Sunday, January 20, 2008

The Story of Stuff, and an angry letter

I recently watched the video The Story of Stuff with some friends. (Warning, previous link has sound...) In a succinct twenty-minute whirlwind, it does a broad survey of the often-overlooked environmental and social problems caused by our modern-day consumer economy. The tone was irreverent and frequently over-the-top. I found that amusing, but it could likely be off-putting to those who don't already have a concern for these issues. Nevertheless, I was impressed by how the filmmakers neatly outlined the problems and listed some of the solutions, in such a short video.

On a related note, I bought some pantyhose the other day, and when I opened it, I was disgusted at the amount of packaging it used. Really, there was more packaging than pantyhose. So I fired off a quick note to Hanesbrands, Inc.:
I recently bought a Hanes Luxe Solutions Comfort Thigh High. When I opened the package, I was appalled at how excessive and environmentally-unfriendly the packaging was. There was an outer vinyl(?) package, a cardboard cover, an inner plastic sleeve, and another piece of cardboard backing. This amount of packaging is totally wasteful and unneccessary.

As a consumer, I am perfectly capable of evaluating a product without it being overpackaged for my examination. As a global company, Hanesbrands Inc. is perfectly capable of the minor degree of innovation required to redesign the package to use fewer and more eco-friendly materials, while still protecting and displaying the product attractively. Furthermore, reducing the amount of packaging could even reduce manufacturing and transportation costs for Hanesbrands.

After this recent product experience drew my attention to Hanesbrands, I researched Hanesbrands' track record for environmental and social responsibility on the Responsible Shopper website, I was very disappointed at my findings. I hope that Hanesbrands make a more sincere and substantive effort to address its tarnished record, perhaps starting with a simple reevaluation and redesign of its product packaging. Until then, I will take my business elsewhere, away from Hanesbrands.

I try to take a few minutes to send a note to a company if I feel strongly that their practices could use improvement. I know that my letter is only a drop in the bucket, but hey, with enough drops you can overflow the bucket.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

More green job leads/resources

Making a note to myself about a couple of green job leads/resources.

First, the Sierra Magazine article Hot Jobs for a Warming Planet gives some ideas and includes links to green job listing websites. They forgot about engineering, though!

Also, my friend J. emailed me the following:

"My friend is starting a social venture called up in Berkeley. Please read about it at If you are interested in learning more I can put you in touch with him. He was doing his PhD in environment engineering at Berkeley and took a leave to pursue this company with his advisor."

And here's the job description from Taoit:

Taoit - Web Developer

Do you want to use your talents, skills, and creativity to change the world? So do we. Taoit is building an information platform and suite of tools to inform consumers about the environmental, social, and health impacts of products and companies, and to empower them to take actions to improve their lives and the world around them. We are a top-tier VC funded startup at the forefront of integrating science, technology, and consumer research to empower consumers around the world. We are located in downtown Berkeley, steps from BART, great restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, and the University of California. We are looking for a superstar web developer to join our founding team and to help us change the world. The web developer will help to build all aspects of the Taoit website, from front-end to back-end, through the use of world class programming skills employing Ruby on Rails/Agile/TDD/REST.

• Implement key website features with speed, agility, and precision;
• Be involved in the entire application stack, from back-end database to user interface implementation;
• Collaborate with small team of developers.

• Ruby on Rails programming skills;
• Extensive and demonstrable experience building consumer-facing web applications;
• Driven by agile methodologies, test-driven development, and a deep sense of pride in written code;
• Passion for writing concise, clear, and elegant code that supports accessible web standards;
• Excellent interpersonal and communication skills;
• Master of key web development tools weapons, including RoR, MySQL, HTML, XML, CSS, Javascript, Ajax, and Flash.

• Competitive base salary, benefits, and early stage equity.

To apply, please send your resume to:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Subscribe to my blog by email

You can now sign up to get email updates from my blog. Simply enter your email address in the form on the right and click "Subscribe". Whenever I post a new entry on my blog, it will be delivered to your inbox!