Sustainable Blog

Sustainable America Celebrates Launch of Stamford 2030 District

A new initiative to reduce energy use, water use and transportation emissions

Downtown Stamford, Connecticut

What if our cities could help solve pressing climate and energy issues instead of contributing to them? That’s the idea behind the 2030 Challenge for Planning, a national movement that asks the global architecture and planning community to find ways to reduce energy use, water use and transportation emissions from new and existing buildings dramatically by 2030.

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Skin to Seed: How to Eat an Entire Pumpkin

27 ways to make the most of fall pumpkins

three pumpkins

Pumpkins. The plump, orange orbs are everywhere this time of year. While you’re picking out a few for Halloween decorations, it’s worth it to set aside a few for eating too. We’ve rounded up some recipes that will help you make use of everything but the stem, and we’ve found some ideas for what to do with the ones that get carved as well.

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Adventures in Indoor Growing

We get down and dirty with vertical gardening, aquaponics and hydroponics

lettuce, basil and chives

Over the last few months, we’ve been experimenting with a menagerie of indoor food-growing systems at our office: a vertical garden, a hydroponic system and an aquaponic system. While the versions we’ve installed won’t revolutionize the local food landscape in our neighborhood, if scaled up, these alternative growing methods have the potential to help urban areas meet the growing demand for food. We wanted to get hands-on with a few of these methods to learn more and to provide a showcase of what’s possible. Here’s how we did…

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We Came, We Gleaned, We Fed Thousands

'Feeding the 5,000' rescued food, raised awareness about food waste

Volunteers for Feeding the 5000: Oakland

We had the privilege of participating in a tremendous event on Saturday: Feeding the 5,000: Oakland. The event saved thousands of rolls and loaves of bread and a staggering 11,200 pounds of apples, sweet potatoes, carrots, onions, acorn squash and spaghetti squash that normally would have been destroyed because they were cosmetically imperfect and could not be sold to grocery stores. Learn more about this groundbreaking event.

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Food Waste in 9 U.S. Cities, Exposed

See all the good food Rob Greenfield rescued from grocery dumpsters to raise awareness about food waste

Rob Greenfield recovered all this food from dumpsters in Cleveland

This week, environmental activist Rob Greenfield completed a most unconventional road trip. Not only did he travel from Wisconsin to New York City on bike, along the way he recovered food — thousands of pounds of unspoiled, perfectly edible food — that grocery stores and restaurants had thrown away. See photos of what he found in nine cities.

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6 Ways the Coffee Industry Is Turning Waste Into a Resource

Coffee can fuel the world in more ways than one

Espresso

Consider this over your morning coffee: Almost half the biomass of the coffee cherry — the fruit that contains coffee beans — ends up as processing waste. With worldwide coffee production reaching 9 to 11 billion pounds on an annual basis, that’s a lot of byproduct to handle. Thankfully, industry players keep striving to solve this problem. Here are six ways they are turning coffee waste into a resource.

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Our Latest Investment: XL Hybrids

A Boston-based company turns cargo vans, shuttle buses and delivery trucks into hybrids

Sustainable America's XL Hybrid cargo van gets 20% better gas mileage than a regular cargo van.

XL Hybrids converts existing gas-fueled commercial vehicles like cargo vans, shuttle buses and delivery trucks into hybrids. It’s a solution that can increase an entire vehicle fleet’s fuel efficiency by 20 percent, and that’s gotten the attention of companies like FedEx and Coca-Cola. The Boston-based company has gotten our attention, too. We’re excited to announce that XL Hybrids is the latest business that Sustainable America is investing in as part of our overall goal to reduce our nation’s oil consumption by 50 percent over the next two decades.

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5 Websites That Help Home Cooks Waste Less Food

Waste less food by learning to love it more

fish tacos

We waste up to 40 percent of our food in the United States — and 25 percent of food waste happens at home. It’s an enormous problem, but wasting food is so ingrained into our way of life that change can be tough. For those of us who want to break the shop-cook-waste cycle, the good news is that with practice, wasting less food can become an effortless habit. Today, we’ve rounded up five websites that celebrate not only wasting less, but also valuing and enjoying food more in the process. In other words, yes, leftovers can be awesome.

