Saturday, May 31, 2008

China Chooses Environment Over the Economy

China's humanitarian effort to save the environment is costly. China's ecological solution to close the world's biggest plastic manufacturer site takes on toll on their economy. China takes a stand, the world's biggest plastic bag manufacturer is closed. Thousands of people no longer have jobs. Promoting sustainability becomes problematic for either the environment or for humanity. Is there a better way?




plastic or jobs

Lisa Patterson

Start Seeing Bicycles!


With gasoline over four dollars a gallon now, it appears that the City of Portland’s long standing policy of leaving the freeways at three lanes and diverting funds to public transportation was the right choice. Here is the typical scenario: a freeway gets clogged and people turn to alternate modes such as moving closer to work, bicycles, car pooling, public transportation, or a different route; yet the freeway is still clogged. Then States such as California build another lane and the freeway temporarily flows faster. People then shift from those other modes back to single car transport, move out to the suburbs for a bigger house (thereby increasing freeway traffic) and a slow stream of new people move in the area and the freeway once again is clogged. Interstate 5 and many others in California have 6 or more lanes in some sections, yet they are still a problem and such a gas guzzling enterprise. Anyone that has been to New York has seen that public transportation done right can move tremendous amounts of commuters.
Portland is known to be a bicycle town yet people still get hit and “doored” all the time. There is a great site in my opinion called “BicycleSafe.com” and they give good tips on how to avoid getting hit. Anyone who rides much will testify that many drivers just don’t see them. We can’t trust anyone—yet have to—just as a motorcyclist.

Another idea: get a bike rack or fold-up bike and keep it with your car all the time. You can use it on short trips and going to places with tight parking (like PSU).

David Best

Ethanol is Great?

With gas prices soaring through the roof, people have explored for alternatives. Ethanol has been praised and has even been promoted by many politicians on both sides. “"Ramp up the availability of ethanol," says Hillary Clinton…."Ethanol makes a lot of sense," says John McCain.” It is believed that not only will this be our answer to making fuel costs cheaper, but it will also eliminate our dependence on foreign oil and reduce global warming. You begin to wonder when there’s this much excitement about something, what’s the downfall? Ethanol is made from corn. When you begin to look at the bigger picture of ethanol, you’ll begin to see things you didn’t think you could see. We begin to wonder if ethanol is praised as much as it is, why does it need government subsidies?


The cost to produce ethanol is actually more expensive. The same goes about the amount of energy it takes to produce ethanol, it actually takes more. “"It takes a lot of fossil fuels to make the fertilizer, to run the tractor, to build the silo, to get that corn to a processing plant, to run the processing plant," Taylor says.” This isn’t even considering that the growing demand of corn will increase the amount of fields that will need to be plowed, fertilizer used, water, and pesticides. However, you can’t help but think to yourself could this be the answer to rid our country of foreign oil dependency? “A University of Minnesota study [http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/103/30/11206] shows that even turning all of America's corn into ethanol would meet only 12 percent of our gasoline demand.” The demand for gasoline is simply too much. Ethanol has proven to be equal to gasoline in greenhouse gas emission. Is corn really our answer to our rising fuel crisis? You be the judge.

Leslie Boser

Thursday, May 29, 2008

How to Report Illegal Dumping

Causing or allowing open dumping in illegal and may result in substantial penalties. Report open dumping to your local authorities. They can enforce any local laws and ordinances that prohibit open dumping. They can also work with the State to enforce the laws that prohibit dumping.

The Department of State Lands, and the Department of Parks and Recreation, are committed to investigating citizen reports of illegal dumping of solid waste. Complaint investigators are located in several different governmental agencies in the state of Oregon. While not every complaint can be solved quickly, we are committed to investigating your claim promptly, and subsequently taking appropriate action for prevention purposes.

Provide as much information as possible about the dump, including detailed description and information about its location (county, address, driving directions, etc.) and we will forward that information on to the owner of the property where the illegal dumping has occurred. The more information provided leads to eradicating further problems of illegal dumping.

Give a Hoot – Don’t Pollute!

Susan Keen

No Dumping Allowed!

Abandoned piles of household garbage, bags of yard waste, discarded appliances, old barrels, used tires and demolitions debris can threaten the health of humans, wildlife and the environment. These open dump sites can be found in ravines, empty lots, open pastures and along roadsides. These are illegal disposal sites. If allowed to remain, they often grow larger and attract more dumping by others.

Open dumps create a public nuisance, divert land from more productive uses and depress the value of surrounding land. They can also pose the following health, safety and environmental threats:

--Fire and explosion.
--Injury to children playing in or around the dump site.
--Disease carried by mosquitoes, flies and rodents.
--Contamination of streams, rivers and lakes.
--Contamination of drinking water wells.
--Contamination of water wells.
--Damage to plant and wildlife habitats.
--Decrease in the quality of life to nearby communities and residents.

Susan Keen

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Electric Cars

The video clips below are from PBS’s “NOW” television show discussing the issue of electric cars that have disappeared from the American roadways. This interview is a couple of years old but is still really relevant in today’s oil crisis. It is important to be able to get multiple perspectives on controversial issues like electric cars being taken out of rotation by the car companies in order to further the need for oil and gas powered cars that affect every aspect of our lives.

The creator of the film, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” talks with NOW’s host about the controversy behind these electric cars that were literally ripped out of the consumers hands in the 90’s. With gas prices nearing $5/gallon in many areas of our country I think it is important to look at some of the possible reasons why the technology capable of easing some our financial hardships has been kept out of the consumers reach.







Angela Logan-Connolly

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A vintage take on ecomyths

I found this interesting article refuting myths of the era from 1975. It's an interesting read that, in my mind, makes the need to be proactive about sustainability issues all the more pressing. Many of the same issues we're facing today were prevalent 30 years ago and prior. One may argue that just by that truth alone (a fact which is illustrated by the author in that that we cannot precisely determine how much coal is left in the Earth), there is not a crisis, as usage of natural resources has increased, but they still seem to be available. However, a greater point is made in that, regardless of what the resource is, they are all finite, and it's necessary to find a away to spread our usage around to renewable sources.

Check the link below for the read...

http://www.eoearth.org/article/Energy_and_economic_myths_(historical)

~ Jason Oliver

Where Electronic Waste Ends Up

Electronic waste is a hot topic right now with some light being brought to the fact that many of the electronic devices we think we are recycling are turning up in large volumes in poor countries overseas. It is alarming to see the amount of e-waste that has been found in China, Africa, and Mexico to name a few. Below are a couple of videos that give a visual of the problems that are being caused by the massive amounts of e-waste being sent overseas to be discarded.

It is extremely disheartening to see the extremely dangerous position the people have to work and live in that have the misfortune of dissembling, sorting, and destroying our electronic waste. There is no question that the people who work with our e-waste are putting their health in jeopardy but it is also painfully obvious that our environment is suffering also. Images of dark orange and black plumes of smoke coming from burning piles of wires and metal components illustrates just how detrimental these practices are in every element. It will be very important for our society to find ways to ensure that the electronic products we “recycle” are actually being handled safely and are not contributing to manipulating and taking advantage of poor countries already dim situations.





