Friday, November 30, 2007

Google's Going Solar (again)!!!!

"Each person must live their lives as a model for others" - Rosa Parks

I'm not generally a big fan of HUGE corporations, but at the same time I think you need to give credit where credit is due. Last week, Google announced that they are going to take responsibility for their impact and pour "hundreds of millions" of dollars into renewable energy research specifically in the fields of solar and wind power. Their long term goal is to produce 1 gigawatt of power from renewable energy that will sell at prices below coal generated power. It's an astonishing goal and if successful, would be enough power to power all of San Francisco. Google apparently keeps their energy use private (and much is already solar generated) but rumours put it right around "a buttload of power".

So why is this so important? For starters, we all know how big Google is, so for an industry leader like this to head in this direction shows the rest of the sheep out there where they should be heading as well (politicians take note!). Also, if successful, which I suspect they will be, the end run of this is that solar prices will drop significantly making it much more affordable to the average joe. It's really, in my opinion, a space shot kind of moment when you consider that the largest solar array presently in existence is 20 Megawatts (a gigawatt is 1000 megawatts so you can see how ambitious this really is).

Seeing as our elected "leaders" seem to be unable to come up with a comprehensive energy plan that calls for renewable energy and an end to fossil fuel addiction, I'm glad corporations like Google are there to show them that it needs to be done, can be done, and will be done.

It's about time.

You can send Google a hail and hearty Huzzahhh at Let em know you care and you appreciate the fact that they are in the game.

Thanks to my buddy Grant for the tip off.

Live Sustainably



Thursday, November 29, 2007

Greendimes - Give the gift of less

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win"

-Mahatma Ghandi

If you're anything like me you hate junk mail. Not only is it a huge pain in the butt, but it wastes a ton of resources, not the least of which are trees and water. Well fear not fellow recycler, Greendimes is here. For the small price of just $15 they will not only stop 90% of your junk mail for a year, but they will plant 10 trees to boot. How cool is that? We gave this a shot a year ago and other than stuff from charities we give to, we get no catalogs or junk mail anymore. It rocks!

Sure there are a bunch of other ways to stop your junk mail, but they require a fair amount of time and work, trust me, I've tried them. The way I figure it, I'd pay $15 just to plant the trees so getting out of junk mail is just the bonus. And right now, you can give it as a holiday gift, or for $42 a Greendimes package which will get your friend the junk mail opt out, tree planting, a tote bag, a t-shirt, and two compact flourescent bulbs. Try to beat that with a stick...ya can't!

So this holiday season, why not give less, and save more.

Thanks for reading.

Live Sustainably,



Monday, November 26, 2007

It's about being disconnected

"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied together into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality." - Martin Luther King Jr.

I've been pondering starting a blog for quite some time, but I couldn't figure out what to say in my first post. It always seemed like that was the tough one, and that the rest would just sort of follow finding their own voice and way. It seems that I've put it off long enough, so here goes.

I think a lot about sustainability.

Perhaps too much sometimes.

Remember that scene in the Matrix where Neo finally sees all the code and "gets it"? Well, that's sort of the way I am with things except I "see" energy and waste. When I look at a cup, I don't just see the cup, I see (well guess anyway) the energy and resources that went into making it, the energy and resources that went into getting it to me, the energy and resources that will go into ferrying it off to some dump or recycling center, and the energy and resources that will eventually go into it's destruction/recycling. And then I realize that I'm not even using it, and that my wife is wondering why I'm not listening to her. It can be quite frustrating at times and I honestly wish I could turn it off, but unfortunately some things are just like that.

As I think about this stuff, I've come to the realization that one of the biggest hurdles we have in front of us is our general disconnectedness. Thousands of years ago, people had no choice but to be connected to their world. People lived much simpler lives than we do and knew how things became and where they went. If you needed food, you grew/hunted for it, or bartered for it from someone who grew/hunted it. If you had refuse, you burned it, buried it, or disposed of it outside yourself. People were connected to their lives and therefore, whether cognizant of it or not, had an understanding of their impact.

We are different. Look at the clothes you are wearing right now. Can you honestly say that you have any idea the amount of energy, materials, time, or money that actually went into any item of clothing that you are wearing? I know I can't. When you throw your trash out tomorrow morning, where does it go? I have a general idea, but I honestly can't tell you. When you turn the water in your tap on (a miracle when you really think of it) do you know where it came from, how it got to you, or where it goes? I can't.

As a society we are living unsustainable lives. Americans in particular use far more than our share, and it is my opinion, perhaps a naive one, that the first step to changing this behavior is to connect the dots. We turn on lights, use water, throw things "away", drive our cars, and rampantly purchase and discard without a care because it is easy not to care.

We are disconnected from everything.

But let me ask you this. What if you realized that those miners that died in Utah last summer were mining cheap coal that was specifically being used to power your house? What if every time you left your faucet running you could see the water table drop? What would happen if you had to take your garbage to the dump yourself? How would you feel if the pollution from your car stayed right over your house and built up until you couldn't breathe? What if you had to buy your purchases from the people who actually made them, the ones who work 16 hours a day 6 days a week and live in tin huts? I'm not trying to bum you out, but I think you'd think differently about your actions. You'd realize that simply because we don't think of the consequences to our actions all of the time, it doesn't mean that they don't exist. And before you know it, you'd be staring at that coffee cup, recognizing the consequences of its existence, and wondering why your wife is looking at you like that.

So what am I getting at? Mainly that we've got a long way to go and the first step in all of this is learning to think differently. Hopefully, with your help, we can all work together to make the difference.

Who's in?

Live Sustainably