Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Online Ecovillage Talks

by gmoke Sat Apr 24th, 2021 at 02:30:06 AM EST

The Online Ecovillage Summit (https:/summit2021.ecovillage.org/schedule) will present talks
every Wednesday at 1pm,
April 28, 2021 to May 26, 2021,
from members of different ecovillages around the world.  It looks like quite a broad line-up.

April 28, 2021, 1:00 pm
La Cite Ecologique - Quebec-based ecovillage
La Comarca y La Tierrita - Uruguay-based sister ecovillages

May 5, 2021, 1:00 pm
Sunshine Ecovillage - Chinese organization promoting the ecovillage movement
Los Portales - Spanish intentional community

May 12, 2021, 1:00 pm
Comunidade Ceu do Mapia - Brazilian village in the Amazonian South Meso-region
Kibbutz Lotan - Israel-based Eco-Jewish intentional, collective community

May 19, 2021, 1:00 pm
Ecodorp Boekel - Dutch ecovillage
Ganas Community - American 20 year old NYC intentional community

May 26, 2021, 1:00 pm
Las Canadas Bosque de Niebla - Mexican centre for agro-ecology and permaculture
Maleny Co-housing - Small australian co-housing community on collectively owned land

Solar Public Service Announcements

by gmoke Fri Apr 23rd, 2021 at 12:03:03 AM EST

The first solar video I produced was for the Urban Solar Energy Association [USEA] back in the early 1980s. One of the 10 second public service announcements was "A south-facing window is already a solar collector. Learn how to use it." with the contact information for USEA. Another was "A south-facing porch can become a solar greenhouse. Learn how to build one." We got a few hundred dollars in a grant from a group that was refusing to pay war taxes to make 3 inch tape copies and I took them around to the TV stations. Even saw the spot, once, late at night, I think on Channel Five.

The next round of solar videos was a set of 30 second spots I did with a graphic designer, Ed Hill, for the successor organization, Boston Area Sustainable Energy Association in the 1990s when I was doing a lot of public access TV, including videotaping and cablecasting the monthly talks that BASEA hosted. There is still a lot of information to be mined from that archive but it is just gathering dust in a storage area in my house in the form of VHS and 3/4 inch tape.

My favorite of that second series was the one on solar history which showed photographs of local solar buildings since the 1940s and back a few thousand years to the solar techniques of Greek houses (https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIGS5LSjlnk).

Unfortunately, when I took these solar PSAs to the local TV stations they had no time available. Only one local UHF station (remember UHF?), Channel 56, took a copy but I'm not sure that it ever made air.

Since then I've made some of my own short Youtube videos on simple solar principles as I have always believed that you can teach the basics of practical solar energy, at least for emergency/survival electricity and heat, in a half hour or less.

Recently, I compiled a playlist on Youtube of all my simple solar stuff at https:/www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_NN__fS5pM&list=PLkauPyDTdD2A9t4w-ZVMytJS8MpE2dB7N

Some of the products mentioned are no longer available but I believe the basic solar information is still good.

Building Soil for Earth Week

by gmoke Sun Apr 18th, 2021 at 05:53:44 PM EST

Pleistocene Park Discussion with Manager, Nikita Zimov
Sunday, April 18, 9 - 10:30 AM ET (GMT-4)
Zoom https:/soil4climate-org.zoom.us/j/83756644945?pwd=elVTLytWbU5YVExIZ3k0MU9TWFRtQT09

Kiss the Ground Movie Discussion with Producers and Writers, Josh & Rebecca Tickell
Tuesday, April 20, 2 PM ET (GMT-4)
Zoom https:/soil4climate-org.zoom.us/j/89664652320?pwd=bUozL0xpMnhkNWhjKzVHUkNDM2ZUUT09

Free viewing of Kiss the Ground until Tuesday, April 20, here
password: soil4

"Nature-Positive Food Production" with Dr. Martin Frick of the United Nations Food Systems Summit
Thursday (Earth Day), April 22, 7 AM ET (GMT-4)
Zoom https:
Soil4Climate Facebook group

I believe all of these discussions will be archived at the Soil4Climate Facebook group.

City Agriculture - April 9, 2021

by gmoke Sat Apr 10th, 2021 at 02:18:52 AM EST

BBC summary of the state of the art/business

BBC TV Series:   Follow the Food:  Urban Farming

"Carbon-absorbing" vertical forest skyscraper nears completion in Taipei

Carbon neutral ecodistrict for Lille, France - another Callebaut project

Plant Ag:  $9 billion startup with food traceability from field to plate
https:/www.fastcompany.com/90614017/plant-ag-9-billion-startup-food-traceability-field-to-plate-tra nsparency-karim-giscombe

Liuzhou Forest City - China is building a city where trees clean the air

Saltwater vertical farming
https:/www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/3/1/what-do-saltwater-vertical-farming-and-sustainable-coastli nes-have-in-common

Regeneration of Pirelli 39 - renovating and expanding an existing building to include a vertical forest for cleaning the air

