Sallan News and Views

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Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.

The Spanish Requirement

March 17, 2015

By: Nancy Anderson, Ph.D.

Omri Ben-Shahar concludes a scathing attack on contemporary disclosure laws with a barbed reference to a 400-word pronouncement, called the "Spanish Requirement". It was a prepared statement read in Spanish by 16th Century conquistadors to New World inhabitants, which warned them, having been put on notice, to "acknowledge the Church as the rule and superior of the whole world" or else!

More Than You Wanted To Know book jacket
Image: Book Jacket

While Professor Ben-Shahar concedes, "Happily, disclosures no longer excuse slaughter and slavery", he and his co-author Carl E. Schneider in More Than You Wanted to Know: The Failure of Mandated Disclosures, set out to make the case that today's disclosure laws, often called "sunshine" laws, are, at best, a waste of time because they fail to inform, warn or change anyone's behavior. At worst, disclosure laws shield bad actors from legal liability and let timid politicians hide behind the supposed virtues of enacting sunshine laws rather than passing bills to outlaw the behaviors that disclosure laws are supposed to help us see and thus avoid or amend. These are serious indictments, and as a long-standing supporter of New York City's very own sunshine statute, the Energy Benchmarking Law, enacted in 2009, I knew I needed to read this book with care. What if it's right?

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Wendy E. Brawer

Mapping The Way To A Brooklyn Passive House

March 11, 2015

By: Wendy E. Brawer

Given the opportunity to do something with the potential to be world changing, would you take that chance?

Our story begins in 1992, when the original Green Map of NYC debuted. The creative outcome of my 'light bulb' moment — enriched by a group process — provided people with a surprising perspective on a familiar place. That place-based visual catalyst has sparked a global sustainability mapping movement, and today, in 65 countries, locally made Green Maps generate meaningful action as they bring resources for sustainable living into view. Each edition is a powerful tool for finding our way and finding that we're not alone.

Here's how energy moved to the forefront. Green Mapmaking had already spread to every continent when the Great Northeast Blackout of 2003 struck. Coming so soon after 9/11, it propelled me to consider the security crisis of our dependence on fossil fuel, and before the lights came back on, the Powerful Green Map of NYC began taking shape. It was exciting to assess our city's progress as our nonprofit highlighted everyday efficiency and renewable investments in the five boroughs along with the dark side of our energy choices. See this map's genesis since 2006.

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