EcoBits 7/24/14: Jet Fuel, Herbicides, Tiny homes, Top Veg, <3 FndnCom, SH45, Treehouse, TX #41 Solar, Teens & Env, Green Design

Thursday, July 24, 2014

EcoBits by Brandi

East Side Compost Pedallers and EcoRise are teaming up to teach kids how to compost.East Side Compost Pedallers and EcoRise Youth Innovations have partnered with the Austin Independent School District to start a pilot program at Kealing Middle School to teach kids how to compost. East Side Compost Pedallers will be providing the compost system and the students will be in charge of caring for the compost pile and eventually using the finished compost to fertilize their school's garden. More info>>

Good news! 

The EPA has denied Texas' request to spray a hazardous herbicide on its cotton fields.The EPA has denied Texas' request to use a hazardous herbicide against super weeds that are invading the state's cotton crops. Citing anunacceptable risk to drinking water supplies, the EPA sided with many environmental groups that raised concerns about human health, including the Austin EcoNetwork (Remember? We asked you to submit your comments to the EPA on this issue last month).  
Read more about the EPA's decision here>>


Eater Austin's list of the city's 33 most popular vegetarian restaurants is out!Eater Austin's list of its readers' 33 favorite vegetarian restaurants is out and topping the list isBouldin Creek Cafe, Mettle, Polvos Mexican Restaurant, 24 Diner, and Wheatsville Co-op. Browse the rest of Austin's best vegetarian restaurants here>>

Texas ranks 21st in terms of solar power capacity per capita.Texas is ranked 21st amongst U.S. states for installed solar capacity per capita, according to data recently compiled by CleanTechnica. That means that when Texas' large population is taken into account, it actually produces less solar than New Jersey, Delaware, and Vermont, which, let's be honest, are not exactly known for their sun. Texas ranks behind several warm weather states as well, including Arizona, Hawaii, New Mexico and Nevada, but 21st place means that Texas definitely is not living up to its potential. You can read the article which has statistics and data about solar throughout the country here>>


The Social Innovators Fast Pitch competition is now open.Attention social entrepreneurs, the Social Innovators Fast Pitch competition is now accepting applications. Anyone with an idea to make their community better can enter, but act fast, because the deadline for submissions is on August 8th.

Five finalists will be chosen, who will each be given the opportunity to pitch their ideas at the Social Good Summit on October 8th. The winner will receive a crowd-funded investment and will serve as the focus of Austin+Social Good's next big campaign in 2014 and 2015. Apply here>>

SXSW Eco has announced this year's keynote speakers.Keynote speakers at this year's SXSW Eco will be Julie Felgar

Boeing's environmental strategy director, andAlejandro Rios G., bioenergy research director at the Madagascar Institute. They will both be speaking about the progress that has been made toward the development of sustainable jet fuel, which can reduce carbon emissions by 50 to 80 percent compared to petroleum-based fuels. Learn more about all of the great speakers lined up for SXSW Eco 2014 here>>

Colony Park is about to be redeveloped.

Colony Park is getting a new life. Plans have been made to transform this 208-acre swath of vacant city land in northeast Austin into a recreation, shopping, and community hub. 

In June, the final master plan for this redevelopment project was presented at an open house. The plan was developed with the help of community meetings and comments and includes a vision for a walkable/mixed use space that will provide jobs, medical services, and groceries for the community. Next it is headed to city council for approval this fall. More info is available here>>


The developer for Plaza Saltillo has been chosen.Plans continue to move forward in the renovation of Plaza Saltillo. A team made up of Austin-basedEndeavor Real Estate Group, who developed the Domain, and Columbus Realty, has been chosen as the project's developer. Their plan is to transform the 11 acres of vacant land around the Plaza Saltillo rail station into a multi-use space that will contain 800 residential rental units (200 of which will be designated as affordable housing), a grocery store, retail and restaurant units, 1.7 acres of park land, and 1.8 acres of private open space. The land is currently owned by Cap Metro, which is requiring Endeavor to build a space that is both compact and accommodating to pedestrians and Cap Metro riders.

Brad Kittel is trying to bring tiny homes to Austin.

Brad Kittel wants to bring tiny, affordable houses to Austin and he needs your help. In a story for KEYE TV news, he explained that under current regulations, tiny homes are actuallyforbidden within city limits. Kittel was forced to build his own house, which is 230 square feet and made up entirely of salvaged material, just outside of Austin, but he is trying to change that. Kittel is working to collect signatures of support to change Austin's rules about micro homes in advance of a meeting he has scheduled with council member Chris Riley next week. You can sign his petition here>> 

The Native Prairies Association of Texas has a new chapter.Take note that as of this week two local environmental groups are have new names:

The Energy Action Team of the Interfaith Environmental Network is now called the Faith and Energy Action Team (FEAT) and is under the umbrella of Climate Buddies. Their work involves identifying critical steps that the faith community can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to help Austin become a carbon neutral community by 2050. For more information, contact Chris Searles or Patty Stephens at or 

In order to be more inclusive, the Georgetown Chapter of the Native Prairies Association of Texas is now the Central Texas Chapter. The Native Prairies Association works to conserve native prairie heritage, wildflowers, and grasses. The first meeting of this new chapter will be held on Tuesday, July 29 from 7pm to 8:30pm at the Williamson County Central Maintenance Facility


Green By Design Workshop SeriesBack, by popular demand, in a new format…the consistent crowd-pleaser, the informative and even funny course that usually sells out known as Green By Design. Taught over the course of three evenings (versus all day Saturday) by the pros from the Austin Energy Green Building Program will show you how to build, remodel or buy green homes that improve energy and water efficiency, increase comfort, and reduce maintenance. 
The workshop is now designed to provide a choice of topics based on your green building needs. Sessions are paired with Austin Energy Green Building team members who are available to provide insight and experience on sustainable building practices. 

** Please note the change in location. The Green By Design workshops will held at the Norris Conference Center – 2525 W. Anderson Ln, Suite 365 ** (instead of Town Lake Center.)
Green By Design Workshop Session 1: 
Planning and Designing a Green Home

Tuesday, July 29th from 7-9pm at the Norris Conference Center


Green By Design Workshop Session 2: 
Green Materials, Products and Landscaping

Tuesday, August 5th from 7-9pm at the Norris Conference Center


Green By Design Workshop Session 3: 
Green Home Systems

Tuesday, August 12th from 7-9pm at the Norris Conference Center


Attend one session or all for only $25.  Advance registration is required.  Please register as early as possible in order to guarantee your seat in this popular workshop.  Register here>>


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