Japanese competition for best garden in the back of a pick-up truck
Other mobile gardens in City Agriculture over the years include
Kim Holleman's mobile park in one trailer or as a trailer park, now in new smaller model with aquaponics
http://inhabitat.com/nyc/kim-holleman-debuts-new-version-of-famous-trailer-park-with-solar-powered-a quaponic-pond

Autonomous traveling garden:  Hortum machina B
Mobile green living room touring Europe
Mobile garden in MIlan

Rob Greenfield foraged all his own food for a year in Orlando, FL

Continuing Education: Urban Agriculture

Lichen and moss walls

Archive of City Agriculture available at http://cityag.blogspot.com

Geotherapy Not Geoengineering, Please

by gmoke Tue Mar 30th, 2021 at 06:31:07 PM EST

Geotherapy not geoengineering, please.

"Geotherapy refers to the process of restoring the earth's health by strengthening natural biogeochemical and physiological mechanisms that regulate the earth's planetary life support systems and control global temperature, sea level, atmospheric composition, soil fertility, food, and fresh water supplies."
Source:  Geotherapy:  Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
https:/www.taylorfrancis.com/books/geotherapy-thomas-goreau-ronal-larson-joanna-campe/e/10.1201/b13 788

Geoengineering "is the deliberate large-scale intervention in the Earth's climate system, in order to moderate global warming" and "the most prominent subcategories of climate engineering are solar radiation management and carbon dioxide removal."
Source: https:

Geotherapy is based on working with existing natural systems and starts local, adapting to the different biomes in which a geotherapeutic technique works.  Geoengineering tends to be global from the get go and the "engineering" is emphasized much more than the "geo," at least so far.  Geotherapy is systems solutions, working within ecological boundaries.  Geoengineering is engineering, tools based, and usually mechanistic.

The resources I used to learn about geotherapy are
Geotherapy:  Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase
www.taylorfrancis.com/books/geotherapy-thomas-goreau-ronal-larson-joanna-campe/e/10.1201/b13 788k

Proceedings of the recent conferences organized by Biodiversity for a Livable Climate on a wide variety of geotherapeutic solutions

John Todd's history of his lifetime building healthy and healing ecologies, Healing Earth:  An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship

According to the Guardian (https:/www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/20/our-biggest-challenge-lack-of-imagination-the-sc ientists-turning-the-desert-green), John Todd is working with a Dutch company, the Weathermakers (http://theweathermakers.nl), developing a plan to make the Sinai Desert green.  They are using John's "eco machines," greenhouses with an extremely biodiverse environment reflecting "the aggregate experience of life on Earth over the last 3.5bn years."  They will distill salt water while growing plants, fish, and animals, all powered by the sun.   "The idea is that you may have 100 of these structures," says John Todd. "And they're spending five years in one site and then they're moved, so these little ecologies are left behind."

One proof of such a regreening the desert concept is a permaculture experiment near the Dead Sea over a decade ago

Another is Wadi Attir (http://www.sustainabilitylabs.org/wadiattir/home/) in the Negev Desert, a Bedouin sustainable farm.

The Weathermakers are also following the successful methods Li Rui developed in regreening the loess plateau of northern China in the 1990s, collaboratoring with John D Liu who documented the process for TV and film and is now associated with the Ecosystem Restoration Camps (https:ecosystemrestorationcamps.org), part of a growing group of environmental restoration and regeneration projects now launched around the world.

Just as focusing on cities drove climate politics from Copenhagen to the Paris agreement, I believe ecovillage restoration will drive practical climate solutions using geotherapy, which works at every scale from a flower pot on a window sill to thousands of hectares of land, in the next few years.  

Here are some upcoming events which offer ways to participate in the action:
Smart Village Summit (https:
us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZUrduGgpz8pG9WyihU6tdCcuuq1F20NY6hn),  powered by Future Thinkers and RegenVillages.
This monthly virtual summit is for people interested in the many aspects of Smart Villages and ProtoB communities. We'll be joined by experienced guests to discuss earth regeneration, permaculture, community building, governance, education, social dynamics, funding, economics, organization and leadership, affordable housing, natural building, information sharing, innovation, technology and other important subjects.
March 31, 2021 04:00 PM GMT (Vancouver)
April 28, 2021 04:00 PM GMT (Vancouver)
May 26, 2021 04:00 PM GMT (Vancouver)

Global Just Recovery Gathering (https:justrecoverygathering.org), April 9 to 11, is a three-day online event featuring interactive workshops, cultural sessions, and hands-on trainings. The events will include appearances by Greta Thunberg, Malala Yousafzai, Naomi Klein, Brianna Fruean and  others.  Build your skills, strengthen relationships, and hear from a powerful line-up of climate leaders, artists, and musicians in every corner of the world.

The GEN Ecovillage Summit - Living Solutions for a Regenerative World (https:summit2021.ecovillage.org) will take place from April 9-15, 2021 and will showcase how ecovillages contribute to the mitigation of climate crisis and function as resilient communities of practise bringing concrete solutions and actions for earth restoration, economic revival, social regeneration and cultural celebration.

