Friday, January 04, 2008

Oprah Winfrey "Going Green 101"

Oprah Winfrey today (Friday Jan 4) did a show "Going Green 101". Matt Damon and Sheryl Crow make cameos in the Internet ad. The main link is this.

Oprah came on stage wearing a dark green sweater that looks especially sharp on color TV. He opening question was about supermarket checkout: paper bags, or plastic? We all know plastic is getting outlawed in some places (San Francisco). She says both are wrong. Buy a cloth bag and use it for shopping, with a separate produce bag. She went on to present some guests, such as Elizabeth Rogers with "The Green Book" who suggested using one less napkin a day. The Barnett family came on with a presentation of a number of toxin-free cleaning products that don't leave any odor. The companies or brands involved were Schackley, Seventh Generation, and Method. It's easy to imagine that companies with these products would generate home-based business distributorships. The show didn't go into that, but it's pretty obvious that these products lend themselves to that (in comparison to the Amway business model).

An elementary school teacher discussed how to recycle and buy designer label clothes from environmentally friendly businesses. Another visitor discussed reusable water bottles, which can be made out of aluminum and presented in attractive colors for the gym. Another suggestion concerned the use of smart power strips, to make it easier to completely turn off appliances, electronics and computers when not in use (if plugged in they still draw some current). Of course, electronics should be protected by power surge strips anyway (the show did not go into uninterruptible power supplies, but that would be worthy to discuss).

There was a comment to the effect that a typical family uses the equivalent of four trees a month if it does not recycle. This number may have included the "carbon footprint" -- how many trees it would take to convert, by photosynthesis, the carbon dioxide that the family generates.

Another suggestion was to not print the receipts at ATM's (although some ATM's don't work unless you print them). The same would hold for receipts when purchasing gasoline by credit cards.

A new Discovery Channel "Planet Earth" (link) series was discussed, and it is now available on DVD.

Visitors should check out Carbonfund 's own blog, link here.

Special Note: PBS "By the People" Series

Tonight, Jan. 4, Jim Lehrer hosted the latest "By the People" installment. This time, there was a meeting of fifty influential Americans to draft a "Declaration of Citizenship for the 21st Century" during a four day conference in colonial Williamsburg, VA. The broadcast ran on PBS WETA Channel 26 in Washington from 10:30 PM for one hour. The meeting appeared to take place in the Capitol Building itself in Williamsburg (for which public tours are available; I had taken one back in 1995). There was mention of the idea that reducing the polarization of the big issues of the day requires more responsibility from ordinary citizens, especially to be informed as to the details as to how democracy actually works. I had paid for a commitment this evening before learning of the broadcast, so I saw only the last twenty minutes of it. The link for the show is here. The main "By the People" link on PBS is here.

I will try to find out where I can see the the remaining broadcasts and report on them later with a separate, more detailed blog entry. I had proposed ideas like this myself, especially in my first 1997 book, and later with the idea of a "Bill of Rights 2" along with a "Bill of Responsibilities" and this seems to be in the same spirit, so I will look into BTP in detail. Certainly, Oprah's program on "Going Green 101" earlier today on ABC fits the spirit of this series.

Netflix offers a film called "By the People: Democracy in the Wild" which I have placed in my rental queue. I don't know if it's related to this series.

(The second picture here deals with challenging the "don't ask don't tell" policy for gays in the military. Capacity for military service when needed still sounds to me like a basic citizenship responsibility.)

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