Friday, February 26, 2010

One Bad Apple

The Apple Corporation seems to be a forerunner in the technological advances but many question their business practices- from shareholders to Greenpeace to the United States government. At a recent board meeting for Apple, it seems they are is hesitant to go green. Steve Jobs and his investors make a majority of the decisions at Apple; ironically not the shareholders. Many shareholders questioned Jobs about Apple's commitment to the environment. Obviously the constant questioning from shareholders keeps Jobs stressed because when asked what keeps him up at night his reply was "shareholder meetings".

One source at Tech Eye claims the investors declined to produce a full environmental report because it was "un-necesary and expensive". So a company that makes millions of dollars a year cannot afford to see how they are damaging the environment? Something seems wrong with that.

When asked about Apple's commitment to the environment, Jobs criticized other companies for merely making promises. On the Apple website Jobs states Apple is not open with their future plans to become more environmentally friendly, in my opinion because they most likely do not have a plan. But it seems we always know when new products, applications, or software is coming out from Apple? Face it Jobs, you do not have a plan to go green.

On a positive note, they reduced the size of boxes and limited the use of 747 cargo plans says CIO. But Jobs did comment is was the right thing to do for the environment and for business. So basically, Apple took these steps primarily to save money and going green was secondary. I understand sustainability and saving money go hand in hand but do not claim you are helping the environment when you are merely trying to save money. Going green should be the first priority and saving money comes along with it, not vice-versa.

Apple withdrew its membership from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce regarding Green Policies. So if Apple was truly making strides to be more green why would they no longer participate in the program?

Overall, it seems Apple and Steve Jobs are hesitant to going green while avoiding to answer questions from shareholders and the media alike. From saying environmental reports are unnecessary, having no future plan to go green, and reducing its membership from a government program to become sustainable it seems Apple is taking all the wrong steps.

It is ironic Steve Jobs helped produce the movie Wall-e, a Disney hit about a lonely robot on earth. (Blog about this coming soon) This movie begs us to consider how we treat our environment because one day we will exhaust all the world's natural resources and trash the planet. So Jobs, you have no plan for Apple to go green but you have time to contribute to a Disney film? It seems you need to get your priorities straight and start thinking about the environment rather than how many millions are going into your pocket.

We're waiting for a statement Jobs, a statement on how Apple is going to be green.

External Links

All information and photo is credited to its original source.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Yo Ho Ho.. It's Tap Water Life for Me

It seems to be an ongoing debate whether to buy bottled water or drink it from your tap. Bottled water makers convince us that tap water is unsafe for human consumption or the taste is off. Advocates of the environment tell us tap water is safe to drink and bottled water is bad. So who do you believe?

Think of it this way, the corporations who make bottled water obviously want to scare us so we consume more of their product. On the other hand, environmentalists are not trying to sell us anything, they are merely trying to help our environment!

Earth's water is 97% ocean water- Ocean water is undrinkable, if you were lost at sea and you only drank from the ocean you would go crazy. Maybe that's why pirates drank alcohol all the time?The other 3% is fresh water- but 2% of our earth's water is frozen in glaciers and icecaps. Meaning while our global temperature is increasing and these polar ice caps are melting into the oceans, therefore freshwater is going to waste.

That leaves 1% of drinkable water for our planet- If we have such a limited resource of waters why are spending millions of dollar to bottle it?

Maybe this sways your decision a little bit. I understand that sometimes a water bottle is an grab on the go item but strictly drinking bottled water can be harmful to you and our environment. To learn about the difference of bottled and tap water, please watch the Planet Green video featured on this blog. The video is a short informational study on tap versus bottled water and asks us to take these green steps:

1. Buy a home water test kit- most areas have water that is safe for drinking, unless your water comes from a well. Test your water and compare it to the bottled water your normally drink.

2. Filter your water- If you do not like the taste of your water buy a water filter pitcher or one you place directly on the tap.

3. Limit bottled water purchases- Don't buy bottled water all the time. Either sanitize and reuse bottles or purchase a reusable one.

What do I do? I do buy bottled water every once in a while but I purchase them in order to reuse the bottle. I refill my bottles with unfiltered tap water and drinking it cold takes away any awkward taste. I always make sure to keep the bottles clean in between refills and recycle the bottles after a few weeks.

