Five Ways To Enjoy Nature in Kansas City

1. Visit a Nature Center

Kansas City is home to several nature centers as well as the Kansas City Zoo. Nature centers are great for a family-friendly outing, and they are so educational! Some of the nature centers offer free programs or affordable children’s passes, and the Lakeside Nature Center is free. Going to nature centers is a great way to learn about local wildlife and ecology. Nature centers are also great resources to learn about sustainability. As the threat of climate change looms, we should learn more about what we can do to make the planet greener.

2. Take Pictures

Even in urban areas, there can be a lot of natural beauty to observe. It can be fun to snap photos and identify trees, other plants, or wildlife in your area. Bird watching is also a great activity in cities. Parks are an easy and accessible place to spot birds and other wildlife. You can also set up a bird feeder in your yard. Feeding the birds helps local wildlife thrive. Hummingbird feeders are a fun addition to any yard or deck, especially if you have kids. You may be surprised how many types of birds you can photograph, even from your own window! You can also frame your favorite pictures and display them on your wall.

3. Volunteer for a Cleanup Project

Kansas City is full of beautiful parks, rivers, and lakes, but unfortunately litter still ends up on the ground. In an effort to keep nature beautiful and clean, try volunteering for a park cleanup. Not only is it a great way to help care for KC and the Earth, it’s also an opportunity to meet others in your community. It is much easier to make a difference when we work together!

4. Take Advantage of Community Gardens

Even if you don’t have your own garden, you can rent a plot in a community garden. Gardening is a fun hobby where you’ll learn a lot about nature. Try learning about native plants so you can add them to your plot. Native plants will usually fare better than invasive species because they evolved for the local conditions. You can also try growing vegetables such as beans, tomatoes, or peppers. After your hard work, you can harvest them and make a healthy meal from your own locally grown produce. Community gardens are a great way to get to know your neighbors too. If you have extra vegetables, share them! Your fellow gardeners may share with you as well.

5. Compost

Whether you garden in your own backyard or in a community garden, compost will be great for the soil. It all starts in your kitchen, and compost is an easy way to turn food waste into something useful. There are several ways to compost, but cold composting may be easier for beginners. You can put a small compost bin on your counter or put a larger one outside. Add veggie scraps, cardboard, eggshells, and coffee grounds. In an outdoor bin, you can also add lawn trimmings or raked leaves. Compost takes time, but it’s a great way to reduce food scraps in landfills.

I hope you try one of these tips so we can all keep Kansas City—and the world— green and beautiful. Remember, you can always put on your shoes and just go for a stroll or a hike as well. Thanks for reading!

~ Scott Asner, wannabe musician and Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Examples of Green-Tech Investments

Hi guys, Scott Asner here.

In my previous blog post, I discussed the possibility of governments using stimulus packages to invest in green technologies that will, in turn, help create new jobs while bringing the U.S. into the forefront of burgeoning industries.

However, it’s easy to just state these claims without giving thought to what that process could look like. So today, I wanted to take the time to go deeper into this topic and discuss a couple of areas where green-tech and green industries can help stimulate job growth.

Building Renovations

Buildings generate nearly 40% of annual global green-house-gas emissions. The two most common sources of energy for buildings are electricity and direct consumption of natural gas and petroleum for things like heating and cooking. This is a large area of energy consumption — which makes it a great area for improvement.

The process of making existing buildings more energy efficient is called “retrofitting.” Often retrofitting involves modifications to existing commercial buildings that may improve energy efficiency or decrease energy demand. Improvements can be done in areas such as lighting, air distribution systems, heating and cooling upgrades, and much more.

Many buildings still need to be “retrofitted” and this could be an area where we invest in higher energy performance commercial building assets while also simulating jobs. It may be worthwhile to increase the current number of buildings being renovated for energy efficiency.

Electric Vehicle Chargers

Bloomberg NEF’s latest analysis predicts that by 2022, there will be over 500 different electric vehicle models available globally. This expanding market will be able to offer dynamic pricing for a spectrum of buyers from luxury to price-sensitive, making EV a viable option for the masses.

The trends show that mass adoption of EV will make its breakthrough soon. According to the International Council on Clean Transportation, the United States will need to invest more than $2.2 billion in charging infrastructure to meet demand for charging by 2025. A breakdown of those numbers shows that $1.3 billion will be needed to make the necessary upgrades to home charging while $940 million would go toward workplace and public charging.

Investments in charging infrastructure are critical to boost EV mass adoption in the U.S., as studies have shown that a lack of charging opportunities remains a top reason why potential buyers aren’t going for these kinds of vehicles.

In instances when the government issues trillions of dollars for stimulus packages – these areas present opportunities for investment. We could help change our infrastructure to support the adoption of these emerging technologies.

These are just two ideas — but the green tech industry is full of great, creative ideas on how we can create new jobs while also bettering our society and preparing ourselves for the world of tomorrow. We can possibly view this challenging moment as an opportunity to propel ourselves forward.

~ Scott Asner, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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Scott Asner: Thoughts on Investing in Green-Tech

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us what a global economic crisis looks like.

In just the first few weeks of the outbreak, the U.S. economy was pushed to the brink of a recession more severe than the one experienced in 2008. And due to the extraordinary nature of this emergency, policymakers were left working without a playbook and moved forward to issue trillions of dollars in stimulus in an attempt to maintain jobs and drive recovery.

As the world watches where things go from here, the uncertainty of this downturn is echoing the ambiguity of the virus itself. We have no idea when this crisis will end, and what our world will look like on the other side. That lack of confidence shows in our current market situation.

Even with the unprecedented efforts put in place to protect American jobs, will it be enough to truly keep us afloat until this crisis is ‘over?’ Perhaps what we really need is a sustainable, and fast, job-based recovery that can also grow long-term.

One immediate example comes to mind when thinking of an important sector that can accommodate a large influx of new jobs: green industries.

The rationale is simple, and the impact is two-fold: investing in green industries and tech creates a bounty of new jobs — while simultaneously addressing larger universal concerns such as climate change and a shifting energy sector.

A University of Oxford paper published in May 2020 sheds light on the potential success of this approach. The paper claims that renewable energy generates more jobs in the short-run — such as when jobs are scarce in the middle of a recession. The paper also advocates that recovery policies can deliver on both economic and sustainability goals. Given the magnitude of both crises, this would be an admirable mark to shoot for.

While we can understand the logic behind the standard stimulus packages used to prevent economic collapse, we have also seen them fail to help many everyday Americans, and they do little to invest in fixing issues for the long term. They appear to be necessary band-aids that cover temporary wounds, while they could be used for so much more.

Governments could use portions of these stimulus budgets to redirect investments into green technologies and industries, which will allow us to stabilize, grow and lead the economy into the future.

If you need more proof, here are the numbers: in 2011, the World Bank showed that every $1 million dollars of spending in solar, wind and energy efficiency creates almost 3 times more jobs than the oil and gas sectors. Additionally, for every $1 million in spending, 7.5 full-time jobs can be generated in renewable infrastructure, 7.7 in energy efficiency, but only 2.7 in fossil fuels.

The evidence is clear that this sector is extremely capable of providing cost-effective employment at scale, and if we chose to focus fiscal recovery packages to include green industries, then we can use a jobs-based recovery model that also helps us create a better world.

~ Scott Asner, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG) in Kansas City, Missouri.

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