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At long last, TreeHugger‘s collaborative project with Seventh Generation is launching! It’s a video contest called “Convenient Truths“.
We’re asking readers to submit short videos featuring proactive, practical and positive solutions to the environmental problems we face. We’ve got a fabulous celebrity panel to pick the winners in a few months and a bunch of great prizes.
If you have any video knack, please put this on your to-do list and feel free to pass it around to all! I think this contest is going to get some great media coverage and put pro-environmental solutions on people’s agenda in a positve manner.
The Website is here: http://truths.treehugger.com
The full press release follows after the jump…
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As reported on Worldchanging, San Francisco’s New Resources Bank opened up yesterday with a wide variety of financial offerings focused primarily toward individuals and enterprises with a green or social mission in their business operations. Joel Makower reports that this is a logical step for banks, traditionally the most conservative of financial institutions, to finally get on board the metaphorical train. www.newresourcebank.com
Globalization: The root of all evil, or bringer of eternal peace and prosperity? It’s obviously neither, and a little bit of both. But whatever your opinion, many aspects of globalization are here to stay and it’s time to figure out how to do things right and get the useful parts of globalization rolling while avoiding the bad.
For example, there’s the famous “golden arches theory of conflict prevention” which states that no two countries, both of which have a McDonalds franchise, have ever warred. It’s not quite true (Israel/Lebanon come to mind), but there’s a lot of truth to it. The presense of McDonalds in a country imples a certain level of economic well being and policital stability, if not a sort-of post modern kinship, but it can hardly be said that McDonalds actually creates peace. Furthermore, multinational oil & gas and mining sectors have managed to push life in Nigeria and other parts of Africa from miserable into an unfathomable hell.
The UK’s Guardian has a watchdog article this week which outlines many multinationals efforts to come clean and look for solutions. Some genuine, some totaly cynical. I strongly belive business can and should be though of as a force for good, but we do need a reality check now and then before we drink too much CSR kool aid.
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Last year I was asked to help get water to a village. The only problem was that this village was thousands of miles away in the Panjshir Region of Afghanistan and I had no travel budget…
To make matters worse I couldn’t just call up my Rain-For-Rent franchise for a mobile pump-truck. I had to design a system to pump water up to a village and I had to do it with locally available materials. I also couldn’t just specify an electric pump because the village had no power. I couldn’t specify an electric generator to power that electric pump since fuel is in short supply as well. If we had a running creek in the village we could use hydro-power, but then we wouldn’t need to pump any drinking water, now would we? Since Afghanistan is known for its abundant wind it seems like a natural choice. Since bicycle parts are widely available I decided to design a windmill made from bicycle parts.
Happy Monday folks and welcome to the 53rd carnival of the green. It was one year ago today that I posted the 2nd carnival of the green, and I’m amazed it’s rocked around this soon!
People must have been awfully busy last week because this carnival is a small one, but it’s great one as always. Remember, if you’re a blogger, you can sign up to host the carnival here, and send in a post for consideration ay time to carnivalofgreen -at- gmail.com.
Without further ado, let’s get started!
Improving building efficiency and waste management are some of the most basic ways of “going green”. They can also save companies a fortune and make *you* a fortune if you can find ways to do it well for others. Sometimes simple monitoring systems are the most effective way of improving energy efficiency. I once read about a company that placed a big LED readout in the lobby that showed the energy consumption of the various company departments in real time for all to see. In no time, energy consumption was reduced simply because departments didn’t want to be the worst on the list. (if anyone knows what company that was, please post a comment!).
It seems Microsoft has had something under wraps for a while called “Project Green”. It’s now been revealed as a portion of Microsoft’s larger business software system Microsoft Dynamics, an environmental monitoring system for not only building systems (Johnson Controls, are you reading this?), but to help manage all the IT needs of any company’s environmental initiatives. Download their whitepaper here – (Microsoft Word Doc).
(via R.Ho and Green Wombat)
Everyone knows that “cleantech” is going to be a big market, but this press release I got the other day really hits home. The Cleantech Venture Network says that by 2009 there will be $17 Billion in vc opportunities with $10 Billion in North America alone. To top it off, the states of New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania & California will together throw over a billion dollars into the hat on behalf of their various pension boards and other funds.
That’s exactly what I’ve always hoped would start happening with pension funds. They control a huge portion of the market (someone told me 40%, but that’s not verified). As a result they hold huge power as shareholders in existing companies as well as investors in new ones. The best part is that since pension funds are inherantly long-term investors, they have the patience to wait out the up front costs of going green, wheras other investors get skittsh at the first sign of a bad quarter – discouraging both innovation and long term thinking.
