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globalbriefs


News and resources to inspire concerned citizens to work together in building a healthier, stronger society that benefits all.


Silver Lining Cleaning Up the Cloud


The New York Times has reported that “cloud” data centers— which store YouTube videos, run Google searches and process eBay bids—use about 2 percent of all electricity in the nation. In some data centers, up to 90 percent of the energy is wasted. Now, an industry consortium called the Uptime Institute is sponsoring a “server roundup” and handing out rodeo belt buckles to the Internet company that can take the largest num- ber of heat-producing, energy-hungry servers offline. Many


centers expend as much or more energy in cooling their facilities as in computing and transmitting data. Sharing best practices has become common among data center pros. Facebook


won the Institute’s Audacious Idea award last year for its Open Compute Project, which enabled both its server and data center designs to be open-sourced for anyone to access and improve upon.


Source: Slate.com


Better Barters Swapping Trash for Fresh Produce


Mexico City’s innovative monthly Mercado del Trueque (barter market) in Chapultepec Park is a winning trifecta for citizens, local vegetable and plant vendors and the city’s secretariat of the environment. There, residents can exchange cardboard, paper, glass, aluminum, plastic bottles, electronic devices and other waste for paper chits that are redeemed at kiosks for vouchers worth points. The traders can then use the vouchers to buy tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, lem- ons and other produce from participating farmers from surrounding districts. Mexico produces 40 million tons of garbage annually, but only recycles about 15 percent. With this barter system, farmers have gained a new place to sell their produce and earn extra income, while the materials collected are processed for industrial reuse.


Source: IPSNews.net


Nordic Order Sweden Running Out of Garbage


Sweden’s successful recycling program ensures that only 4 percent of the country’s waste ends up in landfills, while the other 96 percent is reused. But this means incin- erators that burn waste to create heat and electricity are running short on fuel. As a so- lution, Sweden has recently begun to import about 800,000 tons of trash every year from


other European countries, most of it from neighboring Norway, which finds it a cost-effective option.


Find details at Tinyurl.com/SwedishWaste. 16 New York City Edition NaturalAwakeningsNYC.com


Thrifty


Threads Levi’s Latest Sustainable Moves


World record holder and Olympic cham- pion sprinter Usain Bolt will soon model Puma boots that are “made for rotting,” and when the next Levi Strauss collection arrives, their new jingle will be, “These jeans are made of garbage.” Crushed brown and green half- liter plastic bottles will be on display at retail store displays, of which the equiva- lent of eight, or 20 percent, are blended into each pair of Waste<Less jeans. Nike and Gap have their own sustainability programs, and Patagonia has long supported a small ecosystem of Earth-friendly suppliers. But as the biggest maker of jeans in the world, with sales of $4.8 billion in 2011, Levi’s efforts com- mand the most attention.


Levi joined the Better Cotton Initiative, a group of companies that work with local nongovernmental organizations in Pakistan, India, Brazil and Mali to teach farmers how to grow cotton with less water. Last year marked the first cotton harvest given this effort and Levi has blended its share into more than 5 million pairs of jeans. With cotton prices on the rise and pressure from activist groups such as BSR, an environmental organization that works with businesses, large clothing manufac- turers are starting to adopt more sustain- able practices.


Source: Business Week NA Fun Fact:


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