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Pacific Climate Warriors deliver plight to Pope Francis

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A group of climate activists from several small island nations in the Pacific, delivered their pleas to Pope Francis during the Papal Audience. “We have come from the Pacific Islands to celebrate the leadership of Pope Francis on climate change, and to pray for the islands and the leaders that will decide our fate at COP21 in Paris,” said Koreti Tiumalu, 350.org’s Pacific Coordinator.

“We brought mats from the islands made specifically for this journey which we used to pray on over the last three days in St. Peter’s Square. We wanted to offer these mats from the Pacific as a symbol of our gratitude for the Pope’s leadership and his encyclical – Laudato Si,” she added.

The Papal Audience allows pilgrims and visitors the chance to ‘see the Pope’ and receive the Apostolic Blessing from the Head of the Catholic Church. The blessing also extends to loved ones that are suffering. In the case of the twelve Pacific Islanders present at the Papal Audience, the blessing extends to their loved ones at the frontlines of climate impacts in the Pacific.

In his encyclical on the environment, Pope Francis has warned of an ‘unprecedented destruction of ecosystems’ and ‘serious consequences for all of us’ if humanity fails to act on climate change. The encyclical served to reinforce the ethical and economic shift we urgently need in order to prevent catastrophic climate change and tackle growing inequality. In doing so it gave further momentum and moral weight to the fast growing fossil fuel divestment movement. With the ear of 1.2 billion Catholics and the respect of Christians and non-Christians alike, Pope Francis is uniquely positioned to add both his voice and the unique moral power of his office to the divestment movement by divesting the Vatican.

“The opportunity to hand over the fine woven mat from Tonga, the traditionally made head piece from Tokelau and the handwritten message from the Pacific Climate Warriors was a moment I will always treasure,” stated Siliveseteli Loloa from Tonga. “The first three guards refused to accept the gift, but by the fourth guard, the Pope signaled to him that it was OK – I will never forget that moment, it proves that anything can be possible,” he added.

The Pacific Climate Warriors, already in Europe to send a message to those investing in the climate crisis and raise the reality of climate impacts on their lives, have been at the Vatican for three days holding a prayer vigil for the Pacific region and leaders heading into the COP21 climate talks later this year in Paris.

“We prayed, fasted, shared stories, shed tears, laughed, sung songs and met so many wonderful people on this journey always keeping our island homes, families and this climate crisis we face at the center. We prayed for leaders around the world who will attend COP21 to go to Paris with the commitments needed to keep our islands above water,” concluded Tiumalu.

350.org is working around the world in the lead up to the Paris climate talks to build momentum towards a fossil free world. Just last month, 350.org and the Divest-Invest coalition announced that institutions representing over $2.6 trillion in capital have now made some form of commitment to divest from fossil fuels. This November and December, 350.org will be working with allies to organize major mobilizations in Paris and across the planet to demand bold action to address the climate crisis.

Energy

Is Wood Burning Sustainable For Your Home?

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sustainable wood burning ideas

Wood is a classic heat source, whether we think about people gathered around a campfire or wood stoves in old cabins, but is it a sustainable source of heat in modern society? The answer is an ambivalent one. In certain settings, wood heat is an ideal solution, but for the majority of homes, it isn’t especially suitable. So what’s the tipping point?

Wood heat is ideal for small homes on large properties, for individuals who can gather their own wood, and who have modern wood burning ovens. A green approach to wood heat is one of biofuel on the smallest of scales.

Is Biofuel Green?

One of the reasons that wood heat is a source of so much divide in the eco-friendly community is that it’s a renewable resource and renewable has become synonymous with green. What wood heat isn’t, though, is clean or healthy. It lets off a significant amount of carbon and particulates, and trees certainly don’t grow as quickly as it’s consumed for heat.

Of course, wood is a much less harmful source of heat than coal, but for scientists interested in developing green energy sources, it makes more sense to focus on solar and wind power. Why, then, would they invest in improved wood burning technology?

Homegrown Technology

Solar and wind technology are good large-scale energy solutions, but when it comes to small-space heating, wood has its own advantages. First, wood heat is in keeping with the DIY spirit of homesteaders and tiny house enthusiasts. These individuals are more likely to be driven to gather their own wood and live in small spaces that can be effectively heated as such.

Wood heat is also very effective on an individual scale because it requires very little infrastructure. Modern wood stoves made of steel rather than cast iron are built to EPA specifications, and the only additional necessary tools include a quality axe, somewhere to store the wood, and an appropriate covering to keep it dry. And all the wood can come from your own land.

