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The Economist: The World in 2009

In 2009, a remarkably gifted politician, confronting a remarkably difficult set of challenges, will have to learn to say "No we can't", Guantánamo will prove a moral minefield, economic recovery will be invisible to the naked eye, governments must prepare for the day they stop financial guarantees, we will judge our commitment to sustainability, scientists should research the causes of religion, we will all be potential online paparazzi, English will have more words than any other language (but it's meaningless), Afghanistan will see a surge of Western (read: American) troops, Iran will continue its nuclear quest while diplomacy lies in shambles, the sea floor is the new frontier, we should rethink aging, (non-)voters will continue to thwart the European project -- but cheap travel will continue to buoy it -- though it has some unfinished business to attend to, and a Nordic defence bond will blossom.

The Economist: The World in 2009. [more inside]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Nov 27, 2008 - 31 comments

Prophesy of economic collapse 'coming true'

In 1972 the Club of Rome published the famous book Limits to Growth that predicted exponential growth would eventually lead to economic and environmental collapse. It was criticized by economists and largely ignored by politicians. Now Graham Turner at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia has compared the book's predictions with data from the intervening years. According to Turner (PDF report) changes in industrial production, food production and pollution are all in line with the book's predictions of collapse in the 21st century. According to the book, the path we have taken will cause decreasing resource availability and an escalating cost of extraction that triggers a slowdown of industry, which eventually results in economic collapse some time after 2020.(via; previously; previously)
posted by stbalbach on Nov 23, 2008 - 80 comments

Ecuador has a new constitution

Voters in Ecuador appear to have approved a new constitution yesterday, guaranteeing rights to clean water, universal healthcare, pensions, and free state-run education through the university level. It also may allow President Rafael Correa to remain in power until 2017. Particularly of note is a world first bill of rights for nature which grants inalienable rights to nature. [more inside]
posted by PercussivePaul on Sep 29, 2008 - 38 comments

Alexander Shulgin could save our planet.

Bar Surya in London was the first. Now Club Watt in Rotterdam is recycling dancers' energy. Brought to you by the Sustainable Dance Club.
posted by gman on Aug 20, 2008 - 22 comments

We are called to be architects of the future, not its victims.

Today is R. Buckminster Fuller's 113th birthday. Visionary, designer, inventor, engineer - 'Bucky' continues to inspire us. Known as the grandfather of sustainability, even today we discover that we've barely scratched the surface of his thinking and still have far to go and much to learn about managing Spaceship Earth. [ previously]
posted by infini on Jul 12, 2008 - 24 comments

Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green

Inconvenient Truths: Get Ready to Rethink What It Means to Be Green. Last month, Wired published what it called "10 green heresies" which makes the case for urban living, intensive forest management and, er, air conditioning, among other things.
posted by nthdegx on Jun 13, 2008 - 120 comments

Interaction and the buildings of tomorrow

Two articles on how interaction may shape the buildings, work places and urban spaces of tomorrow: Design Week's Study takes sensory approach to improve office of the future [which mentions Duncan Wilson, who works with and blogs about this stuff]; and City of Sound's The Personal Well-Tempered Environment.
posted by nthdegx on Jan 17, 2008 - 1 comment

Are dead-tree magazines good or bad for the climate?

"So by this analysis dead-tree magazines have a smaller net carbon footprint than web media. We cut down trees and put them in the ground. From a climate change perspective, this is a good thing" explains Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine's editor-in-chief. While some decry this type of carbon footprint accounting as "cheating", the paper industry has lately been eager to convince the public that they are carbon-neutral.
posted by finite on Dec 29, 2007 - 36 comments

Sustainability

Our Decrepit Food Factories. Michael Pollan on what sustainability is really about. [Via Gristmill.]
posted by homunculus on Dec 18, 2007 - 27 comments

These Come From Trees

These Come From Trees "Testing shows a 'These Come From Trees' sticker on a paper towel dispenser reduces paper towel consumption by ~15%"
posted by nthdegx on Nov 7, 2007 - 44 comments

Green Grumbles

"This blog is intended to document our experience in creating a “green” home in the city of Chicago. We hope to share our experience, good and bad, in creating a place to live ecologically, happily and with minimal impact upon our world." [more inside]
posted by Terminal Verbosity on Oct 10, 2007 - 12 comments

Walk It

Walk It is a website for planning walking journeys. It gives you a map and directions for the best route, and info on distance, walking time, calorie burn and even CO2 potentially saved by avoiding the car, taxi or bus. London only, at present, alas.
posted by nthdegx on Nov 7, 2006 - 21 comments

100-Mile Diet

How Much Fossil Fuel Does Your Dinner Burn? Ingredients for the average American meal travel well over 1500 miles to reach your plate. Our food might be inexpensive, but it's costing the planet a lot (and doesn't taste so hot either, since it's bred to withstand shipping and have long shelf life rather than to taste good). So what happens when people reject the large-scale industrial food system? One recent development in the growing localism movement is the 100-Mile Diet, originated by a Canadian couple who spent a full year eating only foods grown or raised within 100 miles of their home. They'll even give you a road map to having a 100-Mile Thanksgiving. For other variations on the eat-local idea, check out ideas like the Eat Local Challenge, Slow Food, and Locavores encourage you to rediscover your place on earth, build community, and enjoy the Local Harvest.
posted by Miko on Oct 18, 2006 - 66 comments

Is it really time to upgrade your mobile phone?

