Looking for something fun to do this summer? Why not go on a bike tour in Oregon? Why not make it more than a bike tour and visit permacultural farms, check out local economic programs, and meet a whole bunch of interesting folks along the way? Sustainable Energy in Motion offers one to two week tours from Portland Oregon which do all these things and more. Sound’s like a pretty cool group.
TriplePundit: Reporting on the Triple Bottom Line
The Canadian Goods and Services Tax (like a sales tax) does not currently apply to food. A proposal by the Agricultural Institute of Canada proposes that the GST be extended to groceries in order to fund sustainable practices and consequently keep small farms afloat. Is a tax the right way to go about this? The AIC says so, Canadians will decide.
First of all, it’s waaaaay to early to be thinking about the holidays, but since Erin Oliver’s Treehugger post on holiday gifts came out today, I’m compelled to pass it on. Bookmark it to reference later in December.
This is a great big post with gift ideas in all price categories and types – including intangible ideas like green energy investments. If you’re looking for something not on the list, I also suggest Drive Neutral certificates for people’s cars.
Freepledge is a new organization that seeks to leverage Amazon’s affiliate program for the benefit of non profits. The advantage to non profits is that instead of only displaying a simple “booklist” or links to a few select items on their webpage, they get a branded interface to the entire Amazon catalog. For example, see paarc.freepledge.com to benefit the Palo Alto Area Red Cross. Freepledge says that new features and website refinements are on the way in time for the holiday season.
Wal Mart, valid complaints aside, has made some pretty significant effort in the past year to “green” its practices. It’s still the 900lb gorilla everyone loves to hate, but I’ll admit it has gotten slightly better.
Anyway, here’s the latest – a “new urbanist” Wal Mart is now proposed for the battered Mississippi Gulf Coast town of Pass Christian, says USA today. The idea is that the Wal Mart will be located in an actual downtown, in such a way that citizens can walk to it and it’s not isolated among acres of surface parking lots.
Aside from the painfullly kitchy architecture, this actually seems like a great idea – one that might do at least a little to help one of Wal Mart’s most hated historical effects – the obliteration of small town centers in favor of automobile oriented strip malls.
Although a cartoon downtown full of chain stores isn’t exactly ideal, this development is worth watching as Wal Mart slowy starts to learn to think differently.
Social marketing defined by Kotler: “Social marketing is the use of marketing principles and techniques to influence a target audience to voluntarily accept, reject, modify or abandon a behavior for the benefit of individuals, groups, or society as a whole. Since Kotler created this definition more than 25 years ago, it has been associated with selling a new and “better” behavior and the competition has been the current or preferred behavior of the target market. An aberration to this concept was noted in this week’s edition of the Economist in an article about Vancouver’s struggle with its swelling drug problem.
During the past decade, Vancouverites have lived with open drug dealing on their streets, deaths from drug overdoses, and disease spread from dirty syringes. All types of crime associated with drug dealing have been on the rise. In the past we have seen social marketing campaigns based on the premise of “Just say NO to drugs”. Remember the “This is your brain on drugs” with the woman swinging an iron skillet filled with scrambled eggs? As most of us in the health care field have experienced, this message carries little credence. Five years ago the Vancouver city council adopted a “four pillars” strategy which included harm reduction, prevention, treatment, and enforcement. This has led to a more lenient European-style approach to their city’s drug problem. Since then, two programs unique to North America have been started: a safe injection site for heroin addicts where nurses are instructing intravenous drug users on the proper usage of IV needles and a clinic prescribing free heroin to hard core addicts. The people promoting these programs hope to see a decrease in blood borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis, a decrease in overdoses, and a decrease in public drug use and problems stemming from discarded needles. There are supervised injection sites (SISs) in 27 cities around the world where there has been a documented reduction in the aforementioned problems.
I’m a happy tap water drinker. Maybe I’m blissfully ignorant, but the idea of buying bottled water just seems silly and wasteful to me, unless I’m on a camping trip, in which case I’ll often buy a bottle of Pepsi’s Aquafina – simply because that brand’s bottles are the right size to fit in my backpack and they have a larger spout which I find easier to drink out of, plus they last.
