Posts Tagged ‘conservation’


Green issues are sometimes complex.  We need to recycle many things, like electronics, but we certainly don’t want to poison others in the process.  Efforts to protect the environment and conserve valuable resources must be coupled with proper health and safety procedures.  Unfortunately, just saying this doesn’t make it happen.  Developing countries are becoming a dumping ground for much toxic waste and proper environmental health and safety is being ignored, both by local opportunists and suppliers of e-Waste from developed nations.  From Greenpeace:

This shocking documentary from Greenpeace shows how “second hand goods” exported to Ghana for reuse are actually causing horrendous pollution. “People in the developed countries bring them here to bridge the digital gap but in actual fact they are creating a digital dump.”

Ghana — The latest place where we have discovered high tech toxic trash causing horrendous pollution is in Ghana. Our analysis of samples taken from two electronic waste (e-waste) scrap yards in Ghana has revealed severe contamination with hazardous chemicals.

Similar problems occur in China and, surprisingly, even in developed countries.  See related information about toxic waste dumps all over the world here.

However, you can also read good news about environmental protection in Europe and the effect it is having on US companies.

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Original text copyright © 2008 James K. Bashkin


Earth Hour was reported by much of the press, and Associated Press writer CARYN ROUSSEAU published

Cities switch off lights for Earth Hour

which gave summary of world-wide activity and information from the parent Earth Hour organization. You can read the original story at the above link for details, but here are a few highlights and lowlights from Rousseau’s article:

…. In Ireland, where environmentalists are part of the coalition government, lights-out orders went out for scores of government buildings, bridges and monuments in more than a dozen cities and towns.

But the international banks and brokerages of Dublin‘s financial district blazed away with light, illuminating floor after empty floor of desks and idling computers.

… much of Europe — including France, Germany, Spain and European Union institutions — planned nothing to mark Earth Hour. …

Given Germany’s strong stand on clean power implementation, I think that is one place that already has the message, loud and clear. For example, the German city of Marburg has made solar energy systems mandatory on new buildings, and Germany and Spain have collaborated on huge solar panel-based power plants.

The wrap-up from Earth Hour US can be found here.

I think that the event was great for raising awareness and building a sense of community across international borders and locally.

In addition the the great support found in many quarters, there are a lot of cynical comments to be found on the web about Earth Hour. I’ll say this about cynicism- it is just talk, and never achieves anything.

© James K. Bashkin, 2008

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THE HOUR IS NEAR!

This information came to me by email because I signed up and committed to Earth Hour 2008, which is fast approaching. Since the message emphasizes getting the word out, and since it is written so well, I’ve reproduced a portion of it here. The full message can be found at the Earth Hour newsletter. Earth Hour is an important symbolic and real act of conservation and activism, a demonstration of awareness, a statement of how important the issues of sustainability, energy conservation and energy use are to each of us, and more. Go to the Earth Hour website for information about how entire cities and organizations are participating, worldwide, and how you can join in. The environment is our home, let’s keep working on cleaning it up and protecting it for the future. From the earthhourUS.org newsletter of March 27 (the content in the following indented quote is © Earth Hour):

This is the weekend to take a stand. Earth Hour – this Saturday, March 29 from 8-9 pm local time. You’ll be joining millions of people across the U.S. and around the globe in a monumental call for action on climate change. Here’s a last-minute checklist to help you make the most of the hour:

· Go compact — Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), that is. Come out of Earth Hour with better lighting than before. Changing to energy-efficient lighting is just one step, but it’s a part of Earth Hour we all can do. Identify the bulbs you can replace, then hit the hardware store and stock up. And watch for special free and discounted bulbs in many communities across America.

· Prepare to party — Whether you’re hosting a planet-friendly get-together by lamplight, camping out with the kids or just enjoying some unpowered screen-free “you” time, make sure you’ve got all the supplies you need ready at hand. It’s not too late to invite a few more friends.

· Buzz in the dark — You can often hear electric light bulbs buzzing. This weekend, the big buzz comes when we all turn them off. Tell your friends. The more people know about Earth Hour, the bigger an impact we’ll each make. E-mail your friends, link to Earth Hour on your blog, pass out flyers and stickers or just ask your neighbors, “What are you doing Saturday at 8?”

· Think long-term — Turning out the lights for one hour is a great start, but what will you be doing after March 29? As Saturday approaches, make a plan to go green after Earth Hour. Recycle more, drive less, talk to your elected leaders—whatever you do, make Earth Hour the beginning of a new, greener you!

This is another day to do something for the environment (as is every day!).  I hope you will be able to join us and participate in this historic event.

James K. Bashkin

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The world-wide Earth Hour movement takes place on March 29, 8-9 pm local time: turn off your lights for one hour to make a statement about the power of conservation and activism to help the environment.

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Energy conservation is on nearly everyone’s mind these days, and people are looking for ways to make a statement about their commitment to the environment.  With just three weeks left until Earth Hour 08, 8-9 pm on March 29, a wide array of companies, cities and other organizations from around the world have signed on to participate by turning off their lights for one hour.  This worldwide event, which grew out of a local event in Sydney Australia last year, is sponsored by WWF, the World Wildlife Fund.

Sponsoring companies include:

  • Hewlett-Packard (official Earth Hour technology partner)
  • National Geographic Channel (official U.S. media partner)

Participating US cities include:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • San Francisco, California
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Northbrook, Illinois
  • Denver, Colorado

and International locations are numerous.

