Using Google Chrome to improve your browsing experience

I am spending a lot of time browsing the web. For work and private pleasure. Aspects like speed and the ability to customize my browser in order to save time while doing my usual tasks in a browser are very important to me.

I have been using Firefox for many years now because it always served this purpose really well. But I have always had an eye on Google Chrome as as an alternative browser.

Google promised higher speeds and the ability to customize your browser with useful extensions which was always the strong point of Firefox. The problem was that Google Chrome was just not developed enough to actually be a real alternative for me as a Mac user. Not until now.

I gave Google Chrome another try over the last couple of days and decided to stick with it now since it now has all I need to make my life surfing the net easier.
The big advantage of the browser in my opinion are the extensions, or the add-ons to individualize your browser and the really significant increase in speed in comparison to Firefox.

So without any delay, here are the extensions I am using. I hope you will find them useful.
  • AdBlock: Great to block out all the annoying ads on sites. Very customizable and easy to use.
  • Chromed Bird: Easy to use and nicely integrated Twitter client to make your tweeting as easy as can be.
  • Facebook: All you need to manage Facebook through Google Chrome.
  • Shareaholic: One stop shop for all sharing services on the web with only a few clicks you can easily share information to all sort of networks and use a number of great services. This safes me a lot of time every day.
  • Turn of the Lights: The entire page will be fading to dark, so you can watch to a video as if you are in the cinema. Really nice.
  • Notifier for Google Wave: If you are using Google Wave and Chrome than this is very handy.

Overall impressions
Google has really improved the browser over the past months and I will now use it as my day to day browser. Some things are still missing but I am sure these will be added in some form or another.

The renewable energy investment business model: Out of fashion at BP?

Remember the time when BP wanted to be known as ‘Beyond Petroleum’ and it being proud of their renewable energy investment? After reading this latest press article about the first quarter results of BP there is no doubt at all anymore. BP is not intending to loose its old ways of heavily investing in oil fields across the globe. Quite the opposite really. Renewable energy investment seems to be out of fashion at BP.
Harsh words? Here are two key facts from the article:
  • New investments in oil fields in Azerbaijan, Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Norway nearly worth $9 BILLION.
  • $900 million for a 75 percent stake in the oil sands assets of unlisted Canadian company Value Creation.
So what does that tell us? What conclusions can be drawn from these first-quarter results?

  • It seems that BP is not really interesting in renewable energy anymore. BP Alternative Energy is something really progressive and useful but it seems that the importance of this business is not very high within BP. In light of these new investment figures for oil fields and comparing them to the $20 million BP US investment into solar for example  this becomes absolutely clear.
  • Sustainability at BP is on the back-burner until the really important business (the oil business) is back on track. This is not good news for the Sustainability professional at BP.
  • We need to ask the sustainability people and people working in similar fields at BP tougher questions what has has happened to their self proclaimed “Diverse Energy Mix”  They need to communicate much better what the intention of BP is. Otherwise everyone (like I have been) is being left clueless about the path BP is going along at the moment with alternative energy.
BP is just one of many energy companies heavily investing in oil sources do not get me wrong. But what I am missing here is a commitment from BP to change their business practice and to move towards a sustainable energy future. Currently I see quite the opposite. A move away from sustainable energy towards the old oil business model……..Not a good development in my opinion.

A straight forward question for everyone at BP
Your business can not stay the same for the next X number of years with the finite energy resources we have in our world today and the not so distant future. Where is the future perspective for your business? I can definitely not see it!

A difficult topic: Nuclear Disarmament and Climate Change

Todays post addresses a very difficult topic. Nuclear disarmament and Climate Change. This topic has been swirling in my head for a while now and this post is the result of these thoughts. So what do these two topics have in common?

Very good question. This is how I draw the connection.

The connection between these two is that both topics are incredibly important for the future of our civilization and the wellbeing of upcoming generations. The big threat with nuclear weapons is that, if worse comes to worse, nuclear weapons could destroy our world within hours. Climate Change in my opinion is even more dangerous as it is destroying our world in the same way, but not just in hours but years in way that we do not pick up when we go on with our daily life’s. This is the similarity between these two topics but also the big problem.

