March 08, 2009
GoingGreen East 2009 in Boston This Week
January 15, 2009
Biotech Seed Companies Thwarting Research
In this week's New York Times, crop scientists are suggesting that biotechnology seed companies are thwarting research.
"The problem, the scientists say, is that farmers and other buyers of genetically engineered seeds have to sign an agreement meant to ensure that growers honor company patent rights and environmental regulations and that agreements also prohibit growing the crops for research purposes."
November 17, 2008
The Kilili Self Help Project
Check out the Kilili Self Help Project, an initiative that trains Kenyans in sustainable farming practices. It's interesting to note that half the graduates are women. The project supports the work of trained and certified Kenyan community workers who teach farmers the GROW BIOINTENSIVE method of organic farming and soil fertility management.
Through the generosity of donors, more than 86,000 families are now using simple, ecological methods to achieve food security and economic self-reliance. Highly productive GROW BIOINTENSIVE gardens provide extra crops to sell. Family health improves and children can go to school, often for the first time.
November 09, 2008
A Chat with Al Gore
John Battelle and Tim O'Reilly interview Al Gore in the last session of the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco this week. Batelle shakes Gore's hand as they sit down for a fireside-like chat following Gore's talk about the election, politics in the new world where Web 2.0 plays a key role and the environment.
He's emotional and slightly unsettled when he approaches the podium. He wipes his brow and says, "wow, what a week," recounting that there were far too many emotional moments to go into. He talked about how many opportunities there are on the Web today and how these have revolutionized every aspect of running for President.
He says, "The electrifying redemption of America's revolutionary declaration that all human beings are created equal would not have been possible without the additional empowerment of individuals to use information as power that has come with the Internet."
He thinks that one of the main reasons our political system has not been operating well until this election is the current state of television. He goes into crowd sourcing, how it started in Europe in more primitive ways before the Constitution was written. there was a primitive Crowd Source with what we're trying to figure out based on the information we had, that was followed by the constitution.
"So," he says, "the Internet comes in and democratizes information again. Its no accident that all the change movements have jumped on the Internet to communicate their cause. TV still dampens it." As a way to plug Current TV, one of his babies, he asks, "what about inviting people to make and edit their own television?"
He tells us an amusing story about the first time his family got a puppy. One of the reporters he was working with at the time who was also an expert on dogs came out to the farm and asked them, 'what's the puppy's purpose? Is it a watchdog, is it going to play with the kids, is it going to bring in the paper?' "We had to really think about this," he said. "It's something that always stuck with me. Web 2.0 has to have a purpose. We have to have a purpose."
He adds, "the purpose is to bring about a higher level of consciousness about this planet because of the rapid transformation between humans and the earth. We have an opportunity to save it, reduce our national security risk, and save the planet. The only way this is going to be solved is by addressing the democracy crisis. We have to take this issue and raise it in the awareness of everyone."
Batelle asks Gore, "do you worry about the movement losing steam?" Gore thinks not because of the fact that the movement is very much in its infancy. He says, "It's barely beginning. The social activism that is made possible by these new tools is just beginning to take off."
But O'Reilly wants to know, "don't we lose time because of what is front and center right now?"
Gore says, "I've heard more people say that the climate crisis provides a way to help offset the economic crisis. Economists across the spectrum, left, right and center, say that the ideal way to stimulate the economy is with a larger program. We need to build a unified central smart grid that has two sets of characteristics. We need a national retrofit program to insulate homes. When you extend money to fix buildings, you can save the homeowner money. We can create ten million new jobs very very quickly. We also need increase incentives and electrify the automobile fleet."
Gore goes back to purpose and our mission. He says, "young people who have been so inspired by Obama's campaign have a purpose. When we hear things about the environment, we react but then it goes away. There's a big connection going from the fear center to the reasoning process but only a little coming back. It needs to be stored in the cloud, we need to have this inconvenient truth stored in the cloud so people don't have to rely on the process, so people can respond to it collectively." (positive clapping response from the audience)
And in response from a question from the audience on what kind of role the government should have in the Internet?" Very little says Gore. Very little.
September 16, 2008
Thomas Friedman on "Geo-Greenism"
GoingGreen 2008 in Sausalito This Week
I wish I had time to go to this "all things green" event, a combined effort between AlwaysOn and Morgan Stanley. GoingGreen 2008 is taking place at Cavallo Point in Sausalito, CA through tomorrow end of day. Program line-up here.
Some of the speakers include J. Craig Venter, Chairman & Founder of Synthetic Genomics, Elon Musk, Chairman of Tesla Motors, Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, Michelle Kaufmann, CEO of Michelle Kaufmann Design, Steve Jurvetson of Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Ira Ehrenpreis, General Partner of Technology Partners.
