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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL
Green Solutions in Focus
Aired April 24, 2010 - 15:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
TOM FOREMAN, HOST (voice over): Reporter: Just a short distance from the capitol here in Washington, D.C., you can find the beautiful U.S. Botanic gardens. That's where we welcome you to GREEN SOLUTIONS IN FOCUS.
Hello, I'm Tom Foreman. Once again we turned loose the wonderful photo journalists at CNN to capture people in their environment in a wide variety of ways. We begin not far from here out on the Chesapeake Bay where a delicate balance has tipped into trouble. Photo journalist John Bena has a stingray's take.
MEADE AMORY, L.D. AMORY SEAFOOD CO: This is L. D. Amory Company a family seafood business. We've been here 92 years. This boat just came in this morning. We are unloading the product. They're grading the fish by size and quality. We package them up and we'll ship them all over the country. Beginning in the middle of May, we start seeing a large influx of these Chesapeake rays. They are devastating the clam beds and the oyster beds here in the Chesapeake Bay.
Right now they are catching them as by-catch. And many times they would be looking for other product but these rays when they come in in these big schools, they will fill the nets up. So we are trying to develop fishery and some products from this ray to help manage the species.
MIKE HUTT, VIRGINIA MARINE PRODUCTS BOARD: We fish the wings with the skin on and filleted.
Our job is to get the products out of Virginia that's being processed and harvested in Virginia.
TIM MILLER, EXECUTIVE CHEF, MIE N YU: I grew up in the area and I'd never seen it used. What could I do with this or let me play with it. I want to get my hands on it and see if we can do something with it actually.
OREN MOLOVINSKY, GENERAL MANAGER, MIE N YU: It's called our Tokyo style ray and oyster. It's modeled after a Japanese tuna hand roll. We said how do we now complete this dish to tell the entire story? That's when we decided to bring in a farm raised Chesapeake oyster on the dish. We play the two against each other. Bigger picture, our goal is to help solve the bigger problem in the Chesapeake. This is our little way of being able to do it in our four walls. MILLER: It's more than just what's on the plate. I think that's what makes it a good dish.
BOB FISHER, VIRGINIA INSTIT. OF MARINE SCIENCE: There's always solutions. We need to address those solutions. Again, go in being smart to initiate a fishery, especially a targeted fishery on a species. We have to have the science in place so we can properly manage it. We learned our lessons so many times in the past where we go and enter a fishery, target a species and then we are left wondering what happened to that species.
AMORY: We will not let that happen here in Virginia. Our industry is striving to make everything we do sustainable. Eat a ray and save the bay. I don't know any other way to put it.
FOREMAN: Humans have a huge impact on the environment, of course, but so do some animals, especially cows. You may have heard a bit about this when people talk about greenhouse gasses. Up in the great dairy state of Vermont, photojournalist Bob Crowley found a farm where all they want out of their cows is the milk and the moos.
NANCY HIRSHBERG, V.P., NATURAL RESOURCES FOR STONEYFIELD FARM: Vermont has a long history of being a huge milk state. My name is Nancy Hirshberg, I'm the vice president of Natural Resources for Stoneyfield Farm we make organic yogurt and dairy products.
The four years are of about a 180 organic dairy farms in the state of Vermont.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): We can milk up to eight at a time.
HIRSHBERG: He is one of the 1,400 dairy members of Organic Valley Crop Cooperative. The Stoneyfield Farm creator cow project was an effort on our behalf to find a way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions from milk production.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Come on, girl.
HIRSHBERG: We thought our factory was going to be the biggest part of our contribution to climate change and lo and behold it was actually the milk production. The cows themselves and their burps. Cows release methane, which is a very potent greenhouse gas. A lot of people think when they hear about gas from cows that it's coming from the rear end. It's coming from the mouth in silent burps. This is a cooked flax. We are adding a few pounds a day to their diet. What it does is it rebalances their stomach so they actually produce less methane.
The numbers that we've got so far on this farm is 12 to 15 percent improvement reducing methane emissions from the cows.
There's been a huge health benefit, as well. We were able to increase the omega 3 in the milk by almost 1/3.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): I want to do my share. This is part of the reason why we farm in a sustainable manner and this just makes it better.
HIRSHBERG: The benefits are not only for the greenhouse gas emissions but it is for the animal's health and our human health, as well as the planet.
Take this little thingy off.
