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Zero Footprint
We absolutely can reduce the ecological footprint of humanity all the way down to zero!
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Does The Future Of Humanity Lie In Space? | PlanetSave

Does The Future Of Humanity Lie In Space? | PlanetSave | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Given the current state of our technology, it is unlikely we will be venturing far into space this coming century. However over this same time period we will face tremendous challenges here on Earth. For our species to survive into the 22nd century, we will need to find ways to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, solve a host of related environmental problems, and stabilize our population. This will need to happen within the lifetime of many people who are alive today. Achieving such a transformation requires that we turn away from unsustainable growth-based models of resource use, and transition to a steady-state economy.


The Kardashev scale suggests that our energy requirements will continue to increase indefinitely as our civilization develops. However, as we saw above, the future of humanity depends on us being able to stabilize our numbers and live sustainably on the Earth. This implies that our energy consumption will inevitably reach a peak sometime in the next century, and flatten out thereafter. Planetary limits dictate that this must be so. Our civilization simply cannot advance fast enough to allow to us to perfect space travel before we run up against the limits imposed by nature.


If we consider the alternative hypothesis that any civilization destined to survive in the long term would have evolved to a steady-state economy long before they perfected space travel, then it is quite possible that there could be millions of such civilizations scattered through the universe, each quietly going about their own business. This is probably the best option for a long-term sustainable future for the human race. It is a future which most likely will include space travel, but not one in which space travel is a prerequisite for our survival.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

We will have to learn to live sustainably before we have time to escape into space.  In fact, it might be much more challenging to try to live sustainably beyond the planet.

 

Stabilizing population is NOT the the primary problem, however.  Rather, a small but stable percentage of the population, the richest 7%, is causing half of the environmental problems, whereas the poorest 93% of the world is much closer to being sustainable already.

 

And once we achieve Zero Footprint, where the average footprint per person is also 0, more people won't increase the footprint.

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Powering the US with Renewables: A State-By-State Roadmap

Powering the US with Renewables: A State-By-State Roadmap | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

What does it take to convert a city, a state, a nation, to 100 percent renewable energy? Many countries are giving it a go with very ambitious goals to be 100-percent powered by renewable energy (islands seem to have a leg up). But what about right here in the U.S., how could that be achieved for this nation? And since all politics is local (and most especially true for renewable energy policies), how could it be done by individual states?


Back in 2011 Stanford professor Mark Jacobsen envisioned what that might require, and followed that up with an analysis of how to accomplish it in New York State. (Our coverage of that, by the way, was by far our most commented story in recent memory.) Now he's extended his analysis to all 50 U.S. states, laying out a resource roadmap to how each of them could meet 100 percent of their energy needs (electricity, transportation, heating) through renewable sources by 2050 — excluding nuclear, ethanol and other biofuels.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Everyone needs to make similar plans for how they are going to get to 100% renewable energy.

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Google's Next Goal: To Stop Deforestation with Global Forest Watch

Google's Next Goal: To Stop Deforestation with Global Forest Watch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Deforestation has long been cited as a problem, but a lack of accessible data meant that the general public had to take someone's word for the figures. As a result, its threat always seemed more abstract and nebulous than, say, climate change or rising sea levels.

 

Until now: Google has unveiled its Global Forest Watch, an online tool that monitors deforestation around the world in near-real time.


Via Lauren Moss
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Antonio Lopez's curator insight, February 28, 2014 6:05 AM

One role of media should be to act like those speed monitors we see that tell us how fast we are going. Hopefully a program like Google's Global Forest Watch can help us monitor deforestation in real time.

thinking peasant's curator insight, February 28, 2014 6:51 AM

maybe they have not gone over to the dark side for good?

Daniel LaLiberte's comment, March 10, 2014 11:59 AM
Another writeup at: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26287137
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Readers Respond Day 3: Can We Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy?

Readers Respond Day 3: Can We Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Several countries have announced ambitious goals to be powered completely by renewable energy, while other nations set smaller, incremental goals. These high aspirations have sparked quite a debate amongst industry experts, and we here at Renewable Energy World are curious to hear what you, our readers, have to say.

