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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day Roundup

Links to some interesting reading this Earth Day:

Green IT. A couple months ago I posted about "Green IT" and the growing awareness that information technology demands fuel and creates emissions like all other energy consuming activities. But this article in the BBC took me by surprise... email SPAM is a major contributor to IT energy consumption, utilizing 33bn kilowatt-hours of energy every year, enough to power more than 2.4m home, and in the process contributing 17 million tons of carbon dioxide to our greenhouse gas burden.

Green Education. A bit of good news for all the non-profits making efforts to educate their constituency about green issues: it makes a difference. The EPA reports that there is a measurable improvement in air quality associated with environmental education.
Nearly half of the surveyed institutions hosting education programs reported an improvement in air quality at their facilities due to actions taken by students, including doing service-learning projects and fostering community partnerships. Examples include decreased levels of carbon monoxide and mold, and enactment of a policy that decreased car or bus idling.
Green Markets? Free-marketeers have been extolling the value of "Cap and Trade" solutions to control emissions... but there is mounting evidence that it is not so simple. An article in the British New Scientist reviews the results of the ETS (Emissions Trading Scheme) currently in place in the EU. The approach works when the price of permits is high. But if the value falls, the incentive to improve emissions falls right with it:
As heavy industries mothball factories, energy use drops and demand for permits goes down. At the same time businesses try to raise cash by selling their unused permits, flooding the market and further depressing prices. French energy company EDF recently complained that carbon markets were failing just like the market for subprime mortgages. As a result, all kinds of green energy schemes are grinding to a halt.

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