Monday, September 26, 2005

If the world were 100 people

Artist Allyson Lucca asks: If we could turn the world population into a small community of 100 people... what would it look like?

And she illustrates it beautifully in sound and pictures. A reminder of what drives us who have a passion for sustainable development.

Click on the link to see the presentation.

Welsh authority shows how swaps lower energy intensity

As part of mobility week a Welsh Local authority offered car owners a full year's free use of public transport in return for them giving up their car for scrap.

Some 30 people took up the offer. What I see as significant is the initiative shows us the basis of a very powerful method.

People need a certain level of security. If swapping something gives more security whilst lowering energy intensity you have a winner.

Going further...
  • Free relocation and maybe free accomodation for a while to people with long commutes who move to their area of work.
  • Free housing for people who give up their cars.
  • Free housing for those who give up their jobs.
  • Free training and start-up help for those who give up industrial jobs to start local food production.
  • Free market place space for local farmer's markets in return for employing and or training newcomers to food production.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Read the white paper on PLANNED POWERDOWN

What do organizations need to know about the impact of liquid fuels on communities as oil prices hike and availability wanes…?

For officers in the public and private sector alike, this paper describes 16 main aspects of the coming energy situation. Organisations need to consider these 16 in order to begin to craft energy depletion management strategies.

Planned Powerdown describes a situation where, due to shortfall between supply and demand, the per capita energy intensity of a community is reduced whilst living standards are maintained at a democratically accepted level. More and more evidence is piling up that a liquid fuels shortage is coming. Public and private organizations will be debating the need for planned powerdown.

Liquid fuel scarcity changes the rules of business radically and brings sustainable development issues further into focus.

This paper is for officers in the public and private sector alike. Its purpose is to describe what we believe are the main aspects organizations need to consider in order for them to begin to craft energy depletion management strategies.

For each of the main points the paper provides further reading and analysis.

The white paper is produced by AVBP and downloadable from the website for free by clicking on the link.

Want to know how the planet's ecosystems are faring?

Look no further. To understand the state of the planet’s ecosystems, and how far they are threatened by collapse, and to what extent these threaten our well-being we refer you to The Millennium Assessment. It was launched by U.N. Secretary- General Kofi Annan in June 2001 and was completed in March 2005.

The work of hundreds of scientists from every corner of the globe, the research assesses the state of the Earth’s ecosystem from the point of view of its ability to provide us well-being.

The MA synthesizes information from the scientific literature, datasets, and scientific models, and includes knowledge held by the private sector, practitioners, local communities and indigenous peoples. All of the MA findings undergo rigorous peer review. More than 1,300 authors from 95 countries have been involved in four expert working groups preparing the global assessment, and hundreds more continue to undertake more than 20 sub-global assessments.

See the TV interview with Former BP CEO Percy discussing corporate reaction to climate, ecosystems report.

Read the high-level summary here

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Save trees with digital textbooks

Dear Porena,

My name is Jon Cheek. I am a recent college graduate concerned about the environmental impact of printing millions of college textbooks every year. Although I bought used textbooks whenever possible, I frequently had to buy new textbooks to keep up with new editions or to get supplemental software.

However, I recently joined a company called Zinio that provides digital textbooks to college students. These digital textbooks are exact replicas of the new printed version, but are offered to students at half the price. They also have many useful digital features such as the ability to search, take digital notes, and use multimedia embedded directly into the page. Most importantly, since they require no physical production, digital textbooks help save trees and eliminate waste.

Most of my friends who have tried Zinio digital textbooks have really liked them. If you think any of your readers might be interested in digital textbooks, I encourage you spread the word. If you’re curious to see what the textbooks look like, please have a look at our website: . Also, feel free to send us feedback at .

Best regards,

Jon Cheek

Jonathan Cheek
Zinio Systems, Inc.
139 Townsend Street, 3rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tel. 415.494.2743

Sunday, September 11, 2005

How little soil area do we need to grow all the food and fiber we need to maintain well-being?

If you have followed earlier discussions you will have seen we believe that asking the right question is essential to begin inventing for the sustainable planet. The question above was asked 34 years ago by John Jeavons. Today he has, according to his own view, 98% of all he needs to know to answer this question.

He believes, as Peak oil comes and the population continues to rise, that we need to go from one in 500 knowing how to grow food to everyone knowing how to grow food.

Click on the link to see and hear a fantastic interview with John, produced by GLOBAL PUBLIC MEDIA.

Why not biomass? Shoma asks

Reader Shoma asks us what is being done about biomass in various countries, and is it not a solution to reducing Carbon Dioxide levels. (We reprint the article below, sorry we do not know the source apologies to owner, please contact us)

The sustainability challenge is a liquid fuels one, not electricity generation.
Liquid fuels are required for agriculture and transport of farm products.
That we have an exces of agicutlral land to grow biomass om is temporary. Mehcnaised agriculture gives higer yeilds. As liquid fuels decline we wil need the land for food.

