Tuesday, July 31, 2007

posted by Dave Rosenheim @ 1:36 PM
This from Jesse Fahnestock and his colleagues at the World Economic Forum:

Blackle is Google - but a black screen version.

A few months ago, Mark Ontkush wrote a post on his blog EcoIron titled
"Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year ". The post lays out
the following train of thought. "An all white web page uses about 74 watts
to display, while an all black page uses only 59 watts." Google, which has
a white background and gets about "200 million queries a day "could reduce
global energy use by 750 Megawatt-hours a year by simply changing the
colour of its homepage to black.

In response to this post a black version of Google emerged called
Blackle.com. According to Blackle's homepage at publication time, 4,408.917
Watt hours have been saved by it.

Nice ideas. But how does the search measure up? Very well indeed. Use ‘web search' selection the Blackle screen to get same results from Google.

Give it a whirl yourself and start saving energy one search at a time. So
here's your site: http://www.blackle.com

Consider using this as your home page or default search engine. Consider
also passing this post on to people you know to spread the word.

Monday, July 23, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 9:52 PM
Charley Harper, one of my favorite artists died last week. Not only has he made some of the most beautiful images ever used by the US Park Service or the Audubon Society, he also created my favorite bit of global warming propaganda. I'm a big fan of injecting some humor into situations where people learn things, so it goes without saying that Charley has brought me lots of broad smiles while I learned about different ecosystems. Since our focus on GreenBase is climate change, I thought the best picture to share with you was this one (circa 2002):

photo credit: Fabulous Frames & Art

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 11:43 PM

I'm already on page 100, and I can't put the damn thing down. I'm happy to report that my favorite hero's chronichles are being reported on the greenest pages around.

From Grist.org

Final Harry Potter tome is "greenest book in publishing history"

The final installment of the mugglicious series is said to be the greenest book in publishing history -- a good thing, since it's set sales records at retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. Sixteen publishers around the world used eco-friendly paper for the edition, including U.S. publisher Scholastic, which went the conventional route for the last Harry book and faced a boycott as a result. In all, says Markets Initiative, a Vancouver-based group that helps publishers go green, the switch for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has saved nearly 200,000 trees and avoided almost 8,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Which totally makes up for the fact that Harry dies in the end. Oops, did we say that out loud?

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 12:27 AM
Phil Eck and Perry Farrell were mythical creatures to me as a teen. I used to doodle their names on the toes of my converse. I met Phil Eck at a bar in Seattle a few years ago and turned bright red in the cheeks and didn't say a damned thing for an entire hour because I was so nervous.

In preparing to move, I've been importing all my CDs into my ipod over the last few months and have been enjoying some nineties alternative jams--makes me wish I had some violet manic panic in my hair while writing this. I've been itching to cover this fruitful genre of music, and am kind of mad at Pitchfork for saying that there wasn't much green about the indie rock scene, so I was excited to see that Lollapalooza is stepping it up a notch in their greening efforts this year. I might just doodle Perry's name on my kicks right now!

It seems that they have partnered with Green Mountain, who is, in my mind, doing some of the most interesting projects in greening the music industry. I really like it when festivals offset the emissions associated with running the festival, but also offer ways fans can get involved.

Similar to the principle used when I ordered my zen-ned out alarm clock (which is awesome by the way), concert goers can offset the emissions associated with their travel right when they buy their tickets. A $4 Lollapalooza BeGreen (sm)Fan Tag will neutralize your impact. Four bucks, c'mon! I'll even give you the proceeds of the Yo La Tengo CD I just sold at Amoeba if you do it.

If you're planning to go to Lollapalooza, find out more about BeGreen Fan Tags here.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 2:59 PM

Treehugger published a really interesting article about a new study that links lead poisoning to violent crime rates. Who says environmentally-friendly living doesn't have positive effects on the livability of urban life??

Environmentalists Unknowingly Took A Hard Line On Crime: They Got The Lead Out

by John Laumer, Philadelphia on 07.12.07

According to a newly published piece of peer reviewed research, "The United States has had two spikes of lead poisoning: one at the turn of the 20th century, linked to lead in household paint, and one after World War II, when the use of leaded gasoline increased sharply. Both times, the violent crime rate went up and down in concert, with the violent crime peaks coming two decades after the lead poisoning peaks.

