My parents, Al and Ethel, may have been the only married couple at Woodstock who didn’t take drugs. They were covering the festival for the newspaper my father ran, the Middletown NY Times Herald-Record — the only paper in the world to publish daily stories, witnessed from the ground, for which, they were told, they almost won the Pulitzer Prize. In a Huffington Post piece, my mother explains just how that happened:
Eco-labeling is becoming globally hot, thanks in part to Walmart. Here are two perspectives. The first is from Stephen Stokes of AMR Research, by way of Climate Inc., edited by David Levy, Professor of Management at UMass, Boston.
Addressing climate change and other environmental issues requires real action at the facility and process level – just creating product labels may not be effective
Walmart’s product environmental labeling aspirations went public in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal last month and sent ripples of fear and excitement considerably more widely. Excitement for software and service vendors who anticipate a lucrative business supporting Walmart’s product labeling program. Fear for its 100,000 suppliers who will be required to generate the detailed data needed for Walmart’s environmental labels. Walmart will soon be sending an initial survey to all its suppliers with questions regarding their sustainability practices.
Walmart plans to develop labels based on a standardized index of the environmental impact of every product on its shelves. This ambitious project demands that Walmart’s suppliers develop accurate and defendable estimates at the SKU level of the greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, air pollution, and other measures for all the inputs required to source, manufacture and ship their goods. Walmart’s Chief Merchandising Officer John Fleming made clear that it would require participation from suppliers across the board.
In designing environmental initiatives, there is a need to pragmatically consider what’s achievable, what’s desirable, and what is likely to actually make a difference to the environment. Rushing to force a product labeling agenda too quickly will result in a lack of standards and expectations, and potentially lead to disappointing outcomes and a great deal of consumer confusion.
Transformation from the Grinch to the Gentle Green Giant
What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
As the Ecclesiastes quote suggests, coming up with original ideas has always been hard. Whenever I research something I am thinking about writing, I inevitably find that someone has already come up with the basic idea or phrase.
More likely than not, if you think somebody took your idea, they probably just came up with it independently — or you both “borrowed” it, intentionally or not, from the actual originator. And so in general one should be very, very careful about of the word “plagiarize.”
Unless, of course, you are a global warming denier, in which case you should throw the word around casually because it is a very good way of smearing scientists, making the discussion coarser, and generally turning off the public from wanting to have anything to do with the climate issue — all key goals of the anti-scientific community. And this is all the more ironic because deniers are notorious for doing cut-and-paste jobs with the work of other deniers — see Memo to media: When the EPA ignores internal non-expert comments filled with falsehoods cut-and-paste from anti-science deniers, that isn’t “suppressing a report.” And why have you completely ignored a major scientific report revealing what a sham that “EPA report” is?
After all, there is exceedingly little original scientific research that supports the position that humans are not the dominant cause of current global warming. Also, the deniers understand the central principle of rhetoric that the most effective messaging strategy is to endlessly repeat a few key points (see “Why scientists aren’t more persuasive, Part 1“). So the main tactic of the deniers has been to repeat the same long-debunked arguments over and over and over again — hence there is a remarkable sameness to their attacks.
If you follow the climate blogosphere or read the comments section of this CP post, then you know that there has been a big push by the deniers and delayers to smear a couple of the climate scientists who contributes to RealClimate. RealClimate has thoroughly debunked that notion here: