How Green are we?

The effect of human habitation on the environment of our small planet has become a major topic of discussion in the public media, schools, and governmental organisations. Although debate continues concerning exactly what percentage of global warming is the result of human activity, major efforts are underway to decrease the global output of carbon dioxide from various sources (Alpert 2008). We are bombarded with numerous ways to be ‘Green’ and numerous reasons why we should be ‘Green’ but the only problem is that there is still confusion with regards to what is ‘Green’.

Dr. Hajime Koshimizu Laboratory of Landscape Engineering Faculty of Agriculture, Meiji University Japan says that, “Commonly, worldwide people say Green Technology, Green Project so on. This ‘Green’ means sustainable or energy reduced industry or similar to ‘Ecological’. But I don’t use ‘Green’ as this meaning. When I say Green it means plants, plants existing place, facilities made with plants, spaces covered by plants, garden, urban parks, wood land, farm land, so on. In Japan, officially, Green (space) doesn’t contain water or rice field or other agricultural field. But for me Green is what I want to contact closely in everyday life.”

When we hear the experts like Dr. Koshimizu define what ‘Green’ is then we are made to think as to how ‘Green’ we are. Various industries are trying to be ‘Green’ and ‘Sustainable’ in numerous ways. For example packaging industry is trying to focus on packaging sustainability using environmentally sensitive methods including energy effectiveness, recyclable and biodegradable materials, down-gauging, reusability and much more (Falkman 2007, p. 39).

The other industry that is trying to be ‘Environmental Friendly’ is the chemical industry with climate change clawing its way to the top of every chemical producer’s agenda. The initiatives involve reducing energy use, since energy efficiency and improving water quality are paramount to chemical firms (Brice 2007, p. 16).

Pharmaceutical industry is trying to be ‘Green’ by minimising or eliminating the use of all unnatural or hazardous chemicals and using cheaper, natural solvents in their place (http://www.smartconsultinggroup.com/2010/02/is-the-pharmaceutical-industry-going-green/). Tourism and Hospitality Industry is trying to be ‘Green’ by using recycled paper products, installing energy efficient lights, giving guests the option of not having their sheets and towels changed daily, substituting hazardous cleaning agents with friendlier biodegradable products, and by using many other ‘Green’ ways (http://www.p2pays.org/ref/03/02592.pdf).

However it must be noted trying to figure out how Green are we is not a new concept and that some countries like Canada conducted surveys in mid 1991 to find out that about 45% of households bought recycled paper products and 28% dwellings had low-water flow heads for showers to save water and energy and 9.4% had water-saving toilets (The Vancouver Sun, 28 July 1992).

Construction industry is also trying to be ‘Green”. This is very cost effective suggestion too as an upfront investment of 2% in green building design, on average, results in life cycle savings of 20% of the total construction costs (Kats 2003, p.). Building Green stimulates the economy by creating a demand for green jobs and workers that can contribute directly to creating a sustainable future (US Green Building Council).

While the practices, or technologies, employed in green building are constantly evolving and may differ from region to region, there are fundamental principles that persist from which the method is derived: Sitting and Structure Design EfficiencyEnergy EfficiencyWater EfficiencyMaterials EfficiencyIndoor Environmental Quality EnhancementOperations and Maintenance Optimization, and Waste and Toxics Reduction (http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/components.htm).

Green Wall, Roof Garden, Storm Water Management, Rain Water Harvesting and Ground Recharge are some of the most useful ways of building Green. The combined benefits could be energy savings, water efficiency, better indoor environment quality, pollution control, and many more.

References:

Alpert, J. S., 2008, “How Green is the Green Journal?”, The American Journal of Medicine, Vol. 121, No. 9

Brice, A., 2007, “How Green Are We Now?”, ICIS Chemical Business Americas, Vol. 271, No. 5, pp 16-17

Falkman, M., 2007, “How Green Are We?”, Packaging Digest, Vol. 44, No. 2, pp. 39-41

How Green Are We?: [1* Edition] The Vancouver Sun, 28 July 1992, A5

Kats, G., 2003, “The Costs and Financial Benefits of Green Buildings: A Report to California’s Sustainable Building Task Force”

U. S. Green Building Council, “Green Building Facts”

http://www.epa.gov/greenbuilding/pubs/components.htm accessed on 8th November 2011

http://www.p2pays.org/ref/03/02592.pdf accessed on 8th November 2011

http://www.smartconsultinggroup.com/2010/02/is-the-pharmaceutical-industry-going-green/ accessed on 8th November 2011

Comments:

We welcome your comments on “How Green are we?”.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why GO GREEN?

