sustainability & design

How tooths pollute

If you are worried about the cost of living, try this: The cost of the average cremation in Britain is expected to rise by up to £100 (160 euros) after a government announcement that it wants to halve the amount of mercury released into the atmosphere by crematoria. It seems we accumulate the highly poisonous […]

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War of the words

A couple of weeks ago I reacted harshly when Philips, purveyor of high-end goggleboxes and hairdryers, blamed ‘poor consumer sentiment’ for the company’s disappointing results. Now, British economists are expressing ‘fears for consumer confidence’ following the July 7 bombings in London. ‘Some people may feel that conspicuous consumption is not appropriate at a time of […]

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Sustainable everyday at the Pompidou

The Sustainable Everyday project is a platform for knowledge collection and sharing among creative communities and innovative citizens.The website includes a catalogue of promising case studies,a lab of scenarios-in-progress, and information about a travelling exhibition. The latter has reached Paris, where it opens tomorrow at Centre Pompidou as part of a new exhibiiton called D-DAY. […]

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Chilling out

So who authored global warming? I have just read a heavy three-part story on the subject in the New Yorker by Elizabeth Kolbert called The Climate of Man. Kolbert writes that in the seventeen-eighties, carbon-dioxide levels stood at about the same level that they had been at two thousand years earlier, in the era of […]

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Kiss your lifestyle goodbye

“The end of oil is closer than you think. Oil production could peak next year. Just kiss your lifestyle goodbye”. A rollicking doomsday story in today’s Guardian, by John Vidal, revisits the so-called “peak oil” contoversy about whether a global peak to oil production is approaching. According to Vidal, “the US government knows that conventional […]

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For a food mile tachometer

Truck drivers already have to endure supervision by a tachometer which logs their speeds and driving times on behalf of myriad external authorities. Why not a tachometer for tomatoes, to monitor and make explicit food miles? Food distribution can be tremedously wasteful, but invisibly so. The concept of food dates back to a study called […]

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Flying fish fiasco

Freight transport is an important source of air pollution, CO2 emissions, and noise, as well as causing countless injuries and deaths by accidents. Freight transport is out of control in the sense that it has been growing faster than the economy, by 0.8% per annum, since 1985. Flying fresh salmon from Norway to Japan is […]

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Rocks to rubble

I know our focus in Doors 8 is supposed to be on social infrastructures, but interesting material on the hard kind keeps turning up, too. I found a report about rocks and rubble, for example, which describes a more sustainable system of resource management. The life cycle of construction minerals is complex and involves many […]

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Is carbon-based energy yuppy crack?

This article was written for Tornado Insider, the European business magazine, for publication in its November 2002 edition. On a recent visit to Telluride, in Colorado, I was terrified to see a huge black Humvee draw up at the gates of a kindergarten. At the time, American newspapers were full of stories about a gun-toting […]

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