Last week I was fortunate enough to go to Fast Company’s Meeting of the Most Creative Minds conference in Los Angeles. The conference featured several amazingly innovative companies that I will also write about later but my favorite aspect was the other attendees. Most of these companies were based in LA but a few flew from all over the nation (and some even other parts of the world!) and there is one that I cannot get out of my head. BitSource is a company who is breathing life back into a sleepy town in eastern Kentucky. The economy there had heavily relied on the coal industry and had suffered tremendously in the loss. Two former coal miners founded BitSource with a mission to bring back jobs to Appalachia country.
The company offers an array of web development services from programming languages to media and VR design to application development (and much more). The founders knew coal miners to be logic-based thinkers willing to work hard and learn. Afterall, when you’re down in a mine and something breaks, there’s no one to guide them in diagnosing and fixing the problems. Coal mining is a highly technical field that relies more on engineering smarts than on physical labor so they knew the laid-off workforce would be primed to learn code and utilize their technical skills. “Appalachia has been exporting coal for a long time.” says Justin Hall, the company’s president who I met at the conference. “Now we want to export code. We’ve got blue-collar coders.”
Some of their work includes web design for Big Sandy Resources, Inc. a river dredging company. They worked on-site to capture footage and information about the services and materials that they provide. BitSource created the website and features then trained the BSR team so that they could update and manage the site internally and make change on demand when they add a new service, product, or project. Check it out here! BitSource worked with Hashtag Appalachia and Unity to create an augmented reality application that uses artwork on a garage door as a trigger. The trigger can call any animation or content that they specify when you hold up your phone and engage the trigger by pointing it at the artwork. See a video of the project here: https://vimeo.com/214003642 Another great project BitSource completed is for their city, Pikeville, Kentucky. They created infographics, animations, an interactive map and software solutions for the city’s Office of Economic Development. The projects range even further but you’ll have to check them out to learn what other awesome things their up to.
Justin Hall was voted one of Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business this year and the company is quickly becoming a leader in sustainable redevelopment of our country’s workforce. BitSource provides pragmatic problem-solving, modern project management, and diligent quality assurance and is passionate about their customers. For this and many reasons I wanted to highlight this company.
This year has been the hottest year on record and this has been a trend for the past 3 consecutive years. Fire season has moved from summer to February in many wildfire hotspot locations. For 3 days last week, I was trained by Al Gore on the current state of the climate and how to become a leader in the topic – a Climate Reality Leader. 972 people being in Denver, CO wanting to learn, network, connect, motivate and take action had me certain that the most successful people would see the possibility of tackling this pertinent issue head on.
With 97% of scientists aware that the climate is changing due to human causes, climate change is no longer a liberal or conservative issue. Al Gore calls it the Sustainability Revolution. Like the Industrial Revolution and the Digital Revolution, sustainability is finding its way into every industry and its making business more efficient and cost-effective, and with it comes a better quality of life. Yet deniers still wave their hands in protest.
Climate denial comes in various forms:
Climate change is not happening
All is due to natural causes
Sure it’s happening, but we’re going to love it. (more beach days)
We can’t afford to do anything
Perhaps the facts are too big to take on – they are relentlessly suggesting urgency in climate action. Global warming is a global issue with planet-wide variables and consequences, so an individual can get lost in the crowd and wonder why they must be the one to change and ask why today, rather than next year?
If we stopped emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere tomorrow, 50 percent would fall out of the atmosphere within one generation. That would make a world of difference for our environmental hazards like flash floods, droughts, wildfires and ocean acidification that now affect every population, not just the residents in coastal Florida or the divers in Australia. We have a renewable market that is currently competitive and is already replacing coal and natural gas. Does this mean you have to install solar panels today? There are a world of possibilities from changing your light bulbs to turning off power strips when you leave the house to installing a Nest thermometer. Whether you make these small changes or can afford larger ones like an electric car, everyone has a place in transitioning.
And if you think its up to liberals and people of the green mentality, the red state of Texas is today’s leader in renewable energy. Why? Because renewables are a growing industry with pay off, both financially and for the health of the planet. With financial payoff, even if you’re a climate skeptic, there’s a monetary reason to reverse our impacts and plan for our future.
For many across the UK, the devastating flooding that has battered northern England over the last month has been an unwelcome taste of how climate change threatens livelihoods not just on remote Pacific islands, but in communities up and down the UK.
