Sizing Up Your Green Footprint

Goleman on iPad vs. book

Every product we buy has a footprint, an environmental footprint, but those footprints are not easy to see.

There’s the object itself. The transport it takes to move it. The energy it took to make it. Exotic ingredients and manufacturing. And what it takes to be rid of it once it’s done. That’s quite a trail.

So what’s really greener? iPad or book? Stainless steel or plastic? Incandescent or halogen?

This Hour, On Point: the ecological footprints of what we buy. Plus, later this hour, a big court ruling on “net neutrality.”


Daniel Goleman, science journalist and psychologist. He’s author of “Emotional Intelligence,” “Social Intelligence,” and “Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything” (with an accompanying CD).  His op-ed, in this weekend’s New York Times, was “How Green Is My iPad?”

Dara O’Rourke, Professor of Environmental and Labor Policy at UC Berkeley and founder of, a website that rates over 65,000 products by their personal, social, and environmental impact.

More links:

Check out Grist’s guide to green iPhone apps.

And here’s a perennial question for new technology:

Closing Segment:

Yesterday, a Washington D.C. appeals court ruled that broadband providers do not have to give equal Internet access to everyone. The cable company Comcast argued that a service called BitTorrent, which allows users to exchange large, often pirated, video, should not be allowed to slow down everyone’s Internet service. The FCC argued that BitTorrent should not be discriminated against. The court sided with Comcast, throwing into question the FCC’s ability to regulate the Internet, and keep it equally open to all.

We speak with Arik Hesseldahl, senior technology reporter for BusinessWeek Magazine.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Jun 9, 2016

Newly-minted college graduates on the job hunt. We’ll look at who’s hiring, starting salaries, and strategies for landing that first job.

Jun 9, 2016

Europe, India and China, are taking on American tech giants over privacy, monopolies, and more. We’ll look at the global technology pushback against the U.S.A.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Jessica Valenti: ‘Objectification Is About Dehumanizing People’
Wednesday, Jun 8, 2016

“There is some power in laying claim to the word victim.” — Jessica Valenti on the Stanford sexual assault case, and the importance of language.

More »
Why The ‘Roots’ Remake Matters (And What Stays The Same)
Tuesday, Jun 7, 2016

The recent remake of “Roots” on the History Channel makes important changes, Morehouse College’s Stephane Dunn argues. But it also holds true to the original story.

More »
Former Trump Advisor Roger Stone: ‘Trump’s Going To Be The Next President’
Monday, Jun 6, 2016

Longtime political consultant Roger Stone apologizes for his “two martini tweets,” even as he predicts Donald Trump will be the next U.S. president.

More »