Category Archives: Climate Change

It’s Where We Live

Home, by Yann-Arthus Bertrand. A stunning photographic exploration of our own backyard, a surprising amount of which I felt like I was seeing for the first time. The whole movie is here…

Posted in Climate Change, Culture, education, History, How We Build, How We Live, How we Move, How We Think, Journalism, Livability, Science, Sustainability, technology, thinking, What if? | Leave a comment

Does New Orleans Have an Identity Crisis?

And if so, how many other cities do as well? I spent five weeks in New Orleans in May/June of this year…it is a truly fascinating city, a completely unique place, yet for the most part it denies the fact that it is a delta city. With large tracts of the city below sea level, it would seem reasonable to expect water to be an omnipresent characteristic. But the built environment of New Orleans denies water, walls it off, instead of embracing it.

There’s a line from Jurassic Park that I’ve quoted a bazillion times: “[The scientists] were so concerned with whether they could, they never stopped to consider whether they should.” Wherever technology allows one to ignore nature, this seems to be too often what happens. Modern New Orleans was built wrongly (where it is built wrongly) because it could be. Continue reading

Posted in architecture, Climate Change, Culture, Josh Grigsby, Placemaking, Response Pieces, Sustainability, technology, thinking, urban design, urban planning, vernacular architecture, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coral Reef Extinction Could Cripple Nations’ Economies

Coral reefs are dying, and scientists and governments around the world are contemplating what will happen if they disappear altogether. The idea positively scares them. Coral reefs are part of the foundation of the ocean food chain. Nearly half the fish the world eats make their homes around them. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide – by some estimates, 1 billion across Asia alone – depend on them for their food and their livelihoods. If the reefs vanished, experts say, hunger, poverty and political instability could ensue. Continue reading

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An Impressive GDP, Quality of Life, and Sustainability: Pick Two out of Three?

In the most simplistic statistical reading—higher GDP per capita means higher tax revenue means better funded schools means better education—there seems to be some legitimacy to the story’s thesis. I don’t think real life is so simple, however. Unqualified as I am to provide an in-depth critique of the significance of GDP or the relative educational histories of Caribbean nations, I won’t attempt to here. Besides, those things aren’t what interest me. Without questioning the intelligence, honesty, or diligence of the author, I was struck by what I perceived to be a fine example of stuck-in-system thinking.
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Posted in Climate Change, Culture, Josh Grigsby, Rants, Response Pieces, Sustainability, thinking, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nourishable Places

Nourishable Places grow a significant portion of their food within a few miles of where it is eaten, and could grow more in a long emergency. Today, the ingredients of an average meal in the US travel over 1,300 miles to get to your table, and that number is growing every day. The data for meals in the EU is probably fairly similar. Currently, very few places in the United States are Nourishable Places, but as the industrializations of China and India continue, resulting in a billion new cars competing for gas over the next several years, the cost of food transportation will become much more significant.
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Posted in Climate Change, Culture, human scale, land use, Livability, Placemaking, Science, Sustainability, Uncategorized, urban design, urban planning, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment