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Should the U.S. Be Harvesting More Energy From Nuts?

Should the U.S. Be Harvesting More Energy From Nuts? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Turkey made headlines last month with a plan to heat a new "eco-city" by burning pistachio shells. The proposed project would be located in the southeastern Gaziantep region, which exported 8.8 million pounds of pistachios last year. Burning the shell waste is expected to produce enough energy to heat 60 percent of the buildings in the new 8,000-acre development.

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Why we should be diagnosing the environmental health of buildings

Why we should be diagnosing the environmental health of buildings | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Improving the health of our building operations is one of the most effective, current ways to reduce our impact on climate change.


And just as in medicine, being able to diagnose and improve health requires research and access to information on actual performance.


So the recent initiatives in the American cities of New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, Philadelphia, and Boston to release their building energy performance data should be applauded.


This is particularly pertinent when internationally the built environment has been estimated to contribute to one-third of the energy emissions associated with anthropogenic climate change. Meanwhile, Australian buildings produce around 23% of Australia’s greenhouse emissions; 10% from commercial buildings and 13% from residential buildings.

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Cities Without Borders | Sustainable Cities Collective

Cities Without Borders | Sustainable Cities Collective | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

With more people now living in urban environments for the first time in human history, we have a tremendous opportunity to harness the productive capacity of a city. Money saved from no longer maintaining physical boundaries could be better spent on developing the urban fabric of future cities. High density, multi-functional spaces, and interconnectivity are paramount. Investing in renewable energies as well as innovative food sources would further the autonomy of the city.


by: Rashiq Fataar

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Organizer Prabhat Mishra on Climate Change in India

Organizer Prabhat Mishra on Climate Change in India | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Working with the Government, Mr. Mishra has taken special interest in environmental issues and has been instrumental in mobilizing hundreds of villagers across the district for climate action. People of Aasayi village in the district took part in Climate Impacts Day on May 5th earlier this year where locals gathered for a human art formation depicting the need to safeguard their fragile forests.


With rising carbon emissions across the planet, the need for a concerted effort to tackle climate change is only growing. Here are a few suggestions, which need urgent attention:


1. There should be a “WORLD COMMISSION FOR SCIENCE AND DEVELOPMENT” for promoting the researches and developmental works which have zero to low carbon emissions.
2. Our investment in R & D should be more on the development of “RENEWABLE ENERGY” like solar, tidal, wind and water energies, apart from developing “low carbon emission technologies”.
3. There should be a big role and support for civil society institutions in implementing environment friendly plans & projects of government.
4. There should be effective “AWARENESS programmes at grassroots level”, to save the environment from degradation. 350.org is doing an excellent job in this regard.
5. Carbon capping should not be the one way legislation programme against developing nations. DEVELOPED nations should provide financial help and green technology transfer to DEVELOPING nations, to phase-out the fossil fuels.





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Cities: Salvation Or Infestation? : NPR

Cities: Salvation Or Infestation? : NPR | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

There are lots of lines of evidence telling us our current model for cities is unsustainable. Does that mean cities themselves are the problem and we should all move back to the farm?


Urban agriculture and rooftop farms could be part of the solution. There are proposals to make buildings more like plants so that they can get everything they need right where they sit. There are opportunities for using Big Data to make urban energy consumption hyper efficient. In a thousand-thousand ways — some big and some small — there are opportunities to reimagine how cities work and how we work within them. That is pretty awesome.


With seven billion people and counting, it is likely that the density and efficiencies cities enable might be our only hope for a vibrant, high-tech and sustainable civilization. And with 70 percent of the world's population expected to move into cities by 2050, do we really have any choice?


Adam Frank @AdamFrank4

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How to Make a Soda Can Solar Heater

How to Make a Soda Can Solar Heater | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
We're finally cooling off after a brutal Summer here in St. Louis. While I'm thoroughly enjoying the temperatures in the 60s and 70s, they're a good reminder that Winter will be here soon, and that we'll be paying to heat the home.

Via Flora Moon
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Cool Inventions For a Greener World

Cool Inventions For a Greener World | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
Worth reading the entire article:
  • Self-Watering Greenhouse
  • Solar Thermal Plastic Bottle Water Heater
  • An Energy-Making Hotel
  • 3D Solar Panels
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Seven Trends for Planning Post-Oil Cities

Seven Trends for Planning Post-Oil Cities | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Though we like to go about our ways as though nothing is going to change, the depletion of oil is inevitable. As supply decreases, so the extent of our dependency will become more evident. In order to survive, the City of Cape Town must take decisive action and begin preparing itself for what, unless properly planned, could be a massive disaster. Seven trends were outlined by Allen Rhodes in his excellent Masters Thesis, Planning the Post Oil City which neatly defines some of the obstacles and opportunities for Cape Town to prepare itself for a post oil world.


