Posts tagged cities.
There isn’t enough capacity to refine both the Canadian oil and the Venezuelan oil,” said professor Erick Langer, director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Georgetown University and an expert on Venezuelan politics.
“Can Rail Fill the Gap if Keystone XL Pipeline isn’t Approved?” Thoughtful round-up and analysis via one of my favorite sites, Planetizen. Did not realize 40% of Venezuelan oil is shipped and refined in Texas.
Inspiring read on women architects who defied great odds (re: men) via ArchDaily.
- Sophia Hayden Benett was the first woman to receive an architecture degree from MIT when she graduated in 1890
- Marion Mahony Griffin, was not only one of the first licensed female architects in the world, but was the first employee of Frank Lloyd Wright
- Charlotte Perriand applied for a job at Le Corbusier’s studio in 1927. Unimpressed, he dismissed her work with the comment: “We don’t embroider cushions here.”
He subtly makes the case to adapt rivers and ports to climate change.
President Obama said Tuesday that federal investments in waterway maintenance will be vital as drought fueled by climate change creates problems for barges bringing goods out of the Midwest.
Obama, during a meeting of the President’s Export Council, noted recent problems moving goods when last year’s major drought lowered water levels in the Mississippi River.
“Recently we had the challenge of … getting goods from the Midwest down the Mississippi when the water started going down,” Obama said.
He said the upcoming White House budget proposal would seek to address maintenance needs.
“And if in fact temperatures are warming — I know this is not our climate change meeting — but I think we can anticipate that we may end up having some challenges in terms of managing our waterways well, whether or not we can continue to use barges to move a lot of product out of the American heartland to ports around the world, that is going to depend on our infrastructure,” Obama said.
“So we are going to, in our budget, continue to push Congress to see if we can essentially deal with deferred maintenance,” he added in emphasizing the importance of waterway and port infrastructure.
The president touched on climate change very briefly during wide-ranging remarks about U.S. export and trade policy.
Minnesota sure does seem like a sleeper state. Who knew MN’s cities have invested so much in green-infrastructure?
One by one, Minnesota cities are becoming a bit more eco-friendly. The Minnesota Clean Energy Resource Teams recently welcomed a 50th municipality, Maple Grove, to its GreenStep Cities program. Rochester, Austin, Red Wing, Northfield and Kasson are all member cities.
“I think a lot of cities like this because it’s a nice broad framework for sustainability,” said Diana McKeown, Metro director for CERTS. “For many cities, they have environmental commissions, and the GreenStep Cities program gives them ideas on what to work on.” The program, in its second year, gives cities guidelines for greening their infrastructure and work practices in order to save energy and resources.
Hundreds of tanker trucks and railroad cars snake for miles through the vast landscape of North Dakota now. For his video diary, Reuters correspondent Ernest Scheyder drove into the Bakken Oil Express, a sprawling project at the heart of the state’s booming oil economy.
I was at the COP15 when Chavez arrived to deliver his vile, inflammatory speech. Obama was there, as well. In fact, the COP15 went down in history books as one of the largest gatherings of world leaders in one place at one time (I believe second only to the 2000 Millennium Summit).
You can watch Chavez’s vile speech in the link below provided by the excellent Fora TV:
Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has died. In 2009 he addressed COP15, the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Criticizing the destructive practices of the capitalist system, Chavez feared that the “infinite model” of capitalism will exhaust the finite resources of the environment. (Image via wikipedia)
We were kicked out of the COP15 because a protest, one of the largest in Europe’s history, flared up and scared authorities. In fact, Denmark actually suspended parts of its Constitution, blocked highways, rolled out the military and super-police units, and arrested (a few) protestors on sight.
I took some pictures of the protest, here.
I remember there was fear there would be a declaration of Marshall Law. And there was equal criticism that the peaceful, happy, socialist Danes would usher in a military response to a climate protest.
But, the public felt left out of the UN’s climate negotiations and quickly formed a peaceful protest.
In the end, no one listened…
Would love to see this sucker in the MTA.
“Uh, is this the Express?”
(alternate caption: This is a Manhattan-bound Cement Truck. The next stop is Vernon-Jackson Blvds. Stand clear of the closing doors)
But yes - this is a photo of a cement truck making a stop at Hunterspoint Ave on the 7 line.
It’s from the MTA flickr, where it bears the caption “This is the first time we have used a crane to lower a cement truck onto tracks and into a tunnel.”
Part of me hopes this becomes a trend, mostly because I’d love to see the looks on peoples faces if something like this trundled through an In-service station.
Daaannnng. The Tesla S weighs 4,700 pounds! That’s a thousand pounds more than my Benz, which is a friggin’ tank.
Current TV’s Jacki Schechner talks with Jason Knapp, owner of a Tesla Motors Model S. The all-electric car has gotten some bad press thanks to a New York Times review that panned its ability to stay charged, but Knapp says, “I was never into cars. I had a Prius and a Passat before this, but I thought it was so cool — the idea that you could run on pure electricity.”
Filmmaker Jordan Bloch was so impressed by the Tesla Model S technology that he tagged along with the Knapp family on a roadtrip to create the branded marketing film “Gallons Of Light,” which could possibly change the narrative on the car in the media.
Villa Epecuen: The Town That Was Submerged For 25 Years via Amusing Planet
By late nineteenth century, the first residents and visitors started to arrive to Villa Epecuen and set up tents on the banks. Villa Epecuen transformed from a sleepy mountain village to a bustling tourist resort. The village soon had a railway line linking it to Buenos Aires. Before long, tourists from all over South American and the World came flocking, and by the 1960s, as many as 25,000 people came every year to soak in the soothing salt water. The town’s population peaked in the 1970s with more than 5,000. Nearly 300 businesses thrived, including hotels, hostels, spas, shops, and museums.