Take the necessary steps to limit your bottled water use and not only save money but help the environment!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Snuggie: More Than Just the Color Green

In a catchy but stereotypical infomercial the makers of the Snuggie snag our attention with this jingle “You want to keep warm when you’re feeling chill but you don’t want to raise your heating bill”. Which is a valid point, why should I turn on my air when I could just put a Snuggie on? It’s a bit of a stretch, most infomercials are, but Snuggie may be onto something. After reading an article on MSNBC about heating bill in combination with the chilly weather in Arizona, I was inspired me to write about a few ways to lower your heating bill.

Tap into heat already in your home- Open the bathroom door, if someone is taking a hot shower to let warmth out. After baking leave the oven open and let the hot air heat up your kitchen.

Wear socks- Most body heat from your body escapes from your feet and ears. If your feet are cold, then your whole body will be chilly.

Keep up maintenance on your HVAC- Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning unit will perform better if your filters are clean, vents are clear, and hoses are properly sealed.

Turn down your thermostat- This is wear the Snuggie comes in! If you are feeling a bit cold, just throw on your Snuggie and then you will not have to turn on your heater.

Like I said before the Snuggie is a bit of a stretch for trying go green but would have wanted to read just a blog about reducing your heat energy use? Probably not. Although the Snuggie is such a controversial artifact of popular culture, it can save you money on your energy bill. Many companies raise the price of gas in the colder months because they know you use your heater more; the same thing happens in the Summer with air conditioning. So invest in a Snuggie to wear it in the cold weather and not only save money on your heating bill but also help reduce HVAC emissions which damage the environment.

Buy the Snuggie by visiting their website and in the spirit of the environment get it in green!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Two of My Favorite Things

I’d have to say I was most excited when my mom’s boyfriend wanted to show me a bottle of vodka- but not just because its vodka but because its organic and green! TRU vodka’s claim to fame is “a better vodka for a better planet” and is made from 100% American Wheat. TRU Organic Spirits is exceedingly dedicated to the environment, they plant one tree for every single bottle of vodka they sell. They use Oregon Tilth certified grains meaning no synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are used in the farming process. In addition to being organic, they also use recyclable synthetic corks, print labels on corn fiber paper with soy-based inks, and use 20% glass in comparison to other alcohol bottles.

But the most interesting aspect of TRU Vodka is the fact they plant one tree for every bottle they sell. Since September 2009, they have planted over 60,000 trees in the Central American rainforest. On their website they break down the “One tree per bottle” claim for renewing the planet.

One tree planted by TRU Vodka removes 790 kg of carbon dioxide over fifty years which is equivalent to:

The daily carbon footprint of 517 Americans

Taking five cars off the road for a 365 days

7,000 person office building recycling all paper goods for two weeks

Another way of looking at it, is two ounces (or a standard shot) removes 62 kg of carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. I’m so pleased that two of my favorite things are now collaborating so I can go green while having a good time. It is amazing what TRU Organic Spirit has dedicated to the environment from organic farming to using renewable sources and planting trees. Do your part by drinking TRU Vodka.

TRU Vodka comes in Straight, Lemon, and Vanilla. Not a vodka fan like myself? They also have TRU gin. Please visit their blog here.

A few of my favorite Drinks:

Dirty Shirly

2 ounces TRU Vodka Straight
4 ounces diet sprite or 7up
Splash of grenadine

Vodka Twist

2 ounces TRU Vodka Lemon
4 ounces water, soda, or tonic
2-3 squeezed limes or lemon

Pink Lemodka

2 ounces TRU Vodka Straight or Lemon
4 ounces pink lemonade
1 lemon slice to garnish

All information and pictures are credited to TRU Organic Spirits.

News Corporation

Did you know there are only six corporations which own all the media distributed in the United States? Needless to say it is a sign of corporate control and a cry for Americans to consider the purpose behind the mass media they consume. I could go on and on about how independent journalism is neglected and often disregard but that’s not what this blog is about- it’s all about going green!

Although I have my opinions about corporations, they are not all bad. In one of my advanced Justice Courses at ASU, my teacher assigned us a 15 page paper about a corporation. We had to find the environmental, economic, and social good and/or bad about the corporation. Press releases, news stories, and the company’s finances were areas of interest for this project. But large corporations have great Public Relation teams and considering they control the media they can pretty much control their image. But beyond this there are independent organizations that uncover the truth about corporations. These organizations provide information about corporations who treat their employees poorly, damage the environment, or do not give back to their communities. One website which was very helpful to me was CorpWatch.

