The environmental movement! Mankind continues to struggle with ideas and ways to save the planet. Words like sustainability, eco-friendly, environmentalist, ecosystems, and green are becoming a part of everyday vocabulary. The resounding message that Earths resources are being depleted has become a focus in the lives of many worldwide; and environmental issues continue to spark heated political debate.
Realistically, two-thirds of natural services to humankind are in decline; depleted fisheries, extinct species, toxic pollution, soil erosion, dying rivers, lopped-off mountain tops, melting glaciers, and Earth’s atmosphere is heating up like a flambeau.
Facing these realities more and more people are becoming aware of the need to show compassion. They know we can enjoy rich lives with modest consumption without losing quality of life. In order to accomplish this we need to band together and work towards preserving our environment and our communities. Beginning on a personal level we can adopt social strategies that “globalize” our society. Humanity requires large-scale change and by each one of us making daily choices we will see the age of ecological enlightenment arrive.
Here are a few key ways we can help become part of the solution:
• Stop Hydrocarbon: Walk, ride a bike or take public transport. Encourage and create low-impact public transportation.
• Grow & Eat Local: Dine on what’s sustainable. Preserve local agricultural land and start a backyard or community garden.
• Slow Consumption: Shop second hand. Recycle everything. Make global responsibility your fashion statement.
• Build Community: We cannot solve the global ecological challenge individually, but we can in our neighborhoods and communities. Grow compassion.
• Be Courageous: Challenge conventional thinking. When one person stands up then others are inspired to stand up also.
• Research: Become proactive by educating yourself on ecological responsibility. Become curious about how society works and how nature works.
• Use your skills: “Become the Change you Want to See in the World” Lead by example. Use your skills, knowledge, and passions.
• Protect Nature: Ecology of our planet demands attention now. Many animals are on the verge of extinction. Become supportive and discover how to learn from nature. [*Earth Trailer]
Objectified is a feature-length documentary about our complex relationship with manufactured objects and, by extension, the people who design them. It’s a look at the creativity at work behind everything from toothbrushes to tech gadgets. It’s about the designers who re-examine, re-evaluate and re-invent our manufactured environment on a daily basis. It’s about personal expression, identity, consumerism, and sustainability.
Through vérité footage and in-depth conversations, the film documents the creative processes of some of the world’s most influential product designers, and looks at how the things they make impact our lives. What can we learn about who we are, and who we want to be, from the objects with which we surround ourselves?
John Thackara from the Doors blog. I am just coming out of a semester’s work with students on the ecosphere where the university campus was seen as a farm first and then a place for people – at least in the planing process. So this adds to that. The image from here
is just to add color to the text.
In September a new event called Agriculture 2.0 will introduce a select group of alternative agriculture entrepreneurs to investors. SPIN-Farming LLC, together with NewSeed Advisors will co-host Agriculture 2.0 in New York.
Roxanne Christensen, co-author of the SPIN-Farming online learning series, says a wave of innovators is developing profitable models for sustainable alternatives to industrial agriculture. These new entrepreneurs are developing breakthrough technologies, approaches and business models that, she says, “can help create a post-industrial food system that is less resource intensive, more locally-based, and easier to monitor and control”.
When I first wrote about SPIN-Farming here last July, I was intrigued by the idea of a franchise-ready sustainable farming system that could be deployed quickly and on a wide scale. (That is the concept behind SPIN Farming; it stands for S-mall P-lot IN-tensive).
SPIN’s growing techniques are not, in themselves, a breakthrough. What’s novel is the way a SPIN farm business is run. SPIN provides everything you’d expect from a good franchise: a business plan, marketing advice, and a detailed day-to-day workflow. In standardizing the system and creating a reproducible process, it doesn’t sound all that different from McDonalds.
There are a host of reasons why urban farming is more complicated, once you start, than opening a hamburger restaurant. Among these: Skewed planning laws, competition for land from developers, insecure water supplies, pollution management, and the sheer number of diffferent actors involved even in a simple food system. But the “just start a business” approach will inject a new dynamic into the range of experiments multiplying all over the world.
Areas represented at Agriculture 2.0 will include controlled climate growing systems, building integrated agriculture, urban agriculture, closed loop irrigation and waste processing systems, mobile food processing, aquaculture, and appropriately-scaled marketing and distribution systems.
According to Janine Yorio of NewSeed Advisors, the conference will take a sector which has been viewed as marginal, dispel that notion, and expose its potential to the mainstream financial community. “We want to shine the light on the sustainable agriculture sector and demonstrate to investors that there are real economics and commercial prospects here,” Yorio says.
Registration for Agriculture 2.0 opens on June 29. For more conference information visit NewSeed Advisors.
If, like me, you’re trying hard to cut down on air travel, but want to know more about this development, you can always see Paula Sobie, co-founder of City Harvest and now also a SPIN farming trainer, speak at the Foodprint conference in The Hague on 26 June.