FOREMAN: Up next, playing with blocks, the building blocks of green education.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That's pretty good.
FOREMAN: And one for all, all for a different way of living.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): We are a pretty good example of what can be done if you are conscientious about how you interact with the environment.
FOREMAN: Stay with us.
FOREMAN: More than 80 percent of Americans live in urban or suburban settings. That means millions and millions of commuters using lots of gasoline, of course, and using up an awful lot of tires. In Atlanta, Eddie Cortez found a company that is trying in its own way to help with the problems associated with that by turning old tires down a new road away from the landfill.
DEWEY GRANTHAM JR, LIBERTY TIRE RECYCLING: What we did here is we recycle tires, nothing more, and nothing less. A tire never decomposes. If a tire goes into a landfill, it's there forever. We're offering an alternative solution to that problem. As a result of us recycling tires, we were able to keep these tires out of landfills and make them into products that are resold on to the market.
This particular piece of rubber just a few minutes ago was a whole tire. I'm Dewey Grantham Jr. with Liberty Tire Recycling. We basically have three products here. The rubber mulch ends up in bags and you can buy it on the shelf in a variety of colors. The benefit of using rubber mulch is basically it lasts forever. This is actually the steel belting that was used inside of a tire. That material ends up at a steel mill, melted down and reused into metal. The two-inch TDF product that we make that is an alternative fuel. It ends up primarily at paper mills, which they'll burn to create energy to run their processes.
What we have here are tires that are good, reusable tires. A lot of these tires are situations where a customer at a retail tire store may have had one bad tire, but instead of replacing one they replaced two. The other one was still good. We'll sort these tires out and not process them and sell them back to the tire market. We make them into reusable products. At the end of the day, we've done a good deed.
FOREMAN: While used tires can be a good bet, the Rubber Manufacturing Association does urge some caution. If you are thinking about going that way you might want to research the subject just a bit more.
This business of finding value in what other people consider trash is the corner stone for many emerging industries, including one that Deborah Brunswick found up in New York. Folks who can look into almost any old building and find a new one hidden inside.
MAX RUBENSTEIN, BUILD IT GREEN: In New York City, about 13,500 tons of construction demolition waste are generated every day. Our mission is to try to save some of that stuff and to promote the reuse of building materials. We are taking this material from the house in Scarsdale that is scheduled for demolition and we are sending it back to Bignyc Warehouse.
JUSTIN GREEN, FOUNDER, BUILD IT GREEN: We take in donations of unwanted building materials and we resell them at a discount.
RUBENSTEIN: We are Home Depot meets Salvation Army.
GREEN: We started in response to the flood of building materials being land filled. Perfectly good building materials out there that are constantly being thrown into the garbage.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Some of the stuff that come through, you would be surprised that we'll want to get rid of it.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): It's inspiring to see how other people's remnants can be reappropriated into things.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Over 50 percent of New York City's landfill material was construction related. Our goal is to prove this material has a home.
GREEN: Reused materials have a positive environmental impact. And we're keeping them out of the landfill. We don't have to cut down more trees; we don't have to mine more materials.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Everybody thought, like, my peers here can make the world here a better place.
FOREMAN: Teaching young people the principles of green living can sometimes be the job of a principal or a principal and his staff. Here in D.C. at the school without walls, one special program strives to do just that. Photo journalist John Bodnar takes us there.
I am measuring to figure out how much power the pencil sharpener is drawing.
JEFF GUSTAFSON, THE ALLIANCE TO SAVE ENERGY: We work with schools, all elements of it, teachers, students, administrators.
MEGAN CAMPION, THE ALLIANCE TO SAVE ENERGY: This is what we are going to use to see how much power is being drawn by each light bulb.
GUSTAFSON: I'm trying to teach energy efficiency.
DAVON BRYANT, STUDENT: I would take home to my parents and talk to them about energy efficiency and how we could save money.
We are going to take some energy data and go upstairs and check how efficient our school is.
CAMPION: The first is to educate students about the link between energy and the environment.
BRYANT: The desktop is right here. I'm guessing that uses the most energy since it is always on.
CAMPION: The Green Schools program hopes to save energy in schools and allow schools to have that money to spend on other things.
BRYANT: 80 degrees Fahrenheit. That's pretty good.
CAMPION: The third is to expose kids to careers in energy and other green careers and sustainability.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): We've been burning coal and wood for the past thousands of years and it's just starting to really hit us.