Angela Logan-Connolly

"Biofuels & Ethanol: The Real Story"

This is a good video that talks about the “real story” behind the biofuels and ethanol debate. Many people are under the impression that biofuels are the answer to our current oil crisis. Scientist, David Fridely talks about how realistic it is to think about using corn, for example, to create enough biofuel to create an alternative to the oil we depend on today.

I found it interesting to learn that biofuel would have to be 99.5% pure in order to work in our engines and that corn would have to be grown no more than 250 miles from the source of use if it were turned into corn ethanol. This means that it would not be cost effective to ship over larger distances like we do with oil.



Angela Logan-Connolly

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Latest Ploy to Log Last Remaining “Old Growth” Forests


They are causing global warming! There is a recent article in “Wired” magazine that claims old growth or virgin forests contribute to global warming. Listen to what they say: “Over its lifetime, a tree shifts from being a vacuum cleaner for atmospheric carbon to an emitter. A tree absorbs roughly 1,500 pounds of carbon dioxide in its first 55 years. After that, its growth slows, and it takes in less carbon. Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that carbon dioxide gets released”. As you can see, this is no more than using climate change to log the last remaining virgin forests. Notice that yearly figure of 55—that’s exactly when timber companies like to log their tree farms. “After that its growth slows and takes in less carbon”: well let me inform them that the difference in a 55 year old tree and a 200 year old tree is tremendous—it takes in more carbon during that stage than the first 55—that’s why they are so big! “Left untouched, it ultimately rots or burns and all that carbon dioxide gets released”. They make it sound like ancient forests burn easy and the truth is they are more resistant to fire than a tree farm. Rotting logs? The Willamette National Forest defines old growth forests with about 4 down trees per acre (with 200 year old trees). Then they give us this bit of advice: “A well-managed tree farm acts like a factory for sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere, so the most climate-friendly policy is to continually cut down trees and plant new ones.” Wow, they don’t care about biodiversity, the creatures that live in those down trees or the forest, the great watersheds, inspiration, people’s livelihoods, and sentient and non-sentient beings (trees). This kind of attitude is what got us in this mess; sustainability is using the land for our needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. I guess all they think the next one needs is clear cuts with brush and small trees, invasive weeds, no recreation, few animals, and fire hazards. Trees grow fast in Oregon and there is no reason to stop logging public lands, but this kind of logic evades me.

David Best-PSU student

Here is an informative survey and quiz about Oregon’s old growth forests.

Click here


Portland State University - "Going Green"



~Anna

Recycling is Hot.

Before long we should all be recycling experts. Here are some articles on recycling, including a handful of the latest headlines.

e-Waste


Is recycling 'in fashion'?


The cost of recycling.


Action across the globe.


Please visit our Ecomerge website for more info. on recycling.

~Anna

Saturday, May 24, 2008

"eWaste": growing concern over the fastest growing type of waste in U.S.

Don't know how to recycle your electronics? Not convinced you should? Want to know how it's done? Check out these short clips.

Basic information on recycling computers:



"Electronic waste is the fastest growing kind of trash in America...":



Dangers of e-waste:



More data shows concern over chemicals in e-waste:



More corporations 'going green':



Computers aren't the only type of electronics you can recycle. Search Google for more important info. and instructions on how to recycle old electronic item(s) you want to get rid of. And your old cell phones are important too--instead of tossing them in the trash, consider donating cell phones to soldiers.

~Anna

Friday, May 23, 2008

Google Doing Their Part To Stay Green

While many large corporations and individuals are polluting our environment today there are those who are taking proactive steps to benefit our environment. One of those such corporations is Google.

"As part of that responsibility, Google has committed to being carbon-neutral for 2007 and beyond. To honor our pledge, we’re taking a three-step approach. First, we’re increasing the energy efficiency of our own operations. Second, we’re actively pursuing the use and creation of clean and renewable sources of electricity. Third, for the emissions we can’t reduce directly at this time, we’re investing in projects that help offset carbon generated. "

Google recognizes the large amount of energy they use to power their expansive computer infrastructure. To offset their usage they are doing a number of things to reduce their carbon footprint to zero.

  • Google has set a goal of creating 50 megawatts of new renewable energy-generating capacity by 2012.

  • Google contributes to projects that use currently-accepted methods of measuring emission reductions.

  • Google data centers use half as much energy as a typical industry data center to power the same amount of computing.

Google has also aimed to help push green technology into the forefront of our society with projects such as RechargeIT.

"RechargeIT is a Google.org initiative that aims to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and vehicle-to-grid technology."

http://www.google.org/recharge/

http://www.google.com/corporate/green/energy/reducing.html


Jeremiah


Sustainable Communities Network

Sustainable communities network: http://www.sustainable.org/

The tagline on this website is: “Linking citizens to resources and to one another to create healthy, vital, sustainable communities.” This easily sums up the main premise behind this website. There are resources here that help build the community around a sustainable foundation. This looks to be a great resource for people looking to make a sustainable impact in their community.

There are guides that help a new planner/organizer pull together resources for events, governance, building, and other sustainable development. The website was user friendly, and the documents and resources available were quite readable, and seemed to be written with the everyday citizen in mind. The language presented in sustainable resource document can often be full of confusing 'green jargon,' and can confuse more than help. This was not the case for this website. Another interesting aspect was the emphasis on sustainable communities.

This is so important and extremely relevant to our project in that we are targeting people who may not know much about the sustainability movement, but want to make a change for the positive for the environment. The links were also quite helpful in gathering more information about sustainability. Another useful resource found on this link was a compilation of all of the funding sources available for Non profit organizations. Not only does it help organization form within communities, it also helps these community organizations become financially viable so that they can succeed and grow.

Jihae Lim

The science behind sustainability

This journal article really brings the science of Sustainability into focus. So often, consumers are sucked into a market trend that they know nothing about. This is a great method of learning about sustainability from an academic perspective, and helps the consumer bust the myths surrounding it on their own.

Some aspects to highlight are:

The four principles of Newman & Kenworthy (1993):

1. The elimination of poverty, especially in the Third World, is necessary not just on human grounds but as an environmental issue.

2. The First World must reduce its consumption of resources and production of wastes.

3. Global cooperation on environmental issues is no longer a soft option.

4. Change towards sustainability can occur only with community-based approaches that take local cultures seriously.

Requirements of Sustainable development contain many dimensions. The main dimensions consist of maintaining the integrity of biophysical systems; offering better services for more people; and providing freedom from hunger, nuisance, and deprivation. To these one may add choice, opportunity, and access to decision making—aspects of equity within and across generations .

