MediaFile

Edit your life and win a green contest

Graham Hill’s latest design initiative, Life Edited, is a contest to renovate a 420 square-foot apartment in New York City in a way that will radically reduce your carbon footprint. With $70,000 in cash, prizes and a design contract, why not enter it?

Hill, who is the founder of TreeHugger.com, which is now a part of the Discovery network, is on a mission to help everybody get rid of all the unnecessary clutter in their lives. In New York City, this is particularly essential if you want to remain sane. A good way to start is by “ruthlessly editing,” as Hill says, your minimal personal space in a green way. Speaking from personal experience, it also clears some (much needed) space in your mind.

In New York, this shouldn’t be so hard to do. In fact, stripping your belongings down to the bare essentials is a regular occurrence given the limited space of most apartments and the fact that various furry — and not so furry — freeloaders find clutter to be a perfect place to set up home, as I recently discovered.

Life Edited’s motto is “make room for the good stuff,” and I have to say, simpler living definitely makes for a happier and easier life: there’s less to worry about. So, even if you aren’t that concerned about the greater environmental good, do it for yourself. And, in turn, you’ll be contributing to a larger cause. It’s interesting that sometimes a selfish act can help accomplish a more altruistic goal.

David de Rothschild rethinks plastic

Plastic is everywhere. It is a pervasive part of our everyday lives. It’s a huge source of waste and most of it is not even biodegradable. Worst of all, much of the plastic we throw out is designed to be used only once. So what can we do about a product that we use just one time and then never goes away?

Eco-explorer David de Rothschild, the founder of Adventure Ecology, believes we need to change the way we think about plastic. In addition to using and creating less of it, de Rothschild thinks we need to start recognizing used plastic as a resource.

“Maybe plastic is not to blame,” de Rothschild says. “Maybe we are just not using it correctly.”

That NBC: so green and so healthy

For those of you annoyed by NBC Universal’s “Green Week” — that stretch when the company’s peacock logo turns an irritating shade of green and its programs carry some sort of tortured green storyline — then you may want to stop reading right here. But for those of you who love the idea, here’s some news: NBC Universal is coming back with another Green Week in November and this time it will be running a TV special called “Harmony” featuring The Prince of Wales.

It’s also decided that not only do we viewers need to take better care of our planet, we need to take a little better care of ourselves. So it has also decided to launch “Healthy Week.”  Here’s how NBC Universal described the effort, which kicks off on June 21:

Similar to NBCU’s successful “Green Weeks,” numerous online and on-air NBCU brands will go “healthy” for the week, focusing on the topics of nutritional literacy and fitness, joining a major national cultural conversation on this topic around personal health, healthcare, diet, fitness, and childcare.

In latest green move, Apple quits U.S. Chamber

Apple, which made news in environmental circles recently with its new approach to environmental accounting, took another high-profile action on climate change Monday when it resigned its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the group’s environmental policies.

Apple became just the latest defection from the business lobbying group. And given that Apple’s every move generates buckets of publicity, the action may serve to thrust the climate change issue into greater focus for the buying public.

Last month three big power utilities — Exelon Corp, PG&E Corp and PNM Resources Inc — said they were leaving the Chamber over its stance on global warming legislation. Nike last week resigned from the board of the Chamber, which has pushed for public hearings to challenge the scientific evidence of manmade climate change.

The Huffington Post has No Impact

With the documentary “No Impact Man” out in theaters, it’s little surprise that others want to show their support for improving the environment through “no impact” projects of their own. The Huffington Post joins this round of advocacy journalism with Colin Beavan as they launch “No Impact Week,” starting on Oct. 18.

The idea, as expressed in a paperless press release:

The Huffington Post, a leading social news and opinion website, and the No Impact Project, a nonprofit project founded by Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man and subject of the film by the same title, today announced that the “No Impact Experiment,” an eight-day program encouraging individuals to learn about and implement lifestyle changes to lessen their impact on the environment, will have its inaugural run on the Huffington Post.

