An attitude to life which seeks fulfilment in the single-minded pursuit of wealth - in short, materialism - does not fit into this world, because it contains within itself no limiting principle, while the environment in which it is placed is strictly limited.
If it seems far-fetched to imagine millions of Americans becoming mini energy producers, just look at Germany, where 51 percent of the country’s clean energy production is owned by individuals or farmers, while major utilities control just 6.5 percent of it.

A short paragraph from a recent New York Times article, ‘Crowdfunding Clean Energy’.

(Photo source:

From Xinhaunet:

China will proactively introduce a set of new taxation policies designed to preserve the environment, including a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, according to a senior official with the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

China is among the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gas and has set goals for cutting emissions. The government has vowed to reduce carbon intensity, or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of economic output, by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 in comparison to 2005 levels.

Check out the rest of the article here.


• ‘China is getting serious about taming coal’ (Grist)

From The Globe & Mail:

This fall, Vancouver city workers will start planting some 3,000 trees, the first of the planned 150,000 called for in the city’s 2011 Greenest City Action Plan.

The cost for the first batch of trees – to be planted on both private and city-owned land – is $650,000 of the city’s budget of about $1-billion. The investment is geared to more than shade and eye appeal. Vancouver, like other cities around the world, is looking to its urban forest for benefits ranging from energy savings to pollution control.

While such benefits have long been acknowledged, technology is making it easier to measure them – in the process, helping to build a business case for greenery.

“It’s getting easier to quantify the environmental services provided by trees, because there are programs that we have been able to plug into that give us that information,” said Beth McEwen, manager of urban forest renewal with the City of Toronto, which in 2005 announced plans to boost its tree canopy from about 20 per cent to 40 per cent over the next 50 years.

Toronto used i-Tree – software developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Forest Service – for a 2010 report, Every Tree Counts, which mapped the city’s tree cover and calculated what role trees played in, for example, reducing air pollution. Vancouver will be testing the software this fall, but has not done a cost-benefit analysis of its tree-planting target. Still, the city considers it a solid investment.

“There are social and economic benefits – including cleaner air, habitat for wildlife, increased property values and neighbourhood pride, to name a few,” Ms. Blyth said.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo: Open File)

We’ve got to somehow get everybody to understand that a different and better energy system is not only just possible, it’s inevitable.

Michael Liebreich, CEO of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in an interview for The Huffington Post article, 'Is Clean Energy Doomed If President Obama Is Not Re-Elected?'

(Photo source: Pew Clean Energy Program)

From The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign:

This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.
This subject is of vital importance, seeking as it does to uncover the principles of the long-term welfare of all the peoples of the planet. As sustainability is a cross-disciplinary field of study, this foundation requires intellectual breadth: as I describe it in the class text, understanding our motivations requires the humanities, measuring the challenges of sustainability requires knowledge of the sciences (both natural and social), and building solutions requires technical insight into systems (such as provided by engineering, planning, and management).
More details here including access to the free, downloadable course text. The 8 week course starts August 27, 2012.
(Image source: Illinois SESE)

"Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world."
- Nelson Mandela

Thinking Sustainability: ‘Last Call: The Documentary’ (Trailer)

From Last Call:

Present system crisis, both environmental and economical, matches with the reference scenario outlined in the 1972 book "The Limits to Growth", by a group of researchers of the MIT. Climate change, natural disasters, wars, natural resources reduction, economic and financial crisis, democracy and political, systems crisis, poverty, hunger and famines, over population… While these crisis are acknowledged by almost everybody there is a tendency to consider them separately. The Limits to Growth team’s approach, in 1972 and in 2012, shows that all these crisis are different parts of a single big problem… The documentary “Last Call" shows the urgency to listen to this message of warning, in order to pursue a new model of equity and sustainability, before it’s too late.

(Graphic source: PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency via Scientific American)