La Jolla, CA bases Pyron Solar has something that sound’s almost too good to be true – a massively powerful solar energy unit that’s both compact and economical to produce. The key – small lenses that focus the sun’s rays on the solar cells – like burning an ant with a magnifying glass. The 23-foot wide prototype pictured here can power 6 homes and costs $2000 after rebates. Wow. (via Treehugger)
Amazing. The US House has dropped Oil Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the budget bill. This is like watching a neck and neck superbowl in overtime. Nothing is quite set in stone yet, so I’ll mention it one more time – watch the video “Drawing the Line” which makes an economic argument against opening the refuge and please pass it on to as many people as you can, especially your elected reps!
Why is a massive car-culture considered the only way to a strong, modern economy? Is there a better way? I keep thinking, optimistically, that there has to be a sane compromise. Nonetheless, according to the South China Post, some Chinese cities are moving to ban electric bicycles in favor of automobiles. This ban follows similar bans on regular bikes in certain areas.
Cars are certainly not “bad”, but if they become the only option they cause an immense amount of pollution and rampant consumption, not to mention congestion and undesireable sprawl-style development. Ironically, with the luxury of hindsight, many European cities are reinstating pedestrian and bicycle dominance in urban areas. So, chalk it up as a phase for China, one that hopefully dosn’t erase the other options altogether.
Well, this is cool! I’ve been invited to speak at PlaNetwork’s monthly East Bay get together at the Hillside Club in Berkeley on Wednesday the 16th. Details Here. PlaNetwork is basically a forum of IT professionals and other interested folks working to use the internet and other technologies for “truly democratic, socially just and ecologically sane future”. Drop by if you’re in the neighborhood!
I’ve written in the past about the misleading nature of the term “100% Recycled”. When consumers see this term, they tend to think the item they are buying is made of material that was actually used by someone, discarded, and then recycled. Or at the very least, that they are somehow preventing material from entering the waste stream.
In reality, “100% recycled” means next to nothing – legally speaking, scrap material that winds up on the floor and is thrown back into the raw materials bin, is considered recycled. Material that was actually used in a product by a consumer, then returned to some sort of recycling facility to be reprocessed has a second term attached to it – “post-consumer recycled”. That’s why you’ll often see both terms used on say, your roll of expensive recycled toilet paper. Only the “post consumer” percentage, which is very rarely 100% actually meets people’s expectations for what recycled really means. Confused?Click to continue reading »
The Government of Canada, in partnership with IBM and UN-HABITAT, have put together a 72-hour online event in preparation for the World Urban Forum, to be held enxt summer in Vancouver. It’s called “Habitat Jam” and it’ll basically be a, dare I say, jam session about urban issues – poverty, water, sustainability, safety, and business. You can register to participate for free right here.
I hope you’ll have a few minutes today to take a survey that was put together by a collegue of mine concerning the different sorts of ways we use the internet to find activating information – the kinds of things that engage you, inspire you, and make you feel you can make a difference. It’ll only take 5 min – I promise!
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I’m of the opinion that “right” and “left” don’t really mean anything. Most issues, if you spend more than a few minutes thinking about them, are full of common ground. Irrational misunderstanding, bad reporting, and jumping to conclusions are the causes of this strange obsession with right/left blue/red and the myth that there is some kind of unbreachable gap amongst us.
Anyway, that said, there are still many who think this way, and I thought I’d pass on two great links which might help you out. From The QandO blog (which is itself slightly right) – a listing of RIGHT WING BLOGS and LEFT WING BLOGS. I highly recommend glancing at both and bookmarking some of them. Sometimes both sides are full of crap, sometimes they’re both full of insight. Either way, if you’re not reading outside your box, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Between the 1960s and 1980s, the percentage of overweight children in the US hovered around 6%. Since 1980, the rate of obesity in children aged 6 to 11 has more than doubled, and the rate in adolescents has tripled to 16%. Currently one child in five is overweight. The increase is in all age, race and gender groups. The main culprits are the same as those for adult obesity: eating too much and moving around too little. Almost half of children aged 8-16 years watch three to five hours of television a day. Kids who watch the most hours of television have the highest incidence of obesity, not only because little energy is expended while viewing but also because of concurrent consumption of high-calorie snacks. Other factors of obesity are: poor nutritional habits, life style, heredity.
Since obesity in kids is now epidemic in the United States, Kraft is taking a stand and addressed the issue by banning some food ads targeting children and by introducing healthier food for children (lower content of fat and sugar). Under Kraft’s new policy (at work since 2003), any product advertised on a TV show where more than 50% of the audience is under 12 (as measured by Nielson Media Research) has to meet the nutritional standards set by the company.
Is it possible for an oil company to change its brand image/essence? Can we be convinced of their sincerity as they try and convince us that they want to “go green”?
What is a brand? According to the AMA a brand is “A name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers”. Brands can include products, services, events etc. According to Lyn Upshaw, the true meaning of a brand is when trust is transformed into value. (Upshaw lecture 10/22/05)
Do you know a guy who runs his heater with the window open simply because the landlord pays the utility bills? Well, Mercury Marine plant managers were not even aware of their energy costs because the corporate office had been paying them.
Not anymore. Utility costs are now part of each Mercury plant’s operating goals, just like productivity and material costs. To help keep track, the company installed power meters so that managers in every building know the natural gas and electricity usage.
In other words, simply by restructuring the way costs are covered, impressive new ways of saving money – and reducing environmental impact are realized. The details, and the numbers are are outlined in Saturday’s JSOnline. Also in the article is the note that higher energy prices mean a faster payback for efficiency measures, which means they’re more likely to be put into effect by managers seeking to impress higher-ups. It’s also common sense.
Without further ado, the first Carnival of the Green is here. You may have enjoyed the Carnival of the Capitalists we hosted last Monday. Well, now it’s time for another carnical, with a slightly different bent – more about environmental issues, less about economics. CityHippy is hosting it this week, and I’ll be hosting it next Monday. So start your week with some good reading – pop on over to the carnival and check it out!
Is schadenfreude a sin? Well, sue me. The Hummer, including the “less bad” H3 model, is selling so poorly that excess Hummers are piling up in remote lots because there’s no room for them at dealers. Sleuthing bloggers from “The Mess that Greenspan Made” have uncovered a semi-secret series of parking lots in Southern California where upwards of 300 unsold Hummers sit and fester. It’s a hilarious story, but it’s also a dismal wake-up call for GM who probably could have anticipated this if they’ed thought about it for a minute.
What’s the scrap value of 300 Hummers?
Triple Pundit is now available in a special mobile format for devices such as Blackberrys and Treos, and some regular mobile phones. It’s all been made possible by Tom Foremski at Silicon Valley Watcher – arguably the valley’s most interesting tech/business blog. SVW teamed up with Free Range Communications – a leader in mobile RSS – to make it possible. It’s also totally free. You can find out more here.
Since I have the oldest phone in the known universe, I haven’t been able to test whether this actually works. So please let me know if there are any problems.
Fair Trade First is another great company idea. (website here). Most people are familiar with the idea of “Fair Trade Coffee” wherin coffee buyers are ensured that their cofee was grown in a sustainable manner and that decent wages were paid to the workers. Well, there’s a lot more than coffee out there, and this UK based firm aims to help companies and individuals find out all about it. They offer a totally free service to companies wishing to buy certified goods for the company kitchen – in return for a commission from suppliers. They insist that more often than not, going “fair trade” is less expensive than one might think.