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

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

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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."

Comments >> (5 comments)

Mafia Bust Out on a National Scale

by gmoke Sun Jul 26th, 2020 at 12:19:45 AM EST

I've thought from the beginning that Trmp et alia are performing a Mafia bust-out on a national scale.  Nothing is beneath them.  It's all "Fck you, pay me," as this clip from "Goodfellas" points out.


What's a bust out?

Definition: A forced bankruptcy of a person or an organization, usually through theft, fraud or extortion.
Source:  http://mafiatrickster.tripod.com/kikai/mafiaslang.html

Once you get into business with a mobster, they take over.  They exploit the business, run it into the ground, and then torch it for the insurance.

This is exactly what Trmp et alia are doing.  Everything is a profit center, an opportunity to grift some graft, and wet the beak.  It is why I would not be at all surprised to find out, someday down the road, that Trmp et alia were getting kickbacks on PPE and anything else that can put a buck in their pockets.

Comments >> (1 comment)

What the Right (Which Admits Climate Change Is Real) Believes

by gmoke Mon Jul 20th, 2020 at 07:56:11 PM EST

I've been publishing a free weekly listing of Energy (and Other) Events around Cambridge, MA for more than a decade as a listserv and a webpage (http://hubevents.blogspot.com).  It covers public events in the community and in the local universities.  I generally look at Harvard, MIT, BU, Northeastern, and Tufts, all of which have events to which the public is invited although they rarely know it.  Since, in these days of quarantine, everything has migrated online, I've been finding online events from far beyond the Boston/Cambridge area.

These following events in the next week should give anyone a good idea of what the response to climate is among those Republicans and conservatiives who admit that climate change is happening.  There might be some opportunities for agreement.  Or not.

Still, it's good to know what the opposition (loyal or not) is thinking.
Technology, Markets and Bipartisanship: The Future of Climate Action
Tuesday, July 21
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EDT
RSVP at https:/www.eventbrite.com/e/technology-markets-and-bipartisanship-the-future-of-climate-action-tick ets-113039279528
Benji Backer, president of the American Conservation Coalition.
We're living in a partisan times, but climate change won't wait for the next election cycle. More and more young people are looking beyond traditional political boundaries for solutions to the environmental challenges facing us all. These solutions must reach across industries, parties and ideological divides to achieve meaningful change.
Join us Tuesday, July 21, at noon CDT for a special lunchtime conversation with Benji Backer, president of the American Conservation Coalition. Benji will talk about his politically conservative approach to environmental activism and introduce the American Climate Contract, a nonpartisan, holistic set of commitments to solve the climate crisis.
Title: "American Climate Contract: Environmental Action Beyond Partisan Politics"
Location: Zoom link to be provided to registrants
CRES Forum Event: How do conservatives plan to tackle climate change?
Thursday, July 23
Noon - 1.00 PM (EDT)
RSVP at https:
www.eventbrite.com/e/cres-forum-event-how-do-conservatives-plan-to-tackle-climate-change-tic kets-113112173556
Join CRES Forum for a discussion of immediate opportunities and actionable policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
It has been a busy year for climate policy. At the start of 2020 the first batch of Republican climate bills were introduced in the House. We have seen growing support for energy innovation, energy infrastructure and clean energy jobs as critical to America's economic recovery. Last month, we saw the introduction of the bipartisan bicameral Growing Climate Solutions Act. But, most recently, the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released the Democratic Majority's staff report, which drew criticism for a lack of bipartisanship.
Join CRES Forum for a discussion of immediate opportunities and actionable policies that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Opening Remarks:
Dave Banks | Chief Strategist for the Minority, House Select Committee on Climate Change
Christopher Guith | Senior Vice President, US Chamber of Commerce Global Energy Institute
Devin Hartman | Director of Energy and Environmental Policy, R Street Institute
Mary Beth Tung | Director, Maryland Energy Administration
MODERATOR: Charles Hernick | Vice President of Policy and Advocacy, CRES Forum
Putting Principles First: Climate Change & Environmental Policy
Thursday, July 23
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM EDT
RSVP at https:
www.eventbrite.com/e/putting-principles-first-climate-change-environmental-policy-tickets-11 3589152212
Join us for a discussion with former Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC) of republicEn about a principled approach to climate change.
We are delighted to welcome former Congressman Bob Inglis (R-SC) of republicEn for a Principles First discussion about new approaches to combating climate change and protecting our environment. We will hear from Mr. Inglis, engage in an open dialogue, and then reserve 30 minutes at the end of the meeting for other Principles First updates and topics.
The gathering will be hosted over Zoom and video conference details will be sent to all registrants prior to the event.
As always, all are welcome to join us.
About Bob Inglis
Bob Inglis launched the Energy and Enterprise Initiative ("E&EI") at George Mason University in July 2012 and serves as executive director, where he promotes free enterprise action on climate change.
For his work on climate change Inglis was given the 2015 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award. He appears in the film Merchants of Doubt and in the Showtime series YEARS of Living Dangerously, and he's spoken at TEDxBeacon Street and at TEDxJacksonville.
Inglis was a Resident Fellow at Harvard University's Institute of Politics in 2011, a Visiting Energy Fellow at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment in 2012, and a Resident Fellow at the University of Chicago's Institute of Politics in 2014.
Bob was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1992, having never run for office before. He represented Greenville-Spartanburg, South Carolina, from 1993-1998. In 2004, he was re-elected to Congress and served until losing re-election in the South Carolina Republican primary of 2010.

