3P SoundBite: Andrew Smith of ATDynamics

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

trailer-tail.jpg3P SoundBite emerged from our desire to show that entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs in sustainability come from all different walks of life…they could be people you know, or they could even be you! Every Thursday, we bring you a new profile and a new perspective.
Over 80% of all communities in the United States rely on the trucking industry to deliver fuel, medicine and other consumer goods. Consultant-turned-trucking entrepreneur Andrew Smith talks about how his company, ATDynamics, is pushing the envelope on sustainability in an diesel-fuel powered industry.
Who: Before Andrew Smith started his own busines he went straight from Middlebury College, a small liberal arts college to management consulting. Even so, he always had a natural inclination towards vehicle sustainability.

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Convention Date Confirmed – WSF 2009 Amazonia

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

The World Social Forum takes place annually to provide a meeting ground for civil society organisations, networks and individuals to explore the progression of social movements across the globe. Those attending the function become equipped with the latest knowledge on social development, struggles and innovation in the field.
The WSF hopes to facilitate networking among organisations, both local and international, that are working in a sustainable manner towards quality of life improvements for the world’s poor.
The date for the 2009 World Social Forum has been confirmed by the International Council. It will happen from January 27th 2009 until February 1st 2009 in Belem, Para, Brazil. Persons and organisations are invited to register for the event to

“come together to pursue their thinking, to debate ideas democratically, for formulate proposals, share their experiences freely and network for effective action.”

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Could Rising Food Prices In Poor Countries Trigger Change Among Western Economists?

| Thursday May 15th, 2008 | 5 Comments

shopsemplty.jpgThe ongoing food crises in 36 countries around the globe are a cause of worry for major institutions such as the World Bank because the problems signal profound problems of disbalance in the world economy. The main reasons behind the high food prices in poor countries are the high oil price and market liberalization shocks. Biofuel crops are hardly a factor. Climate change is something that has played a role for as long as everyone can remember and it’s only being recognized now.
In recent months, the world has witnessed various food riots in poor countries around the globe and the general conclusion bankers in their dossy offices have drawn are that some countries apparently really don’t have much of a buffer zone left – hence the upset.

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Triple Pundit Takes Tesla for a Spin

Shannon Arvizu | Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 1 Comment


The first zero-emission luxury sports car is one step closer to hitting the streets. Tesla opened its first dealership this month in Santa Monica, California. Triple Pundit, along with Sebastian Blanco (Senior Editor for AutoblogGreen.com), visited the dealership last Friday to take one of their million-dollar prototypes for a spin. While much has been written lately about Tesla’s transmission issues and the firing of one of their founders, the electrifying mood at their new dealership may be an indication that Tesla is on track again.

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Voluntary GHG Program in Brazil

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

brazil-flag.jpgThe World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) yesterday announced the implementation of a GHG program in Brazil. The ‘Brazil GHG Protocol Program’ enables companies to monitor and better manage GHG emissions on a voluntary basis. It is a commendable commitment to improving environmental standards in the cooperate world; however this progressive focus towards environmental accountability should be viewed in tandem with the economic motivations of corporations.
At present, Brazil has one of the highest GHG emission rates in the world, but no official obligation to reduce these rates. The `Brazil Greenhouse Gas Protocol Program` promotes a voluntary commitment to international best practices in GHG abatement strategies.
The Protocol was created by the WBCSD and the World Research Institute for governments and businesses alike. In Brazil, the Environment Ministry, the Brazilian Council for Sustainable Development and Fundacao Getùlio Vargas partnered the aforementioned institutions to realize the formulation of the Brazil GHG Protocol Program. The WBCSD reported that there are twelve founding members of the Brazil GHG Protocol Program, including: Anglo American, Banco Do Brasil, Bradesco, CNEC, Copel, Natura, Nova Petroquímica, O Boticário, Petrobras, Sadia, Votorantim, and Wal-Mart Brasil.

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The Urban Alliance for Sustainability: A United Front for Change

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

integrate and Inspire the Sustainability MovementThe main mission of the Urban Alliance for Sustainability is inherent in its very name.

“Our goal is to integrate and inspire the sustainability movement” added Melissa Plotkin, volunteer coordinator of the Urban Alliance for Sustainability (UAS).

Melissa and I met on a sunny Tuesday morning last week over a jolt of coffee to discuss the growing organization, it’s mission, the challenges UAS faces, and their work building community and helping unite the oft-times far-flung sustainability movement in the Bay Area.  

In practical terms the goal of UAS is to connect individuals, businesses, and non-profit groups as a means of sharing resources, fostering collaboration, and reducing overlapping efforts. A kind of “efficiency of purpose”.