According to this paper, Principles of Sustainability are as follows:

Human-ecological systems integrity: Build human-ecological relations to maintain the integrity of biophysical systems in order to maintain the irreplaceable life support functions upon which human well-being depends.
Sufficiency and opportunity: Ensure that everyone has enough for a decent life and that everyone has opportunities to seek improvements in ways that do not compromise future generations' possibilities for sufficiency and opportunity.
Equity: Ensure that sufficiency and effective choices for all are pursued in ways that reduce dangerous gaps in sufficiency and opportunity (and health, security, social recognition, political influence, etc.) between the rich and the poor.
Efficiency and throughput reduction: Provide a larger base for ensuring sustainable livelihoods for all through reducing threats to the long term integrity of socio-economic systems by avoiding waste and reducing overall material and energy use per unit of benefit.
Democracy and civility: Build our capacity to apply sustainability principles through a better informed and better integrated package of administrative, market, customary and personal decision-making practices.
Precaution: Respect uncertainty, avoid even poorly understood risks of serious or irreversible damage to the foundations for sustainability, design for surprise and manage for adaptation.
Immediate and long-term integration: Apply all principles of sustainability at once, seeking mutually supportive benefits.

It is important to understand that moving towards true sustainability means a change in political, human rights, scientific, consumer, corporate, and ecological thinking. Learning the impacts of sustainability on society as a whole is what will move the world towards embracing its practice as a whole.

http://ejournal.nbii.org/archives/vol3iss2/0703-007.kemp.pdf

Jihae Lim

Is Bamboo An Answer?

Bamboo may hold untold benefits for our enviornment. Today we focus so much on sustaining our enviornment but what if Bamboo could actually help us to restore it.

Bamboo Quick Facts:
  • Bamboo Can Be Harvested Annually And Grow Up To 3 Feet A Day

  • Bamboo Can Help Restore Soil

  • Eliminates Four Times As Much Carbon As Trees

  • Bamboo Can Be Grown Without Chemical Pesticides And Fertilizers

  • Bamboo Generates 35% More Oxygen Then Trees

  • Bamboo Helps Prevent Erosion


While this looks promising, the question we must ask is where is the myth? The truth is that planting fields of bamboo all over the world is not a viable option for improving our enviornment today. However if someone wanted to do their small part they could always buy the latest bamboo products ranging from hardwood flooring, tables and bicycles.


http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/bamboo.html?c=y&page=1


http://www.stopglobalwarming.org/sgw_partner.asp?501966


The Truth Behind Ethanol

With today's astronomical gas prices and increased fuel consumption we are all searching for answers that will not only ease or checkbooks but help protect the environment as well. Many different energy resources have been explored as alternative fuel sources including solar power, hydrogen and ethanol. However out of these three possibilities ethanol is one that we are all utilizing daily as our gasoline now contains 10% ethanol. While many believe ethanol is a benefit to our environment and a less expensive alternative they are mistaken.

There are a wide variety of problems with ethanol use.

1. Ethanol is less efficient than gasoline which means drivers are having to fill up their gas tanks more than ever.

2. Ethanol cannot be transported in traditional pipelines and must be transported by vehicles which are consuming more fuel and further polluting the environment while using more fuel.

3. The creation of ethanol is hurting our food supply driving up the cost of food for people and the animals we eat.

Even with all of its problems Congress continues to set its sight on increasing the use of ethanol and other bio-fuels in the United States. According to a Chicago Sun Times Article from 5/22/08, "...annual increases in the amount of bio fuels added to the fuel supply -- 9 billion gallons by the end of this year, increasing to 36 billion gallons by 2022..." are in store for our future.

http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_vehicles/fuel_economy/ethanol-frequently-asked-questions.html

http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/may2006/tc20060519_225336.htm

http://www.suntimes.com/business/964699,CST-FIN-ethanol22.article

Jeremiah
An article on Adweek.com featured a new marketing push by Wal-Mart in support of earth month. Evidently, the company that has become infamous for its poor treatment of its employees is focusing on going "green." The article outlined a campaign including TV, radio, internet, and a 16 page insert in May issues of general-interest magazines. The amount of spend was not disclosed, and no it is no wonder. Wal-Mart is probably spending upwards of several MILLION dollars advertising about how great they are, and their contributions to humanity! It is difficult to not be a LITTLE cynical about the company's attempts to restore its public image by jumping on the "greenwagon" to engender goodwill. One has to learn to filter out what is an earnest campaign for furthering a comany's sustainability, and what is simply a marketing ploy.

The article also talks about the company advertising its own line of eco-friendly products. This is where the marketing aspect of this strategy come in. Looking further into the history of this campaign, it seems that the only reason the ad agency came up with this outlook was because the National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus made a decision against a current campaign that was claiming a "$2,500 savings for families that shop Wal-Mart per year."

This is just an example of an instance where the consumer needs to decide for themselves what is genuine green behavior from a company, and what is not. The truth is, an informed consumer can really make a difference in the green market today. Consumers drive demand, and when consumer demand true sustainable practices, companies are going to have to listen to remain competitive. Do some research, and know who you're buying from!

A very helpful website for consumers to get the "inside scoop" on what is going on with companies, and their efforts towards sustainability is the website: http://www.environmentalleader.com/ . It features news, editorial, and sustainable business information that is objective, and can really help the consumer understand how business looks at sustainability.

Jihae Lim

HGTVpro.com: “Survey: Consumers willing to pay more for Green Products”

This article addresses a survey conducted by MarketTools, and looks at consumer buying behavior of green products.
Survey released on 4/14/08 (very recent)

- Stated that 7 out of 10 U.S. consumers are willing to pay a higher price for sustainable products. (that is 65%!)
- Consumers are savvier, and are beginning to understand and learn more about being environmentally friendly.
- The average consumer is willing to pay $8.30 more on a $100 item made using renewable resources.
- 28% of the U.S. overall state that environmental responsibility is important to them.
- 38, and 39% of Pacific NW and East South Central regions of the U.S. stated that environmental responsibility was important to them.
- Women are more environmentally responsible than men (86% said it was important)
- Income and age are not necessarily connected to reasons behind environmental responsibility, it is based more on individual choice and lifestyle.


It is encouraging to see that sustainability has entered the minds of the consumer as a factor in their purchasing decisions. There is a growing trend towards the "green" market, and this is something that should be fostered and developed by retailers in order to satisfy demand. Companies that are seeing the bigger picture are understanding now that by being proactive in their efforts towards sustainability, they are ensuring their competitive edge for the future.

Consumers - demand green products, and you shall receive! Remember that companies are driven by profit, and if they see profitability in sustainability we can all benefit! See green, Hear green, Buy green!

http://www.hgtvpro.com/hpro/nws_ind_nws_trends/article/0,2624,HPRO_26519_5847752,00.html

Jihae Lim

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Go Green! Recycle!

Americans are trashing recyclable goods daily. Read Trashing Goods. If Americans continue to throw away recyclable waste: paper, glass, plastic, and medals, our landfills will overflow and continue to cause environmental issues. Moving our trash from home to the landfill is not the answer. The only way to prevent harm to our environment is to recycle. Read Waste Solutions.

