Resilience on my mind

There are days that I feel like a rubber band – being stretched in so many different directions. Then I snap back. That is resilience.

Climate resilience is such a seductive concept like regeneration that it is one of the primary topics I teach. But not sure if we actually have the political and economic means to pull it off (nor does Andrew Revkin). Check out the video [which refuses to be embeded] of Revkin’s recent appearance at Zócalo Public Square that focused on the topic.

So what am I doing to shift the status quo? Getting stretched in all sorts of ways organizing a symposium for the LA Aqueduct Centennial with folks from UCLA (including Alex Hall and Jon Christensen who are in the video), Woodbury’s Arid Lands Institute, and my mentor Lance Neckar at Pitzer. Target date winter 2014 if we line up the funding. Stay tuned!

A quick shout out to Dan Hill for a fascinating read about the ‘Urban Intelligence Industrial Complex’ aka the ‘Smart City’ movement…

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Infographic of the day: How Many Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide?

How Many Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide? The Information is Beautiful guide to Doha | News | guardian.co.uk

The graphic is based on tonnes of the latest research and calculations. See it all in this dataset: http://bit.ly/CO2gigatons.

How Many Gigatons of Carbon Dioxide? The Information is Beautiful guide to Doha | News | guardian.co.uk.

Sublime Solar Farm

Photographer Jamey Stillings documents the sublime of Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System for Wired.

Aerial Photos of Giant Google-Funded Solar Farm Caught in Green Energy Debate | Raw File | Wired.com


Aerial view of Solar Field One at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System (ISEGS) on October 27, 2012. Photo shows completed tower construction and heliostat (pairs of mirrors) installation. Mojave Desert, CA

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 8.04.10 PM

Some of his photos evoking the Nazca lines or Michael Heizer’s Complex – this is quite the documentation of the infrastructural sublime.

Aerial Photos of Giant Google-Funded Solar Farm Caught in Green Energy Debate | Raw File | Wired.com

Clark Mountain and ground work for future power block of Solar Field One. January 14, 2011.

View north of Ivanpah Solar showing all three solar fields with heliostat installation complete in Solar Field One in the foreground. October 27, 2012.

There is a remarkable amount of intact vegetation beneath the heliostats – making me wonder if it is possible to design a low-impact solar farm?

Installed heliostats in Solar Field One and adjacent section of undisturbed desert terrain of the site’s alluvial fan. January 6, 2012.

Installed heliostats in “safe” or resting position. June 2, 2012

Workers install a heliostat on a pylon in Solar Field One. June 4, 2012.

More of Jamey Stillings pics at Aerial Photos of Giant Google-Funded Solar Farm Caught in Green Energy Debate | Raw File | Wired.com. and Stillings’ own website.

Tree Torture Labs

Two visually striking experiments are attempting to find out how trees will respond to climate change:  Sevilleta LTER, and Aspen FACE at Michigan Technological University. These science experiments invoke several recent landscape architecture projects, but are purely functional.

Sevilleta LTER

But we have to kill the trees to understand how they die. Not a lot of them, just a few.”  “We need to understand the mechanistic side if we’re going to model the effects of climate on a large scale, we need to understand why and where trees die. When we can do that accurately, we’ll have a shot at knowing the broader effects.– Nate McDowell

The experiments at Sevilleta focus on Pinon-Juniper woodlands of New Mexico and are subject to several experiments by researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory (U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science’s Program for Ecosystem Research).

To observe the impact of higher temperatures, 18 trees are wrapped in 15′ tall plastic cylinders with heaters that keeps the temperature about 7 degrees warmer than ambient conditions to simulate the predicted climate of 2100.

more images at NPR.org

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Sustainable Energy Landscapes

 

I’m really excited to announce the publication on October 19th of Sustainable Energy Landscapes: Designing, Planning, and Development, (edited by Sven Stremke and Andy van den Dobbelsteen) that includes my Chapter 21, written with the help of my Zero+ Campus Project’s colleagues at the University of Minnesota.

In the near future the appearance and spatial organization of urban and rural landscapes will be strongly influenced by the generation of renewable energy. One of the critical tasks will be the re-integration of these sustainable energy landscapes into the existing environment—which people value and want to preserve—in a socially fair, environmentally sound, and economically feasible manner. Accordingly, Sustainable Energy Landscapes: Designing, Planning, and Development focuses on the municipal and regional scale, where energy-conscious interventions are effective, and stakeholders can participate actively in the transition process.

This book presents state-of-the-art knowledge in the exciting new field of sustainable energy landscapes. It bridges the gap between theory and fundamental research on the one hand, and practice and education on the other. The chapters—written by experts in their fields—present a selection of interdisciplinary, cutting-edge projects from across the world, illustrating the inspiring challenge of developing sustainable energy landscapes. They include unique case studies from Germany, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, Canada, Denmark, Austria, Italy, and the United States.

The editors and team of contributing authors aim to inspire readers, providing a comprehensive overview of sustainable energy landscapes, including principles, concepts, theories, and examples. The book describes various methods, such as energy potential mapping and heat mapping, multicriteria decision analysis, energy landscape visualization, and employing exergy and carbon models. It addresses how to quantify the impact of energy transition both on landscape quality and energy economy, issues of growing importance. The text infuses readers with enthusiasm to promote further research and action toward the important goal of building energy landscapes for a sustainable future.

The full marketing announcement: K14201_NTI FL [pdf]

 

Moral Judgement on Climate Change

I missed this important sustainability article back in march, which is
comparable to Global Warmings Six Americas Report [pdf], but Grist got 
my eyeballs on it.

Climate change and moral judgement by Ezra M. Markowitz & Azim F. Shariff
Nature Climate Change,  2, pp. 243–247 (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1378
Published online 28 March 2012

[sorry there is a paywall unless your library subscribes to this journal]

Converging evidence from the behavioural and brain sciences suggests that the human moral judgement system is not well equipped to identify climate change — a complex, large-scale and unintentionally caused phenomenon — as an important moral imperative. As climate change fails to generate strong moral intuitions, it does not motivate an urgent need for action in the way that other moral imperatives do. We review six reasons why climate change poses significant challenges to our moral judgement system and describe six strategies that communicators might use to confront these challenges. Enhancing moral intuitions about climate change may motivate greater support for ameliorative actions and policies.

Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist

And the solution to overcoming these biases are:

Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist

via Why climate change doesn’t spark moral outrage, and how it could | Grist.