Editorial Comment:  I enjoy the fact that the Right tends to believe they are the only ones with principles, however defined.
Tom Friedman: The "Trump Effect" on Foreign and Climate Policy
Wednesday, July 29
8:00 PM - 9:00 PM EDT
RSVP at https:
/www.eventbrite.com/e/tom-friedman-the-trump-effect-on-foreign-and-climate-policy-tickets-109 832377598
Tom Friedman will share his thoughts and engage in dialogue on Trump and how they have impacted the world politic and climate change.
Tom Friedman is an American political commentator and best-selling author. He is a three-time Pulitzer Prize winner who is a weekly columnist for The New York Times. He has written extensively on foreign affairs, global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues.

Editorial Comment:  I include Tom Friedman because he may not be of the Right but he certainly has been someone who has supported Rightwing positions.

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City Agriculture - July 8, 2020

by gmoke Wed Jul 8th, 2020 at 08:51:53 PM EST

Montreal plans a biodiversity corridor through the city

Singapore's EDEN apartments finished - 20 storeys built around gardens

Babylon Bridge - a proposed multi-storey garden and pedestrian bridge for Paris

Citizen scientist finds 573 species in his Cambridge, UK "ordinary-sized" city garden
hat tip:  boingboing.net

Guerrilla Grafters - "grafting fruit-producing limbs onto sterile urban trees, specifically bred not to bear fruit"
returntonow.net/2020/05/30/guerilla-grafters-secretly-graft-fruit-bearing-branches-onto-ster ile-city-trees

Victoria, BC distributes vegetable seedlings for free

Paris' Saint Gobains tower has gardens on all floors

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."

Amsterdam's worm hotels
wormenhotel.nl - in Dutch but pictures!

Urban Agriculture and Climate Change: "The New Normal"
Thursday, July 9 (through August 20)
RSVP at https:
/www.eventbrite.com/e/urban-agriculture-and-climate-change-the-new-normal-tickets-11020606530 8
Join Instructor Mason Trappio to gain an understanding of how climate change affects the urban farmer and the growth of new crops.
This course informs the urban and peri-urban farmer about how climate change affects them and provides strategies for how to successfully adapt.
Length of Course: 1 hour
July 9, 2020
July 23, 2020
August 6, 2020
August 20, 2020
Course Fees: Free
Course Description:
Our growing environments are affected, to varing degrees, by climate change. Increased temperatures, greenhouse emissions, and insect populations all challenge our farming operations. In this course, you will gain an understanding of how climate change affects the urban farmer, and new crops to grow in this New Normal.
Credentials Earned: This a noncredit stand-alone course.
What You Will Learn:
How climate change can impact farming operations
How to use cover crops to mitigate climate change
How to use climate-smart crops in the face of climate change
Who should participate? Anyone can participate
Registration Information:  TBA
Course Instructor: Mason Trappio
For further information about the course, please contact course instructor Mason Trappio directly at mason.trappio@gmail.com, or Director of the Center for Urban Agriculture and Gardening Education, Che Axum, directly at mchezaji.axum@udc.edu.

