Equality versus Equity – What does it all mean?

The idea of equality versus equity has been coming up in many discussions around the Lotus office. But what does it all mean? Equity and equality are terms sometimes used in the same context in our society. In a general sense, they both suggest the idea of everything being fair or even; however, they mean different things. We can help explain the understand the difference and how they relate to sustainability efforts. Part 1 of this blog provides a high-level view of what the two terms mean and how they broadly apply to the world of sustainability. Part 2 of the series will dive into more detail and discuss how the terms are applied when evaluating emission reduction and climate adaptation strategies.

Image Source: Thompson Rivers University (https://barabus.tru.ca/med/educ5041/equality.html)

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Momentum in Climate Action: Legislation and Utilities

Legislation and policy is one way to drive action related to reducing emissions, increase awareness, and create opportunities for change. The recent Colorado legislative session is one great example of where momentum is obvious and climate action initiatives are being addressed through legislation. Read more to learn about the exciting bills that Colorado is pushing forward.

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An Overview of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees of Warming (Part 2)

Following on Part 1 of our blog on the recent IPCC special report related to climate change, this blog (Part 2) focuses on the path forward and is written by Maggie Zeh, senior at Rock Canyon High School. Maggie worked with Lotus as part of her senior career exploration coursework. She is passionate about the environment and interested in pursuing a career in sustainability. Maggie plans to continue following these passions this fall as she starts studying at the University of Michigan, where she will major in Environmental Science. Lotus wishes Maggie all the best in her future endeavors!

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An Overview of the IPCC Special Report on 1.5 Degrees of Warming (Part 1)

Today is Earth Day, which was established on April 22, 1970 when millions of people took to the streets to protest the negative impacts of 150 years of industrial development. Fast forward to 2019, Earth Day is now a global event filled with political action and civic participation.

Along the lines of recognizing the impacts from industrial development, and specifically impacts to our climate, our two-part blog series focuses on a special report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The blog series is written by Maggie Zeh, senior at Rock Canyon High School; Part 1 provides a summary and highlights of the report. Maggie worked with Lotus as part of her senior career exploration coursework. She is passionate about the environment and interested in pursuing a career in sustainability. Maggie plans to continue following these passions this fall as she starts studying at the University of Michigan, where she will major in Environmental Science.

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More than the 'iGen', Part 2

This blog post is written by Maggie Zeh, a senior at Rock Canyon High School that is working with Lotus as part of her senior career exploration coursework. Maggie is passionate about the environment and interested in pursuing a carrier in sustainability. This is Part 2 of a blog post Maggie wrote about youth action in climate change; to learn more about youth involvement in the climate action movement, please be sure to read Part 1 as well.

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Emerging Trends in the Transportation Sector

The transportation sector accounted for roughly 28 percent of the United States’ total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2016 and the majority of these emissions (60 percent) come from light-duty vehicles, like the car you likely drive to work every day. Given the significant share of national emissions that result from our daily driving habits and personal transportation activities, many cities and regional governments are exploring how to reduce transportation emissions through infrastructure planning and policy development. We are keeping an eye on several emerging trends that are likely to shape and define how communities work towards reducing their transportation-related emissions.

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Bringing Stakeholders to the Table

When developing a climate action plan, or when embarking on any community or organizational planning process, engaging stakeholders in a meaningful way ensures that the most relevant groups and individuals are aware and supportive of your process. When done correctly, stakeholder engagement processes may reveal new opportunities for implementing impactful strategies, programs, and projects.

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100% Renewable commitments are becoming a common climate action strategy

Across the country, communities and businesses are signaling their commitment to climate action and a cleaner future by pledging to becoming 100% renewable. While their motivations are diverse, and the methods to achieving 100% renewable energy vary widely, the number of pledges continue to grow, and the effect that this will have on long-term climate impacts and emissions inventories is significant. A few of Lotus’ clients have committed or are considering committing to 100% renewable energy and this has inspired us to share some of what we have learned.

