Creating a Regenerative Economy

Make yourself some local, organic popcorn and cozy up with your favourite eco-geek. Here is a great video lecture by Carol Sanford at MIT on creating a regenerative economy:

It’s inspiring to see such visionary leadership demostrated in one of the world’s most prestegious schools in the world. The rate and enormity of evironmental degradation underway necessitates an enormous leap in evolution in all that we do if we are to avert devastaion. This rapid evolution must be led by business and governments alike if we are to realize sustainability on a scale vast enough to reverse the trajectory of the discordant civilization we have created. Carol presents the vision of where we need to go in concise business lingo.

Vancouver Climate Change Film Fest

I went to the first night of the Climate Change Film Festival last night. There were two excellent documentaries followed by a talk with Dr. Mark Jaccard, a Canadian economist specializing in sustainable energy systems. Overall it was great but these events always seem to attrack a few nutsbars eager to share their unconventional views on an open mic. Future hint to organizers: There must be a firm announcement up front indicating that racist comments are not welcome, self publicity or emotional rants will not be tollerated and all questions will be prescreened. This is a bit draconian but will save everyone’s time.

Exxon Mobil: Anthropogenic Climate Killers The first documentary, Out of Balance was a look at Exxon Mobil’s efforts to fund organizations discrediting and confusing the public about the reality of climate change. They have been effective, using their billions of dollars in profit to create a decade long viel of lies to keep the masses doubtful and unconcerned.

The second film, The Day the Water Died had the camera pointed at Exxon once again. Exxon did essentially nothing to clean up the spill which covered thousands of kilometers of coastline, destroying all marine life and wiping out local economies dependant on the ocean. To add insult to the devastation, they have refused to pay the $5 billion dollar charge awarded by the courts by keeping the case tangled in appeals court for the last 18 years.

Esso Exxon’s logo is more familiarly known under the guise of its subsidiary Esso in Canada. Exxon is one of the most vile and unconscious organizations on the planet and I would encourage everyone to never buy their fuels again. Let them go the way of the Eastern Islanders.

Uber Indoor Composting by Nature Mill

Wow. This low power (10W) indoor composter looks great. It would be an awesome addition for the ecoubanist looking to minimize the amount of waste in their kitchen. Nature Mill Indoor Composter

I love my worm composter Worm Factorybut it can’t keep up with the amount of organic waste that Lisa and I produce. The Nature Mill is pricy ($359 – $399) but there is volume discounts at quantities of 3 and 12. If anyone wants to go in on a volume order, leave a comment and when we reach 12, I’ll organize the order.

Alternatively, they are coming to Canada soon and available over the web at Home Depot. Nature Mill wasn’t sure how much the retail cost would be.

The $400 – $500 price tag will be a deterrent for all but the most dedicated. I’m all for local production (it’s made in the US) but I think the price barrier will keep the Nature Mill from being widely adopted. Perhaps we’ll see a made in China knock-off for 1/4 the price down the road or some government incentives to push the price down. Then it will be an option for the average household.

Guerilla Garden Heaven

What an excellent weekend. I met David Tracey who is master landscape architect, apple tree expert, founder of Tree City Canada and community activist in the urban agriculture scene. I was planning to put my apple trees into planters but he suggested that a berm of soil would be sufficient for the dwarf trees that I purchased last fall at the UBC Apple Festival. It’s so nice when someone who knows comes along and gives you exactly what you need to know! His suggestion has saved me soo much time and hassle. My planter idea would have taken aleast 20 hours of work to build the plus the hassle of filling them with soil and maintaining them as the wood rots. The berm will be finished next weekend with a few hours of wheelbarrowing soil from the stash by Burrard Bridge.

Multi-Fuel Stoves

My preference is with heat with fire as it cozy and runs on renewable resources. The tradeoff is the amout of effort and time it takes to keep the fire going. This is not as big a deal for someone walking but quickly becomes prohibitively taxing with only a functioning upper body to fetch, chop, stack and carry wood.

The folks at American Energy Systems seem to have come up with a great multi-fuel stove than can burn all kinds of organic scraps. This will vastly simplify the chore of keeping the home warm.

[tags]wood stoves, multi-fuel stoves[/tags]

Web Directions North

I just landed from the vortex of Web Directions North, a web design conference here in Vancouver. Thanks to Elastic Path for sponsoring my attendance and providing the opportunity to learn from some of the web industry’s thought leaders.

It was inspiring to listen and learn from some of the people actively involved in evolving the Internet. Topics covered the gamut of issues from accessibility issues for disabled users, designing for usability, mapping frameworks, AJAX, microformats and mashups.

I found the talks on usability, microformats and mashups to be the most relevant for my world.

What are microformats, might you be asking? From their website:

Designed for humans first and machines second, microformats are a set of simple, open data formats built upon existing and widely adopted standards.

Microformats are new on the scene and much is yet to evolve. They promise to standardize many elements in the html/css world that will make it much easier to interact with websites, both as a user and as software consuming data.