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Alternet: Schools Failing Imagination

Alternet: Schools Failing Imagination

Critical pedagogy becomes dangerous in the current historical moment because it emphasizes critical reflection, bridging the gap between learning and everyday life, understanding the connection between power and difficult knowledge, and extending democratic rights and identities by using the resources of history.

UN University: Gross Domestic Problem

UN University: Gross Domestic Problem

Lorenzo Fioramonti is a political scientist and specialist on governance issues who teaches at the University of Pretoria, where he directs the Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation. GDP was developed in the late 1930s in the US to help governments tackle the Great Depression, and afterwards it was used to plan America’s involvement in the Second World War. GDP is a measure of economic output. It is a market measure. What does not have a price tag is not included in GDP. This leads to the exclusion of important elements of economic performance. It neglects, for instance, the depletion of natural resources used for economic growth, as these are provided free of charge by nature. Nor does it consider the costs associated with economic growth, which include social risks, environmental degradation and the like. What matters is not statistical efficiency but social relevance. We should measure what we want rather than wanting what we measure.

PS: Greening Financial Reform

PS: Greening Financial Reform

Trillions of dollars in “green finance” are needed annually to prevent climate change and natural constraints from stalling the global economy and threatening the livelihoods of billions of people. Policymakers need to develop more effective ways to boost green investment. Limiting regulatory reform to preventing a repetition of past crises is an incomplete, potentially damaging approach. Today’s financial-market reform must also look ahead, in order to avoid the potential crises of tomorrow.

Jerry Mander: Globalization

Jerry Mander: Globalization

Mander draws attention to capitalism’s obsessive need to dominate and undermine democracy, as well as to diminish social and economic equity. Designed to operate free of morality, the system promotes permanent war as a key economic strategy. Worst of all, the problems of capitalism are intrinsic to the form.

Josette Sheeran: Civil Servant

Josette Sheeran: Civil Servant

Josette Sheeran is president and CEO of Asia Society. She is responsible for leading and advancing the organization’s work throughout the U.S. and Asia, and across its disciplines of arts and culture, policy and business, and education. Formerly, Sheeran was Vice Chair of the World Economic Forum and Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme.

Jessica Jackley: Social Entrepreneur

Jessica Jackley: Social Entrepreneur

Jessica is a social entrepreneur focused on empowering others through entrepreneurship and access to capital. She currently serves as a Venture Partner with the Collaborative Fund, focused on investing in creative entrepreneurs who want to change the world through emerging technologies.

Rob Hopkins: Environmentalist

Rob Hopkins: Environmentalist

Rob Hopkins is an independent activist and writer on environmental issues, based in Totnes, England. He is best known as the founder and figurehead of the Transition Townsmovement. In 2007, he co-founded the Transition Network, a charity designed to support the many Transition initiatives emerging around the world.

Ian Goldin: Economist

Ian Goldin: Economist

Ian Andrew Goldin is Director of the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford – the leading global scholarly centre of deep research into a broad range of future challenges. The School research faculty is seeking to find solutions to questions of health and medicine, energy and the environment, technology and society and ethics and governance.

Allan Savory: Management

Allan Savory: Management

Allan Savory created the holistic management philosophy and practice and is the Founder and President of the Savory Institute. The Savory Institute team has deep expertise in land management, livestock management, business development, social entrepreneurship and environmental issues.

Ken Robinson: Educationalist

Ken Robinson: Educationalist

Why don’t we get the best out of people? Sir Ken Robinson argues that it’s because we’ve been educated to become good workers, rather than creative thinkers. Students with restless minds and bodies — far from being cultivated for their energy and curiosity — are ignored or even stigmatized, with terrible consequences. “We are educating people out of their creativity,” Robinson says.

John Doerr: Investor

John Doerr: Investor

John Doerr warns that carbon-dioxide-sputtering, gas-powered capitalism will destroy us all, and that going green may be the “biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.” So Kleiner Perkins has invested $200 million in so-called greentech, a combination of startups that are pioneering alternative energy, waste remediation and other schemes to prevent the coming environmental calamity. But Doerr is afraid that it might be too little, too late.