To find out more, go to the Earth Hour web site and sign up.   Sign up, participate and organize to help raise awareness of energy-related environmental issues.


Staples Inc., the world’s largest office-supplies retailer, ended its contracts with Asia Pulp & Paper Co. because of its environmental practices. As reported by Heather Burke for Bloomberg.com,

“The retailer stopped its 11-year relationship with Asia Pulp in late January, spokesman Owen Davis wrote in an e-mail today. Staples got about 5 percent of its paper from Asia Pulp, which it used in some Staples-brand products. Davis declined to disclose the value of the contracts….Asia Pulp’s partners have cleared about 50,000 acres of natural forest in the Bukit Tigapuluh national park, in many instances violating Indonesian law, the WWF said. Asia Pulp has denied any violations, saying it received proper licenses.” This was first reported by the Wall Street Journal.

It is great to see a positive influence on business practices from the WWF’s efforts to publicize environmental problems around the world. For more information, see the World Wildlife Fund links two posts ago on this site.

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Affiliated with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Earth Hour 2008 will be held at 8 pm on the 29 of March, 2008. People and groups around the world, including cities and companies and schools, will turn their lights out for one hour. This is a global version of an event started in Sydney, Australia, last year. Earth Hour attempts to engage people, companies, organizations, schools and cities in the conservation process, to make people more aware of the environment, and to show how individual acts, multiplied by millions of people, can have a significant, positive influence on energy use and savings.

  • If you believe in global warming, you might see this as a chance to help reduce human contributions to climate change.
  • If you don’t believe in global warming, you might view this as a much-needed exercise in energy conservation.

I recently became aware of this event via two friends on gather.com, Morgan and flit (thanks!). See also this article by Kate Keeley for more information, and a personal perspective that starts out with the intriguing sentence:

Someone asked me while I was traveling in Antarctica, “So…are you having the greatest time ever?”

The following is taken from earthhour.org:

Earth Hour 2007 was a Sydney event. Earth Hour 2008 is a global movement.

Created to take a stand against the greatest threat our planet has ever faced, Earth Hour uses the simple action of turning off the lights for one hour to deliver a powerful message about the need for action on global warming.

This simple act has captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world. As a result, at 8pm on the 29 March, 2008 millions of people in some of the world’s major capital cities, including Copenhagen, Toronto, Chicago, Melbourne, Brisbane and Tel Aviv will unite and switch off for Earth Hour.

There is much more information at the primary site, earthhour.org. You can help organize participation by your whole community, participate on your own, etc. Take a look, you might want to register and participate. I did.

For more on the WWF, see the following links from the US website (or look here for their global site, which links to WWF organizations in many countries):

DISCOVER

Endangered Species
Where We Work
Global Forces
Conservation Science
WWF In Action
Travel
Get Involved
Newsroom
Business Partnerships
Humanitarian Partnerships
About WWF / Jobs

EXPLORE

WildFinder

WildWorld Camera Traps

Marketing Partners
Shop WWF Gear
Fun & Games
Free E-Cards
Free Wallpaper
Photo Galleries

DONATE

Donate to WWF
Gift Center
Adoption Center
Monthly Supporter
Legacy Gifts
Partners in Conservation

© James K. Bashkin, 2008
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As reported by environmentalgraffiti.com,

“London already charges a tax, known as a congestion charge, on almost all vehicles that enter central and parts of west London. Certain vehicles, such as those hybrids or eco-friendly fuel cars are exempt. Livingstone’s most recent announcement, however, vastly increases the charge for the highest polluting vehicles.”

I think that a big question remains- will these people be bothered by the fee? I presume that a number of them will, but think of the status for those who keep driving the SUVs into London! They will be put at the top of many lists, few of which will be complimentary.

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As reported by Robert Booth of The Guardian:

“Groups who attempt to raise money for charity by climbing the highest mountains in England, Wales, and Scotland in one day are blamed for causing environmental havoc … on the three peaks.”

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Two wrongs don’t make “a right”, and neither do 200. This is an unfortunate story, but it helps illustrate that it is not enough to care about the environment- one must be able to make informed and sensible choices in order to help solve environmental problems. Becoming informed is no easy task, however, given the misinformation and confusing messages that are often provided, especially by Federal, State and corporate sources in the US and elsewhere (on, for example, the subject of biofuels such as ethanol from corn). In striking contrast to the more typical messages we hear, the city of Portland, Oregon has developed a rational sustainability plan that includes a critical assessment (and sometimes rejection) of different sources of biofuels. Similar ideas are expressed in the recent draft legislation proposed by the European Union for governing the source of biofuels.

© James K. Bashkin, 2008

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“Minimizing waste, pollution, and natural resource depletion does not represent a strategy for long-term success; it simply makes the current destructive system sustainable.”

Mr. McDonough addresses issues from biodiversity to specific sustainability approaches in China. He distinguishes efficiency and diversity in nature from those qualities in man-made materials, and describes textiles now “clean enough to eat” that were arrived at by careful study of textile components and possible replacements.

The quoted first paragraph was taken from the report in AlwaysOn Magazine about a speech by William McDonough, who is “the founding principal of William McDonough and Partners, Architecture and Community Design as well as the cofounder and principal (with German chemist Michael Braungart) of McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry.”

“This is part two of William McDonough’s speech. For part 1, click here. (AlwaysOn has) also posted a short highlight video and the video of the entire speech online. The transcript is also available in the winter edition of the AlwaysOn Magazine.”

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Originally found on DIGG by fthead9.