GUSTAFSON: Young people have all the tools at their disposal.
CAMPION: It's not a heat gun. It's an infrared temperature gun.
GUSTAFSON: The alliance to save energy is working to get the tools in their hands.
CAMPION: This measures the luminosity of any particular light force.
GUSTAFSON: Young people can be the center of moving this forward, making our buildings, making our society, making our schools far more efficient than they currently are.
BRYANT: I'm educating the people around me and by bringing some of the things that I learned in class today to administration could help the school for years to come.
FOREMAN: To paraphrase the old song, "I went to a garbage party" and it turned out to be a lot of fun.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): My mom and dad think its garbage. It's not garbage.
FOREMAN: And later on GREEN SOLUTIONS IN FOCUS, a movie review to make any director proud.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): Makes you feel very good. We're helping to protect the environment.
FOREMAN: Addressing problems in nature or even problems that we might cause often begins with just a conversation, figuring out how we can work together. Sometimes that's just a small measure of the spirit of a community, and sometimes that's the whole reason for the community to be as photojournalist Dave Ruff found out in rural Virginia.
VALERIE, TWIN OAKS OUTREACH MANAGER: Twin Oaks has been an eco village since our beginning in 1967. We are 100 people living on 450 acres in central Virginia. We grow a lot of our own food.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): For most of our history this has been what sustained us.
VALERIE: We own collective businesses that we all work in, contribute our labor to the community, sharing so much together like we do allows us to have the same standard of living as perhaps a typical middle class family but with a lot lower ecological foot print.
CLEMENTINE: My name is Clementine. I've been here about five months. Throughout high school and college I was doing a lot of activism stuff and I liked it and I wanted to be useful and I wanted to be talking to people, but I didn't feel that good about the work. Just in choosing to share my life in cooperation with people, I can keep the luxuries that I want. I can have access to a car when I need it and I can have a warm house in the winter. I'm not doing all that by myself so it's not wasteful.
PAXUS, TWIN OAKS MEMBER: This is coming close and is basically a free lending library for clothes. We have people who work here that stock the racks and make sure the people that are desired by the people who are in the community are represented up here.
VALERIE: The eco features this building has includes a solar take of electricity so some portion of the community is off the grid. It feels better to live in a way that we know we are getting our energy source from a renewable resource, in this case, the sun.
CLEMENTINE: Everything I do is sort of an act of conservation. That's why I like this way of trying to be an activist as opposed to living in the city and driving my car an hour to work.
PAXUS: Part of the mission for the community is to be a model of a more sustainable lifestyle. I think that we are a pretty good example of what can be done if you are conscientious about how you interact with the environment.
VALERIE: Here it's sort of all integrated and it's beautiful. It's nice here and I feel good in the morning.
FOREMAN: Even very young children can grasp this concept of conserving resources. That's just the age to teach them about it; according to one woman that photojournalist David Allbritton met in Brooklyn.
TIFFANY THREADGOLD, REPLAY GROUND: It's a checkerboard. Do you know what it used to be? I'm Tiffany Threadgold and I run a business called Replay Ground. We make products out of garbage. We find value in items past their first life.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): I'm making a butterfly from a stencil. THREADGOLD: It's taking the qualities and finding value in the garbage.
This wrapper used to have cashews, dark chocolate and cherries in it. It's not melting it down; this is remaking or up-cycling. Taking bare naked granola wrappers and making them into these collapsible dishes which are really easy to make and this is a material that isn't traditional recycled. Working at Replay Ground is just having fun with garbage. When people say garbage is nasty and smelly, I say take another look at it.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): My mom and dad think its garbage. It's not garbage.
THREADGOLD: Rethink it; use it in a different way. Are you going to use it yourself or give to it somebody? Products these days are so inexpensive that people don't have to think about it. The kids are the best because they're open-minded right now. They have a lot of fun with it. Once they get started, it's hard to get them to stop. I don't want this to be a disposable society. I think everything can have a second life, even a third life.
(UNIDENTIFED FEMALE): I'm cutting it on the inside.
THREADGOLD: You are going to generate a certain amount of non recyclables. We are here to show you how you can them and repurpose them and have fun with them. I want to see you make something totally new.
A lot of these materials are free. Can't get more green than that by saving some green in your pocket. You don't have to feel bad about throwing something away. You can feel great about turning it into new. You can have so much fun with garbage.
