This week I was asked by George about helicopter emissions. Recently Astrum Helicopters announced that they will be offering helicopter adventures and direct helicopter transfers to Chaa Creek, an award-winning eco-resort in Belize. To my reader it seemed contradictory to the mission of a Green Globe benchmarked resort to use helicopter transportation due to the potentially harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions and noise pollution. But how bad is it really? Read on to find out…Click to continue reading »
It’s not like Organic Architect Eric Corey Freed needs more publicity but we feel obligated to dole out some props. As one of the West Coast Green noted speakers his “An extremely unusual look at Green building” certainly caused a stir during day one. We knew that we were in for a Freed special when he started his talk with his recent quote, “Guilt is no way to sell environmentalism.” We agree. As he says it’s time to do something, and that doesn’t mean buying carbon credits.
His speech, divided into convenient bite sized pieces, brought up unusual and startling images of how we waste materials and what we can do to improve things. He pulled up facts like Americans spill about 17,000 million gallons of gasoline while filing those nasty lawnmowers which cause five percent of CO2 emissions. Why do we have lawns anyway? Why don’t people plant native species in their front and back yards?
I’m always puzzled by the lengths that people go to rid their homes of pests. They douse their homes with unspeakable chemicals at the sight of a single ant despite the fact that, in most cases, there are non-toxic and far cheaper solutions. Tell that to my landlord who requires spraying my place every two weeks despite nary a sign of a bug in months. Lest I digress… a new certification for pest control has launched. It’s called Green Shield and it’s endorsed by the NRDC and others.
The basic idea is that it trains and certifies pest control professionals to seek a more holistic and thoughtful method for ridding a home of pests – largely by eliminating the source of a problem, rather than dousing the home in toxicity.
This all reminds me of a brilliant speech by famed mycologist Paul Stamets at last year’s Bioneers conference. Paul has a patent on a fungi-based pest control system that is supposed to be more effective than any chemicals and is basically free. You can watch the portion of his speech below where he expressed his fear of the reaction of the pesticide industry. The good news, however, is that with certifications like Green Shield, professionals and small business people can still thrive economically simply by changing the way they practice their trade – it’ll still be a lucrative business even if buying, selling, and deploying chemical warfare ceases to be a part of it.
Sustainability consulting firm Natural Logic has announced they will present a four-part webinar series titled, Coming to Grips with Carbon: How to Measure and Reduce Your Footprint.
The online events will be held on October 18 and 25th, and November 1st and 8th. The series will provide business leaders with practical guidance from leading practitioners on the key issues related to carbon management, including: measuring carbon footprint, reducing emissions, and making sense of emerging opportunities for carbon trading and offsets. Advance registration is required. [Disclaimer: I am helping to produce the series for Natural Logic].
Kyle Tanger, president of Clear Carbon Consulting will present at the October 25th session. I talked with Kyle about his fast-growing consulting practice (he is working with WalMart and other large companies) and asked him what he believes is driving businesses to embrace carbon reduction. “Companies inevitably find projects that have very attractive pay-back periods in financial terms,” Kyle said. “I can’t think of one client that hasn’t recognized that.” More inside…Click to continue reading »
Sun Microsystems has launched an impressive new website called Openeco.org. In their own words, the site “is a new global on-line community that provides free, easy-to-use tools to help participants assess, track, and compare business energy performance, share proven best practices to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and encourage sustainable innovation.”
At first glance, I’m skeptical of yet another social networking oriented site, but this seems to be the first well funded site that is aimed at companies and professionals, rather than the general public. There’s also not a whole lot there just yet. But, with the backing of Natural Logic and CERES, there’s bound to emerge some useful activity.
There’s even a You Tube video, featuring Gil Friend (after the jump)…
On the heels of unveiling “Great Value” brand CFLs last week, Walmart announced today that the company is working with suppliers to gauge and reduce the energy consumed in buying, manufacturing and distributing the products they sell, beginning with a focus on seven products (DVDs, toothpaste, soap, milk, beer, vacuum cleaners and soda).
Through energy reduction policies like this, retailers with supply networks on the scale of Walmart’s, can send a ripple of efficiency standards and product innovation through multiple industries, and squeeze inefficiency out of operations. Walmart, which will encourage the rest of its suppliers to respond to their new program, is working closely with suppliers and organizations like the Carbon Disclosure Program.
Articulating that this initiative is both a sound business decision for Walmart’s supply chain and the environment, the firm’s Chief Merchandising Officer said, “This is an opportunity to spur innovation and efficiency throughout our supply chain that will not only help protect the environment but save people money at the same time.”
Original article from One Shade Greener.
