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The right to a sustainable city... and how to get there

The use of the term “sustainable cities” forces us to ask the question “what are we trying to sustain?”. These days “sustainability” has become a buzzword for some hazy notion of “ecologically friendly”.  But “sustainable” merely means “lasting”.  Not everything that we sustain is a good thing, and in many cities, for example, crime has become self-perpetuating and hence “sustainable”. Are cities making people happy so that they will stay and contribute?

Biogas in Nepal: Report from National Geographic Reconnaissance Trip

Biogas Support Program

T.H. Culhane

Hinku Valley

Executive Summary:

Over the past two springs, on a Blackstone Ranch Foundation/National Geographic Innovation Challenge Grant to the Khumbu and Hinku Valleys of the alpine Himalayas, Dr. Thomas Culhane worked with Dr. Alton Byers, Chris Rainier and the Mountain Institute's Anrita Sherpa to assess the potential for replacing  endangered juniper shrub, forest timber resources and kerosene and bottled gas with renewable, net-carbon-free and inflation resistant technologies.

Solar CITIES curriculum: Capstone Project 1, Using a 300 watt DC Heating Element

300 watt DC heating element in IBC tank
The assembled heating element insertion tube
The heating element inserted through a 2 inch uniseal into the insulated IBC tank
A 300 watt heating element next to the 60 watt heating element. The 300 watt has two coils, the 60 watt has one

The Solar CITIES curriculum is evolving, challenging students around the world to add to the pool of citizen science exploring applied microbiology and engineering to make a better world.

Our first capstone project challenge addresses a vital need for the small biogas movement:

HOW DO WE BEST HEAT OUR DIGESTERS FOR  MAXIMUM PERFORMANCE AND YEAR LONG OPERATION, PARTICULARLY IN TEMPERATE CLIMATES?

What we need from you now is performance data on the use of various heating options.

The recycling shower: If NASA can do it, why can't we?

Recycling Shower

At the turn of the last century I became concerned enough about the so-called impending "water wars" that I started to experiment with ways of recycling my shower water.
A number of years ago I implemented a refinement of the ideas I tried in Los Angeles California (where drought is an ever present threat)at the L.A. Ecovillage in 2000 through 2003, in Sonoma County in 2005 with Frank DiMassa Utility Consulting, and in my home in Germany from 2008 (where water costs about 3 Euros a cubic meter, one of the most expensive water costs in the developed world.)

“Seeing the world, serving the planet” Solar CITIES' adventures in sustainable tourism

Farkha Biogas Build with Students in Palestine

“Voluntourism”, where travelers combine the sightseeing and relaxation of tourism with meaningful volunteer activity that benefits communities and promotes sustainable development, is all the rage these days (see for example, http://www.handsupholidays.com/read/voluntourism).

Toilets, Toilets everywhere, but not one has to stink!

You've heard Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner", paraphrased as "Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink".  And you are probably aware that in most parts of the world the contamination of drinking water and other fresh water supplies has a lot to do with toilets.  Poorly designed toilets. Poorly discharged toilets. Poorly treated toilet wastes.

http://www.livescience.com/16713-7-billion-people-world-poop-problem.html

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