July 23, 2014

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    Live smarter, not larger

    Contemporary man won’t be measured by the old American dream of suburban providence. Before I ventured out and into the glamorous world of apartment dwelling, I grew up in a variety of homes: a trailer in a trailer park, a trailer all-alone on four acres of grass-land and trees, an antique farm house with no neighbors, then a home with a few neighbors, and eventually a home in suburban America with too many neighbors. For many Americans, getting to the suburbs is still the be-all and end-all of the all-American Dream. Craving the providence and convenience of highly socialized cities…

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    LEED for roads: Greener infrastructure gains momentum

    Snaking 1.7 miles through the mountains of west Denver, the Eisenhower Tunnel, at 11,158 feet above sea level, represents the highest point of the U.S. Interstate Highway system. But nearly 60 years since President Eisenhower initiated the greatest public works project in history, the 47,000-mile stretch of roads has its share of potholes. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, America’s infrastructure earned a D+ on its 2013 report card. Estimates for modernization of transportation, energy, and water infrastructure run as high as $3.6 trillion needed by 2020. Such an investment demands a sustainable approach as climate change, the urban…

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    To bee or not to bee

    In our busy world, we often rush on at warp speed, ignoring many of the tiny living creatures on which we depend. Too often we take these little things for granted, seldom giving them a first thought, let alone a second one. Pity, given that these very small creatures are essential to our continued existence on this planet. We have a plentiful choice of insecticides to blast away the little crawling and flying pests that irritate us. Like Dung beetles, which tidy up all the stuff left behind by the big foragers in the veld here in South Africa and…

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    Throwing a wrench in the climate denial machine

    The retina of any sighted person can detect a flicker of flame or the glow of a TV screen. But when light rises above 780 nanometers or falls below 380 nm along the electromagnetic spectrum, it becomes imperceptible to the naked eye — and potentially dangerous with enough intensity. Unfiltered infrared light creeping in through museum windows can degrade priceless works of art while extreme ultraviolet light and X-rays can harm human organs. Only those who understand the potency of radiation can protect themselves from exposure to it. Still fewer have the power to bend it to their will. As…

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    America’s first ‘Ocean Month’ recap

    For the last 22 years, June 8th has brought World Oceans Day, a United Nations-recognized day of ocean celebration. This year we witnessed the creation of America’s first official Ocean Month. Established by Presidential Proclamation, Obama set June as a month for “our obligations to good ocean stewardship.” World Oceans Day traditionally showcases and highlights ocean events from around the world. This year we saw such fantastic events and campaigns such as Peace Corps in the Philippines, “Selfies for the Sea,” Surfrider Foundation’s Youth Events and countless other efforts to drive awareness and action for the ocean. Recognizing the importance…

Book Reviews

How 9 companies are creating a culture of sustainability
Posted by Claire Sommer on Monday, June 30, 2014

How 9 companies are creating a culture of sustainability Jeana Wirtenberg knows sustainability is about people. Living, caring human beings – who get things done. It’s not “green.” Or “eco.” Not goals or dashboards. Not on their own, at any rate. It’s people who make these things actually happen. Sustainability is people at every level ...
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The Big Pivot: A realist's guide to a climate-challenged present
Posted by Claire Sommer on Monday, June 30, 2014

The Big Pivot: A realist's guide to a climate-challenged presentIf you’ve ever thought of dropping a book on your boss’s desk, in the hopes of sparking a Ray Anderson-type conversion, here’s a tip. Don’t use the new IPCC report: It’s gloomy, terrifying and a muddle. Try this instead: Andrew Winston’s business transformation book for the “new ...
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Sweat and the city: The urban heat island effect
Posted by Ann Drumm on Monday, June 30, 2014

Sweat and the city: The urban heat island effectCities are heating up at double the rate of global climate change, with major implications for human health. Managing urban heat is just as important a response as reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and the benefits will be felt much sooner.  Cities should prioritize strategies ...
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Clearing human hurdles to a sustainable economy
Posted by Anna Clark on Monday, June 30, 2014

Clearing human hurdles to a sustainable economyIt’s 2050. The roads are much less crowded, and engine growls have given way to bird song. The old zoning rules have been repealed and sprawl is no longer subsidized; developers now pay the full costs they impose on public infrastructure. Workers still go to ...
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