Jay Dwivedi's personal page.  His business blog is here. Also visit my daily blog.

Robes made from bamboo are environmentally friendly

As we said before, there are very tiny things that anyone can do to fight global warming. For instance, take a look at this robe made from bamboo on Cindy Ambueal. You can also choose organic cotton. Or stay in eco friendly inns.

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How to lead a greener lifestyle?

A little while ago we shared our list of things that you could to fight global warming. We believe that public policies will eventually change. Right now it is being driven by corporations too concerned about their profits and they have simply bribed the politicians to impede efforts to fight climate change. Like everything else, once people change, governments change with them. Till that happens, here are a few things that you can do to go green. Amy Luers of the Union of Concerned Scientists gives tips that work for all of us.

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How to recycle newspapers and create a work of art?

It is easy to criticize everyone on the planet for not doing enough to fight global warming. The best way to help the environment is not to criticize others but to do our little part. For instance, a group of women in The Philippines have taken the newspapers that we all throw away and turned them into handbags for women. They actually look much prettier than I expected and from my background as a pulp and paper technologist, I can assure that newsprint paper is much stronger than you would expect, even if you get caught in the rain. In any case, make sure that you bring an umbrella when you go out on a rainy day. And here is another interesting handbag design.

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The Day After Tomorrow movie review

Photo of the Statue of Liberty in New YorkGlobal warming is a hot topic and there are a whole bunch of movies that use it in various forms. Some that I have seen and reviewed are Ice Age The Meltdown and Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind. If you are still in denial about global warming (How to fight global warming), we recommend that you watch The Day After Tomorow, especially if you work for a polluter.

The movie is very dramatic and is only meant to highlight what is possible, not necessarily what will really happen (unless a catastrophic event like a nuclear war or an asteroid hitting the planet raises the temperatures quickly). Even a fifth grader now knows that climate changes slowly, not within a matter of days, as the movie shows, but the point is made.

The Day After Tomorrow tells the story through the eyes of Jack Hall (Dennis Quaid), his son (Jake Gyllenhaal) and friend Laura Chapman (played by Emmy Rossum). While New Delhi gets it first snowstorm ever and grapefruit sized hailstones drop in Tokyo, the United States is not prepared for the unpredictable weather that causes flooding and massive snowstorms within a matter of days completely paralyzing the northern half of the country, specifically New York City. Bad weather is seen in other parts, particularly Hollywood.

The film has excellent special effects and while it clearly looks impressive, it is also incredible (see the photo above of how the Statue of Liberty first gets flooded and then covered in snow towards the end of the movie). We were also not impressed with a part of the plot in which Jack literally walks all the way from Washington DC to New York Public library to (successfully) rescue his son while hundreds of thousands of people simply froze to death in the extreme weather. Nevertheless the movie is entertaining (grossed over half a billion dollars) and drives home the message that we must act to save the planet during the coming years. Strongly recommended to fans of science fiction.

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Over The Hedge movie review

Photo of the cover of Over The HedgeSince we enjoy watching animated movies (Grave of the fireflies, Nausicaa, Finding Nemo, Shrek, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, etc.) and that is what brought "Over The Hedge" to our family room. Insofar as technical aspects are concerned, the movie is extremely well done - DreamWorks does a good job at that.

As we debate whether global warming is even happening, I wonder if they also argue if suburban sprawl is happening. That is the heart of this movie. As we make room for bigger and bigger homes, strip malls, and restaurants, we are also making it difficult for animals to live (I know that for sure that I get more deer in my backyard than I want). So when a group of animals rise from their winter hybernation, they realize that almost all the land that they "owned" is now behind a hedge with a huge development. Their biggest problem is how to find food. The movie then shows the stuggle of animals versus men.

The movie starts off really well and has what we appreciate about family movies - pure fun that both adults and children can enjoy with some messages that everyone can take away. In "Over The Hedge," however, within 15 minutes or so you find out that it is a great movie for the kids but offers nothing substantive to adults. We still finished the movie because we want to appreciate the creativity of animation but unless you need to give company to your kids, don't bother with this one.

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How to fight global warming?

Photo of a flower in a gardenIf you are one of those who have accepted the reality of global warming, well, thank you, but your work is not done. If you are still in denial about global warming, we hope that you will look at the data with an objective mind and change your mind. And if you are one of those evangelical Christians proactively destroying the environment so that Jesus Christ can return sooner, we hope that you will read the Bible again; this time paying attention to what is in the Holy Book.

In any case, you should do our part to protect the environment and here is what we do:

Reuse: This is even more important than recycling. Before you dispose something off, try to find new uses for it. For example, empty pasta sauce bottles can be cleaned and used to store stuff in your kitchen.

Do not use disposables: While we have never understood how some people serve their guests in disposable dishes at a party in their homes – if you don’t want to clean dishes, don’t hold a party (to us disposables only make sense during a picnic or in college dorms or other similar events) – they are an environmental mess. Those polystyrene cups almost never decompose. You might also bring your own shopping bags rather than having to deal with the “Paper or Plastic” dilemma.

Shop smart: Try to minimize how many appliances you need; very few people need two refrigerators. To stay fit it is better if you go more often to the supermarket. Similarly, change your light bulbs and buy energy-efficient appliances.

Borrow, beg, and gift: Chances are many things that you need can easily be borrowed from friends/family members or even perfect strangers on the web. Similarly, if you need something, ask if anyone is willing to just give it to you. We all get so much stuff as gifts, giveaways or freebies that is just lying around the house causing clutter. Check with your library if you can borrow a book or a movie. In case you do buy them, donate them to the library or if you are cheap, sell them on Ebay or Amazon.

Don’t print: To the extent possible, try to make your life more digital. Always print both sides of paper.

Donate: Whether you do some or all of these things or not, make a contribution to a charitable organization that is trying to protect the environment (or else we might end up in the same world as that in Grave Of The Fireflies movie).


Nausicaa Of The Valley Of The Wind movie review

I have been dealing with the issue of global warming purely as a business strategy issue and after beating up ExxonMobil for its naivete in hoping that the earth would simply become colder if they closed their eyes, I am glad to learn that they have not only cut funding to those I-am-in-denial-about-global-warming-think-tanks but is joining the same group that BP belongs to: deal with it as a business problem.

That is what I was thinking all along when I was watching Nausicaä Of the Valley of the Wind, a masterpiece Photo of Princess Nausicaaby Hayao Miyazaki. The movie documents the story of the planet a thousand years after a global war (Also read about Grave of the Fireflies and Asoka with similar themes) that wipes almost all civilization except for a few communities. The people in one of these, Valley Of The Wind, have to battle not just other communities but also deadly insects and poisonous forests. Prince Nausicaa, with her innocence and disarming charm, is able to win the trust of the insects and they all learn to coexist establishing the harmony between nature and people.

While it is a work of fiction with no political message, it is not inappropriate to imagine what would happen if we do nothing about the warming planet.

For fans of Miyazaki-san, this is yet another beautiful movie. The others that I have seen and recommend are "Princess Mononoke," "Kiki's Delivery Service," and "Spirited Away."

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