Happy 150th Arbor Day, America! Plus Solar Roadways approved in US & Canada. Meet Launch Alaska, and Wynn Resorts go solar. Oh, and happy International Zoo Day, too!
Happy 150th Arbor Day, America! Solar Roadways Approved in US & Canada, Launch Alaska, Wynn Resorts Go Solar
First off, happy Zoo Lovers Day. Each year on April 8th, National Zoo Lovers Day encourages us to explore our zoos and learn more about zoos and how they strive to help endangered species. Movin’ on…Alaska and the Arctic have an incredibly important role in critical global conversations—and the development and deployment of climate solutions.
That’s why Launch Alaska was founded in 2016. Based in Anchorage, Alaska, it’s a nonprofit deployment accelerator, focused on helping climate tech companies find customers, deploy projects, get revenue, and make an impact in Alaska.
It’s mission is to accelerate the resource revolution — to urgently decarbonize our world by getting solutions to energy, transportation, and industry challenges into use in Alaska.
Through the partnerships that it’s forming and the projects that participating companies embark on, Launch Alaska hopes to acknowledge and honor the past and present land stewardship and place-based knowledge of the peoples of these territories.
The company currently has a portfolio of almost two dozen companies including four water companies, four energy companies and two transportation companies split between two “cohorts.”
Why does Launch Alaska matter to the rest of us in the Lower 48? The challenges the group is tackling in Alaska represent some of the defining global issues of this century: climate change, a thawing and newly accessible Arctic, microgrids and decentralized energy, community resiliency, energy costs and access, ocean vitality, national security, and the transition from an outmoded economy to one suited for the future.
SOLAR ROADWAYS APPROVED IN US AND CANADA
Back in 2021, The Climate Daily reported on how Indiana and Michigan are racing each other to become the first state to build a solar road. It turns out the husband and wife team of Scott and Julie Brusaw, from Idaho, have been in the solar roadway game since 2006. They began their company, Solar Roadways in 2006 after watching Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth.” Julie, who now manages the company’s communications, wondered if roads could be made from solar panels. That’s when Scott, the engineer, got to work.
Their invention: solar panels that can fit together to create a solar parking lot. Each panel is a hexagon and contains a microprocessor which controls different activities such as heating to prevent snow/ice accumulation. In 2011 they were awarded a 2-year $750,000 contract by the U.S. Department of Transportation for more research.
In January 2022 Solar Roadways received both approval from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and its Canadian counterpart the Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED). It’s pretty amazing what these panels can do; here’s a short list:
- Can charge EVs with clean energy
- Generate energy
- Remain snow/ice free AND
- Impervious to potholes
- Can provide emergency warning system
Why does the Solar Roadways invention matter to us? We love featuring examples of drive and determination when it comes to realizing solutions for living with climate change.
DEEPER DIVE: Solar Road Ways
HAPPY ARBOR DAY, AMERICA!
In 1805, in the small Spanish village of Sierra de Gata lived a priest, don Juan Abern Samtrés, who “convinced of the importance of trees for health, hygiene, decoration, nature, environment and customs, decides to plant trees and give a festive air. He drafted a manifesto in defense of the trees that was sent to surrounding towns to spread the love and respect for nature, and also he advised to make tree plantations in their localities. Hence was launched the first Arbor Day in modern history.
However Arbor Day dates back as far as 1594, when in another Spanish village, Mondoñedo, the mayor organized the first documented arbor plantation festival in the world.
According to Wikipedia, The first American Arbor Day was originated by J. Sterling Morton of Nebraska City, Nebraska. He pitched the concept at an annual meeting of the Nebraska State board of agriculture in Lincoln. And on April 10, 1872, Nebraskans planted an estimated one million trees in their state.
That makes this Arbor Day, 2022, the 150th anniversary of Arbor Day in America.
Connecticut native Birdsey Northrop is credited with globalizing the idea when he visited Japan in 1883. That’s when he delivered his Arbor Day and Village Improvement message. Since then the day dedicated to tree planting, caring for and climbing trees has spread across the planet, celebrated in at least 45 countries.
In America, we celebrate Arbor Day on April 10th. But, many countries celebrate it on the last Friday in April. This year, that’ll be April 29th. So, if you miss the opportunity this Sunday to plant and educate everybody within earshot about the importance of planting trees,…
(you still got a makegood day on April 29th.)
That’s right. For great information on what might be going on in your neck o the woods, check out the Arbor Day Foundation’s website (arborday.org). Or click on the links in the deeper dive section of this story at theclimatedaily.org/episodes.
WYNN RESORTS GO SOLAR
Wynn Resorts, one of the world’s largest hotel groups, has announced its net-zero carbon emissions goals. By 2050, the brand aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions across its portfolio. Wynn Resorts Corporate Sustainability Goals include:
- Net-Zero by 2050: To reduce or offset all carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by our operations no later than 2050.
- Carbon Dioxide Emissions Peak by 2030: To stop and reverse year-over-year growth of operational carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030.
- 50% Renewable Energy Procurement by 2030: To increase Wynn Resorts supply of renewable energy produced or procured to at least 50% of total consumption by 2030.
According to a study carried out by the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance, the hotel industry needs to cut carbon emissions by 66% per room by 2030 to counteract emissions corresponding to growth.
Wynn’s first project for renewable energy was the construction of a 160-acre solar farm at Wynn Las Vegas, completed in 2018. The solar power has helped reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint by 20%. Other properties in the Wynn Resort portfolio also are now using solar as a renewable energy source.
But at the Wynn Macau, restaurant kitchens have cut 70% of food waste since 2019. That’s major, considering it’s estimated that hotels produce approximately 87,000 tons of food waste annually. Wynn Resorts CEO Craig Billings says of their goals, “We are constantly identifying ways to contribute to a stronger, healthier planet.”
Why do Wynn Resorts’ renewable energy changes matter to us? It’s awesome to highlight the efforts of the hospitality industry in reaching climate goals.