I just caught a post on the AIDG blog (from yesterday) re: Google.org’s recently released philanthropic plans for the next 5-10 years. People love to slam Google more and more as they (big “G”) continue to spread their influence FAR beyond the cool search engine that started it all. In a sense I can understand people being wary (what is that saying about “absolute power?”).
Nevertheless, I’ve been pretty impressed with their apparent desire to make the world a better place (as they rapidly take it over – haha!). This new plan is certainly no exception.
Here is the first chunk of the press release on the Google.org site:
In its continuing effort to use the power of information and technology to help people better their lives, Google.org today rolled out five core initiatives that will be the focus of its philanthropic efforts over the next five to ten years. Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), will collaborate with experienced partners working in each of these fields, investing its resources and tapping the strengths of Google’s employees and global operations to advance its core initiatives.
Today’s announcement includes more than $25 million in new grants and investments to initial partners. The resources come from a commitment by Google’s founders to devote approximately 1 percent of the company’s equity plus 1 percent of annual profits to philanthropy, as well as employee time.
“In their first Letter from the Founders (2004), Larry Page and Sergey Brin said that we wanted to ‘make Google an institution that makes the world a better place.’ The work of Google.org will help us do that by applying Google’s strengths in organizing information and scaling technology to these complex issues,” said Sheryl Sandberg, VP Global Online Sales & Operations, and Google.org Board member.
Added Dr. Larry Brilliant, executive director of Google.org, “These five initiatives are our attempt to address some of the hard problems we as a world need to face in the coming decade. We have chosen them both because we think solving them will make a better, fairer, safer world for our children and grandchildren – and the children and grandchildren of people all over the world – but also because we feel that these core initiatives fit well with Google’s core strengths, especially its innovative technologies and its talented engineers and other Googlers, who are really our most valuable assets.”
Danielle from Terracycle just popped by the blog to let me know that there was some BBC news coverage of the lawsuit. I have added the video above and highly recommend watching it.
It seems that Terracycle isn’t going to take this lying down – they’ve decided to launch a media campaign to help drum up support for their cause.
As I mentioned in my other post, they’ve already set up a website, ‘Sued By Scotts‘, which gives a run-down of the suit and offers a funny comparison of the two companies. They also clearly demonstrate that their packaging is very similar to numerous other products on the market (more than 100), not just that of Miracle Grow.
I think this is a ridiculous suit personally. I’m convinced that Scotts is simply using its power to try and oust an up and coming competitor!
Let’s hope that Terracyle will be able to weather the storm!
Just caught this interesting press release from Newswire:
The City of Toronto and Green Roofs for Healthy Cities successfully bid for the 2009 World Green Roof Congress
TORONTO, May 31 /CNW/ – “Green Roofs for Healthy Cities,” the North American green roof industry association and the City of Toronto are pleased to announce that they will be hosting the 2009 World Green Roof Congress.
The Congress will bring more than 1,000 delegates to Toronto from around the world to discuss the latest research, policy and technical advances in the rapidly growing green roof industry. The World Green Roof Congress is organized through the World Green Roof Infrastructure Network, an international organization made up of the leaders of national green roof
industry associations from around the world.
“I’m extremely happy the Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has chosen Toronto for its 2009 Congress,” said Toronto Mayor David Miller. “This is a heartening endorsement of our policies and practices, and an acknowledgment that Toronto truly is a global leader in the fight against climate change.”
“This is a tremendous opportunity for Toronto to showcase its progress on sustainable communities and demonstrate significant progress in developing the green roof industry in North America,” said Steven Peck, President of Green Roofs for Healthy Cities and co-host of the event. “Green roofs have really captured people’s attention as a beautiful way to help fight climate change and save money. Green roofs deliver more public and private benefits than any other green building technology.”
In 2006, The City of Toronto passed “Making Green Roofs Happen,” a comprehensive report on policies and programs that will advance the use of green roof technology among City buildings and in the private sector.
Green roof infrastructure involves the use of technologies that incorporate drainage/filtering systems, quality waterproofing,
root-repellancy, engineered growing media and plants. The benefits of green (vegetative) roofs include a reduction in storm water run-off, better heat and sound insulation, energy savings, improved air quality and reduction in the urban heat island. Other benefits include increased park space, improved aesthetics, community gardening and habitat restoration.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years Toronto has won more than 50 awards for quality and innovation in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.
Heard a brief blurb on tv tonight about ‘Awnuld’ meeting up with Dalton McGuinty yesterday in Toronto. Of course it was one of the incredibly annoying “tune in for ALL the details at 11″ teasers! Uggghh!
