Business & Technology

It's not easy dating green

Meet your eco-mate with Planet Earth Singles

Three weeks, max.planetearthsingles.comAt last, there is a green-friendly dating site for environmentally, socially and spiritually conscious singles! Not making this up: Types of Dating: • Earth Dating• Eco-Friendly Dating• Conscious Dating• Vegetarian Dating• Vegan Dating• Raw Foods Dating• Environmentally Conscious Dating• Eco Conscious Dating• Yoga Dating• Animal Rights Dating• Conscious Single Dating• Planet Earth Dating If you can tell us what the hell any of these mean, we should, you know, maybe get coffee or something sometime.

The what revolution?

NPR: Industrial ag and India’s ‘cancer train’

Spraying pesticides: how green a revolution? Last month, NPR’s excellent Dan Zwerdling filed two reports (here and here) on the ecological and economic upshots of industrial agriculture in India. Starting in the 1960s, U.S. agronomists–backed by U.S. foundation cash and blessed by the Indian government–introduced farmers in India’s then-fertile Punjab region to the glories of monoculture, imported petrochemical inputs, and heavy irrigation. The adoption of chemical agriculture in India became known as the “Green Revolution,” and is still hailed today in some circles as a great success. But 40 years after the Green Revolution took root, Zwerdling showed in his …

Straight Talk about Corporate Social Responsibility

Critical thinking about “corporate social responsibility” (CSR) is needed, because there are few topics where discussions feature greater ratios of heat to light.  With this in mind, two of my Harvard colleagues – law professor Bruce Hay and business school professor Richard Vietor – and I co-edited a book, Environmental Protection and the Social Responsibility of Firms: Perspectives from Law, Economics, and Business. At issue is the appropriate role of business with regard to environmental protection.  Everyone agrees that firms should obey the law. But beyond the law – beyond compliance with regulations – do firms have additional responsibilities to …

News of the beard

Seattle chef Maria Hines wins James Beard Award for her organic creations

Photo: Ron WurzerSeattle chef Maria Hines has cooked up an award-winning recipe for success: serve sustainable, organic foods from your local area in a welcoming atmosphere with a neighborhoody feel. The resulting dish? Tilth. Nestled in small green home in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood, it’s only the country’s second restaurant to receive organic certification from Oregon Tilth, a distinction that promises 95 percent organic offerings and eco-responsible business practices. And its savory sups just won Hines a coveted James Beard Award — essentially the Oscars of the foodie world. Curious about her strong commitment to sustainable foods and her advice for …

Let's all go to the lobby

Dirty energy interests have spent $79 million this year lobbying Congress

The oil, gas, and electricity sectors spent tens of millions more to lobby Congress in the first quarter of 2009 than their renewable-energy counterparts. Big whoop, right? You could have guessed that. But the disparity between their spending — at a time when Congress is seriously considering far-reaching climate and energy legislation — is striking. According to the latest lobbying data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, the oil and gas industry spent nearly $44.6 million lobbying Congress in just the first three months of this year, and ranked second only to the health care and pharmaceutical industries in …

Everyone on the same page?

‘Sectoral carbon’ … Eh? Please define

At times certain words become quite fashionable, though nobody is quite sure why. Everyone wants to use them, even as they can have different meanings for different people. In the discussion of climate change in the United States, “sectoral” seems to have achieved this particular honor over the past few months. Before we start, let’s do a quick test. When policymakers use the term sectoral, what do they mean? 1. A command-and-control measure at a national level, e.g. low-carbon fuel standard or a sector-specific tax? 2. A transnational cap-and-trade sectoral agreement, e.g. aviation or maritime? 3. A commitment by a …

Fact Finding Missions

Ask Umbra on comparing green products

Q. Dear Umbra, I am a consumer who has recently convinced a friend of mine to green his business. I am now in charge of doing all of the research. My question is, how do I go about assessing the life cycle of various products? … Do you know of such a service/website? I have tried to Google things but it is very hard to get side by side comparisons. Also, do you know of a good website that rates random products according to their environmental impact? Tamara A.Munich, Germany Data, people. We need data.iStockA. Dearest Tamara, Welcome to my …

Electric cars get better mileage

From a study published in this week’s Science Express ($ub Req’d): Bioelectricity produces an average 81% more transportation kilometers and 108% more emissions offsets per unit area cropland than cellulosic ethanol… Given the limited area of land that is available to grow biofuels crops without causing direct or indirect land use impacts, bioenergy applications should maximize the efficiency with which a given land area is used to meet transportation and climate change goals. Bioelectricity is the act of making electric power by burning biomass for boilers or turbines instead of fossil fuels like coal. In a nutshell the study says …

Don't be corny

A bad idea, plus lots of cash

What’s that in your gas tank?This is a blog post about the intersection of a bad idea and lots of cash–your cash. The bad idea is this: growing crops to ferment and distill them into ethanol for internal combustion engines. A few days ago, the EPA revealed that by its calculations, use of corn-based ethanol will actually raise greenhouse gas emissions over the next 30 years compared to gasoline. And then Friday, Science published a paper by Stanford academics claiming that it makes much more sense to burn corn to produce energy for electric cars than it does to convert …

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