Sustainability Science
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Sustainability Science
How might we keep the lights on, water flowing, and natural world vaguely intact? It starts with grabbing innovative ideas/examples to help kick down our limits and inspire a more sustainable world. We implement with rigorous science backed by hard data.
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Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’

Resettling the First American ‘Climate Refugees’ | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
A $48 million grant for Isle de Jean Charles, La., is the first allocation of federal tax dollars to move an entire community struggling with the effects of climate change. In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced grants totaling $1 billion in 13 states to help communities adapt to climate change, by building stronger levees, dams and drain.Empty description
PIRatE Lab's insight:
I wouldn't say these are the "first" but rather a harbinger of what is coming.
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Development banks threaten to unleash an infrastructure tsunami on the environment

Development banks threaten to unleash an infrastructure tsunami on the environment | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Big new investors such as the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank are key players in a worldwide infrastructure, and that could be bad news for the environment.
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Aging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly

Aging nuclear arsenal grows ever more costly | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Pipes, tanks and other equipment rust in the humid Southern air. Leaky roofs leave puddles on factory floors. Abandoned buildings are scattered across an 800-acre site contaminated with hundreds of tons of mercury.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A maintaining a large nuclear arsenal does not appear to be a sustainable practice, however you slice it. 

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This map shows which export makes your country the most money

This map shows which export makes your country the most money | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Australia makes the most money from coal. Who knew?
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The most valued commodities are the least sustainable, making this map something of an interesting "what do we value most" exercise.

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9 Charts That Tell You Where Life Is Pretty Terrific

9 Charts That Tell You Where Life Is Pretty Terrific | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

The Paris-based think tank known as the OECD is just out with its semi-annual survey of how different economies stack up in terms of social well-being. (Well-being is basically the polite way economists talk about happiness.) The organization even has a new data visualization to let you see where your country ranks in certain key measures.

Called "Society at a Glance," the report is well worth a read. But here are some of the most interesting bits of data we found, in no particular order.


Via Lauren Moss
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Ma. Caridad Benitez's curator insight, March 20, 2014 11:47 AM

Un análisis de datos a la VENA!

Russell Roberts's curator insight, March 22, 2014 11:20 AM

Thanks to reporter Matt Phillips of "The Atlantic Cities" website for this revealing set of bar graphs. The data were compiled by the French think tank "OECD" and showed where nations placed on the "social well being" or happiness scale.  The United States didn't do well in a number of areas...perhaps this is something our political leadership should study before they pass legislation that costs us much but delivers so little.    Aloha, Russ.

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A Modern Day ‘Harvest of Shame’

A Modern Day ‘Harvest of Shame’ | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Today’s blue collar temp laborers face abuses similar to those of migrant farmworkers depicted in iconic 1960 CBS documentary.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

An unsustainable and ultimately unjust system.

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Crowd-funding solar for your home

Crowd-funding solar for your home | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Homeowners who want to go solar but don't have the cash now have a new alternative, courtesy of Oakland startup Mosaic: Crowd-funding. The company announced Wednesday that it will offer homeowners ...
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Going 'green' is more than shopping at Whole Foods and driving a Prius

Going 'green' is more than shopping at Whole Foods and driving a Prius | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Marc Bamuthi Joseph for Creative Time Reports: Environmentalism in the US today has come to simply mean buying the right products. What if you can't afford them?

Via Anita Woodruff
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Pro-environment does not equal wealthy.

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Tom Perkins still thinks the rich are persecuted

Tom Perkins still thinks the rich are persecuted | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It is hard to believe that this all started with a hedge. Multimillionaire venture capitalist Tom Perkins spoke to a sold-out crowd at San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club on Thursday night. Also in t...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I love the fact that this is something of a dialog and not someone hiding out.  So I do give lots of respect to someone who speaks his mind without having his minions do circuitous things behind the scenes or try to nefariously influence power brokers, editors, etc.  This guy isn't engaging in ad holmium attacks, skulking around internet chat rooms under a fraudulent avatar, or using others to do his "dirty" (for lack of a better word) deeds.

 

But that being said, this is a continued example of the uber wealthy/entitled feeling that they should be able to do (almost) whatever they like.  I take it on face value that his comments about dollars equalling votes was a joke, but that only goes so far.

 

Here's to honest and open dialog.  But we all need to be open to new ideas...not just coming to the debate to push our ideas down to "the little people."  Again, this is only way we will get true dialog and tangible progress towards a more sustainable world.

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The cost of the Sochi games: $19 million per Olympic athlete

The cost of the Sochi games: $19 million per Olympic athlete | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The 2014 Winter Olympics are seven times more expensive than the last Winter Games, and cost $20 billion more than the Summer Games in Beijing.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I don't really want to be overly harsh on the Olympics, but these games seem to have morphed into something of an insane monster of an event.  The lack of true sustainability related interests/programs, the willingness to outright destroy ecological communities (as with Sochi) and bulldoze over the poor and disenfranchised (as with Beijing) is becoming a bit much in my opinion.

Perhaps the clearest sign that something is simply off is the disgusting amount of money that is now expected to be spent on each of these couple week ad campaigns…I mean sporting events.  All kinds of expenditures are common on government or industrial activities.  The issue is the cost vs. benefit.  I regretfully think that we have vastly exceeded an ROI anyone could say was worth it. 

The last profitable Olympics was the 1984 summer Olympics in Los Angeles.  And the ones in totalitarian/oligarchic regimes seem to only foster injustice.  The Olympics are far from the ideals laid out in the Olympic charter.

