Archives for May 2010

Concord Massachusetts Bans The Sale Of Bottled Water

Water BottlesEver since a friend of mine pointed out to me that “Evian” spelled backward is “Naive”, I’ve had an issue with paying for bottled water. But beyond names, bottled water has been marketed to us as a cleaner and sometimes healthier alternative to tap and given the choices when shopping for something quick to drink, bottled water might be the least objectionable. Unfortunately, Concord Massachusetts doesn’t think so and on April 30 2010, they became the first municipality in the US to ban the sale of bottled water. Monster, Red Bull, Full Throttle – you’re in. Bottled “spring” water – banned!

Why did this happen?

After the vote, Joe Doss, President of the International Bottled Water Association (IBWA), said:

“Any efforts to discourage consumers from drinking water, whether tap water or bottled water, is not in the best interests of consumers. Bottled water is a very healthy, safe, convenient product that consumers use to stay hydrated.’’

To the IBWA, this was an affront to water drinkers everywhere but the reality might be that their own marketing pitch is coming back to bite them. Fiji Water Poster - from Wiki

Just ask Fiji brand bottled water. In 2007, Fiji Water took a shot at the city of Cleveland OH in their marketing campaign that Fiji water was better because it wasn’t bottled there. A couple tests later and it turns out that Fiji Water had arsenic levels at 6.0 ppm whereas Cleveland’s tap water had none. And in blind taste tests, tap water from the city of Cleveland scored higher than Fiji brand water.

Marketing and ordinances aside, a major issue with bottled water is the water delivering Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles. 50 billion of them are sold in the US annually and the empty containers, recycled at only a 23% clip, seem to be everywhere. Jennifer Aniston Bottled Water Ad But avoiding their use should be a personal choice and should not come from an ordinance. It’s a choice made by cutting through the water bottler’s marketing hype and each individual’s knowledge that bottled water is not better than tap. In many cases, it is tap water.

The IBWA and its members are Jubbling to improve their image by reducing their packaging, incorporating post-recycled PET bottles into new plastic bottles and by supporting eco-causes. But they can’t change the fact that they are selling us what we already have access to and people are figuring this out. Bottled water sales in the US in 2009 flat-lined after years of consistent growth and in the UK, sales of bottled water dropped by 9%.

So I guess we can thank Concord for sending a message and that is about it. The ordinance is not necessary; we’re trending away from bottled water with or without legislation.

Penn and Teller did a funny bit about the perceived advantages of bottled water over tap.

[youtube width=”360″ height=”270″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfPAjUvvnIc[/youtube]

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Hollywood Love$ Green Message$. How Does It Feel About Jubbling?

Thank you CSRwire for reminding me of one of the reasons I got into Jubbling. They just posted an article about the entertainment industry’s internal efforts to produce television programs and movies more sustainably by using some combination of improved efficiency, use of renewable power sources and carbon offsets. Jubbling is all good with this, with the exception of carbon offsets, and we hope they are only met with success.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

But wait, what about consumption? If a studio was approached with a can’t miss idea that would consume $400 million in resources but would make $2 billion – would they bite on it? Of course they would. Now imagine that movie was going to have a pro-environmental message – could they still swing it? Of course they could. That is the irony of it all and why it’s so difficult to buy into the entertainment industry’s statements that sound good but are not rooted in Jubbling. Consumption is justified as long as a movie is successful – it’s ultimately about the bottomline.

This is where the actors/actresses come in. It sure would be nice to see all of the Prius driving, electric car loving, eco-Hollywoodians take a stand against producing or starring in movies built on consumption in order to support a consistent message. Not just about asking for a smaller trailer with solar panels or hiring a green caterer, but really showing the same commitment to Jubbling that they want to show in their personal lives.

Scene from Batman The Dark Knight
Batman: The Dark Knight

Now I’m not suggesting that actors share a tent on a movie set but maybe they could use their clout to convince the studio that blowing up 2 cars can be just as effective as destroying 10. Or convincing the director that bringing down a CGI building will have just as much impact as demolishing a actual structure. Even further, maybe studios could share sets and technology so they don’t have to duplicate their efforts in order to produce films. An extension of the “open source” idea found in software development.

I’m probably way off base to suggest this and extremely naive to the inner workings of the entertainment industry. And it’s difficult to not kick my own ass and feel a little hypocritical when I am in line waiting to see one of these huge Hollywood blockbusters. But these changes could be seamless and the movie or show’s message can still be delivered. And then productions could be appreciated for what they didn’t consume in order to entertain us.

The root idea behind Jubbling is to encourage people to try and consume less. It’s not a competition and that is why we have to applaud any effort to reduce. Even so, it would be great to see the entertainment industry take a stand and immerse themselves into Jubbling rather than just dabble in it so they can finally put into practice what their stars like to preach.

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Thanks To The Green Burial Council, Your Last Act Could Be A Jubbling One

How do you want to go? Most people have a good idea and it’s what drives the $11 billion deathcare industry. An industry that annually consumes:

  1. 8 Olympic sized swimming pools of embalming fluid.
  2. A Golden Gate Bridge worth of steel in caskets alone.
  3. Enough reinforced concrete to build a two lane highway from New York to Detroit.

