Archive for the ‘environment’ Category

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Shai Agassi on Copenhagen and climate change

by Warren

Shai Agassi has an audacious plan for implementing electric vehicles on a massive scale, and he may just pull it off. Below I’ve posted a video from Agassi about how important it is for the world to use technology and entrepreneurship to kickstart a revamp of our industries in order to keep us from a climate crisis.

I know some people deny the existence of the climate crisis, but to my mind this is a change that should happen regardless. We will run out of oil in this century, and we’ve been coasting on 19th century technology for a long time. Even if the climate maintains stability or heats up without our help, at the very least we’ve updated and innovated our infrastructure, created many new jobs and will likely make many new discoveries along the way. There’s no good reason not to do this, other than keeping established players wealthy. And those established players stand to gain as well, as long as they get in front of the problem and push their resources towards a solution.

Thursday, July 30th, 2009

Tiny homes buck McMansion trend

by Warren

With the collapse of the economy and subsequent reboot of people’s expectations away from fiscal overindulgence and (possibly) towards what really matters, some people are radically downscaling and moving into much smaller homes. As someone who’s gone from a two level suburban house in Edmonton through various moves, finally co-habitating in a 675 sq ft condo in downtown Vancouver, I have to agree with every point raised in the article. Things can get a little cramped, but that’s got more to do with us being messy than with any fault in the apartment itself.

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

The end of aviation?

by Warren

As fears of peak oil, resource wars and economic collapse dot the headlines, it’s a fair question whether aviation, which chews up an enormous amount of fuel and greenhouse gases, is still a viable form of transport. The New Republic has an interesting piece about how flying defines our economy, and how screwed we’ll be if aviation goes away.

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Tiny houses sidle into the spotlight

by Warren

For nearly a century, the American dream has been to make enough money to have a really big house (and of course park a couple of cars in a mammoth garage.) But recently, some Americans have taken a turn for the tiny, as small house gain traction. Why? A terminal mortgage market, growing concern over the environment, and a general disillusionment with “bigger is better.”

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Freyburg Media Daily 06/16/08

by Warren

Friday, June 6th, 2008

The new, new city

by Warren

The New York Times Magazine has an interesting article about how the 20th century model for cities is pretty much played out, and how the urban centres of the future will have more in common with Shenzen or Dubai than wit mainstays like New York, London or Tokyo. Apparently apart from being playgrounds for the rich, these new cities are also where experimentation in new forms of urban living is at its strongest. Living in Vancouver, a city that pioneered mixed use, densification and sustainability practices, I can’t say any of this is particularly new to me, though it is an interesting read.

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Can cell phones end poverty?

by Warren

While the traditional model of aid for developing countries is to dump a big pile of money into the lap of sometimes questionable governments, it turns out that the key to ending poverty might be to decentralize, lend smaller amounts of money to a larger group of people, and distribute cell phones amongst the poor. That’s subject of Wired founder Kevin Kelly’s blog post, which points to research indicating that democracy is more likely to sprout up when money, resources and communication tools are given out on a many-to-many model rather than a hierarchical, authoritarian approach. I recently had a chance to interview someone at, a microfinancing site, and he reiterated that not only do micro-loans do tangible good but the poorest beneficiaries of the loans are the most likely to pay back their debts.

At any rate, its interesting to see the Internet peer-to-peer model spreading to the developing world at the micro level. At the macro level, as noted in Fareed Zakaria’s “The Post-American World,” developing nations like India and China re already reaping the benefits of outsourcing, connectivity and a global marketplace.

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

The Guardian checks out Fort McMurray

by Warren

Fort McMurray is a boom town built on a vast sea of oil, and the number one reason Alberta is the prime driver of the Canadian economy. It’s also a violent, anything goes place, full of rig pigs, pickup trucks and people out to make many fast bucks. The Guardian sent their environmental reporter to the Mac to see just how much stress the rapid growth and rampant industry is putting on people and the environment.