Re: ecological economist
2008-08-13 22:20:38 UTC
This is a big, complex, and very important topic. Various efforts to quantify ecological processes and set up ecosystem markets are relatively new. That said, here are a couple of websites and projects that may give you some places to start learning more:
1. Willamette Partnership http://www.willamettepartnership.org/about-markets
2. The Katoomba Group's Ecosystem Marketplace http://ecosystemmarketplace.com/
3. The Value of Ecosystem Services in Portland, Oregon http://www.ucowr.siu.edu/proceedings/2004%20Proceedings/2004%20UCOWR%20Conference%20Proceedings/
Tuesday/PM1%20Technical%20Sessions/Session%2011/Heagerty.pdf "In a project supported by the City of Portland, an interdisciplinary team developed a methodfor quantifying the economic values associated with riparian restoration projects. The team included ecologists, environmental planners and scientists, natural-resource policy advisors, and natural-resource economists from David Evans and Associates, ECONorthwest, and the City. The teams approach, termed Comparative Valuation of Ecosystem Services (CVES), combines a systems-dynamic model of changing ecosystem services with ecosystem-economics data and information on the value of ecosystem services."
4. The worth of boreal forests in Canada (2005) http://www.cbc.ca/canada/manitoba/story/2005/11/25/mb_boreal-capital-20051125.html
P+T Peter+Trudy Johnson-Lenz
8340 SW 6th Ave. Portland, OR 97219
2008-07-11 00:08:22 UTC
is this the earlier post you were looking for? Now to find that elusive reference (if it exists) . . .
Subject GIS analysis on Xeriscaping?
Author "Timea Zentai" Date 6/28/2008, 2:28PM
I've been researching GIS tools in understanding how innovative behavior spreads (in energy use). I've heard that there is a GIS analysis in the xeriscape community that shows neighborhood seeds of xeriscaping spreading outward. One neighbor tries, another observes it's beauty and tries etc.... Could anyone point me to the reference? (it's starting to feel like an urban legend).
2920 Camino Diablo, Suite 210
Walnut Creek, CA 94597
Low Carbon Diet program: Carbon calculators
2008-07-05 03:37:25 UTC
The first step in the Low Carbon Diet is measuring the household carbon footprint to provide a baseline. We've been looking into carbon calculators that are more encompassing than the one on the LCD site (http://empowermentinstitute.net/lcd/lcd_files/LCDcalcNet.html) The new calculator the Cool California campaign ( http://www.coolcalifornia.org/) is developing looks quite promising. It's from the The Berkeley Institute of the Environment (BIE). See: http://www.coolcalifornia.org/calculator.html
Positive aspects: The Cool California calculator shows how a household compares to similar households, the average US household, and the world average household. Although it's being developed for California, there is also comparative data for Portland built in. It looks like the calculator is reasonably well supported by data.
Drawbacks: The categories for monthly food expenditures are a bit strange: meat, fish, & eggs dairy eating out other (snacks, drinks, etc.) fruits & vegetables cereals & bakery products While the two of us do keep track of our food purchases, we don't break them down into categories. Will households actually be able to estimate their costs like this, or will they simply go for the default values? What does that do to their baseline? Does it matter? The four goods & services categories are similarly unusual (the categories are described at http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/faq#itemsincluded) clothing furniture & appliances (includes household and yard items) other goods (a real mixed bag) all services
We've also looked at the Oregon Peace Works ranking of the 10 top carbon calculators for US residents.
The BIE/Cool California calculator (aka Lifecycle Climate Footprint Calculator) is at the top of that list.
1. Do you know of any more effective calculators for the purpose of the possible Portland LCD project?
2. Have you had any experience with the Cool California calculator? Would you recommend it? What's missing that would be important for our purposes?
Low Carbon Diet program: Targets, reporting, and verification?
2008-07-05 03:37:08 UTC
It's one thing to set a community goal and quite another to verify that it's been reached.
1. Let's say for sake of discussion that the possible Portland campaign aims to lose 2.5 tons/household, involving 30,000 households = 75,000 tons. Is the LCD program target of a 5000 pound reduction (2.5 ton)/household realistic? The LCD relies on self-reporting for each carbon reduction action taken. There isn't any mechanism for indicating whether the new behavior has actually continued over time. How will we know the targeted 75,000 ton reduction has actually happened? We'd need an accurate baseline for Portland and then another measurement at the end of the campaign. But municipal carbon footprints are very approximate. Reliable carbon emission numbers for Portland, the surrounding county, and the state are hard to come by. Even figures for the average US household carbon footprint (HCF) vary widely, from 47t-68t/yr. Are there proxy measures we can use as a rule of thumb? We're not looking for hard "quant" data. We just want to know how to know if the campaign has been successful!