Otherwise I see the arguments below holding well. A lot of district heating in Sweden is produced from pellets of biomass origin.

A tall, decorative plant that can be grown in Europe and the United States could provide a significant amount of energy without contributing to global warming, scientists report.

Field trials of the grass called Miscanthus in Illinois showed it could be very effective as an economically and environmentally sustainable energy crop.

Professor Steve Long and his colleagues at the University of Illinois obtained a yield of about 60 tonnes per hectare of the tall willowy grass last year.

"If about 8 percent of the land area (of the state) was given over to this grass, and assuming only half of those yields were obtained, we would obtain enough dry matter to generate the total electricity used by of the state if Illinois, which includes the city of Chicago," he told a science conference.

Professor Mike Jones, of Trinity College in Dublin, said planting the crop on 10 percent of the arable land in Ireland, could meet up to 30 percent of the country's electricity needs.

In the United States, scientists are looking at burning the crop in a 50-50 mix with coal to generate electricity. It would be suitable for use in some existing power plants, although others would require modification.

The scientists told the British Association for the Advancement of Science conference that the attractive, perennial plant which grows about 14 feet high and similar grasses could provide a means to significantly offset fossil fuel emissions.

"As the plant grows it is drawing carbon dioxide out of the air. When you burn it you put that carbon dioxide back, so the net effect on atmospheric CO2 is zero," Long explained.

"In terms of Kyoto it would be considered carbon neutral," Long said, referring to the 1997 protocol that demands cuts in greenhouse emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.

The scientists used a sterile hybrid of the plant, which comes from high altitude areas in Japan and produces a silver, feather-like foliage, in the trials so it would not become invasive.

"Currently, in those trials that have been carried out, there appears to be no real problem with pests or diseases," according to Jones.

Long said biomass crops have not been taken seriously as a means for mitigating rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

"The point we want to make is that these new plants that we have been looking at really could make a major contribution and it doesn't require major technological breakthroughs to do that."

Friday, September 09, 2005

Get your KIDS to go to this is their future we are concerned about

Japan for sustainability has launched their Kids' "Create Your Future" Web site encouraging children worldwide to
  • get involved in environmental issues
  • think and act independently in response.

The site emphasizes taking a creative approach towards the realization of a more ecological future on our planet unrestrained by conventional ideas, and introduces innovative ways of thinking to support concrete methods for sustainable living.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Complementary Currency launched

You may recall PORENA abolished money as work for money in itself was driving counter- sustainability.

Taking a leaf from the book and from the Image Streams on Lets we are experimenting with what we call COGS. Circle of gifts.

A test bed at the moment, anyone can join and start using this currency via e-mail and the web. we hope to go live as soon as we iron out the bugs (with your help of course).

Click on the link to see XCOGS!

White paper on POWERDOWN

Sixteen things organizations need to know about the impact of liquid fuels on communities as oil prices hike and availability wanes…

Click on the link or title to download the white paper on POWERDOWN.

For officers in the public and private sector alike, this paper describes the 16 aspects of the coming energy situation that organisations need to consider in order to begin to craft energy depletion management strategies.

Here they are...

  1. Oil pervades from raw material to product
  2. Demand will outstrip supply sooner or later.
  3. The issue is a liquid fuels one.
  4. No easy replacement is available.
  5. Moral challenges will overshadow technical issues.
  6. The main challenge is to maintain the carrying capacity of the Earth on less fuel.
  7. An economic slowdown – or worse – results from energy depletion.
  8. Huge supply chains will power down.
  9. Beware of the trap of looking for a technical solution.
  10. Human muscle power and animal power will re-emerge as part of the economy.
  11. Powerdown strategies for cultural change are starting to emerge.
  12. Culture change measures offer several benefits.
  13. Two other likely responses: Demand restriction and city re-planning.
  14. Less than a 20-year time frame for mitigation could seriously impact living standards.
  15. It is better to start mitigation early than late.
  16. The strategic question is how quickly your organization can respond effectively to fuel supply shortfalls

Thursday, September 01, 2005

All praise to Essex County Council's WALKING STRATEGY

The Essex Walking Strategy (see link) aims to create an environment that encourages walking by considering the needs of pedestrians first.
  • promoting walking;
  • improving safety and security for pedestrians;
  • improving the quality of the walking environment;
  • introducing and maintaining walking as the primary mode of transport.

The Strategy contains objectives and targets for walking and identifies the strategies for achieving them.

All praise to Essex in understanding the fundamentals of sustainability having humans do what is natural for them: enjoying this wonderful Earth and walking around.

As we see the non-sustainability of the fueled continuous transport society as well as the couch potato/salary slave tied to computer lifestyle the simple solution of walking will come more and more to thefore.

We urge all planners , architects, forward thinkers and business people to bring walking more into focus!

We would like to see more development of hand carts and similar tools so for example:
To keep cars away from residential areas you park a long way from your house but you can still bring all luggage, shopping etc easily to your door with communal carts.

Add to Technorati Favorites