My teacher assigned me The News Corporation, which I had never heard of before this paper. But she assigned topics based on our interests; somehow she knew I was interested in pop culture. To be honest, I went into the project with the intent of exposing all the environmental wrong doings of the News Corporation. But what I found was the complete opposite. The News Corporation is really striving to contribute to the green revolution. Their main goal is to reduce carbon emissions by 2010 but also to use renewable energy sources, and educate their employees and audiences on environmental issues. Here are some ways they will meet their goals:

is the first ever carbon neutral television show. In the filming of season seven, they reduce their carbon footprint by 43% through green practices.

seasons are sold on DVDs which are carbon neutral when manufactured.

Fox Entertainmen
t manages the FOX Green Guide which is a website dedicated to green practices in the media realm; FOX is owned by the News Corporation

Overall, the News Corporation seems to have a pretty good grasp on embracing the green revolution. Thus far I have been unable to locate any reports on how close there are to reaching their goal of zero carbon emissions hopefully some information will be released soon. I will report any data found on the News Corporation but as of now they seem to be making great strides to go green. Since the News Corporation own much of the media in the United States, they can help educate and influence Americans to be environmentally conscious.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Go Greek, Go Green

The Greek Community often gets a bad rap but contrary to popular belief we do not haze and we do not like live Animal House. Sororities and Fraternities are philanthropic based, strive for a high academic standards, educate members on self defense, provided networking opportunities, and create a support system for students away at college- but we also have fun while doing it! Being Greek has provided me many opportunities I may not have gotten if I was not- one of which would be writing a recycling program for fraternity and sorority houses.

If you recycled our aluminum cans and exchanged them a recycling site you could use the funds spruce up the house or donate it to your philanthropy. Think about how many people live in your sorority and fraternity house then think about how many cans they use. You are throwing money away! Below is a draft recycling proposal to give to your president, chapter advisers, and alumnae.

Can Recycling Program

To improve the (your Greek organization here)’s relationship with the community and increase dedication to improving the environment

As a strong advocate of going green initiatives, I propose that the (your Greek organization Here) begins to recycle cans.

The plan is to collect and recycle all cans used at (housing unit here). All cans will be crushed and placed into recycling bins placed around the complex. Once bins are full, they will be taken to a metal recycling center and exchanged for 30 cents per pound of aluminum. One pound of aluminum is approximately 30 to 32 cans, depending on beverage.

Profits from recycling these cans will go back to the (your Greek organization here), for either chapter use or philanthropic interest. In addition to increased funding, the brothers of Kappa Sigma will be making a positive image in the ASU Community through recycling.

I have researched numerous locations for can recycling and have also volunteered to drop off the cans personally. I am currently working with a few companies that can provide these recycling bins for the program.

I hope that our chapter accepts participation in the Can Recycling Program. This program will put us on the cutting edge of going green thus strengthen community relations, funding, and improve our environment. I believe this program will not only better the (your Greek organization here) relationship with the community but also help the environment.

(Your name here)

This is a sample draft proposal that you may present to your chapter after researching local can recycling sites. Please note if you are in another state the exchange value for cans may be different. Some counties in New York exchange up to 10 cents a can! So stop throwing away money, every little bit adds up and every can you recycle will help our environment!

If you would like to obtain a formatted version of the Can Recycling Program or have any questions please email me at and I would be happy to provide you.
To find recycling sites near you please visit Earth911 then type in "aluminum cans" and your zip code.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Green Your Golden

If you know me, you know that I am obsessed with Golden Retrievers. Downright 100% insane about them, so I'm dedicated this blog to my beautiful dog Stella.

But you don't have to have a golden in order to green your dog, below are some simple suggestions to reduce your puppy's carbon footprint.

1. Pick up after them- Taking your pup to the park or on a walk is all fun until they go to the bathroom, make sure you always pick it up! If you remember in The Story of Stuff Blog toxic chemicals get concentrated in our bodies, well this happens to dogs as well. By leaving their feces behind, another animal can eat this or the chemicals will go into the ground. If you haven't caught onto reusable grocery bags, put those plastic bags to use and pick up after your dog. If don't have plastic grocery bags, use a biodegradable bag. BioBags products are 100% biodegradable and come in two sizes.

