Making Waves – World Water Week 2008

Tori Okner | Wednesday August 20th, 2008 | 0 Comments

We are in the midst of World Water Week. The 2008 theme is “Progress and Prospects on Water: For a Clean and Healthy World with Special Focus on Sanitation.” World Water Week is a international conference focused on collaboration and the promotion of work that advances environmental and humanitarian development.
The United Nations proclaimed 2008 the International Year of Sanitation. With a focus on the Millennium Development Goals, the theme for World Water Week was chosen to draw attention to sanitation needs and the effect of poor sanitation worldwide. Goal seven – the goal of ensuring environmental sustainability- poses an enormous challenge, as do the sub goals, or target indicators. World Water Week highlights a target set by the MDG’s that calls for the reduction, by half, of the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Food & Beverage Companies Going Green

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Wednesday August 20th, 2008 | 0 Comments

SilkSoymilk.jpg
The InnoBev Global Soft Drinks Congress met in Moscow in April where the Carbon Action Plan was launched. The Plan provides beverage companies and their supplies with a common way to measure their carbon emissions.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Blackspot – The Anti Label That Won’t Tolerate Greenwashing

| Tuesday August 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

blackspot.jpgGot a contrary eco product that needs branding/labeling? Why not try using an anti label? It’s free to use and you’ll get your marketing done via 100% open source principles.
The anti label is called Blackspot and anyone can use the logo; a black spot. Products you sell are not only branded under the world’s first truly open source label, but they’re also joining a product portfolio that’s almost 100% eco friendly/low on carbon output.
The people behind the Blackspot label are the organizers of the ever growing annual global BuyNothingDay at Adbusters.org. They represent a radical, no-compromise experiment, a total rethinking of capitalism from the ground up. People selling a Blackspot product tend not to talk of customers or clients but of ‚Äòparticipants shaping the social enterprise’.
The organization offers great tips for practically marketing your stuff. Blackspotters are offering their wares to the big players in Jujitsu style.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Major Parties Agree On Global Biofuel Standard

| Tuesday August 19th, 2008 | 0 Comments

rsb.JPGManufacturers and other parties involved with biofuels have agreed on a global green biofuel standard. The new standard hopefully will eradicate the controversy and confusion that surrounds biofuels at the moment. Its main guarantee is food security and signatories include BP and Shell.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Wind Shmind: Google Invests 10 Million in Geothermal

| Tuesday August 19th, 2008 | 1 Comment

geothermal2.JPGThe investment will go toward so-called Enhanced Geothermal Systems. Whereas conventional geothermal technology relies on finding naturally occurring pockets of steam and hot water in the ground, EGS works by injecting regular unheated water into “hot basement rock” deep below the planet’s surface. This heated water is the forced through and rises to the surface where it can be mined for all its hot water glory (remember: heat is an untapped source of stored energy!)
The US Department of Energy likes the potential of EGS:

More than 100,000 MWe of economically viable capacity may be available in the continental United States, representing a 40-fold increase over present geothermal power generating capacity. This potential is about 10% of the overall U.S. electric capacity today, and represents a domestic energy source that is clean, reliable, and proven.

Yeah that sounds pretty good. Google.org blogs and youtubes about their brilliance.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

ClimatePULSE: Exporting China’s Emissions

| Monday August 18th, 2008 | 1 Comment

smog2.jpgA recent report from Carnegie Mellon University added numbers to our suspicions that a large portion of China’s emissions are from producing goods for export. 1.7 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, or 33% of China’s emissions, are the result of activities related to the production of export goods. With roughly 18% of Chinese exports going to the US, the US is indirectly responsible for about 6% of China’s emissions, or over 300 million metric tons of CO2.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Radiohead’s Latest World Tour One Step Closer to Carbon Neutral

| Monday August 18th, 2008 | 2 Comments

The LED forest on Radiohead's current Carbon Neutral TourRadiohead isn’t the first band to tout their “greenness” lately or claim a “carbon free” operation while touring. Having some modest experience in this area (as I more fully describe an earlier post called The Sustainable Circus), I’ve always been a little dubious about such claims. 

