Category Archives: Environment & Society

Three Ways Universities (and Their Students) Are Revolutionizing Sustainability

As leaders of knowledge and innovation, universities are places where sustainable futures are imagined. They are institutions where experts research emerging issues and generate new ideas. They contain multitudes of idealistic and adaptive young students who can be mobilized to protect their futures. It is only natural that some of the most progressive sustainability ideas … Continue Reading ››

Voting With Your Electrons: Can the Grid Democratize As It Goes Green?

Back in August, Worldwatch researcher Philip Killeen wrote about how transforming electrical grids could be the key to achieving the greenhouse gas reduction goals agreed upon at the 2015 Paris climate conference. By coincidence, at about the same time, Bloomsbury Publishing released The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future, … Continue Reading ››

Can Coal Miners Become Solar Technicians?

Nothing on Earth moves without energy, and most of the energy that people use is of the fossil variety: coal, oil, and natural gas. Although renewable energy is beginning to make inroads, fossil fuels still account for 78 percent of global final energy consumption as of 2014, according to REN21’s Global Status Report 2016. … Continue Reading ››

Five Ways to Build Inclusive Cities

This year, World Cities Day (October 31) focuses on “inclusive cities, shared development.” But with rapidly growing urbanization, how can cities ensure that all of their residents are thriving? Striking with indiscriminate intensity, Hurricane Matthew blew through the Caribbean and the eastern United States in late September. The Category 4 storm plowed the U.S. Gulf Coast … Continue Reading ››

Perspective: Building a Better Future for Girls Builds a Better World

“Thank heaven for little girls,” Maurice Chevalier sang in the Oscar-winning 1958 movie musical Gigi. But even in his gentlemanly French-accented voice, there was the hint of a leer, a premonition of what is to come. What Chevalier’s character is actually most grateful for about little girls is that “they grow up in … Continue Reading ››

School Days in 2040: Beatriz’s Day at the Freire School of Activism

Education in 2040In this fifth story from the blog series School Days in 2040, Erik Assadourian explores an activist high school in São Paulo, Brazil. At this school students are activists first, students second. They’re learning by doing and, in the process, bringing about positive social change in … Continue Reading ››

Why Your Stuff Turns to Junk and Cooks the Planet

Much of the energy of the environmental movement and of policymaking is focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions through low- or zero-carbon development. This is a necessary and, in many ways, proper focus. But it is too narrow an approach to deal successfully with the broader challenge of endless growth in consumption, which is a … Continue Reading ››

School Days in 2040: Arivan’s Day at the Garden City Eco-engineering Academy

Education in 2040In this fourth story from the blog series School Days in 2040, Erik Assadourian explores an eco-engineering high school in Singapore that is training highly moral scientific leaders to guide investigation of the world’s most controversial environmental technologies. Arivan has just stepped off Singapore’s … Continue Reading ››

School Days in 2040: Lakshmi’s Day at Bunker Hill High

Education in 2040In this third story from the blog series School Days in 2040, Erik Assadourian explores a high school in India specializing in training future social entrepreneurs, farmers, and even midwives. With lunch now concluded, Lakshmi excuses herself from the meal at her parents’ home, … Continue Reading ››