One of the most frequent topics when sustainability wonks get together, in person or online, is "greenwashing". Greenwashing -- the design and production of products which can be marketed as contributing to sustainability, but which in practice change little or nothing for the better -- is a frequent practice and an even more frequent accusation. Would switching to product X, or service Y, or process Z really reduce greenhouse gas emissions? Are the benefits real? Is the approach well-intentioned but fundamentally flawed?
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December 1, 2008
November 26, 2008
Last summer, executives at three of Japan's largest banks decreed that all their offices would be cooled only to 82 degrees Fahrenheit. It's part of a nationwide initiative called "Cool Biz", whereby businesses compete for customer loyalty by demonstrating leadership in greenhouse gas reduction. Salarymen have reportedly made a significant sacrifice of social status by going to work tie-less as a result.
November 25, 2008
First, the hi-tech -- a tremendous opportunity for innovative engineering and business schools.
November 21, 2008
As a campus sustainability wonk, much of my work has to do with carbon dioxide equivalent. How much did Greenback emit last year? What can we do to reduce emissions from heating our buildings? From driving on (or to) campus? How much did we save with this innovation, that initiative, or the latest competition? How long will it take us to get down to (supply your own target level here)?
November 18, 2008
There's been a thread recently on the Green Schools List about the impacts experienced by colleges and universities which have removed the traditional cafeteria trays from their dining facilities. Results range widely.
November 17, 2008
OK, just one more post emanating from AASHE 2008, and then I won't mention it again. I promise. Unless I'm provoked.
November 15, 2008
Over the last year or so I've gone to 1 or 2 conferences, taken 1 or 2 training classes, visited a number of campuses outside the Backboro metropolitan area. Traveling always presents me with a quandary -- do I really need to go? if I really need to go, what's the most ecologically responsible way to get there? is being ecologically responsible worth the hassle?
November 13, 2008
So if the title is "Tuesday", why am I posting this on a Thursday? Simple -- when the conference ended late Tuesday afternoon, I rode/drove back to Backboro, arriving in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. As a result, I was wiped out yesterday. And when I'm wiped out, I can hardly read, much less write.
November 10, 2008
It doesn't make sense. Fourteen hours of mostly sitting around shouldn't leave me more tired (and certainly more stiff) than fourteen hours of farmwork, but it does. Or it has. Because I am. Still, it was a day generally well spent. Bookends of problem perception surrounding useful insights into solutions. The opening bookend was Van Jones. Inspirational and celebratory, but with a hands-on, pragmatic perspective. Three underlying problems:
November 9, 2008
To save gas, money and GHG emissions, a number of us from the Backboro area shared a ride to AASHE 2008. Specific jobs differed, but everyone was concerned in some way with campus sustainability. That's why it struck me as odd when, while we were driving through a particularly commercially dense portion of Virginia (I-95, a bit south of Washington DC), someone in the car remarked on how much they'd love to live in an area like that. You know, with any store you wanted, so you could just go out and buy what you needed.