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Vol. 15, No. 14 Week of April 04, 2010
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Greening of Oil - Latest from Mac Ackers

GAME PLAYING GETS SERIOUS … Interesting story by Canadian writer Gary Park posted April 1 at www.greeningofoil.com. And no, it’s not an April Fool’s spoof. Anti-oil sands activists have created an online video game called Tar Nation, which Park says widens the gap between environmentalists and the oil sands industry. Characterizing the development of northern Alberta’s bitumen resources as a crime against nature, the game targets government support for oil sands development by allowing players to spray oil at Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff, leader of the opposition Liberal party. The game ends by allowing participants to e-mail a pre-written protest to the two leaders. Available at www.tarnation.ca, Facebook and online gaming sites, the game is the creation of the Polaris Institute, a left-leaning think tank. The boss won’t allow me to take sides, but hey, whatever happened to playing nice?

COOLEST CURRICULUM ... Greening of Oil, supporting 2041's educational mission, has highlighted portions of Abdulla AlMisnad’s daily expedition logs as discussion points for educators and posted a link to 2041’s Coolest Curriculum on the Antarctica expedition web page at http://www.greeningofoil.com/antarctica.aspx. Definitely check the logs out, and look for 2041 lesson info with Abdulla’s post-expedition entries.

SPEAKING OF GOO ARTICLES … Greening of Oil (referred to as GoO internally) posted recently another interesting piece in its 365 Days of Green column, which is written by students (who are allowed to express their opinions!). In this case, the student was Gavin Leighton, a first-year graduate student studying biology at the University of Miami. His piece, posted March 30 at http://bit.ly/90z3zb is titled “Expanding the behavior wedge: Understanding and implementing changes that affect CO2 emissions.” Everyone knows it saves energy, money and reduces our carbon footprints when we turn off the lights and turn down the heat when we leave the house, but Leighton addresses the “hidden behavior wedge”. Ways to reduce our individual carbon footprints that we might not know about. Did you know that appliances draw electricity even when they are off? It might be tedious to unplug all your appliances when you’re not using them, so Leighton suggests plugging several appliances into a power strip with an on-off switch. Worth reading.

A SIGN OF THE TIMES ... This headline caught my attention: BP’s Solar Retreat Signals Exodus of U.S. Renewable-Energy Jobs. I read the article at bit.ly/d2CVNX and decided to post it for discussion on my social sites. Do people really feel this is a sign of the times, or an easy out, and whose problem it is? Here’s a taste of comments I received: “It’s a transition — back to what BP is good at, exploration and production — make the best use of the money and generate energy at the lowest possible cost.” * “I’m not in favor of traditional energy companies moving away from clean tech but am of the view that they should just focus on related technologies such as CCS, biofuels etc. Solar, wind and similar technologies should (be) advanced by the companies that are traditionally good in them.” * “It’s about government policies and incentives for companies. The U.S. government seems to have had an on again off again policy. Big business can’t just flip a switch.” * A Canadian respondent suggested feed-in tariffs, policy mechanisms designed to encourage the adoption of renewable energy sources and to help accelerate the move toward grid parity, where renewable electricity is equal to or cheaper than grid power. According to the respondent, it was popularized in Germany, thriving in Ontario, and adopted by 63 jurisdictions around the world as of 2009. So readers what do you think?

SERIOUS BRAGGING RIGHTS ... Student teams from Laval University in Quebec, Canada, and Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind., defended their respective titles at Shell’s 2010 Eco-marathon in Houston, Texas last weekend. The event challenged students to design, build and test fuel-efficient vehicles that travel the farthest distance using the least amount of energy. Both schools returned to win with combustion engine vehicles, Laval winning the “Prototype” category with 2,487.5 miles per gallon, and Mater Dei the “UrbanConcept” category with 437.2 mpg. You must check out the photos. Was your alma mater involved? And student readers should seriously consider dethroning these champs next year! Here’s the Web site: http://bit.ly/dBdofr

GREEN GOODIES FROM ELEPHANT POO … The Advertising Specialty Institute has released a first-ever list of top 10 eco-friendly giveaways for Earth Day 2010, which is April 22. A search of the institute’s promotional products database by editors of Counselor magazine revealed that marketers eager to demonstrate their earth-friendliness are snatching up everything from notebooks made of elephant poo (my favorite, and yes, they are made from real elephant poop) to 5-minute shower timers to anti-bacterial hemp blend polo shirts to promote their businesses. Products made from renewable resources such as bamboo dinnerware, compostable pens and jar openers made of recycled tires top promoters’ shopping lists because increasingly earth-conscious consumers welcome the green message they send. “In fact, these items are so popular that we now have an exclusive pavilion at our five superregional trade shows dedicated to showcasing new eco-friendly products,” said ASI President and CEO Timothy M. Andrews. To see all 10 eco-friendly giveaways and get other information, visit www.asicentral.com/earthday.

Contact me! I am Greening of Oil’s social networker. My weekly column is posted in both Petroleum News and on Greening of Oil’s Buzz and Latest news pages. My e-mail address is mac@greeningofoil.com.


Editor's note: Visit Mac Ackers at one of her following social sites.

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