Day: August 3, 2011

What’s the big deal with biochar?

Read the full post from the Rodale Institute.

The term ‘biochar’ refers to black carbon formed by heating biomass (plant wastes, feedstocks, etc.) in an oxygen-free or low oxygen environment so it does not combust. The technical term for this process is pyrolysis. Traditional charcoal is one example of biochar produced from wood. However, the term ‘biochar’ is much broader than this, encompassing black carbon produced from any biomass feedstock.

Cities Encourage Green Building through Disclosure

Read the full story in Governing.

Increasingly, cities like Austin, New York, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington, D.C., along with California and Washington state, are mandating that large buildings perform energy audits that will be benchmarked against other buildings of a similar size, configuration and age. While the concept of benchmarking isn’t entirely new — the historic Dexter Horton building in downtown Seattle has been doing it for several years, and Arlington County, Va., started benchmarking county office buildings in 2001 — mandating that the results be made public is.

Systems Thinking and E-Waste: Speaking to Sustainability-Minded Folks

Read the full post at (Re)blog.

Recently I had the delight of speaking to the New York City Business SMART green networking group – a two year-old sustainability-focused group open to anyone with interest in the topic. Being in NYC and the subject being sustainability, the gathering was truly diverse with participation from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Mexico and the UN and included green business entrepreneurs, educators, realtors, recyclers, green IT pros and genuinely good folk.

We share a passion for sustainability and yet our paths are very different. Since I started my journey toward sustainability, I feel like I’m drinking from a fire hose – there’s so much to learn and a sense that time is of the essence. One reason I feel the pressure to learn all I can about everything related to sustainability is that I hold fast to systems thinking. Systems thinking focuses on the interconnectivity between systems – between air and water and soil and human life and animal life and oceans and language and culture. Between economics and social justice and the environment. Between everything and everything. Without understanding the interconnectivity of systems, the solutions we create typically create more problems.

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