Lisa Patterson

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Can Small “Shantytowns” Help End the Homeless Problem with its Negative Environmental and Fiscal Effects?

The homeless problem in the United States and the world is growing. In fact, in every county of this country a minimum wage earner can’t afford a 2-bedroom apartment at the 30% income level for rent. The housing crisis is making things worse and we have homeless families living in cars and a drain on the welfare system. Worldwide most rivers will give you hepatitis and other diseases from improper disposal of waste. Squatters up and down waterways are an environmental hazard. This was the case around the Rio Grande until they organized some of the shantytowns called “colonias” all along the border (and yes, inside the U.S.), which is giving an example of an alternative to the welfare system, unaffordable housing, and tent cities. People get a small plot at an extremely reasonable price and start to help themselves by building a house and a better life. These places are not anarchically governed as some would expect but have community loan funds, strategic bridging organizations, and one often needs references to get in. Sure, the septic systems are often a cesspool but that beats spreading hepatitis at the riverbank. Now there is the composting toilet that can be built to large scale and is very clean—all you get is top soil out of it. We have neighborhood watches here but I imagine they step that up a couple of notches. They may use “social collateral”, where if you default on a loan you screw it up for 10 of your friends—unlike here where we think money grows on trees. People in the colonias also have "social capital" taking care of each other.
The U.S. government has hordes of public land and giving a few square miles to homeless people to start their own “individual asset accounts” and a modest cottage is a great way to get people out of the never-ending cycle of government assistance.
As for aesthetics, I have seen some in Mexico and I assure you there is a quality of the people and the place that is impressive (even with cardboard walls).
Let’s see what people think about this new economic solution to the homeless and check out the link below with comments and a place to put your own. Please don’t hit “submit” until you made yours and looked at the others.


Here is the survey link

David Best, PSU student

Link on Colonias

Link on affordable housing


Health Myths and Children!

Being Overweight is Genetic.
There are very few inherited conditions that cause a person to be overweight. If an entire family is overweight, it’s most likely that only the habits have been passed down through generations.

I’m not Athletic.
Experts suggest that a half-hour walk everyday is an effective part of getting fit. Think about getting your blood pumping.

Talking About Weight Encourages Eating Disorders.
Talking about the importance of physical health is important and fitness experts recommend being positive with your kids and talk about healthy lifestyles. The best way is to teach by example, and to put the emphasis on exercise – and not about food. Additionally, don’t let food be a reward or punishment. Reward with activities and more time together.

It’s Just Baby Fat.
If your child is obese before the age of six, the probability increases that he or she will be obese as an adult. Consult with your pediatrician about what a healthy height-weight ratio is, and if necessary, talk about sensible ways to take off weight. There are no quick fixes, just take it one day at a time.

Kids Should Not Snack Between Meals.
Nibbling on healthy items such as fruit or nuts can help prevent overeating during meal times. Play the portion-control game and learn more about nutrition at.

Limit Television/Computer Time.
Watching television and using the computer is a sedentary activity, alternate screen time with equal amounts of healthy exercise and encourage activities that include family and friends.

Give Your Kids Household Chores.
An activity that requires active movement and encourages teamwork not only gives kids the task of various “responsibility jobs,” but it also fosters the concept of working together to achieve smaller, short-term goals.

Set Homework Time for Early Evening.
Instead of immediately doing homework after school, allow some diversion time from the structure of the school day. Kids should be active after school and before dinner.

Choose Fitness-Oriented Gifts.
Items that encourage exercise and adds fun throughout the day, not only builds confidence, but is good incentive for activity. Jump rope, mini-trampoline, tennis rackets, baseball bats and balls, or a membership to the local YMCA builds skills and is a good place to meet friends.

For more information about exercise and nutrition, go to: cdc.gov/nutrition

Susan Keen


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Growing Problem of E-Waste


“The refuse from discarded electronics products, also known as e-waste, often ends up in landfills or incinerators instead of being recycled. And that means toxic substances like lead, cadmium and mercury that are commonly used in these products can contaminate the land, water and air.” (wired.com) 4.6 million tons entered U.S. landfills in one year alone. Some of the metal is removed and recycled but then we exploit poor in other countries to do the dirty work of removing the guts. The National Geographic states that: “Much of the waste ends up being discarded along rivers and roads. Often it's picked apart by destitute scavengers, who may face dangerous exposure to toxic chemicals in the broken equipment.”

Here is an interesting point from vital graphics: “The Computer Report Card says that some U.S. companies have a double standard when it comes to recycling. While some companies have implemented recycling policies in the European Union and Japan, where such programs are mandated, they've yet to do so in the United States.”

This is a real problem and we here at PSU would like your input. Take this quick survey with comments by others and see the results at the same time—but don’t hit “submit” until you see the results.

Here is the link

David Best-PSU student

More eco-bloggin

Since the start of my involvement with ecomerge, I've become more interested in other 'eco' blogs out there...and let me tell you, there are a LOT. One of my favorites is ecofabulous. It's a bay area based blog that discusses sustainable trends in fashion and design. Lots of cool products, gizmos, etc. that have an eco-friendly slant to them.

http://ecofabulous.blogs.com/

Another interesting site is ecochic (www.theecochic.com), which is essentially a general blog from the perspective of someone who is very sustainably minded. She details her daily activities and incorporates a green slant.

Finally, I want to point out www.urbanecoinc.com. This site has the following mission statement:

Founded in 2005, Urban Eco is dedicated to providing information, advice and products to urbanites interested in sustainable living. We believe that by creating opportunities for our fellow city dwellers to reduce their ecological footprint we can better our community for our friends, our neighbors and our children.

For those of us that live in the city, it has some great products, insights and suggestions.

Happy reading :)

~ Jason Oliver


Time to Invest in Deconstruction Companies?


There is a fairly new capstone here at PSU called “Deconstruction” and its time is overdue because I have personally seen a house destroyed with two dump trucks and an excavator; saving nothing. In other words all wiring, plumbing, large timbers, reusable masonry was all gone to a landfill—not to mention the mercury and other hazardous wastes. There is now a new economic niche for this kind of thing like the “Deconstruction Institute”; that’s does a fine job at consulting some of this new technology. However, this is not entirely new as even here in Portland the “City Repair” has the “Village Convergence Alliance” (I think I remember the term), which was into the same thing. Have you heard of “Urbanite”? All it consists of is broken up concrete, but I was in a project that made a beautiful building of it (although small). I have a steep driveway and would love for a few truckloads to just dump it off there.


Deconstruction isn’t all that limited anymore as you can see from this photo from the Deconstruction institute witnessing “R. Baker & Son All Industrial Services, Inc. doing a large commercial building. I have seen the basement of a 15 story building in San Francisco that had many and huge wooden timbers (and yes, they held up the building) and it would be a crime to waste them.


I think part of the problem is tradition (“just get it out of here!) and ignorance.There is money to be saved in these other recycled materials just like there has always been with copper wire. Some websites are designed to help streamline and make efficient time and labor costs like metrokc.gov. We need to let people know by word of mouth, green building construction, and maybe with the high cost of trucking now builders will look more for deconstruction firms.

