Carbon Nation: A movie on Renewable Energy

A movie that came out late 2010, Carbon Nation, discusses the role American can have in the renewable energy sector to reduce the carbon footprint. Whether you are believer in man induced global warming or not, it makes a compelling case for why renewable energy is a good move for the United States to invest in.

This non-partisan documentary provides compelling evidence that dealing with climate change can boost the economy, increase national & energy security and promote health and a clean environment.

The movie can be purchased via DVD or downloaded through all the various online movie retailers.

Other short videos and movies on renewabale energy that are also recommended;

e-waste: Recycle computer and electronics responsibly

Many companies in the beginning of the New Year purchase new electronic equipment. It is important to discard e-waste appropriately by using e-waste vendors that are certified by the Basel Action Network e-Stewards program. This system of certification is an independent audit that ensures recyclers do not throw e-waste into landfills and to only send to developing countries that have responsible and safe means of destruction and disposal.

There was a responsible electronics recycling act (HR 2284/ S. 1270) that was introduced in Congress in June of 2011. This Act would prevent the export of non-functional or shredded electronic scrap to developing countries and make it illegal to dump electronics into the landfill. It has been passed down to the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment but as of today, the status is unknown.

Two great videos on the issues of e-waste;

  1. Story of Electronics: Produced by the same organization as the Story of Stuff. An easy 20 minute video on where electronics go once they have no use.
  2. 60 Minutes Wasteland: First aired in 2009 and again in 2010, this gripping and telling investigative reporting on e-waste issues in China.

Go to eco-officiency’s website to learn about recommended places to recycle or donate unwanted computers and electronics.

Give Back: Making Company Donations

December usually is the time for giving donations to the community and other non-profit organizations around the world. Philanthropic gestures are considered one important aspect in supporting the social side of corporate sustainability. A company can donate directly or take part in match programs with employees’ favorite non-profits. Here are a few programs to consider;

Colorado Gives Day is December every year. It is a local movement to help raise funds for al Colorado based community non-profits. All donations can be made through Colorado Gives website.

1% for the planet is another non-profit organization that supports corporate philanthropy. America averages about 1% of sales to nonprofit organizations. 1% for the plant is helping environmental groups around the world; this was started by Yvon Chouinard, founder and owner of Patagonia. This organization now has 1393 companies committed to giving 1% of their sales to over 2500 environmental organizations worldwide. All companies can become a member and take the pledge to give 1%  of their sales to non-profit organizations.

Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)is a government run donation program where donation pledges are made by government personnel. Each U.S. government agency has a CFC contact and there is an extensive catalog available for employees to make pledges to various non-profits.

Gift Giving Ideas that are Eco-Friendly

One of the ways to be more Eco-conscious is purchasing Eco-friendly holiday gifts. Here are a few ideas and some things to consider when purchasing Christmas presents:

  • Look for gifts that are ‘experience gifts’ or gift certificates rather than products. Reduce the product impact altogether and give someone an experience.  Consider movie, theater or restaurant gift certificates. Or for more fancy options, plan a holiday tea, spa packages or weekend getaways. These are easier to wrap too!

  • Consider purchasing products that are durable, not over packaged, energy efficient, made with recycled materials or recyclable. All of these are standard criteria for choosing more sustainable made products.

  • Purchase green gifts from green-minded companies. There are a host of Internet based companies that already have done the selecting for you on green and sustainable products. They have an array of different types of gifts for all ages.  Here are some recommendations; Organic Bug, Eco Choices and ReuseIt.

  • Donate unwanted gifts to charity. We all receive gifts that we don’t need or don’t want. Instead of hiding them in your closet or garage, consider donating them to local charities that can use them. Go to eco-officiency’s recycling and donation page to learn more about where to donate these items.

  • With battery operated gifts, consider choosing rechargeable ones. If you do purchase toys or products that do have batteries, consider also purchasing rechargeable batteries to reduce the waste impact.

  • Be mindful of wrapping gifts in re-useable bags or recyclable wrapping paper. Wrapping waste is a huge contributor to our landfill waste. Much of it can’t be recycled or composted. Be mindful of the packaging and wrapping you purchase. Come sustainable wrapping choices are re-useable bags, re-used wrapping paper, comics from the Sunday paper, or paper bags decorated with stickers.

Increasing Sustainability in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry

A new web resource was launched to assist the hospitality and hotel industry in becoming more sustainable. The National Sustainable Lodging Network, is providing a framework of sharing resources and information within the hotel and lodging industry. You need to sign up to the network, which is free, in order to gain access to the information.

Another great resource is Green Lodging News which provides information on green products and services for the hotel industry along with general information on sustainability.