Posts filed under ‘Product Reviews’
The director of the Environmental Defense Fund, Fred Krupp, and Miriam Horn, a journalist, have just published Earth, The Sequel, a book that´s a tad more optimistic than most environmental publications. The writers argue the case for capitalism as the driving factor that will get us out of the mess we´re in.
The subtitle of Krupp and Horn´s book reads The Race to Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming and this isn´t misleading. The authors have a firm belief that a creativity campaign by the government can lead to a shift to cleaner energy. “What we are waiting for is the government to pull the trigger and unleash a cascade of creativity and innovation,” they say.
Krupp has been instrumental in the quite successful acid rain reduction plan (part of the clean air act) in the 1990s. He believes that currently, first-mover advantages are to be had in capping carbon emissions and proposes a legal limit to slash 20% from current emission levels by 2020 and up to 80 percent by 2050.
The first mover advantage is all tied up with developing good technology. Krupp and Horn say that by going first, the US stands a chance to export, rather than import, the cleanest and best technology. “The real question is, do we want to import clean tech from Germany, Japan, and China or export it to the rest of the world?”, Krupp is quoted as saying in an interview with Wired.com. That sounds attractive and it´s possibly one of the more believable claims that science might bail us out; you´d expect business plans to evolve from this.
If you read the daily news articles outlining scientific discoveries you´ll agree that there is no lack of really groundbreaking scientific work. Perhaps Krupp has a point in saying that the leading edge technology will also provide leading edge competitive strength. But would it be naive to think that the greed element won´t take over our battle to cool the real elements?
What is certain is that there are a number of pleasant surprises in the book. One reviewer on Amazon comments; “I follow environmental and energy issues closely, but a lot in here was new to me. I had no idea that solar technology is getting so sophisticated. And people are finding so many ways to make energy — from algae and plants, from wind, from waste. Imagining a world without oil and coal is a lot easier for me after reading this.”
Even if you don´t believe in the free market theories of the writers, the book is going to inform you about things you didn´t know. Issues like those outlined in Krupp´s book are going to be a major part of the public agenda in the next few years no doubt, so to get a close insight into the mind of a man who knows the ropes is valuable.
All of the runners up in the Presidential races have made firm pledges to environmental matters and Americans don´t know any better than to approach the new challenge in ways that won´t be anything other than capitalist anyway.
On March 6th the first episode of the real life soap StartupJunkies will air in which the protagonists are real entrepreneurs pioneering online delivery of postal mail. The show, shot by hi-def channel Mojo.com, follows Ron Wiener who set up Earthclass Mail on his trail to lure venture capital.
The business pitch is compelling; companies and private persons can reduce their carbon footprint and boost their productivity by having Earthclass Mail scan their mail and put it online. Just like email! This way you can eliminate unwanted mail before it arrives on your desk and clutters up the spare office space.
Wiener’s aim is to achieve a business presence in over 20 U.S. cities and the reality soap is a big part of this effort. In the first episode Wiener is filmed traveling to Seattle’s K4 global network, a fast growing international business angel investor group to secure major cash injection into his business. A group of over 500 investors will examine the opportunity, go through the prospectus and ask some highly critical questions before deciding if Earthclass Mail will receive any investment. “The show illustrates the problems faced by entrepreneurs, and explains the growth process they face as they seek funding to grow their new businesses”, Judith Iglehart and Scott Pacult report on Keiretsu (K4)’s blog.
Wiener has been on the road for a while already, having pitched his business before Californian, Colorado and Barcelona investors members of the K4 investment community. The man’s most luring catch phrase no doubt is “See how easily your organization can witness the biggest boost in productivity and cost savings since the introduction of email.”
Wiener has a point. By aggregating the paper stacks of corporations, the recycling effort could take off in earnest. He’s got my blessing; I have signed up for their referral program. Be sure to click on the link here!
US book readers cost the earth some 20 million trees every year. The virgin paper on which the books are printed absorbs that many trees. Two environmentally aware publishing houses, Eco-Libris and the Seattle publisher Kedzie Press have joined ranks to combat the problem. Their solution is simple: they plant a tree for every book they sell.
The Million Tree-A-Thon, is run by Eco-Libris and the aim is to plant one million trees by December 2009. Everybody that buys a book automatically enters the program, but not only book lovers are targeted. Eco-Libris works with publishers, writers, bookstores, and others in the book industry to balance out the paper used for books by planting trees.
Aside from Kedzie Press, Eco-Libris has struck deals with two more organizations in the US and the UK, which work in collaboration with local communities in developing countries to plant the trees.
Kedzie Press writes on its website that the books on its list have socially conscious and/or environmentally friendly messages, are printed on 100% recycled, 100% post-consumer waste paper (Forest Stewardship Council certified) that has been chlorine free processed. Two interesting titles are The Green Teen, a guide by Jenn Savege and a biography of the pioneer/ecologist Henry Chandler Cowles who died in 1939.
The Million-Tree-A-Thon operates in Latin America (Nicaragua, Guatemala, Panama, Belize, and Honduras) and Africa (Malawi). The trees will grow in areas where deforestation is a crucial problem. In addition to combating deforestation, the trees will improve crops and provide food and income for local populations.