Dark Knight Rises Hits Home on Energy Issues

July 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

ATTENTION: MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT!!!

For those of you who made it past that warning, I’m safely assuming that you’ve either seen The Dark Knight Rises or just don’t care (and should reconsider your priorities) because this movie, as you likely know, was EPIC. While I could ramble on for hours about the merits of the movie, there is, as always, that specific aspect of the movie I want to discuss: One of the major plot points of the movie centered around clean, sustainable energy.

Christopher Nolan‘s Gotham is designed to be a mirror of real life. Over the three movie arc, the city has been plagued by issues with clean water, terrorism, an income gap, organized crime, corruption, and everything in between. For the third and final movie of the trilogy, however, Nolan decided to tackle perhaps the biggest real-world issue he has to date: the environment. Right from the start, Bruce Wayne and Miranda Tate are involved in a discussion about a sustainable energy project that they had invested in. As it turns out, the project, which was incredibly expensive, did in fact successfully create a nuclear fusion-powered device –  something in our world that we are years away from.

The problem with the nuclear fusion device parallels the issues faced throughout history with nuclear power: There is incredible danger involved, in contrast with the incredibly high levels of efficiency. If everything goes right, nuclear power is the perfect solution. If not, however, the damage would be catastrophic – in the case of Bruce Wayne’s device, being able to be turned into an immensely powerful nuclear bomb.

My point? As I always love to point out, sustainability and environmentalism is truly becoming mainstream – do I sense a Captain Planet movie in the making? (PLEASE CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, PLEASE!)

 

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Top 7 Inventions to watch for in 2012

June 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

A friend of mine just forwarded me this article. To no surprise, all seven of these inventions involved sustainability and the environment. Check it out!

Here it is: Top 7 Inventions to watch for in 2012 | MYOO.

New Social Network Brings Eco-Geeks Together

June 14, 2012 § 4 Comments

For those of you who follow me, or read this blog regularly, you know that I love to talk about what’s new and hot in the world of sustainability. This post is just a little bit different. I’m not writing today to tell you about some new solar-powered motorcycle (no, there isn’t one as far as I’m aware) but to talk about a brand-new social network that may be an incredible resource to bring together the environmentally-minded among us.

TipTap Logo

TipTap is a new social network founded by members of the collegiate community in Cambridge, MA, and uses psychologically-based quizzes to create a personality profile of each user, and then to provide potential matches – not like a dating site, but instead for stimulating conversation and interaction between similarly-minded people.

Why do I bring up TipTap here? Well, their newest quiz is all about how eco-friendly and sustainably-minded you are. Presenting you with questions about your preferences for organic foods, transportation, and more. What particularly enticed me about this quiz is that it also assess how you balance your finances with your environmental interest, something most of you probably know is one of my core values in regards to sustainability. You can read more about the quiz specifics here.

I see a lot of potential in this site. This quiz already is pretty impressive, and can provide a lot of insight into your own eco-beliefs, as well as connect you with like-minded others, and adding more quizzes along the same lines could do a lot for the environmentalist community. As it is right now though, even as a site that isn’t necessarily focused on the environment, it very well could revolutionize the way amateur  environmentalists connect. For that, I give the site a huge two-thumbs up.

Caught Green Handed: On Vacation

March 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Myrtle Beach!

Myrtle Beach!

After a week of midterms, two days of traveling, and a slightly skeevy Super 8, (which all hopefully explain and justify the lack of recent posts,) I’ve finally arrived in Myrtle Beach, SC, and man, it is NICE! As I sit and look out at the beautiful beach and ocean, it hit me. This is what I’m working to save. Everything I’m doing here, with this blog, and with my life, is so that the world can continue to enjoy places as naturally incredible as these.

Another thing hit me, a little later in the day. As I came back to take a shower, I stumbled upon something I had seen many times, and in various permutations.

Save Our Planet!

Reuse Towels, Don't Waste Water!

Think about the last time you went to a hotel – you definitely saw one of the little signs somewhere in your bathroom that reminded you to save water by reusing your towels. There’s even a universal code for how to tell the cleaning staff what you’re doing – dirty towels on the floor, ones you plan to reuse get hung up. But have you ever considered the logic behind all this? The history? The actual environmental impact? Well, I’ll answer the questions you’ve always had, and maybe even a few you never though of:

Let’s do a little Q &A:

Q: What environmental benefits do these policies have?