Around the same time, a long-term weather event was delivering far more rain than usual to the surrounding hills for years, and Lago Epecuen began to swell. On 10 November 1985 the enormous volume of water broke through the rock and earth dam and inundated much of the town under four feet of water. By 1993, the slow-growing flood consumed the town until it was covered in 10 meters of water.
Nearly 25 years later, in 2009, the wet weather reversed and the waters began to recede. Villa Epecuen started coming back to the surface.
Neat, but that water is a polluted disaster of radiation and radon, metals like mercury, aluminum, and iron, and countless other poisons leaching from rotting concrete, underground sewer pipes, disintegrating metal infrastructure, etc… What an environmental mess.
Interesting conference recap for my resilience, cities, and adaptation readers. Focus seems to have been on public-private partnerships in rebuilding after disasters - getting NGOs, non-profits, and governments together to discuss how to better plan and manage environmental risks. Big fan of the international flavors at this event.
In 2011 a couple of months after the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima nuclear aftermath, the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction, which also hosted the first World Reconstruction Conference, brought together almost 3000 people working on reducing disaster risks and building resilient communities. This included several Heads of State, Ministers, a Managing Director of the World Bank, over 2,600 delegates representing 163 Governments, 25 inter-governmental organizations, 65 non-governmental organizations, parliamentarians, private sector, local government, academic institutions, civil society and international organizations.
The Chair’s Summary of the 2011 event identified 9 ways to place DRR at the forefront to preserve and protect the balance of nature and ensure sustainable development and well-being of future generations. This included supporting local government, drawing on the untapped potential of local actors, building on the role of women as change agents, involving children and youth in decisions that affect their future, engaging the private sector, building on the role of parliamentarians in setting policy, promoting cooperation at the local, national, and regional levels, supporting the scientific and technical communities to inform decisions, and supporting UNISDR in its leadership role in within the UN on DRR.
Weather disasters and quakes: who’s most at risk? The analysis below, by Sperling’s Best Places, a publisher of city rankings, is an attempt to assess a combination of those risks in 379 American metro areas. Risks for twisters and hurricanes (including storms from hurricane remnants) are based on historical data showing where storms occurred. Earthquake risks are based on United States Geological Survey assessments and take into account the relative infrequency of quakes, compared with weather events and floods. Additional hazards included in this analysis: flooding, drought, hail and other extreme weather.
For important tips on enhancing your safety before, during and after a natural disaster, please check out these blog posts:
Gorgeous painting of a shantytown. Strong technique.Did not know the word “bidonville” until today.
Florent Espana, Bidonville d’Afrique, oil on canvas, 2011
Rijkswaterstaat and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment took me and others on a tour of this and other adaptation-engineering projects last year. I wrote a report for a Republican Congressman in Florida who is concerned about sea level rise (interesting backstory on that one!). Anyway, behind closed doors, the Dutch weren’t convinced this sand-engine would work very well over the long-term, but conceded it wouldn’t hurt to try.
Also interesting about this - special barges are sent into the North Sea to dredge up this sand (and for other projects). The barges have bomb specialists on them because the North Sea sand contains unexploded bombs and shells from WWII. Gnarly, gnarly work.
Smart-Dikes and Sand Engines: The Netherlands’ Approach to Rising Sea Levels
On a freezing winter day along the south-central coast of Holland, two beachcombers, hunched against the wind, stroll along a crescent of sand extending more than half a mile into the North Sea. Nearby, a snowkiter skims over the 28 million-cubic-yard heap of dredged sediment spreading along the shore. If all goes as planned, the mound will eventually disappear, rearranged by ocean currents into a 12-mile-long buffer protecting the coastline for the next two decades.
This is the Sand Engine, one of the latest innovations from Dutch masters of flood control technology and designed, as the national water board Rijkswaterstaat says, so that “nature will take the sand to the right place for us.”
After having constructed the country’s vaunted system of sea gates and dikes, Dutch planners and engineers are now augmenting it with new technology enlisting nature to keep the water at bay. “Normally, there is a lot of erosion here,” says hydraulic engineer Mathijs van Ledden, sweeping an arm toward the snow-covered spit snaking around an elongated lagoon. Van Ledden is a flood risk reduction specialist with Royal HaskoningDHV, a Dutch engineering consultancy involved in creating the Sand Engine, currently 2.2 miles wide.
“This big reservoir of sand should re-nourish the rest of the coast in time,” he says, gesturing toward the skyline of The Hague, several miles away.
How to build a pipeline? State Department’s Environmental Impact Statement includes cartoonish graphic seemingly made for children.
The Keystone XL Pipeline will deliver billions of gallons of oil from Alberta, Canada to coastal refineries in Texas. The oil will be pumped through one very long pipeline, and will most likely be sold to foreign countries.
Thousands of people’s properties have been ‘condemned’ to build this line. It spans two countries, several states, and countless forests, farms, suburbs, Indian reservations, cities, rivers, lakes, and mountains. The above cartoon is a ridiculous, nefarious joke. Obama is expected to approve the line in coming months.
Breaking! State Dept. quietly publishes long-awaited Keystone XL Pipeline Environmental Review. Click for PDF. ›
Next steps: Another round of public comments, then revisions to the EIS, then (I believe) to Obama’s desk for signature.