Amory Lovins Has a New Blog on Yahoo! Green

Steve Puma | Thursday May 31st, 2007 | 3 Comments

amory_lovins.jpg “Enough about the climate problem. Let’s talk climate solutions.” Thus begins the new blog by Amory Lovins on Yahoo! Green. Prepare to have your assumptions turned on their heads as the co-author of Natural Capitalism and founder of the Rocky Mountain Institute shows us how “protecting the climate is not costly but profitable.”
Mr. Lovins has done pioneering work in the field of radical resource efficiency, which he sees as the first step towards a sustainable world. This YouTube video gives a great overview of the man and his work.
I think we are going to see some very insightful and optimistic writing here, and I’m very interested to see if he mentions any upcoming plans for his ultra-efficient Hypercar becoming a reality.
spuma@presidiomba.org
—————————–
Steve Puma is currently pursuing an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management while also working as an IT consultant in San Francisco. Steve’s interests include green building, New Urbanism, renewable energy and thinking about the big picture.
He is also a big supporter of the FairTax Act of 2007, which abolishes the IRS and replaces it with a national retail sales tax.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Liquefied Coal: Defying Common Sense

| Wednesday May 30th, 2007 | 0 Comments

liqufied%20coal.jpgBrilliant. That is about all I can say regarding the latest news of the recent push in Washington D.C. subsidize liquefied coal as a potential fuel source for vehicles. In this case, there is no need to make any remarks rooted in partisan leanings one way or another, as the proposal, supported by Peabody Energy, has backers on both sides of the political aisle. In fact, given the fashionable status of “alternative fuels” among the mainstream, it seems the proponents of liquefied coal are seeking to include it alongside biodiesel, ethanol and hydrogen under the umbrella of the popular term. This is an abomination. Even if one were to ignore all of the ill effects of the coal mining industry on the physical landscape, the biological systems and the people who reside in the Appalachian regions of the U.S., one would have a difficult time defending the decision to develop a fuel that, when burned, is more green house gas (GHG) intensive than other fossil fuels like gasoline and diesel.
With the onset of climate change and the consensus among the scientific community that humankind must make drastic reductions in GHG emissions (due, in large part to the burning of fossil fuels) in the very near future to avoid catastrophe on a global scale, it is counterproductive (if not idiotic) to utilize taxpayer money in support of such a technology. Considering the magnitude and the gravity of the problem (no to mention the time and resources currently being spent to address the problem), it is ludicrous to invest time, energy and taxpayer money into a technology that contributes to the same problem we are attempting to solve. The idea is akin to dragging the garden hose into an already overflowing bathtub and turning on the faucet while simultaneously trying mop up the excess water from the floor.
One does not have to be an environmentalist, a climatologist or an economist to understand that investment in coal liquefaction technology defies the laws of common sense. Apparently, the afore mentioned “laws of common sense” do not apply in the District of Columbia.
******Joe Madden
Dir. of Business Development
DriveNeutral

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Robb Report Goes Green?

| Wednesday May 30th, 2007 | 1 Comment

robb.jpgThe Robb Report is a lifestyle mag for the ultra wealthy that often pushes the “tackiness” envelope well past the breaking point. Nonetheless, even they seem to be seeing green these days with the debut of an annual green issue on the horizon (it may have something to do with the somewhat more subdued Helium Report hot on their heels).
Anyway, hydrogen Hummers may still be missing the point, but improvement is still improvement and if the ultra-consumer class starts doing things a little bit greener, then everyone breaths (literally) a little bit more easily. Even if green is just another status symbol, perhaps its presence as such will instill enough sensibility in enough people to make a difference.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

The Lazy Environmentalist Book Launches

| Tuesday May 29th, 2007 | 1 Comment

green-chair.gifIt’s always nice to see a lot of hard work come to bear fruit. Josh Dorfman is a friend of mine and also the founder of Vivavi.com. Additionally he’s been hosting a weekly radio program called The Lazy Environmentalist which has recently become a book by the same name. It’s a pragmatic look at the realities of human nature combined with the awareness to improve the environment. To borrow from the introduction:

“Designers are saving rain forests. Fashionistas are clearing toxins from the soil. Architects are rolling back global warming. A new wave of eco-conscious activists is stimulating fresh approaches to environmental challenges. The market is their arena. Organic cotton, bamboo, and certified sustainable woods are their materials. Hybrid engines and solar power are their technologies. Stylish, high-performing products and services are their tools of change.
These innovators make it easy for us to integrate environmental awareness into our lives. They understand that while so many of us are concerned about the environment, we don’t always have the time, energy, or inclination to do something about it.
We are lazy environmentalists. This is our moment.”