David Best, PSU student

Monday, May 19, 2008

Help Stop Trashing Our Beaches and Oceans

Annual Oregon Beach Cleanup nets 110,00 Pounds of Trash in Beach Cleanup (kgn.com)


Did you know most of the trash on beaches is not local but from ships and super ships far out at sea. They still think the ocean is one big dumping ground because they are in international waters with little law and order. The trouble is they don’t break glass or throw steel that floats to the bottom but rather toss everything—especially plastics.There is now so much garbage out there that mindfully.org calls one place “the eastern garbage patch”—the size of Texas off the west coast. Plastic does disintegrate into smaller particles but is hardly gone. Basically this alters the ecosystem for different species and most likely creates those “dead zones” we hear of. “Science Daily” also says “marine pollution is linked to cancer and lung disease “. Here an animal actually died eating plastic: Courtesy: Trashed.








Massive environmental cleanup is not a good option for the taxpayer (like the Hartford cleanup) or anyone so why don’t we start new by making these ships store their trash if they want to do business with the western world.
One container in a large ship that holds hundreds and hundreds of them is all it needs for their trash need, especially if it has a compactor.


A couple thousand dollars can buy one from buyerzone but the ships that come here simple have to keep one empty one usually, or one on a return trip. So it costs nothing except a little manpower throwing garbage in the container.

Enforcement is simple:

1.The pilot makes inspection before port—they better have a container of plastics and hazardous wastes.

2.Companies that don’t comply will also don’t sell any their products here.

3.Very small ships are exempt.

Let’s start complaining:

Unfortunately the US lags behind the rest of the world in this kind of prevention. (Probably to keep the economy going at all cost, and giving us cheap products from overseas)

1. Write your representatives in California, Oregon, and Washington.

2. The White House: Please send your comments to comments@whitehouse.gov. Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House cannot respond to every message. For further up-to-date information on Presidential initiatives, current events, and topics of interest to you, please continue to use the White House website.

David Best--PSU Student


Saturday, May 17, 2008

Teach Today, Preserve Tomorrow: Ecological Ideas for Kids

Ecological importance can be taught in the classroom. Preserving our earth begins with education. Teacher's can teach their students how to conserve the earth's ecosystems, habitats, and species with the scientific lessons plans provided by the Teacher's Table website. Click the link below for great elementary conservation lessons.

Vampire energy?

Have you ever considered how much money and energy is wasted on 'vampire energy'? That is to say, products that continue to suck energy even when they are seemingly turned off?

Lot's of household items fall into this category...for example; you know those little clocks on your dvd player or cable box when they're 'turned off'? For decades it was thought that magical power fairies kept those lit, but it turns out, it's electricity. There are countless articles on vampire power. The link below has some good tips on keeping your wallet fat and your energy bill skinny.


~ Jason Oliver

What are you doing?

What are you doing to support sustainability in your home, school, office, community, etc?

Lately, I've tried to concentrate on making at least one change at home and at work that effects positive change, even if that change is perceivably small. And to further that change, I'm encouraging my family and co-workers to do the same!

At work, I've joined the employee wellness and 'green team' groups. Through these groups, I'm able to help implement policies that will be used company wide.

(see link for sustainable Oregon business practices)
http://www.portlandonline.com/osd/index.cfm?c=41455

On the home front, we've turned down our hot water heater and, since the weather is heating up, we're closing the windows and blinds down to reduce the amount of energy that is used by the AC.

Seemingly small things, but on large scale, they can make an impact.

~ Jason Oliver

Friday, May 16, 2008

Taking Care of Our Earth

Learning about our earth and how to take care of its environment can be fun. DLTK has several earth day activities. Educators and parents can implement these ideas so the children of today will understand why sustainability is significant. Children will have fun when learning how to sing songs and play games that relate to our earth. Please, click the link below, then explore all the fun possibilities your children will have.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

PSU Recycles!

PSU Recycles! is a team within Facilities & Planning that services over 50 buildings on the Portland State University Campus and continues to.

PSU Recycles! is dedicated to creating a sustainable campus by reducing waste, expanding recycling opportunities, and increasing campus recycling and composting rates. During 2006,

PSU Recycles! was responsible for successfully diverting from landfills over 500 tons of paper; 30 tons of plastic, glass, and aluminum; 200 tons of materials such as Styrofoam, scrap metal, and yard and food composting.

PSU maintained an average recycling rate of 29.33%.

For more information, log into website: http://www.pdx.edu/sustainability/psu_recycles.html

--Susan Keen

The Effects of Nitrogen in our Atmosphere

Molecular nitrogen is the principal constituent of the atmosphere (78 percent by volume of dry air), in which its concentration is a result of the balance between the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen by bacterial, electrical (lightening), and chemical (industrial) action, and it’s liberation through the decomposition of organic materials by bacteria or combustion. In the combined state, nitrogen occurs in a variety of forms. It is a constituent of all proteins (both plant and animal) as well as of many other organic materials. Its chief mineral source is sodium nitrate. The methods for the preparation of elementary nitrogen may be grouped into two classes, separation from the atmosphere and decomposition of nitrogen compounds. The industrial method for the production of nitrogen is the fractional distillation of liquid air. Nitrogen containing about 1 percent argon and traces of other inert gases may be obtained by the chemical removal of oxygen reagents. Because the importance of nitrogen compounds in agriculture and chemical industry, much of the industrial interest in elementary nitrogen has been in processes for converting elemental nitrogen into nitrogen compounds. The principal methods for doing this are the Haber process for the direct synthesis of ammonia from nitrogen and hydrogen, the electric are process, which involves the direct combination of N2 and O2 to nitric oxide, and the cyanamide process. Nitrogen is also used for filling bulbs of incandescent lamps and, in general, wherever a relatively insert atmosphere is required.

--Susan Keen

Vegetation Mapping

Vegetation is one of the most conspicuous and characteristic features of the landscape and has long been a convenient way to distinguish different regions; maps of ecosystems and biomes have been mainly vegetation maps. As pressure on the Earth’s natural resources grows and as natural ecosystems are increasingly disturbed, degraded, and in some cases replaced completely, the mapping of vegetation and ecosystems, at all scales and by various methods, has become more important.

Mapping has expanded to involve other aspects of vegetation and ecosystems as well as new methodologies for map production. Functional processes such as primary production, decomposition rates, and climatic correlates (such as evapotranspiration) have been estimated for enough sites so that world maps can be generated. Structural aspects of ecosystems, such as total standing biomass or estimated for enough sites so that world maps can be generated. Structural aspects of ecosystems, such as total standing biomass or potential litter accumulations, are also being estimated and mapped. Quantitative maps of these processes or accumulations can be analyzed geographically to provide first estimates of important aspects of world biogeochemical budgets and resource potentials.

Three approaches have arisen for mapping general vegetation patterns.