Recently, L Hunter Lovins said that reputable scientists believe we could return to 280 ppm CO2, pre-industrial levels, in 30-60 years IF we used holistic grazing practices on the existing grasslands of the world (https:www.cambridgeforum.org?p=7205).  Now, think about how quickly we could draw down atmospheric carbon IF we added marine ecosystems, which can sequester much more carbon (15 -20 times) more rapidly than terrestrial ecosystems, to the mix all while rapidly reducing our emissions to zero.

We are surrounded by insurmountable opportunities, when we think in terms of geotherapy, not geoengineering, please.

Comments >> (7 comments)

Zero Net Energy - March 24, 2021

by gmoke Thu Mar 25th, 2021 at 02:26:37 AM EST

Making a wooden solar insolation visualization
www.makingdatatangible.com/solar - program to help you make your own
https:/pysolar.readthedocs.io/en/latest - a collection of Python libraries for simulating the irradiation of any point on earth by the sun
Editorial Comment:  possibly a useful tool for those thinking about solar in relation to zero net energy

District heating in Sweden

World's largest PassivHaus-certified office building

Saudi Arabia to build a zero emissions city

Sustainable Housing Ownership Project, Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation

Gothenburg, Sweden is developing the world's first large-scale zero-emissions city zone
news.cision.com/business-region-goteborg/r/gothenburg-green-city-zone-leads-the-way-towards- zero-emissions-transportation-in-the-near-future,c3266333
https:/cleantechnica.com/2021/01/19/gothenburg-partners-with-volvo-to-create-a-climate-neutral-city /

Ohlone College - 185,000-square-foot net zero energy development
https:/www.cannondesign.com/our-work/work/ohlone-community-college-district-academic-core-buildings /

UK prefab low energy homes coming to scale?  An estimated 30,000 in the pipeline
www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2021/mar/06/eco-homes-become-hot-property-in-uks-zero-carbo n-paradigm-shift
Leeds Climate Innovation District

Deep Energy Retrofit for Triple Deckers

Oregon State University goes for net zero in new building

ML King Open/Cambridge Street Upper School in Cambridge, MA achieves net zero emissions

Net zero home development with 3D printed components

Years of Zero Net Energy links at http://solarray.blogspot.com

Comments >> (5 comments)

City Agriculture - March 7, 2021

by gmoke Sun Mar 7th, 2021 at 08:53:13 PM EST

Urban Agriculture Blog from Agritecture

The 20 best green alleys of Montreal (en française, in French)

Europe's largest vertical farm is under construction - 14 stories high in a 7,000-square-meter facility at Copenhagen Markets in Denmark

Respira - an air purifying garden that is self-sustaining
www.kickstarter.com/projects/respira/respira-the-air-purifying-garden-that-takes-care-of-its elf

Urban farm feeds the homeless in the city of Chiang Mai during COVID time

A Global Geospatial Ecosystem Services Estimate of Urban Agriculture - they estimate about 10% of food production can happen in cities

Rooftop nature conservancy in Hong Kong includes a biodiversity museum, an outdoor farm to provide farm-to-table dining, a butterfly garden and more

Staten Island apartment complex with 5000 square foot farm
hat tip Pasqualino Columbaro

Tiny forests for England based upon a Japanese technique
https:/www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/feb/02/tennis-court-sized-scrap-of-bristol-to-become-ti ny-forest

The New Agrarian Economy:  The Past, Present, and Future of Urban Agriculture in New York City [pdf alert]

Thammasat University Rangsit Campus urban rooftop farm, the largest in Asia

Shenzhen skyscraper with aquaponics to purify the air

Years of City Agriculture links are available at http://cityag.blogspot.com

Internet Learning

by gmoke Mon Mar 1st, 2021 at 04:11:21 AM EST

20 minute summary about the pedagogy and use of social media Howard Rheingold developed over 10 years teaching at Stanford and Berkeley

Howard Rheingold wrote The Virtual Community back in 1993 and has continued studying and working with communications technology up till tomorrow.  My notes to his 2012 book, Net Smart:  How to Thrive Online, are available at

There's a lot of considered experience here for all of us who are learning the Internet.

I've known Howard since the days when he was the editor of the Whole Earth Review.  We've met only a couple of times face to face but have corresponded by mail and email, blog, and twitter for decades.  He knows whereof he speaks.

Insight from Gina McCarthy

by gmoke Sun Feb 14th, 2021 at 11:33:16 PM EST

After the Obama Presidency, Gina McCarthy, the former Administrator of the EPA, landed at Harvard as a Fellow of the Institute of Politics and ran a Tuesday afternoon study group, as IOP Fellows do.  Since I have way too much time on my hands, an interest in the environment, and a great deal of respect for Ms McCarthy, I attended her study group.  One day, she said something about her experience in the Obama administration that struck me as important, something I'd not heard before.  

