The Energy Debate We Aren’t Having

Read the full story at Pacific Standard.

The energy boom has the nation mired in chatter about a burgeoning job market, or panicked over certain environmental destruction. Instead, we should be asking: To whom will go the spoils of this bonanza, and on whose shoulders will the risks fall?

Ford to accelerate waste reduction effort

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Ford is aiming for a 40 percent cut in the waste it sends to the landfill per vehicle produced by 2016 as part of a new five-year global waste reduction plan.

Meeting the goal would see just 13.4 pounds (6.1 kilograms) per vehicle sent to the landfill between 2011 and 2016, building on the drop from 37.9 pounds (17.2 kilograms) to 22.7 pounds (10.3 kilograms) achieved between 2007 and 2011.

Clothing Companies Start Creating Their Own Circular Economy

Read the full story at FastCoExist.

Everyone has to have clothes, but what to do with them when they’re done. H&M and North Face are starting pioneering programs to take old clothes and help extend their lifecycle.

An Urban-Suburban Compromise to Revitalize a Buffalo Neighborhood

Read the full story at Atlantic Cities.

A century ago, Buffalo’s Hydraulics District, a manufacturing and warehouse area one mile from downtown, was booming. This was thanks in a large part to the Larkin Company, one of the nation’s largest mail order retailers.

But competition with the department store eventually proved too much. Larkin went bust in the 1940s, and it brought the neighborhood down with it. Even the company’s famous administration building was demolished in 1950. The building, a progressive temple for the modern workplace designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (his first ever office building) was converted into surface parking.

But in the last few years, the neighborhood known as “Larkinville” has reemerged as a hub of economic activity. The once devastated neighborhood now posesses a growing collection of public space, mixed-use initiatives and offices. It’s the city’s most unexpected and perhaps most successful urban development initiative in decades.

Houston’s Plan To Make Landfills Extinct

Read the full story at FastCo.Exist.

To increase the city’s dismal recycling rates, Houston’s government is trying something else: One Bin for All. It will collect all trash together in one bin and then convert it to biofuel.


Webinar: Green Chemistry and Sustainable Laboratory Practices

Tuesday March 12, 2013 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM CDT
Register at

Green chemistry is becoming as broad a term as sustainability.  How are those practices similar and different?  What can you do at the bench-scale in your laboratory to incorporate these concepts and practices?  Join us for discussion, case studies, and a wealth of tools and contacts to get started and establish a framework for next steps.

Webinar Goals/Outcomes:  

  • Promote sustainability ideas, tools, implementation examples, and resources to bench-scale research lab managers and support staff.
  • Understand green chemistry’s role in making the immediate environment in scientific research labs safer and more sustainable.
  • Encourage scientists to be creative about acting on these opportunities in their own laboratories.
  • Promote the Green Lab Alliance as an emerging nonprofit to help the scientific community share ideas, concerns, best practices and contacts.
  • Promote PPRC’s Rapid Response and other services for practical tools and resources to help you take next steps toward green chemistry and sustainable laboratory practices.

Brian Penttila, Pacific NW Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC)
Jill Stoddard Tepe, Green Lab Alliance
David Simpkins, CellNetix
Kristi Budzinski, Ph.D., Green BioPharma-Chemistry Project Manager
Facilitator:  Cathy Buller, PPRC

Green Lab Alliance Twitter: @grnlaballiance
Pacific Northwest Pollution Prevention Resource Center (PPRC)

More on Divergent Paths to Human Progress

Read the full post by Andrew Revkin.

The University of Illinois has posted a well-produced video of my talk there last October, titled “9 Billion People + 1 Earth = ?” It’s worth posting here given that this has been the central question shaping this blog since its inception. I explore many ideas, but focus particularly on the need to get comfortable with the wide range of human reactions to risks of various kinds. (Around minute 13, I credit the “cultural cognition” work of Dan Kahan at Yale University.)

This means there won’t be a clean and neat path to progress, nor should there be. It also means, as Abhas Jha of the World Bank has put it in the context of disaster planning, we need to manage risk for “graceful failure” — soft landings amid uncertainty and imperfection. As I’ve put it, that’s the art of “falling forward without falling down” (one definition of walking).