Earth Day News Nuggets: Think You’re an Earth VC? You’re Wrong.

Tribe So Committed to Solar They Walk…in Vegas!

Between the sweltering heat and the car-friendly sprawl, nobody walks in Las Vegas on purpose. But members of the Moapa Band of Paiute Indians walked 16 miles across that baked and barren landscape this Earth Day weekend to draw attention to plans by the NV Energy utility close a coal burning power plant in southern Nevada and replace it with a solar plant.

Six Earth Day Bills Pass NY Senate

The New York State Senate passed a series of six Earth Day-related bills this week, including measures that would provide up to $25 million a year in tax credits for R&D and manufacture by solar and battery companies; limits the amount of mercury allowed in light bulbs; and protect sharks and shellfish.  The bills were passed to the state assembly.

Bloomberg Promotes Leaf; DeNiro Sheds a Tear

Travis Bickle, the mohawked and deranged Taxi Driver in Robert DeNiro’s eponymous 1976 classic, wouldn’t be caught dead driving a diminutive electric car that resembles a happy little fish. But that didn’t stop NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg from launching a pilot program on Earth Day that puts six Nissan Leafs into service as yellow cabs, supported by quick charging stations that can recharge 80 percent of the car’s battery in 30 minutes.

Greenpeace: Cisco and Google Lead IT in Green

Cisco’s leadership on reducing its carbon footprint and Google’s $1-billion investment in clean energy since 2010 place both companies at the top of the IT industry for green stewardship, according to the latest Cool IT Leadership report from Greenpeace. Toshiba’s continued emphasis on coal and nuclear, and Hitachi’s continued lobbying against government regulations to combat climate change, placed both companies at the bottom of the ranking.

Think You’re an Earth VC? You’re Wrong.

Maybe you thought you did a good job investing in Earth-friendly companies. Well Tom Rand has news for you: He’s the Earth’s venture capitalist. In a blog post Rand, leader of the MaRS Cleantech Fund, outlined his investments in companies including ethanol producer Woodland Biofuels and smart grid sensor maker Smart Energy Instruments. In the process, he also claimed a rather large mantle. “We’re the Earth’s venture capital,” Rand wrote.

Big Data and Cheap Solar Merge on Your Computer

The next generation of cheap, plastic solar cells may be created on your computer, without you even knowing it. Using the World Community Grid, which uses the Web to commandeer idle computers and run complex calculations, Harvard’s Clean Energy Project is studying millions of chemical structures to find the one that could make the next generation of solar arrays. The project generates 750 gigabytes of data daily, and has accumulated a total of 400 terabytes so far.

Americans Are Recycling More (Or So They Say)

More Americans recycle now, or at least they claim they do. According to the latest Earth Day survey by Bridgestone on American recycling habits, 52 percent of consumers said they recycle more stuff now than they did two years ago. A whopping 86 percent of respondents claim to recycle, and over a third (36 percent) call themselves “serious recyclers,” which means recycling everything they can, even if it means taking things to a recycling center. Seattle and Minneapolis were the top performing cities, where 97 percent of respondents say they recycle.








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