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Overview of the Global Covenant of mayors for climate and energy

Our previous blog on the Compact of Mayors sparked great conversations regarding what the Compact specifically entails and many of our municipal clients are curious to learn more. Building off these conversations, please read below to learn more about this commitment, what it will mean for your community, and the benefits of emissions tracking and climate action planning.

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AN OVERVIEW OF ENERGY OUTREACH COLORADO: A CONVERSATION WITH ANDY CALER

Environmental justice issues are a growing concern for many of our clients. Thankfully, Colorado has many organizations helping our low-income communities through research and education and direct action such as subsidies and assistance. We asked Andy Caler from Energy Outreach Colorado (EOC) to tell us more about EOC’s work and environmental justice in Colorado.

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Finding Regional Consistency in GHG Accounting: The GLobal Covenant of Mayors and the GPC

Many of our municipal and county clients ask us to help them identify a community greenhouse (GHG) accounting approach that aligns with their peers and avoids double counting. Although there are a lot of resources, finding the right one can be tricky. Recently, a team of world leaders and international sustainability organizations got together to tackle this very problem. Drawing on extensive expertise in sustainability for local governments, the team formed the Compact of Mayors (Compact) agreement. 

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An Overview of Colorado C-PACE: A Conversation with Paul Scharfenberger

Last week, Lotus was fortunate to speak with Paul Scharfenberger, the Director of Finance and Operations at the Colorado Energy Office, about the new financing tool being rolled out called Colorado’s Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (“Colorado C-PACE”).  C-PACE financing is an innovative, yet proven, financing mechanism for commercial, agricultural, institutional, industrial, non-profit and multifamily (residential units with 4 or less units are excluded) properties to obtain low-cost, long-term financing (up to 20 years) for renewable energy, energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades.

Since many of our clients are interested in C-PACE, we were thrilled to ask him a few questions

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LOW-INCOME SOLAR SUCCESS STORIES

Improving the accessibility and uptake of community solar to low-income households is limited by a variety of marketing and communication, demographic, programmatic, and financial challenges. Fortunately, public and private entities are actively trying to solve this issue. So where have we seen some successes ?

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Finding Money

Many sustainability professionals have experienced the frustration of not being able to implement energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades for the sole reason that they are not able to pay for it. Even if the return-on-investment is great, the cost of delaying the upgrade is high, and there is staff buy-in sometimes upgrades simply do not fit within the budget. However, the world of energy efficiency and renewable energy financing has matured considerably over the last ten years enabling many public and private sector entities to implement upgrades that would have previously not been feasible

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The Power of Municipalities

Over the last 10+ years, we have worked with dozens of municipalities throughout the US on their sustainability initiatives. What are cities doing to address their impact? Everything! From studying their greenhouse gas emissions to setting reduction targets to implementing water and energy efficiency improvements to increasing renewable energy usage to increasing public transit, cities are reducing their impact. An impact that is being amplified as urbanization increases rapidly throughout the US and world.

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Achieving Substantial Sustainability Goals: You might be doing better than you think

By Hillary Dobos and Emily Artale

Many sustainability professionals have inherited far-reaching sustainability goals that they did not create or they have aligned their goals to meet national goals such as the Better Buildings Challenge with little understanding of how to actually achieve their goals. This can pose an intimidating proposition that can result in entities giving up on their goals because they are seen as impossible to achieve. However, before giving up on goals or setting less lofty new ones know that there are many external trends that are already helping you and you might be doing better than you think. 

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Selling Sustainability

By Emily Artale and Hillary Dobos

There are skeptics everywhere. How do we, as energy and sustainability professionals, convince them that pursuing sustainability is not only the right thing to do, but it can also be profitable?

One approach has been to share the dozens of case stories of big businesses and progressive municipalities saving money through sustainability initiatives (think Dow Chemical, Interface, City of Boulder, City of San Francisco, King County, etc…). But, for some reason these stories do not always result in a massive buy-in of sustainability and sometimes you may even lose the attention of your audience.

And why does this happen? Perhaps these stories do not provide a roadmap that is relevant to the values, demographics, location, and other unique factors of the community that you are speaking to. 

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