Ten of the Most Fascinating Forces Pushing the Computer Industry Towards Going Green!!

If you are like me, my laptop -and my desktop computer and printer -are integral pieces of my middle class way of living here in the USA. I use these appurtenances of electronic–based hardware daily for business and personal communication and for purchasing transactions. Moreover, I am conscious of my monitor’s automatic screensaver that activates a virus scan when it’s not in use. What I was not aware of though – are the social, economic, and environmental changes that are pushing the computer industry towards “green computing”. Summarized below then, are ten of some of the most interesting forces behind this push to revolutionize the technological designs, manufacturing processes, and general use and disposal of our nifty computer systems and components.

1- World Population Growth – Today’s world population is 7 billion. Projected World population is expected to be 9.2 billion by 2050. Thus the demand for computer products is expected to grow
2- Hazardous Landfill Growth – Computers are difficult to recycle. Much of what’s inside computers is toxic such as non-degradable amounts of lead, cadmium, brominated fired retardants, PVC’s, and other plastics made of crude oil products.
3- Precious Metals Scarcity – Rare earth metals are crucial in advanced manufacturing of computer disk drives. Right now, China produces some 97% of the world’s supply of rare earth metals.
4- Electrical-Powered Inefficiencies – $250 billion is spent globally each year powering computers – 85% of that energy is wasted idling. Also, newer computers are more “electricity-hungry” – The electricity consumption for high-performance desktop computers with gaming processors and graphic cards are the most energy-guzzling appliances in homes.
5- Shorter Computer Life Cycle – The sophistication of today’s marketing for the newest, latest models affects consumer behavior – people are now changing their computers more often than they did a few years ago making the life expectancy of the average computer much shorter.
6- Government Legislation – European Union Legislation was passed in 2005 nicknamed the ‘Ecodesign Directive’ – for establishing a framework of ecodesign requirements – the main objective of which is “to bring about improvements in the environmental performance of energy-related products throughout their life cycle from mining of the raw material through to recycling at end-of-life.”
7- Int’l Standards Growth – The internationally recognized ‘Energy Star’ Logo for rating energy efficient consumer products was originally conceived as a voluntary labeling program in the early 1990’s by the United States Environmental Protection Agency – but now, Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Taiwan and the European Union have also adopted this standard and Sweden has expanded the standard to include ergonomics.
8- Alternative-Energy Sources Growth – VIA Technologies, a Taiwanese company, is aiming to offer the world’s first certified carbon free personal computer products. In partnership with Motech – a solar cell manufacturing industry leader located in China – part of VIA’s Green Computing Initiative is developing alternative solar panel-powered computers for multiple applications from remote locations to urban centers.
9- Global Warming – (Known also as Anthropogenic Climate Change) – Average temperatures have climbed 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit around the world since 1880 according to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. And the rate of warming is increasing. The 20th century’s last two decades were the hottest in 400 years. The Arctic ice is rapidly disappearing and the region may have its first completely ice-free summer by 2040. Glaciers and mountain snows are rapidly melting. Glacier National Park has 27 glaciers compared to 150 in 1910. Coral reefs are dying off in record numbers with some areas seeing bleach rates of 70%. Lastly, there is an upsurge in the amount of extreme weather events – wildfires, heat waves and strong tropical storms. Causes – greater concentrations of water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide are pouring into the atmosphere – commonly referred to as greenhouse gases. These gases help to trap heat near the Earth’s surface due in part to industrialization, deforestation, and pollution.
10- Green News Growth – The overwhelming majority of Americans (92%) use multiple platforms (online and offline sources) to get news on a typical day – including national TV, local TV, the internet, local newspapers, national newspapers, their cell phones, and the radio. Most use four to six platforms daily. But nowhere is the expansiveness of the green news landscape more evident than on the internet where one can find hundreds of eco-friendly websites, blogs, and businesses including industry news leaders, Huffington Post, Treehugger.com, Greenbiz.com and Green.alltop.com which highlights the top green news and headlines across the web.

Perhaps because of all these factors, there has been a tremendous growth in awareness by personal computer users like myself to use recycling centers for their old computers and ink cartridges. So next time you are on the web, check out earth911.com and ecosquid.com to decide whether you want to resell, recycle, or donate your old computer products. Welcome to the world of ecycling!

Giving Back To An American Tradition: Personalizing Philanthropy with Your Own Green Thanksgiving!