2. As Susan Silber said on the listserv last February: "I think that the biggest flaw in the [LCD] program is that there are only 22 actions, so some important eco-actions are missing (for example, the first edition doesn't even mention eating less meat or bringing your own water bottle). Thus it is pretty simplistic but it's a great launching point to discuss sustainability issues, and you can make it fun and non-judgmental." We've been trying to get some information about the carbon reduction numbers the LCD uses for each of the 22 actions. Are they generally about right in your experience? What important eco-actions would you recommend adding to the 22 for a campaign beginning in 2009? Where would we find numbers for number of pounds of carbon saved by, say, bringing your own water bottle? Is there a list somewhere -- supported by data -- about the number of pounds of carbon saved by various household eco-actions? We know that any calculations of money saved get very complicated, because the cost of energy varies across the country.
Low Carbon Diet program: Incentives?
2008-07-05 03:36:36 UTC
What kinds of incentives are most effective for a campaign like this? We're interested in principles, rules of thumb, and your experiences with incentives as they apply to participating households, the community partner organizations organizing the EcoTeams, and the community as a whole.
1. Are carbon savings sufficient -- "I lost 5000 pounds"? Are dollar savings an important motivator? For example, the Queensland, Australia Climate Change program has a sample plan for a low-cost "zero-carbon" household (electricity component). See p. 26 in this report: http://www.climatechange.qld.gov.au/downloads/downloads/working_paper_1.pdf There are seven actions to reduce energy use listed, with electricity saved (kWh per year) and money saved ($ per year). Replacing 12 incandescents with CFLs has the largest impact. They then compare the money saved ($287.32) with the cost of buying 100% green power at 3.3 c/kWh ($297.92). Their conclusion is that the "net yearly cost of running a 'zero carbon' house = $10.60, the difference between the cost of green power and what the household saves by using 12 CFLs. Are such dollar tradeoffs important?
2. What about prizes, raffles, and other tangible rewards? "Earning" things like transit passes? Discounts on "green" products and services?
3. What about various forms of community recognition? Public display of names and reductions achieved? Newspaper ads recognizing participants? Celebration luncheons?
4. The mayor of Palo Alto recently had his carbon footprint measured and got recommendations for improving the energy efficiency of his house. How important would it be to have prominent people personally and very publicly involved? City officials? Sports stars? Newspaper columnists? Local musicians? What would you recommend?
Low Carbon Diet program: Social networking/social media sites?
2008-07-05 03:36:09 UTC
We've been wondering about combining the in-person community organizing to form EcoTeams (by far the most effective) with some use of social networking/social media sites. Do you have any experience with these as another avenue for fostering sustainable behavior? Do such sites appeal more to younger folks? Are they good for engaging many more people (friends recruiting friends)? Here are the ones we've turned up so far. Are there others that are better? Any comments about pros and cons? Recommendations? Caveats?
1. MakeMeSustainable http://makemesustainable.com/ They also have a Facebook application: http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=5652114079
2. Zerofootprint http://www.zerofootprint.net/ "Zerofootprint targets large organizations such as collections of cities, multinational corporations, universities, schools and multinational communities, which may span many countries. We enable them with infrastructure that can measure, aggregate, track and manage their individual and combined footprint. We also provide them with the tools to foster a local marketplace with news, events and green commerce."
3. As noted in his Cool Communities capacity-building PDF, David Gershon favors Greenopolis, which is sponsored by Waste Management. Is that commercial sponsorship a drawback? http://www.greenopolis.com
4. Together, "the largest-ever consumer engagement campaign on climate change," has recently launched with great fanfare. Note the term "consumer." Lots of very large sponsoring organizations. http://www.together.com.us "Together gives you easy ways to help fight climate change. "Yes, we know climate change can seem like a daunting problem. But doing something - even something small - can help reduce your impact on the planet. "That's why we've partnered with some of the best brands, cities and nonprofit organizations to produce a great range of products, services and tips to help you save energy, save the planet - and at the same time, save money." Together is also on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/jointogether
Low Carbon Diet Program: Feedback Mechanisms?
