Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We are going to post on WordPress from now on, at Please come read us there.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Sustainability = Stagnation?

Is sustainability a synonym for stagnation? Ed Quillen, in the GOAT blog of High Country News, thinks so. He thinks, quoting Dr Devon Pena from the University of Washington, that
communities seek "resilience," rather than "sustainability."
Quillen continues, explaining that a sustainable model may not be successful if the external world changes. The entire article is definitely worth a read.

I think perhaps both resilience and sustainability have their place.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Wall: Repower America

Repower America has a new interactive site, the Wall, up to add your voice and thoughts to the call for clean energy. This is what I wrote. Add your voice here.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Carbon Footprints of our Pets

Ever wonder how much of an environmental impact your pet has? Well, two researchers in New Zealand have the answer for you. They have calculated the carbon footprints of pets. Read all about it in Eco-pawprints (High Country News).

cross-posted at Lizbeth's Garden

Palm oil & sustainability

The Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests are in serious danger. They are being cut down at an appalling rate which contributes to global warming.
Every year 1.8 billion tonnes of GHG emissions are released by the degradation and burning of Indonesia’s peatlands. (The Economist, Sept 10, 2009)
Much of the forest is being cut down for acacia and palm oil plantations. When the jungle grows in peat, and it is cut down for a tree plantation, the peat is burned. This is where much of the greenhouse gas emissions come from. Then the trees are planted, but the soil is depleted. Within a few years, the land is unable to support the tree plantation, and the farmers move on.

The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is working on guidelines for sustainable palm oil production.

Palm oil is in an amazing number of products, including milk, if it has Vitamin A palmitate added. You can find lists of products here and here. A discussion of palm oil in British products is here.

cross-posted at Lizbeth's Garden

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Breaking News

The University of Idaho's annual President's Sustainability Symposium will be held at the Shilo Inn, Idaho Falls, tomorrow, October 22 and Friday, October 23. Here is the official site.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Audubon's Current Issue

I promised some time ago a post on the new issue of Audubon magazine. So here we go:

This is the debut issue printed on recycled paper.
(L)ess than one percent of the approximately 17,000 magazines published in the United States contain any recycled paper, according to the Better Paper Project, a nonprofit that works with the magazine industry to promote recycled paper. For magazines alone, 39 million trees are logged a year—that’s more than one every second.
There's going to be a new ingredient in some low volatile-organic-compound (VOC) paint. Proctor & Gamble, the company that invented olestra, have figured out how to put it in paint for viscosity.
Remember olestra—that fat substitute a few years ago that made potato chips “healthier,” albeit with a reputation for causing gastric distress and anal leakage? Well, it’s being reinvented as an ingredient in eco-friendly paint.
And the heart of the issue: "The Future is Now" green design inspired by Nature or designed to save it.

Of course we've all heard the story of Velcro, and its origin in the hooks and loops of burrs, but did you know that the sticking ability of geckos will soon be seen in Band-aids and tape, robots and medical devices?

Green living: In 2007, a tornado flattened Greensburg, Kansas. In the wake of the storm, the townspeople decided to rebuild in a sustainable way.

Tour Greensburg today ... and you will find a nearly finished, energy-saving City Hall and a new arts center; cisterns collecting rainwater to irrigate native street plantings; and a reduced-rent building, dubbed the “business incubator,” that is helping local businesses ... get on their feet. The new homes are designed to, among other things, minimize waste from building materials and take advantage of natural light.

Greensburg is the first U.S. town with LED street lamps, 300 of them, which has cut its energy costs by 70 percent. And it may go off the grid entirely with wind power.
In Loudon County, Virginia, there is an EcoVillage set in a natural woodland setting with houses built of recycled materials.
(It) aims to transform the American dream of home ownership into something more idyllic than a treeless grid of identical structures connected by a swirl of asphalt ...
(It's based on) Denmark’s bofoellesskaber, or “living communities.” ... Residents typically have private dwellings with their own kitchens, living rooms, and sleeping areas, but they also have access to a common house with a large dining room and kitchen for potlucks, meeting rooms, recreational facilities, and, frequently, daycare.
There is tons more in the original article, including the bed-and-breakfast in Taos, New Mexico, built from recycled materials, the ballroom in Austin, Texas, the living jungle gym in San Francisco, and the elementary school in Chicago built to LEED standards.

Also check out the section on cars and the ways they will be using new technology to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Red Lodge Clearinghouse

I found a new site to "inspire natural resource collaboration". It's called Red Lodge Clearinghouse.
The Red Lodge Clearinghouse is a project of the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado Law School.
It has information on upcoming comment periods for federal agencies, other environmental news, grantwriting handbooks, funding opportunities, and more.