Colleges Competing for Green Status

| Monday July 11th, 2005 | 0 Comments

belushi.jpgSurprisingly, academic campuses are not as much at the forefront of “greenness” as one might expect. But, according to the Washington Post, that’s quickly changing. Berea college in Kentucky now boasts an “ecological village” for student housing, and the likes of Yale and Harvard are quickly reducing their ecological footprints as well. The innovation is not just led by student activists, but by looking at the bottom-line costs of resource consumption as well.
(Thanks Buck!)

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

podium[Your News Here]

Introducing The KLD Global Climate 100 Index

| Friday July 8th, 2005 | 2 Comments

KLD.gifIn conjunction with the discussions of climate change at the G8 meetings, socially responsible investment (SRI) research firm KLD Research & Analytics announced their launch of the KLD Global Climate 100(GC100) Index in collaboration with the Global Energy Network Institute (GENI), a research nonprofit whose mission is “to accelerate the attainment of optimal, ecologically sustainable energy solutions in the shortest possible time for the peace, health, and prosperity of all.”
The GC100 is a benchmark of companies deemed to be proactively addressing climate change. Read full story along with evaluation criteria in CSRwire.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Sustainablog Blogging ‘Round the Clock for Earthways Center

| Friday July 8th, 2005 | 1 Comment

earthways.jpgIt’s a blog-a-thon! Starting this Monday, July 11th at 10am, Jeff Strassburg at Sustainablog will be blogging around the clock to support the Earthways Home in St. Louis. The home is a remodeled St. Louis classic that serves as a demonstration for various green building technologies and techniques. It’s a project of the Missouri Botanical Garden and is in need of some support.
As a former St. Louis resident, I can say the Botanical Garden is truly world-class and their various educational projects are most definitley worth supporting. So head on over to Sustainablog and throw a little change in the hat!

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Local Bikes to Help Post-Tsunami Sri Lanka

| Thursday July 7th, 2005 | 3 Comments

SriLanka.jpg
After getting hit by the tsunami last December, Sri Lanka needed a way to both provide relief and rebuild their economy. World Bicycle Relief, a non-profit that provides access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles, is working with World Vision Sri-Lanka and the Lumala Bicycle Company (based in Sri Lanka) to provide over 24,000 bicycles to tsunami survivors.
Known as Project Tsunami, the program is unique in its commitment to source bikes locally, which will “ensure correct specification and that recipients are familiar with bikes. It also provides access to spare parts, eliminates supply chain, shipping costs, duties, logistics, and assists the local economy.” There will be bikes for both adults and children, plus bike maintenance training for forty people. (Via BikeBiz.com)

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Companies Paying Employees To Buy Hybrids

| Thursday July 7th, 2005 | 0 Comments

HandMoney.jpgMany companies have basic employee incentive programs, but not too many have incentives like Timberland, Hyperion Software, and Topics Entertainment who are giving employees cash money to switch from large cars and SUVs to more eco-friendly hybrids.
Read this amazing story in the Seattle Times.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Biofuel Hits the Big Stage

| Wednesday July 6th, 2005 | 0 Comments

Willie.jpgWhat do you get when you combine the legendary country singer Willie Nelson and biofuel? “BioWillie”, the newfangled fuel of Texas truckers. Biodiesel, which is derived from vegetable oil, animal fats, and sometimes in used form from the frying pans of restaurants, recently enjoyed a new federal subsidy which has reduced its price. This created the perfect time for a group of Texas investors, including Willie Nelson, to start soliciting what they claim to be the nation’s first branded biodiesel blend–”BioWillie“.
Brian Talley, a 44 year-old truck driver who was filling up on some BioWillie in Fort Worth on his way to Oklahoma to pick up a load of tires, had this to say to The Wall Street Journal:

Everybody wants to keep the environment clean. But people who advocate a shift away from fossil fuel would prefer we lived in caves, walked everywhere we went and ate grass. I’m sorry. I like to eat meat. I like cars. I like modern things. There’s ways of fixing these problems without going to extremes.

Brian, meet BioWillie.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

The G8 tackles Global Warming

| Wednesday July 6th, 2005 | 0 Comments

global-warming.gifThe G8, which stands for the “Group of Eight,” will meet this week in Gleneagles, Scotland. Together, these eight industrialized nations comprise 60% of the world’s GDP. At the top of their agenda for this meeting is global climate change. The Economist reports that 24 of the world’s biggest companies petitioned the G8 to develop a worldwide system of greenhouse gas emissions limits, with tradable permits for businesses. These permits would limit the amount of CO2 each company could emit.
The only such mandatory system currently in place was started this year by the EU. Under this system, companies are given a certain allowance for carbon dioxide emissions. By improving their emissions standards, companies who fall under their designated emissions allowance can sell their excess “carbon permits” to companies who have exceeded their limits. Currently, the U.S. has a similar program called the Chicago Climate Exchange, but membership is optional and not government enforced.
Presently the US opposes mandatory emissions standards. US support for such measures is seen as vital, largely because America is the world’s largest polluter. With China poised to overtake the US as the greatest greenhouse gas producer by 2025 and India right behind (see SF Chronicle), a unified accord could serve as a vital precedent for such rapidly developing nations. US backing of such policies in slowing the heating of the planet appears to be vital.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Better Burned Abroad: Exporting Oil Proves Economically and Ecologically Advantageous for Venezuela

