Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Have telephone books become extinct?

With all the technology that surrounds me, I no longer have a need for a phone book. Actually, I think it would take me longer to look up a number in a phone book than to find it on the internet. (A side from my personal opinion)…..From an environmental standpoint, about 19 million trees and 7.2 million barrels of oil are used annually in the production of phone books. This equates to a lot of resources being used in the production of an unwanted product.

It seems like the City of Seattle shares my sentiments.

Seattle is on the verge of passing the  nation’s first phone book “opt-out” law. The “opt-out” registry will be funded by publishers through a 14-cent fee for each book distributed. The publishers are upset that the law does not apply to other forms of media and the Yellow Pages Association offers its own “opt-out” option and disagrees with the city maintaining a separate registry.

Seattle officials state that the “opt-out” registry which will be managed by a third party will reduce clutter, increase residential security and save the people of Seattle, money.  explains the nuts and bolts of the new ordinance

THE DETAILS: The Seattle city ordinance would require the various publishers of yellow pages phone books to establish a city-administered opt-out website so people can choose to receive which of the three business phone directories they want, or none at all. The publishers would also be required to pay a licensing fee to cover the cost of operating that site, as well as a $148-per-ton fee for any books that are delivered to residents; that fee is the amount it costs the city to recycle phone books. (The law doesn’t apply to standard residential phone directories, as Washington state law requires that phone companies publish those.)

Not surprisingly, publishers of yellow pages phone books aren’t happy about the new law. Two companies that publish the books, as well as an industry association, have sued the city on the grounds that it infringes on their First Amendment rights to free speech and being able to communicate with whomever they wish. Adding to their complaint, the industry association has already developed a nationwide opt-out site, so a second city-administered site would be redundant. And they’re concerned that, should other cities follow Seattle’s lead, multiple city-administered sites would just create confusion.

WHAT IT MEANS: The ordinance is still being debated in city courts, but it’s scheduled to take effect on January 1. Who will win remains to be seen, but it is a sign that city and local governments are increasingly weary of coping with cumbersome recyclables.

What do you think about Seattle’s new law? Should it be passed? How often do you use your phone book and would you opt-out of receiving one if  you could?


Green Week Hits NBC

Green is Universal presents its 4th annual Green Week. From November 14th -21st NBC will feature easy ways to help make a difference.


 Football Night in America (7:00pm EST)

Football Night in America kicks off Green Week for the 4th year in a row! Look out for the announcement plus a ‘green’ highlights at NBCU reel


 Today Show (6:00am EST)

Across 4 days, TODAY will have 4 green segments per day. Topics include: green cleaning, green moms, home energy diets, and water.

Days of Our Lives (1:00pm EST)

Chloe (a new mom) will get a visit from her friend, Philip, who brings a gift of eco-friendly, organic diapers.

 Beyond the Barrell (8:00pm EST)

CNBC looks at ways to create new energy sources including a northern California company working to turn toxic emissions into building blocks for tomorrow.

 Chase (10:00pm EST)

Congressman Nevins tells Luke he is there to implement a green initiative to retrofit all U.S. Marshall offices.


Liquid Assets (8:00pm EST)

While some believe water should be the same as air…free for everyone, others see it as the business opportunity of a lifetime. CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera explores a global crisis in the CNBC Original Production “Liquid Assets: The Big Business of Water.”

 Parenthood (10:00pm EST)

Max’s class is creating little houses out of recycled egg cartons.


 Undercovers (8:00pm EST)

Shaw on “Undercovers” gives the workers at Bloom Catering Co. a hard time about not recycling.

 Trash, Inc. (8:00pm EST)

Garbage. It’s everywhere — even in the middle of the oceans — and it’s pure gold for companies like Waste Management and Republic Services who dominate this $52 billion-a-year industry.


 30 Rock (8:30pm EST)

Keep your ears perked for more green jokes from your favorite funny lady, Liz Lemon.

 The Office (9:00pm EST)

Michael attempts to help the planet by recycling.

 Outsourced (9:30pm EST)

In “Outsourced,” Gupta charges his flashlight instead of using chemical batteries.


