Sustainability Science
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A Floating Wind Tower Is Launched in Maine

A Floating Wind Tower Is Launched in Maine | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The tower floats on three hollow concrete tubes and produces 20 kilowatts of power, but a much larger version is planned in the next few years.
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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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Welcome to Sustainability Science

Welcome to Sustainability Science | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Welcome to my curation site for the emerging science of sustainability.

 

Here you will find an array of stories, examples, relevant cautionary tales, and data related to our hunt for a more sustainable economy with a reduced ecological footprint.  While my students, colleagues and I are interested in all aspects of sustainability, these pages have an historc emphasis on:

 

- human population growth rates/demography 

- product design/construction, especially:

    - triple bottomline

    - life cycle analyses (LCA)

    - sustainable supply chains

 - carbon footprints (especially carbon "finprints" of seafood)

 - food production/distribution systems

 - energy production/storage systems, especially:

    - dams and flow diversions

    - wind turbines

    - tidal power

    - solar panel efficiency/material advances

    - fuel cell design/material advances

 - general building design/construction, especially:

     - green roof/wall construction and plant palletes

     - lighting systems

     - elegant design

     - redevelopment/reuse

 - urban planning

 - role of mobile technology in fostering sustainability

 - elegant and effective communication

 

Thanks for visiting.  Please enjoy and let me know if I can answer any questions or be of any other help.

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California's climate change law clears a big hurdle after lobbyists crank up pressure

California's climate change law clears a big hurdle after lobbyists crank up pressure | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Assembly members voted on climate legislation on Tuesday, a key step in extending the state's environmental programs.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Once again, California is leading the way at the institutional level of state government to push down carbon emissions.  We need to do much more, but this is significant progress!
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The Crossing — GlobalPost Investigations

The Crossing — GlobalPost Investigations | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The EU is ignoring international laws it helped found as it tries to turn Morocco into a ‘final destination’ for African migrants.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Fantastic reporting and epic imagery here.  As with other aspects of our planet, if we can't get the refuge crises solved, it will solve itself in less desirable, less just ways.
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ESLRainEvent

Lousiana State University's Earth Scan Laboratory video of NOAA GOES E satellite images of nearly 12 days of thunderstorms, including those that created th
PIRatE Lab's insight:
A few overviews of the flooding this week in Louisiana: 

 from LATimes: http://lat.ms/2bgfCtQ ;

a great discussion (Louisiana climatologist kicks in about halfway through the program) on risk and environmental change:

 

Just to be clear: if your models say that was a "1,000 year rainfall event," then your models need to be updated
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Gov. Brown's attempt to save the planet and his bullet train won't fly

Gov. Brown's attempt to save the planet and his bullet train won't fly | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Gov. Jerry Brown should decide whether he wants to save the planet or his bullet train. Can’t do both, at least before the Legislature adjourns.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
The scourge of nuclear weapons just won't seem to die.  The longer we possess such insane devices, the more likely one will be used.  And using a single device will likely not be the end of it.

To not deal with human population or weapons of planetary-scale destruction is to not be serious about sustainability.

We should note that the Doomsday Clock (http://thebulletin.org/timeline) is 3 minutes to midnight.  Down from 5 minutes a few years ago and 17 minutes in 1991at the end of the (last?) Cold War. 
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The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile

The Subtle Design Features That Make Cities Feel More Hostile | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Think your city doesn’t like you? You’re right.

Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 6, 11:51 AM

Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there.  Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision.  Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.'  These articles from the Society Pages, Atlas Obscura, the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering, skate boarding, and homelessness, which are all undesirable to local businesses.  This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.'  Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).  

    

Tags: urbanplanning, architecture, landscape, place, poverty.

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Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it's taxing those who use it

Who owns the wind? We do, Wyoming says, and it's taxing those who use it | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The world is ready to pay for more renewable energy, and Wyoming has lots of wind. Who owns it? Wyoming decided it did.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Somehow, I don't think anyone ever asked oil: "tell us how much we can tax you before we drive you out of business."

