Category Archives: cities

The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse

Taking their cue from Tesla founder Elon Musk colonising MarsPalantir’s Peter Thiel reversing the ageing process, or artificial intelligence developers Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether. Their extreme wealth and privilege served only to make them obsessed with insulating themselves from the very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is about only one thing: escape from the rest of us.

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/sep/04/super-rich-prepper-bunkers-apocalypse-survival-richest-rushkoff

Imagining Invasive Species Community Kitchens 

“When Henry Hudson arrived in what is now New York City in 1609, there were approximately 350 square miles of oyster reefs in the harbor and its surroundeing waters. These waters contained nearly half of the world’s oyster population — some of which are said to have been, gulp, almost one foot long.”

https://lnkd.in/eQYhPejt

In an article from October 2020, the NY Times reviewed a broader movement to reduce, if not eradicate, invasive species by changing our appetite for them. 

“The theory goes that the more people eat invasive species, the more incentive there is to hunt and harvest them — a classic free-market approach, except that the point is to boost demand until there is no supply. Should diners in fact grow fond of these novelties, the plan could backfire, recasting the species as a valued commodity.”

https://lnkd.in/eAAStEsu

What Happened to Manhattan’s Oyster Barges?
https://lnkd.in/ezdjBWEm

The cost of water risks to business could be more than five times greater than the cost of acting now to address those risks.

Warning bells have increased in just the last few months, with the world’s leading scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change laying out how dramatically the climate crisis is compounding and accelerating the water crisis. A new global assessment identifies the critical sectors and industries – as well as the business activities – most significantly affecting freshwater availability and quality, while another recent analysis underscores the persistent gap in financing to achieve a water secure future. These messages make it clear that key financial players such as institutional investors, banks and development finance institutions urgently need to step up to address the water crisis.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2022/07/finance-water-crisis?utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social_video&utm_term=&utm_content=26480_harvest_water&utm_campaign=social_video_2022

https://www.weforum.org/videos/phantor-producing-drinking-water-from-thin-air

How car culture colonised our thinking – and our language

We say this because we’ve become accustomed to thinking about the street in “traffic logic”. For centuries, streets used to be a place with a multiplicity of purposes: talk, trade, play, work and moving around. It’s only in the past century that it has become a space for traffic to drive through as quickly and efficiently as possible. This idea is so pervasive that it has colonised our thinking.

Why are roads you can’t live next to, cycle on, or walk along called main roads? Why do we speak of “segregated” or “separate” cycle paths, when it’s actually motorists who’ve been given a separate space of their own? The language of traffic instils a “windscreen view” of the world, as the Belgian mobility expert Kris Peeters wrote a good 20 years ago.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/bike-blog/2022/aug/31/how-car-culture-colonised-our-thinking-and-our-language

California’s new emissions rule speeds up the future of cars

What makes this such a big deal — aside from the fact that if California were a country, it would be the 10th-largest automobile market in the world — is that 15 other states follow the zero-emissions standards set in Sacramento. If they sign on to this mandate, too, the rule would cover more than one-third of all new vehicles sold in the country, essentially giving California the power to set emissions policy for the whole nation.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2022/08/29/2035-california-electric-vehicles-future/

Germany’s Ultra-Cheap Train Ticket Saved 1.8 Million Tons of CO2

Germany’s three-month experiment with super-cheap public transport reduced carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to powering about 350,000 homes for a year. The 9-euro ($9) monthly ticket, which allows nationwide travel on regional trains, subways, trams and buses, prevented 1.8 million tons of CO2 because commuters didn’t use their cars as much, according to the VDV public-transport lobby.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-08-30/germany-s-ultra-cheap-train-ticket-saved-1-8-million-tons-of-co2

Horizon scanning process to foresight emerging issues in Arabsphere’s water vision

The Arabsphere struggles with highly complicated water challenges due to climate change, desertification, coronavirus pandemic, and Russo-Ukrainian War. This paper explores how to build a robust water vision to pave the road to achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs) in the Arabsphere. A sustainable water future (SWF) necessitates an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research strategy. ‘Horizon scanning’ process (HSP) is one of the promising foresight methodologies. A generic process for “Horizon scanning” has been developed to cope with water crises and challenges. “DEEPEST” holistic framework has been designed to suit both the “Futurology” science and water, environment, and engineering disciplines. “DEEPEST” characterizes Demographics, Ecological, Environmental, Political, Economic, Social, and Technological features. The macro-future factors (MFF) applied in the foresight process (FP) have been presented. The results showed that Water conservation (WC), Circular Water (CW), and Emerging Water Technologies (EWTs) were the main outcomes of the ‘Horizon scanning’ process (HSP). The paper concluded that the preparing for a sustainable water future (SWF) must be right now and the opportunities range from the deepest water drop to the highest water drop on Earth. The essence of the conclusion is hydrosphere sustainability, particularly in Arabsphere, should be given extreme concentration, effort, and support.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-16803-1