I decided to take matters into my own hands and do a little online research! Luckily I didn’t need to search for very long – I found two interesting articles on the CBC website.
As I learned, Schwarzenegger is in Canada for a three-day visit, with stops in Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver.
While he is technically here to promote California tourism, it sounds like he has been very eager to chat about environmental matters as well – namely climate change. Apparently he’s becoming a pretty serious ambassador for the cause.
I have to say that I’m honestly VERY impressed with his increased awareness and focus on green issues these days. There’s always been something kinda endearing about his over-the-top confidence in himself and his accomplishments – so now that he’s setting his sights on ‘being the best’ in the climate change world too, I will certainly cheer him on!
Reading some of his quotes, I found myself laughing out loud. After years and years of hilarious impressions and comedy skits, you just can’t HELP but hear an exaggerated version of his voice whenever you read his words! (well ok, maybe it’s just me)
During his speech, Schwarzenegger issued a warning to automakers spreading “doom and gloom” messages over California’s tail-pipe emissions standards, citing a billboard in Michigan that read, “Arnold to Michigan: ‘Drop dead.’ ”
“What I am really saying to them is, ‘Arnold to Michigan: Get off your butts,’ “ Schwarzenegger said to the Ontario audience, whose province’s auto sector has been the No. 1 auto producer in North America for three years running.
Here are a couple other interesting blurbs from the articles:
Earlier Wednesday, Schwarzenegger and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty signed an agreement that includes low-carbon fuel standards for vehicles.
The deal requires cars in Ontario to have 10 per cent fewer emissions by 2020, equivalent to a reduction of 700,000 cars, the province said.
Schwarzenegger said he was “very, very happy” to sign the deal, even though it stopped short of California’s tough new tail-pipe emission standards.
As part of his effort, he is signing agreements with all comers, including British Columbia, to trade carbon credits and share antipollution goals.
Canada is not following his lead on emission cuts but might be a market for California products such as the Tesla electric sports car, a fast, zero-emission, $92,000 US roadster.
The governor himself has one on order. It will be the 18th vehicle in his personal fleet, a greener muscle car for a greener muscle man.
*Disclaimer – This image is not the dog we rescued!
I just came back from lunch with my staff (beautiful day to have lunch on the patio) and we noticed a dog (a terrier) in the back of a station wagon. The weather in Waterloo is about 27 degrees Celsius (80.6 Fahrenheit) and sunny. Inside an actual car it can reach well above 40 degrees (104 Fahrenheit). Hot weather equals no pets in the car (unattended).
As we walked by the parked car the terrier jumped up and was panting like he had just finished a marathon. He was clearly in distress and was trying to find any sort of shade or shelter from the sun. I felt horrible as I watched this dog melting in the heat of the afternoon sun. Mike and I looked at the dog and instantly put a plan into action. We thought about breaking the window but feared legal ramifications, so instead we headed to the police station (less than a 100 metres from our office and less than 300 metres from the parked car). As we approached the station, a police officer was heading out on patrol and we stopped him to explain the situation. He assured us that we would go over to the car and wait for the people to return.
Mike and I followed him to the car and chatted with him further. He explained that the dog is warm but fine. He said that the dog would be okay and that he would wait for a few minutes. We decided to head back to the office and felt confident that he would take care of the situation. Before we entered our office building we turned back to find the police officer gone and the car with the dog still there. “Are you kidding me?!” I can’t believe that the officer just left the dog there. At this point we were extremely frustrated and decided to call our local humane society (what we should have done in the first place). Within five minutes the humane society arrived and agreed with our opinion that the dog was in distress and needed to be removed from the vehicle.
The Waterloo Public Library is located directly across the street from the parking lot and we had a hunch that the person who owned the car was visiting the library. Our hunch was right, the person was inside the library. We had the librarian make an announcement regarding the license plate and sure enough the owner appeared. 40 minutes later, the dog was rescued! I wish that we could have freed the dog sooner! According to the humane society officer, the car was reading 40 degrees Cecilius and it only takes 15 minutes under those conditions for brain damage to occur. Once the owner appeared, he became rude and belligerent to the enforcement officer. I wish that he had the authority to remove the dog permanently. Some people should not have pets!
BOTTOM LINE: Please Do Not Leave Your Pets in the Car!
If you see a distressed animal, make the call. You can call the operator to get the number of the humane society or even the police (although if in waterloo I would call humane society first, they took our call more serious than the police did). I encourage you to actively help rescue distressed animals. An animal locked in the car has has no choice in the situation and is forced to swelter in the heat!
I am happy that our efforts saved the dog from any further suffering.
