I am currently undergoing the search for a beautiful new (or used) car for myself. As daunting as the search can be, there are a lot of great facts about hybrid-electric vehicles that I’ve found during the process. Luckily, as the importance of protecting our environment becomes apparent, the amount of research and production of green technologies increase. Rising energy consumption is what drives the worlds ecological footprint, and income and population growth are the forces increasing greenhouse gas production. A large industry for green technology exists within hybrid and electric vehicles, just as the growing industry for Bio Fuel, Bio Diesel, FlexFuel and alternative fuels exists. “Green technologies are the master key to the future of the automobile,” says Thomas Weber, head of research and development for Mercedes-Benz. Now, the federal government has created a 2.4 billion dollar Recovery Act in order to provide subsidies for electric battery factories and continued research. These subsidies will help car manufacturers meet the new emission standards enacted last year by the Obama administration. By 2016 automakers must achieve 35.5 mpg. This is an increase from the current standard of 27.5 mpg. “Hybrids are less than 3% of the market and they’ve been less than 3% for years,” says Rebecca Lindland, and analyst with the research firm HIS Global Insight. This means that about 97% of the vehicles sold in the United States in recent years were powered by gasoline, not electricity.
I got engaged a little while ago, and people are constantly commenting on my very unique ring. My Fiancé picked out a gorgeous, unique ring from Brilliant Earth, and I love having the opportunity to gush to my friends that the metal is all recycled platinum, and that the diamonds are all ethically sourced. Yet I’ve been shocked with how many people give me an absolute blank stare when I say the words “ethically sourced”. You would think I was trying to describe a complex medical procedure. On the plus side, it allows me to educate those around me to what exactly it means to be “ethically sourced”.
Ethically sourced is exactly what it sounds like. It is a broad term that refers to an item or product was brought to you from a source that used ethical practices from start to finish. This may mean that it was paid for at a fair price, or that the source considers the environment and the country or location of origin. Also referred to as fair trade, or with diamonds they are referred to as conflict-free. Conflict free further means that the gem was not mined and sold to pay for an insurgent campaign or to finance a warlord in Africa. Ethically sourced items are free from human rights abuses, or child labor, and did not cause any harm to the environment.
› Continue reading
Super foods and Supplements are like the stock market – you want to invest over the long term and diversify for best results. With all the attention given to the ‘newest’, ‘greatest’ and ‘exotic’ super foods with mega antioxidants like acai, goji berries, pomegranate and blueberries, you may get sucked into the marketing hype and lose sight of the actual benefit. It’s like greenwashing for healthy foods.
At prices double or triple what you would expect to pay for other healthy fruits and vegetables, it makes you wonder- is this really worth it? The answer is, only if you like the way it tastes, because that is going to be the biggest difference you are going to notice.
While these may be high in a few beneficial antioxidants, you aren’t going to turn into superman consuming them, in fact you may lose out in other important vitamins and minerals by ignoring the less flashy fruits and vegetables.
New and Hot:
Açaí – A berry from the Açaí Palm, found mostly in Central America, has been a staple food of many of the Brazilian jungle dwellers for generations. Far from the antioxidant powerhouse it is marketed as- while it contains more than oranges and apples, it has less antioxidants than the more common blueberry, and black cherry, concord grape or even red wine.
It is a great addition to your existing food selection, but at $5.00 a bottle it’s probably just as healthy as a $1.25 bottle of grape juice.
Goji Berries (Wolfberry) – A berry originating from China has been associated with healing powers and high vitamin C content. Also greatly misrepresented, the dried berry loses a great deal of its potency and are comparable to the levels you would find in a citrus fruit such as an orange or lemon. While tasty, these berries don’t deliver on their lofty health benefits.
One way I like to try and make a difference is supporting sustainable companies that I can feel good about. There are two ways to do this, one is by buying their products, the other is by investing in their future and showing your support and investing in their future. The second way also leaves you an opportunity to benefit from the success of that company.
I try and keep an eye out for new and sustainable companies, environmentally responsible stocks and mutual funds that promote eco-friendly and socially conscious values. Honestly this has paid off for me much better (especially in the long term) than most of my other stock or mutual fund picks. I recently found and interesting investing tool called the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI), which are a collection of global indexes tracking the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.
A partnership between the Dow Jones Dow Jones Indexes, STOXX Limited and SAM they provide asset managers benchmarks to manage sustainability portfolios. The nice thing is that you are able to access them as well for your investment decisions. You are able to look up companies and filter them by key factors outlined by the index.
For each company, the input sources of information for the Corporate Sustainability Assessment consist of the responses to the online questionnaire, submitted documentation, policies and reports, publicly available information and SAM Research analyst’s direct contact with companies. Each sustainability assessment is verified by PricewaterhouseCoopers.
I recently received an email with a footer that read: “Please consider the Environment before printing this email. Think Green.” The interesting thing is that it actually made me kind of mad. The person who sent me this email is anything but green, and frankly I wouldn’t be surprised if they thought green living had more to do with color choices than the earth or the environment. This got me thinking though, have I become an eco-eliteist? Am i so into my own ‘green-ness’, that I deny any attempt, genuine or not, at other becoming green or doing something that will benefit the earth regardless of how they feel about it? I guess it has a lot to do with the whole concept of Greenwashing. That it’s cool to be green, but people don’t think or embrace it, they turn it into a marketing line, a ploy, a fad. › Continue reading
Many of you may have heard the term ‘Greenwashing’, yet, it is becoming more and more common in today’s marketplace. With the explosion of all things green, organic, natural, eco friendly, and environmentally conscious has come deceptive marketing. Greenwashing originally has been defined as ‘to market environmentally friendly behaviors or products with an underlying purpose of profit increase’, however it has morphed into a more underhanded marketing technique of promoting a product or feature as environmentally responsible when it has little to no affect at all. It can get very shakey around things such as automobiles, or products by which their very existance are damaging to the environment being marketed as ‘green’ in the relative sense of having less of an impact on the environment.
This is to be expected in a society where people tend to jump on bandwagons without taking adequate time and energy to explore what they are committing to. We become less discerning, or may not even know what the reasons why we are suddenly › Continue reading
Keep up with us on Twitter and RSS!
You can find us at: