Author Archives: jarrodmrussell

Look to Chile, Remember Nature

“Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” — Ancient Indian Proverb

From September of 2005 to July of 2006, Chile was my home. It was there that I found some of my greatest inspirations — an education and awe for life far beyond what any degree could achieve.  From the endless sand of the Atacama Desert  to the gusty wind of Patagonia, I remember it well. I look forward to returning. Until then, videos like this take me right back. The Chilean people were so eager to share their beautiful country and unique culture. A special thanks to Simone for introducing me to the video and congratulations to gnarly bay productions, inc. for making such an incredibly original video.

Video: Revenge of the Electric Car

Alright, this video is almost a year old. I haven’t seen it yet, but the trailer sparked my interest.

Over the coming years, San Diegans will start to see a lot more electric vehicles (EVs) on our streets. Thanks to the efforts of our community and industry leaders, San Diego is one of a small handful of cities leading the nation in EV integration. Thanks to the relative cleanliness of our current state-level electricity generation mix, EV “tailpipe emissions”  (i.e. the emissions from generating the electricity to power these vehicles) in CA are relatively low. As we scale up solar in our state, truly zero-emission EVs will be made possible once solar goes “directly” into EV batteries. Keep an eye on local leaders, such as UCSD, to provide us with stellar examples in the not-so-distant future.

Video: Man Flies by Flapping Homemade Wings

This video isn’t related to the energy industry or climate change issues in the traditional sense. However, it is related to a form of energy – human energy – and, wow, does it look like fun. I don’t speak Neerlandes, but I am pretty sure this Dutch engineer is very happy about the flight.

Nothing against jogging and biking, as I regularly do both of those activities, but this would be a workout that I could do everyday (weather permitting).

The Green Week Ahead (Mar 19 – 25)

Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Wed Mar 21

The Institute of the Americas (IOA) will host the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Matt Rooney from 4:30-5:45pm. IOA tells, “Rooney manages U.S. relations with Mexico and Canada. He is also responsible for economic and trade policy with the countries of the Western Hemisphere. The goal is to increase U.S. exports and facilitate the participation of small and medium sized business in the globalized economy. Mr. Rooney will highlight how, in a difficult global environment, the interests of the U.S. are linked to the economic success of our neighbors.” I will be in Sacramento during the day. If I can get back in time, I plan to attend.

Thur March 22

This is the UN’s World Water Day. Surfrider Foundation informs us, “Founded in 1993 by the United Nations, this global day of observance highlights the need for the care and management of the world’s water resources.” Here in San Diego, we are all aware of our limited water resources. On the bright side, we had plenty of rain (and hail) over the weekend.

From 7:30-9:00 am the Clean Tech Open will host a Business Briefing. The host says, “Join us for an introduction to the Cleantech Open, the world’s largest cleantech accelerator. You will learn about our annual Business Competition, an opportunity to accelerate your cleantech startup with expert training, national visibility and up to $250,000 of cash and services. Beyond great networking, the event will include a brief presentation about how you can get involved as a volunteer, mentor, judge or more. Anyone should attend who is interested in learning more about competing in the Cleantech Open business competition or volunteering, mentoring, judging, partnering with or sponsoring with the organization.”

From 5:00-8:00 pm the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE) presents the 8th Annual Energy All-Star Awards. CCSE says “These prestigious awards recognize the most outstanding projects, programs and applications in creating integrated approaches to energy efficiency, renewable energy, clean transportation and water efficiency during 2011. We encourage you to nominate your clients, employer, yourself or any community business, organization or agency.

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and meet new people… They’ll teach you something new.

Green Week Ahead (Mar 05 – Mar 11)

Last week was productive. I met some great entrepreneurs that are creating solutions to problems – both known and unbeknownst to us. I encountered everything from your traditional internet startups to the high-efficiency human-powered lawnmower, or a form air-to-submersible transportation (a lá George Jetson), among many other ideas. Though I am not involved in any of these ventures, 2 tech entrepreneurs and I formed a team that will compete in the AT&T App Challenge San Diego. Stay tuned on that one.

Enough about last week, here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Mar 05

At 5:30pm at UCSD’s IR/PS, Greg Horowitt, CONNECT Foundation board member, founding partner of T2 Ventures and co-founder of Global CONNECT, has joined his T2 partner Victor Hwang to co-author a new book tackling the difficult issue of why some regions over others thrive with innovation. Their book The Rainforest: The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley.

Mar 06

The San Diego Solar Energy Symposium starts at 1:00pm located at USD.

What is a b Corp? “Certified B Corporations are a new type of corporation which uses the power of business to solve social and environmental problems.” If you want to learn more, join me and others at 5:30pm at the Ansir Innovation Center.

Mar 07

Renewable Energy Professionals San Diego will socialize during happy hour – 6pm – at The Spot in La Jolla to talk shop. Let me know if you want further details.

