Tuesday, 12 July 2011 09:35
The following article by Clark Merrefield is reposted from The Daily Beast.
William and Kate must have been exhausted when they touched down yesterday at London’s Heathrow Airport after 11 days of glad-handing their way across Canada, and down to California. Prince William landed a helicopter in the waters off Prince Edward Island; Kate helped plant a tree in Ottawa; they visited underprivileged kids in Los Angeles.
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="437" caption="image courtesy of NYDailyNews.com"][/caption] Maybe the only thing more exhausted than Will and Kate—all the fuel burned during their trip.
Even though the royal couple flew commercial back to Heathrow—and made time toward the end of their trip to celebrate the 20th anniversary gala event for Tusk Trust, a sub-Saharan environmental conservancy group—carbon-dioxide emissions from the trip racked up with each stop of the private jet. The final tally: Some 250 tons of CO2, or more than a dozen energy-loving Americans use during an entire year, according to the United Nations.
“For dignitaries with means, there is no excuse not to make all their travel—flights, hotels, car transport—carbon neutral while supporting new technologies, such as wind and solar energy and reforestation projects,” says Eric Carlson, founder of the Carbonfund.org Foundation.
Calculating the carbon footprint of Will and Kate’s North American tour was relatively simple. Except for the commercial flight home, the royals flew by private jet—usually an Airbus A130, which uses nearly 4 gallons of fuel for each air mile, though they also traveled short distances by helicopter. No matter the number of people in tow on each private flight, Will and Kate are ultimately on the hook for total emissions—without the royals, the entourage wouldn’t exist. Motorcades, though often in excess of 20 vehicles, also traveled only short distances and would not have had a significant impact on Will and Kate’s total carbon footprint.
To get the 250-ton figure, we used the widely accepted (PDF) standard of about 21 pounds of carbon dioxide for every gallon of jet fuel burned. By the time Will and Kate landed back in Heathrow, they had traveled nearly 10,000 air miles.
Of course, flying around the world is one of the crucial parts of the job William was born into, the one Kate recently entered. Alternatives—trans-Atlantic Zeppelin flight? Riding steerage class on a steamship? Skyping?—might be earth-friendly, but are unrealistic. Carbon offsets are one (albeit imperfect), better-than-nothing way for the royals to make up for the carbon dioxide created by their travels. If the young royals were so inclined to offset their carbon emissions from this recent trip it would cost roughly $2,500.
“It's extremely important for people in the public eye, like William and Kate, to lead environmentally sustainable lives,” Carlson adds. “People look to celebrities and dignitaries for leadership—their actions are reported on far more than the people working on an issue day in and day out—and what they say and do can make a big difference.”
Friday, 15 April 2011 17:45
The National Wildlife Federation was founded in 1936 when a cartoonist brought wildlife conservation, an unheard of issue at the time, to the political forefront. Environmentalism has come a long way since then, and NWF has been instrumental in protecting a number of threatened and endangered species, from the bald eagle to the gray wolf, with lots of grizzly bears and baby sea turtles in between. To honor 75 years of wildlife protection and environmental stewardship, this past Wednesday NWF held their annual National Conservation Achievement Awards honoring an extraordinary group of conservationists including Michelle Obama and Anderson Cooper. The gala itself was green affair having worked with Carbonfund.org to make it a carbon neutral event. Several members of the Carbonfund.org staff were present to share in the celebration of NWF's great work and that of their honorees. Robert Redford took time off from promoting his new film about the Lincoln assassination, "The Conspirator," to receive the Conservationist of the Year award in person, stopping to greet the gala's guest wallaby on the way. Comedian Chevy Chase also attended the event to support his wife, Jayni Chase, who was honored for her work in promoting energy-efficient schools and environmental education for children. Jayni joked, “We try to get into schools because it’s easier than getting into homes!” Carbonfund.org President Eric Carlson and Senior Business Development Specialist Alterra Hetzel were thrilled to attend the event and show support for envirosearch.org partner National Wildlife Federation. NWF partners with envirosearch.org because it's a free-to-use, Bing-base search engine that puts ad revenue toward environmental projects like tree-planting.
