Updated: 9/11/06; 7:02:43 AM.
Gil Friend
Strategic Sustainability, and other worthy themes of our time

Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Biomimicry Guild's fourth Annual Biomimicry and Design course held in Costa Rica, March 4 - 11, 2006. The course is designed for students and professionals in various design fields including architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, interior design, and industrial design interested in applying biomimicry to sustainable architecture and design.
As of February 1, there are only seven seats left for the course.  Registration closes on Monday, February 20.

11:05:05 AM    comment []  trackback []

Well, Mark Sandalow wasn't thrilled by the State of union address:
President Bush's call for Republicans and Democrats to work together, for America to engage the world and for the nation to quit its addiction to oil will sound to many skeptics like Barry Bonds calling for an end to steroid use in baseball.

It was not Bush's failure to solve these problems over the course of the first five years of his presidency that required him to highlight them in his State of the Union address, his critics insist; it was Bush's contributions to these problems that elevated each to a matter of significance.

9:55:29 AM    comment []  trackback []

... according to James E. Hansen, who directs NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

The Washington Post reports that Hansen last week confirmed that 2005 was the warmest year on record, surpassing 1998. Earth's average temperature has risen nearly 1 degree Fahrenheit over the past 30 years, he noted, and another increase of about 4 degrees over the next century would 'imply changes that constitute practically a different planet.'

Here's their lead:
Now that most scientists agree human activity is causing Earth to warm, the central debate has shifted to whether climate change is progressing so rapidly that, within decades, humans may be helpless to slow or reverse the trend.

This 'tipping point' scenario has begun to consume many prominent researchers in the United States and abroad, because the answer could determine how drastically countries need to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years. While scientists remain uncertain when such a point might occur, many say it is urgent that policymakers cut global carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 50 years or risk the triggering of changes that would be irreversible.

And this sober reminder:

Some scientists, including President Bush's chief science adviser, John H. Marburger III, emphasize there is still much uncertainty about when abrupt global warming might occur.
Well, there's actually fairly little uncertainty, based on the international scientific consensus and the data I've seen. But even granting uncertainty: planning for potential disruption is always a function of both the likelihood and the impact of a potential future event; how much 'certainty' do we need when the scale of potential risk is so enormous.

Business executives make decisions in the face of uncertainty every day. Call it contingency planning, probabilistic preparedness, not putting all your eggs in one basket; it makes sense to invest a portion of your resources in building readiness for possible disruptive futures -- especially when, as in the case of energy efficiency and greenhouse gas mitigation, the near-term economics are so good as well.

As I told the AHC Group 'Shareholder Value' workshop last week, there are only three reasons for not pursuing an energy efficiency / oil end game strategy:
1. you think it's too expensive (in which case you're doing it wrong);
2. you're convinced the risks -- both climatological and financial -- are so minor they can be ignored (in which case you may be violating your fiduciary duty); or
3. you're too closely tied to the fossil fuels industry.

Speaking of 'closely tied to the fossil fuels industry' : President Bush, in his State of the Union address, calls for ending the US "addiction to oil"! Surprising? Yes. Good news? I'm going to suspend judgement until I read the details.

(By the way, the NY Times reports that [Hansen] says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.... Hansen said he will ignore the restrictions.

9:41:38 AM    comment []  trackback []

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