 Dateline (9:00pm EST)

Will feature an hour long interview with Prince Charles, leading into the Prince’s Harmony special.

 Harmony (10:00pm EST)

A feature film and television special documenting The Prince of Wales efforts to combat climate change and find innovative solutions to the global environmental crisis.


 Notre Dame vs. Army (7:00pm EST)

Will weave in green tips and mentions throughout the 4-hour broadcast.

 Law & Order: Los Angeles (9:00pm EST)

It’s a new coast, but the same crime mystery formula, with a whole lot of green drama where environmental neglect looks like a crime to Detectives Winters (Skeet Ulrich) and Jarusalski (Corey Stoll). The victim is a scientist dedicated to water clean up in Los Angeles County’s polluted creeks and rivers. After word gets out that the scientist knew about his employer’s improper waste disposal practices, clues suggest the corporation’s likely involvement in the murder.

The Suze Orman Show (9:00pm EST)

The program will have an all-green “Can I Afford It?” segment. Callers ask Suze about an $18K solar roof; a $230K Energy Star-certified “Green” Home; a $33K geothermal system; a $700 bicycle; and a Nook.

 Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (10:00pm EST)

Keep an eye out for special ‘green’ members of the cast.

 Source: NBC

When will my favorite airline go green?

Meatless Monday Update: Well breakfast went as usual (oatmeal), lunch was not as successful. We like to get out of the office for lunch sometimes….so we went to Olive Garden. Our intention was soup, salads and breadsticks…but the veggie soup didn’t sound appetizing. So we chose a basic angel hair pasta and tomato sauce dish, which was tasteless! Needless to say we got full on salad! And not being able to stand another disappointing meal and starving…I had cereal for dinner. Any ideas for restaurants on Meatless Mondays???  features an “Earth Talk” column which answers questions about the environment. A Sustainable Life will occasionally share some of these Q&A’s with you.

Dear EarthTalk: Can airplanes be run on cleaner fuels or be electric powered? Are there changes afoot in the airline business to find cleaner fuels?

Given air travel’s huge contribution to our collective carbon footprint—flying accounts for about three percent of carbon emissions worldwide by some estimates—and the fact that basic passenger and cargo jet designs haven’t changed significantly in decades, the world is certainly ready for greener forms of flying. But since air travel emissions were not regulated the friendly skies aren’t much greener than they were a few decades ago.

Nonetheless, some airlines and airplane manufacturers are taking steps to improve their eco-footprints. Southwest and Continental have implemented fuel efficiency improvements, waste reduction programs and increased recycling, and are investing in newer, more fuel efficient airplanes. Another airline on the cutting edge of green is Virgin Atlantic, which made news in early 2008 when it became the first major carrier to test the use of biofuels (liquid fuels derived from plant matter) on passenger jet flights. Now Air New Zealand, Continental, Japan Airlines (JAL), JetBlue, and Lufthansa are also testing biofuels.

Even airplane maker Boeing is getting in on the act by developing a carbon-neutral jet fuel made from algae. Boeing’s newest commercial jet, the much vaunted 787 Dreamliner (now in final testing before late 2010 delivery to several airlines), is 20 percent more fuel efficient than its predecessors thanks to more efficient engines, aerodynamic improvements and the widespread use of lighter composite materials to reduce weight. Airbus is also incorporating more lightweight composite materials into its new planes.

On the extreme end of the innovation spectrum are zero-emission airplanes that make use of little or no fuel. The French company, Lisa, is building a prototype small plane, dubbed the Hy-Bird, that uses solar power (via photovoltaic cells on the elongated wingspan) and hydrogen-powered fuel cells to fly with zero emissions—and nearly no engine noise.

Even more unusual is the proposed fuel-free plane dreamed up by Mississippi-based Hunt Aviation. The company is working on a prototype small plane that harnesses the natural forces of buoyancy (thanks to helium-filled pontoons) for lift-offs and gravity for landings—along with an on-board wind turbine and battery to power everything in between—to achieve flight without any fuel whatsoever.

Don’t look for these futuristic planes on airport runways anytime soon. It will likely be decades before this technology filters its way up to the big leagues.

Which companies top the list of green businesses?