FOREMAN: Up next, banking on the piggies. Saving money and saving the planet by thinking about the box.
And we are standing at the gates of the west.
(UNIDENTIFIED MALE): What we are trying to do is get maximum energy savings for minimum cost.
FOREMAN: There is gold and green in those hills. Coming up.
FOREMAN: The south side of Chicago can be a rough place for young people to grow up, with problems of crime and poverty and limited education, but now a unique program there is trying to put them in touch with healthier, sustainable living practices, in the belief that this can lead them to overall healthier, more successful lives. Sound far fetched? Look at this story from photo journalist Chris Davis.
AARON ROYSTER, PRINCIPAL, CYDI: My name is Aaron Royster and I'm the principal of Community Youth Development Institute. Stanley, are you going to class? We get students that have been dropped from the local high schools. We get them and love them and give them hope for the future. We call it our aquaponics lab. I think it's an innovative way to do science. Which have a whole innovated kind of circular system where we have about 200 or 300 Tilapia. It's really good because what is considered waste from the fish is used to actually help the plants to grow.
CONSTANCE RICE, TEACHER: This is pretty much why I wanted to work here. My name's Constance Rice and I'm a science teacher here at CYDI. These grow lights, they only emit light from the red and blue part of the spectrum, which is what plants use, so they look kind of like space agey, but they're actually really efficient. When we trim the basil we want to take off the top growth. For a lot of them, this is the first time they've ever touched food that was actually growing.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I never had an interest in plants, but now it makes me want to start my own garden.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We try to feed them in the morning and after school. When the (INAUDIBLE) I get to learn how they grow and what it takes to take care of them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So, into it in a different way, I think you can use some integrated in terms of your curriculum.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What is our target market that you focus on when you're trying to sell your basil and your Tilapia?
If you can take a little small space like the basement and make you some positive (INAUDIBLE) kids to do something with they selves.
RICE: And we need to develop a curriculum that really integrates the different subject areas and puts urban agriculture, sustainability and human nutrition at the center.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It teaches you something and it's like a responsibility and like a ownership.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This school teaches you about being here, but it also teach you about what you want to do and they want to know what you want to do so they can push you towards that.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can say for sure we are transforming these kids' lives.
FOREMAN: The business of hog production can raise huge environmental challenges, even on a small scale: the waste, the smell. So, up in New York, one small hog farm wanted to lessen its impact and came up with a very clever idea thinking inside the box. Just look at what they had to show to photojournalist Fred Schang.
CRAIG HANEY, LIVESTOCK MANAGER: Yeah, life's good today on the farm, huh? My name is Craig Haney, I'm the live stock manager at the Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture. We're a not for profit education center and a working farm in Westchester County, New York.
We have a lot of paper products that come in, whether from shipping containers, or wine for the restaurant, things like that. I've really been excited about Berkshire pigs for I don't know, decade and a half, now. I'm the guy that's going to taking care of them and I think about the word animal husbandry seriously, I'm married to them.
Where'd all your bowls go?
I happen to like these pigs a lot. I like their dispositions, I like the way they look.
Enjoying the sunshine?
I'm a firm believer the things that ask the most from us in life are the things that we care the most about and find the most satisfaction in.
Are you ready for breakfast?
The way that we farm her asks a lot of us and so I feel very invested in is and I know that we're doing right by the animal. That we're going out of our way to make sure that the animals have a decent existence.
The cardboard is going to come in. it became a little bit of a liability, it's just something that had to be taken care of and didn't feel so good about. So, we were able to actually start shredding that and using it for bedding. It's a way for the pigs to have a good experience while inside and reduce our carbon foot print and end up with some great compost in the end. Seems like a winner for everybody.
FOREMAN (voice-over): Next, which came first the chickens, the eggs or a great little idea for a family in the Big Apple?
And out on the other coast, the shipping news.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They actually produce more smog forming pollution than all six million cars in the region.
FOREMAN: Turning the tide to better days for a California port.
JACQUI JERAS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: I'm CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras in the CNN Severe Weather Center where a severe weather outbreak is unfolding across parts of the Deep South and the mid south at this hour. A particularly dangerous situation right now across parts of Mississippi a tornado with a history of producing 122 miles of damage, continues to be on the ground right now. And this is in the area of Clay (INAUDIBLE) County near the Muldrow area and it's moving east around 55-miles-per hour. This is very near West Point, as well.
