In the US we could travel any distance we wanted as there are Tesla Superchargers. You can drive 350km, stop, charge for 20 min. and keep going. That is why we chose some unique points along the west coast to stop by and learn more about different topics such as: agriculture, circular design, green buildings, and surf ecosystems.
Firstly, in Oregon, we spent some days in Hood river due to its kiteboarding scene although we weren’t lucky with the wind. After some relaxing days in this beautiful little town, we went to Corvallis to meet Jason Bradford, Board President of Post Carbon Institute. The main reason to meet him was to learn about Post Carbon Institute, as their mission aligned with ours… “..to lead the transition to a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable world by providing individuals and communities with the resources needed to understand and respond to the ecological, economic, energy, and equity crises of this century”.
Basically, they provide information, which is more easily digestible by anyone! However, we found more than that in Corvallis. Such a surprise when we discovered that Jason has an organic farm, and created with his son a prototype electric truck! He shared about the technical parts of the truck, drove it, and also about the energy intensity of our modern industrial agriculture system. It is basically an energy sinks rather than energy source, and small farms and consuming local can help shift away from that. Check Jason’s report “The Future is Rural: Food System Adaptations to the Great Simplification”.
From here straight to San Francisco to meet Martin’s family who were getting ready to finally move out from their home for the last years! The Bay Area is full of interesting people but we focused on two stories. On a kite day on an iconic spot – under the Golden Bridge – we met Steve Bodner. He is not only passionate about kitesurf and windfoil like us, but also an an architect & sustainable design professional. With him we discussed green buildings and sustainable architecture. Sustainable architecture is basically architecture that seeks to minimize the negative environmental impact of buildings through improved efficiency and moderation in the use of materials, energy, development space and the ecosystem at large.
Did you know that buildings and construction account for more than 35% of global energy use and nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions?
In the words of Steve, “we cannot talk about non-sustainable architecture anymore… building uses a lot of energy and the fact that we can make it more efficient is a no-brainer and we should all be pushing towards it”.
We also met with a great friend who is passionate about any sport in nature, Marcos Mafia. If you still do not know Mafia Bags not sure what you are waiting for. That is an example of a great company, started from scratch by Marcos, who has become an example of sustainable design. In Mafia, they rethink materials that would have ended in the landfill such as old sails, climbing ropes, and wetsuits, and give them a new life. In their own words “materials become alive again as the wind and sea”. With great design, they create unique and simple products that have lifetime warranty. Yes. They will fix and repair any product you get from them for life! We can refer to this as “circular design” or “circular economy”. In our current economy, we take materials from the Earth, make products from them, and eventually throw them away as waste – the process is linear. In a circular economy, by contrast, we stop waste being produced in the first place and try to circulate products and materials for as long as possible. To learn more about the circular economy you can check Ellen Macarthur Foundation
When Marcos started he never even thought of this concept, he just wanted to upcyle those materials which gave him joy, like sails. Mafia is an example of how creativity and thinking outside the box can take you far.
For us, it is no coincidence that both Steve and Marcos are passionate about sports in nature like kitesurf, and have jobs/businesses that aim to be sustainable, to work with nature rather that against it. It reinforces one of the main goals of Electric Americas, to share the joy of sports in nature and inspire others go do them as a way to protect nature. In the end, you protect what you love and know :)
Thanks for reading us!