Displaying items by tag: sustainability

Thursday, 08 November 2018 16:47

Socket Hytchs a Ride

The U.S. census found that over 75% of Americans drive alone to work each day.[i] In Nashville, that number is even higher at 84%. With approximately 100 new residents moving to Nashville each day[ii], commutes are steadily becoming synonymous with increasing traffic, excess carbon emissions, and longer drive times. With many Nashvillians sitting in gridlocked traffic on highways, some may be wondering if better options exist.

 

If you caught Socket’s previous blog about Nashville Connector (https://nashconnector.org/) you know there’s a great new tool to help connect commuters with a better way to get to work. Read more about Nashville Connector, and all it has to offer, here. There are several alternatives to driving, such as biking, walking, or taking public transportation to a desired location, but one of the simplest alternatives is carpooling.

 

 

Carpooling helps reduce traffic, reduce carbon emissions, and creates an opportunity to socialize. But what if, in addition to all these benefits, drivers could actually get paid to carpool? A new mobile app called Hytch Rewards (Hytch) offers cash payments to individuals who carpool together.[iii]

 

With the Hytch App, getting paid to carpool is simple:

 

Step 1: Carpoolers download the free app, which will connect to their phone’s contacts.

 

Step 2: Whenever two or more people are ready to carpool, users can open the app and invite participants to the Hytch ride.

 

Step 3: Once the other users have connected to the Hytch ride, the app creates a “halo” around the members of the vehicle using GPS tracking, and then the ride begins.

 

Step 4: At the end of the ride, the Hytch app calculates the impact of the users’ ride and displays it on the app’s dashboard.

 

The dashboard of the Hytch app shows users how many rides they’ve taken and the total number of miles they’ve travelled while carpooling. It also shows users the total amount of money they’ve earned and the total number of trees they’ve saved. For example, my dashboard (pictured below) reads that, since downloading the app in February, I’ve taken 105 trips with Hytch, travelled 1,957 miles, saved almost 40 trees, and have earned $39.49.[iv]

Author Kelsi Lewis's Hytch dashboard

The Hytch app is able to offer cash rewards to carpoolers because it partners with organizations that support their mission of reducing traffic and carbon emissions. With Hytch’s many partners, such as the Nashville Predators, Nissan, Sprint, Tennessee Department of Transportation, Lipscomb University, and Goodwill, Hytch is able to create the cash reward pool available for its users.

 

Hytch also provides great opportunities for users to give back to the community. Once a user has earned a minimum of ten dollars, they may decide to “cash out,” or donate their earnings to Goodwill’s Wheels to Work program or to the Citizens’ Climate Education project.

 

The Hytch app aims to reduce drivers’ carbon footprints by getting them out of single passenger cars and into shared rides. Fewer cars on the road means less greenhouse gas emissions and cleaner air. According to the Hytch website, the record number of Hytch participants in a single ride was 21 people.[v] That’s a lot of avoided pollution!

 

Metro employees and Nashville residents and visitors can take part in Hytch today. In a world of increasing traffic, frustration, and carbon emissions, this program provides a way for drivers to grab a friend and “Hytch” their way to a fuller wallet and a greener planet.

 

By Kelsi Stubblefield Lewis, intern with the Division of Sustainability, Fall 2018  

Published in Mobility
Saturday, 01 December 2018 15:15

Nashville Christmas Parade ... with Socket

Come on out for the 65th annual Nashville Christmas Parade on Saturday morning, December 1st. For the first time, Socket will be marching in the parade, alongside Metro Public Works' adorable mascot, Curby. Come enjoy this family-friendly, free annual tradition!

More information at http://nashvillechristmasparade.com/ 

Published in Events
Friday, 30 November 2018 15:10

Metro Christmas Tree Lighting

Join Socket to celebrate an annual Nashville tradition -- the lighting of the city's Christmas tree on the Public Square lawn. 

Friday, November 30, 2018

6-7pm

Public Square Park -- 10 Public Sq, Nashville, TN 37243

Published in Events
Thursday, 27 September 2018 18:49

Emerald Ash Borer Epidemic

By Kelsi Stubblefield Lewis, intern with the Division of Sustainability, Fall 2018 

It’s a metallic green beetle no bigger than a penny, and while it may not look intimidating at first, this tiny insect could cause serious harm to Nashville trees.

Published in Greenspace
Wednesday, 05 September 2018 16:50

Finding Green Again

By Kelsi Stubblefield Lewis, intern with the Division of Sustainability, Fall 2018

Years ago, a little girl with a messy ponytail trekked through the woods with her friends, each of them clutching a trash bag in one hand. As they walked with their moms, the girls chatted and casually picked up abandoned cups, cans, and bottles. Eventually the trees grew sparse, and as the lake’s edge got closer the girls began to find empty bait boxes and sunscreen bottles, as well.

