Friday, August 29, 2008

Republicans Hosting Green National Convention

The Republican National Convention will take place next week, September 1-4, in Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. The "simple but classy" theme will incorporate several environmentally-friendly components. According to the GOP Green Fact Sheet and Politico, the conference will

University of Michigan Wins North American Solar Challenge

University of Michigan Solar Car Team won last month's North American Solar Challenge and became 5-time champions of the race.

The 2008 North American Solar Challenge was held July 13-22. The 2008 North American Solar Challenge is a competition for students and engineers to design, build and race solar-powered cars in a 2400-mile cross-country event. This year's vehicles left Plano TX on July 13 and passed through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, before finishing in Calgary AB. There were 15 team vehicles completing the Challenge. The annual event is sponsored by Toyota and Crowder College.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Voyage for Cleaner Energy

Explorer Robert Swan's Voyage for Cleaner Energy kicked off in Nantucket MA earlier this month. The Voyage is a 5-year journey via the sailboat "2041." The Voyage will travel around the world "from the U.S. to Europe, Russia, India and China, talking with university students, corporate executives, and government officials about their roles as leaders in tackling climate change and accomplishing sustainability."

The "2041" sailboat has sails made from recycled plastic bottles, solar panel sails, wind turbines, and an engine that runs on biofuels. There are eco-friendly features and green products and technology on board the sailboat.

Why is the sailboat named "2041?" According to the website, "2041 is the year of the review of the Environmental Protocol of the Antarctic Treaty. Our aim is to work towards the protection of this treaty, so there is never a need to exploit the last great continent on Earth for minerals and fossil fuel."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ECO Car Wash - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

ECO Car Wash (Portland OR) is a multi-location car wash in the Portland area.

ECO Car Wash recycles 100% of the water used in washing. The computer-controlled water management system uses 25-40 gallons of fresh water per vehicle wash, far less than hand washing at home. Additionally, ECO Car Wash uses water-soluable, bio-based, and biodegradable cleaning products. And the company uses wind energy in all facilties. To support the community, ECO Car Wash makes contributions to several charitable organizations.

ECO Car Wash was started in 2001 by Joey Hanna and Mark Hanna.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir

I recently watched the very moving HBO Documentary Film, We Are Together: The Children of Agape Choir. The documentary was created over three years, premiered at 2007's Tribeca Film Festival, and has won over 15 awards.

The documentary chronicles the life of Slindile Moya, her siblings, and the Agape Child Care Center in South Africa, which is home to children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. The story is inspiring and uplifting and the children's choir is remarkable.

Visit the We Are Together official website to purchase a DVD of the film or a CD of the children's choir. All profits help children affected by AIDS in South Africa. The documentary is expected to come to cinemas soon.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sustainable Business Design Among "Top 50 Business Professor Blogs"

Sustainable Business Design blog has been listed among the Top 50 Business Professor Blogs by is a site for information on obtaining MBA degrees, including a search engine for MBA programs, general information on MBA admissions and curriculum, career advice, and a blog discussing topics of interest to those interested in the MBA degree.

The Top 50 Business Professor Blogs lists blogs in technology, management, economics and finance, marketing, strategy, leadership, and innovation, and other business topics.

The Green Train Coming to a City Near You

The Green Train is set to launch a 6-week U.S. tour beginning in April 2009. The Green Train is a concert and train tour featuring varied musicians, artists, actors, writers, and celebrities promoting global awareness. The tour will kick off in Portland OR in April 2009, will pass through 28 states, include 7 major concerts and dozens of smaller whistle-stops, and conclude six weeks later in May in Washington DC.

The Green Train will be powered by biofuel and solar energy. Among those participating are Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Cher, Dave Matthews Band, Jewel, Collective Soul, John Mayer, Indigo Girls, and many others.

Visit the website for The Green Train route, greening tips, business sponsorship opportunities, and more information. Watch for The Green Train to come to a city near you!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Feel the Planet Earth '08 CIFIAL Design Award

Feel the Planet Earth '08 CIFIAL Design Award is now accepting entries.

"The theme for the 2008 Award will be the over-dependence on non- renewable sources of energy in the current pattern of development. Any design work on this issue, whether a vehicle, a public transport service, a cooking device or a lighting system, a water pump or any other practical or theoretical contribution...can be proposed."

The prize will be 25.000 € and registration is November 1-December 31, 2008.

Democrats Planning Green Convention

The Democratic Convention will be held August 25-28 in Denver CO. The convention hired its first-ever Director of Greening, Andrea Robinson, to ensure this would be "the most sustainable political convention in modern American history."

