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considering & rethinking bathrooms

Why the modern bathroom is a wasteful, unhealthy design (The Guardian):
"Piped water may be the greatest convenience ever known but our sewage systems and bathrooms are a disaster" [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 22, 2014 - 181 comments

Building hope

Shigeru Ban’s Pritzker win proves that building hope is finally in vogue
The architecture world has a new laureate, and he builds in cardboard. Japan’s Shigeru Ban was named this week as the winner of the Pritzker Prize, an annual award that is often called architecture’s Nobel – and his win sends a clear and timely message. Social change, sustainability and improving the lives of the many: This is what matters now to the world of architecture. With Ban’s Pritzker, the global design elite is marking that shift.
Take a Tour of Pritzker Winner Shigeru Ban's Paper Tube Structures [more inside]
posted by infini on Mar 31, 2014 - 9 comments

Betting on the future

The African King With A Multi-Billion Dollar Empire RBH functions as a communitybased investment company whose primary investment aim is to generate the income required for the funding of sustainable projects. Income generated from RBH’s commercial interests is invested in infrastructural development, as well as in the members of the Nation itself. Over the past decade, more than R4 billion ($475 million) has been spent on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities. This has benefited not only the Bafokeng, but other people living in the North West Province of South Africa, the area which the RBN calls home.
posted by infini on Dec 1, 2012 - 5 comments

Inspiring and amazing urban farming geek, Eric Maundu

Eric Maundu - who comes from Kenya, now lives in West Oakland and is trained in industrial robotics- transforms unused spaces into productive, small aquaponic farms. He has taken the agricultural craft one step further and made his gardens smart. He explores new frontiers of computer-controlled gardening. More information about this story. His company, Kijani Grows. Via faircompanies.com.
posted by nickyskye on Oct 24, 2012 - 21 comments

Rio+20; US demurs on equity.

As hopes for the future of multilateral action on the environment are fading, the draft negotiating text of "The future we want", the Rio+20 declaration was leaked, showing where the US delegation was seeking to remove any and all references to equity.
posted by wilful on Jun 20, 2012 - 29 comments

Live Well With Less

Tiny origami apartment in Manhattan unfolds into 4 rooms. Making the most out of 450 square feet.
posted by crunchland on Dec 13, 2011 - 75 comments

“Why do we eat shrimp and crawfish but not their brethren on land?”

The San Francisco Street Food Festival is an annual Summer event in the Mission District that features around 60 different Bay Area vendors and is attended by tens of thousands of foodies. This year the usual mainstays were joined by Don Bugito, which served up insect-based dishes and billed itself as the first "PreHispanic Snackeria." When the food truck commences permanent operations this month, it may be the first eatery in the country devoted exclusively to preparations involving insects. But they're not the only entomophagy pioneers in San Francisco, where Bug Cuisine is Booming. So just how tasty are insects? (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Nov 5, 2011 - 30 comments

The Lego Set of Civilization

Let's say just for a moment that you were ready to cash out. Quit your job. Sell your house. Take you and yours out of the rat race with a few hundred of your friends and family and relocate onto arable land. What tools would you need to sustain a livable—maybe even comfortable—lifestyle? Open Source Ecology suggests you start with ~2.6 million dollars and these | fifty | machines (← watch this first), collectively referred to as the Global Village Construction Set.
posted by carsonb on Mar 28, 2011 - 48 comments

tidal kites

Green electricity from the artificial, tethered ray (the fish, not the beam). Video here.
posted by megob on Mar 2, 2011 - 21 comments

Green meets green

Interested in how businesses can be more environmentally responsible while maintaining profitability? Greenbiz.com is "the leading source for news, opinion, best practices, and other resources on the greening of mainstream business," with sections focusing on climate, buildings, design, and green computing. [more inside]
posted by albrecht on Aug 12, 2010 - 7 comments

Treehouses for grownups

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]
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 22, 2009 - 35 comments

