I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature. - FAQs - Follow - Face - Ask - Donations - Climate Book Store - Submissions

Recent Tweets @climatecote
Posts tagged "boston globe"

Another cold and bitter splash of reality on Obama’s environmental supporters. Quite the story by Michael Kranish for the Boston Globe.


Winter weather -

Great slide show. The horse is ridiculous.

Quite the slide show on the Yenisei River, Russia.


The Yenisei River powers Russian heavy industry and carves picturesque vistas as it flows over 3000 miles from Mongolia through Siberia before emptying out into the Arctic Ocean. Reuters photographer Ilya Naymushin documents much of the life on the river from his base in Krasnoyarsk, a city of nearly a million at the intersection of the Yenisei and the Trans-Siberian railroad. Gathered here are images of the Yenisei River through the seasons by Naymushin, most taken near Krasnoyarsk.”

Boston Globe

Totally busted. Ryan requested federal stimulus for energy conservation projects. He took taxpayer money and transferred it to private businesses. As recently as Wednesday (yesterday) he denied requesting the funds from Obama. But, he lied.

His letters requesting stimulus funds were discovered by the Wall Street Journal from a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

This matters because he built his career attacking the stimulus funds and attacking environmental policies. This goes beyond hypocritical - it’s flat out lying to Americans.

What else has Paul Ryan lied to the American people about? If he blames his memory, why would we elect someone who can’t remember what he does AS A FUNDAMENTAL PART OF HIS JOB?

In 2009, Ryan wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis asking for stimulus money to cover costs on two energy conservation projects in his home state of Wisconsin. In the letter, Ryan said the funds would help create jobs and reduce “energy consumption” in the state. At least one of the companies received the requested cash.

The letters were first obtained by The Wall Street Journal through the Freedom of Information Act back in early 2010.  The Boston Globe turned them up for the first time during this campaign season Wednesday. At that point, a Ryan aide referred ABC News back to what a Ryan spokesman said when the letters first went public.

“If Congressman Ryan is asked to help a Wisconsin entity applying for existing Federal grant funds, he does not believe flawed policy should get in the way of doing his job and providing a legitimate constituent service to his employers,” the spokesman told the Milwaukee (Wisc.) Journal Sentinel.

Thursday, Ryan responded to the questions himself.


Climate shift could help struggling N.E. species

Tulips are in full bloom and a number of struggling species are set to benefit from the early spring, which can result in a greater food supply for local herbivores.

As ice cap melts, militaries vie for Arctic edge

- YOKOSUKA, Japan - To the world’s military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over. They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic, anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew of potential conflicts.

Nice. I used this same photo in my article for GOOD, which covered Obama’s climate adaptation policies.

(via boston)

This terribly reported and frankly lazily written article shows that old-dog journalists are not only out of touch with readers, they have utterly lost their way. The story should be about the United States’ first wind turbine testing facility. Here’s a video. Here are photos of the facility’s ribbon cutting, with none other than Deval Patrick (Obama’s friggin reelection campaign co-chair) and other state politicians and leaders.

The facility will save millions of dollars for wind turbine manufacturers in the US. MILLIONS. Like an airplane wing, wind turbine blades have to be stress-tested in wind tunnels. The only viable tunnels for stress testing are in Europe. So, a US manufacturer would have to ship their blades - by boat, then rail - to Denmark or Germany for testing.

This is the first and only wind turbine testing facility in the United States. THAT’S HUGE NEWS!

Read the article - did the above come through? No. But, you do get to hear some random critics’ opinions without the reporter questioning, challenging, researching, or cross-referencing to their claims - or stating their relevance to the story (aka “the other side” - you know, to “balance” the article. Bullshit).

This so-called “balanced reporting” methodology is a trend that started in the ’90s and for cry-eye it has to stop! Report the f&cking story. Stop giving the mic to any Joe-blow opposition to fill requisite space because yrr too darn lazy to dig deep.

I love my home state, but that doesn’t mean I’m obligated to read garbage articles on important issues that affect the entire fucking country’s economy. Manufacturing is down. And this early-home-run project adds to the nation’s upswing (hint: that’s the nut, Globers).

This story demonstrates why I’m increasingly turning to the hotties at Los Angeles Times (great tumblr!), Reuters, Slate, Al Jazeera, and even the stodgy The Hill.

Anyway, read the story below if you can bear it… </rant>


Harnessing the winds of change

- The sprawling Wind Technology Testing Center in Charlestown aims to help the wind industry develop turbines better able to survive blizzards and other tests of nature.


A group examines one of the many icebergs that calved into Tasman Lake as a result of the 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch. Photo: Denis Callesen/AP

Big Picture

A male polar bear carries the head of a polar bear cub it killed and cannibalized in an area about 300 km (186 miles) north of the Canadian town of Churchill in 2009. Food supplies for polar bears are being affected by rising temperatures and melting ice. (Iain D. Williams/Reuters)
(Feeding 7 billion and our fragile environment - The Big Picture -

(via reblololo)


- The Massachusetts economy expanded faster than any other state in New England last year and and ranked fourth in the nation in economic growth, the US Department of Commerce reported today.

Led by Democrats. Vote was 111-44. Link. I think this is a win for cities. Short term, it will be a mess. Unions are grouchy, lumbering beasts that die hard. They discourage innovation.

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly last night to strip police officers, teachers, and other municipal employees of most of their rights to bargain over health care, saying the change would save millions of dollars for financially strapped cities and towns.