David Keith: Applied Physics

David Keith: Applied Physics

David Keith has worked near the interface between climate science, energy technology and public policy for twenty years. He took first prize in Canada’s national physics prize exam, won MIT’s prize for excellence in experimental physics, and was listed as one of TIME magazine’s Heroes of the Environment 2009. David’s serves as the Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics in the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Brookings: Health & Education

Brookings: Health & Education

It is time for both voters and their elected representatives to recognize that without the kind of innovation that has made other sectors strong, the United States is doomed to become a second class nation. Health care and education are vital not only to the well-being of individuals but also to the strength of the nation. A little creative destruction in these two sectors might serve us well.

WP: 3D Printer Enthusiasm

WP: 3D Printer Enthusiasm

I worry that because of the excess hype, 3D printing will soon suffer the same backlash as solar energy and electric cars. We are only in the early stages of 3D printing. The curve is flat for the foreseeable future. We are about to see a renaissance in design. So let’s be excited, but adjust our expectations – the large-scale manufacturing revolution will happen only after we become bitterly disappointed.

AlterNet: What Makes People Tick

AlterNet: What Makes People Tick

People act from wellsprings of emotions, values and non-conscious fears and longings much more than they do from rational calculations of costs and benefits that, in an ideal world, should underlie their relationship to politics and social change. The more leaders understand people, what makes them tick and what they need and fear, the better able they are to connect with their real interests.

NoC: Political Dreaming

NoC: Political Dreaming

We often focus our energy on the nuts and bolts of what’s wrong with the world, what has to be fixed immediately, but perhaps it’s time to try a different approach. Everyone has their own dream of the world as it should be, and every dream is open to endless interpretation. The world will never look exactly like our mythic dreams. But we can’t get to any better future unless we first imagine that future, together. A political dream is a magnet that pulls us toward our goals.

AlterNet: Cooperative Economies

AlterNet: Cooperative Economies

Capitalism rests on a foundation of myths. First, capitalism somehow “invented” entrepreneurship; second, capitalism provides the only “market” economy; third, only capitalism is compatible with “self-reliance” and individual responsibility; fourth, capitalism is the model of “efficiency,” when in truth it generates enormous waste of all kinds; finally, there Is No Alternative. All of this is nonsense. The economy of the Emilia Romagna region of Italy and its largest city, Bologna, is living proof.

Scientific American: Shultz on Climate

Scientific American: Shultz on Climate

As Secretary of State under President Ronald Reagan, George Shultz helped negotiate the most successful global environmental treaty to date: the Montreal Protocol, which phased out the use of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting chemicals. Few modern Republican politicians favor such environmental effort, or even believe climate change is happening or that humanity could be primarily responsible for it.

Bloomberg: Solar Skinned Buildings

Bloomberg: Solar Skinned Buildings

From stadiums in Brazil to a bank headquarters in Britain, architects led by Norman Foster are integrating solar cells into the skin of buildings, helping the market for the technology triple within two years. Foster and his customers are seeking to produce eye-catching works while meeting a European Union directive that new buildings should produce next to zero emissions after 2020.

Brookings: Climate Finance

Brookings: Climate Finance

As a subjective metric, quality can mean different things to different stakeholders, while of donor countries, recipients and institutional actors may place quality across a broad spectrum of objectives. This subjectivity makes the assessment of the quality of climate finance contributions a useful and necessary exercise, but one that has many challenges.

AlterNet: Apocalypse

AlterNet: Apocalypse

To think apocalyptically is not to give up on ourselves, but only to give up on the arrogant stories we modern humans have been telling about ourselves. Our hope for a decent future — indeed, any hope for even the idea of a future — depends on our ability to tell stories not of how humans have ruled the world but how we can live in the world.

PS: Fairness and Climate Change

PS: Fairness and Climate Change

A sense of fairness is universal among humans, but people often differ about exactly what fairness requires in a specific situation. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the debate over the need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in order to avoid dangerous climate change.