A PATH TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY BY 2030

Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world's energy, eliminating all fossil fuels. HERE'S HOW (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Oct 13, 2009 - 82 comments

Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller

Post-(cheap)oil: will the end of globalisation be the beginning of re-localisation? [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 27, 2009 - 17 comments

Messy, Painful, Bloody and Dirty

Critics of modern farming practice have swayed popular opinion in recent years. Now farmers are talking back. Farmer Blake Harris takes critics of farming to task for misrepresenting his trade. Another farmer says it's not so simple.
posted by chrchr on Sep 2, 2009 - 41 comments

An Inconvenient Hoof

Opening this Friday in L.A, New York, and San Francisco, Food, Inc. is a documentary about the modern food industry that features Michael Pollan, Eric Schlosser, Joe Salatin of Polyface Farm, and Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Yogurt. Here's the trailer. And here's a New York Times article about the film. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Jun 9, 2009 - 120 comments

Zero carbon emission living: ingenuity and woolly hats

The Reas' previous house was destroyed in a winter storm - such are the perils of living on Unst - most northerly of the Shetland isles. On re-building the pensioner couple have constructed what they claim is the world's first occupied zero carbon emission house - using off the shelf materials. Here is a video interview with them and a few more details about the house. [more inside]
posted by rongorongo on May 11, 2009 - 8 comments

Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008

Spoiled: Organic and Local Is So 2008 - Mother Jones asks what sustainable agriculture should really look like. Is it about food miles or should we all just eat less meat?
posted by patricio on Mar 5, 2009 - 103 comments

Sustainable Development or Green Menace?

Apparently some members of the far-right have figured it out! Environmentalists are communists! Being green is tantamount to an attack on "Western culture, and the Judeo-Christian and Islamic religions". Think this is just an American phenomenon? Think again...
posted by JVA on Jan 16, 2009 - 27 comments

Ideas for Environmentally Sustainable Living

Eartheasy is about sustainable living. It offers information, activities and ideas which help us live more simply, efficiently and with less impact on the environment. [more inside]
posted by netbros on Jan 8, 2009 - 9 comments

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

Slow Food Nation '08

Slow Food Nation '08 was a four-day conference with a panel of food luminaries (Michael Pollan, Alice Waters, Eric Schlosser, ..) to discuss the future of food in America. Sessions included The World Food Crisis (1:13), Climate Change and Food (1:20), Building a new food system (1:22), and more (streaming video, MP3 download, transcripts).
posted by stbalbach on Sep 26, 2008 - 12 comments

Big Bad Wolves Need Not Apply

The first little pig built his house out of straw [previously]. The second little pig built his house out of sticks. The third little pig built his house out of bricks; but the relatively unknown fourth little pig built several structures of all sizes out of mud (and straw), and he wasn't a hippy. [more inside]
posted by 5MeoCMP on Aug 6, 2008 - 24 comments

You can bury a lot of troubles digging in the dirt.

Blooming is booming. Whether you prefer DIY or professionals, knowing what to plant and when can be daunting...unless you've got some really excellent websites on your side. And you do! Plantwire will help you find plants through conventional search, tags, or even by colour. Fine Gardening Magazine's site has much to offer: how-to section with videos, design ideas, and a fabulous plant guide. Garden Simply can help you achieve sustainable, organic gardening. Garden and Flower has several convenient guides on how to achieve gardening nirvana - including butterfly garden essentials! [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Mar 28, 2008 - 20 comments

Get your damn fruits and vegetables off my lawn.

I’ve discovered that typically, a farmer who grows the forbidden fruits and vegetables on corn acreage not only has to give up his subsidy for the year on that acreage, he is also penalized the market value of the illicit crop, and runs the risk that those acres will be permanently ineligible for any subsidies in the future. (The penalties apply only to fruits and vegetables — if the farmer decides to grow another commodity crop, or even nothing at all, there’s no problem.) If you can't stop demand, curtail production. One farmer's view on the power of commodity crops. [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Mar 1, 2008 - 33 comments

green design

Ecoble, an environment design and living site includes some interesting stories and info: Man (Re)Builds Mexican Island Paradise on 250,000 Recycled Floating Bottles l Who Has the Oil? Geography of the World’s Most Contentious Resource l BituBlock - The Sustainable Building Block Built from Trash and Sewage [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Nov 20, 2007 - 12 comments

Eat to live to eat.

