Wednesday, September 29, 2010

If you're not from the US, would you recognize an "apple core"?

Do only Americans throw away this much of an apple?
In the rest of the world, I'm told, there's no such thing as an "apple core". What's left after eating an apple is, maybe a handful of seeds and a stem, or maybe not. That's what's left after I eat an apple. For what we pay for organic apples, I figure, why waste any of it?

If you eat only 3/4 of a daily apple, do you keep away only 3 out of 4 doctors?

What do you think? Maybe you can enlighten me on this?

Image courtesy I take it Marion County, Oregon, grows a lot of apples. I'm sure they'd want them put to good use.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Hunch confirmed-- CIOs tossing Green IT aside

A few weeks ago I started sharing my impression that Green IT has fallen off the rader of most IT leaders. The Green-savvy CIO of a suburban Philadelphia pharma research firm then told me his offer to present to a regional IT conference was turned down, because "The whole Green IT track was canceled due to lack of interest."

Today, I read in Information Week's 2010 survey that Green IT is "dead in terms of priorities--or at least on life support."

"How else to explain the paltry 5% who cite a 'more eco-friendly environment' as a top 2010 innovation effort," IW continues. "...Companies talk a great 'sustainability' game. It's just that IT teams tend to come at green IT through the cost-cutting door."

Cost-cutting is great, of course. It's a key part of keeping a company in business and thriving. But doing only that, while losing sight of the sustainability advantages of virtualization, consolidation, moving to the Cloud, and the like, means throwing away important benefits.

Top leaders at many firms know sustainability is of growing importance to their firms' survival, as well as to the planet.Many individual employees know it, too. When IT leaders lose sight of sustainability, they risk cutting themselves out of the loop. It's like the 1980s all over again, when IT, then called MIS, let itself become just another service silo inside the out-of-touch enterprise.

By contrast, CIO magazine Executive Editor Elana Varon points out that "CIOs can contribute to developing eco-friendly products." This is green for a business purpose, and it can happen only in an environment that has fully embraced sustainability as a core business purpose.

Here are a few excerpts from that article. You can find the details for yourself at CIO Magazine.
  • At Whirlpool (WHR), CIO Kevin Summers is helping with an initiative to build smarter appliances...All of those appliances on a smart grid are like PCs on a network.”
  • David Kepler, CIO and chief sustainability officer with Dow Chemical (DOW), says customers want more sustainable—and sustainably produced—materials. So IT provides tools for managing energy and greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing plants, as well as for thinking through how buildings that use the company’s solar roofing shingles connect to the local electric utility.
This multi-year recession and its massive layoffs have left the remaining IT staffs overworked and exhausted. Many feel much more committed to environmental causes than to their own employers, who they are likely to abandon at the first opportunity. Firms can say what they want in their well-funded Green PR campaigns. ITers will hear only the ringing silence of their own managers on the subject.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Micro-contracts: a boon to environmental protection, or the end of civilization as we know it?

It often happens that when I see something new, the ideas and possible applications start popping. While it can be very distracting at times, at other times it can be useful.

I discovered a company named EchoSign that, via the Web, captures, tracks, validates and assures signatures on contracts. What could you do with a micro-contract environment that's as easy to manage as an e-commerce storefront?

First, I would demand quick, real-time monitoring, validation and assurance of sustainability measures that entities have undertaken, particularly natural resource extraction firms. Then I would extend it from there, into other kinds of complicated projects.

Here are a few reasons, off the top of my head, that this capability could become ubiquitous:
1. business functions are virtualizing, flattening, and accelerating, driving an explosion in partner relationships.

2. That, plus increasing regulatory and transparency pressures, is driving an explosion in contractual relationships.

3. I foresee (if it isn't happening already) the ongoing data explosion driving the evolution of a new legal entity, a sort of digital sub-contract, in which line items and other more granular components of contracts require sign-offs, validation, tracking, and the like. Note that the only reason we don't have these already, is that nobody has wanted to be responsible for managing them. It's a classic case of advancing technology creating a new job for itself, and thus its justification: we do it because we can.

4. Similar to 3: Iterative methodologies such as Agile and Scrum are permeating the development of all kinds of business processes, not just IT/ICT projects. It might be nice to have a micro-tracking tool that also, incidentally, represents a legal commitment.

5. As in 4, environmental initiatives, especially among partner entities and governments, could really benefit from a ready-made, easy to use tracking and validation platform that can manage myriad deliverables, dates, and other such project performance details. While such tools do exist, they're usually buried deep within expensive, complicated and proprietary enterprise systems. Putting this into a Web-based, as-needed, just-in-time service radically changes what we can manage.

On the other hand, these may all be terrible ideas, and we'll just enable a level of paralyzing micro-management and mega-litigation like we've never seen. I hope that's not the case.

(c) 2010 David Calloway

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lose Up To 4500 lb FAST!

Now, I have to admit-- I'd be a hypochrite to wear this on a T-Shirt myself.

While volunteering for BikePhilly 2010, I envisioned this image for the many people I've met who have given up their cars, upgraded their bikes, rent a PhillyCarShare or ZipCar when they need to, and get younger looking every year.

Join the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia at

Friday, September 10, 2010

Free Report and Assessment Tool: Evaluating, Assessing, and Reducing the Carbon Impact of ICT

Evaluating, Assessing, and Reducing the Carbon Impact of ICT is a free report offered by the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI).
GeSI’s ICT (or IT, as it’s called only in the US) Enablement Methodology “provides immediate guidance on the process of identifying and quantifying the CO2 effects of implementing an ICT solution.” It comes with an Assessment Worksheet.

Three things I want to gain from this: 1. Determine the value this report can bring IT, or ICT, units in this region; 2. Find clues to why people promoting "Green IT" solutions still seem to be separate from the overall corporate sustainability community; and 3. Identify what I can do to change that.

ICT, by the way, is what the rest of the planet calls IT. It stands for Information and Communication Technology. This term far better describes what most of us do as ITers. As IT moves increasingly to the Cloud and the Internet, which are themselves becoming indistinguishable, Communication becomes even more central to all we do.

The Global e-Sustainability Initiative, based in Brussels, “brings together leading ICT companies – including telecommunications service providers and manufacturers as well as industry associations – and non-governmental organisations committed to achieving sustainability objectives through innovative technology.”

Many familiar names are members of this organization: Microsoft, Verizon, HP, Deutche Telecom (parent of T-Mobile), Cisco, and more.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The ROI of green IT | Green IT - InfoWorld

The ROI of green IT Green IT - InfoWorld: "The ROI of green IT"

Things that make IT greener, also make it more efficient, more effective, more agile, and friendlier to the business side. In fact, Green IT makes so much sense, it's almost a no-brainer. And that's a problem.

It is my hunch that IT organizations that launch "Green IT" initiatives outside the overall Corporate Sustainability tent risk costing their organizations in a variety of ways. I'll talk about these in my next post.

If you have any experience that either confirms or contradicts this assertion, please talk about it here, or email me at greenitdigest at comcast dot net.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Social m-Learning can enable eco-alignment

e-learning and m-learning (mobile learning) can be pivotal forces in making the workforce as a whole more eco-savvy, both in attitude and in practice. m-Learning is especially promising, because it supports just-in-time, on-the-job learning, while a job task is being performed.

In a social media context, m-learning allows active mentoring and guidance at far lower cost than has ever been possible. Now, the many corporate leaders who are committed to improving their environmental performance can do more than just preach and hope. They can provide the tools for all their employees to walk the talk in reality.

BTW, I could really use some suggestions for Labels for posts like this. Mostly, I just make up my metadata, but that's lousy SEO practice. Any suggestions?