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Archive for December, 2010

Sustainable Refrainables: Poster Design Competition

Posted in seeking by Kate Archdeacon on December 27th, 2010

Source: Core 77

Sustainable Refrainables” is a poster design competition celebrating words of persuasion. Designers tell stories. We use those stories to convey complex ideas in an engaging and meaningful way. One of those most complex ideas we deal with is about sustainable design—how to do it creatively, and how to garner support from our clients to do it effectively. Frameworks can get dry very quickly. Case studies can only take you so far. Often times, what we really need is a powerful opening salvo to jumpstart the dialogue.

The Compostmodern Core77 Design Competition invites designers to share those mantric phrases they find most powerful in communicating positive action. Maybe the phrase is something as simple as “I never use the word ‘sustainability.'” or “The first rule is listen. The second rule is to ignore what you heard and do it better.” or “There is no silver bullet, just silver buckshot.” Whatever your magic phrase, design it up in poster form, upload it to the competition site, and comment on your favorites. We’re looking for your most graphic, persuasive quotables!

Deadline for submissions January 02, 2011
Website for more details:

Ethical and Green Christmas Guide via The Guardian

Posted in Movements by Rob Eales on December 23rd, 2010

Image: sdminor81 via flickr CC

How to be festive and green – from rentable Christmas trees and organic turkeys to original ethical gift ideas and tips on recycling electrical waste… From the Ecologist, part of the Guardian Environment Network

Check out the article for heaps of ideas (and links) for Food, Booze, Christmas Trees, Original Gift Ideas, and Waste:

Resilience Thinking Seminars: Free to download

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on December 20th, 2010

Source: Stockholm Resilience Centre

Photo of Elinor Ostrom via US Embassy Sweden –  flickr CC

Listen to more than 50 seminars with the world’s most renowned thinkers in resilience.

The Stockholm Resilience Centre website isn’t the only place you can access the latest in resilience thinking: Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all provide you with the latest videos and news on social-ecological research.  Now the most important and popular seminars and presentations that have taken place at the centre are also free to download from iTunes.

The list includes presentations by Elinor Ostrom, Will Steffen, Brian Walker, Frances Westley, Johan Rockströmand many more.

Find all the centre lectures and seminars by searching for “Stockholm Resilience Centre” in the top right corner of the iTunes page.

Ridekicks: Car-Pooling Game

Posted in Models, Movements by Kate Archdeacon on December 13th, 2010

Source: Springwise

From “Site turns ride-sharing into a social game“:

Ridekicks is a UK-based site that turns carpooling into a social game with rewards for earth-friendly driving.

Ridekicks aims to use fun to help change the way that people use cars. Toward that end, it awards points to users for every shared ride. Users planning a trip can post it on the site as well as promote it on their own social networks, while those hoping for a ride can search for opportunities to share. Drivers who want to charge passengers for the ride can even do so through the site; Ridekicks charges a 5 percent fee per transaction. In any case, every shared mile by either driver or passenger equates to one Ridekick point, allowing both sides of the equation to be rewarded. Points are also earned when those who share a ride put “stickers” on each other’s profiles, as well as when they complete reviews. Points are taken away, however, for those who are reviewed badly. In Foursquare-like fashion, the ultimate goal of the game is to become “The King of the Road,” or the highest-scoring participant; those who earn that title, however, only get to keep it as long as they keep sharing. There’s also the chance to become “The Hometown Hero” — the highest-scoring participant from any given city — or “Captain Planet,” the player who travels the most miles as a passenger. Ridekicks hasn’t yet decided on any reward scheme for accumulated points, but it’s open to suggestions.

Ridekicks website
Article on Springwise

The UK’s Role in Protecting our Future Supply Chain: Transcript

Posted in Movements, Research by Kate Archdeacon on December 10th, 2010

Image: jurvetson via flickr CC

Caroline Spelman, UK Environment Secretary, outlines the government’s aim to maximise food productivity in an environmentally sustainable way.

The UK’s role in protecting our future supply chain, Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK,  6 December 2010.  This speech was given at the conference Food Security 2010 – Making Food Security Work: Matching supply to demand. The conference was held at Chatham House, London, and the paper is available on their website.


“This year is ending as it started, with heavy snow on the ground and speculation – both in the media and the markets – about the consequent rise in food prices. This January, cauliflowers turned to pulp in frozen ground, forcing consumers to turn to imports at £2 apiece. The price of parsnips and carrots rose by as much as 30% in some shops and, in Ireland, 6,000 acres of potatoes went un-harvested. Fast forward to early summer and the NFU warned that the driest first six months in this country in nearly 70 years would hit grain production particularly badly. While late summer brought a Russian ban on grain exports in the face of drought and wildfires – which in turn helped drive up prices globally.

Significant as these events were, they took place within a wider context with even more serious implications for us all. The Government’s Chief Scientific Officer, Sir John Beddington, has warned us of what he calls the perfect storm – of food shortages, scarce water and insufficient energy resources which could threaten stability within the next 20 years. The food price spikes of two years ago were caused by a combination of factors colliding at the same time – poor yields due to climactic conditions, high energy prices, export restrictions, currency fluctuations and low global food stockpiles among them.

