Over the last two years, we have covered a number of topics, from tiny houses, to DOE rules on showerheads, to definitions of terms.
Since the end of February, when WordPress starting showing the statistics, Zero Resource has attracted readers from all over the world.
Over the last two years, the top twenty most popular posts of all time are:
- Death Rays
- More Tiny Houses
- The Difference Between the CEC and CPUC
- Tour a Tiny Apartment in Spain
- Putrescible Waste
- Finding Data – GDP and Electricity Consumption
- Alex Wilson, Founder of EBN – Part 1
- Plastic Bag / Retail Bag Laws in the U.S.
- Bad News About CBECS 2007
- Nina Maritz
- Are People Clueless about Energy Savings?
- MRF (Rhymes with Smurf)
- Resilience vs. Sustainability
- The Key System
- Visualizing the U.S. Power Grid
- Do Green Roofs Improve Solar PV Performance?
- Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
- Local Target Stores & Hazardous Waste
- Tiny “Spite” Houses
- Houses – Small, Reused, and Prefab
Many thanks to all the Zero Resource readers around the world! We look forward to another year.
(Image credit: flickr user heidi.nutters, via SPUR)
A recent report by SPUR entitled “Climate change hits home” addresses how we should plan to adapt to climate change in the Bay Area. The report includes a number of strategies to help local communities to be more resilient to the impacts of climate change. Some of the key impacts discussed in the report include:
- Higher average temperatures,
- Increased number of heat waves,
- Water uncertainty: droughts, extreme storms, flooding,
- An increased risk of wildfire, and
- Sea level rise.
The SPUR task force responsible for the report then considered how these impacts would affect various areas of planning in the Bay Area and proposed strategies to adapt to them.
The goal of the report is to get local agencies to begin to talk to one another to coordinate responses to climate change. Many of the adaptation strategies proposed in the report will also help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – a real “win-win” overall.
A copy of the report is available for download from the SPUR website.
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This post is part of our definitions series on “eco-lingo” and technical terms.
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- photo by Derek Jensen
Is the glass half-sustainable or half-resilient?
Have you noticed the word ‘resilience’ cropping up in places where you might expect to see the word ‘sustainable’? Are the speakers making a real distinction here, or are they just moving on from yesterday’s buzz word? Let’s find out.
First, Merriam Webster defines the two words as follows:
1. the capability of a strained body to recover its size and shape after deformation caused especially by compressive stress
2. an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change
1. capable of being sustained
2a. of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged <sustainable techniques> <sustainable agriculture> 2b. of or relating to a lifestyle involving the use of sustainable methods<sustainable society>
Wow. Does the increased use of ‘resilience’ mean planners and policy makers are becoming more pessimistic? Are they already assuming the worst and now aiming for damage control instead of wise action? Well, maybe. But in all honesty, there is a difference, and it is important to make the distinction. This is not an either/or occasion, but more of a both/and.
Perhaps it seems obvious, but it is crucial to use the right words in order to come as close to the precise meaning as possible. ‘Sustainable’ is a very pro-active word, but it says nothing about the context in which it operates. The word ‘resilience’ by contrast implies a built in complexity; it is a word of reaction, and of endurance. The terms converge, but they are on separate tracks. My point is this – not only do the right words communicate to others better, but the right words can also re-frame the ‘same old thing’ in a beneficial and insightful way. In other words, if sustainability starts at home, maybe spin should too.
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What exactly does “sustainability” mean? How about “green”, “eco” or “environmentally friendly”? The truth is that these terms are just vague enough to mean many different things to many different people. With the staggering array of “green” products, ‘lifestyles’ and concepts being promoted by marketers and environmentalists alike (as well as the necessary coining of new terms to match new ideas) our definition series aims to make sense of the rising tide of “eco-lingo” and technical terms.