Most Recent Articles
June 11, 2009
Since I was raised as a country boy, with an inherited scorn for city-dwellers and "flatlanders", I've never had much of a taste for high population density. But as I get older and wiser (if only by comparison), the potential of cities is starting to look attractive. Not necessarily the current actuality of cities, but what they could be. What they might be starting to be. What we're finally figuring out how to make them.
June 11, 2009
... AAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHH!I just read an item that explained how a Nestle bottled water plant in Pennsylvania was awarded LEED Gold certification by USGBC.
June 9, 2009
A story on NPR this morning spoke of how, while it's going downhill slower than the financial or manufacturing sectors, agriculture is starting to suffer from the current economic crisis.
June 8, 2009
Sunday evening, I was driving with Mrs. R. in a town near our farm. We were proceeding down what used to be the main commercial strip, bustling with car dealers, supermarkets, discount stores, specialty shops, restaurants, etc. These days, half of the storefronts are shuttered and much of the space that's occupied is on lease to low-rent tenants (tanning salons, rent-to-own robbers, pizza joints and the like). Where there were once three car dealers, now there's one lone Dodge store that (judging by the front lot) recently lost its franchise.
June 4, 2009
Is it the road map to a brave new world? The end of Western civilization as we know it? Both? Neither?
June 2, 2009
This week, it's easy to get lulled into driving with your eyes on the rear-view mirror. Chrysler apparently comes out of bankruptcy on the very day that GM goes into Chapter 11 reorganization. If Consumer Reports' figures from a couple of months back are to be believed, this whole fiasco will cost each US taxpayer something on the order of $1500. Of course, since those estimates are months old, they're probably low. Probably way low.
May 31, 2009
Climate change is killing people. By the hundreds of thousands. Right now.That's one of the conclusions of an analysis conducted by the Global Humanitarian Forum, a think tank founded by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, as reported in The Guardian. Other conclusions include that:- annual economic losses, at present, are about $125 billion,
May 28, 2009
You know, it's kind of fun blogging about higher education and sustainability. Fun in that it gives me an opportunity to play against some of the basic assumptions and contradictions of society. Elizabeth Redden's recent article wasn't at all about that (Elizabeth is smarter and more conscientious than I'll ever be), but a comment on her article kind of put it into focus for me.
May 27, 2009
I thought I was done with commencements for about a year, when someone sent me a link to the address Paul Hawken gave at the University of Portland. Paul's an environmentalist, an entrepreneur, and author and -- apparently -- quite the platform speaker. Think of him as Jim Kirk meets James Hansen, and you won't be far wrong.
May 26, 2009
Although it's only tangentially related to the topic of sustainability (and even that only if your mind runs in the same twisted circles (Moebius strips?) that mine does), I want to start by recommending to all and sundry the best TV series you (probably) never heard of. Slings & Arrows was produced for Canadian television, and tells of three seasons/productions at a disfunctional Shakespearean theater (theatre) company. Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and the offstage action is also well-written.