Instead of a single-issue advocacy group, the UAS is an umbrella organization designed to educate and enable a more “united front” amongst businesses, individuals, and advocacy groups interested creating a sustainable society.

That’s a pretty tall order and Melissa attests to the difficulty at times in explaining the UAS mission to folks accustomed to one-cause sound bites  -the elevator speech doesn’t always come quite as easily.

Nonetheless, Melissa had it well in hand with “integrate and inspire”.

The job of UAS is to bring to bear the resources of the entire environmental and sustainability movement… from educating people interested in lightening their eco-footprint, to promoting greener building design or encouraging greater innovation and use of renewable energy. Whatever it may be, there are unseen and mutually beneficial relationships that UAS can bring to light and help cultivate.”

But how? 

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IdleAire: Reducing Trucker’s Environmental Impact

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 20 Comments

bbbf.jpgIf you’ve ever been on a road trip, you’ve probably seen this sight at a rest stop: one, or many big rig trucks, just…idling. Not going anywhere. What is this, like a computer on “sleep,” ready to go? No. The answer may surprise you. At least in the US, truck drivers are required to rest 10 hours for every 11 driven. A reasonable thing, but this often necessitates them sleeping in their cabins. And that requires power for the heating or cooling, and other comforts of “home” on the road. Power that comes from a running truck.
But that has consequences. On the environment, on the driver, and on the vehicle. Multiply that by the number of truckers on the road at any given time, and the potential impact is enormous. And it doesn’t have to be that way. IdleAire has created a device that alleviates the need for idling, while retaining all that truckers are accustomed to having while at rest. And it doesn’t require retrofitting the vehicle, beyond a $10 window adapter, a price point apparently unique for the industry.

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Rational Regulation: Oxymoron?

| Wednesday May 14th, 2008 | 0 Comments

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Following up on the theme developed in their recently released book, “Retaking Rationality: How Cost-Benefit Analysis Can Better Protect the Environment and Our Health,” authors Richard L. Revesz – dean of New York University’s School of Law – and Michael A. Livermore will launch an Institute for the Study of Regulation at NYU’s law school this summer.
Cost-benefit analyses, the primary means used for decision support and decision making in government regulatory processes, have been overwhelmingly dominated by anti-regulatory rhetoric and vested interests for too long. Environmentalists, rather than fighting to restore balance and more rigorous rationality to the process left the field and concentrated their efforts on trying to persuade lawmakers to remove cost-benefit analysis from the procedural regulatory toolkit, according to Revesz.
That’s not going to happen, he contends. With a new administration coming into office next year, environmentalists need to embrace cost-benefit analysis and use it to better argue and support their positions.
Revesz describes the motivation and aim of the Institute in a May 8 guest essay on the Grist Mill.
“This time, instead of fighting — futilely — to end cost-benefit analysis, environmentalists should fight to mend it. For the past three years, my co-author Michael Livermore and I have studied how cost-benefit analysis has been used, and abused, in environmental law.
“These abuses are not inherent in cost-benefit analysis, but have arisen because the debate over how cost-benefit analysis has been dominated by industry trade associations and antiregulatory scholars. The only way to transform cost-benefit analysis into a more neutral tool is to take up the debate, to show where cost-benefit analysis has been twisted to justify and antiregulatory agenda.”

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Green Fatigue Already?

| Tuesday May 13th, 2008 | 2 Comments

fatigue.jpg As a proponent of changing individual lifestyles to reduce environmental waste, I encourage sustainable living to more than just my close circle of friends and family. Lately, almost every social gathering I go to, be it a night in Hollywood or a family get together, my involvement in sustainability comes to be a topic of discussion. As part of this discussion, more often than not, people express their utter exhaustion with “green.”
Green is everywhere now, from billboards to TV shows. People are just bombarded with green this and green that, with each message telling them what to do or what not to do.
As Adam Werbach eloquently explained in his recent piece in AdvertisingAge.

“The marketing industry has leapt on green…Consumers are resisting the proliferation of ‘green’ communications and products being pushed at them from all directions. The recent Cone/Boston College survey showed that more than half of American consumers are “overwhelmed” by the tsunami of environment-related messaging. Less than half trust companies to tell them the truth about sustainable practices and products. Even fewer consumers believe companies are accurately communicating their environmental impact.”

People don’t like to be told what to do. Even more so, consumers are dissatisfied when a promised eco-friendly product or service is in actuality no better for the environment. Moreover, there is still a large sentiment that “going green” is a sacrifice and takes a lot of work and money to accomplish.

