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California's Central Valley Slammed By Record Air Pollution

California's Central Valley Slammed By Record Air Pollution | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
FRESNO, Calif. — This is the time of year when residents who often live with the nation's worst pollution often can draw a breath of fresh air. But this winter has not been kind to people who want to play outside in California's Central Valley.
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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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The Plain Bad Economics of Today’s Energy Prices | World Resources Institute

The Plain Bad Economics of Today’s Energy Prices | World Resources Institute | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Yesterday, Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the IMF, launched the latest book in a series on what good fiscal policy should look like in a world of environmental externalities. The message was clear: Ministers of finance and economics should design their tax systems skillfully so as to tax bad things, like pollution and congestion, rather than good things like work and profit. Not to do so is plain bad economics.
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Angry Bear » How We Reduce Poverty, and How “The Market” Doesn’t

Angry Bear » How We Reduce Poverty, and How “The Market” Doesn’t | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
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How Conservation and Groundwater Management Can Gird California for a Drier Era

How Conservation and Groundwater Management Can Gird California for a Drier Era | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Experts see a mix of conservation and groundwater management as the cheapest way for Californians to grapple with deepening drought.
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Why Community Land Rights Belong in the Sustainable Development Goals | World Resources Institute

Why Community Land Rights Belong in the Sustainable Development Goals | World Resources Institute | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
A U.N. working group of 70 member states recently adopted a proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. The “post-2015” SDGs will aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 while also supporting inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. While the proposal puts forward a plethora of targets for the international community to pursue between 2015 and 2030, it leaves out a critical component of improving rural livelihoods—securing community land rights.
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California Farms Sink Wells as Record Drought Escalates

California Farms Sink Wells as Record Drought Escalates | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Rod Cardella, a Mendota, California, grower of wine grapes, onions and almonds, had to wait a year to have a fourth water well dug on his property as the record drought gripping the most populous U.S. state increased demand for groundwater.
Flora Moon's insight:

Now is the time to stop and consider whether we are trying to perpetuate a non-sustainable agricultural model and do something about it before the water runs out...

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Metal-based durables manufacturers are fueled by electricity and natural gas - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Metal-based durables manufacturers are fueled by electricity and natural gas - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
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20 Urban Food Forests from Around the World

20 Urban Food Forests from Around the World | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The concept of a food forest has its roots in permaculture, a philosophy that advocates for managing agricultural landscapes in harmony with nature.
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Three Geothermal Bills Look to Speed Up US Development

Three Geothermal Bills Look to Speed Up US Development | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
On Tuesday, July 29, there were two hearings in U.S. Congress subcommittees that are significant to the geothermal industry. A House subcommittee discussed three bills, with two specifically relating to geothermal development, while a Senate subcommittee looked at permitting needs.
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The Price Is Wrong: New Report Calls for Fossil Fuel Prices that Reflect Environmental Costs | World Resources Institute

The Price Is Wrong: New Report Calls for Fossil Fuel Prices that Reflect Environmental Costs | World Resources Institute | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
A new report from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Getting Energy Prices Right: From Principle to Practice, argues that the costs of coal, natural gas, gasoline, and diesel fail to account for these fuels’ environmental and social impacts—such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and traffic deaths. Setting prices that reflect these side effects — through taxes, licensing, or cap-and-trade systems — could reduce deaths from fossil fuel-related air pollution by 63 percent, decrease global carbon dioxide emissions by 23 percent, and generate revenues totaling about 2.6 percent of global GDP.
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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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Geothermal Visual: Comparing the Geothermal Permitting Process to Other Technologies

Geothermal Visual: Comparing the Geothermal Permitting Process to Other Technologies | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
The visual below, prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), shows the average length of time for the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) review process for geothermal projects as compared to the timelines for average solar and wind development, as well as for oil and gas. The longer
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The ABCs of Building Energy Efficiency: Which Building Certification is Right for You? - CleanTechies

The ABCs of Building Energy Efficiency: Which Building Certification is Right for You? - CleanTechies | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
DOE. LEED. USGBC. EPA. ISO. The number of certifications for energy efficiency, as well as the organizations that can help guide you, can make your head swim. Does the EPA have anything to do with LEED? Can the USGBC help me with my DOE? It can be quite confusing, for sure. One thing we allRead More
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Forest Loss and Climate: Empowering Communities Can Help | World Resources Institute

Forest Loss and Climate: Empowering Communities Can Help | World Resources Institute | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
In an op-ed written for LiveScience, Andrew Steer discusses how strengthening forest rights for indigenous communities can protect forests and combat climate change.
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A Fly With Unique 'Ears' Becomes Inspiration For New Hearing Aid

A Fly With Unique 'Ears' Becomes Inspiration For New Hearing Aid | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
Biomimicry has again inspired a creative team of scientists. This time it's the Ormia ochracea,
a tiny fly with exquisitely acute directional hearing ability, that has
become the model for the next generation of hearing aids being modeled
by engineers at the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of
Texas at Austin.
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The Circular Economy meets The Access Economy

The Circular Economy meets The Access Economy | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
What would we be capable of if we combined the existing strength of the Circular Economy with the emerging juggernaut of the Access Economy?
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Urban Cores, Core Cities and Principal Cities | Newgeography.com

Urban Cores, Core Cities and Principal Cities | Newgeography.com | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it
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We're Moving Beyond Energy Efficiency Into 'Demand Destruction'

We're Moving Beyond Energy Efficiency Into 'Demand Destruction' | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Hybrid cars, solar panels, and LED lightbulbs aren't just reducing our energy consumption—they're totally upending it.

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The 2014 Brookings Blum Roundtable: Jump-starting Inclusive Growth in the Most Difficult Environments

The 2014 Brookings Blum Roundtable: Jump-starting Inclusive Growth in the Most Difficult Environments | Sustainable Futures | Scoop.it

Kemal Derviş, Strobe Talbott and Richard C. Blum preview this year's Brookings Blum Roundtable, which focuses on how inclusive growth can be jump-started in the most difficult environments.

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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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