Newsweek has partnered with environmental research organizations to rank the “greenness” of the 500 largest publicly traded companies in the US.  The research included a comparison of the environmental footprints, policies and reputations of each company.

Each score was composed of three categories: the Environmental Impact score (45%), Green Policies score (45%)  and the Reputation Survey score (10%). Without getting into the hundreds of complicated formulas and metrics involved in the methodology of determining the rankings…here are the Top 20 companies and the rankings of some other popular companies. You can view the full list at Newsweek.

I have to say I was most disappointed by Whole Foods ranking and most surprised by Sprint Nextel. I expected that 8 of the top 10 companies would be from the technology industry, but was shocked to see Johnson & Johnson, a pharmaceuticals company in the top 5.

 What do you think? Which company’s ranking surprises you? Which doesn’t?

#1 Dell 100.00
#2 Hewlett-Packard 99.32
#3 International Business Machines 99.20
#4 Johnson & Johnson 99.02
#5 Intel 97.57
#6 Sprint Nextel 94.98
#7 Adobe Systems 94.15
#8 Applied Material 92.67
#9 Yahoo! 92.67
#10 Nike 92.66
#11 Accenture 92.04
#12 Advanced Micro Devices 91.17
#13 Cisco Systems 91.07
#14 Johnson Controls 90.94
#15 Baxter International 90.59
#16 Eaton 90.54
#17 Briston-Myers Squibb 90.45
#18 Office Depot  90.14
#19 Allergan  90.02
#20 PG&E  88.64
And other big names…..
#29 Microsoft 86.84
#33 Starbucks 86.65
#36 Google 86.25
#41 Wells Fargo 84.63
#43 Motorola 84.52
#51 Walmart 82.94
#61 Target 81.91
#62 UPS 81.83
#79 McDonald’s 80.28
#83 General Electric 80.10
#93 Whole Foods 79.31
#98 eBay 78.87
#99 Verizon 78.86
#124 Bank of America 76.94
#136 Kroger 76.70
#234 Delta Airlines 71.25
#285 Washington Post 68.98
#286 Time Warner Cable 68.93

Thanks to Mother Nature Network  for bringing this article to our attention.


Green Business Works

Green Business Works EXPOGreenBusiness WORKS is an organization dedicated to creating awareness and providing education to businesses and industry regarding corporate sustainability.

-They are looking for volunteers for the GreenBusiness Works Expo on Tuesday Oct. 26 through Thursday, Oct. 28 at the Cobb Galleria. Volunteers are needed from  6:30 am til 7: 30 pm on Tues. and Wed. and until 2 pm on Thursday. Positions include Registration/ Check-in, Security (checking credentials) and Human Arrows (giving directions).  If you are interested please contact Morgan J. Parker, 404.934.9868,  

As an added bonus volunteers are welcome to attend the Expo free of charge on the day they are signed up to volunteer with a minimum commitment of 2 hours. Lunch will also be provided to all volunteers on the day they work.

This looks like a great opportunity for students and faculty in our business department. Attendees will learn from leading experts through exclusive educational programs, networking opportunities, best practices, leading case studies, and products and services that support corporate and municipal environmental stewardship.

To view the schedule of events check out the Green Business Works Expo website.  I look forward to seeing you there.

NBA & NFL GO Green

Meatless Monday update: I successfully completed my first Meatless Monday. Oatmeal for breakfast, veggie pizza for lunch and veggies for dinner (leftovers from Sunday). Not bad (If I must say so myself) for my first attempt at a day without meat. A couple people suggested that I focus on what I could eat, rather than would I couldn’t eat and that really made the difference for me. I’m actually looking forward to next Monday!

And now back to our regularly scheduled program……

The 2011 NBA season will be a little more eco-friendly as they have unveiled a new lighter, faster-drying jersey made from 60% recycled materials. The new jerseys are part of a system called the Revolution 30.


Not to be outdone by the NBA, the NFL’s N.Y. Jets have placed more than 3,000 solar panels on the roof of their team headquarters and training facility located in Florham, Park, New Jersey. The new solar system will provide the facility with 750,000 kwh of energy annually, saving the team tens of thousands of dollars. The project will reduce CO2 emissions by 540 MT a year, about the equivalent of taking over 100 cars off the road A statement by team official says that “this project is the first of many green initiatives on behalf of the team, and we are proud to be green in color and also in deed.” Im traditionally a Steelers fan but in this case…GO Jets!!!!