Here’s my favorite part:

No Impact Week will feature a daily regimen for users to follow; for instance, Sunday’s focus is on reducing consumption, on Monday the spotlight will be on reducing trash, Tuesday they will commute without adding carbon to the environment – ie, encouraging bike riding and walking; and Wednesday will be about eating foods grown locally and/or sustainably.

Green PC registry is expanding

In a relatively short time, the EPEAT system (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) has become the green standard for computer products in the U.S. And now the rating program — which ranks PCs and displays based on 51 environmental criteria and compiles the information into a searchable database — is expanding its reach internationally.

With the expansion, buyers in the U.S., Canada, Europe, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico will be able to assess products based on environmental performance in their country. Jeff Omelchuck, EPEAT’s executive director, said the program’s rapid progress is a sign of the growing importance of green in the consumer electronics industry.

“When the registry launched in 2006 on opening day we had 3 participating manufacturers…we had 30 or 40 products,” Omelchuck said. “Today we have the participation of all leading multi-national manufacturers: HP, Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Toshiba Fujitsu, Acer, Asus, really anybody you can name. And a larger number of small local manufacturers.”

Nokia retains top spot on Greenpeace list

Nokia has retained the top spot in Greenpeace’s latest ranking of 17 consumer electronics companies over their environmental practices, while Philips and Apple made strides up the list.

Philips leaped to 4th place from 11th and Apple moved up to 10th place from 14th — best among the top 5 PC makers — in Greenpeace’s latest “Guide to Greener Electronics” report. Companies are ranked based on a number of criteria related to chemicals, e-waste and energy, and Greenpeace uses the report to help pressure companies to change.

Samsung moved up to second place from fourth, while Sony Ericcson dropped a spot to third. Sony rounded out the top five.

Dell offers gifts cards for your e-junk

As part of the ongoing battle among PC makers to out-green each other, Dell says it will now take your unwanted gadgets off your hands and give you something for the privilege. Most of us are familiar with the concept of trade-ins in some form – cars, mainly – but under the program launched today, the company will exchange Dell gift cards for your e-junk.

Dell Exchange covers all sorts of products, from phones to cameras to PCs to media players. It’s partner in the program, Dealtree, will refurbish and resell the gear it can, and items with no trade-in value can be recycled for free. The program is similar to services already offered by third-party sites such as Gazelle, which pay you in cash.

A 2-minute test drive of the new Dell program turned up predictable results. An 80GB iPod classic in good shape could land you a $116 gift card from Dell — but a rickety and slow 5-year-old laptop will get you little more than an exceptionally clean conscience.

CES: “Green” envy on Day 2

Fuji EnviroMAX batteries

Several exhibitors took up the “green” theme at CES 2009 as the “Pre” party continued. Any chance Dell had to upstage Palm disappeared in a cloud of secrecy with the “Adamo” laptop it briefly presented, but gave no details about.

Fuji said its EnviroMAX alkaline batteries were made of more than 90 percent recycled materials, had no mercury, cadmium and were PVC free.

Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies said their “HydroPack” water-activated and portable power system HydroPak could provide 4 to 5 hours of 50 watt emergency power without pollution or noise.

Dell goes green, early and often

windmill.jpgGoing “green” is all the rage now in corporate America, including at Dell Inc, the world’s No. 2. maker of personal computers.

The company said last September that its goal was to become “carbon neutral” by the end of 2008. The company said on Wednesday it had reached its goal five months ahead of schedule.

The Round Rock, Texas computer maker put in place a worldwide energy-efficiency campaign and boosted its purchases of green power, verified emission reduction and renewable energy certificates. Since 2004, the amount of electricity that Dell gets from utility providers including wind, solar and methane-gas sources has grown nearly nine-fold to 116 million kilowatt-hours from 12 million kilowatt-hours.