Advancing Eco-cities
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Ecopolis: The emergence of 'regenerative cities'

Ecopolis: The emergence of 'regenerative cities' | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Professor Herbert Girardet has spent much of his working life on this issue and has come up with the concept of ‘regenerative cities' that aims to set out a roadmap of transformation in the way cities function - and also offers hope that humanity's fate need not be one of resource wars, conflict and climate chaos.

 

Girardet gradually came to realise that the concept of ‘sustainability' is no longer fit for purpose;

 

"Today there is much less to sustain than when the term was coined in the 1980s. We've exceeded the limits to growth on nearly every aspect of development. Sustainable development will not dig us out of the hole we find ourselves in. We have to start thinking in terms of regenerative development. This means working towards giving back to nature as much we take.

 

So, what is a regenerative city - ‘Ecopolis'? It is one that relies primarily on local and regional food supplies; it is powered, heated, cooled and driven by renewable energy, and it reuses resources and restores degraded ecosystems. This is diametrically opposed to how many cities are currently run: they use resources without concern for their origins or destination of their waste products; they emit vast amounts of carbon dioxide without ensuring reabsorption and they consume huge amounts of meat produced mainly with imported feed, often from devastated rainforest regions.


Via Steven Putter
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Pursuing 'Ecological Citizenship'

Pursuing 'Ecological Citizenship' | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it
I am talking about the ideas that deal with the reshaping of our identities, as both individuals and communities, given what we now know about the changing living conditions on our planet, and of a new sense of identification with, and commitment to, those who will be affected in the future by the way we live right now, by both what we are doing and what we are not doing yet. I am talking about a new notion of citizenship that is called for by the demands of the ecological crisis, an “ecological citizenship” of a global scope, that can best be promoted by, well, the one global body of nations we have. -- Ilan Safit
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A sustainable role to play as citizens of the earth, considering the impact of our behaviors and new means of participating with our local communities.

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Omega Center for Sustainable Living | Living Future

Omega Center for Sustainable Living | Living Future | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

The Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, New York provides innovative educational experiences that awaken the best in the human spirit. The Omega Center for Sustainable Living (OCSL) is a wastewater filtration facility that is designed to use the treated water for garden irrigation and in a greywater recovery system, Omega uses the system and building as a teaching tool in its educational program designed around the ecological impact of its campus.


“Omega is thrilled to have crossed the finish line, and hopeful that projects like ours will mark a new era in sustainable design, one that reflects a truly integrated approach to creating built environments that are in harmony with the natural world.” - Skip Backus, CEO at Omega

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Why We Need A Global Environmental Organization

Why We Need A Global Environmental Organization | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

We must invest the time and resources to form a more effective, coherent and focused governance system in order to truly achieve our goals and build a better, sustainable future.

 

Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said "without a strengthening of international environmental governance, whatever is potentially agreed in Rio+20 will only contribute to a persistence of the challenges, rather than the delivery of the opportunities and the imperative for a more intelligent and equitable 21st century development."


Via knowledgEnabler, David Hodgson, Steven Putter
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The Social Responsibility of Business is Natural Resource Protection

The Social Responsibility of Business is Natural Resource Protection | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Business today has a responsibility towards society and the environment - it cannot keep endlessly extracting resources without burning itself out.


Today business has a responsibility towards its stakeholders – customers and society at large are more aware of the negative impacts of business as usual. They want cleaner and more ethical products and services. Business today also has a responsibility towards the environment – it cannot keep endlessly extracting resources without consequence.


Resources like air, water, biodiversity, fossil fuels are the very building blocks upon which a successful business is built. With the rapid depletion of these essentials, business needs to learn to deal with the ominous constraint of environmental degradation. Even big business today needs to adapt towards a social entrepreneurship model in order to survive.



Via Flora Moon, David Hodgson
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Solar-powered Wireless Sensors System Monitors the Environment

Pacific Data Systems presents the ēKo outdoor wireless monitoring system representing a new generation of sensor integration and wireless technology. Designed to provide critical, real-time data reliably and in a user-friendly format, the MEMSIC ēKo Pro Series outdoor wireless system finds application in environmental research, precision agriculture, irrigation management, pollution detection, conservation, crop monitoring and smart water grids, encompassing areas such as climate change, biodiversity, water quality, groundwater contamination, soil contamination, use of natural resources, waste management, sustainable development and air pollution.

