Energy Storage Gets Real

by Jessica Appelgren on September 8, 2014

CODA_Energy_Logo_Hrzntl_flat_Aug2013

 

One of the most exciting things about working at Saatchi & Saatchi S is the kind of people and companies that partner with us. Our call to make sustainability irresistible is often met by like-minded entrepreneurs, heads of sustainability and marketers who understand that we need to make environmental and social issues relative to people’s lives, and then we work together to find the best ways to accomplish that goal.

CODA Energy is working to do just that. Our newest client, CODA designs and builds scalable energy storage solutions that support a smarter, cleaner, and more resilient grid.

Kids Draw the Darnest Things!

by Annika Harper on August 29, 2014

The 8th Annual Toyota Dream Car Art Contest Awards Ceremony

For the past four months, we have been working closely with our Saatchi & Saatchi network colleagues in Tokyo, Japan on a very exciting project inspiring creativity in kids all over the world. It’s called Dream Car of the Day, and it stemmed from an annual art contest that Toyota Motor Sales & Marketing hosts each year as a part of its social contribution programs. Children ages 4 to 15 are asked to submit drawings of what they imagine their dream car of the future to be.

This year, the judges had to sift through over 660,000 submissions from over 75 countries in order to arrive at the 90 Finalists, who then had their artwork turned into remarkable Vine videos by the creative team at Saatchi & Saatchi Fallon. These aren’t just any 6 second loops; 3D printed models, stop-motion animation, CGI, papercraft and more were used to truly bring these imaginative drawings to life.

The campaign officially ended this week, but I found it so moving I’m just not ready to stop talking about it! Specifically, I want to share the fresh and insightful perspectives of the young participants now that all 90 Dream Car Vine videos have been released.

As sustainability communications professionals, we were blown away by how many kids chose to include solutions to environmental problems in their designs – something that wasn’t a specific requirement for the contest. While they may not yet be in the realm of possibility (hey, it wasn’t too long ago that the idea of generating electricity from the sun seemed outlandish), the fact that kids from every continent had the earth in mind when imagining technology and vehicles in the future makes me feel hopeful about the fate of this troubled planet.

For your viewing pleasure, I rounded up my favorite Dream Cars that go way beyond transportation, offering innovative approaches to environmental sustainability and looking pretty darn cool while they’re at it. Click on the Dream Car names to see their Vines!

 

 Aqua Tour by Deepak Saji Kumar (age 14), Qatar

Aqua Tour

Designed to draw out water from the humid atmosphere, this car contributes to irrigation and generates drinking water after purification.

 

 The Population and Pollution Balance by Shanzay Shafqat Bajwa (age 14), Pakistan

Population & Pollution Balance

Not only does this car run on fuel generated from pollution, it has the ability to create a livable atmosphere so we can live on Mars when the Earth becomes overpopulated!

 

 Recycling Plant Car by Sumeeth Singh (age 10), South Africa

Recylcing Plant

This car sucks up any broken plastic items and turns them into building blocks for housing.

 

 Soil Improver Car by Matthew Kofi Barfour Twuma (age 6), Ghana

Soil Improver

A gardener’s dream! Illustrated in pretty watercolors, this micro vehicle aerates the soil for maximum crop yield. Imagine what it could do for sustainable agriculture!

 

Powered by Waste by Gelanyi Kata (Age 13), Hungary

Powered By Waste

Renewable energy and recycled waste come together to drive this environmentally friendly car.

 

 Nature Sound Music Car by Sethumdee Dulanya Dewagamage (age 6), Sri Lanka

Nature Sound Music Car

What other sources of renewable energy can power a vehicle? In this dream car, the sounds of nature is transformed to fuel!

 

From the wacky to whimsical, to just plain heart-melting, there’s more to be seen on the Dream Car Vine account.

While we were all fast asleep this past Wednesday, 31 children from around the world gathered at the Mega Web, Toyota’s exposition center in Tokyo, for the 8th annual Dream Car Art Contest award ceremony. Winners were awarded with Gold, Silver and Bronze distinctions in three different age categories.

From the breadth of amazing submissions and the winners the Toyota Dream Car Art Contest, it’s clear we need to encourage the dreams and ideas of children, no matter how nonsensical they may seem…you just may be talking to the next Elon Musk!

 

Genie, You’re Free

by Daniel Jacobs on August 12, 2014

Patch Adams

For most of us, life is a series of challenges we must work to overcome. Whilst many are able to hurdle those obstacles, others find them increasingly difficult to negotiate. Some find them simply impossible to the point where even trying to take the first step is a step too far. And for those faced with the seemingly insurmountable, too often there appears to be only one way out.

