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…
One of the most exciting recent developments in Achieving Sustainability is the potential for everyone to dramatically slash the electricity they are using to light their homes. We have been exploring the history of lighting usage, demand trends, technological development and policy initiatives–see the whole series for more. But for Sustainability it is important that … Read more…
Nope, that was not a typo. In 2007 President Bush signed a law, passed by the new Democratic congress, called the Energy Independence and Security Act. This act included a whole host of efficiency measures, one of the most famous being the creation of efficiency standards for household bulbs. This so called “ban on incandescents” … Read more…
There is a lot of really interesting news that accumulates over two weeks but don’t despair, I promise these are worth your time :).
- The trends indicate that batteries are going to make a hugely positive impact on clean energy sooner than expected. Batteries are already being used to keep utilites from stopping the clean energy movement… even in AZ!
- Great story about how and why water is sold in bags in Ghana. Brings back memories of picking plastic out of my teeth in El Salvador.
- How can we expect people to care about nature when we are working so hard to “conserve” it by isolating it from any human contact? The Spatial Paradox of Conservation.
- It makes me sad that our Sustainable future may come down to who can tell the best story. But perhaps we can treat science deniers like those detailed in Merchants of Doubt as a virus for which the best treatment is to use educational inoculation. Or maybe we can just all watch/read Game of Thrones.
- I am skeptical that our consumption choices can really improve our challenges with water Sustainability but Wired has the best guide I have seen yet for giving it a shot. It wasn’t your shopping choices that brought water back to the Colorado River Delta it was policy w/o which no amount of water saved during teeth-brushing was going to matter.
- I found the news of the collapse of the pacific sardine fishery to be extremely disturbing. While numerous fish are being eaten out of the ocean, I thought that at least the ones in well-managed fisheries such as pacific sardines were safe…
- Chipotle is eliminating GMOs. I don’t see this as a great leap towards Achieving Sustainability but the logistical challenges are very similar to anyone that wants move towards Sustainable food at SCALE.
- On the other hand: Bill Gates reviews a book that asks the key question about the Sustainability of our food system, “Should we eat meat?” Not convinced? How about the environmental case in one sentence? Or maybe this video:
There are plenty of worrisome trends when it comes to Achieving Sustainability but when it comes to lighting the trend is stunningly good–electricity use is falling precipitously. As we explored previously, this trend has been driven entirely by improved technology and not changed household behavior. But what is really exciting is that further technological advances … Read more…
- Whatever else this election was, it appears to be foreboding for Sustainability, whether it is national climate policy, state level climate action, or a deep seated antipathy for the EPA, though some saw a silver lining.
- Though I guess if our politicians are not going to do anything, maybe we can learn how to resolve our climate challenges from aliens.
- Michael Levi has a good point that talking about the cost of “ideal” climate policies is not very relevant because these only will be implemented in economist’s models, never in the real world.
- A moral argument for renewable energy.
- Ensuring honest and accurate “green” labeling is a vital role that governments can play as is demonstrated by the monster fine be levied by the US on Korean carmakers for misstating their cars’ mileage.
- Sustainability Science is Puzzling. My take: the role of Sustainability professionals should be to look at the whole picture on the puzzle box and not just a piece or two-that is the role of disciplines.
Attending AASHE 2014 Conference today in Portland, Oregon-looking forward to lots of Sustainability inspiration!
- Fascinating graphics from National Geographic comparing what people eat around the world.
- Energy news:
- A new study has begun to quantify how much natural gas is being lost through leaky pipes before it gets to our home. The picture does not look good.
- Walmart has installed an astounding amount of solar panels, far outpacing the rest of corporate america. Would be curious to know how this compares to their total energy demand.
- Diffusion research has long suggested the new innovations spread through social and/or geographically based networks. Research on uptake of solar panels has found this to hold at a neighborhood level with rooftop solar.
- Manufactured homes present significant advantages for more accessible and sustainable housing, argues a piece in the Atlantic.
The electricity needed for lighting is in free fall and the reason is technology. As we discussed in the previous post, electricity used for residential lighting has (somewhat) unexpectedly begun to fall and is expected to continue to do so for the ensuing decades. Tentatively, we can conclude that neither changing consumer behavior nor saturated … Read more…
In 2006 when the first Annual Energy Outlook was released by the Department of Energy, electricity dedicated to residential lighting was expected to continue growing at a consistent (if slow 0.3% per household annually) rate (red line below). Instead the electricity the average household is using for lighting has fallen by 18%!1)The AEO’s most recent … Read more…
In his 2011 book Conundrum, David Owen asks a fundamental question–can we commit to doing what is necessary to really Achieving Sustainability? Are we willing to make the necessary sacrifices, to reduce our consumption as both individuals and societies on a massive scale? As his subtitle points out Owen is really asking these questions about … Read more…