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Sustainable Futures
Things to do, consider and act on to create a sustainable future for people and planet
Curated by Flora Moon
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At Vatican, Mayors Pledge Climate Change Fight

At Vatican, Mayors Pledge Climate Change Fight | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The two-day conference was the first time the Vatican specifically invited local officials to address the issue, hoping to keep pressure on world leaders.

Via Andrew Winston
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Andrew Winston's curator insight, July 27, 9:04 AM

Two important elements of the expanding battle against climate change come out of this story. (1) The local. Mayors (and governors) will build pressure from below on national leaders to be bolder, but they also bring the climate issue to citizens who may listen more to local leaders, and they drive action on both mitigation and adaptation at the local level. (2) The moral. The Pope continues to push his 'we're all connected' social/environmental message on climate here. (see my summary of the Pope's encyclical and best quotes...http://bit.ly/1KthCL9). Action on climate is building.

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The Future of Cycling in Munich Could Be 'Bike Autobahns'

The Future of Cycling in Munich Could Be 'Bike Autobahns' | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

The new paths would be aimed not at jump-on, jump-off cyclists, but at riders taking longer journeys.

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Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: 7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City

Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space: 7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

This blog entry by Ben Welle, 7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City," is reprinted with permission from the World Resources Institute, which just published a report, Cities Safer by Design, on this topic.

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The Fifth Estate | The debate we nearly had on pricing nature

The Fifth Estate | The debate we nearly had on pricing nature | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

We should price nature to protect it. That was the topic up for debate at the IQ2 event that attracted several hundred people in Sydney on July 21. “Price” and “nature” were the moving targets in this debate hosted by The Ethics Centre. It seemed to be successful however in changing people’s minds, but why?

At the outset some 53 per cent of attendees were on the affirmative side of the debate but only 36 per cent retained their view at the conclusion. Some 20 per cent took the negative position initially but this rose to 51 per cent, with many from the “undecided” category joining their ranks.

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Can UK's solar industry survive without subsidies?

Can UK's solar industry survive without subsidies? | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Putting solar on the chopping block may damage the industry badly at a time when it just needs that last push to become independent

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From a Million Miles Away, a New NASA 'Blue Marble' View of Earth

From a Million Miles Away, a New NASA 'Blue Marble' View of Earth | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

A fresh view of our “blue marble” from a remarkable instrument in orbit 1 million miles away.

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How Istanbul Improved Air Quality by Putting Pedestrians First | TheCityFix

How Istanbul Improved Air Quality by Putting Pedestrians First | TheCityFix | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Motorized vehicle emissions are a primary cause of air pollution and yield some of the most adverse impacts on public health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to heavy traffic—even living near a major road—harms health and increases mortality rates. In 2012 alone, outdoor air pollution caused 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide, 88 percent of which occurred in low and middle-income countries.


In response, pedestrianization projects in cities worldwide are demonstrating that transforming car-oriented streets into walkable environments can generate a range of benefits—from higher levels of physical activity to greater economic activity. Istanbul, for example, has been a leader for pedestrianized communities and is demonstrating that making streets about people—not cars—can produce concrete benefits for all.

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No, Mass Transit Does Not Cause Gentrification

No, Mass Transit Does Not Cause Gentrification | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

A new study of New York City finds that incomes do go up with subway access, but there are other crucial factors at play.

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Eye drops could spell the end of cataract surgery

Eye drops could spell the end of cataract surgery | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
People suffering from cataracts aren't exactly flush with options when it comes to restoring their vision. But new research suggests a less invasive solution might be on the way by treating them with a naturally occurring molecule through a simple eye drop.
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London economy vulnerable to climate change, assembly report finds

London economy vulnerable to climate change, assembly report finds | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Mayor Boris Johnson urged to act as over half of the largest 100 companies listed on London Stock Exchange are found to have no plans to deal with climate risks

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Expanding Growth and Opportunity: Findings from the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation

Expanding Growth and Opportunity: Findings from the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
In 2011, Brookings and the Rockefeller Foundation launched the Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation (PSMI), a five-year initiative to expand economic growth and opportunity in metropolitan regions. To better understand the impact of the project, Brookings has undertaken research to document state and metro area implementation and progress toward more productive and inclusive economic growth.
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Yale Environment 360: Algae Could Be Environmentally Friendly Livestock Feed, Research Finds

Yale Environment 360: Algae Could Be Environmentally Friendly Livestock Feed, Research Finds | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Algae could replace corn as feed for cattle and other livestock, according to findings published in the Journal of Animal Science. Algae — hardy microorganisms that can grow in a variety of environments and laboratory settings — require less fertilizer, water, land, and herbicides than corn, and thus could prove to be an environmentally friendly alternative for livestock feed, researchers say. The materials used in the new study were remnants of algae grown and processed for other applications, such as cosmetics, cooking oil, and biofuels, and would otherwise have been burned as waste. The researchers found that even these pre-processed leftovers were able to provide the same amount of protein as corn, along with slightly more fat. Cattle in the study readily ate the algae at a variety of concentrations and maintained their body weight as well as corn-fed cattle. Researchers say the algal meal could be priced to compete with corn and could be on the market by 2016.