Wednesday, 19 January 2011 14:49
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="387" caption="image courtesy of tomfishburne.com"][/caption] The Federal Trade Commission's "Green Guides" are nothing new. The first one came out in 1992, went through several revisions and since 1998 has sat stagnant with vague suggestions on environmental marketing. As interest in sustainability picked up over the years, so did the irrelevant claims manufacturers would make about environmental friendliness, like air conditioners labeled with a big green "CFC-Free" sticker. CFCs are banned by law -- you don't get brownie points for not making an illegal product. In October, the FTC released an updated Green Guide that addresses the issue of marketing green energy and carbon offsets for the first time as well as helps define deceptive marketing claims and adds specific language on renewable energy and carbon offset claims. The guide was open to public comment and the final version will be released this year. Carbonfund.org is excited the FTC is ready to hold other companies to the same standards it uses to certify products, which involve a rigorous life-cycle analysis of the product that ensures all environmental claims are real, specific, measurable, third-party backed, verifiable and transparent. While the Green Guides aren't binding regulations, they do set the bar in measuring compliance with the FTC Act, which allows the agency to prosecute against “deceptive acts or practices” in marketing and advertising. So what is the future of green product claims going to look like? The revised Green Guides set out some clear Do's and Don'ts for enviro-marketing, including:
- DO avoid broad claims
- DO clarify and qualify all claims
- DO have competent and reliable scientific evidence
- DO carefully choose seals and certifications
- DO ensure claims are clear and limited to a specific benefit
- DON’T overstate the use of renewable energy
- DON’T double count renewable energy or carbon offset credits
- DON’T claim that products are “carbon neutral” without knowing the carbon footprint
- DON’T use false claims in certification marks and seals of approval
Thursday, 03 February 2011 11:43
[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="261" caption="You don't need to drink this aggressively. Image courtesy of banthebottle.net"][/caption] In 2010, the House of Representatives spent $190,000 in three months on bottled water alone. That's nearly four teachers' salaries that could have been paid with the cash spent on prepackaged water while one-penny-per-gallon tap water is being snubbed. Is it laziness? Some water bottle lids are kind of hard to twist open, so one could argue they're expending about the same amount of energy grabbing a bottle from the fridge as they are exerting their biceps to pour from a Brita pitcher. If Congress is feigning lack of resources, George Hawkins of the local water utility DC Water wrote a letter to House Speaker John Boehner offering to supply free reusable water bottles for all members of Congress as well as free water quality testing in all congressional buildings. Congress is out of excuses. Boehner wants to cut $35 million from bloated House of Representative spending? Great. Let's start with ditching the disposable bottles, which end up discarded in our landfills, lakes and streams to the tune of one million tons of plastic each year. Let's get our representatives to spearhead the shift from disposable bottles, of which the energy to produce the plastic is enough to fuel almost three million cars a year. If you already tote a reusable water bottle around town and are feeling empowered the spread the message, check out these nine great ideas to reduce plastic bottle waste at your workplace from BanTheBottle.net.
Thursday, 19 May 2011 13:28
Weddings are all about the couple, but they can still be a little about the planet, right? [caption id="" align="alignright" width="331" caption="image courtesy of manolobrides.com"][/caption] Knowledge – There is a surprising amount to learn when it comes to planning a wedding. Though primarily a resource for training green wedding planners, New Wedding Planet is a great site for new couples to learn the ins and outs of planning everything from cake design to the elements of traditional or cultural ceremonies. Invitations – Utilize recycled or post-consumer waste paper for all your invitations, thank you notes, place cards, etc. Or cut out the paper waste altogether by choosing to go digital and putting Save the Dates, maps, and reception cards on your wedding website. Flowers and Food – Same idea for both: make it local, organic and seasonal. Almost all caterers and florists can help you with this, and you can get educated by going to your farmer’s market and asking what will be in season on your big day. Dï¿½cor ï¿½ Let the natural beauty of your outdoor wedding shine or consider using potted plants to adorn your indoor event ï¿½ guests can take them home and transplant them, as opposed to wreaths of cut flowers that only survive a day or two. If your heart is set on roses, get more bang for your buds by reusing floral arrangements from your ceremony at the reception. Gifts and Favors – The Green Bride Guide had a wealth of resources for finding eco-friendly favors from beeswax candles to chocolate treats. For gifts, registering through the Green Bride Guide allows your guests to support sustainable businesses and even donate a portion of the sales to your favorite cause. Transportation – The biggest carbon footprint from any event is the transportation. Try holding the wedding in a location central to most guests. If that’s not possible, use Carbonfund.org’s wedding calculator to offset the travel and hotel impact. Want to learn how to reduce the carbon footprint of your post-wedding life? Click over to Carbonfund.org's How to Reduce page to learn more.
