Watchful Eye for Greenwash

by bicyclemark 0 Comments

Recently I started a job with a sustainable investment conference and consultancy, know as TBLI.  Among my responsibilities with them, I’ll be handling alot of their web presence including the TBLI blog which is now listed in the right hand margin under “I also publish”. First let me say it is refreshing to work for a organization that does not look at blogging or ME blogging about work related themes as suspect.  Cause for this blogger, being free is essential to my work, and keeping secrets is just lame.

So as you’ll eventually pick up from reading the TBLI blog, the conference is all about sustainable development. A noble goal that more most rational humans makes sense.  Bringing people together, large corporations, small entrepeneurs, activists, I’ve seen a pretty good cross section of talent and experience. AND YES, I’ve seen names of corporations that I simply do not like or trust, for their environmental human rights records.  But nevertheless, ignoring them isn’t a sure bet for changing anything, so perhaps it is useful that there is place where they too can join the conversation and debate.

One guiding principle that stays with me in all my work, including here on the blog, is to always keep an eye out for greenwashing.  Meaning those that would pretend to be ecological, caring for how their company impacts the environment and the future of the earth. It is no secret that being green has become a catch-all, a marketing tool, a smoke screen for conducting business-as-usual.

I mention this because some of the latest items coming from the New Internationalist get into detail about just that; greenwashing.  They also tear into the realm of corporations pretending to be socially responsible and the manipulation of the United Nations to that end.  I intend to get in touch with some of these reporters for an upcoming podcast. I also recommend you read and beware aware in your daily choices, about who is lying about being responsible.

One more thing tho… just because there are corporations out there, lying about being green. Does not mean people should simply give up trying to be responsible consumers or responsible investors.  There are still ways to verify what is or is not ecological… sustainable.. and if people set their minds to it.. we can certainly find out.

Oil in my Lamp

by bicyclemark

It is wintertime in Amsterdam. They skipped fall this year, just like they skip spring as well… welcome to the new globally warmed world.

Part of it being wintertime means it gets dark pretty fast in this upper part of continental Europa. Which of course means, more time with the lights on.. and that is where my subject of today came to mind: energy.

It powers your lamp. Or that fan on the powerbook that is now getting very loud cause Ive probably left it on all day. Electricity is obviously vital; so what do you know about where you electricity comes from? By all means, if you know, write it in the comments.

I’m going to take a guess about mine here in the Netherlands. I believe it is nuclear. Nuclear and perhaps parially windpower, since the city is basically surrounded by those beautiful white one-legged animals. Much of central Europe is actually nuclear powered, a side effect of having destroyed themselves in WWI and II, plus the investment dollars from the US of A that were likely earmarked for those big Montgomery Burns style cooling towers.

Of course it provides alot of power to alot of people, all over the world. And I was just reading how the UN’s nuclear agency is going to go on a PR mission to promote building more nuclear plants. Sounds lovely in their words. Clean, efficient, safe, powerful sources of energy.

Iranians with some fun stuff.

But I can’t help but think of the waste. The umm.. nuclear waste. The waste they still don’t know what to do with or how to get rid of it. In fact, they know they can’t get rid of it. In Nevada they built a giant radiation dump under a mountain called Yucca, where they believe they can hide all the nuclear waste and they won’t wake up one day to find their groundwater glows in the dark and they’ve got lots of previously unheard of cancers. In France I think I saw a report about a similar idea for disposal center where they’ll just pile it up in neat little piles for about 1,000 years when it won’t be as deadly.

It is not that I don’t like having power for my fridge or to charge my batteries, i recognize the necessity. But the choice of nuclear, and the continued investment in making more plants, that I cannot understand. For a world that still has not resolved IF there is even a way to handle the hazardous waste that comes from making this energy, it seems rather short sighted to push ahead with making more.

My suggestion, besides not investing in more nuclear, is to seek other sources. I’m not a scientist, I just play one on the blogosphere; but I know we have a never ending list of intellegent and innovative minds that could surely find another solution. Hell, maybe every city should surround itself in pretty wind generators. Or let them persue something more powerful… but please… let it be sustainable and beneficial to future generations, not some crazy burst of energy that leaves a deadly mess which cannot be cleaned.