We've got crews on the ground and we are trying to find out more information. Some of that damage was in Yazoo City, Mississippi. This is some live streaming video from tornadovideos.net. We'll have a complete update on the severe weather outbreak coming up at the top of the hour. Right now we'll take you back to GREEN SOLUTIONS.
FOREMAN: We've been talking a lot about small, individual efforts to help the environment. What about much bigger business where the problems can be much more profound? Out on the west coast, the port of Los Angeles is one of the biggest and busiest in the world, yet they, too, have found a way to reduce their impact on the environment. Photojournalist Gabe Ramirez takes us down to the harbor.
GERALDINE KNATZ, PORT OF LOS ANGELES: The port of Los Angeles is the largest container port in the United States. So, no the matter where you live in the United States, you have things that you wear in your home that came through our port complex.
MELISSA LIN PERRELLA, NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL: I would say about a decade ago the ports weren't even acknowledging that they created an air pollution problem for local residents. We've seen higher rates of childhood asthma, cancer clusters, premature deaths linked to diesel pollution that's created by all the ships and trucks and trains that visit our ports daily. They actually produce more smog-forming pollution than all six million cars in the region.
KNATZ: When all of a sudden it was shown that we could be affecting human health, that's when the whole thing changed. That's when expansion at this port came to a grinding halt. We realized, we're going to have to eliminate health risks of port operations on the community.
PERRELLA: Ever since that time, I think the port and NRDC have been able to move together more collaboratively in trying to address the air pollution problem there.
KNATZ: A ship that sits at the berth spews out a ton of emissions a day. If we hook them to shore side electrical power, there's a huge savings in emissions for the local community. We have reduced the emissions from trucks coming in and out of this port by 80 percent.
So, what is the truck of the future? It's an all-electric truck with enough battery life that it can operate in port (INAUDIBLE) and not be disruptive to our customers' business.
We are also in the process of installing solar panels on everything that's flat in the port. Working with our neighboring port in Long Beach, we built the first hybrid tugboat ever in the world. And it is in this port in operation.
At the end of 2008, we had reduced the emissions of sulfur oxides by 32 percent and diesel particulates by 19 percent. That we could allow a port customer to grow, to double their volume, but essentially produce less pollution in the future than they are today with a much lower volume, we've shown that it can be done.
FOREMAN: Some industries seem like they would have no environmental impact, but the simple truth is, wherever people like to go in large numbers, there is likely an effect, and people do like to go to movies, not just to see them, but also to make them. Fade in the wilds of New Jersey. Photojournalist Effie Nidam on the job. Action.
GARRETT FENNELLY, FILMMAKER: I love filmmaking. All I do is filmmaking. I'm Garrett Fennelly and I'm a filmmaker trying to reduce waste on a film set that I manage. Everything about a film set is wasteful.
BURTON MAY, PRODUCTION ASSISTANT: They're worry a lot about what's going on camera. So, they didn't put much effort into the environmental aspects of production.
FENNELLY: A location film shoot is a very fast paced and stressful place. It's 50 people and you have 10 to 12 hours to do something and at the end of it, you're left with waste.
As a environmental-conscious filmmaker that was a breaking point for me, because I was just like, this doesn't make any sense. We have a lot of green alternatives we bring to the set. We sort out paper, plastics and metal.
We no longer use these disposable water bottles. We only use these Nalgene reusable water bottles.
On a film set we use a lot of lighting.
ANDREW WHITE, CINEMATOGRAPHER, 2020 PICTURES: These light bulbs are extremely energy efficient, the most energy efficient light bulbs on the market.
FENNELLY: During lunch you'll see our crew eating off biodegradable plates, bowls, cups. After lunch, people are responsible for sorting their own garbage. Now the movement is to move into digital film making.
JAMIE UNRUH, POST PRODUCTION SUPERVISOR: We're shooting on cards that look like this. Shooting on cards is better for the environment than shooting on film because it's reusable.
MATTHEW O'CONNOR, ACTOR: Working on a green set is very good. It actually makes you feel very good. Because I know actually that we're helping to protect the environment and keep everything clean, be eco-friendly.
MAY: I think Garrett is doing a great job.
UNRUH: Garrett is great for what he's been doing.