What excited my interest was that McCarthy said she had never seen the kind of cooperation between different government departments that she saw in the Obama administration.  This cooperation was not only on the top levels of appointed positions like Secretary and Under-Secretary but went deep down throughout the bureaucracy.  McCarthy has worked for 25 years in public administration in Conneticut and Massachusetts and the Federal government.  That this level of cooperation (and the implied lack of turf wars) between departments was remarkable to her is most remarkable to me.

I asked her to think about what the reasons for such cooperation might be and to write about it as I believe this to be important.  My own guess is that the election of Barrack Obama gave people an opportunity to work together on a clear and beneficial common purpose.  My readings on motivation have convinced me that what gives people satisfaction at work are a clear common purpose, a certain amount of autonomy, and a chance for mastery.  It may be that the Obama adminstration consciously or unconsciously provided at least one of those three and, possibly, all of them.

Obama, in my reading, has had a reputation for conciliation and cooperation from his student days through his terms in the Illinois State Senate, the US Senate, and the Presidency.  That "No Drama" Obama attitude may also have penetrated throughout his administration by osmosis or practice.  President Biden has a similar reputation, especially in regards to bipartisanship or working with Republicans.

McCarthy was Obama's second term EPA administrator and served from 2013 to 2017.   This unusual level of inter-departmental cooperation was built and sustained over two terms, eight years, and probably well worth studying.  What were the mechanisms that allowed this to happen and can they be replicated?

After the Trmp administration whose hallmarks were chaos, petty cruelty as policy, and tactical incompetence to muddy their tracks and avoid responsibility,  we might want to know how to generate increased inter-departmental cooperation now that the Trmp presidency* is over.  We're probably gonna need all the help we can get and it seems to me that Biden, McCarthy, now the White House climate person, and the many veterans of the Obama era have the experience and the smarts to replicate that cooperation in depth that Gina McCarthy talked about on a Tuesday afternoon in a Kennedy School seminar room back in 2017.

Comments >> (2 comments)

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs or How to Talk about Climate

by gmoke Sun Jan 24th, 2021 at 04:10:39 AM EST

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (https:/www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm) says wind turbine service technician jobs should grow 61% over the next decade, the #1 fastest growing job for the next decade. Solar photovoltaic [PV] installer* is the third fastest growing job with a growth rate of 51%.

Now imagine if we pursued a goal of 100% renewables by 2030. Mark Z Jacobson and his team have provided one possible roadmap to do just that (https:www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/2/3/1831985-100-Renewables-by-2030).

Even more jobs would be created if we got serious about energy efficiency and began to retrofit our existing buildings to net zero energy or near net zero energy standards, where a building provides all or most of the energy it needs on its own. Such building energy standards are being gradually adopted in the EU and CA where all building, including renovations, will have to meet those standards by 2030. In addition, there is at least one company, EnergieSprong, which is developing prefab, mass production methods to do such energy retrofits on existing buildings (https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/1/9/1824927-Mass-Production-of-Net-Zero-Energy-Retrofits-for- Single-Family-Homes).

For comparison, in 1979 Jimmy Carter's energy plan called for insulating 90% of American homes and all new buildings and use solar energy in more than 2.5 million homes by 1985. There were 1.3 million solar installations in the USA in 2017 by one count and may be 1.9 million in 2019 by another. The DOE predicted there will be 3.8 million solar homes by the end of 2020. (https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/12/17/1906361-What-I-Read-in-the-Green-New-Deal-for-Public-Ho using-Bill). However, since there are over 83 million single family homes in the USA, we still have a long way to go.

I've been wondering for a while now why politicians, citizen advocates, and organizations who support action on climate don't focus on this extremely positive aspect of confronting climate crisis. We seem to like scaring ourselves more than focusing on building a really livable future (https:/www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/4/20/1851903-Why-isn-t-job-growth-the-first-thing-climate-act ivists-mention).

These first days of a Biden administration may be the perfect time to be practical and demand the impossible: making 90% of our homes net zero or near net zero energy and getting 100% of our energy from renewables by 2030.

*Solar installer should be a highly trained and skilled job (with better pay) as 92% of solar system failures are from installation mistakes, according to Scott Sklar, a long-time energy advocate and practitioner. North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (https://www.nabcep.org) certifies installers and you might want to ask if your installer has heard of them.

City Agriculture - January 21, 2021, the Happy Inauguration Issue

by gmoke Fri Jan 22nd, 2021 at 03:03:44 AM EST

A rooftop forest for Rotterdam
https:/www.mvrdv.nl/news/2603/with-construction-almost-complete-depot-boijmans-van-beuningen-prepar es-for-preview-opening-in-september

https:www.mvrdv.nl/news/2652/depot-boijmans-van-beuningen-rooftop-forest-awarded-rooftop-award-202 0

Inside Singapore's huge bet on vertical farming by Megan Tatum
https:/www.technologyreview.com/2020/10/13/1009497/singapore-vertical-farming-food-security (subscribers only)

Evanlee Organics

Hothouse - "an arched greenhouse as part of London Design Festival, which is filled with plants that it predicts will soon be able to grow outdoors in the UK due to climate change."