 

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Given that we have 1000s of times more renewable energy available to us than all the energy we currently use, and the costs are only coming down, as fossil fuel costs are going up, this seems like an obvious "Absolutely".

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The surprising value of waste

The surprising value of waste | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
In the 'sanitation value chain,' human waste, with the proper infrastructure, is turned into a valuable commodity. Collecting, storing, and recycling waste into valuable byproducts, such as fertilizer, can create work and renewable resources, the thinking goes.

 

Statistics point to 2.5 billion people worldwide affected by a lack of access to proper sanitation. But factor in where their waste ends up—dumped into rivers and waterways used for drinking, and leached into soil—and that number reaches closer to 4 billion.

 

"When it comes to sanitation it's no longer a question of, 'Can you bring someone a good toilet?' If that's the answer we would have already solved it," Auerbach says. "You need to address the entire sanitation value chain to solve the challenge."

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Addressing the full lifecycle of all the resources we consume and the waste that results is essential for coming to terms with true sustainability.  

 

Where we can already create effective businesses around total resource lifecycle management, so much the better, but there are likely to be some situations in which we must charge fees to waste producers, so we can subsidize 100% recycling.

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100 Solutions Wanted for Global Sustainability Campaign | EcoWatch

100 Solutions Wanted for Global Sustainability Campaign | EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

What are the 100 solutions that can make real a sustainable society? Scandinavian think tank, Sustainia, today launches a global campaign to find the answers.


With a worldwide campaign alliance of companies and organizations, the goal is to identify the world’s 100 leading sustainability projects and technologies across sectors such as food, fashion, energy, smart homes etc. Collectively, the solutions form a comprehensive guide to state-of-the-art sustainability practices in industries and regions.


“The Sustainia100 campaign is for the people and by the people. For too many years, we have been waiting for a political breakthrough,” says Erik Rasmussen, founder of Sustainia.

 

“We cannot afford to wait longer. With Sustainia100, we identify the leading available solutions that make it possible to start building a sustainable future today.” 


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Individual sustainable solutions are great, and we need them, but we also need to keep in mind what the sum total effect will be of all our activities.  Will it be enough and will it be soon enough?  

 

In order to achieve true sustainability, the overall goal is 100% renewable energy and 100% recycling.  We also must reverse the centuries of damage we have inflicted on the environment.

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Sustainability Squared: How We Can Sustain Both the Environment and the People

Sustainability Squared: How We Can Sustain Both the Environment and the People | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Imagine a world in which all people enjoyed a decent modern lifestyle without unduly degrading the natural resources on which future generations will depend. In such a world, people would live healthy, safe, well-educated lives, with ample opportunity to do productive and rewarding work, in a democratic, egalitarian society. Scandinavian nations already come much closer than the United States to providing such a lifestyle, with far lower per capita natural resource consumption.(Source: Dollars & Sense)


How can everyone—including residents of impoverished developing countries—enjoy such a lifestyle without wrecking the earth’s land, water, and air? In fact, we already have—or can easily develop—the necessary technology. It requires far less input of natural resources but often more input of labor; in short, it creates more and better jobs.

 

Such technology does not mean regressing to some primitive state. It just means shifting the proportions of labor and natural resources, and—by raising demand for labor—necessarily compensating labor better.

 

That’s what sustainability squared means. We can have it all; we can save the environment using existing technology to create decent jobs and better lives for everyone.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Just being more efficient helps, but it is not quite enough.  We need to understand how to we can eliminate any further degradation of the environment and actually reverse the current damage; and we can do this once we switch to 100% renewable energy and begin recycling 100% of our resources.  

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Fukushima Pledges To Go 100 Percent Renewable by 2040

Fukushima Pledges To Go 100 Percent Renewable by 2040 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The region is still struggling to recover from the devastating impacts of the 2011 nuclear meltdown.

