New Horizons 3

07/09/2009 § Leave a comment

U.S. Government report on the impacts of global climate change was released three days ago. It gives a comprehensive look at the environmental changes we can expect in our lifetimes and gives some broad recommendations. Read it, reference it in conversation, and give extra attention to the mitigating actions and adaptive strategies discussed. Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, I hope, will become a very influential report politically and economically, as it brings some bad news in a concise manner from a governmental source.

This report has got me looking at the effort at our response, and although the greater public is still locked in to their patterns, a response is coming together on many fronts.  Many different ideas and strategies are popping up within each discipline (as you will see further down), and people are coming up with very different ideas that harness our environment, all at the same time… that, to me, signals the beginning of a paradigm shift.

Largely, I think this shift in thought fits our time and situation. The isolation, alienation, and stagnation of the human found in postmodern literature, film, and art may have been a sort of emotional resonance from the disconnection between ourselves and the experience of mortality in our daily lives. Artificiality and pop culture occupied our minds while we took our sustaining actions; we watched TV while we ate, we considered the branding of what we drank, we became consumers of lifestyles we saw on TV at right-of-passage moments in our lives.  Maybe hedonism became more culturally favorable compared to a focus on wellness, or maybe we just figured we were healthy. To a large extent this is still our culture; however, the reality of our situation is setting in. We are now faced with a changing climate and this brings mortality and quality of life back into our thought processes. Some of us have started to break away from unsustainable patterns and that is good, but the really good news is that some have been working on what are in need of today… for several decades. They opted out of mainstream culture’s path to our present situation.

I’d like to share some of the stuff I’ve found. These are some exciting and fascinating approaches to living more efficiently. I’ll start with the interesting developments and move toward the major players:

Bacteria Batteries

Cow Power: Battery Runs on Bovine Stomach Bacteria

Bacteria-powered battery runs on a sweet tooth

Converting Heat into Electricity

Researchers convert heat to electricity using organic molecules, could lead to new energy source

A Sound Way To Turn Heat Into Electricity

New Material May Help Autos Turn Heat Into Electricity

Other Energy Solutions:

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4322757.html

Permaculture, The Future for Suburbs

Permaculture Institute

Urban Homesteading/Eating Local

Become an Urban Homesteader: Homegrown Evolution

Home Sweet (Urban) Homestead – NY Times Magazine

True Costing Initiatives

A brief definition of the term.

True Cost Economics – Free Markets with the Environmental in Mind

“The current economic model has failed us.”

Photovoltaics

15 Photovoltaics Solar Power Innovations You Must See

Solar Paint on Steel Could Generate Renewable Energy Soon

Solar Power Lightens Up With Thin Film Cells

Biomimicry

This Zimbabwean building's inspiration came from a termite tower.

http://www.biomimicryinstitute.org/

15 Coolest cases of Biomimicry

Sustainable Design- Small Changes, Big Impact

Click for LA Times Article on white roofing.

Talk to your landlord about getting a white roof.

Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature by Douglas Farr

“LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system…”

100 New Buildings Will Soon Remake Miami

Bioclimatic Design and Passive Solar Systems

Keep updated with these great sources for information:

Other than the name, this is a great site: http://www.treehugger.com/

http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/home

http://www.inhabitat.com/

http://www.metropolismag.com/cda/

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