Using Nanotechnology to Desalinate Water

Nanotechnology Desalinization
Some interesting news came out of Lawrence Livermore Labs recently that applies nnanotechnology to a desalinization process, making sea water safe to drink.

A few articles already exist on this, so I’ll just link to them here.

Lawrence Livermore Press Release: Nanotube membranes offer
possibility of cheaper desalination

Nanotechweb: Carbon nanotube membrane filters fast

WorldChanging: Nanotechnology for Clean Water

Ford Helps Their Customers Buy Emission Offsets

When companies announce a plan to get X percent of their energy from wind, solar, or other reneable energy source, it most likely means that they will do it by buying energy credits.

However, the public might perceive these announcements to imply a different story– that a huge number of solar panels were ordered and placed on the roofs of all the company’s buildings. Not likely. Realistically, the company will probably use energy that was generated via fossil fuels.

The disconnect between the two pictures might be upsetting but purchasing energy credits is theoretically the most efficient way for companies to do this.

It looks like Ford is bringing a similar model to all its drivers– CNN reports that the auto company has partnered with Terapass so that “Drivers can pay clean energy firms to remove the same amount of pollution cars create.”

Ford Motor Co. said it will give consumers concerned about harmful greenhouse emissions an opportunity to invest in clean energy projects via a new Web Site that will calculate suggested investments based on the amount of carbon dioxide produced while driving.

I think this is a great idea and it gives all those guilty SUV drivers an easy option to help the environment. Its much easier than trading up for a Prius. The model isn’t perfect though– the NY Times says the model has shortcomings:

Although TerraPass certainly works on a free-market principle, it’s lacking the element of naked self-interest that would drive a truly global change. A more exact parallel to the cap-and-trade system would be one in which drivers who saved fuel by moseying down a 60 miles-per-hour lane could accrue electronic passes they could sell the next morning on eBay to whoever needed to dart to work or the airport that morning at 70 m.p.h. The market for environmental righteousness may be growing, but surely not as fast as the market for speed.

Directionally, we’re headed in the right direction and that’s great by me.

Related Links:
Coase theorem
Energy Credits

Getting Rid of Your Old PC In A Responsible Way (cont’d)

Just saw this totally relevant announcement: Apple Offers Free Computer Take-Back Program

Apple today announced an expansion of its successful recycling program, offering free computer take-back and recycling with the purchase of a new Macintosh® system beginning in June.

Here is a link to my prior post: Getting Rid of Your Old PC In A Responsible Way

Getting Rid of Your Old PC In A Responsible Way

Got my laptop back so I will be back to regularly posting (after a 2 week hiatus).

So this post will conclude my series on  computer related posts.  (See my prior posts: The Truth (and Dangers) of Computer Recycling, and TechSoup Stock- Connecting Nonprofits With Technology Product Donations from Leading Providers)

This final post (in this series) points to a pretty useful article on Cnet’s that provides instructions on how to trash your pc in an eco-friendly way.

It’s done in a FAQ (frequently asked questions) format and provides some pretty good answers to some great questions.
Most of you might not be ready to trash a computer right now, but when you are, surf back over here and find out how to do it in a responsible manner!

The Truth (And Dangers) of Computer Recycling

Good news: I got my laptop back.  Bad news: It was still broken so I had to ship it back.

Anyhow, on the topic of computers– I wanted to post about this article that gives us some insight into computer recycling.  What should be a great and environmentally friendly practice is oftentimes not environmentally healthy, and a dangerous health hazard to many third world workers involved in the practice.

More than 50 percent of our recycled computers are shipped overseas, where their toxic components are polluting poor communities. Meanwhile, U.S. laws are a mess, and industry and Congress are resisting efforts to stem “the effluent of the affluent.”

I’ve blogged about some success stories in recycling (see Recycling Old Cell Phones); however, there seems to be many occasions where these programs do more harm than good.

Using Technology To Enable Social Entrepreneurs

When I started this site, my intention was to promote and support social entrepreneurship the best way I knew how. Given my experience in the internet startup space, bringing my tech/internet expertise to the table was the clearest and most effective path for me to take.

I started with a few ideas, mainly pro bono technology services for local social entrepreneurs. When blogging gained momentum, I let it take its unfettered course.

Why am I reminding you of this?
Well, I want to hark back to my roots for a minute so the next several posts will be technology oriented.
Just giving you guys a heads up. 🙂

Join the Net Impact / Ethos Walk for Water Challenge 2006

Net Impact Walk for Water Challenge 2006
Join the Net Impact / Ethos
Walk for Water Challenge 2006

For all of our members in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Hartford, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, DC:

As some of you may know, in 1992, the UN General Assembly designated March 22 as “World Water Day” to draw international attention to the critical lack of clean, safe drinking water worldwide. It is a time when we are encouraged to pause and consider the largest public health issue of our time – the global scarcity of clean water.

Continue reading at

Related posts on Social ROI Blog:
Social ROI » Inefficiencies– The Bottled Water Industry

Related news articles:
Critics rail against ‘stealth’ privatization as World Water Forum opens

Ashoka’s Changemakers Invites Social Entrepreneurs To Tell Their Stories

Ashoka Changemakers
Karin Hillhouse of Ashoka recently left a comment on a previous post that deserves some attention. She introduces us to Ashoka’s new feature on Changemakers– Are You a Changemaker?— which:

…invites changemakers of every stripe anywhere in the world to submit their stories…their projects…for global consideration, impact, policy change, funders’ investment, media attention…on the site.

Each month, a panel of judges selects entries from the “Are You a Changemaker” submissions to be included in a Changemakers Directory of Social Entreprenuers. Visitors to the Web site vote for three of these entries and the top vote-winners become the “Changemakers of the Month.”

If you are a social entrepreneur and you want to share your story, head over to Changemakers and fill out this form!

Another Blogroll That Deserves A Shout Out: 4Nonprofits

4Nonprofits is a blog run out of the Wilson Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Pace University here in New York City.

The blog features news and commentary presented by Rob Johnston, (a fellow Yalie, woot!)

I’m adding 4nonprofits to the “blogs I read” section (over on the right —>) and also adding a direct link to the blogroll they’ve put together over there, which lists lots of interesting and relevant blogs.

Check it out if you haven’t yet.