Sustainability Archive

  • Welcome to the Anthropocene age, where humans have transmogrified the planet, its oceans and atmosphere, caused mass extinctions and wholesale contamination that will remain for millennia. Beyond the politicians and scientists, the way forward remains in the hands of writers, artists, and designers taking inspiration from wild earth in a movement called Geo-Fauvism.

    Geo-Fauvism and Anthropocene: Altered Planet, Wild Literature

    Welcome to the Anthropocene age, where humans have transmogrified the planet, its oceans and atmosphere, caused mass extinctions and wholesale contamination that will remain for millennia. Beyond the politicians and scientists, the way forward remains in the hands of writers, artists, and designers taking inspiration from wild earth in a movement called Geo-Fauvism.

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  • Newport Beach's Banning Ranch, the site of a proposed mega commercial and residential development, is an extraordinary archaeological site. Once the site where an ancient Native American coastal village called Genga, a ritual and trading hub for both the Tongva and Acjachemen Native American Nations, existed for over a thousand years.

    Preserve Newport Banning Ranch as Sacred Archaeological Site Genga

    Newport Beach's Banning Ranch, the site of a proposed mega commercial and residential development, is an extraordinary archaeological site. Once the site where an ancient Native American coastal village called Genga, a ritual and trading hub for both the Tongva and Acjachemen Native American Nations, existed for over a thousand years.

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  • Jerry Brown, once known as governor Moonbeam who signed into law the California Coastal Commission, now can be seen as the man behind handing it over to developers. Governor Brown must fire his four at-will commissioners with significant lapses of judgement and ethics, as well as his powerful backroom dealer from the Resources Agency.

    Jerry Brown’s Regulatory Capture at the CA Coastal Commission

    Jerry Brown, once known as governor Moonbeam who signed into law the California Coastal Commission, now can be seen as the man behind handing it over to developers. Governor Brown must fire his four at-will commissioners with significant lapses of judgement and ethics, as well as his powerful backroom dealer from the Resources Agency.

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  • The California Environmental Quality Act, protector of resources and communities through consideration of implications of proposed projects, is under attack. Representatives from industry and real estate development, and sometimes even Governor Jerry Brown, seek ways to weaken it, or to exempt their pet projects. While the law is far from perfect, it remains the gold standard of environmental protection in the US.

    Reform California’s Environmental Quality Act? Not Now.

    The California Environmental Quality Act, protector of resources and communities through consideration of implications of proposed projects, is under attack. Representatives from industry and real estate development, and sometimes even Governor Jerry Brown, seek ways to weaken it, or to exempt their pet projects. While the law is far from perfect, it remains the gold standard of environmental protection in the US.

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  • Why did Coastal Commissioners dump popular Executive Director Charles Lester in a closed session at their February meeting in Morro Bay? It is part of a plan by well connected lobbyists and lawyers pushing environmentally damaging projects for their wealthy clients.

    Power, Influence, and Obfuscation: A Plan to Game the California Coastal Act

    Why did Coastal Commissioners dump popular Executive Director Charles Lester in a closed session at their February meeting in Morro Bay? It is part of a plan by well connected lobbyists and lawyers pushing environmentally damaging projects for their wealthy clients.

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  • The Kogi People of Colombia, through two separate documentaries, delivered a message of a sustainable interconnection with nature and community as a way to avert climate and ecological destruction.

    Kogi People’s Lesson From the Heart of the Mountain

    The Kogi People of Colombia, through two separate documentaries, delivered a message of a sustainable interconnection with nature and community as a way to avert climate and ecological destruction.

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  • Alexis Slutzky tells the story of a September 2015 pilgrimage through California's Owens Valley, called Walking Water. This first phase of a much longer journey began at Mono Lake and ended 180 miles south at Owens Dry Lake. For 100 years, Los Angeles has piped water from there over 300 miles further south to sustain the city, draining ancient lakes and groundwater, destroying natural water systems. In the fourth year of an historic drought, Walking Water seeks to create a new narrative regarding this life-giving resource, investigating our common and often conflicting needs, and learning how to live within our means.

    Walking Water: Eastern Sierra Pilgrimage of Healing the Drought

    Alexis Slutzky tells the story of a September 2015 pilgrimage through California's Owens Valley, called Walking Water. This first phase of a much longer journey began at Mono Lake and ended 180 miles south at Owens Dry Lake. For 100 years, Los Angeles has piped water from there over 300 miles further south to sustain the city, draining ancient lakes and groundwater, destroying natural water systems. In the fourth year of an historic drought, Walking Water seeks to create a new narrative regarding this life-giving resource, investigating our common and often conflicting needs, and learning how to live within our means.

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  • Takeaways from a recent Green Festival Expo discussion on the Los Angeles River Revitalization include that the job of planning for water resiliency belongs to all of us, not Frank Gehry regardless of his recent charge, and we must also consider how public access, parkland, ecosystem restoration, cargo and passenger rail, bicycle greenways, and anti-gentrification environmental justice will fit into the mix. Collaboration is the key.

