In the midst of certain lobbyists’ underhanded attempts to prevent climate change legislation, one oil giant, BP, has joined the biofuel-research-by-oil-firms club. BP recently invested $10 million in a joint project investigating new techniques for converting sugar into biodiesel. BusinessGreen.com reports that, according to BP Biofuels Chief Executive Philip New, the project will allow BP to deliver sustainable, economic, and scalable biodiesel supplies. Granted, this could easily be “we’re sustainable – really!” rhetoric, or a cursory attempt to appear environmentally concerned. After all, who really knows a corporation’s true intentions? If BP is sincere, though, its research could contribute significantly to the evolution of a sustainable energy mentality. Yet could investment in biofuels by a well-known oil firm undo the economic and environmental damage of years of investing in unclean fuels? And could BP’s investment be a sign that oil firms in general are starting to come around?Click to continue reading »
Natural gas is being touted as our bridge to clean power. It’s dirty, but not nearly as dirty as coal. It’s non-renewable fossil fuel, but the US produces 85% of the gas we use in this country domestically, and we have estimated reserves that could last us 75 years or more.
Well, the bridge has already been built, at least in some parts of the country, and natural gas is beginning to feel the heat. The Wall Street Journal, cribbing from a surprisingly readable report(PDF) by Tudor Pickering Holt & Co., an investment bank, suggests that 100% renewable wind power is already muscling out natural gas as a provider of electrical generation in Texas.
Texas currently has about 8,000 Mw of installed wind generation, and another 10,500 Mw should be installed by 2013, according to Tudor Pickering. Since much of that electricity is generated when the state would otherwise be using gas turbines, the two sources are direct competition, and wind is winning.Click to continue reading »
God bless Greenpeace.
Faced with a multimillion dollar media juggernaut devised by the American Petroleum Institute (API), Greenpeace countered with simplicity and honesty: A grassroots campaign that speaks the truth to power, and turns up the heat on oil executives.
To cut to the chase, last week Greenpeace came to possess an API memo that described an expensive misinformation campaign — under the banner of Energy Citizen rallies — in great detail.
To their credit, API execs admitted that the email was authentic — perhaps because it was ready to launch — and that the $45 million initiative is designed to look like a grassroots rally, and not a staged event run by an experienced marketing company. It’s all about optics, and getting on the nightly news.
And that’s about as fair as I can be to API.Click to continue reading »
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
Colleges are getting their green on. From local, organic food to renewable energy to green building, for students who embody green values, the Sierra Club just announced the top ten eco-enlightened colleges, with the University of Colorado (CU) heading the pack. Go Ralphie (CU’s buffalo mascot)!
According to Sierra Club, “Back in the day, high schoolers looking at colleges were mainly concerned with three things: prestige, location, and whether the place had a rockin’ social life.
These days, however, applicants look for something more: a school with green credentials.”
For students who want to attend a school with a green track record, or for returning students interested in improving sustainability programs on their campus, the Sierra Club guide is a great resource. And hopefully by studying at a green campus all students will leave with a greener ethic to apply to their work and lives.
Click to continue reading »
A recent trip to Sephora to replace my favorite (and highly toxic) lip gloss sparked a question: What is “natural” beauty? I would define it as something unchanged by human hands, as in a sunset, a wild flower, or a good-looking person with no make up. Sephora defines it as make up containing “natural” ingredients.
But here’s where we start getting into trouble. There is no official definition of “natural” when it comes to beauty products. Unlike Certified Organic, there’s no USDA when it comes to cosmetics. The government regulates what passes through our lips, but not what we put on them. This leaves the door open to companies like Sephora to create their own definition of what natural products are.Click to continue reading »
When it comes to combating climate change legislation, the American Petroleum Institute (API) plays dirty (pun intended). In its efforts to prevent the climate bill from passing, the API recently launched a website – “Energy Citizens” – which allows site visitors to e-petition legislators and speak out against the bill. (API’s launching of the site is in line with recent goings-on at town hall meetings by (alleged) oil lobbyists and absurd “clean coal” advertising.) What kind of long-term social and economic effects will this “astroturfing” have?Click to continue reading »
We’ve been giving a fair amount of ink to the Dot Eco LLC plan to establish a green top-level web domain (TLD)–and to its battles against other groups attempting to do the same. Will this TLD unite or distract the environmental movement? Is Gore’s endorsement enough to save .eco from the dustbin of other TLDs, such as .mobi and .tv?
You’ll get different answers to those questions, but one thing is for sure: the PR machine at Dot Eco is bound to keep the news flowing. Dot Eco issued three press releases in the past week, the last two of which serve to introduce new appointees to the group’s management. (And it sounds like more appointments are coming soon.)Click to continue reading »
Environmental Leader recently posted an article with a theme near and dear to Triple Pundit’s heart: “‘Green’ Manufacturing Should be Part of Your Strategy” (the article’s title). Written by David Dornfeld, Department Head of UC Berkeley’s Laboratory for Manufacturing and Sustainability, the article emphasizes the importance of green manufacturing in business and commerce and of analyzing businesses holistically (i.e. in their entirety, not just their individual components). It also promises tools for those interested in taking the next step.
