Friday, September 26, 2008

Wake Up, Freak Out, Do Something

With regard to the previous post below, check out this short animated film that gives a good quick overview of why climate disruption affects us all... stay going.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Methane chimneys

This story hit the Independent yesterday, and I really hope these preliminary findings are exaggerated, or not what they seem:

Exclusive: The methane time bomb

Arctic scientists discover new global warming threat as melting permafrost releases millions of tons of a gas 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide

By Steve Connor, Science Editor
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Preliminary findings suggest that massive deposits of subsea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Earth Overshoot Day

    Sadly, today is Earth Overshoot Day. This is based on the measure of the Global Footprint Network, that today humanity has consumed all of the new resources that nature will produce this year. From here until the end of the year, we'll no longer be "living off the interest" and instead will be "eating into our capital." A basic understanding of finances let's us know that this is not good for us - and especially not good for our children and grandchildren, who will be left with that much less, a world that produces less, and as a result a system that is far less resilient.

    Often people make the mistake of thinking that sustainability is all about limits, having less stuff, being restricted in terms of what we can do. In fact, it is the opposite. By recklessly pursuing physical growth in a "take-make-waste" economy - thinking we're getting more - we're actually getting less - now and in the future.

    As the Footprint Network points out, the financial collapse happening around us right now is a stark reminder of what can happen when debt and spending are allowed to grow out of control, with no responsibility and no acknowledgment of the natural limits that every system is subject to - whether it's the laws of thermodynamics on the planetary scale, or the rules of accounting for a business. You can only cheat the system for so long, and we've been cheating the system for too long. We continue to see examples of organizations, communities, cities, and now entire economies hitting the funnel walls - Enron, New Orleans, Houston/Galveston, Lehman/Bear/Freddie/Fannie/AIG.

    Of course the good news is, that to avoid this collapse, all we need to do is be respectful of those limits. And these limits will not limit us. Constraints breed creativity - the rules of music enable artists to create beautiful songs as opposed to jumbles of noise, the rules of soccer make a fun game as opposed to an aimless group of people chasing a ball, tough engineering challenges with unusual constraints spur innovation, the list goes on. And accepting the challenge of operating all of our institutions, organizations, businesses and within the constraints of the sustainability principles will help us come together and engage in the most gratifying work imaginable - creating better lives for ourselves, our families, our communities, those around the world while contributing to the health and well-being of all other life. So we can move-on from this myth that acknowledging the reality of the limits that the laws of nature represent will cause problems for us - it only opens up opportunities and is our way forward for improving our quality of life.

    To learn more about ecological footprinting, the Footprint Network, and Overshoot Day, check out:

    Stay going...

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    ASU Sustainability Summit

    I highly recommend checking out the free video feed of the Arizona State University Sustainability Summit that took place this morning in DC. It's an hour and a half long, but well worth it (and if you stick it out you'll be able to see my bride use her brand new last name when asking a question :) There's a great line up including Bill Ford (Ford Chairman), Rob Walton (Wal-Mart Chairman), Michael Crow (ASU President), US Rep Ed Markey (D-MA), Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-MN), US Rep Fred Upton (R-MI), and our boss Tony Cortese. Very exciting to see a cross-sector dialogue happening around the big issue of sustainability:

    Stay going...