The problem is that currently I feel that the nuclear weapons threat is even being seen as far more important then the threat of climate change.

The recent Nuclear Security Summit
I see evidence of that mind set in the latest commitment of the US president Obama by hosting the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington not so long ago. Here is the link for more information: Nuclear Security Summit

The result was an encouraging one in terms of nuclear disarmament . This is what the conclusion paper starts with:

“Obama administration national security officials say the April 12–13 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington succeeded not only in increasing international recognition of the shared threat from nuclear terrorism, but also resulted in concrete actions and decisions from the participants, ranging from increasing the security of nuclear materials and expertise to reducing the availability of highly enriched uranium and plutonium.”

It is a good result do not get me wrong. I am not implying in any way that nuclear weapons are not highly dangerous to our future and that disarmament is extremely important. But when you are working in the Sustainability/ CSR field and you are passionate about seeing change in the world with regards to Climate Change this situation is so frustrating.

The two day Nuclear Security Summit has ended with concrete and well worked-through commitments and the same nations and same leaders can not work with the rest of the world to formulate and commit to tackle Climate Change when they met at the Copenhagen Summit back in December 2009?

The big disconnect
I see a big disconnect and lack of proper judgment by our leaders in this case and that we in the Sustainability / CSR movement still have a long way to go to convince our so called leaders that they need to do much more to address and help us tackle the threat of climate change. We need an absolute commitment and leaders working together, nothing more and nothing less.

Climate Change may not threaten each others future right away and in an way that nuclear weapons do but I believe both topics need to have the same priority when our leaders are trying to work towards a future that is worth handing over to our children.

Picture Credit: Jonas B

Innovative Sustainability promotion – Earth Day on Farmville

If you are on Facebook and you like games then you might have come across the application game called Farmville. Millions and millions of people play Farmville every day and there seems to be no end to the popularity of this game.  (This is the Wikipedia link if you would like to know more about Farmville)

Now Farmville also has a promotion of Earth Day integrated into the game itself. The promotion is working in the way that players can buy certain items for their farm (this is the purpose of the game, to design, individualize, grow and maintain your farm!). These items are only available for a particular time period therefore making them unique and are all related to Earth Day in one way or another.
Items you can buy for example include an “Earth monument” or a “Earth Day” flag amongst other things which you can show of on your frm. And this is what players of Farmville are after: Collecting unique items that help them to individualize their farm and design it the way they want it.

My opinion:
I believe that this is a great new and innovative example of how to promote Sustainability topics involving a very different stakeholder group. We need to have more ways like to this to raise awareness and reach the right target audience in order to promote Sustainability across the globe. Imagine the future scenario where the some of the main advocates for a more sustainable world will also show their influence through spreading the word via online games, online events, etc.

Obviously this will never replace the why we currently raise awareness about Sustainability issues now but this step by Zynga (the company running Farmville) is really encouraging to see in my opinion and will hopefully be just the start of the new ways to engage stakeholders and advocates online!

What do you think about this promotion of Earth Day within an online game? Am I just so geeky to like this way of raising Sustainability awareness online? 🙂

How can we rebuild trust in the Sustainability / CSR field?

Trust is something so important and also so hard to earn in any kind of business these days. But it seems that trust is even more important in the Sustainability / CSR field currently. The sector has grown so much over the last few years in terms of popularity and the number of people involved that somehow the trust element I feel lost its significance along the way.

I therefore believe that the current Sustainability/CSR best practice and innovation is at a crossroad at the moment. In order for the best practice to take the next step towards more sophisticated stakeholder engagement and more value-added reporting, professionals within the industry need to start trusting each other more. Innovation is a lot easier and much more effective knowing that we can call on our fellow Sustainability / CSR colleagues to help and engage with us when we need it. Conversation, debate and criticism is good when we know we can trust each other. This turns all of the feedback into constructive feedback. And this is the feedback we can use to innovate and improve best practice and make this world a better place one step at a time.

What do you think about this topic? What do you fell is necessary for all of us interested and passionate about Sustainability / CSR to trust each other more? Is it possible or only an idealistic wish? I would really like to get your feedback on this.

Picture Credit: batega