Posts tagged with "report"

Guillen illustration

The Murder of Fort Hood Soldier, Vanessa Guillen

By Emmet McGeown


“How can this happen on a military base? How can this happen while she was on duty? How can this just happen and then let it go under the rug like it was nothing?” These were the words of Mayra Guillen, sister of Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, who has been missing for months and is now confirmed dead.  

On April 22nd, Pfc. Vanessa Guillen, a 20-year-old Hispanic Small Arms and Artillery Repairer, went missing. She was last seen alive at a parking lot at squadron headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas. For months, Pfc. Guillen’s family held out hope that their beloved was still alive, yet the discovery of remains near the Leon River, north of Austin, has vanquished that hope. While the FBI is still awaiting a positive DNA analysis, the family believes that the remains belong to Vanessa.  

Yet, this story does not begin with her disappearance nor does it end with her death. Prior to her vanishing, Pfc. Guillen, according to her sisters, was having difficulties with sexual harassment while stationed at Fort Hood, outside Killeen, Texas. The attorney representing the family in the case revealed that Guillen had confided to her sisters and several other soldiers that a superior had walked in on her while taking a shower and that he proceeded to sit down and watch her. Other relatives and Pfc. Guillen’s boyfriend have noted on social media that something is “not right” and that Vanessa felt unsafe at the military base.  

However, during a press conference on Thursday, July 2nd, senior special agent for the Fort Hood Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID), Damon Phelps, reported that there was no evidence backing the claim that she had been sexually harassed. He affirmed that “there has been no information — and we have interviewed hundreds of people… There is no credible information about that.” Despite this rebut by CID, family attorney, Natalie Khawam said, in an interview with PEOPLE, that she believes Pfc. Guillens was sexually harassed by Spc. Aaron David Robinson.

Spc. Robinson was the leading suspect in Vanessa Guillen’s disappearance, and as authorities caught up with him on Tuesday evening, he shot himself. It has since been revealed that Robinson was, in fact, responsible for the murder of Pfc. Guillen’s. Guillen’s was bludgeoned to death with a hammer in the armory where she worked, according to the family’s attorney. They made this discovery through an extensive investigation, in which witnesses divulged that they saw Robinson transporting a large box labelled “very heavy in weight.”

Then, after consenting to an examination of his cellphone records, court documents reveal, it was discovered that Robinson made several phone-calls to his girlfriend Cecily Aguilar on the night of Apri 22nd and into the early hours of the April 23rd. After being interviewed multiple times, Aguilar finally told investigators that her boyfriend had murdered Guillen. She also revealed how she and her boyfriend had met up and dismembered Guillen’s body together with a “hatchet or machete type knife” and, after attempting to set her corpse on fire, buried Guillen’s body parts in three different holes. Texas Rangers have since arrested Aguilar and she now faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  

The issue of sexual harassment within the Army remains a problem in this case, given that Guillen’s family, according to their attorney, claimed that Vanessa was planning on reporting Robinson the day after she was murdered, and had delayed over fear of reprisal and inaction. Yet the Army says there exists no credible evidence that she was sexually harassed before her disappearance, and in a statement from the Fort Hood Press Center, officials said that the criminal investigation “has not found any connection between sexual harassment and Vanessa’s disappearance.” They plan to continue their investigation in light of new revelations. 

Lupe Guillen, another sister of Vanessa’s, told NPR that her sister wanted to be in the military since she was a little girl, “she wanted to be a fighter. She wanted to be a hero. She wanted to be someone in life. … The military failed her.

The family is now pushing for legislation to create an independent agency for soldiers who are victims of sexual harassment and assault. 

Clean Energy Jobs Lost Due to COVID-19

106,000 Jobs in Clean Energy Lost in March Due to COVID-19 Economic Crisis

More than 106,000 clean energy workers lost their jobs in the month of March, and hundreds of thousands more clean energy job losses are projected in the coming months. That’s according to a new analysis of unemployment data released today by E2 (Environmental Entrepreneurs), the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), E4TheFuture and BW Research Partnership.

The analysis of Department of Labor data found that 106,472 workers in clean energy occupations filed for unemployment benefits last month, wiping out all 2019 clean energy job gains across renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean vehicles, energy storage and clean fuels. These include electricians, HVAC and mechanical trades technicians and construction workers who work in energy efficiency; solar installers; wind industry engineers and technicians; and manufacturing workers employed by electric and other clean- vehicle manufacturing companies and suppliers.