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Now THIS Is What We Call Green Jobs: The Restoration Industry 'Restores' The Environment And The Economy

Now THIS Is What We Call Green Jobs: The Restoration Industry 'Restores' The Environment And The Economy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Most people associate economic growth with expansion of the human built environment. Constructing more roads and more commercial and residential developments—“gray infrastructure”—means more jobs and a healthier overall economy.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

While I am often hesitant to post stories from Forbes (they often get paid to run favorable stories about industry), this one is notable for its tone given the often anti-environmental bent of most Forbes stories.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, January 24, 2014 7:51 PM

While I am often hesitant to post stories from Forbes (they often get paid to run favorable stories about industry), this one is notable for its tone given the often anti-environmental bent of most Forbes stories.

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The US is dropping bombs quicker than it can make them

The US is dropping bombs quicker than it can make them | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Pentagon’s stockpile of air-to-ground munitions has suffered an unexpected dip — and it may take a long time to restore it.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
I am not so naive as to say "if we weren't spending all this money on bombs, we could have free education" and so forth.  I know this is not a reality: people's propensity to spend money on things is not necessarily a substitutable commodity as some amongst us would have you believe (people donate for tigers...not tiger salamanders).

But one must ask the question: is such high spending and even"denting" of our American armaments pipeline a desirous thing?  Bombs that START AT $25,000 each and go as high as $1,000,000 per shot seems to signal a seriously disturbed state of affairs.  Again, while not sustainability per se, this story certainly seems at least indicative of our current national priorities and the systems for funneling money and time into "important" things.

This is great fodder for discussions of the definition of "sustainability"...in the broadest possible sense.
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Overpackaged Foods

Tags:  food, economic,  food production, agribusiness, agriculture, unit 5 agriculture,

 


Via Seth Dixon
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Are electric cars greener than traditional gas-powered cars? Depends on where you live.

Are electric cars greener than traditional gas-powered cars? Depends on where you live. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Nowhere do automakers sell more hybrid vehicles than California, with its unique combination of environmental consciousness, high gas prices and traffic-choked highways.

But new hybrid models will be in short supply at this week's Los Angeles Auto Show — one sign that the technology is still struggling to break out of its green-car niche, experts say.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

There is nothing new about this analyses, but it is an updating of older efforts with the most recent numbers out there.  It is true that using coal-fired power to juice your your car is problematic, but for most of the county (e.g. coastal areas) most of us would be better off switching to electric transportation systems.  Also, the best possible solution is to power our vehicles with locally-generated power, such as roof top or garage-top solar panels.  

 

The trick is getting this into everyone's hands in an easy, turn-key manner.  I think the tone of this piece misses that key point.  This is an evolving conversation and new technology.  It also needs to be one part of a broad spectrum of approaches to de-carbonizing our energy markets.  Falling back onto the old mantra of "it doesn't work everywhere all the time" is a bit ho-hum and overly simplistic.  Kind of the way some folks feel it is necessary to write an op-ed about their research to get increased attention for it.

 

For those interested in the actual study, you can find it here:

 

http://www.dartmouth.edu/~mansur/papers/GraffZivin_Kotchen_Mansur_MargEmit.pdf

 

There is also an interesting story, in a similar vein, from the LA Times about faltering gas-electric hybrid vehicles at this week's LA Auto show:

 

http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-la-auto-show-no-hybrids-20141121-story.html

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▶ Gains and Gaps: No Ceilings Data Visualization - YouTube

At the 10th Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, No Ceilings: The Full Participation Project previewed a data visualization video that highlighte...
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Can the solution to climate change help eliminate poverty?

Can the solution to climate change help eliminate poverty? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It is clear that climate change and poverty are two separate problems that affect all corners of the world, but can the solution to one help eliminate the other? Ecosystem-based adaptation is becoming more widely recognized as a possible solution to addressing climate change. Although this program does have its setbacks and limitations, it provides a plan to combat climate change while uplifting poverty stricken communities most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

To deal with one and not the other is a fool's errand.

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Kroger, Safeway say no to GM salmon | Undercurrent News

Kroger, Safeway say no to GM salmon | Undercurrent News | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

US retail chains Kroger and Safeway have reportedly made up their minds not to sell Aquabounty salmon, regardless of a pending decision by the US Food and Drug Administration, reported Food Safety News.

 

The decision was released by a coalition of food safety, consumer, health and fishing groups.

 

The two grocery chains are now part of more than 9,000 stores across the country that have rejected carrying Aquabounty’s genetically modified Aquadvantage salmon — regardless of whether the FDA approves it for public consumption, which it has not yet officially done.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, March 10, 2014 12:36 PM

More pushback on GMO salmon.

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Oil, coal and gas disasters that are costing us all

Oil, coal and gas disasters that are costing us all | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Accidents happen. But when they involve toxic chemicals and combustible substances, those accidents can cost a fortune.
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States explore green banks to reduce risk of clean energy projects

After funding fiascos like Solyndra and facing constant political attacks on government clean energy investments, renewable energy advocates are now zeroing in on so-called green banks to finance clean energy projects and to get states to cut fossil fuel use.
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SolarCoin: A currency that represents solar power being produced.

SolarCoin: A currency that represents solar power being produced. | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Incentivizing solar energy for the next 40 yrs.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

SolarCoin is an alternative digital currency. SolarCoin is backed by two forms of proof of work. One is the traditional cryptographic proof of work associated with digital currency.

 

Another proof of work is a Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) or meter record that has been generated and 3rd party verified. SolarCoin is equitably distributed using both of these proofs of work as a means to reward renewable energy production.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, February 10, 2014 12:28 PM

FROM 

Daniel Judd
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As Overseas Costs Rise, More U.S. Companies Are 'Reshoring'

As Overseas Costs Rise, More U.S. Companies Are 'Reshoring' | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Low wages in places like China once attracted U.S. companies. But those wages are going up.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

A true price on carbon emissions would further this trend.

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