Archive for October, 2007

Event & Resource – Post Carbon Cities book

Posted in Research, Visions by fedwards on October 31st, 2007

The book, “Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy and Climate Uncertainty” by Daniel Lerch, Post Carbon Cities Project Manager, has recently been released. According to “Post Carbon Cities is a practical guidebook to taking action at the city or municipal level on the sometimes bewildering issues of energy uncertainty and climate change. In its case studies, it highlights what some North American cities are already doing to address and mitigate risks”.

For more information, go to

Post Carbon Cities Book

Seeking ideas – Design competition on WATER – due date 4 January 2008

Posted in Models, Research, Visions by fedwards on October 30th, 2007

Metropolis Magazine has recently launched their competition: Next Generation® Design Competition
What’s Your Solution?
. Offering $10,000 for a design idea, the 2008 Next Generation® Competition is seeking bright ideas that focus on Water. Now in its fifth year, the Next Generation® Design competition recognizes design innovation on all scales —from products and interiors to landscapes, buildings, and everything in between. The competition is open to young designers in practice 10 years or less. The winner will receive the $10,000 seed money to help realize his or her idea, and will be featured in Metropolis magazine.

The competition deadline is January 4, 2008. Visit for more information.

Model – Environment affecting social sustainability – Music in New Orleans

Posted in Models by fedwards on October 29th, 2007

The positive story, “Saving a city, one trumpet at a time” was recounted recently in E-Magazine. It tells how the impact of climate change – ie. Hurricane Katrina and its effect on New Orleans – has been partially abated by the introduction of a recycled instrument scheme. Read on for a taste of the article. For the full story visit

IN BRIEF: Saving a City, One Trumpet at a Time
By Julie Melrose

It sounds like the plot of a Twilight Zone episode: The destruction of virtually all of the musical instruments in a major U.S. city. Yet that’s what happened when Hurricane Katrina flooded New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz and a tourist destination with an economy that depends on music.

“It’s hard to wrap your brain around what a disaster the flood was for musicians down here,” says Mark Fowler, a program manager at the nonprofit Tipitina’s Foundation, which is dedicated to restoring the musical culture of New Orleans. “Hundreds of working musicians lost their instruments and sound gear, with no insurance compensation,” says Fowler. “Without replacements, these musicians can’t go back to work.”

The waiting list for instruments is growing as more musicians return to New Orleans, and the post-Katrina financial outpouring is mostly over. But now the Foundation’s musicians’ cooperative has started a recycling program, and is making a nationwide appeal for tax-deductible donations of used musical instruments in playable or easily reparable condition.

For the full story visit

'Trumpet Notes' by Poagao

Research – Car parks polluting water

Posted in Research by fedwards on October 26th, 2007

Reported in Environmental Research Web, Oct 10, 2007, is the story, “Car parks are driving water pollution“. This article describes research by researchers at Purdue University, US, who “say that the growing number of car parks being built around the US could be adding to water pollution and heating up urban areas”. A survey of the total area devoted to parking in Tippecanoe, a medium-sized county in the American Midwest, found that parking spaces outnumbered resident drivers by three to one. Researcher, Pijanowski, says that car parks are a major source of water pollution as according to computer models, car parks in Tippecanoe County produce more than 450kg of heavy metal run-off each year. This colossal amount of heavy metal runoff is about 1000 times that of what the same area of agricultural land would produce, says Bernard Engel, who performed the modelling study. This is because soil is better at absorbing contaminants than paved areas.

To read more about this research visit the Environmental Research website,

Event – Solar Cities Conference – February 2008

Posted in Events, Models, Research by fedwards on October 25th, 2007

As recently reported on by Helen Cameron, the city of Adelaide in southern Australia will host the international solar cities congress in February 2008.

This conference will bring together the world’s leading experts in sustainable urban development, solar technology and the built environment to examine the latest thinking in sustainable options for our future.

Keynote speakers include:
Robert F Kennedy Jr, nephew of the late US President John F Kennedy and recently named one of Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Planet”;
Dr Rajendra Pachauri from India, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; and
Dr Zhengrong Shi, billionaire founder of China’s largest solar PV company – Suntech Power Holdings Co.
South Australian Premier the Hon Mike Rann MP will also speak at the event in his role as SA’s Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change.

The Congress will incorporate a mayoral forum, panel discussion and field tours and a free “Green City Festival” for the public. An international solar schools competition is also being conducted to coincide with Congress activities.

