Sustany: For Tampa Bay's Future

Sustany: For Tampa Bay's Future

The Sustany Foundation enhances the quality of life of the Tampa Bay community by promoting sustainability.

Sustainable Business Awards

Sustainable Business Awards

Join us for our Annual Sustainable Business Awards. Click here.

Sea Turtle Secretariat

Sea Turtle Secretariat

Sustany supports initiatives like the bid to host the International Sea Turtle Treaty Headquarters here in Tampa Bay!

Sustainable Business Program

Sustainable Business Program

Sustany operates the Green Business Designation Program for the City of Tampa. We work with companies to audit, improve, and celebrate the sustainable practices of their operations.

Mini Grants for Many Groups

Mini Grants for Many Groups

Sustany gives mini grants to help launch projects focused on sustainability and community development.

Sustany Tumblers

Sustany Tumblers

Start a lively conversation and support your favorite local foundation with a dozen Sustany tumblers. Click here!

The Sustainable Buzz

The Sustainable Buzz

Sample local foods, craft beer and wine at our annual event.

Help Build A Sustainable Community

Help Build A Sustainable Community

Join the Sustainable Buzz Committee, help with a clean up or participate other Sustany volunteer activities.

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Sustany Programs & Events

Sustainable Buzz
Sustainable Buzz
Attend the 8th Annual  Sustainable Buzz.
Check out photos from the 2014 Buzz.

ThinkSustany Blog
Every week ThinkSustany bloggers bring us the latest local news and sustainability features from around the world.

Sustainable Business Program
Sustany and the City of Tampa work with businesses to audit, improve, and celebrate the sustainable practices of their operations.

Sustany funds projects and organizations promoting sustainability in Tampa Bay, such as student field trips to Nature’s Academy.


The Latest News from ThinkSustany Blog

    Tampa Bay Universities Offer Sustainability Degrees

    By Jacqueline Calla, Amherst College class of 2017

    Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines the term “sustainability” as “a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.” Why is sustainability important? Because the actions we take today have an effect on the future. We must take care of what we have now in order for future generations to have choices and for our planet Earth to function at equilibrium.

    The Patel College of Global Sustainability opened in 2010.
    The Patel College of Global Sustainability opened in 2010.

    There are a surprising number of excellent sustainability education programs provided by Tampa Bay universities, of which few people are aware. These programs not only focus on sustainability locally, but also worldwide. One of the most influential sustainability programs in Tampa is the Patel School of Global Sustainability. Established in 2010, the new college is a graduate level program of the University of South Florida and is targeted to entrepreneurs, engineers, and environmental managers looking not only to continue their education but to also advance sustainability projects all over the world. Some of the projects include focusing on improving water resources, urban systems, and transportation. The World Bank has awarded funds to the new college to conduct an extensive water management project in Africa. The Patel School of Global Sustainability will help create significant changes to improve global communities for current and future generations.

    Eckerd College offers a robust Environmental Studies program.
    Eckerd College offers a robust Environmental Studies program.

    A common way to learn about sustainability is to get a bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as Environmental Studies. Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida provides a great Environmental Studies program which analyzes the ways in which humans interact with the natural world. The program covers essential topics such as politics, the sciences, history, sociology, philosophy, and more. Having an educational background in an environmental field opens up many opportunities in the job market and continuing education.

    The University of Tampa also offers a focus on the environment.
    The University of Tampa also offers a focus on the environment.

    The University of Tampa also has an influential Environmental Science program, where courses like Environmental Economics, Government and World Affairs, and Sustainability in Cities comprise a highly flexible degree program. There are several faculty from the Biology and Chemistry departments currently conducting research within the degree program, so there are plenty of research and work opportunities for students year round. The degree program at UT is associated with a new student group, the UT Tampa Bay Association for Environmental Professionals, which assists Environmental Science majors in gaining hands-on internships and permanent employment.

