Link to Destiny (BTW, the tacky website makes me want to vomit– tries too hard to appeal to emotions and nostalgia). If it succeeds, it’s going to be the largest mecca of consumerism in the land that invented it.
Thanks to Barnard’s Retail Consulting Group, citizens in Syracuse, NY might soon have the largest megamall in the country. From what I gather, its a $25B project — involving 1M sq ft in retail and entertainment space, a waterpark, and 2 golf courses– but the green part is that its going to be powered entirely by renewable energy and be completely self-sufficient. The “green” megamall will be complete with biodiesel generators, solar panels, and even mini hydroelectric plants operating from snow from the roof.
The mall developers were trying to decide whether to make something financially successful or “do something right”. They finally came to the conclusion that they could do both; hence the green megamall was born. Prior to plans being made, developers met with scientists and realized that their costs over time would be reduced greatly by using alternative sources of off-grid energy. Green technology can raise the cost of the project by more than 30%, but this could pay for itself in less than 10 years.
I know this is somewhat bizarre to be creating a megamall that’s green, but its worth mentioning. Howie Hawkins, who’s the mayoral candidate from the Syracuse Green party suggested that the nature of a mall is anti-ecological as it depends on sprawling consumerism that exploits cheap labor and natural resources the world over. I agree with him, but I also agree with the president of the US Green Building council — who says they’ll build the megamall anyway, regardless if its sustainably built or not.
I have mixed feelings about the introduction of this megamall but ultimately my views are pragmatic and utilitarian– I’d prefer to see no megamall constructed but if it has to be, it might as well be green, right?
On the website, it also claims that operating without fossil fuels is just the start– that they’ll also reuse 100% of their water, recycle everything possible, use sustainably harvested wood, and the food sold in Destiny USA’s restaurants will be organically or locally grown. Not too bad at all, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
It’d be really something if they could dictate that stores would have to be “green certified” in order to open at Destiny USA (no clothes that exploit cheap labor, using 100% recycled post consumer content in packaging, etc.)– Though I doubt most would go through with that.
It’s been a while, hasn’t it? One of my New Year’s affirmations and promises to myself are to be more diligent in spending time updating my blog. I dont know how many of you have offline blogging tools, but I’ll tell you the only thing they accomplish is to help one procrastinate in updating a post. And, when one has procrastinated long enough to actually make several revisions, check and then double check the contents of the post… the actual material is old hat. No one wants to read about my idea to create a search engine based on something I like to call “PageRank”… nor does anyone care about the one I had where I could create a social bookmarks manager based on a folksonomy….
I think its pretty easy to find the problem here. Heck, the title of this blog is called YakShaving– which if you’ll remember from before is when people like me who have situational ADD can’t decide what to do so they just do it all at the same time.
:: turning over a new leaf ::
mark my words: You’re going to need to set up an RSS feed to see all the content flying out of here!
One thing that I often think is that to “convert” people to be envionmentalists is to appeal to other emotions and characteristics they might have. Namely, laziness. Many of my friends are lazy and are unlikely to do anything worthwhile for the environment unless they get anything in return. I like finding things that grease life’s gears and make people’s lives easier while having a positive environmental/economic impact on a macro level.
I know I know– Its been a while. Well I am back, and to provide you with some additional sensory pleasure to keep you content, here is my link to flickr: YakShaving’s photos. Enjoy! I’ll be back shortly to post some updated stuff that’s been sitting in my offline blog notepad forever.
Well, I’ve found my new favorite thing to do–Hiking. I had the chance to go to Colorado a few times this year for work. I really enjoyed the trips and decided to come back to try climbing Long’s peak, the tallest 14er in Rocky Mountain National Park. Although Nabeel (my friend from college) struggled quite a bit to get to the top (we never did actually get to the summit), it was still a great trip. If we had packed lighter, I have no doubt we would have been able to get to the top and back.
I recommend the trip to everyone- However, I must warn you that its not the place to go if you want solitude. It seems like everyone and their grandma want to try to climb one of the most celebrated trails in Backpacker magazine this past summer.
Well, the tables are finally starting to turn it seems. All those people who used to get obnoxiously large gas guzzling SUVs are downgrading– TreeHugger recently posted that Corollas and Civics are flying off the lots at dizzying rates compared to SUVs, whereas the new SUVs are going untouched though manufacturers and dealers are throwing incentives in to get rid of them.
Makes me wonder what American car manufacturers, whose obvious strength is the SUV and pickup truck, are going to do about this.
