A Whale of a Problem

One week ago today, ABC news published an article from their Tokyo correspondent stating that “Japan passes whaling bill with view to resume commercial whaling”. Those 10 words are devastating to anyone who appreciates the majesty and mystery that is these incredible marine mammals.

Historically, Japan has participated in yearly whale hunts usually in the name of “food”, “science” or “culture”. I use quotations around these words since in recent years it seems as though Japan will label the commercial whaling as any sugar-coated practice that will allow them to continue the significant degradation of these whale species.

This article outlines Japan’s stance on the return of commercial whaling to the country and on world-wide reactions. Japanese officials including the Director of the Whaling Affairs Office in the country’s fisheries agency are condoning the slaughtering of whale species like the Minke whale. They claim that the killing of these whales is purely for scientific research and as a by-product, the extra whale meat will serve to feed the Japanese citizens. They intend to allot 58 million (5 BILLION Japanese yen!) yearly to the new whaling fleet which will likely boast a brand new, upgraded whaling vessel.

What about ethics you ask? Well, simply put, the Director does not believe whaling should be “banned because of emotional or unscientific reasons” and is willing to deal with the negative backlash from anti-whaling countries like their neighbors in Australia.

Like myself, many other ecologists, scientists, and anyone who has watched Nat Geo and listened to David Attenborough, believe that whales can be closely studied without having to kill them. What are your thoughts Green Schemers? Is whaling part of or against your “green scheme” beliefs? Leave a reply below and be heard!

ABC article here

-The Ecologist

Another 5-Letter Word for Solar? TESLA!


Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, has just announced the release of their solar roof designs and they are stunning! The tiles come in four functional varieties based on texture and look. With the options of textured, smooth, tuscan or slate, there is a solar roof design for almost anyone! The tiles are made of tempered glass and have been built to withstand impacts such as hail traveling at over 100 mph! With a lifetime warranty on the glass tiles and a 30 year warranty on the solar cells embedded within them, they are proving to be a great investment for any environmentally conscience household. The solar roof also allows homeowners freedom from “the grid” which gives back the power over the power to the owner and not the electric company.

Now for the real question…how much?!

Tesla states that its preliminary price for the solar roof is about $22 per square foot when mixed with traditional tiles or $42 per square foot for only solar tiles. Long-term payoffs are really dependent on the structure, location and size of your house and so Tesla has provided a price calculator that helps homeowners to determine if solar roofing leaves them with a return percentage on their investment over the course of the 30 year cell-life of the purchased tiles.

Now, as these preliminary prices seem steep for your average family who is not designing a luxury home, reports show that if Tesla can generate enough sales and return investments over the course of the next 5-10 years then costs of installation will surely go down significantly. This means we need to promote this “Green Scheme” design as much as possible and implement in our own lives if we have the means. The more sales we help generate, the brighter our future may look!

Check out more of these AMAZING tiles below:

-The Ecologist

Do as I say AND as I do

An example of incentives for a beach cleanup in Venice Beach, California!

So very many companies, organizations, and foundations SAY they want to “better the community”. They present their own “Green Scheme’s” from beautification of parks to restoration of habitats to beach cleanups. Although these “Green Scheme’s” seem appealing, some are actually what I like to call “green scams”. They pull at the moral heart strings of environmentalists, nature-lovers, economists and general hippies who occupy the community and when those are lacking, businesses love to back anything presented to them as being “green”. The scams generate enough economical interest to get off the ground but thats usually where the party ends. You may see a sign or two at the local park, pier or playground, or maybe you heard about it from a friend, or from a local news channel. Either way, these schemes always seem short lived and work is either not done at all or done and not maintained for the long-run. However, that is not why I consider these initiatives “green scams” per se. The issue with these short-term projects is that all the focus to “better the community” lies in the dollars and cents generated while an invaluable resources goes to waste in the process-THE COMMUNITY!

For a passionate initiative to gain steam and really make a difference in a community, especially like those encased in the fast-paced and unforgiving New York City, the community has to be the heart. Communities and townships all over the country DO come up with inventive ways to better their natural environments and to preserve the eco-centrisim that still lives there. Through positive incentives like food, beer, prizes and even money (another very important green), communities are making a difference on their own terms! I believe that adopting these ideas of beautifying/cleaning for a personal benefit whether it be a free slice of pizza, a free beer or a voucher for free entry to the newest nightclub, is the best way to get community members involved and engaged. It also brings attention and press to local businesses whose “foods for cause” or “freebies for helpers” may be enjoyed in numbers they would not have otherwise seen that day or week. Bringing revenue to local businesses and conservation to surrounding habitat is a recipe for a perfect “Green Scheme“! Let’s try to bring it home to NYC!

-The Economist