    Without a doubt, sustainability is a growing field with a wide array of job opportunities in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. Getting a degree in sustainability or in a related field can connect interested individuals with professional careers. Graduates from Tampa Bay universities have gone on to become environmental engineers, health and safety inspectors, natural sciences managers, scientists, sustainability coordinators, environmental coordinators, environmental technicians, and health and safety specialists.

    Sustainability careers can follow many paths. Work will often focus on bridging the gaps between the environment, social issues, and economics. Most importantly, if you develop a career in the sustainability field you will not only have satisfying work in your own life, but also a positive impact on the lives of others around you. And it can all start with a degree in sustainability from a university right here in Tampa Bay!

    Editor's note: This is a guest post from Amherst student Jackie Calla, who spent time this summer investigating sustainability education programs in the Tampa Bay area. The Sustany Foundation very much appreciates her efforts!


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    Demystifying "Cradle to Cradle"

    by Alison Lueders, Great Green Content

    Being “green” or “sustainable” is not exactly top-of-mind for many people. Part of the reason is that the jargon can get in the way of understanding what are often pretty straightforward ideas.

    For example, today we’ll demystify what “cradle to cradle” means. This phrase is often tossed around without explanation, leading you to wonder, “What the heck is that?” But few people are willing to expose themselves by asking, “What does that mean?”

    What does that mean? 

    So let us explain. “Cradle to cradle” refers to an approach to designing products in a way that mimics nature. Specifically, the way that nature doesn’t waste anything. So for example, when an animal becomes roadkill, you may notice that buzzards quickly descend on the carcass and devour it completely. The entire animal becomes food for – in this case – buzzards. The roadkill is gone, there is no waste, and the buzzards continue happily on their way.

    "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things"
    "Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things" was published in 2002

    “But what’s that got to do with me?” you ask. The connection is that, in our industrial society, we have created systems that are linear instead of circular. We use stuff – whether it’s food or your car or your clothes – and eventually we dispose of it, in the trash or a scrap heap or a landfill. There is no equivalent to the buzzards completely devouring the carcass.

    Our stuff appears to “go away” when in fact it doesn’t. It piles up – usually somewhere out of sight – and quietly creates greenhouse gas emissions or pollution or contamination. It’s a “cradle to grave” approach that wastes up to 90% of the materials that are used in the process.

    In contrast, designers, architects, and business people who think in “cradle to cradle” terms want to create products where all the materials – from food to metal to fabric - are seen as “nutrients” that continually circulate in healthy, safe ecosystems. Rather than throwing things “away,” we return them to whatever circle they belong to, and they are used once again. It’s much more efficient than our current manufacturing systems, and much less harmful.

    Biological materials are treated as “biological nutrients” and inorganic materials like metals are treated as “technical nutrients.” (Sounds funny, I know.) But the point is that everything is used and reused in ways that don’t waste anything and don’t harm the environment. It’s a different way of thinking about things.

    Cradle to Cradle is not new

    Cradle to cradle is not a new idea. The phrase was coined in the 1970s by Walter Stahel, a Swiss architect who went on to co-found the Product Life Institute in Geneva. It was given further prominence in the U.S. with the 2002 publication of the seminal book, “Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things” by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.

    Its latest incarnation or extension comes in today’s discussions about the “circular economy.” It’s a very different framework for producing goods, growing food, and frankly – living our lives.

    Cradle to Cradle thinking lets you re-imagine your world

    Cradle to cradle thinking is a “paradigm shift,” as they used to say. And it’s a welcome path out of the “cradle to grave” approach we’ve been following since the industrial revolution began. Do you see opportunities in your life to apply cradle to cradle thinking? That is the wave of the future.

    So the next time someone mentions “cradle to cradle,” you’ll know what they mean. And you’ll be able to add your own good ideas to the discussion!

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    Volunteer for the 2015 Hillsborough River & Coastal Clean-Up

    The Sustany Foundation, in partnership with the Davis Islands Civic Association, is proud to participate in Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful's 28th Annual Hillsborough River & Coastal Clean-Up.