A: According to Practically Green, a hotel of 250 rooms operating at 80% capacity can expect to save 220,000 gallons of water each year (and $66,000!). Energy, too, is also saved, since most laundry is done in hot water, and therefore requires a lot of energy to heat it to the desired temperature, as well as to power the washing machines and dryers. Chemicals such as chlorine and bleach are often used as detergents, and a decrease in laundry-doing is equivalent to a decrease in the entrance of these chemicals into our environments. Also, many hotels donate a portion of saved funds to worthy environmental causes, which is just an added bonus.

Q: Why do guests follow these procedures?

A: It’s easy. Well, that’s part of it at least. But think about it – it’s the same as if you were at home, except instead of having to take your own towels out of the bathroom or make them neat, housekeeping will do it for you. But that doesn’t fully explain why people do it. One argument is they know that by saving water, the hotel saves money, and therefore charges them less, so by following the procedures, they’re saving themselves money. A Scientific American article points out an interesting observation to take into account. According to the article, people tend to reuse towels more if they think others are also doing the same. Oh, and let’s not forget pure, good-hearted interest in saving the environment as a reason to reuse hotel towels.

Q: Is it a law that there must be these signs in hotel rooms?

A: Nope. Though it might seem like it, since a vast majority of American hotels have the reusing polices and resulting signs, it is purely the hotel’s decision.

Q: If it’s not a law, why do hotels do it?

A: There’s a few reasons for that. First of all, there’s the obvious reason: to help the environment. Now, we all should hope that environmental sustainability is a core belief and goal of every person and organization in the world, but let’s not be too naive. So why do it? Well, there’s the idea of personal gain. The hotels that participate in these policies have something to gain from them. A hotel has plenty of space, but most of it is front of house, guest-accessible space, with little left for waste management – i.e. trash, recycling, and laundry. Therefore, to successfully manage waste, hotels need to actively and masterfully design their programs. So in terms of towels, if guests reuse even a fraction of the towels they use daily, that’s a whole bunch of towels that the hotel does not need to be washing, and therefore less space, time, personnel, and money they need to dedicate to laundry.Oh, and speaking of money, hotels pay utilities just like everyone else, so each towel they don’t wash saves them money on their water and energy bills, and therefore creates more profit for them. (Special thanks to Waste Management World for help with this one).

Hope you found this informative! Have questions you want answered? Let me know!

Caught Green Handed: Plainview to Get Electric Busses

March 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

I don’t know if I’ve ever been so proud to be from Plainview. My hometown, will be the first school district on Long Island to have electric busses. Check out what’s going on:

The Plainview-Old Bethpage School District’s transportation vendor, We Transport, recently introduced a new fully electric school bus at district headquarters as part of their ongoing initiative to reduce their carbon footprint. The bus is part of a new generation of zero-emission electric and hybrid-electric models that are slowly making their way into school districts across the country. Plainview will be the first school district on Long Island to begin the transition to fully electric school buses, incorporating several of these buses into their regular fleet beginning Fall 2012.

“This is a step forward. Getting to and from school is going to be healthier for the students, the drivers and the community” said Nadine Eiring, the district’s director of health, safety and transportation.

While electric vehicles such as these typically sell at over $30,000 more than their gas-powered counterparts, the district will not be bearing these costs. Plainview-Old Bethpage Central School District is currently in a five-year contract with We Transport-Towne Bus Corp., who plan on gradually adding the new buses to the District’s fleet over the next few years.

School buses make frequent stops, cover short distances, and spend most of the day off the road – making them perfect to be converted to electric. Although frequent stops are wasteful in a traditional gas-powered bus, electric models can actually use the energy created by applying brakes to recharge their batteries.  Each bus will take six to eight hours to recharge, with the ability to do so virtually anywhere.

These new commercial vehicles are all-electric and produce zero emissions, with operating costs that are significantly lower than comparable diesel vehicles. The average school bus uses more than 1,700 gallons of fuel per year, according to Illinois-based IC Bus, one of the country’s largest school bus manufacturers. The electric buses will carry up to 42 students at a time next school year.
Go Plainview!! If you want, check out the full article here.

Caught Green Handed: Smoothie Cup “Freshens” the Environment

January 31, 2012 § Leave a comment

As any SU student will testify, smoothies are a campus favorite, available from various cafes and snack bars at almost any time of day. But check out the container – not only are it’s contents good for you and your health, but the cup is environmentally friendly too!
20120131-162927.jpg « Read the rest of this entry »

January 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

This is exactly what I’m talking about – easy-to-do sustainability with big-time pay off!

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