RSS Entries ATOM Entries

Posts Tagged ‘manufacturing’

Restructuring the World Energy Economy

Posted in Movements, Opinion by Kate Archdeacon on May 10th, 2011

Source: EcoBuddhism

Image: Hepburn Wind via flickr CC

From Let No Man Say It Cannot Be Done by Lester Brown:

We need an economy for the twenty-first century, one that is in sync with the Earth and its natural support systems, not one that is destroying them. The fossil fuel-based, automobile-centered, throwaway economy that evolved in western industrial societies is no longer a viable model—not for the countries that shaped it or for those that are emulating them. In short, we need to build a new economy, one powered with carbon-free sources of energy—wind, solar, and geothermal—one that has a diversified transport system and that reuses and recycles everything. We can change course and move onto a path of sustainable progress, but it will take a massive mobilization—at wartime speed.

Whenever I begin to feel overwhelmed by the scale and urgency of the changes we need to make, I re-read the economic history of U.S. involvement in World War II because it is such an inspiring study in rapid mobilization. Initially, the United States resisted involvement in the war and responded only after it was directly attacked at Pearl Harbor. But respond it did. After an all-out commitment, the U.S. engagement helped turn the tide of war, leading the Allied Forces to victory within three-and-a-half years. In his State of the Union address on January 6, 1942, one month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt announced the country’s arms production goals. The United States, he said, was planning to produce 45,000 tanks, 60,000 planes, and several thousand ships. He added, “Let no man say it cannot be done.” No one had ever seen such huge arms production numbers. Public skepticism abounded. But Roosevelt and his colleagues realized that the world’s largest concentration of industrial power was in the U.S. automobile industry. Even during the Depression, the United States was producing 3 million or more cars a year.[…]

In her book No Ordinary Time, Doris Kearns Goodwin describes how various firms converted. A sparkplug factory switched to the production of machine guns. A manufacturer of stoves produced lifeboats. A merry-go-round factory made gun mounts; a toy company turned out compasses; a corset manufacturer produced grenade belts; and a pinball machine plant made armor-piercing shells.[…]

The point is that it did not take decades to restructure the U.S. industrial economy. It did not take years. It was done in a matter of months. If we could restructure the U.S. industrial economy in months, then we can restructure the world energy economy during this decade. With numerous U.S. automobile assembly lines currently idled, it would be a relatively simple matter to retool some of them to produce wind turbines, as the Ford Motor Company did in World War II with B-24 bombers, helping the world to quickly harness its vast wind energy resources. This would help the world see that the economy can be restructured quickly, profitably, and in a way that enhances global security. […]

One of the questions I hear most frequently is, What can I do? People often expect me to suggest lifestyle changes, such as recycling newspapers or changing light bulbs. These are essential, but they are not nearly enough. Restructuring the global economy means becoming politically active, working for the needed changes, as the grassroots campaign against coal-fired power plants is doing. Saving civilization is not a spectator sport.

Inform yourself. Read about the issues. Pick an issue that’s meaningful to you, such as tax restructuring to create an honest market, phasing out coal-fired power plants, or developing a world class-recycling system in your community. Or join a group that is working to provide family planning services to the 215 million women who want to plan their families but lack the means to do so. You might want to organize a small group of like-minded individuals to work on an issue that is of mutual concern. You can begin by talking with others to help select an issue to work on. Once your group is informed and has a clearly defined goal, ask to meet with your elected representatives on the city council or the state or national legislature. Write or e-mail your elected representatives about the need to restructure taxes and eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Remind them that leaving environmental costs off the books may offer a sense of prosperity in the short run, but it leads to collapse in the long run.[…]

Read the full article by Lester Brown on the EcoBuddhism site.

Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing: Conference

Posted in Events by Kate Archdeacon on March 4th, 2011

Image: MakerBot via flickr CC

The International Conference on Sustainable Intelligent Manufacturing (SIM 2011) will be held at Leiria by the Center for Rapid and Sustainable Product Development, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Leiria, Portugal, from June 29 to July 1, 2011. The Conference aims to provide a major international forum for academics, researchers and industrial partners to exchange ideas in the field of sustainable intelligent manufacturing and related topics. The conference expects to foster networking and collaboration among participants to advance the knowledge and to identify major trends in the field.