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Have Cell Phones Led to Increased Vehicle Idling?

One more reason drivers and cell phones don't mix

Man using cell phone while idling a car

In recent years, we’ve learned about the dangers of cell phone use while driving. It makes sense that distracted driving would lead to more accidents, but do cell phones also lead drivers to absentmindedly idle when their vehicles are stopped?

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Feeding the 5,000 Comes to the U.S.

A free lunch to raise awareness about the alarming food waste issue

Feeding the 5000 Oakland on Oct. 18

The juxtaposition is shocking. The United States is one of the most productive agricultural nations in the world and yet millions of Americans go hungry each year. Despite the many people who work hard to solve this puzzle, the reasons behind this contrast go largely unnoticed by the general public.

To help boost awareness of this issue, Sustainable America is proud to be a sponsor and participant in the first Feeding the 5,000 event in the United States, which is coming up on October 18 in Oakland, California. Find out more about this festive event…

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The Future of Driving, Right in Our Parking Lot

From super-affordable electric cars to a top-of-the line Tesla

Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid

The first step to getting people to switch to alternative-fuel vehicles is to get them behind the wheel of one. That was the idea behind our “Cars and Cocktails” event last week in Stamford, where we assembled something for everyone—from super-affordable electric cars to a top-of-the line Tesla—all in one parking lot.

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5 Climate-Friendly Actions You Can Take Today

Big changes start with individual actions

Alaska

Thousands of people have convened in New York for this weekend’s People’s Climate March in advance of the UN Climate Summit. If you can’t be there, there’s no better way to support the climate change issue than by taking action in your own daily life. Here’s a quick list of things you can do every day to help curb dangerous emissions that are changing our climate.

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Our Latest Investment: eNow

Clean-tech company eNow aims to reduce truck idling with a solar-powered system

eNow solar panels for trucks

A large segment of the driving population in the United States has to idle to do their jobs properly: truckers. How can we reduce the fuel that gets wasted to refrigerate their trucks and keep their cabs warm in winter? Fortunately, there are smart and dedicated entrepreneurs out there trying to solve this problem through technology. We’re proud to announce that we’ve just made an investment in one of these companies: eNow, Inc., a Rhode Island-based clean technology company that integrates thin-film solar panels and auxiliary power management systems into long-haul and delivery trucks, reducing the need for those trucks to idle their engines to power auxiliary functions.

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“Pump The Movie” Takes on America’s Oil Addiction

A new documentary about fuel choice opens this weekend

Pump, the movie

How can we end our addiction to oil here in America? Many people—electric carmakers, advanced biofuel researchers, public transit advocates—are working to answer this question from different angles. But a new documentary boils it down to a simple equation: Give Americans a choice at the pump and watch the market do its work.

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It’s National Drive Electric Week!

Parades, tailgate parties, test drives and more are happening nationwide Sept. 15 to 21

National Drive Electric Week

If you’re in the market for a car — or just curious about what’s new in electric vehicles — you need to know about National Drive Electric Week happening September 15–21. There are 146 events scheduled throughout the week, all offering the opportunity to experience a wide range of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric cars, trucks and motorcycles. Here’s how to find one near you.

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By the Numbers

Currently 50 million households suffer from food insecurity, meaning that family members cannot always meet their basic food needs.

10 million people a year could be fed through the recovery of just one-fifth of food waste.

Only 2% of food waste is composted or otherwise recycled—62% of paper is recycled.

Consumers throw out about 40% of the fresh and frozen fish they buy.

The U.S. produced 208 pounds of meat per person in 2009—60% more than Europe.

Low income commuters spend a much higher proportion of their wages on gas—8.6% versus 2.1% at $4 per gallon.

Food prices rose 35-40 percentage points between 2002–2008.

Americans consume 25% of the world’s produced oil, but our nation holds less than 3% of the world’s proven oil reserves.

The International Energy Agency says greenhouse gas emissions rose 3.2% last year, with a 9.3% increase in China offsetting declines in the US and EU.