Tag Archives: urban agriculture

Friday Linkage 7/20/2012

The drought that is gripping the U.S. is now the worst since the 1950s.  The Dust Bowl seems just around the corner.  Maybe not.

On to the links…

U.S. Leads the World in Cutting Emissions—Yep, the U.S. is leading the world in cutting its emissions of carbon.  A lot of it has to do with the recent recession, but there are other positive trends at play like the decommissioning of coal fired power plants, increased vehicle fuel efficiency, and a general reduction in transportation fuel demand as a result of changing habits.  I wonder why no one is making a bigger deal out of this?  It’s not like the recession was a secret.

What’s Killing Coal in West Virginia?—How about we finally realize that this is an environmentally harmful way to generate electricity that harms just about everyone who touches it along the way?  Just saying.

Denmark Ups Its Wind Power Ambition to 50% by 2020—Not to make the rest of the world feel like slackers by comparison, but Denmark is ahead of itself on its goals for wind power as a percentage of total generation.  So, what do they do?  Up the target.  Go Denmark!

Why We Pay Double for Solar in the U.S.—Basically, the balance of system costs in the U.S.—non-panel hardware, permit fees, installation, etc.—drive the price of residential solar higher than anywhere else in the world.  This sucks.

Nevada Plant Combines Solar and Geothermal—This just seems like one of those sensible ideas that everyone smacks their forehead after seeing it in operation.  Why didn’t I think of that?

New Biofuel Process Dramatically Increases Yield—Researchers at Michigan State University have created a process that can increase the energy recovery of biofuel processes by a factor of 20.  Not 20 percent, but 20 times.  The key here is obviously scale.  However, if biofuels are to become a critical piece of our energy future—which I believe is necessary—then innovations like this are critical components.

The Corn Identity—Just take a moment to ponder this infographic:

The U.S. will make ethanol from corn that would be capable of feeding over 400 million people.  This is why ethanol, as it is currently produced, is not a viable solution.

Fracking in U.S. Lifts Indian Farmers—An unintended consequence of the fracking boom in the U.S. is that Indian farmers in Rajasthan have a newly lucrative market for their guar.

Has Organic Been Oversized?—A good article on the divergence of the organic food movement from its origins to its current corporate state.  It poses the really good question of the rule of the law versus the spirit of the law.  No earth shattering or ground breaking insight, just a solid look at a disheartening development.

Jump Starting Urban Agriculture in San Francisco—I am all for producing as much food as possible in every location possible, but have we blown the potential for urban agriculture up just a little bit?  A few books and blogs make everyone think that they can have a little homestead on the freeway.

Bronx May Get 5 Acre Rooftop Farm—Maybe I was being a little cynical about the potential of urban agriculture.  Five acres in town has a lot of potential to put fresh, local produce in people’s hands.

Small Scale Grains a Part of the Locavore Puzzle—One component of our food system that is hard to source locally is grain.  Mass industrial production was almost perfectly suited to these plants as opposed to tomatoes or peppers or even corn.  It’s hard to grow a row of wheat in your home garden.  It looks like some people are out to solve that riddle.

Fermented Food Big on the DIY Scene—Without going all Portlandia on you…we can pickle that!

Otter Attack—I guess the otters in Minnesota did not get the memo about being nice.  How rude!

Zubaz Unleashed—This has nothing to do with the environment or greener living.  It’s just an amazing story.  When I was a kid these pants were huge.  Everyone wanted a pair and if you had a pair you wanted two.  Then one day the things just disappeared only to be seen on gameday parking lots worn by overweight, middle aged white men in team colors.  Even then it was considered in poor taste.

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Friday Linkage 9/30/2011

September has come and gone, football season is in full swing, the leaves are turning all sorts of colors, and I am sitting back enjoying the fruits of my homebrew labor.  With the temperatures dropping into the 30s at night the Patagonia Synchilla fleece has been broken out and my daughter is already sipping hot cocoa.  I love the change of seasons.

In North Dakota, Wasted Gas Flares in the Night Sky—The concept seems insane: burn a commodity for which there is a market.  In a world that is increasingly energy constrained, it is crazy to think that in the U.S. we just flare natural gas instead of collecting it for use heating homes, making fertilizer, etc.  Think about this the next time natural gas prices spike in the winter.

U.S. Gasoline Demand Hits 10-Year August Low—Maybe we do not need as much liquid fuel as we thought.  The combination of recession, high prices, and awareness has led to a drop in the demand for oil that is completely discretionary.  It goes to show how much savings potential exists in the system if people really make an attempt.

The Technology to Cut Greenhouse Gasses by 85% by 2050 Already Exists—Not only is it possible to reduce our demand with cuts in our discretionary energy use, but the technology exists today to effectively cut our greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050?  So, what’s the problem?  Oh wait…Republicans…oil companies…grumpy people…NIMBY…

Want to Make Fuel?  Just Add Water—Maybe there is a future for biofuels if we can get past the current and problematic first generation fuels that divert foodstuffs to fuel.  The world has too many hungry mouths to feed for us to justify filling up SUVs with ethanol made from corn or biodiesel made from soybeans.

The Future of Urban Agriculture—In this video, Will Allen—he of the Macarthur Genius award—shows us what his vision of the future of urban agriculture looks like.  In a world where the resiliency of our food system will be paramount this is interesting viewing.

Eco-Living in Gary—For anyone familiar with Gary, Indiana this is a hard concept to wrap your head around.  Eco-living in Gary?  It just goes to show you that anything is possible.

How to Build a Rocket Stove Water Heater—If you thought building tunnels to let chickens do the garden work was ingenious, you are going to love this how-to on building a rocket stove water heater.  If I were building an off-grid home I would be all over rocket stoves and rocket mass stoves.

The Case for Downsizing Your Home—The article is obviously aimed at people considering retirement, but the same arguments that hold true for people living on a “fixed” income hold true for the rest of us because there is no magic money fairy that raises my income whenever I desire.  In a way, we are all on fixed incomes.