03/7/14

7 Clean Tech & Sustainability Bloggers To Follow

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

 

Sustainability concept.We like technology in all of its forms and facets. One of the most exciting areas of technology is how it drives sustainable development forward. Technology innovation opens up new ways to protect the environment, be more resource efficient and find better socioeconomic models.

 

It is a vast space to cover. Following are seven of our favorite bloggers and reporters who write about clean tech, sustainability and innovation topics, grouped in alphabetical order. This is neither a ranking, nor a comprehensive list. Just a short list of writers whose writings we follow and whose stories you might like to read as well.

 

1. Adam Aston, Contributor to GreenBiz et al
Twitter @adamanyc, 5K followers
Brooklyn-based writer Adam Aston specializes in stories about energy, environment, science and technology. He covers renewable and conventional energy technologies, efficiency, transportation, building and design, green finance, and corporate sustainability.  A former BusinessWeek reporter, he now contributes to The Guardian, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)’s OnEarth, GreenBiz, The New York Times and MIT’s Technology Review, among others. Check out his website for a round-up of his articles.


2. Andrew Revkin, New York Times, Dot Earth
Twitter @revkin, 58K followers
Andrew Revkin has covered a broad spectrum of environmental issues for more than three decades. He left his New York Times staff position in 2009 to become the senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University’s Pace Academy for Applied Environmental Studies, but he continued to write his award-winning Dot Earth blog (now part of the New York Times’ Op-Ed section). Most recently Revkin covered the discussion about Climate Change prompted by the warm weather conditions at the Winter Olympics in Sochi. 

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12/17/13

Great PR Moments in 2013: PlanetSolar, a Floating, Global Ambassador for Solar Energy, Stops in New York City

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

 

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, in New York City this June

MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, in New York City this June

2014 is around the corner.  It’s time to look at some of this year’s great PR moments. One of them was the arrival of the largest solar boat, the MS Tûranor PlanetSolar, in New York City this June. The Expedition PR team was honored to work with the PlanetSolar team, the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and the University of Geneva to use the PlanetSolar stop in the Big Apple as a conversation platform about the advancements and possibilities of solar energy.  Switzerland is at the forefront of scientific research on technology innovation and sustainability. Onboard PlanetSolar was the DeepWater expedition, a team of scientists from the University of Geneva. The team collected data along the Gulf Stream to analyze changes in ocean currents and climate change.

Expedition PR executed a strategic PR program that combined media relations, social media marketing and VIP events.

The team reached out to reporters covering sustainability, innovation and transportation to start the conversation about the Swiss boat’s mission for solar energy. Updates about the boat’s itinerary were shared via social media prior to its highly anticipated arrival in the Big Apple.

The MS Tûranor PlanetSolar was greeted with fanfare and excitement by New Yorkers at the marina. Al Jazeera and NBC News covered the boat’s arrival. AFP pictures of PlanetSolar approaching New York with the Swiss flag on top of the boat were published in slideshows by newspapers around the world.

Shortly after the boat docked, the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York hosted a Welcome Reception for the PlanetSolar and DeepWater expedition team, attended by the diplomatic circle, academic institutions, analysts and representatives of the New York clean tech community.

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11/1/13

Call to Action by Jeffrey Sachs: End Extreme Poverty by 2030

Technology is the Main Driver for Socioeconomic Change

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Earlier this month Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute and Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, was a guest speaker at St. Francis College to talk about how we can end extreme poverty. According to Sachs we have the means to bring extreme poverty to an end through our knowledge, technology and tools. He defined extreme poverty as the kind of poverty that is so severe that it threatens survival. Today, still one billion people worldwide, one of seven people, earn less than $1.25 a day and struggle for survival.

Jeffery Sachs speaks at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, about ending extreme poverty. Photo: St. Francis College

Jeffery Sachs speaks at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, NY, about ending extreme poverty. Photo: St. Francis College

Looking at the past 20 years, there has been good progress in reducing poverty, especially in China.  However, even with the economic progress, Sachs said, we are not making it work. We are still facing income inequality, social unrest, and environmental degradation.

Sachs believes that this is due to a moral crisis. We have all that we need to end global poverty but not all countries and people are pursuing ending poverty and sustainable development as a common goal. So, while we have more technological tools available than ever, the “nerve wrecking reality” is we have to “find our way through the complicated terrain” with different interests and foster sustainable development in a complex world.

