The Gift That Won’t Stop Giving

Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 1.39.34 PMLet’s face it. Plastic ain’t so fantastic. This staple in our lives is slowly choking the world we live in.  The lone cup or plastic bag that was thrown out a car window will eventually make its way down a storm drain, into a creek or river, and eventually, spill out to our oceans and lakes.

The environmental impact is staggering. Our Ocean animals are ingesting and dying every day from plastic. According to a recent CNN article, nearly every piece of plastic ever made still exists today with nearly five trillion pieces of plastic in the oceans alone. Ocean animals and birds are the most visible victim of this pollution stream. Over 50% of turtles alone are ingesting plastic on a daily basis and on Midway Atoll; birds are dying daily with stomachs full of plastic.

Plastics are not a sustainable option if we want our quality of life on this planet to continue. We also have to keep in mind that current landfill technology doesn’t allow for biodegradable items to breakdown.  However, if that plastic item ends up in a local stream, it is still better if it can break down safely than not.   Let’s look at some other GREAT options:

  • Recycle! Recycling has become a much easier option through local waste management companies. It now an acceptable practice to recycle your grocery store plastic bags. If your waste disposal company won’t take them, most of the grocery stores will!
  • Reuse! Refuse plastic straws and lids whenever possible. Come on, it’s a cup. You outgrew your Sippy Cup at four. You can handle a cup without a lid and straw. If you must have a lid and straw, then use a reusable cup and purchase your own reusable straws. (Your mother won’t clean them when you are done, you will have to do that yourself!) Or if reusable or metal straws aren’t your thing, there are always paper options. (Besides, they are kind of fun to peel it into a spiral when you are done.)
  • New Generation Plastic! Love your food wrap? Well, we can have our plastic wrap and eat it too. Currently, there are a number of options for individuals and companies to replace their plastic usage with products made from simple cornstarch and even milk proteins. Don’t believe me? Check it out just a few of these options:

In the end, it all comes down to one simple action. Thinking. Can your item be recycled or reused? If millions of people had that one single thought we could literally turn the tide on the plastic tidal wave.

Posted in Pollution Prevention, Uncategorized

Will Artificial Intelligence Change the World? You Bet it Will!


by: Colette Calapristi Casey

AI and robots and jobs oh my! The heat is on and Artificial Intelligence and subsequent melding of automation technologies have many people running for the hills with their hair on fire. By the year 2021, it is estimated that over 6% of US jobs will be replaced by automation in some form. This is a significant number and can place an additional burden on global infrastructure and services.

“We are approaching a time when machines will be able to outperform humans at almost any task,” said Moshe Vardi, director of the Institute for Information Technology at Rice University in Texas.

“By 2021 a disruptive tidal wave will begin. Solutions powered by AI/cognitive technology will displace jobs, with the biggest impact felt in transportation, logistics, customer service and consumer services,” said Brian Hopkins of Forrester Research.

To translate this, we are talking about Uber cars and long-haul trucks that drive themselves, fast food counters manned by iPads and much more. Even basic call centers will be replaced by Natural Language Understanding (NLU) automation. NLU will be integrated into every aspect of your life allowing people to converse with technology easily and frequently. Whole industries will be disrupted by this shift and phones will fall away to wearables and personal assistants will become disembodied voices.

AI has a history of fear and endearment, the perfect human and the perfect human replacement. Over the last four decades “The Future” and AI has been presented differently depending on the mood of the culture. Some see the future as an opportunity to cast off the shackles of everyday work in order to pursue nobler causes and higher learning. Others see a future of humans imprisoned and replaced by technology.

Do you think we are able to look at our future logically? Let’s start at the beginning, why do we work?   Many people work today for a very basic need, to be able to provide for themselves and their family. We also work for a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

When we look at the scientific research around what people really need and where they achieve satisfaction, it is easy to get confused.   According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, there are five levels of development needed to reach a sense of accomplishment with one’s self.  Maslow offers a linear look at human psychology that must be completed in order to reach new levels of motivation.  With today’s technology, the linear approach is not always successful.  Nonlinear takes into account the variety of distractions from all directions.

Another look at human needs comes from a theory developed by Motivational Speaker Tony Robbins.   Robbins has identified “Six Basic Human Needs” to feel achievement. These needs, unlike Maslow’s linear approach, are ascending. The ascending has a journey feel to it, something to accomplish along the journey to personal growth. Robbin’s journey touchstones address certainty, variety, significance, love and connection, growth and contribution, all of which contribute to a fulfilling life. In today’s world, these needs are met by a combination of professional and private life.

Because of humanity’s historical reference to employment, it is easy to see why people are afraid of AI.  They see it as a disruption to their daily lives and, in turn, their self-actualization because so many people equate their life with their jobs. If anything, there is an opportunity to take our humanity to a new level; free of the restrictive “golden handcuffs” so many of us are chained to in our day-to-day jobs.

What if (my regular followers know I love “What if”) we could restructure society to allow us to pursue and grow based on our individuality and talents? There are many opportunities to meet our human needs, but we must remain open-minded to the coming evolution of our society.