Can you say double standard for renewables vs. fossil fuels.
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Above Manhattan's bustle, a reshaped public space

Above Manhattan's bustle, a reshaped public space | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
In the mid-20th century, it was a railroad; now it’s a public park. Built in the 1930s, 30 feet above the streets of Manhattan, the High Line was crucial for transporting cargo. But with the decline of rail transportation, it closed in 1980 and was abandoned. Almost three decades later, it opened again -- this time, as a shared space for greenery, art and leisure. Jeffrey Brown reports.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
I've posted about the High Line urban park in New York City before.  But this is perhaps the best video I've seen on it.  You get a really nice sense of how the public is seeing/using this park here.
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An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser

An epic Middle East heat wave could be global warming’s hellish curtain-raiser | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Record temperatures scorch countries from Morocco to Iraq, causing major disruptions.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This is the real face and consequences of the world we are inheriting thanks to the forces who refuse to deal with this challenge as adults and responsible citizens of our planet.
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In California's climate debate, state lawmakers push for more authority

In California's climate debate, state lawmakers push for more authority | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Many Democratic assemblymembers believe that not enough money generated from the state's climate change programs are going to their districts and they're wary of extending the entire effort
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Environmental Justice is a very real, very important thing.  But the current focus on California's Air Resources Board and associated critiques smack of politics, not making things more efficient, etc.  

Is this same oversight given to insurance oversight board, office of spill response, etc.?  I think not.  

I suppose it is a vote of confidence that the Air Resources Board has become so "powerful" that it has now become a target of powerful interests. 
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Boyle Heights activists blame the art galleries for gentrification

Boyle Heights activists blame the art galleries for gentrification | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The venerable Eastside art institution gathered artists and community members in its Boyle Heights headquarters to have a talk about gentrification. In no time, the meeting went south as about a dozen mostly young activists, some wearing the brown berets of their 1960s Chicano Movemen
PIRatE Lab's insight:
"Eating one's own" comes to mind here.
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6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water

6 Human Activities That Pose The Biggest Threat To The World’s Drinking Water | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Humans are doing a pretty good job of seriously messing up our drinking water.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Well, these are important point to be sure, but we have left off the most important ones: aggregate human population and gross consumption/draw downs of water sources.

These six are threat to be sure, but "biggest".......?
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Watch as four giant oil companies try to interfere with a California election

Watch as four giant oil companies try to interfere with a California election | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Four giant oil companies are pouring millions into a California Assembly election, and you should ask why
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This should be read as one small case study in the politics of our times.  The ability of powerful donors/industries to hide behind third party groups and Political Action Committees is truly problematic.  As this is California and not federal law, we (eventually) can see (most) of these donors.  It is therefore instructive to see how much money is spent on individual races/initiatives.

To be sure California's somewhat unique ballot initiative process and our state's tradition of beginning policies that work their way around the rest of the country is a major driver of such spending activity and interest.  But still, it is hard to see these most recent ads as something other than a "pay to play" if not an outright quid pro quo for opposition to last fall's law that would have mandated halving our gasoline use by 2030 (a proposed policy that my students' polling showed was supported by more than half of the public and only 25% were unsupportive or undecided on).

Of course our oil and gas industry friends should be able to argue their positions and advocate for particular policies, but doing so through shadow groups or front organizations with likely non-altruistic intent is disappointing and concerning.  We seem to have too much money and its import has risen to gilded age levels I fear.
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In L.A., a walkable neighborhood comes at a price

In L.A., a walkable neighborhood comes at a price | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Nobody walks in L.A., as the saying goes. But many people want to and will pay more to live in more walkable neighborhoods where they can stroll to work, shops and restaurants from home. It’s a rare luxury in most metropolitan areas and one worth thousands of dollars on average, according t
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Walkability tends to be more valuable in places that are already somewhat walkable.

In places such as the wealthy enclaves of Orange County, walkability is far from a priority. Each point raises prices a mere 0.02% in the region, which has a 43.5 Walk Score.  Partly, this is because homes in the area tend to cost more than they would in Atlanta. But, especially in wealthy areas, foot traffic means more crowds and less seclusion. 

In neighborhoods in the top 5% of Orange County’s price spectrum, slightly more walkability actually leads to a $451 price cut, compared with a $8,225 premium for the same demographic in Los Angeles.
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Interactive Climate Map

Interactive Climate Map | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"Obsessed as we are with cartography we in Staridas Geography perceive any aspect of the actual 3D World as a constant opportunity for another pretty map creation!"


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, May 6, 11:35 AM

This is a great interactive map of the world's climate zones. 