As the news about Robin Williams found its way around the globe, there was – at least at first – a collective sense of disbelief. That this father, husband, actor, comedian and philanthropist had been stolen from us at only 63. But then, all too quickly, reports began to suggest there was another story to tell. That the private demons that had haunted Williams for so long had finally won their war.

Buzzed Inhibitions

by Mckenzie Earley on July 29, 2014

before and after headshot

Confidence is magnetic.  People want to have it, to be around it.  Combined with purpose and humility, it commands respect.

To me, confidence means being unapologetic for exhibiting strength and upholding personal values.  It means surrendering fear in exchange for liberation.

I recently made a decision that required my own confidence: I buzzed my long locks to a mere half-inch.  My peers’ reactions suggest that my decision reflects bravery, but I do not entirely identify with this sentiment.  I strive to carry myself in a way that mirrors my values, and now that my hair is gone I feel as though I have better accomplished that.  Now, only I am left, with no hair to hide behind.  I tossed aside vanity for the reward of feeling powerful, and therefore being powerful.

A New Dilemma for Omnivores

by Rochelle Lee on July 25, 2014

Casa Thai

A couple weeks ago, after telling an acquaintance that I work in sustainability, he responded with “Does that mean you work with farms?” Although the question was a first, I can’t say I was entirely surprised that he viewed the term “sustainability” to be somewhat synonymous with agriculture. Given the popularity of Michael Pollan’s books and documentaries like Food Inc., we know that the injustices of our food system gain the most mainstream attention out of any issue on the sustainability agenda. I’ll even admit that my personal passion for sustainability was sparked after reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

In the last eight years there has been a huge transformation in how we think about food, agriculture, and its environmental and social impacts.  Read the fine print on most menus in San Francisco and you’ll see that most restaurants claim to “source local, sustainable ingredients when possible.” Even Walmart is expanding its organic grocery line.  Despite the increasing availability of food that is “local”, “organic”, “pesticide-free”, “handmade”, “seasonal”, “direct from the farm”, “sustainable”, etc., the so-called “omnivore’s dilemma” has gotten much more complicated for me now that I actually know a thing or two about sustainability.

by Jessica Quiney

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.”

― Bill Drayton, Leading Social Entrepreneurs Changing the World

The effectiveness of different types of aid are explored and discussed by Dambisa Moyo in ‘Dead Aid’. She explains that when a charity raises money for mosquito nets to be sent to a country like Sierra Leone, this practical act of charity can sometimes be highly destructive. The local net maker may go out of business as demand for his craft plummets due to the surge of free nets (subsequently he and his workers will fail their dependants); their net making skills will not be passed on and so when inevitable wear and tear causes holes there will be no one to mend the damage; and, if no parallel education is provided, it is highly probable that the donated nets will simply not even be used.

One for Argentina!

by Michael Mazzaferro on July 15, 2014

photo (10)

Hours before last Sunday’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina, I received an inspiring email from Mario, my son Carlo’s soccer coach.  I have known this fine man for years, and I have always been impressed by his deep passion for both the sport and his native national team, Argentina.

You see, I am an American soccer fan.  I played soccer as a kid through high school, learning the sport in the late 60’s from Tony Crupi, one of the best Italian teachers you could ever hope for.  While I have some field creds when it comes to futbol  -  I was co-captain of my high school soccer team, I organized a kids league in my hometown in the 70’s, I broke my leg (2 bones, 3 places) playing the game when I was 29, and I was a sideline fixture (and linesman)  at my son’s and daughter’s weekend youth soccer games – truth be told, I was never really THAT good.  I still do not know all the rules (I lean on the Brits in the office for such details).

Even so, most of my friends view me as the “expert.”  I’m the “go to” person when someone has a question about soccer.  And yet when someone has a question about futbol, I know I am out of my league.

Language matters.  Talking soccer is very different than talking futbol.

Mi Earthship Es Su Earthship

by Mckenzie Earley on July 14, 2014

If you talk with me long enough, you will discover my unfaltering excitement for design and architecture approaches that offer self-sustenance and a harmonious relationship with natural systems.  Given the earth’s track record of resiliency, I figure that mimicking and complementing biological processes simply makes sense.  My passion in this area was ignited by Garbage Warrior, which showcases the saga of Earthship Biotecture founder Michael Reynolds.

Reynolds’ Earthships popularized design approaches such as making use of nature’s cycles and showed that using “scrap” building materials, or those that are conventionally considered waste, can result in beautiful and comfortable modern homes.  Such bio-conscious architecture presents the idea that a building does not need to be a box in which you exist and deplete resources, but rather, a sub-ecosystem that actively creates nutrients and promotes the well-being of humans and the environment.  (Also see: The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability–Designing for Abundance.)  Common building materials for Earthships include old car tires for insulation, condensed plastic bottles for bricks, and gorgeous colored glass-bottles for stained glass.  Earthships include systems like thermal/solar heating and cooling, solar and wind electricity, water harvesting, and contained sewage treatment.  They take on a variety of appearances from modern to funky with the core commonality of integrating our homes into the environment, not separating them from it.