FENNELLY: My hopes for the film industry is that it continues on this path of greening all their sets.
That's a cut.
FORMAN (voice-over): Coming right up, a turnaround. How are you going to keep folks in the city once they've had a taste of life on the farm?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The satisfaction of just being able to sort of get real food out of your own backyard.
FOREMAN: An idea that's not just chicken feed.
And something to sleep on: Recycling old mattresses into the stuff of dreams as GREEN SOLUTIONS IN FOCUS continues.
FOREMAN: Only a couple of generations ago, almost every American had some sort of relative who lived on a farm. These days not so much. And yet, many urban dwellers are reaching out to learn more about rural ways because they find a certain wisdom in them, wisdom and sometimes chickens. Jonathan O'Beirne is all cooped up in New York.
DELCAN WALSH, RED HOOK POULTRY ASSN: All righty.
When we first started doing this, it was a result of me lying to my son. Somewhere along the line I said to Shamus (ph) that I would get chickens. But, we were at Pennsylvania in the Amish country, as the farmer was serving us breakfast, my son said, oh dad, is this where we're getting the chickens? And I just looked at the farmer and he looked at me and said, "Well, do you want some chickens?" So, we ended up driving home from Lancaster, Pennsylvania with four Rhode Island Reds and this barn wood which we made the chicken coop out of.
Right here in sort of, industrial Brooklyn, we have this little farm system going. All the scraps from our kitchen table get recycled and so we have no food waste. We don't feed them chicken, but we feed them -- they love beef, they love everything, they love Thai food, they love noodles.
They're sort of our backyard composters. You get an egg out of it. They poop, it goes into this -- it mixes in with the hay and decomposes and then I dig this out once or twice a year and bring it to our neighborhood farm and they put the poop in the compost. You know, they put it on the land and we buy our food from them. The hardest thing about taking care of chickens is setting up the coop, it's just sort of securing the space. Because chickens, they know what to do. There's no training, there's no nothing. You put the chickens out, they know. You eat and you lay and you sleep.
I'll hold up my eggs against any organic egg, just because, like, I know exactly what they've eaten. They're not just getting organic feed, they are getting real food. The color of the yolk is rich, they're like this deep orange and that's all just a factor of what they eat. You're eating an egg right out of the backyard. This has not been on a truck, it's not had to be shipped, it's just -- it's right there. It's really satisfying.
My kids, they have a real appreciation for what they eat. I mean, picking up your chicken on a Styrofoam plate or you know, telling your kid it's like, it's an organic and it's from here, but to see it and eat it gives a whole other appreciation. You don't have to have loads of land. You don't have to have loads of money to have your little gentleman farmer's farm. You can have a few chickens in your backyard and go out and just get it. It's really cool.
FOREMAN: Some of the most energetic and aggressive research into green technology is taking place on the other side of the Mississippi River, out where the Great Plains run right up to the Rocky Mountains, where men used to find gold, they are now finding green. Photojournalist Jeremy Moorhead takes us to the gates of the West in Colorado.
BARB WARDEN, WEB MASTER OF GOLDEN, CO: Golden is right down here at the very end of the Great Plains. It's right before the Rocky Mountains start. We can a lot of snow. Golden was established in 1859. It started during the gold rush. People started to come to Colorado when there were rumors of gold and Clear Creek is really what put Golden on the we can a lot of snow. Golden was established in 1859. It started during the gold rush. People started to come to Colorado when there were rumors of gold and clear creek is really what put golden on the map. They found gold in clear creek. This is what the miners followed to get into the mountains in the first place.
Coors Brewery has been here since 1873. A long time home of the Colorado School of Mines, but over time we've now gone into other things. We are the proud home of the National Renewable Energy Lab.
RON JUDKOFF, NREL: Golden started with gold mining, but now we're mining another kind of gold from the sun, converting gold to green. NREL is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory; we're completely committed to green sustainable technology.
If you want to test the efficiency of solar cells outside, you have the sunlight available all the time. It is a very good location to have the laboratory. We're in front of what's called the RSF or Research Support Facility. This is going to be a zero energy office building. Zero net energy means that over the course of the year we'll produce more energy than we actually take from the grid. The building itself is designed to be fairly thin in its wings and sections so that we can bounce daylight 30, 40 feet into the space.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Give a tour of the research support facility. This is going to be the lead plat in the building. There are no ceilings in the offices. That will help to allow the daylight through the space as well. It is one of the requirements we have a certain percentage of recycled material. The beetle, kill but it is pine from the Colorado forest that have been decimated by the pine beetle.
