Green Miami Events- Springtime!

Everything starts happening in March, it seems. As though the year was taking a much needed nap in January and then spent all of February trying to wake up.  As soon as March hits, it gets its cup of coffee and starts getting things done!

The first thing on its agenda?  Attend a Green expo.

Downtown Miami skyline (photo by me) 😀

Or maybe that’s the first thing on my agenda.

Tomorrow kicks off the two day MiaGreen Expo and Conference in my local town of Miami, and it will be my first time attending.  Although I didn’t spring for the expensive VIP tickets and access, I will be going to check out “Innovative Products and Technology” in the main exhibit hall!  I wonder if I’ll get to test-drive a Tesla

March 31st-April 6th brings along Sustainatopia, which appears to be a veritable festival of various green/eco experiences.  Music, fashion, movies, lectures, food & parties… oh yes, I’ll be there!

Earth Day 2011 is coming up on April 22nd, and Miami is celebrating with the Miami Goin’ Green Earthday Festival on Apr. 23rd.  This is another new local event for me, held at Bayfront Park in downtown, and it looks like it won’t disappoint.  This year’s schedule isn’t yet up, but last year they had a clothing swap, e-waste collection, live music, and a kid’s mad science lab!  (I’m hoping there’s no age limit on the mad science lab.)

I will post a follow-up of the events, and hopefully have plenty of great photos to share!


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Illumi-Charger

I admit, I’m guilty of it.  I leave my laptop, iPhone and other gadget chargers synced into the wall at ALL times.   I know I’m wasting energy, it’s just so darn convenient!  Well, hopefully we can say good by to those phantom electric charges with the clever new Illumi-Charger.  The charger uses solar power to provide you with off-grid power to fuel your gadgets.  An award recipient at this years Greener Gadgets competition, I hope to see this product on the shelves (and with a typical wall outlet option) soon!

Greener Gadgets Design Competition

The Greener Gadgets Competition is at it again, now in its third year running.  Held in NYC, the competition is part of the Greener Gadgets Design Conference–a gathering of forward-thinking electronic companies, innovators, and inventors from around the globe.  Entrants to the event are put to the task of creatively and aesthetically solving energy consumption issues with an eco-responsible approach.

Some of the ideas are brilliant, some have obvious flaws, but all of them get you thinking about the possibilities that are out there!  Here are a few of my favourite concepts from the 2009 finalists/semi-finalists (from Core77 – a totally brilliant design website)…. check out the Greener Gadgets website for the 2010 schedule!

Power-Hog

“Power-Hog is a power consumption metering piggy bank designed to sensitize kids to energy cost associated with running electronics devices. Plug the tail into the outlet and the device into the snout; feed a coin to meter 30 minutes of use.”

( …click image for more details)

WattBlocks

“With a single tap of the foot, WattBlocks easily disconnects devices in the home that are notorious for consuming standby power.

Few consumers understand that many of today’s electronics consume power while not in use. These energy vampires can account for $100 of a home’s yearly power cost, wasting up to $10 billion annually in the United States. The WattBlocks kit is designed to reduce this wasted energy. It consists of several WattBlocks, which are plugged in between wall outlets and vampire devices, and a master step switch that plugs into an outlet near the entry/exit of the home. As the user exits, tapping the step switch sends a signal through the home’s power lines, telling all WattBlocks to block power to the vampires.”

Sun Stations

“Sun Stations are pieces of public furniture that provide free solar energy in open areas, allowing people to charge and use electronics in a greener way in a wider variety of places.

They are made of concrete, teak wood, and stainless steel. The energy (84W – enough for laptops, cell phones, etc.) is generated entirely by Mono crystalline solar cells located 3 meters above ground for less shading and higher efficiency. The solar cells are set on security glass allowing people to immediately recognize where their energy is coming from. The energy is stored either in a battery pack or in a grid-tied system under the seat.”

Moving Windmills: The William Kamkwamba Story

If you are ever stuck thinking that you don’t have the tools or resources to be innovative, think again!   At the age of 14, Malawian William Kamkwamba Malawan created a functioning wind turbine after merely seeing an image of one!  Inspired by the dream of providing his family with electricity and a water pump, William’s story is incredible, inspiring, and has almost brought me to tears this evening.  Enjoy the video, and when you realize you must know more of this fascinating story, buy the book here.

Ross Lovegrove

Ross Lovegrove is sui generis in the world of designers.  His idiosyncratic approach to product design is organically breathtaking– fluid in appearance, and revolutionary in composition.  He describes himself as “an evolutionary biologist, more than a designer.”  This quote coming from one of the few sources I could find information on this incredible innovator, in an interview with Design Boom.

The following video is his presentation for TED, (which we recently wrote about here at Innovate). It’s a fantastic talk, but don’t get too sidetracked by the fact that there is a lot of focus on chairs!  (It’s more about the design process and materials, rather than the object itself).

Two items conspicuously missing from his talk are his Alpine Capsule and Solar Trees:

The Alpine Capsule is an off-grid, sustainable, futuristic cabin, if you will. Created as “simply a way to place people in the extremes of nature and its wonders, whilst retaining the maximum of comfort…space technology not in space, but on earth.”¹ The Capsule is meant to be a sanctuary within nature,  transparent from the inside looking out, but reflective of its surroundings on the exterior.  Learn more about it here.

Street lamps are often a dull affair, and Lovegrove’s Solar Trees are a welcome aesthetic antidote to humdrum street appearance.  ” The Solar Trees communicate more than light… they communicate the trust of placing beautifully made, complex natural forms outside for the benefit of all of society”  Read further at hg.hu.

image via Lisa Town

image via hg.hu

¹from interview featured in Clear magazine, issue 33

*Alpine Capsule images from Dezeen.com (Design Magazine)


Fun Can Change the World

My heart swells a little each time I watch the above videos from the Fun Theory.  Simple, yet well produced, each of the Fun Theory projects realizes great success.  Their theory has been proven: “that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better.”

Think you’ve got the next fun idea?  Now is your time to get paid for it.  The Fun Theory is hosting an open competition for the next installation.  The winner will be rewarded the hearty sum of €2,500 and get to have a little fun making the world a little better.  Deadline is December 15, so get to work! And be sure to also let us know what you come up with!

TED- “ideas worth spreading”

Lately, I’ve been completely hooked on watching TED videos.  A good TED clip can give me everything I’m looking for when I have a few moments of free time… information, happiness, tears, confusion, awe, amazement, empathy, and more than anything, inspiration.

ted_logo

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, the three elements which were the founding premise for this small non-profit back in 1984.  Today TED brings together people from every industry and occupation imaginable, from all over the globe.  It is a platform for individuals to give their story, in 18 minutes or less, about anything, and the topics are all incredible: Biomimicry, water purification, creativity, slowing down in life, happiness, environment, homelessness, intelligence, inventions, ideas, ideas, ideas…. endless, profound ideas.  Not every presenter is poetic, not all presentations are inspiring, but each has something unique and fresh to offer the viewer.

Two of my all time favorite speakers are Jill Bolte Taylor “stroke of insight”, and Elizabeth Gilbert “on nurturing creativity”.  Another fascinating one I just watched tonight, Johnny Lee “demos Wii Remote hacks”.  Check them out, be prepared to open your mind.

 

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Elizabeth Gilbert speaking at TED