Apple Rated Poorly For Its Massive Energy Use

Large corporations often own many factories and warehouses from which their products are produced. This means consumption of energy, and lots of it. Greenpeace has been keeping tabs on mega corporations and grading them based on the amount of energy their factories consume.

Among these corporations include Apple. While this tech company may be the leading brand in mobile devices, it does not fare so well when graded according to the energy it uses to fuel its production line. While Apple’s score did improve in recent months, it is still not receiving a passing grade. When it came to infrastructure siting, Apple was given a “D,” an improvement from the “F” that it received a few months prior. It also improved from a “D” to a “C” when it came to greenhouse gas mitigation, energy efficiency and renewable energy investment.

To give the company a little credit, it is showing efforts that it is dedicated to making its facilities more eco-friendly. It just recently announced that it has plans to make one of its data centers run entirely off of renewable energy by year’s end. This includes the addition of bio gas fuel cell and solar array installation. A spokesperson for the company announced that its two main data centers in California and North Carolina are expected to be completely independent of coal by February of 2013.

Greenpeace has praised Apple for its commitment of making its facilities run off of renewable energy sources but continues to chide the corporation for its overall dismal record. It also blasted Apple for its apparent lack of transparency, as the company has consistently been beating around the bush when it came to releasing energy consumption records of its facilities.

In terms of grading, Apple falls against other mega giants. Corporations like Yahoo, Amazon and Google all received better grades from Greenpeace.

Mattel’s Eco-Friendly Barbie House

This just in, Barbie is getting an eco-friendly dream house, after Mattel and the American Institute of Architects (AIA) unveiled the number one entry of the AIA Architect Barbie® Dream House™ Design Competition.

Pimped out with solar panels, operable bamboo flooring and shading, the dream house has a low-flow toilet and sink fixtures, all of which are built from locally sourced materials.

The new Barbie house will also get a 1,500-square-foot entertaining space and open kitchen, client-meeting space and even, this is my favorite, a separate library, a full-floor “inspiration room,” greenhouse on the roof, and a landscaped garden for all of Barbie’s pets.
Ting Li and Maja Paklar designed the house. They are both recent Harvard graduates.

Mattel does not have any plans to turn the blueprint into either a real mansion or a dollhouse, the experts however say that the house would sell for around $3.5 million if a life-sized version were built. Instead, Mattel will build a $1,000 donation in their names to the

Charter High School for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia.

The Barbie House competition comes only one month after Barbie got dumped by Ken in a Greenpeace International campaign for raising awareness of Mattel’s packaging, supplied in part by Asia Pulp Paper; that reportedly sources materials from Indonesia’s depleting rainforest.

Ever since then, reported the Los Angeles Times, Mattel has finally agreed to halt work with its sub-supplier APP until once they have done more investigation.

Sup? Suberra, That’s Sup!

Suberra CorkAfter cork bark, the wood used to make wine bottle corks, is plugged, it may be fashioned into a durable, high-density slab called Suberra by the Eco Supply Center in Richmond, Virginia. This company has compress post-industrial recycled cork grain with a polyurethane binder to create 1-1/4 inch composite slabs, 25-1/2 inches wide by 36-1/2 inches long.

Cork is made from Cork Oak bark which regenerates hastily. It is composed of suberin, a water-repelling and waxy substance. Suberra gets its name from this substance.

The material may be installed using woodworking tools and standard adhesives, according to the Eco Supply Center. Suberra may also contribute to LEED in the renewable, recycled content and no-added urea formaldehyde provisions.

According to lab tests, Suberra has a fire rating of Class B and a good resistance to stain and abrasion (except for mustard, ammonia and black shoe polish in raw, unfinished samples). Each slab weighs about 31 pounds and may be used to make vanities, tables, desks, kitchen islands, countertops, and other surfaces.

Suberra usually goes for about $250-$300 per slab.

Michelle Obama on Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the eco-friendly choice because formula takes energy to transport, produce, and plus it wastes space in landfills. Recently, Michelle Obama promoted breastfeeding as a means against down-the-line childhood obesity.

Michelle ObamaPlus, recently, the IRS announced tax breaks for breastfeeding moms. A Forbes article reported that the American Academy of Pediatrics advocated for the change in a letter to IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman. They announced “that expenses paid for breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are deductible medical expenses.

According to the New York Times and Civil Eats, this is exactly what Michelle Obama had in mind with her recent plugging of breastfeeding as a part of her Let’s Move Campaign.

Mrs. Obama said she would be thrilled to promote breast-feeding, especially among black women, as part of her campaign to prevent childhood obesity. The Internal Revenue Service then announced breast pumps – which can cost several hundred dollars – will be eligible for tax breaks.

Breastfeeding is also good for the baby. You see, breastfed babies are less likely to be plagued with gas, ear infections, constipation, asthma, allergies, obesity, and high blood pressure later in life; and for some, this is simply not an option, though, for those that can, breast is best for a reason.

Eco Contraceptives

There are a plethora of environmental concerns pertaining to a number of contraceptives, especially ones containing hormones. For instance, with sex hormones being detected in the drinking water of nearly 41 million Americans, prescription drug pollution is becoming a pressing problem. Synthetic estrogens in wastewater even feminize male fish; our own hormonal systems might also be vulnerable.

And then, for non-hormonal contraceptive methods, there is the issue of waste. Even condoms may become a problem considering that 437 million of them are sold in the US every year. While latex is a natural material, the additives in most condoms compromise biodegradability. On top of this, the non-recyclable wrappers create their own mountain of waste.