Researchers granted $1 Million to advance urban agriculture
https:/www.agritecture.com/blog/2020/11/30/ub-researchers-awarded-1-million-grant-to-advance-urban- agriculture

This 2-Acre Vertical Farm Out-Produces 720 Acre `Flat Farms'
www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/11/20/this-2-acre-vertical-farm-out-produces-750-acre -flat-farms

Rehabbing Quito, Ecuador's bullring stadium for food production

Freight Farms shipping container growing systems partners with Arcadia Partnership for clean energy to power food growing
Editorial Comment:  InFarm is the only stand-alone growing system I know of which has included energy and resource efficiency from the beginning.  A few years ago, I had the chance to ask one of the founders of Freight Farms about whether they had thought of energy efficiency as they started and his answer was no.  Good to see that they are now stepping up

And a research project for net zero farming:
University of Toronto Scarborough & Centennial College developing Canada's first net zero vertical farm
https:/utsc.utoronto.ca/news-events/our-community/u-t-scarborough-centennial-college-partnering-dev elop-canadas-first-net-zero-vertical

Mapping U.S. Food System Localization Potential: The Impact of Diet on Foodsheds

Paris approves plan to make Champs Elysees into a garden
www.theguardian.com/world/2021/jan/10/paris-approves-plan-to-turn-champs-elysees-into-extrao rdinary-garden-anne-hidalgo
hat tip: Gil Friend

Calculating the carbon footprint of vertical farming and traditional farming
/www.agritecture.com/blog/2021/1/20/calculating-the-carbon-footprint-of-vertical-farming-and- traditional-farming

Editorial Comment:  City Agriculture is a free listserv (contact the editor, gmoke@world.std.com to subscribe)  and every link from 2014 on is archived at http://cityag.blogspot.com

Comments >> (2 comments)

Solar Decathlon Webinars

by gmoke Sat Jan 16th, 2021 at 02:13:01 AM EST

The U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon is a collegiate competition, comprising 10 contests, that challenges student teams to design and build highly efficient and innovative buildings powered by renewable energy.

It's been going on since 2002 and has produced hundreds of model houses built by student teams from all over the world.  This year they are doing a webinar series as well.  Should be lots and lots of good information here.

Resilient Home 411: Strategies to Weather and Recover from Natural Disasters
Thursday, January 21, 2021, 1-2 p.m. E.T.
RSVP at https:/register.gotowebinar.com/register/1486122315339351051

Zero Energy Ready Homes: New and Growing Fast
Wednesday, February 17, 2021, 1-2 p.m. E.T.
RSVP at https:

The Future of Solar: A Tour of Cutting-Edge Solar Research with the U.S. Department of Energy
Wednesday, March 17, 2021, 1-2 p.m. E.T.
RSVP at https:

Solar Decathlon Build Challenge Team House Tour
Wednesday, April 28, 2021, 1-2 p.m. E.T.
RSVP at https:

More at https:cleantechnica.com/2021/01/11/register-today-for-resilient-home-411-next-solar-decathlon-virt ual-session

Comments >> (1 comment)

Zero Net Energy - December 27, 2020

by gmoke Mon Dec 28th, 2020 at 03:46:45 AM EST

"Second + Delaware is the largest Passive House building in the world, which means that it uses 80-90% less energy than conventional buildings"

Opening in October in Kansas City, Missouri

A blog about living in a self-designed shipping container tiny house which is completely self-sufficient in Australia

40 hectare "regenerative city" plan for Bergen, Norway

How Oslo plans to become a zero emissions city by 2030

Net Zero energy McDonald's

Snøhetta's Powerhouse Telemark will use 70% less energy than a conventional building of similar size and will produce more energy than it will require over its entire lifespan, including the energy used in construction and even during its eventual demolition in decades to come
https:/snohetta.com/projects/523-powerhouse-telemark-a-sustainable-model-for-the-future-of-workspac es
cleantechnica.com/2020/11/03/powerhouse-telemark-by-snohetta-produces-more-energy-than-it-co nsumes

In January, 2019 this list included
Trondheim, Norway's net energy positive building, Powerhouse Brattørkaia, "will generate more energy in its operational phase than it consumes through the production of buiding materials, construction, operation, and disposal of the building" or Snøhetta strikes again
https:/www.citylab.com/environment/2018/12/norway-energy-positive-building-powerhouse-snohetta/5779 18

Editorial Comment:  Snøhetta is the standard for zero net energy, net zero energy design and construction, at least in my opinion.

