Thursday, January 31, 2008

Living Green: Working with Green Power

There are dozens of websites that foster green living; that offer information on practical solutions to living in a world facing global warming and an energy crisis; and that sponsor charitable works to assist the third world in sustainable living.

Earth in Greenhouse
© James Steidl
{Get this picture: greenhouse effect © James Steidl
fotolia_1248622earth in greenhouse.jpg}

© James Steidl - FOTOLIA

Sierra Club and Trees for the Future are concerned with reforestation and using plants to clean the air of pollutants and counteract the Greenhouse Effect. Heifer International, World Hunger, ECLA, and Bread are programs for solving the issue of world hunger and human carrying capacity. Some, like UNICEF and Sierra Club, sell products that educate and raise money for their programs: UNICEF cards and gifts.ORDER today and help UNICEF help children. {This picture is from Heifer International.}

What I find interesting is that businesses are wearing the mantra of green living as an advertising strategy. For every customer who buys this product, the business will give so much to this organization. That works for me. They put forth the effort, get the tax breaks, while I get the product and the easy conscience and great feeling of knowing that I have contributed to the cause.

One might say it's consumerism, capitalism, whatever, at its best. At least the giving gets done--and with minimal pain to me, the customer.

Remember the plan presented to the UN of trading energy credits among nations? Well, the US now has such an energy credit trade for businesses. It's called a green energy credit.
Green energy certificates
are purchased through a program called Green Power. Green Power, our government's experiment with energy certificates on the local level, also posts the announcements of local power companies that are seeking power to purchase.

One part of the system works like this. Say a business is established within a regular energy grid, one that rents an office in a bank-owned building, for example. The business gets electricity from the same electrical utility company as the building, namely the local electric power company. Now, the power company works on fossil fuel technology. NOT GREEN. But, the business can calculate the cost of the power it will use and buy green credits for that amount. The green credits should then be used to invest in solar and wind powered electrical generation. The business has contributed to, or participated in, GREEN LIVING.

Such businesses can advertise the fact that they have purchased a green certificate. There is even a button that can be posted on their websites.

But businesses do not stop there. They also join charities that feed the poor or plant trees to clean the air. The plan is to give so many dollars to each charity it supports for each customer that joins its program or buys its product. How many red phones do you see today?

Personally, as an affiliate marketer, my list of charities is interspersed with a few for which I advertise. I have chosen to exchange links with a couple more. Some banners I publish as my part as a volunteer to spread the message. I guess you could say that I, too, am on the bandwagon. Let that not stop you from clicking the links, however. These sites are well worth visiting for information alone, even if you do not donate or volunteer.

Education for both philanthropists and recipients are part of the charities websites as well. I have found K-12 and adult lessons, articles with statistics, articles on sustainability, agriculture, forestry, diet, horticulture, and economics at these sites. These sites are gold mines of information.

For many, the philosophy of giving now carries the principles of sustainability and economic development. It is not enough to give food. Charities strive to educate recipients to grow their own food, to develop communities and markets, and to determine the best resources for continued growth. It is the "Teach a man to fish" practice.

Two organizations that serve as watchdogs on the reputations of charities are American Institute of Philanthropy and Charity Navigator. Each provides their top 10 list of favorable charities, unique lists for how to distinguish good charities from scams, articles on charities and the need for such, and archives of past press releases.

Before you get really confident in choosing a charity based on the rating systems of charity watchdogs, read about a few additional criteria in this critique of simplistic rating systems based primarily on the distribution of funds.

Memes are wonderful things. They convey ideas in multiple layers that branch into other ideas with just a word or phrase. The Living Green phrase is a meme that is rapidly growing branches. It reflects a global concern with the risks of climate change, human carrying capacity, energy crisis, and sustainability. It conveys a national concern with local problems and solutions. It conveys the personal concern of stewardship towards our earth and its peoples. And it has become a mantra for doing business with, at least some, ethical practices.

This article is a copy of one that I just posted on my new blog Valerie's Memos. Already I see that having 2 blogs can be a problem. Which article goes where? Well, if people can use articles from ISnare and such to make a blog post, then I suppose I can get away with a dupe post of my own. What say?