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Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

World Economic Forum in Africa 2008 – Cast Your Vote Now

In Africa, Environment, Human Condition and Treatment, Third World Business on May 29, 2008 at 4:16 am

If you have a point of view or perspective on what is imporant for Africa’s future or what should be the focus, cast your vote on this exciting interactive feature.  More on this later… but cast your vote.

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Elephant Dung, Opium and The Hood

In Environment, mindset 3.0 on November 19, 2007 at 5:45 am

This is my last post for the week as I will be taking off for the holidays.  What’s important here is the innovation and the thinking that goes into the products shown on the video.  What’s more, these are people of color making this happen across the globe, the examples will take you from Los Angeles to Sri Lanka.

 My charge to all of you is to visit these some of these sites.  For the elephant dung paper, visit www.ecomaximus.com to see the process in action.  Or, visit www.buychange.com to make a purchase.  I will bring to you more opportunities for global innovators who don’t want handouts, but a chance to bring their products to the world. 

China Second Only to US in Environmental Damage

In carbon emissions, China, Environment, greenhouse gases on June 16, 2007 at 3:58 am

This is a vicious cycle of greed, gluttony and lack of respect for the environment and the future. Let’s make it real simple: China’s economy is bursting at the seems because Americans love low priced goods. To keep pace with demand, China continues to cut corners in terms of protecting the environment. The U.S. has a similar position regarding the environment since they are number one in further damaging the environment. So what’s a suburban family to do, with Wal-Mart only a quarter mile or less from your home? What would be the economic impact? What would be the social impact? What would be the environmental impact? Are we willing to pay more for products shipped from China if they (the Chinese government) have a change of heart?  The people of China do care about their environment as evidence by the video.  Check it out.

Climate Change Opinion – Do People Really Care

In carbon emissions, climate change, commute, Environment, greenhouse gases, hybrid vehicles on June 10, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Climate change will take a long time for people to embrace fully, but especially so in developed countries and more precisely the United States. Now, to be sure, I’ve lived in Houston since 2001, so my perspective is likely a bit skewed, but here are my reasons why most people in the United States do not embrace climate change fully:

  1. Human Behavior
  2. Cost
  3. No consequence for not changing behaviors
  4. Corporate infrastructure and manufacturing processes are cost prohibitive to change
  5. Most people simply don’t care in the United States

Human Behavior

Most Americans are lazy! Here’s an example to support this, on the weekends in Paris a family may walk 1-3 miles together to enjoy a day together or to have a picnic. Here, you would be hard pressed to find a group who will regularly walk 2-3 blocks for lunch. Yet, I often see people ordering Diet beverages only to bring back desert to snack at their desk in their sedentary position. I could say more, but you get the idea, but changing this mindset and engrained behaviors is hard for most people.

Cost

I want to buy a Toyota Prius, which is the hot new hybrid vehicle. Now, my buddies with large SUVs and high-performance sports cars would probably tease me about this, but they are too damn expensive. More importantly, though is that they are too expensive for the average family whose median income is around $48,000 a year or so. The value proposition is not compelling enough for people to switch. You almost get this sense that gas prices will stabilize till US automakers can catch up to the Japanese automakers to provide a more affordable option.

No Consequence for Not Changing Behavior

Simply put, people don’t feel enough pain to do things differently. My wife is a huge recycler, and our trash is now down to one bag as a result, so now I have don’t have to lug that huge can down to the curb–thanks honey. Since we try to budget things, her trips to visit her friend for play dates are much less frequent; mind you, this trip is roughly 1 hour each way an consumes a half a tank of gas once the trip is over; that’s an expensive play date. So, now they travel their once per month.

Cost Prohibitive for Corporations and Manufacturing

The road to change is not easy to be sure, but it can be done. I will simply refer you to a company that exemplifies the 3.0 Mindset. They are Interface, Inc. located in Georgia. Once you read about them and see their video, write back to share your perspectives.

Most People in the United States Simply Don’t Care

Yes, this is true. Now, I have lived in Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Tiburon California (just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco), San Diego, Des Moines Iowa and Nashville (my hometown). From what I can surmise is this: it depends on how you are raised and what you learn about the environment. For example, in Texas if you have an F-150 or even better an F-250 for increased towing capacity, you don’t worry about climate change. But also, many of the jobs here (in Houston that is) that are some of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gases, also provide for families. Entire ecosystems of business would shut down, if companies were forced to comply with hard-line carbon emissions limits. The result, job loss, economic hardship for what (climate change) is perceived to be the domain of the idle rich or “tree huggers” from the Northwest.

So what could happen? What if Jay-Z or Lil Wayne started driving Prius and made an announcement that they were eliminating the millions of dollars in automobiles that litter their garage and driveway? What if influential celebrities like Paris Hilton walked the proverbial climate change talk by driving a Ford Escape Hybrid rather than continuously wrecking gas guzzling $150,000 automobiles like they and disposing of them like panty hose with a run? So, when influencers of popular culture change and show that it is cool to protect our atmosphere just maybe, there is a glimmer of hope here in the U.S. for change.

