Results for tag: environment

Our damaging addiction to concrete.

Concrete is the second-most consumed substance in the world and causes much environmental damage. Despite this, it's needed for essential infrastructure and, paradoxically, will be needed even more to protect against climate change.

Alongside all of this, it has a lifespan of about 100 years, which means much of our infrastructure is hitting that age limit and starting to rot.

This is a fascinating article on our addiction to concrete and the harms that come with it.

Linked on the 6th of August, 2023 Details

Bright Green Lies: a discussion with Max Wilbert.

Note: playing video here allows YouTube to track you. View on YouTube or Invidious (tracking-free).

I'm reading the Bright Green Lies book and found this thought-provoking discussion with one of the authors.

As he says, there's definitely an issue with the environmental movement these days being more interested in keeping modern civilization on its current course, rather than trying to protect the actual planet itself like it used to.

And the dominant blind faith in "green" technology does tend to make me uneasy.

Added on the 23rd of August, 2022 Details

How palm oil ended up in everything.

An interesting history of palm oil and its presence in an obnoxious amount of processed products, not just food.

Campaigners tend to be more hostile towards palm oil than towards other tropical products such as cocoa and soy which also pose threats to ecosystems. He suggests that this hostility comes down to the fact that ‘palm oil is perceived as being in things, rather than a thing in its own right.’
Linked on the 28th of June, 2022 Details

The messy side of plastic recycling.

Bloomberg reporters placed tracking devices in plastic bags to see what happened to them. They made quite a journey and revealed how obscure and problematic the recycling business can be.

It made me wonder about how local recycling is processed but all I could find was vague rhetoric.

Linked on the 16th of April, 2022 Details

Bitcoin miners revived a dying coal plant – then CO2 emissions soared.

Cryptocurrencies are regularly criticised for their energy waste and climate impact. In this case, bitcoin is directly burning coal. A Bitcoin mining company bought a powerstation to fuel their mining.

In a deal struck in late 2020, Marathon, a bitcoin “mining” company, became the sole recipient of the power station’s electricity. It established an elongated data center on 20 acres of land beside the facility that is packed with more than 30,000 Antminer S19 units, a specialized computer that mines for bitcoin. Such thirst for power is common in crypto – globally bitcoin mining consumes more electricity than Norway, a country of 5.3 million people.
Linked on the 27th of February, 2022 Details

Waste is central to everything we design.

The problem is that waste has always been a marginal issue, both literally and figuratively. It has been dumped in and on the peripheries, consigned to that mythical place called ‘away’. It has always been an ‘externality’, an unavoidable byproduct of necessary industrialisation. But it is now an internality – internal to every ecosystem and every digestive system from marine micro-organisms to humans.

A great article on our throwaway culture and the central position of waste in it all. This generated waste is, basically, the metabolism behind economic growth.

Linked on the 20th of January, 2022 Details