I was fortunate to sit down with Upstream’s CEO, Matt Prindiville. During our conversation, we covered sustainability versus climate change, the power of the public and private sectors, ESG, circular economies, rational climate optimism, and more!
Upstream Solutions is a nonprofit organization founded in 2003 with a mission to not only reduce but remove single-use plastic from the world. Their organization finds, makes, and celebrates practical solutions that help people, businesses, and communities shift from single-use to reuse. Over the past few decades, they’ve worked with countless orgs committed to a more sustainable future.
When asked about the future implications of climate change, Prindiville said, "I'm an optimist. What scientists are saying is, of course, very scary. But when I think about the change I’ve seen in my career, it’s incredible how far we’ve come. Ten years from now, you'll see environmental and social responsibility be the norm worldwide."
Dig deeper → 10 min
The scoop: Cycling is a simple but effective way for individuals to reduce their carbon footprint. On a larger scale, cycling is an important tool in fulfilling the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Facts and figures:
- 50% of all deliveries in metro areas can be completed by bicycle.
- Switching from a car to a bicycle saves 150g of CO₂ per kilometer. (UNEP)
- A 2015 Institute for Transportation and Development Policy study concluded that a dramatic increase (about 20%) in cycling worldwide could “cut carbon dioxide emissions from urban passenger transport by nearly 11 percent in 2050.” (bicycling.com)
- In 2019, direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the transport sector accounted for 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions, with 70% of direct transport emissions coming from road vehicles. Case studies suggest that active mobility like walking and cycling could reduce emissions from urban transport by up to 10%. (UCI)
Bottom line: Cycling allows individuals to lead a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. And when an entire society adopts cycling, it can profoundly impact the climate.
Dig deeper → 4 min
Air purifiers can do the job of both air-purifying and detoxifying, but their also noisy, ugly, and costly. Thankfully, natural plants clean the air too. Plus, a lush green plant adds a lot more to your interior decor than a giant air purifier.
Here are nine air purifying indoor plants that serve as beautiful home decorations. They're great additions to any home décor scheme while also working to eliminate pollutants that may harm you and your family.
Dig deeper → 2 min
Ethical Clothing founders Ben Heinkel and Jack Hesketh had the same problem, so they built a solution. Meet the new ethical and sustainable clothing search engine Ethical Clothing, a platform built for sustainable shopping.
Ethical Clothing focuses on ethical brands, helping eco-conscious shoppers quickly search and filter for sustainable clothing.
Dig deeper → 5 min
The scoop: I lived in Japan for almost three years and learned a lot about sustainable living through cultural norms and traditional mentality.
Key Sustainability Lessons From Japan
- The Japanese are a very cohesive group of people who inherently share common goals for the good of the country
- Certain cultural norms in Japan have helped the country to reduce carbon and promote sustainable living
- Living conditions in Japan naturally encourage careful use of resources such as water, energy, and food
- Urban and rural transportation systems are a huge factor in the reduction of greenhouse gases
- Care for mental and physical health improves conditions towards a sustainable lifestyle
Dig Deeper → 5 min
Busy? Try the speed read.
Everyone deserves to have the wedding day of their dreams, but that doesn’t need to come at the cost of the environment. Let’s find out how to create a sustainable wedding.
- Go For Vintage Jewelry
- Vintage engagement or wedding rings are good for the environment and your bank account.
- Vintage jewelry is VAT exempt
- Not to mention, it is breathtakingly beautiful with a depth of history for you to enjoy.
- Ask Your Venue About Environmental Commitment
- How do they dispose of food waste? What is their recycling policy? Are they energy efficient?
- Allow Bridesmaids To Choose Own Dress
- If you choose the dress for your bridesmaids, it isn’t guaranteed that they will wear it again, and we know that wearing clothes once and never again is not very environmentally friendly!
- Allow your bridesmaids to choose their own dresses.
- Rent The Groomsmen Tuxes
- You can get higher quality suits by renting.
- It will be cheaper and far less waste will be produced
- Consider Vegan Menu
- Better for the environment, and can be elegant when done right.
- Choose In Season Flowers
- Choosing seasonal flowers will help you to capture the season of your wedding beautifully, giving a timeless and beautiful addition to your wedding décor.
- Choosing local and seasonal flowers also cut out the need to import flowers from abroad or even across the country.
- Eco-Friendly Wedding Favors
- Give out eco-friendly wedding favors. Choose biodegradable flower bombs or vegan chocolate from a local shop.
Dig deeper ➝ 5 min
The scoop: I just drove from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean. I learned a lot about America along the way.
Some key highlights from rural America:
- Galena has hundreds of storefronts in the middle of rural Western Illinois
- Badlands National Park is in South Dakota but looks like a white Mars
- There are job shortages for hourly workers from coast to coast. It is tangible.
- Counties are more significant than states. Remove all stereotypes.
- Ethical and sustainable agriculture is the most important thing in the world.
Dig deeper → 5 min
The scoop: American infrastructure is aging and the problem is two-fold. Large cities need federal funding to support ambitious projects, while small cities can't afford any new projects.
Disaster in Miami, Detroit: As the story unfolds, it appears the Surfside condo tower likely collapsed from deteriorating infrastructure. In the Midwest, Detroit suffered from unprecedented rain, but also decades of underinvestment.
Rising cost of construction: US infrastructure rebuilds are extremely expensive, 6th highest in the world. Despite that, we dedicate a lower percentage of our GDP to infrastructure than the EU or China.
One solution: Prioritize domestic infrastructure projects over foreign interventionism to fund new projects. Don't just use deficit money to fund it. In fact, money alone will not be sufficient to ensure new construction is a success.
Successful federal projects require careful planning, strategic management and people-first politics. America needs to rebuild itself bearing both today's economy and future economies in mind. It's important we don't forget either.
Dig deeper → 4 min