Many of you will recognize the name Eric Stoddard. He is the guy who recently wrote three excellent guest posts here at Bicycle Design about his impressions of the Taipei Bicycle Show. Eric has an interesting new design that he just added to his website. It is a small-wheeled, lever-driven folding bike called the Zoomla. He points out the Zoomla folds in 2 seconds and fits in a school locker. I particularly like the optional integrated backpack, which attaches to the frame below the seat. You can read more about the design and see additional renderings on Eric’s website. While you are there, check out some of the other bike and trike concepts on his site, Speed Studio Design. The Trik.E concept is my personal favorite.
… best concept in the competition called “Future City Mobility”. This was a group effort by Il Choi, David Seesing, Miika Hekkinen and me. All friends of mine at the RCA. A great project from the start to the end. The brief was basicly to look at the traffic situation in London for the year 2030. Our concept was to create a car-free-zone in the central of London, called London Garden. Inside this zone we developed a system created around bicycles. Allowing a special designed bicycle/scooter to be well integrated with the infrastructure aswell as becoming a part of the interior of the busses and taxis. Inside London Garden, the users have more awerness of the individual energy consumption. In fact, the energy that you create while biking is used as a currency while docking the bicycle into the bus or taxi.
A lovely critical tone on V&A’s curation of a design exhibition.
Until recently, a positive view on the state of modern Chinese graphic design was difficult to find in the Western trade press. Hong Kong, under the rule of the British Empire up until 1997, was seen as simply mimicking and copying Euro-American works. The Mainland’s designs, under the Communist regime and economy since the 1950s, were dismissed as solely propagandistic and emulating the former Soviet Union’s visual mannerisms. It is as the New China, with its new market economy and powerful global presence, that Western design professions have begun to take notice that they have powerful design competition to face. Yet the Euro-American typecasting of Chinese design still lingers on, as evidenced in London’s current Victoria and Albert Museum exhibition, called China Design Now.1
And the future of design is going to be?
laser cut MDF?
RCA graduate show, London – Interiors – Wallpaper.com – International Design Interiors Fashion Travel
RCA Rector Sir Christopher Frayling opened the second part of the graduate show this morning with a rousing speech pointing to all the significant design movements that the hallowed halls have spawned. In terms of heritage and reputation it’s certainly one of, if not the finest institution to study design in the world. With this in mind you couldn’t help scanning the various courses, or platforms as they’re called at the RCA, for tomorrow’s design movement, despite Frayling’s point that it’s only with hindsight that one is able to discern the significance of emerging trends.
Hernan Diaz Alonso, Xefirotarch founder, speaks about his MOMA pavilion, his practice and the folly of placing faith in a digitally optimised architectural ideal.
Hernan Diaz Alonso draws freely from a wide range of visual-art disciplines. He begins each project with a selection of abstract formal elements, which are then altered or combined to create composite, figurative, and sometimes monstrous, structures. His sources include science fiction films, the works of contemporary artist Matthew Barney, and the paintings of Francis Bacon. He combines these influences with digital manipulation and distortion to explore the limits of beauty and scale. Alonso’s process revolves around the evolution of formal genealogies or families of design. Certain characteristics are heightened from one project to the next, like genetic mutations, and these traits develop in form and substance as the designs continuously evolve.
This is from the Age paper. Looks like the emissions trading scheme is dead!
Or some political points are being made.
Family First Senator Steve Fielding has made up his mind on global warming – there’s not enough evidence that it’s real.
After talks with the Government and top scientists, Senator Fielding, who holds a crucial Senate vote, has released a document setting out his position.
“Global temperature isn’t rising,” it says.
On emissions trading, Senator Fielding said he wouldn’t risk job losses on “unconvincing green science”.
The document was prepared with the help of some of the country’s most prominent climate-sceptic scientists.
It says it is a “fact” that the evidence does not support the notion that greenhouse gas emissions are causing dangerous global warming.
The Senate is due to debate emissions trading legislation this week.
The Government is struggling to muster enough votes to pass the legislation.
Senator Fielding’s stance appears to torpedo the chance of the scheme passing as the Government would need his support, as well as that of the Greens and independent Nick Xenophon.
I’ve always liked drawing. And I like riding bicycles. Drawing bicycles was the simplest way to put these two passions together.
I like lightweight racing bicycles. I prefer traditional lugged steel frames, masterpieces built with an exquisite craftmanship increasingly difficult to find.
The bicycles that I like most are the beautifully simple and elegant track bikes, where each part is essential.
I like to explore the details that embody the style of the bicycle: frame details, lugs, bars, stems, graphics and components.
I generally prefer to use the pencil. A simple tool to reproduce the elegant simplicity of these objects. Thus they become ‘bicyles on paper’. In other words, cicli su carta.
Bike drawings from Velospace.
It’s not often that TreeHugger visits Poland, so we are pleased to present ExtraWheel, who hail from Nowy Targ in the south of the country. They produce an incredibly simple, single wheel bike trailer, that doubles as an emergency spare wheel.
ExtraWheel claim their trailers are the lightest available. That they can negotiate most obstacles and enter the narrowest of spaces. Designed for touring and expeditionary use, the new Voyager is said to easily lug up to 35kg (77 lb), and besides acting as spare wheel, the the trailers also apparently detach themselves “in the event of major collisions.” Not that these are the only benefits attributed to an ExtraWheel.