Each year across the USA, we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday of the month of November (due in large part to President Abraham Lincoln who established it as a national holiday back in 1863) – with Family, Food, and Football – and to give thanks for our own blessings and life’s bounties in the time-honored tradition of the “First Thanksgiving” when in August of 1621, 53 Mayflower Pilgrims and 90 Native Wampanoag Indians sat down together at the New Plymouth Colony to celebrate their survival and good fortune with a magnificent “harvest feast”. But ever since the advent of the television and the rise of social media in just the last ten years alone, Thanksgiving has become much more of a “pre-Christmas consumer frenzy” – a new shopping holiday – marked by “Black Friday” when major retailers open their stores early (some at Midnight) to kick off the shopping season with deep promotional discount sales.

Yet for all the shopping bargains now associated with Thanksgiving – the majority of Americans are still in fact upholding the original meaning of Thanksgiving – celebrating relationships – celebrating the day with people they love and giving back to people they don’t know – and giving those less fortunate reasons to be grateful! And for many, showing Mother Nature their gratitude by making Thanksgiving Day – a little greener.

Here then are some tips for ‘Greening’ your own Thanksgiving and personalizing a great American tradition by creating priceless memories with thoughtful acts of generosity and resourceful living.


Note: The “First Thanksgiving” Dinner consisted of cod, eels, bass, clams, lobster, mussels, ducks, geese, swans, turkey, venison, berries, peas, pumpkin, beetroot, onions, beans, corn and squash.

A) Start a ‘No-Waste Thanksgiving’ – Reject Disposable/Throw-Away Plates, Utensils, and Napkins – Initiate a ‘Potluck Thanksgiving’ – Have Guests Bring Assigned Side Dishes and Their Own Placement Settings
B) Share Leftover Bounty with Guests – Ensure that Leftovers are Stored Properly in Reusable and Washable Containers for Tomorrow’s Meal by Putting Out Decorative Glass Jars that Every Guest Can Fill and Take Home
C) Start a Pre-Dinner Tradition – Ask Each Guest to Bring a Small Item Representative of Something for which They are Grateful and can Exchange – Go Around the Table and Ask Each Guest to Light a Beeswax or Soy Candle in Remembrance of a Family Member or Close Friend
D) Start an After-Dinner Tradition – Update Your Photo Album – Plant a Tree Outside – Play a Game of Chopstick Pass-Along – Ask Each Guest to Sign and Record their “gratitudes” or Special Prayers for the Year Ahead on a Designated Tablecloth

A) Start Your Own Eco-Friendly Tradition by Buying Local Produce and Locally-Made Organic Wine – Visit a Co-op or Farmer’s Market  by Checking out www.localharvest.org/ – Get Together with Friends and Neighbors and Buy in Bulk from Your Local Farmer – Order a Free-Range Organic Turkey* from a Local Farm – Support a Local Orchard or Vineyard *(A Meatless Substitute is ‘Tofurkey’ – an American Vegetarian Turkey Replacement Made from a Blend of Wheat Protein and Organic Tofu)

A) Stick to Fresh Fruits and Vegetables rather than Canned Goods – Make Your Own Eco-Friendly Dinner Entrees, Condiments, and Pre-Meal Snacks from Scratch i.e. Pumpkin Pie, Pecan Snacks, Apple-Raising Stuffing, Red Wine Salad Dressing, Cranberry Bread and Cornbread (Check out www.allrecipes.com)
B) Develop Your Own Signature Cocktail using Organic Juices and Organic Spirits. Make Your Own Hot Apple Cider with Organic Apple Juice, Cinnamon Sticks, and Cloves Heated on the Stove

A) Decorate with Recycled & Natural Materials – Recycle Old Napkins with Buttons, Applique, and Trim – Reuse Old Fabric Scraps to Make Ornamental Pumpkins and Puffy Gnomes – Reuse Old Sweaters to Make Recycled Felt Leaves – Turn Pinecones into a Festive Turkey-Shaped Centerpiece – Turn Children’s Placemats Into Activity Placemats or Printable Thanksgiving Day Bingo Posters
B) Decorate with Edible Materials – Make Garlands of Fresh Popcorn and Home-Baked Cookies – Make Mantle Trimmings with Fresh-Cut Greens – Make Napkin Rings with Asparagus – Make Votive Candle Holders with Cored Apples – Make a Special Turkey-Molded Jello Dessert (Check out www.countryliving.com/, www.familyfun.co.com/thanksgiving, and www.marthastewart.com for more ideas.)


Thanksgiving is a Time to Reach out to the Homeless, the Hungry, the Elderly, the Disadvantaged and Veterans in Need. One way is to Volunteer with Your Local Soup Kitchen or with a Local Health, Educational or Arts Organization. Another Way is to Organize a Group of Locals from Your Own Church or Synagogue to Volunteer on Thanksgiving Day. Any way you volunteer, you will be making a difference in someone’s life and creating precious memories! Be Sure to Check Out these websites: www.volunteermatch.org/ (Volunteer Match)
www.1800volunteer.org/ (1-800-Volunteer.Org)
www.pointsoflight.org/ (The Points of Light Foundation)
www.nationalservice.gov/ (The Corporation for National and Community Service)
www.liveunited.org/ (United Way)


Thanksgiving is a Time To Seek Out Organizations to which You Can Safely Donate Food, Clothes, Books, and Various Household Items to Those Less Fortunate During the Holiday Season. Here are some outstanding examples:
-One Way is to Contribute to Your Local Food Bank.
-Another Way is to Contribute to the Veteran Memorial Foundation by Supporting Our Homeless Heroes this Thanksgiving thru their “Adopt-a-Vet” program. Check out www.thevmf.org/.
-Another Way is to Contribute to Non-Profit Organizations that Provide Specialized Meals and Groceries to Men, Women, and Children Living with HIV/AIDS, Cancer, and Other Life-Challenging Illnesses. Check out www.foodandfriends.org/.
-Another Way is to Contribute to American Indian Communities – Specifically ‘National Relief Charities’ – a Nonprofit, “Dedicated to Quality of Life for Native Americans Living on Remote and Poverty-Stricken Reservations in the Plains and Southwest.” Material Donations can be Given in the Form of Food, Water, Produce, Personal Hygiene Items i.e. Soap, Shampoo, Toothpaste, Household Cleaning Products, Toilet Paper, Laundry Detergent, Linens, Blankets, Coats, Winter Clothing and School Supplies. Check out www.nrcprograms.org/.
-Yet Another Way is to Contribute to Your Local Historical Society and Become a Good Steward so the Past is Preserved for Future Generations of Americans. Ideas for Donations include Community Artifacts i.e. Signs, Postcards, Flags, Maps, Photographs, Letters, and Genealogies. Why not Check out www.NorthAndoverHistoricalSociety.org/ and Learn About Their Preservation Efforts to Save a 200 Year Old Carriage Barn!


Thanksgiving is also a Good Time to Hold an Auction, Throw a Greenhouse Party, or Create Your Own Fundraising Campaign for a Great Cause! Best of all, Why Not Test Your Own Physical Fitness for a Charity Benefit by Running a Marathon or Half Marathon? Here are some shining examples: www.thethanksgivingmarathon.com/ in New York City
www.atlantatrackclub.org/ – Atlanta Georgia’s Thanksgiving Day Half-Marathon
www.some.org/ – Annual Thanksgiving Day Trot for Hunter in Washington D.C. – Sponsored by SOME (So Others May Eat)
www.crowdrise.com/ – The Crowdrise website is a “unique blend of online fundraising, crowdsourcing, social networking, contests, and other nice stuff.”

In Conclusion, Thanksgiving is at its Heart – a Time of ‘Green Reflection’ – To Give Thanks To Those Who Have Tried To Make a Better World In Years Past and Those Who Are Trying to Make a Difference Now In Both Conserving our Natural Environment and Enriching the Lives of Our Fellow Human Beings. Being the 11th Great-Grand Niece of those Mayflower Adventurers who perished the First Winter, It Is Important to Remember Their Courageous Efforts, Their ‘Mayflower Compact’ – a Socially Conscious Contract Binding Them Together for the General Good of the Colony – a Charitable Tradition we try to Honor every Thanksgiving Day since!

How Well Do You Know Your Hollywood Eco-Celebs and Environmentally Themed Films?

The Hollywood Entertainment Industry Has Gone Green – both On-Screen and Off-Screen – particularly since the Ecology Movement of the 1970’s and 1980’s. And Hollywood Celebrities have never been shy about making public statements about their environmental causes. So let’s test your star-gazing memories – How Well Do You Know Your Hollywood Eco-Celebs and Environmentally Themed Films?

1-Which American actress travelled the globe as an eco-tourist in the MTV series “Trippin” and was crowned “Queen of Green” by Vogue magazine?

2-Which American actor has his own brand of eco-cleaners and a reality show series that follows him as he tackles green issues in his home and with friends?