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PaperJohn puts a sustainable shopping bag on your back - Images

PaperJohn puts a sustainable shopping bag on your back - Images | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Plastic carrier bags are typically petroleum-based, take a long time to decompose and are often imported from distant countries. They're also tricky to carry when cycling. The new PaperJohn tackles all of these issues. It's a backpack made of biodegradable, 100 percent recycled paper.
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How Much Water to Make a Cup of Tea? The Importance of Product Water Footprinting for Businesses | Sustainable Brands

How Much Water to Make a Cup of Tea? The Importance of Product Water Footprinting for Businesses | Sustainable Brands | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
So how much water goes into a cup of tea? Somewhere around 30 litres of water is required for tea itself, 10 litres for a small dash of milk and a further 6 litres for each teaspoon of sugar.
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Yale Environment 360: Synthetic Coral Could Remove Mercury Pollution From Ocean, Study Finds

Yale Environment 360: Synthetic Coral Could Remove Mercury Pollution From Ocean, Study Finds | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Chinese researchers have constructed a type of synthetic coral that could help remove toxic heavy metals like mercury from the ocean, according to a report in the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. Mercury can be especially toxic to corals because they very efficiently adsorb heavy metals, the scientists note. They took advantage of that ability to create a synthetic coral that can bind and remove mercury pollution in water. The coral-like structure is covered with self-curling nanoplates made of aluminum oxide — a chemical compound that can collect heavy metals. The scientists found that the synthetic coral structure could bind mercury 2.5 times more efficiently than aluminum oxide particles alone. According to the World Health Organization, up to 17 in every thousand children living in areas relying on subsistence fishing showed cognitive declines caused by eating mercury-contaminated fish.

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We Can't Count on El Niño Alone to End California's Drought

We Can't Count on El Niño Alone to End California's Drought | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Drought isn’t just about supply—it’s also about human demand.

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Foodroom Gardening: No Rows, No Woes

Foodroom Gardening: No Rows, No Woes | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
I keep trying to imagine a future time when all human beings would be responsible for their basic food necessities just as they are responsible for their own bodily cleanliness and cooking meals.
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The Fifth Estate | What exactly is a precinct?

The Fifth Estate | What exactly is a precinct? | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Sustainability with a local or precinct flavour is of growing interest, but what exactly is a precinct? Murray Hogarth, one of the founders of the Total Environment Centre’s Smart Locale, found this was a critical question in establishing the new group

Flora Moon's insight:

Good insights about the importance of establishing common definitions.

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Mayor Bill de Blasio pledges to cut New York carbon emissions by 40% by 2030

Mayor Bill de Blasio pledges to cut New York carbon emissions by 40% by 2030 | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

De Blasio, one of several US mayors at Vatican climate change summit, says papal encyclical ‘is not a call to arms, it is a call to sanity’

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Just How Well Do Street Murals Calm Traffic?

Just How Well Do Street Murals Calm Traffic? | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
A Canadian city is the latest to try preventing collisions with public art.
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Walkonomics: What Makes the Best Route?

Walkonomics: What Makes the Best Route? | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Most smartphone map apps give you several direct routes to get from Point A to Point B, but the quickest or most convenient path isn’t always the most enjoyable. Those interested in finding the mos...
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How to Make Cities Safer by Design | TheCityFix

How to Make Cities Safer by Design | TheCityFix | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Traffic crashes claim 1.28 million each year, and will be the world’s fifth-largest cause of death by 2030 unless we improve road safety. The impact of these crashes falls disproportionally on cities in the developing world, with 90 percent of all deaths occurring in low- and middle-income countries. In Sao Paulo, more than 1,300 people die from traffic crashes every year; in Delhi, it’s more than 1,500.


While those who use the roads have historically been seen as responsible for these shocking numbers, the responsibility also can rest with road system designers and urban decision makers. A new WRI report, Cities Safer by Design, shows how basic design principles can save lives on urban streets.


As urban populations grow, with more city dwellers using cars to get around, the risk rises for the most vulnerable on city streets: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.  The United Nation’s Decade of Action on Road Safety initiative has focused attention on the issue.

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Scientists: we are 'condemning' forest elephants by ignoring evidence

Scientists: we are 'condemning' forest elephants by ignoring evidence | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Jeremy Hance: As the ivory trade threatens to obliterate forest elephants, conservationists and governments fail to recognise them as a distinct species despite rising genetic and physical evidence

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7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City | TheCityFix

7 Proven Principles for Designing a Safer City | TheCityFix | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Traffic accidents kill more than 1.2 million people every year, nearly the same amount that die from HIV/AIDS. But there’s an undervalued approach to making the world’s roads safer—good urban design.

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10 Strategies for a Stronger, Greener Economy | TheCityFix

10 Strategies for a Stronger, Greener Economy | TheCityFix | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Nossa Cidade (“Our City”), from TheCityFix Brasil, explores critical questions for building more sustainable cities. Every month features a new theme. Leaning on the expertise of researchers and specialists in WRI’s sustainable urban mobility team in Brazil, the series will feature in depth articles on urban planning, sustainable mobility, gender, resilience, and other key themes for sparking more sustainable development in our cities.

In an interview with TheCityFix Brasil, Felipe Calderon, former President of Mexico and President of the Global Climate Economy Commission, emphasized the role that sustainable urban growth plays in climate change mitigation: “We need to build new urban infrastructure and create more compact and well connected cities. The way we build our cities and transportation systems will determine our economic performance, residents’ quality of life, and the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced over the next decades.”

The world is taking notice of this urgency. The role of cities in tackling climate change will be will be just one of the issues discussed in September at the International Congress Cities & Transport. Some of the voices that we’ll hear from include Sam Adams, former mayor of Portland (USA); Rachel Biderman, director of WRI Brazil; Nelson Franco, climate change manager for the City Hall of Rio de Janeiro; and Délio Malheiros, vice mayor and environment secretary of Belo Horizonte.

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