Plan for UK's first carbon neutral "urban quarter"

The Green Gateway, a zero-emission, highly sustainable multimodal hub, is the winner for the 2020 Fentress Global Challenge (FGC), an annual global student design competition
https:/fentressglobalchallenge.com/news/2020/airport-of-the-future-global-student-design-competitio n-2020-winners-announced

Westwood Hills Nature Center in St. Louis Park, Minnesota with net-zero energy design

Net energy positive hotel for Bornholm Island, Denmark
Editorial Comment:  Bornholm Island was the test-bed for the EU's Grid 2.0 project to determine how to mesh renewables with the existing grid and speed the renewable transition:  http://www.eu-ecogrid.net
More on Bornholm and other near net zero island projects at http://solarray.blogspot.com/2017/09/crowd-funding-emergency-solar-electric.html

Redesigning Bellinzona, Switzerland through an "'eMergetic evaluation' concept that considers the entire building lifecycle to minimize the city's carbon footprint. The proposal also includes planned energy policy objectives with zero-emission targets, renewable energy systems and environmental monitoring."
https:/www.tamassociati.org/2020/10/22/tamassociati-takes-part-in-redesigning-the-future-of-bellinz ona-switzerland

Planning the Energy Transition

by gmoke Thu Dec 24th, 2020 at 04:38:21 AM EST

Over the past couple of weeks I've run across what might be a few really useful reports on the energy transition.

The Lancet is doing an annual climate countdown report to monitor our progress.  Here is this year's edition:  https:/www.lancetcountdown.org/2020-report

That should give us some idea of where we are and this particular finding jumped out

"Indicator 4.2.5: net value of fossil fuel subsidies and carbon prices--headline finding: 58 of the 75 countries reviewed were operating with a net negative carbon price in 2017.  The resulting net loss of revenue was, in many cases, equivalent to substantial proportions of the national health budget...

"This indicator calculates net, economy- wide average carbon prices and associated net carbon revenue to government. The calculations are based on the value of overall fossil fuel subsidies, the revenue from carbon pricing mechanisms, and the total CO2 emissions of the economy. Data on fossil fuel subsidies are calculated on the basis of analysis from the IEA and OECD.  Together, these sources cover 75 countries and account for around 92% of global CO2 emissions. Carbon prices and revenues are derived from data in the World Bank Carbon Pricing Dashboard (https:/carbonpricingdashboard.worldbank.org) [Corporate Carbon Accounting Market https:/cleantechnica.com/2020/11/30/the-corporate-carbon-accounting-market may also be useful here]

"Of the 75 countries, 61 (81%) countries in 2016 and 58 (77%) countries in 2017 had net negative carbon prices, and only 14 (19%) countries in 2016 and 17 (23%) countries in 2017 had a price higher than zero, a result of substantial subsidies for fossil fuel production and consumption (figure 25). The median net carbon revenue was negative, a pay-out of $0·66 billion (IQR -0·04 to -3·48), with some countries providing net fossil fuel subsidies in the tens of billions of dollars each year. In many cases, these subsidies were equivalent to substantial proportions of the national health budget--more than 100% in eight of the 75 countries in 2017.  Of the 38 countries that had formal carbon pricing mechanisms in place in 2017, 21 still had net negative carbon prices."

An historical perspective is available with an interactive diagram of the Energy Transitions in U.S. History, 1800-2019 (https:/us-sankey.rcc.uchicago.edu), extremely fine work which maps the transitions from biomass to coal to oil to gas to nuclear to renewables.  The supporting paper is at https:static1.squarespace.com/static/54dcfad0e4b0eaff5e0068bf/t/5fbeba6ffa04221c71019ccc/160633509 1993/Suits_Matteson_Moyer_2020_Energy_Transitions.pdf

McKinsey has just released a report on How the EU Could Achieve Zero Emissions at Net Zero Cost (https:www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/sustainability/our-insights/how-the-european-union-could -achieve-net-zero-emissions-at-net-zero-cost#) and there are two new studies for the USA:

Net-Zero America:  Potential Pathways, Infrastructure, and Impacts
environmenthalfcentury.princeton.edu/sites/g/files/toruqf331/files/2020-12/Princeton_NZA_Int erim_Report_15_Dec_2020_FINAL.pdf
environmenthalfcentury.princeton.edu/research/2020/big-affordable-effort-needed-america-reac h-net-zero-emissions-2050-princeton-study

and two US renewable energy policy scenaria, administrative action alone doubling renewables by 2030 and 50% renewables by 2030, from Wood Mackenzie (https:www.woodmac.com/our-expertise/focus/Power--Renewables/us-renewable-energy-policy-scenario-an alysis).

The Sierra Club also has a paper on how they are approaching "Climate Resilience, Carbon Dioxide Removal, and Geoengineering Policy"
https://www.sierraclub.org/sites/www.sierraclub.org/files/2020-Sierra-Club-Climate-Resilience-Policy .pdf

12/14/20 - Biomimicry Restoration: Healthy Oysters for Healthy Coasts, Oceans and Climate

by gmoke Thu Dec 10th, 2020 at 04:07:45 AM EST

Biomimicry Restoration: Healthy Oysters for Healthy Coasts, Oceans and Climate
Monday, December 14, 2020, from 5 - 6 p.m. EDT

Register for free at https:/wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/1016072887368/WN_mUknppwnTi-Qy97BCNlGbQ?blm_aid=25138
Biodiversity for a Livable Climate, in partnership with the GBH Forum Network, is honored to present Marine Biologist Anamarija Frankić speaking about the role of oyster habitat restoration in creating healthy living coastlines, oceans, and humans.

