“The organism is an organism”.










“The organism is an organism.”


The title of this blog post is a quote from David Berry.  It comes from a truly fascinating article from Boston Magazine, linked here.

The quote is  not from  Dave Barry, the columnist from The Miami Herald, and author of some fairly funny books…but David Berry, 33-year-old founder of Joule Unlimited.

To draw from the article, and whet your appetite to consume it all – despite the fact that it features pond scum,

“Berry and his team have figured out how to grow algae that are little diesel-making machines, designed to do nothing in life except ingest sunlight and CO2, drink water, and crap pure, clean fuel. And if Berry’s done his math right, these bacteria are the secret to a petroleum-free future. It’s only a matter of time, he says, until they eliminate the need for oil pulled from the ground. Joule Unlimited is not going to reduce our reliance on oil. It’s going to wipe it out.”

This is fascinating stuff.

The quote, “the organism is an organism”, comes from a part of the interview when Berry did not want to get any more specific about the type of cyanobacteria (pictured above) which was being “trained” to become the next major provider of the Earth’s energy needs.

And it’s a “green-by-definition” project, one in which the product of the project is related directly to sustainability or environmental issues.

Remember, we say that you don’t have to be on this type of project to think green, but it’s still inspiring to take a look at this side of the green project spectrum for inspiration – and just to have a peek at some of the brilliant work being done in this area.

We suggest reading the article and getting some of that good ol’ pond-scummy inspiration!


What’s a “green job”, and what’s a green PM?


We came across an interesting series of postings, tweets, and links, totally by serendipity, but it led to some good questions and reinforced our belief in the word greenality.

Below, in italics, you will see a United States BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) definition of “green jobs”.  Below this post, you will find the detailed description.  But start with the basic one:

Green jobs are either:

  • A. Jobs in businesses that produce goods or provide services that benefit the environment or conserve natural resources.
  • B. Jobs in which workers’ duties involve making their establishment’s production processes more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources.

There were two immediate discoveries when we did some detective work here.

First, when we followed up and went to the actual US Government sites, we noticed that the supporting text constantly  and repeatedly stumbled looking for a word to describe greenality.  They used “greenness” in most of those cases.  Greenness?  Really?  Our word – greenality -fits the bill.  We will send it along to the author of the document and continue to push for its use.  Remember, greenality means: the degree to which an organization has environmental (green) factors that affect its projects during the entire project life cycle and beyond”.

Second, the two-part definition the BLS uses mimics what we say about the spectrum of green in projects.  There are some projects – such as the creation of a new biofuel facility – in which the project’s outcome is, by definition, green in its purpose.  There are some, however, like a new version of game software, for which the green element is not so obvious.  Like us, the BLS seems to be asserting that “making their establishment’s production processes” (or in our view, their projects) – :more environmentally friendly or use fewer natural resources”.

This BLS definition is new, but it is reassuring to see that it reflects our thoughts and what we continue to convey to PMs and their organizations via this site and our book.

Here are some references from which we drew this information.




What do you think?  Never mind the US Government for a moment, how would you define a green job?  How would you define a green PM?  We’ve very interested in hearing from you on this topic.

Continue reading “What’s a “green job”, and what’s a green PM?”

Fueling around in a London black cab


I wonder if you can guess how much London cabbies spend each day on diesel fuel?

Probably not.

Well – since you asked… that number is more than a half-million dollars.  Collectively, the owners of the iconic black cabs of London spend over $600,000 on fuel, mostly diesel – each day.  And with that expense is a commensurate use of fossil-based fuels.  But now, they – and others – are switching to something else in what is turning out to be a series of large projects meant to save costs, to meet EU laws, and green up the city.

Which leads us to our second trivia question: what percentage of potatoes in Britain are consumed as ‘chips’ (what we in the US call French Fries)?

And the answer is: 1 in 4 of all British potatoes consumed in Britain are eaten as chips and the UK’s 8,500 fish and chip shops sell over 277 million portions of chips per year, all cooked in some form of vegetable oil.

A London company called Uptown Oil refines the waste oil and sells it at about $1.50 per liter, whereas diesel fuel costs about $1.75.  So people do not have to make a choice to spend more to get off of fossil fuels – they spend less and also make a more sustainable choice.  The oil is collected from rapeseed, sunflower, and soya oils, is filtered and distilled, and added to methanol.  The resultant fuel produces much less in the way of smoke fumes.  You can actually read direct comments by the London cab drivers (listed by actual license plate numbers) here.

And it’s not just the cabs. The EU’s new laws on new buildings require the near elimination of fossil fuels by 2020.  So companies like PricewaterhouseCoopers, along with the cabbies, are (through companies like Uptown) searching for waste oil from about 750 restaurants, pubs and other sources in the London area.  In the case of PwC, which advises clients on a consulting basis to reduce their carbon footprint, it’s a matter of believability – PwC is practicing what they preach.  As you saw in our last posting, this is something important to us.

Much of the information from this posting came from this Boston Globe article.

So here’s our summertime tip.  To learn more about green project management, perhaps settle down with a good book, a nice stout or porter, and a healthy side of ‘chips’.