Better World Club

Monday, September 27, 2010

Better World Featured in New Green Business Book

We're Proud to be a Part of the "Portland Bottom Line"

''Many tout Portland, Oregon, as an authority on sustainability: progressive urbanism and land-use; alternative transportation; environmental policy; livability. But what about business? How do local companies measure up on sustainability? What cutting-edge sustainable practices have proven to work in Portland's small businesses?'' From the introduction to ''The Portland Bottom Line'' by Peter Korchnak and Megan Strand.

Preview the book here.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Save on Insurance Just By Buying Through BWC

On Top Of Other Discounts! And Free Carbon Offsets!! (Do We Sound Like that Progressive Insurance Lady from TV Yet?)

Hopefully You'll Now Understand Why We Can't Afford any Cavemen or a Talking Gecko

You can't go much of anywhere on the internet without seeing an offer for insurance savings. And anyone who watches any television (even if that's on the internet too) has seen that commercial with the overexcited woman ringing up an insurance customer to a chorus of discounts. Well, (and we're sure you're upset about this) we can't afford to inundate you with advertisements. That's partly because the BWC management is so cheap, and partly because we're getting our insurance customers such great discounts.

Not only do we give discounts to hybrid owners, good drivers, good students, for safety devices and covering more than one car (among other things), but you'll save 3 to 5% off the base insurance rate in the state where you live just for getting your quote through Better World. (This is when that lady would scream, ''DISCOUNT!'') Our auto insurance customers are eligible for a discount of around 7% on homeowners insurance when they purchase that from us as well (and that will cover your bicycle).

As we reported here and here, we've expanded the availability of our insurance services quite a bit over the last several months. A complete list of the states where we're currently quoting is available here. Click here for a quote.

And again (sigh!), for everyone who didn't click through to our previous announcements: Better World is an independent insurance agent that works for you. In addition to our many discounts, we are the only insurance company providing a FREE carbon offset to cover the first 2,000 miles of greenhouse gas emissions generated by your automobile.

- Get a Quote and Save!

- Join Better World Club!

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon, California Watch

BWC Joins Reagan Secretary of State George Schultz and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in Opposing CA Prop 23

You Know, Just Our Usual Bedfellows

Proposition 23, the measure to suspend implementation of California’s Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (AB 32), is perhaps the most significant initiative that voters in any state will be considering in November.

Not only will it affect the future of environmental legislation nationwide, but it will also be a test of Big Money’s ability to manipulate the electorate.

Defeating Prop 23 is a priority of New Voice of Business, where Better World Club President Mitch Rofsky is a director. One of Better World Club’s first policy initiatives was our support for AB 32, which requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by the year 2020, in turn bringing California into near compliance with the Kyoto Protocol.

Prop. 23 would suspend California’s greenhouse gas emission laws until the state’s unemployment, currently 12.3%, drops to 5.5% for four consecutive quarters. Until this happens, the state would not be able to propose or adopt new regulations under AB 32, nor could the state enforce previously adopted regulations.

As one might expect, there’s already controversy over how unemployment would be defined, with certain definitions ensuring that the 5.5% figure would virtually never be reached.

But a Yes vote is much more far reaching. A recent Pacific Policy Institute of California Poll shows that Californians favor combating global warming right away rather than waiting for the economy to improve by 52-43%. 61% of likely voters polled said they were in favor of AB 32, while 28% opposed it. 43% believe that the state taking action against global warming in the future would increase jobs, 28% said this would result in fewer jobs, and 21 % think there would be no effect on jobs.

''The lingering effect of the recession and a continuing state budget crisis haven’t changed Californians’ overall view of AB 32. While support has declined somewhat since 2007, a solid majority still favors the law,” Mark Baldassare, PPIC president and CEO, commented in a press release.

Money is pouring into the state to change these results. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Koch Brothers (guess they still have some money left over after funding the Tea Party), as well as oil companies are devoting millions of dollars to change Californians’ minds. According to The New York Times, of the $8.2 million raised so far, $1 million came from the Koch firm, $4 million from the Valero Energy Corporation, and $1.5 million from the Tesoro Corporation (both corporations are based in San Antonio).

The threat that big oil and energy companies feel is clear - implementation of a law that would require much greater efficiency and development of new technologies would mean less dependence on oil and other fossil fuels. They could think long-term about how they could capitalize on an energy revolution, but they would rather brand efforts to create a new industry and generate energy independence as “radical environmentalism.”