But while the flooding may have caused a spike in awareness of climate risks in recent weeks, confusion remains over climate issues, with many uncertain where the bulk of the UK’s carbon emissions come from and what can be done to tackle them.
A new YouGov poll, commissioned by WWF and released last week, questioned 104 MPs, more than 1,700 members of the public and 265 large UK businesses in an attempt to take the pulse of the nation on climate issues.
It provides a revealing snapshot into the concerns – and confusion – felt by many about climate change.
More than 37 per cent of the UK public believe the recent floods are a result of climate change, according to the poll – a view echoed by leaders of the UK’s main political parties last month, albeit with the caveat that no single weather event can be simply linked to changing climate trends.
Perhaps as a result of this rising awareness, the poll reveals a strong public desire for greater climate action from government, with 44 per cent of people agreeing the government is doing too little to reduce its carbon emissions, while just eight per cent think it is doing too much.
This sentiment is matched by large businesses, with 40 per cent of firms employing more than 250 people believing more should be done to cut the UK’s carbon emissions. In contrast, just 12 per cent of businesses say government is doing too much to cut emissions.
Even among lawmakers, half of MPs believe the government should be doing more to cut the UK’s carbon emissions, while just 12 per cent believe too much is being done. However, the poll reveals a stark difference between Conservative and Labour attitudes towards the issue. A staggering 96 per cent of Labour MPs say the government is doing too little to tackle emissions, while just 10 per cent of Conservative MPs feel the same.
However, this broad desire for stronger action on climate change is not matched by an in-depth understanding of the UK’s energy system. The poll reveals public confusion over the cost of energy from different sources – for example, 20 per cent of the UK public believe nuclear is the cheapest form of energy generation, when in reality it is one of the most expensive. Many also think offshore wind is cheaper than onshore wind – when the reverse is true.
Emma Pinchbeck, head of climate and energy at WWF, said the lack of public understanding is a result of unclear messages from government. “Despite clear support for ambitious action, the polling shows that people do not understand what such action entails,” she said. “It is particularly striking that incorrect views – such as thinking that nuclear offers good value for money – reflect government messaging. This shows the need for informed and accurate public debate.”
MPs were better informed than the general public when assessing carbon emissions by sector, with 68 per cent placing power generation as the prime emitter of carbon dioxide, compared to 38 per cent of the general public. However, emissions generated by buildings (both commercial and residential) were underestimated by both MPs and members of the public.
This misconception could become a problem for the government as it looks to meet emission reduction targets over the next Parliament, according to Pinchbeck. “Neither MPs nor the public identified the big role that their homes and business play in UK emissions,” she said. “This should worry the government when we are missing our targets for reducing demand – and we know this is undermining our ability to meet climate change targets. A national drive on energy efficiency would help raise awareness of cheap solutions that will cut bills and help save the planet.”
It seems that while appetite for action on climate change grows ever stronger, much of the UK – public and MPs alike – is still getting to grips with how best to cut emissions and strengthen low-carbon energy generation in the most cost-efficient way. As the flood waters slowly drain away across Britain and the clean-up gets underway, the New Year may also prove to be a good time for a national effort to clear up confusion around climate change.
Source: Climate Change
Electric Avenue is abuzz at CES 2016 this week about the 2017 Chevy Bolt. GM Chief Engineer for Electrified Vehicles, Pamela Fletcher, talks with John McElroy about the upcoming Chevrolet Bolt EV and how the company believes it has cracked the EV code. Not only does the Bolt have a 200-mile range and a price around $30,000, but it has has plenty of interior space and was designed for both personal and shared use. Car Sharing is one of the hot topics at CES, and the Bolt features easy connectivity for multiple users.
Watch the video below and share your thoughts on the latest EV.
Awesome new graphic from CustomMade that takes an in-depth look at the growing global water footprint and provides ideas on how we can cut back on our individual water consumption to help sustain this valuable resource for future generations.
The average American lifestyle requires about 2,000 gallons of water every day. Fresh water consumption has doubled since World War II and is expected to rise 25% by 2030. All of this water use takes a toll on the planet and can create water scarcity which effects up to 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of the year. Explore ways you can reduce your water footprint in your home.
Reducing our Water Footprint
Dual flush toilets, turning off the tap while scrubbing dishes, and using a rain barrel to collect outdoor water are all great ways to reduce your water footprint. There are many simple changes you can make in your day to day life that can positively impact your water use and lessen the effects of water scarcity.