Via David Hodgson
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We’re All Climate-Change Idiots

We’re All Climate-Change Idiots | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

CLIMATE CHANGE is staring us in the face. The science is clear, and the need to reduce planet-warming emissions has grown urgent. So why, collectively, are we doing so little about it?

 

Yes, there are political and economic barriers, as well as some strong ideological opposition, to going green. But researchers in the burgeoning field of climate psychology have identified another obstacle, one rooted in the very ways our brains work.  ... 

 

We have trouble imagining a future drastically different from the present. We block out complex problems that lack simple solutions.

 

... energy monitors that displayed consumption levels in real-time cut energy use by an average of 7 percent, according to a study in the journal Energy in 2010. Telling heavy energy users how much less power their neighbors consumed prompted them to cut their own use, according to a 2007 study in Psychological Science. And trading on our innate laziness, default settings have also conserved resources: when Rutgers University changed its printers’ settings to double-sided, it saved more than seven million sheets of paper in one semester in 2007.

 

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China urban slum strategy

China urban slum strategy | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

BEIJING .... it was difficult for the Chinese government to take effective measures, but gradually they came up with a plan to improve the living conditions of these scattered people. The people they are dealing with had no jobs in their hometowns and were forced to migrate to the city for work. So, about 500 public housing multi-storey units were built using strong used materials and hard recycled materials and handed over to these homeless people.

 

The Chinese government has facilitated access to services to these people, which is run by a voucher system. They have their own educational facilities situated inside the area, where students from various universities and colleges come to visit these slums 5 days a week to teach students in the slums. Other institutions provide skilled mentors to give vocational training and teach labour skills to the people in the slums. The Government pays a substantial amount of money and gives a certificate of achievement to these students and trainers, so that they are encouraged to do this educational volunteer work.

 

Solar panels are installed to these households to manage power source. The government did not provide any power connection from a direct supply source. The community has a well managed food market and grocery shops and other small businesses. Community guards are made from among their own people to ensure their security and safety. Health and medical surveys are conducted every month to check the medical conditions and health needs of these people. More often it is seen that, various diseases and sickness spread in the communities and the government thoroughly monitors these matters and provide medical services.

 

Government officials monitor these areas carefully to report to higher level authorities for actions and policies to promote. The thing that interested me the most is that these people are given training about microfinance and micro insurance concepts, and then banks give them loans with small amount of interest, and also give interest to households for savings. Volunteers from both public and private banks visit this area to teach people about business, savings and management concept.

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Vertical Farming: Can Urban Agriculture Feed a Hungry World?

Vertical Farming: Can Urban Agriculture Feed a Hungry World? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Agricultural researchers believe that building indoor farms in the middle of cities could help solve the world's hunger problem. Experts say that vertical farming could feed up to 10 billion people and make agriculture independent of the weather and the need for land. There's only one snag: The urban farms need huge amounts of energy.

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Powering Agriculture: An Energy Challenge For Development

Powering Agriculture: An Energy Challenge For Development | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Agriculture remains the most prominent source of livelihood for households in developing countries, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimating that countries need to produce 70% more food on the same amount of land in order to feed their continually growing population. When communities have reliable energy providers, they are given their best chance of thriving. As population expands, farms and agribusiness will need to produce, process, and transport an increasing amount of food.


Via Lauren Moss
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Rethinking our country’s planning : A need for a new urban form

Rethinking our country’s planning : A need for a new urban form | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Mauritius is an island of promise and of prosperity, an island symbolising dreams of brighter tomorrows.   ... a new ordered urban form is strongly needed: one that promotes the connection of human beings to their activities. As for its structure, instead of centralised city, we need a living & productive model. One of which could be that of a geometrically living cellular pattern where each cells having their own cores, much like a living organism. A setting of this sort, adapted to our local planning code, would have numerous advantages:

• It would help promote a decentralised system.
• Vehicular transportation would be discouraged and basic activities that connect a human to his habitat, such as walking, would be on the increase. 
• The panorama would be more pleasing as our roads would be populated with fewer cars. This would in turn decrease the need for numerous parking lots and hence encourage the green expansion of land. This would also directly impact on the pollution levels.
• A drop in stress levels and increase in productivity rate.
• Economically more viable as it would reduce our energy consumption through vehicular fuel cut back and decreased electricity consumption through reduced heat island effect.