The article outlines a theoretical basis for the greening of manufacturing and provides concrete motivation for those in the industry to adopt a more holistic approach (Dornfeld’s definition of sustainability). Dornfeld concludes that, when it comes determining the most sustainable way to balance a system’s input, output, and profit, the best solutions involve examining all components of the process (versus simply trading off between the process’ economic, environmental, and social capital). Dornfeld maintains that manufacturing is a big part of that system.Click to continue reading »
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, commonly known by its acronym PETA, has stirred up a hornet’s nest of publicity with one of its billboards. The billboard is located in Jacksonville, Florida and features an overweight woman with the caption, “Save the whales. Lose the blubber: Go vegetarian.” Since the billboard debuted, there has been much criticism lobbied at PETA.
One blogger declares, “Well, you’ve got our attention, PETA.” She goes on to write, “And we are reminded why we don’t like you. It’s not funny to make fun of people’s weight problems, and to assert you know why they’re occurring is wrong-headed and judgmental and, well, just like you.”
Another blogger writes, “The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), an animal rights organization, has really done it this time. It has obviously stepped out-of-line and doesn’t seem to know the difference between animals and women.” She adds, “PETA should stick to its Mission Statement regarding saving animals and leave exploiting women to Hugh Hefner.”Click to continue reading »
My uncle has nearly 100 acres of open land in the mountains east of San Diego, arguably some of the best territory in the country for both solar and wind energy generation; a rare combination. He’s a rabid do-it-yourselfer, and hoping to reduce his energy bills and mitigate the pesky blackouts he experiences in the summertime heat, he took out a bank loan to install solar panels.
But three years later, the bank loan still sits untapped. Why? “I don’t know which solar panels to buy, or what inverter to go along with them,” he told me. “It’s not like buying a car, where you can search online and find out all about a particular model before you buy it—there’s no information easily available.”
This is a perennial problem for the sustainability movement, not just limited to those looking to install solar panels. Which residential wind turbine is really the most durable and safe? Which solar hot water installer in your area is trustworthy, and which just looking to make a quick buck?Click to continue reading »
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
Greenwashing is telling “little green lies.” Or, according to the Seven Sins of Greenwashing, it is “the act of misleading consumers regarding the environmental practices of a company or the environmental benefits of a product or service.”
A new report Understanding and Preventing Greenwash: A Business Guide from Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) and Futerra Sustainability Communications outlines key environmental marketing mistakes and strategies to avoid greenwashing. The report can be downloaded from the BSR or Futerra web sites.
More articles on the controversy surrounding bottled water can be found here!
Founded in 2007, Tappening is an educational campaign designed to encourage the public to drink tap water whenever possible, and to send a message to the bottled water industry about its unnecessary and extreme waste of fossil fuels and resultant pollution of the Earth. Recently, they’ve taken aim at how bottled water is marketed.
Veterans of the advertising and branding industry, the folks behind Tappening launched an advertising campaign late last month to challenge what they call “the notion of Truth in Advertising while embracing an opposing concept. Lying.” Undoubtedly inspired by the Truth anti-smoking campaign, they are claiming that filtered tap water marketed with luxurious cascades flowing from snow-covered mountain-top springs is as much malarkey as the idea of smoking a Marlboro is a) cool and b) will equate you to a rugged, all-American cowboy impervious to all danger.
“Puffery is one thing, but some advertising is simply lies. I’ve observed that there are two types who perpetrate this: Those who admit it and those who don’t,” noted Tappening co-founder, Mark DiMassimo in a press release. DiMassimo’s partner added: “We’re not just admitting it up front, we’re bragging about it. We want people to know we’re blatantly lying in our new campaign…and, most importantly, that everyone should pay close attention to what’s factual in marketing and what’s – not so much.”Click to continue reading »
Big auto companies aren’t the only ones competing in the electric vehicle (EV) market. Coda Automotive, a 41-employee company without its own factory, designers, or dealer network, claims it will beat General Motors and other large firms in the EV market. Coda’s affordable, all-electric automobile (built for the “average American,” the Washington Post reports) is the product of inspiration – at the possibilities in the growing EV market.Click to continue reading »
By Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact
Earlier this month I wrote on the Kimberly-Clark Greenpeace agreement, calling it a success. However, a few days later I was contacted by Marcal, a tree-friendly paper goods company that sells only 100% recycled paper products, calling it greenwashing.
Yesterday I had the chance to speak directly with Marcal’s CEO Tim Spring, as well as with Greenpeace, NRDC and Kimberly-Clark. Needless to say, the devil is in the details when it comes to this agreement.
Isn’t it ironic?
“The celebration of the agreement with Kimberly-Clark is so much lower in altitude, it is an obscene double standard.”
While the agreement is a success for getting Kimberly-Clark out of old growth forests, there is more to the story.
Click to continue reading »