Biodiversity is a Measure of Our Actual & Potential Wellbeing

What is Biodiversity? And why should it matter to you? Biological diversity is a vital sign for nature’s complex life-support systems. If you have too few species in a given environment, the complex ecosystem that makes life work in that environment is more vulnerable to serious disruption. To put it bluntly, a less biodiverse ecosystem … Continue reading Biodiversity is a Measure of Our Actual & Potential Wellbeing

California Could Build Renewable Resource Export Economy

One solution for California would be the expansion of its efforts across the region and the nation, to spur the creation of a full-scale renewable resource-based power grid, to optimize both generative capacity and distribution. The question is, now that the decision has been made to shift toward renewables, how can California go beyond the 1/3 threshold and build a strong renewable-energy export economy?

Part of California’s renewables build-up process might well be, as Gov. Schwarzenegger suggests, a dynamic market in which renewable resourced energy is imported into the state. But part of California’s goal in doing this, admittedly, is to depend less on the volatility of imported energy. So there will have to be a major shift in the investment of public funds toward renewables infrastructure, within the state.

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Off-the-Grid Home Breeds Quality of Life, Environmental Resilience

In a tucked-away corner of the New Zealand coastline, a couple, both architects, Lance and Nicola Herbst, have designed a self-sustaining “off-the-grid” home that lends flavor and mood to everyday living. Their cedar-clad bungalow is designed to interact with the natural environment and optimize its use of resources, such as energy, water and nutrients.

Great Barrier Island is four and a half hours from Auckland, by boat, and its remote geography necessitates the kind of innovative green building choices visible in the home built by Lance and Nicola Herbst. When the South African-born couple first visited Great Barrier Island, they were taken with the unique beachside structures they encountered—“little timber shacks we had never experienced before—tiny buildings with 20 years’ accretion of stuff”.

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Sustainable Use of the Oceans: Overfishing + Pollution ‘Dead Zones’ Depleting Ocean Life (discussion)

Overfishing has depleted fish-stocks the world over. Subsidies and lack of enforcement of sustainability measures drive the fishing industry to deplete the very stocks on which its existence depends, while climate interference and global contamination are leaving oceans so hypoxic (oxygen deprived) they cannot support marine life. At least 405 such ‘dead zones’ have been identified across the globe.

According to a NASA report, hypoxia is so extreme in some areas, that total anoxia (zero oxygen availability) can be found, allowing for no animal life to exist. In the Mississippi River delta, feeding into the Gulf of Mexico, it is thought that agricultural waste is creating a glut of nutrients for phytoplankton, which leaves excess organic matter for bottom-dwelling bacteria to feed on.

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Raindrops New Source of Low-Intensity Clean Energy


A new study has shown that raindrops can be used to produce electricity. The key is the mechanical energy of the raindrops, meaning the energy contained in their motion and in the way that force is diffused when striking a given type of surface. In this case the surface is PVDF (polyvinylidene difluoride) plastic, which is able to release a charge when temporarily “deformed” by mechanical activity, such as being struck by a moving object.

A sheet of PVDF just 25 micrometers thick (1,000 = 1 milimeter) receives the impact of raindrops, and the effect is the release of energy, which can be harvested and turned into electricity. Romain Guigon, from the research institute CEA Leti-Minatec in Grenoble, France, says the research shows that “even in the most unfavorable conditions, the mechanical energy of the raindrops… is high enough to power low-consumption devices”, but the study does not specify how well circuitry retains a minimum charge sufficient for regular functioning.

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The Time is Now, an Action Plan for Global Emissions Reduction


Due to the science we already have, the laws we have to govern our own activity and to force government to act for the public health, we face the real possibility of being forced, in American courts, in the future, to pay for damage done to the most affected populations in other parts of the world, as a result of inaction by our government. And if not in court, then as a matter of the de facto urgencies of international political stability.

If we do not find a way to work to mitigate global climate change, future generations will look back and will see clearly that a zeitgeist of selfish convenience and primitive disregard for the wellbeing of our fellow human beings led to a reckless attitude with regard to this snowballing crisis. The public voice, and those campaigning for the level of public respect needed for election to office, should bring this issue to the fore, push for real initiatives to tackle the problem boldly, in a collaborative way, now.

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Project Quipu: Integrated Economic Atlas for the 21st Century


. . . Introduction

Examining the manner in which financial news is reported in the popular media, HotSpring proposes to create a system whereby live-update, rss-technology, and financial and editorial expertise, come together to produce a reliable up-to-the-minute resource for evaluating broad economic trends and engagements, without limiting analysis to single-parameter references like GDP or individual stock indices.

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Water Resource Stress: Global Economic-Ecological Factor for the 21st Century


more than 1 billion people already face fresh water scarcity;
figure expected to double in 20 years’ time

Water is one of the “fundamental building-blocks of life”, as is often said in science, in biology classrooms, in medicine, theology, environmental policy debates, and in cosmology and space exploration. It is also a commodity whose economic reality is increasingly defined by chronic scarcity and often intensely uneven distribution.

One of the most vital problems regarding the global water supply is the fact that we are already over-exploiting it, draining vital fluvial systems and ancient underground aquifers that cannot be replenished. This, coupled with the population boom and increasing industrialization, urbanization and consumerization of emerging economies, means global scarcity is fast becoming the rule.

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