As the battles over collective bargaining in Wisconsin, and now the disasters in Japan, have dominated the news over the last month, you may have missed Florida Governor Rick Scott’s rejection of federal funds to build a high-speed rail line between Tampa and Orlando. Scott turned away the $2.4 billion for the project because he was concerned about cost overruns that Florida taxpayers may have had to cover. According to a new study by the Florida Department of Transportation, though, the governor’s fears are not only unfounded, but represent a missed opportunity to create some economic growth in the Sunshine State.
Going off-grid as economic necessity, quiet compostable chip bags, and green beer… your green tech finds for the week.
Green beer in the Last Frontier: Juneau-based Alaskan Brewing Company faces some relatively unique challenges and costs in making its beer… and has implemented some relatively unique green technology (for a craft brewer, anyway) to keep a lid on both economic and environmental costs. (via Utne Reader)
Adjust the thermostat with your phone: ecobee, the makers of the Smart Thermostat, now offer an Android app that allows you to remotely adjust your home’s temperature.
Lots of electric vehicle news this week, plus mushroom plastics and watching watersheds with your iPhone… this week’s green tech finds.
- Sun-powered transportation… in the Sunshine State: Sarasota-area beachside community Pelican Bay will be using solar-powered trams to move people around the development. (via Cleantechnica)
- GE making massive EV purchase: General Electric will not only make components for electric vehicles, but plans to become the largest single purchaser of them.
Electricity from beer, DIY electric bikes, and purple wind turbines… it’s green tech finds time!
Beer power: Suffolk, UK’s Adnam’s Brewery will be contributing waste to an anaerobic digestion plant which will create enough power for 235 homes in the area. (via Green Upgrader)
Florida utility offers solar hot water option: Lakeland Electric became the first utility company in the country to offer fixed-rate solar hot water service this week. (via The Ledger)
When you hear the phrase “mission-driven business,” you likely think of a company dedicated exclusively to using commerce to address social and environmental problems. That’s definitely the case with A Cup of Organic, a coffee company and cafe based outside of Tampa, Florida. But the owners of this company take the word “mission” much more literally, too: all devout Christians, they devote a portion of their profits to funding missionary work.
You likely haven’t seen much news about the impact the economic decline has had on family owned and operated dairies, but Farm Aid notes that the recession has hit these small businesses particularly hard: the prices of milk paid by processors has dropped 50% since July, 2008. Add this to decades of decline in the small farm and ranch, and you’ve got a recipe for bankruptcy… or creativity.
The U.S. EPA is planning to impose limits on phosphorus and nitrogen in Florida waters that will be the first federal standards for nutrient pollution in the waters of a state.
Like many schools, the University of Florida has developed a number of programs and efforts to produce and promote renewable energy. Mechanical and aerospace engineering major Eric Layton saw an opportunity to learn in a proposed biodiesel plant, and threw himself into the project whole-heartedly: according to the Gainesville Sun, “He helped build and maintain the plant and served as the coordinator for more than 50 volunteers who learned about plant management and operations.” He even received an award for his efforts.
And then, last Spring, the funding ran out.
Last week, King Carl-Gustav of Sweden presided over the ceremonial opening of the country’s first marine national park, Kosterhavet. If you’re like me, you tend to associate the phrase “national park” with mountains, forests, canyons, and even geysers… but countries around the world recognize the value of the coastal and marine ecosystems, and are designating similar protected areas. A quick search yielded these treasures:
Miss this past weekend’s Far North Conservation Film Fest in Fairbanks, Alaska? Not to worry: green-themed film festivals are popping up everywhere around the country. Here’s just a handful of festivals devoted to environmentally-themed films!
Utter the phrase “trial lawyer” in public, and you may hear responses such “ambulance chaser” and “bottom-feeder.” Lake Worth, Florida’s Romano Law Group may either take umbrage or laugh off such labels, but they’re serious about another one they’ve acquired: green builders. The firm’s EcoCentre building turns one in June, and showcases a number of innovative technologies inspired by nature.