Mayor of the City of St. Louis, Lyda Krewson – Credit: Deanne Fitzmaurice
New Building Codes Launched by St Louis to Combat Climate Change as Retailer IKEA Passionate Over Low-Tech Fix for Household Food Waste
The New American Road Trip is an 11 day, more than 2,900 mile journey with an electric vehicle from San Francisco to New York’s 10th Climate Week and the One Planet Summit to inform and discuss with the public the Call to Global Climate Action issued from the Global Climate Action Summit.
By Nick Nuttall, Global Climate Action Summit
22 September 2018 — St. Louis Missouri, set on the western bank of the Mississippi River, welcomed the New American Road Trip over 2,000 miles, a tornado near-miss in Kansas and precisely one week after departing the Global Climate Action Summit.
Our MC for the event was actress, comedian and writer Erica Rhodes, among whose many credits is the 2011 film Big Sky—in this case an indie road trip from California to Montana rather than to New York and minus an electric car!
Jakob Sjölander of the retailer IKEA turned the event into a kind of eco-quiz night. For example how many ordinary batteries does a four-pack of rechargeable ones displace?.
A staggering 6000 it seems because, said Jakob, “this little fellow (holding up modern rechargeable batteries) can be used 1,500 times. It saves you time, inconvenience and money and impact on the environment”.
Biggest solar array in the state of Missouri? Perhaps not surprisingly an IKEA installation that currently covers most of the company’s energy consumption while allowing the firm to export surplus back into the grid.
Jakob also enthused about how the company uses energy saving LED lighting in their stores, bulbs that last up to 15 years, but perhaps saved his biggest excitement for a low-tech solution to a major global problem—food wastage.
If all the world’s food wastage was a country, its emissions would be the third largest in the world, set aside the amounts of water, land and forests used and cleared to grow food no one eats.
One reason why it was flagged as a key topic under GCAS’s Land and Ocean Stewardship Challenge led by WWF.
“The average American family throws away about $2,300 worth of food each year,” said Jakob.
One solution is using food containers, but not just ordinary ones but see-through ones “because what you see, you won’t throw away,” suggested Jakob with me thinking, OK let’s give it a go.
St Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson welcomed the New American Road Trip before outlining the risks the city is running into the future from climate change, especially vulnerable, low-income residents.
But just like all the Mayors we have met on route, she said the city was determined to play its part.
New Building Codes to Make St Louis More Energy Efficient
With close to 80 percent of emissions coming from buildings, energy efficiency is a must for St Louis.
Mayor Krewson said she had just signed St Louis up to a more ambitious standard, known as the 2018 IECC –International Energy Conservation Code-which aside from reducing pollution is likely to boost jobs further.
Due to a raft of existing and new sustainability measures, St Louis already has some 15,000 green jobs in areas such as energy auditing, electrical installation and carpentry.
“On an Individual level, person by person, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, city by city I am optimistic that we can go forward together to have a better environment and leave a better environment for our kids and grandkids, “said Mayor Krewson.
“So each of you are climate heroes in your own right,” she added to a rapturous applause.
Across the venue many were enjoying some guilt-free, beer, by local brewing giant Anheuser Busch complete with special red labels sporting lightning bolts.
Renewable Energy and Hydrogen-Powered Trucks for Major Brewer
In 2017, the company joined the RE100 initiative—managed by The Climate Group and CDP—that commits and tracks companies aiming to source 100 per cent clean energy for their operations.
Angie Slaughter, Vice President of Sustainability and Procurement at Anheuser Busch said they had now sourced enough clean energy to cover the brewing of its entire Budweiser production in the United States.
Given the climate footprint of the company’s long-haul trucks, she said they were now going further.
“Earlier this year we announced our partnership with Nikola Motor Company—we placed an order for up to 800 hydrogen-electric powered semi-trucks. In 2017 we also ordered 40 Tesla electric semi-trucks,” she said.
Angie said the goal was to convert the company’s entire long-haul fleet to renewable energy by 2025.
Everyone Urged to Back Climate Week
Helen Clarkson, CEO of The Climate Group and a key member of the GCAS Advisory Committee, underlined that the Summit in San Francisco was not the beginning or the end of the story.
And called on the St Louis audience and those gathering in New York next week at the 10th Climate Week to support the Ten Things campaign which also includes backing for electric vehicles (EVs) under hashtag #8 Engine for Change.
Recognizing Unsung Heroes
The finale involved Erica introducing the unsung climate heroes—six organizations that each won a cash prize to help further their work.
- St Louis Bicycle Works, which among its many activities educates children on sustainability through cycling and bike maintenance and Trailnet, which works to establish cycle routes and promotes non-motorized transport in St Louis
- Citizens for Modern Transit, which campaigns for integrated, affordable transportation including light rail and the local chapter of the Sierra Club that influences public policy and conducts grass roots environmental campaigns
- Dutchtown South Community Corporation, which fights for environmental justice and carries out community clean ups and combats illegal dumping and Pedro’s Planet—a company founded by friends to promote recycling.
And so onwards from Missouri through Indiana to our next major event in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on Monday.
The New American Road Trip is being organized by Purpose with support from foundations including Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Hewlett Foundation, the JPB Foundation, the IKEA Foundation and Climate Works Foundation. Follow the progress of the road trip online here.