Jubbling AfterlifeIt’s huge business and it is driven by our need to lovingly say goodbye to a friend or family member in a way that we might not have been able to while they were alive. Enter the Green Burial Council. Their goal is to bring back the old school, pre-embalming fluid burials in order to reach Jubbling in the afterlife. They also advocate the use of naturally produced burial containers (cardboard or wood) and the absence of a concrete vault or headstone. The only marker might be a tree and finding the location may involve the use of a GPS because unlike a normal cemetery, an RBC approved site will look like an undisturbed grassy field.

In 2006, Planet Green had a good article about Jubbling up your post-life arrangements. They have suggestions that cover all facets of the funeral process including cremation, use of living markers and encouraging charitable donations “in lieu of” cut flowers.

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Let’s Go Fly A Tidal Kite

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com, and is reprinted with permission.

May 4, 2010 – Jessica Shankleman, BusinessGreen.com – Swedish start up Minesto secures fresh funding and announces plan to install first prototype tidal kite device off North Ireland coast next year.

Minesto Tidal KitesThe world’s first tidal kite could soon be “flying” off the coast of Northern Ireland, after renewable energy start up Minesto today secured over €2m in new capital investment to help test its prototype device. The Sweden-based firm, which was spun out of auto manufacturer Saab in 2007, is pioneering the development of a tidal kite, which will operates underwater in a manner similar to wind kites.

Dubbed “Deep Green”, the system consists of a light weight turbine, generator and rudder attached to a fixed point on the seabed with a tether. The system can then move in the ocean to catch the best currents and maximize power output from the tides. According to Minesto, the technology has the potential to increase the potential tidal energy market by up to 80 per cent as tidal kites can theoretically operate in deep water sites with low tidal velocities that are unsuitable for other forms of tidal energy generators.

The company announced today that it will install its first prototype at undisclosed location off the coast of Northern Ireland in 2011 after securing 20m SEK (€2.08m) from a group of investors including Saab, Midroc New Technology and BGA Invest, as well as a number of unnamed private investors. Chief executive Anders Jansson told BusinessGreen.com that although the initial prototype will not be connected to the grid, the firm plans to roll out a 200 to 500kW pilot project by 2013 and already has an agreement in place to connect to the grid in Northern Ireland from 2012.

Jansson said he then hopes to deploy projects across the Irish Sea, connecting to the main grid in Wales and Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland. “One of the major advantages of this kind of technology is that it operates in low velocity depths of 60 metres,” he said. “We’re alone in those areas so there’s no competition.” He added that the relatively high tides and large areas of available sea bed made the Irish Sea an ideal location for the technology. However, Jansson admits that the road to commercializing this lightweight technology still faces a number of barriers. The company has yet to be granted consents by the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland, and Jansson said that the company still faced a number of technical challenges if it is to make the system sufficiently robust and reliable.

“There’s also the psychological challenge,” he admitted. “When people see a new concept they tend to dismiss them as they haven’t been done before.”

[youtube width=”480″ height=”270″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qCDRj8TE9Y[/youtube]

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European Union Proposes Speed Limiters For White Van Man

This article originally appeared at BusinessGreen.com, and is reprinted with permission.

May 4, 2010 – BusinessGreen.com Staff, BusinessGreen.com – New strategy aims to cut emissions from vans and light trucks.

Very interesting idea out of Europe that will save fuel, reduce carbon emissions and increase highway safety. It would be tough to get this to fly in the US but it’s something to think about.

White VanThe European Union is actively considering imposing mandatory speed limiters on vans and light trucks in an effort to curb carbon emissions from the vehicles, according to a draft report leaked to news agency Reuters.

The draft report sets out the European Parliament’s position on new rules designed to reduce emissions from vans and features a range of proposals, including plans to automatically limit vans and light trucks to speeds of 120km per hour (74.6mph).

“One … way to tackle the problem would be to have mandatory speed limiters for light commercial vehicles,” says the document, which has been seen by Reuters.

In an attempt to head off the likely protests from haulage firms and van operators, the report defends the proposal insisting that it is a safe and cost-effective way of cutting emissions and improving fuel efficiency.

“These vehicles are almost exclusively used for commercial purposes and do not need to exceed 120 km per hour,” the report states. “The technology is available to do this; it is a cheap and effective way of immediately lowering emissions and many commercial organisations retro-fit them to their vehicles.”

The proposals will contribute to the latest round of negotiations between the European Parliament and European Commission on new rules for governing emissions from vans and light trucks.

In an echo of the long-running row that preempted the introduction of mandatory emission standards for cars last year, the Commission and Parliament appear divided on the level at which to impose emission standards on vans and, according to the document seen by Reuters, the Parliament is moving to water down the Commission’s original proposals.

The Commission had said that it wants manufacturers to cut average emissions from vans and light trucks by almost a third on 2007 levels to 135 grams per km by 2020. But the parliament report recommends a less demanding target of 150 g rams per km, while also proposing that the financial penalties imposed on those manufacturers that breach the standard are reduced.

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