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Why My Purse is Green

Because I believe…

  • the fastest, most effective way to stop polluters is by pressuring them in the marketplace
  • women can be the world’s most powerful economic and environmental force if we intentionally shift our spending to the best green products and services
  • women have the power right now to solve many of our most serious environmental problems by using our green purses to make a difference
  • women must act – intentionally, collectively, and with the full force of our purse power behind us – if we hope to leave our children and grandchildren a better world.
  • « December 2011 | Main | February 2012 »

    January 17, 2012

    Energy-efficient Fusion debuts at North American Auto Show

    If you're in the market for a new family car that gets good gas mileage, easily carries 5 passengers, and has room in the trunk for your junk, several of the new models that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit this week could be exactly what you're looking for. For now, let's take a look at the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

    Fusion hybridThe Ford Fusion Hybrid created some of the biggest buzz at the show, and for good reason. It's a roomy, family-size car but with snazzy style and a regenerative braking system and electric battery that help it get 36 mpg in the city, 41 mpg on the highway. (Full disclosure: I was a guest of the Ford Motor Company at the auto show, though under no obligation to favorably review any of its vehicles.) In case you're wondering, here's how Ford explains what "regenerative braking system" means:

    When you apply the brakes in a conventional vehicle, kinetic energy is lost to heat due to friction. During braking in the Fusion Hybrid, however, the regenerative braking system recovers over 90 percent of this energy that is normally lost and sends it back to the battery pack to be stored for later use. Not only is regenerative braking efficient, but it also helps minimize wear on the brake pads, lowering the cost of maintenance.

    SmartgaugeIt doesn't matter if a car CAN get good fuel efficiency if the driver drives so it doesn't. One of the features I like the most on the Fusion is its "Dual LCD SmartGauge Cluster with Eco Guide." The SmartGauge uses liquid crystal displays on either side of the center-mounted speedometer. A tutorial built into the display lets you choose one of four data screens for the level of information you want — Inform, Enlighten, Engage or Empower — and explains your options within each. Steering wheel-mounted controls make it all easy. All levels can indicate instant fuel economy and trip data including time-elapsed fuel economy and miles to empty. The display grows leaves when you drive efficiently. The leaves fade when you don’t. More leaves = more mpg.

    Another plus? The Fusion Hybrid's eco-friendly cloth seating is made from 85 percent post-industrial materials - polyester fibers that would otherwise have ended up in landfills.

    The car also includes "adaptive cruise control" to automatically slow the Fusion when it detects slower traffic ahead, and an "active park assist" system to make it easier for the driver to parallel park. Sensors in the Fusion's rear quarter-panels detect traffic in a driver’s blindspot, providing both audible and visual warnings if traffic – unseen by the driver – is approaching.

    While the Fusion Hybrid is available in show rooms now, stay tuned for the Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, which Ford claims will be the most fuel-efficient midsize car in the world. Arriving this fall, Fusion Energi could deliver more than 100 MPGe, a mile per gallon equivalency metric for electrified vehicles. Ford says this is 8 MPGe more than the Chevrolet Volt and 13 MPGe more than the projected efficiency of the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid model.

    Related Posts:

    Here's what I thought when I test-drove the original Fusion Hybrid in 2010

    How Green Are the Cars at the 2010 Auto Show?

    My test drive of the all-electric Nissan Leaf: On a scale of one to 10, I give it a...

    Top Ten Ways to Use Less Gas

    Test drive the new Chevy Volt with me

    Tire pressure gauge 2Want to increase your fuel efficiency overnight? Pump up your tires! Use this tire pressure gauge to check your tire pressure at least every three months.

    January 02, 2012

    Do You Have a BHAGG for 2012?

    You can't buy it. You can't make it. And you probably shouldn't eat it - unless it's organic.

    Women-embracing-sunriseYou can, however, achieve it - because it's a goal... a Big Hairy Audacious Green Goal, exactly the kind of goal we need if we're serious about protecting the planet, our health, and the health and safety of our families.

    You notice a BHAGG is not a "resolution," as in the well-meaning but easy-to-break promise you might make to yourself in the new year. Nope, a BHAGG is a specific challenge you strive to achieve, knowing full well it may not be easy to reach - but when you get there, it will make a real difference.

    For example, an eco-resolution might be, "save energy in 2012." A BHAGG would be "reduce the amount of energy I use to heat my home by 20%, as measured by a 20% reduction in my heating and cooling bills."
    A resolution might be, "eat more locally grown food." A BHAGG would be, "80% of the food I eat will be grown within 100 (or 200 at most) miles of where I live."
    A resolution might be, "drive less." A BHAGG would be, "walk or bicycle distances of less than a mile."
    Precise, measureable, and meaningful: those are the keys to a BHAGG that will have an impact.

    The original term Big Hairy Audacious Goal, or BHAG, was coined by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1994 best-seller, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. They discovered that successful companies set goals that were not only visionary, but very specific, such as "achieve a 10% revenue growth rate in the next three months."

    "A true BHAG is clear and compelling, serves as a unifying focal point of effort, and acts as a clear catalyst for team spirit," they wrote. "It has a clear finish line, so the organization can know when it has achieved the goal..." I added an extra "G" to the original BHAG idea, to include Green in the equation.
    At Big Green Purse,  we've encouraged folks to set a goal of shifting $1,000 of their annual household spending to greener goods and services, as part of our One in a Million campaign to mobilize consumer clout to improve manufacturing. You can read about some of the people who achieved -- and exceeded - that goal here.
    So... what's your BHAGG for 2012? If you want to join those who are shifting $1,000 or more, you can sign up here. If you have other goals, please share them with us so we can be inspired by your example.
    Personally, I have two BHAGGs for 2012: to shift an additional $1,000 of my consumer spending to greener goods and services; and to reduce my home heating and cooling use by 20%. Stay tuned for future posts as I figure out how to do that!
    Happy New Year!


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