Ethically Manufactured Gadgets

Ethical Electronics

With huge global demand for electronic gadgets especially mobile phones, the need for the minerals to build these electronic devices has sky-rocketed. But have we really considered where and how these minerals are produced? A report last year in Business Week uncovered how tin, a vital element in the production of our favorite gadgets, is mined under horrendous conditions for the workers. The article brought to light an horrific story which has been ignored up to now in the headlong rush to acquire the latest mobile technology. Not just tin, but many other component minerals are mined in Indonesia, where mining is a hazardous… read more

Product Refill Stations

Refill_Station

Of the 4 million plastic containers used every hour by Americans, only 25 percent of it is recycled. The rest is destined to spend 500 years or more in a landfill. But in 2001, Minnesota based social entrepreneur, Laurie Brown, was responsible for creating a machine that would extend the life of product containers and reduce waste. A born inventor, Brown made a name for herself selling her own brand of natural cleaning supplies. After success with her own retail store, she opened her second store, Restore the Earth, in 2000. Having watched as customers reduced waste by returning their empty… read more

Join The Butts Brigade!

Join the Butts Brigade!

Cigarette butts comprise the largest single item of litter in America. Annually, worldwide cigarette butt litter amounts to 1.69 billion pounds. TerraCycle Inc., a company dedicated to stopping waste from reaching landfill sites, has teamed up with Santa Fe Natural Tobacco Co. to create an alternative way to harness cigarette butt litter. The tobacco company will sponsor TerraCycle’s Cigarette Waste Brigade. Individuals and groups sign up to collect cigarette waste, print a prepaid shipping label, and then mail the cigarettes to TerraCycle. The waste will then be turned into new products such as shipping pallets, railroad ties, plastic lumber, and ash trays. The program is aimed to target… read more

Go Green Warehouse

Recycled products

In my previous article concerning the Green Jobs for Veterans organization, one of the programs mentioned was the Go Green Warehouse. Like other Green Jobs for Veterans programs, Go Green Warehouse hires both veterans and non-veterans, with a natural preference for the former. Located in Denver, Colorado, the warehouse has two main functions, as it is both a green thrift store to homeowners and a program that provides veterans with stable employment. This is not a random merger of causes, and as we explore the details of each separately it may become more clear that the success of one greatly affects that… read more

Restorative Justice

Exploting the environment

It is no secret that the richest industrialized countries of the world owe a great deal of their wealth to exploitation of the environment and natural resources. For a long time, the effects of such exploitation on climate change were not given due consideration, now that the subject is of great importance it becomes necessary to ask the hard questions as to who shall bear the greater burden of climate change mitigation. Since the invention of the steam engine and industrialization, much of the west has realized tremendous economic growth and development. Great inventions in machinery and the industrial revolution… read more

Biobanking Necessities

Biobanking combatting biodiversity

Biodiversity loss is a problem plaguing many lands in and around the globe, it threatens the survival of land and animal species, painting a bleak future for generations to come. The escalation of biodiversity has necessitated the formulation of new strategies with which to address the problem. Biodiversity banking colloquially known as biobanking, is one such strategy. Biobanking is a system used to combat biodiversity loss which is caused by habitat degradation occasioned by drought, soil degradation, and corruption of the environment, amongst other things. The purpose of even engaging in biobanking is to address the threat of biodiversity loss… read more

Recycling’s Dark Side

Recycling’s Dark Side

Bangladesh houses one of the world’s largest ship dismantling yards. Located in Chittagong, this vast area along the coast holds enormous vessels no longer in service that are waiting to be taken apart and recycled. Some of the largest maritime vessels retire here, awaiting their exhaustive tear down and reprocessing phase. When seeing the sheer scale of some of these floating giants, it would be unimaginable if they were not reclaimed. The metal and every part possible from the ships are recycled and sold in markets and to companies. There are reportedly thousands of laborers that work at this particular shipyard which… read more

Cottage Food Industry

Home Baked Is Best

On January 1st, 2013, California enacted its Homemade Food Act which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2012. The act makes California the largest state with a cottage food law covering anything produced by the state’s more than 11.5 million home kitchens and marks a high point for a movement that got seriously underway with the recession four years ago. We’re talking homemade cookies and brownies, jams, jellies, fruit pies, mixed nuts, flavored vinegars, dried teas, roasted coffee, and other yummy stuff that’s already legal in more than 30 other states including Oregon, Washington, Texas, and… read more

Slow Food Movement

Farming local produce

By the second half of the 20th century the world was already moving at a fast pace, with a majority of people living fast, driving fast, and eating fast. Then, as now, you couldn’t turn onto any major highway without a billboard, sign or restaurant promising cheap, fast food uprooted alongside every exit. But these fast-food chains did more than frequent busy stretches of traffic, as soon they were beginning to invade sacred sections of the built-environment. During the 1980s in Italy, the fast food industry went so far as to propose the construction of a new McDonald’s next to… read more

Wind Tax Credit Extended

Wind tax credits extended

As part of the midnight deal resolving some of the tax issues dubbed the “fiscal cliff,” Congress extended the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) for one year. More importantly, the bill’s tax extenders package granted the $0.022 per kilowatt-hour tax credit to the electricity wind projects generate over the first ten years of their production service to wind farms which are “under construction” by the end of 2013. The same debate will have to happen in a year, but the wind industry could definitely utilize the extra time. This is a critical change from the previous language in the PTC… read more