Every week sees so many developments and news stories about the environment, energy and sustainability, it’s impossible to cover them all in depth. So I thought it would be helpful to occasionally summarize some of the more interesting reports from the past week. Here are a few that caught my eye:
Two South African architects last week won the $100,000 Curry Stone Design Prize for their unique energy-efficient housing design using timber framing and sandbags. Based on traditional mud-and-wattle construction, the timber-sandbag structures are also inexpensive and easy to build, with no electricity required.
Thanks to a combination of concerns — high gas prices, climate change and obesity — the bicycle industry is enjoying a boom market right now, reports an article in Wired. The feature includes this quote from Tim Blumenthal, executive director of Bikes Belong: “Cycling for recreation in America has always been big. Now we’re starting to see cycling for transport.”
If you haven’t jumped on board the bicycle bandwagon yet, you might soon want to. A CNN Money report notes that U.S. gas reserves are at their lowest since 1967.
For an inspiring, if frightening, take on our current energy woes, check out “Here Comes $500 Oil,” an interview with oil industry analyst Matt Simmons. A peak oil proponent who warns that the days of easy oil are over, Simmons also has this to say: “”John McCain is energy illiterate. He’s just witless about this stuff. As a lifelong Republican, I’m supporting Obama.”
What could help both our economic and energy problems? An explosion in new green jobs, says Van Jones, founder and president of Green for All. Jones writes in the Huffington Post: “Now is the time for the USA to pivot away from an economy based on borrowing and toward one based on building. We need to rely less on credit from abroad and more on creativity here at home.”
And, finally, to end this week’s roundup on a lighter note, I’ll close with a riddle courtesy of the New York Times feature Freakonomics: “What do U.S. oil production and Mick Jagger have in common? They both peaked in the late 1960s.”