The rise of manufacturing intelligence is fuelling innovation in processes and products considering a low environmental impact over the product’s life cycle. Sustainable intelligent manufacturing is regarded as a manufacturing paradigm for the 21st century, towards the next generation of manufacturing and processing technologies. The manufacturing industry is at a turning point of its evolution and new business opportunities are emerging.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Computer-aided green manufacturing
  • Eco-design and eco-innovation
  • Inclusive design
  • e-Manufacturing
  • Green manufacturing
  • Sustainable construction for the built environment
  • Green supply chain management
  • Green transportation
  • Renewable energy
  • Sustainable power engineering and renewable energy technologies
  • Reuse, remanufacturing, disassembly and recycling techniques
  • Sustainable packaging solutions
  • Smart manufacturing
  • Reverse logistics and product recovery
  • Smart and sustainable materials
  • Life-cycle engineering and assessment
  • Energy efficiency in manufacturing
  • Smart design for sustainability
  • Sustainable technology innovation
  • Sustainable factory planning and scheduling
  • Sustainable business models
  • Zero-waste production

Visit the conference website for more details.

Eco-Rating for Mobile Phones

Posted in Research by Kate Archdeacon on October 11th, 2010

Source: Forum for the Future

© Forum for the Future

Forum for the Future worked with Telefónica O2 UK to develop the UK’s first sustainable rating scheme for mobile phones.  Eco rating scores handsets out of five according to their environmental impact, how they help people lead more sustainable lives and the ethical performance of the manufacturer. It launched in O2’s UK stores in August 2010 and Telefónica is currently considering how the wider group could adopt it.

The scheme is designed to help customers take sustainability into account when choosing a new mobile, to encourage healthy competition between handset manufacturers to drive up standards, and to help the industry understand the role it can play in creating a sustainable future.

The project started in August 2009 after research by O2 found a demand from customers for information about the sustainability of their handset – the whole picture and not just one or two elements of environmental performance. Forum and O2, working in close collaboration with handset manufacturers, developed a simple rating system that would make fair comparisons between different types of handset to reward and encourage innovation. Eco rating combines benchmarking of handsets with life cycle thinking, and uses transparent, robust and non-contentious measures to do away with the need for detailed technical data.

Read more about the Eco-Rating project.

Urban Manufacturing: Small, Sustainable Business

Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on June 30th, 2010

Source: MetropolisMag

From “Made in Brooklyn” by Karrie Jacobs:

The United States has lost over 42,000 factories since 2001, and some 5.5 million manufacturing jobs since the turn of the millennium. Officially, this is a death spiral. At the same time, a powerful desire to make things—tangible things, products even—has sprung to life in the border zones where high tech meets the green movement. And Brooklyn now sits squarely in this fertile territory. The borough is home to the wildly successful Web site Etsy, a marketplace of handiwork, which can be read as a Web 2.0 rebuke to the clean-out-your-storage-locker ethos of creaky old eBay. Local food production is booming; it seems as if every 28-year-old guy in the borough has a line of artisanal pickles.

And then there’s the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a 300-acre site on the East River, established by the U.S. Navy in 1801. Since 1966, when the Navy pulled out, it’s been a city-owned industrial zone. Sitting on what is now prime real estate, just across the river from Manhattan, the Navy Yard contains a fascinating mix of about 240 businesses, only a couple of which have anything to do with ships. There’s Crye American, a young company that managed to snag a defense contract to make Kevlar body armor; Steiner Studios, the largest soundstage on the East Coast; and Cumberland Packing, the company that invented Sweet & Low. There are also artisans—metal- and woodworkers, set builders, display makers—who straddle the boundary between art and industry. The Navy Yard, according to Andrew Kimball, its president, is energetically rebranding itself as a “sustainable industrial park,” home to America’s first “multistory, green industrial facility,” the newly completed, 89,000-square-foot, LEED-certified Perry Building.

Down in Building 275, one of the ramshackle old warehouses typical of the Navy Yard, I run into Jeff Kahn, a partner at Ferra Designs, a 10,000-square-foot metal shop specializing in architectural fabrication and miscellaneous small, intricate metal objects. Many of his 15 employees studied industrial design at nearby Pratt Institute. “This is a Pratt shop,” Kahn boasts, explaining that graduates are drawn to Ferra and other Navy Yard companies because they’re no longer content to just design things. “Most of them are under thirty,” he says. “They’re into craftsmanship; they want to know how to build things. It’s a renaissance.” The 40-year-old Kahn, who originally planned to be an artist and never made it to college, is the face of New York City’s industrial revival, representing an approach that is pre–industrial revolution in scale and post-industrial in strategy.
Read the rest of this entry »