The finding seems to address "why rates of violent crime among black adolescents from inner-city neighborhoods have declined faster than the overall crime rate -- lead amelioration programs had the biggest impact on the urban poor. Children in inner-city neighborhoods were the ones most likely to be poisoned by lead, because they were more likely to live in substandard housing that had lead paint and because public housing projects were often situated near highways."

To address a broader point, let's assume that these findings will be corroborated.

Before the ban on leaded gasoline was initiated in the early 1970s', US refiners and auto makers resisted restrictions on the basis of scientific uncertainty, just as they have more recently, on the matter of human-causation of climate change. No one would have ever guessed, in 1970, that the neurological effects of childhood lead exposures could be associated, almost 40 years later, with causation of crime. The estimated cost/benefit ratio of the projected lead phaseout seems, in retrospect, to have been conservative.

Reflecting on this, how shall we anticipate the cost benefit ratio for climate protections? Is it reasonable to make an analogy, in hindsight, to the cost benefit of lead restrictions?

Imagination is more limiting than the spreadsheet. Faith in the future, more valuable than fear of it.

The cited work of R. Nevin was published in Environmental Research
Volume 104, Issue 3, July 2007, Pages 315-336. See full abstract below.

Via:: Washington Post

Understanding international crime trends: The legacy of preschool lead exposure

Rick Nevin
National Center for Healthy Housing, USA
Received 12 August 2006; revised 20 February 2007; accepted 23 February 2007. Available online 23 April 2007.


This study shows a very strong association between preschool blood lead and subsequent crime rate trends over several decades in the USA, Britain, Canada, France, Australia, Finland, Italy, West Germany, and New Zealand. The relationship is characterized by best-fit lags (highest R2 and t-value for blood lead) consistent with neurobehavioral damage in the first year of life and the peak age of offending for index crime, burglary, and violent crime. The impact of blood lead is also evident in age-specific arrest and incarceration trends. Regression analysis of average 1985 through 1994 murder rates across USA cities suggests that murder could be especially associated with more severe cases of childhood lead poisoning.

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Monday, July 9, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 11:02 PM
Encore recently posted an article on the greening measures behind Live Earth. Since the visions of the private chartered jets flying the artists around and the lighting at Giants stadium seem to be the proverbial pill in all the jam (pun intended, wah,wah,wah,wah), I thought it would be timely to show you all the measures that went behind making the event as green as the cause behind it.

Live Earth Leaves Green Legacy At Concert Venues Worldwide

Posted: June 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) -- In an effort to implement a more sustainable event production model, members of the Live Earth Green Team will provide global concert venues with the tools and guidelines necessary to continue environmentally conscious activities after the event itself is over. This legacy initiative is just one component of the Live Earth commitment to inspiring over two billion people worldwide to make smarter decisions to lead a more energy efficient lifestyle.

Despite various cultural, venue and logistical challenges, the Live Earth Green Team is taking thoughtful steps towards ensuring that the environmental impact of the eight official concerts worldwide is significantly minimized. From waste management programs activated at each venue to transportation solutions aimed at reducing concertgoers’ travel emissions, the stage is set for Live Earth to be a major catalyst of a global movement aimed at creating change.

"Live Earth is about engaging a global audience with solutions to the climate crisis, and providing these legendary venues with the knowledge that will allow them to continue their environmental contributions, " said John Rego, environmental director, Live Earth and a senior consultant for Brand Neutral. "Improving sustainability is a long-term goal and we are proud to be contributing to a greener future for these cities."

In addition to recycling or composting plastic bottles and containers on-site at all locations, the Live Earth venues will optimize lighting to reduce energy consumption and exchange inefficient bulbs for efficient ones. A combination of solar, wind and biofuel generated power will be sourced to power all energy sources including lighting, air circulation, musical equipment and amplifiers. Effective waste management is another essential component of the venue greening, and Live Earth has introduced a variety of ways to reduce the garbage produced by the shows.

Specifically, Giants Stadium will instate a triple-stream system, likely its first in its 30-year history which combines waste, compost and recycling and aims to more than double the diversion rate of materials that will avoid landfills on the day of the show. In an effort to reduce waste generated at the concert, official partner, Pepsi Co. estimates it will recycle more than 200,000 bottles and cans – preventing at least 10 tons of waste from going to landfills and saving enough electricity to power 5,110 homes for a 24 hour period -- the same amount of time concerts will last. In addition, a partnership with web-based invitation provider Evite will offer Live Earth ticket holders the resources to meet up with friends and organize carpools to and from the concert. Biodegradable tableware provided by Aramark will be used for food and beverage services, and any signage present in the venue will be made from bio-material that will eventually be composted or reused.

