Cities

EV + PV = ROI

SolarCity makes electric cars an even smarter investment

A Tesla Roadster gets a boost from a SolarCity charging station in SalinasPhoto courtesy SolarCityYou can’t get more California greenin’ than this. Peter Rive can charge up his Tesla Roadster electric sports car in his San Francisco garage with carbon-free electricity supplied by a solar array on his roof. Then, if he’s in the mood for a road trip, he can drive to Los Angeles, stopping at a solar-powered charging station along the way to top off the battery. The free charging stations on the “solar highway” — aka the 101 — were recently installed by SolarCity, the Silicon Valley …

Roselle's Rollicking Tale & Moral of the Story

http://JPGreenHouseUploads.yolasite.com Mike Roselle has a knack for being in the right place at the right time and a genius for creating confusion in high places. As with all effective rabble-rousers, he has left a trail of enmity in his wake (not always in the opposition camp), but that is to be expected in any political life anchored in truth and guided by the precept that disruption of the status quo on behalf of wild things and wild places is both moral obligation and wise strategy. Mike’s rollicking new book announces in the very title that this is a chronicle of …

Tilting at, rather than installing, windmills

Obama’s absurd Olympic boosterism

Arches, now deserted, built for the 2004 Athens Olympics. As healthcare reform shipwrecks and climate legislation lurches toward a similar fate, President Obama is … preparing to jet to Copenhagen to shill for Chicago as 2016 Olympic site? Really? What an absurd and ignoble use of time and prestige. When I think of the Olympics, I remember the spookily quiet, deserted “Olympic Village” by the railroad tracks I encountered in Turin while visiting for Slow Food’s Terra Madre conference last year. Built just two years before for the 2006 winter games, the edifices already seemed rundown and shabby. They certainly …

Love in a time of cataclysm, part 2

Therapy on the Titanic

A recent Facebook exchange was striking. Someone posted a Washington Post article on the latest climate science. It predicted a temperature rise of 8 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of this century if no systemic changes are made to reduce our carbon output. The better case scenario — in which world governments implement their current promises to cut emissions — would keep the warming to only 6 degrees. Another person responded, “This is so heartbreaking I don’t know how I can hold it.” An increasing number of people note with horror the destruction caused by the current level of carbon …

Loo and Behold

As Philadelphia goes, so goes the nation

More green on the streets will mean less brown in the rivers.Tony the Misfit via flickrPhiladelphia has a poo problem. Old, failing pipes plus a swelling population plus lots of rain equals — well, yuck. So the city has pondered its options, and now it’s poised to make a major splash in the world of sewage management. In a move described by an official from the state environmental council as “the most significant investment in transforming the city that we’ll see in our lifetimes,” Philly is proposing a $1.6 billion plan to radically alter the way it handles stormwater — …

Does Schwarzenegger care more about tea partiers or the planet?

Like any Hollywood actor, and like any politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger likes to talk a good game. And on climate, he talks a lot. He loves to promote inconsequential gab-fests like the Governors Global Summit on Climate Change. But when the rubber hits the road, will he actually, you know, do anything about it? Whether a bill on his desk gets a signature will tell us whether he is real or all puffery. That bill is SB 406, by state Senator Mark Desaulnier. SB 406 would allow regional planning organizations to impose a $1-2 extra vehicle license fee in order to …

Placemakers

Stockton Williams on urban retrofits, Obama, and the sexiness of caulking guns

This is part of a series of interviews with people working to make U.S. communities smarter, greener spaces. Got a suggestion for an interviewee? Send it our way or leave it in the comments section below. Earlier this year, officials from sixteen U.S. cities gathered in Cambridge, Mass., to compare notes on a surprisingly hot topic: building retrofits. The meeting was held just as the Obama Administration announced the creation of a “Recovery through Retrofit” interagency working group, and hopes were high that federal funding, green jobs, and energy savings would flow forth. I dropped in on that event and …

That smarts

MacArthur genius award winners include climate and ocean researchers

Some of the MacArthur Foundation “genius award” winners are doing work related to climate change. And they now they each have $500 grand, no strings attached. Neat-o: Climate scientist Peter Huybers mines “a wealth of often-conflicting experimental observations to develop compelling theories that explain global climate change over time.” Biogeochemist Daniel Sigman unravels “the interrelated physical, chemical, geological, and biological forces that have shaped the oceans’ fertility and the Earth’s climate over the past two million years.” Also sorta related: Bridge engineer Theodore Zoli makes “major technological advances to protect transportation infrastructure in the event of natural and man-made disasters.” …

Talk about a culture jam

The social life of traffic

This article is part of a collaboration with Planetizen, the web’s leading resource for the urban planning, design, and development community. Traffic is essentially “an engineering issue,” says author Tom Vanderbilt. “But there’s also a layer of culture.” That layer of culture determines, to a large extent, how traffic can become a problem. This idea is explored in Vanderbilt’s 2008 book Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us), a Planetizen Top Book of the year. He recently expanded on that idea for a discussion about traffic put on by Zocalo Public Square in …

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