As the United States transitions to renewable energy sources — by ecological choice or economic necessity — there will be events that future historians will undoubtedly characterize as critical turning points. More than likely, one of these is the planned development of the world's largest wind farm, by oil billionaire T. Boone Pickens. It may seem odd that a lifelong oilman will be investing a significant portion of his fortune in wind power, as an explicit alternative to our traditional energy source of oil. Or, it may also seem completely logical, given his knowledge and decades-long experience in the energy business, as well as his strong conviction that the U.S. is dangerously dependent upon foreign oil sources, and our reliance upon that oil continues to drain approximately $700 billion per year out of the country.
Unlike the vague and optimistic energy proposals of most members of the U.S. Congress, the Pickens Plan is concrete and clear-cut: He will be investing billions of dollars in creating the new wind farm, located in Texas. The project will initially purchase more than 600 wind turbines, manufactured by General Electric, and scheduled for delivery in 2010. They will be capable of generating a combined 1000 megawatts, which is just the first step towards an eventual goal of 4000 megawatts — enough to power 1.3 million homes — by the end of 2015. The generated power will go into a transmission line, which will tie into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas system, and from there be transmitted downstate.
Pickens sees the proposed plan as beneficial for all Americans. Each landowner who hosts one of the turbines on their property, will receive approximately $20,000 every year in royalty income. It will be a positive for the environment, since wind energy is clean and renewal. In a CNN.com article, Pickens argues that we should take advantage of the entire wind corridor that extends northward from Pampa, Texas, up to the Canadian border. Every 640-acre tract can host anywhere from five to 10 such wind turbines. He points to Germany and Spain as examples of countries doing it right, particularly as they do not have as much wind as the United States.
Research suggests that Pickens and others like him are on the right path. A study conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy, released in April 2007, indicates that 20 percent of the country's electricity could be generated from wind power. A Stanford University study, released in 2005, contends that 20 percent of the world's wind energy would be sufficient to provide seven times the world's current electricity needs.
Projects such as the one proposed by Pickens, are far more promising than the only wind currently being generated by Congress — useless hot air.
Infants and babies can be especially susceptible to skin irritation caused by pesticides and other harsh chemicals found in most new conventional clothing. That is just one reason why the folks at Best Baby Organics are so diligent about searching worldwide for top-quality, 100-percent-certified organic cotton clothing for young ones. It all began when Miami-resident Diana Marrink had her first baby, and began researching baby clothing and other products. Like a growing number of concerned parents, she was quite unhappy with what she discovered — such as toxins found in clothing made in China. Consequently, in April 2007, she founded her company, so that other parents could easily find safe and environmentally-friendly clothing, toys, and other products for their babies and young children. Best Baby Organics ensures that no synthetic fertilizers or other harsh chemicals are used in the fair-trade manufacture of their diverse product line. This total commitment to quality care extends to their customer service, which clients applaud for its high level of personalization and extra effort.
In the early days of business automation, every computer manufacturer promised the advent of the "paperless office", with all information stored online and right at our fingertips. But every business computer soon had a computer printer, and as those printers became faster, our offices filled with more paper than ever before, and our landfills became seemingly filled with empty printer cartridges. Fortunately for the planet, printer cartridges are becoming increasingly reused and recycled. Leading the way is Go Green Brand Printing Supplies, which has been offering remanufactured cartridges and other recycling solutions for over 14 years — allowing customers to save up to 60 percent of costs. Founded in February 2007 by Tony Veal, the company is located in Wilsonville, Oregon — just outside of Portland. A near-fatal medical crisis prompted Tony to rethink the ecological impact of his business, and, as a result, the company now donates money for every sale to American Forests, a nonprofit organization that protects trees and the ecosystems they compose. An ISO 9001 company, Green Brand does quality testing on every batch received, and all their products will meet or exceed the original equipment manufacturers' specifications.
"Blending style with sustainability" is the slogan and guiding philosophy of Nubius Organics, formed in 2006 by Elizabeth Borelli, in Soquel, California, when she became acutely aware of the vulnerable state of the environment, upon the birth of her first child. She began researching eco-friendly alternatives to mainstream products, and decided to offer them to like-minded people, over the Internet. Her product line has grown, and now includes reusable bottles, mugs, lunch bags, tote bags, baby and infant clothing, fair trade women's and men's apparel, organic hats and scarves, organic hemp wallets and accessories bags, all-natural handmade jewelry, eco-safe home supplies, and a wide assortment of green gifts for men and women — all backed up by incredibly personable customer service. The firm is a member of Co-op America, 1% For the Planet, and The Race Against Global Warming.
The reasons for choosing a vegan lifestyle — encompassing health, ecology, and ethics — are as varied as the people themselves who make that choice. But it can be difficult for vegans to abide by their principles in choosing everyday products, given how the bulk of such items are made using animal byproducts and marketed to people with little concern for the source materials used to make those items. That is one way that companies such as Rare Natural Care can be such a boon to vegans. Based in Los Angeles, this family business was founded in 2002 by Sia Saidi, an agronomist (an agricultural scientist who focuses on crops and soils). He was personally committed to living with greater environmental consciousness, and applied that approach to his new company, as well as the firm's RARE2B skin care products, which are all natural, vegan, and organic. In addition, they are never tested on animals, and are completely free of parabens, GMOs, PEG, TEA, alcohol, synthetic chemicals, and other potentially harmful ingredients.
The typical piece of paper is created in a factory from newly-processed pulp, with little regard for its environmental impact. Imagine the exact opposite, with each piece of paper individually handcrafted, in a home-based art studio, using 100-percent-recycled materials — junk mail, flyers, office paper, even grocery bags! Imagine that piece of paper being sown into a unique blank book or piece of writing stationery, or made into a custom wedding invitation, greeting card, or restaurant menu, with all tinting done without the use of dyes. Sheryl Woodhouse-Keese, proprietor of Twisted Limb Paper, has successfully turned her dream into a reality. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, Sheryl had learned the skills of recycled papermaking while working as a park naturalist ranger at Grand Teton National Park. Now anyone can enjoy the fruits of her efforts, which customers have described as beautiful, stunning, and truly unique works of art. A member of Co-op America and Human Rights Campaign, Sheryl runs her enterprise with minimal environmental impact, and donates 22 percent of all profits to ecological conservation and community groups.
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