Blog Action Day Is Here

October 15, 2007

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Today is Blog Action Day aimed at making all blogs write about environmental issues. At Life Goggles we write about green stuff every day anyway so we’ll just give you a link to more green content. If you can handle it, click here.

A great example of the sort of content you’ll find is Blaine Moore’s The Environmental Impact of Running post which is something not many people think about. Blaine make some really worthwhile points so check it out.

Environment And Exercise – The Tree-Athlon

August 29, 2007

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The Tree-Athlon takes place in London (Battersea Park) and Leeds (Temple Newsam) in September. A bit different to an actual triathlon as the exercise is only one part of it. There’s a 5km run, an urban tree wish (!) and a fashion swap.

The tree wish is something that you put on your running bib to share with everyone else. And all participants are invited to reduce their carbon footprints by recycling garments and other articles they no longer need. If you bring a t-shirt or even a dress on the day that you don’t want anymore you’ll be able to swap it for something you will definitely wear or donate it to charity if you can’t find something else.

The one in London takes place on September 15 and Leeds on September 23 – registration is open now.

Free DIY Planet Repair Toolkit

August 29, 2007

Once again, unfortunately only available to Londoners, there is a great looking free “DIY Planet Repair Kit” for those who want it. The kit apparently contains:

- A booklet – a practical guide with simple and money saving ideas.
- A 4-minute shower timer – to help you take shorter showers, saving both water and energy.
- A DIY Planet Repairs Mug – a helpful reminder to only boil the amount you need when making a a cup of tea or coffee.
- Stickers – to help remind you to unplug, switch off and turn down.
- A window sticker and badge – to show your commitment.

DIY Toolkit

I’ll update you when I receive my kit, until then please let us know if there is something similar available in your area.

The Fun Green Roundup #1

August 25, 2007

Life Goggles regularly does a green news round up, but here I thought we’d link to the cooler, funnier or weirder green stories we’ve come across in the last week or so. Let us know if you find any by adding a comment in the box below.

Will Ferrell gets gas
Treehugger reports on how comedian and film star Will Ferrell has been given one of BMW’s first Hydrogen 7 cars. “The Hydrogen 7 doesn’t use a fuel cell, but a normal ICE engine which can run on either hydrogen or gasoline. When running on Hydrogen the only emissions are water vapour. However, there is a long tail-pipe problem as with electric cars, in that producing the hydrogen uses a large amount of energy. In truth, these cars will do little to reduce the emissions of daily transport, but will at least create cleaner air for cyclists and pedestrians.”

Twenty-five of the initial 100 cars produced are being given to celebrities to promote the car.

Mighty mouse
I saw this in a few different places but as I like Groovy Green they can have the credit. A solar powered mouse is in development. How it works a) when your hand is on it, or b) at night, remains to be seen.

Black screen
Usually a black screen on your computer means the screen saver’s on or you’ve switched the plug off. But it turns out that your screen uses less energy when it’s showing black that other colours. Check out Life Goggles’ report on how Google could help reduce energy use.

Good vibrations
According to excellent UK magazine,New Consumer, you can now get that vibrator you’ve had lying about for ages recycled. Maybe one for the adult industry who must get through a fair amount, as I’m not sure how long they last but I can’t imagine vast numbers are thrown away. But I suppose they do wear out and break so this is a better option than adding them to the landfill mountain.

A battery breeze
Once again Groovy Green reports that mobile telcom company Orange have developed a wind powered solar charger for mobile (cell) phones. Ideal for that festival or camping trip – especially as you know as soon as that tent is put up the sun will hide away. Obviously you need wind, but that’s no problem in the UK where it’s being launched.

Women love a green guy
Well according to Nuts magazine they do. And not just this Green Guy where the article was reported.

And finally…
With a slim link to the environment as the product has two uses, comes a table which can be taken apart to become a bat and a shield to fight off home intruders. The pictures have to be seen to be believed and are available over at Spulch. What’s next, a footstool that’s also a riot helmet?

Are You Experiencing Green Fatigue?

August 14, 2007

With the much needed increase in media exposure and discussion of green issues, a new problem has come to light. That of “green fatigue”. By that I mean are people getting tired of hearing the green message? Whilst it’s easy and quick to make small changes to your lifestyle and help the environment, is the constant stream of green messages reducing their effect?

Which environmental issues are the important ones? Who is telling the truth? What do their claims actually mean? What is “green”?

Dead leaf

Green encompasses everything from turning lights off to recycling and reducing your carbon footprint. What is a high level of being green and what a low? Which companies are independent and which are not? How do you know that planting a tree in Africa is actually a good thing? How do you know what a business claims are its green credentials are actually true and/or worthwhile?

