At the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management at UC Santa Barbara, graduate student Heather Hochrein was tasked with writing a thesis with a business-forward sustainability solution. Drawing on previous experience that included directing energy efficiency programs, she explained, “My focus was still on applying sustainable technology to mitigate climate change, but now from a business perspective.”
For years, the seafood industry has taken flack from many sides, primarily for regulatory issues that result in overfishing, illegal fishing, long supply chains, and a lack of transparency. The livelihood of local fishermen is often drowned by large corporations; such is the modern-day struggle of ‘the little guy.’ Many of the industry’s loudest critics are marine scientists. Thus, it is refreshing to find one such critic actually doing something about it. Meet Dr. Kim Selkoe, a marine ecology Ph.D. who is changing how folks in and around Santa Barbara, California consume fish.
While traveling extensively to advise mission-driven businesses and organizations, Becky Asselin and Avery Osborn witnessed, time after time, the power of business to help address weighty social & environmental problems. Soon after, the two women headed to Austin, Texas for the summer to test a business idea: social enterprise consulting.
Organic superfoods are trending in 2019, especially in free-spirited La La Land, where the mild climate and surrounding landscape of mountains meeting sea inspire many to pursue a healthy and active lifestyle. The Mattole River Valley, located several hours up the coast from LA, boasts an untouched coastline in the shadows of the 4,000-foot King Mountain Range. Its bountiful, unadulterated beauty became the inspiration for a brand rooted in respect for all things raw and organic. Mattole Valley Naturals uses only the best organic, grass-fed, wild-harvested ingredients in their products, avoiding growth hormones, antibiotics, herbicides, pesticides, and gluten.
Matt Pickett reminisced over his early mornings fly fishing with his son in British Columbia’s pristine wilderness. It is his peaceful escape from the stresses and distractions of daily life. “It took some convincing, but I finally got him to put down his phone and come outdoors. Once he’s out here, he remembers how much he likes it,” Matt said about his son.
Miss Mary Jane, the reefer, the devil’s lettuce or, as the legislation-wielding folk prefer it, cannabis – it’s legal. Now, in a puff of the law-maker’s smoke, the over-the-counter medical treatments, as well as the under-the-table recreational usage exist side by side. So, what is really changing?
Rodney Loehr knows a thing or two about water. He knows how crucial and how precious it is because he grew up with very little, in the arid American Southwest. Raised with a great respect for this precious natural resource, and understanding first-hand the consequences of its absence, Rodney developed something of an obsession with water issues. His persistent interest in water has led him down the entrepreneurial path he’s now on.
Water conservation, however, is one thing. But making more of it, quite literally out of thin air, is another thing altogether. An independent source of fresh water is what Rodney Loehr, Founder of AquaViable Solutions, offers his customer.
“a lot of hard work and a bit of fate led rodney To our coasTal paradise To start his business aquaviable solutions, which allows people To make Their own fresh, clean drinking water out of air.”
The backstory: making lemonade out of lemons
Rodney grew up in rural Arizona in a house his parents built. He remembers the day their well pump broke and left the family without water for almost two weeks. The experience left a strong impression on him, and sparked his interest in water issues. He did not, however, realize how passionate about water conservation and efficiency he was until he landed an internship with the Arizona legislature a year later, while in graduate school.
Like so many Millennials, Rodney graduated right after the economy tanked in 2008 and struggled to find a job. In his search for employment, he ended up winning a competitive research internship with the Arizona legislature and was put on the Agriculture and Water Committee. He thought that the committee assignment had been purely random, but one day he bumped into the Chief of Staff who shared how impressed she was with his interest in water conservation, which he had expressed strongly in all three of his interviews for the internship. It was then that it fully dawned on him that water issues really were what he was most passionate about.
After completing his graduate program at Northern Arizona University, Rodney headed west to the California coast and made his way to Santa Barbara through a series of one-off gigs before he was hired as a water policy analyst at an economic consulting firm in town.
Fortunate for him, Santa Barbara seems to have chosen Rodney as much as he chose it. He explains that his desire to come here was based on two important factors. One influence was that his graduate school mentor went to UCSB and frequently referred to Santa Barbara water issues in his lectures. The second was that, because Santa Barbara was the birthplace of the American environmental movement, it was the right place to start his eco-focused business.
A lot of hard work and a bit of fate led Rodney to our coastal paradise to start his business AquaViable Solutions, which allows people to make their own fresh, clean drinking water out of air.
Other than a connection to electricity, there is no infrastructure needed to bring drinking water to your table with AquaViable technology. This is how it works: A machine collects water condensation generated by circulating a quantity of air over a chilled surface. The water is then zapped with ultraviolet light and run through a few filters to purify it. This technology, which as been around since the 1970’s, mimics the natural precipitation processes. Rodney says that the water comes out crisp, almost like distilled water or rain, and very tasty. “We’re making and using water that would otherwise not be used,” he explains.
Of course, as Rodney explains, the machine works better in more humid environments (35 percent humidity or higher). In Southern California it can produce approximately five gallons in a 24-hour period. Currently AquaViable Solutions is designed for residential office units and single-family homes.
Rodney seems to have landed in the right place, where sustainability and ecological awareness are part of the everyday vocabulary — and the right time, as California weathers an historic drought. AquaViable Solutions takes sustainability to a new level, offering pure drinking water, “from cloud to table.” We call that: localism at its finest.
For More Information Visit: aquaviable.com