But don’t take my word for it… check out the reviews and give it a read.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

EcoLanguage Presentations on YouTube

| Tuesday May 29th, 2007 | 1 Comment

ecolanguage.jpgLee Arnold has put together some nifty little animated descriptions of various economic situations on YouTube. They all fall under the title of “EcoLanguage” because all make an attempt to include integrated-bottom-line thinking into their explanations of everything from Social Security to Waste & Pollution.
The animation is a little hokey, but the explanations are solid and worth your time – to help you understand the relationship between economics and ecology, as well as something to send to friends. Check it out.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Free Webinar: “The Consumer and Sustainable Supply Chains

| Tuesday May 29th, 2007 | 1 Comment

supplychain.jpgProfessionals for Responsible Supply Chain Management (PRiSM) will present a free “webinar” tomorrow at 10AM pacific time. PRiSM is an affilliate of Net Impact and will share recent survey findings of consumer attitudes to better understand how people perceive and value better practices within the supply chain, and how company and product brands relate to supply chain activities. Also, three graduate research teams will share their findings on sustainable supply chain innovation across 3 product categories:
1. Food & Beverages: Jessica Lin, The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment
2.Tobacco: Shay O’Reilly, The University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business
3.Personal Care Products: Valerie Nibler, The Presidio School of Management

Click here
to register for the free educational web seminar, or visit www.aravo.com.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo is taking a break this week

| Monday May 28th, 2007 | 0 Comments

In honor of memorial day I will be taking a carbon-neutral trip to the mountains. I will be back with answers to your sustainability questions next week. If you have a great question please send it to pablo.paster(at)gmail.com.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Wal Mart Videos to Peruse this Weekend

| Thursday May 24th, 2007 | 2 Comments

logowalmart.jpg
I’m taking off for the long weekend and I highly recommend you do the same. All work and no play ya know. But here’s a Wal Mart Video featuring Andy Rubin, Adam Werbach and others talking about CFLs, along with a whole host of others. It’s a veritable youtube of options. The one about skylights in Kansas City is noteworthy.
It’s basically a bunch of advertisements, but some of them are very well done and worthy of merit. Of course the question is, what’s going on behind this propaganda? For the most part I’m still giving Wal Mart the benefit of the doubt as there is clearly a lot of sincerity behind many of their efforts. But I’m stuck wondering – is the big-box model itself inherently flawed in terms of the context of either environmental or social sustainability? That’s my thought for the weekend.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

The Greening of Trafalgar Square

| Thursday May 24th, 2007 | 4 Comments

green-traf.jpg
It’s amazing the difference a little green makes. Perhaps inspired by San Francsico’s PARKing project, but with a much grander scale in mind, a group promoting tourism in London has temporarily ‘greened’ Trafalgar Square.
It’s not a permanent installation (I can only imagine how quickly that grass would be trampled) but it really looks great. Trafalgar Square has always been grand, if a little stoic, but that grass really looks great and livens up the place in way almost no human-made object can.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

What’s Holding Back Windpower?

| Wednesday May 23rd, 2007 | 7 Comments

wind8883.jpgEvery time I see a major windfarm in California, regardless of the wind conditions it seems that half of the turbines are not spinning. I attribute this to the age of the windfarms around here (30 years or more) and an apparent lack of maintenance budget. But it’s still puzzling that we’re not doing more with windpower – Popular Mechanics notes that we’re using 2 million times *less* that our potential output of wind energy in the United States. They also outline three main reasons for the setback along with solutions:
1) Cost of transmission lines from relatively remote locations where wind is best. Solution: Small, local turbines, including personal sized ones that augment the grid with diffuse power generation and negligible transmission costs.
2) The inevitable windless day. Solution: Hook up generators to batteries that store electricity for peak demand and low wind conditions.
3) Difficulty of offshore construction. Solution: This is a tricky one, involving technology that’s not yet here at as-yet unknown costs.
Check out the whole article here.
3)