Paris Hilton Could Impact Lives in India

In Environment, Hot Third World Products, Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0 on June 4, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Seem like an odd title, but after she gets out of jail and see how the other half lives, a terrific way to support global sustainability is to wear it.  By this, Paris should endorse this great company based in India to make a fashion statement that she means business about the environment. We will be in touch with her representatives over the next several weeks to see what we can come up with.  I could see her wearing this bag for a night out.  Trends start because something is cool, typically worn by a famous celebrity.  Hollywood stars can afford to drive $450,000 automobiles, but many of them are choosing to drive a $23,000 Prius.   So, Paris can start by ordering the handbag or shoes we show below. 

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This bag represents the ultimate in promoting environment sustainability, while adding economic value to the lives of women in India who face social injustice each day.  To be clear, these items are made from recycled polythene bags!  Yes, those flimsy bags you get at most grocery stores, assuming you don’t ask for paper.  CONSERVE, a non-profit organisation, using a blend of creativity, design & innovation have turned, what was once a dull environmental hazard, into a clean, funky and fashionable material, from which have been crafted a range of appealing handbags and fashion accessories.

The company doesn’t stop there.  With the support of the Asian Development Bank, we are currently working on a project to generate income, through the production of this material, for the less advantaged communities in Delhi.

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What State Leads the United States in Carbon Emissions?

In carbon emissions, Environment, greenhouse gases on June 3, 2007 at 2:07 am

The state in which I live is the largest producer of greenhouse gases in the United States.   My current state emits more greenhouse cases than California and Pennsylvania combined.  Can you name the state? Before, you click the link, share your answer.  For more on the answer continue on.

Could You Live without Sushi in New York City

In Environment, Overfishing, Sustainability on May 14, 2007 at 12:32 am

52% of fish stocks are fully exploited, which means that they are being fished at their maximum biological capacity. 24% are over exploited, depleted or recovering from depletion. 21% are moderately exploited. Is this similar to “global warming” where it is far enough in the future to not care today? Or is it even more compelling to start doing something now?

 

The diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. The diets of 2.6 billion people depend on fish as a source of animal protein. Only 3% of the world’s fish stocks are underexploited. 200 million people world-wide earn all or part of their income thanks to fishing and related activities. Do you care about this? Do you believe this is worth a discussion? What do you think?

 

Mindset 3.0 Changing How We Think About the Environment

In carbon emissions, commute, Environment, hybrid vehicles, mindset 3.0 on May 3, 2007 at 2:59 pm

I have a complaint–actually more of a beef! There are a number of significant reports that have come out recently discussing climate change, global warming, carbon emissions and the like. My beef is this: can anyone other than people making greater than six figures really “afford” to be concerned about this?

I once lived in an area just across the Golden Gate Bridge called Tiburon, just north of San Francisco. I would notice the cost of housing in the Bay area as this was weekly fodder for my then girlfriend and now wife and I to discuss. What became apparent to me is that the women and men, who perform services in the city, typically have to commute exceedingly long distances in excess of 25-30 miles and often greater than this. So, how do they get to work each day? Drive, of course. But that is just the beginning of the problem for many. The maintenance of a car, the high price of gas, the stress of driving, it all adds up.

Enter hydrogen powered vehicles, hybrids and electric powered cars. While it is undeniable, this would help pollution enormously if every person on their commute had one, but the fact is they are much too damn expensive and unattainable for the masses. Moreover, production capacity for the automotive industry remains geared for gasoline powered vehicles–this is their sweet spot, to be sure. So, what’s a person to do making $55,000 a year with two children and their spouse makes $45,000 for a combined income of $100,000 a year. Well, nothing. The reality is, wages have stagnated, foreclosures continue to increase at record levels, and fuel prices continue to climb. As great an idea as it would be to drive fuel-friendly, “clean” vehicles, it is simply not practical or advisable for a “regular” hard-working people.

Advocates likely have a nice argument to counter this; I have not heard it, but the truth hurts. Movie stars and celebrities can afford to drive a Prius. But making a statement is not what most of us think about–we are consumed with providing for our families and not political or environmental correctness. When auto manufacturers change their mindset completely and build affordable (less than $18,000) and eco-friendly vehicles, carbon emissions will continue to be a problem.

The other and more vexing challenge is mass transit for places like Houston, where I live currently. People here, especially in suburban areas like big. Namely, gas guzzling SUVs that seat eight people. The irony to this is how many people drive alone in this behemoth of a vehicle. Not to mention, commuting long distances in these car crushers.

The United States is the largest contributor to destroying the environment and frankly, most people really don’t care. That’s the reality. Until, people start to care en masse and raise their concerns, go to Congress, boycott, stop coming to work, and so on, long commutes with single riders in gas powered, monster truck like vehicles will continue to be the norm rather than the exception. But right now, we have a choice: buy a hybrid for a 30% premium to help preserve the environment or take care of your family. The choice is made for us–being “green” is simply out of reach for regular people like you and me. For more visit my site at www.spangy.com