Tag Archives: Climate Change

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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Thoughts on Private Property: Or, Have I Got a Bridge in Brooklyn to Sell You

Yesterday’s post got me thinking—how has the American notion of private property shaped our culture? How has it shaped our cities? Our transportation networks? Our communities? Our ability to respond to climate change and environmental concerns? I remember reading a caption on a wall mural while waiting in line at Ikea that said Sweden doesn’t view land as private property, so one can walk anywhere one desires in Sweden and not worry about trespassing. The outdoor world most Americans experience is mostly limited to roads, sidewalks, parks, and a small number of backyards. Do away with private land ownership and the way we interact with the land changes fundamentally. I don’t know how true the Ikea caption is or how absolutely it is practiced, but I don’t imagine the Swedes have an epidemic of peeping toms or home invasions.
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Posted in Culture, Josh Grigsby, Livability, Neighbors, Placemaking, Rants, Response Pieces, Sustainability, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why We Can’t Resist Bicycle Infrastructure

It is becoming increasingly clear that we won’t be able to avoid moving to a new economy, one in which carbon constraints and increasingly scarce petroleum resources are going to demand dramatic changes in the way in which we transport ourselves and even the very structure of our cities. But like any economy, the new one that’s coming is going to need the infrastructure that will make it work. Part of that means letting go of our habitual attitude to infrastructure investment that is predicated on growing motor vehicle use, and accepting one in which continual reductions in car use are brought on by making the use of sustainable transport more attractive. Under such a model, bicycle infrastructure would be a key component of Canberra’s transport budget. It’s a far cry from the current situation.
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Posted in Auto Independence, can bicycles save the world?, Climate Change, Culture, Livability, Placemaking, Sustainability, transit, Transportation, urban design, urban planning, walkable, What if? | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Clip-on Architecture: Reforesting Cities

Much of the literature related to the role of the built environment in climate change has focused on new technologies and new ideas which might be implemented in new buildings. Tabula rasa eco-cities trumpeting their green credentials and high levels of environmental sustainability are being planned in the U.S., China, and Abu Dhabi, among other places, and green is the word of the day. Despite these ambitious plans for new cities, one might ask, with all the urban fabric which currently exists, why build at all, and most especially on such a massive scale?
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Conversations on Scale: Global Footprint Network

Humans are the most successful species on the planet, but are using more resources than the Earth can provide. The Global Footprint Network was established in 2003 to address this overshoot, by providing ways of measuring human demand on the Earth through the use of the Ecological Footprint — a resource accounting tool that measures how much nature we have, how much we use, and who uses what. Continue reading

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