Monday, October 6, 2008

HP, a molecular biologist, Napa and Green Mentality


Good people, great wine, good times...

I recently attended a Green Conference hosted by HP, in Napa - while the conference was held at the very nice Meritage, our "field trips" included a Green winery, Merryvale Winery the facility at Starmont and the City of Napa Recycling and Composting Center(affectionately, and incorrectly referred to as "the Dump")

Both stops were fascinating.

Meritage/Starmont -

I have been to Napa many times, but had never been part of a tour like then one HP arranged for us. Because the theme of the conference was Green, I felt visiting a green winery both appropriate and interesting.

What made the trip most interesting to was the person giving the presentation and the manner in which it was delivered.

There was NO PowerPoint, no projector, no written agenda, no boardroom, no Halo Room, laser pointers or stage lights. Just a group of "printer geeks" standing in a field, learning about Viticulture & Enology - and sustainability.

Our hostess, Remi Cohen, holds a bachelors degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology, Master’s Degree in Viticulture & Enology from U.C. Davis, and in 2008, she completed her M.B.A. at Golden Gate University in San Francisco.

Wow - and the best I had hoped for was Lucy.

We didn't learn how to sip a wine, or how to swirl the wine in a glass, or determine how much sugar is in the solution...nope, we learned that in order to determine the amount of water in the ground, one method involves burying scales under a plot of turf and to monitor weight fluctuation.

I had never met a molecular biologist before - and to be completely honest, I hold most "intelligentsia" in pure disdain. I tend to think of "intellectuals" as "those who sit around and talk about what others have done, without actually doing anything themselves..."

I am a little embarrassed to admit, but, Miss. Cohen made me realize my blatant stereotyping.

-The point here is even if you actually are a brain surgeon, rocket scientist or a micro-biologist specializing in Viticulture, it is possible to communicate with an audience without talking down to the audience. -

I learned a great deal -

All the rain water is saved.

Solar panels provide enough energy each day to power 250 homes.

The structure is very green - double windows, zone climate controlled system and the wine was excellent.

City of Napa Recycling and Composting Center - "It's not a Dump, it's a Recycling Plant..."

We have come a long way since the times of the "Iron Eyes Cody"

 There are huge machines that sort most of the materials, still, there is a crew of of people who hand pick the larger glass objects out.

To the right of the entrance, huge, heaps of steaming bio-material - the compost heap - is routinely watered lest the internal tempurature of 130 degrees give new meaning to "the burning bush".

Over to the left, the county's largest deposit of E-Waste waits. Canon copiers, Xerox printers, HP 9050's, large, flat-panel displays and even electric can openers - all staged and waiting to be sold by the pound and then broken down, unscrewed,and disassembled by Second Chance employees.

And out back, bales the size of VW's, stacked three stories high, composing of compacted tin cans, soda cans, plastic bottles and containers - each going for around $1,500.00.

And guess who is buying all out "trash"...China.

That's right, China sends over containers full of toys, and lead-tainted candies and we send back our "garbage" - the balance of nature, at its best.

How Green Is My Money..."Will Going Green in Business printing go the way of OS/2?

Paperless Offices, Killer Toner , Carbon Offset - "A World Without Sin"

It's not Easy Being Green - "Don't Take My DeskJet"

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