But how “radical” are those opposing Prop. 23? Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State George Schultz is a co-chair of the opposition effort, which also has the support of Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Schultz, in announcing his opposition, said, ''As a former Secretary of State, I see our dependence on foreign oil as one of the greatest threats to national security, and the Dirty Energy Proposition would undermine efforts to break that dependence.''

Add veterans to that opposition. Here’s Jon Soltz of “Our dependence on oil means our petro-dollars make their way to the very same extremists we're fighting. Worldwide demand for oil, driven by U.S. consumption, means that Iran makes $100 million more every single day. And, even the Pentagon has sounded the alarm on security implications of global climate change. If history is any guide, once California proves that we can be cleaner, greener, and more efficient when it comes to energy, the rest of the nation will quickly follow suit. Bringing the entire United States in line with Kyoto won't even be controversial, because California will have shown that all the fear mongering over it just doesn't hold water. That's why big oil and energy is doing everything it can to kill off the California law now, and why all of us must make sure that they don't succeed.”

While the law is California’s, this is an issue of national importance, as reflected by the donations of Big Oil and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, both located outside of California. Congressional efforts to place an accurate price on carbon have been delayed because of the inability to get past a Senate filibuster. If AB 32 is put aside, the entire effort to reduce our dependence on fossil fuelsand the Middle East will be postponed, possibly forever.

So, it’s imperative that everyone learns more about the issue. Even if you don’t live or vote in California, for the effort to defeat Proposition 23 still needs financial support, and we’ll be back to you on that in the next edition of Driving Change.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

You Let Your Husband Join You on Vacation...

Why Not Snickers?

Fly Your Pets in Comfort (And for the Right Price) with Pet Airways

Sometimes, circumstances surrounding moving, long-term travel, or simply detachment issues demand that pet owners fly with their beloved companions. Many airlines allow small animals to be carried onto an airplane as carry-on luggage in small carriers that fit under the seats. But that option can be stressful on some animals and can cost a pet owner around $150 dollars. What’s more, the carry-on option only works for small animals that weigh less than 15 or 20 pounds, so larger dogs must be stored bellow the cabin as checked luggage. Flying with large animals stored as cargo can set a passenger back as much as $700 depending on the weight of the animal and the airline.

Pet Airways, the only pets only airline will fly your pet to and from nearly a dozen U.S. cities. Ticket prices are more reasonable than some of the cargo fees for pets on the major airlines, but owners cannot accompany their pets on any Pet Airways flights. Pet owners must schedule their travel in a way someone is on hand to pick up a pet at its destination. Pet Airways highlights the extreme care it takes in handling its “pawsengers,” constantly checking on them and making stops when necessary. In that sense, the Pet Airways option is, no doubt, safer for pets both mentally and physically than stowing them as luggage.

At the same time, flying -- or any type of long distance travel for that matter -- is going to be stressful on any pet, and air travel leaves an especially weighty carbon footprint. When thinking about traveling with a pet, please also think about the environment. If leaving your beloved pets at home with a babysitter or at a kennel is a possibility, it will always be the more environmentally sound choice. Plus, you can always write.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is. Literally.

Replacing Dollar Bills with One Dollar Coins Would Save Green All Around

Just Don't Put the Money in Your Mouth...It's Filthy

The United States has been stockpiling one dollar coins since 2007 when a law passed that requires the US Mint to produce four new presidential coins each year until Congress legislates otherwise. There are already over one billion dollars worth of coins ready for circulation, but nobody seems to want to use them.

The poor performance of the coin, which countries like Britain, Canada, and Japan already use successfully in comparable denominations, isn't just for force of habit: a negative feedback cycle at the cash register has customers afraid to use dollar coins because they think they might not be accepted as payment and cashiers afraid that customers won't accept them as change.

But! ''Because a coin can last four decades while a note lasts only a few years, replacing the dollar bill with the coin could save the US $500m to $700m per year in printing and paper costs.'' Not to mention all of the water and energy savings. Money doesn't grow on trees, kids.

So get out there and really put your money where your mouth is! Fill your pockets with shiny dollar coins, use them for incidental purchases, and request them as change. We'll save ourselves some green and help green our money production at the same time.

Read the full BBC News article from which this report is adapted here.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Lemon Information

2009 Audi A4

Better World Club’s ''Lemon Information'' highlights consumer complaints against a different car model each month. We are not editorializing or claiming that these cars are necessarily lemons. Instead, we are merely providing information and ask readers to form their own opinions.

Component: Steering
Complaint: Steering wheel shakes at low speeds and rubles when turning. One complainant had his power steering hose replaced by a dealer after the problem persisted and worsened. After 3,000 miles on the new hose, the shaking/rumbling returned. Dealer replacement of brake calipers for another complainant was also ineffective. Many complainants report persistent steering problems at low speeds from the time their vehicles were new.