3-Which American actor is developing an eco-resort in Belize, is heavily involved in a global wildlife campaign called “Save Tigers Now” and has written, produced, and narrated his own eco-documentary, “The 11th Hour”?

4-Which American actor is a big proponent of the BP Solar Neighbors Program and has recently launched his own online fundraising site – www.crowdrise.com?

5-Which American actress and film star “mermaid” got arrested in 2006 for chaining herself to a tree for 23 days in a bid to save the nation’s largest urban farm in South Central Los Angeles?

6-Which American actor is a longtime green legend known for his good looks, his
Independent Cinema Festival, and his 2007 television series, “The Green”?

7-Which American actor is a big proponent of sustainable architecture, a founding member of ‘Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute’ and was twice named “Sexiest Man Alive” by People Magazine?

8-Which American actress is a longtime vegetarian and animal-rights activist who launched her own vegan footwear in 2008 and co-hosted the documentary, “Saving a Species: Gorillas on the Brink” with Jack Hanna, America’s premier zookeeper?

9-Which American actress and celebrated singer is an urban environmental activist who has founded an organization devoted to restoring New York City’s lost and forgotten parks and developing new ones?

10-Which American actor, known for his off-beat characters on the big screen, is a dedicated environmentalist and staunch vegan who lives in a sustainable community in Maui, Hawaii and has recently teamed up with the “Living Tree Paper Company” to promote the use of tree-free products and other postconsumer waste recycled products amongst his colleagues and friends in the entertainment and music worlds?

11-Which American actor is a longtime ocean activist best known for his television work in comedy and featured narration of The Google Earth rock star tour, “Protecting the Arctic Ocean”?

12-Which American actor is a longtime environmental activist and helicopter pilot who has a Central American ant named after him and is now involved in a mission to rescue the Colombian Jungle from environmental degradation?

13-What 1979 Hollywood Eco-Thriller starring Jane Fonda, Michael Douglas, and Jack Lemmon tells the story of a reporter and cameraman who stumble upon safety coverups at a nuclear power plant?

14-What 1983 Hollywood Eco-Thriller starring Meryl Streep, Kurt Russell, and Cher portrays the true story of a whistleblower named Karen Silkwood, a metal worker at a plutonium processing plant, who mysteriously dies on her way to meet a New York Times investigative reporter?

15-What 1993 Hollywood Family Film starring Jason James Richter and Keiko the Orca Whale pits a 12 year old boy against an aquarium owner when the boy learns that his beloved killer whale is about to be killed?

16-What 1997 Hollywood Eco-Action Thriller starring Steven Seagal and Kris Kristofferson pits a Environmental Protection Agent against big-time Corporate Polluters who are dumping toxic waster into abandoned mines in the Kentucky Hills Region and frightening the rural townsfolk into shutting up?

17-What 1998 Hollywood Eco-Drama starring John Travolta and Robert Duvall pits a personal injury lawyer against a major corporation as he seeks justice in a water pollution case brought by citizens of a Massachusetts town whose drinking water has been contaminated with industrial solvents?

18-What 2000 Hollywood Eco-Drama (based on a true story) starring Julia Roberts and Albert Finney pits a small-town law clerk against a large electric utility after coming across suspicious medical records from the nearby town of Hinkley, California where toxic chromium seems to be the culprit behind the diseases and deaths occurring amongst the locals?

19-What 2004 Hollywood Science-Fiction Disaster Film starring Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal portrays the catastrophic effects of global warming when an American paleoclimatologist has to trek through a climate-changed ice-ravaged landscape to find his son?

20-What 2006 Hollywood Comedy Family Film starring Logan Lerman and Luke Wilson pits three kids against crooked politicians, land developers, and bumbling cops in order to save the habitat of endangered burrowing owls from destruction?

Answers: 1-Cameron Diaz 2-Ed Begley Jr. 3-Leonardo DiCaprio 4-Edward Norton 5-Daryl Hannah 6-Robert Redford 7-Brad Pitt 8-Natalie Portman 9-Bette Midler 10-Woody Harrelson 11-Ted Danson 12-Harrison Ford 13-China Syndrome 14-Silkwood 15-Free Willy 16-Fire Down Below 17-A Civil Action 18-Erin Brokovich 19-The Day After Tomorrow 20-Hoot

If you wish to learn more, register with EMA – the “Environmental Media Association” (www.ema-online.org/) based in Los Angeles, California.