Wood heat is also ideal for people living off the grid or in cold areas prone to frequent power outages, as it’s constantly reliable. Even if the power goes out, you know that you’ll be able to turn up the heat. That’s important if you live somewhere like Maine where the winters can get exceedingly cold. People have even successfully heated a 40’x34’ home with a single stove.

Benefits Of Biomass

The ultimate question regarding wood heat is whether any energy source that’s dangerous on the large scale is acceptable on a smaller one. For now, the best answer is that with a growing population and limited progress towards “pure” green energy, wood should remain a viable option, specifically because it’s used on a limited scale. Biomass heat is even included in the UK’s Renewable Heat Initiative and minor modifications can make it even more sustainable.

Wood stoves, when embraced in conjunction with pellet stoves, geothermal heating, and masonry heaters, all more efficient forms of sustainable heat, should be part of a modern energy strategy. Ultimately, we’re headed in the direction of diversified energy – all of it cleaner – and wood has a place in the big picture, serving small homes and off-the-grid structures, while solar, wind, and other large-scale initiatives fuel our cities.

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Energy

7 Benefits You Should Consider Giving Your Energy Employees

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As an energy startup, you’re always looking to offer the most competitive packages to entice top-tier talent. This can be tough, especially when trying to put something together that’s both affordable but also has perks that employees are after.

After all, this is an incredibly competitive field and one that’s constantly doing what it can to stay ahead. However, that’s why I’m bringing you a few helpful benefits that could be what bolsters you ahead of your competition. Check them out below:

Financial Advising

One benefit commonly overlooked by companies is offering your employees financial advising services, which could help them tremendously in planning for their long-term goals with your firm. This includes anything from budgeting and savings plans to recommendations for credit repair services and investments. Try to take a look at if your energy company could bring on an extra person or two specifically for this role, as it will pay off tremendously regarding retention and employee happiness.

Life Insurance

While often included in a lot of health benefits packages, offering your employees life insurance could be an excellent addition to your current perks. Although seldom used, life insurance is a small sign that shows you care about the life of their family beyond just office hours. Additionally, at such a low cost, this is a pretty simple aspect to add to your packages. Try contacting some brokers or insurance agents to see if you can find a policy that’s right for your firm.

Dedicated Time To Enjoy Their Hobbies

Although something seen more often in startups in Silicon Valley, having dedicated office time for employees to enjoy their passions is something that has shown great results. Whether it be learning the piano or taking on building a video game, having your team spend some time on the things they truly enjoy can translate to increased productivity. Why? Because giving them the ability to better themselves, they’ll in turn bring that to their work as well.

The Ability To Work Remotely

It’s no secret that a lot of employers despise the idea of letting their employees work remotely. However, it’s actually proven to hold some amazing benefits. According to Global Workplace Analytics, 95% of employers that allow their employees to telework reported an increased rate of retention, saving on both turnover and sick days. Depending on the needs of each individual role, this can be a strategy to implement either whenever your team wants or on assigned days. Either way, this is one perk almost everyone will love.

Health Insurance

Even though it’s mandated for companies with over 50 employees, offering health insurance regardless is arguably a benefit well received across the board. In fact, as noted in research compiled by KFF, 28.6% of employers with less than 50 people still offered health care. Why is that the case? Because it shows you care about their well-being, and know that a healthy employee is one that doesn’t have to worry about astronomical medical bills.

Unlimited Time Off

This is a perk that almost no employer offers but should be regarded as something to consider. According to The Washington Post, only 1-2% of companies offer unlimited vacation, which it’s easy to see why. A true “unlimited vacation” program could be a firm’s worse nightmare, with employees skipping out every other week to enjoy themselves. However, with the right model in place that rewards hard work with days off, your employees will absolutely adore this policy.

A Full Pantry

Finally, having a pantry full of food can be one perk that’s not only relatively inexpensive but also adds to the value of the workplace. As noted by USA Today, when surveying employees who had snacks versus those who didn’t, 67% of those who did reported they were “very happy” with their work life. You’d be surprised at how much of a difference this could make, especially when considering the price point. Consider adding a kitchen to your office if you haven’t already, and always keep the snacks and drinks everyone wants fully stocked. Doing so will increase morale tremendously.

Final Thoughts

Compiling a great package for your energy company is going to take some time in looking at what you can afford versus what’s the most you can offer. While it might mean cutting back in other areas, having a workforce that feels like you genuinely want to take care of them can take you far. And with so many different benefits to include in your energy company’s package, which one is your favorite? Comment with your answers below!

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