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These Are the Streets You Want to Avoid When You're Riding Your Bike

These Are the Streets You Want to Avoid When You're Riding Your Bike | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Whether you're a commuter or a leisure rider, when you head out on your bicycle you want to be safe. That could mean wearing a helmet, making sure your bike's tuned up, or avoiding the streets where the most bicycle crashes happen. That last part just got a little easier, thanks to these data-derived maps by You Are Here.
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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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Human population growth's effects on global warming

Human population growth's effects on global warming | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Earlier this month, Pope Francis made news when he said that not only was climate change real, but it was mostly man-made. Then, last week, he said that couples do not need to breed “like rabbits” but rather should plan their families responsibly — albeit without the use of modern contraception.

Via Garry Rogers, Anita Woodruff
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Garry Rogers's curator insight, January 25, 2:25 PM

Good.  We need more like this.  We need to delete the third-rail image from population and bring public pressure to bear on our politicians. 

V. C. Bestor's curator insight, January 26, 11:25 AM

Ladies devoted to Creation can save species from humans: the Garden of Eden has elbow room for all God's critters. 

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Tropical deforestation threatens global food production

Tropical deforestation threatens global food production | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
ROME (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Tropical deforestation in the southern hemisphere is accelerating global warming and threatening world food production by distorting rainfall patterns across Europe,
PIRatE Lab's insight:

I'm not sure I would characterize Brazilian management as a "wonderful success story" but the overall global pattern is clear.  We simply don't have the capacity to stop altering these systems and we beginning to see real, realized feedback loops on larger atmospheric patterns necessary for food production, silvaculture, etc.

 

Here is the original paper:

 

http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n1/full/nclimate2430.html

 

If you would like to see the current boogy man for deforestation (and want to be kept up at night with worry) check out the latest disappointing news from Indonesia:

 

http://www.eco-business.com/news/half-indonesias-deforestation-occurs-outside-concession-areas/

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It's Official: 2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record

It's Official: 2014 Was the Hottest Year on Record | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Deny this. NOAA's monthly temperature data show the Earth's climate warming over 135 years, animated here in less than 30 seconds.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

When you look at overall global temperatures over time, you see a rising line and new heat records set. Instead of just one line though, Tom Randall and Blacki Migliozzi for Bloomberg split up the time series by year and animated it.

 

Each year is overlaid on top of the other with a new time series in each frame. The dotted line rises too as new records are set, and as time passes, the older time series lines fade to the background.

 

You still get the rising effect as you would with a single time series over the past 135 years, but this view provides more focus to the increase, closer to present time.

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PIRatE Lab's curator insight, January 19, 9:16 PM

An interesting way to present the data: time.

 

By making this an animation, you clearly can see the rapid change in recent decades quite clearly.

Anastasia Wei's curator insight, January 20, 1:47 AM

Impressive..

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2015 National Zero Waste Business Conference 2015

2015 National Zero Waste Business Conference 2015 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
U.S Zero Waste Business Council, Zero Waste Companies
PIRatE Lab's insight:

On May 5-7, 2015, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (www.uszwbc.org) will host its 4th annual national conference, "The Stars of Zero Waste," in partnership with the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation. The event will provide educational resources, professional training for businesses to start (or complete) their efforts to pursue Zero Waste, and presentations by industry leaders on Zero Waste business operations, economics, policies, and more. Professionals from all sectors (private, public, nonprofit, academia) are invited to gain practical knowledge, explore new business opportunities, and learn how to create healthier, more productive, and more efficient businesses. Please visit the USZWBC website (www.uszwbc.org) for more information including early bird registration, sponsorship opportunities, conference topics and much more.

 

Special offer for CHESC network: enter the code “nzwbc15CHESC” during registration and a set of 20% off discounted rates will appear!!! Register today at www.uszwbc.org!

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Japan’s birth rate problem is way worse than anyone imagined

Japan’s birth rate problem is way worse than anyone imagined | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Japan’s population shrank by its largest amount on record in 2014.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

It's hard to predict the future, especially when humans are involved. Oftentimes, there are just too many variables to control for to estimate accurately. In the chart above from the Washington Post Wonkblog, Japan's fertility rate is plotted against various forecasts over the years, and you see forecasts headed upwards, but in reality it decreased consistently since the 1970s. This is based on work from Katagiri, et al (pdf).

 

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The Energy Numbers From 2014

The Energy Numbers From 2014 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

Sometimes energy makes headlines, sometimes it doesn’t. But it almost always has important implications for the global economy, the environment, and our day-to-day lives.

