US Senate fails to check guns...again

We know this won’t come as any great surprise but, last night, the US Senate failed to advance new legislation aimed at curbing gun sales in the wake of the Orlando nightclub massacre. Measures that would have blocked people on the federal terrorism watch list from buying guns were stymied as the Senate split down party lines. “Partisanship and the power of the gun lobby played a large role in the amendments’ failure,” writes the New York Times. It explains: “Democrats structured their bills in a way that was almost certain to repel Republicans, while Republicans responded with bills equally distasteful to Democrats.” There’s grown up governance for you.

65 million people now displaced by global conflict

The number of displaced people globally is at its highest ever - surpassing even the fallout of World War II, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). At the end of 2015 65 million or, to really put things in perspective, one out of every 113 people on Earth is either “an asylum-seeker, internally displaced or a refugee.”
The reason for this crisis is threefold. First long-term conflicts like that in Afghanistan are lasting longer. New or reignited conflicts in Syria and South Sudan are happening with greater frequency. And the rate at which solutions are being found for refugees and internally displaced people has been on a falling trend since the end of the Cold War,” CNN reports.

Formentera aims to ditch fossil fuel vehicles

To the tiny island of Formentera where officials want to phase out fossil fuel vehicles and create a complete EV culture. Okay so this tiny Balearic island off the coast of Spain may only be 12 miles long but each summer “tourism swells the number of cars driving around the island to 15,000, and electric cars could hope to mitigate the pollution—both chemical and noise—that they cause,” Fast Company writes. One problem. At the moment there are only 14 EV charging stations on Formentera.

Do we have the right infrastructure to meet our EV dreams?

Which leads us to this thumbsucker from the Natural Resources Defense Council: what if we can’t physically charge all those electric vehicles that we’re being encouraged to buy in order to combat climate change? The NRDC’s blog looks at the challenge of building an EV charging infrastructure in the US that will meet growing consumer demand and how it might disrupt our existing ideas of personal transportation. It cites a new NRDC report that suggests, “by using spare [electricity] grid capacity to charge our vehicles, we'll significantly slash carbon emissions in our transportation sector, which currently accounts for nearly one-third of our nation’s emissions total.” As long as that electricity generation also isn’t dependent on fossil fuels of course.

A Cannes grand prize for Opt Outside

Finally today, congrats to REI and its agency, Venables Bell & Partners, on winning a Cannes Gold Lion for the standout #OptOutside sustainability campaign. #OptOutside encouraged shoppers to eschew Black Friday and explore the great outdoors instead. It was such a success that other retailers embraced what Adweek calls “the greatest anti-promotion movement of all time.” 


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