Earth Day Message: Businesses Need to do More

April 22, 2009

earth-transparent1April 22, 2009 is Earth Day. This is a day when we all should remind ourselves that innovation is not only about making more money and helping more people, but truly about thinking outside the box and creating newer, forward moving strategies.  Going green and helping the environment in business is a great way to kick off your innovation discussions this year.

To help get you started, here are a few blogs that focus on Green Business practices that should inspire you to change the way you think about the environment.  This will show you that there are a lot of businesses out there that are starting to do the right thing, but so many more have to join them in order to make a difference.

http://www.greenbiz.com/
GreenBiz is a great resource.  Reading this blog on a daily basis will show you what companies, large and small, are changing to put themselves in a better position to help the environment.  Included are stories on innovative new business practices, “green” jobs, and energy and climate data.

http://www.futureofbusiness.info/
Future of Business is a blog which features some fantastic videos and interviews with professionals in the green business landscape.  It is a great place to find out what we can look forward to in the area of environmental innovation, and what companies are planning on doing to go green in their business ventures.

http://www.cleantechblog.com/
The Clean Tech Blog is a good source of information related more specifically to alternative energy and clean technology innovation.  With posts ranging from Government policies to international updates, this blog gives you a good mix of important information when thinking green.

http://got2begreen.com/Got 2 Be Green is a very interesting green blog that I was referred to by a friend.  I have been an avid reader for quite some time.  They offer everything from lifestyle advice to charity features to green events that are coming up all around the world.  I recommend that anyone interested in the spread of the environmentally friendly lifestyle check out this site.

And finally, a little self promotion.  I am the main contributor to a legal blog called The Legal Beat over at http://www.lawline.com/blog.  We have put together a series on Going Green for Lawyers, with a focus on a more environmentally friendly legal community.  We offer various tips for lawyers and law firms to implement in their day to day practice of law.

The world is changing, and that means you have to change with it.  Businesses have a moral responsibility to help move us forward as a people.  You can start by helping the environment one day at a time.

Happy Earth Day!

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Code Green

September 15, 2008

This is an unplanned post that has suddenly become important to me.  I received the new book I ordered from Amazon earlier this afternoon by Thomas Friedman.  The book is called “Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution and How it Can Renew America”.  This best seller has been generating some buzz among its readers as the popular New York Times columnist releases his follow up to his best selling book, The World is Flat.

I ordered it after a recommendation on Seth Godin’s blog and I am happy I did.  Since opening the cover I have not been able to put it down.  Though I am only three chapters in, I can see why this book is getting so much attention.  Friedman’s raw presentation of the facts mixed with expert opinions and cutting edge thinking builds with every page.  This book has the potential to be a defining book of the times, as the thoughts and ideas presented challenge the very way we live.

Yesterday I wrote about America’s potential place in the global economy, and really the mindset that we have to take on to rebuild our country and thrive again.  This book hits on those points hard, with one of the main messages coming across as part warning, part challenge, and part hope.  Friedman paints us as a society whose lifestyle and policies have done all but ignore and deny the biggest problem facing our planet, but as a society with the ability within to lead the way back.

His brilliant commentary on historical events and turning points that have led up to today only fuels the hopeful empowerment that he delivers page after page.  As Americans, what we need to do is admit that we have all been part of the problem, then work to solve it.  Don’t be so cocky as to ignore the issues, but be cocky enough to believe we can fix them.  Because in the past, any time we united for a common cause, we came out on top.

This book is the most recent addition to my recommended reading page.  It calls on innovation from every perspective, and a must read for anyone wishing to move this country forward.


The Return of the Electric Car?

July 10, 2008

The electric car was an incredible innovation…15 years ago! The fact that we don’t have cheap, dependable electric cars on the market today is not because the technology is not available. It is a variety of reasons stemming from consumer demands, government protectionism, and corporate trickery. It is well documented that the technology was there in the 90’s, and the cars were built, and then scrapped. Check out the movie that explains it all.

So why now, in 2008, when Nissan announces that they are working on an electric car for 2011, is it news? Maybe it’s because they are behind the times and they realize that in order to compete they need to make news. Maybe it’s because the media is fickle enough to buy into anything that sounds fancy. Maybe consumers are not smart enough to realize that this could just be a promotional stunt used to get people excited about Nissan.

Whatever it is, it’s not very innovative. Sure, it’s a step in the right direction for a company that has not been at the forefront of the energy talks. But the fact that they announce it as if we should be impressed by their forward thinking offends me. I think electric vehicles are a real solution, but I also think they always have been. Why is it taking so long?

GM built a line of electric cars in the 90’s. Why will it take Nissan three years from now? Battery power is there. Designs are there. Consumers are there. What is everyone in the car industry waiting for?


Hydrogen

June 23, 2008

At the Los Angeles car show last week, many car companies were showing concept cars that promised cleaner energy.  There were numerous hybrids, electrics, and fuel cell cars on display.  Many of them were only concepts with no real plan for mass production.  And most of the car companies discussed technologies that seemed too behind the times, or too unrealistic to make it to market.

Honda was the one company that stood out from an innovation perspective.  They introduced their hydrogen fuel cell prototype.  The car, which was said to be released to a select few people in 2009 for testing, was the ultimate “clean” automobile.  It was sold with an at home hydrogen fueling station that really stood out to me.

The fueling station was a simple unit, small enough that one person could carry it themselves.  All you need to do is fill it with water and fill your car before you drive.  In addition, the extra energy created could be used to power a part of your house.  In total, Honda claimed that this would cut down your entire energy costs by about 50%.  Genius!

While all the politicians and other car companies dispute the reality of hydrogen on the basis of the lack of a large infrastructure, Honda creates the infrastructure along with the car.  They predict that if everything goes well, the cars will be mass produced by 2011.  And the only thing they give off is water vapor, now that’s innovation we can all get excited about.

Now its up to you, the consumers, to change the way you think about cars.  Things will only get better when we reward the companies that create change.  Honda is creating change right before our very eyes.  Let’s create a market for them.