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and meet new people… They’ll teach you something new.

What future do you want?

I want a future where equality of opportunity knows no borders and no era. Equality of opportunity in education, health, and economic development. Also, equality of opportunity across generations. Our children deserve a planet with the same environmental health that we enjoy today —  if not better. I believe in our ability to achieve a quasi-Utopian future, one in which imperfect (hence the quasi-), but thoughtful societies find a balance, both internally and with their shared environments.

I want a planet where societies make educated decisions that address the needs of now without sacrificing the foundations of our future. Ask yourself, “are we on a path to that future?”. There are lots of statistics, images, peer-reviewed scientific research, and harsh realities suggesting that the answer is “no”, that instead we are running a resource deficit and feeding a process that drives an ever-unpredictable climate and future. Part of this stems from our obsession with economic growth and consumption. Ironically, as a former student of economics and policy, now looking to launch his career, I care about the subject of economics. I want a stronger economy where I can create professional opportunities for myself and others. Still, within a finite world, fast-paced economic growth based on a business model of unsustainable products and services will not create a job that I want to apply for. Such a model is unfair to the whole of our population, and particularly unjust for the marginalized communities of today and the disadvantaged generations of tomorrow. These groups are ill-equipped to defend themselves against the impacts of shortsighted economic growth. Instead, let us look to how we may deepen economic development: doing more for society while manipulating less of our environment. I envision a future where individuals, governments, and businesses strive to achieve comprehensive sustainability by: (1) deepening economic development, (2) providing better information and tools to our communities, and (3) creating models of success in terms of the responsible consumption of resources (especially energy).

I will admit, this vision is vague on details, as it is a vision of a mindset rather than a roadmap. However, it is as much our mindset as it is our pocketbooks that drives our behavior — and I believe these issues all boil down to behavior. We can only technologically innovate our way out of some of this challenge. Therefore, our behavior must change. Otherwise, our environment will most certainly change to the detriment of a population that was unwilling – or unable – to do so itself.

I, for one, am optimistic that this will not be the case. We will innovate in technology and behavior. We will find a solution. I look forward to our shared challenge. Our shared roadmap. Our shared future.

Visit http://futurewewant.org/ to join the discussion.

Green Week Ahead (Feb 27 – Mar 04)

It looks like this will be an entrepreneurial week for me, as our budding community of innovative businessmen and businesswomen convene for a couple cool events.

Here’s what I am planning to attend. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment!!!

Wed Feb 29

San Diego Tech Coffee from 9-10am at the Pannikin in Del Mar. The group’s organizer, Brant Cooper, says “The idea for this group is a ‘working’ meetup, i.e., not a networking event. Come share your ideas, talk ‘lean startup’ and ‘customer development’, demo products, etc., but also roll up your sleeves and get to work in a collegial, coffee-shop environment.”

Tech Coast Angels hosts Meet the Angels from 6-9pm.“Mintz Levin invites you to join us for Tech Coast Angels’ ‘Meet the Angels’, an incredible opportunity for private investors and entrepreneurs to connect. If you are a financier looking for an exceptional investment opportunity, or a startup company in need of capital to bring your idea to market, there is no better place to find it than at this exclusive meet and greet. Dozens of cutting-edge companies with great new ideas and products will be in attendance, and to make those products a reality, they are looking to the Angels. Especially in today’s economy, an event like this one–with unprecedented access to investors and entrepreneurs alike– is not to be missed.” Unfortunately, I believe registration is already closed and the event is full. For those of you not attending, I will be sharing interesting ideas and info via my twitter feed (@JarrodMRussell).

In a recent meeting with Duane Roth, CEO of Connect, we talked about many things. During our conversation, he took the time to explain the concept of dilution as it relates to shares in a young, fast-growing company. I am eager to talk shop and increase my start-up IQ this week. With our great universities and industry clusters (e.g. biotech, solar, etc.), one wonders when we will see an entrepreneurial and investment community that challenges Silicon Valley. Maybe it already does… and I just don’t know it yet. I look forward to finding out.

Thur Mar 01

I will be meeting with Jess Ponting, Director of SDSU’s Center for Surf Research. As a surfer with extensive travel in Latin America, Indonesia, and Africa, I believe in the Center’s Vision: “Surfing’s impact on the world is entirely positive. By incorporating principles of sustainable tourism, surf tourism promotes healthy lifestyles and is a key driver for the environmental, social/cultural, and economic well being of destinations.” Though I know my greenhouse gas emissions to get to these destinations is not positive, I like to think that the role I played as an ambassador to the sport and our country have positively impacted the communities I visited. Judging from his bio, Jess sounds like a great guy and — whether we are talking about where to find better barrels or how to build sustainable communities — I am sure we’ll have plenty of stories to exchange. 



