I’m happy to see that Al Gore has finally found some real meaning in his life as the new poster boy for the environmental movement. It had to be a crushing personal blow to know he lost the election for President to George Bush (yes, Al you did lose, no matter how many times they count the votes). To then bounce back to focus on issues that are arguably more important is wonderful, but somehow I still smell something that’s not right in this whole discussion.
So it was not really surprising to receive the following info from a now disappointed very eco-oriented buddy. It is a comparison between two homes:
House #1: In one month this fine residence consumes more energy than the average American household does in a year. It is a 20 room mansion (not including the 8 bathrooms) heated by natural gas as well as a pool, pool house, and a separate guest house, all heated by gas. The average bill for electricity and natural gas runs over $2400. In natural gas alone, this property consumes more than 20 times the national average for an American home. This house is not situated in the colder areas up North or in the Midwestern‘s snow belt area. It’s in the South.
House # 2: This home was also designed by an architecture professor at a leading national university. This house incorporates every “green” feature current home construction can provide. The house is still a good sized one — 4,000 square feet with 4 bedrooms. I sits on a high prairie in the American southwest. A central closet in the house holds geothermal heat-pumps drawing ground water through pipes sunk 300 feet into the ground. The water (usually 67 degrees F.) heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. The system uses no fossil fuels (e.g. oil or natural gas) and it consumes one-quarter of the electricity required for a conventional heating/cooling system. Rainwater from the roof is collected and funneled into a 25,000 gallon underground cistern. Wastewater from shwes, sinks and toilets goes into underground purifying tanks and then into the cistern. The collected water then irrigates the land surrounding the house. Surrounding flowers and shrubs native to the area enable the property to blend into the surrounding rural landscape.
Want to guess who owns which houses?
HOUSE #1 is outside of Nashville, Tennessee; it is the abode of the environmental evangelist himself — Al Gore.
HOUSE #2 is on a ranch near Crawford, Texas; it is the residence of the President of the United States — George W. Bush, the man whom many insist has done nothing to further environmental efforts.
As the old saying goes – “Do as I say, not as I do.”
That truly is the inconvenient truth in this case.
The Yellow Pages Association (YPA) stepped up its efforts to inform and educate by today introducing the “Think Green Column” on its “Yellow is Green” Environmental Web site.
YPA indicates the Think Green Columns will appear monthly to share opinions, ideas and even historical perspectives on the environment and the yellow pages.
In its press release, Neg Norton, president of YPA said:
“As Yellow Pages are the lifeline for many small businesses trying to reach ready-to-buy consumers, it’s imperative for our organization to provide a forum where yellow pages and environmental industry influencers can share their views and break new ground,”
The inaugural issue features John Howell from Nippon Paper Industries’ Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Drawing on his nearly 30 years of working in the yellow pages paper industry, he discusses the paper supply challenges facing the Yellow Pages industry today including increased demand from China for fiber; low fiber availability due to the housing market decline; and environmental pressures from proposed Yellow Pages legislation. John was instrumental in helping YP Talk with its extensive article on “How Paper is Made”.
Kudo’s to YPA for adding this effort. The more positive conversation we can generate, the better it will be for the industry overall. There are still plenty of uninformed advertisers and users that need to hear the real story behind what the industry provides.
Sure, everything you see, read, and hear is about “going green”, being “eco-friendly”, “environmental consensus”, etc. etc. etc. But the bad news is that the average consumer doesn’t have a clue what that really means.
The Shelton Group, a Knoxville, TN based ad agency that is suppose to specialize in energy efficiency and sustainability (now there’s a new twist), recently conducted a national study, the “Eco Pulse”, which asked consumers open-ended and multiple-choice questions about green issues. The findings suggest there is a whole lot of confusion out there.
Some of the major findings:
- Name which features a home would need to have before they would consider it green? 42% said they didn’t know.
- While 49% of respondents said a company’s environmental record is important in their purchasing decisions, only 21% used that information when making a product decision. Even worse, only 7% could name the product they purchased.
- “Given a choice between your comfort, your convenience or the environment, which do you most often choose?” Surprise (NOT). Most Americans put their personal comfort ahead of the environment – 46% chose comfort and 31% chose the environment.
- We love the media — 40% admitted to negative or ambivalent responses (“skeptical,” “irritated,” “guilty” or “unaffected”) to increased media attention regarding our impact on the environment
- We only do it to make us look better — when asked why most companies that adopt environmentally friendly practices do so, the most common response (47%) was “to make their company look better to the public.”
The message from this study is it is still early in the development of what “green” is or should be. It does offer all Yellow Page publishers an opportunity to make their print and IYP products a source for the valuable information consumers will need.
Kudo’s to AT&T for a new partnership with Hutchinson, KS’s “Green Team” (link to full story). A proposal will go before the Hutchinson City Council for final approval next week for a four-page insert listing area recyclers, educational information about recycling, Web links and more in the upcoming December edition of the Reno County (KS) area directory .
The Green Team is a group of city staff and citizens who are working on recycling issues in the town, and the Green Pages project was born out of the Team’s desire to update a Reno County recycling brochure that was distributed by the health department nearly a decade ago.
Because they “didn’t want to print a bunch of material that would end up in trashcans” (Meryl Dye, Green Team member) the group approached the AT&T yellow pages about having green pages. In exchange for the green pages inclusion on the AT&T phone book, the Green Team will promote the AT&T’s sponsorship of the project.
Because the book is provided to every house hold in the area, the local government can be assured that residents have ready access to the recycling information they need.
And all this in a printed Yellow Pages.
Technology is wonderful and has positively impacted so many things in our life. But we also know it’s far from perfect (especially if you have Microsoft’s Vista on your PC like I do).
Noticed this recent blog by Russell in his blog on “5 Ways to Stay Smarter Than Your Computer”. In particular this part of his post:
“…So. When you catch yourself being hooked . . . stop what you are doing,
step AWAY from the computer . . . and go get the yellow pages! Yeah. You
heard me . . . the PRINT yellow pages…”
What a revolutionary thought — an “old” media that actually has the information you need, uses no power, requires no special connections, doesn’t need to be rebooted because it whacks out every now and then, has a clear structure to help find things, and it totally mobile.
Yes, there are a lot of people that worhship technology, which is fine. It just isn’t the solution to all of your needs, especially your shopping needs, like the original search – the print Yellow Pages is…