· Based on vegetation structure or gross physiognomy;
· Based on correlated environmental patterns; and,
· Based on important floristic taxa.

The environmental approach provides the least information about the actual vegetation but succeeds in covering regions where the vegetation is poorly understood. Most modern classification systems use a combination of physiognomic and floristic characters.


--Susan Keen

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Educational Literacy on Recycling

Saving our earth today begins with teaching our children the importance of recycling at home and at school. Children will benefit when learning how everyday items such as: glass, paper, and plastic improve our environment when recycled. Check out your local city or school library for books on how to implement caring for the land we live on. The list of books below is a fantastic way to introduce sustainability.

"Don’t throw it out: [recycle, renew, and reuse to make things last]"
...Author: Lori Baird.
"Earth Day-hooray"
...Author: Stuart J. Murphy
"50 simple things kids can do to recycle"
...Author: The Earth Works Group.
"Go green; how to build an earth-friendly community"
...Author: Nancy H. Taylor.
"Martin Bridge in high gear"
...Author: Jessica Scott Kerrin.
"Mr. Garbage"
...Author: William H. Hooks.
"Recycle every day!"
...Author: Nancy Elizabeth Wallace.
"Recycling: learning the four R’. reduce, reuse, recycle, recover"
...Author: Martin J. Gutnik.
"Recycled songs"
...Author: Don Cooper
"Tin can papermaking: recycle for earth and art"
...Author: Arnold E. Grummer.
"The great trash bash"
...Author: Loreen Leedy.
"Waste not: time to recycle"
...Author: Rebecca Weber.

Lisa Patterson

Save our Earth

Garbage is destroying our environment.
Paper and plastic sit in our landfills,
they do not decompose.



The fate of our world is in the hands of humanity. Today’s ecological problems need economic solutions. Bagging consumer products with plastic or paper is not a resolution that betters our earth’s environment. Both products use mass amounts of petroleum to produce and neither are biodegradable. When bags are no longer reusable, their new home becomes our landfills. Plastic and paper bags take up an enormous amount of space in our landfills. The consumer pays millions yearly to store their own waste and natural habitats are being destroyed. We as a community need to alter how we bag our products. Implementing sustainability can be improved when the consumer implements reusable bags. Let’s save our planet, 1bagatatime. For more information, click the link below.


Lisa Patterson

Shave Time off your Showers

Making yourself aware of how long you’ve been in the shower can make a difference of several dozen gallons of water (old showerheads can use 5 gallons per minute or more). --Susan Keen

Fool the Toilet

If installing a new low-flow toilet isn’t in your budget, try this old school method of saving water: fill up a 2-liter soda bottle with water and put it in your toilet tank. It displaces 2 liters of water and put it in your toilet tank. It displaces 2 liters of water; which means you save a 2 liters every time you flush. --Susan Keen

Aerate your Water

Aerated faucets and showerheads mix water with air, reducing your water usage by as much as 70 percent. New technology has greatly improved. --Susan Keen

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

EPA for Kids

The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has a “Kid’s Page” dedicated to informing kids about their world. This website is a great source of valuable information, as well as fun games and activities that really get kids involved in thinking about their environment. This website also allows kids to email questions to the site. Some of the topics that are addressed are “Garbage & Recycling”, “Plants & Animals”, and “You & Your Environment”. This site is a great way to get your family involved in issues that are important to everyone.
Visit: http://www.epa.gov/kids/index.htm
-Melinda Dumas

ProtectingOurEnvironment.com

I found a website called “Protecting our Environment”. It is a great site that has many articles that pertain to our mission. Combined with beautiful graphics, this information is very helpful and easy to understand. Some of the articles cover subjects such as: “Eco-friendly Cleaning Products”, “Fun Eco-Travel Ideas for Summer”, and “Why Eat Organic”. Also I found very relative articles on issues that involve both the environment and economy. Check it out at http://protectingourenvironment.com.
-Melinda Dumas

6 Myths that won’t Die

Science now says the following examples of familiar food lore, are more myth than fact:

1. ALL TEA IS THE SAME. Bottled and instant teas are very low in antioxidants, reports the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In order to get disease fighting amounts of tea’s potent antioxidant, EGCG, you must drink brewed green tea or take an EGCG supplement.

2. RAW IS MORE NUTRITIOUS. In fact, cooking vegetables often releases nutrients, such as beta carotene. And flash-freezing fruits and vegetables quickly after harvest retains nutrients, while shipping and storing fresh produce drains nutrients. Surprisingly, canned tomato sauce and paste have more lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, than fresh tomatoes.

3. BAGELS ARE HEALTH FOOD. Just the opposite. Most bagels are made from processed white flour, are low in fiber and have a high glycemic index, causing them to spike blood sugar and tying them to weight gain and problems such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Better bread: whole grain or sourdough.

4. COFFEE AND CAFFEINE ARE HARMFUL. Moderate amounts are safe and often beneficial, Harvard research says. Coffee may cut the risk of type 2 diabetes, gallstones, colon cancer, liver damage and Parkinson’s disease; it also may boost cognitive function. But, in some, coffee can increase headaches, anxiety and heart problems, so follow your doctor’s advice.

5. USE NO-FAT SALAD DRESSING. Without fat, your body can’t absorb needed nutrients in toppings such as tomatoes and carrots. Douse salad with a little extra-virgin olive oil or add cheese, nuts or avocado.

6. EGGS ARE DANGEROUS. Studies show that egg yolks do not significantly raise blood cholesterol, and they’re packed with choline, which is vital for brain development.

--Susan Keen with permission from the original author, Jean Carper, EatSmart, ThinkSmart at jeancarper.com.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Just a Little Piece of the World

It takes so much funding to clean up messes from the past as well as messes companies and individuals are making today.Here is just ane exampl of the disaterous consequences of so-called progression.

CLARK FORK RIVER SITE
ARCO to pay $187m for Montana Superfund cleanup
A consent decree filed Thursday with the Federal District Court of Montana will allocate $187 million to clean up heavy metals sediment along the Milltown Reservoir/Clark Fork River Superfund site.

Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Friday , 08 Feb 2008

RENO, NV -

Local Montana officials applauded the announcement by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice that Atlantic Richfield had agreed to a consent decree requiring ARCO pay $187 million to finance major cleanup along the Clark Fork River and other areas in southwestern Montana.

The State of Montana will be the lead government agency conducting the clean up of decades of mining activity in Butte and Anaconda, which contaminated the sediment, banks and floodplain of the Clark Fork with heavy metals.

The work will include extensive revegetation of stream banks and removal of areas devoid of vegetation contaminated with mine tailings. Contingency plans in the settlement

As the responsible party, BP subsidiary ARCO will pay EPA and the State of Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) $83.3 million to remedy the Clark Fork River/Milltown Reservoir Superfund site, as well as pay $11.7 million in interest. Contingency plans are in place for additional funding if the amount agreed upon is not sufficient. ARCO will also pay $26.72 million, plus interest, to the State for Clark Fork Site Restoration Work, and $4.75 million to the U.S. Department of the Interior for past costs and additional restoration activities at the Superfund site.

