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Joel Makower

Entries by Joel Makower

Obama and the Vision Thing

(1) Comments | Posted January 14, 2009 | 12:34 PM

There's long been a fundamental problem with the green world -- the myriad companies, activists, evangelists, politicians, clergy, thought leaders, and others who, each in their own way, have prodded us to address our planet's environmental ills. And it explains why, after four decades of the...

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Are Environmental Journalists an Endangered Species?

(3) Comments | Posted December 15, 2008 | 4:14 PM

For all the media reports about a surge in "green jobs," one place we won't likely be seeing them is in the media itself.

The past few weeks and months have been devastating for environmental journalism. Just after Thanksgiving, Fortune magazine gave layoff notices to Marc...

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Do Green Buildings Really Make a Difference?

(1) Comments | Posted November 30, 2008 | 4:53 PM

There's no question that green buildings represent one of the genuine success stories of green business. Thanks in large part to the LEED green building standard -- which established a solid set of benchmarks for answering the question "How good is 'good...

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Thinking Green in a Blue Economy

(0) Comments | Posted October 23, 2008 | 2:07 PM

A few weeks ago, I keynoted a conference of leaders from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area -- corporate executives, government officials, nonprofit leaders, and at least one university president. During the Q&A portion, one corporate VP asked how to weigh the implementation of environmental initiatives...

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California Puts Green Chemistry Under the Microscope

(1) Comments | Posted August 19, 2008 | 2:45 AM

There's a classic, geeky science joke that "Chemists have all the solutions." That's starting to appear true from an environmental perspective, though it remains to be seen whether those solutions will actually come to market.

Green chemistry, a common-sense discipline that's less than twenty years old,...

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WITTs, YOYOs, and Why Americans Don't Go Green

(9) Comments | Posted October 28, 2006 | 12:59 AM

The question of how to engage Americans on pressing environmental issues is a perennial one. Arguably, environmental activist groups haven't made much traction. After more than 35 years since the birth of the modern environmental movement, the major green nonprofits cumulatively engage only 3...

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Our Nuclear Summer

(31) Comments | Posted August 12, 2006 | 1:15 PM

For all the arguments made by the opponents of nuclear power -- that it is uneconomical, unsafe, a potential boon to terrorists, poses waste-disposal issues, and all the rest -- nuclear's biggest threat may come from...

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Clean Water and the Tao of Dow

(3) Comments | Posted August 1, 2006 | 12:41 PM

Dow Chemical announced last week that it would develop new technologies and solutions "for creating safer, more sustainable water supplies for communities around the world."

The announcement, part of Dow's 2015 Sustainability Goals, included a pledge to develop technologies focusing on desalination;...

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Who's Reviving the Electric Car?

(44) Comments | Posted July 7, 2006 | 3:32 AM

Who killed the electric car? Who cares? It's history!

What's far more interesting is who's working to bring electric cars to life. Despite the hype and buzz created by the recent debut of a passionate documentary film examining the life and premature death of...

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The 'Most Sustainable Cities': Houston, We Have a Problem

(7) Comments | Posted June 5, 2006 | 1:42 PM

The 2006 rankings of America's "most sustainable cities" were announced last week -- released, with more than a little irony, at a mayors' conference in Las Vegas -- and as usual they fomented a feeding frenzy for local media. Reporters in and...

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Why Aren't Americans 'Very Worried' About the Climate?

(53) Comments | Posted May 19, 2006 | 3:22 PM

It was barely six weeks ago that Time magazine warned us to "Be Worried. Be Very Worried" about climate change. The planet's climate, said the magazine, is "booby-trapped with tipping points and feedback loops, thresholds past which the slow creep of environmental...

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RenewUS: A Climate Movie with a Happy Ending (Really)

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2006 | 1:09 AM

If you do nothing else environmental this Earth Day week, watch this movie. It may be the most important four minutes you'll spend.

The assignment was this: You've got four minutes to get millions of busy, information-overloaded citizens concerned about climate change...

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Climate Labeling for Cars: Assessing the Toll of a New Machine

(6) Comments | Posted March 24, 2006 | 1:16 AM

What's the "sticker price" to the climate of that new car you're considering buying? Katherine Probst would like to help you answer that question.

Probst, a senior fellow at Resources for the Future, has proposed a "global warming performance" label that would appear on...

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Clean Energy Trends 2006

(7) Comments | Posted March 8, 2006 | 12:29 AM

My colleagues and I at Clean Edge have just released our fifth annual Clean Energy Trends report, showing the remarkable growth trajectory clean energy has taken -- and will continue to take.

In this year's free, downloadable report, Ron Pernick, Clint Wilder,...

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Next Steps for the Business Community

(2) Comments | Posted February 27, 2006 | 9:06 PM

The Worldwatch Institute has taken on the corporate establishment in the March-April issue of its monthly magazine, Worldwatch. As you'd expect from Worldwatch, it's a clear-eyed view of the greening of companies. But it also points up the relatively myopic perspective that nonprofits typically have of...

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Hybrids and Cleaner Vehicles: No Good Car Goes Unpunished

(26) Comments | Posted February 10, 2006 | 1:25 AM

This week, Wall Street Journal columnist Joseph White opined that "hybrid mania is about over," noting that some consumers apparently are deciding that these energy-efficient vehicles aren't, as it turns out, the greatest things since the horseless carriage. On the same day, over at the New...

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The 100 "Most Sustainable Companies," 2006 Edition

(3) Comments | Posted January 29, 2006 | 1:36 PM

The 2006 Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations, the second annual such rankings, has just been released at the World Economic Forum conference in Davos, Switzerland. The list was compiled by Corporate Knights and Innovest Strategic Value Advisors.

I was critical...

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Web 2.0 and the New Corporate Watchdogging

(2) Comments | Posted January 24, 2006 | 11:47 PM

The online world has been aflutter of late with talk of "Web 2.0," a suite of tools and technologies that define the next-gen Internet. You likely already know them: Web-based applications (where the software lives online instead of in your computer); online content-sharing communities...

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Green Marketing and the '4/40 Gap'

(2) Comments | Posted January 15, 2006 | 3:56 PM

The notion of "sustainable consumption and production" continues to be one of the more persistent and vexing challenges on the sustainability front. The challenge, of course: how to balance global consumers' seemingly infinite needs, desires, and aspirations with the planet's decidedly finite resources. Aligning...

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The State of Green Business: Good News and Bad

(1) Comments | Posted January 3, 2006 | 4:26 AM

Recently, after 15 years, I ceased publication of my monthly publication, The Green Business Letter. The reason, simply put, had to do with closing one door before opening others -- which I expect to do in 2006.

Following is adapted from the final edition, in which...

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