Currently available in standard three wheel sizes of 26, 27 and 28 inch, ExtraWheel also appear to have a 29” in the works to suit the super fat Pugsley style of bike. The original model debuted in 2006 and employed mesh hammocks to carry cargo. Now that ‘Classic’ version has a big brother, the Voyager, which goes favours the use of panniers.
“How to Keep Cyclists Happy at the Office”
Baltimore Spokes has an interesting piece about things that employers can do to help their employees successfully bike to work. It’s a very important thing. Even if you have nice bike paths and know all the tips about how to ride, you’ll probably be more tempted to give up if your work place is very bike-unfriendly. From an employer’s perspective, having bike-commuters in the office is a positive thing; they tend to be healthier, less stressed, and more productive (this sounds a bit too close to fitter, happier, more productive…). Read on to see tips for employers who want to encourage bike commuting.
Baltimore Spokes writes:
Be Accessible: Most folks aren’t going to want to hop on I-66 to wheel their way in. So, companies in neighborhoods near multi-use jogging and cycling trials — like Bethesda, which is close to the Capital Crescent — are more likely to lure two-wheelers. Second best are offices near roads with bike lanes (or little traffic).
Keep it Clean: [One company] chose its location specifically for its shower facilities. In buildings without them, it’s smart to negotiate a group discount at a nearby fitness center. Otherwise, the only real option for riders is a rubdown with wet wipes.
Provide Safe Parking: Outdoor bike racks are fine for cheaper wheels you won’t worry about getting damaged or stolen. But riders generally feel safer with more secure storage.
Build a Community: “If people feel like they’re alone out there doing this, it’s not worth doing,” says Angela Atwood-Moore, a research associate at the National Institutes of Health. As the president of the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club, she’s been instrumental in keeping the Bethesda campus’ 600 bike commuters informed through a Web site and an e-mail list (to which 300 riders subscribe).
Show Us the Money: It also can’t hurt to offer financial incentives for ditching driving. Employers can institute the recently adopted monthly $20 tax rebate for cyclists, or go further.
Matador Life is about people in their hometowns, how they represent where they’re from, and what we can learn from each of the unique places we inhabit. Amongst the portraits of people’s hometowns and profiles of individuals strongly rooted in their communities, you’ll find bike-related content, such as The World’s 15 Most Bike Friendly Cities, 6 Reasons to Go By Bike, How to Be Good (Better) Drivers and Cyclists, and How to Choose a Touring Bicycle.
But right now they have up “20 of the Freakiest Custom Bikes on the Road.” The title might be a tad grandiose, but the images are quite fun. Above we’ve plucked No. 10 Alan Sikiric’s Mutandem. And after the fold, No. 20, a pedal powered tank (by Sailor Neale of the East Vancouver PedalPlay metal studio.)
If you visit these pages often, you know that high heels are cycle chic, not an excuse to totter to your fossil-fuel powered footsaver and motor to your destination. Get ready to add another plus under the “bike with stilettos” column in your daily mobility decision: driving in heels is dangerous. So dangerous, that UK-based women’s insurer Sheilas’ Wheels developed the convertible heels pictured here. Below the fold, you can see that the heel on these striking leg-lengtheners tucks away to make a sensible flat shoe for walking. Hmmm, another alternative to doing the city-circle search for a parking place or adding to the asphalt explosion.
From China comes this bike that can transform itself into a suitcase. There was some doubt whether this bike would actually be produced, but now we’ve heard that it’s in production (see photos below) and will be available sometime later this year. A prototype of the bike was on display last week at the Canton Fair in China. The prices will probably be $399 USD. Here’s a video demonstrating the bike opening and closing:
Do not attempt to adjust your monitor, this is really a picture of an electric bike. Schwinn’s new electric bikes are probably the slickest and most smoothly integrated set of power-assisted velocipedes we’ve yet seen. Schwinn teamed up with Protanium Inc. to develop a whole series of rides in different configurations (the Streamline pictured above), all of which employ lithium polymer batteries and in-hub motors, both well concealed.
They claim their Plug’n Drive system delivers approx. 40 miles of range and charges fully in four hours. They also claim their batteries deliver full power until completely drained (rather than slowly dwindling). Total bike weight ranges from 40-45 lbs., the electric system alone weighs around ten, the battery is stashed on the cargo rack behind the seat, and electric components live inside the frame tubes. To read more about Schwinn’s 2007 electric bike line and other trends in the electric cycling, check out Forbes Bagatelle-Black’s great review of the North American Bike Show at EV World.
No word on price yet for the Schwinn’s, but they could be looking at a corner on the market. The company has offered electric bikes and scooters in the past, but the vast majority of motor-assisted bikes on the market come out looking freakish (like this electric bike from Aprilia or this electric bike from eZee). Beautiful as they may be to the more deeply appreciating ecological citizen, electric bikes won’t go big time until they can blend in the with rest of the pack.