Radiohead’s leader, Thom Yorke, is more than a little dubious. Saying that the profligate energy use of the average rock show and tour is “ridiculous”, Yorke threatened back in 2006 to quit touring to far-flung locales unless steps were taken to reduce carbon emissions.

“The way that tours are structured now and the way it works is a ridiculous consumption of energy … I would consider refusing to tour on environmental grounds, if nothing started happening to change the way the touring operates.”

Unlike other bands, Radiohead hasn’t used carbon offsets for their touring and concert emissions because Yorke is skeptical that such schemes do any good. At least as a primary means of achieving anything approaching  “carbon neutral”.

An article in the July issue of Lighting & Sound America profiles Radiohead’s current Carbon Neutral World Tour, showing how the band and its production team has taken the concept of carbon neutral in the music touring industry one step further through innovative use of show technology and new ways of addressing the issue with fans.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

The Fight Against Factory Farms Ramps Up

Tori Okner | Monday August 18th, 2008 | 4 Comments

pig.jpgDespite mounting evidence of the myriad negative effects of factory farming, it remains the foundation of animal agribusiness. The indecent nature of the enterprise is manifested in numerous abusive practices and increasingly, activists are looking to the courts and legislatures to demand change. Is government intervention necessary to enact corporate responsibility?
A unanimous victory in the New Jersey State Supreme Court suggests that agribusiness need to account for considerations beyond the bottom line. The non-profit Farm Sanctuary led a coalition of humane organizations, farmers, veterinarians, environmental and consumer groups that recently won a precedent setting victory against factory farms. Factory farms, according to the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition, are “characterized by confinement of the animals at high stocking density, often in barren and unnatural conditions.” While federal and state legislation outlaw animal cruelty, in most cases these laws do not protect animals slaughtered for food. Are industry giants manipulating the spirit of the law?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Eco-friendly Sri Lankan Factories

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Monday August 18th, 2008 | 4 Comments

Garments%20without%20Guilt.jpg
The garment industry is a major contributor to climate change. Many of the clothes Americans and Europeans wear come from Sri Lanka. Three members of Sri Lanka’s Garments Without Guilt campaign, which champions the rights of workers in the Sri Lankan apparel industry, constructed eco-friendly factories: Brandix, MAS Intimates, and the Hirdaramani Group.
Brandix, the largest Sri Lankan apparel exporter in 2007, converted a 30 year old factory into an eco-friendly plant, dubbed the Green Plant. The plant has reduced the company’s carbon footprint by 77 percent (from 2,076 metric tons to 484 metric tons). Located in Seeduwa, the Green Plant is Sri Lanka’s first converted plant. It was built in collaboration with British company Marks & Spencer.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Fresno Airport, Barangay Butong Go Solar

| Sunday August 17th, 2008 | 3 Comments

solar-FresnoAerial.jpgThe air transport hub for California’s San Joaquin Valley, Fresno Yosemite International Airport last month flipped the switch and became the largest solar-powered airport in the U.S.
World Water & Solar Technologies, Sharp Solar and Xantrex Technology joined in providing a solar power system that will meet some 40% of FYI’s electricity needs, from lighting and air conditioning to tower communications. Solar Power Partners of Mill Valley will control and manage the service contract, and supervise the sale of the solar power to the airport according to the terms of a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) with PG&E the local public electric utility.
“Using inexhaustible solar power will lessen overhead costs and amend the financial performance of our operations. In addition, the solar facility has been constructed on land situated near our runways that up until now was unusable. We hope that other airports will follow our lead by converting to solar energy,” Fresno aviation director Russ Widmar said in an Energy Business Reports article.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Sam’s Club Makes Eco-Advertising Gaff

| Saturday August 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

sams-club.jpgThe folks over at Consumerist
are having a good chuckle about the new ad campaign on Sam’s Club’s disposable polystyrene cups. No matter how much less that polystyrene cup weighs, styrofoam cups have such a bad reputation in the eco-world that it is a big leap for consumers to accept that they might actually have some environmental benefits over paper cups.
Admittedly, that ad does look ridiculous, but it turns out that Sam’s Club has actually done their homework.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

