from the world's big
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
The best and worst of yesterday has created the economy of today.
- Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR's Planet Money, can trace a line through time from homemade clothing and baked goods to today's passion economy. Davidson argues that a combination of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries are how we got to where we are.
- We shifted from an intimate and localized economy of goods and services, to an economy of scale, and finally to what Davidson refers to as "intimacy at scale."
- There are, of course, positive attributes to this hybrid economic system, but it also comes with some of the flaws of its predecessors.
The rules have changed, and so have we.
- The widget economy has given way to something entirely different: the passion economy.
- Whereas the previous economy was fueled by mass production and homogeneity, growth in the passion economy involves more specialized products that less people want more intensely.
- This shift creates more dynamic, less linear career paths that evolve and change as you do. Ultimately, this will lead to more fulfilling and better paid work.
In a recent interview, a former Boeing quality manager cited numerous safety concerns in the 787 Dreamliner.
- John Barnett worked as a quality manager at Boeing for three decades, but recently left the company due, in part, to his concerns over issues in the production of the 787 Dreamliner.
- In a recent interview with Corporate Crime Reporter, Barnett said he would "change flights before I would fly a 787. I've told my family — please don't fly a 787."
- The allegations follow up two 737 crashes that occurred earlier in 2019, calling into question the airline company's dedication to safety standards.
Lowered safety standards<p>John Barnett had been a quality manager for Boeing for three decades, work which he enjoyed until he was transferred to Boeing's plant in Charleston, South Carolina, where the 787 is manufactured. Soon after his arrival in 2010, a new leadership team whose previous experience centered on Boeing's military projects began overseeing work on the commercial airliner at the plant.</p><p>"They started pressuring us to not document defects," said Barnett, "to work outside the procedures, to allow defective material to be installed without being corrected. They started bypassing procedures and not maintaining configurement control of airplanes, not maintaining control of non-conforming parts — they just wanted to get the planes pushed out the door and make the cash register ring."</p><p>At first, Barnett claims, these lapses started out as administrative issues, such as encouraging workers to improperly fill out paperwork. "Over time it got worse and worse," he said. They began to ignore defective parts installed on the planes and basic issues related to aircraft safety.</p><p>For example, one audit uncovered that approximately 25 percent of oxygen masks didn't work. Defective parts became lost in the system, only to be later discovered installed on flying aircraft. Barnett particularly recalls several defective bulkheads being installed without having been repaired.</p><p>Another major issue were the metal slivers. When securing the plane's floorboard with titanium fasteners, 3-inch-long slivers of razor-sharp metal would fall down into the compartment where the aircraft's sensitive electronic equipment lies. </p><p>"That surface below the floor board is where all of your flight control wires are, that's where all of your electronic equipment is," said Barnett. "It controls systems on the airplane, it controls the power of the airplane. All of your electronic equipment is down where all of these metal slivers are falling." Even at the Charleston plant, Barnett described how these slivers would cause electrical shorts and start fires. As the planes vibrate, these metal slivers eventually work their way into the wire bundles and connectors with the potential to cause these issues during flight.</p>
Lowering the regulatory bar<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjEyNTkwOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyNDYxNzc3N30.2xFBWPSPOcfrgmqDOxjbfhPHFdAQcJSog7kb6NcTUOQ/img.jpg?width=980" id="698e2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c1dceb48a74250466bb2652a7ee0a42f" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
Wreckage from the March 2019 crash of a 737 Max airliner outside of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Xinhua/ via Getty Images<p>These allegations add on to previous criticisms that the airline company is putting profit ahead of safety as a means of staying ahead of its major competitor, Airbus. Together, they effectively form a <a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/25/why-the-airbus-boeing-companies-dominate-99percent-of-the-large-plane-market.html" target="_blank">duopoly</a> in the airline industry, and staying ahead of its competitor in the already challenging industry has pushed Boeing to cut corners. <a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2019/11/02/boeing-deadly-crashes-and-failure-american-oversight/GacWOc3O8HVOM1ZWmwVIsN/story.html" target="_blank">Critics</a> assert that the company intentionally skipped training pilots in new systems and procedures, a decision which may have led to the two 737 crashes earlier in 2019 and 2018.</p><p>Compounding these issues, the company has successfully lobbied for reduced oversight as well. The most recent manifestation of this was Boeing's lobbying efforts toward the FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, a bill that the FAA <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/27/business/boeing-737-max-crashes.html" target="_blank">claimed</a> would "not be in the best interest of safety." A former FAA attorney claimed that "it set the FAA up for being totally deferential to the industry." Coupled with Barnett's claims that the company has been ignoring quality concerns in the 787 Dreamliner and the 737's recent crashes, this hamstrung regulatory environment does not inspire confidence.</p>
Recent years have seen countries across the African continent investing deep into the tech industry. Rwanda is angling to get ahead of the pack.
- The recent announcement of the Mara phone, a smartphone manufactured entirely in Africa, has highlighted African countries' recent forays into the high-tech industry.
- The continent boasts more than 450 tech hubs, and while some countries have a larger market, Rwanda — where Mara phones are manufactured — is angling to become a major tech hotspot in East Africa.
- There's a lot of competition; what is Rwanda doing to try to beat it?
The Mara X, shown in three colors.