 

“Tokyo is shoving nuclear power plants and nuclear waste to other regions, while enjoying the convenience (of electricity) as a big consumer,” Hosokawa said during a late January news conference. “The myth that nuclear power is clean and safe has collapsed. We don’t even have a place to store nuclear waste. Without that, restarting the plants would be a crime against future generations.”


Fukushima currently gets 22 percent of its energy from renewable sources. In November, a 2-megawatt offshore wind turbine started operating about 12 miles off Fukushima’s coast. Two more 7-megawatt turbines are in the planning stages. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has said that total offshore wind capacity may reach up to 1,000 megawatts.

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Countries Vow to Form Africa Clean Energy Corridor

Countries Vow to Form Africa Clean Energy Corridor | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Nineteen countries have pledged to create an Africa Clean Energy Corridor to exploit the continent’s vast renewables potential.

 

The corridor is designed to boost the deployment of renewable energy and help meet Africa’s rising energy demand with clean power from renewable sources such as hydro, geothermal, biomass, wind and solar.  


IRENA’s director-general Adnan Z. Amin said the corridor would “provide the continent with the opportunity to leapfrog into a sustainable energy future.”

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Developing countries must "leapfrog into a sustainable energy future", rather than follow in our dirty fossil fueled footsteps.

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Even India could reach nearly 100% renewables by 2051 : Renew Economy

Even India could reach nearly 100% renewables by 2051 : Renew Economy | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
A report says India could reach near 100% renewable energy by 2051 - but there are huge barriers to overcome.

 

When the world thinks of countries that could go 100 per cent renewable, the immediate thoughts go to islands with solar and storage, hydro and geothermal rich countries such as Iceland, or even wind and wave-rich countries like Scotland.


WWF says that to get there India must make some large-scale changes to get on the right track as soon as possible. According to the report, aggressive energy efficiency improvements alone can bring in savings of up to 59 per cent (by both the supply and demand sides) by mid-century.



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Symbiotic fungi inhabiting plant roots have major impact on atmospheric carbon, scientists say

Symbiotic fungi inhabiting plant roots have major impact on atmospheric carbon, scientists say | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Some types of symbiotic fungi can lead to 70 percent more carbon stored in the soil.

 

"Natural fluxes of carbon between the land and atmosphere are enormous and play a crucial role in regulating the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and, in turn, Earth's climate," said Colin Averill, lead author on the study and graduate student in the College of Natural Sciences at UT Austin. "This analysis clearly establishes that the different types of symbiotic fungi that colonize plant roots exert major control on the global carbon cycle, which has not been fully appreciated or demonstrated until now."


Soil contains more carbon than both the atmosphere and vegetation combined, so predictions about future climate depend on a solid understanding of how carbon cycles between the land and air.

"This study is showing that trees and decomposers are really connected via these mycorrhizal fungi, and you can't make accurate predictions about future carbon cycling without thinking about how the two groups interact. We need to think of these systems holistically," said Averill.

 

The researchers found that this difference in carbon storage was independent of and had a much greater effect than other factors, including the amount of plant growth, temperature and rainfall.

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Our World Runs on Energy - YouTube

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Video

 

Most of our energy comes from fossil fuels.  There is another way.  We have learned how to harness the sun and the wind, the rivers and oceans, energy from under the earth and above it, from plants and animals.

 

We are rich in this energy.  It doesn't run out, and it is all around us. It gives more people more access to electricity, helping them rise out of poverty and create employment.  It reduces carbon emissions, protecting our environment from climate change, and it makes economic sense today!

 

All over the world, people are doing the maths and concluding that renewable energy is the best way forward.

 

The world is rallying around a renewable future.  We live in a transformative moment, on the right side of history.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

With enough energy, we can also produce all the clean water we need, and grow all the food we need, and recycle 100% of our waste back into useful products, and we can do it all without degrading the environment, if we switch to 100% renewable energy.


"We live in a transformative moment, on the right side of history."


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Mike Biddle: We can recycle plastic | Video on TED.com

Less than 10% of plastic trash is recycled -- compared to almost 90% of metals -- because of the massively complicated problem of finding and sorting the different kinds.

