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GDUSA Green Newsletter

May 2012

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TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES

We just completed our 49th annual print design survey. Select findings on sustainability appear in the May magazine, and complete results run in June. Sorting through the data, I see good news and bad. First, the good news. Sustainability continues to exert a powerful impact on how design projects are planned and executed, and thus in how paper and print decisions are made. And “green” is being redefined as a more holistic concept: forest stewardship, clean energy, carbon footprint, company practices and reputation – sustainability writ large – are now taken as seriously as, say, recycled content. The bad news: few survey respondents are aware of the huge environmental impact of the digital infrastructure, and continue to believe that online design has no consequences. I recently wrote a comment about this disconnect and received a thought-provoking reaction from Laurel Black of Port Angeles WA – below – which is worth reading.

— Gordon Kaye, editorial@gdusa.com

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UP ON THE ROOF WITH GSP
Goodby, Silverstein and Partners (GSP) is behind a new campaign for American Rivers, a leading national river and stream protection organization that encourages people to earn green by going green. Each year, billions of gallons of rain runs off water-impervious surfaces; the water runoff is too much for sewers so the rainwater mixes with waste, causing health threats, beach closures, habitat degradation and swimming and fishing advisories. To help combat this, American Rivers, has created green rooftops that trap and filter storm water, and provide cost benefits by reducing heating, cooling and repair expenses. As part of the initiative, the San Francisco-based ad agency has created online tools to show how to “green” their roof, as well as the savings that result. In addition, GSP created a “seed slingshot bookmarklet” that users can use to “green” any web page and see the amount of savings that can come from going green. There are also online banners, print and video ads, Facebook and Twitter pages driving people to the online tool.
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EVENT YIELDS EFFICIENCY ICONS
Cree and The Noun Project have produced 15 new proposed symbols for energy-efficient technologies. The outburst of creativity took place during the recent Iconathon at the Cree campus in Durham NC. “By collaborating with The Noun Project, we now have a universal symbol that represents LED lighting, filling a significant void in the energy-efficient lighting landscape,” said Ginny Skalski, social media specialist at Cree, which is a producer of lighting products, LED components, and semiconductor products. The day-long workshop, led by The Noun Project co-founder Edward Boatman, included nearly 40 attendees who sketched new symbols for a variety of energy-efficient technologies. The group came up with symbols for energy-efficient technologies and concepts, including wind and solar farms and energy audits. The sketches have now been digitized and are available for public use under a Creative Commons license. The Noun Project is an open sourced visual library of the symbols and icons; it organizes Iconathons around the country to develop new sets of civic symbols.
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AGFA EXPANDS GREENWORKS
Agfa Graphics has expanded its GreenWorks Environmental Recognition Awards program to include users of its newest eco-friendly printing plates :Azura Vi and :N94-VCF. Concerns over the environment have encouraged companies to adapt greener practices. In support, Agfa Graphics created the Environmental Recognition Awards Program in 2007. Now in its fifth year, the program recognizes and honors printers that integrate, support and promote environmentally-sound practices. To receive recognition from the Agfa Graphics GreenWorks program, print service providers must use one of Agfa’s eco-friendly plates. To date, Agfa Graphics has recognized almost 200 printers from the United States and Canada for their green printing efforts and other initiatives to reduce waste and save natural resources. Printers must also promote cleaner and more efficient printing practices and be involved in eco-friendly efforts such as recycling, waste reduction programs or use of alternative energy sources in their facilities. Agfa Graphics provides GreenWorks members with marketing support materials to promote green efforts on their websites, in direct mail campaigns or other advertising opportunities. The GreenWorks winners are listed on Graphic Design USA magazine's website.
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HARRIS POLL: GREEN THINKING SLIPS
Since the summer of 2009, the Harris Poll has been tracking Americans’ attitudes toward the environment as well as their engagement in various environmentally-friendly behaviors. The latest installment finds that many green behaviors, including those capable of saving consumers money, continue to decline. And, according to the poll, fewer adults now express concern for, and awareness of, environmental issues. Among the results: less people say they are purchasing less all-natural or organic products, reusing things less, and buying less food in bulk. Further, they are also less likely to espouse certain green attitudes – fewer Americans describe themselves as “environmentally-conscious” or say they personally care a great deal about the current state, and future, of the environment. On the upside, however, a minority of Americans – more so than in 2009 – continue to describe themselves as “Green” at 17% in 2012 verus 13% in 2009. The Harris Poll theory for the slippage: more pressing issues such as health care reform, economic recovery, and the upcoming presidential election have eclipsed discussions about the environment for the moment.