    L.A. River Must Transform as Watershed, Transportation Corridor

    Takeaways from a recent Green Festival Expo discussion on the Los Angeles River Revitalization include that the job of planning for water resiliency belongs to all of us, not Frank Gehry regardless of his recent charge, and we must also consider how public access, parkland, ecosystem restoration, cargo and passenger rail, bicycle greenways, and anti-gentrification environmental justice will fit into the mix. Collaboration is the key.

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  • This is the first post in a series where I present the case for Geo-Fauvism, a growing movement of wild earth inspiration in art, literature, music and design. Taking off from the early 20th Century French art "Fauvists" or "Wild Beasts," these cross-disciplinary creations respond to and react against the collapse of global environmental systems, the destruction of indigenous earth-based societies, and a narrowing of cultural opportunities in the mainstream corporatized media. Geo-Fauvists create to reconnect with the wild and heal humanity's rift with the landscape, building a new community based on integration with the ecosystem.

    Geo-Fauvism: Waking to the Wild Earth Through Visual Art

    This is the first post in a series where I present the case for Geo-Fauvism, a growing movement of wild earth inspiration in art, literature, music and design. Taking off from the early 20th Century French art "Fauvists" or "Wild Beasts," these cross-disciplinary creations respond to and react against the collapse of global environmental systems, the destruction of indigenous earth-based societies, and a narrowing of cultural opportunities in the mainstream corporatized media. Geo-Fauvists create to reconnect with the wild and heal humanity's rift with the landscape, building a new community based on integration with the ecosystem.

    Continue Reading...

  • The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.

    German Prefab House Generates Twice its Own Energy

    The prefab Active House B10 prototype in Stuttgart can be built in a day, but its implications will be felt for years. Taking the passive house net zero concept one step further, this fully recyclable tiny house actively generates enough power for multiple properties through its rooftop photovoltaics.

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  • Architecture must move on from an addiction to spectacle and fad, adrift in a sea of meaningless forms, leaving serious design and sustainability problems unresolved, says Peter Buchanan. But to do this will require a more critical perspective from architectural academe and the media.

    Starchitects and Spectacle: Sustainability Solutions Needed

    Architecture must move on from an addiction to spectacle and fad, adrift in a sea of meaningless forms, leaving serious design and sustainability problems unresolved, says Peter Buchanan. But to do this will require a more critical perspective from architectural academe and the media.

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  • The age of the pod car might be upon us, but not necessarily as the long-envisioned Personal Rapid Transit. Good for amusement parks and Google's main campus, as well as small newly-built cities or airport shuttles, PRT systems have too many limitations in dense urban areas. The real future for the pod car, like it or not: Autonomous (Self-Driving) Vehicles.

    Pod Cars: Autonomous Vehicles vs. Personal Rapid Transit

    The age of the pod car might be upon us, but not necessarily as the long-envisioned Personal Rapid Transit. Good for amusement parks and Google's main campus, as well as small newly-built cities or airport shuttles, PRT systems have too many limitations in dense urban areas. The real future for the pod car, like it or not: Autonomous (Self-Driving) Vehicles.

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  • The California Coastal Commission failed to enforce the Coastal Act and did not require a Laguna hotel renovation to address destruction of affordable rooms and environmental habitat as well as finish the long-awaited Trail to the Sea.

    Laguna Beach “Ranch” Hotel Renovation Violates Coastal Rules

    The California Coastal Commission failed to enforce the Coastal Act and did not require a Laguna hotel renovation to address destruction of affordable rooms and environmental habitat as well as finish the long-awaited Trail to the Sea.

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  • "Vertical City," a complete ecosystem in the sky that you never have to leave, accommodates population growth and protects the planet, but may have significant drawbacks for the people who call it home and their connection to the earth. Projects in China and Dubai illustrate the concept and its limitations.

    Sustainable Vertical Urbanism: The Future of Cities?

    "Vertical City," a complete ecosystem in the sky that you never have to leave, accommodates population growth and protects the planet, but may have significant drawbacks for the people who call it home and their connection to the earth. Projects in China and Dubai illustrate the concept and its limitations.

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  • The model planners and economists touted as "sustainable development" has only exacerbated ecologic distress and community dislocation through its focus on wealth-creation. The needs of our ailing planet facing an impending 11 billion population calls for ecology and human welfare to dominate economy, but how to achieve this in a world bought and paid for by finance capitalism?

    Convivial Degrowth: An Ecologic Reckoning for an Ailing Planet

    The model planners and economists touted as "sustainable development" has only exacerbated ecologic distress and community dislocation through its focus on wealth-creation. The needs of our ailing planet facing an impending 11 billion population calls for ecology and human welfare to dominate economy, but how to achieve this in a world bought and paid for by finance capitalism?

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  • As the full moon approaches and the winter solstice upcoming ~ on Sun Dec 7 in LA,  join this empowering day with Starhawk and a conscious community collectively co-creating a vision of a just transition away from climate- and ecosystem-damaging fossil fuels and industrial agriculture to a sustainable permaculture-oriented new world!