 

Frustrated by this waste, Mike Biddle has developed a cheap and incredibly energy efficient plant that can, and does, recycle any kind of plastic. 

 

"The good news is we are starting to recover materials from our end-of-life stuff and starting to recycle our end-of-life stuff, particularly in regions of the world like here in Europe that have recycling policies in place that require that this stuff be recycled in a responsible manner. Most of what's extracted from our end-of-life stuff, if it makes it to a recycler, are the metals."

 

"So what are we to do about this space-age material, at least what we used to call a space-aged material, these plastics?"

 

"We eventually broke the code. This is the last frontier of recycling. It's the last major material to be recovered in any significant amount on the Earth. And we finally figured out how to do it. And in the process, we started recreating how the plastics industry makes plastics."

 

"We have significantly lower capital costs in our plant equipment. We have enormous energy savings. I don't know how many other projects on the planet right now can save 80 to 90 percent of the energy compared to making something the traditional way."

 

"So now, instead of your stuff ending up on a hillside in a developing country or literally going up in smoke, you can find your old stuff back on top of your desk in new products, in your office, or back at work in your home."

 

"So I hope I've changed the way you look at at least some of the stuff in your life. We took our clues from mother nature. Mother nature wastes very little, reuses practically everything. And I hope that you stop looking at yourself as a consumer -- that's a label I've always hated my entire life -- and think of yourself as just using resources in one form, until they can be transformed to another form for another use later in time."


Via Renew Cities
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

Excellent. I wasn't aware that the recycling of plastics had advanced so far.  And this is 2.5 years ago.

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Renewable Energy Revolution: The Biggest Business Opportunity on the Planet | EcoWatch

Renewable Energy Revolution: The Biggest Business Opportunity on the Planet | EcoWatch | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The world has seen three major energy epochs. The first started when we harnessed fire to cook, keep warm and light our nights. The second began when we figured out we could burn condensed ancient swamp muck (first coal, soon oil) to power our cars and radios. The third epoch only recently began.


Energy, the world’s largest industry, is undergoing a tectonic shift. It’s time to stop hedging our bets. It’s time to embrace the idea that we have the power to transition the entire planet to 100% clean, renewable energy.


The shift didn’t come out of nowhere. For decades, we’ve been developing better clean energy technologies, even as the fossil fuel industry has (literally) dug itself into a very deep hole.


The overall trend is clear. Our energy world is turning upside down. All over the world, it’s starting to make more financial sense for people to power their lives with clean energy rather than dirty fuels.


100% is Already Happening

 

One hundred is not only achievable, it’s fast becoming the new normal.

To get a sense of our moment, google “100 percent clean energy” or “100 percent renewable energy.” You’ll find that major companies, cities, states, regions, and even countries are all operating under a new energy paradigm.  https://www.google.com/search?q=100+percent+renewable+energy&oq=100+percent+renewable+energy


The transition to 100% clean energy is inevitable. The only questions are how fast we can do it and who will benefit from the investments we need to make.


100% is a movement about abundance and possibility. It’s about taking charge of creating the world we all want to see and driving forward the set of solutions we need so our children will inherit a healthier, happier and more prosperous world than the one we were born into.

 

Updated graphic at: https://joinmosaic.com/blog/end-fossil-fuels/


Via kate gilmartin
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The energy transition tipping point is here - Chris Nelder

The energy transition tipping point is here - Chris Nelder | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
The economic foundations supporting fossil fuels investments are collapsing quickly, as the business case for renewables such as solar and wind finds a new center of balance.

 

The soaring cost of producing oil has far outpaced the rise in oil prices as the world has relied on these marginal sources to keep production growing since conventional oil production peaked in 2005.


Nuclear and coal plant retirements are being driven primarily by competition from lower-cost wind, solar, and natural gas generators, and by rising operational and maintenance costs. As more renewable power is added to the grid, the economics continue to worsen for utilities clinging to old fossil-fuel generating assets.


Renewable energy now supplies 23 percent of global electricity generation, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, with capacity having doubled from 2000 to 2012. If that growth rate continues, it could become the dominant source of electricity by the next decade.

