Mike Hower

Currently based in Washington, D.C, Mike Hower is a new media journalist and strategic communication professional focused on helping to drive the conversation at the intersection of sustainable business and public policy. To learn more about Mike, visit his blog, ClimaTalk.

Lyft, Uber Dethroning Taxi Industry in San Francisco

The San Francisco taxi industry is on the verge of being dethroned by Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Lyft and Uber. Last week, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) reported that the average trips per taxicab in the city had declined from 1,424 a month in March 2012 to only 504 as of July 2014 — a nearly 65 percent reduction.

Half a Million Homes and Businesses Now Powered By Solar

The U.S. solar market hit a major milestone in the second quarter of this year, with more than half a million homes and businesses now generating solar energy, according to a new report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA).

Despite Bully Tactics, We Can’t Stop Using Uber

Nobody likes a bully. But tell that to Uber, which has made little effort to shroud its back-handed tactics to annihilate its ridesharing competitors, namely Lyft. Leveraging a war chest which now has grown to some $1.5 billion dollars, Uber has done whatever it can to put Lyft down — from gimmicky marketing schemes, attack ads, to even lowering rates. But all of that seems paltry in comparison to Uber’s latest anti-Lyft strategy, which has devolved into outright sabotage.

Lyft, Uber Edge Closer to True Ridesharing With Carpooling Services

Lyft and Uber have announced new features that could bring them closer to true ridesharing than ever before. Last week, Lyft launched its new “Lyft Line,” which allows users to share rides with strangers going along similar routes. Not to be outdone, Uber preemptively announced that it would be launching a similar feature — UberPool — on August 15.

Ikea Bumps Up Minimum Wage for U.S. Workers

Congress might be deadlocked over the minimum wage debate, but some companies aren’t waiting. Ikea recently announced it will raise its average minimum wage in its U.S. stores to $10.76, a 17 percent over the current wage and $3.51 above the current federal minimum wage.


Nestlé Reduces U.S. Waste By 44 Percent Since 2010

Nestlé has reduced 44 percent of waste per ton of product since 2010 in the U.S., and five factory locations reached zero-waste-to-landfill status by the end of 2013, according to the company’s recent sustainability report.

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Moringa Bar Startup Nets $350,000 in Funding

Kuli Kuli, which makes moringa “superfood” nutrition bars, recently raised $350,000 in a crowdfunding equity campaign. It is one of the first companies to finance entirely from the crowd.

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Startup Crowdsources Lobbying to Influence Politics

It is no secret that money plays an important role in American politics. In the 2012 presidential and congressional elections alone, Americans spent more than $2 billion in support of candidates. However, U.S. citizens spend nearly nothing to ensure those politicians vote accordingly after elected, according to OpenSecrets.org. This allows corporations to leverage their financial power and spend collectively over $3 billion dollars every year to influence these same politicians once in office.

New 49ers Stadium Set to Use 85 Percent Recycled Water

Recycled water will account for around 85 percent of all water used in Levi’s Stadium – the new home of the San Francisco 49ers — and will be used for playing field irrigation, a 27,000 square foot green roof, flushing toilets, and cooling tower make-up water. Inside, the stadium is dual plumbed with recycled water used for flushing toilets.

Following final testing by the City of Santa Clara Water and Sewer Utilities, Levi’s Stadium recently was connected to the city’s recycled water system, making it the first stadium in California to utilize the drought-proof water source. The milestone brings the facility one step closer to a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

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Renewable Energy Can Lead to Economic Boom, Report Finds

If we implement the right policies and frameworks, we can achieve large-scale deployment of renewable energy that creates jobs, increases incomes, improves trade balances and contributes to industrial development, according to a new report by the Clean Energy Ministerial’s Multilateral Solar and Wind Working Group.

The report, econValue – The Socio-economic Benefits of Solar and Wind Energy, analyzes the circumstances under which renewable energy can boost economies and benefit communities by studying the effects of solar and wind energy on the environment, economy, and society. Produced by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the report provides a framework to help policy makers analyse the various economic opportunities that may be offered by solar and wind sector development and the potential of various policy instruments to best realise those opportunities.

Congress Sends $12.3 Billion Water Infrastructure Bill to Obama’s Desk

The future of our oceans, rivers, coastlines and other waterways is looking much brighter, thanks to the passing of a $12.3 billion water infrastructure projects bill by the Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. The Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) addresses management of U.S. waterways and coasts and includes billions of dollars in high-impact projects. Assuming President Obama signs the bill into law, it will be the first federal water infrastructure authorization since 2007.