Take a look at the baby in this video. He’s innocent, adorable, and completely irresistible . . .
At least that’s how Seventh Generation hopes the U.S. Congress sees it.
Seventh Generation, the nation’s leading brand of non-toxic and environmentally-safe household and personal care products, has joined forces with eco-advocate Erin Brockovich and Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families to launch the Million Baby Crawl, a grassroots effort designed to urge Congress to pass stronger regulations regarding the chemicals used in household products.
Currently, synthetic chemicals are regulated by the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA), an outdated law that experts say has utterly failed to keep us safe from substances that cause cancer and a host of other serious illnesses. Under the TSCA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does not have the authority to demand the information it needs to evaluate a chemical’s risk, and neither manufacturers nor the agency are required to prove a chemical’s safety before it can be used.
As a result, in the 33 years since the TSCA was enacted, the EPA has required testing on only 200 of the more than 80,000 chemical compounds now in use. Only 200 of 80,000? That’s an astonishingly small 0.25%!
Fortunately, a new proposal to reform the TSCA is in the Congressional pipeline. This new bill will:
Think of it as CSI for the timber industry.
Singapore-based Double Helix Tracking Technologies (DHTT) uses DNA tests to verify the origins of timber. Essentially, it’s the same technology that’s used in forensics and paternity testing –only DHTT has adapted it specifically for wood.
“What we’ve done is to develop a very creative solution that builds upon existing scientific techniques and applies them to an old-fashioned industry,” explains Darren Thomas, managing director at DHTT.
But, why does wood have to be scrutinized so carefully?
And if it does, you’re wasting energy –and money.
Data centers don’t need to be ice cold, says Rajesh Nair, the founder and CTO of Degree Controls, Inc., based in New Hampshire. Rather than over-compensating for server heat loads, he explains, companies need to focus on what’s really important: air distribution around the servers.
“In a data center, the heat load keeps changing over time and place,” Nair says. “But, the typical data centers has a static cooling system. That means there’s static cooling for dynamic heat flow –and that’s why there’s a problem.”
In fact, once you change the air distribution in your data center, it’s likely that you’ll be able to shut down 20 to 40 percent of your air conditioners, he adds.
But, how can you re-design the air flow?
eBay says this data center will showcase the best and most innovative thinking in green data center design, technology, construction and operation, and Triple Pundit asked Mazen Rawashdeh, VP Technology Operations, eBay Inc., to fill us in on all the details.
Triple Pundit: Does this new data center represent new capacity, or will it consolidate other eBay data centers?
Mazen Rawashdeh: The new center is being opened as part of a corporate-level, four-year data center consolidation strategy that is moving us from a handful of co-located data center facilities – largely space that we rent from data center providers – to space that we own and can manage to the highest standards in both cost and environmental efficiency. In short, it’s a consolidation strategy. Our business model is unique; we know the rhythms and availability requirements that are specific to eBay’s platform. By designing an environment for our data and compute power – both in terms of physical data center, hardware and software infrastructure that goes into it – we can innovate and manage it in the most efficient way possible. The facility in Utah will host the core technology that runs our business – including the eBay.com marketplace, PayPal and some of our adjacencies, including StubHub.com and Shopping.com.
But, let’s face it. The prospect of greening a data center can seem overwhelming. After all, data centers are complicated, unwieldy and high-tech. Even the most intrepid sustainability manager may take a look around, and be left scratching his head, wondering, “Where do we start?”
“That’s a very good question,” says Joe Parrino, Facilities Engineer of UPS’s Windward Data Center near Atlanta. “You start by getting educated and fully understanding the problem.”
That’s how they did it at Windward, one of UPS’s two largest data centers. Originally constructed in 1995, Windward monitors all of the information about the 15 million packages UPS delivers daily worldwide. Recently, Parrino led the facility through a dramatic energy makeover, a series of varied changes that cut energy consumption by 15% and reduced UPS’s CO2 emissions by 5.5 million pounds annually.
Better yet, think of it as a support group on steroids for data center gurus.
Data Center Pulse (DCP) is a non-profit, open source community where data center end users can share information, voice opinions, define innovative next-generation solutions, and ultimately influence activities and trends in the industry.
Members can participate in LinkedIn discussions, download program proposals and presentations, stay up-to-date with breaking IT news, watch informational videos, network, blog…and more.
Founded only a year ago (in September 2008), DCP already boasts 1,240 members, representing more than 600 companies, spread across 45 different countries. It’s an exclusive group of data center owners, operators and users — and in this uniquely specialized community, consultants or individuals with primary roles in a sales, marketing or business development capacity are noticeably (and purposely) absent.*
Xerox wants to be carbon-neutral … and that’s not all.
The company also wants to:
Eliminate the use of hazardous chemicals to achieve a zero toxic footprint.
Develop a “zero waste to landfill” goal for its company-wide operations.
Insure that 100 percent of its paper, by volume, meets stringent requirements for a sustainable paper cycle.
Ambitious goals for the world’s leading document management, technology and services enterprise, wouldn’t you say? But, take a look through the 2009 Report on Global Citizenship that Xerox released on Tuesday, and you’ll see that the company is well on its way to making significant progress in each of these areas.
“We view environmental sustainability not as a cost of doing business, but as a way of doing business,” the report says. “For us, it’s an integral part of developing products, serving customers and posting profits.”
Here are a few specific highlights from the environmental sustainability portion of the report:
Earlier this year, leading telecommunications companies, including Apple, Motorola and Samsung, made a commitment to start making cell phones that can be charged using a universal charger.
In Europe, that change seems to be on the fast-track now that several of these manufacturers have agreed that, beginning in 2010, all their devices sold there will use the micro USB connector, which is already the standard on handsets such as the BlackBerry.
What’s more, last month the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) gave their okay to the plan, explaining that the new universal cell phone charger will:
• Eliminate 51,000 tons of redundant chargers, and so reduce 13.6 million tons in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year.
• Reduce standby energy consumption by 50 percent.
• Allow users worldwide to power up their cell phones anywhere, from any available charger.
Sure, rooftop solar panels and on-site wind turbines may seem like the epitome of ultra-green chic right now. But, whatever energy efficiency lacks in “glitz,” it more than makes up for in bottom-line benefits. It’s simple: reducing your company’s energy consumption is a sure-fire way to cut costs and lower your GHG emissions, as well.
Need proof? Take a look at the outcomes recently reported by the Environmental Defense Fund’s 2009 Climate Corps.