 

Tags: ESRIStoryMapedtech, GIS, mapping, cartographyphysical.

Lorraine Chaffer's curator insight, August 19, 7:47 PM

Great map to discuss global distribution of biomes and links to climate 

Sally Egan's curator insight, August 21, 6:24 PM
Fun way for students to learn about the diverse climates around the world, by selecting a location on the map students are shown the climatic data of the selected place.
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NOAA launches America’s first national water forecast model | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA launches America’s first national water forecast model | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
New tool hailed as a game changer for predicting floods, informing water-related decisions
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National Solar Tour coming to a neighborhood near you in October

National Solar Tour coming to a neighborhood near you in October | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Take a tour of local solar installations in October.
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Big Breakthrough for Big Rigs: The EPA’s New Fuel Economy Rule for Trucks - The Equation

Big Breakthrough for Big Rigs: The EPA’s New Fuel Economy Rule for Trucks - The Equation | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
If you haven't yet heard, today the federal government issued a new rule to make sure that our nation's "heavy duty vehicles" (big rigs, delivery vans, garbage trucks, and the like) go almost 40 percent farther on a gallon of fuel. This new rule will reduce global warming emissions by 1.1 billion tons and oil use by 2 billion barrels over the lifetime of the program. This is the single most comprehensive set of fuel economy and global warming pollution standards for heavy duty vehicles ever put in place, and the United States now has the strongest truck fuel economy standards in the world.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
New efficiency standards for semis.
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Op-ed: Walmart's Lousy Worker Policies Extend from Shelves to Sea

Op-ed: Walmart's Lousy Worker Policies Extend from Shelves to Sea | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Reps from Greenpeace and the United Food and Commercial Workers union explain why those organizations are driving a recent campaign against Walmart over worker wellbeing up and down the supply chain.

Via Acquisti & Sostenibilità not-for-profit, pdeppisch
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A tour of California's water supply lays bare the tension between farmers and fish

A tour of California's water supply lays bare the tension between farmers and fish | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The country's largest agricultural water district, Westlands, maintains that California has plenty of water. It's just mismanaged.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This is the consequence of directed efforts to fight environmental regulations via methods demonizing those seeking to make sure we have a healthy, long-term life-support system that perpetuates the remnants of the ecosystems that have thrived in California for many thousands of years.

Very sad state of affairs.  The fact people seek to stoke political wars rather than seeking true solutions that are sustainable and just is pathetic.
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When Parks Were Radical

When Parks Were Radical | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
More than 150 years ago, Frederick Law Olmstead changed how Americans think about public space.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
I would argue that in many parts of our world, parks are still radical and their worth unclear to many.
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The US gets its first offshore wind farm, with a lot of help from Europe

The US gets its first offshore wind farm, with a lot of help from Europe | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The first offshore wind farm is being built off New England this month. The fledgling US industry is borrowing expertise from Europe, where offshore wind has a 25-year head start.
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Sustainable Jet Fuels Have Yet To Takeoff

Sustainable Jet Fuels Have Yet To Takeoff | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Ten years after the formation of an FAA/industry alternative fuels initiative, significant technical progress has been made, but commercialization remains a challenge. Now the White House is adding its support to the fledgeling industry.
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Fixed gear bikes, once a status symbol of cool, are now everywhere

Fixed gear bikes, once a status symbol of cool, are now everywhere | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Cheap Chinese imports have transformed fixed gear bikes from a hipster fad to a mainstream product, fueling the rise of several Southern California cycling companies.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
More bike fads.
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World's largest carbon producers face landmark human rights case

World's largest carbon producers face landmark human rights case | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Filipino government body gives 47 ‘carbon majors’ 45 days to respond to allegations of human rights violations resulting from climate change
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Wow!  This an amazing development.  We have heard of small island nations doing so, but for a major country like the Philippines to take this step is huge.

I suspect this first round will not go very far, but the writing seems to be on the wall for large scale carbon emitters who seem to be resisting reducing emissions.
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When Bush and Cheney doubled down on fossil fuels: A fateful choice for the climate

When Bush and Cheney doubled down on fossil fuels: A fateful choice for the climate | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Liam Downey and Timmons Roberts look back at the Bush-Cheney years and how their response to the U.S.'s oil dependence has impacted climate change today.

Via pdeppisch
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