According to the Wall Street Journal, some of Robinson's sustainability initiatives include:

  • Reuse, recycle or compost at least 85% of all waste generated during the convention (and a "trash brigade" to make sure it happens)

  • Celebratory balloons will hopefully be biodegradable (although early tests show they aren't degrading in a compost heap)

  • Hired an Official Carbon Adviser, who will measure the greenhouse-gas emissions of every placard, every plane trip, every appetizer prepared and every coffee cup tossed

  • No fried food and at least 70% of ingredients should be organic or grown locally

  • At least 50% fresh fruits and vegetables in each meal

  • Compostable utensils

  • Biofuel made from (Coors Brewing Co.) beer waste to power the convention's fleet of flex-fuel vehicles

  • Fanny packs made in the USA of undyed, organic fabric

  • Banners made from canvas or corn-based bioplastics and recycled afterwards into handbags

  • 1000 bicycles for free use provided by Humana and Bikes Belong

  • The stage is built with salvaged plywood and other recycled or reused materials

  • The podium is finished with eco-friendly paints and soy-based sealants

  • Solar and wind energy will be used to partly power the event

  • All signs and placards made from post-consumer recycled or biodegradable materials and recycled afterwards

  • 160 miles of cable laid for the convention will be recycled afterwards

  • Lightbulbs have been replaced with energy-efficient models

  • Water spigots have been retrofitted with water-saving models

  • Water filling stations will be installed to refill empty water bottles

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Green Jobs Now - A National Day of Action

Saturday, September 27 will be Green Jobs Now: A National Day of Action. Now is the time to begin planning your event. From their website:

On Saturday, September 27, we're launching a national mobilization to say, "I'm ready for the green economy." We are ready to tackle the climate crisis by building a green economy strong enough to lift people out of poverty.

Green Jobs Now is a National Day of Action that will empower everyday people to stage hundreds of grassroots events throughout the country. We will have a special
focus on low-income communities, communities of color and indigenous people. This will send a message to our leaders that, when it comes to creating green jobs for a more sustainable economy, PEOPLE ARE READY!

Visit the website to organize an event or to find an event in your area.

The Green Jobs Now Day of Action is a non-profit, non-partisan initiative of Green For All, 1Sky, the We Campaign and several partners.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

VerTerra - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

VerTerra (New York City NY) is a manufacturer of disposable dinnerware. Plates, bowls, and cups are made from 100% renewable and compostable plant matter and water. According to the website,

We start by collecting fallen leaves from plantations without cutting down any trees. Normally, these leaves would be burned on the side of the road. Instead, they are brought to our factory, sprayed with high pressure water, steamed and UV sterilized. We recapture over 80% of the water we use. No chemicals, lacquers, glues, bonding agents or anything toxic are ever used. The entire process uses only a fraction of the energy used in recycling.

The products are durable, will naturally biodegrade in 2 months, and can be used in the microwave, oven, and refrigerator.

Items are made in South Asia by VerTerra’s own employees where employees receive fair wages in safe working conditions and are provided access to healthcare.

VerTerra was founded by Michael Dwork.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wind Energy Captured Through Kites

According to the Guardian, "Scientists from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands harnessed energy from the wind by flying a 10-sq metre kite tethered to a generator, producing 10 kilowatts of power."

The "Laddermill" uses kiteplanes and it is believed it has the potential to generate up to 100MW of energy (enough to power up to 100,000 homes). Scientists hope the project will lead to a radical change in wind energy.

Video courtesy of The Guardian.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Business Schools Can Help Achieve Millenium Development Goals

In the July/August edition of BizEd is an interview with Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. Among Ban's responsibilities are leading the organization to achieve the eight Millenium Development Goals:

  1. Eradicate poverty and hunger

  2. Improve global educational opportunities

  3. Promote gender equality

  4. Reduce child mortality

  5. Improve maternal health

  6. Fight diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria

  7. Inspire environmental sustainability

  8. Establish a global partnership of organizations to achieve these goals

He is promoting the U. N.'s Global Compact, an initiative that brings together government, nonprofits, educational institutions, and business to improve the prosperity of those at the bottom of the world's economic pyramid.

The world's businesses possess the power to make these objectives a reality. The contributions of business schools also will be essential in helping the U.N. meet its 2015 deadline, Ban stresses. By teaching social responsibility, he says, business schools can instill in each of their students the skills to change the world--and the intention to make a difference.

Read the full interview in the July/August 2008 edition of BizEd.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

World's Largest Wind Farm?

