Sustainable Futures
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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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Man-made 'breathing' leaf is an oxygen factory for space travel - CNET

Man-made 'breathing' leaf is an oxygen factory for space travel - CNET | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
An artificial leaf converts water and light to oxygen, and that's good news for road-tripping to places beyond Earth.

One of the persistent challenges of manned space exploration is that pesky lack of oxygen throughout much of the universe. Here on Earth, trees and other plant life do us a real solid by taking in our bad breath and changing it back to clean, sweet O2.

So what if we could take those biological oxygen factories into space with us, but without all the land, sun, water, soil, and gravity that forests tend to require? This is the point where NASA and Elon Musk should probably start paying attention.

Royal College of Art graduate Julian Melchiorri has created the first man-made, biologically functional leaf that takes in carbon dioxide, water, and light and releases oxygen. The leaf consists of chloroplasts -- the part of a plant cell where photosynthesis happens -- suspended in body made of silk protein.

"This material has an amazing property of stabilizing (the chloroplast) organelles," Melchiorri says in the video below. "As an outcome I have the first photosynthetic material that is living and breathing as a leaf does."

In addition to its potential value to space travel, Melchiorri also imagines the technology literally providing a breath of fresh air to indoor and outdoor spaces here on Earth. The facades of buildings and lampshades could be made to exhale fresh air with just a thin coating of the leaf material.

But perhaps best of all, a man-made breathing leaf could be the key to not just space travel but space colonization. No need to figure out how to till that dry, red Martian dirt to get some nice leafy trees to grow; we could just slap them on the inside of the colony's dome and puff away.


Via Wildcat2030
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Nonhydro renewables now routinely surpass hydropower generation - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Nonhydro renewables now routinely surpass hydropower generation - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
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We Can’t Have Social Justice Without Environmental Sustainability

We Can’t Have Social Justice Without Environmental Sustainability | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The interests of people and the planet are bound together and depend on each other.
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Summer Reading List

Summer Reading List | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

I'll be on vacation for the next week or so. So I won't be posting. People often ask me for book recommendations, and I should probably put together an urbanism reading list. But until I do that I'...

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Secret language of penguins decoded

Secret language of penguins decoded | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Six distinctive calls made by African or 'jackass' penguins express the birds' ecstasy, love, hunger, anger and loneliness
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A Grand Vision of a Potential US Energy System

A Grand Vision of a Potential US Energy System | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
If all energy production channels were employed, the United States has sufficient resources to eliminate all coal, gasoline and diesel combustion in all demand sectors and replace them with natural gas, wind and solar electricity firmed and shaped with both grid-scale and distributed energy storage.
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Local Communities Playing Vital Role in Marine Conservation

Local Communities Playing Vital Role in Marine Conservation | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
...it’s good news that a first of its kind assessment of community-led marine conservation in the Western Indian Ocean adds to growing evidence that marine conservation works best when local communities are responsible for fisheries management.
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The New Deal: A Framework for Moving Beyond Fragility

The New Deal: A Framework for Moving Beyond Fragility | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
George Ingram examines the key elements of the New Deal, an accord between the g7+ and donor countries that creates a framework for how those countries can move from fragility to sustainable development.
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23 Food Sharing Projects That Are Disrupting Hunger

23 Food Sharing Projects That Are Disrupting Hunger | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Food is one of our most basic needs. And yet, for over 800 million people, food insecurity remains a daily issue.
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Biomimicry Lessons for Business from Amy Larkin and Katherine Collins

Biomimicry Lessons for Business from Amy Larkin and Katherine Collins | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

At an event entitled “Biomimicry + the Regenerative Economy" in NYC, experts Amy Larkin and Katherine Collins share lessons business can learn from nature.

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Japan Bets on Hydrogen’s Potential to Diversify Energy Sources

Japan Bets on Hydrogen’s Potential to Diversify Energy Sources | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The hydrogen market in Japan is set to expand to 1 trillion yen ($9.8 billion) by 2030 and 8 trillion yen by 2050, according to a government report.
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Pop-Up Books Make Environmental Science Easy-Peasy For Kids

Pop-Up Books Make Environmental Science Easy-Peasy For Kids | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Author Christiane Dorion distills complex scientific concepts into bite-sized explanations. "You can teach anything to children if you pitch it at the right level and use the right words," she says.
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How Can Laws Promote Bicycling? | Streetsblog.net

How Can Laws Promote Bicycling? | Streetsblog.net | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Over coming months, we’re breaking down the building blocks of a Bicycle Friendly Community, and the first step is a solid legal foundation. While we’ve made many gains over the years, there are still plenty of examples “legal impediments” to bicycling. Last week, we looked at those impediments in more detail. Today, I’m looking at the oppostie: the city ordinances that improve or promote bicycling, which is a good marker for a Bicycle Friendly Community.

