Innovative ideas for a new West

An annual conference for perennial inspiration

Westerners are known for their pluck and willingness to solve problems with grit and imagination. Combating climate change, developing renewable energy, promoting rural economies and local agriculture, strengthening communities, and ensuring equitable access to transit ... these are all pieces of a Western manifesto put forward by the Sopris Foundation's great annual conference, this year in Missoula from July 13-15. Elected officials, planners, ranchers and farmers, grantmakers, citizens, activists, and entrepreneurs are there for this indispensable conversation every year. How about you?

Farewell, complete walker

A valedictory to Colin Fletcher

For most of us who care about ecology and the environment, there was some personal experience that brought us there. For me, it was wilderness hiking, beginning 30-plus years ago in the Grand Canyon and continuing across the American West. Two books helped instigate my journeys and those of thousands of fellow adventure-seekers and nature-lovers. The Welshman who wrote them, the intrepid and blessedly individualistic Colin Fletcher, died earlier this month, at 85. I can't recall which I read first -- The Man Who Walked Through Time, in which Fletcher chronicled his 400-mile hike through the Grand Canyon, or his compulsively detailed guide to backpacking, The Complete Walker. That's probably because I read them both repeatedly and obsessively.

Google tries to kickstart an energy revolution funds V2G demonstration projects

Sweet mama! is going to give vehicle-to-grid technology a much-needed boost, to the tune of $10 million. The company is going to modify six cars, a mix of Toyota Priuses and Ford Escape hybrids, …

Hybrid bike update

Dumb and not so dumb questions answered

Well, here's some more footage of my new bike. I couldn't think of a better way to convey its ability to accelerate uphill than to just do it with normal bikes in the background for comparison. Note the dearth of spandex. Is this fad about to go the way of the powdered wig? The following are some answers to frequently asked questions:

Sprawl's well that ends well

Conservatives wage war against smart growth

Who doesn’t love placemaking? Well, a growing band of conservatives who are getting all bent out of shape about the smart-growth movement. They’re getting so worked up about it that the Heritage Foundation even pulled …

Honda ditches Accord hybrid

Honda is ditching the Accord Hybrid because it discovered that … are you sitting down? … people who buy hybrids like good gas mileage.

Public transit

For over two weeks I’ve been meaning to link to this post on public transit from Michael O’Hare and say something interesting about it. So as not to delay it indefinitely, I’m dropping the "say …

Connecting land use and global warming

California takes the lead

California is once again taking the lead: California Attorney General Jerry Brown has sued San Bernardino County, the largest in area in the contiguous USA and one of the fastest growing, for failing to account …

Trying to let go of the weekend

It’s been sunny, clear, and hot in Seattle. My shoulders are sunburnt! My weekend was capped by two great experiences yesterday. First, I got to test drive BioD’s new rig. Wow. You really can’t imagine …

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.