Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Healing Our World

Green Advertising Claims - To Heal or Deceive?

Many people are trying hard to understand the impact we are having on the natural world. You can see them in stores, reading labels, making product choices and trying to figure out what is good for themselves and the world. But with the insidious, deceptive, government approved product labeling, buying green may be accomplishing very little and in some cases, may be causing great harm.

What does it all mean? We have all at one time or another chosen a product labeled "biodegradable" over another that is not. And many of us feel more comfortable buying something with the now familiar triangle of arrows indicating a recycled product. Many families feel safer since they installed the water filter and more and more people every day are buying organically made goods. But what are you really getting? Currently, there are no federal laws governing what a seller can say about a product.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued "Guides for the use of Environmental Marketing Claims." These guidelines state that "qualifications and disclosures should be sufficiently clear and prominent to prevent deception; claims should make clear whether they apply to the product, the package or a component of either; claims should not overstate an environmental attribute or benefit, expressly or by implication; and comparative claims should be presented in a manner that makes the basis for the comparison sufficiently clear to avoid consumer deception."

But the guidelines carry no force of law and compliance is strictly voluntary. Many states have advertising regulations, but enforcement is largely non-reactive. Nothing is done unless someone complains.

What are some of the assumptions you make about environmental advertising claims?

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Yellow Pages Goes Green Without Anybody Knowing

OK. You are probably asking: Why is he writing this? I was at my local Starbucks and some people were talking about how they were so fed up with getting their Yellow Pages delivered. Why can't they just make it easy. Well, they did and all it TOOK was searching quickly on the internet! So here we go.

YP, or should I say the Yellow Pages, has a different connotation among their customers that receive the book. I'm not opposed to a book that uses FSC Certified paper. Then it is smart growth versus cut and run like the song from the Steve Miller Band, "Take The Money and Run." But they actually are making their website more appealing and enticing to customers.

You can log in via Facebook and search for numbers for FREE!!! None of this nonsense where you have to pay for a phone number online. It should be as accessible in other places but they try to scam you. Don't touch it with a ten foot pole. Please!!

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7 habits of green conscious S'poreans

Earth Day was celebrated here and around the world on April 22 with events to remind us to do our part for the environment. After Earth Day, are we continuing our environmental efforts?

There are seven habits commonly found in people who are green conscious. We could learn these habits and take individual actions so that Earth Day becomes a daily event.

One, respect and renew our bond with nature and its biodiversity. Nature has much to teach us on how to live with the rest of life on Earth. Without this respect and bond, there will be no desire to protect nature. Start exploring nature areas such as Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, Chek Jawa and Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, and join the guided walks.

Two, read up on local and global environmental issues, from various channels such as websites, books, newspapers and non-government organisations. What are the current trends and problems? What needs to be done?

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Would you pay up to S$75 for this light bulb?

NEW YORK - An amazing, state-of-the-art light bulb that won a US$10 million (S$12.5 million) United States government contest goes on sale in America this Sunday, which happens to be Earth Day.

The bulb is the most energy-efficient yet, lasts about 20 years and is supposed to give off a pleasing, natural-looking light. But what separates it from the pack most is the price: US$60 (S$75).

That price reflects the cost of the components, especially the top-notch chips, or diodes, that give off the light, and is the price commercial customers will pay.

But the manufacturer, Netherlands-based Philips, is discounting it right away to US$50 for consumers, and working on deals with electric utilities to discount it even further, by as much as US$20 to US$30.

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We can make S'pore fin free

I REFER to the report "Goal to make S'pore free of shark's fins" (April 23) and applaud the anti-shark's fin fraternity for persevering.

They have not been discouraged by their small inroads previously and have ratcheted up their efforts year after year.

This year, they are adopting a multi-pronged course of action, from reaching out to the heartlands and schools, to media campaigns, which should bring substantial progress.

Two local communities, Chong Pang and Canberra, should be congratulated for banning the delicacy from the table at official functions.

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Go Solar and Save Big!

The energy source is the sun, and the technology is passive solar design— the conscious manipulation of building temperature by using the sun’s direct energy. If you are planning to buy a new home or remodel your current residence, put passive solar design on your “must-have” list.

Everyone is already aware of some of the advantages of solar design: We all appreciate the coolness of a shady porch or patio in the summer, or the warmth of a sunny window in the winter. But most people are not aware of the huge difference solar design can make in the amount of energy needed to heat and cool our homes.

In most situations, a well-designed passive solar home stays cool in the summer without air conditioning, and in the winter it requires much less energy to heat. The combination of a woodstove and solar design is often enough to keep a house comfortably warm, even in very cold climates.

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Bring own bag, help environment: FairPrice

To support Earth Day this Sunday, NTUC FairPrice is encouraging customers to use fewer plastic bags while grocery shopping. As part of its FairPrice Cares! Campaign, it is asking customers to bring their own bags and help save at least 100,000 plastic bags in one week.

FairPrice will donate S$30,000 at the end of the campaign to Bizlink Centre and Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled to assist them in their community work.

FairPrice green committee chairperson Koh Kok Sin said: "We want to encourage more customers to join us in our green efforts to help create a sustainable environment during the week starting with Earth Day."

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There have been some beautiful time lapse videos shared with the world of the lights going off across various landmarks around the globe for Earth Hour 2012. Time lapse photography is a visually captivating way to communicate the collective display of powering down from our usual routine for one hour.

Switching your lights off for one hour has always been a symbolic action, that's why Earth Hour launched I Will If You Will, to incentivise ongoing action for the planet beyond the hour. But if Earth Hour 2012 taught the world something, it's that year after year, the planet unites in a spectacular display of unity to show that the will to make a difference continues to grow.

So we thought we'd share some of the most capitvating time lapse videos for you to enjoy.

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