Which is more eco-friendly: Netflix or a Video Store?

A Sustainable Life will occasionally share Q&A’s with you from around the web. Today’s question comes from The Good Human.

Which do you think is better for the environment, a service like Netflix or driving down to the video store here in my town?

First up, Netflix. Netflix, in case you don’t know, is a video rental by mail service. They have been in business for many, many years, and I have been a customer for since the beginning. Once you pick the subscription rate of how many videos you want, both at a time and per month, you add movies to your “Queue” on the website and Netflix ships them out to you as you return the previous movie you had. We are on the “2-at-a-time at home, but unlimited per month” plan, which means I can rent as many movies as I can watch each month, but I can only have 2 at home at a time. But how about the eco-friendliness? Well, the movies come via regular mail, which is already coming to each house anyway, and they barely add any weight/carbon emissions to the postal delivery (1 oz, actually). The mailman is already coming to your house, and the addition of a single DVD is not going to affect his route weight too much. The envelopes are made from recyclable paper, and most of each one is used again to mail the video back to Netflix (it really was ingenious to use the same envelope for shipping both directions). I could not find this information out, but I do hope that they use recycled paper to make the envelopes in the first place. The company doesn’t use the plastic cases that video stores use and has less of a carbon footprint as they only have distribution centers and not stores on every block to heat/cool/maintain. I would say Netflix is much greener than their brick & mortar counterpart…

Next up, the neighborhood video store. Sure, in some places it might be considered “shopping local”, which is always great for a community, but oftentimes these stores are just one in a giant chain (like Blockbuster video). If that is the case, it kind of immediately takes away the benefit of a local store for the local community. As for the eco-friendliness of a video store, they have a long way to go to catch up with video by mail services. First off all there are thousands and thousands of these stores across the country – and each one has to be lit up like a Christmas tree, have TV’s playing during all hours of the day showing previews, and be heated and cooled according to the climate outside. Add to those facts that the all the plastic cases that they need and the promotional pieces/merchandise that has to be made and then discarded, and you have a much bigger waste stream than an online company. And when members want to pick up or return a movie, they have to get in their car (usually alone) and drive to the store 4 times, which emits more pollution than the postal worker who is coming by your house each day anyway.

So, there you have it – in my mind, Netflix wins hands-down. Now, getting movies streamed directly to your TV or computer would be even better, and they are starting to do that too. I have watched a few movies this way, and thus they didn’t even have to ship the movie out to me at all. There are, of course, environmental issues with Netflix too – do they recycle all those returned envelopes? Do they use recycled paper to make them? How do they take delivery of the movies (I would imagine in bulk and not in plastic cases though)? But all in all, this is certainly one case where “nation-wide” beats out “local” on a sustainability level. What do you think?

The Government Wants You!

The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are seeking public comment on proposed fuel economy labels to be displayed on new vehicles.  These agencies are hoping to provide an easy way for consumers to compare the environmental and energy factors associated with all types of vehicles. The current timeline would have the new labels ready to appear on 2012 model year vehicles.

There are currently two design proposals…the first features a letter grade to communicate the vehicle’s fuel economy and greehhouse gas emissions performance. The second will keep the current label’s focus on miles per gallon (mpg) and annual fuel costs, but will feature an updated design.

 For more information…or to weigh-in ….

Source: Mother Nature News

Wordless Wednesday





Compare Energy Efficient Light Bulbs

When Thomas Edison invented the light bulb in 1879, I would be willing to bet that he never knew that so many variations were to follow. Today we have lots of options, in addition to conventional incandescent light bulbs, now compact fluorescent (CFL) and light emitting diodes (LED’s) are readily available.  But how do you know which is best? Which light bulb is the “greenest”? WellHome  has created this great graphic to illustrate the Energy Impact of Light Blubs. The graphic highlights the construction of the bulb as well as its energy profile.

energy saving bulbs infographic

Source: The Daily Green


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