A Few Events in the Global Climate Conversation

by gmoke Mon Jun 29th, 2020 at 08:35:19 PM EST

I've been publishing a free weekly listing of Energy (and Other) Events around Cambridge, MA for more than a decade as a listserv and a webpage (http://hubevents.blogspot.com).  It covers public events in the community and in the local universities.  I generally look at Harvard, MIT, BU, Northeastern, and Tufts, all of which have events to which the public is invited although they rarely know it.

Since, in these days of quarantine, everything has migrated online, I've been finding online events from far beyond the Boston/Cambridge area.  Over the next weeks, you can attend a discussion of a new book on the future of energy in Africa, hear from the executive director of the International Energy Agency, Dr. Fatih Birol, economists Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern together, climate scientist Dr Michael Mann, and energy expert Mark Z Jacobson.  The events from London Climate Action Week (https://www.londonclimateactionweek.org/events) on July 1 - 3 alone could provide a wealth of information.

How much of this online and thus global networking will continue and change the nature of international conversations after the quarantine ceases?  We'll find out.  Right now, I'm just collecting and distributing as much of these international possibilities as this one person can.  I thought, when I began my weekly listings service, that it would evolve into a public listing of all the public events at all the local colleges and universities, which in the Boston area is significant.  

Unfortunately, I've not found anyone interested in that possibility.  Now I think about a global online event listing for climate and energy and environmental issues.  Judging from the past, I doubt anyone else is interested in that possibility either but I'll put it out there anyway and continue to do what I do anyway.

Stay safe, be well.

Read more... (6311 words in story)

The Most Important Jigsaw Puzzle

by gmoke Sun Jun 28th, 2020 at 03:39:28 AM EST

The most important jigsaw puzzle right now is how the CoV-2 spike, a 3 part structure, attaches to the human ACE2 protein through which it enters the cells of our bodies.  That is the microscopic gap in our defenses.

When we understand that, we can figure out how to stop this pandemic.  Right at the source.

Here are some explanations of the infection process:

A more detailed animation of the spike/receptor interaction

FoldIt (https:/fold.it), the citizen science crowdsourcing protein folding site which has been around for over a decade, is currently hosting a series of CoV-2 protein folding puzzles.  

Here's their latest report

Read more... (391 words in story)

City Agriculture - May 30, 2020

by gmoke Sat May 30th, 2020 at 06:13:34 PM EST

"Tree-like" vertical farms for Brooklyn?
www.core77.com/posts/94000/Could-These-Tree-Like-Vertical-Farms-Be-the-Future-of-Urban-Farmi ng

Underground parking lot to organic mushroom farm in Paris (the ONLY organic farm in the city - so far)
medium.com/fab-city-grand-paris/our-maker-farmers-visit-the-mushroom-urban-farm-in-paris-c65 3e87c026e

How urban trees and hedges help cut air pollution
https:/www.theguardian.com/science/2020/feb/18/plantwatch-how-urban-trees-and-hedges-help-cut-air-p ollution

Can local food feed an urban world?

Green Concept House - a zero-waste, 100% self-sustaining home, including growing food

Safezone Shelter - air pollution protection using plants in a shelter in Bangkok
https:/inhabitat.com/futuristic-safezone-shelter-battles-air-pollution-in-thailand-with-a-green-oas is

Vertical Oasis - concept for a green solar-powered skyscraper

12 "agrihoods"
https:/charterforcompassion.org/shareable-community-ideas/12-agrihoods-taking-farm-to-table-living- mainstream

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

City farms underground
https:/www.bbc.com/future/bespoke/follow-the-food/the-massive-farms-emerging-beneath-our-cities.htm l

Green wall made from clay tiles also provides natural cooling

Which trees reduce air pollution best

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News and Views

 March 2021

by Bernard - Mar 1, 38 comments

Your take on this month's news

 February 2021

by Bernard - Feb 2, 125 comments

Your take on this month's news

 January-February Open Thread

by Bernard - Jan 18, 20 comments

COVID vaccination on the march throughout Europe (OK, maybe limping...)

Occasional Series
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