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These Tomatoes Are Helping to Improve the Environment

These Tomatoes Are Helping to Improve the Environment | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

California tomato grower Casey Houweling is the first American to install a combined heat and power generation plant that will make his 150-acre greenhouse almost completely energy-efficient. The plant will use natural gas to keep the greenhouse warm, and the extra electricity it generates will be sold into the local power grid. Most notably, it will feed carbon dioxide gas, a waste product, directly into the greenhouse. The use of this gas helps increase plant growth and improve the tomatoes' flavor.

 

via IdeaFeed | Big Think

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Like a Bad Boyfriend, XL Keeps Coming Back

Like a Bad Boyfriend, XL Keeps Coming Back | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

The controversy over whether to green-light the building of the Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canada’s tar sands with refiners on the Gulf coast may not be much in the news anymore, but it’s far from gone. 

 

Dan notes: 

 

The article describes why "Jobs don’t justify the Keystone XL pipeline. It will raise fuel prices for Americans. And it further locks us into a future of declining energy quality and increasing cost."

 

There's an amusing video too:

 

http://www.postcarbon.org/blog-post/1019307-like-a-bad-boyfriend-xl-keeps

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Smart Growth: Fighting sprawl with walkable communities

Smart Growth: Fighting sprawl with walkable communities | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Governments are embracing "smart growth" planning principles to create jobs and more environmentally sustainable communities.


The Atlantic shares how walkable neighborhoods with easy access to local shops and mass transit can reduce the transportation and housing costs of the average household budget, as well as reduce the effects of pollution. Smart growth also has the potential to boost an area's economy by increasing foot traffic at local shops.


"The Environmental Protection Agency predicts that smart growth developments will likely increase over the next 30 years as household demographics and housing preferences change and the U.S. population grows."

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The environment is the space in which we live, work, and play.

I tend to employ a definition more often used by those in the environmental justice movement–that the environment is the space in which we live, work, and play. It includes our parks and schools,  shops and workplaces, our homes and backyards.  Environmentalism includes the health effects of children living by freeways, the planning of a new sub-division in a city, the vegetables grown in the yard of a rural or urban home. Without understanding our environment as something in which we are a part, the chasm between “people” and “place,” “society” and “environment,” will continue to loom large.

 

I would like to argue that such a dichotomy is not, and must not be true; and that privileging the land over people, or vice versa, is not a “sustainable” behaviour. Yet all too often, it appears that one side of the equation is left out, depending on what sphere of influence one happens to travel within.  Social justice is often a forgotten cast-off in the environmental sphere, while environmental impacts become minimized by those privileging a social lens. Each side believes they are justified.

 

By: Darlene Seto
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Vivek Bhide, a coal activist’s story from Maharashtra

Vivek Bhide, a coal activist’s story from Maharashtra | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Dr. Vivek Bhide is a mango and cashew grower and an amazing activist from the lush and beautiful coastal district of Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. Dr Bhide asks why, the Government wants to make the twin districts of Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg, a new power hub of the country. A dozen thermal power plants have been planned in these two districts – which would produce more than 30,000 MW in nearly a decade’s time,” says Dr. Bhide, who is spearheading a campaign against the power projects in the region. (...)


“I am an ordinary citizen. How do I resist decisions that are made at the top?” asked Bhide, 47. “The court is my only battleground.” In the past two decades, tens of thousands of public interest litigations have been filed against the Indian government and corporations on grounds that such mega-projects threaten livelihoods, land or the environment. These suits have led to landmark rulings on education, the environment and human rights in India. (...)


“They say that India needs these power projects to reach heaven,” he said. “But what about the hell it will bring upon our environment?”

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Study: Urbanization threatens biodiversity | Big News Network

Rapid global urban expansion will threaten biodiversity unless action is taken in a limited amount of time available, a study by three U.S. universities found. Researchers at Yale, Texas AM and Boston University predict that by 2030 urban areas around the world will expand by more than 463,000 square miles, equivalent to 20,000 American football fields becoming urbanized every day for the first three decades of this century.