It’s a very difficult balance to get right and there is currently no easy answer to any of these questions. Retailers are spending millions promoting their green credentials (Marks & Spencer in the UK are reportedly investing £200m to become a “greener business”), but is it a genuine effort to become green, or a marketing ploy to attract savvy consumers such as yourself? Can profit and shareholder driven companies actually be beneficial to the planet? Or at the least, less harmful?

With all the talk about green energy, carbon footprint labels, even green stocks and shares and green washing powder it’s easy to be confused or miss the point. For example, due to strict EU laws, most washing detergents in the EU aren’t (too) bad for the environment and much better than they used to be. Turning your machine down to 30 degrees celcius will have a much bigger impact than changing your washing powder. It’s all about direction and magnitude. Not all of our 100 ways to save the planet have equal effort or equal reward, but small efforts moving in the right direction will lead to bigger rewards.

The almost constant promotion of a company’s green credentials are not equal. Carbon offsetting (I have my own issues with that – to be discussed later!) is not the same as reducing energy consumption. Just because a company laudes the fact it now has 100 electric or hybrid vehicles doesn’t mean it has sound environmental policies in other areas. What is its position on recycling? What steps is it taking to not use energy at all (reduce) and reuse?

Live leaf

“Green fatigue” may affect some of us, but I actually view this as a good thing. I look forward to the day when you can’t move for green messages, where every company is doing all it can to reduce its impact on the environment, and who cares how much they shout about it? If people like YOU keep supporting companies that do respect and support the place in which they live, then maybe one day we will get there.

Do you agree or disagree? Please let us know by leaving a comment below. If you’d prefer you can contact us privately.

Latest Green News

August 10, 2007

Green car insurance is a growing market, according to the Co-operative Bank. However, the bank insists it is too early to say whether environmentally-conscious financial products will overhaul the traditional market. “Climate change and the environment in particular are extremely important to consumers – the government has actually asked the industry to do more,” said a spokesperson for the company. ” The spokesperson added that the Co-operative Bank has a “mandate” in place which invites customers to tell them which ethical concerns with which to become involved.

DHL in Germany has launched a new offer called GoGreen which allows clients to pay part of the transport cost. The sum will be used for environmental projects as a means of compensation of the pollution incurred by the transport of the client’s parcel. It calculates that the transportation of a 5kg parcel from Paris to Washington causes emissions of 29kg of CO2.

The Financial Times reports that the cost of energy-efficient light bulbs looks likely to fall after European Union governments backed an end to extra tariffs on Chinese imports. The EU wants traditions bulbs to be banned within a few years to cut carbon emissions and retailers claim that this goal has been undermined by the high price of energy-efficient bulbs. The British Retail Consortium’s Kevin Hawkins said: “Retailers are doing all they can to bring down the cost to customers of helping the environment while Europe pushes up the cost with unjustifiable import taxes”.

The Mail on Sunday reports that Whole Foods Market’s flagship store in Kensington, London has sales of £500,000-a-week, a third of its projected break-even target. Whole Foods has also been criticised for its local-sourcing policy, with some foods labelled ‘local’ when they have travelled more than 300 miles and industry experts estimating that just ten per cent of the food in the British store is organic in origin. Following a complaint made by Waitrose trading standards officials are investigating Whole Foods’ definition of locally-produced food covers food produced anywhere in the UK. Waitrose is also believed to be concerned about labelling.

Boots is to place recycling bins in its stores to collect thousands of copies of so called “freesheet” newspapers, which are becoming an environmental problem in many British cities. London alone has four different free newspapers per week day.

Supermarkets have been urged to cut-down on “super-size” packs in an attempt to reduce the amount of fresh food that is wasted. The move comes after government watchdogs revealed that UK households waste £23bn worth of food every year. Labour MP Anne Snelgrove is reported to want to work with retailers to address the problem.

The Times reports that The Soil Association, which certifies about 80% of organic produce in the United Kingdom, has threatened to take away the organic certification from farms in East Africa because their produce is transported to Europe by air, contributing to global warming. However, the article looks at the prospective devastating impact this proposal would have upon farmers in Africa.

Eco-St, the ecological retailer which sells a variety of energy and water saving devices, is planning to open 10 standalone stores and 100 concessions over the next three years. The retailer has launched its first concession at the Chinnor Garden Centre in Oxfordshire.

From this month Ikea, the Swedish furniture retailer, has abandoned single use carrier bags in all its UK stores.

Green Gas And Free Energy Saving Lightbulbs

June 27, 2007

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British Gas is the latest company to jump on the green bandwagon as it were. In July the company will be taking over parks in London and holding “a fun summer fete with a modern twist” whatever that is. Fete for the Future will be all about being green and include traditional fete games, a British Gas Sustainability Station (woooo), organic food stalls and live music.

Go to their Make It Green Now website to find out more , get a free green ‘survival pack’, which includes energy saving lightbulbs, and try and win VIP tickets to a fete. You have to live in London though.

Whether gas can actually be green is another question and soon we’ll be doing a comparision of which are the greenest energy companies.

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