2008-07-05 03:35:43 UTC
What kinds of feedback mechanisms work best for a community-wide carbon reduction campaign for (1) the households involved, and (2) the community as a whole? Some of the carbon calculators and social networking sites show individuals how close they are to achieving their stated goals as they check off each action taken. This is also the LCD approach. Aggregated to the community level, David's "Cool Communities" program suggests a website that shows progress over time as households take the actions. See: http://www.empowermentinstitute.net/lcd/lcd_files/Capacity_Building_web.pdf "Momentum for the campaign is built through a visible feedback loop that shows the individual drops filling the bucket. Results are reported on the robust, interactive, and graphically compelling greenopolis.com website. Reported results include number of partner organizations, teams formed per partner, cumulative CO2 savings per partner, average CO2 reduction per household, and cumulative results against quarterly and final community goals."
1. Given that the LCD actions are self-reported, will this kind of feedback be taken seriously? What kinds of political problems might we encounter from people interested in dismissing or debunking the campaign?
2. What kinds of feedback are most effective in changing and sustaining household behavior over time?
Low Carbon Diet program: Realistic goals and participation levels?
2008-07-05 03:35:23 UTC
We're delighted to have found the CBMS website and this listserv -- what a great resource! It's wonderful to see this international "community of practice" for designing effective programs to foster sustainable behavior. The searchable listserv archive is a huge plus.
Thanks to Doug McKenzie-Mohr and to all of you.
Right now we're advising some people in Portland, OR in the *very* early planning phases of a "cool communities" campaign to reduce carbon at the household level. Nothing official. Tentative interest from a number of sectors. Lots of coalition building needs to be done even to get a preliminary plan and budget in place, let alone implement such a plan in the community. (Did we say this is very *early* in the process???) The tentative idea is to use David Gershon's "Low Carbon Diet: A 30 Day Program to Lose 5,000 Pounds" (LCD) as the focus. As you may know, earlier incarnations of The Empowerment Institute's EcoTeam approach were piloted in Portland. David was in Portland again in May to make a presentation about the LCD program. For more on the LCD program, see: http://empowermentinstitute.net/lcd/index.html The two of us have looked very carefully at a number of aspects of the proposed campaign, available research and resources to support it, and so on. Today we have some specific questions that this great listserv might help us answer. We'll put each question in a separate message for easier response and archiving. We've included lots of links so you'll better understand our thinking and questions. And we hope that some of these provide useful information for your own work. We really appreciate any thoughts, observations, tips, and experiences you can share with us. Thanks so much!
The LCD program is premised on the importance of face-to-face EcoTeams of 8 households each, meeting to take 22 specific actions to reduce carbon, support each other, and hold each other accountable. Makes sense for fostering behavioral change. Peer support and social recognition really help. The diet metaphor and peer support like Weight Watchers are easily communicated. Realistically, what portion of a community can be organized into EcoTeams like this to meet and take action? We're tentatively thinking in the 10-15% early adopter range. In David's literature, he uses Berkeley as the organizing strategy example to show how many EcoTeams it would take and how many community-based partners (neighborhood associations, faith-community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, etc.) are necessary to recruit/organize the EcoTeams.
See: http://empowermentinstitute.net/lcd/lcd_files/Capacity_Building_web.pdf His numbers include a very high (maximum) participation rate: 85% of households!
* Total population of municipality or region is 100,000.
* With 2.5 people per household on average, this equates to 40,000 households.
* The campaign's maximum participation target is 85% or 34,000 households.
* With an average of eight households per EcoTeam, 85% of the households represents 4,250 EcoTeams.
* To achieve this number requires the participation of approximately 85 local campaign partners with each committing to form 50 EcoTeams over two years.
QUESTIONS ABOUT REALISTIC GOALS AND PARTICIPATION LEVELS
1. Susan Silber, we'd *love* to know more about how the LCD EcoTeam approach has been working in Berkeley. You posted here last February: "The Low Carbon Diet is a great program in that it provides participants with a very concrete structure for behavior change. It encourages people to form groups ("Ecoteams") and meet four times to follow the guide. It's very user-friendly. I'm working with many groups to organize groups, including governmental agencies, church groups, synagogues, the City of Berkeley, non-profits, UC Berkeley and more."
2. We're playing around with some possible numbers for Portland. There are roughly 300,000 households. A modest 10% (early adopter) participation rate would mean 30,000 households organized into 3750 EcoTeams. If each partner organization recruited 25 teams each over two years, that means we'd need 75 partner organizations. That's a big community organizing job! Has anyone ever organized teams at such a large scale? We'd really like to learn about what's worked and what hasn't. The State of Queensland, Australia's ClimateSmart program has recently set the goal of reducing 1 million tonnes by involving 500,000 people in using the LCD by 2010. That's about 12.5% participation. See: http://www.cabinet.qld.gov.au/MMS/StatementDisplaySingle.aspx?id=58810 3. Is a 10% (early adopter) participation rate realistic?
8340 SW 6th Ave.
Portland, OR 97219