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Oil addiction is ugly

Grist, Gristmill
Watch this short eco-video, then make one of your own and enter it in the Ecospot Contest.

(Having trouble viewing the video? Download the latest version of Flash.)

Current TV and the Alliance for Climate Protection have teamed up to promote :60 Seconds to Save the Earth, a contest soliciting video public service announcements about climate change. They’re looking for 15-, 30-, or 60-second video spots that will showcase green action and spur public change.

60 Seconds to Save the Earth

A panel of celebrity judges (including Cameron Diaz, Orlando Bloom, Rihanna, and George Clooney) will whittle the entries down to 20 semifinalists, and the cream of the crop will then be determined by Current’s online community. The best ones will be aired internationally on Current TV and on MySpace’s Impact channel, and the top 20 submissions will bring home some cool loot: T-Mobile Sidekicks, a Sony entertainment system, or, for the grand-prize winner, a Toyota Highlander hybrid. The deadline for entries is September 12, so get that camera rolling.

Not a budding videographer? You can still play along by answering the Current Question on the Ecospot Contest page: Who would be in your dream carpool?
(9 September 2007)

Get Your Green on in Energyville

Susan Kuchinskas, Internet News
Chevron launched an online, interactive game designed to fuel discussion about the origin of our energy.

Energyville lets players select different energy sources to power their cities. They can choose from biomass, coal, solar, natural gas, petroleum, nuclear, wind or hydroelectric energy to run factories, light office buildings, and keep transportation and shipping moving along.

The game calculates the economic, security and environmental costs of each choice, and then calculates an energy management score. Next, the game reveals how the choices will impact the city in 2015 and 2030, a time at which Chevron calculates global energy demand will have risen by 50 percent.

Players can see how they scored against others and are then invited to join discussion forums.

The Economist Group, publisher of The Economist and CFO magazines, developed Energyville, which is its latest entry in Chevron’s “Will You Join Us” public information campaign launched in 2005. The campaign includes the Web site, television and print commercials.

“It’s part of a coherent communications platform we’re using to try to engage people broadly and around the world about energy issues,” said Chevron spokesman Alex Yelland. “We wanted it to be engaging enough for a broad audience, and yet deep enough into the issues to provide some real substance. You could spend five or 10 minutes playing it, selecting the kinds of energy sources you’d like, or spend much more time going through each individual energy source, finding out what kinds of impacts there are.”

…Chevron gained lots of attention for its Will You Join Us efforts. It was credited with being the first Big Oil company to raise the specter of Peak Oil, the theory that at some time, the world’s production of petroleum will reach its peak and, after that, begin to decline.

…One goal of the Energyville game, Yelland says, is to show consumers how complex the issue really is. “It tries to demonstrate that you need to achieve a certain balance between these issues if consumers want affordable transportation fuels and industry needs reliable power, how do you factor that in with supply and demand and impact?

Green-minded players will find that in Energyville, there’s no way to completely eliminate petroleum from the energy mix.
(4 September 2007)

The Dis-information Society

James Howard Kunstler
One question that readers ask me often is why the mainstream media is doing such a poor job of reporting the nexus of the global energy emergency and the turmoil in global finance. I maintain my “allergy” to conspiracy theories. There isn’t any clique of top-hatted Wall Street biggies with monocles joining with with gray-suited CIA-types to intimidate editors with tongs and electrodes. American culture has become self-dis-informing.

As my friend Peter Golden (blogger at Boardside) puts it so well: “When people lie, they know they are doing something wrong. But when they just make things up, there’s no consciousness of right or wrong at work. It seems morally okay to live in a fantasy world — and this is much more pernicious to the public discourse than lying.”

My friends, who are mostly ex-hippie, yuppie progressives, have been locked in prayer to exorcise the evil spirit of George W. Bush for six years, but they fail to recognize a more comprehensive failure of leadership in every sector of American life, and especially in the ones where a lot ex-hippies-now-yuppies run things. Our political leadership may be deplorable, but so is our leadership in business, education, the arts, and especially the media.
(10 September 2007)