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Aiming for Truly Sustainable Buildings

Aiming for Truly Sustainable Buildings | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
A growing list of eco-friendly construction technologies enables developers to go beyond LEED certification.
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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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Natural Architecture, According to Humans

Natural Architecture, According to Humans | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Woven branches. Green bamboo, curved while young to harden in place. Hives, nests, rookeries, and domes. These are just some of the natural materials -- and forms -- featured in the book Natural Ar...
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Yale Environment 360: Wind Energy Prices at All-Time Low, According to U.S. Report

Yale Environment 360: Wind Energy Prices at All-Time Low, According to U.S. Report | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

The cost of wind power in the U.S. is at an all-time low of 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, and utility companies are in some cases electing to use wind as an energy source over fossil fuels because of its low cost. Although wind power grew modestly in 2013 — installations were only 8 percent of those seen in the record year of 2012 — it now meets 4.5 percent of U.S. energy needs, producing enough electricity to power 16 million homes. The country ranks second only to China in installed wind capacity, the report says, and wind power accounts for 33 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions since 2007. That progress has been heavily dependent on federal, state, and local incentives, however, and wind power's growth could slow if those incentives expire. Its viability could also fall if natural gas becomes more affordable than wind, the report cautions.

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Why Portland Is Building a Multi-Modal Bridge That Bans Cars

Why Portland Is Building a Multi-Modal Bridge That Bans Cars | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The first of its kind in the U.S., the Tilikum Crossing will reflect the city's enduring transit culture.
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The Transition Movement: Questions of Diversity, Power, and Affluence - Part 2

The Transition Movement: Questions of Diversity, Power, and Affluence - Part 2 | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
This raises the question: To what extent can the Transition movement avoid the pain, hardship, and conflict historically associated with significant social movements...?
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Recycling Old Batteries into Solar Cells

Recycling Old Batteries into Solar Cells | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
This could be a classic win-win solution: A system proposed by researchers at MIT recycles materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.
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Understand faulty thinking to tackle climate change - opinion - 18 August 2014 - New Scientist

Understand faulty thinking to tackle climate change - opinion - 18 August 2014 - New Scientist | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The amorphous nature of climate change creates the ideal conditions for human denial and cognitive bias to come to the fore, says George Marshall
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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, August 18, 6:06 PM

Discussions about economics, meanwhile, invariably turn into self defeating cost-benefit analyses. Stern offers a choice between spending 1 per cent of annual income now, or risking losing 20 per cent of it in 50 years' time. This language is almost identical to that Kahneman used two decades earlier in his experiments on loss aversion. Is it surprising that when a choice is framed like this, policy-makers are intuitively drawn towards postponing action and taking a gamble on the future?


If cost and uncertainty really are universal psychological barriers, it is hard to explain why 15 per cent of people fully accept the threat and are willing to make personal sacrifices to avert it. Most of the people in this group are left wing or environmentalists and have managed to turn climate change into a narrative that fits with their existing criticisms of industry and growth.


Conservatives may justify climate inaction on the grounds of cost and uncertainty but they, too, are able to accept both as long as they speak to their core values. As former US vice-president and climate sceptic Dick Cheney said: "If there is only a 1 per cent chance of terrorists getting weapons of mass destruction, we must act as if it is a certainty."

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IEA report implies US crude production may start to peak 2016

IEA report implies US crude production may start to peak 2016 | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
When it becomes apparent that US tight (shale) oil has peaked, there will be a public confidence crisis because the media are parroting the oil and gas industry’s claim that shale oil is an energy revolution and game changer. Indeed, the game will change, but in unexpected ways.
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Vanishing river gorge shows geology in fast forward - environment - 17 August 2014 - New Scientist

Vanishing river gorge shows geology in fast forward - environment - 17 August 2014 - New Scientist | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Normally erosion takes thousands of years, but this river valley could vanish just 50 years after it formed
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The Cities That Spend The Most On Bike Lanes Later Reap The Most Reward

The Cities That Spend The Most On Bike Lanes Later Reap The Most Reward | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Investing in a network of fully separated bike lanes could save cities huge sums in the long-term. But too little investment in wimpy infrastructure...

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Angry Bear » Head scratching use of water

Bottled water is not a significant part of water use compared to agricultural use, but certainly has a heavy footprint in plastic bottles. I believe tap water and well water is pretty safe to drink throughout the US, so what is the appeal??

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International Youth Day: Reflections on the Importance and Promise of Young People

International Youth Day: Reflections on the Importance and Promise of Young People | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
While millions of youth continue to face challenges and undergo associated psychological impacts, progress is being made. In honor of Youth Day's theme, Mental Health Matters, Julia Gillard reflects on the importance of investing in youth, their futures, and the inclusion of mental health treatment.
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Angry Bear » Farmers and who gets the money

AT a farm-to-table dinner recently, I sat huddled in a corner with some other farmers, out of earshot of the foodies happily eating kale and freshly shucked oysters. We were comparing business models and profit margins, and it quickly became clear that all of us were working in the red.

Flora Moon's insight:

We reap many benefits from the small scale farmer. They're losing money.  How can we help them sustain profitably?