Sachs advocates countries to adopt a concept of sustainable development that consists of four pillars – economic, social, environmental, and governance.  And technology innovation plays a critical role.

According to Sachs, the main driver of socioeconomic change, and human history, is technology. Continue reading

10/29/13

Expanding New York City’s Green and Cleantech Market Is also a Question about Choosing the Right Marketing Strategy

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Cleantech was identified as an opportunity to drive economic growth in New York City and support the execution of PlanNYC, the City’s sustainability ago some years ago. The global clean tech market is expected to grow to $5.9 trillion by 2015 and the goal is to capture a larger market share and establish New York City as a leader for green and clean tech.  Initiatives like the NYU ACRE incubator for clean tech companies, cleanweb hackathons and the energy efficiency programs by ThinkEco, have created excitement around New York’s potential to drive clean tech innovation. New York is now home to more than 40 clean tech companies. However, New York is still considered to be clean tech market laggard compared to other geographic regions.

greennyc2025What can be done to change it? Part of it, is looking at the road blocks.

The New York Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) together with A.T. Kearney conducted interviews, panels and workshops with clean tech industry leaders to identify New York City’s hurdles to take a more prominent position in the global clean tech arena.

The study concluded that with its high real estate and labor costs (and may we add tax rates), New York City does not cater well to traditional cleantech businesses, which require vast capital, engineering skills, and manufacturing facilities.

The other part is to raise visibility nationwide and on the global stage for cleantech innovation coming from New York City. Continue reading

09/20/13

The Countdown to ClimateWeek NYC: A Look at the Potential of Biogas

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

ClimateWeek NYC (#CWNYC) is about to start. One of our favorite weeks of the year; a whirlwind of more than 50 events that discuss how to shape a smarter, better and more prosperous world – and the role technology plays to reduce climate change. Starting with the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit 2013, New York City will become a global stage for representatives from business, politics and NGOs to call for a Clean Revolution.

New Yorkers experienced the hard reality of climate change when Hurricane Sandy hit the city – among other Northeastern coastal areas – last year. As part of the city’s sustainability planning, Mayor Bloomberg created the Special Initiative for Rebuilding and Resiliency (SIRR) to address how to create a more resilient New York City in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, with a long-term focus on preparing for and protecting against the impacts of climate change. The city is also building out the clean tech industry sector to help address climate change challenge while creating jobs. Opened in 2009, The New York City Accelerator for a Clean and Renewable Economy (NYC ACRE) helps clean technology and renewable energy companies in New York City grow.

Climate change solutions are needed rather sooner than later.

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09/3/13

Discovering Biofuels: Wood Pellets are Becoming a Hot Commodity

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

In the midst of a large forest in North Rhine-Westphalia, nearby Olsberg, is I.D.E.E., an information center for renewable energies. The center’s mission is to educate the public and businesses about the use of wood fuel, solar energy and other renewable energy sources.

To phase out nuclear power by the end of 2022, Germany has increased its investment in renewable energies, solar, wind and biomass.  The use of wood, specifically wood pellets, as an energy source has gained in importance and created new socioeconomic opportunities for areas with large forests. Pellet fuels are heating fuels made from compressed biomass. The most common type are wood pellets, often made from compacted sawdust or sawmilling and wood production waste.

North Rhine-Westphalia has emerged as a leading hub for pellet sourcing and production. The State boasts the country’s largest forestry and wood cluster according to the State Enterprise for Forestry and Timber.  More than 280,000 wood pellet stoves were in German households and businesses in 2012, using 1.7 million tons pellets per year. According to the German Pellet Institute (DEPI) the number of ovens can easily be increased to 1 million based on the available resources and technology advancements for energy-efficient heating.

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08/27/13

Upwind for Renewable Energies in Germany – First Offshore Wind Park at North Sea Inaugurated

Park visitors looking at a wind turbine blade installation at the North Sea (photo: Katja Schroeder)

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Germany’s “Energiewende”, a government initiative to cut emissions by increasing the use of renewable energies, is in full swing. The adoption of renewable energies is evident when driving around Germany. In the country side, even in the smallest towns, you can spot houses that have covered their roofs with shimmering blue solar panels and cows graze on pastures next to giant wind turbines.  More than 20% of electricity is now generated from renewable energies. This progress is largely attributable to the Renewable Energies Act (EEG), which provides for fixed rates for producers of green energy, such as solar, biogas and wind.  A minimum of 80% of the electricity supply is to be generated from renewables at the latest by 2050.