The anticipated start of full-scale cleanup is scheduled to begin next year, and is anticipated to take 10 to 12 years.

The Superfund site is a 120-mile stretch of river that runs from Warm Springs, Montana, to Missoula, Montana, and is contaminated with mines wastes from upstream Butte and Anaconda sources.

Butte's Planning Director Jon Sesso told a Montana television station that the millions of dollars from the consent decree won't be sufficient to return Silver Bow Creek or surrounding lands to their original pre-mining state, but he does feel it is enough to make local water and oil safe.

Sesso noted that, when added to previous settlements, more than $1 billion will be spent on local clean up efforts from the Berkley Pit to the Milltown dam. He added that the settlement gives Butte officials the power to set cleanup priorities and decide how some of the money will be spent.

Anaconda Chief Executive Rebecca Guay said she hopes to secure a new drinking water source for the community.

For more information, go to the website www.epa.gov/region08/superfund/mt/milltowncfr/cfr/

POSTED BY JULIE SWAIN

The Truth About Organic Food...

Here are some Organic Food Videos that parody the 'Star Wars' movies. I thought it would be fun to post these because it gives a little entertainment to educating people about organic food versus non organic.



and here is a video from the UK that explores what organic really means.




posted by Jessica L.

Bag the bag...






Posted by Jessica L.

Green Vouchers for Schools-Australia

The National Solar Schools Program is on the way
The Australian Government is committed to helping our schools take practical action to tackle climate change and conserve our precious water supplies. In keeping with this commitment, the Government is intoducing a new more flexible initiative that will replace the current Green Vouchers for Schools Program.

Under the new National Solar Schools Program, every school in Australia is eligible to apply for grants of up to $50,000 to install 2 kilowatt solar panels and a range of energy and water efficiency measures, such as:

lighting upgrades
sky lights
shade awnings
solar hot water systems, and
rainwater tanks
This new program allows schools to choose the most effective way to meet their energy and water efficiency goals.

The new National Solar Schools Program will be in place from 1 July 2008.

The National Solar Schools Program will help Australian schools take practical action over the next
eight years to tackle climate change as part of the government’s Solar Schools – Solar Homes
Plan. The program is expected to be launched in July 2008.
The National Solar Schools Program will offer grants of up to
• $20,000 for solar technology and to support the installation of 2kW solar panels; and
• $30,000 to invest in any combination of solar hot water systems, rainwater tanks, and
passive solar innovations such as sky lights, shade awnings, lighting upgrades, extended
solar power systems or other energy efficiency measures.
The maximum amount any school can claim under the National Solar Schools Program is $50,000.
The amount of funding a school is eligible for will be reduced by the full amount of any claim made
under the Green Vouchers for Schools Program.
Projects funded under the National Solar Schools Program must meet certain requirements
• The works must be carried out at a clearly defined school site.
• The supply and installation of any photovoltaic system must be done by an accredited
renewable energy designer/installer
• All works must be completed by a suitably qualified person and installed according to
relevant Australian Standards.
• The cost of on-ground works must be related to the installation of eligible items
• All the necessary Federal, State and local government regulations must be met and
approvals obtained.
It is anticipated that schools will complete their projects within six months of receiving funding.
Schools will need to carefully research options to ensure they get the best value out of their
National Solar Schools Program funding. This may include conducting an energy and water use
efficiency audit at the planning stage and contacting an accredited designer/installer to discuss the
best solar system options, and the best combination of energy and water efficiency improvements.
See attached list of eligible items and conditions


Posted by: Julie Swain

Create a Habitat Garden

Animals are on the move now because they are losing their habitate. Providing food, water, and shelter attracts a variety of creatures. You can even register your backyard as a wildlife habitat with the National Wildlife Federation (nwf.org/backyard). --Susan Keen

Use Efficient Lighting

Lighting is responsible for a sizeable chunk of all the energy used in the United States, partially because of the air conditioning needed to counteract the heat coming from bulbs. Using efficient lighting also decreases Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). If your feeling bluesy, turn on all the lights to lift your mood, but make sure to use efficient lighting. --Susan Keen

Cook from Scratch

Even though microwaves are more energy-efficient than regular ovens, a frozen microwavable meal comes from the store already dripping with energy waste. All the energy it takes to prepare, pre-cook, package and transport the frozen dinners more than negates anything you’d save in the microwave. --Susan Keen

Friday, May 9, 2008

Dr. Greg's "One Thing"

Hi all,

If you're reading this, you may be familiar with the "one thing" campaign, with the goal of everyone doing one thing in order to help the environment. Well, our goal is to not only discover ways to improve our ecosystem, but we want to do it in an economical way...and bust some eco-myths along the way.

The following link is a video to "Dr. Greg's One Thing" series on YouTube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtmuMd0NV-Q

Dr. Greg offers ideas that are simple to incorporate, and if enough people get involved, can make a big impact. The myth today? That the big-box stores (and the absurdly large packaging that they often use) is really the best value.

- Jason Oliver

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Making Better Choices

According to Consumer Reports and GreenerChoices.org there are many ways to help the environment. Below are their 18 quick tips on how to lower your carbon emissions.

1. Switch to green power
2. Seal and insulate duct system
3. Drive a fuel-efficient car
4. Replace an old hot water heater
5. Control heating temperatures
6. Choose an energy-efficient central air conditioner
7. Reduce driving speed and drive evenly
8. Control your hot water heater temperature
9. Tune up and maintain your car
10. Put your computer to sleep
11. Replace 5 regular bulbs with compact fluorescents
12. Carpool or telecommute to work
13. Control air conditioning temperatures
14. Choose an energy-efficient washing machine
15. Combine errands or ride your bike instead of driving
16. Pump up your tires
17. Choose an energy-efficient room air conditioner
18. Choose an energy-efficient refrigerator

Visit http://www.greenerchoices.org/globalwarmingsavecarbon.cfm to find out why these work and what else you can do in the fight for our environment.

-Melinda Dumas

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Time Magazine's "Top 15 Green Websites" - Planet Ark

planetark.com presents itself as “your daily guide to helping the planet.” It gives practical applications that individuals can use to improve the environmental issues that the public can utilize in their daily lives. The website also develops and implements environmental campaigns and initiatives that present these issues in a way that is marketable and relevant to the public. It is easily navigated, and the links are informative and useful. To visit a website whose goal is to get the community involved in the fight to reduce each person’s impact on the environment, visit: http://www.planetark.com.
- Jihae

Time Magazine's "Top 15 Green Websites" - World Changing

Worldchanging.com is an online magazine that focuses on bringing the most current tools, resources, and solutions to one website to aid in the understanding of the ever evolving world of ‘green’ development. The company has over 50 writers from around the world, and is therefore able to present a global view of sustainability and gives real world solutions to becoming green. The website focuses on changing the way the world thinks about ‘green’ development, and creating a positive focus on the tools and resources being developed to sustain it. The site is well organized, and expresses information in clear and simple language that everyone can understand. To see a collaborative collection of all aspects of the ‘green’ movement, go to: http://www.worldchanging.com.
- Jihae

Time Magazines "Top 15 Green Websites" - Climate Progress

ClimateProgress.org is a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. The site pulls current events/news from the media, and analyzes it from an unbiased perspective. This means that at times there are both criticisms and support presented to the public in an effort to expose the real truth. Posts are up to date, and the format of the website easy to navigate. The site covers a broad range of environmental issues; with postings categorized into: Climate Progress, Economics, Extreme Weather, Humor, International, Media, Offsets, Politics, Science, and Solutions. The website’s tagline claims it is:” An Insider’s view of climate science, politics, and solutions,” and we agree. To get the inside scoop, check out: http://climateprogress.org .
-Jihae

Have We All Been Greenwashed?