The fact is a high portion (see this Ocean Arks PDF for details) of bottled water comes from municipal sources anyway, and winds up being 240 to 10,000 times as expensive, often with only minimal nutritional differences.
If social marketing is the planning and implementation of programs designed to bring about social change using concepts from commercial marketing, U2 singer Bono might be the master of it.
Through his plan: “One campaign to make Poverty History” launched this year, Bono has been signing up his audience as members. He hoped to get a million people, he got 2 million members so far since March. During an interview with the SF Chronicle, Bono announced that: “By the next election, the One Campaign to make Poverty History will be larger than the National Rifle Association”. Perhaps one of the U2 singer’s most important steps is the recent cancellation of debts owed by a number of Third World countries to the world’s richest countries. In the past, Bono was successfully focusing on funding AIDS and malaria relief after volunteering in 1984 with his wife for six weeks in an Ethiopian refugee camp. The ultimate proof of his tremendous impact in the world is that he is seriously considered as a Nobel Peace Prize candidate.
If any US city could sucessfully implement a London-style congestion charge, it would be the New York City borough of Manhattan. The New York Times reports yesterday that this may indeed happen, someday. In my opinion, cars ought to be banned from large swaths of the island because their utility is negligable compared to the amount of land devoted to them. That aside, there are externalities associated with congestion charging that should be considered. Mainly, the massive operating costs. London’s charging scheme employes a great many people, and cost millions of pounds to implement. It is claimed that the costs are being covered by fees, and NYC ought to be certain that it can replicate that success before embarking on a similar plan – and that any extra money goes straight to public transportation, or other public good, such as parks and greenspace.
However, if you’ve every ridden a midtown bus (don’t, it’s faster to walk) then a 30% reduction in the number of cars on the street (as has occured in London, should be music to your ears.
This week’s Carnival of the Capitalist is being hosted by Belmont University’s Jeff Cornwall, and it’s especially good! Check it out.
Once again, I’m happy to start your week with a fantastic Blog Carnival. Last time it was the “Carnival of the Capitalist” and this time, it’s the “Carnival of the Green”, which will be (obviously) less about economics and money and more about the environment, and some funky alternative ideas too. I’ve made a little bit of commentary and tried to categorize things a bit! If you have a blog and would like to contribute an entry, write to: carnivalofgreen at gmail.
Without further ado enjoy the carnival!
What would you say to mainstream MBAs? Gary Hirshberg – the big deal now is major companies making the switch to a more sustainable vision. Imagine Dannon (who own 80% of Stonyfield, but allow it to funciton fairly independantly) deciding to go organic. rest assured that if they do, Nestle and others will follow. That magnitude of change will require traditional MBAs, and other people “with letters after their name” to speak a language that major companies can understand, to help them bridge the link to get where they want, and need, to be.
Greg Steltenpohl – reiterates that point – look at Whole Foods, quickly gaining the market from traditional supermarkets.
It’s Net Impact Conferece time, this year hosted by the Stanford Business School. Following this morning’s opening address by the honorable Al Gore, we’re here in the wifi equipped auditorium about to hear former Odwalla CEO & current Adina CEO Gary Steltenpohl as well as Stonyfield Farms CE-YO Gary Hirshberg. Let’s see if I can live-blog it.Click to continue reading »
La Jolla, CA bases Pyron Solar has something that sound’s almost too good to be true – a massively powerful solar energy unit that’s both compact and economical to produce. The key – small lenses that focus the sun’s rays on the solar cells – like burning an ant with a magnifying glass. The 23-foot wide prototype pictured here can power 6 homes and costs $2000 after rebates. Wow. (via Treehugger)
Amazing. The US House has dropped Oil Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from the budget bill. This is like watching a neck and neck superbowl in overtime. Nothing is quite set in stone yet, so I’ll mention it one more time – watch the video “Drawing the Line” which makes an economic argument against opening the refuge and please pass it on to as many people as you can, especially your elected reps!