Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Troubles in Montana and on our planet

Published under Environment Oct 03, 2011

According to a recent NYT article, the western mountains of Montana are facing a serious threat: forest fires and beetles that are no longer deterred by cold winters are consuming the trees, causing them to turn red, and ultimately, killing them.  This is alarming not only for the forests in Montana, but for our planet overall. 

Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, by Adeena Schlussel

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Nature or a Painting?

Published under Art, Environment May 31, 2011

This stunning picture was taken by a National Geographic photographer; it is hard to believe that this is unadulterated nature and not a painting!

Tinted orange by the morning sun, a soaring dune is the backdrop for the hulks of camel thorn trees in Namib-Naukluft Park.

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This initiative uses recycled bottles, in place of bricks, to construct homes.  People are encouraged to fill bottles with trash, after which they are collected and put to good use.  It is a great idea that both benefits the environment and creates housing for people.

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A recent New York Times article depicts Sweden’s amazing efforts to decrease their use of fossil fuels.  The most admirable aspect of Sweden’s efforts- also the key to their success- is that the country uses what it’s got; instead of turning to solar energy or wind turbines (two approaches that would both be inappropriate for the country’s climate) they capitalize on farming byproducts to produce energy.

 

Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, redacted by Adeena Schlussel

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This article displays a silver lining in the midst of a tragedy: Palestinian firefighters participated in the humanitarian effort to extinguish the fires in the Carmel region of Israel.  (The firefighter’s admitted that their efforts were purely humanitarian and not indicative of any political statements, but one cannot help but feel moved and inspired by the cooperation between Israelis and Palestinians depicted here.)  Beyond the article itself being a mark of true hope, the talkbacks at the bottom of this article- which are usually just spurts of extremism and skepticism- show that people are filled with hope and ready for peace.

Spotted by Daniel Lubetzky, redacted by Adeena Schlussel.

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Olivia Judson’s articles are always so interesting.  Here is a fascinating – and disconcerting – look at how cuckoo birds plant their eggs in other birds’ nests and fool them into caring for their chicks – often in lieu of the actual offspring that are thrown out!

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The OneVoice Movement has been running for the past couple years a program called Imagine 2018, where they are asking Israelis and Palestinians to share their vision of what their lives and future would look like if the conflict were to be resolved and a two state solution achieved.

OneVoice will soon be unveiling its next phase in the project – very promising stuff.

In the meantime, I just got a video from my friends Art Winter and Doug Suisman about their vision. In cooperation with the RAND Foundation, they have worked for several years on a Palestinian infrastructure corridor that includes state-of-the-art planning to enable a Palestinian state to prosper and grow in peace with Israel.  Their work is nothing short of stunning.

Take a look at their teaser video below, and visit their site here:

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by Kim Walker on behalf of Daniel Lubetzky

Here is an interesting chart from the Environmental Working Group of pesticide levels of a sampling of fruit and vegetables. The ones with high levels (low rank) should be bought organic.

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by Kim Walker on behalf of Daniel Lubetzky

British newspaper The Independent recently highlighted Natalie Portman for her new vegan shoe line and her involvement in good causes, including OneVoice!

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Sometimes in business you are faced with the decision to invest up front more capital resources but ensure that over the long term you see savings, vs. save up front, but at a steady higher cost of production per widget on an ongoing basis.

The problem with choosing the path that is "inexpensive" up front is that it not only creates higher costs for the enterprise over the long haul, but it can also generate externalities (costs to society that the enterprise avoids paying).

A case in point is illustrated by this Edge shaving cream picture:

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The travel-size version has less product but just as much waste in plastic on the cap and the outpouring device.

You can picture the team responsible for designing the travel-size version figuring that it made all the sense in the world to take advantage of existing infrastructure and just making a smaller bottle for travel by just cutting its height/size.

But years later and millions of cans later, so much more waste – AND COST – is generated because you are using such an inefficient means to provide a product: a fraction of the size in product but as much in caps etc.  It should not have necessarily been this way.  They could have designed a less expensive disposable version – but it would have required an upfront investment in capital.

Too bad.

 

A lot of "convenience" products like travel

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