Taking A Little Vacation

| Tuesday June 13th, 2006 | 1 Comment

Well, so it goes again that 3P will be neglected for a little while as I take a short and much needed vacation. Should be back to action next week!

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Wind Farm Moratorium Affecting Midwest, But Why?

| Monday June 12th, 2006 | 2 Comments

windfarm22.jpgA moratorium on new wind energy farms in the midwest has been imposed by the FAA and the Military who say that more studies need to be made to be certain that the towers don’t interfere with radar. This seems like a reasonable concern, but there is fear that a delay will cause great damage to the emerging wind industry. Will this be a quick study with a conclusive decision? Or will it drag on indefinitely to the detriment of the industry, consumers, and the environment? And what if if the turbines really do play havoc with radar? More here.

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Bank of America Offering Hybrid Reimbursement

| Friday June 9th, 2006 | 1 Comment

bofa_logo.jpgJoining the ranks of other leading companies, Bank of America will now offer up to $3,000 per employee as a reimbursement for purchasing a hybrid vehicle. That’s pretty cool. The project will be evaluated in select markets, and possibly rolled out nationwise.
I’m curious if BofA manages to share in some of the tax benefits that hybrid car purchases give to consumers, or they’ve calculated a more intangible payback in terms of employee health and happiness?
(via GreenBiz)

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Wal Mart Hires Rocky Mountain Institute

| Thursday June 8th, 2006 | 0 Comments

walmart44.jpgWal Mart continues to amaze: This time they have brought in the masters of sustainability, the Rocky Mountain Institute, to consult with them about efficiencies in transportation as well as in stores. (article here)
With the likes of Amory Lovins discussing anything with high level officials from Wal Mart, the result is bound to be world-changing. Speaking of high level officials, this statement (PDF here) by Lee Scott (Wal Mart CEO) is a few months old, but if you havn’t read it yet, please do so. The environmental part looks like it came straight out of the pages of Natural Capitalism and is almost unbeliveable.
(via Hugg)

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Another Opportunity in China – Solar Water Heaters

| Wednesday June 7th, 2006 | 13 Comments

solarwater.jpgWorldchanging points to a great article outlining the massive demand for solar water heaters in China. It’s a perfect example of the entrepreneurial opportuities that await in China – a country growing so rapidly it’s blinding, but were environmental consiousness is finally starting to sink in at a level where leapfrog technology, like solar heaters, can finally gain ground.
Now, fron an ecological perspective, if China is happy with solar water heaters things will be great, but if they start cashing them in for gas models, like switching from bikes to cars, then we might see a problem. But given the quality of good solar water heaters, that scenerio should be unlikely.

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Getting to the Holdouts

| Tuesday June 6th, 2006 | 0 Comments

The Climate Change awareness tipping point approaches, shoved to the precipice of rational understanding by four things: outspoken scientists, anecdotal observations of private citizens who see for themselves that climate is changing, the US release of “An Inconvenient Truth”, and the looming prospect of intensified storm damage. Being optimistic at root, Americans should have no shortage of ideas for coping with climate crisis. Blogs and mainstream print media regularly document the products, technologies, and services that can deliver high resource efficiency and climate change adaptive lifestyles. Sensing the market shift, industry seems ready to satisfy the ‘climate survivalist’ market, becoming designer’s of elegant efficiency. But progress has been slow, with the pragmatism of science and the response of free markets still constrained to a political, academic, and industrial minority.

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Apple Offering Computer Take-Back Program

| Monday June 5th, 2006 | 0 Comments

applelogo.jpgIt’s about time Apple did something like this – they offer free recycling for old computers (regardless of manufacturer) when you purchase a new one. The process is said to result in nothing hazardous being shipped overseas either.
Although this is a great move, it’s only a baby-step in terms of any sort of meaningful recycling process for eWaste. First of all, there is very little information about exactly what happens to the old computers, how their parts are reused or not. It would also be nice if Apple offered a discount for returning customers in the same manner that they do with iPods – this would greatly increase participation. Finally, the hope is that this process jump starts a new approach to manufacturing for Apple – with the ideas of reuse and recycling a part of the process from the begining, not a slapped-on afterthought.
More on Green Biz.

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Bio Beetle Rentals Taking Off

| Friday June 2nd, 2006 | 2 Comments


Paul Sheldon of Presidio sent in this photo of his Bio-Beetle rental in Los Angeles last weekend. Paul reports that the ride was smooth and came complete with pamphlets to hand out to other drivers (does this remind you of a certain South Park episode?). At any rate, Bio-Beetle looks like a business off to a great start. Next time I’m in LA I just might grab myself one! (www.bio-beetle.com)

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Columbia Dean on the Merits of the MBA

| Friday June 2nd, 2006 | 1 Comment

US News recently interviewed R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business on the state of business and the merits of an MBA. Firstly, he discusses the “bad rap” that business seems to have aquired over the years, stating that business is indeed “noble” and that an MBA is one of the best ways to learn to deal with globalization. With regards to scandels such as Enron, the dean says that they’ve offered invaluable learning experiences for current students of business. But he adds that taking an ethics course may not be enough and that lessons from experienced professionals are more valuable. I’m inclined to agree for the most part…
(Thx Cindy)

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Looking at Energy Consumption as an Opportunity not a Cost

| Thursday June 1st, 2006 | 0 Comments

Everyone knows that the staggering appetite for energy and resources in China and India is going to get bigger and bigger and cause untold strain on the world’s ecosystem as well as economy. But instead of throwing up your hands, think of it as a vast untapped opportunity for entrpreneurs who offer green technology, efficiency measures, and other clean tech services. Joel Makower wraps up this viewpoint in today’s GreenBiz.