NYT: Mozart vs Beatles

NYT: Mozart vs Beatles

Our democratic society is uneasy with the idea that traditional “high culture” is superior to popular culture. Sophisticated academic critics apply the same methods of analysis and appreciation to Proust and to comic books. At all levels, claims of objective artistic superiority are met with smug assertions that all such claims are merely relative to subjective individual preferences.

PS: Green Industrial Policies

PS: Green Industrial Policies

The future of our planet depends on the world economy’s rapid transition to “green growth” – modes of production based on clean technologies that significantly reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Yet carbon remains badly mispriced, owing to fossil-fuel subsidies and the absence of tax revenues needed to address the global externalities of climate change.

Economist: Nature’s Banker

Economist: Nature’s Banker

Mr Tercek is at the forefront of a new, businesslike sort of environmentalism, which is changing the way companies and governments view nature. Regulation is often needed to create markets for nature’s bounty to be traded on, and it may not be forthcoming. But that is no reason to damn the approach. Once the business case for greenery is accepted, the results are often stunning.

Berggruen Institute on Governance

Berggruen Institute on Governance

The Berggruen Institute is dedicated to the design and implementation of new ideas of good governance — drawing from practices in both East and West — that can be brought to bear on the common challenges of globalization in the 21st century. We believe that accountable institutions must be created that can competently manage the global links of interdependence.

Thought Maybe

Thought Maybe

There’s already a lot of information on the Internet, so our goal is to cut through the noise and garbage, to present valuable information in a clear way, so it’s accessible, useful and easily digested. This is a website that aims to provoke your thoughts not only about these important issues, but many other pertinent topics relevant to modern society, industrial civilisation and globalised dominant culture.

Foreign Affairs: Federal Europe

Foreign Affairs: Federal Europe

The first step forward for Europe has to be developing an economic growth strategy, to escape the union’s current debt trap and to create breathing space for the tough reforms that can make Europe as a whole competitive again. Then, to sustain reform, the union needs a clear path to legitimacy for a strong but limited European government, one that resembles today’s Swiss federation.

NYT: Obama Climate Campaign

NYT: Obama Climate Campaign

Obama’s injunction to “divest” was, pretty clearly, a signal to the thousands of college students who have been manning the barricades for nearly a year now, urging their colleges to rid their endowments of stock in fossil-fuel companies as a way of forcing climate change higher on the national political agenda.

NoC: German Solar

NoC: German Solar

Germany is now creating a record 23.4 gigawatts daily of solar power. This proves an industrialized nation can produce massive amounts of clean, non-petroleum based energy through strong government policies and incentives for stimulating the use of solar panels in private homes and businesses.

Foreign Affairs: Arctic Boom

Foreign Affairs: Arctic Boom

While Arctic warming is a fait accompli, it should not be taken as a license to recklessly plunder a sensitive environment. That’s why all the Arctic countries need to continue their cooperation and get to work establishing a shared vision of sustainable development, and why the United States needs to start treating the region as an economic and foreign policy priority, as China is.

The Economist: Climate Change Policy

The Economist: Climate Change Policy

The right thing in climate policy for all the big countries is a carbon tax, which is simpler and less vulnerable to fluctuations in emissions than cap-and-trade schemes. Current environmental policies will not keep the rise in global temperatures to below 2°C—the maximum that most climate scientists think safe. A carbon tax, if stiff enough, could.

AlterNet

AlterNet

AlterNet is an award-winning news magazine and online community that creates original journalism and amplifies the best of hundreds of other independent media sources. AlterNet’s aim is to inspire action and advocacy on the environment, human rights and civil liberties, social justice, media, health care issues, and more.

Brookings: Social Mobility – 13 Facts

Brookings: Social Mobility – 13 Facts

Long-term prosperity is best achieved by fostering economic growth and broad participation in that growth. In the context of social mobility, broad participation in growth contributes to further growth by providing families the ability to invest in their children and communities, optimism that hard work and efforts will lead to success, and openness to innovation that lead to new economic growth.