In addition to this all-star keynote line-up and the panel debates, the program includes 40 private company CEO Showcases from a wide range of sectors, including Solar Energy, Biofuel & Agriculture, Clean Energy, Energy Storage Systems, Energy Management, Smart Grid & Energy Efficiency, Water Technology & Water Management, Green Materials, Green Buildings, Green Nano/Micro-Tech, Green Automobiles & Transportation, Clean Manufacturing & Clean Products, and Resource Recovery & Waste Management.
If you're into greentech, this is an event you won't want to miss.
They'll also have a CEO showcase followed by a panel discussion on abundant clean green water. Every year, technologies to totally recycle water at a building and municipal scale are getting better and more affordable. Drip irrigation and other water-efficiency innovations promise to greatly reduce the quantity of water necessary for commercial agriculture. And desalination capacity, using dramatically improved technologies, is growing faster than ever. What technologies and companies are going to guarantee the world enters an era of water abundance?
Global Water Intelligence editor-in-chief Christopher Gasson is moderating this session, together with Anup Jacob, Partner, Virgin Green Fund, Miox CEO Carlos PErea and Siemens CTO Joe Zubeck.
The Next Generation Biofuel session also looks interesting. Will new plants and growing techniques combined with cost-effective cellulosic extraction methods increase biofuel yields per square mile per year from 5,000 to 50,000 barrels? Will biofuel be produced in a tank, using growth cultures of genetically modified algae? Will biofuel come from factories with minimal footprints, or from extremely high yields on cropland? What is the future of biofuel, who is driving that future, and when is it going to get here?
Also, the one on the Carbon Offset Windfall. Whether we have carbon taxes, carbon trading, or both, the magnitude of the potential transfer of wealth will be unprecedented in the history of civilization. Where are these funds going and where should they go? Should the emphasis be on averting climate change or adapting to climate change? Should the funds be used to fund infrastructure for megacities, to reforest the tropics, or for an assortment of worthy projects across the board?
August 12, 2008
I just discovered this fabulous 'ecospeakers' website that includes folks like Huey Johnson who founded the trust for public land, Jack Robinson who has had his green investing views covered in the WSJ and the NY Times, Dave Wan, author of Affluenza, Biologic, and Deep Design, and video producer of Sustainable Design, Bill Birchard, author of Nature's Keepers, Katie Alvord. Author of Divorce Your Car! and Reese Halter, Founder and President of Global Forest Science among countless others.
August 09, 2008
AlwaysOn GoingGreen in September
The AlwaysOn network is having their AlwaysOn GoingGreen event at San Francisco's Cavallo Point from September 15-17, 2008. If your business is dabbling in this space, diving in or you're merely interested in what's happening in "greener pastures" on the business front, its worth checking out.
GoingGreen is where cutting-edge greentech CEOs meet the movers and shakers from the largest industries. Green technology innovators are transforming the global energy, water, agriculture, transportation, construction, manufacturing, and resource recovery establishments.
The event plans to feature CEO presentations and high-level debates on the most promising emerging green technologies and new entrepreneurial opportunities. AlwaysOn editors also plan to honor the GoingGreen 100 Top Private Companies. Fifty of the top CEOs from the GoingGreen 100 will pitch their market strategies to a panel of industry experts in their “CEO Showcase.”
April 24, 2008
This Thing About Default Margins
This is too funny. Apparently a fourth grade class is trying to get the world to change paper margins to save paper. I still can't figure out how to make my default margins .5 rather than the 1.5 that Word forces me into, so I've been decreasing my margins manually for I don't know how many years. It seems as if I need to create a template to do that which is frankly counterintuitive.
There's actually a website called Change the Margins.
The intro goes a bit like this:
I've always tried to save paper.
Not because I was an environmental revolutionary.
But because I was poor.
I had to laugh because I think my original reason for decreasing margins was in fact the same exact reason. Instead of printing off 25 pages, decreasing margins meant 18 pages instead, which not only saved paper costs but cartridge ink as well, or at least that's what I told myself even though it doesn't make a lot of sense.
Narrower margin settings = more text/page = less paper used, she writes.
And now, years later, a light bulb goes off and it becomes an environmental benefit as well, particularly if everyone defaults to smaller margins.
February 25, 2008
Full Circle Fund on Change in California
The Full Circle Fund talks to us about change. About how to make a change. About investing (your time and money) in the right things, with a particular focus on California. Van Jones is also involved among other major technology entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. They remind us that less than 13% can afford to buy a median home in the Bay Area and that California is among the 5 worst states in reading and math. Check out the video.