    Starhawk: Hope in the Time of Climate Change

    As the full moon approaches and the winter solstice upcoming ~ on Sun Dec 7 in LA, join this empowering day with Starhawk and a conscious community collectively co-creating a vision of a just transition away from climate- and ecosystem-damaging fossil fuels and industrial agriculture to a sustainable permaculture-oriented new world!

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  • State and local governments must take bold, yet simple measures to correct the current major obstacle preventing real growth in urban farming — a viable distribution system.

    How to Make Urban Farming Sustainable? Distribution.

    State and local governments must take bold, yet simple measures to correct the current major obstacle preventing real growth in urban farming — a viable distribution system.

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  • Across the US, inspired by the success of Portland's streetcar and a movement toward downtown revitalization and expanding public transit alternatives, projects enhancing place mobility move forward despite controversy.

    Place Mobility: Streetcars, Bus Rapid Transit and Light Rail

    Across the US, inspired by the success of Portland's streetcar and a movement toward downtown revitalization and expanding public transit alternatives, projects enhancing place mobility move forward despite controversy.

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  • Is it possible for urban planners to make places more attractive and healthy, without then making them more expensive? Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow investigates recent research into the ongoing debate about environmental gentrification.

    Green Urbanism: Balancing Environmental Justice with Gentrification

    Is it possible for urban planners to make places more attractive and healthy, without then making them more expensive? Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow investigates recent research into the ongoing debate about environmental gentrification.

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  • On one hand, Detroit turns the water off for communities challenged by its legacy of disinvestment and neglect. Yet, with urban farming, electric streetcars, neighborhood reinvention, Mayor Mike Duggan’s pledges begin to manifest in the city’s North End, despite considerable financial and cultural impediments. John Eligon elaborates.

    Greening Detroit: Positive Change Moves Slow and Fast

    On one hand, Detroit turns the water off for communities challenged by its legacy of disinvestment and neglect. Yet, with urban farming, electric streetcars, neighborhood reinvention, Mayor Mike Duggan’s pledges begin to manifest in the city’s North End, despite considerable financial and cultural impediments. John Eligon elaborates.

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  • Urban Farming and its vertical indoor application have become all the rage. We look at a project in Chicago and question whether the craze will matter for the future of agriculture.

    Chicago: Does Vertical Indoor Farming Matter?

    Urban Farming and its vertical indoor application have become all the rage. We look at a project in Chicago and question whether the craze will matter for the future of agriculture.

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  • Jack Eidt writes on the dangers of proposing mixed use development far from urban amenities and alternative transportation. The real estate industry in Orange County, California and beyond, has consistently violated engineering and planning wisdom by building in floodplains, paving over precious open space land and losing opportunities to preserve wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities amid the suburban sprawl at the edge of the wilderness.

    Sprawl vs. Open Space: “Rio Santiago” Again Threatens Orange

    Jack Eidt writes on the dangers of proposing mixed use development far from urban amenities and alternative transportation. The real estate industry in Orange County, California and beyond, has consistently violated engineering and planning wisdom by building in floodplains, paving over precious open space land and losing opportunities to preserve wildlife habitat and recreation opportunities amid the suburban sprawl at the edge of the wilderness.

    Continue Reading...

  • Gardens and farms, green roofs and landscaped buildings are becoming more a part of the urban landscape in Japan. We look at projects in Osaka, and a Tokyo rail company has placed garden allotments on train station rooftops, greening the city while allowing commuters to connect to the land and grow their own vegetables.

    Landscape Urbanism: Green Roofs, Community Farms in Japan

    Gardens and farms, green roofs and landscaped buildings are becoming more a part of the urban landscape in Japan. We look at projects in Osaka, and a Tokyo rail company has placed garden allotments on train station rooftops, greening the city while allowing commuters to connect to the land and grow their own vegetables.

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  • A documentary film, "Dogtown Redemption," delves inside the lives of West Oakland's poor and homeless recyclers. While California must deal with its urban poverty problem, and rogue recyclers steal from recycling funds, overall the state's Bottle Bill has significantly reduced waste.

    Dogtown Redemption: Urban Poor Survive By Recycling

    A documentary film, "Dogtown Redemption," delves inside the lives of West Oakland's poor and homeless recyclers. While California must deal with its urban poverty problem, and rogue recyclers steal from recycling funds, overall the state's Bottle Bill has significantly reduced waste.

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  • Bill Mollison (born 1928 in Tasmania, Australia) is a researcher, author, scientist, teacher and naturalist, and one of the foremost advocates for permaculture, or permanent agriculture. Following is a documentary on Mollison and his ideas.

    Permaculture: Sustainable Antidote to Agribusiness and Consumer Culture

    Bill Mollison (born 1928 in Tasmania, Australia) is a researcher, author, scientist, teacher and naturalist, and one of the foremost advocates for permaculture, or permanent agriculture. Following is a documentary on Mollison and his ideas.

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