Blog Archives

Eroding soils darkening our future

In 1938 Walter Lowdermilk, a senior official in the Soil Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, traveled abroad to look at lands that had been cultivated for thousands of years, seeking to learn how these older civilizations had coped with soil erosion. He found that some had managed their land well, maintaining its […] … learn more→

Learning (and unlearning) from cities

In some ways, municipal efforts toward sustainability are outpacing academic ones. However, it’s easy to misinterpret the value and content of municipal sustainability initiatives. In fact, some of them seem intentionally to invite (encourage?) misinterpretation. Since one of my hobby horses is the need of the sustainability movement to define its terms, the first element […] … learn more→

Farmed fish production overtakes beef

The world quietly reached a milestone in the evolution of the human diet in 2011. For the first time in modern history, world farmed fish production topped beef production. The gap widened in 2012, with output from fish farming—also called aquaculture—reaching a record 66 million tons, compared with production of beef at 63 million tons. […] … learn more→

Bike-sharing programs fit the streets in over 500 cities worldwide

Politicians, lobbyists, and tourists alike can ride bicycles along a specially marked lane between the White House and the U.S. Capitol, part of the 115 miles of bicycle lanes and paths that now crisscross Washington, DC. In Copenhagen, commuters can ride to work following a “green wave” of signal lights timed for bikers. Residents in […] … learn more→

Unprecedented contribution of wind power in U.S. Midwest

Defying conventional wisdom about the limits of wind power, in 2012 both Iowa and South Dakota generated close to one quarter of their electricity from wind farms. Wind power accounted for at least 10 percent of electricity generation in seven other states. Across the United States, wind power continues to strengthen its case as a […] … learn more→

Where has all the Ice gone?

As the earth warms, glaciers and ice sheets are melting and seas are rising. Over the last century, the global average sea level rose by 17 centimeters (7 inches). This century, as waters warm and ice continues to melt, seas are projected to rise nearly 2 meters (6 feet), inundating coastal cities worldwide, such as […] … learn more→