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Jun 21
2010

Innovation Hub

Posted by Bruce Robinson in water , technology , speaker , Sonoma County , research , planning , nonprofit orgs , jobs , Ideas , Green , go green , gadgets , employment , economy , design , construction , carbon , California , business , alternative energy

Bruce Robinson

The Business Cluster at Sonoma Mountain Village, an incubator for green entrepreneurs, is getting a boost from the state's Innovation Hub (iHub) initiative for  new companies intended to become a prime source for new, local jobs.

Sustainability looks beyond energy use and building materials, adds Geof  Syphers. He notes that part of their systemic focus at Sonoma Mountain Village, the former Agilent campus on the southern edge of Rohnert Park,  is on water.

The business cluster at Sonoma Mountain Village was one of the first elements of their 200 acre redevelopment project to get up and running, in part because it could make use of existing buildings there, explains Chief Sustainability Officer Geof Syphers. But he is also looking ahead to the new residential construction that will dramatically transform the site.

One of the eye-catching aspects of the event yesterday was a demonstration module for Pix2o, one of the start-ups in the Business Cluster that Executive Director Michael Newell says is closest to bringing their product to market.

The full roster of Business Cluster members is available here.

 

 

 

 

May 14
2010

Energy Bills & Climate Protection

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , transportation , speaker , Sonoma County , resources , politics , policy , nonprofit orgs , Green , government , go green , events , environment , economy , Congress , climate change , carbon , California , alternative energy , activism

Bruce Robinson

There’s a legislative brawl brewing over national energy policy and climate change. The 6th annual Climate Protection Everybody Profits Conference in Sebastopol laid out a preview of where those battle lines are being drawn.

Since 2005, every local government in Sonoma County has signed on to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 25% below 1990 levels by 2015. But progress toward that goal has been elusive. And while a comprehensive local plan to move this county in that direction has been developed, Ann Hancock (left) , Executive Director of the Climate Protection Campaign, points out that local actions alone will not be effective.

The graph below breaks down where those local emissions are coming from. As solar photovoltaic systems and other measures bring down the shares attributable to residential and commercial energy use, the relative proportion of transportation emissions has increased.

The CLEAR (Carbon Limits and Energy for American Renewal )Act was introduced jointly by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) in 2009, an indication of early bipartisan backing for the “cap and dividend” measure. Peter Barnes, Senior Fellow at the Tomales Bay Institute in Point Reyes Station sees multiple reasons why that approach could find further support from Republicans in Congress.

Mar 08
2010

Voluntary Simplicity

Posted by Bruce Robinson in waste , speaker , resources , lifestyle , Ideas , Green , go green , families , energy , conserve , budget , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

In our fast-paced, materially-driven society, the idea of living more simply and slowly runs counter to prevailing norms. That may be why it’s catching on.

People have many different reasons for embracing the concept of voluntary simplicity, and author Duane Elgin (right)  sees them all as valid and interlocking, part of a “garden” of motivations that all serve a greater common cause.

The virtues of living simply and eschewing material goods are sometimes associated more with the Oriental teachings of Confucius and Buddha, although they were also embodied by such western figures as John the Baptist and St. Francis of Assisi. Today, says Elgin, the precepts of voluntary simplicity have taken hold in a big way in Northern Europe.

 

Duane Elgin, MBA and MA is an internationally recognized, visionary speaker and author.  His books include:  Voluntary Simplicity, The Living Universe, Promise Ahead, and Awakening Earth.   He will appear at Copperfields Books in Sebastopol at 7 pm on Monday, March 8, with a presentation titled,  "Voluntary Simplicity: Toward a Way of Life That is Outwardly Simple, Inwardly Rich."

 

Feb 17
2010

Electric Mail Trucks

Posted by Bruce Robinson in transportation , Sonoma County , Science , research , legislation , government , go green , gadgets , environment , design , conservation , Congress , carbon , business , alternative energy , air quality

Bruce Robinson

While the major automakers are getting ready to roll out the next generation of electric cars, a North Bay company is demonstrating how that technology could be applied to such utilitarian vehicles as mail trucks.

Zap—the name is an acronym for “Zero Air Pollution”— recognizes that they are not positioned to compete with major American and international carmakers who are readying electric models for the broad consumer market. But company founder Gary Starr says they are setting their sights on a specific sort of vehicle, and the mail truck prototype is a strong step in that direction.

Zap founder Gary Starr (right) explains the mail truck  gas-to-electric conversion project to North Bay Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey at the company's Santa Rosa workshop on Tuesday, as CEO Steve Schneider (left) looks on. The array of lithium batteries that will power the vehicle instead of a gasoline engine are on the platform in the foreground. (Photo by Margot Duane)

 

 

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