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.
Curated by PIRatE Lab
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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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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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Half the World Lives on 1% of Its Land, Mapped

Half the World Lives on 1% of Its Land, Mapped | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"Data viz extraordinaire Max Galka created this map using NASA’s gridded population data, which counts the global population within each nine-square-mile patch of Earth, instead of within each each district, state, or country border. Out of the 28 million total cells, the ones with a population over 8,000 are colored in yellow."

 

Tags: population, density, mapping, visualization.


Via Seth Dixon
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Brian Weekley's curator insight, July 27, 10:47 AM
Great simple map of world population.  Scroll down and look at the U.S.  It reflects the global trend.  This also has political implications, as evidenced by voting patterns in the 2012 presidential election.  Elections are dependent upon votes, which come from people, which are primarily clustered in cities.  Election campaigns would use this data to plan their schedules as to where to focus their campaigning efforts.  For the folks in Wyoming, they rarely see candidates other than during the primaries.  And these world populationclusters have been relatively consistent historically, particularly in south and east Asia.  Northern India has serious carrying capacity challenges. Notice the clusters along the Nile- evidence of arable land.
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Next Item on Obama’s Climate Agenda: Airplane Pollution

The airline industry opposes the administration’s plan to curb airplane emissions, saying it could endanger passengers and hurt American companies.
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In Phoenix, an ambitious plan aims to cover 25% of the metropolis with tree shade

In Phoenix, an ambitious plan aims to cover 25% of the metropolis with tree shade | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Phoenix, not known for being green, is planting more trees.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
It would be great if we could use native tree species for this, though.
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Los Angeles Times Summit: Powering Forward | Excerpt: Nancy Sutley

Los Angeles Times Summit: Powering Forward | Excerpt: Nancy Sutley | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
LA Times Summit Energy Panel Nancy Sutley
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Quick summary of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's view of changing power mix.
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Field Notes: Quarry Bay, Hong Kong — Pacific Standard

Field Notes: Quarry Bay, Hong Kong — Pacific Standard | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
As part of an architectural series called Look Up, photographer Andy Yeung reveals the artistry of vertical human development and…
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LA Food Fest's order for zero waste may take a while to fix

LA Food Fest's order for zero waste may take a while to fix | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
It's not easy going green for food festivals. They produce a ton of waste. But the organizer of the LA Food Fest is trying.
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As Japan's population shrinks, bears and boars roam where schools and shrines once thrived

As Japan's population shrinks, bears and boars roam where schools and shrines once thrived | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Japan has begun a white-knuckle ride that will see it shed about one-third of its population – 40 million people – by 2060, experts predict.
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The future of agriculture

The future of agriculture | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Economist offers authoritative insight and opinion on international news, politics, business, finance, science, technology and the connections between them.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This well-researched article totally ignores issues of nutrition, soil health, water supply, food justice, etc.  This is an interesting read to be sure, but at times most closely tracks with big Pharma and the Monsanto-esque approach to food production that is firmly in the driver seat of our food policy these days.  Biotech approaches are truly impressive and are clearly part of the mix now and in the future.  But there are many more layers of the onion here than "simple" technofixes and whiz-bang things that appear to "solve" the hard choices and difficult decisions that are necessitated by a world of perhaps 9 billion very hungry humans.

Thanks to Rachel Langley for flagging this piece.
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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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Food fraud: How do we fight a problem we don’t yet understand?​​

Food fraud: How do we fight a problem we don’t yet understand?​​ | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

"A few years ago, federal food inspectors were walking around the warehouses of the Ontario Food Terminal in Toronto – the nerve centre where much of the province’s fresh produce is bought, re-packaged and sold – when they noticed something unusual.

In the “farmer’s market” area, where only Ontario-grown produce is meant to be sold, the inspectors saw large cartons of greenhouse peppers with conflicting labels. The outside of the boxes had “Product of Canada” stickers, next to visible signs of damage on the cardboard – bits of paper and glue, as if another sticker had been peeled off. And stickers on the inside of the box read “Product of Mexico.”"


Via pdeppisch
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malek's comment, July 30, 10:08 AM
What's food fraud, what product, why? Infographic http://ow.ly/ihUx302LaO3
pdeppisch's comment, July 30, 10:12 PM
Selling a product that is not t5he product: And I think the article names a company that was engaged in it. http://www.cbc.ca/radio/day6/episode-279-playing-ball-on-grass-vs-turf-taytweets-big-fail-narco-subs-fake-food-and-more-1.3514966/the-big-cash-in-counterfeit-food-why-you-might-not-be-eating-what-you-think-you-re-eating-1.3515053 :)
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Not Reality TV

PIRatE Lab's insight:
How unfortunate the climate change is a political issue and science seems the purview of only some of our society.

This short piece on climate change, produced by James Cameron, was created for the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia this week.  It borrows much of the visuals from previously produced documentaries on Climate Change.
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Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay in Some States

Why Home Solar Panels No Longer Pay in Some States | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Utility regulators are upending the financial dynamics of residential solar as they try to meet their obligations to customers who don’t have roof panels.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Again, the altered buy back rates/times is harming future home solar adoption.
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A half-built futuristic ‘eco-city’ is sitting abandoned in the Arabian Desert

A half-built futuristic ‘eco-city’ is sitting abandoned in the Arabian Desert | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Photographer Etienne Malapert visited Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's first self-sufficient development project, and captured remarkable images of the empty streets.
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California's small solution to the housing crisis: Small houses

California's small solution to the housing crisis: Small houses | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Because of a court ruling, no one in Los Angeles is allowed to build second units on their properties. As the city determines a plan, three bills in the Legislature aim to make the process easier
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Housing shortage?  Try easing the process for allowing homeowners to add additional units in their backyards.
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Ecuador Pays $112 mln Award to Chevron

Ecuador Pays $112 mln Award to Chevron | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Ecuador has paid $112 million to energy company Chevron Corp over a four-decade-old contract dispute, even though it remains in
PIRatE Lab's insight:
This is unrelated to the oil spill case still working its way through the courts.
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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Biodiesel (Charts and Graphs Included!) - The Equation

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Biodiesel (Charts and Graphs Included!) - The Equation | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Biodiesel by the numbers.
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The Challenge of Making Data Publicly Accessible

PIRatE Lab's insight:
A key part of sustainability is open access to data we can all use and interrogate ourselves.  It is often a monumental task to get data out of agencies.  I hope this improves in the near future.
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Debate brews over proposed Southwest L.A. skyscraper

Debate brews over proposed Southwest L.A. skyscraper | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Opposition builds to a proposed Southwest L.A. skyscraper
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Again, the question is: how should we develop?
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How to remake the L.A. freeway for a new era? A daring proposal from architect Michael Maltzan

How to remake the L.A. freeway for a new era? A daring proposal from architect Michael Maltzan | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Architect Michael Maltzan has a proposal to wrap the 134 Freeway as it crosses the Arroyo Seco with a tunnel-like form that produces power, captures stormwater and reduces noise and pollution.
PIRatE Lab's insight:
Neat idea!
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What China's successful reforestation program means for the rest of the world

What China's successful reforestation program means for the rest of the world | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
China is growing a lot of trees: Here's why that news might not be as great you might think
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