The Footprint Blog

This is the (styro)foam that never ends…

I’ve had an aversion to Styrofoam for a long time. Many years ago at a summer camp, I went on a nature conservancy walk in Pennsylvania (about 20 minutes outside of State College) where the main lesson of the day was that trash doesn’t just disappear - it stays around for a very, very long time. On this particular walk,… read more →

Rewards for your savings?

I recently decided to reassess my monthly budget, and in doing so, I found an awesome online tool that provides “rewards” and other incentives to users to reduce home energy usage. The service works much like, in that you can connect your online utility bill to your account, and all of your energy usage is securely uploaded into the… read more →

Driving America in the right direction

I’ve commented before about a dilemma produced by fuel-efficient cars: they emit less per mile, but also make it less expensive to drive... creating a countervailing incentive to drive more than you might have in a gas guzzler. Therefore I was happy to discover that the University of Michigan has been tracking and amalgamating the greenhouse gas emissions effects of… read more →

High. Low. It’s all good.

A newly published study (pdf) from the University of New South Wales and the University of California at Merced concludes that when compared to a carbon tax, a relatively unrestrained cap-and-trade system is economically advantageous. My first thought was that this is no news at all. The economic advantage of cap and trade - enabling capital to flow to the… read more →

Once again, why Europe is smarter

Results from a new Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study (pdf) on TV cable boxes revealed what we long suspected: Americans are a bunch of lazy couch potatoes. We kid, we kid. The study, funded by the EPA and conducted by the NRDC and Ecos, examined the energy consumption of set-top boxes. The results were “startling” though probably not new… read more →

Google maps’ new green feature

The Google Chrome web store recently released a new browser plug-in that allows users to view the carbon emissions associated with driving routes suggested by Google Maps. If you’re a carbon geek, there’s even an option to enter your particular car's emission factor instead of using the default values. While the application is still in an early development stage, the… read more →

Where the wind blows

This past weekend, I drove back to San Francisco having visited friends in Los Angeles. For months I had been looking forward to a little detour that Erin (our CEO) had suggested. A few months ago, she discovered this pistachio farm, and being the office pistachio connoisseur, I couldn’t think of a better way to break up my long drive.… read more →

Impacts of our changing climate

A couple of recent studies (see here and here) have highlighted the impacts of global climate change in a very real way. It seems that we are having more extreme weather than natural cycles might explain, and that our warmer climate is having a primarily negative impact on global food crop production. These studies are as important for what they… read more →

It’s getting hot in here!

Memorial Day Weekend is just a few short days away, and that extra day off is a perfect excuse to visit a sandy beach or camp out under the stars. Enjoy the outdoors, but keep in mind that a few simple changes make it easy to reduce your impact along the way. Get grillin’. Opt for grilling outdoors with propane… read more →

Behavior modification. It’s a tricky thing.

If you’re sufficiently geeky, the monthly free seminar/webinar series sponsored by the California Air Resources Board covers some fascinating environmental ground. One recent seminar provided an economist’s view of American automobile fuel economy standards, with particular insight into the effects of these standards on driving behavior. I’m drawing a lot from that one here, and give due credit to Soren… read more →
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