Archive | September, 2012

Guess What, You’re An Environmentalist If You Support America

Shiping ContainerDid you realize that if you are an advocate of buying products Made in America you are also a environmentalist? It’s true. You don’t have to buy American-made products containing recycled materials to be eco. Your made in USA purchase just did something to save the earth. You reduced the impact of shipping on the environment plus reduced our dependency on foreign oil.

Beyond the obvious your decision did much more than you realize. This is what did NOT occur during a sea voyage to get foreign made goods to the USA:

1. Ballast Water Discharge– This is water which is taken on in one country and discharged when the ship unloads its cargo. This not only hurts marine life it can kill us since it is full of biological materials, including foreign plants, animals, viruses and bacteria.

2. Sound Pollution– This is a misunderstood type of pollution. Many marine animals rely on sound for their orientation, communication, and feeding. The biggest offender comes from the large propellers on commercial ships. Since sound travels faster and farther in water than air, the ships are causing havoc in the “silent world” of the ocean.

3. Ship impacts– Whales and manatees are at risk from being killed by ship collections. Currently the biggest threat to the North Atlantic Right Whale is injury sustained from ship strikes. The whales and manatees have a 79% chance of being killed when struck by a ship going 15 knots.

4. Exhaust emissions– This is the pollution you were expecting to be on the list. The emissions from ships not only impact marine life, they also kill people living in coastal cities due to various lung ailments. Forty percent of air pollution over land is estimated to come from ships.

5. Oil Spills – Human error can do a lot of damage. The March 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska killed 400,000 seabirds, 1,000 sea otters and massive numbers of fish.

6. Sewage, Graywater & Solid Waste РThis is a big mess. The sewage and graywater dumped overboard contains bacteria, pathogens, viruses and intestinal parasites. In addition the general trash from the ship consisting of glass, paper, cardboard, aluminum, steel cans and plastics are thrown overboard adding to the floating dump yard and landing on our beaches.

7. Bilge Water- Oil and gas from the ship’s machinery mixes with the water in the hull. This murky soup plus by-products from the biological breakdown of petroleum products in the ship can cause harm to fish and wildlife and pose threats to human health if ingested.

Congratulations Environmentalist. You have another reason to share with others on why they should buy Made in America goods.

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In Remembrance of our Heroes on 9/11

American Firemen Troup 343 -9-11

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Everything Can Be Made in America

Airbike

 

 

 

 

 

 

In an article from Forbes the writer, Baizhu Chen, said Apple would “be better off focusing on designing iPhones in America but letting the Chinese handle the assembly” because of the current cost structure.

Forbes readers changed his mind after heated discussions and his realization that 3D printing will play a huge role in manufacturing American products in our near future.

Just as cassette tapes gave way to CDs and CDs transitioned towards MP3s so will follow the technology of manufacturing everything. It will not just be about WHERE it is made but HOW it is made.

When 3D printing is added to the equation the game changes. We no longer need to outsource anything. That is, IF we put money into training people in America to use 3D printing machines.

This change will not create new American jobs. It will reduce the number of many positions since it will take fewer people to create a product. We will still need assembly workers to put products into their display boxes or items into a kit. That means we need to shift all our assembly oriented jobs back to being made in America or we will be in a dire situation.

It’s not all doom and gloom here. We have plenty of companies that will continue to make American products “the old fashioned way,” even by hand. It is also still to be determined if 3D made products will have the same quality as traditionally made products.

Product safety will also be important. Items used for food containers such as the plastic Bento Box must not contain phthalates, bisphenol A (BPA), PVC, or lead. So the materials used by 3D printers must evolve.

In some industries 3D manufacturing will bring about miracles. Imagine a new heart valve  custom made to fit an individual. Think about racing the lightweight Air Bike in the Tour de France. How about custom shoes for Olympic runners? If we can imagine it we can make it.

This means we need to rethink the role that art and science play together. Those that will excel in this new world need to be creative and technical. In fact the designer can also be the manufacturer in many small businesses. You can buy a small MakerBot 3D printer today for $1,700.

Wait until the next Henry Ford inspired leader figures out how to harness the full potential of 3D printing. We just need to get everyone educated and ready for the explosion when it happens in America.

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