I found this article interesting. I always criticize the marketing of companies. It seems as if the company wanted to contribute to "the green project, they wouldn't keep making their original environmental hazardous product. Just my opinion.
We've all been greenwashed with enviro-guilt
Lauren Pelley
Printer-friendly version
Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Listen up, tree-huggers! If you have ever bought an environmentally friendly product, chances are you have been greenwashed.
New research from Ottawa-based marketing firm TerraChoice found 99 per cent of items it researched were guilty of greenwashing — the act of misleading consumers about a product’s environmental benefits.
TerraChoice looked at over 1,000 common products with various green claims, many of which were found to be irrelevant, misleading or completely false.
Recently, Vancouver yoga attire chain Lululemon Athletica was caught greenwashing, as its line of seaweed-infused clothing made of VitaSea fabric was found to falsely claim a variety of health benefits.
The federal government’s Competition Bureau investigated Lululemon’s claims of therapeutic benefits in its VitaSea clothing, such as making a wearer’s skin feel smooth and dry.
Larry Bryenton, acting assistant deputy commissioner at the Competition Bureau, said the yoga chain had nothing on which to base its claims.
“[Lululemon] agreed to withdraw the claims immediately,” Bryenton said, adding Lululemon was very positive and quick to resolve the issue.
It has removed the tags with the claims or placed stickers over them until it can prove the claim scientifically.
According to TerraChoice president Scott McDougall, Lululemon’s problem is the “Sin of No Proof,” one of six “Sins of Greenwashing” identified by TerraChoice.
The six Sins also include hidden trade-offs, vagueness, irrelevance, the lesser of two evils and fibbing.
While McDougall said the sins were just a cute way to organize TerraChoice’s findings, he added they are tools for consumers to scrutinize what they’re being offered.
“We’re not alleging these products may not be greener in some way or might not live up to the commitments made in the marketing,” McDougall said.
“We’re studying the marketing itself, not the product ... [and many] claims are not wholly transparent or clear.”
However, he noted many products on the market are genuinely green, such as those certified by the government’s Eco Logo program.
Bryenton assured, “We’re aware of companies making representations in the marketplace and we’re monitoring them like other consumer issues out there,” he added.
First-year social science student Brodie Townley, a purchaser of biodegradable goods, said greenwashing manipulates consumers.
“It’s not a good start to how we’re trying to get more green,” Townley added.
Rachel Krahn, a second-year history student, said these practices happen all of the time.
“I’m wary of advertising to begin with,” Krahn said.

http://www.gazette.uwo.ca/article.cfm?section=FrontPage&articleID=1121&month=11&day=27&year=2007

Julie Swain

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Which is Better: Plastic or Paper? Neither!

Plastic and paper bags consume enormous amounts of energy. Over eight thousands barrels of oil are required to produce one hundred million plastic bags, for paper, double the oil amount. Utilizing these two items to bag our groceries and personal needs should not be implement. Best bet solution, reusable shopping bags. Please read more, click the link below.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Time Magazine’s “Top 15 Green Websites”—Climate Change

The Guardian newspaper was founded in 1821 in Manchester, England, and claims to have a “long history of editorial and political independence”. “Climate Change” is part of their environmental information on the web and has companion categories of: “Carbon Footprints”, “Carbon Emissions” and “Fossil Fuels”—among others. It’s a great site for things that affect our air quality—short and long term—and the policy that gets debated because of this. For example, they had a news article on a California judge giving Bush 16 days to determine if the Polar Bear should be listed as endangered. You can calculate your carbon footprints if you live in England and many of the articles are naturally about the UK. It has some interesting things and refreshing journalism from across the Atlantic.

Iceland's geothermal energy:
Courtesy: Climate Change
Photograph: Paul A. Souders/Corbis


VOTE !!


Jimmy Buffet for President - don't forget to vote!!
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

Endorsed by: Susan Keen

Time Magazine's "Top 15 Green Websites" - ClimateEthics

Climateethics.org is a philosophical approach to our ethical responsibilities in our changing climate. This site deals with the science and the policy regarding climate change. This website also is a very academic approach to our environment and provides links to many great resources. A recent article was entitled “Local and Regional Governments’ Ethical Responsibility to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: the Case of Pennsylvania”. Visit this website at http://climateethics.org/.
-Melinda Dumas

Time Magazine's "Top 15 Green Websites" - Switchboard.nrdc

Switchboard.nrdc.org is a professional looking “open” blog working to tackle current environmental issues such as “curbing pollution”, “environmental justice”, “green enterprise”, “greening China”, “health and environment”, and many more contemporary issues. The major contributors are professionals living in the Washington D.C. and New York area. I found their links page very useful, bringing me to many great resources and debates on today’s fight for an environmentally sound earth. You can check out their blog at http://switchboard.nrdc.org/.
-Melinda Dumas

Time Magazine's "Top 15 Green Websites" - Mongabay

Mongabay.com is a beautifully put together website, founded and ran by Rhett Bulter, an avid protector of the world’s rainforests. This website supports the protection and preservation of wildlife and wild lands in the world. It explores serious issues of globalization, development and the deteriorating effect they have on our ecosystem. The website is fully self supported and is covered in wonderful photos from around the world, also produced by Rhett Bulter. This website allows you to see what is worth saving in our world, making your choices personal. This is an excerpt from a recent article, “The Southern forests of North America supply 60% of US and 15% of global paper demands. Deforestation for wood and paper products, along with urban sprawl, has resulted in a total decline from 356 million acres in colonial times to 182 million acres today”. If you would like to read more, visit http://www.mongabay.com/.
-Melinda Dumas

Time Magazine's "Top 15 Green Websites" - Ecorazzi

Ecorazzi.com, “The latest in green gossip”, is a new approach to living green. This website dishes out the latest in celebrities going green. Vibrant colors, appealing catch phrases, and celebrity photos hold onto the reader's interest as well as promotes the current “green” fads. A recent article entitled, “Mariah Carey gets a Recycled Engagement Ring. We say AWESOME”. So if environmentally friendly celebs are your thing, check out http://www.ecorazzi.com/.
-Melinda Dumas