News


'Planet Hero' Hunter Lovins to speak in Pleasanton tonight

'We want to be investing in the technologies of the future,' activist says

Pleasanton's Committee on Energy and the Environment is hosting a talk by Hunter Lovins on "Energy Efficiency and Long-Term Sustainability" at 7 p.m. this evening at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd.

Lovins was named millennium "Hero for the Planet" by Time magazine in 2000.

Born into an activist family, Hunter Lovins spent a lot of time in the '60s raising a fuss - presumably with picket signs and peace symbols - until she realized the "traditional activist approach" just wasn't going to work. Since then, Lovins has built a bridge between big business and environmentalism, promoting sustainability while consulting with oil and utility companies - and some of the largest corporations in the world - with her nonprofit group, Natural Capitalism Inc.

Following are excerpts from a recent interview with Lovins:

Q. Why do big businesses often say they're interested in "going green" and then oppose legislation that supports climate change efforts?

A. Often, sustainability initiatives start in the marketing department. They think it's a good PR move - they don't see it as core to their business. The work that we're trying to do is to get businesses to see sustainability as essential to their corporate strategy, and as such that the traditional knee-jerk business reaction of "oh, anything environmental must be bad" is actually damaging to their PR. We've a ways to go yet.

Q. What more can be done to reach corporate America?

A. What you purchase on a daily basis, it really does make a difference. Anytime you buy something, ask the vendor, "Was this sustainably made?" The vendor's likely to say, "I have no earthly idea what you're talking about."

Q. I get that all the time.

A. But if enough people ask that, the vendor will start to pay attention. ... what one individual does in silence doesn't make that much of a difference, but what groups of individuals do very noisily will absolutely change the planet. If you look at the socially responsible investment movement - the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an effort by, literally, a group of kids. Young people out of the UK a few years back said, "We're going to ask the biggest companies on earth - the FT 500 - what their carbon footprint is." About three years ago, 66 percent of the biggest companies on earth reported through CDP their carbon footprint.

Q. Can you give an example of a large company that is actively changing the way it does business?

A. Last year Wal-Mart hired CDP to go to China to ask their suppliers about their carbon footprint. This is something no government could do. Between Wal-Mart and the Carbon Disclosure Project, Chinese companies are now having to reveal - which means they have to assess, they have to understand - what the carbon footprint is, which is a very strong signal to all these companies. And indeed, last October Wal-Mart went to China, called their thousand largest Chinese suppliers together and said, here are the standards by which we are going to decide whether or not to buy from you. ... Now, is Wal-Mart green? Hell, no! But is Wal-Mart moving the needle a heck of a lot more than I could? Absolutely.

Q. How are the green efforts in America different from European countries?

A. You walk into the equivalent of a 7-Eleven just off the Champs-Elysees in Paris and half the products are proudly badged as "organic." It is considered normal in the UK to take your little-wheeled shopping cart and walk down the street to your local green grocer and local butcher and buy stuff that's been produced within 100 miles, that's badged as such, and then wheel your little cart home. Americans think nothing of jumping in their SUV and driving 20 miles to a supermarket, where they have no idea where the products came from.

Q. What do you think is the government's role in all this?

A. We practice a kind of capitalism that Randy Hayes (founder of the Rainforest Action Network) calls "cheater economics," whereby we subsidize unsustainable behavior, which makes a certain set of products look cheaper than they really are. That's just bad capitalism. We ought to have full-cost accounting. Right now the cost to your lungs, to unborn children, to green-and-growing things around the planet aren't counted in the purchase price of cheap goods.

Q. Green issues seem to illicit a lot of eye-rolling from the far right. Why is that?

A. Environmentalists have made a serious mistake of casting this as a moral message, rather than - how is it that we achieve what it is that people want? Which is a high-quality life, prosperity and greater security? The corporatists have done a very good job of badging their product in convincing people that if you buy their product, you will be happier, you will find meaning in your life and it will convey stature and well-being, you will look younger, sexier ... some of us have started working with the ad industry in helping them to help companies badge themselves as green in authentic ways.

Q. So going green will also bring a gusher of greenbacks to our economy?

A. It's also the way to enhance security. This country has been borrowing something like $2 billion a day to buy imported oil from folks in the Middle East who don't like us. The next wave of revolution is clearly going to be the green technologies. You will get 10 times the number of jobs from investing in energy efficiency and renewables than you get investing in building coal or nuclear plants. We do not need to be investing in these old technologies - the technologies of the last century: We want to be investing in the technologies of the future - oh, and by the way, doing that solves the climate problem.

Sustainability

What: Dr. Hunter Lovins speaking on "Energy Efficiency and Long-Term Sustainability"

Who: Sponsored by Pleasanton's Committee on Energy and the Environment, the first in its free lecture series.

When: 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 25

Where: Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd.

Cost: Free. Call 931-5500 for reservations.

In addition: Also speaking will be Elliott Hoffman, co-founder and CEO of Natural Capitalism and Chairman of the Board of New Voice in Business.

Samantha Campos is a reporter for the Pacific Sun, part of Embarcadero Media.

Comments

Like this comment
Posted by Brad Rowe
a resident of another community
on Jun 7, 2010 at 1:38 am

Check out our interview with author and Sustainable Development Expert L Hunter Lovins conducted at the Presidio Graduate School in 2009.

Join the discussion at MIPtalk – Conversations with the World’s Most Interesting People:

Episode 3 – L. Hunter Lovins – My Good Rope Horse Is Not For Sale
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:25 am

Just so that we have a "balanced discussion" against the hogwash this environmental leftist will be spewing tonight, I offer the first of youtube video (of 9) that counters the fraud Al Gore's film "Inconvenient Truth."

