New Orleans is the home of beads, mixed fruity drinks, unadulterated partying, and red beans and rice. Rarely does one think of beer, or at least craft beer. However, the New Orleans area is home to one of America’s older craft breweries, Abita Brewing Company, which started in 1986 in the town of Abita Springs about one hour north of the Crescent City. The brewery sought to make use of the artesian springs that flow through the area, and most of their beers have a mild, clean taste. Now, Abita’s Beers are fairly accessible in most markets (46 States), and they enjoy a cult following from displaced New Orleanians and Cajun-philes. Despite its national presence, being in such a delicate ecosystem, (the Mississippi Delta) especially one that has suffered much over the past ten years, Abita takes very seriously its green responsibilities and strives to give back to its community.
Progress is a relative thing, its meaning and measure differing depending on people, place, circumstances and era. What one generation sees as a proud achievement, the next may look at quite differently. This is a theme that comes up increasingly in contemporary discussions of “how the West was won,” especially on the topic of development. The engineering marvels of a century ago that harnessed nature to serve the needs of rapidly growing western U.S. cities, for example, are reevaluated today as their environmental impacts are increasingly understood and felt. This issue is one that rapidly growing cities and countries all around the world are grappling with as they seek to manage a successful balance between economic opportunity and environmental sustainability.
For South Korea—which developed into one of the world’s largest and most advanced economies more rapidly than perhaps any country ever before it—few things may exemplify this evolution better than the Cheonggyecheon Stream in Seoul. The stream, which starts just off of Seoul’s main north-south thoroughfare of Sejong-ro, courses several blocks past soaring high-rises through the heart of downtown. Visitors to this attractive and popular gathering spot today may have a hard time believing that, just ten years ago, it was an elevated highway.
What does it mean to be green? In the modern era, its meaning has evolved from Rachel Carson’s documentation of pollution in Silent Spring, Teddy Roosevelt and and John Muir’s founding of the National Parks, and Henry David Thoreau’s solitary musings in Walden to a more complex, integrated, consumption-based, and urban meaning exhibited by Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, the emergence of the ecological footprint concept, and reports by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about creating equitable, healthy, and sustainable communities.
Simply put, New York City, once considered the antithesis of green, now has some of the lowest per capita energy consumption in the USA because of its extensive reliance on public transit. If green is now analogous to urban, what are the elements that make for great urban places?
I usually read on the bus, but sometimes I stare out the window. The other day I saw someone with what appeared to be a rather upset look on their face as the bus merged into their lane, ahead of their car. (Mind you, buses have the right of way and although people rarely seem to notice, there is a “Yield to bus” sign on the back left portion of the bus”). I can not know for sure what was on her mind. However, this got me thinking about the relationship between buses and cars.
I’ve written about the feeling of superiority when the bus goes on the HOV lane and the people in their cars, by themselves, are struck in traffic below. I’ve also undertaken a study of sorts looking at the prevalence of single occupant drivers in the morning from the vantage point of my bus stop (coming soon). This woman’s reaction got me thinking about how many more cars there would be on the road if it weren’t for those bus riders who do their part to keep the roads just a bit less congested by essentially carpooling.
I received an email asking me to watch and review a movie titled Chow Down (2010). After reading the brief synopsis, I decided it was up my alley. Chow Down is available on Hulu for free, which is a really convenient way to reach the public. This is another movie that discusses our current American diet and how it is impacting our health, very similar to Forks Over Knives.
This movie focused on chronic diseases that are highly impacting our population; 70% of deaths each year are from a chronic illness. Chronic illnesses include diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and high cholesterol. This movie argues that if we eat a plant based diet we could avoid these chronic diseases and increase our life expectancy. A plant based diet consists of vegetables, fruits, whole grains and beans/legumes, otherwise no processed foods. This movie focuses on three people, each of whom has at least one of the listed chronic diseases. Each person decides to change their diet to a plant based one and they discuss their struggles with it, but also their improved health. Each person discusses how previous doctors always prescribed medication or surgery to help their diseases. The problem with this method is these are not cures, just band aids to help fix the problem, eventually another problem will crop up. With a change in diet, these illnesses can be reversed and health can improve immensely.
The 2014 Vehicle Technologies budget proposal, submitted by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), requests $240 million to support R&D efforts for batteries and electric drive technology. The allotment is a $30 million jump over the amount requested for fiscal year 2013, and hopefully will build on the program’s string of notable technological achievements (described below).
The International Energy Agency (IEA) reports today that despite the impressive increase in renewable energy – energy produced by wind is up 42% and solar 19% from 2011 to 2012 alone – carbon emissions have not abated worldwide. As relayed on Marketplace Morning Report today, rapidly industrializing economies, as well as Europe which has resorted to importing American coal, have produced more carbon dioxide per unit of manufacturing.
From the IEA’s report:
To illustrate this inertia, the report, Tracking Clean Energy Progress, introduces the Energy Sector Carbon Intensity Index (ESCII), which shows how much carbon dioxide is emitted, on average, to provide a given unit of energy. The ESCII stood at 2.39 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of oil equivalent (tCO2/toe) in 1990, and had barely moved by 2010, holding at 2.37 tCO2/toe.
The news that carbon emissions have not decreased is not new per se. Marketplace suggests that the natural gas revolution has yet to catch on elsewhere. While fracking has made natural gas accessible, it is primarily
Let me start by saying I am not a prophet and do not pretend to be one. However, my recent nightmare is causing me to rethink this.
My father is a psychiatrist and my sister is a physician, though more public health oriented. The former likes to analyze dreams and the latter happened to be in one of mine the other night. It was not a pleasant one. Here’s the short version: my sister and I were
South Korea’s capital city of Seoul, including its surrounding urban area sprawling across the wide Han River, is home to more than 25 million people and by some estimates the world’s second largest metropolis. It is also a scant 52 kilometers south of the world’s most heavily fortified border–the Demilitarized Zone separating South Korea from North Korea–and changed hands several times over the course of the Korean War. While Seoul is frequently the target of threats by North Korea to turn it into a “sea of fire,” this rhetoric often seems quite distant in what is certainly one of the most energetic cities in the world. Many visitors to Seoul would likely agree that the “Dynamic Korea” branding campaign South Korea has used during the past decade could hardly be more apt.
During a visit last week to Seoul, a city I have traveled to often over the past decade, I could not help but notice how much its appearance has changed during that time. Striking new skyscrapers and architecture immediately catches the eye, but an increasing shift towards protecting and enhancing the city’s natural and environmental amenities is showing results. Indeed, during the past few years South Korea has made sustainable development and green growth a central theme of its domestic and global policy agendas. North Korea may dominate news about the Korean Peninsula in the United States these days, but South Korea’s efforts to put sustainability at the fore of economic development deserve attention for their evolution from the growth-at-all-costs approach long pursued.