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World's first 'biocellar' to be built in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood

World's first 'biocellar' to be built in Cleveland's Hough neighborhood | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Permaculture designer Jean Loria and community activist Mansfield Frazier hope to break ground in the spring on a greenhouse that will be built using the basement of an abandoned house.


"We've got this problem with too many empty houses," Loria said last week as she walked outside the three-story house that's in such bad shape it has become a safety threat to the Hough neighborhood. "We just keep tearing everything down and filling these basements in.


"This is an example of where the problem is the solution," added Loria, head of Upstream Permaculture. "It's architecture plus biology. I'm very excited about it. I'm expecting to be eating gourmet mushrooms from it by summer."


The idea may seem farfetched, but no more so than the vineyard her partner, Mansfield Frazier, envisioned years ago on the three-quarter-acre corner lot next door. Frazier -- a community activist, writer, doer -- heads the nonprofit Neighborhood Solutions Inc.


See the videos...

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Cities–too big to fail?

Cities–too big to fail? | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

While climate change is being touted as the end of life as we know it, a simple power outage illustrates the dangers of too many people in a complex, energy-dependent society. A cacophony of support for climate change displaces the true problem, which is too many people living in complex urban situations with deferred maintenance and limited surplus energy when catastrophe hits. While most environmentalists fear what happens when we keep Business as Usual (BAU) moving forward, what happens when we cannot keep BAU moving forward? If the storm had been worse, what would have been the population’s need for water, and what would have happened to nuclear power plants? Possibilities of violence go up–where is the tipping point for that? Revolution, war, and riots are off of our radar, which has narrowed to its smallest focus to protect our psyches from multiple threats looming on the horizon. As blackouts and gas rationing go forward in the northeast, people will begin to see the energy that drives their world in all of its stepped hierarchy. We operate under the false notion that people in cities use little energy. We are so steeped in a hierarchy of surplus energy in our society that we will not understand energy until we begin to suffer its absence.


by Mary Logan

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Vivek Bhide, a coal activist’s story from Maharashtra

Vivek Bhide, a coal activist’s story from Maharashtra | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Dr. Vivek Bhide is a mango and cashew grower and an amazing activist from the lush and beautiful coastal district of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. Dr Bhide asks why, the Government wants to make the twin districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, a new power hub of the country. A dozen thermal power plants have been planned in these two districts – which would produce more than 30,000 MW in nearly a decade’s time,” says Dr. Bhide, who is spearheading a campaign against the power projects in the region. (...)


“I am an ordinary citizen. How do I resist decisions that are made at the top?” asked Bhide, 47. “The court is my only battleground.” In the past two decades, tens of thousands of public interest litigations have been filed against the Indian government and corporations on grounds that such mega-projects threaten livelihoods, land or the environment. These suits have led to landmark rulings on education, the environment and human rights in India. (...)


“They say that India needs these power projects to reach heaven,” he said. “But what about the hell it will bring upon our environment?”

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Green Cities Trends and benefits

Green Cities Trends and benefits | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

S Raghupathy writes about the current scenario and future trends across construction industry with regards to the green building movement in India. He throws light upon the fact that the next 10 years will be the decade of integrated sustainable built environment.


The concept of Green cities would result in the following benefits:


* Efficient Land Use

* Habitat Preservation & Restoration

* Efficient Transportation Management

* Efficient Use of Resources

* Water Efficiency

* Energy Efficiency

* Waste Management

* Enhanced Quality Of Life


image via solarthermalmagazine.com



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Bicycle Superhighway in the city of Copenhagen

Bicycle Superhighway in the city of Copenhagen | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

As the Times reports, the city of Copenhagen has launched the first of 26 planned suburban commuter arteries built exclusively for bicycles: long, well-paved, carefully maintained bike paths to link its suburbs with the inner city, up to 14 miles long and requiring the cooperation of 21 separate municipal governments.


These are the numbers the Times reports. Remarkably, the story makes no mention of the extraordinary figure for cycling’s modal share in Copenhagen, so I will: fully 37 percent of Copenhagen residents — and 55 percent of downtown dwellers — use bikes as their primary mode of transportation.


Read more -> Three reasons why Copenhagen is the world leader in urban sustainability


Via Laurence Serfaty, Wa Gon, David Hodgson, Anne Caspari
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An Omnivore’s Approach To Achieving Energy Security

In 2011, the average American spent $732 to heat their home with natural gas.  In contrast, they spent $2,535 to heat their homes with oil.  Ouch! That's a recipe for bankruptcy. It's also pretty good example of why specialization can hurt you.


