Manufactured Landscapes: Photographer Edward Burtynsky captures haunting and beautiful images of landscapes devasted by industy and by waste. He has won numerous awards including the TED prize. [more inside]
Ahead of the global climate talks, nine photographers from the photo agency NOOR photographed climate stories from around the world. Their goal: to document some of the causes and consequences, from deforestation to changing sea levels, as well as the people whose lives and jobs are part of that carbon culture. Warming threatens lifestyle of Russian herders | Refugees flee drought, war in East Africa | Greenland’s shrinking ice hurts natives [more inside]
The public's opinion of the field of climatology has been shaken by the leaked CRU emails. While it's arguable that the messages show any wrongdoing, many pundits have now reached the conclusion that global warming is a hoax, coverup and conspiracy, years in the making with millions of faked datapoints. Sarah Palin has written an editorial saying Obama should boycott the Copenhagen COP15 summit.
Whole Tree Architecture - if you'd like a house built by pioneering architect Roald Gundersen, your first step might be to hike in your nearby woods to choose some young, wind-bent, and diseased "Charlie Brown" trees. Small diameter round trees have 150% the strength of milled lumber and twice the strength of steel in tension. Besides structural and environmental advantages, whole trees make for some beautiful and naturally sculptured environments. [more inside]
Google is rolling out free PowerMeter software that works with the TED 5000 smart meter to transmit near real time utility usage to Google servers. This data can then be securely displayed on your Android or iPhone. With stimulus money earmarked for smart meters they will eventually become ubiquitous as standards evolve from the current patchwork. [more inside]
In 2010, Obama will have a miserable year, NATO may lose in Afghanistan, the UK gets a regime change, China needs to chill, India's factories will overtake its farms, Europe risks becoming an irrelevant museum, the stimulus will need an exit strategy, the G20 will see a challenge from the "G2", African football will unite Korea, conflict over natural resources will grow, Sarkozy will be unloved and unrivalled, the kids will come together to solve the world's problems (because their elders are unable), technology will grow ever more ubiquitous, we'll all charge our phones via USB, MBAs will be uncool, the Space Shuttle will be put to rest, and Somalia will be the worst country in the world. And so the Tens begin.
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Economist: The World in 2010. [more inside]
The Polar Discovery team has documented science in action from pole to pole during the historic 2007-2009 International Polar Year, and covered five scientific expeditions. The science projects explored a range of topics from climate change and glaciers, to Earth’s geology, biology, ocean chemistry, circulation, and technology at the icy ends of the earth. Through photo essays and other multimedia, they explain how scientists collected data and what they discovered about the rapidly changing polar regions. From the awesome folks at WHOI.
Your cafefully separated recycling heads to the dump. Reporters in D.C. follow some of the trucks around town and watch them dump the trash and the recycling together into the same truck. (previously)
“Oh, it’s all bullshit. The high design? That has nothing to do with reality. That’s just architectural self-indulgence.” The greening of architecture is quite a contentious subject. Because of a renewed emphasis on traditional home-building methods, The Green Home of the Future is in many respects not dissimilar from The Green Home of Yesterday. A tornado in Greensburg, Kansas provided the impetus for a vote to decide on what green methods would define the movement in that small town. The competition's results stymied many architects' conceptions of what "green" should mean. But in New Orleans, larger-scale destruction by Hurricane Katrina has provided a unique opportunity for proponents of distinct conceptions of green innovation to bring their ideas to life. Opinions among residents are mixed.
Should owning a great dane make you as much of an eco-outcast as an SUV driver? Yes it should, say Robert and Brenda Vale. Article about the environmental impact of pets.
Lu Guang, a freelance photographer, took disturbing photos of the effects of pollution in China. [more inside]
The native British white-clawed crayfish is threatened by extinction from the signal crayfish. Today's Guardian features George Monbiot with one approach to the problem: how to catch and prepare signal crayfish, the brash American cousin. Nice use of recycled materials and beer, but needs more paella recipes.
Redwoods: The Super Trees. "They can grow to be the tallest trees on Earth. They can produce lumber, support jobs, safeguard clear waters, and provide refuge for countless forest species. If we let them."
For hundreds of years, mariners have dreamed of an Arctic shortcut that would allow them to speed trade between Asia and the West. Two German ships are poised to complete that transit for the first time, aided by the retreat of Arctic ice that scientists have linked to global warming. Arctic Shortcut Beckons Shippers as Ice Thaws.