2. Buy locally made or organic dog food- Commercial dog foods have a lot of unnatural fillers in their food which are not only bad for your dog but also go right through them. Commercial dog food only has a small percentage of stuff that is actually good for your dog, keeps them full, and maintains health. Organic or locally made dog food contains more of what your dogs needs and less fillers. If you are worried about cost think of it this way, your dog can eat 3 cups of the commercial brand to get their daily nutrition or they can eat 1 cup of organic dog food. Also, commercial dog foods can cause allergies in dogs so if your dog is constantly itchy, pawing at their face, or abnormally lazy try switching their food.

3. Look for biodegradable toys-
Remember the BFRs mentioned in The Story of Stuff? Well, many plastic dog toys contain flame retardants which are bad for your pooch. Let's face it, dogs go through toys quickly. By looking for biodegradable toys they don't contain BFRs meaning you can recycle their plastic bits.

These are three simple steps to reduce your puppy's footprint- they are good for the environment and good for them. Tackling the world's environmental issues is obviously a global issue but by starting locally we can all take small steps to solving the problem.

Stella is a purebred golden retriever- she eats organic dog food, her waste is picked up with biodegradable bags, and her toys are specially chosen. She is a Harborview Golden dog and is the most well behaved and beautiful dog in the entire world!

Please visit the BioBag website for more information by clicking- here.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Story of Stuff

Sounds like simple story right, just a story about stuff? Think again, this is one of the most interesting videos out there about consumerism and its effect on the environment. This 20 minute documentary took 10 years to make; it is jam packed with so much information every time I watch it I learn something else. This story covers all the items we own- where it comes from, who makes it, who sells it, why we buy it, and where it goes when we're done with it. This story criticizes our current system of capitalism and greed; it stressed we cannot continue to consumer the way we in order to sustain our planet. Our consumerism drives production in turn more and more products are created using our natural resources, polluting out lands, and destroying third world nations.

The main argument here is the linear system we currently live by is all wrong! Below are each of the steps of the linear equation and the issues with each.

Extraction- Deforestation, dynamiting mountains, mining all metals, using all water, and thus killing the animals. We are running out of natural resources in the United States so we turn to Third World countries and use their natural resources. In the past decade alone we have used 1/3 of the natural resources in the world.

Production- Energy is put into the raw materials along with harmful toxins called "synthetic chemicals". Most of them are not even tested for human safety let alone environmentally tested. One these chemicals is BFRs or brominated flame retardants which make things less flammable but is aneurotoxin meaning harmful to the human brain.

Distribution- After products are made they are shipped to stores, stores that want to keep cost low and keep the consumer coming back for me. Think Walmart. The company externalizes the cost of a product by making the environment pay with resources and workers pay with their health.

Consumption- This is the most important part of the equation because with out it there would be no distribution or production. Capitalism, pop culture, and the pursuit of the American dream drive consumerism. Many products made are considered disposable- use a couple times, throw away, and buy a new one. 99% of the consumer products made end up in the trash within 6 months, meaning only 1% of consumer products are recycled.

Disposal- All the items are then thrown away and then dumped into a landfill. Some trashed is burned in an incinerator before dumped in the landfills, which means it polluted the air in addition the land. We could stop production of dioxin by stopping trash burning because incinerators are the number one source of the chemical.

The answer is multifaceted but recycling is a big start. The Story of Stuff claims forest preservation, clean production, labor rights, fair trade, conscious consuming, and eliminating incinerators will also slow the problem before our natural resources are depleted, our ecosystems are polluted, workers are exploited, and dangerous toxins takeover our ozone.

Posted using ShareThis. All information was interpreted from the Story of Stuff video from their website which you can visit here. Image and video is credited to its original source.

LG Student Design Challenge

In 2009, LG Surfaces sponsored a contest for college design students; this year they are making the contest even larger. The 2010 LG Student Design Challenge will be partnering with Aloft Hotels for students to think outside the box of traditional surfaces. The major difference this year is the addition of the hospitality aspect. Students surface designs should embody the contemporary aura of Aloft Hotels and follow the motto "Where Life Happens". The surface should be sturdy, hygienic, and renewable!

