English Village Becomes Climate Leader by Quietly Cleaning Up Its Own Patch – The New York Times

ASHTON HAYES, England — This small village of about 1,000 people looks like any other nestled in the countryside.But Ashton Hayes is different in an important way when it comes to one of the world’s most pressing issues: climate change. Hundreds of residents have banded together to cut greenhouse emissions — they use clotheslines instead of dryers, take fewer flights, install solar panels and glaze windows to better insulate their homes.The effort, reaching its 10th anniversary this year, has led to a 24 percent cut in emissions, according to surveys by a professor of environmental sustainability who lives here.But what…

The Linguistics of Place Names | JSTOR Daily

Why is this important, to have a place name with a sense of history and meaning? Thomas F. Thornton believes “as linguistic artifacts […], place names tell us something not only about the structure and content of the physical environment itself but also […] toponyms, both by themselves and in the context of narratives, songs, and everyday speech, provide valuable insights into the ways humans experience the world.” Even when we don’t know the language, we can derive certain ideas from the landscape we see around us and the old place names still in use. Consider tri-state names of native…

In Carbon and Capitalism We Trust? | John Murdock | First Things

The distinctly American blending of Christianity and Capitalism is an odd amalgamation. Jesus told us rather clearly that primary service to God and Mammon do not mix. Markets make good secondary things but poor first things. The same can be said of democracy and tolerance, fine concepts in their place but ones that draw a similarly over-elevated (if inconsistently applied) devotion from the left. “Brass,” as C.S. Lewis noted, “is mistaken for gold more easily than clay is.”Julian Simon rightly reminded the Paul Ehrlichs of the world that humanity is not predestined to be a cancer and that downward trends…

How the grassroots local food movement is changing what we eat ⋅ Charlottesville Tomorrow

Many people in the Charlottesville area seem to value local food, but one University of Virginia lecturer said she thinks the community can take the movement one step further. “This food movement is about healing lands, neighborhoods and identities,” said Tanya Denckla Cobb, associate director of the Institute for Environmental Negotiation. “It’s about how creative this movement is in finding ways to use open spaces in communities for agriculture.” Cobb shared stories from her new book, “Reclaiming Our Food,” at CitySpace on Tuesday as part of the Greater Virginia Green Building Council’s luncheon series. via How the grassroots local food…

Why Sand Is Disappearing – NYTimes.com

And now there is a global beach-quality sand shortage, caused by the industries that have come to rely on it. Sand is vital to the manufacturing of abrasives, glass, plastics, microchips and even toothpaste, and, most recently, to the process of hydraulic fracturing. The quality of silicate sand found in the northern Midwest has produced what is being called a “sand rush” there, more than doubling regional sand pit mining since 2009. But the greatest industrial consumer of all is the concrete industry. Sand from Port Washington on Long Island — 140 million cubic yards of it — built the…

New York’s Forecast: Rising Seas, Continual Heat Waves, and a Little Hope – NYTimes.com

In New York, unlike many other places, the majority of carbon emissions, 70 percent, come from buildings rather than from transportation. (In some sense, asking New Yorkers to do more to combat climate change is like having your most dutiful child sweep the floor after dinner and wash the dishes; our carbon footprint is already comparatively small because of a reliance on mass transit.) How would the city’s housing stock respond, though, to a weather “event” in the near future, before we all installed triple-glazed windows — something like Hurricane Sandy or approximating it, causing power failures — during a…

Uplifting the Cities of the Poor by Edward L. Glaeser, City Journal Summer 2014

Over the last half-century, a once overwhelmingly rural world has become ever more urban. In 1960, the urbanization rate in the majority of poor countries was less than 10 percent. Just 3 percent of Botswana’s population lived in cities, for example, while Kenya was 7 percent urban and Bangladesh then East Pakistan was 5 percent urban. Even China had only 16 percent of its people then residing in cities. Nowadays, China is more than 50 percent urban and Botswana more than 60 percent. In those two countries, industrialization and increasing prosperity have accompanied the population shift to cities. China’s real…

CIBSE: Is the Atrium our Friend?

The Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Natural Ventilation Group publishes thumb rules for atria in the design of passively ventilated buildings, in “Is the Atrium our Friend?”  [The September 2014 newsletter is temporarily not available but its web link is found here at the CIBSE Natural Ventilation Group Newsletter list.]

Does Digital Age Overcomplicate Design? – NYTimes.com

Take the dispiritingly large number of products that are designed to appear complex in an attempt to disguise the fact that there is little — or nothing — innovative about them. Familiar objects with dwindling potential for functional improvement, like toasters and refrigerators, are particularly prone to this syndrome. Why else would they be embellished with so many buttons, dials, flashing screens and stylistic touches, if not to foster the illusion that they are superior to their predecessors? via Does Digital Age Overcomplicate Design? – NYTimes.com.

Harper Court Achieves LEED-ND Gold Designation | Harper Court

Harper Court, a major, mixed-use development in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, has earned one of the highest ratings in the nation for sustainable neighborhood design and building. The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the project a LEED for Neighborhood Development Gold rating – making Harper Court the highest LEED-rated project of its kind in the State of Illinois and among the top in the country. Harper Court, developed through a partnership among the City of Chicago, the University of Chicago, local officials and Harper Court Partners, LLC, includes an office tower, a select service hotel, retail space, parking and…