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Taylor Grandchamp

Greening Through IT: Information Technology for Environmental Sustainability - 0 views

Tomlinson, Bill. 2010. Greening Through IT: Information Technology for Environmental Sustainability. Cambridge: The MIT Press. Tomlinson's argument lies in the undisputed fact that human and envir...

sustainability technology ecological modernization

started by Taylor Grandchamp on 02 May 12 no follow-up yet
Kim Vanderklein

The Environmental Endgame: Mainstream Economics, Ecological Disaster, and Human Surviva... - 2 views

In this book The Environmental Endgame: Mainstream Economics, Ecological Disaster and Human Survival, his intention is to first of all provide an accumulation of evidence supporting the theory that...

sustainability climate change technology

started by Kim Vanderklein on 16 Mar 12 no follow-up yet
Micah Leinbach

Maps, values, information sharing (and Wisconsin) - 3 views

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    Wisconsin is one of two states to have a "State Cartographer," and man does he have some interesting stuff to say. The interview here speaks to GIS software and technology, but also the broader perspectives on exactly what it is a map does, and how it does it. Particularly interesting when he speaks about values - every map has them, he says, they are not neutral parties. Is this true for other tools we have for conveying information?
isabel Kuniholm

Whole Earth Discipline: Why Dense Cities, Nuclear Power, Transgenic Crops, Restored Wet... - 0 views

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    This is a book by ecologist and environmentalist Stewart Brand who is previously known for helping create and write the Whole Earth Catalogue. In this book Brand discusses the current state of our environment and specifically focuses on climate change. He then spends the rest of the book discussing radical modern approaches that he believes will help combat climate change. Some of these methods include using nuclear power as our main source of energy and genetically modifying all of our crops to be more resilient to climate change. He also argues that densely populated cities are more efficient and that new technology must be used to help fix the environmental problems that have been caused by previous technologies. This book is well written and offers a perspective on environmental issues that most other current environmental books do not agree with. I would recommend this book to all environmental studies majors.
Thomas Wilson

The Breakthrough: from the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility - 2 views

Shellenberger and Nordhaus' first big essay The Death of Environmentalism stated that in order for us to take more productive action on the ecological issues of today and tomorrow we must move past...

climate change ecological modernization energy technology pollution

started by Thomas Wilson on 10 Feb 12 no follow-up yet
Micah Leinbach

Wind power: Clean energy, dirty business? - 0 views

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    Perhaps alternative energy technology's most promising industry, wind, is finding itself to be far more controversial as it becomes far more common and popular. Partially, this is just a good old example of showing us how nothing is perfect. But it does beg the question of large scale energy industry period - are those who see no place for that, in any form, on to something?
Lucy Roberts

Neighborhood gets high-tech outreach - 2 views

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    An example of GIS in real life! Danielson Castillo is using geographic information system (GIS) mapping to layer several sets of data on a computerized map. The depth and breadth of the mapping project, completed last month, is unheard of on a community level in Minnesota.
    The project was funded with a $20,000 grant from the McKnight Foundation, but Danielson Castillo and Matson believe it's a tool that will become increasingly common and affordable for community organizations. Danielson Castillo already has given demonstrations of his GIS map to a number of community organizers.
McKenzie Southworth

7 Issues Facing the 7 Billion - 1 views

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    As most of us are aware, the world's population recently passed the 7 billion mark and we're scheduled to hit 9 billion by 2050. This article discusses 7 problems that we'll have to worry about as population continues to rise. We, as ENVS students, are already aware of these issues; water, climate change, and food security to name a few. However, some of the academics interviewed have very interesting ideas about solutions to these challenges (no-growth economy for example). For the feminists among us, Roger Short states that "We need to feminise the world and look first and foremost at the interests of women because they're the ones that are going to decide our future and it is their determination to limit the size of their families which will be the saviour of the world," which I thought was pretty interesting.
Micah Leinbach

More complex economics, but easier to understand - 4 views

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    This article highlights a neat project that does two things to some branches of modern macroeconomic study. First, it complicates some basic economic ideas, moving beyond GDP to a range of other valuable metrics for measuring economic success (including, for example, diversity and resilience). Second, it takes those more complex approaches to economic systems and uses neat graphical interfaces and visual media as a means of presenting them effective. The images shown as samples are colorful, visually pleasing, and they convey a lot of information. As one author points out:

    "Our brains have been processing letters, symbols, and numbers for the last 10,000 years, but as animals, our ancestors have, for millions of years, been developing the eyes and the visual cortex of the brain. The eyes are able to process visualized information much more quickly then they can process symbols. We tried to express very complex information in a way as visual possible, so that we can use the most efficient parts of the brain as opposed to the inefficient.

    A computer can beat a human at chess, at calculations. But a computer has enormous difficulty recognizing a face. A human can do that without thinking."

    Couldn't help but think of the posters, maps, graphs, websites, and other forms of sharing data that are used through environmental studies. It ties back to another thought I have that perhaps the messenger (or medium) often matters more than the message, at least in terms of how it is received.
McKenzie Southworth

Revealed - the capitalist network that runs the world - New Scientist - 1 views

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    With the recent Wall St (and everywhere else) protests going on this article seemed appropriate. A Zurich research team using economic data from Orbis has revealed 147 closely knit corporations that control %40 of the wealth of the entire network studied (about 40,000 corporations in total).
McKenzie Southworth

Future of Technology - 'Artificial leaf' makes real fuel - 1 views

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    A silicon solar cell was recently developed at MIT. This "artificial leaf" breaks down water molecules into oxygen and hydrogen gas, which can be used as a fuel source. I just thought it was really cool.
    And here's a video!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LEEhxk-CiOQ&feature=player_embedded
McKenzie Southworth

Jeremy Rifkin: The 'Democratization Of Energy' Will Change Everything - 1 views

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    "Rampant unemployment, rising food prices, a collapsed housing market, ballooning debt -- to Jeremy Rifkin, the American economist and president of the Foundation on Economic Trends , these are not simply symptoms of a temporary economic malaise. Rather, they are signs that the current world order -- long infused with and defined by fossil fuels -- is collapsing around us."
McKenzie Southworth

Thorium, possibly the biggest energy breakthrough since fire - 1 views

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    Thorium, a naturally occurring radioactive metal can be used to generate nuclear power without most of the problems associated with uranium reactors (i.e. high cost, toxic waste, and danger of meltdown.) Lately, it's been heralded as the solution to climate change and energy crisis concerns and some new start-ups are experimenting with reactors in the hope that thorium will be at the forefront of an energy revolution.
Laura Schroeder

Around the world on solar power alone - 0 views

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    A brief article about the project PlanetSolar, led by Raphael Domjan, and its efforts to prove that solar power is a viable and wise alternative energy approach, especially in the shipping industry. Domjan has overseen the construction of a solar-powered catamaran with 5,300 square feet of solar panels and hopes that its voyage across the world will encourage a re-examination of fuel efficiency and popularize solar technology.
Julian Cross

Michael Pawlyn TED Talk on Biomimicry Technologies for a Sustainable Future - 4 views

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    Michael Pawlyn, arguably the foremost contemporary expert on biomimicry, gives a TED talk on how the principles of this field can be applied to energy, food and agricultural systems to close the loop and build a sustainable future. Biomimicry, for those that don't know, is the a field of engineering and development that bases designs off structures and systems found in nature. This talk covers a lot of what we learned about systems and loops from 160 and I am sure a lot of information from our other classes. I am personally very compelled by biomimicry and I have always thought that it is the obvious way to innovate sustainable technologies. Enjoy.
Marko Demkiv

The Future is Here: Sherbourne Common « The Dirt - 1 views

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    The article talks about the new technologies used in planning of a Sherbourne Common in Toronto. The main improvement of this park is its water treatment infrastructure. It also raises topics of urban planning and how nature is integrated into cirties ("New nature is what we culticate in our cities"). 
Sarah Clement

Deep-Sea Fish in Deep Trouble: Scientists Find Nearly All Deep-Sea Fisheries Unsustainable - 1 views

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    An interesting piece that highlights the need for sustainable fisheries. This article discusses the damage deep-sea fisheries have done to ocean life; sea life at the bottom of the ocean is significantly slower than other forms of fisheries.
Darya Watnick

This Company Turns Plastic Bottles Back Into Crude Oil - 0 views

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    A company called Vadxx in Ohio is taking the "picked-over" scraps of plastic and converting into a low-sulfur crude oil. I don't know how feasible this would be large scale but its nice to see this stuff out of the landfills and being put to use.
Micah Leinbach

Rebounding - back to Jevon's again. - 0 views

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    The above article is the Break Through Institute's semi-recent report on the Jevons' Paradox, which I posted additional links to here and debated in class. For the record, the report is favorable. Also for the record, I have not read it completely, and am not laying down final judgment. However:

    I promised Jim I would respond to this at some point. I still hope to. In the meantime, this is worth musing over (if the link doesn't work, I have the PDF).

    https://files.me.com/jgkoomey/0aqqfm

    I really appreciate Break Through and the dismantling of environmentalism's sacred cows, but I'm concerned about this one. Many of their other critiques and analysis seem to have the empirical evidence, but I have yet to be convinced by what I've seen here. Obviously it is a long report, and I have not gotten to read through it entirely, but so far I remain unconvinced. I think they're thinking about the problem in the right way (the economy is a complex social, political, and economic system, it does defy basic models and equations, and if the emergence idea continues to hold up it is a right environment for them) and I really enjoy reading their analysis, but I remain unconvinced by the numbers. Our economy is not composed in such a way that energy is a primary limiting factor to production, which would surely deaden the effect, among other theoretical threats to the idea on both a micro and macro scale. Politically, efficiency measures will continue to allow solar energy and other alternative competitors to carry more weight than they do now, allowing us to free ourselves from the need for energy intense liquids or solids like coal, gas, and oil in favor of less "compact" energy sources.

    Break Through Institute offers some excellent political analysis, and their efforts at getting outside and away from the usual political roadblocks and antics are appreciated. But I wonder if they
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    Obviously, its not my expertise either, and I'm woefully ignorant in all this ultimately. But their credentials don't seem to be in deep energy analysis and research, and one academic report where I do find Jesse Jenkins (of BTI, who helped write that report and is an energy expert) still encouraged energy efficiency measures (http://www.brookings-tsinghua.cn/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2009/0209_energy_innovation_muro/0209_energy_innovation_muro_full.pdf).

    I'm not bold enough to lay down final judgment, but I'm going to need a lot more convincing. BTI makes a lot of convincing arguments that I really like - so far, this hasn't been one of them.

    But like I said, I'm still reading. And trying to get a handle on what Shellenberger, Nordhaus, and Jenkins have under their belts in terms of economic, versus political (when the two are even seperable), analysis. If there is other stuff worth reading in that regard, I'd love to get my hands on it.
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