 

Here are ten energy statistics from 2014 that capture some of the most noteworthy trends of the year, and that will shape the energy world in the years to come.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

Some of these are obvious, but many of these were surprising to me.  None less so than the push to get California solar home arrays westward oriented to help with peak afternoon electricity demand.

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Social impacts of carbon emissions on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy

Social impacts of carbon emissions on economic growth warrant stringent mitigation policy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Integrated assessment models estimate the impact of climate change on current economic output, but not on its rate of growth. This study modifies a standard integrated assessment model to allow climate change to directly affect gross GDP growth rates. Results show that climate change significantly slows down GDP growth in poor regions but not in rich countries, with implications for the level of near-term mitigation.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

The social cost of carbon (SCC) or the economic damage caused by a ton of carbon dioxide emissions—which the United States uses to guide energy regulations and, potentially, future mitigation policies—is $37 per ton according to a recent U.S. government study or, according to a new study by Stanford researchers published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, six times that value.


The Stanford scientists say the current pricing models fail to reflect all the economic damage each ton of CO2 causes and that a higher value on that damage could change policy.


“If the social cost of carbon is higher, many more mitigation measures will pass a cost-benefit analysis,” said study co-author Delavane Diaz. “Because carbon emissions are so harmful to society, even costly means of reducing emissions would be worthwhile.”


“For 20 years now, the models have assumed that climate change can't affect the basic growth rate of the economy,” said study coauthor Frances Moore. “But a number of new studies suggest this may not be true. If climate change affects not only a country’s economic output but also its growth, then that has a permanent effect that accumulates over time, leading to a much higher social cost of carbon.”


But William Pizer, a faculty fellow at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions who has worked on andrecommended regular updating of the SCC estimate, questioned the methodology of the Stanford analysis, pointing out that it relied on the impact on national economies of short-term temperature spikes rather than on long-term trends that might reveal permanent economic reductions.

 

“To me, it just seems like it has to be an overestimate,” Pizer said of the Stanford result of $220 (subscription required). “I think it's great they're doing this,” he added. “I just think this is another data point that someone needs to weigh as they're trying to figure out what the right social cost of carbon is. But this isn't like a definitive new answer.”

 

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State to double down on AB 32’s failure? Really?

State to double down on AB 32’s failure? Really? | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The 2006 law didn't inspire the world at all. It just made energy more costly.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Wow!  Talk about a fact-free editorial!  This is a wonderful example of how folks who don't believe in climate change operate: simply make false allegations and cherry pick previous statements to make it seem as if folks trying to make forward progress with carbon emissions are stupid/ignorant/disingenuous.

 

Clearly, anti AB 32 folks are running scared and feel the need to go fact free to make their case.

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Obama administration plan will aim to slash methane emissions

Obama administration plan will aim to slash methane emissions | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Obama administration on Wednesday will announce an aggressive new plan to combat global warming by targeting the methane emissions released through oil and gas production, according to a summary of the initiative obtained by the Los Angeles Times.
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Western Australia's mining boom ebbs along with China's economy

Western Australia's mining boom ebbs along with China's economy | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Joe Norton, a large man with a sun-burnt face, digs into a plate full of beef, potatoes, carrots and Brussels sprouts at Searipple, a mobile-home camp in Australia's western frontier.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Life in the non-so sustainable world of boom-and-bust extractive industries.

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Tom Steyer gets little payoff for millions spent on green issues

Tom Steyer gets little payoff for millions spent on green issues | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Environmentalists had something in their arsenal for Tuesday's election they never did before: a billionaire benefactor willing to empty his pockets of tens of millions of dollars to bring climate change to the forefront of political debate and elect candidates committed to fighting global warming.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

This is the man who would apparently seek to be the next Senator from California, replacing retiring Senator Boxer in the next election.

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Council for Watershed Health

Council for Watershed Health | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

How is the golf industry responding to short term drought and a longer term compelling need to reduce its water footprint? Can golf courses help us capture and clean storm water? Can they act as a filter for petrochemicals, heavy metals, and pharmaceuticals? What are the game’s leaders and partnering organizations doing to take the state’s 866 golf courses off the potable grid, and what’s next on the game’s agenda for even more sustainable design and management? And how can the golf industry’s experiences inform the management of other large landscapes?