Clean energy has been one of the U.S. economy’s biggest and fastest-growing employment sectors over the past decade, growing 10.4 percent since 2015. According to a separate report released today by E2, U.S. clean energy jobs increased to nearly 3.4 million at the end of 2019. Clean Jobs America 2020 found the industry accounted for more than half of the entire energy sector’s job growth in 2019, adding more than 70,000 jobs for a 2.2 percent growth rate – a faster pace than the U.S. workforce as a whole. At the start of 2020, America’s clean energy workforce accounted for more than one out of every 50 U.S. workers. That made clean energy by far the biggest employer of workers in energy occupations, employing nearly three times more workers than the fossil fuel industry.

But all that growth came to a screeching halt in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout. The March layoffs are just the first indication of how badly the clean energy industry will be hit by the crisis, with the analysis projecting that more than 500,000 clean energy workers – 15 percent of the entire clean energy workforce – will lose their jobs in the months ahead unless Congress and the Trump administration take quick and substantive action.

A loss of that magnitude would erase the clean energy industry’s total job growth over the last five years.

Bob Keefe, executive director of the national, nonpartisan business group E2 said:
“What these numbers tell us is that clean energy workers are a huge and important part of America’s workforce – and they are hurting badly. Lawmakers simply cannot ignore the millions of electricians, technicians and factory workers who work in clean energy as they consider ongoing economic recovery efforts – especially since we know from our country’s last economic meltdown that clean energy can lead the way to recovery.”

Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), said:

“This analysis quantifies in stark terms the damage COVID-19 is already doing to the renewable energy workforce, and the devastating trajectory we’re facing absent help from Congress. The renewable sector is being hit hard by supply chain disruptions, shelter-in-place orders and other significant pandemic-related delays. To stem job losses, we ask Congress to extend the time-sensitive deadlines faced by renewable projects seeking to qualify for critical tax incentives and to provide temporary refundability for renewable tax credits that are increasingly difficult to monetize. In the end, we’re all in this together, and the renewable energy industry wants to be a key economic driver to help the nation through this downturn, as well as an effective climate solution over the long haul.”

Phil Jordan, Vice President and Principal at BW Research Partnership said:
“The economic fallout from COVID-19 is historic in both size and speed. Activities across the entire range of clean energy activities, from manufacturing electric vehicles to installing solar panels, are being impacted. And the data pretty clearly indicate that this is just the beginning.”

Steve Nadel, Executive Director, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE):
“Each year our ally E4TheFuture co-publishes a report detailing the growth of energy efficiency jobs – but that trend is threatened right now. March unemployment claims, and projections of worse to come, are alarming. From contractors who can’t go into homes to weatherize them to employees in shut-down electric car factories, energy efficiency workers have lost their jobs – and that costs all of us. Consumers lose out on utility bill savings, and the country curtails a critical tool for slashing greenhouse gas emissions. We need to support this workforce during the crisis and quickly get them back on the job when the health threat subsides.”

For quotes from more than a dozen clean energy business owners and professionals who work or do business across America, CLICK HERE.

Industries Hit Hardest

According to the unemployment data analysis, energy efficiency lost more jobs than any other sector of the clean energy industry in March, with nearly 70,000 people losing their jobs. The losses in the energy efficiency sector accounted for about two-thirds of all clean energy unemployment filings – as electricians, plumbers, construction workers, energy auditors, and others were unable to enter homes, offices and other buildings because of coronavirus quarantines.

Renewable energy lost more than 16,000 lost jobs, and filings are expected to increase substantially in the coming weeks as solar and wind energy companies struggle with sudden and massive financing issues that are resulting in canceled and delayed projects.

The clean vehicle sector was also severely impacted, losing 12,000 jobs in factories that manufacture electric and hybrid vehicles and the parts that go in them. This represents the largest percentage job lost —4.5 percent — of any clean energy sector. This does not include the 20,000 workers that Tesla Inc. furloughed, or other losses posted after this March data was collected.

For a full breakdown of clean energy jobs losses in each state, see the full analysis HERE.

Growth Trend Upended

The widespread layoffs in clean energy risk derailing an industry that was leading the country in job creation. At the start of 2020, clean energy employment increased for the fifth straight year, growing to nearly 3.4 million workers nationwide. Renewable energy led the way, increasing 3.2 percent to about 523,000 jobs.

Energy efficiency continues to be the single largest section of the clean energy economy, employing 2.4 million Americans at the end of 2019, up 2.3 percent from 2018 despite federal rollbacks and delays of energy efficiency standards.

The clean vehicle sector was the only clean energy sector that saw job declines in 2019, dropping 2.3 percent to more than 266,000 jobs, in part because of industry uncertainty about rollbacks of federal vehicle emissions and mileage standards, which were recently finalized. The sector’s job losses come after a record-setting year in 2018 that saw the clean vehicle industry grow 17 percent and add more than 40,000 jobs.