There are a number of solutions to explore. Perhaps a “balancing” of jobs lost with community job replacements. Put displaced workers into community growth positions such as community gardens, daycare support or municipal cleanup.   Think of it as something along the lines of workfare but with a living decent wage.

To make a really big leap, perhaps we should seriously consider Futurist Jacque Fresco’s vision for the future. Fresco has been creating a utopian society in the middle of Florida for over thirty years. Fresco supports a resource based society and one that eliminates money all together.

Fifty years ago, Gene Roddenberry introduced us to the concept of a world without money with Star Trek. Within the abundant world of the Star Trek Earth, the need for money has become obsolete due to a fair wealth distribution that eliminated resource hoarding and created abundance. This effect frees up humanity for more altruistic endeavors.

We are on the cusp of rapid technological growth. As such we must begin to think ahead and in turn, we must free ourselves to dream.  It will take courage and imagination, but if we work toward solutions we will come out better on the other side!

Posted in AI-Artificial Intelligence

What if?

Screen Shot 2016-04-22 at 7.12.51 PMWhat if we cared for our planet as much as we cared for our possessions?   What if we changed the conversation away from climate change and pollution arguments to how we can be better stewards of our Earth?  There are no right or wrong arguments for stewardship.  Either you are a good steward or you are not.

What if local communities and cities took it upon themselves to be good stewards?  There are so many technologies available now that could revolutionize how communities impact our stewardship.

1.) Why not incentivize cities in the Southern belt to add non-reflective solar panels to the roofs of all high-rise buildings?  Cities in the Northern climates would add rooftop gardens and rain collecting systems.  When solar windows become more readily available, require that all future high-rise buildings use this to supplement energy usage.  The savings from energy bills would pay for the technology in a relatively short time.

2.) What if a “three ring approach” to carbon capture was a reality?  Think of the center ring being the inner city.  Within that ring are public art sculptures that are really carbon capture units?  Just outside the city, in the middle ring are carbon capture trees.  These trees could be made to serve as advertising billboards while collecting carbon.  Imagine now, further out from a city, in the open space are carbon capture and recycling units.  Minimizing carbon emissions from concentrated areas would certainly be good stewardship of the air we breathe.

3.) What if every city managed a healthy recycling program?  For every trash can on a street corner, there would also be a recycling can next to it.  Some cities have already adopted this approach and in Plano, Texas, trash cans are available on medians of intersections to encourage drivers not to toss their trash when they stop.  Why is this important? A lot of the trash you see floating in the ocean came from litter that made its way into storm drains, rivers and eventually oceans.

4.) What if we returned to the Pollution Prevention curriculum popular in the 1970’s that taught children about the real impact of littering?  Yes, we have those today, but what if it was a real ongoing program that was taught year round, not just on Earth Day.  We have Health classes, why can’t we be as committed to the health of our Earth?

5.) What if car tailpipe technology was accelerated so that all cars could receive a free emissions capture unit and minimize the particulate that goes into the air every time you drive?

These are just a few ideas and there are many, many more that each of us can make.  Ask yourself, how can I be a Good Steward to my Earth?



Posted in Uncategorized

The Forest AND the Trees

treesImagine, every minute of every day our air is being cleansed by Trees. That already happens, you say? After all, trees do that all the time. However, thanks to deforestation, population growth and a host of other factors, there are fewer trees to compensate for human activity, especially in dense urban areas.

Enter the “Carbon Capture Tree.” This independently standing structure can be placed just about anywhere and once in place, silently begins to clean the air around it.

While some of the current designs look quite practical, others are down right works of art. Imagine city parks and Art Districts featuring beautiful sculptures that are not only easy on the eye, but easy on the environment.

Think of it, forests of capture units outside of every major city and more esthetic, artistic options in the heart of the cities.

While all of this is great for the environment, many could see it as a tax burden. What if it was sustainable? A comprehensive article on provides a great outline of Carbon Capture options including “Enhanced Oil Recovery” or EOR. The article describes how “CO2 is pumped into old oil wells as a solvent to scour lingering hard-to-get oil from the ground. EOR currently boosts US oil output by 10 percent a year, and the US government estimates that state-of-the-art EOR with carbon dioxide could add 89 billion barrels of oil to the nation’s recoverable oil resources – which is more than four times the country’s existing reserves.”

There’s more to learn and maybe it will inspire local communities to consider making their next piece of public art, a carbon capture unit!


Posted in Uncategorized

Get Some Tail (Pipe CO2 Filters)


Part 2 of the “C02 Remediation” Series
by: Colette Calapristi Casey

The EPA sates that a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. While most people would like to do something, they don’t really know “what” to do.   Many are trapped between wanting to do the right thing and needing to get to work, pick up kids, hit the grocery store and so on. Mass Transit you say? Great for cities with a strong infrastructure, but depending on where you live, it would be faster to ride in a wagon train vs. spending half the day on a bus across town. If transit is an option, consider taking it or carpooling at least 1-2 days a week. According to the EPA, if you do this, over the course of a year, you will reduce your greenhouse gas emission by an average of TWO TONS per year!

