sustainable development


Architect Vincent Callebaut’s take on vertical farming is as interesting to look at as it is beneficial.

About the project:

The cities are currently responsible for 75% of the worldwide consumption of energy and they reject 80% of worldwide emissions of CO2. The contemporary urban model is thus ultra-energy consuming and works on the importation of wealth and natural resources on the one hand, and on the exportation of the pollution and waste on the other hand. This loop of energetic flows can be avoided by repatriating the countryside and the farming production modes in the heart of the city by the creation of green lungs, farmscrapers in vertical storeys and by the implantation of wind and solar power stations. The production sites of food and energy resources will be thus reintegrated in the heart of the consumption sites ! The buildings with positive energies must become the norm and reduce the carbon print on the mid term.

Read more…

[In March 2015] the pope will publish a rare encyclical on climate change and human ecology. Urging all Catholics to take action on moral and scientific grounds, the document will be sent to the world’s 5,000 Catholic bishops and 400,000 priests, who will distribute it to parishioners.
—  Encyclicals indicate high Papal priority for an issue at a given time. Pontiffs define when, and under which circumstances, encyclicals should be issued. Via The Guardian.

URGENT PRESS RELEASE: CANADIAN School Conservation Contest - Save Alberta’s Wild Horses

We are asking Canadians to ban together and help in this time of need! This is a time sensitive…

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Wangari Maathai was a Kenyan environmental activist who founded the Green Belt Movement, which focused on planting trees and women’s rights; her organization paid a small stipend to women to plant seedlings throughout the country. She received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004, with the committee citing her contribution to “sustainable development, democracy and peace.”


How to produce more wealth with less resources? Some argue it’s through technology and newer regulations. The simple concepts in this video show how technology can (or at least should) be able to help cities become more sustainable. Stick with it. 

"Design Matters: Doing Better with Less" is a short but powerful animated story about using design to create sustainable wealth, and it provides essential insights into the future of business and innovation.

Low Tech Magazine on How To Heat And Cool Cities Without Fossil Fuels

Lloyd Alter. March 26, 2012

One of the fundamental problems about covering sustainable design is that really, the single family house doesn’t matter in the larger scheme of things. We spend so much time covering passive houses, for example, when they and all of the other green houses shown on every design website don’t add up to a rounding error when it comes to where people live in most of the world, which is in cities.

That’s why Kris De Decker’s post at Low Tech Magazine is so important and groundbreaking. He has written The solar envelope: how to heat and cool cities without fossil fuels. He writes:

Passive solar design does not involve any new technology. In fact, it has been around for thousands of years, and even predates the use of glass windows. For most of human history, buildings were adapted to the local climate through a consideration of their location, orientation and shape, as well as the appropriate building materials. This resulted in many vernacular building styles in different parts of the world. In contrast, most modern buildings look the same wherever they stand. They are made from the same materials, they follow forms that are driven by fashion rather than by climate, and are most often randomly located and oriented, indifferent to the path of the sun and the prevailing wind conditions.

He then goes on to describe how zoning and building rules might be changed to create solar envelopes and the ensure the principle of solar access. It used to be common practice; De Decker notes that ” The Ancient Greeks built entire cities which were optimal for solar exposure.”

Via: Treehugger

Image: © The density atlas

There is a new corporate scramble for Africa’s natural resources. You’d think it should play differently this time. After all, it’s a half century since political independence and decades since the first waves of resource nationalism resulted in the nationalisation of extractive industries across the continent. Since then, both sides have come to realise they need the other, and there’s this new buzzword of sustainable development.

Overcoming Automobile Dependence

I think I already said that I’m reading Sustainability and Cities: Overcoming Automobile Dependence days earlier. I’ve finished reading it (along with more than 5 books about Old Manila) during my 4.5 hour school break earlier this day. The main point the book asserts a dissension of the conventional wisdom, Traffic Jams = Build Wider Roads.

Generally since European Cities are old and planned when cars are still not invented, pedestrianizing the traffic and reducing traffic congestion is not a big menace to Europe. Medieval European Cities are actually the Walkable cities so change did not come so hard for Europe to overcome their Auto dependence.

Automobile or Car dependence is generally observed in some American and Australian Cities, whose land area permits a less dense urban sprawl. This phenomenon is now being observed in developing Asia like the Philippines.

The book actually traces the history of cities into its transport priorities. There are walking cities, transit cities and the Automobile Cities. Spanish Intramuros was our Walking City, Manila is our Transit City and Metro Manila is our Automobile City. We are vying for the Sustainable City, where walking, transit and automobile are in harmony and does not cause much degradation to the city and to the environment. Actually, we are still in the transition between the Automobile and the Sustainable City: Manila wants to free itself from Automobile Dependence but it is still reluctant to do so.

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"Water holds the key to sustainable development, we must work together to protect and carefully manage this fragile, finite resource."  - United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon

Happy World Water Day!

World Water Day is held annually on March 22 focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Our Volunteers around the world work with local governments, clinics, nongovernmental organizations, and communities at the grassroots level, where the need is most urgent and the impact can be the greatest, focusing on outreach, social and behavior change in public health, hygiene and water sanitation.

Surprising suggestions on sustainable development by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the scientific academy of the Vatican established in 1936 by Pope Pius XI.

Pope Francis and the Academy’s strong embrace of solutions for sustainability and climate change issues are placed in the context of helping the poor:

The advances in measured productivity in all sectors – agriculture, industry and services – enable us to envision the end of poverty, the sharing of prosperity, and the further extensions of life spans. However, unfair social structures have become obstacles to an appropriate and sustainable organization of production and a fair distribution of its fruits, which are both necessary to achieve those goals.