Who really has bragging rights to the world's largest wind farm? In the past month, the following stories have made headlines touting the world's largest wind farm.

In Oregon, The Portland Business Journal reports that the Shepherd's Flat Wind Farm will build a 909MW wind farm in the north-central part of the state which will contain 303 wind turbines. The project is expected to be completed in 2010.

In Texas, the Pickens Plan outlines T. Boone Pickens' plan to build a wind farm in Pampa that would reach 4,000MW with 667+ turbines when completed in 2014.

In South Dakota, Clipper Windpower and BP Alternative Energy have entered into a joint venture, the Titan Wind Project, to build up to a 5,050MW facility with 2,020 wind turbines. The project will be completed in phases and no date is available for estimated completion of the full project.

So who has bragging rights? Currently, the title of world's largest (operating) wind farm goes to Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas at 735.5 MW and 421 wind turbines. However, if these proposed projects are completed on time, each will enjoy a brief reign as the largest until eclipsed by the next project.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Juice Peddler - Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week

The Juice Peddler (Berkeley CA) makes human-powered bike blenders that are used around the world by individuals, restaurants and cafes, and large businesses. While peddling a bicycle or stationary bike, the bike blenders can make smoothies, margaritas, juice drinks, iced coffee, hummus, dips, and anything else that requires a blender.

The Juice Peddler values a collaborative work environment and strives to keep manufacturing and other work processes local. The company pays above average wages and engages employees in design, manufacturing, and distribution.

The Juice Peddler was founded in 2002 by Nate Byerley.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week is a weekly behind-the-scenes look at what businesses are doing to be more sustainable and responsible in their operations.

Sustainable & Responsible Business of the Week: If they can do it, so can you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Silver Lining of Tough Economic Times

While sustainability is enjoying a surge of popularity, questions have arisen about whether economic conditions would thwart the "green" movement and cause corporations to abandon green initiatives. It appears the rather quick rise of oil and food prices and the subsequent rise in costs for corporations (and for individuals alike) have helped the sustainability movement continue its growth.

Research from Acre Resources states that "green collar jobs" have increased by 20% in the past year, despite concerns over the economy and many predict the growth in the green jobs sector and related industries will continue. Some even predict "explosive growth" in the green jobs sector over the coming years and the lack of enough skilled green collar workers could be a problem. In fact, some community colleges that are currently offering programs to train wind turbine technicians sometimes see students leave to accept job offers before finishing the program.

Other signs that sustainability is continuing its growth? There has been a nationwide increase in clean tech investments and increase in sales of fuel-efficient automobiles. Additionally, some areas have seen increased bicycle usage, increased sales at farmer's markets, increased public transportation usage, increased carpooling and ride sharing, increased sewing machine sales, a growth in green housing, a growth in the number of urban gardens and home gardens, and increased organic acreage usage and production. And in an interesting twist, rising food prices may slow the production of cocaine.

Additionally, a recent study by GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies concludes that the "economy won't slow down green consumers." This is good news indeed.

Today is the Day

In a departure from the usual business posting, this is a personal posting because today is the day I become a parent. We will go before the judge today and my two foster children (who are sisters) will become my permanent daughters through adoption; we will become a "forever family."

In the past 10 months we've lived together, I've made many mistakes of a first-time parent and I'm sure I'll make many more, but we're learning together.

There is so much I want to teach them and share with them. For example, we make an outing to the recycling drop off center once or twice a month; it's become part of our routine. They grab bags from the trunk and sort them into the bins. We went to Earth Day 2008 events and activities where they enjoyed the Arkansas Sustainability Network's children's playhouse made from recycled materials. We went on the Heifer International world headquarters' green building tour, although the girls were more excited about seeing the turtles in the wetlands, riding the elevator, and petting the animals from the Heifer Ranch. Earlier this summer, we bagged up all the clothes they've outgrown and the toys they no longer use and donated them for children who need clothes and toys. Ironically, until recently, they were among the children that needed clothes and toys. Last month, the eldest and I both cut our hair and sent our ponytails to Locks of Love. And at school, they learn organic gardening and how to take care of chickens in the school's community garden.

For all the parents reading this, our responsibility is enormous. There is so much more to teach them. My real life's work has only just begun.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Dr. Seuss Lorax Challenge Winners Announced

I am the Lorax!
I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues,
And I'm telling you now, at the top of my lungs -
Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It's not.

Now the globe is warming and smog chokes the sky,
Landfills are brimming - trash teeters sky high!
Earth needs your help, and it needs your help now!
Problems need solving.
And you might know how.