In London, several environmental education programs are in place to support Wembley Stadium progress to become a greener venue. On June 28, Wembley plans to brief members of its management team about the environmental initiatives already underway as well as advise them of all of the green changes to come. On-site generators are currently being tested to run on 99 percent biodiesel on July 7 while all aluminum cans collected from the Live Earth event will be recycled and a payment of .025 pence will be aggregated and donated to local nonprofits, which is a system Wembley stadium put in place earlier this year. Wembley long term goals even include plans to recycle used chewing gum to help resurface children’s playgrounds long after Live Earth.

Live Earth staff has managed to reduce the impact of affiliated transportation surrounding the shows as well. Concessionaires in many locations will source food locally, wherever available to cut down on vehicle emissions from trucking. The largest source of emissions, the travel of concert goers, is being reduced by an upcoming education outreach that provides individuals information about and encouragement to use public transportation and carpool to reduce harmful air pollutants. To further offset the carbon produced by the shows, Live Earth will purchase enough carbon credits to zero out the carbon emissions created by the overall event. While each Live Earth venue will have a variety of green initiatives it is activating, the events as a whole aim to demonstrate a collective effort to instill green practices in the everyday lives of individuals.

Twenty-four hours of music across seven continents will deliver a worldwide call to action and the solutions necessary to answer that call. Live Earth marks the beginning of a multi-year campaign to drive individuals, corporations and governments to take action to solve the climate crisis. Live Earth is partnering with the Alliance for Climate Protection, The Climate Group, Stop Climate Chaos and other international organizations in this ongoing effort. Live Earth was founded by Kevin Wall, a worldwide executive producer of the Live 8 concert series in 2005, and is supported by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore.

smart is the only automaker serving as an Official Partner. Unlike any other vehicle, the new smart fortwo combines a modern, individual lifestyle with environmental protection by setting the standard in urban mobility and offering the lowest CO2 emission of any vehicle on the market. smart responds to environmental demands with innovative, technologically sound solutions and as a result produces positive and credible answers to the question of ecological driving.

Philips, as the leading lighting supplier in the world, joins Live Earth as an Official Partner. Philips was the first to introduce the energy saving light bulb in 1980 and has put environmental product improvement at the heart of its business with its EcoDesign program since 1994, increasing its green product range year by year.

Live Earth is partnering with companies on a local level who share the commitment to helping people live a more energy efficient lifestyle. PepsiCo, an Official Partner of Live Earth, is committed to making a difference with eco-friendlier packaging, energy and water conservation and waste reduction. It’s all part of the PepsiCo commitment to Performance with Purpose -- to do better by doing better.

Esurance, the direct-to-consumer personal auto insurance company, joins Live Earth as an Official Sponsor and is the latest extension of Esurance efforts to conserve energy and preserve the planet's precious resources. For more than seven years, Esurance policyholders have helped save thousands of trees by buying their auto insurance online and using electronic documents.

The Absolut Spirits Company, an official Live Earth partner, is working to reduce its carbon dioxide impact by focusing on sustainable agriculture, reducing impact on climate change and optimizing use of natural resources as mandated by V&S Group, the parent company of Absolut Vodka and one of the leading international spirits companies. --Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

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Sunday, July 8, 2007

posted by Sarah Krasley @ 2:50 AM
Music festivals across the country aim to lessen their footprint

By Sarah van Schagen

Two's company, 80,000's a crowd.
Bonnaroo 2006.
Photo: Sarah van Schagen.

I'm sitting in the middle of a field in rural Tennessee, and it feels like it's got to be 110 degrees out. Somehow I've forgotten about my sweat-lined brow and muddy shoes; instead, I'm focused on listening to Bonnaroo's head press guy, Ken Weinstein of Big Hassle Media, talk about the music festival's ongoing efforts to put on a greener event. "No one likes to be trendy," he says. "But as trends go, this greening shit is pretty cool."

The "greening shit" he's referring to is certainly a growing trend among music festivals. From dishing out organic food on compostable dishware to using recycled toilet paper in the port-o-potties to powering stages with solar energy or biodiesel, festivals around the country are getting creative in their efforts to be green. Some, like Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, are even devoting venue space to the issue, inviting artists and fans to participate in educational activities and visit informational booths staffed by nonprofits (like Grist).