Foreign Affairs: Why US Education Fails

Foreign Affairs: Why US Education Fails

Recent international research suggests that the countries that top international education rankings choose their teachers from among their most talented graduates, train them extensively, create opportunities for them to collaborate with their peers within and across schools, provide them with external supports, and underwrite all these efforts with a strong welfare state.

Foreign Affairs: Millennium Dev Goals

Foreign Affairs: Millennium Dev Goals

The Millennium Development Goals have unified, galvanized, and expanded efforts to help the world’s poorest people. The goals will expire on December 31, 2015, and the debate over what should come next is now in full swing. But prior to deciding on a new framework, the world community must evaluate exactly what the MDG effort has achieved so far.

Flavor Paper

Flavor Paper

Founded on the Oregon coast by a guy named Ted, this small handscreened wallpaper company flourished in the Age of Aquarius. Many years later, some young designers seeking striking wallcoverings discovered Ted’s greatness – just days before the designs and equipment were to be destroyed. Knowing what had to be done, these young designers headed west to save Ted’s legacy. Our Flavor Lab is now located in the Cobble Hill section of Brooklyn and is home to Flavor Paper’s design and screenprinting operations.

Sustainable Economies Law Center

Sustainable Economies Law Center

The Sustainable Economies Law Center (SELC) charts the changing legal territory of the new economy, educating communities and individuals about the possibilities and limits of creative economic structures, and advocating for laws that clear the way for more sustainable economic development.

GEF: Green Trucks in China

GEF: Green Trucks in China

In China, transport-based GHG emissions are expected to four-fold increase from 2004 to 2030, mainly due to rising demand for road freight transport. A GEF/World Bank project supports the demonstrations of green trucks, a more efficient model of freight transport that can contribute to reducing GHG emissions and to improving air quality.

e360: Sawdust as Biofuel

e360: Sawdust as Biofuel

A team of genetic engineers reports it has developed an inexpensive process that uses fungus to convert raw materials such as straw and sawdust into a productive biofuel. The previous process was prohibitively expensive since the molecular switch required stimulation from a pure substance worth 60 times more than gold.

Bill Drayton: Social Entrepreneur

Bill Drayton: Social Entrepreneur

Bill Drayton is a social entrepreneur and currently the Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Ashoka: Innovators for the Public. He is also chair of Youth Venture, Community Greens, and Get America Working! After studying at Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, he worked for McKinsey and the EPA, and then founded Ashoka. He has received many awards for his achievements.

Ashoka

Ashoka

Ashoka is the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, with nearly 3,000 Ashoka Fellows in 70 countries putting their system changing ideas into practice on a global scale. Ashoka has provided start-up financing, professional support services, and connections to a global network across the business and social sectors, and a platform for people dedicated to changing the world.

Nat’l Renewable Energy Lab

Nat’l Renewable Energy Lab

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is the U.S. Department of Energy’s primary national laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development. NREL develops technologies and practices, advances science and engineering, and transfers knowledge and innovations to address the nation’s energy and environmental goals.

GAO: Climate Change

GAO: Climate Change

Infrastructure such as roads and bridges, wastewater systems, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) centers are vulnerable to changes in the climate. Changes in precipitation and sea levels, as well as increased intensity and frequency of extreme events, are projected to impact infrastructure in a variety of ways.

NYT: Tasty and Subversive

NYT: Tasty and Subversive

A cheeky trio of artists have turned fruit trees into cultural symbols – the group, known as Fallen Fruit, recently planted what is being billed as the state’s first public fruit park. The process of planting and harvesting fruit is a community bonding experience – an act of “social art” in which public space is reimagined.

James Gustave Speth: Lawyer

James Gustave Speth: Lawyer

James Gustave “Gus” Speth joined the faculty at Vermont Law School in 2010. Throughout his career, Professor Speth has provided leadership and entrepreneurial initiatives to many task forces and committees whose roles have been to combat environmental degradation. He is the author, co-author or editor of books, including “The Bridge at the Edge of the World: Capitalism, the Environment, and Crossing from Crisis to Sustainability”.