Sorry to vent EcoSherpa readers, I needed a way to release some frustration and spread the word about the dangers of leaving animals in parked cars.
I just wanted to share a truly awesome eco-news outlet with our readers, particularly those living in Canada.
I signed up to receive emails from them quite some time ago, and their weekly synopsis of important enviro news has inspired posts here on the blog on more than a few occasions.
It finally dawned on me today as I glanced through this week’s headlines that it is definitely a resource I should be sharing (plus I owe them a BIG shout-out by this point).
The Ontario government has approved a plan to build a huge solar farm near Sarnia, according to an article on CBC.ca. The 40 megawatt installation is expected to be online by 2010.
Thanks to the provincial “Standard Offer Program” the government now pays 42 cents/kwh for approved solar energy projects, thus making this a sound business venture for the company in charge of the installation (Optisolar).
Here is a blurb:
The project would be the largest in North America using photovoltaic solar cells, which collect energy from the sun’s rays and convert it into electricity.
It’s also larger than any other existing solar-cell plant in the world, although a number of projects underway would surpass or equal its size. Construction of a 40-megawatt project in Germany is already underway, and last fall, the Australian government announced funding for a proposed 154-megawatt solar power plant to be built in Victoria state and expected to be fully operational by 2013.
Power plants using solar energy and operated in the Mojave Desert generate more than 300 megawatts of power, but those plants are powered through solar thermal energy, a different form of power generation that collects the sun’s rays and uses them to heat a liquid that then acts to produce electricity.
The Sarnia solar farm was one of 14 new alternative energy initiatives announced by the government to add more than 107 megawatts of power to the grid. Two new water-power projects with Ontario First Nations were also announced.
This past Saturday, after snagging our new rain barrels, Steve and I decided to head to Home Depot.
I’m definitely glad we went – aside from getting some needed items, it was also really interesting to see some of the green changes under way at HD.
You may recall my first post about Home Depot’s ‘Eco Options’. Again, this is a magazine that informs customers about the various eco-products available in the store, as well as offering quite a lot of interesting green living info in general.
When I first heard about it (last December) and had a look at the HomeDepot.ca site, I was pretty impressed with the online version of the “Fall” edition but still wondered how much of an effort they were making.
I had not seen any of the magazines in the store before, and was a little disappointed that the Eco Options section of the website was completely buried with no mention on the home page.
Well things have certainly changed. Not only are the magazines readily visible (and available) in multiple locations within the store, but Eco Options information is now also prominently displayed on the main Home Depot homepage. Add to this the fact they really seem to have expanded their selection of eco-friendly products and I have to admit I’m pretty impressed!
Speaking of cool eco products – I was blown away by the fact that they now offer multiple rechargeable lawn mowers along with a variety of quality push mowers! I can remember being frustrated two years ago (when I bought my current pollution machine from them) with their very limited selection of green mowers (they had some plug-in mowers and some sad push mowers).
This week (until April 29) they are actually offering anyone who brings in an old gas mower up to $100 credit towards the purchase of one of the new eco-friendly models. I’m thinking very seriously about taking advantage of this offer. From what I understand, gas mowers are unblievable bad when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions. Although only 2 years old, I would love to get rid of mine!
Eco Options has also launched in the US, according to a story in GreenBiz News (link to follow). When I wrote my post in December I couldn’t even find mention of the program anywhere on the U.S site!
According to the article, Eco Options has been in Canada since 2004!! That’s a pretty major indication of the level of effort they put into the program prior to this past fall (I had no clue it even existed).
Here is an interesting blurb:
Home Depot has labeled more than 2,500 Eco Options products already, including all-natural insect repellents, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, cellulose insulation, front-load washing machines, and certified sustainable forestry products. By 2009, Home Depot expects the Eco Options label to grow to 6,000 products.
Interesting news on CBC.ca last week (just came across it today).
Apparently Ontario will be completely phasing out the sale of inefficient incandescent bulbs by 2012. I’m definitely very pleased to hear this. Of course it would have been great if it could have been sooner (Australia has us beat with their 2010 ban), but I’m certainly not complaining.
Here is a blurb:
Ontario will ban the sale of inefficient incandescent light bulbs by 2012, a move that follows in the footsteps of Australia, the province said Wednesday.
The government estimates that replacing the 87 million incandescent bulbs in use across Ontario with more efficient bulbs would save six million megawatt hours every year — enough to power 600,000 homes.
Changing to more efficient bulbs is also the equivalent — in terms of greenhouse-gas emissions — of taking 250,000 cars off the road, said Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten, who announced the move along with Energy Minister Dwight Duncan on Wednesday morning.