Views from the Edge

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Welcome to the CRC blog, where we discuss bleeding edge issues around sustainable community development. The term ‘bleeding edge’ connotes the idea of our failure to somehow or other convince the publics about the urgency of responding to climate change now, and that we need to better communicate the principles and practises of sustainable development to the wider publics. So, yes it takes courage to be 'at the edge', and sometimes one 'bleeds' a lot, but let's start the conversation now.

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The google cars that drive around taking photos for Google Maps’ streetview are now equipped to measure something completely different. Two cars have been fitted with environmental sensors to track the air pollution of city streets. So far, the sensors have been tested out in Oakland, California, with an example of the resulting map below. The project aims to track pollution in many more U.S. cities and will make this data available to U.S. policy makers and nonprofits.

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Earth is 4.5 billion years old. Mankind is 140,000 years old. If condensed into 24 hours, then humans have been alive for just 3 seconds. And look at all that we have done to our planet. We have “covered our ears to mother nature’s screams and closed our eyes to her help wanted signs”. Watch Prince Ea’s mesmerizing monologue and fact-filled rhymes pleading for the world to come together to ensure we make it to the fourth second. 

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The global energy landscape is changing dramatically as evidenced by the following five trends.

  1. Last year, coal production fell by a record number. A higher number of producers than ever before are switching to natural gas, wind, and solar energy.

  2. The world’s largest economies are among those who are turning away from coal. China and the U.S. are the world’s largest two economies, so their reduced use of coal has the most impact.

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The Conference Board released a report showing what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to big companies and the circular economy. The traditional linear model of ‘take, make, waste’ results in a huge amount of consumption and waste (85 billion tons of global natural resource use annually as of 2015, a number which is expected to double by 2050). This approach is not sustainable - neither for the companies nor for the planet.

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In 2008, Norway established a lifeline for humanity to ensure the survival of our precious food supply. On the Arctic island of Spitsbergen, the Norwegian Government built a “failsafe” freezer vault in a permafrost mountain located in the Arctic circle. Intended as insurance for the world, it was filled with nearly a million packets of seeds, each containing an important global food crop.

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