Hope you all had a few nice days off, assuming you’re in the US. Otherwise at the very least a restful weekend! To get your week rolling right, it’s time for the weekly Carnival of the Green! This time brought to you by Great Green Goods.
Turkey day has come and gone, the Black Friday riots at the mall are over and X-mas 2006 is officially upon us. But this year we are faced with quite an ethical dilemma: Do we go to the forest and harvest our own Christmas tree or do we get a fake one?Click to continue reading »
Sometimes it’s the little things that count. At Detroit Airport, and apparantly in San Jose as well, there is now a special lane for cars waiting to pick people up known as the “Cell Phone Lane”. The idea is that instead of circling endlessly in bumper to bumper traffic, you pull in to this special lane a fair distance from the terminal, and wait for a call. That’s smart and saves a fair amount of emissions and headaches alike. Ideally, they should put up a sign saying “if you’re here for more than 30 seconds you should turn of your motor alltogether”. No word on that. Via Gizmodo.
Here’s a little tid bit you ought to be aware of – the Carbon Disclosure Project is a massive repository of informaion on greenhouse gas emissions voluntarily disclosed by over 2000 major companies. It’s 4th edition launched in September and offers detailed survey responses from each company involved.
But what makes a company, especially in the United States, voluntarily take the time to disclose their carbon footprint? It’s a process that might presumably reveal secrets afterall. It’s not just goodwill – a company that is prepared to provide this information voluntarily is a company that will be far more prepared to present it if and when government regulations require it. It also makes for a more transparent public relations with shareholders and critics alike, and that’s almost as good as a reduction in emissions.
With everything you can “neutralize” in terms of carbon emissions, it was only a matter of time before someone figures out a way to deal with the carbon emissions associated with shipping goods to and fro. Carbon Fund teamed up with students at Carnegie Mellon to put together a sytem that lets catalog merchants and other mailorder businesses offset the CO2 emissions of their deliveries. Obviously it’s still better to buy local, but this sort of program certainly helps! Check it out.
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This week Steve asks: “Which is better, running the tap water for a minute to get hot water or heating cold water on a gas stove?” In order to answer this question I need to state a few assumptions. Let’s say that tap water is 15C (59F) and our water heater is set to 40C (104F), so that will be our desired water temperature. Let’s also assume that the kitchen is on the second floor and the water heater is located in the garage, with 30 feet of pipe in between. By researching on-line I found that a stove burner (natural gas) is less than 50% efficient (think of all the heat that still escapes from underneath the pot). The water heater may have an efficiency of 67% if it is an older model.
Here’s a sweet article from the FT to get your Monday rolling (link here). The gist is this – addressing global warming and the host of other environmental problems we face represents, quite possibly, the biggest business opportunity in history. Consider the rate at which green technology and other ecological solutions are being adressed in the Transportation Sector – said to be 15% of the global economy. If one tenth of that sector becomes embroiled with efficiency efforts and carbon reduction plans it amounts to a staggering $645 billion market. Read the rest on the FT.
To promot their citywide “Greening” campaign, letsgreenthiscity.com, PG&E will be placing “grass couches” around San Francisco today, Friday the 17th of November. It should be a very fun way to promote a greener city. If you’re in town, here are the locations of the couches – The Ferry Building and Justin Herman Plaza. Additionally, couches will appear in Alamo Square, in front of City Hall, at 77 Beale Street, on Market Street in the heart of the Castro, and at the 16th Street Mission BART Plaza for a total of nine couches citywide.
If you see any of them, might you take a few photos and post them to Flickr? Tag them “grasscouch” and let’s see how many we can get up there!
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At long last, TreeHugger‘s collaborative project with Seventh Generation is launching! It’s a video contest called “Convenient Truths“.
We’re asking readers to submit short videos featuring proactive, practical and positive solutions to the environmental problems we face. We’ve got a fabulous celebrity panel to pick the winners in a few months and a bunch of great prizes.
If you have any video knack, please put this on your to-do list and feel free to pass it around to all! I think this contest is going to get some great media coverage and put pro-environmental solutions on people’s agenda in a positve manner.