Friday, 16 September 2011 16:25
It is a sad reality of the times we live in, but the iPad 2 makes last year's iPad look like a chunky coffee coaster. And Lord help us when the FlicFlex prototype (shown in the above video) comes to market. Technology moves so fast that it's created new consumerist problems for those who want to keep up - what do you do with old gadgets? One way to ensure your tech habits have a lower impact on the planet is to make sure old electronics get properly recycled. PCMag.com's Electronics Recycling Superguide offers a ton of great ways to recycle, trade in, and even make money off your old technology. The guide is pretty super, with more than 20 listed manufacturers, from Apple to Xerox, that will gladly take back their old products to keep them out of the landfill -- many with free shipping. Also check out the list of retailers to whom you can hand-deliver your goods and get the scoop on who waives the recycling fee (Radio Shack), who pays for your ink cartridges (Staples), and who won't accept products containing freon (Best Buy). Looking for a little something beyond the joy of recycling? A bunch of sites pay cash for your pre-owned gadgets, with some boasting an average payout of $115.
Tuesday, 22 February 2011 14:56
Oscar-nabbing, king-impersonating, fancy boy Colin Firth, Prince Charles stole back the spotlight for modern British royalty with a speech on low carbon prosperity at the European Parliament. The Prince called out climate change skeptics and discussed ways to bring the United Kingdom to a sustainable balance between industry and the environment. Some highlights included: Economy and environment are linked -- not two exclusive interests.
I cannot see how we can possibly maintain the growth of GDP in the long-term if we continue to consume our planet as voraciously as we are doing. We have to see that there is a direct relationship between the resilience of Nature’s ecosystems and the resilience of our national economies. And, let us not forget, it is on that resilience that our future prosperity actually depends.Not having a rainforest within your borders does not release you from the consequences of deforestation.
Having already felled or burned a third of the world’s tropical rainforests in the last fifty years, six million hectares of rainforest continue to disappear every year. And because the trees are not there to transfer billions of tonnes of water to the atmosphere, so the world’s weather patterns are disrupted which, in turn, seriously undermines the stability of food production. So, you see, burning a hectare of rainforest has a direct impact upon the livelihoods of many communities and, thus, a direct impact on economic growth and prosperity at a local level.Going "green" can't just be a lifestyle choice. It's a governmental, economic and infrastructural choice, too.
Underpinning any new framework, undoubtedly, is the need for an integrated set of long-term public policies and instruments to encourage a “green economy.” Such an economy would rely on sustainable asset management, more productive processing of waste, the construction of new, zero-carbon buildings and the retro-fitting of existing stock and on achieving stringent energy efficiency targets for our buildings, cars and household goods. If only we could look at the world in this new way, we could create significant – and, crucially, sustainable - economic opportunities.No government is going to just hand us a sustainable future. It's up to us, the consumer, to demand it.