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Restoring Our Urban Environments: Featured Research Projects

Restoring Our Urban Environments: Featured Research Projects | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

We urban dwellers are all too acutely aware of those lifeless stretches of land that surround us: former landfills, industrial or transportation sites, coal mines, dumping grounds of all sorts...more than an eyesore, these sites are ecological disasters, threatening the physical and mental health of residents.


For over a decade, a Rutgers professor has been literally sowing the seeds of revival and bringing degraded land sites back to life, reaping the fruits of an ecological science experiment conducted in New Jersey in 1994.

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What to Do When the Oceans Rise

What to Do When the Oceans Rise | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

The costs of either rebuilding or relocating in response are enormous but unavoidable. Furthermore, since the economies of many coastal communities are based on fisheries and tourism, the impacts of anthropogenic climate change threaten their long-term sustainability.


Given their vulnerability, coastal communities are on the front line of global warming. But do they have the capacity to adapt to so much environmental change? Do their responses to past challenges suggest strategies for coping with future change? Can we predict which communities are most vulnerable and help them to become more resilient?

 


Via Complexity Digest, David Hodgson
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Economic Democracy - The Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative

Economic Democracy - The Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Supported by the MIT CoLab - The Bronx Cooperative Development Initiative (BCDI) is an effort to harness local assets and drive a comprehensive regional economic development strategy that is focused on building wealth, ownership, and business leadership among low and moderate-income residents of the Bronx while fostering an environmentally just and sustainable regional economy.


The aim of the BCDI is to pursue a comprehensive development model, focusing on building wealth broadly, increasing the influence local residents and leaders have in the economy, and building the institutional relationships in the Bronx necessary to bring this bottom up approach of economic development to scale.


Via David Hodgson
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America’s Deficit Attention Disorder

America’s Deficit Attention Disorder | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Joblessness can easily be eliminated by putting the unemployed and underemployed to work meeting a vast range of unmet human needs from rebuilding and greening our physical infrastructure to providing essential human services, eliminating dependence on fossil fuels, and converting to systems of local organic food production. If the primary constraint is money, the Federal Reserve can be directed to create it and channel it to priority projects through a national infrastructure bank—a move that avoids enriching the bankers and does not create more debt.

 

In addition, we must:

 

1. Break up concentrations of unaccountable power.
2. Shift the economic priority from making money to serving life by replacing financial indicators with living wealth indicators as the basis for evaluating economic performance.
3. Eliminate extremes of wealth and poverty to create a true middle-class society.
4. Build a culture of mutual trust and caring.
5. Create a system of economic incentives that reward those who do productive work and penalize predatory financial speculation.
6. Restructure the global economy into a planetary system of networked bioregional economies that share information and technology and organize to live within their respective environmental means.

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Fourth Sector | Imagine Rural Development Initiative

Fourth Sector | Imagine Rural Development Initiative | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

Something’s definitely going on, because over the past ten years the boundaries between what is public (district, state, national), what is private (companies), and what belongs to voluntary organisations (non-profit) have become less and less distinct. Parallel to which the contours of an entirely new social arena have started to emerge – which Europe has been the first to dub the “for-benefit ” or “fourth” sector.

 

A sector populated by organisations, institutions and companies that are characterised by being self-financing – i.e. they operate on the free market – but who, on top of the bottom line, want to be measured and judged on the level of their social, ethical and environmental sense of responsibility.

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How Can We Create 1.5 Million Jobs And Reduce Pollution? Recycling. — Green For All

How Can We Create 1.5 Million Jobs And Reduce Pollution? Recycling. — Green For All | Advancing Eco-cities | Scoop.it

"A new report called More Jobs, Less Pollution was released this week, showing that a national 75% recycling rate would create nearly 1.5 million new jobs while reducing an amount of climate pollution equal to shutting down 72 coal-fired power plants, or taking 50 million cars off the road. This report describes the benefits of building a resource recovery economy that creates community jobs with family-supporting wages."


Via Renew Cities
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