• Category Archives: Awareness and Hype

    Fireworks go green this Independence Day

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    This year let’s hope our Independence Day celebrations are more eco friendly than ever. Although the celebratory fireworks are meant to paint the sky with light, they however fill the sky with smoke, lead and mercury since they are always in the mix. Among the toxic culprits being addressed lately, potassium perchlorate is a reliable and inexpensive oxidizer, but it has been connected to cancers and thyroid problems. The technologies behind fireworks have changed little through the ages. Today’s fireworks products may be able to last longer and burn brighter, they essentially contain a form of gun powder used in wars fought in China some 800 years ago. Strontium and lithium may be used for red, barium and copper lead for green, and sodium glows golden. Calcium deepens colors. Zinc makes smoke clouds, aluminum sparkles, and antimony adds glitter. Scientists in Germany and at Los Alamos National Laboratory have explored reducing perchlorate, smoke, and carbon by using substances rich in nitrogen. Los Alamos researchers responded to complaints some 10 years ago from Anaheim, Calif., residents about pollution from fireworks shows every night at Disneyland. The theme park in 2004 announced it was adopting safer air cannons that use compressed air instead of a chemical propellant, eliminating black smoke.

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on July 3, 2008
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    Apple, Microsoft, and Nintendo – Losers in Greenpeace’s Guide to greener electronics

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    Sony and Sony Ericsson (SE) may have topped Greenpeace’s latest Guide to Greener Electronics, but almost all manufacturers saw their scores plunge thanks to new, more stringent marking criteria. Greenpeace decided that it was now necessary to make the grading system tougher and to create additional grading criteria. For example, it added more toxic compounds to its list of materials manufacturers must commit themselves to eliminate and provide a timeline for that process. Chemicals added to the roster of nasties include beryllium in all its forms and compounds of antimony. That’s were Apple failed, in the previous report it scored 6.7 but, has since seen its score drop to 4.1. Greenpeace admitted that the firm’s timeline for PVC and BFR phase-out is positive, but slapped the iPhone maker on the wrist for failing to provide a timeline over which it’ll withdraw use of other Earth-damaging chemicals, such as beryllium. It also lost points over its use of recycled plastic content; it’s somewhat sketchy information about plans for the reduction of its carbon footprint, and failure to provide any information about the amount of renewable energy it uses, if any.

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on June 30, 2008
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    China tops Co2 Pollution list for 2007

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    China’s carbon dioxide emissions contributed the bulk of last year’s 3.1 percent global rise in CO2 emissions, its emissions were about 14 percent higher than the United States and accounted for two-thirds of the global rise, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) said Friday. The United States was second with 21 percent, while the European Union was at 12 percent, India eight percent and Russia six percent. Cement clinker production was a major cause of the emissions, and with an increase of 10 percent in 2007 China now accounted for about 51 percent of global cement production, said the PBL. After the earthquake which recently hit the Sichuan province, it may be expected that the rebuilding of houses and roads for over five million people will cause the cement demand to soar even further. Overall in the US last year, CO2 emissions rose by 1.8 percent, mainly due to the cold winter and warm summer contributed to rising carbon emissions from heating and cooling functions

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on June 16, 2008
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    Fourth graders teaching governments margin theory

    green-kids-mayor-trees.jpg A group of fourth graders have gone ahead and put forth a proposal to reduce paper wastage asking local governments to join them in the fight against global warming by changing their margins to reduce paper consumption and help stop deforestation as well. The kids calculated that we can save 6,156,000 trees per year if everyone in the U.S. just reduced their margins while printing. Assuming you change from ½ to ¼ inch margins on all sides, you’ll save 6.667% of a single sheet of paper. And that means that for every fifteen pages of changed margins you’ll have put over one page back into the forest, monumental work for a fourth grader.
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    Posted in Awareness and Hype on June 16, 2008
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    Big Blue IBM launches Project Big Green

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    It’s very rare that a IT infrastructure company takes the initiative to offer its clients a complete green solution in its product package itself. Project Big Green by IBM, is a $1 billion project aimed to provide customers with high computing capacity in a smaller footprint while saving on power, cooling and space costs. It is designed to introduce new technologies that customers will be able to use in order address energy challenges in data centers. A modular data center may be the right move for a company that doesn’t want to take on the additional cost of building out a data center, but is still looking for high computing efficiency; off setting costs and adding efficiency are driving IBM and its customers to adopt ecologically friendly products. Very few companies are doing power efficiency or space efficiency because it is the ecologically right thing to do. This has however received lukewarm response simply due to the fact that, in most cases the IT head isn’t the one who pays the power bills so why saving on energy & heating costs be his concern.

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on June 11, 2008
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    Japan announces its cool earth initiative

    japan_flag.jpg Japan has initiated its ‘Cool Earth Initiative’ in which it outlines that Japan will reduce its carbon emissions by 60-80% by 2050. It also called other nations of the world to strive to cut by half the global carbon dioxide output by 2050. G-8 summit leaders voiced support for that last year. Japan is struggling to meet obligations under the Kyoto global warming pact to cut emissions of greenhouse gases by 6 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Emissions’ trading involves the setting of caps and credits on greenhouse gas production. Any company or nation emitting levels higher than those allotted would have to buy credits from those emitting lower levels. Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said Japan would use a broad range of strategies to reduce its emissions, including investment in new technologies, stiff construction standards to create energy efficient buildings, an array of tax incentives and a public awareness campaign.

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on June 10, 2008
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    DHL power outs to go green

    dhl.jpg DHL has initiated a GoGreen initiative to encourage its workforce to cut their carbon footprint by 30% before 2020. By switching off the lights at DHL offices worldwide it estimates it will reduce 5.2 metric tones of carbon dioxide. This includes offices across the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, Middle East and North Africa – is part of the company’s GoGreen Program that was launched in April this year. The program brings together all elements of its climate change initiatives and will work to improve DHL’s carbon efficiency. “Lights Off” aims to increase the environmental awareness of DHL employees and promotes the responsible use of energy. The company encourages staff to adjust their daily habits in terms of paper, water and resource usage thereby contributing to making it a more environmentally-friendly company.

    Posted in Awareness and Hype on June 9, 2008
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