Don’t forget to check out this week’s carnival of the green at Enviropundit!
This week on AskPablo we will be looking at various transit modes and their relative ecological impact. I have received a few related questions on this matter so I will try to address them all. Please make sure that you submit questions for the next few weeks. Otherwise I will have to start making stuff up…
Let’s start by looking at a few transit modes. We already covered the “beef-powered cyclist” a few weeks ago so I would revisit the greenhouse gas impact of cycling. According to one source a single-occupant vehicle travelling at highway speeds emits about 0.101 kg of CO2 per passenger-kilometer, or about 1kg (2.2 lbs) per 10km (6.2 miles). We all know that there are many ways to improve this. You could drive a hybrid (But is that really better, given the batteries required? Maybe some other time…), carpool, keep your tires inflated to the proper pressure, keep your car maintained, etc.
Emeryville, California, is a small enclave wedged between Oakland and Berkeley best known for its giant IKEA and even more giant freeway interchange. It’s also one of the more successful and impressive brownfield redevelopments around, with hundreds of forlorn acres having been turned into new offices, loft and retail – a lot of which is pretty strip mall-ish, but still an improvement. At any rate, Emeryville city hall is popping up an impressive solar array that will provide about 30% of its power. Not bad! If you’re in the neighborhood, there’s a dedication on Wednesday the 11th – Emeryville City Hall.
Beth Fetterly is an old freind of mine from Milwaukee who now heads up education at a wonderful organization called the Urban Ecology Center – a place that combines community education with the highest green principals for the benefit of all. The building itself is remarkable and worth learning about, but the educational programs are what really make the center shine. Anyway, Beth can tell you more in a fabulous interview that Dave Chui from TreeHugger conducted. Read the whole thing here.
If you’re like me and don’t on a TV, you don’t need to worry any more, most everything winds up on YouTube sooner or later. In the case of Simran’s appearance on the Martha Stewart Show, you’re in luck. Have a peek!
It makes perfect sense to recycle drink containers at the same location that they are purchased at. That’s the idea behind a British firm called “Reverse Vending“. The customer can drop off any number of contatiners (plastic or aluminum) and rest easy knowing that they will be properly recycled before making their next purchase. No word on whether or not the deposit earns the buyer a discount.
(Image from springwise, tip thx Jamie)
There has been a spate of strange anti-environmentalist propaganda hitting the internet and cinema lately, see the CEI ads and Al Gore’s Penguin Army for examples. But it seems these strange, highly funded attacks keep coming. Here’s one called “Mine your own business“. It’s a film that roughly claims that environmentalism is an evil force that wants to keep people in poverty, as “happy peasants”. It actually looks pretty funny.
I asked some Presidio students to come up with a response to this and Orion Fulton hit back with a nice piece of satire….
Martha Stewart is going green this week and she’s being led by none other than Presidio MBA grad and TreeHuggerTV host, Simran Sethi.
Tune in on Wednesday morning, Octover 4th as Simran represents TreehuggerTV. To find out when and where, go to this website and slap in your zip code (ignore the chevy suburban).
To make things even cooler, Simran’s segment follows Mr T. No idea what he’s up to, but Simran intends to inquire…
This week’s carnival of the green is a virtual tour through the natural and urban wonders of Miami, courtesy of “Greener Miami”.
Well, another week is here, another weekend is gone, and it’s time for another installment of AskPablo. I hope that some of you got a chance to see the West Coast Green Conference/Expo. Let me know if you had any suitable AskPablo questions come up. This week we will be looking at another comparison between two alternatives: incandescent and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). Last year someone raised the point that CFLs contain mercury and asked me to justify his purchase of them. Do you really want the answer? Enter if you dare.Click to continue reading »
As Europeans headed for their long-awaited summer holidays, bankers had good reason to celebrate. The annual return across the board has been exceptionally favorable. For green and ethical fund managers it has been a bumper year. As of June 2005, there were 375 “socially responsible” funds available to investors in Europe, 6 % more than the year before, and this year promises similar growth in funds using ethical, social and environmental criterion for portfolio development.
From the second quarter of 2004 to the same period in 2005, managed “ethical” assets grew 27%, from 19 billion to 24 billion mid term 2005. The U.K. leads the ethical banking community in Europe. 33.2% of the SRI funds offered to the public are registered there. France is considered the strongest growth market based upon the value of assets under management and a 20% growth rate in the number of funds offered for the second consecutive year. Sweden and Italy make up another 10% of the market for SRI products.
Say what you will about the problems of aircraft emissions, but I was very pleased to find an excellent article on urban forestry in this month’s Hemispheres Magazine on United Airlines. The article, entitled “Save the Shade” is one of the best “entry level” articles I’ve ever read on the subject of urban trees – running down 6 major benefits that many people on board the flight had probably not considered, from the economic to the psychological. It’s an article worth saving and passing around to people who might not already be the ‘greenest’ folks in your network, and also a great piece to keep on file for your own reference.
Fair trade coffee is now a household word, but why not fair trade soccer balls? Although sports gear manufacturing may not impact as many people as the coffee industry, it’s a highly visible part of culture the world over with kids of all economic backgrounds involved in sports in one way or another. Making a statement with fair trade produced sports balls and other gear is bound to sink into the hearts and minds of the kids playing with the gear on all corners of the globe. Fair trade sports aims to make this happen with balls and other products supplied from sources with decent wages, health care, etc… Seems like a great business, although I haven’t seen any evidence of third-party verification of their practices.
According to Costa Christ, director the Bar Harbor, Maine Chamber of Commerce and expert in international travel, tourism currently represents 83% of worldwide export trade. To put this figure in a meaningful context, he adds that tourism is the largest non-military service sector in the world. Travel and tourism spending exceeded $6 trillion globally in 2005, according to the World Travel & Tourism Council.
If you were a mayor of a coastal city or town anywhere in the world, on what would you base your community’s development strategy? Tourism, of course, which since the 1960´s has often meant creating pristine white beaches where nature never intended them to be and using mechanical sweepers to remove what the sea leaves behind every day at low tide. The French Conservatoire du Littoral, however, is campaigning to leave the beaches “au natural” and hopes that environmentally minded tourists will “vote with their flip-flops” for beach resorts that opt to let Mother Nature do her thing.
Some people are hard to satisfy – in one breath praising Whole Foods for their ability to mainstream organics and healthier food, in the other complaining about high prices and Whole Food’s effect on smaller local competition as if they were the next WalMart. Fair enough, if I were a small organic retailer in some place like Milwaukee I would certainly have concerns about the arrival of a gigantic fancy new Whole Foods store.
Nonetheless, at least in the Milwaukee example and according to this article, smaler retailers and co-ops are taking it all in stride. The smaller businesses say that they are seeing increased competition to sell organics and quality in general, so the arrival of Whole Foods is merely part of a trend they have been preparing for for quite some time. Secondly, smaller businesses may have greater ability to source locally and “raise the bar’ above what Whole Foods can do, becoming better stores an even more discerning public. Read the comments for more interesting perspectives.