 

 It was “Lake Cleanup Day,” an annual tradition that everyone took very seriously, but none more so than the girl with the ponytail. When the moms would glance away, they would turn back to see that she had run off to check the edges of their route or had fallen behind combing through shrubs making sure that they had found all the trash. At the end of the day, the girl with the ponytail turned in her big bag of litter to the collection table with an equally big grin.  

 

On the drive home, she looked out the window at the sparkling lake and the towering trees. She thought about the deer, the foxes, and the fish that lived there. She thought about the families that hiked, swam, and fished there, too. She liked to think that because of something she had done, life was a little bit better for all of them. She felt good. She felt like Superwoman.

 

My dad and I hiking through the "Garden of the Gods" in Illinois

That little girl in the ponytail grew up in a small town next to that lake and those trees. She went to high school and joined the Outdoorsmen’s Club, where she learned how to better protect the nature that was very much still a part of her. As she got older, the girl found a new passion in reading and writing. Suddenly, her weekends were filled with not only family hikes, but with books and stories, as well.

 

When she turned eighteen, the girl decided that she wanted to move to Nashville and study writing at Lipscomb University.  

 

That girl was me! I did move to Nashville in 2015, and continued my journey to find “green” again.

 

As an English major, I was a student with a serious love of language, both reading it and composing it. I loved my classes and took pride in my work, but throughout my time at Lipscomb, I couldn’t help feeling like something was missing. When I thought about the future, or when I tried to picture what I wanted to do with my life, it was as if the picture wouldn’t quite come into focus, like one, tiny dial hadn’t quite clicked into place.

 

I fought with this feeling until last year, my junior year of college, when I walked in to one of my general education classes. As I sat down, our professor announced that a guest speaker would be presenting that day.

 

The speaker announced that she was a professor from our university’s Department of Environmental Sustainability. She had come that day to tell us about some exciting new ways that people were saving our planet’s resources. As she spoke, I hung on to every word. She said that our waters, our air, our land, and our trees were in danger, but there were so many amazing things that people were doing to help, and we could do them, too. For a moment, I was the little girl with the messy ponytail again.

 

A few days later, I declared my minor in Environmental Sustainability, and something (that felt a little like a tiny dial) clicked into place.

 

Since that click, I have had some incredible opportunities. I have studied environmental law, as well as many sustainable practices in the areas of agriculture, food, energy, and transportation. I found myself particularly interested in a sustainable agriculture practice called silvopasture, and I was able to present research on it at Lipscomb University’s Student Scholars Symposium this past spring.

 

My Scholars Symposium poster presentation on silvopasture, an agricultural practice that combines forestry and grazing

I have also worked with Lipscomb’s chapter of The Food Recovery Network, where we take leftover food from our university’s cafeteria and donate it to local nonprofits. I feel fortunate to have also had the opportunity to intern with The Nashville Food Project and to currently be interning with Socket, the Metro Department of General Services’ sustainability outreach program.

 

Me cutting fruit in the prep room at The Nashville Food Project

When I think about all of these opportunities and how they have shaped me, I am always humbled to trace it back to that one small moment in class.

 

Looking towards the future, there are still no specifics, but what I do know is that the picture of my future, much like the picture of my past, is green.  What I do know is that I want to spend my life doing something akin to picking up trash from my hometown lake; I want to do something that improves life for others in this world.

 

I’ve also come to accept that I’ll never save the world on my own. I’ll never be Superwoman, but that little girl in the messy ponytail still lives in me, and she’ll never stop trying.

Published in Greenspace
Friday, 10 August 2018 20:15

Eat Your Greens: A Vegetarian Journey

By Maryam Muhammad, intern with the Division of Sustainability, Summer 2018

Before I was even born, it was decided that I would be vegetarian. Fast forward 20 years later and here I am, stirring turmeric and chia seed muffin mix with one hand (recipe below) and searching for the latest nutrition breakthroughs with the other.

Published in Food
Wednesday, 25 July 2018 13:39

Hot Summer Tips

Socket the Dog has some helpful hints as we celebrate summer. These hot tips will help keep you and your family cool all season long!

Published in Wellness
Monday, 11 June 2018 20:39

Nashville Loves Its Trees

Trees are one of the most integral components of the urban landscape. Trees sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, improve air quality, reduce soil erosion by catching precipitation in their leaf canopies, and lower air temperatures in urban areas – among many other things.

Published in Greenspace
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 14:28

How to Have a “Whole” Healthy Day

When we think health, we typically think of nutrition and exercise, but we often forget about our mind. Health encompasses both the body and mind. Here are some tips to bring “whole” health to your day.

Published in Wellness
Friday, 27 April 2018 12:35

Arbor Day

As Socket relaxed under a shade tree recently, he began to wonder: “Why do we celebrate trees each year on Arbor Day?” Socket did some digging and revealed the answers!

Published in Greenspace
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