"Find Good Food Near You. Want fresh, locally grown food, but don't know where to find it? The LocalHarvest community level map makes it easy to find sustainable farmers, farmers markets and Community Supported Agriculture projects (CSAs) in your area."
posted by dersins on Sep 30, 2007 - 21 comments

Sustainable lifestyle?

How many planets do you need? NPR has a game to assess your impact on the Earth.
posted by Kirth Gerson on Sep 26, 2007 - 89 comments

From Red to Green

"The model of economic development that we are currently pursuing is unsustainable. Our energy consumption per unit of GDP is seven times that of Japan, six times that of America, and even 2.8 times that of India. China’s labour productivity is less than 10 per cent of the world total, and yet our emissions are over 10 times higher than the global average." ~ Pan Yue - deputy director of China's State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA). Part of a new generation of outspoken Chinese senior officials, Pan has given rise to a tide of environmental debate, attracting enormous attention and controversy. Read his articles here : - China: economic powerhouse, environmentally unsustainable - part one and part two
posted by infini on Jul 29, 2007 - 34 comments

Eating locally

In the grand scheme of things, eating locally grown food may be more important than eating organically grown foods. To help you reach that goal, there's 100-Mile Diet, a blog that deals with the benefits and pitfalls of trying to eat only foods grown locally; The Eating Well Guide, which will help you find markets, restaurants, etc. that go along with the sustainable foodthink; and Local Harvest, which will help you find local and organically grown food sources. (PS. Now's probably the time to start signing up for your favorite CSA!)
posted by Dave Faris on Apr 12, 2007 - 55 comments

What do I want to do when I grow up

When I grow up I want to be an environmental engineer. I want to work on projects that can provide potable water for people. I want to clean the polluted Mother Ganga [Ganges] who provides life giving water from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal. Or the Nile, both blue and white, spilling fertility from her bunds on a regular cycle. I want to design products that use the least amount of energy and fuel, from recycled materials and are biodegradable. I want to seek alternative sources of energy, such as using biofuel to power cellphones. I want to design with maximum constraints. Call her mother earth, gaia, demeter, ceres or inanna, our planet is on the brink of no return. Or is it all just a matter of perspective?
posted by infini on Feb 9, 2007 - 21 comments

It's not the length so much as the girth...

Once you start looking, tiny houses are everywhere.
posted by naomi on May 10, 2005 - 21 comments

Talkin' Engery

Talk Energy is a filter site for discussion about sustainable energy. Their goal is to get a million people worldwide talking about energy. Members can post to a main discussion page, create profile pages including their own journals and indentify their connections with other members. The chattiest people get free samples of neat products to review, closing the communication loop for green companies. They're also giving away $50,000 USD in home energy renovation funds to one lucky person.

Innovators have their own space to collaborate on ideas and projects. They're even offering partnerships consisting of private discussion areas for any non profit that wants one.
posted by will on Jun 1, 2004 - 7 comments

The World Summit on Sustainable Development,

The World Summit on Sustainable Development, aka "Earth Summit II," will start soon in Johannesburg, ten years after the Rio Earth Summit. Have things improved at all in the last ten years? While there are some reasons to be optimistic, the data isn't cheerful. Our climate is growing unstable; tens of millions are dying or likely to die, and hundreds of millions more likely to be made refugees, because of environmental pollution and degraded ecosystems; and half the plants and animals on the planet seem headed for extinction over the next century. In short, things are grim. What steps, big or small, are you taking to do your part for the environment?
posted by AlexSteffen on Aug 17, 2002 - 30 comments

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