Life and Death

by Annie Longsworth on July 10, 2014

Driving home from a friend’s 4th of July celebration last week, my 12-year old son suddenly asked, “What do you think is the worst way to die?” This question quickly led to a furious argument between his father, his sister and him about the various pros and cons of being smooshed between two buildings, an alien invasion, being stabbed in your sleep by your child (should I be worried?), and drowning in jello.

As I thought about it later, I realized that while all of those scenarios sound pretty unpleasant, the worst thing I can imagine is dying from something I can take steps to prevent like lung or skin cancer. I am not expecting guarantees – we all have personal evidence that cancer doesn’t discriminate – but certainly smoking a pack a day or skipping sunscreen would add serious regret to an already unhappy diagnosis.

What I can guarantee is that we, as a society, are going to regret not taking more action faster to slow and prevent further climate change, which is already the cause of more than 150,000 deaths each year. Between heat related illnesses, major weather events and a disrupted food supply, poor air quality and lack of clean water, it’s not hard to imagine a bitter and unpleasant decline to human life.

It sounds trite but I hope we all agree there’s an awful lot to live for, like, for example, the next philosophical question that a tween might pose. Perhaps it will be something like “Is there anything in the world that everyone agrees on?” I’d say yes: life.

Excited about the upcoming holiday weekend, I asked my colleagues what came to mind when they think about July 4th celebrations. Anticipating that most will respond with “Beer” “BBQ” or “Fireworks,” I thought of writing a blog post about “hosting a sustainable July 4th celebration.” However, I failed to recognize the creative minds of my colleagues, many of whom shared some very fun feedback.

 

In the spirit of celebration, I have decided to share what my lovely colleagues sent to me. I will also make a recommendation for how they can instill sustainability into their July 4th traditions. I hope you are inspired by this and think about how you can infuse a little bit of green into your red, white and blue.

Saatchi & Saatchi S Create & Impact

What if 20% of all trips made in San Francisco were done by bicycle? This is the goal that SF Bicycle Coalition is working to achieve by the year 2020.

We learned this and much more last Friday, June 27th for our team’s Create & Impact Day. For the month of June, agencies throughout the Pubilicis Groupe network around the world are encouraged to take action by participating in initiatives that create and have an impact towards sustainable living.

Bicycling as a form of transportation offers a host of benefits that impact the triple bottom line – people, planet and profit:

Water Your Vegetable Garden, Not Your Toilet

by Mckenzie Earley on June 25, 2014
Full Harvest Urban Farm, Oakland, CA

Full Harvest Urban Farm, Oakland, CA

A couple of weekends ago, I attended an all-day workshop called ‘The Good Sh*t: Water-Less Compost Toilet Installation’ held at Full Harvest Urban Farm in Oakland, CA.  The farm is at a residential home led by a couple who champion educating “black and brown community members” to revisit their roots and to develop a relationship with their food and environment.  Karissa Lewis, the farm’s Executive Director, explained that members work to disengage with the misconception that people of color do not understand nutrition and to show that cherishing the earth’s harvest is focal to their ancestry.  Their one acre space is a beacon of resiliency and community that has four yurts, solar panels, a plant nursery, a pond, and free-range animals—ducks, chickens who rest in the trees at night, goats, and a pig named Pumba.

The focus of the day was to install a water-less compost toilet, and prior to the installation, Movement Generation and DIG Cooperative shared insights on the origin of sewage systems in Western culture, challenges of inspiring the adoption of a water-less method, and emergence of ecological and social consequences tied to sewage.

Supporting Local: Learnings from BALLE 2014

by Naomi Fukuda on June 19, 2014

Last week I was fortunate to join 600 local advocates, social enterprises, municipal leaders and small business owners as they came together in Oakland, California for the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies – BALLE 2014 Conference. Over the inspiring three days we saw examples of disenfranchisement, complexity as well as stunning collaboration.

BALLE focuses solely around small and locally owned businesses as the main drivers for resilient economies – and for good reason. Businesses that are locally owned translate three times as much economic benefit back to the local economy. That economic benefit can come in the form of direct and indirect local job creation and wages, local procurement and local philanthropy. So, please do buy local!

However, it isn’t realistic for every product or service to be made locally – and since businesses that don’t accommodate local ownership are our current reality, I would like to consider what non-local businesses can do.

How might  non-local or big business authentically and meaningfully  contribute to the places in which they operate and to the people that live there?