Globally, oyster habitats are the most degraded habitats among coastal systems, with the loss of 99% in the last 150 years. These 350 million years old keystone species and their natural keystone habitats are at the brink of total collapse due to intensive human industrial harvesting and pollution of coastal areas. Science has acknowledged the ecological value of oyster habitats and their importance to coastal health and protection. We now know that oyster habitats used to embrace coasts of all continents, protecting them and supporting life and water quality, often growing up to 10 cm/year. How can we best work with nature and help restore species, habitats and natural systems? This presentation will address the biomimicry approach for oyster habitat restoration locally and globally in order to recover marine health and resiliency.

I've followed Anamarija Frankić's projects in Boston Harbor for years now.  She is doing the work and blazing the trail.  She's also a very good teacher and researcher well worth listening to.

This event is part of the Life Saves the Planet lecture series, from Biodiversity for a Livable Climate and and GBH, the local PBS operation.  Biodiversity for a Livable Climate (https:bio4climate.org) has been organizing important conferences on the many different aspects of geotherapy, using ecological systems to repair the damage homo sap sap (that sap) has done.  You can access their conference proceedings at https:/bio4climate.org/conferences  It is good to see that they have begun collaborating with GBH.

A foundational text on geotherapeutic principles is Geotherapy:  Innovative Methods of Soil Fertility Restoration, Carbon Sequestration, and Reversing CO2 Increase (https:/www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9780429168901) which has made me believe it is possible to reduce atmospheric carbon to preindustrial levels (about 270 ppm) by the end of the century if we did everything we know how to do simply with SOIL consistently and globally with practices that work from flowerpot to thousand hectares scales.

Another is Healing Earth:  An Ecologist's Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship (Berkeley, CA:  North Atlantic Books, 2019  ISBN 9781623172985) (https:www.northatlanticbooks.com/shop/healing-earth) in which John Todd shares the lessons he's learned over a lifetime of building, rebuilding, and repairing ecosystems, demonstrably healing portions of the Earth.

We remain alert so as not to get run down, but it turns out you only have to hop a few feet to one side and the whole huge machinery rolls by, not seeing you at all.
Lew Welch

Quite clearly, our task is predominantly metaphysical, for it is how to get all of humanity to educate itself swiftly enough to generate spontaneous behaviors tha will avoid extinction.  
R. Buckminster Fuller

the war that matters is the war against the imagination
all other wars are subsumed in it.
Diane di Prima

The Human Trouble According to James Baldwin

by gmoke Sun Nov 15th, 2020 at 10:15:00 PM EST

"Perhaps the whole root of our trouble, the human trouble, is that we will sacrifice all the beauty of our lives, will imprison ourselves in totems, taboos, crosses, blood sacrifices, steeples, mosques, races, armies, flags, nations, in order to deny the fact of death, which is the only fact we have."
from The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin

"Chapter & Verse: The Gospel of James Baldwin is a 21st century ritual tool kit for justice. A call for revolution. A gift during turbulent times" created by Meshell Ndegeocello and Charlotte Brathwaite

My notes to Baldwin's Collected Essays

Notes to The Fire Next Time and Nothing Personal, Balwin's collaboration with his DeWitt Clinton HS schoolmate, the photographer Richard Avedon


Perhaps Baldwin's "human trouble" can become John Lewis' "Make good trouble."

I like to think I make my way through life getting into good human trouble.

But I could always be wrong.

City Agriculture - October 15, 2020

by gmoke Thu Oct 15th, 2020 at 05:04:00 PM EST

Map of the public access fruit trees of Toronto

Green transformation for a railway yard in St Petersburg, Russia

Self-sufficient skyscraper proposed for NYC
https:/www.lissoniandpartners.com/en/architecture/competitions/americas/completed/skylines-new-york /1289

Harrisburg, PA from abandoned school to urban eco-village, including indoor food production
https:/www.fastcompany.com/90535345/a-former-nfl-player-is-turning-this-abandoned-building-into-an- ecovillage
hat tip Media Diet: http://tinyurl.com/joinmediadiet

SUPERVERDE - urban greening modules

The Kitchen Farming Project - unemployed line cooks (and the public) invited to garden and build a new food future

Everybody Eats - a food relief program in Brattleboro, VT leverages CARES Act funds to engage local restaurants in making to-go meals for anyone in Brattleboro, Guilford, Vernon, Dummerston, or Putney who has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis due to unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, or other challenges. Over 10,000 meals will be distributed in the month of August, with nine Brattleboro restaurants providing a total of 650 meals per day for at least four weeks.

Paris encourages all citizens to become urban gardeners

World's biggest rooftop greenhouse opens in Montreal

Asia's largest organic rooftop farm spans 236,806 square feet, can provide up to 80,000 meals (20 tons of organic food), and grows more than 40 edible species of crops, including rice, indigenous vegetables, fruit trees and herbs

Vertical forest goes wild in Chengdu, China

Resourcing an Agroecological Urbanism:  Political, Transformational and Territorial Dimensions by Chiara Tornaghi, Michiel Dehaene
/www.routledge.com/Resourcing-an-Agroecological-Urbanism-Political-Transformational-and-Terri torial/Tornaghi-Dehaene/p/book/9781138359680 PS: All previous editions of City Agriculture are available at http://cityag.blogspot.com PPS: I would have a lot more respect for Extinction Rebellion, 350.org, Mothers Out Front, Fridays for the Future, Sunrise Movement... if they spent more time publicly on these kinds of activities which have immediate practical applications in reducing the effects of climate chaos, build community, and are a necessary step in speeding the transition to an ecologically logical future.