This week a reader asks about how much the now open Northwest Passage will save in shipping emissions. This year, for the first time in recorded history, the Northwest Passage has become fully ice-free. This means that this Northern sea route around the Americas is now fully navigable, and will become increasingly so over the next few years. The Northwest Passage is expected to be a feasible alternative to the Panama Canal in 10 to 20 years, maybe sooner. But how much fuel and GHG emissions will it actually save to send container ships and supertankers into the arctic? Read on to find out…Click to continue reading »
While the business world is abuzz with talk of green and sustainable business practices, it’s important to remember that workplace sustainability goes far beyond switching out light bulbs and turning down the thermostat. Sustainability has both internal and external drivers and spans environmental and social dimensions. Below are a few key points to take into consideration:Click to continue reading »
As long as you’re feeding the meter, who says you have to place a car in a parking space? That’s the genius behind Park(ing). A stunt done two years ago by a San Francisco art group known as Rebar. The group took a normal downtown parking place and transformed it into a mini park complete with sod, benches and flowers.
The event has really caught on and is happening literally all over the world tomorrow. Take a look at the list here and check it out in your neck of the woods. Remember – you may be a hard working business person, but taking some time out of your day to appreciate the whimsy and brilliance of this activity. Check out the list here.
It could be considered the country’s (or at least San Francisco’s) first Green mini mall or mini Green department store. Over on Polk Street, near a lot of mass transit and foot traffic, the recently opened Green Home Center had eco-sexuals checking out not only the
shops but the interior as well.
Talk about making use of density, the small retail space combines several sustainably minded companies in one space. The Green concept shops offer Green minded consumers kitchen and bath cabinets with low or no formadlyldle and FSC wood (Brand Kitchens & Designs), Green bedding and furniture (Eco-terric), reclaimed wood doors (Liberty Valley Doors) and as they say much, much more.
Dave Alsop, Head of Administration for the San Francisco Waldorf High School, watched along with excited parents, students, and faculty as the green ribbon was cut today welcoming the students to the first and only San Francisco LEED Gold Certified High School. Alsop explained, “We wanted the new high school to represent our values both visibly and outwardly”; and they succeeded.
The building was once a Pacific Bell call center hermetically sealed with gray walls and sparse, dark glazed windows, giving it a sinister persona. It’s hard to imagine people worked there long hours staring out at concrete walls, instead of gazing at the surrounding eucalyptus grove and greenery. The site was originally slated for condos, but the Waldorf School was able to swoop in there just in time and secure the spot.
After seeing images of the melting Greenland Icecap on television this weekend my mother asked me if it would be economical to collect that water and deliver it to drought stricken regions. After my posting on bottled water (AskPablo: Exotic Bottled Water) many of you know that I am generally not a fan of shipping drinking water over great distances. But could this be a more environmentally friendly solution than desalination (AskPablo: Desalination and the Water-Energy Relationship)? Read on to find out…Click to continue reading »
Not long ago, BP met a public relations disaster by making a request to increase its dumping of particulate matter into Lake Michigan by expanding its massive refinery on the south side of Chicago (lake calumet, technically). Despite the fact that the refinery’s added discharge would be somewhat trivial compared to the grand total of mysterious substances that Chicagoland’s industry and sewers dump into the lake annually, the request was quashed by an outraged public. Trivial or not, expanding oil refineries probably sets a bad precedent these days with great lakes cleanup high on the national priority list and fuel efficiency being far more important than increased production. The Chicago area press did a good job exposing the issue and leading the outcry against the added discharges.
Now, here’s an interesting piece of press. The JSOnline reports that Murphy Oil wants to make an even bigger refinery expansion in Superior, Wisconsin to process Alberta Oil (among the filthiest fuel options ever discovered). It’s unknown whether the expansion would result in added discharge to Lake Superior, but the company is taking the somewhat odd step of doing “everything it can to keep a similar controversy from exploding on the shores of Lake Superior”
The reason it’s odd is that I can’t tell from the article if Murphy oil wants to avoid discharges all together, or if they are simply trying to avoid having anyone find out. Read the article and you tell me. Economic opportunities are important, but increasing our dependency on oil, and worsening the state of the lakes, especially the relatively pristine Lake Superior seems like a bad policy to me. Whether they like it or not, the press is out now.
In the news today, ConocoPhillips is reporting that they will spend $10 Million to offset the carbon emissions of a proposed refinery expansion in the Bay Area. I have mixed feelings about this, but basically think it’s a good thing. On the one hand it lends a big boost to the legitimacy of carbon offsets, most of the money will be tied to indirect and difficult to audit projects such as wetlands restoration and tree planting. It also would seem to give people the idea that dumping a bunch of money on such projects suddenly makes it “ok” to burn a lot more oil. But unfortunately, that seems like what we’re destined to do for a while whether we offset or not.
What do you think?
The Second Annual Net Impact Business as UNusual Guide has just been published. The guide details leading MBA programs, including student responses to surveys, curriculum information, inside perspectives on faculty and alumni networking, as well as broad data aggregated from all the schools in the study. It’s a great resource to check out, especially if you’re looking into getting an MBA.
Take a look at the whole thing on PDF here.