Energy & Environment

Congress can do better when it comes to protecting our great outdoors

As representatives of two leading footwear brands, we are accustomed to walking, hiking, and running for fun. But this week, we are pounding the pavement in Washington, D.C. to express our commitment to America’s great outdoors.
We are employees of vibrant outdoor companies that depend on protected wild lands and rivers. Protected public lands are the infrastructure for the outdoor recreation economy. Our jobs and those of our co-workers depend on those protected wild places. Every year, our customers hike in Wilderness areas and boat protected rivers and lakes. In doing so, they spur local economies and support jobs like ours.


America's bright spot: Oil and gas

In this so-called “jobless” recovery, aptly labeled the Great Recession, an estimated 20 million American workers are unemployed or underemployed. One out of every two college students cannot find work in their chosen fields. Competition for well-paying jobs is likely to become even tougher when thousands of men and women in uniform return home from Afghanistan and look for ways to support their families.

Although many U.S. industries have been reluctant to hire new workers due to political and economic uncertainty, the oil and natural gas industry is booming worldwide. Jobs are available on offshore rigs, at service companies that support energy production activities, and onshore where technologies are unlocking energy supplies from impermeable rock deep underground.


Rio meeting can still produce a key climate outcome

For the rest of this week over 100 global leaders, and more countries, converge on Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 Earth Summit. As of Tuesday a negotiated text was released which so far is receiving dismal reviews as watered down and lacking in any concrete commitments or timetables for outcomes. If the meeting is considered a failure, or results only in a laundry list of promises, who is to blame? Can anything be done to salvage this global opportunity?


Rio Earth Summit - Then and now

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Today, world leaders are gathered in Rio de Janeiro to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit. Looking back, it is clear that the excitement and energy of that moment two decades ago, and the ambitious goals we set, have not yet put us on a path to a sustainable planet. But the many critics and pundits who take pleasure in stressing the futility of these conferences will be missing half the story.

In the 20 years since we first met in Rio, the concept of “sustainable development” has evolved from theory to increasingly common practice. In particular, the world’s fast-growing nations are embracing many tenets of sustainability as core to their economic development strategy. At this year’s summit, world leaders would be wise to focus on how to replicate and accelerate this trend around the world.


Clean energy is critical to national security

As a young Lieutenant on my first combat tour, in Iraq, I served on an isolated fighting camp south of Baghdad in an area known as the “Triangle of Death.” My unit was entirely dependent on daily fuel convoys to power our generators and fuel our vehicles. Recognizing this, Iraqi insurgents consistently ambushed the convoys while my infantry company fought to protect them—leading to almost-daily firefights we jokingly called “fighting for our supper.” The insurgents had recognized a crucial weakness, one that Osama bin Laden referred to as America’s “Achilles heel”: our dependence on oil as a single source of fuel.


Prosperity for many or misery for all? In Rio we will choose the future we want

In just over a week, world leaders are will gather in Brazil for the Rio +20 Summit to decide what kind of future we want. Twenty years after the original earth summit, the theme is the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Why is the conference important and why the aspirations for a 'green economy'? A green economy is one that results in improved human well-being and social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Growth in a green economy is driven by investments that reduce pressures on the environment and the services it provides us, while enhancing energy and resource efficiency.


Animals don’t have a voice, but we do

In 2002, a George W. Bush speechwriter named Matthew Scully published a book titled Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy that surprised a lot of his fellow conservatives. He argued that no matter your politics or religious preference, caring for the world’s animals is a unique human responsibility.


Federal oversight needed to address cruel, corrupt treatment of horses

Horses hold an iconic place in our nation’s history. Without Paul Revere’s trusty steed, Brown Betty, the colonists in New England might have never known of the British forces’ late night advance toward Lexington. As American settlers moved west to the Pacific, horses pulled covered wagons and plowed fields on new homesteads. Horses accompanied many of our military commanders into battle, and horses still carry our fallen soldiers to their final resting places at Arlington National Cemetery. 


Protecting animals: A humane and bipartisan effort

Many important and urgent matters come before the U.S. Senate. But beyond those mega-issues — our budget woes, energy independence, national security concerns — other very important issues often fly under the radar. One of those issues is the well-being of animals.