Friday, December 28, 2007

FIU Green Forum on Supply Chain Management

FIU Green Forum on Supply Chain Management
Another excellent seminar at FIU on "green" topics for business

To register for the Green Supply Chain Forum, please visit here.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Spark Plug: Drought & Dry Season

Spark Plug: Drought & Dry Season

Drought & Dry Season

Florida, and the rest of the nation for that matter, faced its worst summer drought since the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. As a result, Lake Okeechobee, the "Liquid Heart" of South Florida, is approximately 5ft below its historical average for this time of year. To exacerbate the challenge, we just entered Dry Season (November to April).

But I am not here to preach 'doom and gloom'! I only want to call this to your attention. The question that you must ask yourself, however, is: "What can I do to make a difference?"

The answer to that question can take on many forms. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Do a Water Use Audit.
2. Use water-efficient landscaping and irrigation with native plants.
3. Use high-efficiency clothes washers & dishwashers.
4. Use ultra-low flush (ULF) toilets.
5. Use low-flow faucets (bathroom and kitchen sinks and shower heads).

There are rebate programs available for doing the aforementioned tasks. In fact, there are FREE low-flow shower head exchanges by various government entities. "Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department (WASD) will exchange your actual shower head for a more streamlined, cost-effective "High Efficiency" shower head as well as provide you with a conservation kit for your home."

Reducing your water usage can also decrease your hot water usage, thus lowering your electric bill. But remember, it’s not just about saving money; it’s about saving resources (people, time, money, etc).

Take the Energy Star Change a Light Pledge

Join Veterans Energy Solutions in taking the Energy Star Change a Light Pledge.

Many homes still have the regular, more common incandescent light bulbs. These bulbs only covert 10% of electrical current into light while 90% is converted into "latent heat". Latent heat is unexpected or hidden heat that is released or absorbed when a substance changes form (liquid to gas etc). Fluorescent light bulbs (Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs or CFLs), on the other hand, is more efficient as it converts 80% of electrical energy into usable light energy and produces only 20% heat. This can be tested by a simple touch test. Ever noticed that after several hours you can still touch a CFL, but after only 5 minutes an incandescent light bulb can cook a turkey?

Using fluorescent lights instead of incandescent lights can reduce the amount of electricity used for lighting by about 75%. FPL is offering to help: "Residential customers will receive one free compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) and qualified business customers will receive two bulbs when they take the online survey aimed at providing tips for energy and monetary savings."

Veterans Energy Solutions is taking a more proactive approach. We will replace ALL your light fixtures with CFLs when you schedule an energy audit/energy rating today (mention this blog post to receive free CFLs). Take a bold step today and join Veterans Energy Solutions in accomplishing the mission, one bulb at a time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What can dieting teach us about Environmental Consciousness...???

The invention of the internet has allowed the rapid transmission of new ideas. As it spreads, its ideas diversify and change, being adapted to local culture. So, with access to the Internet, we can retrieve information of interest and digest it at rates that were before thought impossible.

Health consciousness, especially dieting and exercising, is a great example of this. With over-consumption reaching epidemic proportions we realized that things cannot continue this way. Awareness about issues that arise out of over-consumption motivated understanding of how to change. We realized how actions today, such as eating unhealthy fast foods, can affect us in the future. These problems manifest itself in the form of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, just to name a few. These diseases affect our quality of life in the future.

Many Americans started dieting as a result of this understanding. Results, however, were mixed and folks got frustrated so different techniques were invented and tried. Dieticians and nutritionists encouraged folks to try different techniques in order to find what worked for them. Many techniques were popularized, such as Atkins Diets, South Beach Diets, etc – all of which were some variation of the other.

The many diet programs led people to conclude that dieting was a new “fad.” What is a fad? A fad is a craze or a short-lived fashion where something is embraced very enthusiastically for a short time, especially by many people (Encarta Dictionary). So, it would seem to fit the mold. However, this isn’t a clothing item that one can wear for a time and discard as it fades in popularity. This is about people; not about a thing. Expanding this thought further, this is about people, their health, their future, their family, their friends, and their kid’s future – so this goes deeper than just a fad. Calling dieting a fad is an over-simplification and quite honestly, totally misconstrued. Besides, it has gone on longer than what someone would call a “short time.”

Anyhow, soon enough, folks discovered that dieting only accomplished so much by itself. And so, exercising was also encouraged to accompany dieting. Combining the two is no easy task nevertheless, this reinforces the notion of: “No Pain; No Gain.”

But those who tried different programs learned through trial and error. Lots of them plunged into a program without proper prior planning and got a poor performance. Could this be called gaining pain for no reason? I think so, what about you?

Anyways, Going on a diet without a game plan is like taking a trip without a road map: You’ll eventually reach your destination, but it will take you longer, be more of a hassle and cost you more. So, personal coaches and dieticians were frequently sought after to help develop a plan and even help implement the programs.

Increased awareness of how actions we take today affect us tomorrow also helped in consensus building. We recognize that we can take actions into our own hands and effect change. So, we have become the consummate consumer. We are skilled at finding information that is useful and applying it to our individual lives. And we are good at discerning what the right, sensible move is. But since we have our daily lives to run, procrastination can get in the way and only delay the inevitable.

So to bring this discussion full circle, what can dieting & exercising teach us about Environmental Consciousness...??? They show us that a sensible, detailed plan, tailored to our individual needs in combined efforts can achieve the results we desire. Together they magnify the value of the program. Together energy efficiency and solar technology magnify the value of the program.

At any rate, doing what you do best and tending to your daily lives is hard enough as it is. So, bringing in the specialist to collaborate is the best way to create a game plan. They can make things happen because they have a passion for it and they are motivated to act on your behalf. Besides, they've trained extensively for it.

This increased level of awareness is empowering us on individual levels to take actions on our own behalf. These individual actions add up to an aggregate level of achievement that can astonish anyone. Dieting & exercising leads to a healthier lifestyle and lower demand for medical attention. There is also less costs to individuals and less lost productivity due to medical issues. As more individuals become healthier – going outward – so too does the household, the community, the city, the county, the state, the region, the nation, the hemisphere, and finally Mother Earth. The same applies to Environmental Consciousness.

Knowledge can be a burden but it carries a responsibility. The responsibility is to share it with someone. Knowledge doesn’t exist in a vacuum either. So, have them tell someone else. Knowledge is powerful. And as it spreads the value of that knowledge increases in orders of magnitudes. Then the burden you first felt no longer feels so weighty. Finally, I always say:

Knowledge is power: Wield it. But wield it responsibly.