Most people have heard about how rising CO2 levels are resulting in a changing global climate. Fewer have heard about the other consequence of rising CO2 levels- when the CO2 is absorbed into the oceans, it disassociates into carbonic acid. This alters the pH of our world's oceans, and it's called "Ocean Acidification". This changing ocean chemistry has many important and devastating consequences. [more inside]
A car graveyard in Kaufdorf, near Bern is home to 500 abandoned and decaying cars mostly from the 1930's to 1960's. It has not been touched for over 30 years and has some rare flora and founa. The opportunity to take stunning photographs is unparalleled, but it is causing environmental issues which results in an auction this September. It was a struggle between history, nature and European law. History and nature lose. [more inside]
How green was my valley: California's economic meltdown The fields of wheat, cotton and cantaloupe that sustained his family for three generations are gone. The land is a mess of fallow fields, cracked earth and swirling dust. (PDF - By some estimates, 12.8% of the United States' agricultural production (as measured by dollar value) comes from California, and the majority of that is in the Central Valley). However, his particular scene of devastation, Mr. Allen argues, has nothing to do with the credit crisis, the housing crash or the downturn that has California in a vice grip. It has to do with a seven-centimetre-long, semi-translucent, steel blue fish known as the Delta smelt. [more inside]
"Natural communities and ecosystems possess inalienable and fundamental rights to exist, flourish and naturally evolve..."
The story of stuff and how it's currently being played out between the political economies of China and the US (G2 'Chimerica') in an illuminating Fallows vs. Ferguson cage match. [more inside]
Worried about the environmental impact of your book buying habits? The Regulator Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina suggests you consider how your books are being shipped.(SLYP)
A mysterious black blob of something is floating along the Alaskan coast... and it's biological. According to the Coast Guard, "It's definitely not an oil product of any kind." The strange goop even has a taste for flesh... "[S]omeone turned in what was left of a dead goose -- just bones and feathers..."
Recently, John Michael Greer has been exploring a little known idea of the deceased economist E.F. Schumacher (a student of the oft-discussed Keynes). "Schumacher drew a hard distinction between primary goods and secondary goods. The latter of these includes everything dealt with by conventional economics: the goods and services produced by human labor and exchanged among human beings. The former includes all those things necessary for human life and economic activity that are produced not by human beings, but by nature. Schumacher pointed out that primary goods, as the phrase implies, need to come first in any economic analysis because they supply the preconditions for the production of secondary goods. Renewable resources, he proposed, form the equivalent of income in the primary economy, while nonrenewable resources are the equivalent of capital; to insist that an economic system is sound when it is burning through nonrenewable resources at a rate that will lead to rapid depletion is thus as silly as claiming that a business is breaking even if it’s covering up huge losses by drawing down its bank accounts." [more inside]
Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus want to change the way countries think about global warming. Instead of treating carbon as a pollutant, and legislating our way out of a climate crisis, they suggest a "challenge" approach to the problem—igniting a creative fire under companies and even the federal government to create new and cheaper solutions instead of more loophole-filled legislation. [more inside]
In a talk titled Definancialisation, Deglobalisation, Relocalisation given at The New Emergency Conference, Peak Oil activist and writer Dmitry Orlov (previously 1 2 3) shows how he has come to the conclusion that the oil price spike of summer 2008 was the trigger for the financial collapse that occurred later on in the fall. He goes on to summarize (from his point of view) pretty much everything that has been happening in the past year or so, and what he thinks is coming up next. [more inside]
The Global Oneness Project is exploring how the radically simple notion of interconnectedness can be lived in our increasingly complex world. They travel the globe gathering stories from creative and courageous people who base their lives and work on the understanding that we bear great responsibility for each other and our shared world. [more inside]
Ice — Nick Cobbing features stunning photographs of the Greenland Ice Melt and a stormy voyage to Greenland on an old sailing ship. [more inside]
June 5th was established in 1972 as World Environment Day by the United Nations General Assembly. Home, the movie by Yann Arthus-Bertrand, which premieres today for the occasion, has some nice aerial visuals. [more inside]
Imagine nature's most elegant ideas organized by design and engineering function, so you can enter "filter salt from water" and see how mangroves, penguins, and shorebirds desalinate without fossil fuels. That's the idea behind AskNature, the online inspiration source for the biomimicry community. The featured pages are a good starting point. Cross-pollinating biology with design. [more inside]
Wiwa vs. Shell. 14 years ago, Ken Saro-Wiwa (prev) was hung with his counterparts for speaking out against Shell and the atrocities they were committing upon the Ogoni people of the Nigerian River Delta. [more inside]
Even if cars soon start running entirely on electricity or hydrogen, they'll still need 100 gallons or more of oil to make their plastic parts...