For those of us playing a giant game of traffic Tetris, we have plenty of time to think about what we can do to make the world better. Until the day that electric or hydrogen cars are the norm, we have to address our fossil fuel driven cars.

Stories are popping up slowly around technologies targeting CO2 at its final destination; your tailpipe. There was a promising technology developed by wunderkind Param Jaggi. He developed an invention called Algae Mobile or CO2ube. The device uses photosynthesis to capture the CO2 as it makes its way out of your cars tailpipe. It appeared for a short while on the web around 2013, but after a failed Kickstarter campaign the CO2ube has gone silent. Another Tailpipe filter called the “Blade” claims to remove “particulate material” from your exhaust. It doesn’t feature CO2, but hey, less crap in the air the better right?

While we don’t have a solid solution to automotive CO2 emissions, there is enough momentum that it is hopeful it will happen soon.

To further support the development and usage of a Tailpipe filter, it is highly recommended that the CO2ube original ideas for incentives be implemented. They include allowing drivers with the device to use HOV lanes and provide individual tax deductions for those purchasing and using the device. I recommend one step further and incorporate “coupons” to receive a free auto inspection for states that mandate the testing prior to registration.

It’s the little things that can add up to a big impact.


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Posted in CO2 Emissions, Uncategorized

All I Need is the Air that I Breathe

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 2.45.53 PM

Part 1 of the “C02 Remediation” Series
by: Colette Casey

For years now, discussions and warnings about C02 emissions have done more to divide us then to unite us in an effort to resolve something that is a common concern to us all. Clean air.

The finger pointing and blame game playing out on the global stage has resulted in, well, not much. Perhaps, a different perspective to debating this issue would not be politics and name calling, but a simple question:

“Are we being good stewards of our planet?”

This is a pretty basic question that you can simply answer; “yes” or “no”.

We live in an exciting time of technology and practices that literally “Capture” the carbon out of the air. Filters for your car tailpipe, new CO2 recycling plants, Carbon Capture Trees and sculptures and our ancient friend, Algae can all be the answer.

Where is CO2 coming from?

CO2 can be generated by something as simple as our breathing, but it can also be attributed to coal production in China (28% of the worlds C02 emissions), and energy and transportation (US 15.9% of worlds C02 emissions).

What’s interesting to note is that two (China and India) of the top three CO2 contributors were “waived” from the Kyoto Treaty way back when. However, with the latest talks in Paris, China and India as well as the U.S. have pledge to reduce CO2 emissions.

Let’s Talk Turkey.

Carbon capture is all good in theory, but most governments and corporations don’t like to take on projects where they won’t make any money. However, of all the environmental cleanup efforts, C02 capture is probably one of the more sustainable options available.

We should absolutely continue to foster natural approaches like the re-growth of Rain Forests in South America that are showing promising results. But we can augment these efforts with new technologies.

Screen Shot 2016-02-06 at 3.12.20 PMEnter Carbon Engineering, a Canadian company that is capturing CO2 from the air and recycling it into pure C02 that can be resold. According to the company’s website:

CE’s air contactor absorbs atmospheric CO2 into our capture solution to produce a liquid solution that is rich in CO2. The regeneration process, involving several processing steps, produces a purified stream of CO2 and re-makes the original capture chemical. These two processes work together to enable continuous capture of CO2 from atmospheric air, with energy (and small amounts of make-up chemicals) as an input, and pure CO2 as an output. The stream of pure CO2 can be sold and used in industrial applications and/or permanently sequestered (geologically stored) deep underground.”

According to a recent Forbes article: “Assuming their small pilot plant runs well over the next six months, Carbon Engineering wants to go full-scale with a commercially-backed plant that could capture 1,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide a year, which would be like recycling the co2 emitted from 300,000 cars on the road.”

Not a bad endeavor, we’ll keep you posted.

Next Post: Get Some Tail (Pipe CO2 Filters)

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Posted in Sustainable Energy

Damn it Jim, I’m a Doctor not a Safari Guide!

Star-Trek-ReplicatorWell, pretty lame title, but for any die hard Star Trek fan, you’ll know Dr. McCoy’s voice anywhere and the sentiment behind it.  McCoy was always taken aback by the technology around him, even though he used all of it to his advantage.  He would often protest the food created by the “Replicator” a machine capable of creating and recycling objects. In the original series, replicators were used to create meals on demand, but in later series they produced many other item.

Now almost 50 years later, we are seeing the infancy of a new kind of replicator.   For years, health care professionals have struggled with finding ways to piece back together those who have been harmed by accidents and disease.  It looks like the world of answers is coming to their doorstep through the innovative use of 3-D printers.  Ears, nose and in the future, functioning livers will be just a request away through the power of the 3-D Printer.

Sounds exciting doesn’t it?  Well, now they are looking at using the technology to save wildlife who have lost horns due to poachers.  Lest we not forget the material world, James Bond’s 1964 Austin Martin from “Goldfinger” was recreated via the 3 D printer for the movie “Skyfall”.

Check out the articles below and see for yourself what the 3-D universe is messing with.  What other uses can you see for this amazing technology?

Posted in 3-D Printing

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