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Enterprise Green Communities Criteria Being Updated - CleanTechies

Enterprise Green Communities Criteria Being Updated - CleanTechies | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
In 2015 the use of LEED v4 will become mandatory, a new 2015 International Green Construction Code will be available, an updated ASHRAE 189.1 will be published, the new ICC 700 National Green Building Standard will be approved, and there will be a 2015 Enterprise Green Communities Criteria. In the arena of green building standards,Read More
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Green Whiskey: Scottish Distillery To Be Powered by Combined Heat and Power Plant

Green Whiskey: Scottish Distillery To Be Powered by Combined Heat and Power Plant | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Scotland’s Macallan whisky distillery is set to get most of its heat requirement from a combined heat and power plant part-funded by the government.
Flora Moon's insight:

even more reason to love Macallan's!

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Stephane Bilodeau's curator insight, Today, 5:56 PM

The maker of Scotland’s national tipple will get about 90 percent of the steam it needs in the distillation process from the 74-million pound ($124 million) Estover Energy Ltd. biomass project in Speyside, the U.K. Green Investment Bank said today in an e-mailed statement. The bank, alongside John Laing Plc, plans to invest 26 million pounds in the project.

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Why the World Smells Different After It Rains

Why the World Smells Different After It Rains | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Behold, the wonders of petrichor.
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Community supported enterprise – how might that work?

Community supported enterprise – how might that work? | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
One of the REconomy Project’s aims is to find new ways that communities can provide support and investment to local enterprises, who in turn offer benefits back to the community – not just in terms of jobs – but also strengthened local resilience, minimal environmental impacts and fairer ways of trading and profit-sharing.
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The Power of Collective Energy Purchasing

The Power of Collective Energy Purchasing | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
"We can't do it as an individual, but four hundred communities aggregating and asking for local wind power and solar power — that's really powerful." Oak Park, IL, is one of hundreds of Illinois towns using their authority to buy electricity in bulk on behalf of its residential and s
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What Underwater Canyons Can Teach Us About the Future of Urbanism

What Underwater Canyons Can Teach Us About the Future of Urbanism | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
New measures to protect deep-sea ecosystems show a new "blue" approach to urban planning.
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Unlikely Suspects – Deep Outreach: Resilience for Whom, and to What End? - “Transitioning for All”

Unlikely Suspects – Deep Outreach: Resilience for Whom, and to What End? - “Transitioning for All” | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
It’s time to ask some thorny questions of the Transition movement. We need look no further than Kingston, the first capital of New York, to begin.
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A New Frontier for Fracking: Drilling Near the Arctic Circle by Ed Struzik: Yale Environment 360

A New Frontier for Fracking: Drilling Near the Arctic Circle by Ed Struzik: Yale Environment 360 | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Hydraulic fracturing is about to move into the Canadian Arctic, with companies exploring the region's rich shale oil deposits. But many indigenous people and conservationists have serious concerns about the impact of fracking in more fragile northern environments.
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3 Clever Ideas To Re-Use San Francisco's Aging Infrastructure

3 Clever Ideas To Re-Use San Francisco's Aging Infrastructure | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Called SF RE:MADE, San Francisco-based IwamotoScott Architecture propose up-cycling Candlestick Park and two other out-of-use waterfront landmarks, the Hunters Point Crane and the Islais Creek Silos, providing alternative uses for aging 20th-century structures whose original purposes have become outdated.


Via Lauren Moss
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Suzette Jackson's curator insight, August 17, 5:28 PM

Regenerative design requires a certain boldness by government, the courage to acknowledge when infrastructure is outdated and the future is on a different path. Kudo to SF RE:MADE

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Year Long Study of Net-Zero Energy Home Completed Successfully

Year Long Study of Net-Zero Energy Home Completed Successfully | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
It has now been a year since the Net-Zero Energy Residential Test Facility (NZERTF) in Washington DC has been built and its energy harvesting capabilities began to be monitored. The home was built on the campus at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), where scientists and researchers conducted a computer simulation that replicated the energy consumption of a family of four. The results showed the home to be a success, since after a ...
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Pricing Carbon: A Carbon Tax or Cap-And-Trade?

Pricing Carbon: A Carbon Tax or Cap-And-Trade? | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Charles Franks weighs in on the risks and benefits between a carbon tax and cap-and-trade in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.
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Integrating Immigrants: Outcomes Not Attitudes Matter | Newgeography.com

Integrating Immigrants: Outcomes Not Attitudes Matter | Newgeography.com | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Many modern economies struggle with integrating foreign-born into their labor markets. In particular, low-skilled immigrants from poor countries experience high unemployment and a range of related social problems. Much has been written about the extent of the problem. In many Western European cities, entire communities of migrants are living in social and economic exclusion. The state of poverty is often persists among their children.

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A Concept ‘Vertical City’ Skyscraper That Supports An Ecosystem

A Concept ‘Vertical City’ Skyscraper That Supports An Ecosystem | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

London-based design and academic research architecture practice SURE Architecture has designed and developed a concept skyscraper with multiple functions.
Called ‘Endless City’, the organic skyscraper is built around six steel tubes with an “endless” ramp that goes around the building from the ground floor, all the way up to the top. 
It also features energy-saving and waste management elements that give the building another purpose—supporting an ecosystem. Plazas and communal spaces will occupy most parts of the skyscraper. 
According to the architects, the shape of the skyscraper “attempts to maximize passive energy and reduce artificial lighting and ventilation”...


Via Lauren Moss
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Norm Miller's curator insight, August 18, 11:15 AM

This is not yet a real building, only a concept but it does continue the idea of integrating natural processes.