Category: Energy/Conservation

SXSW Eco Session “Straight to the Point” Community Action, Safe Drinking Water, Ending the Coal Industry…

By Marcie Barnes

Experimental Data Visualization: Leveraging Personal and Community Action

Green Maps can take on different neighborhoods, different issues. Getting people outdoors in Stockholm, biodiversity in Singapore, etc. Can help map corporate social responsibility. Many tools you can repurpose for your community.

Sol Design Lab is creating solar charging stations for bikes, cell phones electric vehicles, etc. Mission: “to create interactive and inspiring solutions for urban sustainability, public art, and design.”

Using Carbon Financing to Provide Sustainable Access to Safe Drinking Water

“Environmental health is directly connected to human health…and social health” Lifestraw is a water filter that works by gravity so it is very clean. Since people are no longer boiling their water, there’s a tangible impact on the carbon market. It’s unique because it’s a way to adapt current regulation to allow for an innovative project.

No More Coal: The Business Case for Ending an Industry

(Gil Friend, CEO of Natural Logic Inc.) Coal from a business perspective purely (not health or environmental). The global subsidy to fossil fuels is range, so say 200 billion. The market value of global coal industry = $155B. If we shut this down and used the money saved on subsidies and shut down the mines, cleaned up all the rivers, air, etc. there would still be money left over. We have a society focused on just the bottom line.

The real costs of a gallon of gas are $15-$20/gallon when you consider subsidies, military, taxes, health effects. Subsidies on fossil = 6x the subsidies on clean energy. These are political decisions, not economic decisions. Nuclear subsidies at 140% the actual energy being produced. Transitions not easy – seeing some movement on wall street – different industries have different risk in terms of carbon, health, etc. Investment shifts are getting attention.

What do we do? Zero out subsidies. Have an “unusual” coalition to take down all subsidies which will shift the favor towards renewables. Demand transparency. Most subsidized companies do not disclose the subsidy amounts (or consider environmental impact, etc.) Get CFOs into the sustainability game. They own risk & value and need to be at the table. “Sometimes the invisible hand needs an invisible foot.”

Keep Austin Neutral – Austin’s Leadership in Climate Protection

They want to be the most livable city in the country. Sustainability is in the core of their city planning, and they are planning with climate change effects in mind. Plan to be using all renewable energy by 2020, have a 100% green vehicle fleet, Austin is the largest city in the country right now buying 100% renewable energy through wind power credits. In the press yesterday because of all this:


SXSW Eco Conference Tuesday Keynote

By Marcie Barnes

Alex Steffen is “one of the world’s leading voices on sustainability, social innovation and planetary futurism” according to his website. He is about to kick off SXSW Eco with the Tuesday keynote titled “Carbon Zero Cities, Unimagined Opportunities and the Risks of Thinking Small.”

3:10: “We are pursing things with great passion…that don’t add up to what we truly need.”

3:11: “If we continue on the path we’re on we have no chance of slowing [climate change] down.”

3:13: “We need to be thinking along the lines of 100% reduction by 2030.”

3:15: “How we measure our emissions has tended to distort the picture a bit.”

3:18: “We really want access to [things we want]…we want to live well” (We don’t have a deep stake in how that life gets delivered).

3:20: “Most emissions come from burning fossil fuels…I totally support clean energy…we simply don’t have the capacities at this moment.”

3:23: “Most of the energy we use is determind by the kinds of systems we live in…the cultures we live in.”

3:25: “Denser communities use less energy.”

3:28: “We’re learning that we can…really increase the amount of people living [in large cities]” [at a profit].

3:30: “People change how they live, what they want.”

3:31: “We need to create spaces where cars understand that they share the road.”

3:35: “Technology is becoming more and more ubiquitous…we can see thing around us in a way we never could before.”

3:38: “Delivery has a much lower footprint than [people going to the mall].”

3:41: “The goal is no longer dream homes, it’s dream neighborhoods.”

3:42: “Cars are a leading cause of a lot of our health problems.”

3:44: “Active lives have true benefits…for many commutes, a slightly longer walk is better than a drive…it’s time you would have spent dead.”

3:45: “Poverty is growing much faster in suburbia than in cities.”

3:48: “Passivhaus Design…dense building have all sorts of green benefits…passive solar homes…district systems…smart metering…”

3:50: “We’ve been buying and using in ways that have been absolutely silly…they would be better used by many people.”

3:54: “Sustainable design…can be boiled down to…the designer…many impacts can be designed away.”

3:55: “We need to change the way we see wealth…there are ineffective and effective forms of wealth.”

3:56: “Many of the things we need to do are impossible or actually illegal under local or state codes.”

4:01: “We are headed into a storm of forces, we want to be the people who help our cities…”

Welcome to! is launching next week from the SXSW Eco conference in Austin, TX. We are very excited to be kicking things off in a big way from big ole Texas, y’all…so go ahead and subscribe to stay right on top of things!

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Yee haw!

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