I talked to a friend about this who works at GM– In fact, I referred him to an article to get his opinion; He said that GM’s focus is on mass transit systems– For instance, the city of Seattle apparently uses GM hybrid buses to shuttle around its passengers. This strategy seems to make more sense- buses, on average waste a lot more fuel than cars and they’re mostly driving in the city. They have a lot of mass, so probably would generate a lot of power through regenerative braking. So, nice work, GM.
But my question is: WHY ON EARTH wouldn’t you message that to a wider audience of environmentally conscious consumers? We’re out here wondering what alternatives there are to the Prius and Civic hybrid, and why GM or Ford don’t have any offerings yet (Except for the Escape hybrid, which comes out later this year).
There’s no time like the present for environmental consumption and its only going to get better. My prediction: the market for environmentally sound products and services is going to abound in the next 10-15 years.
As I was on Amazon looking for a review for the next-great-business-book-that-is-supposed-to-single-handedly-solve-all-problems-in-the-universe, I ran across this little logo, , and I was wondering what the heck it meant.
Amazon uses an interesting concept radical to the virtual world. As consumers in the past have been skeptical and even mistrusting when it comes to divulging their personal information on the net, instead using AOL-screenname-ized online personalities.
A Real Name(TM) attribution is a signature based on the name entered by the author as the cardholder name on his or her credit card, i.e. the author represents this name as his/her identity in the “real world.”
So the message this sends to the user is that this guy is not blowing smoke out of his 455– He could potentially lose credibility by giving false information. Is this a big deal? Not necessarily. But it opens the door to a new concept of verification of an online identity a-la-verisignability. Is there potential for a business model that runs based on identifying real-honest-to-goodness truthful people (and not crazed net-villains), without divulging their vital stats? Hmmm…
Happy Earth Day 2005. Yes, I know, I’m a day late, but it doesnt matter, because technically, Every day is earth day, as the saying goes. Well, I did my part. I volunteered at EarthFest 2005 in Shawnee Mission Park. Unfortunately I got stuck as the parking attendant so I didnt get to interact with as many people as I wanted to until a little later in the day when I walked around all the booths. I must admit, Earth day is one of my favoritest holidays in the year. I love seeing so many people together- especially children- who are so passionate about the importance of sustaining our environment. Oh I also met 3 Wolverines there. Go Blue.
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus wrote an article called the Death of Environmentalism, that is important for all environmentalists to read. It provokes those of us who self designate ourselves as “environmentalists” to wake up and smell the Global Warming.
From Shellenberger’s article:
“But in their public campaigns, not one of America’s environmental leaders is articulating a vision of the future commensurate with the magnitude of the crisis. Instead they are promoting technical policy fixes like pollution controls and higher vehicle mileage standards — proposals that provide neither the popular inspiration nor the political alliances the community needs to deal with the problem.”
Shellenberger continues to make a strong case that we are not yet moving beyond stop-gap solutions to address the causes of global warming. Japan and the Pacific Rim countries are finding better recipes, but the U.S. and Europe are just cooking more. I agree with Shellenberger.
There was a piece on NPR on Earth Day that was very interesting about environmentalists. Bryan Welch from Mother Earth News magazine discussed environmentalism from a partisan perspective. He suggested that the “environment” has turned into a liberal banner. Moreover, conservatives have equated environmentalism with extremism.
Even moderate conservatives often are led to have a cynical view of environmentalists, inventing terms like “tree hugger”. I’d like to point out that this is a horrible opinion to have. The earth is shared by everyone regardless of party affiliation. One realizes this sense of togetherness when they go to these earth day events, that it really is up to everyone to make a difference– whether government, industry, or consumers.
The number of Americans who agreed that, “Most of the people actively involved in environmental groups are extremists, not reasonable people,” leapt from 32 percent in 1996 to 41 percent in 2000.
The takeaway I think people should take from the two articles: The environment encompasses a lot more than an external system, and human beings are not separate or superior to the “natural world”. Taking this Gaia-esque view of the world will reduce the implications of framing the global warming as an environmental problem (and hopefully, viewed more as a human problem that needs to be discussed prior to irrelevant discussions about terrorism that effect substantially smaller percentage of the population.)
When I was looking up relevant titles for this blog, I had a significantly hard time. I finally decided upon yak shaving.
I got it from Seth Godin’s blog, who got it from Joi Ito’s blog.
Why is “yak shaving” applicable to this blog?
Well, its not really. But I frequently run into the situation where I am trying to solve a problem by solving a problem by solving a problem several problems later. Only most of the time its not related to programming… its related to some random task that I have for the day.
The reasoning for using the moniker seems like a stretch.. But often times, disruptive innovation emerges from cross pollination. It is my hope, that by ruminating and writing about the world’s problems, one day I (or a reader) will have an epiphany to develop a unique business model fostering social enterprise or sustainable development.