It appears that the world’s second-largest economy and biggest climate offender is on the verge of an energy shift…

Source: China’s Green Revolution Arrives, Spiegel Online

We’re used to the notion of sharing libraries, public parks, and train cars. But in many ways, American culture in particular drifted away from sharing as a value when we spread out from city centers and into the suburbs. Molly Turner, the director of public policy for short-term rental lodging website Airbnb, evokes the iconic image of Richard Nixon, in Moscow, introducing Nikita Khrushchev to the modern marvel of the state-of-the-art washing machine, available for private consumption in every American home. Beginning with the era of that washing machine, Turner argues, we forgot how to share.

We came to prize instead personal ownership – of multiple cars, of large homes with private backyards and space inside for appliances that would never fit in a modest city walk-up. Today, this kind of bald consumerism is considered almost tacky. But the reasons underlying that cultural shift reveal why we’re witnessing a true change in paradigm. Much has transformed in the last few years alone: the economy, technology, and the allure of cities themselves.

“What’s really going on here is the urbanization of the world and the reurbanization of American cities,” Turner says. “Either consciously or subconsciously, [people] are realizing that that involves the public realm, the commons, sharing goods and services and infrastructure. And I think that kind of bleeds into your personal life.” In other words, if you’ll share a subway car, why not a kitchen?

This move back into city centers also coincided with the Great Recession. Those big houses and multiple cars, it turns out, were beyond many of our means. And it’s no coincidence, Turner says, that Airbnb – a company founded around shared housing – was born in 2008, just as the U.S. was entering a recession built on a housing crisis. For many Airbnb members, the spare rooms they were able to rent through the service helped them keep their homes. City living, for all its allure, is expensive, but the sharing economy makes it possible for more people, whether they’re sharing a car because they can’t afford to own one, or sharing a bike because they’ve got nowhere to store it.

A quote from The Atlantic Cities article, 'Share Everything:Why the Way We Consume Has Changed Forever'. Check out the rest of the article here.

Image source: Collaborative Consumption

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From Der Spiegel:

Indeed, the statistics are impressive. It’s estimated that some 50,000 wind turbines have been exported from this mini-kingdom between the North and Baltic seas, nearly 50 percent of the wind-powered generators worldwide. But sales are declining now that large industrialized nations, such as India, China and the US, are emulating the Danes’ success.

In addition to the graceful, towering turbines made of fiberglass and steel, however, Denmark has also given the world a shining example of sustainability: The parliamentary monarchy is widely seen as a laboratory and model for how an entire country can make the transition away from coal, oil and gas and toward energy generated from renewable resources.

Today, already 24 percent of the electricity consumed in Denmark comes from wind power — a world record. There are plans to increase this to 50 percent by 2020, and the country intends to become entirely independent of fossil fuels by 2050.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo source: Der Spiegel)

Kent Larson: ‘Brilliant designs to fit more people in every city’

From TED Talks via YouTube:

How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past.

From The Hill’s E2 Wire:

Most undecided voters want more action from President Obama and Congress to fight global warming, and a substantial percentage say the topic will influence their ballot for president, a new poll shows.

The joint Yale University/George Mason University (GMU) survey found that undecided voters’ beliefs about the existence and causes of global warming are far closer to President Obama’s likely voters than GOP rival Mitt Romney’s.

Sixty-four percent of undecided voters believe Obama should be doing more to address climate change, and 72 percent say Congress should be doing more.

Check out the rest of the article here.

Related:

SustainaWiki is a wiki site designed with one thing in mind: offering information about sustainability to anyone who needs it! Don’t see a page you’re looking for? Make a username and create the page!

I had a quick look around SustainaWiki and it appears quite new with much of the content fairly limited and using 2012 references. So far there are pages addressing energyfoodhome improvementhow-to guides, landscaping, technology, transportation, and waste management. If you’ve got some time and knowledge to share… well, you know what to do. If you need some guidance, you might want to check out the users guide.

Many people would say that climate change is one of the most important problems that we humans are facing and it’s a really big, complicated and hard problem: that’s reason for pessimism. I think there is at least one reason for optimism, which is that we now have a new way of approaching really big, complicated, hard and global problems that wasn’t possible even 15 years ago.

If you think of things like Wikipedia, Google or the Linux open-sourced operating system, these examples all show that it is now possible to harness the collective intelligence of thousands of people all over the world to solve really big, complicated and hard problems at a scale and with a degree of collaboration that was never possible before. So our goal in this project is to use that approach applied to the problem about what to do about global climate change.

Thomas Malone, senior professor at MIT in the Globe & Mail article, Putting collective intelligence to work on a global threat’. He is one of the lead researchers behind the school’s innovative 'Climate Co-lab' project. You can check it out and get involved here.

Ideas for the Future | ‘It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future’ (Video)

From SFU Continuing Studies via Youtube:

Although climate change is a scientific and technological issue, it is also fundamentally a moral issue, and it calls for a moral response. 

In the spring of 2012, Kathleen Dean Moore of Oregon State University joined us at SFU Vancouver to deliver a lecture called It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future. 

She addressed several questions: Why has climate-change science elicited such stunning indifference? What calls us to act? How can we respond to the crisis in ways that honor duties of compassion, justice, and respect for human rights? How can we discuss these values across differences? How do we live when we truly understand that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, resilient, and heartbreakingly beautiful?

It’s Gettin Hot in Here: ‘Chasing Ice’ (Official Trailer)

From Chasing Ice via YouTube:

In the spring of 2005, National Geographic photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change and a cynic about the nature of academic research. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.

Much more here. Definitely looking forward to watching this one!

Related:

(Photo source: James Balog Photography)