It's the Environment, Stupid.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Crate&Barrel introduces Eco-line

Well hot damn! Crate&Barrel has introduced an eco-friendly line of sofas and chairs.

Now, I'm not a big Crate&Barrel shopper myself. I'm on the e-mail list because I bought a wedding present for a friend who registered there. But I thought I'd click through the e-mail ad and have a look-see.

The Ross Sofa says:
  • Certified sustainable, kiln-dried hardwood frame
  • Seat cushions are filled with soy-based polyfoam, wrapped in a blend of goose down, feathers and corn-based fibers, and encased in downproof ticking
  • Back cushions are a blend of goose down, feathers and corn-based fibers encased in downproof ticking
That all sounds like a bunch of eco-fluff with zero backbone, so I clicked on their main enviro page to see if there was any further explanation. That's where I found it - FSC certified. Good. That means something. Stopping the use of petroleum based foam for corn and soy based alternatives. Also good (debatable in some circles, but good.)

Even cooler is the packaging. That white bleached board used in C&B signature boxes is going to be phased out, and all those shopping bags are going to be made with "30% post-consumer material." The tissue used to wrap the breakable stuff is "100% recyclable" made with "70% post-consumer waste."

While their eco-verbiage leaves a little to be desired it is definitely a step in the right direction for the retailer. I probably won't start shopping there because of it, but the folks that LOVE their Crate&Barrel now have some eco-options at no extra charge.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Masses clueing in - green isn't all that easy

It looks like the days of shiny happy greenness are waning.

A couple of recent NY Times articles (yes, my media publication of choice lately) feature the problems with going green.

"Don't Let the Green Grass Fool You" takes of look of some of the contradictions in suburban living. And then there's "In Many Communities, It's Not Easy Going Green." Among other frustrations, one would-be-green do-gooder refuses to buy CFLs because she heard her neighbor spent $600 on the things.

Another NY Times article on CFLs "Making Small Sacrifices for What they Believe is Right" totally slams the CFL and features families that have grudgingly and unhappily made the switch.

Okay, yes, the grander media hype pushing the green phenomena has made it seem that going green can be easy. Unfortunately these same stories gloss over the practical realities behind all green actions. What they don't say is, "this is better, but frankly, there's still going to be drawbacks. There are compromises you'll have to make and you may have to do a little research as to what green alternative works best for you."

No one is saying (except the New York Times article) that you have to replace all your kitchen appliances right now. Yeah, if you do that it's going to be a chunk of change, and chances are it's not going to pay back any time soon. But, if your fridge kicks out or you're going to upgrade your AC unit anyway, well, yes, you should buy the most energy efficient brand out there.

Unfortunately these non-inspiring articles may have a counter-effect and could sway people against going green. Media outlets should educate the public in the realities of going green, but should also say WHY there are problems. By turning people off and discouraging small steps, we're only going to go backwards. Doing nothing, will result in nothing. However, small steps are good and will create the demand for new technologies and improvements that really will make it cheaper and easier to go green.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Why aren't candidates talking about climate change?

A commenter asked me (in a may-be-a-spam-comment kind of way), "Why aren't candidates talking about climate change?"

Well, alex9852 (or whoever it is trying to get me to go check out an Earthlab poll mentioned on, here's what I think.

I think candidates aren't mentioning climate change, frankly, because the press hasn't asked them to.

When/if they are asked - for the republicans, it's a moot point. They have been instructed by their campaign managers to either push the energy angle (ie. nuclear, clean coal and hydrogen) or stay skeptical (climate change does not exist).

The democrats are too worried about the effects of Obama's 'multicultural persona' (a term the NY Times used for him in a recent article about the youth vote) or how Hillary's shedding a tear will impact voters. With all that who has time to worry about the (media picked) issues, much less the issue of climate change?

Whatever color state they're trying to appeal to, candidates on both sides have their stance on climate change at the ready just in case global warming makes it back to a top issue (the media thinks) Americans care about. In most cases, these stances will include a general, vague, and all encompassing 'call to action' without anything concrete behind it.

The good news? Whoever makes it to the oval office in the end will have no choice but to deal with it.

More good news? As has been shown over the past 7+ years, federal support isn't necessary to make a difference in the 'fight against climate change' (although a little national policy help would be nice.)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Tornadoes not linked to climate change

I was reading about the devastating tornados that tore through several southern states earlier this week in the NY Times, and they reported that climate change has nothing to do with the monster storm:
Tornado experts said there was no evidence that the deadly storms were related to global warming or anything other than the clash of contrasting cold and warm air masses that usually precedes such events.
And these tornado experts should know a thing or two about climate science and associated scenarios. Maybe they agree with the governor of Tennessee, who was quoted in the Times article as saying, “The wrath of God is the only way I can describe it.”

Whatever the cause, many people and communities are going to have to rebuild their lives. Perhaps they can follow the lead of folks in Greenburg, Kansas. After being hit by a tornado last May, this rural town has united around the decision to rebuild green.