B Lab

B Lab

B Lab is a nonprofit that serves a global movement of entrepreneurs using the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Certified B Corporations are leading a global movement to redefine success in business.

The Garrison Institute

The Garrison Institute

The Garrison Institute applies the transformative power of contemplation to today’s pressing social and environmental concerns, helping build a more compassionate, resilient future. We envision and work to build a future in which contemplative ideas and methods are increasingly mainstream, and are applied at scale to create the conditions for positive, systemic social and environmental change.

The Explorers Club

The Explorers Club

The Explorers Club is an international multidisciplinary professional society dedicated to the advancement of field research and the ideal that it is vital to preserve the instinct to explore. The Explorers Club promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences, and serves as a meeting point and unifying force for explorers and scientists worldwide.

RSF Social Finance

RSF Social Finance

RSF Social Finance (RSF) is a pioneering non-profit financial services organization dedicated to transforming the way the world works with money. In partnership with a community of investors and donors, RSF provides capital to non-profit and for-profit social enterprises addressing key issues in the areas of Food & Agriculture, Education & the Arts, and Ecological Stewardship.

Climate & Dev’t Knowledge Network

Climate & Dev’t Knowledge Network

The Climate and Development Knowledge Network supports decision-makers in designing and delivering climate compatible development. We do this by combining research, advisory services and knowledge management in support of locally owned and managed policy processes. We hold strongly to the ideals of human development and environmental sustainability.

IISS: Geopolitics

IISS: Geopolitics

Economic growth, when widely shared, does more than increase living standards, it helps ease tensions within societies. Trade has an important role to play in boosting both growth and security, even more so when complemented by policies to ensure that its benefits are widely shared. Geopolitics is back. Or at least it should be – what we have been seeing instead is a paradox.

IISS: Climate Conflict

IISS: Climate Conflict

Climate change has been a key factor in the rise and fall of societies and states from prehistory to the recent fighting in the Sudanese state of Darfur. The ways in which cultures have met the climate challenge provide object lessons for how the modern world can handle the new security threats posed by unprecedented global warming.

NYT: Big Data

NYT: Big Data

Jaron Lanier’s new tech manifesto asks, “Who owns the future?” Mr. Lanier bucks a wave of more conventional diatribes on Big Data to deliver Olympian, contrarian fighting words about the Internet’s exploitative powers. A self-proclaimed “humanist softie,” he is a witheringly caustic critic of big Web entities and their business models.

Smithsonian: Life in the City

Smithsonian: Life in the City

Cities are shaped by their histories and by accidents of geography and climate but they are also universal, the products of social, economic and physical principles that transcend space and time. “Quantitative urbanism” is an effort to reduce to mathematical formulas the chaotic, exuberant, extravagant nature of one of humanity’s oldest and most important inventions, the city. The birth of this new field can be dated to 2003, when researchers convened a workshop on ways to “model”—in the scientific sense of reducing to equations—aspects of human society. With the technology to know virtually anything that goes on in an urban society, the question becomes how to leverage it to do good, to make the city run better, enhance security and safety and promote the private sector. While urbanization gave the world Athens and Paris, it also gave the chaos of Mumbai and the poverty of Dickens’ London.

NYT: Bloomberg and Recycling

NYT: Bloomberg and Recycling

On recycling in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has come a long way. 11 years ago, Mr. Bloomberg eliminated a major chunk of the city’s recycling program to save money. He has since been working hard to restore the city’s recycling program to its pre-2002 levels.

Sustainable Investment Alliance

Sustainable Investment Alliance

The Global Sustainable Investment Alliance’s mission is to deepen the impact and visibility of sustainable investment organizations at the global level. Its vision is a world where sustainable investment is integrated into financial systems and the investment chain and where all regions of the world have coverage through membership institutions that advance sustainable investing.

Partnership for Change

Partnership for Change

PfC’s vision is that all sectors of society understand the urgency of our planet’s most pressing challenges and proactively use their position and skills to act in collaboration towards a more equal, stable, and sustainable future. By bringing together inspiring social innovators we address society’s most pressing issues, highlight their urgency, and inspire action.