The Website is here: http://truths.treehugger.com
The full press release follows after the jump…
As reported on Worldchanging, San Francisco’s New Resources Bank opened up yesterday with a wide variety of financial offerings focused primarily toward individuals and enterprises with a green or social mission in their business operations. Joel Makower reports that this is a logical step for banks, traditionally the most conservative of financial institutions, to finally get on board the metaphorical train. www.newresourcebank.com
Globalization: The root of all evil, or bringer of eternal peace and prosperity? It’s obviously neither, and a little bit of both. But whatever your opinion, many aspects of globalization are here to stay and it’s time to figure out how to do things right and get the useful parts of globalization rolling while avoiding the bad.
For example, there’s the famous “golden arches theory of conflict prevention” which states that no two countries, both of which have a McDonalds franchise, have ever warred. It’s not quite true (Israel/Lebanon come to mind), but there’s a lot of truth to it. The presense of McDonalds in a country imples a certain level of economic well being and policital stability, if not a sort-of post modern kinship, but it can hardly be said that McDonalds actually creates peace. Furthermore, multinational oil & gas and mining sectors have managed to push life in Nigeria and other parts of Africa from miserable into an unfathomable hell.
The UK’s Guardian has a watchdog article this week which outlines many multinationals efforts to come clean and look for solutions. Some genuine, some totaly cynical. I strongly belive business can and should be though of as a force for good, but we do need a reality check now and then before we drink too much CSR kool aid.
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Last year I was asked to help get water to a village. The only problem was that this village was thousands of miles away in the Panjshir Region of Afghanistan and I had no travel budget…
To make matters worse I couldn’t just call up my Rain-For-Rent franchise for a mobile pump-truck. I had to design a system to pump water up to a village and I had to do it with locally available materials. I also couldn’t just specify an electric pump because the village had no power. I couldn’t specify an electric generator to power that electric pump since fuel is in short supply as well. If we had a running creek in the village we could use hydro-power, but then we wouldn’t need to pump any drinking water, now would we? Since Afghanistan is known for its abundant wind it seems like a natural choice. Since bicycle parts are widely available I decided to design a windmill made from bicycle parts.
Happy Monday folks and welcome to the 53rd carnival of the green. It was one year ago today that I posted the 2nd carnival of the green, and I’m amazed it’s rocked around this soon!
People must have been awfully busy last week because this carnival is a small one, but it’s great one as always. Remember, if you’re a blogger, you can sign up to host the carnival here, and send in a post for consideration ay time to carnivalofgreen -at- gmail.com.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Improving building efficiency and waste management are some of the most basic ways of “going green”. They can also save companies a fortune and make *you* a fortune if you can find ways to do it well for others. Sometimes simple monitoring systems are the most effective way of improving energy efficiency. I once read about a company that placed a big LED readout in the lobby that showed the energy consumption of the various company departments in real time for all to see. In no time, energy consumption was reduced simply because departments didn’t want to be the worst on the list. (if anyone knows what company that was, please post a comment!).
It seems Microsoft has had something under wraps for a while called “Project Green”. It’s now been revealed as a portion of Microsoft’s larger business software system Microsoft Dynamics, an environmental monitoring system for not only building systems (Johnson Controls, are you reading this?), but to help manage all the IT needs of any company’s environmental initiatives. Download their whitepaper here – (Microsoft Word Doc).
(via R.Ho and Green Wombat)
Everyone knows that “cleantech” is going to be a big market, but this press release I got the other day really hits home. The Cleantech Venture Network says that by 2009 there will be $17 Billion in vc opportunities with $10 Billion in North America alone. To top it off, the states of New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania & California will together throw over a billion dollars into the hat on behalf of their various pension boards and other funds.
That’s exactly what I’ve always hoped would start happening with pension funds. They control a huge portion of the market (someone told me 40%, but that’s not verified). As a result they hold huge power as shareholders in existing companies as well as investors in new ones. The best part is that since pension funds are inherantly long-term investors, they have the patience to wait out the up front costs of going green, wheras other investors get skittsh at the first sign of a bad quarter – discouraging both innovation and long term thinking.