Wearable-tech1

Picture Source: http://www.axon-it.com/blog/2014/01/21/wearable-tech-versus-social-acceptability/

There’s been a lot of talk about big data lately, but it’s the tiny data you should keep your eye on. There’s a movement afoot to measure, track and analyze micro data about individuals. The concept is not new: people have been collecting data on themselves to improve decision-making for years. However, there’s been a rapid development in wearable technologies that is enabling the collection of vast amounts of personal data in real time and often with little to no effort by individuals. This is mainstreaming the phenomenon and leading to a burgeoning movement – and marketplace – around the idea of the quantified self.

Such easy access to personal data offers the opportunity to create powerful feedback loops for individuals to better understand how their behaviors impact themselves and others and make adjustments based on it. However as the movement continues to evolve, it’s hard to decipher which applications will be most useful and have sticking power over the long run. To this end, I find myself asking a few critical questions as I follow this trend, ‘What data do I really want? Will it make a difference for me? And I am going to look stupid wearing this thing?’

To explore these questions, I rounded-up a few interesting and cutting-edge wearables that are piquing my interest as we hurdle towards a more quantified you.

#SB14sd Day Three: Regenerate

by Daniel Jacobs on June 6, 2014

Regenerate

 

The 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego has three distinct words suspended above the stage each day: Reimagine, Redesign and Regenerate. Given that it’s a 3 day event, I thought it would make sense to try and look at each on a separate day as I sum up my learnings.

Today’s topic: Regenerate.

#SB14sd Day Two: Redesign

by Daniel Jacobs on June 4, 2014

redesign

The 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego has three distinct words suspended above the stage each day: Reimagine, Redesign and Regenerate. Given that it’s a 3 day event, I thought it would make sense to try and look at each on a separate day as I sum up my learnings.

Today’s topic: Redesign.

#SB14sd Day One: Reimagine

by Daniel Jacobs on June 4, 2014
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Saatchi S CEO Annie Longsworth (right) meets a giraffe (left)

The 2014 Sustainable Brands conference in San Diego has three distinct words suspended above the stage each day: Reimagine, Redesign and Regenerate. Given that it’s a 3 day event, I thought it would make sense to try and look at each on a separate day as I sum up my learnings.

First up, Reimagine.

Five Reasons to Pedal for the Planet

by Rochelle Lee on May 29, 2014

Climate_Ride_Capital

For those of you who read Daniel’s blog post, you know that I returned last week from the California Climate Ride. It was a truly irresistible experience and there’s no doubt that I will be participating again. Very little has felt more empowering than riding up to the capital building in Sacramento at the end of a 250 mile journey, knowing that we had collectively raised over half a million dollars (a Climate Ride record!) for bike advocacy and sustainability. Through our participation in Climate Ride, each of us have been able to demonstrate on both a community and state-wide level that cycling is a critical solution to climate change.

I’m hoping to convince as many people as I can to join one of the rides. Here are five reasons why you should consider participating in next year’s California, NYC-DC, or Midwest Climate Ride:

Don’t Buy This Car? If You Say So, Fiat.

by Kelly Petrich on May 23, 2014
11-2014-fiat-500e-fd-opt

Picture Source: Autoexpress.co.uk, http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/fiat/500/61635/fiat-500e-pictures/page/8/0

A few years back, Patagonia released a provocative ad campaign where they implored consumers, “Don’t Buy this Jacket.” It was a compelling strategy urging people to reduce their purchases and opt for reusing and recycling items through their newly established Common Threads marketplace on eBay.

Based on their success, I figured Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was taking a page out of the Patagonia playbook this week when he requested people to please don’t buy the Fiat 500e. However upon a closer look, it turns out I was wrong.  Sergio really doesn’t want you to buy one. This seems a bit odd coming from the head honcho but apparently Fiat is losing money hand over fist on these cars because it isn’t able to sell them at a high enough price point in the U.S.

This is disappointing to hear since I’ve just recently been touting the irresistibility of the 500e environmentallysexy ads.  It’s a great example of a fun, humorous and engaging digital campaign that draws a consumer into the positive benefits of the car without leading with a traditional responsibility-laden ‘green’ message.

Getting Wheely Excited About Climate Action

by Daniel Jacobs on May 20, 2014
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Image courtesy of SLO County Bicycle Coalition via flickr

 

I have long since believed that sports plays an important role in society. Many of my greatest learnings have come as a result of participating in, coaching, or watching sports. Sports foster a sense of belonging, of cultural heritage and generational storytelling, of personal confidence, of leadership, of appreciation of teamwork and how your actions can impact others to help achieve something far bigger than yourself.

In a future blog, I will talk about the power that athletes and owners, that fans and sponsors wield simply as a result of their association. Later.

For now, I’m going to take this blog a little closer to home.