Join us on Tuesday, February 3 for a sustainable landscape seminar showcasing innovations in efficient irrigation, turf reduction, recycled water, water reuse, and stormwater infiltration in this era of dwindling water resources. This program will bring together municipal officials, landscape architects, golf course superintendents and water efficiency professionals to examine existing programs, highlight case studies and determine the future for sustainable golf course design and management.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

This looks like it could be quite interesting, but I teach on Tuesdays.

 

I've posted previously about the raft of golf course-related news stories in the LA Times over the past year or two.  They are great and well received, but I can't help but think that golf courses (for all their pesticides, eutrophication, non-natives, and water consumption) have something of a massive bulls eye on their backs.  Many courses have made significant strides in reducing water consumption, although the data are not as transparent as we would like them to be.

 

See:

 

http://sco.lt/6pkIMr

 

And then (just to make sure we are keeping everything real) there is my old Stanford nemesis:

 

http://ecowatch.com/2014/07/21/battle-stanford-water-golf-course-protect-steelhead-drought-dam/

 

 

 

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The FAA Calls Amazon's Bluff on Taking Drone Delivery Overseas

The FAA Calls Amazon's Bluff on Taking Drone Delivery Overseas | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Earlier this week, Amazon threatened to take its drone delivery program overseas—the FAA says that won't happen.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Hmmm."calls their bluff?"  This looks more like: pushing the to move all of their R&D to the UK.

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The foldable Solight Solarpuff solar-powered lantern provides off-grid light where there is no electricity

The foldable Solight Solarpuff solar-powered lantern provides off-grid light where there is no electricity | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The Solight Solarpuff is a lightweight, pop-up, solar-powered LED lantern that provides a sustainable lighting source where access to electricity is limited.

Via Anita Woodruff
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Group updates green label forestry standards

Group updates green label forestry standards | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it

An organization that certifies lumber and paper products as environmentally sustainable has upgraded its standards, but critics say the Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards and enforcement remain weak. SFI President and CEO Kathy Abusow said the upgrade released Wednesday came out of a ­regular five-year reassessment. It tightens standards on clearing large areas of ­forest, damaging wetlands, and using pesticides. The revision comes as the environmental group ForestEthics ­issued a report comparing SFI cert­ification audits in ­Canadian forests with audits by the Forest Stewardship Council, the other leading forest certification organization.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The battle between the two leading third-party certification organizations for forest products is heating up.

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Wealth Inequality: Having it all and wanting more

Wealth Inequality: Having it all and wanting more | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Global wealth is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a small wealthy elite. These wealthy individuals have generated and sustained their vast riches through their interests and activities in a few important economic sectors, including finance and insurance,
PIRatE Lab's insight:

In a report released Monday, the anti-poverty group Oxfam says that if current trends persist the richest 1 percent will own more than 50 percent of the world’s wealth by 2016. “The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering,” Oxfam’s executive director said in the statement. “The gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast.”

The statement was actually released in the form of a letteraddressed to leaders gathering in Davos, Switzerland this week for the World Economic Forum. Income inequality is likely to come up. Symptoms of the growing wealth gap are numerous. While the world’s billionaires continue to add billions to their bank accounts, billions of people around the world still live on less than $2 a day. And the wealth gap is truly a global problem. Countries from China to the United States are considering taxes to address the problem. US President Barack Obama is expected to make it a central point of his State of the Union speech this week. But, as Oxfam says in its report, the lobbying power of the world’s top corporations could present a “major barrier” to any kind of global tax reform.

 

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California Higher Education Sustainability Conference: July 20-24 @ SF State

The California Higher Education Sustainability Conference (CHESC) highlights cutting-edge research, as well as case studies with proven successes in curriculum development, operational programs, and community partnerships. This unique event is jointly organized by independent / private colleges, California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California creating the opportunity for dialogue across institutions.

PIRatE Lab's insight:

The planning for CHESC 2015 is well under way!  We have

Built new partnerships (please see the announcement from our co-marketing sponsor, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council, who is offering a 20% discount on registration to their 4th Annual USZWBC National Zero Waste Business Conference for the CHESC community);Launched our exhibiting and sponsorship drive (see below for details on the new interactive exhibit hall space and e-marketing opportunities);Are days away from announcing this year’s call for proposals (expect an announcement next week and check out the opportunity below to participate on our speaker selection committees); andHave started a social media campaign to promote best practices from California colleges and universities.  Please share your best practices with us at chescsocialmedia@gmail.com and follow us at:

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CHESC

 

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/cahigheredusustainabilityFacebook

 

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1538490636369246/

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Pope Francis Plans to Have Human Ecology Encyclical Finished in March

Aboard the papal plane, during an in-flight press conference on his way to the Philippines, Pope Francis said he plans to have his much-anticipated encyclical on man's relationship with creation finished in March.

