Music Video Showcases Pittsburgh Green Movement; Gets Laughs for Earth Day

There’s a new name in environmental communication with an unusual approach to climate change education: humor. Communitopia, a nonprofit that uses video and new media to reach viewers, is hosting a virtual party from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on April 24, two days after Earth Day. The event will include giveaways, special guests, behind-the-scenes footage, and the release of a new music video. The new video – a parody of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hit “Thrift Shop” - is about both climate change and consumer choices that save energy and money, featuring cameos by Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto and several other prominent Pittsburghers working on sustainability issues. Viewers can RSVP for the party at the event watch page.

“Throughout this Earth Day event we intend stay true to our mission to engage and empower people on climate change,” says Joylette Portlock, Ph.D., Communitopia’s new president, “The DoSomethingconsequences of climate change are far-reaching and serious, and we’re diligent about reporting the science. But we also always do our best to inspire and engage viewers, and humor is a great way to do that. ” Humor is a hallmark of Communitopia’s main project, the Don’t Just Sit There – Do Something! video series that stars Portlock performing as a wide range of characters. Each video discusses a short topic about climate change, incorporating science, news, humor, and easy actions for viewers to take. The new music video is the 18th in the series, but the first to be produced under the Communitopia banner.

“It doesn’t make sense to try to depress people into action, and we urgently need climate action,” says Portlock. “Therefore, we’re pretty serious about the silly.”

PCI Releases PCAP v. 2.0 Community Chapter Summary Report

PCAPv2-Community-Chapter_Summary-Report_CoverTwo years after adoption of the Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, Version 2.0, Pittsburgh Climate Initiative is pleased to announce that 23 of the 35 Community chapter recommendations have been completed or are in progress. More than thirty organizations are currently involved in implementing these recommendations.

The Community chapter recommendations were generated through a series of open public meetings held in the summer of 2007, ranging from home energy improvements to green space development. While some of the accomplishments are more visible (planting 20,000 trees or improving the City’s bike infrastructure), others are more subtle (expanding the City’s recycling center drop-off hours or advocating for efficient energy codes).

All of the recommendations in the plan relate directly to actions or policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Pittsburgh. Click here to access the report, and visit our Resources page to access PCAP v. 2.0.

Climate Policy as Wealth Creation

Climate Change Series - smallIf and when emissions are priced, via a carbon tax or a cap-and-permit system, a crucial economic and political question is: Who will get the money? Join energy economist James K. Boyce as he discusses “Climate Policy as Wealth Creation” on March 31, hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. The lecture will begin at 4:30 in University Club, Ballroom B, followed by a panel discussion. This event is free and open to the public, but space is limited. Click this link to learn more and register.

Making a Difference in Climate Change Discourse

UN_4 (1)On Thursday, March 27 the University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center will host the final of four events addressing the politics of global climate change. All events are free and open to the public. The next event, titled Making a Difference in Climate Change Discourse will be from 4:00 – 5:30 pm at O’Hara Student Center.

During the video conference discussion, UN representatives Dr. Robert Orr and Ambassador Ahmed Kamal will address the following questions: What are the prospects for achieving an agreement on climate change that can adequately address the reality of global warming? And can the UN help states manage the large-scale changes that scientists say are needed to mitigate, if not prevent, catastrophic climate change? Additional information and readings can be found here.

Americans Yawn at Climate Change

gallup-climate-overallAccording to the results from a recent Gallup poll, over half of Americans worry about climate change “a little” or “not at all.” Only 24% of Americans say they worry about climate change a great deal. This puts climate change near the bottom of a list of 15 issues facing Americans. When separated by political affiliation, only 10% of Republicans and 36% of Democrats care a great deal about climate change.

In addition, 2014 marks the lowest level of worry about the quality of the environment since 2001, with only 31% worrying a great deal. This data is disconcerting, since without public concern on environmental matters, the likelihood of support for legislative action is small. Read more here.

City of Pittsburgh’s Call to Participate: Earth Hour

Earth HourThe World Wildlife Fund’s annual Earth Hour takes place on March 29, 2014 across the United States. This momentous occasion will unite our nation with the Global Earth Hour network. Though only an hour long “flick of the light switch,” this symbolic demonstration represents our nation’s pledge to create a better future for Earth.

Earth Hour 2013 took place in more than 7,001 cities and towns in 153 countries and territories across all seven continents. Hundreds of millions of people switched their lights off for an hour, and the campaign experienced its biggest growth since 2009.

In honor of Earth Hour 2014, the City of Pittsburgh will turn off non-essential lights in the City-County Building for one hour on March 29th from 8:30 pm until 9:30 pm. Please join the City in this occasion. Together, we can demonstrate Pittsburgh’s commitment to protecting our city and our planet’s environment.

If you or your organization plans to participate with Earth Hour, please email Sustainability Coordinator Aftyn Giles at pghgreencntr@gmail.com; Subject – Earth Hour. Visit the Earth Hour website for more information.

Additionally, if you are a property owner or manager in Downtown Pittsburgh, consider joining the 2030 District partners by dimming or turning off your rooftop signage and other non-essential lighting during Earth Hour. To participate or join the press release, email Anna Siefken at annas@gbapgh.org. Click here for more information.

U.S. Senators Plan All-Night Climate Change Session

Masschusetts Democrat Ed Markey, holding a jar of oil from the BP spill, is among the 28 senators taking to the floor on Monday night. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty

Masschusetts Democrat Ed Markey, holding a jar of oil from the BP spill, is among the 28 senators taking to the floor on Monday night. Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty

Over two dozen U.S. Senators will speak all night on climate change, starting after the final vote on March 10. Organized by the Climate Action Task Force, the marathon session is expected to end on Tuesday morning, March 11. Democratic senator Brian Schatz from Hawaii stated, “Climate change is real, it is caused by humans, and it is solvable. Congress must act. On Monday night we are going to show the growing number of senators who are committed to working together to confront climate change.” Follow the discussion on Twitter using #Up4Climate. Read more here.

PA DEP Budget Hearing Includes Climate Change Discussion

During the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s budget hearing with the House Appropriations Committee, Secretary Abruzzo said climate change is a real problem and caused by humans. This statement was different than Abruzzo’s previous statement, where he denied that climate change was harmful. Abruzzo is open to discussing how DEP can do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Rep. Vitali commented that Pennsylvania must do more to help solve the climate change problem than shifting from coal to natural gas.

Other discussion topics included Chesapeake Bay issues, air quality in drilling operations, and wastewater infrastructure funding. Read more here.

Outside Pressure: NGOs as Climate Change Stakeholders

windfarmOn Thursday, February 27 the University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center will host the third of four events addressing the politics of global climate change. All events are free and open to the public, located at O’Hara Student Center from 4:00 – 5:30 pm. See the full schedule of events here.

The upcoming event is titled Outside Pressure: NGOs as Climate Change Stakeholders. Daniel Lashof, director of the Natural Resources Defence Council’s climate and clean air program, will discuss how civil-society groups can influence international climate decisions within the UN, and what possibilities and limitations citizens face when trying to shape global environmental politics. The Global Studies website provides background readings to enhance the discussion.

Drowning: Climate Change Hits a Small Island

drowningOn Thursday, February 13 the University of Pittsburgh Global Studies Center will host the second of four events addressing the politics of global climate change. All events are free and open to the public. The second event, titled Drowning: Climate Change Hits a Small Island will be from 4:00 – 5:30 pm at O’Hara Student Center. Stuart Beck will present on his experience working with Palau, a Pacific Island which faces danger from rising sea levels. See the full schedule here.