Pitch your idea, pitch it to me!
And I'll help you grow it, from seed to a tree.
Now is the time, this is the hour -
Show the world which you're changing
That you've got the power!

And with the Lorax Challenge put forth, youth ages 12-20 were recently invited to submit proposals to turn their dreams of saving the planet into reality. The Lorax Challenge was based upon the well-known Dr. Seuss character, the Lorax.

Fifty-three winning teams from across the US each received $1000 to launch their venture. Of those teams, the following five Grand Prize winners were selected to receive an all expense paid trip to the University of Florida for an Environmental Boot Camp.

1,000 Trees Project: Gallows Run Tree Squad (Upper Black Eddy, PA) will engage the entire community to plant 1,000 native trees. The team wants to show the community that they can do something to combat global warming and increase the number of trees to replace those that have been lost due to deer overgrazing, flooding and developments. Their progress will be tracked on an internet mapping site open to the public.

Climate Action Club (Nobleboro, ME) is dedicated to raising awareness and fighting Global Warming around their school and in their entire community. The team plans to install energy efficient software on all campus computers as a way to save hundreds of kilowatts of energy and gallons of CO2. The team also plans to install vending misers on vending machines in their school to further reduce the use of energy. To educate the community, the team plans to create a community-wide battery recycling program and a community-wide ban on plastic bags. They hope to design a town canvas bag, have stores offer paper as an alternative, and have shoppers pay extra if they insist on plastic.

Fielder’s Choice: Making More than Just the Outfields Green (Washington, D.C.) centers on the idea of implementing a “Green Day” celebration at the Washington Nationals’ new baseball stadium. This Venture proposes to organize an annual event at the ballpark around Earth Day to educate and energize fans about taking global action. The “Green Day” event will take place during an actual Nationals Major League baseball game so that fans will see the stadium’s devotion to preserving the environment. Throughout the year, Fielder’s Choice will help the Nationals Stadium promote environmentally friendly practices to reduce the new stadium’s carbon footprint while also educating fans and citizens.

Going Green Computers and Consulting (Fairfax, VA) is facilitating the recycling of old computers to help the environment. The Venture sets up recycling drives and educates the community about how and why computers should be recycled. The Venture works with companies that take in the recycled computers to be refurbished, which are then brought into schools and communities that are in need of newer technology.

Sustainable Water Recycling System (Anchorage, KY) aims to create a water recycling system that uses rain barrels, a natural purification system and natural refrigeration that allows rain water to be used for sustainable gardening. It will create a place for vegetable washing, water storage for irrigation and vegetable storage. It will also be part of an organic gardening project that is open to the public to learn about sustainability.

The contest was sponsored by Youth Venture and Dr. Seuss Enterprises in collaboration with Earth Island Institute (

Enjoy the following video of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax from Google Video.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Spheres of Influence Contest

Seventh Generation is sponsoring the Spheres of Influence Contest. Seventh Generation, the maker of green cleaning products, is a leader in corporate sustainability. The company has released its 2007 Corporate Consciousness Report. According to the Report, it "documents our efforts—some successful, some less so—to inspire our partners, our industry, and the wider business community to embrace a model of deeper business purpose, where economic growth is merged with social justice."

The Spheres of Influence Contest asks businesses and organizations to read the report, get inspired, and come up with an idea that will be implemented with the prize money. The judges will base their decisions on the following criteria: inspiration from the 2007 Seventh Generation Annual Report Spheres of Influence, interest in and excitement about regenerative business, creativity, practicality, and pre-development of plan, and the number of systems the idea will influence. The winner will be awarded $5,000 to be used for funding the idea presented.

The deadline for submissions is December 31, 2008.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Battleground Earth: Ludacris vs. Tommy Lee

In a new series airing Sunday nights on Planet Green, Battleground Earth will pit two well-known musical acts against each other to see which one can green up their act the most.

The show will feature ten episodes in which hip hop star Ludacris and rock star Tommy Lee and their "ecorages" attempt to educate audiences on the state of the environment. Battleground Earth's "Toxic Tommy" vs. "Luda the Polluta" will tour 9 cities and face 13 eco-challenges. The show will also offer eco-tips to viewers from other celebrities. The series will conclude with a green carpet benefit concert.

"BATTLEGROUND EARTH is not about winning the race but ultimately raising awareness about the environment."

You can watch the trailer here. The series will premiere Sunday, August 3 on Planet Green and Thursday, August 7 on TLC.

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