What’s required to be an energy omnivore? The ability to:

  • produce a home’s electricity from a variety of fuels.
  • heat and cool a home with oil, wood, natural gas, passive solar, electricity, and geo-exchange.
  • power a vehicle with gasoline, natural gas, diesel, bio diesel, and electricity.

As you can see, this is a pretty extensive list. It’s likely much more expensive to implement than most people can afford at the individual level. Further, much of this omnivorous production might be best done at the community level rather than at the household/complex level.

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Warren Karlenzig: Collective Intelligence--Cities as Global Intelligence Platform

Social media and collaborative technologies--layered with smart systems combining geo-location data with human experience--will make cities the driving sustainability force in a dawning planetary era. Cities will anticipate new risks with rapid urban systems innovation based upon crowdsourcing, virtual and physical communities, and transparent markets sensitive to full carbon and resource costs. Creatively leveraging collective intelligence for clean energy, low carbon mobility and sustainable food and water, the new urban grid will enable high local quality of life, lifelong learning and vibrant green economies.


scoop'd from theurbn.com


“What is the one thing you can do to make a city more sustainable? That’s easy. Stop asking the question: What is the one thing you can do to make a city more sustainable?” How we should really be tackling the debate and issue is by first recognizing that cities are hyper-complex and none exactly alike. Meaning, every single one will have different solutions and every single one will need different solutions as it changes over time. Although these complexities and diversities sound like a strain on our ability to combat the problems faced, Warren Karlenzig argues that the dynamics and inter-connections of urban areas are what give them their “strength against shocks and stresses”. They are our gift and our curse.


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Like a Bad Boyfriend, XL Keeps Coming Back

Like a Bad Boyfriend, XL Keeps Coming Back | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

The controversy over whether to green-light the building of the Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canada’s tar sands with refiners on the Gulf coast may not be much in the news anymore, but it’s far from gone. 

 

Dan notes: 

 

The article describes why "Jobs don’t justify the Keystone XL pipeline. It will raise fuel prices for Americans. And it further locks us into a future of declining energy quality and increasing cost."

 

There's an amusing video too:

 

http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/1019307-like-a-bad-boyfriend-xl-keeps

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Brazil To Grow Even More Biofuel, From All The Biofuel It Already Has

Brazil To Grow Even More Biofuel, From All The Biofuel It Already Has | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

Today, much of the fuel that powers Brazil’s cars and trucks is grown as sugarcane. Now, the country is brewing a second source in tanks of algae. The world’s first industrial-scale biofuel plant, using waste from making their already popular biofuel (ethanol) to feed the production of another (algae), is scheduled to open in Brazil in 2013.

 

Brazil’s biofuel sector is the second largest in the world, following the U.S.. But there’s a major difference. In North America, most ethanol comes from corn and $6 billion in federal subsidies lavished on the sector each year. Brazil, rich with fertile soil and tropical sunlight, can grow more fuel for less money, and undercut the price of conventional oil in some cases. The country is poised to rapidly expand its production globally, and provide a credible competitor to fossil fuels.

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How Smaller Cities are Taking the Lead in Sustainability Innovation

How Smaller Cities are Taking the Lead in Sustainability Innovation | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it

While each community’s situation is unique, the challenges faced in shifting away from an unsustainable fossil-fueled infrastructure and way of life are ultimately shared by cities of all sizes -- and a range of different solutions is required. While any community can get started right now with cheap and obvious carbon reductions like insulating and weatherizing existing buildings, others are already going for deeper infrastructural changes, like Eugene, Oregon’s 20-minute neighborhoods. “There is a diverse set of cities throughout the country with a wide variety of economic and energy profiles that are engaging in clean energy innovation,” says Eileen Quigley, report co-author and New Energy Cities Program Director.

 

In the absence of a national climate or energy policy, Eileen Quigley and her team at New Energy Cities have come to the conclusion that these efforts by smaller and medium-sized cities are crucial not only to keep the country moving forward for a clean energy future, but also to demonstrate the economic value of these programs, which is the only way to garner both national and local political support for meaningful legislation. “The partnerships and collaborations that have made these extremely interesting but at times often challenging programs work are crucial and will be even more so as the federal funding sunsets,” says Quigley.

 

 

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America and the West’s dirty little secret

America and the West’s dirty little secret | Arrival Cities | Scoop.it
By importing goods from polluting factories in Asia, Americans and others in developed countries underwrite carbon emissions...

 

This is a compelling question: are reductions in greenhouse gases best measured by production or consumption?  The question that this article is posing is essentially trying to find blame for greenhouse gas emmision, but thinking geographically, ponders where along the commodity chain should the bulk of the blame be placed.  What do you think?  


Via Seth Dixon, Lauren Moss
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