To Save the Earth, Start With Data

Posted on May 22, 2009 

To Save the Earth, Start With Data

You can’t cast a stone without hitting a list of tips to save the planet, but few of them come with any hard data on how hand-washing your dishes will save polar bears. And all those companies “going green” just to do something on Earth Day could be hurting the cause, not helping.

“All these major media companies are giving people green tips. Frankly, three quarters of the time they have no clue what they’re talking about,” said Thomas Scaramellino, founder of Efficiency 2.0, which makes energy-efficiency software for utilities. “We think the general awareness is helpful, in principle. But you’re setting yourself up for a backfire into a deep skepticism.”

Conserving the Earth’s biodiversity and natural resources will not be simple and can’t be accomplished by a smallish group of like-minded people turning out their lights for an hour or walking to work for a day. The scale of that solution doesn’t fit the scale of the world’s intertwined energy problems. We’ve got declining petroleum resources in an oil-addicted world, too much carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere and billions of people without electricity.

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