JUDKOFF: You learn a lot about the technology when you have humans interacting with it on a day-to-day basis. We would like, you know, throughout the nation and the world people to understand that this is possible, and that they can apply it as well.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is just a wonderful place to live. I know somebody in every coffee shop I go to.
MARY BLOCK, RESIDENT, BUSINESS OWNER: We live here. We work here. We have held on to our traditions. We still have that small town feel, but we're progressive thinking, sustainability, eliminating as many footprints on our planet as we can is incredibly important. We're always looking at the future.
FOREMEN (voice-over): When we return, everything is coming up tulips. One man's simple appreciation and sharing of his corner of a very green place.
FOREMAN: So many ordinary consumer items come and go from our lives and we often give no thought really as to where they wind up. The next story is a perfect example of that. Mattresses. We all use them, we all use them up over time, but where do they go? Well, it's not to mattress heaven as photo journalist Jeff King found out in Oakland, California, some of them do, however, wind up being reincarnated.
TERRY MCDONALD, ST VINCENT DE PAUL SOCIETY: What you're seeing here is DR3 mattress recycling company, it's a nonprofit organization that likes to create job and employment. In here, we take apart dirty mattresses, literally taking all the materials out of the mattress and recycling them. you have a quilted top. Now that material goes back into the carpet industry and turned into commercial carpet pad. Cotton goes back into a moving pad material where it is put into a moving pad.
Wood goes back to soil amendments or else into fuel. The steel goes back to the steel industry and recast as whatever vehicle we would like to have or else rebar for the freeways. This facility runs the staff of between 12 and 16. It also spins off an additional nine to 10 jobs elsewhere. It's permanent long-term sustainable jobs, part of the green economy. Between the fee that is charged and the commodity value, there is enough in there to make a profit on the product and makes it a viable business.
You can put it into a land fill for less. But the problem with the mattress in a land fill is it does not break down, it takes up a lot of space in a land fill and it does not compact well. We have the richest waste stream in the world, if we would handle that as an asset instead of a liability, we could create long-term permanent jobs, sustain a lot of programs that we really want for our community in a way that actually is very cost effective and help save the environment.
FOREMAN: We hope you have enjoyed all of these stories from the IN FOCUS series, go to face book, become a fan, facebook.com/CNNinfocus. Or if you want to see more, go to CNN.com/greensolutions. I'm Tom Foreman here at the U.S. Botanic Garden. Thanks for join us and we leave you with one final story from out in California, where photojournalist John Torigoe found a man who promotes appreciation of nature by showing people the beauty in his own front yard.
WAYNE DANIELS, TULIP MAN: My name is Wayne Daniels. Recently I have acquired the name of "Tulip Man." I've lived in the Fulton area for well over 30 years. This year I planted about 3,200 tulips and 500 assorted other types of bulbs and have become quite a neighborhood attraction.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some of those Dutch tulips up there are just going to blow your mind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Was this a good year because of all of the rain for you?
DANIELS: I think. And also because of the cooler temperatures.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The other day when I was here there were people all over the place, parked their cars to come and look at this.
DANIELS: Have you ever driven by here? Southern California is not an area or a climate where you would expect to find tulips in any significant number. I had about 60 bags of bulbs in here with 50 in each, that was about 3,000. It is essential for the germination of the embryo inside of the bulb. One bulb, one hole. So if you're free next day after Thanksgiving, you can -- you're welcome to come over. I have extra trowels.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We all know Mr. Daniels. He was a teacher here for many years, very respected and he gives us these beautiful tulips every year. I really love your tulips because of -- it really is springtime.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nikki (ph), they're so beautiful. Let's go down here.
WENDY, TULIP LOVER: One of the things that is beautiful about this garden is that it is so important these days to remember the beauty of nature in world that is seemingly falling apart. We always have to remember that this is here for us and that we should protect it.
DANIELS: In the garden, everything has a limited lifespan. The way that you deal with those living things, greatly affects the success in gardening as in the lives of people.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said this is the last year he's going to do it.
DANIELS: My neighbors tell me I've been saying this is going to be my last year for many years now, so they said they'll believe it when they see it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, this is fabulous a wonderful morning.