Posts Tagged ‘environment’

carmel fire

December 12, 2010

a lot can be said about the terrible fire last week

but pictures are louder than words

so, here is an interesting photobook done by

which is an interesting site on its own


April 21, 2010

always wanted to visit IceLand (Island in some languages)

always seemed a pristine place. hard working people, basic values: simple.

simple. simple!

unlike Israel, where things are complex.

today Danny sent me this quote:

“First Iceland burnt our money, now they are sending us the ashes”.

not so simple any more

green hotels

November 16, 2009

Ever got one of those ‘consider the environment’ cards while staying at an hotel? usually it is on your hotel bed or next to the sink in the hotel bath room asking you to consider mother earth?
And unless you throw the towels in the toilet or write a note on the linen they will not be changed?

Ever saw a hotel:

  • Offer you a $1per day discount for accepting a different standard than contracted, reducing their costs, or making earth a better place?
  • Offer you to watch a free movie (minimal variable costs) instead?
  • Offer to make a  donation to a green charity for the costs saved?

TED synapse

July 23, 2009

after a few days at TED, here are my key takeaways:

  • the power of music. No matter how much you love music, i still think it is an under-rated power. a creative medium, that bri ngs people together and is a great channel of communication with young people across cultures. if i hate them so much, how come i do not hate their music?
  • deterioriation of the environment. we are consuming more than we are providing. even if you are not a believer in climate change, you can still reduce your ‘carbon footprint’ and help reach balance in more ways than one
  • education is the solution. if there is one place to invest to improve the world, it is in education. especially for women in the developing nations. these women will help their kids get education as well. most problems, when reduced and distilled, come down to education.

more later

capitalism at bay

October 20, 2008

discussion on environment. capitalism, regulation and policy.

no one simple solution, but a portfolio

where does the money come from

key takeaways:

  • land re-use matter
  • price subsidies deters water utility proliferation
  • markets for water are rare. compare to petroleum
  • access to clean water is the largest roi of all initiatives on climate change
  • how does change occur? think smoking in US in 80s. very fast. from top.

key issues, terms

density – america – the Marlboro man.  UK garden

life strives in the messy areas between extremes. book, pulse, robert frenay

NSMD – non state, market driven initiatives. binding and costly through market.


  1. governments do not require adherence to the rules
  2. look like democracies. have rules about interactions
  3. add costs. different from other private initiatives. e.g. ISO
  4. third party compliance. outside auditor assess firms for compliance
  5. trapped in value chain that ultimately ends with consumer. e.g. ‘fair-trade coffee’

who pays for climate change reduction investments?

  • about 40% pay for themselves by imporvements
  • 85% is private. 13% by government incentives


  • pervasively under-priced. prices must go up
  • paradox: prices must go up and more households (mostly poor) must gain access
  • non connected houses are willing to pay a lot more than what currently connected houses pay

CDM clean development mechanism

a highly developed mechanism for carbon trading. developing countries only

about speakers

Benjamin W. Cashore
Professor, Environmental Policy & Governance & Political Science
Director, Program on Forest Policy & Governance
Lisa M. Curran
Professor of Tropical Resources
Director, Tropical Resources Institute
Bradford S. Gentry
Senior Lecturer, Sustainable Investments & Research Scholar
Co-Director, Center for Business & the Environment at Yale
Director, Research Program on Private Investment & the Environment
Sheila M.C. Olmstead
Associate Professor, Environmental Economics

the bridge at the edge fo the earth

October 15, 2008

discussion with author on his book, the bridge at the edge of the earth

can capitalism sustain the environment? can the environment sustain capitalism?

key takeaways:

  • why ‘green’s are not effective: change from within the system will not work. must change the system.
  • we live in corpo-tacracy – corporates rule.
  • GDP as a poor measure of progress: growth in money supply can be reflective of a loss of well-being: that lacks of essential natural and social services were being paid for in cash and that this was expanding the economy but degrading life
  • the ability of nature to provide services
  • US would be much more secure if it had half the power.
  • over-silo specialization creates ineffectiveness and experts with no common space. this can have a spillover effect to private-public sphere. fudraising could be a reason for a multitude of 1-casue organizations. this survival by fragmentation, differentiation and niche development causes inefficiency and inter-broker co-ordination problems resulting in incoherency.


must see movie documentary. ‘the corporate’. corporates are sociopaths. book by UBC professor bakan. read review. if corporate was a person it would be:

    • Irresponsible – it puts others at risk in pursuit of its own goals.
    • Manipulative – it manipulates people an opinion in pursuit of its goals
    • Grandiose – it always insisting that it is the best
    • Reckless – it refuses to accept responsibility for its actions
    • Remorseless – it cannot feel remorse
    • Superficial – it relates to others always in a way that does not reflect their true selves
    • Put this all together, and you have a psychopath.


only major success to today is CFC

ozone was depleted greatly before that effect was discovered, and it was discovered by accident.

Key terms and ideas:

Leiserowitz, values attitude and behavior discuss five value required for sustainability and has some good graphs and notions

the genuine progress indicator (GPI). modify gdp according to welfare.

  • The GDP vs the GPI is analogous to the difference between the Gross Profit of a company and the Net Profit; the Net Profit is the Gross Profit minus the costs incurred. Accordingly, the GPI will be zero if the financial costs of crime and pollution equal the financial gains in production of goods and services, all other factors being constant.
  • if policymakers measure what really matters to people—health care, safety, a clean environment, and other indicators of well-being—economic policy would naturally shift towards sustainability.

According to Lawn’s model (no wiki, University of Southern Australia), the “costs” of economic activity include the following potential harmful effects:

  • Cost of resource depletion
  • Cost of crime
  • Cost of ozone depletion
  • Cost of family breakdown
  • Cost of air, water, and noise pollution
  • Loss of farmland
  • Loss of wetlands

income vs capital depletion

Hicks (1946) pointed out that the practical purpose of calculating income is to indicate the maximum amount people can produce and consume without undermining their capacity to produce and consume the same amount in the future. From a national income perspective, it is necessary to answer the following question: ‘‘Can a nation’s entire GDP be consumed without undermining its ability to produce and consume the same GDP in the future?’’

enjoyment of life vs production of goods

Fisher (1906) contended that “economic welfare depends on the psychic enjoyment of life,” not just the production of goods.

an interesting measure of environmentally friendly countries is misnamed – happy planet index. take a look at rankings. surprising. perhaps we should travel to countries according to this index.