Maria Energia has contributed this great interview with Al Franken, Read more from at her very good blog here.
Comedian, satirist, and talk show host Al Franken is running for U.S. Senate in Minnesota on the DFL ticket (in MN, DFL = Democrat).
Last month, Franken made an appearance at the Crow Wing County/Morrison County DFL summer picnic. I grew up in Morrison County, so I attended and was impressed with the (relatively) huge turnout. I met Al, but more importantly he took the time to answer some questions I sent him via email about renewable energy and Minnesotaâ€™s place in the clean tech revolution.
*Maria Energia:* What specific renewable energy legislation do you want to see implemented at the federal level?
*Al Franken:* On a macro level, I’d like to implement a national cap and trade for carbon dioxide. This would make the cleanest renewables cheaper than fossil fuels and reward sequestration of CO2 in the form of planting acreage. I’d like to see more federal investment in pilot projects for renewables. Representative Collin Peterson has put in several pilot projects for cellulosic ethanol that would be conducted here in Minnesota.
When I have said I want an Apollo Program for renewable energy, I’m talking about making these kinds of investments in renewables, including things like tidal and wave power. The United States has to go back to investing in research and development. This means identifying promising technologies and investing in them.
Recently we covered Sony’s new recycling take back program, after doing a bit of follow up I was able to exchange a couple of emails with Rick Clancy, the Senior VP for corporate communications at Sony to get a more in depth look at the program. Mr Clancy has been with Sony for over 17 years, and amonge many others things runs the Sony Electronics Blog.
1. The Naib Recently Sony unveiled a program to take back its electronics for recycling. Could you tell us a bit about this program?
Rick Clancy Yes, Sony Electronics has teamed up with Waste Management to launch the Sony Take Back Recycling Program. Beginning on Sept. 15 consumers across the country will be able to bring any Sony-branded product to any of 75 participating Waste Management recycling centers and have that old or non-working product recycled free of charge. This applies to all Sony-branded products, including Sony Ericsson cellular phones and PlayStation videogame consoles. Other manufacturersâ€™ electronics devices can also be recycled at these centers for a modest fee. Within a yearâ€™s time, we expect the number of participating centers to double to 150, with at least one in every state. And eventually, we aim to have a center within 20 miles of 95 percent of the U.S. population.
2. The Naib What prompted Sony to start such a program?
Rick Clancy As the nationâ€™s leading marketer of consumer electronics products, our management strongly believes that Sony should also be in the forefront of environmental initiatives that demonstrate social responsibility with respect to the design, development, manufacture, usage and disposal of our products. The Sony Take Back Recycling Program is clearly such an initiative.
I found Afrigadget one day while looking for renewable energy stories from Africa. I was quickly enchanted by the wonderful and amazing stories of African innovators. The gadgets highlighted are not only creative, but life changing. The bloggers at Afrigadget bring to the world amazing inventions from the African continent. Steve Mugiri one of the bloggers from Afrigadget, was gracious enough to sit down for an email conversation with me.
1. The Naib: Could you tell us how AfriGadget got started, what was the inspiration?
Steve Mugiri: Afrigadget was started over a year ago by a number of African bloggers.
The inspiration behind Afrigadget was to provide a platform on which the appropriate use of technology and African ingenuity in its application could be showcased. Afrigadget had a quick growth phase about this time when Erik Hersman signed on many of the contributing editors to the blog, including myself.
When I found SmartPower on the web the first thing I did was try and get a job with them. That is how impressed I was with the job they are doing. Unfortunately for me they didn’t have any positions open at the time, but they did agree to answer ten questions for me so that I could share their mission with The Sietch readers. SmartPower is a nationwide, non-profit marketing campaign that is leading the effort to promote clean energy â€“ electricity from sources such as wind, solar and water. I was lucky enough to exchange a couple emails with Mike Garofalo the communications director for SmartPower.
1.The Naib: Could you tell me about your organizations?
Mike Garofalo: SmartPower is a national, non-profit marketing organization that promotes clean energy (solar, wind, or small hydro) use by the public and municipalities. We don’t sell any products or “push” consumers to chose one particular provider or towards any one type of clean energy. We just try to get the public to understand that purchasing clean energy as part of the electricity that they purchase from current electricity their providers is a great thing to do – it helps the environment and makes us more energy independent. And it’s just as reliable as any other form of energy.
We are like the “got milk” campaign. We educate people about how easy it is to use clean energy and about the benefits of it. We have had operations in 8 states so far and to date over 15,000 residents have signed up for clean energy because of our efforts. How did it start, interesting facts about it, etc? We were originally funded in 2002 by 5 charitable foundations who understood that no one was telling the public that clean energy was real, was available and was as reliable as any other form of energy. So that’s how SmartPower got started and that’s been our mission to this point.
I “met” Donna through her online efforts to oppose the Cape Wind farm. You can see some of her efforts on The Sietch, in the comment section of some of my entries about Cape wind. You may think it odd that I would want to give voice to a view I do not agree with, I however feel that in any rational discourse both sides must present their arguments, and then, using logic, reason, and the fact you can decide which side has the best plan. In that vein I present this interview unedited, unchanged, and as it was written. You can read my views on the potential Cape Wind project here, and now you can read the views of at least one opponent below. What do you think? Does the project have merit, or is it all a big sham? Leave a comment and let us know.
1. The Naib: Could you tell Sietch readers about yourself? Your background, where you live what you do for a living etc.
Donna Tracy: I am a professional photographer, naturalist and wildlife advocate living on Cape Cod. I have three grown children and five grand babes with a sixth on the way. They are the loves of my life.
2. The Naib: Do you have a background in the environmental movement? If so could you tell us a bit about it?
Donna Tracy: I have been working in the environmental field for over twenty five years with a focus on wildlife protection and advocacy. In 1982, my husband, Glen, and I founded Wildcare Inc dedicated to the care and protection of wildlife. In 1989 we founded the Hudson Valley Raptor Center, a 91 acre hospital, sanctuary, education, environmental advocacy and research center devoted to birds of prey. Over the years our advocacy work has set up a state-wide system of care for injured wildlife in New York, helped to ban two pesticides, Fenthion and Chlordane from the environment and called attention to others like Diazinon (which is highly controlled for turf grass application on golf courses etc.(every grain used must be recorded from the amount applied to how it is watered in) yet it is on the shelves for public use with no control of its use and application whatsoever. This deadly pesticide was responsible for the near single-handed (unintended) extermination of a major percentage of the Brant population in New York State on just one site alone).