Green is everywhere these days – in the news, politics, fashion, and even technology. One can hardly escape it on the internet. This is all good as far as the message conveyed is correct and reaches the target audience correctly, but with a million messages and ideas coming at people from all sides, it can be easy to get caught up in the idea of why Go Green or worse, suffer from a little green ‘fatigue’. We need to go Green as every single thing that we do has an impact on the planet whether good or bad. With globalisation, the world has become smaller and it is easy to see how the lives of people, plants, animals, and ecosystems everywhere are synced up with one another.

We need to be Green so that we can improve our health. The quality of air we breathe, water we drink, and food we eat affects our health. By being Green we can keep our environment and air clean and thus have a healthier life.  The most visible benefit of going Green is saving money in the long run. By conserving energy and resources, by not wasting water and electricity, or following Green travelling tips we can save a lot. By recycling or reusing or reducing our consumption also we can save lot of money.

Being Green can help us reduce pollution and also we can conserve natural resources. Going Green contributes towards conservation of forests and wildlife. It is necessary that we remember that it is in the benefit of all of us to keep the forests alive and growing. We can stop the loss of natural biodiversity by following Green lifestyle. We need to protect our valuable sources of medicinal herbs and plants. We can also save ourselves from natural disasters like floods and draughts by being Green.

Going Green also helps maintain the ecological balance on the earth so that all living beings can stay alive and prosper in their natural environment. While it is important for each country to maintain growth rate and develop, we need to do so in a sustainable way. Also going Green can start development in new areas like green energies, recycling, and other green technologies. It will also create a market for eco-friendly products and services.

Thus there is a long list of the benefits of Going Green. In nutshell it can be said that it improves our life overall.

References:

Bansal, P. and Roth, K., 2000, “Why Companies Go Green: A Model of Ecological Responsiveness”, The Academy of Management journal, Vol. 43, No. 4, pp 717-736

Miller, N., Spivey, J., and Florance, A., 2008, “Does Green Pay Off?”, Journal of Real Estate Portfolio Management, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp 385-400

http://www.all-recycling-facts.com/benefits-of-going-green.html accessed on 8th December 2011.

http://www.eda.gov/PDF/EDAAmericaSummer2008.pdf accessed on 8th December 2011.

http://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-why-to-go-green.html accessed on 8th December 2011.

Comments:

We welcome your comments on “Why Go Green?”.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to be Green?

The Environmental Movement has never been short on righteous aims from conserving natural places, cleaning up the oceans, protecting watersheds, neutralising acid rain, saving in danger of extinction species — all are laudable. But today, one ecological problem outweighs all others: global warming.

Some may argue that this is a single-minded approach. However, if this issue is not addressed at an earliest then global warming is one issue that threatens to overwhelm all progress made on other fronts. So combating the effect of the greenhouse gases must be high on priority.

The United Nations Environment Programme encourages resource efficiency as a means to be Green. Resource efficiency is one of the six priorities for UNEP – fostering sustainable consumption and production by leading global efforts to ensure natural resources are produced, processed and consumed in more sustainable way.

The National Geographic Society also aims to be an international leader for global conservation and environmental sustainability. Leading by example, the Society has developed green initiatives related to water, energy, recycling, and employee programs that are in line with its mission to inspire people to care about the planet.
As per the Indian Green Building Council implementing the concept of Zero Energy Consumption, through the construction of the buildings that consume zero energy by finding and selecting the best materials and systems available, can mean being Green.

Even company like the Godrej Group with interests in real estate, FMCG, industrial engineering, appliances, furniture, security and agri care is on a mission to green its processes, whether it is on the manufacturing or supply chain side. So, from water conservation to energy reduction, environmental friendly processes will dominate the agenda of the Godrej Group.

In short the way to be Green is by changing to environment friendly practices in the field of business, transport, culture, design and architecture, fashion and beauty, food and health, science and technology, travel and nature, and many other fields.

