Dec 1, 15

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Preview: Shanghai Expo Summit Urban Sustainability Forum

by Warren Karlenzig UK Pavilion, Shanghai Expo 2010 by Heatherwick Studio. This weekend I'm attending the Shanghai Expo Summit Forum as part of a United Nations delegation. The Oct. 31 event, which will be on "Urban Innovation and Sustainable Development," will mark the close of the largest World's Fair in history: more than 70 million have visited the Expo (the Osaka, Japan, World Fair of 1964 attracted 64 million) where a record two hundred countries are exhibiting through Sunday. The...


Invisible Heroes of Dharavi: Improving the Lives of Waste-Pickers in India

In the chaos of Mumbai’s best-known slum, thousands of recyclers process the megacity’s garbage and provide an invaluable environmental service, but the health and social costs are high. Today, many organizations are working to improve the working conditions of India's valuable waste-pickers... by Anna da Costa “It’s funny how we popularise our movie stars,” said Vinod Shetty, director of the Acorn Foundation, when we met in his crowded office in Mumbai. “There are so many other...


Acara Challenge 2010: Eight Social Business Ideas

by Sarabjeet Singh Fourteen universities. One semester of field visits, market research and business planning. Twenty venture ideas. Several hours of web presentations. Interaction with sector experts, VCs, government executives, industry leaders and social entrepreneurs. And we have finally boiled down to 8 teams. From clean water delivery near Vellore to chromium recovery in the tanneries of Tamil Nadu to clean-gas cooked food tiffin services in Delhi, the finalist teams of the Acara...


Making the Cities of India More Sustainable

by Warren Karlenzig With Mumbai, one of the largest cities of the world, treating only 30-40 percent of its sewage, experiencing five-hour traffic delays and hosting massively expanding unplanned slums, urban sustainability needs to be viewed through a different lens than elsewhere. India will add an additional 26 cities of one million or more by 2030 to its 42 one million+ cities today. The population in cities of 340 million in 2008 will soar to 590 million by 2030. The need for much...


The Next Decade's Top Sustainability Trends

By Warren Karlenzig What trends are likely the next ten years? One thing for sure, 2010 through 2019 will be one day looked at as 1) the turning point for addressing climate change by using effective urban management strategies, or it will be remembered as 2) the time when we collectively fumbled the Big Blue Ball. 1. Bikes Culture 2.0 Time period: 2010-2019 Around the world, bicycles are becoming a potent talisman of our urban post-carbon future. The city of Copenhagen is making...


"Reverse Trick-or-Treaters" Deliver Fair Trade Chocolate

Dressed in masks and outfits reminiscent of the film The Matrix, a group of foreign exchange students celebrated their first Halloween in proper fashion on Saturday in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. But the classmates turned the U.S. tradition on its head. In addition to accepting candy, the students handed back their own Fair Trade-certified, organic dark chocolate. "Farmers are paid more with Fair Trade, so they don't have to live in poverty and their children can get an...


Vandana Shiva on Sustaining India’s Agriculture

Environmental activist Vandana Shiva has been working to build an organic agriculture movement across India for the past 22 years through the Navdanya Trust, an organization that she founded and directs. She recently spoke with Worldwatch India Fellow Anna da Costa about the connections between sustainable agriculture, climate change, and poverty alleviation. by Anna da Costa What led you to work on the environment, and particularly on sustainable agriculture? The big transition to...


China Reports 66 Percent Drop in Plastic Bag Use

A strict Chinese limit on ultra-thin plastic bags significantly reduced bag-related pollution nationwide during the past year. The country avoided the use of 40 billion bags, according to government estimates. Plastic bags are commonly found in waterways, on beaches, and in other "unofficial" dumping sites across China. Litter caused by the notorious bags has been referred to as "white pollution." The State Council, China's parliament, responded in January 2008 by...

ICLEI's Emani Kumar explains Urban Energy Innovation in the Global South

By Alex Aylett It's been a while since most cities took an active role in managing their own energy supply. Centralized national or regional generation and supply grids effectively displaced the days when cities ran their own independent systems. But with the interest in local renewables a shift is in the works. Cities are becoming increasingly comfortable integrating energy policies into their mandates and encouraging local level generation. The many facets of this shift have been a...


Small Amounts of Investment Could Yield Gigantic Energy Savings in Emerging Nations

For India, an investment of $10 billion in energy efficiency improvements could result in gigantic energy savings, a new World Resource Institute (WRI) report states. According to Powering Up: The Investment Potential of Energy Service Companies in India, the energy service company sector (ESCO) could help the country save from than 183.5 billion kilowatt hours, while turning a profit. According to WRI: Chandan Singh, one of the authors of the WRI report, added, “Our cross-country...

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