This summer I got to spend some time at the North Sea and its string of tiny, and often car-free, islands off the coast.  The region plays a key role in meeting Germany’s wind energy targets and its overall goal to phase out nuclear energy.

The North Sea Offshore Initiative, in which Germany and eight other EU Member States have joined forces, sees new potential for wind energy use. With almost 14 percent of global wind energy output, Germany currently places third behind China and the USA.

On Monday Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics and Technology Dr. Philipp Rösler officially inaugurated Germany’s first offshore wind park, Bard Offshore 1, located 100 kilometers north of the North Sea island of Borkum. The park’s 80 wind turbines generate a capacity of 400 megawatts, enough to provide 400,000 households with electricity. Continue reading

08/13/13

Keep Our Waters Blue

By Emily Kuo, Expedition PR

Gowanus Canal. Photo: Damon Winter/The New York Times

When you think of areas with contaminated, undrinkable water, which places come to mind? Countries like Bangladesh and India, where arsenic poisoning is prevalent, or areas in West China and Africa, where water is so scarce that people must walk for miles to the nearest source of water, before carrying it all the way back. In the driest parts of China, residents only bathe three times in their lives: when they are born, the night before their wedding day, and after they die. Only 3% of the world’s water is fresh water, even though three-fourths of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. There are about one billion people today who do not have access to fresh water, and two billion who lack basic water sanitation. Millions die each year from waterborne diseases, and 4,500 children each day. Climate change and increased demand for food due to global population growth are further straining our already fragile water supply.

Living in a first world country where potable water comes out of any faucet, it is easy to take what we have for granted. It might be hard to imagine that the waters that surround us in New York City are just as polluted and toxic as in third world countries.

A Look at New York City Waterways

Many of our surrounding waterways have become contaminated with chemicals and raw sewage. In the 1970’s, many factories dumped waste into the Hudson River and near the Gowanus Canal which left toxic chemical residues that are still present today. While the dumping has since stopped, untreated sewage is released into nearby waters every time heavy rain hits. The New York sewage systems are designed to carry both sanitary waste as well as storm water. The problem with this is that heavy rain can overflow the system, and the overflow is released into nearby rivers. Untreated sewage in the waterways has led to the growth of antibacterial resistant microbes. Researchers from Columbia University found Hudson River bacteria to be resistant to ampicillin and tetracycline, two antibiotics that are often used to treat ear infections, pneumonia and salmonella. While there have been efforts to clean up the Hudson, the Gowanus Canal is still one of the most polluted waterways in the US.

To read the full article, click here

07/1/13

Solar Lights: A Business Idea Born on the Beach

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

Summer just started and July Fourth is around the corner. We are ready to hit the beach to spend some time in the sun with friends and family over the holidays.

While for most people the beach is a venue to relax and leave the wheeling and dealing of the office behind, for others it’s a cradle of creation. Lounging in the sun can spark great business ideas.

One example is Voltaic Systems. The New York-based company offers solar systems that can power all electronic devices with the power of the sun. At a recent Green Breakfast Club event in New York, Shayne McQuade, the founder and CEO of Voltaic Systems, talked about how he got the idea of creating a backpack that charges mobile devices  using solar energy while vacationing at the coast of Spain.  The idea led to the creation of Voltaic Systems. He started the company with one product, a backpack equipped with solar panels to charge mobile devices on the go. Today Voltaic Systems has a broad portfolio of chargers, adapters and batteries and lighting systems that can power all types of phones, cameras, tablets, laptops and lights.

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06/11/13

IEA World Energy Outlook: Carbon Dioxide Emission Have to Go Down

By Katja Schroeder, Expedition PR

This Monday the International Energy Agency (IEA) published its annual World Energy Outlook report. Energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 1.4 percent in 2012 to a record high of 31.6 billion tons worldwide.

The report puts the spotlight back on climate change. Governments around the world need to work together to bring emissions down. Some countries and regions have made progress. U.S. emissions dropped 200 million tons and Europe’s emissions declined by 50 million tons. However, China’s emissions grew by 300 million tons compared to 2011, despite the country’s investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency. According to the IEA report, developing countries now account for 60 percent of global emissions from energy, up from 45 percent in 2000.

Source: IEA

Source: IEA

In past climate talks, industrialized countries and emerging economies had points of views about their historical and current responsibilities for cutting carbon emissions.

But there is hope.

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