14 posts categorized "global warming"

December 31, 2006

It's not easy being REALLY green, i.e. sustainable

Welcome to 2007 - the year of marketing everything that is "green."

Are you as confused as I am when it comes to buying the right products. It seems that everyone under the global warming sun is "green" these days, but are they? Would we be in this ever hotter mess if we were all doing the right things, right now?

That's the problem - there are so many "right things" - what is green and what is being greenwashed just to get you to buy it? And what's the difference between being green and being sustainable?

For a quick explanation - Water is green. Water in a plastic bottle - isn't green. Water in plastic bottles where 100% of the plastic bottles are recycled is green, but not necessarily sustainable. Water in a refillable bottles is green and more easily sustainable depending on how the bottle is made, what it's made out of and how it can be recycled after it's useful life. It takes both products and consumer action to make things sustainable.

So what do can we do? First and last for the next five years focus on whatever is putting C02 in the air and change our ways. If we focus on that, everything else will fall in line... or at least buy us more time to take care of other things, like saving polar bears from extinction. That's no small job and it will take both sides of the buyer/seller equation to bring it around quickly. Consumers want to do the right thing and the more they voice that opinion, the faster large corporations who control 90% of the CO2 output will become sustainable and carbon neutral.

The BIGGEST CONTRIBUTOR of C02 might surprise you. It isn't cars - it's buildings. Yep, the making, building, heating, cooling, lighting, decorating of our homes and offices puts the majority of CO2 into our atmosphere and thus increases global warming. Transportation comes in second in the making, marketing and finally burning of fossil fuels to run them. The trick is to bring both in line to achieve a neutral carbon footprint ASAP.

Thanks to new sustainable standards that industry has agreed on, that is now possible.

Standards are the rules of the manufacturing game, leading into the making of a product and to the disposing of it. With standards, companies know what is expected of them and they can "compete" not only on marketing, but on manufacturing.

Mtslogo Sustainable Products has become a clearing house of these standards. This non-profit has spent the last 7 years getting standards in place for over 1000 industries. Not only did it create missing standards and amass the rest, but it is playing the role of hand holder between industry, Wall Street, Cities and consumers. It's going to take all of us working together to bring global warming down.

If you are a concerned consumer or a marketer hoping not to make a faux pas in the new "green" market, bookmark this page with the standards and the labels. It's a lot to take in, but I have faith that with knowledge comes power and that both companies and consumers will use their power in a unified way to reverse global warming. Luckily, the 100 companies that contribute to 90% of the problem are global and what they do affects the whole world. Let's help them do the "right things."

December 11, 2006

Alternative Cars: If it has to be, it's up to me and you and you and you...

Saturday at the Santa Monica Alternative Car and Transportation Expo, I was truly ga-ga over the go-go aspects of the new cars and their under-the-hood/seat/trunk technologies. Cool! We are finally on the right road and it was nice to see lots of women like me also enjoying the new options. Then I was asked to sign a petition...

"It's a petition to send a message to the auto companies saying that you would buy an electric car if they made it,"  says the petitioner.(I couldn't sign it fast enough) And, why do we need this? I'm thinking, hasn't the Prius proven that we are past this conversation of whether customer's will buy cars that use alternative fuels? Reading my mind she continued,"Because even though 80% of the California voters wanted to lower emissions, the car companies and dealers are trying to block the state law. The trial starts on January 30, 2007."

Across the hanger, the Union of Concerned Scientists had their own petition aimed directly at the California dealers who were supporting the lawsuit. They claim that by forcing lower emissions it will A) make vehicles too expensive and B) limit consumer choice. What?!? Too expensive? That never stopped anyone from buying a BMW, Lexus or Mercedes. Limit consumer choice? They don't have a choice now and besides, do consumers really care about choice when their wallets and air is at stake? Drive across Orange County and you'd think that Honda Civic's and Toyota Prius' were the only choice. Apparently, not only do customers not care if they look alike, it's becoming a driving badge of honor.

In yet another corner, Plug In America was selling "Who Killed the Electric Car" (the DVD) as well as the book, "Plug-in Hybrids - Cars that will recharge America." A downer and an upper in the same space.

Wait a minute... I thought this was an auto show as part of the LA auto show... WRONG. My marketing side kicked in and I looked for who was sponsoring it. Not a BIG car company to be found. Instead, it was instigated by the City of Santa Monica along with Platia Productions. I Googled Platia and found an article with the quote,

"Our show is more than a car show. It's about not being in cars," said Christine Dzilvelis, owner of Platia Productions, which is putting on the Santa Monica exhibit. "We are offering a genuine and passionate challenge to the status quo."

