The rise of reuse

You’ve heard of CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s 900 users exchanging gossip and other personal pleasantries or worries through a medium that inflates narcissism. You’ve probably not heard of Ben Rose of the New York City Materials Exchange Development Program (NYC MEDP) or the equivalent organizations in your communities providing services to thousands of charitable non-profit groups which promote the donating and reusing of materials to avoid incineration, landfilling and recycling.

Free energy does not occur in nature

It’s not just that what we generally think of as free energy doesn’t occur in nature, but also that free energy does occur in the everyday lived environments of people in industrial nations, which we might thus say are unnatural. So what are instances of free energy that we experience in our lives, and why do they matter?

Shale gas – May 1

-Fracking ‘Health Challenges’ to Be Examined by U.S. Advisers
-Restrict shale gas fracking to 600m from water supplies, says study
-Reporting of fracking and drilling violations weak
-Lancashire schoolgirl wins chance to address MEPs with anti-fracking video
-Chesapeake plugs blown Wyoming well
-Drillers May Frack First, Disclose Later Under Draft Plan

Energy in East Africa

In most East African countries access to electricity is very low. Besides electricity, there is a basic need for energy. In Eastern African countries most of the energy consumed is produced from traditional solid biomasses, such as the burning of wood.

The search for combustibles begins early in the morning, includes several hours of walking, and, in cases where no trees are to be found, digging for roots with bare hands; in some regions this activity is accompanied by the constant danger of violent and sexual assaults. In areas where there is no wood left for burning, cow dung or other waste is used for fuel.

Review: Petroplague by Amy Rogers

We have a brand-new entrant to the oil-eating-bug-runs-amok tradition: the self-published novel Petroplague. It’s a Crichton-esque thriller written by microbiology professor-turned author Amy Rogers, who says she aims to “blur the line between fact and fiction so well that you need a Ph.D. to figure out where one ends and the other begins.” The plot involves a batch of experimental, oil-hungry bacteria inadvertently loosed upon Los Angeles, which proceed to wreak a near biblical swath of destruction. Part ecology lesson and part cautionary tale, Petroplague is an entertaining entrée into the subject of oil depletion and its implications for society, human health and the environment.

Zurich: Adventures in urban relocalization

As the guest last week of Zurich University of the Arts I set the following task to a group of sixteen masters students: “Create the plan for a social harvest festival that will reconnect Zurich with its natural ecosystems and grassroots social innovators.”

The idea was to demonstrate, in practice, and at a city-wide scale, how to combine the low-energy design principles of permaculture, with the metabolic energy of social innovation.

Ideas to cut your trash waste by 80%

Each piece of trash was once a resource – a tree that was clear-cut into a junk-mail envelope, a barrel of oil turned to a plastic package, a mountain turned to an aluminum can. With lives lasting only a few days to a few months, each piece of trash is a sad waste of the resources needed to grow, process, and transport it. When you decrease your waste, you can cut the energy and resource use needed to turn the environment into trash, while also cutting the methane emitted by waste rotting in a landfill.

Water – Feb 20

-Humanity’s Growing Impact on the World’s Freshwater
-Uncharted waters: Probing aquifers to head off war
-Drought summit: Why not pipe the water from north to south?
-Jordan’s Green Fairytale- ‘Once Upon a Water’ Campaign
-Thailand’s economy shrinks 9% after flood disruptions
-Food security v energy security: land use conflict and the law