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Bloomberg To Launch All Hybrid NYC Taxi Fleet

| Tuesday May 22nd, 2007 | 0 Comments

hybrid-cab.jpgToday’s NYTimes has a great announcement from New York City that’s been a long time coming – The entire city’s taxi fleet is proposed to be replaced with hybrid vehicles over the next few years, replacing the woefully inefficient Crown Victorias that now patrol the streets. The plan comes from Mayor Bloomberg himself, which certainly lends some likelihood that it will, in fact, be implemented.
The new taxis will only get a comparatively modest 25 miles to the gallon, but that’s about double the mileage of the current fleet and as anyone who’s ever walked near the street on a hot summer day in Manhattan knows, the reduction in emissions is going to be, shall we say, breathtaking.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

GreenBiz Launches Greener Computing

| Tuesday May 22nd, 2007 | 0 Comments

GreenBiz has launched a new website called Greenercomputing.com. The site will be a resource for IT professionals concerned about the environmental effects of computers and other pieces of high tech equipment – not just in terms of energy use, but in terms of manufacturing and disposal issues. Additionally, there’s a twice-monthly newsletter to keep you posted.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

AirTran vs. Midwest: Save the Cookie or Save a Buck?

| Monday May 21st, 2007 | 25 Comments

airtran-midwest.gif
Here’s an interesting puzzle of priorities. AirTrain airlines, a discount carrier based in Atlanta is attempting a hostile takeover of Midwest Airlines, a premium-service carrier based in Milwaukee. The story is getting downright fascinating.
AirTran, the reincarnation of ValuJet, is known for cheap fares, but not a whole lot else. Midwest, although a far cry from what it used to be, is still know as “the best care in the air” offering first class seating on most of its flights, along with their trademark baked-in-flight chocolate chip cookies. Mmmm…
AirTran has been trying for months to take over Midwest, citing fleet commonality and complimentary route structure as well as new destinations and low fares among the benefits it purports to be bringing to stakeholders. Midwest management and employees have been fighting tooth and nail to resist the takeover. Midwest customers and many members of the Milwaukee business community are also up in arms for fear of being stuck with what they see as a second-rate airline, bad for business and community spirit, not to mention local jobs.
Midwest stock is up from $8 to $15 since the take over efforts began, and AirTran recently announced they’ve managed to get the support of 57% of Midwest Shareholders (Midwest dismisses this as a ‘straw poll’). So is this a no-brainer for sharholders? What’s slowing things down? And what would you do?

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

AskPablo: Fuel Cells

| Monday May 21st, 2007 | 4 Comments

Energy supply problems and the realization that a carbon-based economy cannot be sustained indefinitely have prompted us to look for alternatives. One such alternative is hydrogen, a noble gas abundant in water (H2O). Combustion of hydrogen releases only pure water and hydrogen fuel cells have a theoretical efficiency of 83%. Why is there not a fuel cell in every car and every basement? As this emerging technology matures, prices will decrease and fuel cells will become increasingly prevalent. Is hydrogen fuel cell technology suitable for use in vehicles? Or will the internal combustion engine remain the vehicle propulsion of choice? Bill Ford, Chairman of the Ford Motor Company says, “I believe fuel cells will finally end the 100-year reign of the internal combustion engine.”

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »

A “Green” and Sustainable Chicago includes the Ban on Foie Gras

| Sunday May 20th, 2007 | 1 Comment

Foie%20Gras.jpgI am very happy with Mayor Daley’s goal to become the “greenest” city in the nation. We’ve made such progress in promoting sustainable agriculture, with the Green City Market and other farmer’s markets providing convenient outlets for purchasing humanely-raised, sustainable food. Chicago hosted Farm Aid two years ago with events around the city, where I first met Sadhu Johnston, Commissioner, Chicago Department of Environment. We are also the host city of the annual FamilyFarmed.org conference and the All Things Organic conference.
Last year, the Chicago City Council passed a ban on foie gras, which is a product created by force feeding young ducks and geese with a metal pipe in order for them to develop fatty liver disease. You can see for yourself at www.banfoiegras.org to understand why this inhumane practice is not allowed in sustainable agriculture under certified organic guidelines. Foie gras is already banned in many European countries and a Zogby International poll found that 77% of people in the U.S. think that foie gras should be banned.

Click to continue reading »

Permalink CONTINUES » discuss Discuss This »