One of my only regular commenters (in fact, my only one recently) sent me a note the other day...
yo update your blog.. wtf man.. how can i learn anything without you??
It occurred to me that it has been over a week since my last update. Not only that, the other blog has gone just as long without crisp, fresh content. I'd make excuses but that wouldn't do anything to mitigate the lack of JoshIsJosh content so I'll just go ahead and make some content. And I'm going to do it every day for 7 days. And it won't even be just 7 links posted.
Here's to you, Bridget ;)
UPS: lesser of several evils
I spend some of my browsing time on vwvortex.com (not nearly as much as I used to, thankfully) and have noticed a marked increase in well-spoken car nuts who also happen to think what we do to the environment is deplorable. One of these nuts said something very interesting a while ago (I'm paraphrasing):
Want to do something about the environment and the energy crisis? Don't worry about the difference between 30 and 35 MPG on your compact sedan, stop buying things that need to be shipped. You're out-of-season fruit and trendy clothing made in Europe does more damage than you could ever do with your own car.
That quote stuck with me and is one of the reasons I choose local produce when I can (plus it tends to be cheaper). This quote, however, doesn't seem to occur to me when I buy electronics from Newegg or books from Amazon. If it needs electricity, stores data, and/or incorporates wires in any way, it is shipped to my door from Whittier, CA, pretty much no exception.
Like I mentioned in a previous post about career choice and green-ness, caring about the planet and where your next drop of water or electron is coming from is tied into more things than your MPG and how many CFLs your house has in it. Probably the biggest problem we're going to have with this massive social change is getting people to give up important things that don't seem to be contributing greatly to the problem - like imported goods, mail-order, and unsustainable materials.
This is going to lead to an ENORMOUS rant if I don't go ahead and jump straight to the point... which is that some companies (driven probably by monetary concerns) are doing the sustainable thing, lessening the impact that our consumer culture is having on the planet. One of these companies is Brown, aka UPS.
UPS (NYSE: UPS) today announced it has ordered 200 hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) - the largest commercial order of such trucks by any company - in addition to another 300 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles for its U.S. delivery fleet.
But this goes beyond the drop-in-the-bucket of diesel fuel saved by a few hundred trucks running around the clock. This is MASSIVE and PRICELESS data about how hybrids hold up, what kind of technology can make them better, and how to optimize them for start-stop city driving (of the worst kind). This goes way beyond the typical Prius for the sheer fact that delivery trucks, next to city buses and taxicabs, are probably the most abused vehicles on the planet. On top of that, they're big, they have to be maneuverable (not only turning radius but acceleration), and they shouldn't be breaking down in the middle of a delivery route.
Hybrids are somewhat unproven in the public eye. People are still afraid of the technical complexity, the longevity of the battery, and the amount of computer control that is going on in a hybrid. I think this will go a LONG way towards correcting that bias.
On the subject of UPS and the environment... check out their press section detailing the sustainable work they've done. I'm very impressed!
UPS Expands "Green Fleet" with 306 Alternative Fuel Vehicles
UPS (NYSE:UPS) today announced it was adding 306 alternative fuel vehicles to its "green fleet" by placing an order for 167 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) delivery trucks while taking delivery of 139 new propane delivery trucks in North America. Additionally, the company has launched an initiative to use biodiesel fuel in its ground support vehicles at the UPS Worldport® air hub in Louisville.
Energy Lab to Evaluate Performance of UPS Hybrid-Electric Vans
New delivery trucks expected to save fuel, reduce harmful emissions. The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is collecting and analyzing maintenance, fuel economy and other vehicle performance data from 50 UPS hybrid diesel step delivery vans powered by an Eaton Corp. electric hybrid propulsion system.
EPA Unveils Unique Hydraulic Hybrid Diesel Delivery Truck with UPS, International Truck and Engine, Eaton and U.S. Army
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today unveiled the first-ever series hydraulic hybrid diesel urban delivery vehicle, which will provide dramatic improvements in fuel economy and in emission reductions. The development of the hydraulic hybrid is the result of a partnership between the EPA, U.S. Army, UPS, International Truck and Engine Corporation and Eaton Corporation.