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Update on Clearing the Air about Liquid Natural Gas

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday May 12th, 2008 | 0 Comments

I can admit when I have made a “significant error.” Liquid natural gas (LNG) and gas to liquid (GTL) are different. According to the Center of Liquified Natural Gas, “LNG is natural gas in liquid form.” GTL converts gas to a liquid form using a chemical reaction known as the Fischer-Tropsch process.
Just to clarify so no one can make faulty assumptions on my position concerning using natural gas as transportation fuel, I will spell it out in plain language. I am opposed to the use of natural gas, in any form, as a transportation fuel for one main reason: it is a fossil fuel. As a fossil fuel, natural gas is not renewable. One day it will run out. As an advertisement for an oil company proclaims, “The future is in renewable energy.”

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“Pedaling Proves Profitable” – JSOnline

| Monday May 12th, 2008 | 3 Comments

bike-to-work.jpgThe headline above is from Sunday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in celebration of Bike to Work Week, which started today. The gist of the article is what I like best – it’s not just a celebration of biking and all it’s benefits – it’s a celebration of companies (including Northwestern Mutual Life) who have made strides to offer locker rooms, showers, financial incentives and more to encourage employees to bike to work on a regular basis.
The general consensus is that cycling to work makes for happier, healthier employees for a very low price. Ride on!
(image from belfast.co.uk)

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ClimatePULSE: Municipalities and Carbon Markets (Part 1)

| Monday May 12th, 2008 | 0 Comments

CC_logo_small.jpgIt is widely understood that urban planning, green design, transportation and other infrastructure decisions that municipalities have to make can have significant climate change impacts. Through actions such as promoting compact urban design and altering waste management practices, municipalities can reduce their carbon footprints immensely.
In support of such actions, numerous programs and initiatives aimed at formalizing municipal climate change commitments have been developed. Perhaps the most notable is the US Conference of Mayors Climate Change Protection Agreement, which has now been signed by over 830 mayors from across the United States. Internationally, ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability has run the Cities for Climate Protection program since 1993, and it now boasts over 800 members from Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, Latin America, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the United States.

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Green Coast

| Monday May 12th, 2008 | 0 Comments

Real estate development, like every other part of the U.S. economy, is starting to change, to adapt to a new, emergent order we call “sustainable.” A good example is Green Coast Enterprises, a start-up development company whose mission is, appropriately, about adaptation. Green Coast was founded by a former MIT student of mine, Will Bradshaw, and his lawyer colleague Reuben Teague (Disclosure: I’m on Green Coast’s Advisory Board). Together, they’ve got an interesting mix of skills — planning law, design and construction — and interests — social justice, climate change, community development, entrepreneurship.
g-coast.jpg
What Will and Reuben are doing is essentially refashioning real estate and community development as something new, what they call “community resilience,” a species of sustainability linking social, environmental and economic issues in one business model grounded in one development vision — resilient communities whose people, buildings and economies can adapt to and withstand natural disasters and social challenges of all sorts in the Post-Katrina, Climate Change Age.
And what better place to rebuild a city by reimagining an industry than New Orleans, a place where nature, class, race and commerce have always mingled in innovative, if idiosyncratic, ways, a few feet below sea level.

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Brazilians, Indians Ranked the Greenest Consumers

| Monday May 12th, 2008 | 0 Comments

nat-geo.jpgBased on the recently released National Geographic Greendex report, citizens of Brazil and India rank the highest for having the greenest consumptive practices, with China coming in close behind. According to National Geographic, the report is an attempt to develop an international research approach that goes beyond attitudes and concerns to actual behavior in order to track and measure “consumer progress towards environmentally sustainable consumption.”
In cooperation with research and survey company, Globescan, the Greendex ranked respondents in 14 countries over four sub-indices, which break down to transportation, housing, food, and goods consumption. Brazil and India both ranked the highest with a tie score of 60.0 whereas France, Canada, and the United States rounded out the bottom with respective scores of 48.7, 48.5, and 44.9.

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Clearing the Air on Liquid Natural Gas

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday May 12th, 2008 | 17 Comments

Shell_logo.svg.jpgEvery month when I see the magazine Seed in my mailbox I can’t wait to sit down and read it. This month I found a DVD inside the magazine with the oil company Shell’s short movie, Clearing the Air on it. My attention peaked, and I watched the movie.
Clearing the Air is a fictional account of the development of gas to liquid (GTL) or liquid natural gas (LNG). The
California Energy Commission defines LNG as “fuels that can be produced from natural gas, coal, and biomass using a Fischer-Tropsch chemical reaction process.” However, in the movie LNG is used to refer to converting natural gas into liquid for fuel.

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