Green Depot

Green Depot

Green Depot is the nation’s leading supplier of environmentally friendly building products, services and home solutions. Green Depot’s mission is to make green building products readily accessible, affordable and gratifying so that sustainable practices can easily be adopted into standard construction operations.

The Economist: Climate Science

The Economist: Climate Science

Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar and yet the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade. Despite all the work on sensitivity, no one really knows how the climate would react if temperatures rose by as much as 4°C. Hardly reassuring.

The Economist: Green Wheels

The Economist: Green Wheels

Some carmakers try harder than others to be green. Besides making their models cleaner to run, many carmakers are also trying to reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing them. Having been depicted as environmental villains since the 1950s, cars and their makers may soon be able to move out of the spotlight.

The Economist: Green California

The Economist: Green California

Over decades California’s green rules have inspired other states and the federal government to follow. Older rules focused on conservation, newer ones focus on investment, new technologies and development projects.

Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Bureau of Investigative Journalism

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism is an independent not-for-profit organisation formed and funded on the assumption that investigative journalism is indispensible to democracy. As such the Bureau’s aim is to pursue and encourage journalism in the public interest.

Academic Earth

Academic Earth

Academic Earth is an organization founded with the goal of giving everyone on earth access to a world-class education. We are building a user-friendly educational ecosystem that will give internet users around the world the ability to learn from full video courses and lectures from the world’s leading scholars.

Bloomberg: Green Products

Bloomberg: Green Products

For consumers, homebuilders, and companies that want to feel confident that their buildings are made with environmentally friendly materials, it can be hard to know what building materials to use. Seizing on this lack of information in the market, and consumer interest in sustainability, Sarah Beatty started Green Depot.

NatGeo: Curse of Fertilizer

NatGeo: Curse of Fertilizer

Without nitrogen, the machinery of photosynthesis cannot function. Corn, wheat, and rice, the crops on which humanity depends for survival, are among the most nitrogen hungry of all plants. Yet, runaway nitrogen is suffocating wildlife in lakes and estuaries, contaminating groundwater, and even warming the globe’s climate.

NYT: Electric Cars Earn Money

NYT: Electric Cars Earn Money

A line of Mini Coopers, each attached to the regional power grid by a thick cable plugged in where a gasoline filler pipe used to be, no longer just draws energy. The power now flows two ways between the cars and the electric grid, as the cars inject and suck power in tiny jolts, and get paid for it.

BBC: Human Extinction

BBC: Human Extinction

International policymakers must pay serious attention to the reality of species-obliterating risks. The stakes couldn’t be higher, there is a real gap between the speed of technological advance and our understanding of its implications. The significance of existential risk is not, currently, on people’s radars.

Brookings: Creative Communities

Brookings: Creative Communities

Urban and regional planners, elected officials, and other decisionmakers are increasingly focused on what makes places livable. Access to the arts inevitably appears high on that list, but knowledge about how culture and the arts can act as a tool of economic development is sadly lacking.

Brookings: Importance of Manufacturing

Brookings: Importance of Manufacturing

Manufacturing—or rather advanced manufacturing—is essential to the U.S. economy because it is the main source of innovation and global competitiveness for the United States. Simply put, advanced manufacturing is the U.S. pipeline for new products and productivity-enhancing processes.

Nation of Change: Solar Economy

Nation of Change: Solar Economy

The solar era has begun: the industry is booming, prices are dropping, and solar energy at last seems poised to help topple the climate-altering dominance of fossil fuels. But bringing it to the masses won’t be as simple as just soaking up the sun. Electric companies and solar developers are watching Hawaii.

NYT: Engineering Serendipity

NYT: Engineering Serendipity

Silicon Valley is obsessed with serendipity. Armed with social network maps, managers can spot isolated teams and structural holes, tweaking the organizational structure in real time. Rather than wait for their employees to cross paths, they could simply make the necessary introductions.