This video is entitled "The Great Global Warming Swindle" >>> Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:25 am

This event took place almost two weeks ago. For those of you that missed it, please put in the time and effort to learn more about Ms. Lovins's powerful message of natural capitalism and how to attain energy self-sufficiency.

I first became acquainted with her work in the mid 1980's at the Rocky Mountain Institute, founded by Hunter and her husband Amory Lovins. Both have been revolutionary in the area of energy conservation in the built environment.


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

Socialist democrats are suppose to be in favor of "fairness" and "balance" right? (NOT)...

Anyway, here is the Bay Area's own climate expert, Brian Sussman who authored "Climategate" ...

Sussman on Hannity's show >>> Web Link

Lovin's material is hogwash. Without manufacturing a (false) crisis, there would be no government funding toward socialists like her.


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 7:56 am

How are suggestions on how to reduce the energy usage in an office building or a manufacturing facility "hogwash"? If anything, her presentation was more about national security (reducing the reliance on foreign oil, for example) than a "false crisis". She is an energy consultant and her income is derived by businesses who hire her to make recommendations to reduce their energy usage, not government funding.

Clearly, you did not attend the event on 24 March or you would be much better informed regarding her credentials and the information she provided.


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:06 am

So, if she is in favor of "reducing our dependence on foreign oil" as you say, I then assume she is a proponent of...

- more domestic drilling (both offshore, in ANWAR, within the lower 48)
- more construction of oil refineries in the US?
- less government regulation regarding gas grades?
- more development of nuclear power plants?
- more coal fired plants?
- ok...some alternative energy research (which has yet to produce anything of substance)?

???


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:08 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Brian Sussman, climate expert? Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:15 am

BTW: Regarding the characterization of Lovin's as "Planet Hero"...

I consider her in the category of an environmental extremist, who as a group, have successfully forced offshore oil drilling into extreme deep waters (vs. shallow waters)... that has now resulted in one of the greatest environmental disasters we've ever seen.

She is the type of person who bares some (no, not all) responsibility for this oil spill crisis.


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:21 am

Hogwash -- Don't assume anything about anyone before you do your own research. She is a professor, author, business woman, lecturer and globally recognized authority on sustainability. Google her and educate yourself.

Challenge yourself to learn something new today.


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:25 am

And she does not label herself as an environmentalist -- you did that.

Check out a short bio:
Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:29 am

Stacey is a registered user.

Brian Sussman: climate expert!
Lovin: environmental extremist!


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:33 am

Fair enough. I did check out her "business." I do not consider her organization a true private sector business. Essentially what she does is contract with private sector businesses on how to comply with the federal environmental regulations...many of which are unscientific, empirically unsound (e.g. the EPA's CO2 regs), and only "sustain" big and bigger government as well as enviro-leftists like her.

Now it is YOUR turn...

Read "Climategate" for starters... Web Link


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:46 am

You are missing the point again, Hogwash. Her message and her expertise is in sustainability, and she has not put herself out there as an climate change scientist. What she brings to her clients are recommendations that can "enables companies to achieve improved prosperity by providing them practical and profitable ways to infuse sustainability into their operations and culture." She is a capitalist, and sees increased commercial profit as the primary motive for energy conservation. If Walmart can save a million dollars a month in electricity, which they did using her recommendations, who loses?


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:59 am

And YOU have missed my question...

There is no way I'd consider her a 'free market' advocate unless she were a proponent of...

- more domestic drilling (both offshore, in ANWAR, within the lower 48)

- more construction of oil refineries in the US

- less government regulation regarding gas grades

- more development of nuclear power plants

- more coal fired plants

- ok...some alternative energy research (which has yet to produce anything of substance)

----
Come back to me with her positions on the above and then we'll talk.

Meantime, I trust you'll read "Climategate" (to "learn something new today," as you say. I won't hold my breath.)


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hogwash -- The link to the bio I provided is from the RMI site, which is a non-profit. Among her many enterprises is Natural Capitalism, Inc., which is her primary consulting business.

Web Link

It is irrelevant if you do not considering her business a "true private sector business", as you are clearly not familiar with her body of work.


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

Her non-profit (not a true business) is "helping" other businesses deal with the extortion by the EPA, which in turn benefits fellow extortionists like her maintain her non-profit. Nice racket huh? Uber Extortionist and eco-fraud Al Gore would agree.

BTW: How's that book that you're reading coming along?


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:13 am

Her positions on your arbitrary list of issues is well known. Again I say, do your own research.

One of her most interesting comments during the question and answer periods of her presentation was about nuclear energy and her opinion is that it is in the best interests of the US and the world if China converts entirely over to nuclear to reduce their dependence on coal burning plants which run 24/7 and have almost no filtration. But you weren't there to hear that, were you?


Like this comment
Posted by Bowler
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:15 am

I already own a copy of Climegate, purchased downtown at Towne Center Books by my son at last week's First Wednesday party, so I do not need to borrow yours, thanks.


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:18 am

Ok...China to nuclear...but not the US, huh?


Like this comment
Posted by Lovin's Hogwash
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 9:37 am

BTW: How utterly brilliant for her to have the following wish...

"it is in the best interests of the US and the world if China converts entirely over to nuclear to reduce their dependence on coal burning plants which run 24/7 and have almost no filtration."

Yeah, I am sure she has a great deal of leverage over China and their policies. (not) (And people actually waste time driving to hear the blatantly obvious like this?!!! I've got better things to do...like wash my gas-guzzling, global warming, SUV -- which is btw a much safer vehicle for my children to ride in should an accident occur.)


Like this comment
Posted by Not Gullible
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 6:18 pm

She is still CORPORATE....referring & directing & sharing in investments, from her 'free' guidance. Quite a get rich plan...sucker at public agencies.


Like this comment
Posted by Gentle Harvester
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hunter Lovins? I can't get past the name.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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