Notice the high gas prices lately? You’re not the only one…

On a trip to Joshua Tree National Park over the weekend, it was impossible not to notice the high prices at the pump — over $4.20/gallon. It makes sense that I later stumbled upon a hybrid National Park Service vehicle at my campground, providing a clear example of a move toward a greener federal fleet. That’s part of a greater Federal initiative to increase fuel standards, both within the federal fleet and across the US consumer market.

So, you’re not the only one to notice the high gas prices in weeks past… Our President and his administration know the effects of high-price fuels. President Obama also highlights how backward our energy system can be. Likely out of foresight, our government has been ramping up domestic oil production and endorses all sources of energy — many of which make conservationists vehemently upset. Though there is a policy paradox born by differences between energy pragmatism and environmental values (in our Administration and especially our society), at least recognizing that we have serious energy challenges – and criticizing $4-billion annual oil-gas subsidies-  provide reason for optimism regarding the formation of better strategy going forward.

Here’s the video:

Green Week Ahead (Feb 20-26)

Hope everyone had a great President’s Day! I did. Here’s what I am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment.

Feb 22

OneRoof Energy press conference (details) from 10:30-11:30am. “OneRoof Energy works directly with roofers to lease and install residential solar power systems. The company has received $50 million in financing and created the SolarSelect Lease, which allows homeowners to integrate solar into their roof at little to no upfront cost through a simple lease program. The company is growing quickly and currently employs more than 30 professionals. In addition to the nearly 100 new jobs they are creating within the company, their business plan will lead to the creation of countless new positions as third-party partners and roofing contractors are hired and trained to sell and install OneRoof Energy’s solar electric systems.”

Keep an eye on my twitter feed for any interesting job leads and company announcements,

Greenovation Forum hosted by UCSD. “Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning: The Ecological, Economic, and Governance Principles for Managing the Ocean”. Being a native San Diegan from Oceanside and an avid surfer, I value our local beaches. As an environmentalist, I also understand the impacts humanity is having on our oceans – everything from overfishing to ocean acidification. For those of you who share my interest in the ocean, be sure to RSVP ASAP for the event. See you there!

Feb 23

Obama for America (OFA) is the President’s reelection campaign. I am supporting San Diego’s OFA team with the planning of a few big events around the county. If you would like to get involved, please contact me.

The Equinox Center’s Leaders 2020 brings us Civic Engagement 101 from 5:30-7pm. “You care about advancing a more sustainable future for the San Diego region. But how? What role can you play to drive positive change? Join us for a fun and inspiring conversation with Elyse Lowe, Executive Director of Move San Diego.” The location looks great and Leaders2020 always brings together a great crowd! Also, the venue will be a co-working space. “At Co-Merge Workplace you’ll find a great community of entrepreneurs and professional space designed to work the way you work. Whether you’re interested in coworking, telecommuting, networking, video conferencing, team building, training or simply having a sophisticated space to drop in for the day, Co-Merge is the smart workplace solution.” Sounds like a great idea to me! Hope you can make it.

Feb 24

UCSD hosts Hire San Diego. “The Hire San Diego Career Fair consists of 20-30 companies and is open to current graduate students from IR/PS, Rady, SDSU and USD. This year, Hire San Diego will be held at UC San Diego’s I-House Great Hall.”

As always, if you know of any additional events that may be of interest, please post them here as a comment. Have a great week – get out there and network… You’ll learn something new.

Green Week Ahead (Feb 13-19)

Well, last week was a whirlwind. I attended both the Association of Energy Services Professionals (AESP) and the CADEM 2012 convention. I was at the Hilton Bayfront and the SD Convention Center everyday. Hence, my tardiness in this post. Additionally, it looks like there is simply less going on in town this week. I have a few personal meetings lined up, but not many big events like the week before.

Here’s what I (attended and) am planning to attend this week. If anyone has any additional events that they would like to share – this week or next – please feel free to comment!!!

Feb 13

Grid Alternatives Orientation from 3-5pm. If you are interested in helping to install solar panels for a family in need, you must attend this orientation (offered regularly). Check out the organization’s webpage for details regarding upcoming events.

Feb 15

I’m heading over to the local offices of Itron, a “leading provider of energy and water resource management solutions for nearly 8,000 utilities around the world. We offer end-to-end solutions that include electricity, gas, water and thermal energy measurement and control technology; communications systems; software; and professional services. With nearly 9,000 employees doing business in 130 countries, Itron empowers utilities to responsibly and efficiently manage energy and water resources.”

Feb 17

I’ll be visiting Duane Roth and his entrepreneurial team at Connect to see who’s driving innovation in our region. “CONNECT is focused on delivering the fundamental programs that the innovation community depends upon.  At the same time the organization is creating new services to meet the needs of the evolving economic and policy landscape and the new clusters that are developing within the region.  Challenges include attracting investment capital and engineering and experienced management talent.”