Dead Ringers: the Science Museum asks us the question "should we upgrade our mobile phone?" "No" and "no" say the Times and the Observer, but we still do: on average every 18 months. What's the problem? Well it isn't just the lead, arsenic, beryllium and brominated fire-retardant cases (pollutants all) disappearing into our land fills (which are not covered by the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive [WEEE] in Europe). Coltan also goes into our phones. It occurs mainly in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and as such our demand for upgrades has been contributing to a war (despite mobile phone companies' claims to the contrary, coltan is not regulated like timber). If we must upgrade, we can at least recycle or hack our old phones.
posted by nthdegx on Aug 7, 2006 - 49 comments

Beyond Sustainability

Designing the Next Industrial Revolution [google video], an inspiring talk by William McDonough on design and ecology, beyond sustainability. Starts a little slow, but builds a powerful vision of a possible future. [transcript, via, see also]
posted by MetaMonkey on Jul 26, 2006 - 5 comments

Slow Life

Slow Life is a Japanese movement that eschews the fast-paced consumption of modern urban life for the slower pace of farming and small villages. It emphasizes self-reliance, sustainability, and the appreciation of leisure. From some perspectives, it can be seen as a reaction to hazards in the modern world or as a peer to Shinto and modern schools of thought.
posted by mikeh on Feb 27, 2006 - 21 comments

Limits to growth redux

State of the World 2006, an annual research report prepared by the Worldwatch Institute, has just been released, with a special focus on China and India. Although Limits to Growth type predictions have had their critics, many of the stats and projections presented have a certain brutal inevitability about them.
posted by wilful on Feb 12, 2006 - 14 comments

All we need at hand, already. Go!

Creative, cheap, participatory, the most innovative city in the world......Curitiba !! There may be no single, organic and living font of solutions to many of the world's most pressing problems than Curitiba (previous link from Wikipedia, and a bit more of a wonkish summary here), a Brazilian city of 1.5 million that urban planners from around the globe make pilgrimages to, to learn.

On a budget a tiny fraction of those which American cities have at their disposal, how did Curitiba become the world's leading model for urban sustainability and quality of life ? - with possibly the world's most efficient and effective public transit system, a network of parks and greenery far beyond Olmsted's visionary parks, 70% trash recycling, innovative social welfare systems, trees everywhere, and "Lighthouses of Knowledge" with small libraries and free internet access as well, a low cost open university system.....and flowers! Curitiba's pedestrian-only (no cars) city center is filled with gardens.
posted by troutfishing on Apr 13, 2004 - 34 comments

Trash homes a.k.a. earthships sound like the way to go. Now if they would start building them here in Seattle...
posted by folktrash on Aug 12, 2002 - 15 comments

outer space will have to be colonized

outer space will have to be colonized "The United States places the greatest pressure on the environment, with its carbon dioxide emissions and over-consumption. It takes 12.2 hectares of land to support each American citizen and 6.29 for each Briton, while the figure for Burundi is just half a hectare." ....meanwhile...its too hot (we're wondering why) here in mid-america - lets go to the mall and forget about it..
posted by specialk420 on Jul 6, 2002 - 25 comments

Time for a change of business strategy focus?

Time for a change of business strategy focus? Nokia and VolksWagen are the examples given,
'the heart of productivity growth is what happens inside the firm, and firms are first and foremost organisations of human beings'
positive role models to lead us from downturn alley?
posted by asok on Apr 29, 2002 - 2 comments

"We have entered the Century of the Environment,

"We have entered the Century of the Environment, in which the immediate future is usefully conceived as a bottleneck: science and technology, combined with foresight and moral courage, must see us through it and out."

Or so says Edward O. Wilson in February's Scientific American. Consumption and production can NOT be infinite, no matter what "near-horizon timelines" predict. But will capitalism rise to the occasion and will the free market fix the wrongs it's committed?
posted by taumeson on Jan 16, 2002 - 18 comments

UN warning over plundered Earth

UN warning over plundered Earth EARTH is being plundered at an unprecedented and unsustainable rate which needs to be curbed quickly to avoid disaster, the United Nations says.

Will the conflicts of the 21st century be based around the control of water, the needs of food production and economic inequality? Maybe it's time to consider these issues. We can't totally blame the poor and weak for their own circumstances.


posted by skinsuit on Nov 7, 2001 - 14 comments

We have repeatedly talked about genetically modified food as a solution to world hunger. However, I think that, as smart as human beings are, we are no match for nature's intelligence. Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives helps communities use closed-loop processes to increase yield by applying the formula "waste=food". It is especially useful for resource intensive processes such as brewing, where water and organic byproducts that would normally be discarded are used to grow mushrooms and feed fish.
posted by Avogadro on Oct 25, 2001 - 11 comments

Fish or Folk?

Fish or Folk? Farmers along the Klamath took matters into their own hands last week, opening an irrigation floodgate that had been closed to protect local fish. It isn't just about fish, but also fishermen. A complex issue of humans v. the environment, broken promises, and a big ole' sense of entitlement.
posted by frykitty on Jul 8, 2001 - 5 comments

Humans Pushing Planet Earth Beyond Capacity.

Humans Pushing Planet Earth Beyond Capacity.

Kiss your asses good bye.

I say, good f**kin' riddance.
posted by Mr. skullhead on Oct 20, 2000 - 34 comments

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