J500 Media and the Environment

Green is the new Blackle by jmuselmann

Last week wasn’t particularly different from any other week. I was on the internet, somewhere in between doing work and wasting time, when I realized how much time I spend on a screen framed in a Web browser. I prefer not to dwell on that. But I did pause to acknowledge just how invariably ugly they’ve all become (Safari, Firefox, Explorer, et al. ). Light gray is apparently the industry standard, with big playschool-like back, refresh and home buttons. It’s insultingly novice, and how dare anyone question my extensive experience online. I was ready for something stylish, something chic, and something, perhaps, that was  dark.

So I tweeted my newfound desire, knowing that if anyone knew about some obscure solution, it would be fellow online junkies, the tweeters. And lo and behold, someone delivered. It was blackle.com, and it was bewildering at first. That’s because it’s using less mega wattage by skipping out on the blaring white screen part. So for all of you who have Google as your homepage, try “Blackling” something instead. It could just catch on, and if the juggernaut Google took note, it could really add up, both in reducing energy and money. No, it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it is a nifty way to save energy (and perhaps your tired eyes). And who knows? Maybe it will catch on, maybe my dream browser is out there, and maybe we could one day choose to invert any website we come upon into a more seductive and eco-friendly format. Anything could happen—it’s the Internet.

This may seem small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but then again, so does everything else you try to do for the planet. And let’s face it, there are a lot of really bad ideas for going green that are put forth every day. It’s hard to imagine harmful and unintended consequences in changing our homepage.

So when you’re frustrated and wanting something different from what you already have, try looking to see if it’s offered in a shade of green. Or a really, really dark green.

—Jacob Muselmann

A little Black & Blue makes Green by Dave Dunn
June 26, 2009, 4:04 pm
Filed under: Energy + Climate, J840 Week 2, Society + Media | Tags: , ,

I slightly wince at my computer screen as I type in the darkness of my lower level.  My lights are off in an effort to conserve energy and I’m downstairs because it’s the coolest place in the house.  A bead of sweat nearly develops on my brow as my thermostat’s set higher in another eco-friendly effort.  I believe a little “Black & Blue”, like a bruise, to your daily living habits and/or to your wallet are necessary for considering oneself as being “Green”.no pain no gain

Becoming “Green” may be like the old saying, “No pain, no gain.”  Rather than environmental efforts that are simply a by-product of convenience or saving money in the short-term, real environmental action must include sacrifices both financially and socially.

As an example of sacrifices, in a radio interview on the “Brian Lehrer Show” (4/20/2007), NY Times Columnist Thomas Freedman talked about rising the price of oil for 5 years. He said while it would produce short-term financial pain for consumers, it would force the development of energy alternatives, which would eventually drive down the price of oil for good.  Freedman’s key to Environmentalism on a larger scale is higher governmental standards.  And he said higher standards will drive innovation, and innovation will drive green (and green will drive to long-term financial savings and more jobs).

On an individual level, I think being green is holding oneself to higher standards, and to do that includes lowering ones “standard” of living.   With all the confusing and contradictory messages on living green as reported in the New York Times article (“That Buzz in Your Ear Might Be Green Noise”), I believe sacrifice is a big part of determining what is, and what is not, green.

-Dave D.

About Me: Pauline Horton by paulineah
June 10, 2009, 6:49 pm
Filed under: J840 Week 1 | Tags: , , ,

In the few years I have been a marketer in the architecture industry, I have seen a huge push towards sustainable design. Once considered optional, many groups now require that their project achieve some level of LEED® certification. Currently, buildings account for 72% of the United States energy consumption (2008 EIA Annual Report). To address this – and other issues such as water consumption, CO2 emissions, etc – today’s designs require thoughtful material selection and design strategies that conserve natural resources, reduce energy consumption and operating costs. I see this shift towards sustainability gaining more and more momentum.

On the marketing side of things, I must be able to effectively communicate my firm’s commitment to sustainability. And marketing is not just limited to the materials we produce and distribute. At my company, I am part of The Green Office Initiative, a group devoted to greening our office space. When clients visit our office, they need to be able to see that green practices are part of the company’s culture. Case in point – after a day-long client meeting at my company’s headquarters, the conference table was full of empty plastic water bottles. Gathering these up, the client asked where the recycling receptacles were located. Blank stares. The meeting ended with her gathering every single bottle and carrying them out of the building in her purse. And that’s how the Green Office Initiative was formed.

Prior to this, I worked at an advertising agency in the media department. I live with my husband in Prairie Village.

