Archive for March, 2008

Earth Hour

March 29, 2008
8:00 p.m. local time

Are your lights on?

Across the world, local governments and citizens teamed up for Earth Hour, an international wave of darkness that began as a local celebration in Sydney, Australia last year.

Julia and I celebrated, begrudgingly at first. I took the time (finally) to clean out my crap from the living room. She stretched by candle light (now doesn’t that sound like something from a bad romance novel?). Then we went for a walk around the neighborhood, still well-lit (Santa Rosa tends to miss the memo on these things).

Afterwards I felt.. strangely calm! Almost.. better! I vowed to have Earth Hour every day, and of course I promptly forgot today. Oh well. It’s nice to know that I depend so little on the existence of electricity.


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$104 Billion Appetite for Green Products

The 2007 National Technology Readiness Survey found that the potential sales in 2008 for green products and technology could reach $104 billion.

Sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Service (University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business) and Rockbridge Assoc. Inc. (technology research firm), the study found that consumers are ready for the green revolution but can’t always find what they’re looking for.

Read more from the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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GREENtings from New York! (har) – A Tirade on Bottled Water

Greetings from New York, where carbon emissions run high and the trash piles up on the streets (and the public transit is AWESOME! but makes your pants very dirty). Yes, New York is a city of contradictions.

The wealthy streets of Chelsea are littered with clear plastic recycling bags full of Pellegrino and Poland Spring Eco-shape bottles. This is the biggest scam I’ve heard since David Mkwongo offered me $15k of his father’s inheritance so long as I wire him $7k immediately. “Saving resources through design” my foot. Bottled water is bottled water to me, no matter how you spin it, and that means it is an environmentally unfriendly, unfortunate adoption into our culture.

For, as Garrison Keillor said on September 26, 2007:

I am sorry, Evian and San Pellegrino and Dasani and all the other bottled waters out there — Aqua Velva, Wells Fargo, Muddy Waters, Joan Rivers, Jerry Springer, whatever — but the current campaign against paying good money for bottled water when tap water is perfectly good (and very likely purer) is so sensible on the face of it that I am now done with you. Fini. Kaput. Ausgeschlossen. No more designer water. Water is water. If you want lemon flavoring, add a slice of lemon. You want bubbles, stick a straw in it and blow.

My father, a true conservative, would have smiled on this. All his life he resisted the attempts of big corporations to gouge him by selling him stuff he didn’t need and so he was not a consumer of high-priced water, any more than he would’ve purchased bottles of French air or Italian soil. No, San Pellegrino and Perrier got rich off the pretensions of liberal wastrels like moi who thought it set us apart from the unlettered masses. We ordered it in restaurants for the same reason we read books we don’t like and go to operas we don’t understand — we say to the waiter, “Perrier,” to give a continental touch to our macaroni and cheese.

Enough. Man is capable of reform once presented with the facts, and the fact is that bottling water and shipping it is a big waste of fuel, so stop already. The water that comes to your house through a pipe is good enough, and maybe better.

Mr. Keillor, you should have seen W 12th St. For a city that claims that the magic in New York bagels is the water they boil them in…

As a side note, I very much enjoyed the billboards advertising Energy Hog, a website where kids learn about energy efficiency from Inspectors Hector and Irene.

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City of Seattle Bans Bottled Water


The City of Seattle has internally banned itself from buying bottled water. This is terrific news, because governments have a huge role to play in creating markets, supporting markets, or KICKING MARKETS IN THE SEAT OF THE PANTS! And that’s just what the city government has done. Good work, team. That’s $58,000 a year you can spend on something better. (As a side note, I’m looking for a job…)

At roughly $1/bottle, that’s 58,000 water bottles per year that the city government alone needed to recycle or throw away. That’s insane.

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Green-e is Consumer Reports for renewable energy and carbon offset purchases.

I mean, come on. How easy would it be to peddle hogwash? So easy. “Buy Jennifer Carbon Credits today! I’ll just take that there credit card number… gooooood.”

Ratings are a good thing.

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Does your office have a lot of old office chairs?
Some nonprofit wants it!
Are you near San Francisco or Los Angeles?
iReuse will take it!

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Vegan Shoes, Natalie?

Am I the last person to hear about Natalie Portman’s collaboration with Té Casan to create a line of vegan shoes?

“All of my shoes are from Target or Stella McCartney,” says Portman. “As a vegan, it’s been challenging finding designer shoes made of alternative materials.” The line launched January 15 online and hit stores February 1.

Now, call me old fashioned, but any reference to vegan clothing always throws me for a bit of a loop. I’d prefer a more technical description, such as “leather free” or “no animal products.” The “vegan clothing” label stresses me out, as if I’ll be expected to eat it or something. Maybe I just have unfortunate associations with the early days of spelt egg-free cakes that tasted like chalk. All it means is that the shoes are made free of leather or any other animal products, and 5% of the profits (all of Natalie’s share) will go to as-yet undisclosed charity (various non-profit organizations dedicated to environmental preservation and animal rights) – one source said it would be The Nature Conservancy.

Speaking of old fashioned, does anyone else think the shoes look, well.. a bit outdated?

My read: save energy, wear your old shoes, and donate $10 to charity (equal to 5% of the $200 you would have spent on the vegan footwear).

But mistake not my sarcasm! I appreciate Natalie’s efforts. Maybe someday I’ll find a pair of $20 animal-free classic-style shoes and 100% of the profits will go to charity (oh wait, it’s called Goodwill…).

I kid, Natalie, I kid. I’m just jealous.

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