 

Is there any reason to think the world will turn its back on plummeting costs for solar systems, batteries, and wind turbines, and revert back to nuclear and coal?


Is there any reason to believe solar and wind will not continue to be the preferred way to bring power to the developing world, when their fuel is free and conventional alternatives are getting scarcer and more expensive?


I don't think so. All of these trends have been developing for decades, and new data surfacing daily only reinforces them.

 

The energy transition tipping point is here, and there's no going back.

 


Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

This is great news. The fossil fuel industry is likely to collapse relatively quickly, as fast as the clean energy competitors are able to fill the gap.  This is a typical pattern with non-renewable resources after they pass their peak, and fortunately, we are starting to see it happen for fossil fuels.

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Global Renewable Energy Grid Project: Integrating Renewables via HVDC and Centralized Storage

Global Renewable Energy Grid Project: Integrating Renewables via HVDC and Centralized Storage | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

The global energy and environment challenges cannot be addressed through a local, regional, or even a national approach. They require a global outlook and a much broader vision, a Global Renewable Energy Grid [GREG]. A high voltage direct current [HVDC] transmission system must be built to serve as the bulk electrical power transport medium, with centralized energy storage facilities placed within GREG as needed. 

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

I like the global thinking, but I tend to agree with Andy Ferguson, who comments: "I'm rather skeptical of the approach outlined in this article. Broadly speaking, there are two models of green development. One is the type outlined here, an approach requiring extensive cooperation between governments, a top down engineering plan, and massive financial investment by large institutions with government support. On the other hand there is a distributed approach, where advances in storage and local smart grid technology can stimulate local distributed power generation and grid management.  ... This is not to say that widespread grid development and coordination isn't needed. I'm just skeptical of any approach that posits so much power in so few hands."

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Clean Trillion — Ceres

Clean Trillion — Ceres | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
In order to limit global warming to 2°C and avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to invest an additional $36 trillion in clean energy—an average of $1 trillion per year for the next 36 years.

Ceres is calling this clean energy investment gap the Clean Trillion. Closing this gap will be a tremendous challenge, but it is possible if businesses, investors and policymakers join forces.
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Grantham: Wind, solar to replace fossil fuels within decades : Renew Economy

Grantham: Wind, solar to replace fossil fuels within decades : Renew Economy | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Legendary hedge fund investor Jeremy Grantham says there is no doubt that solar and wind energy will “completely replace” coal and gas across the globe, it is just a matter of when.

 

“The question is only whether it takes 30 years or 70 years. That we will replace oil for land transportation with electricity or fuel cells derived indirectly from electricity is also certain, and there, perhaps, the timing question is whether this will take 20 or 40 years.”

 

“The idea of “peak oil demand” as opposed to peak oil supply has gone, in my opinion, from being a joke to an idea worth beginning to think about in a single year. Some changes seem to be always around the corner and then at long last they move faster than you expected and you are caught flat-footed.”

 

(Read more of Grantham on Tesla, Fertilizer Wars at:  http://online.barrons.com/article/SB50001424053111904710004579367232326349324.html#articleTabs_article%3D0 ;)

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

It is likely that fossil fuels will gradually increase in cost as the supply of these finite resources dwindles, and then as competition from renewable sources takes over, the fossil fuel industry will collapse rather quickly.  The sooner the better.

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India to build the world's largest solar power plant

India to build the world's largest solar power plant | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

India's government has signed a deal with six companies to build a 4 gigawatt (GW) solar power plant – by far the world's largest.

 

This facility – described by officials as an "ultra mega" project – is equivalent to four nuclear reactors and double the nation's entire current solar capacity. It will be 10 times bigger than any plant of its kind in the world.


In 2010, India launched a "solar mission" initiative, aiming to deliver 20 GW of solar capacity by 2022. This new project will be a significant step towards achieving that goal. The nation has an even more ambitious plan to reach 100 GW by 2030, enough to supply 200 million people.


