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In case you missed it, Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day. What originated in a grassroots fashion is, as Reuters points out , "an environmental event that has become increasingly political and corporate."
Since BS, politics and business form a tight-knit trinity, it's no surprise that Earth Day results in a manure stench every April 22.
To belatedly celebrate Earth Day now that the stench is gone, I thought it'd be fun to look at the ways internet businesses are helping clean up the environment.
Use an Earthy Logo
It might be simple, but an earth-oriented logo is a start. Google, YouTube, AOL and Yahoo websites helped raise "awareness" by posting special Earth Day logos on their websites.
If just one person decided to trade in their Chevy Silverado for a more fuel-efficient vehicle after seeing Yahoo's nifty Flash logo, the world will be a better place.
Create a Microsite
Those who talk about Google abandoning its "do-no-evil" mantra clearly don't know what they're talking about.
Google cares about the environment and used an Earth Day microsite to start a "conversation" with its users about what they planned to do for Earth Day.
The site asks:
"Will you take the train or bus to work? Start washing your laundry in cold water? Just turn off a few more lights?"
Of course, nobody need ask this of the Google founders. Sergey Brin drives a Toyota Prius.
He and Larry Page use it to commute to the airport when they take a trip on their 747 party plane. I'm pretty sure that's a hybrid too, right?
The environmentally-conscious have their own social media websites where it's possible to meet other people who are just as interested in saving the world as you are.
Or you could just skip the time-consuming rallies and volunteer events and head straight to Green Singles, where you'll find "personal ads for progressive singles in the environmental, vegetarian, and animal rights community and other green singles who love the outdoors, holistic living, personal growth and spirituality."
You just might meet your "green soulmate."
Offset Your Methane
We all contribute to the destruction of the environment in some form or another.
But if you are the founder of an internet startup, work in marketing/PR or are involved with the blogosphere, you probably release substantially more methane than the average person.
Since methane has about twenty-one times more global warming potency than plain old carbon dioxide, it makes sense to offset the carbon emissions that occur every time you open your mouth.
Using a service like TerraPass allows you to do just that by purchasing carbon offsets.
Not only do you get the satisfaction of knowing that you are contributing to a burgeoning new part of the economy by paying for the absolution of your carbon sins, when somebody tells you, "Stop spewing BS," you can tell them that there's no need. After all, you've offset your emissions. Have they offset theirs?
I personally can't wait until American Express adds carbon offset rewards to my American Express Centurion Card.
Paint it Black
Google is an energy-intensive business. All those servers use up a lot of power. The company has been investing in the cleantech sector, but those investments may not make an impact for years or decades.
By making the Google homepage black, one blogger estimated that a "Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year."
In celebration of Earth Hour, an upstart conservation effort that may one day pose a competitive threat to Earth Day because of its appeal to those with ADD and tight schedules, Google went black.
Of course, Google notes that this didn't save any energy but for those who prefer a darker Google and who live by the phrase, "Once you go black, you never go back," there's a black version of the search engine available at Blackle.com.
Hot Jessica Alba Photos = New Trees
For every 1,000 searches its users make, Ecocho, "a new search engine trying to make a difference for climate change," promises to purchase offsets that equate to a ton of greenhouse gases.
With Ecocho, there's no excuse not to do your part. After all, you can now help plant trees while searching for things like celebrity photos.
It used to be difficult to participate in Earth Day - you actually had to make an effort to participate.
Now, thanks to the internet and the innovative eco-friendly businesses that inhabit it, you're probably already doing your part to save the planet without even knowing it.
As such, keep on consuming.