Sierra Magazine Looks for Common Ground on Energy

| Thursday May 3rd, 2007 | 0 Comments

sierramag.jpgThere’s a great piece in this months Sierra Magazine highlighting the discussion on climate change between various leaders from Government, Academia, and Business. Opinions from everyone from Vinod Khosla to Al Gore are present. Check it out!

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Ask Pablo Gaining Notoriety

| Monday April 30th, 2007 | 0 Comments

fiji-water.jpg
3p’s Pablo Paster’s Ask Pablo column continues to gain steam with a recent interview in the Sydney Morning Herald about his recent post on the environmental costs of Fiji Bottled water. Congrats Pablo!

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Well to Wheel Efficiency Part III

| Monday April 30th, 2007 | 1 Comment

In Part I we learned about the energy required to overcome rolling resistance and aerodynamic drag. In Part II we learned about the energy consumed in acceleration. Now it’s time to bring it all together. We know how much energy it takes to get a vehicle up to a certain speed and to keep it there. We also know that the fuel we put into the tank contains more energy than we get back out. My car’s efficiency came out to be 19.9% (see Part I), but where does the other 80.1% go? And is there anything else to consider?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Giving Away Free Bags Is Smart

| Friday April 27th, 2007 | 0 Comments

sainsburys.jpgI’ll have to talk to Pablo about the actual calculations behind this, but my hunch is that giving a way free high-quality reusable shopping bags makes smart business sense for a supermarket chain. The reasoning is that it’s a one time cost, which ought not to be all that high with the right economies of scale in place, and once the bags are in regular use, the company gets free advertising wherever the bags are used. Additionally the company earns big amounts of goodwill and loyalty on behalf of customers. It avoids some amount of cost on plastic and paper bags that it would otherwise have had to supply, and possibly avoids government regulation by taking a voluntary proactive step toward reducing waste.
Sainsbury’s (a major UK chain) has done just that. They’re giving away what they call a “bag for life” tomorrow across the UK. It’s not a canvas bag, but rather a bag made to last for repeated uses. It is made of plastic that is said to be 100% recycled and once it wears out, it can be exchanged for a new one at no cost.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Not Your Standard Airport Food

| Thursday April 26th, 2007 | 1 Comment

coverstory.jpg

No more food on the plane…hmmm…Wolfgang Puck is right there; high quality food and now more veggie options, more organic ingredients, and a Humane Farm Animal Treatment program. I liked Puck’s already and these are even better reasons to eat there. With more than 80 Gourmet Express restaurants, Wolfgang Puck announced a systemic nine-point program aimed at the worst abuses of farmed animals in full compliance with the Humane Society of the United State’s (HSUS) requirements including:

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Efficient Developments at Coca-Cola – 23% less energy consumption at HQ

| Monday April 23rd, 2007 | 1 Comment

coca-cola.pngI get a lot of press releases these days and always read them with a critical eye. Take this one from the Coca Cola Corp. It’s packed with great stuff – a fairly substantial re-tooling of their giant headquarters in Atlanta which is said to reduce energy consumption by 23% and water consumption by 15%. The added bonus: over a million dollars in savings annually.
The critic in me is starting to get triggered by this constant barrage of good news, when I think to myself – ‘gee, this is really just common sense stuff they’d be doing anyway, why not just throw on some green PR points as a bonus?’. But when you think about it, what’s really wrong with that? The fear is that the meaning of conservation and reuse gets lost in the PR-speak, but the reality is that impressive efficiency is still achieved and people find out about in a way that not only inspires them to do the same, but makes good business sense. A million dollars is a lot, and this sound’s like a good move by Coke. So I raise my glass of HFCS to them as an earth-day salute….

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Well to Wheel Efficiency Part II

| Monday April 23rd, 2007 | 2 Comments

burnout.jpgThis week we are continuing last week’s discussion on vehicle efficiency, from well to wheel. In last week’s column I introduced calculations for determining the energy needed to overcome aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance at a constant freeway speed of 65 mph. Using these equations I was able to show that my car is about 18.8% efficient at converting fuel energy into constant forward motion.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Op Ed: Why The Christian Right Fights the Environmental Movement

3p Contributor | Friday April 20th, 2007 | 10 Comments

In 2005, 1200 concerned scientists issued a statement that “Biodiversity is being irreversibly destroyed by human activities at an unprecedented rate”. It was estimated that as many as 50, 000 plant and animal species disappear each year. In April 2007, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned “there is observational evidence” regarding the impact of climate change on physical and biological systems. It has serious consequences for agriculture and food security. Examples of this include drought and famine in Africa, and heightened frequency of flood in Asia.
Sadly, while increasing number of progressive Christians are beginning to view the environmental crisis as a spiritual issue deserving the attention of all people of faith, the Christian Right has chosen to limit their discourse to homosexuality and abortion. Demonizing the environmentalists as “New Age worshippers of Satan”, and calling them everything from “tree-hugging pagans” to “socialists”, the neo-cons have ignored the undeniable facts about environmental degradation.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Nitrogen Pollution: Collaborative Strategy Forum