 

One easily visible example is a bicycle parking ordinance like the one in Santa Monica, Calif., which not only ensures an adequate supply of racks at destinations, but also requires event organizers to have monitored bicycle parking for 200 – 250 bikes if attendance is expected to reach 1,000 or more (requiring 3 attendants).

 

Better yet, the Santa Monica Bike Center, a non-profit and League Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business, is often contracted to provide this service, and the funds raised subsidize and expand the Center’s educational programs. When other event participants come to realize how much easier it is to arrive by bike (and have free parking valet service!) the word spreads and events become bicycle attractors rather than a frustrating cause of increased congestion.

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The Growth and Spread of Concentrated Poverty, 2000 to 2008-2012

The Growth and Spread of Concentrated Poverty, 2000 to 2008-2012 | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
While poverty increased and spread in the 2000s, it also became more concentrated in high-poverty and economically distressed neighborhoods, and those neighborhoods were increasingly located in the suburbs. By 2008-2012, the suburbs accounted for 40 percent of residents living in such areas in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas. Elizabeth Kneebone explains why this increased concentration of poverty in suburban communities can pose greater challenges.
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Indigenous Seed Savers Fight Climate Change with Biodiversity

Indigenous Seed Savers Fight Climate Change with Biodiversity | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
As farmer Mamani stated, “It’s time traditional knowledge and science work together.”
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Beating the Heat: Hotel Reduces Cooling Costs by 44 Percent with New Solar Carport

Beating the Heat: Hotel Reduces Cooling Costs by 44 Percent with New Solar Carport | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

  It’s hot in Bakersfield, California, especially during the summer months when temperatures regularly hit 110 degrees. But as The Hampton Inn & Suites Bakersfield North-Airport is discovering, the sun also has its advantages for reducing utility costs and increasing customer acquisit

Flora Moon's insight:

I had the good fortune to meet Arjun Makhijani who has long advocated the "solarization" of parking lots.  Perhaps a business opportunity presents itself.  Solar panels not only providing power for operations and energy to the grid, but charging all those Teslas and other electric vehicles that will be hitting the road soon.....

 

If you have not read Makhijani's book, Carbon-free and Nuclear-free published by IEER Press, now might be a good time to look.

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A peek at a possible post-peak oil future

A peek at a possible post-peak oil future | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Over the past decade, a number of thinkers have tried to imagine how a post peak-oil, energy-descent future might manifest.
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Making Sustainability a Human Imperative with a New MFA Program

Making Sustainability a Human Imperative with a New MFA Program | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
For humans to be sustainable, we need a world filled with more people who are creative, visual, passionate, broadly curious, generalists, integrators, listeners, systems thinkers and doers, and people who know how to create lives filled with both success and purpose
Flora Moon's insight:

As a change management leader I think the program described in this article is a good amalgam of left and right brain "training."

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Massachusetts SREC Clearinghouse Auction Underway — Here’s What You Need to Know

Massachusetts SREC Clearinghouse Auction Underway — Here’s What You Need to Know | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The Massachusetts solar renewable energy credit (SREC) market is undoubtedly one the most complex incentive programs. Among its complexities is the annual clearinghouse auction mechanism, which allows SREC sellers the opportunity to auction their SRECs at the end of each summer for a fixed price of
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Implementing the New Deal for Fragile States

Implementing the New Deal for Fragile States | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
In this new paper, George Ingram and colleagues assess the New Deal implementation, which aims to support development efforts in fragile states, and the critical factors to achieving success.
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The Power of Partnerships in Scaling Learning

The Power of Partnerships in Scaling Learning | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
As a part of our Millions Learning project, Jenny Perlman Robinson speaks with former Prime Minister of Australia and CUE Distinguished Fellow Julia Gillard about key elements needed to scale quality education for children and youth, and in particular, the critical role partnerships can play in that process.
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Behavioural tracking and neuroscience are tools for sustainable innovation

Behavioural tracking and neuroscience are tools for sustainable innovation | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Let's ditch sustainability surveys which tell us consumers pay more for sustainability - they don't. New tools, used responsibly, can properly analyse behavioural patterns

Via Willy De Backer
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Willy De Backer's curator insight, July 29, 4:48 PM

Very interesting article on consumer behaviour and sustainability.

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TERA (Tracked Earth Repair Apparatus) For Large Scale Earth Repair

TERA (Tracked Earth Repair Apparatus) For Large Scale Earth Repair | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
“Mechanized labour” in the form of earthmoving equipment, tractors, and the myriad attachments that may be utilized in conjunction with
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German Water Supply Threatened as Climate Change Boosts Droughts

German Water Supply Threatened as Climate Change Boosts Droughts | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
German water supplies will become increasingly threatened this century as climate change raises the risk of droughts and water shortages in the country.
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Making Good Food Affordable

Making Good Food Affordable | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

I'm always stunned at how uninformed many people are regarding the nutritional benefits (and costs) of the food they buy and eat. 

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