With its high levels of sunlight, India is well-placed to exploit solar energy. Combined with plummeting installation costs and improving efficiency, solar is becoming a more attractive option with each passing year.

 

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Beyond Keystone XL: Eight Reasons for Optimism on Climate Change

Beyond Keystone XL: Eight Reasons for Optimism on Climate Change | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Climate change could have a crushing effect on the global economy...   But there are reasons for hope, if we act quickly. Here are eight signs that it's still possible to turn things around and create a low-carbon future.

 

1. We already know how to engineer zero-carbon buildings.

2. We are finally entering the age of the electric car.

3. We are using more renewables, and less coal, than ever before.

4. States are showing that it's possible to make policies that both cut carbon emissions and create jobs.

5. Cities are facing the consequences of climate change and taking action.

6. The president is ready to take action, at home and internationally.

7. China wants clean air and clean energy.

8. Renewable energy is on the rise around the world.


These are major milestones, and this is an important moment. We are a long way from solving the climate problem, but the threads of success are coming together. We need to find a way to seize these opportunities, reduce our emissions, and dramatically expand the low-carbon economy during the next few years.

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Future near perfect: How humans can still save the day by 2050

Future near perfect: How humans can still save the day by 2050 | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

In "The World We Made," green guru Jonathon Porritt writes of a future where we fix the planet with renewable energy, smart food systems, and jetpacks. Bonus: It's all possible. (Except maybe the jetpacks.)

 

"I think what’s amazing is that, technologically, it’s going to be possible to create a genuinely good, sustainable world for 9 billion people by 2050. I have absolutely no doubt about that in my own mind whatsoever. That’s a pretty good starting point, because technology is the bare minimum. It’s necessary — without the technology you can’t do it — but it’s not sufficient. You also have to get all the politics in place, the capital markets and financing, and you have to find ways of exciting and mobilizing people so that this becomes a great global priority."

 

"There are new ideas and brilliant breakthroughs and all sorts of technological opportunities emerging on a daily basis. Which means we can free ourselves from fossil fuels, we can get incredible resource efficiency, we can learn how to manage water far more efficiently than we do now, we can turn waste into raw materials, we can deal with sanitation problems. We need that as a starting point, just to give people a sense of doability — it is doable. At the moment, too many people think it isn’t doable."

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

I share Jonathon's optimism about what is technically possible. But I would go further and argue that what is possible is also essential. We MUST do all these things to minimize the inevitable suffering that will result if we do not.

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If Green Building is Going to Save the Planet it Will Have to Include Green Roads : Green Building Law Update

If Green Building is Going to Save the Planet it Will Have to Include Green Roads : Green Building Law Update | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it

Roads are the largest built structures we come into contact with and yet they are so ubiquitous and familiar that they have become an impervious given, the dark matter of the motor vehicle cosmos.


Building a one mile long single road lane uses as much energy to build as 50 American households in a single year.


But when society thinks about green building, those thoughts are almost universally of buildings (be it offices or schools or homes) and not of infrastructure like roads and bridges. As sustainability increasingly becomes a mainstream concern, one of the strategies some government departments of transportation have adopted for providing a more sustainable approach is a “green streets and highways rating system.”

 

The Greenroads Rating System is a collection of sustainable roadway design and construction best practices that encompass water, environment, access, community impact, construction practices and materials.

 

If green building is going to save the planet, society will have to think with a broader mindset than only buildings and Greenroads need to be at the forefront.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

To achieve Zero Footprint, we must consider ALL our impacts on the environment.  Transportation, involving both the vehicles that we drive and the roads we drive them on, are one of the major contributors to our footprint. 

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New Technology Makes Plastic Out Of Carbon Pollution — Could It Help Solve The Climate Crisis?

New Technology Makes Plastic Out Of Carbon Pollution — Could It Help Solve The Climate Crisis? | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
What if we could stop making plastic out of oil, and start making it out of greenhouse gas pollution?

