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Jonathan Hiskes' Posts

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The future we want

The Future We Want is a planned multimedia project -- short videos, traveling museum exhibit, a mobile app, maybe an Imax movie -- that wants to present "a positive vision for a sustainable society." The project bills itself as an antidote to the dystopian landscapes we see in The Day After Tomorrow, The 11th Hour, The Road, Wall-E, and the like. Image: The Future We Want There's a preview site now that shows attractive urban neighborhoods with broad sidewalks, sleek light-rail lines, and svelte CGI residents. The founders are looking for funding to build out the rest. Veteran energy advisor …

Read more: Cities, Living

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Oregon to help Iraqi universities build green engineering programs

For all the hand-wringing about America's waning influence around the world, it still wields a lot of influence around the world (profound, huh?). The forms of 21st-century living pioneered here aren't just about fixing the U.S., they're about providing models that other countries can emulate. That's why the Seattle Project aims to make the city of 600,000 the world's first carbon-neutral city by 2030; it's why Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson wants to make his city the world's greenest (Canada is influential too); it's why it's so important that California's clean-energy leadership role survives Tuesday's election. Much of this global influence …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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'20 is Plenty' campaign takes crazy stance against running over children

Hoboken, N.J., launched a "Twenty is Plenty" campaign to ask drivers to voluntarily slow down to 20 mph where the limit is 25. (New York is also trying this out in certain places.) It's a safety thing. Crashes between autos and pedestrians have a 40 percent risk of fatality if the driver is doing 30 mph. But that risk drops to just 5 percent at 20 mph, according to the city's transportation and parking director, Ian Sacs. It's also a green thing, indirectly. Fuel economy for most car engines runs on a curve (see below), with the peak around 55, …

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Evangelical climate hawk learns hard knocks in House race

Photo: Loweforcongress.comBen Lowe is a 25-year-old first-time candidate getting whomped in a suburban Chicago congressional race. He's being outspent 16-to-one by Republican incumbent Peter Roskam. The biggest publicity the campaign drew came when Lowe, who is half-Chinese, claimed racial profiling after a Cicero, Ill., police officer pulled over him and three friends. The Democrat has, by Nate Silver's calculation, a 0.2 percent chance of winning. Thank you, come again. But Lowe's an intriguing candidate, coming from the nearby evangelical bastion of Wheaton College. He speaks in the evangelical language of restoring a "moral compass" in Congress, but his moral compass …

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Biodiversity is an urban concern

The threatened Red-crowned River Turtle of southeast AsiaPhoto: Peter Paul van Dijk, Conservation InternationalBiodiversity doesn't get as much attention as it should now that climate change has become preeminent among environmental quandaries. But it's important! Species extinction isn't some boutique issue that's distinct from the needs of humans. And building successful human dwellings isn't disconnected from providing natural areas, as a delegation of international mayors said at Convention on Biological Diversity in Nagoya, Japan, this week. From Reuters: While green groups at a U.N. environment meeting in Japan focused on the need to save rainforests and oceans, mayors at the …

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Strickland finally talks up energy and transit in Ohio guv race

Up until a month ago, Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) was pursuing a curious strategy of not campaigning on his record of promoting economic growth through clean energy and efficiency. In 2008, he signed a renewable energy standard that ensures a market for wind and solar producers, and, more importantly, creates a market for retrofitting homes and factories, an industry in which Ohio is positioned to lead. Yet Strickland wasn't talking about his accomplishments. "I don't think the average Ohioan feels that or sees it," the Ohio Sierra Club's Jennifer Miller said of the governor's leadership on these issues. That's …

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Chevron thinks we’re stupid [VIDEO]

Satirical heroes The Yes Men scooped Chevron on its very own ad campaign, releasing fake Chevron ads before the energy giant's multimillion-dollar "We Agree" campaign launched. Then the Yes Men solicited more parodies, including a lolcats version. Now Funny or Die shows us what Chevron is really trying to say: they think we're stupid. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Like what you see? Sign up to receive The Grist List, our email roundup of funny and pun-usual green news just like this, sent out every Friday.

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Bellingham’s biking nurse

Jody Hoppis, excellent personPhoto: Mobile MedicineEvery so often you get climate hawks and public-health advocates saying to each other, "Hey, walking and cycling help both of our causes. We should work together." Here's one way to do that: Jody Hoppis fastens her helmet, pulls on her gloves but rides no ordinary bike. Hers is a high-tech model that even comes with a small motor to push her through those long journeys. She can use the extra push, because when Hoppis arrives, the nurse is in. Hoppis, who is better known as "Nurse Jody," ditched the brick-and-mortar clinic and went back …

Read more: Cities, Living

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The UniverCity project: An experiment in suburban urbanism

City-in-miniature on a hill: UniverCity, Burnaby, British ColumbiaPhoto: SFU Community Trust For the green benefits of urbanism -- walkability, transit, smaller dwellings, more efficient buildings -- to become a truly helpful climate strategy, we're going to need them in more than just cities. We need suburbia to adopt those features too, because a full 50 percent of Americans live in suburbs (compared to 30 percent in central cities), according to 2000 census data. With that in mind, I went to check out an experiment in suburban urbanism across the border in Burnaby, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. Builders there …

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The Biggest Loser (of energy waste): UNC dormitory

UNC Chapel Hill's energy team: Luke Macon (from left), Annie Baer, Keith Funkhouser, Erin Hiatt, Piya Kerdlap, Hannah Sacco, Mat Smead, Steven Byrd, Sean Murphy, Eleanor Saunders. Absent: Ashley Mui, Byron Ransom, Michelle Sykes, Nick Rogoff, Mackie Price.Photo: UNCBack in April, the EPA launched a quirky little competition inspired by The Biggest Loser in which 14 buildings competed to see which could trim the most waste from their energy usage. The competitors were a 23-story Manhattan office building, a San Diego Marriott hotel, a Colorado elementary school, a University of North Carolina dorm and 10 other commercial buildings. Building managers …

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