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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Consumed: Is the consumer economy sustainable? (special series) (video & transcripts)
Marketplace (American Public Media)
We are what we buy — a glib adage to be sure, but it prompts an interesting question: Is our consumer society sustainable? Marketplace and American Public Media take on that question in this special series. We follow consumerism from its origins to its dominance in the world’s economy and, arguably, its culture. And we examine how, and if, it might be adapted to reduce its destructive consequences while keeping store shelves stocked.
Some of the many segments in the series.
Feeding America’s consumer appetite
Kai Ryssdal begins our series with a visit to the Port of Long Beach. You could say it’s the mouth of a consumer economy that’s getting hungrier and hungrier. He talks with the port’s Art Wong about its continuing growth. (11/09/2007)
The An average family? Meet the Simpsons
What if everybody in the world consumed like the “average” American family? Sean Cole went in search of that family to find out how much they consume in a given week or month. He didn’t have to look too far. (11/09/2007)
How much longer can we ‘overshoot’?
Our population is consuming about 30% more trees, fish and fossil fuels than the planet can regenerate. How big a hole can we dig before we can’t get out of it? Kai Ryssdal talks with Jared Diamond, a geography professor at UCLA. (11/09/2007)
It’s enough to take your breath away
Globalization’s delivery of goods to consumers depends on intricate choreography of container ships, trucks, trains and other heavy equipment. The scale is breathtaking. But so are the side effects. Sarah Gardner reports, (11/09/2007)
(9 November 2007)
Recommended by BKhere at TOD Drumbeat (Nov 10). who reports:
NPR and American Public Radio is doing a nine-day special called “Consumed: Is our consumer society sustainable?” All the pieces I’ve heard (so far) were well done with topics such as ‘what we do with all the trash’?
Greek Orthodox leader calls for “less sinful” use of energy resources
ADN Kronos International (AKI)
Rome – The Greek Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, on Tuesday called for a more human and less sinful use of energy resources.
He delivered the message in a speech at the World Energy Congress in the Italian capital Rome.
“The energy crisis of our age is not primarily an ecological or economical matter, it is a spiritual crisis concerning the way we perceive our planet’s resources,” said the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians.
“The proper development and distribution of the energy resources of our placet is clearly one of the most critical and urgent problem facing our world,” he said.
“We are obliged to review our ways radically, something which is called repentance, debating economic issues of both the industrialised and developing countries and seeking ways for a sustainable use of energy resources to the benefit of the entire world.”
(13 November 2007)
Weekend Carbon Emissions (audio, transcript)
Millie Jefferson, Weekend America
This weekend millions of families are going about their normal weekend activities: Little League games, shopping and running errands, meeting up with friends. Weekend America wanted to know where being green and the weekend intersect. How do normal activities affect one’s carbon footprint–or the resources each individual is taking up? Host Desiree Cooper sits down with Lisa Wise, executive director of the Center for a New American Dream, and a couple of listeners to talk weekend carbon emissions.
As I listened to the interview with Lisa, I was struck by how many tips she gave that seemed practical. Usually when you hear an interview with a “green guru,” you leave the discussion feeling hopeless and overwhelmed. I can’t afford solar panels or a hybrid car, but Lisa gave me hope with some of the things she said. I feel like there are small things I can do that will allow me to do my part. Just in case you are as easily frustrated as I am when trying to “go green,” I made a list below of things I felt were easy to implement into my lifestyle. Maybe you will be able to do the same.
(10 November 2007)
New Sustainability Magazine in Ireland
Sustainability magazine is Ireland’s only publication dedicated entirely to issues pertinent to sustainability. The focus is on feature articles rather than news items.
We strive for a balance between practical articles which offer advice on renewable energy products and technologies, sustainable building material and methods or how to grow food on a small scale, and ones which provide background information on topical issues such as climate change and fossil fuel depletion.
Almost all the editing, distribution and administrative work is done on a voluntary basis.
Thanks to the massive groundswell of support we have received, distribution of Issue 1 has gone very well. In addition to reaching almost every corner of Ireland, copies of Sustainability magazine have gone to over a dozen countries and to three different continents. Although the magazine has sold out in most retail outlets, it can still be puchased on-line or by post.
…Issue 2 is on the way! It will be back from the printers on monday or tuesday and distribution will begin immediately. Subscribers will have their copy posted out soon afterwards.
Debt: Riding the Tiger
Economist Richard Douthwaite explains why the current housing boom is completely unsustainable:
Atlantic Gas of Little Benefit to Ireland
Ireland unwisely gave away its off-shore gas resources to a group of multinationals now headed by Shell. Now these same multinationals plan to build a refinery bang in the middle of a bog in North Mayo…. all with the blessing of the Irish State. For more on this ludicrous project, read the full article by Andy Wilson:
Feeling Our Way to Shelter
Radical architect Peter Cowman describes how a paradigm shift away from reason towards the senses is an essential component of any movement towards becoming a more sustainable society:
Back to the Land
Food, climate and the coming energy crisis: Permaculture teacher and practitioner Graham Stouts argues that one of the most important steps we can take in preparing for the coming energy crisis is to begin producing more food.
Permaculture in Kinsale
Kinsale College of Further Education is unique among Irelands post-secondary education institutions in that is offeres a two year course in Practical Sustainability/Permaculture. Klaus Harvey offers a perspective of what students may expect to get out of this pioneering course:
Slowing Down and Heading for Water
Sustainability strategist Michael Layden puts forward a compelling case for redeveloping our canal and sea-going transport infrastructure:
(8 November 2007)
PDFs for the above articles are available here. Didn’t see an “About Us” page for the site. -BA
Green chemistry’s ‘race to innovation’
Martin LaMonica, ZDNet
Just a few steps behind green tech, green chemistry is the latest movement that’s both a source of technology innovation and a rallying cry for environmentalists.
Green chemistry calls for designing chemicals to be environmentally benign and commercially viable. But its reach goes far beyond reducing toxins in drugs or children’s toys, the latest being the recall of the Aqua Dots toy on Wednesday.
Experts say the principles of green chemistry, such as reducing waste and making materials safer, can affect everything from climate change to the global supply of food and water. And big problems often translate into big business opportunities.
(12 November 2007)
I was struck by a quote from Paul Anastas, professor of green chemistry, Yale:
“This isn’t some kind of noble wish. It’s not about being nice to the birds and the bunnies. This is a design protocol.” Why do technical people feel that it’s necessary to be tone-deaf to morality and the environment? There were problems with the idealism of 19th century scientists, but I think I prefer it to the current preoccupation with profits and careerism. It’s hard to imagine a grateful citizenry erecting a statue of a scientist with this quote chiseled on the base. -BA