Five entries will be put into production, models of the surface furniture will be showcased at the 2010 International Contemporary Furniture Fair in New York City. After the fair, three winner's designs will be featured across the country in Aloft Hotels.
Check out two of last year's winners:

Echo Table by Michael Rall

Outdoor Chair X by Soo Kang Lee

Timeline 2010:

January 10- Submissions are being accepted
March 5- Deadline for all submissions
March 12- Top five students announced
March 31 through April 2- Student Design Challenge 2010 Press Conference in Boston
May 1Bold5 through May 18- International Contemporary Furniture Fair and winner's reception

Who Can Apply:

Any post-high school students enrolled in an architecture or design program in North America.

If interested please apply for the amazing opportunity or relay the information to someone who may be qualified. LG Surfaces and Aloft Hotels are not only helping out college students boost their career but also helping out the environment by requiring all surfaces to be renewable!

LG Surfaces 2010 Student Design Challenge from Russell Perry on Vimeo.

Please visit the contest website here for all rules, conditions, and restrictions. All pictures and video are credited their original source LG Surfaces Student Design Challenge.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Pink Goes Green

The Delta Zeta sorority has 158 chapters in the United States, UK, and Canada. It was founded in 1902 by six founders who chose pink and green as national colors. The rose, diamond, and turtle are symbols of Delta Zeta. I have been a member of the Pi Zeta Chapter at Arizona State University since Fall of 2006. I have been involved through my chapter by being Vice President of Membership Assistant, Judicial Chairwoman, Greek Week Chair, and serving on numerous committees.

As with most Greek organizations we are community service based, Delta Zeta national philanthropies are speech and hearing sciences but in the recent years we have decided to go green! Pink Goes Green is Delta Zeta's commitment to the community and the environment. This website features a blog by Kelley Hunter which features many green topics, similar to mine! The website also features information on how to be environmentally conscious as well as links to other green websites.

My local chapter has supported the green revolution by selling reusable shopping bags. Reusable bags can save 500 plastic bags per year! These bags were printed in dark green and light green with the Pink Goes Logo on the side. This bags are for grocery shopping, visiting the mall, or anytime you need carry a lot of items. We sold these bags at our 2008 Parents Weekend Event; they were also featured at our "Meet the Greeks" table at Greek Week 2009. Profits from the bag were donated to charity and also benefited our local chapter.

If you are a current or alumni member of Delta Zeta interested in going green become a member, take a pledge, or become a project leader! If not a Delta Zeta check out the blog, projects, and news section of the webpage.

Pink Goes Green is Delta Zeta's commitment to going green. Please visit the website here.
Arizona State's Pi Zeta chapter website can be accessed here.

Ecological Footprint

Have you ever wondered what your Ecological Footprint is? Well look no further than Redefining Progess- The Nature of Economics. Ecological footprint measures the area of land and ocean required to support your lifestyle. Please click this link to take the quiz: My Footprint.

They will ask questions about your home, energy use, transportation, diet, and consumer spending. In the end, it will give you a number of earth's needed if everyone on the planet lead your lifestyle. It will compare you carbon, food, housing, and good/services footprint to the averages across the country. The results will also yield which biomes are most affected by you- forest, marine, cropland, and pastureland.

This quiz will put into perspective how green you really are! What are your results?

Redefining Progress is a non-profit organization funded by your donations. To make a donation please contribute here- Donate Now.

Go Green with ASU

I guess I'm a little bias to Arizona State University because I am a current student but we are on the cutting edge of the green revolution. There are many undergraduate degree programs offered which can get you started with a career in the environmental field offered by ASU

Sustainability- A newly established undergraduate degree from The School of Sustainability can be a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science. This is an interdisciplinary degree and many topics of sustainability are covered- economics, sociology, anthropology, biology, hydrology, and chemistry. ASU is one of the first schools to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in Sustainability. A concentration in Sustainability is only offered for W.P. Carey School of Business Students.

Engineering- ASU also offers an undergraduate degree in Civil, Environmental, and Sustainable engineering for those students interested in the development aspect of sustainability. Civil engineering focuses on the scientific and mathematical skills to approaching and developing sustainable machines, buildings, and communities. Students in Civil Engineering have to option to have a concentration in environmental, sustainability, or construction engineering.

Justice Studies- Within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is the School of Justice and Social Transformation where you can major in Justice Studies. One of the five areas of concentration for Justice Studies majors is Globalization, Sustainability, and Economic Justice. Taking this types of classes you will learn how the green revolution affects the entire world and how international organizations funds these projects. Check back soon for a spotlight blog on this degree program because this is my major!

Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning- There are major undergraduate degrees an ASU student can achieve from the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning such as Environmental and Landscape Dynamics, Urban and Regional Geography, and Urban Planning. In these majors, students will learn about how the earth is physically affected by population growth, urban growth, and natural resources deprivation. This major take a very physical approach to understand the consequences if our world does not adapt a more sustainable lifestyle.

Overall, these degree programs are just a few options at Arizona State University. There are other programs and other schools that can provide students an undergraduate degree relating to the green revolution. It is apparent going green can be approached from many directions- business, justice, engineering, and urban planning. If you a high school student or even a freshman or sophomore in college looking to change your major, consider a green degree program from ASU!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What Color Are You Wearing?

White collar, Blue collar, and Green Collar?

Due to the recent expansion in the environmental field there is a new term floating around- "green collar jobs". In the future it is expected to expand even more. According to a study conducted by the RAND Corporation and the University of Tennessee if Americans shift 25% of their energy use to renewable sources by 2025 then nearly 5 millions green collar jobs would be created. Since this is such a growing area let's look at some possible jobs in the environmental sector.

Researcher: There are many topics that a scientist can study to be considered a green collar job. Global warming, effects of carbon dioxide on the ozone, testing green products, or renewable energy sources. A lot of money and time is being invested into green research by governments, corporations, and non-profits.

Non-Profit: There are endless non-profits across the country dedicated to the environment; recycling group, park preservation alliances, and even those who educate others on green practices. It is a common misconception that people who work at non-profits do not get paid; this is not true. Federally recognized non-profits are funded through grants which goes to running operations and paying employees. Non-profit organizations do not pay taxes.

Inventor: As mentioned before green technology is a rapidly growing field so therefore new technologies will be coming over in the near future that need to be developed. Items will be invented that are sustainable, use renewable energy sources, and do not pollute the environment and maybe you will invent them!

Something interesting to point out is that a former blue collar job can now be considered a green collar job. Factory workers who build electric cars, make recycling bins, or any other environmental technology can be considered a green collar job. Also maintenance works who tend to solar panels or wind turbines can also be considered green.

Overall, the possibilities are endless for green collar jobs. The future holds so many new technologies and businesses in the environmental field; meaning many new jobs will be created. But the most important part of green collar jobs is you, so be open minded and receptive to new jobs opportunities in the environmental field!

External Links

Time Magazine,8599,1809506,00.html

Monday, February 8, 2010

Tech Go Green

This past summer I spent ten weeks in Los Angeles, California interning at a sustainability consulting firm. You may be thinking, what in the world does sustainable consulting mean? Let's break it down: sustainable- "a means of configuring civilization and human activity so that society, its members and its economies are able to meet their needs and express their greatest potential in the present, while preserving biodiversity and natural ecosystems, planning and acting for the ability to maintain these ideals in the very long term" and consulting- "to seek the opinion or advice of another; to take counsel; to deliberate together; to confer" (Wiktionary)

Basically a business hired my company to make recommendations in order for their practices to be more environmentally conscious and also to save them money on utilities. The firm I worked for was a non-profit organization called Tech Go Green. Our consulting could be broken down into five steps: auditing, walk through, analyzing, research and proposal.

1. Auditing- After a business hired Tech Go Green we would request at least one year up to three years of previous electricity, waste management, gas, and water bills. All these bills would be put into spread sheets and often graphs to isolate which months would cost the most. We also requested blue prints in order to map out the walk through, see where lighting fixtures were placed, and to see where water using devices were located. This gave us a background on how the business was ran and it was preliminary analysis.

2. Walk Through- One walk through usually took about one business day depending on the size of the building and was usually tackled by two small teams. The two teams had their routes mapped out and would enter every room or area to take certain measurements and jot down notes. We would mark down how many lights were in the room, type of light bulb, any water using devices (toilets, sinks, drinking fountains, etc), windows, temperature on the thermostat compared to the actual temperature, trash cans, recycling bins, and the amount of light in the room in foot candles. Foot candles is a way of measuring light and we could see if the bulbs and/or natural lighting needed to be adjusted. For water using devices we also had to record gallons per flush on toilets, if the sinks were on timers, and if any water was leaking.

3. Analyzing- After all the data was complied we would also put this information into spread sheets to analyze any areas where the business could improve environmentally. We would look to see if natural lighting was used versus artificial lighting, if they were recycling, or if the thermostat temperatures were not reflected in the actual temperature.

