Down the A/C rabbit hole

It’s the summer and air conditioning is in the news; generating a spat of articles from journalists mostly sniping at each other about whether it is a gift from God or from the Devil. A somewhat pretentious piece in the New York Times decrying our freezing buildings kicked it off, rebutted quite thoroughly only days … Read more…

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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ =Me on GMOs and Achieving Sustainability

It is with great trepidation that I dip my toe into discussing GMOs but I hope that I can contribute just a bit more sanity against the great weight of vitriol out there. Unfortunately the extreme polarization on GMOs has made it hard to find balanced perspectives and it is frustrating that so many who … Read more…

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No the Breakthrough Institute, Sustainability is Not Already Achieved

The summer issue of the Breakthrough Journal features an article by Jessie Ausubel which argues that “beginning in the 1970s, Americans began to consume less and tread more lightly on the planet.” The goal of this journal is to “challenge conventional progressive and environmental wisdom,” but as is often the case to be able to … Read more…

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Can We Eat Meat and Achieve Sustainability?

There is no surer way to liven up a dinner party than to declare that eating meat destroys the planet.1)Ideally you would wait to drop this bomb until the main course, presumably featuring one animal or another, was just being brought out. Food is both something fundamentally practical (we must consume it constantly) and deeply … Read more…

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What is Sustainability Science?

Sustainability Science is a new academic field that many–even some who work in it–question whether it should be a field at all. When I started here I took a stab at defining Sustainability, but Sustainability Science as an academic discipline while related needs its own defining. At the top of my reading list is former … Read more…

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Water: why it’s no good for introducing Sustainability

When I tell people that I am working in Sustainability well over half the time they immediately bring up water (the probability increases if they know of my ties to Arizona). Yet I have come to believe that water is perhaps the worst topic with which to have an introductory discussion about Achieving Sustainability. The … Read more…

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5 Things I Learned at AASHE 2014

This week I was lucky enough to attend the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) 2014 Conference in Portland, Oregon.1)This trip was supported by funding from PAPIIT. Erin and I presented on our experiences integrating sustainability into higher education in Mexico and on some preliminary results from our waste research in … Read more…

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The World Leaders in Bike Sharing Programs are really all in China

I must admit that I generally greet the regular semi-sensational internet titles about how China is Achieving Sustainability such as “China has just built 20 million miles of high speed rail when the USA can’t build any” with a large degree of skepticism. For this I have three main justifications: Authoritarian governments can make absolute … Read more…

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What dumplings can tell us about Achieving Sustainability

Last week the New York Times Magazine included a piece titled: “What do Chinese dumplings have to do with global warming?” which is an interesting look into the rapid rise of refrigerated and frozen foods in China over the last two decades. One often forgets that “refrigeration” does not just mean the fridge in your … Read more…

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Pesticides, why you should be worried but not about your health

A new study in the British Journal of Nutrition (abstract)1)I was unable to gain access to the full text. Though it was unclear whether that was because it had not yet been released to the public or was behind a paywall. has lent support to the hypothesis that organically grown food is healthier than food … Read more…

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