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Amusing Ethical Anecdote from CFP Exam Book

| Wednesday May 31st, 2006 | 0 Comments

The following quote is from pg 82.16 of the KEIR comprehensive review for the CFP Certification Examination (A section on estate planning):

4. Jerry Harner wants to leave a cottage in the woods to his mistress after he dies. Jerry does not want the gift to be included in his will since it will be public and will be read by his wife. Jerry does not want his family to know about the gift during his lifetime, so he can avoid unpleasantness. Which of the following will be most likely to serve Jerry’s needs? …(list of various estate options)

And I thought texts like this were supposed to be the epitome of PC-ness…

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The Psychology of Environmental Communication

| Tuesday May 30th, 2006 | 0 Comments

brain.jpgWhich are you more apt to respond to while visiting your hotel room’s bathroom: “Help the hotel save energy, please reuse the towels” or “Help preserve the environment for future generations, please reuse the towels”? Check out the whole article here.
The latter boasts an effectiveness rate almost 8 times higher than the former (even if it does sound sorta hokey). Likewise, similar experiments on phrases like “Stay on the path” vs. “Dont go off the path” are interpreted in radically different ways. What’s fascinating about this is not so much the idea of controlling people’s minds, but rather learning about effective communication. It’s entirely possible that the psychology of whoever is uttering the phrase is equally affected. Cool stuff worth thinking about when arguing for a positive environmental agenda.

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Terrapass Takes on Ford Over CEI Ads

| Friday May 26th, 2006 | 1 Comment

tpass.gifNot too long ago, Ford signed a pretty revolutionary deal with Terrapass, offering buyers of Ford cars the option to “neutralize” their CO2 emissions by paying a little extra for a Terrapass. It’s a big leap forward in terms of creating options for people to reduce their carbon footprint.
The trouble is, Ford is a donor to the Competitive Enterprise Institute who recently produced a series of bizarre advertisements that essentially claim CO2 induced global warming is a hoax. Terrapass (who has an excellent blog by the way) promptly called them on it. Stating publically that nothing short of a wholesale dismissal of the ads and a public withdrawl of support to CEI would be the appropriate response from Ford.
Ford did in fact responded, stating they do NOT (their capital letters) support the message of the CEI ads and did NOT fund them, but stopping short ot explaining what their relationship with CEI is. Well, it’s not quite the response that Terrapass deserves, but it’s better than nothing. It’s certainly more responsible than GM’s gas subsidy plan.
But couldn’t Ford do better? They’ve clearly outlined their stance against global warming and if they don’t take a stance against CEI then their entire effort, including the Terrapass campaign risks falling to the wayside as yet another exposed greenwash. And if they do denounce CEI, then they would be seen as a better, more responsible leader, and I personally would be (slightly) more likely to buy their vehicles. They might even change some minds at CEI.

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GM Capping the Price of Gas. Is this the Beginning of the End?

| Thursday May 25th, 2006 | 3 Comments

gmlogo.jpgAs reported widely (LA Biz Journal, Treehugger), General Motors will offer a one year gasoline credit for buyers of new SUVs and full sized cars in California and Florida. Drivers will only pay a maximum of $1.99 per gallon for one year after the purchase date. This coincides with GM’s claim to be “going green”. Amazing.
From a business perspective, I’m trying to think of how this is good for GM in the long term… Are they trying to dump their worst performing models on an unsuspecting populace? Are drivers really stupid enough to take the bait? It seems like a classic short term view, the kind of thing that will come back to burn GM hard in the long term as people finally start wising up, or more likely, are forced to change to more efficient vehicles when they realize the price of gas isn’t going anywhere.
It’s time to dump the old addage that “What’s good for GM is good for the USA”. The dead opposite is increasingly true.

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The Hidden Costs of Shipping

| Wednesday May 24th, 2006 | 4 Comments

shipping.jpgJoel Makower’s latest post on Grist brings up some great things to be aware of regarding the environmental costs of shipping.
As with most fossil fuel dependant businesses I don’t think we’re going to see a great deal of change until the price of oil instigates it, but that’s not stopping a lot of interesting companies from starting to think about new innovation. My personal favorite is skysails, a concept to attach giant sails to stadard vessels, thus increasing fuel economy by significant amounts. Other, simpler efforts are under way to streamline tractor-trailers on the interstates (a friend of mine is working on this problem) and some people are even trying to re-introduce hydrogen airships.
The best part of all these things is that they reduce costs for existing businesses while at the same time creating a myriad of new business opportunities for entrpreneurs of all sizes. My advice is to start thinking about fuel cost reduction technology and you’ll have a winner of an idea.

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