I was a board member of The Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America (TNG/CWA 31041, part of AFL-CIO) as recently as 2007. The goal of our board meetings was not to help the company innovate, or help employees succeed in their careers. It was to squeeze our employer for every dime they had. Meetings were not think meetings. They were employer bashing sessions held by old white dudes and a handful of equally aged women (who barely had a voice. It was very patriarchal).

I agree with the premise that companies and cities should pay their workers the worth! But, not at the expense of dragging and running the city into the dirt. I could barely order paper clips without having to follow some ancient union rule set in stone during the 1960s. And the hierarchy was totally unfair - positions go to those who were at the company the longest (old men), not to those who were qualified to do the job well (young men and women). They didn’t understand Gen X or Gen Y - they’re not interested. Seriously, in 2011, who’s interested in becoming a union member??

Source: Boston (union) Globe

In 2008, I wrote a paper called “Landscape Urbanism, Fetish?. I wanted to challenge a new movement that was gaining traction in my field of urban planning. This movement is called Landscape Urbanism, also known as Green Urbanism.

Actually, I have to admit that my paper was in-part motivated by selfishness. I wanted to directly challenge the scholar Jack Ahern. Ahern teaches landscape architecture at University of Massachusetts-Amherst. He’s been at UMass’s Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning (LARP) department since 1986, and is a well-respected researcher. I know Jack. I’ve traveled to Italy with him on one of his Landscape Architecture Study Tours, and have taken at least 3 of his classes. (I’ve received two degrees from UMass’s LARP program, a BS in Environmental Design [which Jack received in 1974] and a Masters in Regional Planning). But I disagree with his notion that landscape architecture can scale up to the level of designing our cities. I agree, some projects should incorporate landscape design into their fabric. I disagree, wholly, that cities can fully integrate landscape ideals a such great levels. Here’s what I mean:

From my city planning perspective, I welcome new ideas and scholarship that aims to improve both peoples lives and protect the environment. New Urbanism, for example, is a new-ish approach to designing cities. It pretty much aims to re-create communities with a thriving Main Street that people love to walk around, rather than sprawling, car-oriented suburbs that are inflected with strip malls (read about New Urbanism, here). There are other new ideas about how to design cities taking root, too, like IBM’s Intelligent Cities, and the EPA’s Smart Growth USA treatment. And of course, there’s the maddening fetish for “sustainable cities.”

My main problem with landscape urbanism is that it doesn’t exist anywhere in the world. There are no cities, major developments, or pilot projects that can claim to adopt or have been designed around the principles of landscape urbanism.

And yet Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design is now headed by the father of landscape urbanism, Charles Waldheim. There are oodles and oodles of writings on landscape urbanism, but the language used by these “scholars” is so obtuse, and so ridiculous as to have spawned The Landscape Urbanism Bullshit Generator:

Believers of landscape urbanism have contradictory goals. First, they want to go back to the designs of cities of the 1800s - compact and thriving urban centers that promote walking around and other other happy, non-controversial aspects of good communities. The second is they want development to respect the landscape in order to protect the environment. Again, this is another non-controversial design aspect of development aimed to lower environmental damage from building cities.

On its face, these two goals seem wonderful, and they are hard at first pass to argue against. Who could argue against the idea we should be integrating the environment into village-sized communities?

The contradiction, however, is that

  • A) No one “planned” the villages and towns in the 1800s with “community” in mind. What lands private developers and politicians didn’t take, pillage, or exploit for profit, the federal government gave away in outrageous fire sales of millions and millions of acres of pristine land (much occupied by Native Americans). It was federal policy to give away as much land as possible for unhindered, unregulated private development. Development in the 1800s gave birth to the incredibly stupid grid system; led to expensive and outright embarrassing pollution and diversion of tens of thousands of rivers; destroyed millions of acres of natural habitat, wiping out countless species; and deforested some of the oldest trees on planet earth.
  • B) There’s barely anywhere left to build that would respect the environment on a scale that would matter (sorry my fellow enviros!).

In other words, it would seem that landscape urbanists believe that building low impact eco-village-style communities is desirable and will miraculously protect the environment.

There is nothing inherently wrong endeavoring to change the way cities are built. In fact, it’s necessary. For example, I along with many city planners take seriously the question of whether or not New Orleans should have been rebuilt or torn down after Hurricane Katrina. And it’s unfathomable to me we continue to build in places like on the San Andreas fault-line, or in the shadow of Mount Rainier, an active volcano, or on coasts that are guaranteed to erode with or with out climate related sea-level rise.

Nor is there anything inherently wrong with endeavoring to re-do our communities to reflect more compact, low-impact spaces. The problem is that no one wants to live “with” nature - never mind envisioning where these Utopian villages-in-nature could possibly exist. New York City? Sacramento? Corpus Christi?

Of course we should build with respect and reverence to and for the environment. But there’s no way to rebuild our communities to fit onto the environmental landscape, as landscape urbanists suggest. Of course we should protect certain environments from pollution, species destruction, and harmful resource uses. But to say that we can successfully integrate into these landscapes and live prosperous lives without evidence is a witchcraft game of bullshit semantics.

For more on this notroversy, check out:

  1. Michael Mehaffy’s The Landscape Urbanism: Sprawl in a Pretty Green Dress?
  2. And Leon Neyfakh’s “Green Building: Green buildingAre cities the best place to live? Are suburbs OK? A fight grows in urban planning, with Harvard at the center”

If you can stomach it, check out The Landscape Urbanism Reader: