Clark Williams-Derry

Clark Williams-Derry is research director for the Seattle-based Sightline Institute, a nonprofit sustainability think tank working to promote smart solutions for the Pacific Northwest. He was formerly the webmaster for Grist.

Density Star

From the New Urban News comes this nugget: Researchers presented findings at the Congress for the New Urbanism annual conference that show substantial energy savings from higher-density urbanism -- greater savings than can be achieved …

Long distance runaround

The question of whether to buy locally grown food is not as clear as it might appear.

When shopping for food, how important is it to buy local? This question isn't rhetorical: I no longer know quite what to think about this. Obviously, transporting food long distances requires fossil fuels and creates …

Grid schlock

Critics of new urbanism’s grid street pattern miss the point.

One of the defining characteristics of sprawl is a branching street pattern -- one in which cul-de-sacs feed residential streets, which feed local arteries, which feed thoroughfares, which ultimately feed freeways. It's a design that …

Something smells rank

The ranking of most eco-friendly cities gives too much weight to good intentions.

Via Planetizen News, here's an interesting sustainability ranking for 25 US cities. Now, I haven't had time to look through the methods thoroughly. But my first impression is that it gives undue weight to intentions, …

Forests fired

Is using trees for biomass a good idea?

I point this out not because I'm in favor of it, but because I think it's a trend worth watching: the Klamath Falls, Ore., newspaper, The Herald and News is reporting on a project to …

Peak performance?

Washington Monthly considers peak oil.

Blogger Kevin Drum at The Washington Monthly has a well-written, informative, and balanced set of posts of the so-called "Peak Oil" theory -- the idea that, while the world may not be running out of …

Talking with cars

Transportation choices are made as much with the heart as with the head.

This New York Times article from last Saturday echoed news that has been popping up all over recently. The headline sums it up: "America's Love Affair With S.U.V.'s Begins to Cool." Higher gas prices are …

Car buyers imposing higher fuel standards

Increasing numbers are changing the cars they buy based on fuel economy.

From the Christian Science Monitor, evidence that consumers are beginning to think about gas prices as they make new vehicle purchases: Last month, 49 percent of new-car buyers, the highest level ever, had changed their …

Sometimes the cloth does not make the baby

A new study on diapers finds no difference between cloth and paper

Ok, that's a dumb headline. But the problem itself -- whether to diaper my babies with cloth or disposables -- was one I spent a bit of time agonizing over. But perhaps I shouldn't have. …