| Tuesday July 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

Stack.jpgWith oil prices surging 4% Friday to get back near $60 a barrel, Venezuelan oil earns ten times more on the international market than it does domestically. Such lopsided price ratios have inspired PDVSA, Venezuela’s state oil company, to boost fuel exports by 100,000 barrels per month. PVSA aims to do this not by increasing their overall production levels, but rather through renewable energy projects within Venezuela, whereby the nation’s lowered oil consumption will allow for a higher volume of exports.
This is an interesting case, as it involves the insatiable appetite of the global market for oil creating an economic climate within Venezuela in which it is advantageous to become less petrol dependant. In becoming less petroleum dependant, Venezuela has a greater amount of oil remaining to export, as well as cleaner air inside its borders. At present, Venezuela is the fourth leading exporter of crude oil worldwide.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Happiest Fireworks on Earth

| Tuesday July 5th, 2005 | 0 Comments

fireworks.jpgHope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! Fireworks are an integral part of Independence Day celebrations in the US, plus both Victoria Day and Canada Day celebrations north of the 49th parallel. For the Walt Disney Company, fireworks are an almost-daily occurrence, so it’s not surprising that we might see pyrotechnical innovations from them.
Just over a year ago, Disney announced the development of compressed air technology to launch fireworks. This solution is both quieter and more environmentally-friendly than the smoke-producing black powder traditionally used. In an admirable departure from the company’s license-like-mad strategy, Disney planned to donate the patents for the air launch technology to a non-profit organization in an attempt to encourage other fireworks producers to follow suit. (See press release here.)

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Mercedes Mimics Nature

| Friday July 1st, 2005 | 1 Comment

Boxfish.jpgDaimler Benz has taken German automotive engineering to the next level of emissions efficiency by engaging in a process called biomimicry, “the conscious copying of mechanisms from natural organisms and ecologies.” In this instance, Mercedes looked for naturally occurring examples of safety, comfort and aerodynamic efficiency.
The specie best embodying these qualities for Mercedes’ purposes turned out to be the boxfish. Contrary to what you might expect of its cube-shaped body, this tropical fish represents an aerodynamic ideal. The end result of this engineering mimicry: A diesel car averaging 70 miles to the gallon. If you want to take it to the next level, diesel engines can be easily converted to run on biofuel, which is any fuel derived from biomass (recently living organisms or their metabolic byproducts).

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Middlebury College Receives Climate Champion Award

| Friday July 1st, 2005 | 1 Comment

ClimateChampion.jpgAt Vermont’s Middlebury College, there are courses and projects that address solutions to global warming. There are annual campus greenhouse gas emissions inventories, and there’s a working group appointed to reducing said emissions. Rather than stop at its own campus, the college collaborates with organizations in the region (including other businesses, communities, and other colleges) to “develop cost-effective solutions to fight climate change and promote environmental protection.”
If this sounds impressive, you’re not the only one who thinks so; Clean Air — Cool Climate, a non-profit dedicated to finding and implementing solutions to global warming in the Northeast US, just recognized Middlebury’s efforts with the 2005 Climate Champion Award. (Read the press release, via the Education for Sustainability Western Network news.)

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Evergreen Solar Added to Russell 2000 & 3000

| Thursday June 30th, 2005 | 0 Comments

evergreensolar.gifEvergreen Solar (ESLR) has just been added to both the Russel 2000 and Russel 3000 indexes. The listing is a great sign of the viability and future of the solar industry, as well as a sign of alternative energy’s increasing role in our economy.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

San Francisco to Ban Sweatshop Purchases?

| Wednesday June 29th, 2005 | 0 Comments

ChildLabor.jpgSan Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Supervisor Tom Ammiano announced yesterday a proposed ordinance that would prevent the city from buying products created using child labor or slave labor. Applying to domestic or foreign-made goods, and only to clothing the first year, the measure would also ban the purchase of products made in ways that violate local or international labor laws.
Though San Francisco would by no means be a first mover in this regard–several other states, cities, counties and school districts have passed similar measures–not everyone sees the ban as a good move. If passed (it is expected to), how will the ordinance be enforced? Is the apparel industry being treated fairly? Surprise: they don’t think so. Read more at SFGate.com.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Turn $37m into $500m: Invest in Women

| Tuesday June 28th, 2005 | 0 Comments

Woman.jpgOver the past three years, the US Small Business Administration has spent $37 million to fund Women’s Business Centers, resulting in $500 million of associated economic activity. Many of the centers’ clients are women of color, or women with low household incomes; though many of the women who come to the centers for entrepreneurship training and business consulting services have little education, 60% of them are now managing businesses.
These facts come from studies conducted by the Center for Women’s Leadership at Babson College; learn more at their website or check out the article at bizjournals.com.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »

Gas Tax in Canada to Fund Sustainable Infrastructure

| Tuesday June 28th, 2005 | 1 Comment

TorontoTransit.gifThe Canadian cities of Toronto and Ontario, both in the province of Ontario, will receive federal gas tax monies to fund environmentally sustainable projects such as public transit. This is the first time that federal funds, to be doled out over the next five years, will be used for such municipal projects.
The actual amounts for public transit flowing to each city are based on ridership, which is a good thing for Toronto; over half of Ontario’s transit trips occur there. (Via the Globe and Mail, thanks to .)
UPDATE: Oops, I meant the city of Ottawa; as Anonymous pointed out, there is no City of Ontario.

Permalink discuss Discuss This »