Today was a troubling day for environmentalists. First, the Obama administration announced its decision to nominate a Superfund polluter lawyer to run the DOJ Environment Division, sparking serious concern among environmentalists, and then its was announced that the EPA has confirmed 42 of 48 permits for mountaintop removal in the coal country of Appalachia, sparking criticism from environmental groups.
NRW 1946—2006. Short articles chronicling North Rhine-Westphalia. The site has one rather large shortcoming though, the video clips cannot be accessed (only available on VHS within the State!).
Geoengineering and the New Climate Denialism. "[S]ometimes the politics around an issue become so twisted that it's necessary to address the politics before we can have a real discussion about the problems and how to solve them. That's the case with geoengineering."
OdyseeTV explores the pressures faced by wildlife and habitat. Featuring video content like the Plight of the Snow Leopard, or a feature about manatees, Can Gentle Survive?, by conservation organizations worldwide. Limited at present to about 30 programs, but growing as more groups come on board.
Lester R. Brown, of Worldwatch and the Earth Policy Institute, has an article in May's Scientific American magazine: "Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?" In the article he addresses three major food-security threats: increased demand, due to the burgeoning population and diversion of staples for energy production; water shortages due to "mining" of fossil aquifers; and topsoil depletion as a result of over-farming. The result? Civilization's demise, not through superpower conflict, but through chaos and failed states. [more inside]
With all of the economic strife in the world, the funeral industry is still going strong. There is a niche for all budgets these days, including the availability of coffins at Costco. [more inside]
The globe’s networked ecologies of food, water, energy, and waste have established new infrastructures and forms of urbanism. While these ecologies exist at the service of our contemporary lifestyles, they have typically remained hidden from view and from the public conscience. Infranet Lab is studying the shifting / changing conditions. [more inside]
"What began as a defensive movement by local fishermen has evolved into a complex amalgamation of banditry, organized crime, freebooting, and insurgency targeting all types of vessels from fishing trawlers to oil tankers." Somali pirates holding an American captain hostage were killed during a rescue yesterday. The lack of effective governance in Somalia allows massive vessels from Europe and Asia to decimate the local fish population, which may have forced Somali fisherman into piracy. Other ships use the Somali coast as a toxic waste dump. [previously]
The Big Picture has photos taken during Earth Hour 2009. Click the photos to go from "lit" to "unlit." (Earth Hour home, wiki, previously)
SpaceTimeTV collects and lets you watch all the best educational videos online from full length documentaries (such as the 50 minute long Is There Life on Mars) to short video clips such as this one on glaciers and global warming. There are hundreds of videos on topics including history, space, technology, and nature.
Archaeologists and Native Americans race against the border fence. The REAL ID act authorized government agencies to bulldoze long-standing environmental, cultural and anthropological standards. But a team of activists worked delicately behind the scenes to win millions of dollars in federal funding and the go-ahead for a last-ditch effort to study ancient artifacts. Archaeologists have faced similarly rushed projects elsewhere along the fence route.
Today marks the launch of the Tata Nano. Some see this car as the next Ipod. Some have grave environmental concerns. (previously)
The Seattle P-I is known for its in depth, epic, investigative reports. As the print edition closes down this week here is a look at one report that made the PI great: The Health of the Puget Sound. [more inside]
Cockroaches, these nasty things, are susceptible to an environmentally friendly solution, perhaps, much like these ingenious things.
American customers “demand soft and comfortable, recycled fiber cannot do it.” [more inside]
Meta-efficiency is the analysis of efficiency at a more comprehensive level. Metaefficient Review assesses products considering not only their energy efficiency but also the embodied energy, toxicity, affordability, and usability. [more inside]
Scraping Bottom: The Canadian Oil Boom. "Once considered too expensive, as well as too damaging to the land, exploitation of Alberta's oil sands is now a gamble worth billions."