-Pauline Horton

My green reflections are blowin’ in the wind by chrisr11

Communicating green initiatives to health care professions will be harder than I thought. But this industry presents some exciting possibilities for improvement.

Chris Ronan

Reflections on Taking the Road Less Traveled (for me at least) by shawng
November 5, 2008, 8:15 pm
Filed under: Society + Media | Tags: , , ,

For me, this class and our work with CEP has been like taking the road less traveled.  It’s like nothing I ever did in college.  Sure, I’ve done volunteer work, been active in our church, and the like, but this has been different.  Those felt familiar and comfortable.  In this, I’ve been forced to crawl outside my comfort zone, which is good for me.

In this class, I’ve learned a great deal about energy, clean and renewable energy, sustainability, environmental protection, and the list goes on.  Second, I’ve learned about CEP, GPACE, and many other organizations that do such admirable work.  It has been a privilege to contribute (in a small way) toward the efforts of CEP.

Third, I’ve gotten to meet many more new people.  Most of whom, I, otherwise, would likely not have met.  After spending 16 hours in this class together, I feel that I know everyone better than I know most of my other classmates.  The intimate and personal setting of this class is essential to making it work.  Plus, Simran is the only person I’ve met that’s been on Oprah.

I also wanted to share my favorite book, which is called “Hope for the Flowers” by Trina Paulus.  It is also, in a way, about taking the road less traveled.  If you feel like you need to break out of a rut or need some prodding to do something different, check it out.  Thanks to Simran, Susan, and my classmates for a great experience.


On the up and up by marisabreg

It’s a difficult thing to resolve the needs of workers for decent work, the needs of a (failing) economy and the needs of our climate in crisis, right?

Well… maybe not.

Like Matt and Alex, I’m working as part of the labor group and had the opportunity to speak with Emil Ramirez, assistant to the director of the United Steelworkers, District 11 (Steelworker Heartland) earlier this week. With Matt and Alex, we’re looking at the relationship between labor (workers, leaders, etcetera) and the climate – especially green/clean energy.

I spoke with Emil about “green collar” jobs, the connection between the environment and the economy and communication, among other things. One of the things Emil told me a bit about is the Blue Green Alliance, an association between the USW and the Sierra Club that focuses on climate disruption and clean energy, fair trade and reducing emissions.

The Blue Green Alliance is one of a number of national groups that have initiatives dedicated to clean energy and “green collar’ jobs.

To name a few, the Center for American Progress has a Green Recovery Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy; Van JonesGreen for All has a Green Jobs Now initiative to build an inclusive green economy with an emphasis on fighting poverty; and of course, Al Gore’s We Campaign.

All of these organizations are coordinating efforts to show that good jobs, the economy and the environment are not mutually exclusive. With the right efforts and response, the U.S. (and Kansas) can create/modify decent jobs with the climate in mind.

Marisa B.

Will you still frame me tomorrow? by hilarywright
October 24, 2008, 6:05 pm
Filed under: Business + Politics, Society + Media | Tags: , ,

Trust no one. 

Especially in politics. Well, that is except for the politician I’ll be interviewing this Monday for our CEP project, of course.

All sarcasm aside, my group and CEP face a unique challenge when it comes to framing the energy debate for an audience of policy makers.

I believe John Wilson said it pretty well when he posted,

What policy makers actually care about, versus what they say they care about, are sometimes light-years different. They care most about survival… There’s a good chance that the economic angle of climate change–long-term cost savings, job creation, tax revenue, will be guiding points for lawmakers (at least this year).”

I have no trust in politicians. Perhaps this is in part due to the fact that it is completely unheard of for me to find a candidate I agree with on even 60 percent of the issues. Take for example the Candidate Calculator Rebecca posted last week. My results came in with a 33 percent match for Obama, a 33 percent match for McCain, and the rest was split up among the other candidates. When there’s no straightforward answer, you can see how this might turn one away from politics.

If I can’t trust a politician to do what is good for me, let alone anyone else, then how can I trust the government to come to the planet’s rescue? If I can’t trust a politician to speak for me, then how can Mother Nature trust a politician to speak for her? Politicians do what is good for them; what will get them the most votes, the most money, and the most time in office.

As John said above, they care about their survival. They will say and do whatever they need to survive now. Tomorrow’s keys to survival may be different and therefore will require a different set of verbiage and action items.

Keeping this is mind, my group and CEP will have to move forward knowing that policymakers are a fickle bunch, and the right framing today will be the wrong framing tomorrow.


From the Christian Science Monitor

From the Christian Science Monitor


-Hilary Wright