About E4TheFuture

E4TheFuture works for clean, efficient and safe energy solutions. A nonprofit organization, we promote energy efficiency, renewables, demand management, energy storage and electric vehicles to advance climate protection and economic fairness. We work to achieve an energy economy that is sustainable, lower cost, and resilient. Our “Faces of EE” initiative shines a light on energy efficiency professionals nationwide. Visit www.E4TheFuture.org or follow us on Twitter at @E4TheFuture and @FacesofEE.

New York × Decreasing Population

New York Is One of Nine States With a Decreasing Population

Recently released data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that population growth in the U.S. has reached its lowest level since 1937 despite recent gains in immigration. The long-term downward trend is the result of a declining birth rate and increased deaths, especially among America’s aging white population. While population growth has slowed at the national level, population changes at the state and city level vary widely. Between 2017 and 2018, all but nine states saw their populations rise. Texas, Florida, California, and Arizona experienced the largest absolute population increases. At the other end of the spectrum, New York, Illinois, West Virginia, and Louisiana experienced the largest absolute population decreases, largely as a result of residents moving out-of-state. While Texas, Florida, and Arizona also lead the country in net domestic migration (people moving in from other states), California ranks second only to New York for having the most people leaving the state. New Jersey and Illinois are also prominent among the long list of states losing swaths of residents to other states. In order to determine the fastest-growing U.S. cities and states, researchers at 360 Quote analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Population growth was measured as the percentage increase or decrease in residents from 2013 to 2018 for cities and from 2017 to 2018 for states. Researchers also calculated population changes due to births, deaths, international migration, and domestic migration to provide additional insight into the evolving demographics of each location. The analysis found that New York is one of just nine states that saw a decrease in its population over the last year. Here is a summary of the data for New York: Percent change in population: -0.25% Total population growth (2017 to 2018): -48,510 Births: 227,099 Deaths: 165,728 International migration: 70,375 Domestic migration: -180,306 For reference, here are the statistics for the entire United States: Percent change in population: 0.62% Total population growth (2017 to 2018): 2,020,313 Births: 3,855,500 Deaths: 2,814,013 International migration: 978,826 Domestic migration: Not applicable For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results for all U.S. cities and states, you can find the original report HERE.

UN Climate Report

To Tackle Climate Change We Need to Rethink Our Food System By Kathleen Rogers and Dr. Shenggen Fan

The way we produce, consume and discard food is no longer sustainable. That much is clear from the newly released UN climate change report  which warns that we must rethink how we produce our food and quickly to avoid the most devastating impacts of global food production, including massive deforestation, staggering biodiversity loss and accelerating  climate change. While it’s not often recognized, the food industry is an enormous driver of climate change, and our current global food system is pushing our natural world to the breaking point. At the press conference releasing the Special Report on Climate Change and Land, report co-chair Eduardo Calvo Buendía stated that “the food system as a whole which includes food production and processing, transport, retail consumption, loss and waste is currently responsible for up to a third of our global greenhouse gas emissions.”

In other words, while most of us have been focusing on the energy and transportation sectors in the climate change fight, we cannot ignore the role that our food production has on cutting emissions and curbing climate change. By addressing food waste and emissions from animal agriculture, we can start to tackle this problem. How do we do that?

Livestock production is a leading culprit driving deforestation, degrading our water quality and increasing air pollution. In fact, animal agriculture has such an enormous impact on the environment that if every American reduced their meat consumption by just 10 percent about 6 ounces per week we would save approximately 7.8 trillion gallons of water. That’s more than all the water in Lake Champlain.

We’d also save 49 billion pounds of carbon dioxide every year the equivalent of planting 1 billion carbon-absorbing trees. What’s more, to the injury from unsustainable food production, we add the insult of extraordinary levels of food waste: nearly one third of all food produced globally ends up in our garbage cans and then landfills. We are throwing away $1 trillion worth of food, or about half of Africa’s GDP, every single year. At our current rates, if food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest carbon emitter after the U.S. and China. 

To ensure global food security and sustainable food practices in an ever-growing world, we need to reexamine our food systems and take regional resources, such as land and water availability, as well as local economies and culture into account. To start, the United States and other developed countries must encourage food companies to produce more sustainable food, including more plant-based options, and educate consumers and retailers about healthy and sustainable diets. Leaders must create policies that ensure all communities and children have access to affordable fruits and vegetables. And we all can do our part to reduce food waste, whether it’s in our company cafeterias or our own refrigerators.

Technology also plays a part. Developed countries should support and incentivize emerging innovative technologies in plant-based foods, as well as carbon-neutral or low-carbon meat production.