...Beyond displaying and selling the alternative cars, some of which are from Ventura County-based companies, the fair is a venue for discussing the future of cars and the urban planning that currently relies on them so heavily...

Well - there you have it Mr. and Ms. Status Quo, the real reason this show was so earthshakening. Every day people were funding the R&D and marketing of this concept.

We need more venues to discuss ideas (and actions) as it's very apparent that time is running out and those at the top don't have the chops to make the really hard decisions and do what's right. It will be up to consumers, with women leading that sector, to put their money where their heart is and get big business back on track without disrupting the economy.

What can you do? Start here http://pluginamerica.com/action.shtml. Or contact me if you have ideas that might work faster.

December 10, 2006

40 MPG is LOW at the Alt Car Show

Mm_car Dang! Just when I was feeling smug by getting 40 mpg with my Honda Civic (that isn't a hybrid) I go to the Santa Monica ALT Car Show and meet cars that get 100 mpg or don't use gas at all.

This little red bomber of a car called the NmG for No More Gas, comes from Myers Motors. It looks like it slid out of cartoon, but actually it's shaped to mimic a bike helmet for optimal speed. On top of that, the all-electric car can go 70 mph and can be insured for just $400 a year. Why so cheap? Legally, it's rated the same as a motor cycle. What's the "yeah, but...?"  Yeah, but it only has a 35 mile range... Yeah, it's cute, but at $23,000 it's a lot for a toy that holds one person and a suit case.... Yeah, but it's drier than a bike in rain...

My husband loved it. He had his checkbook out and was ready to buy because it was non-polluting and "It looks like an airplane with it's wings torn off." Hardly a reason to buy a car. (although he had a point...) Actually for him, he saw it as the perfect commuter car to and from work which is 6 miles away. Besides, if we ever go anywhere together we always take the Civic.

That said, the wallet stopper was that they are basically hand built with a long waiting list. Still, can you imagine your "brand name" riding down the highway on this? It's hard not to get noticed.

That was one of the lessons I learned at the show. Practicality and global warming aside, when it comes to cars, styling becomes everything once the jump to electric is made. The Prius and Honda were just starting points.

Spyder The Electrum Spyder answered all the ego questions missing from the NmG. If you buy it, however, you'll also be missing $69,000 out of your bank account. That's reasonable compared to other current attention getters at twice the cost. There is a big problem - Zoom, Zoom, Zoom is replaced with Whisper, Whisper, Whisper. If you like the roar of an engine, you're out of luck, but if you like the idea of living next to a soundless highway, start supporting the new "plug and play" market regardless of the cost.

The show also featured other sorts of hybrid combos and fuels and all are being embraced and nurtured. I personally like the all electric option the best.

1. Unlike hydrogen or Bio-diesel, the infra-structure for electric cars is available now. Everyone has a 110 plug in their garage and it's easier to plug in your car than waste time at a gas station or waste time putting a nationwide pump structure or distribution market into place. You can buy an electric car and run it tomorrow, or buy a hydrogen car and wait until you can fuel it. It's a girl thing.

2. Electricity can be stored in a car battery. It can't be stored otherwise. Most scientists will like that. It's a usability thing.

3. Out here in California, wind and solar generators help create electricity. Both provide sustainable, non-polluting, non-petroleum based solutions. It gives officials one more reason to develop better alternative power sources. All citizens will like that.

What didn't I like? That was lesson two from the show... Stay tuned.

July 03, 2006

An Inconvienent Truth Meets a Convenient Market

Have you seen Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth yet? If you felt the earthshaking lately is from everyone shaking in their boots after seeing it. It's a must see for those with children and grandchildren. Heck, it's a must see for those who plan on retiring to a place that won't be under water or sand in the next 20 years.

Was there any good news?  Yep, consumers rule.

Al flagged an answer near the end of the movie, in an offhanded comment he mentioned that consumers could change the direction of environmental disaster simply by making the right purchasing decisions.

Did you hear that? CONSUMERS. That's us, ladies. Women make 80% of the buying decisions so if we want to cut down on global warming, we are the ones who need to step forward and do it. If you ever wanted to join a cause to save the world this is it. 

We're already seeing how our buying choices are making a difference. Lots of women (and men) are buying Toyota's and Honda's. I have five friends who own the Prius (all women). I just bought a new Honda Civic which gave me 40 mpg last week and it's not even a hybrid. High mileage vehicles are one of of the answers. The more people buy them, the more the car companies will make them and the cleaner the air will become without waiting for the government to lead the way.

Little ideas can make a world of difference... go see the movie and let me know your little and big ideas. And, if you already have a high mileage car, be sure to brag to others about the money you're saving and watch them buy one as well.