One of the most well known forms of carbon offsetting is to plant trees. The idea being that as trees grow they absorb carbon dioxide, which is one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases. One of the easiest ways to reduce the effect of greenhouse gases is by increasing the Urban Greenery.

The Roof Gardens and Green Walls easily help increase urban greenery and adapt to climate change by reducing the “urban heat island effect” – the phenomenon of metropolitan areas being significantly warmer than surrounding rural areas, due to the heat-reflecting nature of concrete and other man-made materials and the release of heat from air-conditioning systems and machinery.

Intensive Roof Garden Brigade Metropolis, Bangalore
The reintroduction of vegetation into cities promotes natural cooling by absorbing, instead of reflecting, the sun’s rays, and through evapotranspiration. Traditional black roofs can reach temperatures of 158°F/70°C, and as a result have an enormous effect on building and ground level temperatures. Green roofs can also mitigate air pollution levels by trapping particulates and capturing harmful gases.

Thus vegetation can be easily reintroduced in urban areas using modern Landscape Engineering technology that allows urban buildings to have green spaces in the forms of Roof Gardens or indoor and outdoor Green Walls. This is one of the easiest ways to be Green.
References:
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/national-geographic-sustainability/ accessed on 5th October 2011
http://www.godrej.com/godrej/godrej/aboutgodrejgroup.aspx?id=1&menuid=1163 accessed on 7th October 2011
http://www.inspiredgreen.in/zero-energy-space.html accessed on 5th October 2011
http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-how-godrej-plans-to-be-good-and-green/20111003.htm accessed on 7th October 2011
http://www.thedailygreen.com/green-homes/latest/green-roofs accessed on 7th October 2011
http://www.unep.org accessed on 5th October 2011
http://www.wired.com/science/planetearth/magazine/16-06/ff_heresies_intro accessed on 7th October 2011
Comments:
We welcome your comments on “How to be Green”.

Posted in Green education | Leave a comment

What is Green


Being environmentally friendly or green usually refers to inflicting minimum or no damage to the environment. These days through various media one can find numerous tips on how to go green. The tips available include ways to green one’s fun, office, home, food, water, lighting, electricity, cleaning, personal care, and even wardrobe. Green also means planting more trees, engaging in afforestation or reforestation, stopping deforestation, or even constructing green buildings. This is unquestionably bound to bewilder people as to really “What is Green”.

However, amidst all the confusion what is heartening to observe is the significant strategic shift in emphasis from pollution control and cleanup to pollution avoidance. This shift is observed more in the developed nations as compared to the developing nations. Numerous intergovernmental, governmental or non-governmental organisations are now functioning in almost all of world’s over 200 independent countries for protecting the environment. World Green Infrastructure Network one such international NGO that works towards developing and publicising Green Infrastructure defines “Green Infrastructure” as all plant related technologies in connection to buildings. Another definition of a Green or Sustainable building is that it uses key resources like energy, water, materials, and land more efficiently than building that is just built to the code (Kats, 2003).

For United Nations Environment Programme “Green” would mean managing ecosystems, using resources efficiently, minimising environmental threats, moving towards low-carbon societies, improving understanding of climate science, reducing the use of harmful substances, and promoting informed decision-making to enhance global and regional environmental cooperation. For Indian Green Building Council, the organisation that aims to usher in a green building movement in India and facilitate India to become one of the global leaders in green buildings by 2015, “A green building is one which uses less water, optimises energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier spaces for occupants, as compared to a conventional building.”

The key point to note here is that Green will have a different meaning in the context of urban and rural areas. In the cities Green could definitely mean having a Green Roof for all the buildings. This will reduce energy used to cool the building, absorb the pollution, provide fresh air for the dwellers, bring down the temperature of the surrounding areas, retain and filter water, and also to add to the beauty of the building. In the rural areas Green would mean planting more trees, have organic farms, a waste management system, conserving foot hills, and other such initiatives. However, Green definitely cannot be considered Green without the presence of lawn or shrubs or trees whether we talk of urban areas or rural areas.

References:

G. H. Kats, 2003, “Green Building Costs and Financial Benefits”, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

http://www.igbc.in/site/igbc/index.jsp

http://www.unep.org/

http://www.worldgreenroof.org/

Comments:

We welcome your comments on “What is Green”.

 

 

 

Posted in Green education | Leave a comment