I try to stay out of partisan politics here, but this election has gotten me really excited about the political benefits of ‘going green’. A number of candidates won whose green credentials were almost certainly a deciding factor: Arnold Scharzenegger’s stance on global warming and solar energy helped win many thousands of otherwise democratic voters. Richard Pombo, notoriously un-green congressman from California’s central valley was unseated by Wind Energy Engineer Jerry McNerney, and in Montana, unless something weird happens, it looks like organic farmer Jon Tester is winning the senate seat.
On the other hand, California’s prop 87 failed. It was meant to levy a tax on oil production in California and would have brought in $4 Billion a year in funds for alternative energy. I was a strong supporter but opponents convinced the public that it would raise gas prices and feed beurocracy. Both those things might have been true to some extent, but what’s notable is that even while going green elsewhere, voters are still hyper sensitive to the threat of higher gas prices.
But with green thinking in high places it’s pretty obvious to me that politicians are going to be a lot more receptive to green ideas in the near future – that’s great for everyone.
This may be old news, but it was recently brought to my attention and I thought I’d share it with you! Inc. Magazine has a pretty cool “Green Guide” called the Green 50 which showcases 50 companies in various stages of ecological consiousness. The list is even categorized into groups such as “the recyclers”, “the builders” and “the pioneers” to give some idea of the different approaches that are being tried in the process to “go green”. Each company has a little profile that’s worth perusing. Here’s one for our buddies at Seventh Generation.
On an unrelated note, if you’re in the US, get out and vote today! and vote green!
Incredibly, it’s been one full year since the Carnival of the Green debuted on Al Tepper’s fabulous City Hippy blog. Appropriately, the carnival returns to City Hippy today for a special one year anniversary edition and then, next week moves back here to Triple Pundit to start the 2nd year off right!
In other news, Al will be retiring City Hippy today as he moves on to bigger better things! The gang at TreeHugger will be taking of the management of the Carnival and I will set up a new sign up sheet there for all you bloggers to get on board. Stay tuned!
One of my readers has asked “are Natural Gas cars really cleaner?” Well, what do you think? Many people believe that CNG stands for “Clean Natural Gas” but it actually stands for “Compressed Natural Gas”, no doubt a result of clever marketing. CNG is compressed methane (CH4) gas, which is extracted from the ground, often along with oil. CNG is not to be confused with LNG, which stands for “Liquid Natural Gas.” The main difference is that LNG is liquid wheras CNG is gaseous. Natural Gas is usually transported as LNG because it is less voluminous, but it is also more costly to cool it enough to make it liquid.Click to continue reading »
Our friends at Worldchanging have created a real masterpiece of a book – “Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century”, a sizable tome packed with insight, stories, and tips on how to steer our planet and society in a greener direction. (I also wrote a little piece in it!). Anyway, by rallying readers and fans to buy the book simultaneously yesterday morning, the Worldchanging team managed to “pop” the book’s Amazon sales rank to #12 in the United States. That’s impressive, and a testament to the power of networked individuals. It will also likely lead to many more people finding out about it than would otherwise have been the case. The rank has slipped to #19, which is still impressive, and you can keep it there by grabbing a few as xmas presents. Buy the book here. (Sorry about the sales pitch, but this one’s a goodie)
Change is sometimes slow. It’s taken years for banks to have the guts to make paper statements optional, and I still get the occasional 100+ page prospectus for a mutual fund which goes straight into the bin – and millions of other bins around the world (I wonder how many people even want an annual prospectus).
Annual Reports, however, are something differet – they are meant to be glossy, fancy showcases of information and accomplishments with just enough financial details to make them readable. The sort of document that might actually be interesting. Many annual reports now contain non financial accomplishments such as sustainability reporting and other green news. But the darn things are still shipped out by the zillions at great expense both financial and environmental and, as reported in Ethical Corporation, they do little to promote real dialogue. Enter web based technology. In addition to saving paper, an online annual report, which could be more like an annual “event”, could create the same positive face annual report does but would open the doors to immensely valuable shareholder dialogue that otherwise never transpires. (Thx John!)
TreehuggerTV’s little short today was too good not to pass on. Enjoy!
A couple weeks ago, I was invited to attend a briefing by ecoAmerica in San Francisco on the demographics of environmental interest in the United States. It was an eye opening event that started with a psychological study known as VALS. Take a few minutes to take the test here and see how you score. Imagine where on the list you’ll find the majority of environmentalists, the majority of evangelical christians, the majority of Nascar fans, and how those groups might interact and overlap. The bottom line is that the majority of Americans are not especially engaged in environmental matters but darn near all of them *care* if you ask the right questions. Joel Makower has a more in depth break down of the study and the briefing, check it out here.