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Archive for April, 2009

Introducing the EcoTipping website

Posted in Models by fedwards on April 27th, 2009

The EcoTipping website provides numerous diverse examples of communities resolving environmental problems. The site defines an EcoTipping Point is a lever that reverses environmental decline, setting in motion restoration and sustainability. The website showcases environmental pioneers in community organizations, business, and government who are demonstrating how the right change can turn ecosystems away from ruin and back towards health and sustainability. To visit the site go to

Vertical Farm – Resourcing space

Posted in Models, RDAG by Devin Maeztri on April 20th, 2009

The Vertical Farm project was initiated by lecturer, Dickson Despommier, and his students at Columbia University in New York City.

The Vertical Farm is a concept of a thirty-story urban farm producing fruit, vegetables, and grains with a greenhouse on every floor. Citing factors such as the need for reforestation and the future growth of world’s population, Despommier believes that cities must learn to feed themselves. Depending on the crops being grown, a single vertical farm could allow thousands of farmland acres to be permanently reforested.

Vertical FarmingVertical FarmVertical Farm
With about 160 of these buildings, you could feed all of New York.

The Vertical Farm would use hydroponic methods to feed 50,000 people. By growing crops in a controlled environment there would be minimum risk of disease, weather related disasters, less likelihood of genetically modified “rogue” strains infecting crops, and all food could be grown organically, without minimum waste.

Features of Despommier’s design include solar panels, a wind spire, glass panels, a central control room (allowing for yearround,24-hour crop cultivation), circular design, an evapotranspiration recovery system and pipes (to collect moisture which can then be bottled and sold), a blackwater treatment system, and a pellet power system (to turn nonedible plant matter into fuel).

However, as Despommier concedes, it would cost hundreds of millions to build a full-scale skyscraper farm due to construction and energy costs. For more information visit

This is from “Social Innovations in Victorian Food Systems”, case studies by Ferne Edwards.

Toronto Food Policy Council- An Example for the World

Posted in Models, RDAG by Devin Maeztri on April 16th, 2009

The City of Toronto created the Toronto Food Policy Council (TFPC) in 1991 in the absence of federal and provincial leadership on food security.

TFPC partners with business and community groups (including City Councillors and volunteer representatives from consumer, business, farm, labour, multicultural, anti-hunger advocacy, faith, and community development groups) to develop policies and programs promoting food security – the TFPC has been instrumental in putting Food Security and Food Policy development squarely on the municipal agenda in Toronto

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Perth Solar Cities projects EOI

Posted in Models by Devin Maeztri on April 6th, 2009

Perth Solar City

The Federal Environment Minister Peter Garrett has committed $13.9 million in Commonwealth funding to Australia’s seventh Solar City, Perth. “The Perth Solar City project is expected to deliver carbon pollution reductions of more than 15,000 tonnes – equivalent to taking 3,500 large vehicles off the road – and cut energy use equivalent to that of 3,200 homes.”

Perth Solar Cities Project is led by a consortium. SunPower as one of six organisations on the consortium is looking for proposals of photovoltaic solar projects above 30kWp on iconic/highly visible buildings to nominate to the steering committee.

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City slickers have a lower footprint

Posted in Research by fedwards on April 3rd, 2009

According to a new study released by the International Institute for Environment and Development, urban dwellers have a lower carbon footprint than the national average. “Many cities have surprisingly low per capita emissions but what is clear is that most emissions come from the world’s wealthier nations,” says David Dodman, author of the study that will be published in the April edition of Environment and Urbanization. “The real climate-change culprits are not the cities themselves but the high consumption lifestyles of people living across these wealthy countries. To read more about this report visit the IIED website here.