Here are some good things to know:

  • Fair-trade condoms are made of 100 percent natural latex from sustainably managed rubber plantations, fair-trade condoms such as French Letter are also vegan, since they do not contain the dairy product.
  • Lambskin condoms are made from natural lambskin which is biodegradable.
  • Both diaphragms and cervical caps are reusable, which makes them a smart contraceptive candidate where waste is a concern.
  • Copper IUD remains the gold standard for eco-friendly contraception. They are almost 100% effective, hormone-free, and last up to 10 years.
  • Cowabunga: Is Pasturing Cattle Eco-Friendly as well as Cattle-Friendly

    Some people, despite being meat eaters, insist that the animals, before slaughter, were treated humanely. My mother, who will eat a juicy hamburger, yet not veal, is one of these people.

    In harmony with an age of relative environmental concern grass-fed beef is somewhat in vogue these days. The consensus is that it is more humane for the cattle and ultimately more yummy. But the main question is, is pasturing eco-friendly as well as cow-friendly?

    Scientists at the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science of Japan estimate that producing one kilogram of beef releases more greenhouse gas than driving 155 miles. In Slate Magazine, Brian Palmer wrote:

    “Since the average American covers 32 miles to and from work, your 8-ounce steak dinner might contribute to global warming as much as your daily commute.”

    The various alternatives to consuming beef, be they grass-fed or corn-fed, are bad for the earth.

    Under USDA regulations, cattle bearing the “grass-fed” label only are permitted to eat foods known as “forage” once they’ve been weaned. Forage comprises hay, grass, brassicas (a group of plants including turnips, kale, and cabbage) and the stems and leaves of young shrubs and trees. The cattle must have pasture access. Unless the beef bears an organic label, they might receive hormones and antibiotics, although most producers trying to capture the high-end market avoid such drugs.

    When standard cows are ready for fattening, they usually move into a pen with 10 to 14 other animals. Every cow, measuring around five feet long and two feet wide, gets a 16-by-16-foot space.

    The objective of adding 1,000 pounds of weight on an animal in a few months takes a formidable amount of grain. During its finishing period, the average beef cow eats 2,800 pounds of corn.

    Be that as it may, many researchers claim that cattle fattened at a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) are better for the environment than free-range cattle. Grass-finished cattle, according to recent research, require about two-and-a-half times as much energy to produce as grass-fed ones.

    Cows that live in quarters, shoulder-to-shoulder are the same as humans crammed into small urban spaces: Transporting food to the animals, and then the animals to the slaughterhouse, takes less energy for CAFO-raised cattle.

    Add to this, cows hopped up on hormones and eating calorie-dense grain grow two to three times as fast, thereby making it easy for ranchers to crank out more beef with fewer resources. And while finishing a 1,200-pound corn-fed cow requires three acres of land, finishing a grass-fed cow, however, requires nine acres.

    STING: City Farmer Movie Maker

    Sting is famous for his involvement with the Rainforest Foundation, which he co-founded in 1989 with his wife Trudie Styler. The foundation seeks to protect the Amazon rainforest from deforestation. Well, last month the music legend played a benefit concert for the organization.

    But Sting’s eco-friendly activism does not stop there. He is also involved in other environmental causes such as supporting sustainable food – which is the inspiration for the artist’s next production: Sting is producing a film about Vertical Farming.

    Sting and manager Kathryn Shenker, the project’s partner, purchased the film rights to:
    The Vertical Farm: Feeding Ourselves and the World in the 21st Century. The book written by the concept’s proponent Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor at Manhattan’s Columbia University, is set to be released in October by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press.

    Vertical farming is a system of farming in which food is grown within tall city buildings as quite an effectual means of using land and a way to get fresh food to the local residents.

    The book describes the system as such:

    “Imagine a world where every town has its own local food source, grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of water or particle of light is wasted, and where a simple elevator ride can transport you to nature’s grocery store—imagine the world of the vertical farm.”

    Sting says that the film will document the first vertical farm to be constructed in a major U.S. city. The movie will be shot in Newark, New Jersey.

    Last week, Mayor Richard M. Daley of Chicago made the announcement that he is also supporting plans to establish a vertical farm in Chicago. In a building near Milwaukee’s former historic stockyards, at a conference last week, Daley spoke of his vision of organic foods grown the year-round.

    Actually, the Chicago Sustainable Manufacturing Center is working with the Illinois Institute of Technology on a vertical farm called The Plant. The plan, located in an old meatpacking plant, will develop a vertical farm including farming Tilapia and then recycling the wastewater from the fish tanks for the plants in the building.

    Vertical farming proposals have actually been much talked about throughout the last decade, as an agricultural solution for world hunger in the 21st century created in high-rises as a sustainable form of urban agriculture.

    Green and White: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Winter Sports

    Skiing and snowboarding are fun, beautiful, healthy, exciting and sexy – really all that and a bag of chips. However it is obvious that these hipster pastimes, cause somewhat of an environmental threat – though fret not extreme sports folk, there is a way to be environmentally safe when you hit the slopes this winter.

    pamporovo skiingWhere there’s a will, there’s a way. Thanks to creators of ski and snowboard gear and resort owners, there are multitudinous ways to make your carbon footprint, look more like a barely discernible snowshoe imprint.

    Because of artificial snow, ski resorts become big time emission generators – with all of the climate changes, what with global warming and all, it is a big Catch 22. So it seems obvious that resorts are interested in going green. And skiers and snowboarders should be on board as well. Here are a few tips:

    Find Sustainable Skis and Snowboards – for instance, skis made from Paulownia and snowboards made out of bamboo.

    Car Pool or Find inner-city shuttles to ski resorts
    Go Cross Country – it’s the greenest way to ski
    Only pay at Green resorts – Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts has installed a brand new wind turbine which generates just a third of its electricity demands.
    Join the Ski Area Citizen’s Coalition
    Recycle/Donate Used Equipment
    Buy SkiGreen Tags
    Do Not Ski in Dubai – famous for their environmentally offensive resorts.