“At the end of March, I think it will be completed,” he told journalists aboard the papal plane Jan. 15. “I think that if the translations go well, in June or July, it could come out.”

 

A year ago this month, the Vatican had announced the Pope's plans to write on the theme of “human ecology,” a phrase that was originally coined by retired pontiff Benedict XVI.

 

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'We're probably drinking plastic'

'We're probably drinking plastic' | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Commonly used in cosmetic products, microscopic beads have been found in Cayuga Lake

Via AimForGood
PIRatE Lab's insight:

We appear to be in early phases of the pushback surrounding microplastics.  See also: 

 

http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/

 

http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/313157701/why-those-tiny-microbeads-in-soap-may-pose-problem-for-great-lakes

 

http://ag.ny.gov/pdfs/Microbeads_Report_5_14_14.pdf

 

http://www.plasticsoupfoundation.org/en/2015/01/simply-laundry-possibly-biggest-source-plastic-pollution/

 

And some more general plastic related health effects as suggested by colleagues:

 

http://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2014/06/german-beer-contaminated-with-plastic/

 

http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2014/feb/fish-heart-valves-1

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Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route

Nebraska high court tosses suit over Keystone pipeline route | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska's highest court threw out a challenge Friday to a proposed route for the Keystone XL oil pipeline, even though a majority of judges agreed the landowners who sued should have won their case.…
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Environmentalists and other opponents of the pipeline have highlighted the potential for extraction and transport of crude from Canada’s tar sands to contaminate water, pollute air, and harm wildlife. But the congressional republicans, the oil industry, and other pipeline backers argue that Keystone will lead to jobs and increase oil independence as well as strengthen bonds with Canada.  Er...or maybe we should say would lead to perhaps 2,000-3,000 temporary jobs for perhaps 2 years.

 

“Boosting American-made energy results in more American jobs and improved international relations," said Rep. Leonard Lance. "This is a winning combination for our Nation’s economy, our national security and a centerpiece in our relationship with our ally, Canada.”

 

Rep. Adam Smith had a different take: “Rather than focusing on Keystone XL, we should be working on bigger picture investments in clean energy and energy efficient technologies that will reduce our dependence on fossil fuels that hurt our environment.”

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Ramping up production of affordable Tesla may take years, Elon Musk says

Ramping up production of affordable Tesla may take years, Elon Musk says | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
DETROIT — A day after General Motors Co. unveiled a prototype of an affordable, long-range electric vehicle by 2017, Tesla Motors Inc. 's chief executive, Elon Musk , said it could take until 2020 to put a comparable mass-market EV into full production.
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MAGAZINE: Maximum Yield - January 2015

MAGAZINE: Maximum Yield - January 2015 | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
January is a good time to reflect on the last year in the garden and analyze what went well and what didn’t, then set goals to help you boost the performance of your plants going forward. If one of your goals this year is to try something new, then this issue is for you.

Via Αλιεία alieia.info
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Los Alamos lab contractor loses $57 million over nuclear waste accident

Los Alamos lab contractor loses $57 million over nuclear waste accident | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
The contractor managing the nuclear weapons laboratory at Los Alamos, N.M., was slapped with a $57-million reduction in its fees for 2014, largely due to a costly nuclear waste accident last year.
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Absolutely amazing!  I never thought I would see the day when the department of energy would actually discipline nuclear contractors in any real way for performance failures.  Unbelievable.  Clearly a step in the right direction and a step to properly internalizing the externalities associated with fission-based weapons and power plants.

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The American Oil Trade Deficit Has Never Been Lower

The American Oil Trade Deficit Has Never Been Lower | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
Total petroleum imports fell to $23 billion, the lowest level since August 2009
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Great!  Now we can buy more SUVs!

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Green tape

Green tape | Sustainability Science | Scoop.it
WHAT are the economic effects of environmental policies? It sounds painfully obvious, but the answer depends on how strict those policies are. So how do you quantify...
PIRatE Lab's insight:

Interesting that the "cost" so many anti-regulation types love to tout are almost assuredly incorrectly calculated.  There is great benefit in well-palnned, effective regulations for the sake of protection (not rise management or policy for the sake of policy).

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