    Students, Teachers, Parents, Citizens:  ***Mark your calendar***  This is your opportunity to help make your Hillsborough River, its banks, your Neighborhoods, your Communities, your City and your River more CLEAN and GREEN!   STUDENTS: Earn Community Service hours!!

    WHEN: Saturday -September 19, 2015
    WHERE: Davis Islands Seaplane Basin, Davis Island
    TIME: 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 pm

    Click here for directions to the Sea Plane Basin. As you approach the Davis Island Yacht Club, look for the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful tent on your left, not too far from the dog park.

    Visit Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful to learn more and to register for the Hillsborough River and Coastal Cleanup. If you wish to participate specifically in the Seaplane Basin site, indicate that on your registration form.

    Volunteers will  receive knit gloves, trash bags, water and other giveaways as available. Please wear closed-toe shoes and bring your own sunscreen, bug spray, hat, sunglasses, etc.

    And don't miss the Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful 'After Trash Beach Bash' after the Clean-Up at Whiskey Joe's (7720 W. Courtney Campbell Causeway, Tampa). There will be food, music and games for the whole family.

    Questions? Contact Sustany at (813) 507-1111 or email us at

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    Beat the Heat Sustainably!

    by Alison Lueders, Great Green Content

    No one needs to tell you that it’s hot – really hot. As I write this, here in toasty Tampa, Florida, the Weather Underground tells me that it’s 88 degrees, with a “feel like” temperature of 98. Phew!

    Stay cool - but take it easy on the A/C!
    Stay cool - but take it easy with the A/C!

    Temperatures are rising everywhere

    Tampa’s temperatures are actually better than most of the rest of the world’s. Globally, we just racked up the hottest  month of June on record . Both Europe and India have experienced heat waves this year that go far beyond “uncomfortable.”

    Luckily for many people here in the States, there’s air conditioning (A/C) to get us through these “dog days of summer.”

    Some fun facts about A/C

    But before you crank the air conditioning down another degree or two, know that:

    Bottom line: while you personally are “cooling down,” Mother Earth is actually warming up. Air conditioning releases roughly 100 million tons of carbon dioxide into the air each year -- an average of about two tons for each home with an air conditioner.

    Keep-cool Alternatives

    So air conditioned comfort comes at a cost, and not just what you see in your monthly electric bill. The good news is that there are many actions – large and small – that you can take to beat the heat sustainably. Pick the ones that work for you and DO them.

    Here’s just a partial list:

    • Use a fan – whether it’s a ceiling fan that moves the air around a whole room, or a small, portable fan that you aim at yourself, moving air cools you by helping moisture evaporate from your skin. A fan uses a tiny fraction of the power needed to run an air conditioner.
    • Dress appropriately – The New York Times recently featured an article titled “Enduring Summer’s Deep Freeze. “ It’s a fascinating look at the reasons why so many buildings are over-air conditioned in the summer. Until the building engineers and managers get on the same page, you’d be wise to wear cool, breathable clothing AND layers.  If your office is 68 degrees and outside it’s 88 degrees, a flexible wardrobe can help you to stay productive.
    • Drink up – you may not realize how quickly you lose moisture in the heat. According to the American Heart Association, “by the time you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. “ So take a reusable bottle with you, and sip, sip, sip the day away.
    • Use shades – to block the sun and keep your house cooler throughout the summer months. Depending on the direction your house faces, and how many windows (and window shades) it has, you may leave a cool house in the morning only to discover a roaring oven when you return. Shades, shutters, blinds– whatever suits your style and needs, keeping the sun OUT to begin with saves money.
    • Eat cool – cooking meals on a stove just creates more heat inside your home that your A/C then has to cool. Instead, find summer foods and recipes that come from the pantry or the refrigerator to your plate. Think fresh fruits and veggies, smoothies, yogurt, sandwiches and salads. A cold soup like gazpacho can be wonderful on a hot day.
    • Tune the A/C– if you do use the air conditioner, make sure it is operating at its highest efficiency. That means a yearly tune up with a licensed A/C technician, clean air filters, and, if appropriate, an upgrade to a higher efficiency model.

    “Keep cool and carry on!”

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