SXSW Eco – San Antonio’s Water Conservation Efforts

San Antonio Water System CEO Robert Puente spoke at the SXSW Eco Conference in Austin today, touting San Antonio’s record of the nation’s leader in water conservation. One statistic stood out: San Antonio’s consumers of water has increased 67% over the past 25 years ago, yet SAWS is still using the same amount of water it did 25 years ago. I talked to Puente about whatSAWS is doing now to conserve and plans for the future.

SXSW Eco – Roles of Social Media in Activism

The roles of social media in activism can produce some pretty strong debate. On one hand, you have some obvious positives – access to information, communication and calls to action, just to name a few. On the other hand, you have those who fall into the Malcolm Gladwell camp of “clicktivism” or “slacktivism.” Gladwell wrote a piece about the “Arab Spring” in the New Yorker last year that many interpreted as a rebuttal of social media impacts on activism. (Side note: I interviewed Gladwell last year about that piece. He says many people took it the wrong way. Gladwell says … Continued

Walmart and Sustainability – Interview with Brooke Buchanan

You might not expect to see Walmart represented at a conference on the environment. But Brooke Buchanan, Walmart’s sustainability communications director, was part of a panel on the language being used to sell the sustainability movement. We talked about Walmart’s views on “green” living and the challenges the chain has faced in doing so.

SXSW Eco – Texas’ Greatest Environmental Concern

The Nature Conservacy made a big splash at SXSW Eco Wednesday with its CEO delivering the keynote address on crossing boundaries to reach greater goals. After the keynote, I spoke with the Texas director of The Nature Conservancy about the biggest environmental issue facing our state – water.

SXSW Eco Keynote: The Nature Conservancy CEO Mark Tercek

Today’s SXSW Eco keynote talked about crossing boundaries to find practical solutions. Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, told his personal story of moving from Wall Street to a job in environmentalism – a move spurred by vacations in nature with his kids. Tercek focused on four key constituencies the environmental movement has to reach in order to take a stronghold in the United States. Connecting nature to people Tercek touted a recent decision by voters in Iowa as a great example of reaching out to everyday people. The Nature Conservancy pushed for a new sales tax, which was … Continued

SXSW Eco – Public Health: Changing Mindsets and Norms

One of the themes of the SXSW Eco Conference, so far, is about creating new norms and changing mindsets. This topic was again a key focus of a panel hosted by New York Times eco-blogger Andrew Revkin that featured Dr. Howard Koh from Health and Human Services and Bob Perciasepe from the Environmental Protection Agency. Both representatives from the government said the effort to educate kids about sustainability and public health is incredibly important. Some of those efforts include healthier meal options at school and teaching children about recycling. Perciasepe said he believes the full potential of recycling, in particular, … Continued

SXSW Eco: Texas Energy Use and Production

Did you know Texas is the largest producer of oil, gas, wind and electricity in the United States? Even more impressive, Texas is the third largest producer of natural gas in the WORLD. With a lot of production also comes a lot of consumption. Texas consumes about twice as much as the average American and Texans consumes 7-8 times more energy than the average global citizen. I spoke with Dr. Michael Webber, the associate director of the Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy at the University of Texas, about Texas’ energy needs, production and future. He also talked about … Continued

SXSW Eco – Austin: Clean Energy Capital of the World?

The city of Austin loves its titles. Live Music Capital of the World. Bat Capital of the World. BBQ Capital of the World. But the next title it hopes to achieve – Clean Energy Capital of the World – is a bit more ambitious. I spoke with Jose Beceiro of the Austin Chamber of Commerce about the city’s plans in terms of solar, electric cars and green technology. We also discussed the friendly rivalry between Austin and San Antonio, particularly when it comes to solar energy.

Living in Dense Spaces: Alex Steffen’s SXSW Eco Keynote

I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect to come to a conference on sustainability and hear the solution to the world’s problems is to get everyone to cram into tight spaces in big cities. But then I heard Alex Steffen’s keynote – and it all made sense. Steffen is an author and futurist (which is probably the coolest job title around). He is a firm believer in density. Growing cities that are denser are able to bring things together in one place. The more dense places get, the less energy people use. Lifestyles begin to change. They start to walk more. … Continued

SXSW Eco: Latinos and Sustainability

Hello from the SXSW Eco Conference in Austin. This is the first year for the conference, which is finding solutions for sustainability in our world. You’ll probably read me write that word “sustainability” a lot over the next three days. In fact, the first panel was on Latinos and sustainability, a topic that is obviously very important in San Antonio. Mando Rayo from Cultural Stratagies said the issue of Latinos and sustainability breaks down into three topics: cultures, tradition and history, choices versus necessity and creating inclusion. In terms of cultures, tradition and history, Rayo said Latinos have a history … Continued

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