The Academy - and the Pope - are using strong and critical language:

Humanity’s relationship with nature is riddled with unaccounted for consequences of the actions each of us take for both present and future generations.

Socio-environmental processes are not self-correcting. Market forces alone, bereft of ethics and collective action, cannot solve the intertwined crises of poverty, exclusion, and the environment. However, the failure of the market has been accompanied by the failure of institutions, which have not always aimed at the common good.

In early 2014, the Academy held a 4-day workshop on sustainable development. Attendees discussed past, present, and future development issues and proposed solutions that must:

…be taken in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of forthcoming development in the context of the ongoing cultural evolution of mankind.

They agreed to seven solutions, and apparently the Pope will challenge Catholics (and world leaders) to commit to implement them.

First…ameliorate the living conditions of poor populations, particularly in developing areas of our planet. [Produce more] (g)enetically modified (crops, such as), Golden Rice containing a precursor of vitamin A is an excellent example of the feasibility of this proposal and its beneficial effects.[1]

Secondly, [address] anthropogenic climate change.

Thirdly, agricultural practices should be reconsidered, including those introduced by the green revolution, in order to minimise undesirable environmental impacts in the longer term.

Fourthly, [commit to] science-based policy assessment before the introduction of the proposed measure.

Fifthly, partnerships between scientists, enterprises and political leaders, rather than single individuals or enterprises, should be involved in the introduction of novel innovations.

Sixthly, special efforts should be made to rapidly integrate available scientific knowledge on the laws of nature relating to life functions, including life evolution, into everybody’s knowledge.

Finally, [address] increasing density of the human population. Appropriate goals should be set to reach quickly a more stable equilibrium that can persist without a negative impact on the highly appreciated biodiversity and diversity of habitats on our planet Earth, which has a constant size and a very long life expectancy.

From the Summary of the Joint PAS/PASS Workshop on Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature: Our Responsibility, here.

AD/PR Case 1: Green-Minded Buyers - Indian and Chinese consumers more environmentally conscious than Western consumers


AD/PR Case 1: Green-Minded Buyers - Indian and Chinese consumers more environmentally conscious than Western consumers, says MPG survey


         With today’s fast-approaching advancement of the world’s economy, a lot of people tend to do different ways to experience life progress. Individuals seem to select products and services which they know would give them further benefits in the long run. Some use things or materials which cater bad effects to the health of many. These, in turn, are being continued to use even if people know have unwanted outcomes since these suffice their needs to survive.

The good thing about the concept of green products is that there are concerned citizens of the world who still care for the world and other people’s welfare. With the first case in Ad/PR having the title “AD/PR Case 1: Green-Minded Buyers- Indian and Chinese consumers more environmentally concious than Western consumers, says MPG survey,”it is obvious that these Indian and Chinese citizens are cautious enough to the milieu that they move about.

Green purchasing is about setting an example and influencing the market place. Purchasing green products allows people to save money and at the same time protect the environment. Purchasing wisely will lead one to save materials and energy, and reduce waste and pollution. Further, this will encourage sustainable patterns of behavior (Buying Green! A handbook on environmental public procurement. (n. d.) Retrieved December 03, 2011 from the World Wide Web

Sustainable Development is the term and it has been defined in many ways. It is the “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts: First is the concept of needs, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and second, the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.” (What is Sustainable Development? Retrieved December 03, 2011 from the World Wide Web


This title maybe misleading but the intention is pretty peaceful! Legend has it that after the World War II got over, American pilot Gale Halvorson airdropped candies in the name of hope, for the Berlin children. War equals devastation, so dropping candies instead of bombs was probably personal retribution. Inspired by this incident, designer Hwang Jin wook and pals have come up with a plan to combat deforestation and desertification of land in a similar fashion. Their mission is called “Seedbomb.”

Mission Seedbomb involves a bomber aircraft and charges full of the Seed Capsules. Essentially the project involves artificial dispersal of seeds over arid areas where natural vegetation has lapsed due to man-made follies like deforestation leading to desertification. Each capsule contains artificial soil and seeds, and are air-dropped over the selected regions.

Housed in biodegradable plastic, the artificial soil provides nourishment and moisture to the seed; till it grows out to be a strong enough plant to sustain itself. As the sapling matures, the plastic capsule melts away, leaving behind a brand new generation.

Sounds like Mission (im)Possible to me, however the logistics of desert environment and the kind of seeds to be dispersed will require a lot research and expertise from the botanists. Because once the capsule melts away and the artificial soil’s nourishment and moisture used up, it’ll take a lot of effort on the plant’s part to survive the harsh environment.

Designers: Hwang Jin wook, Jeon You ho, Han Kuk il & Kim Ji myung

F: Yankoodesign

5. Never stop innovating. The future of social entrepreneurship is limited only by our imaginations and creativity. In many ways, all socially-responsible businesses are moving in this direction. Their employees and shareholders are demanding they be accountable for more than just dragging money to the bottom line — making new approaches to problems a must. We are in continual dialogue with our clients to identify the new products and services that they most need to build stable, more secure livelihoods.

Dallas, TX.

I am a student at Southern Methodist University and currently work with their Environmental Representative (e-rep) program.

I went to a grand opening mini-conference at Southern Methodist University for their new Sustainability and Development Master of Arts degree in the Lyle school of engineering. 

I am proud to say that Dallas leaders are looking towards making Dallas the greatest city in the United States by leading in sustainable development.

By commuters commuters into city apartments, developing mass transit (DART), and increasing the walk-ability of a formerly car run city Dallas is reaching towards the future.

One day I hope to live in a Dallas high-rise without a car and work in a sustainable engineering professional job.   

This is why I believe in Dallas. 

We can overcome oil, poor lifestyle choices, and save the world we live in.

Dallas will be the best place to do this now!