Developing countries, on the other hand, face high levels of undernutrition, as well as limited access to healthy foods. Many nutrient-dense foods (such as fruits, vegetables and quality meats) are highly perishable, often making prices significantly higher than ultra-processed, nutrient-poor and calorie-dense foods. The high cost of nutrient-dense foods creates a significant barrier to healthy diets, as seen in urban Malawi and many other countries.

By promoting enhanced production of healthy and nutritious foods while also improving markets in low-income countries, we can lower prices and increase accessibility of healthy and sustainable diets. Politicians can also tackle systemic inequalities by redirecting agricultural subsidies to promote healthy foods, as well as investing in infrastructure like rural roads, electricity, storage and cooling chain.

Change must happen at every level if we want to build a better food system. International participation and resource-sharing can spread regional solutions across countries. And working for change at the ground level among individuals, communities, local and federal governments and private entities can help fight hunger and food inequality firsthand.

Yes, our food system is broken, but not irrevocably so. The challenges are enormous, but by understanding the problem and potential solutions, we can effect critical changes in the ways we produce, consume and dispose of food.

UK Households Spending More Than They Earn

  • UK cost of living for a four-person family is £60,000 per year – 103 per cent of average household income
  • UK housing and utility costs have risen by 13 per cent1
  • The global study found the most affordable expat country for families is Sweden

Today, new research by leading price comparison website MoneySuperMarket reveals that the UK is the most expensive location to raise a family. The running costs associated with a four-person family in the UK exceeded those of Spain, USA, Germany and Sweden due to the high costs of rent, utility bills and groceries2.

The data is based on the average monthly cost of property, utility bills and grocery shopping for a family with two children in 10 locations. These locations are some of the most popular destinations for the British public to emigrate to. MoneySuperMarket also ranked the costs against the countries’ average full time salary, to reveal the percentage of salary two working adults must put towards household expenses. In the UK, the average cost of a four-person family is more than twice the combined total of two adults’ salaries4.

Popular expat destinations with lower living costs

With lower utility bills (£94.41 per month), heavily subsidised pre-school costs (£230.34) and a standard average monthly rent of £1,149.40, Sweden is the only country analysed where a single parent can comfortably afford to have two children, working out as 87 per cent of the average working salary5. Based on two adults with two children it’s even more affordable, eating into less than half (43 per cent) of the combined salaries.

The full ranking of the affordable global cities to raise a family, including a breakdown of all metrics, can be seen below:

Global cost of raising a four-person family

Changing costs over time

On average, the weekly food shop has lowered in price for families over the last 16 years, from £236 to £232. However, spending on both housing and utilities, and household goods and services, has increased by 11 per cent overall. In 2001, the average monthly cost of housing and utilities per person in the UK was £277.77, but by 2017 this figure had risen by 13 per cent to £314.82. Due to these rises, the cost of raising a family in the UK has become more expensive.

For more information on the most affordable countries to move to, check out the MoneySuperMarket report around the changes in UK household spending over time.

Robb Vices Subscription Box

A surprise selection of rarities, curated to provide a spectacular moment in time – experiences that until now, were reserved only for the few (very) fortunate.

The publisher’s modernly-debonair son, Daniel Curtis, has gone 3D with it and now Robb Vicesis a subscription box.

The boxes are surprises each month, filled with the most small-batched wonderfulness; all curated around a story and meant to stoke and satisfy curiosity about the good life.

The contents are worth $500-$800 and feature incredible things like technologically-wild writing instruments designed by Ferrari’s Pininfarina, hand made Italian Finlay & Co sun spectacles, luxe Euro-styled Bluetooth speakers or rare elixirs like the first creme de cassis made in 1874 from the house of Gabriel Boudier or the Louis Vuitton-owned Glen Morangie, maker of some of the world’s most spectacular single malt scotch whiskies since 1843.

Memberships must be applied for and are offered either month-to-month or for 3, 6 or 12 month periods. For approximately (depending up on what subscription chosen) $100, every month, you can gift someone else (or yourself) with a box filled with rarities that together have been curated to provide an exquisite moment in time.

Since it’s creation in 2016, Robb Vice collaborations have been done with chefs such as Daniel Boulud and Marcus Samuelsson and collections from brands like Lalique, Master & Dynamic and Highland Park. Master milliners, Worth & Worth offered the making of a bespoke hat; the box included a tape measure and swatches of handwoven Honduran fabric from which to create it.

This Spring, one of the boxes will feature all that it requires to experience the most moving of music on original vinyl. We can’t tell you what the products are – but if you remember the delight of buying a diamond tip needle, it may ignite your imagination about the contents.

Robb Vices is about discovery; getting something in the mail that creates a spectacular moment, that until now, was reserved for the very few fortunate.