Greening the neighborhood

My neighborhood is home to the last episode of *The Sopranos* and *The Real Housewives of New Jersey* ("real" being a matter of interpretation). Anyone who has ever driven the NJ Turnpike probably thinks of it as a hopelessly brown and barren place. But New Jersey is taking on sustainable living and working towards a better future through an exciting… read more →

The magic bus

The *New York Times* turns its attention to one of my favoritest topics: bus rapid transit, and in particular the astounding system in Bogotá, Colombia that has been so successful in reducing traffic and the associated emissions that it has qualified for hundreds of millions of dollars in carbon credits. Think of bus rapid transit (BRT) as an above-ground subway… read more →

Seasonal fruit and veg on your iPhone

Locally produced food isn't necessarily better for the environment. But seasonal *and* local fruit or vegetables probably are. And while your grocery store may tell you where the food was grown, it probably doesn't tell you how much energy went into growing it. As a general rule, something that is in season will take much less energy to produce than… read more →

Some cities shrink to survive

I've written before about our urban future. The flip side of the increasing concentration of people in growing cities is that other areas have to shrink. And that's exactly what's happening. This story about false fire alarms going off in the abandoned sprawl outside Phoenix, AZ has the eerie quality of that Ray Bradbury story about the slow death of… read more →

Slow and low, that is the tempo

We moved into a new house this past October and from the first week, it was one toilet problem after another. It seemed at least once a week, we were pulling out the plunger, which then became an auger. A few extra squares of toilet paper were enough to put us over the edge...literally. The first plumber we called over… read more →

Deutsche Bank’s New Carbon Counter

Deutsche Bank launched a carbon counter in the heart of Manhattan (Herald Square, 7th Ave @ 33rd St) last week. The counter, which is based on NASA and NOAA data and projections by MIT scientists, displays a running total of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Today's count: 3.64 trillion metric tons. The numbers grow quickly in real time (800 metric… read more →

Like New Year’s Eve every day

I'm not sure whether this made the news outside of New York City, but it's a pretty fascinating case study in pedestrian-oriented urbanism: recently the city government closed large stretches of Broadway to cars, including the bit that passes through Times Square. The results has been a somewhat surreal, giddy and altogether fantastic pedestrian circus in what was once one… read more →

Vegetarianism — or flexitarianism — is cheaper

Tim recently took a tongue-in-cheek look at the strange economics of fast food menus, but broader trends show how tightly our consumption habits are tied to the economy: > Meat is the single most expensive thing Americans eat, and in tough times it's one of the first things to go. Fifty-one percent of shoppers surveyed by the American Meat Institute… read more →

I’d be vegetarian if it were cheaper

As a firm believer in economic incentives to improve the health of the environment and stave off climate change, signs like the one above always exasperate me. I would find this funny if it weren't so prevalent. It just seems odd that the vegetarian option is only ten cents less than the chicken, and forty cents less than the beef/pork… read more →

Acting locally, in the local manner

I was chatting with a friend in Sydney, Australia not long ago and came away with an enhanced appreciation of what it means to *act locally*. My Bay Area was suffering an unseasonable heat wave while hers was unusually rainy, so we talked about how the weather affected our households. "At least I get my water heated for free," I… read more →
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