JCPenney: A Greener Retailer

Gina-Marie Cheeseman
| Saturday August 16th, 2008 | 0 Comments

JCPenneyLogo.jpg
The founder of JCPenney, the U.S. retail company with over 1,000 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, believed in practicing the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you). The company James Cash Penney founded announced plans this week for solar and wind power projects that will supply electricity to 10 of its stores and a distribution center.
SunPower Corporation will install the solar systems for ten stores in California and New Jersey. Each system will produce over four megawatts of power and save about 146,000 tons of carbon dioxide over 30 years from entering the atmosphere, equal to about 800 cars. It is estimated that the solar projects will save the company 25 percent in savings during the shelf life of the systems (30 years).

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

PG&E strikes new solar deals; Sunpower closes at 17.8% high

| Friday August 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

sunpower_logo.jpgPG&E strikes two solar deals today, which underlines a growing commitment to meet energy demand in California.
On July 22 of this year, PG&E announced a plan to enhance existing energy efficiency plans and ensure ensure reliable supply of power, according to this press release.
Following through on its promise, PG&E’s deal with Optisolar and solar giant Sunpower will bring solar photo-voltaic to the mainstream. Optisolar is set to deliver 1,100,000 megawatt hours of renewable energy on its 550 MW thin-film PV Topaz Solar Farm.
Sunpower is expected to deliver just about half the amount (550,000 megawatt hours annually) in a 250 MW solar ranch in San Luis Obispo County, Calif.
This amount of power, according to PG&E will generate power for 239,000 homes in California every year.
Of course, in case you were wondering, this is not the first solar deal that PG&E has made. Last year, PG&E secured 177 megawatts of solar thermal energy from Ausra, so at least we know PG&E doesn’t prefer one type of solar energy over the other.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Blazing a Trail in Data Center Efficiency: UPS Windward Data Center Wins Green IT

| Friday August 15th, 2008 | 2 Comments

Most people don’t think of websites, networks, and databases when they think “heavy industry”.

According to Joe Parrino, who heads the UPS Windward Data Center in Alpharetta Georgia, the rapid build-out of server farms and data centers is straining the grid in many parts of the country, especially in the Northeast. The IT industry is the sixth largest consumer of electricity, ahead of transportation, oil, and other decidedly heavy industries. I spent some time last week discussing the issues of data center efficiency and the work Parrino has done to make the Windward center one of the most efficient in the world.

Since the industry’s inception its primary goal, reflected in the charter mission of the Uptime Institute founded in 1993, has been and remains reliability – uptime. But the quest for rock-solid data centers left little room for resource efficiency, or even a reliable metric to adequately gauge that efficiency.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

Green My Vino: Revolutionizing Social Networking And Environmental Responsibility

| Friday August 15th, 2008 | 0 Comments

vge-logo.jpgTucked away in the Lower Haight neighborhood of San Francisco, among residential flats and independent coffee shops, you can find the office of Village Green Energy, a renewable energy certificate provider that’s been up and running since November 2007. In the office, the two young founders who graduated from Stanford in 2004, Robby Bearman and Mike Jackson, are revolutionizing the cross-section of social networking and environmental responsibility. Not only have they taken renewable energy to a new level, they’re bringing some great wineries with them.
Less than two weeks ago, on August 6th, Green My Vino launched into the realm of Facebook applications. While certainly not the first app with a green slant, Green My Vino is one of the most remarkable.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »