Archives For A Greener Place

Urbanity 2050

New York Resource Neutral

Associated Press – October 17th, 2050 – New York, NY

Yesterday afternoon, New York City’s administrators reported that the city has reached its goal of resource neutrality. This is a culmination of a multi-decade effort marred by numerous setbacks, including the Hurricane Katie in 2017 and Superstorm Heather in 2032. With less than two months before the end of the year deadline New York joins several international urban centers in completing the challenge set forth during the 2016 Sochi Accord. The Accord countered the once widely accepted practice of structuring cities as dense sinks of resources, requiring outlying rural and suburban land to survive. Continue Reading…

green applianceIn its basic definition, efficiency relates to a given amount of energy or effort it takes to accomplish a certain task relative to the least possible amount. It is true that a more efficient system/solution/product will use less energy than a less efficient counterpart, but in order to gauge its place within the topic of sustainability we have to ground the term and its use in realistic conditions. What we end up with is that “efficiency” is a much more incomplete thought that most people treat it. As an idea, it is a component of a direction more than a solution. Continue Reading…

Some say that one of the problems with the environmental movement is that it has migrated farther and farther into the presentation of bold truths with the goal of promoting fear. I know a number of people that have moved past the tactic of trying to simply make sense, hoping that people can be struck into action if they are afraid enough of the consequences. Clearly, this has had limited results and plenty of backlash. Instead, I try to believe educating and revealing the interconnections of how and why we live will lead other to make smarter decisions. After all, at some point most of us are looking to be inspired.

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Bill Clinton InitiativeRegardless of your opinions of former President Bill Clinton, the guest list of the Clinton Global Initiative is nothing to sneer at. Those in attendance comprise a who’s-who at the international level from foreign dignitaries to business bellwethers. Yet despite being surrounded by some of the greatest minds in economics and political governance, President Clinton kicked off this year’s CGI gathering of his by tapping the design population for finding solutions to world problems. Continue Reading…

The Art of Ecology

Bird Migration ArtAs many teachers would likely confess, the success of conveying and imparting knowledge is not just the quality of the information. It’s not only a question of the underlying message, but how effectively a language can be utilized to connect with who is listening–or in some cases, to get them to listen at all. The spoken and written word can be useful media to try and bridge the information gap when it comes to sustainability, but art can speak volumes in a language all of its own on any topic including ecological stewardship. I recently had the good fortune of meeting Ellie Irons, a Brooklyn artist that uses her work to discuss the importance of ecologies and their interconnected components. Continue Reading…

Despite the fact that everyone knows where it is on a map, Greenland has spent much of modern history as an unimposing world destination dotted with sparse habitation amidst hundreds of thousands of square miles of ice. Mining, fishing and hunting have comprised most of the large island’s small economy for centuries. Only recently has the image of Greenland’s future started to change as hopes of increased natural resource extraction made possible by a warming climate lend the possibility of a new importance in the global marketplace. Will a rush of business ultimately create a flourishing ice kingdom to the Northern Hemisphere or merely another example of corporate tenacity shoehorning industry into an environment that is among the planet’s least hospitable for human civilization? Continue Reading…

With some exceptions, the learned, hard-working professionals of any industry usually wish that the American populace knew more about what they do and why they do it. Artists long for a time when a greater portion of the population to be schooled enough in art to join the larger discourse. Farmers and factory workers would take pride in more people having a first hand knowledge of what their daily routines require in order to arrive at the fruits of their labor that we all use. And architects, consistently claiming that few people understand what it is they actually do, struggle to communicate effectively with the vast majority of Americans.

Metrics provide a means of packaging and conveying professional, industry-specific knowledge to a non-professional public. I recently reflected on sustainability’s need for reassessing its means of communication and finding new ways to reach a broader audience in a positive way. Part of that transition can include further development of more sustainable metrics that condense large quantities of complicated information and inform a larger portion of our daily decisions. Continue Reading…

When sitting comfortably with popcorn and soda in hand, it is easy to be drawn into the world of plays and films with little thought spared to what was necessary to create them. Whether it’s a blockbuster movie or just a commercial the focus is on the finished product rather than things like efficiency or post-production waste management. Environmental consulting firm EcoSet estimates that commercials in the United States produce 18 million pounds of waste annually. Though historically not being known for trailblazing into the realm of sustainability, the different facets of the entertainment industry are evolving to embrace more opportunities for ecological stewardship. Continue Reading…

France Rear Garden[tweetmeme source=”intercongreen”]As I move through my European vacation, the inclination to look for evidence of sustainability (or its absence) is all but reflexive. Years ago I wrote about European standards in sustainability being naturally higher than ours in America after I spent a week in London. With the opportunity to venture across the Atlantic again I was eager to see if my second experience would uphold my first impressions.

Though my trip is comprised of a few different stops across the continent, the place where I am spending the most time is Perpignan, France. Located in the south of the country, the small city is about an hour away from Montpellier and a two hour train ride from Barcelona, Spain. At first glance the city fills most of the preconceived notions that the average American would have of a European town: blocks of aged masonry buildings 4 to 6 stories in height, small shops lining slim streets filled with small cars. Around 125,000 people call the city home as of 2009 within an area of a little more than 26 square miles, making it comparable to American cities like Syracuse, New York or Hartford, Connecticut. It seemed to be a fair choice for a random litmus test of European, or at least French, cultural norms. Continue Reading…

Lots of People[tweetmeme source=”intercongreen”]Just as advocates of sustainability and the environment promote the notion of an evolving society, so too must their message be open to evolution. With the amount of connotations–good or bad depending on where your views are–it may be time to question the usefulness of climate change as the weapon of choice used to induce our need for change. Not to say that climate change is not a real phenomenon, but it is certainly not the only phenomenon or the only reason we have to reassess our societal norms. On the contrary, we have no shortage of reasons. Continue Reading…