Now I would merely add to this list one very important acknowledgment, if I may, and that is the role of the consumer. It seems to me that until we all as consumers really begin to demand sustainable products and services from businesses and Governments, then policy-makers will struggle to see the importance of introducing real change.Well played, Prince Charles. Well played indeed. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHCJChbzmts
Monday, 01 August 2011 16:33
I'm still waiting on my personal jetpack, but in a lot of ways it feels like that space age-y future is here. [caption id="" align="alignleft" width="233" caption="image courtesy of Dogfish Head and Cinemagraph artists Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg"][/caption] Families gather around a 3D television in their living room, or shoot 3D video on their hand-held smart phones. The military utilizes Terminator-style robots, kind of like a Segway with GPS, as decoys. And this animated GIF image certainly makes me think of the moving photos from Harry Potter (we're lumping 'the future' in with 'sci-fi magic' here...). But the one product I think eclipses all gadgets is the electric vehicle (EV). The future is here, and the world is slowly but surely realizing the electric car is it. I like to think one day kids will laugh at clunky, gas-powered cars and wonder how we thought it was okay to spew dirty fossil fuels everywhere we went -- a sort of eight-track-cartridge to MP3-file paradigm shift. ChargingStations.com, a CarbonFree website, wants to help make the switch easier for consumers by offering convenience. The website provides an easy interface for finding charging stations so drivers can plan trips quickly and easily. The website also seeks to help electric car owners find the right installation contractors and charging equipment for their homes. Electric car charging stations aren't such a new idea. In fact, the first charging stations were installed in 1995. By 2010, that number had almost tripled. Today, the number is exploding. The U.S. Department of Energy Alternative Fuels & Advanced Data Center reports a whopping 2,449 public charging stations and new ones are coming online every day. California has 602 public charging stations as of the last update, the most in the country, while 28 other states are hot on its tail. Changing the way we manage our fuel infrastructure is no easy task. Estimates say we'll have 1 million charging points by 2015. Why so many? Chargers will be installed in places of business, employment locations, the turnpike, dealerships and just about anywhere else you might expect to see a car. Because they don't create fumes or the risk of fire and explosion, these stations can safely be installed just about anywhere. Of the 1 million stations projected, 64 percent will be residential charging stations. That's about 360,000 nationwide. Contrast that with the 159,006 gasoline fueling stations operating in the US as of 2010. Charging stations will be ubiquitous, making it easier and more convenience to fill up. ChargingStations.com wants to lead the charge to an oil-independent America. They believe it's an exciting time to be an electric car owner in America. So many good things will come from this green revolution, including less noise pollution, cleaner air, energy cost savings for consumers, and a self-sufficient America that no longer relies on foreign countries to supply half of its fuel. That's a future we all can't wait to see.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 09:27
LG is First in Industry to Distribute Home Appliances, Solar Panels and Various Consumer Electronics with CarbonFree® Sustainability LabelHelping to educate consumers and retailers about environmental sustainability, LG Electronics and the Carbonfund.org Foundation announced today that LG products have earned the new CarbonFree® Certification label. The new CarbonFree LG products, including consumer electronics, home appliances and solar panels, will be available in the United States in early 2012. Working with the Carbonfund.org Foundation, the leading nonprofit carbon reduction and climate solutions organization, LG completed a life cycle analysis (LCA) on six core products to determine their carbon footprints from raw material extraction and production to use and disposal. CarbonFree Certification is a transparent, meaningful label that distinguishes products that have undergone this rigorous third-party certification process. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="160" caption="solar module"][/caption] This marks the first time that CarbonFree-certified LCD TV, LCD monitor, refrigerator, clothes washer, LED lamp or solar panel products will be available to the public, according to Carbonfund.org Foundation President Eric Carlson. In addition to the LG CarbonFree certification, the LG TV, monitor, washing machine and refrigerator also will be ENERGY STAR® qualified. "As part of our goal to become the most sustainable consumer products company in the world, LG is thrilled to partner with Carbonfund.org in this groundbreaking effort," said Wayne Park, President and CEO of LG Electronics USA. "Achieving the CarbonFree label for these products both validates the efforts we have made to reduce our carbon footprint and provides consumers important information they can trust." The LCAs were completed under the internationally recognized PAS 2050 methodology with assistance from Konkuk University, which means the cradle-to-grave analysis of the products' carbon footprints adheres to global standards for reducing environmental impact. "Carbonfund.org Foundation applauds LG Electronics' commitment to making and promoting carbon neutral products and following rigorous third-party standards," said Carlson. "LG's environmental leadership is further proof that what's good for the environment is also good business." Representatives from LG visited Carbonfund.org in Washington to sign the partnership agreement and celebrate the collaboration. CarbonFree® products represent the next step in LG's already robust environmental commitment both as a company and provider of energy-efficient products and services, including a wide range of ENERGY STAR® appliances and electronics products.
Wednesday, 22 December 2010 11:30
The date never changes, but Christmas has a tricky way of sneaking up on some of us each year. If you still have a few names on your gift list and are starting to feel the time-crunch, Carbonfund.org is ready with holiday gifts that are not only thoughtful but quick. Give a gift that reduces the carbon footprint of someone you care about and receive a personalized certificate in minutes that you can send on. Your donation supports Carbonfund.org's innovative, third-party validated projects that help the climate by reducing carbon emissions. As a bonus to you this holiday season—get a free, Carbonfund.org grocery tote for a $30 gift purchase, or two totes for a purchase of $50 or more. Sharing your interest in climate change is a great way to give to your family and to the environment. Visit www.carbonfund.org/holiday today.