For more information or to register your attendance at the Congress, visit

Solar Cities Congress

Comment – More articles from World Food Day

Posted in Visions by fedwards on October 24th, 2007

The article below is kindly republished from the Huffington Post with permission from the author, Frances Moore Lappe. This article follows the recent blog action day to post articles for World Food Day.

Frances Moore Lappé and Anna Lappé
The Right to Food Means Freedom from Dogma

Today more than 150 countries will celebrate World Food Day, whose theme this year is the right to food. The right to food may sound innocuous enough, but it’s a direct affront to the reigning market fundamentalism both guiding and obfuscating U.S. food, farming, and international aid policies.

While we in the United States are still largely locked into this failing paradigm — the market as sacred arbiter of economic outcomes — people elsewhere are beginning to make the right to food real, more than fifty years after it was first codified in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

From Malawi’s now-flourishing maize farmers to Brazil’s successful new farm communities, millions are shedding primitive marketism; they see both government and the market as tools through which to realize basic human values. They’ve experienced the fallacy that an “unfettered” market — what Ronald Reagan called “the magic of the market” — will meet their basic human needs.

No degree in economics is necessary to grasp problem number one of market fundamentalism as it relates to food: The market responds to money, not to hunger.
Read the rest of this entry »

Update & Resource – Outcomes from “Blog Action Day”

Posted in Movements, Research by fedwards on October 23rd, 2007

Reported on the Planet Ark World News list by Alister Doyle was the story of “Thousands of Bloggers Unite in Blitz of Green Tips” following “Blog Action Day” on Monday, 15 October. The article stated that:

“Organisers of the Oct. 15 UN-backed “Blog Action Day” said about 15,800 sites had signed up and were offering ideas to millions of people via blogs, or online diaries, ranging from planting more trees to how to recycle plastics.

“Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future,” according to

The blogs are a new sign of concern about the environment, reflected in everything from a UN summit about climate change last month to the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to former US Vice President Al Gore and the UN climate panel on Friday.

The UN Environment Programme said that “by uniting the world’s blogging community, we can reach a combined audience of millions to raise awareness of the environment, get people thinking and trigger a global debate.””

To read the full article visit

Blog Action Day

Research – Linking urban food production with waste water use

Posted in Research by fedwards on October 22nd, 2007

The article below listed on the WorldWatch Institute newsletter and written by Danielle Nierenberg follows on from the topic of World Food Day. Nierenberg addresses the link between urban agriculture and the use of waste water – predominantly from human sources – which are often overlooked. Makes me think of Bill Mollison’s book, “The Humanure Handbook“…..

Real organic agriculture: Using human waste as fertilizer
Danielle Nierenberg – October 11, 2007 – 12:24pm
“The other day, I got some funny looks from a journalist who was interviewing me for an upcoming series on World Food Day. She asked me to list some of the ways I thought world hunger could be reduced. In addition to pointing to the need for better distribution of food and other resources, I gave my standard spiel about growing more food in cities. About half of the world’s population now lives in cities, which makes growing food there not just a hobby for wealthy urbanites, but an essential step in improving the health of the urban poor. But what made the journalist look askance was my description of how exactly urban farmers in some parts of the world are fertilizing their crops: with human manure and urine.”

For the full article visit

Model – No-car week in Chinese city boasts savings!

Posted in Models, Research by fedwards on October 19th, 2007

The results from a recent ban on traffic in the Chinese city of Fuyang, a city in the inland Anhui province was reported recently in “City Bans Cars Over Holiday, Lauds Results“, Planet Ark World News, 10 October 2007.

A staggering saving of almost US$160,000 in gasoline and other costs were the result from a week-long ban on private cars when only public transport was allowed. The goal of the ban was to combat “car wheel corruption”, the Beijing News said.

This ban follows a voluntary “no-car day” in 108 cities last month in preparation for next year’s Beijing Olympic games.

For more information visit the article at

Movement & Model – Another Sustainable City –!

Posted in Models, Movements by fedwards on October 18th, 2007

As reported in the article, “Forum focuses on city’s future“, by Maria Garriga, New Haven Register, 5 October 2007, the city of New Haven in the United States of America, has recently held a forum and established a website to work towards creating a Sustainable New Haven.

The forum, “Can New Haven Become a Sustainable City?” was held at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History and discussed ways in which New Haven could develop sustainability.

The associated website,, is run by the Network for a Sustainable New Haven, Inc.. Their goals are to assist in networking groups and individuals interested in sustainability, to educate and raise awareness of environmental, social and environmental sustainability issues, to advocate for public outreach media, and to foster greater involvement in these issues by the larger community.