Toward Net Zero Energy: Tiny Houses on Up

by gmoke Thu Aug 27th, 2020 at 04:02:50 AM EST

The Laney College Carpentry Department in Oakland, California built a net zero tiny house, the Wedge, in 2016 for the SMUD Net Zero Tiny House Competition

That tiny house is for sale for

Laney College carpenters are currently building two other prototypes tiny houses, the Pocket House, for the unhoused and homeless in Oakland

The Northern Nomad is another net zero tiny home designed and built by a group of students from Carleton University in Canada as this video from 2019 shows:
Northern Nomad Tiny House

Reading Design Guidelines for a Net Zero Tiny House (https:tinyhousedesign.com/design-guidelines-for-a-net-zero-tiny-house) and Guide to Off-Grid Tiny Houses (https://gosun.co/blogs/news/guide-to-an-off-grid-tiny-house), the core idea seems to be energy efficiency first, last, and always:  the less energy you use the easier it becomes to supply it with renewables onsite.

That core idea of energy efficiency applies to all houses, not just tiny houses.

Zero Net Energy - August 11, 2020

by gmoke Tue Aug 11th, 2020 at 08:30:28 PM EST

Santa Monica civic building will produce net positive energy and going for full Living Building challenge certification

An affordable Passive House development that's "aggressively green"

A ski chalet in Utah which will be a net-positive energy building, generating 364% more power than it needs

Link City - proposed self-sustainable city-forest, using an urban operating system with an AI (Artificial Intelligence)

Park Avenue Green - affordable passive house apartment building in the South Bronx, the largest passive house development in North America

Wellesley College Global Flora greenhouse "exceeds the Net Zero Water & Energy requirements of the Living Building Challenge, the world's most rigorous certification of sustainable construction."

Energy neutral school in Utrecht

AI to identify energy wasting homes
https:/venturebeat.com/2020/07/07/wattscale-is-an-open-source-ai-tool-that-identifies-energy-wastin g-homes
WattScale https:/arxiv.org/pdf/2007.01382.pdf
Watthome, an earlier version:  http://www.ecs.umass.edu/~irwin/watthome.pdf

Arctic Nordic Alpine  - Exhibation on Snøhetta's work including Hotel Svart in Svartisen, the Arctic World Archive Visitor Center in Svalbard Island, and the Museum Quarter in Bolzano
www.fastcompany.com/90524716/how-the-worlds-most-remote-buildings-can-help-us-adapt-to-clima te-change
hat tip to Heath Row's Media Diet: http://tinyurl.com/joinmediadiet

Orford Mews - energy-positive, carbon positive, zero construction waste nine-unit development planned for London

Moonstone House - test bed for energy efficiency started in 2002 is still evolving

Self-sufficient skyscraper proposed for NYC
https:/www.lissoniandpartners.com/en/architecture/competitions/americas/completed/skylines-new-york /1289

20 Years (at least) Without Election Integrity

by gmoke Wed Aug 5th, 2020 at 03:20:14 AM EST

After the 2000 election of hanging chads and Bush v Gore and a totally non-precedential Presidential decision by the Supremes, I discovered that the Caltech/MIT Electronic Voting Project (https:/www.vote.caltech.edu) met sometime at MIT in Cambridge, MA where I live.  So I went to a few of the open meetings.  

It was an interesting process.  Here were all these technical people not only computer people but also sociologists and user-interface psychologists and such looking at the very complicated way the USA registers people to vote, votes, and counts the votes.  What I gathered then was that optical scanners with paper ballots are probably the most nearly accurate way to make sure that the votes are counted accurately and accountably.  From what I gather now, it still is.
Millions of tax dollars have been spent on voting since 2000 but I tend to think it's at least as bad and probably worse all these 20 years later.

The Brennan Center Defend Our Elections Program (https:www.brennancenter.org/issues/defend-our-elections) is working on election defense and you can find out much more about the issues around election protection at the Fair Elections Center (https:www.fairelectionscenter.org)

In these days of COVID19, poll workers will be needed. Power the Polls (http://powerthepolls.org) and Work Elections (https:www.workelections.com) will point you in the right direction if you want to help out with the nuts and bolts of democracy.

In my neighborhood, Swing Left Boston is organizing voter protection in swing states (https:swingleftboston.org/sign-up-for-voter-protection-2) if you want to become a partisan poll watcher instead of a poll worker.

Vote, yes vote but make sure your vote is counted accurately, honestly, and verifiably.  As the saying goes, "It's not the people who vote that count, it's the people who count the votes."

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