4. Researching- Once the weak areas were isolated we did vast amounts of research in areas which the business could improve. We would research to see if putting timers on lights, installing dual-flush toilets, providing more recycling bins, or installing solar panels would help the business impact the environment less. We would research how much it would cost to install any green technologies, provide a list of contractors, and a list of vendors who sold the items.

5. Proposal- This is the final and most important step of the entire project. In this step would type up a large proposal with an introduction, recommendations, and conclusion. The introduction would consist of a small description of the company, areas of weakness, and an explanation of green technologies to be later recommended. In the recommendations section we would explain each recommendation, where these items could be purchased, who would install these devices, and how much it would cost the company. An important part of this section was we provide a time line of how the company would benefit from the particular recommendation. An example would be putting sensors on lighting would cost $300 but you would save $50 a month on electricity so the item would pay for itself in 6 months and after that it would all be savings. The proposals were printed, bound, and delivered along with a presentation from Tech Go Green.

Although my summary of Tech Go Green's sustainable consulting is brief, it is a good representation of what I did interning this summer. I would highly recommend this internship to any college interested in sustainability or going green. Please visit their website to volunteer or for possible internships.

Tech Go Green is a California recognized non-profit organization.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dr. Seuss

The Lorax

I think its safe to say most college students these days grew up reading Dr. Seuss books- Cat in the Hat, Oh the Places You'll Go, and the Foot Book to name a few. But does anyone remember The Lorax, a simple story about bar-ba-l00ts in their bar-ba-loot suits, truffula trees, and the onclers? Growing up it was just another story to me but thinking back on The Lorax it is so much more than a children's book. It is a story about the environment, industrialization, and greed. The onclers exploit the bar-ba-loot's forest; they chop down their trees, pollute the air, and contaminate the water. The build factories and make products from the trees to sell. slowly the bears move away and the once fruitful, colorful land turns into a gloomy, barren scene. This story is an analogy of how corporations destroy natural areas to build factories. After they exhaust natural resources in a certain area they move to another place, leaving the original polluted and dirty. The Lorax speaks for the trees and asks the onclers to be more conscious of the environment. Through this story, Dr. Seuss is begging us to be more conscious about how we treat our environment.

Watch the Lorax!

Five Ways to Green Your Home

Many people do not understand how simple it is to be environmental conscious- it is actually quite simple! In addition to helping out the environment, you will also be saving money! Who doesn't want that? Here are five easy (and cheap) ways for college students to green their room:

1. Purchase CFL light bulbs- CFL stands for compact flurescent light bulbs and can save you money on electricity bills. Energy Star approved CFL bulbs using 75% energy and last ten times longer than normal bulbs. Not only are do they use less electricity but you do not have to buy them as often. The only downside to CFL bulbs are they are dim when first turned on and take a minute or so to reach their full brightness. Contact your local energy provider, they often offer free bulbs or incentives if you use them in your home.

2. Use power strips- Plugging your TV, DVD, and cable box into the same power strip is something that you may already do but did you know it could save you money? A large portion of your energy bill can come from not completely turning off or unplugging your electronics. Even if your computer is turned off, it is still using power. By having your electronics plugged into a power strip and shutting it off when not in use there will be a significant drop in your energy bill.

3. Recycle- If you are not provided a recycling bin call your city and they will provide you one for free or a small fee. For ASU students, the City of Tempe website will provide you a blue bin for recycling if you do not already have one. Glass, paper, plastics, and cardboard are normal recycled items. Contact your local waste management if have any questions on what can or cannot be recycled.

4. Use your blinds- This sounds so vague but it can be a big money saver. Next time you are doing homework, think about the light you use. If you do homework during the day you can utilize day light instead of using artificial lighting. If its winter time open East and West facing windows to let in sunlight to warm the room instead of using the heater; east in the morning and west in the afternoon.

5. Use your printer wisely- Print things double sided whenever possible. Ask your teachers first if you can print double side most of the time they will say yes since its for a good cause. Only print when necessary, if you can read it online then don't waste paper. This will save you money on paper, ink, and electricity.

External Links

Thursday, February 4, 2010


This blog will be dedicated to college students who are interested in going green. It will be more than recycling and saving energy; I will post degree programs, jobs, and internship ideas on this website for college students interested into obtaining a green collar job. With all the media frenzy about the green movement and the environment, it is important to understand what going green really means. Please comment if you'd like to read blogs on a particular topic!