Category Archives: Video for Thought

Friend & Mentor Byron Washom Orchestrating 100% Renewable Energy Initiative for Billionaire’s Hawaiian Island

Byron and I at UCSD in 2011. He was and continues to be such an incredible mentor.

Byron and I at UCSD in 2011. He was and continues to be such an incredible mentor.

 

 

 

Congratulations to my great friend and exceptional mentor, Byron Washom, on his newest adventure! He is charged with the admirable work of powering Lanai with 100% renewable energy. The island was recently purchased by Larry Ellison for $500 million. As he would say, it’s going to be a game changer. Byron on 10 News San Diego

Here he is when we first met. I was interviewing him on a climate change initiative I started on campus at UCSD while I was a grad school student.

My Video on Climate Change in Brazil

Here’s a short video that I filmed and co-produced for a couple European and Brazilian organizations. It’s HOT OFF THE PRESS. I think it does a solid job summarizing my recent work in Brazil from Nov’12 – Feb’13. If you’d like to see the longer version, click here. For the Portuguese version, click here. Under this video, you’ll find an interview I did about a month ago. Can you guess where in San Diego it was shot? 


Sustainable Initiative Taking Root Outside Rio

I visited a friend’s project outside of Rio last week. The place and the people that work there were so awesome that I felt compeled to make a quick video for the initiative. Have a look. PS: Happy 2013!

Global game to connect 2 billion people & change the world


Hi from Sinal do Vale in Xerém, Brazil and Merry Christmas Eve. I am at a friend’s sustainable farm and retreat in the hills above Rio de Janeiro!!! Just what I needed for the holidays. I got here the day before yesterday after an amazing trip to Paraty, a colonial beach town a few hours from here, where some friends and I attended a beginning-of-the-world party at the city’s Cultural Center.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We were invited to Paraty by Edgar Gouveia Jr, an architect specializing in bioarchitecture and intuitive technology with a post-degree in cooperative games. He is also the founder of Elos Institute and Warriors Without Weapons program. This guy is at the forefront of applied research on how to change the world. As it so happens, this particular night, December 21, also marked the launch of Edgar’s online game – Play the Call – that aims to change the world — for real. Thousands of programers from around the world, including employees at Pixar, have contributed their time to the cause. Here he is a couple years ago on TEDx Amazonia (it’s in Portuguese…).

Edgar is an amazing human that makes you believe, through his positive energy and optimism, that anything is possible. I tip my hat to him and the rest of the Play the Call team. Best of luck guys!

Funny-Christmas-Cartoon-Card-Run-Down-Reindeer

And, again, Merry Christmas Eve. Tomorrow I will be at Copacabana Beach for a concert with Stevie Wonder and Gilberto Gil. The event organizers are expecting 1 MILLION people. Rio de Janeiro, here i come. (I still haven’t forgotten to tell you what the Great Barrier Reef, NYC, and the Brazilian Sertão have in common. It’ll be one of the next blog posts.)

My Close Friend & Mentor, Byron Washom, On TEDx

From Midway Island to Hawaii, from Hawaii to California, then MIT and back again. During this journey, he explored live ammunition fields, fell for surfing, set numerous energy world records, and developed amazing projects here at UC San Diego. Byron’s incredible life experiences, game-changing accomplishments, and deep insights create a story you MUST hear!

How do we tap into our innate creativity? Byron encourages us to follow our passion and push the boundaries, even beyond our comfort zone — beyond the barrier reef. How right he is. One in a million, Byron. Slam dunk!

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).

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.