More Oil, 3D Printed Houses, Food Waste, Goodall, And More!

This week I have another environmental news wrap up for you.

Let’s start with the crazy yet predictable. Exxon is expanding it’s oil refineries in Texas. Beaumont could have the largest crude oil processing plant in the United States after the expansion is done. Exxon is considering investing $50 billion into their United States operations over the next five years. Imagine if they invested that in sustainable energy. They could begin to the lead the world on alternative energy sources beyond oil and natural gas. Why not shoot for bigger and more long term than oil?!

Why? Because the short term is still extremely profitable for them. The oil market in the U.S. is still on the rise.  Oil and natural gas from shale production is expected to double the nation’s oil output from 5.6 million bpd in 20011 to 11 million bpd by the end of this year. Apparently we must dig it all up, now.

Nearby in Houston, they are seeing a surge of electric cars and are planning on installing 1700 charging stations over the next decade. Texans want sustainable energy sources to charge our electric vehicles. Some of us are still waiting to be gifted an electric vehicle, cough cough.

South by Southwest (SXSW) in Austin is about to wrap up. If you haven’t caught the memo, it’s more than music. This year a few new companies pitched radically awesome sustainable ideas. The most impressive is a 3D printed house. Yes, you read that right. The 600-800 square foot home can be printed in less than 24 hours and designs start at $4000! The first one is now up and on display in Austin. Browsing their website, I saw a familiar face in one of their co-founders. Remember TreeHouse, the awesome new sustainable home improvement store in Dallas? Their founder Jason Ballard, is part of the Icon team, making 3D printed homes.

Another company out of SXSW that caught my eye was GrubTubs. They are turning restaurant food waste into nutrient rich animal feed for local farmers. Instead of food going to a landfill to emit methane (powerful greenhouse gas) into the atmosphere, the immense amount of waste can be turned into useful nutrition. This also saves restaurants money on their trash disposal!

Which brings me to locally here in Dallas. Did you know Recycle Revolution has a composting program for businesses? Get your restaurant, office, or school to get involved. And a recent Facebook post by them suggests they are trying to revive their home compost pickup program. They need to know you’re interested! Email them at to let them know you want to reduce your trash and start composting without all the backyard hassle.

I must mention a conservation legend coming to the DFW area. I already got my tickets too, so I’m not worried about them selling out and me sitting at home depressed. Jane Goodall, one of my conservation heroes, is coming to UNT for their distinguished lecture series. You may know her from her work with chimpanzees but she’s gone on to do so much more. Books, lectures, activism, and really the face of hope for combating climate change in today’s world. See you there on April 7th.

Have you found your local farmer’s market yet? Many are opening this week around the metroplex. Or you can sign up for a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Get your veggies directly from the farmers on a weekly or biweekly basis. Many deliver straight to your door, or to a nearby drop off location. I’m giving a try for the next four weeks. There are plenty to choose from in the area! Find one that suits your fancy and support our farmers directly.

Exciting environmentalism happening all over Dallas, Texas, the U.S., and the world. You can be part of it with every decision you make. What will you do this week?

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