The top 10 stories of the week (4/20/2008), as viewed through the Max Gladwell lens
1: Food Shortages: How will we feed the world
“Bob Watson, the chief scientist at the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, puts the rise in the price of commodity crops such as wheat down to a number of factors: higher demand for grain to feed livestock in China, where increasing affluence means more people want to eat meat; drought in Australia for three years, meaning it has had to import wheat; market jitters brought on by the sight of several countries stopping exporting grain; speculators seeing a chance to make money; and, of course, the sudden extra demand for food crops such as maize for use in biofuels, in both Europe and the United States.”
This is one of the biggest challenges the world faces moving forward. The era of cheap energy and cheap food is over.
2: Talk to Dove…before they destroy paradise forests
The sword cuts both ways. Dove made viral-marketing history with its YouTube transformation campaign. Now, Greenpeace uses the same tactic to expose deforestation that’s being fueled by demand for palm oil from companies like Unilever.
3: Opposition for Opposition’s Sake: Thomas Friedman gets a pie in the face
A fundamentalist is a fundamentalist is a fundamentalist. What next? Flying planes into buildings? This is an assault on reason, humanity, and the American constitution. These people are sh*tting on the same freedoms that allow them to express their opinions and demonstrate (peacefully) in the first place.
4: Affordable Electric Cars Coming to US in 2009
The Th!nk City electric car is the product of Norwegian firm Th!nk Global, an auto manufacturer backed by Silicon Valley funding who has plans to assemble the cars in Southern California.
5: The Green Ad Effect
A recent survey from Burst Media revealed that green advertising has a stronger than average impact with consumers. Good, right? Well they have higher recall, but they aren’t necessarily buying into the messages. Maybe that’s due to the overwhelming amount of green claims consumers have been hit with.
6: Beta Launch for YouTube Updates
YouTube launches beta versions of three new feature updates to improve overall management of your messages, contacts and videos. These tests are already being served to a small percentage of randomly selected users, but anyone can choose to opt in and test them out. Once logged in to your account, click the following links to start using the beta versions of the new Inbox, My Contacts and My Videos features.
7: Peak Coal as Early as 2025
Many experts are saying yes. Professor David Rutledge of CalTech believes that world coal reserves are grossly overstated and could be substantially exhausted this century. This is in stark contrast to earlier forecasts.
8: TIME Magazine’s Top 15 Green Blogs
Curiously, Max Gladwell is not among them: Grist.org, TreeHugger, EcoGeek, Dot Earth, Climate Change, Real Climate, Environmental Capital, No Impact Man, Ecorazzi, Switchboard, Mongabay, ClimateEthics, Climate Progress, WorldChanging, PlanetArk
9: Earth Day & Digg
Digg has been recognized as a key source of environmental news by The Daily Green and its “Heart of Green” award. The Environment topic on Digg has become one of the biggest sources for environmental content anywhere on the Web.
10: Want to Green Your Job? Stay Home.
If everyone who could perform a job remotely did so just 1.6 days per week, $4.5 billion worth of fuel would be spared. That would prevent the release of 26 billion pounds of carbon dioxide each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.