But can a music festival ever truly be green? An hour in a line of idling vehicles waiting to reach Bonnaroo's entry gates answered that question for one Grist staffer. Certainly any event requiring masses of people to travel is already in the red when it comes to being green. Whether an event is in an urban center or in the center of a field starts to matter big-time when you're aiming for sustainability.

The sheer volume of trash generated by one of these multi-day events is also a massive issue. Last year's Bonnaroo festival produced more than 1 million pounds of waste, but recycling, composting, and reuse efforts kept more than half of it from ever reaching a landfill.

As cities across the world this week begin preparing for the climate-change-focused Live Earth concerts on 7/7/07 (an event that has come under fire itself), I decided to take a closer look at what some of the major music festivals in the U.S. are doing (or have done) this year to address climate issues.

I've graded them based on overall intent and six specific factors: ubiquity of recycling bins; use of green power sources like solar, biodiesel, and wind; presence of green exhibits or educational aspects; purchase of carbon offsets; direction of donations or proceeds to green causes; and availability of organic and local food options.

Unfortunately (for the music fan in me, but probably fortunately for the planet), I haven't been able to travel to all of these festivals and judge them firsthand. Instead, I've relied on the festival websites, press releases, media coverage, and event organizers themselves when possible -- not as good as being there, but it does help indicate how well the festivals are communicating green initiatives to fans.

click for details
South by Southwest
Austin City Limits

South by Southwest
Where: Austin, Texas
When: March 9-18, 2007
Who: 27,000 attendees
The scoop: In addition to offsetting energy use at concert venues during the festival, SXSW organizers accounted for energy used all year at their offices. They also boosted mass-transit options for festivalgoers and assisted in local tree-planting efforts.
The score: B-

Recycling Green Power Carbon Offsets Green Donations Organic/Local

Where: Indio, California
When: April 27-29, 2007
Who: 100,000 attendees
The scoop: Apart from a partnership with youth-focused eco-group Global Inheritance that resulted in an alternative-energy display and carpooling incentives, this Hollywood-heavy festival showed little green initiative.
The score: C-

Recycling Green Exhibits

Where: The Gorge, George, Washington
When: May 26-27, 2007
Who: 22,000 attendees
The scoop: Via Sustainable Energy Partner's Carbon Harmony program, the event was over 100 percent offset, but that's about as green as it got. Aside from the Global Inheritance TRASHed Recycling Store, there was nary a recycling bin in sight.
The score: D

Carbon Offsets

Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
Where: Manchester, Tennessee
When: June 14-17, 2007
Who: 80,000 attendees
The scoop: The jam-band festival's ongoing efforts to be greener this year include use of non-VOC paints, organic cotton T-shirts, recycled toilet paper, a festival-wide composting program, and a solar-powered stage.
The score: B+

Recycling Green Power Green Exhibits Carbon Offsets Organic/Local

Where: Grant Park, Chicago
When: Aug. 3-5, 2007
Who: 165,000 attendees
The scoop: Former Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell has worked hard to green this fest, which this year will use biodiesel to power vendor stands and solar energy to power a small stage. Additionally, a Green Street area will feature nonprofit-staffed booths to educate concertgoers on eco-issues, and 'Palooza proceeds will benefit Chicago's Parkways Foundation.
The score: A-

Recycling Green Power Green Exhibits Carbon Offsets Green Donations Organic/Local

Where: Seattle, Washington
When: Sept. 1-3, 2007
Who: 150,000 attendees
The scoop: This long-established nonprofit music festival is aiming to fully integrate green initiatives into its operations and hopes to get festivalgoers on board by offering rewards (like cash!) for recycling. Because of its urban location (read: limited parking), bikers and carpoolers will also be encouraged with incentives.
The score: B-

Recycling Green Power Carbon Offsets Organic/Local

Austin City Limits Music Festival
Where: Zilker Park, Austin, Texas
When: Sept. 14-16, 2007
Who: 165,000 attendees
The scoop: Festival promoters helped jumpstart an Austin Parks & Rec plan to install an irrigation system on the Zilker Park grounds, providing healthier grass for concertgoers and park users year-round. ACL will also feature a special area within festival grounds to highlight various environmental nonprofit groups.
The score: B+

Recycling Green Power Green Exhibits Carbon Offsets Green Donations Organic/Local

Sarah van Schagen is Grist's assistant editor.

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