WANT FROGS WITH THAT?
Snakes, lizards, frogs, fish, birds and other wildlife native to the Pacific Northwest crawl all over the packaging of Burgerville USA, a large restaurant chain operating in Washington and Oregon. (Hey, we’re based in Manhattan, so we can only guess at what some of those crawl-y things are!) Designed by Brigade, part of the N2O advertising consultancy, the packaging – along with new menus and point-of-purchase – is helping to revitalize the 50-year old brand and support the client’s ambitous growth plans. The design, marketing and writing team of Joe Marden, Kirsten Modestow, Eileen Arbues, and Pete Crosby, developed a suite of colorful and informative packages that showcase local wildlife, while telling a story of business innovation and commitment to sustainability ranging from wind and renewable power sources at each restaurant, to conversion of cooking oil into biodiesel for use in delivery vehicles, to packaging made with 100% recyclable and compostable materials.

GDUSA 2012 WEB WINNERS
ARE NOW ONLINE ...

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LETTER: WHERE STUFF COMES FROM

Thanks for your lead editorial in the last edition of GDUSA Green Newsletter (“Computers Don’t Grow On Trees,” April 24). It is really refreshing to finally see a more balanced picture of sustainability issues in a national design forum.
 
I live on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State, where growing and harvesting trees has been a way of life for over 130 years. The region is still mostly covered by trees, and not just in Olympic National Park. Reforestation has been a standard forestry practice since the early 20th century, now mandated by state law and modern forestry methods.
 
I have found that most designers who live in urban areas have almost no understanding about forestry processes. I didn’t either until I moved here in the late 70’s. I am now married to a commercial forester who manages the oldest tree farm in our region, 125 years old and very productive.
 
I was disappointed in the digital side of the article on the re-nourish site [that you recommended for its digital vs. print balance.] Its characterization of tree farms had many inaccuracies. For instance, monoculture is not generally practiced; tree farms are managed to mimic natural processes as much as possible; many of them are privately held and by small business people; and forestry in Washington State is highly regulated with a set of rules called Forest Practices. Habitat degradation and pollution are not beneficial to good tree growth, and modern forestry practices reflect this, as shown in the Finch in the Forest blog.
 
I think the real problem is that most people don’t think about where their stuff comes from – any of it, not just wood products. Many take it for granted that food appears in the supermarket wrapped in plastic and ready to go, for instance, without wondering how that happened. I noticed that there was no mention of blood metals in the re-nourish article. Beating up on wood products is a lot easier than taking responsibility for the innards of our MacPros, or giving up our internal combustion vehicles.
 
Of course we will all benefit in the long run by learning to live and work more sustainably, but hypocritical finger-pointing and simplistic generalizations are not going to get us there. I appreciate your integrity in trying to present all sides.
 
Laurel Black, Laurel Black Design
Port Angeles, WA

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REENERGIZING ENERGY HUB BRAND
A rebranding campaign by Philly advertising agency LevLane, for its client, the former Greater Philadelphia Innovation Cluster for Energy-Efficient Buildings, has resulted in a new name, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub), as well as a new logo and tagline, “Re-energizing buildings for the future.” The goal: create a more accessible and consumer-friendly face for the government-funded organization, whose target audiences range from architects, engineers and building owners to environmental educators, policy-makers and financiers. The new site is intended to facilitate the sharing of successful new energy-saving retrofit technologies. Strategy and design credit for the rebranding goes to LevLane vp/creative strategist Lori Miller. Online development credit goes to vp/interactive creative director Drake Newkirk. The Energy Efficient Buildings Hub is led by Penn State University and funded primarily through the DoE's Energy Regional Innovation Cluster Initiative.
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