| Wednesday April 18th, 2007 | 0 Comments

nitrogen.jpgCarbon Dioxide is having it’s heyday as the eco-villain du jour, but we mustn’t forget the litany of other serious pollutants out there. Nitrogen (via it’s massive use as fertilizer as well as in industry) is causing significant pollution in waterways and other areas. The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has set up a WiKi for discussion on the matter which, assuming such in depth discussion interests you, can be found right here.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Yahoo Goes Carbon Neutral

| Wednesday April 18th, 2007 | 2 Comments

yahoo-logo.jpgDespite recent controversy about whether or not carbon neutrality is all it’s cracked up to be, Yahoo is going carbon neutral and that’s a good thing. Yahoo will invest in a variety of projects in renewable energy and other “greenhouse gas reducing” activities. Obviously such things are only a first step toward real eco-effectiveness, but it’s an outstanding move for Yahoo that will pay off, not just for the company, but for parties all over the world.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Cages are Opening, Crates are Disappearing

| Tuesday April 17th, 2007 | 0 Comments

cage.jpgBoy, things are really happening in animal agriculture. Cages are opening, crates are disappearing, and businesses are considering the welfare of chickens in their supply chain. If you don’t follow the details of animal-related business practices, I’ll fill you in; this is BIG news.
With a major announcement in the New York Times and Associated Press, Burger King (the only fast food joint to offer a veggie burger at every U.S. restaurant) has said it will give priority to suppliers that do not confine laying hens in cages and hogs in crates. Not stopping there, Burger King will also favor suppliers that use controlled atmosphere stunning (“CAS”) to render broiler chickens unconscious prior to slaughter. Chickens and turkeys are not included under the U.S. Humane Slaughter Act even though at least 95% of U.S. slaughtered animals are poultry. Current poultry slaughter methods include live shackling of chickens upside down by their feet prior to their heads and upper bodies being moved through an electrical bath to immobilize them and paralyze their muscles so they can easily be de-feathered before their necks are cut. Dr. Temple Grandin, a well-known farmed animal expert describes CAS as a more much humane option if done correctly, since chickens will be unconscious prior to being hung upside down by their feet and de-feathered.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Well to Wheel Efficiency Part I

| Monday April 16th, 2007 | 4 Comments

hummer.jpgWith gasoline prices as high as they are many people are concerned about vehicle efficiency. Other people who are concerned about their impact on the future of our climate care about vehicle efficiency as well. Where does the energy that we put into our cars actually go? And what is the overall efficiency of a car? Since I have pretty extensive data on my own vehicle, a 2005 Toyota Matrix XR, I will use it as an example in this week’s AskPablo.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Going up?

| Monday April 9th, 2007 | 6 Comments

elevator.bmp This week’s question comes to us from Pete, who writes

“Okay – I’ll admit it, I’m lazy. I work in a second floor basement, and we make a couple trips a day to the street level to bring in furniture and supplies. There is an elevator that we can use. There are also stairs. I used to be really good about taking the stairs every time. But now, about 9 months after I started here, I find I’m choosing to use the elevator every time. Both going up and coming back down. I know, I know… See, I know that’s the wrong choice. But I was wondering if there was some way to quantify exactly how wrong of a choice it is. So to convince me to get back to taking the stairs, I think I just need a numerical push, and you might be able to help.”

Well, since Pete already knows that he is making the wrong choice I won’t need to try and convince him of that. All I have to do is spit out some numbers that confirm his feelings, and that shouldn’t be too hard…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Monday Opinion: Critical Mass Incident a Setback to Cycling Progress

| Monday April 9th, 2007 | 2 Comments

critical-mass.jpgThis is an editorial about communication. It’s tangential to business but could be considered applicable to many aspects of the environmental movement. On the last Friday of every month, in cities around the world, but especially in San Francisco, there is a huge bike ride called “critical mass” which sometimes attracts thousands.
The main point, aside from having fun, is to raise awareness of the forlorn state of bicycle infrastructure, particularly in American cities. The rides are typically lively affairs which ignore traffic lights and cause automobile drivers to have to wait till the “mass” passes. Generally speaking, it’s a great, positive event with little turmoil that has done much over the years to improve cycling conditions and promote bikes as everyday transportation.
Unfortunately, it also attracts a fair share of anarchists and troublemakers…

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Op Ed: K Street Hinders the Sustainability Movement in America

| Thursday April 5th, 2007 | 1 Comment

kst.jpgIf corporations are threatened to be taxed or regulated by the government in ways that may reduce their profits, they use their riches to invest on K Street, (otherwise known as “Lobbyist Boulevard”) in Washington. Currently, there are over 34,000 lobbyists in the U.S. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the Citizens for Tax Justice, and Public Campaign, “forty-one companies (including GE, Microsoft, and Disney) ‘contributed’ $150 million to political parties and campaigns for U.S. Federal candidates between 1999 and 2001, and enjoyed $55billion in tax breaks in three tax years alone”. The Pharmaceutical industry employs the highest number of 3,000 lobbyists and has spent $759 million to influence 1,4000 congressional bills between 1998 and 2004.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »