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act in 2020. 22.4 million: Avoided lost school or work days each year due to EPA’s implementation of the Clean Air Act in 2020. 30-1: Ratio of benefits to costs– the Clean Air Act provides $30 in health benefits for every $1 invested in compliance. 1,308: Number of enforcement actions concluded in fiscal year 2016 under the Clean Water Act and Safe Drinking Water Act […]
Sand mining is described as “the global environmental crisis you’ve probably never heard of.” Another good reason to use wood instead of concrete. […]