Component: Exterior Lighting
Complaint: Left headlight works only intermittently.

Component: Visibility/Windshield Wipers
Complaint: Windshield wipers freeze and cannot be deiced because they recess below the hood when turned off. Liquid collects and freezes in the recess causing wiper blades not to clear the glass of the windshield.

Component: Visibility/Rearview Mirrors
Complaint: Exterior rearview mirrors are designed with an aluminium interior that projects a glare.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Prius, Je t'aime

We Just Keep Running Back…but the Habit Only Seems to Bother our Exes

It’s true. We just ran a re-review of a high-mileage vehicle in the March edition of Kicking Asphalt. But with all of the press that the Toyota Prius has gotten over the past year, what with Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall and the Prius’ 10th birthday, we thought we should give our readers the lowdown on the newest generation of the poster-car of hybrid electric vehicles.

Four years ago, we gave the second generation Prius an enthusiastic two green thumbs up, (read our review of the 2006 Prius here), and little has changed. Literally. The 2010 Prius, the first model of the third generation, hasn’t changed much visually since Toyota’s 2003 redesign brought us the unique shape we’re familiar with today. It’s not a surprise, though, that Toyota would want to maintain that very recognizable aspect of the Prius’ design. Even in the aftermath the public relations debacle that followed Toyota’s accelerator pedal recall, the Prius remains a symbol of high-tech progress and green-mindedness. Understandably then, the newest Prius is even more fuel-efficient than previous models at 51 mpg on the highway and 48 mpg in the city.

But, like older Prius models, the 2010 still raises questions of “true” gas mileage, miles per gallon of course depending on the many factors associated with how and where a vehicle is driven. Though even still, it’s hard to beat the 2010 Prius on fuel economy. Unfortunately, all that technical sophistication means that repairs should be left to the experts – and that can come with a hefty price tag. The Prius isn’t inexpensive to begin with, and with the expiration of alternative vehicle tax incentives for Priuses bought in the United States, cost of ownership can be daunting. Some owners complain that frequent trips to the dealership offset any savings on fuel consumption.

The Prius continues, however, to be the best car for visibly demonstrating your commitment to greener transportation technology. You’ll just have to decide how committed you are. (If it helps, Better World Club still offers discounts on membership fees to hybrid drivers.) The new Prius is also just as quiet as its predecessors, so it’s also on your side if you prefer to skip the recognition and keep your profile low…or if you’re trying to be discreet about keeping tabs on the older models. It’s just love, is all.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon To Inform and Inspire

...Plus a Whole Lot of Fun...and Science...and You Didn't Think Those Two Could go Together, Did You?

BikePortland is Your Go-to Source for Human Powered News in the Rose City and Beyond

Although, and as we're sure you've already guessed, focuses its news and events coverage on Portland, Oregon, it also follows bicycle and progressive transportation happenings on Capitol Hill and throughout the rest of the country. The site is also about to begin running a regular ''Bike Science'' column, written by an experienced engineer and bicycle component manufacturer, that ''will investigate and demystify the science behind bikes, components, and accessories.''

Even for its geographical bias, BikePortland news coverage is truly, ahem, fair and balanced, and readers engage in regular (and lengthy) discussions on developing issues, particularly surrounding bicycle infrastructure and the re-envisioning of traffic as bicycling becomes more popular. And, since Portland strives constantly to be at the forefront of ''progressive urbanism...and alternative transportation'' (see our plug of ourselves in the ''In The News'' section to the top left), the reportage and discussions at BikePortland are likely going to be similar to the discussions of those same issues in other American cities in the months and years to come. So, do yourself a favor and get in on the ground floor. (And find yourself some bike fun while you're at it.)

Better World Club is proud to partner with in its mission to realize a fun, safe, inspired, and bicycle friendly transportation future.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

15% Member Discount at My Notification Service

Better World Club members get 15% off emergency notification services from My Notification Service. And you thought that you couldn't have any more peace of mind than with your Better World Club membership!

Log in to the member section of our website to take advantage of the discount.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon

Easy Tiger!

You'll Impress them More by Saving Gas

We understand wanting to show off the vicious power of your silent new Prius, but you'll save even more fuel if you leave the racing to the professionals (who could stand to save some fuel themselves).

Avoid revving your engine, especially just before you switch your engine off, and quit it with those jackrabbit starts. Both keep your engine from operating at peak efficiency and needlessly waste fuel.

Bookmark with:

Delicious |  Digg |  reddit |  Facebook |  StumbleUpon