Holy Cow – There’s more on Green Business in today’s New York Times than I’ve seen in one place. I’ve only begun to check it out, so no thoughts yet, other than today is a good day to go out and buy the times.
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line & Sustainable Business News
The urban heat island effect is a costly bi-product of having a lot of land paved and built on. It can raise the air temperature in cities enough to send air conditioning bills through the roof, in addition to making things just plain un confortable. Green roofs, and lighter colored pavement help alleviate the problem, and a new innovation from Japan might help further – it’s pavement that actually soaks up water, which then is released slowly into the air, reducing the pavement temperature.
This particular example actually uses the groundwater – so i’m not sure it’s such a great idea, but I would imaging you could do something similar with stormwater or rain.
I should probably be working on my capstone (thesis) presentation for tommorow, but I couldn’t help spending a few minutes checking out the “Toxic 100” list from UMass which lists the 100 “most polluting” companies in the US. Everyone loves these rankings, and this one is filled with excellent detail down to the individual facilities’ emissions per company.
Of course, this doesn’t necesarily mean that the highest ranking companies on this list are the “worst” in terms of making efforts, just that they’re the biggest. So before we start demonizing the top 10, do a little homework. Notably missing are airlines and delivery companies – do emissions from operations not count? or do they really not add up that much? See the list here.
More fun to have while I take a break from writing. Google Trends is sort of a build-your-own Zeitgeist where you can track the popularity of words and phrases in search queries as well as in the news. It’s even got geographic specificity. Here are a few interesting ones to play with:
So… I’m finishing up school this week and there are unlikely to be too many posts. Sometimes I gotta take a break. If you have antying worth sharing send me an email with a pre-formatted post and I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, pop on over to some of these sites and have a read!
See you on the other side!
Chalk up another progress point for clean-tech. The NASDAQ, along with Clean Edge have launched a clean energy index which will follow the performance of certain publicly traded clean energy companies. (WSJ article here). The index is great news for anyone following clean tech, and I’m guesing it will out perform the market (given today’s energy situation). Let’s hope it does! (thanks Joel)
Or rather, the villan in “The Constant Gardener”. Pfizer has been charged in Nigeria with administering experimental drugs to children with no authorization. It may or may not have lead to any deaths, but it’s certainly dodgy behavior from a giant pharmacutical who ought to know better. This is the kind of corporate leadership that ends up brining down companies, not to mention the reputations of more well behaved firms. Not a good move on the part of Pfizer who will probably catch a lot of heat for this, and deservedly so. The effect on their share price remains to be seen.
This is my favorite kind of post. Penn State has some really good data for people considering green roofs outlined on this page. It’s not as simple as laying out some dirft and throwing on some grass seed. There is an innumerable variety of plants and soil types, as well as arrangements of both that perform differently under different conditions. At the Penn State green roofs test facility (check it out), they’re testing all of it. Of particular interest is the data they’ve collected on storm water runoff. If I’m reading it corectly, a green roof will prevent 3 times as much stormwater runoff as a traditional roof, in addition to providing filtration of what does run off. With increasing costs associated with stormwater there’s an obvious busines case here.
Carbon prices are down a whopping 50% over news that many European countries emitted far less CO2 last year than the market had anticipated (article on WBCSD). While it’s good news that emissions are down, the immediate negative effect, of course, is that with lower prices for credits, companies have less incentive to cut back and sell them. Of course, as long as a credit is worth more than zero, there’s still something there no? Cutting emissions is usually profitable in the long term regardless of whether there’s an incentive program in place, but could this reduction in incentives be too much to keep companies excited about it?
What will the effect of this be on projects like TerraPass or DriveNeutral? (if something similar happened in the US market?) It seems to me that if consumers were picking up the slack and buying lots of credits to offset their driving, it would make up for the difference and stabilize the price.
Now this is just too cool – Enterprise car rental will now offer cars that run on biodiesel in the Portland, OR market. It’s a mere 5 cars for now, but with biodiesel now cheaper than gasoline, that’s bound to get better. The cars are only running on B20 (a 20% bio, 80% regular diesel) fuel, but it’s my understanding that you could fill them up with pure biodiesel if you wanted. (Correct me if I”m wrong).
In other news – the Wisconsin Ag Connection says that fullly 50% of soybean farmers in the state are using biodiesel on the farm and most of those who are not using it, cite availability problems not lack of desire.
Seventh Generation founder Jeffrey Hollender has launched a new blog called The Inspired Protagtonist. It looks like it’s going to be a fun read from one of the most forward thinking companies in the US. Seventh Generation, whose name is inspired from the Native American concept of considering one’s impact on the next seven generations, has been producing post-consumer recycled paper products for years, as well as non-toxic household cleaning products. Some time ago, introducing non-bleached paper towels and napkins, they convinced me that there’s no reason whatsoever that such products have to be white – you’re only using them to wipe up a spills. Since bleach is basically poison, why use it if you don’t have to? It’s little epiphanies like that, on a large scale, that companies like Seventh Gen are pushing. Check out the blog.
I’ve been invited by McIntire-Strasburg from the venerable Sustainablog (soon to be writing for Treehugger too!) to be a guest speaker on Shea Gunther’s Green Business Chat. I think I’ll probably share some thoughts on Al Gore’s new climate change film which I just saw at a special sneak preview tonight. But then again, anything could happen! In order to tune in, you need an invite from Jeff, so pop him a lint at “sustainablog at gmail” and tune in at 8:30 CST/6:30 PST!