Economist: Biomedical Scaffolding

Economist: Biomedical Scaffolding

Many of the scaffolds that have already been commercialised for wound repair, bone grafts and surgical aids are comparatively simple. Moving to the next generation of scaffolds for the delivery of drugs, cells and eventually genes will require extensive safety testing and lengthy clinical trials.

Economist: Green Steps

Economist: Green Steps

Mr Obama named the officials charged with fulfilling his climate policy: Gina McCarthy, his choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency, and Ernest Moniz, the prospective new secretary of energy. Their selection suggests that Mr Obama is indeed serious about tackling climate change, but not doctrinaire in his approach.

Reuters: Political Clout of Superrich

Reuters: Political Clout of Superrich

Study shows that in the United States, voting rights do not translate into much actual political power. You could predict what the government would do based on the preferences of the top 10% income level. When the preferences of middle class and poor income levels diverged from the affluent, there was no impact at all on the policies that were adopted.

William McDonough: Architect

William McDonough: Architect

William McDonough is a globally recognized leader in sustainable development. Trained as an architect, McDonough’s interests and influence range widely, and he works at scales from the global to the molecular. McDonough received the Presidential Award for Sustainable Development, and the first U.S. EPA Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award.

World Resources Institute

World Resources Institute

The World Resources Institute focuses on the intersection of the environment and socio-economic development. We go beyond research to put ideas into action, working globally with governments, business, and civil society to build transformative solutions that protect the earth and improve people’s lives.

Jeffrey D. Sachs: Professor

Jeffrey D. Sachs: Professor

Jeffrey D. Sachs is the Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals.

NYT: Our Second Adolescence

NYT: Our Second Adolescence

A dream Obama would point out that the issue is not size but sclerosis of government. The future has no lobby, so there are inexorable pressures favoring present consumption over future investment. The crucial point is not whether a dollar is spent publicly or privately, it’s whether it is spent on the present or future.

IISS: Climate and Security

IISS: Climate and Security

The IISS believes climate change could have a serious effect on regional and global stability. Its Climate Change and Security Programme explores how global warming may affect disputes over territory, water and other resources, or could otherwise threaten peace and stability, and considers international mechanisms for producing the best solutions for climate security.

Foreign Affairs: Capitalism/Inequality

Foreign Affairs: Capitalism/Inequality

Recent political debate in the United States and other advanced capitalist democracies has been dominated by two issues: the rise of economic inequality and the scale of government intervention to address it. Inequality is increasing almost everywhere in the postindustrial capitalist world. The problem is more deeply rooted and intractable than generally recognized.

Desertec Foundation

Desertec Foundation

All kinds of renewables will be used in the DESERTEC Concept, in centralized and decentralized solutions alike, but the sun-rich deserts of the world play a central role: within six hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year. 90 percent of the world’s population lives within 3,000 km of deserts.

FLOW

FLOW

FLOW refers to an optimal state of human experience in which individuals are fully engaged in creative endeavors, experiencing fulfillment, happiness, and well-being; and the means by which increases in the free global flow of goods, services, capital, people, and information will accelerate human progress and well-being.

Reuters: Obama’s Climate Push

Reuters: Obama’s Climate Push

President Barack Obama’s promise to attack climate change is likely to light a fire under federal agencies slow to comply with a mandate to cut energy use – which could be very good news for companies that specialize in systems that save power. Major efficiency companies have been working to develop project proposals.

IRENA

IRENA

The International Renewable Energy Agency is an intergovernmental organisation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international cooperation, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy.

Economist: More Efficient Tyres

Economist: More Efficient Tyres

TYRES are remarkable pieces of engineering. They contain rubber-like polymers, layers of steel braiding and textile reinforcements, all of which improve performance and cut fuel consumption. Now Pirelli is manufacturing fuel-saving tyres that are greener still by extracting one of their ingredients from rice husks.

Economist: Europe and Coal

Economist: Europe and Coal

If EU policies work as intended, electricity from renewables will gradually take a larger share of overall generation. But at the moment, EU energy policy is boosting usage of the most polluting fuel, increasing carbon emissions, damaging the creditworthiness of utilities and diverting investment into energy projects elsewhere.

