Green Living — March 17, 2011
Rob Harmon: Beer and water keep streams flowing
In this informative TED video, Rob Harmon discusses the use of voluntary markets to restore critically de-watered ecosystems all across America. With streams and rivers drying up because of over-usage, Harmon has implemented an ingenious market mechanism to bring back the water. Farmers and beer companies find their fates intertwined in this now century-old tale of Prickly Pear Creek.
Harmon is an expert on energy and natural resources policy — looking at smart ways to manage carbon, water and the energy we use every day. . . Taking the true measure of our environmental footprint is something that Harmon has been doing for years. Starting as an energy auditor in Massachusetts, Harmon went on to manage an international marketing effort in the wind energy industry and, in 2000, develop and launch the first carbon calculator on the Internet.
Harmon joined Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) in 1999, and is credited with developing their Green Tag program. In 2004, he was awarded the national Green Power Pioneer Award for his introduction of the retail Green Tag (Renewable Energy Certificates) and his ongoing efforts to build a thriving and credible Green Tag market in the United States. He also conceptualized and directed the development of BEF’s national Solar 4R Schools program. His latest venture is the creation of BEF’s Water Restoration Certificate business line, which utilizes voluntary markets to restore critically de-watered ecosystems. He recently contributed chapters to the book Voluntary Carbon Markets: A Business Guide to What They Are and How They Work. Rob left BEF in November 2010 to explore his next venture, ConvenientOpportunities.com.
People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper and cotton clothes. The water footprint is an indicator that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. Indirect use can include virtual water embedded in tradable goods and commodities, such as cereals, sugar or cotton. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business. This book offers a complete and up-to-date overview of the global standard on water footprint assessment as developed by the international Water Footprint Network.