Some of these factors were entirely outside the control of governments, markets and food producers. But many of them were not. Many of them were the result of longer term underlying and predictable causes – causes we have an even better understanding of today. And with that understanding, I believe, comes the responsibility of government to encourage suppliers, manufacturers and producers to take the steps they needed to mitigate against these factors.

We need to start now – building into our whole supply chain the capacity, the resilience and the sustainability we will need to feed a projected world population of over 9 billion people by 2050. As we said in our Structural Reform Plan, this Government’s priority is to support and develop British farming while encouraging sustainable food production. This involves helping build capacity both in the UK and globally – because it is on the global stage that the impacts of crises are played out. This is about the whole food chain, and about supporting this Government’s priorities on trade, green jobs and growth and development. It is not about the UK battening down the hatches and dreaming of splendid agricultural isolation – trade is a critical part of ensuring the UK’s food security. We need to meet both our own needs and those of the wider world and cooperation internationally is the only meaningful way to do this.” Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, UK.

Read the full transcript for more on strategy, goals, technologies in developing countries, EC policies, and resource pressures.


Zeer Pot Fridge: Low-energy technology

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on December 9th, 2010

Source: Nourishing the Planet: Worldwatch Institute

Practical Action’s Zeer Pot Refrigerator:

In the heat of Sudan, food doesn’t stay fresh for long. Tomatoes go off in just two days. After four days carrots and okra are rotten. For poor families in North Darfur and Blue Nile State, without any means of preserving their crops, this can lead to hunger and even starvation. The situation is especially grave for those most vulnerable like children and elderly family members.

One ingenious solution is the zeer pot: a simple fridge made of local materials. It consists of one earthenware pot set inside another, with a layer of wet sand in between. As the moisture evaporates, it cools the inner pot, keeping up 12kg of produce fresh for up to three weeks.

Fruit, vegetables, water. The zeer pot keeps them all fresher for longer – providing much needed help to starving families.

You can see from the table below the incredible difference that a zeer pot makes to food preservation in Sudan. For many families, it can mean the difference between potential starvation and having enough food to feed themselves.

Visit the website for more details on the Zeer Pot Fridge, including how to make one, and basic information on evaporative cooling.

What if we didn’t use electricity to store all of our fresh food?  Our energy-hungry fridges could be much smaller if we used more passive technology. For other fridge designs, check out these VEIL student works: “Circular“, “Tower of Power” and “Split Fridge”  -KA

2011 Brisbane Ideas Competition

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on December 7th, 2010

Source: Contour Newsletter

“What is missing from Brisbane?”
“What does Brisbane need for the future?”

By proposing these intentionally broad and ambiguous questions we hope to encourage debate and discussion across a wide fields about the future of our city. As a practice of ethical professionals who understand and appreciate our responsibility to the future generations who occupy our city, we hope the inaugural Brisbane Ideas competition will facilitate debate, discussion and discovery.

It is the hope that the broad entry requirements will solicit entries across a wide range of disciplines, from Architecture, Art, Science, Urban Design, Engineering among others. While we expect a wide range of entries, please ensure they are all graphically represented and meet the submission requirements. We would encourage entries from the large urban scale through to the bespoke artefact.

The final outcome of the competition will be a series of exhibitions throughout the city, opening with a one month exhibition of the grand prize winner and the honourable mentions. Held in a public venue in the heart of the central business district, adjacent to the government precinct of the city.  It is through this wide and continued exposure that the the competition will encourage discussion and debate about the proposals and the future of our city. Finally this is expected to be a fun competition.

Registration – 3 January 2011
Stage 1 Submissions – 10 January 2011

Visit the competition website for more information, including prizes and how to enter. (

Retrofitting Apartments with Smart Meters

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on December 2nd, 2010

Source: EcoVoice

From “Brisbane residential high-rise leads the way with advanced smart metering system“:

Brisbane ‘cleantech’ company, networkGreen, has signed a 10 year contract with Felix Apartments to retrofit the latest in embedded smart meter technology and manage the on-supply of electricity, hot water, and gas.  Daniel Filmer, Managing Director of networkGreen, said that this was a significant milestone in the evolution of sustainable living by bringing meaningful electricity, water, gas consumption data to the individual user.

“High-rise buildings are one of the largest contributors to carbon pollution, we wanted to allow residents to see what they were using in real-time, so they had the opportunity to reduce waste and create a more sustainable way of living .” he said.  Felix Apartments comprises of 253 residential apartments over 39 levels and will undergo a retrofit program to install the embedded smart-meter technology, which will allow each occupant individual access to their electricity, water and gas consumption by logging into their secure web portal for their apartment.

networkGreen smart meter systems use the latest technology to capture accurate electricity, water and gas usage information and display this information to the end user through a secure and easy to use online web portal and iPhone application.

Read the full article on Eco-Voice.