Economist: Cost of Air Conditioning

Economist: Cost of Air Conditioning

Critics counts air conditioning as more a curse than a miracle. Cooling buildings and vehicles pumps out almost half a billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. Between 1995 and 2004 the proportion of homes in Chinese cities with air conditioning rose from 8% to 70%.

Yale: Climate Change

Yale: Climate Change

Greenhouse gas emissions have continued to grow, signals of human-induced climate change have clearly emerged, and a preponderance of scientists studying the issue project more adverse consequences to come unless stronger actions are taken…

THNK: Creative Leadership

THNK: Creative Leadership

Social inequality, evolution of technology, dwindling resources, climate change, the collapse of financial institutions. THNK, the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership, is on a mission to develop the next generation of creative leaders that will have a significant societal impact in our world.

Foreign Affairs: It’s Hard in America

Foreign Affairs: It’s Hard in America

One of the United States’ major successes in the last half century has been its progress toward ensuring that its citizens get roughly the same basic chances in life, regardless of gender or race. Yet this achievement has been double edged. Today, people who were born worse off tend to have fewer opportunities in life.

NatGeo: Rain Forest for Sale

NatGeo: Rain Forest for Sale

Far beneath the ground, Yasuní, Ecuador, harbors a treasure that poses an urgent challenge to the precious web of life on the surface: hundreds of millions of barrels of untapped Amazon crude. President Rafael Correa has offered to leave indefinitely untouched an estimated 850 million barrels of oil, but the international response to the initiative has been tepid.

NatGeo: Crazy Far Exploration

NatGeo: Crazy Far Exploration

To get to the stars, we’ll need many new materials and engines but also a few of the old intangibles. In the conversation of certain dreamer-nerds, especially outside NASA, you can now hear echoes of the old aspiration and adventurousness—of the old craziness for space.

NatGeo: Exploration

NatGeo: Exploration

We have remained obsessed with filling in the Earth’s maps; reaching its farthest poles, highest peaks, and deepest trenches; sailing to its every corner and then flying off the planet entirely. The United States, along with other countries and several private companies, is preparing to send humans to the red planet as well.

National Geographic: Methane

National Geographic: Methane

By venting methane into the atmosphere, the lakes are amplifying the global warming that created them: Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. Carbon dioxide is the main one, because the atmosphere holds 200 times as much of it. But a given amount of methane traps at least 25 times as much heat…

Climate Proofing Cities

Climate Proofing Cities

Governments around the world have been investing in plans to “climate-proof” their cities against weather-related calamities. Even if we managed to stop increasing global carbon emissions tomorrow, we would probably experience several centuries of additional warming, rising sea levels, and more frequent dangerous weather events.

Recall of the Wild

Recall of the Wild

For most of the past several millennia, Flevoland, a province which sits more or less at the center of the Netherlands, lay at the bottom of an inlet of the North Sea. Now, Flevoland is home to the Oostvaardersplassen, a wilderness that was also constructed, Genesis-like, from the mud.

Rewilding Europe

Rewilding Europe

Rewilding Europe is a conservation vision for Europe, with wild nature and natural processes as key elements, where rewilding is applicable to any type of landscape or level of protection. It is an initiative by WWF Netherlands, ARK Nature, Wild Wonders of Europe and Conservation Capital.

Industrial Ecology

Industrial Ecology

Industrial ecology (IE) is the study of material and energy flows through industrial systems. It is concerned with the shifting of industrial process from linear (open loop) systems, in which resource and capital investments move through the system to become waste, to a closed loop system where wastes can become inputs for new processes.

The Economist: For Richer, For Poorer

The Economist: For Richer, For Poorer

The democratisation of living standards has masked a dramatic concentration of incomes over the past 30 years, on a scale that matches, or even exceeds, the first Gilded Age. Including capital gains, the share of national income going to the richest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1980, from 10% to 20%, roughly where it was a century ago.

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