Top Down Nature

A huge urban master plan in southen France gets serious about nature as a project. In Bordeaux 55,000 (above) the city of Bordeaux (CUB) has invited five multidisciplinary teams to develop projects, during a a six month “competitive dialogue”, that will explore ‘how best to transform 55,000 hectares (136,000 acres) into natural areas’.

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What Is, Or Is Not, A ‘Green Job’ ?

 

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Why Bill Gates Needs To Listen To More Gamelan Music

Ritual as Feedback in Bali  The unique social and ecological nature of regional watersheds was the focus of a mesmerising presentation by Stephen Lansing at last month’s poptech conference in Iceland. His key point: Bali’s subak water management system is a “coupled social-ecological system”. Balinese farmers have been growing rice in terraces since at least the eleventh century. […]

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The Other Green Economy

[Photo taken by the author at Instituto Inhotim, Brazil]. People the world over are divided between radically different conceptions of their future: resource-intensive production on the one side, versus regenerative land-based enterprises, and mosaics of micro-enterprises, on the other. Our dilemma is that although industrial and agribusiness development breeds its own fear and insecurity – most of […]

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Love vs Power In Iceland

For some Icelanders, in a country whose inhabitants have survived 1,100 winters without central heating, the environmental costs of aluminium smelting are worth paying if the alternative is a return to a life in grass-roofed huts. To many, that choice does not feel far-fetched. Andri Snær Magnason’s grandfather, for example, worked continuously on the land and sea […]

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The Hidden Costs of Tiger Water

This jequitiba tree in Brazil moves hundreds of gallons of water up into its canopy every day. It does so without pumps, without electricity, and without recourse to the concrete reservoirs and sewage treatment plants on which most modern cities depend. The jequitiba is a joyous marvel to behold, of course – but it would […]

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Why White Is Wicked

[Photograph by Tim Mitchell] You probably need to be naked to read this book with a clear conscience. This reader, for one, felt like stripping off as the revelations piled up: – it took 700 gallons of fresh water to make my cotton t-shirt; – it’s partly down to me that 85% of the Aral Sea […]

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It’s (Still) Not Just The Bags

[I’m re-publishing this story to celebrate the fact that I just got to Sao Paulo, met Adelia Borges, and discovered that the first print-run of her book has sold out in just a couple of months. Adelia explained that one of the organisations doing great work here in Brazil, in support the development of indigenous […]

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How to game the gift economy

In pre-market-based societies, goods and services were distributed on the basis of gift-giving and reciprocity. The most effective strategy for security, in an age without bank accounts and insurance policies, was to develop a reputation for generosity and sharing. This is a heart-warming story – so shall we put it to the test? Here follows a case […]

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