Sven Eberlein


Turning Waste into Wine: A Pilgrimage to the Composted Land

It seems pretty obvious that recycling, reusing, and repurposing materials we no longer need makes a lot more sense than burning or burying them, not just from an environmental, but an economic perspective.

January 27, 2015


Postcard from Medellín: A Big WUF for Urban Equity

…if we invest in the most marginalized communities within our cities that are trapped behind invisible social and economic borders, everyone, including the planet, benefits.

April 25, 2014


How to start a Repair Cafe

If you’ve ever found yourself on the phone with a customer service representative telling you it would cost more to fix your electric tea kettle than to just buy a new one, you are well acquainted with the concept of "planned obsolescence." The good news is that people across the world are getting wise to the intentional design flaws hoisted upon us by clever manufacturers eager to sell more products, and are coming up with new and creative ways to salvage perfectly usable things.

April 2, 2013

Bring Transition Town-style Sharing to your Community

Inspired by the idea of building resilience around local, grassroots economies in response to peak oil and climate change, the transition movement has evolved into a global network of cities, towns, and neighborhoods that self-organize around the principles not only of reducing CO2 emissions but doing it by fostering happy, healthy, and creative communities.

January 16, 2013


Montreal: City of Bikes

Last year I visited Montreal to attend the Ecocity World Summit, a biannual gathering of visionaries from around the globe committed to creating cities where people live in mutually enriching relationship with each other and with the Earth. Looking at cities as living breathing organisms, with all their residents human and non-human forming an intricate web of interdependence, the very idea of an ecocity is rooted in a sharing principle, where citizens understand not only the physical value of making the most of our natural resources, but the cultural, spiritual, ecological, and ultimately, economic value inherent in building networks and communities.

September 27, 2012


Climate Change SOS: Soil is the Solution, or the most important environmental story I’ll ever write

A few months ago I was working on an article about San Francisco’s pioneering efforts to become the world’s first zero-waste city by 2020.

Chronicling this journey toward a current nation-leading 78 percent waste diversion rate, a major focus of the story was on the city’s mandatory composting program that has played a huge role in keeping over a million tons of food scraps, plant trimmings, soiled paper, and other compostable materials from clogging up landfills and releasing methane.

It wasn’t until after the story was published that I was alerted to the most remarkable and possibly game-changing discovery about urban compost: its potential to offset 20 percent and perhaps as much as 40 percent of America’s carbon emissions.

August 22, 2012

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