Our Blog | Environment & Economy

Shop green! How about shop less?

by: Heather on 03/10/2008

Listening to the radio this morning I heard an ad for a well-known Canadian retailer exhorting consumers to join the "New Renaissance" in green living. Suggestions included picking up a shiny new Spring purse to take everywhere (not quite sure how this benefits the environment, but apparently it does) and walking more (in a new pair of shoes, …

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And yet more Greenwashing...

by: Heather on 03/06/2008

Grist is featuring the "Toxic Ten" and the "Green 11" lists of "eco-savvy corporations" as identified by Condé Nast. To say that there are some shocks on their Green 11 list would be to understate things considerably.

How about Dupont for starters? This would be the maker of such environmentally-friendly products as Teflon, various pesticides and …

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Wal-Mart - Green or Greenwash?

by: Heather on 02/22/2008

Wal-Mart has received a lot of press lately for their "eco-initiatives" - promoting energy efficient products and organic foods and reducing electricity use in some of its stores. The company is engaged in a massive PR campaign to convince the public that they are leading the way in the green movement. Even the well known environmental blog Grist

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Clean coal

by: Heather on 02/18/2008

Lately I've been hearing the phrase "clean coal", which is nothing more than an oxymoron. Still, it's getting enough airtime that we need to pay some attention.

E/The Environmental Magazine recently published the following EarthTalk column on clean coal (reprinted here by permission):

The term "clean coal" describes various processes that remove pollutants from coal, our cheapest, most abundant--and dirtiest--energy source. By reducing coal's environmental footprint through technological wizardry, the coal mining industry and the Bush administration hope to keep coal, which currently produces more than half of all U.S. electricity, a big part of our energy picture for many years to come.

Clean coal proponents also want to liquefy coal to turn it into a form of automotive fuel that, according to the industry-sponsored Coal-to-Liquids Coalition, costs less and burns cleaner in some ways than the traditional diesel fuel it could replace. Several members of Congress from coal states are keen on having the government subsidize the production of so-called liquid coal--which can be used anywhere diesel fuel currently goes--as a "homegrown" alternative to foreign oil. Industry analysts say there is enough coal in America to last hundreds of years, saving us untold expense and trouble obtaining regular petroleum from unfriendly foreign governments.

But major environmental groups, from the Sierra Club to the Natural Resources Defense Council, say that "clean coal" is anything but. The process involves heating coal to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and mixing it with water to produce a gas, then converting the gas into diesel fuel. Although the Coal-to-Liquids Coalition says that carbon dioxide emissions from the entire production cycle of liquid coal are "equal to, or slightly below, those of conventional petroleum-derived fuels," its claims are based on a single federal study, now six years old, that environmental leaders disagree with profoundly.

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Green Jobs

by: Heather on 02/14/2008

With the explosive growth of green, opportunities for socially and environmentally responsible careers are popping up everywhere. Renewableenergyaccess.com reports that increasingly "leaders of the renewable marketplace are competing for professional talent in a tight employment market". A Google search for "green jobs" returns astonishing numbers …

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