 

To create AirCarbon plastics, Newlight uses a process that extracts carbon molecules from air containing greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane, and rearranges those molecules into “long-chain thermoplastic polymers” that the company says matches the performance of oil-based plastics. Though this process has been known for some time, it has never been cost-effective enough to do — that is, until founders Mark Herrema and Kenton Kimmel developed what they said is a “ten-times more efficient bio-catalyst” that took more than a decade to perfect.


Capturing carbon from the air is not a new idea. It was first introduced in a scientific paper by Columbia University physicist Klaus Lackner in 1999. The idea that has grown into a budding industry, particularly for fossil fuels.

Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

The energy to drive the process must come from renewable sources, not burning more fossil fuels, otherwise there would be no point.    As soon as we can, we should also substitute biofuels, but we have an excess of carbon in the atmosphere even if we stop burning all fossil fuels now. 

 

Funding this with fees on fossil fuel burning, in proportion to the CO2 emissions, we can create all the plastic we'll ever need for products, and then recycle 100% of those products at the end of their useful life.  Soon we will have more than enough plastic resources, and we'll have to find more creative uses for it.  We can also grow more plants to soak up more CO2.

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The More Money We Have, the Less We Care About the Impacts of Our Consumption

The More Money We Have, the Less We Care About the Impacts of Our Consumption | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
Why are we so numb to the obviously devastating effects of mass consumer capitalism?

 

The 2012 Greendex survey found that people in poorer countries feel, on average, much guiltier about their impacts on the natural world than people in rich countries (http://images.nationalgeographic.com/wpf/media-content/file/GS_NGS_2012GreendexHighlights_10July-cb1341934186.pdf). The places in which people feel least guilt are, in this order, Germany, the US, Australia and Britain, while the people of India, China, Mexico and Brazil have the greatest concerns. Our guilt, the survey reported, exists in inverse proportion to the amount of damage our consumption does. This is the opposite of what a thousand editorials in the corporate press tell us: that people cannot afford to care until they become rich. The evidence suggests we cease to care only when we become rich.

 

A report by the Gaia Foundation reveals an explosive growth in the pace of mining: cobalt production up 165% in ten years, iron ore by 180%, a 50% increase in non-ferrous metals exploration between 2010 and 2011 (Opening Pandora’s Box: The New Wave of Land Grabbing by the Extractive Industries and the Devastating Impact on Earth. The Gaia Foundation.http://www.gaiafoundation.org/opening-pandoras-box).


Via Jocelyn Stoller
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

People with more wealth tend to believe they are entitled to even more wealth, thus the problems of the world must be due to someone else, namely the poor people.

 

By the way, consumption by itself is not a problem, but it is a problem when it is non-sustainable consumption based on non-renewable resources, using fossil fuels and creating unrecycled waste.   Once we shift to 100% renewable energy and 100% recycling of all resources for the entire world, we won't have to feel guilty about consumption.

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A Successful Push to Restore Europe’s Long-Abused Rivers, by Fred Pearce

A Successful Push to Restore Europe’s Long-Abused Rivers, by Fred Pearce | Zero Footprint | Scoop.it
From Britain to the Czech Republic, European nations have been restoring rivers to their natural state — taking down dams, removing levees, and reviving floodplains.

 

The restoration is not perfect. River floodplains cannot be fully restored when they contain cities, and hydroelectric dams are still needed. But

Europe’s fluvial highways are becoming the test bed for conservation biologist Edward O. Wilson’s dream that the 21st century should be "the era of restoration in ecology." 

 

The change has been dramatic. While water engineers in Europe have been cleansing rivers of pollution for half a century, they now are trying to restore them to something like their natural state. 


During floods on the Rhine in 1995, levees failed and large parts of the Netherlands at the river’s mouth flooded. The country decided that confronting rivers did not work because, however high you raise the levees, a river in flood will find the weakest spot and burst through. It began instead to set aside land for flooding — to "make room for the river."


Via Anita Woodruff
Daniel LaLiberte's insight:

All waterways and watersheds should be restored and preserved, as the veins and arteries of life on earth.  I don't have as much objection to dams, as long as they are done carefully, and usually on a small scale.

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