Americans and Climate Change

New data released by the Yale Program on Climate Communication and summarized by Nadia Popovich, John Schwartz and Tatiana Schlossberg in the New York Times gives a detailed view of public opinion on global warming.

Spoiler alert: Americans believe in global warming, but aren’t convinced that it’s their responsibility to worry about.

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To us the most interesting point though is how much support American voters have for renewable energy, and renewable energy research. Eighty two percent of Americans are in favor of funding renewable energy research, 82%!!!! and yet our elected officials are slashing budgets and cutting departments. It begs the question, Why?

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Second Act for America’s Malls

Laura here. There’s a good chance if we chatted in 2016, I brought up grain silos. It was a community development obsession I have, primarily because in Columbus, Ohio we have several unused or underused grain silos, that just look like they are begging to be a canvas for a public art project. (don’t worry grain silos, I’m still thinking about you).

But as the year changed, my obsession grew to a new underused and vacant space adorning the heartland as well as the rest of America: Malls.

Read on after the jump to see more about Malls and ways American’s are creatively reactivating them!  Continue reading

Worthy Podcasts

Next City has put together their 7 recommended podcasts Urbanists should be listening to now. But we’ve expanded beyond urbanism and added a couple of extras that we think are worth checking out.

Next City has a nice little description of each of their selections in their article here. But here is a run down of the titles:

  1. The Uncertain Hour 
  2. Placemakers 
  3. 99 Percent Invisible
  4. The Urbanist and Tall Stories
  5. Planet Money
  6. Third Wave Urbanism
  7. Candidate Confessional 

And our additions:

  1. Direct Current: a podcast about energy and renewable energy out of the Department of Energy
  2. Past is Present : Historians put current events into the context of our history. because you know the old saying, those who ignore their past are doomed to repeat it
  3. Pod Save America: fair warning- this podcast is completely left leaning and biased towards progressive policies. But it is also fascinating (and sometimes validating), to hear current events discussed from the insider perspective of former White House staffers.
  4. Ellevate Network: Real women having real impact discuss their experiences, lessons learned and best practices. Serving as a virtual mentorship for women in the workforce.
  5. Bonfires of Social Enterprise: Basically exactly what it sounds like. Social Enterprise discussed and explored from every angle.

Happy Listening!

 

Renewable Energy Good for the Economy

We are fans of evidence based solutions, and thus research and analysis is an important factor of how we determine what policy solutions to support, and what neighborhood projects to invest our time, resources and funding.

A new study has been released titled, A Prospective Analysis of the Costs, Benefits and Impacts of U.S. Renewable Portfolio Standards.  The National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory analyzed state renewable energy portfolios to assess costs and benefits into the future. The study analyzed two scenarios, 1) if RPS’s remain unchanged from current status, and 2) if RPS expand in every state and have higher targets.

 

The findings are dramatic. The reduction of pollutants, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gas emissions and water consumption in both scenarios are incredible. The savings in health and environmental benefits are promising and all of these outweigh the costs accrued through the RPS standards. Turns out, investing in solar is a good use of public dollars.

As this MidwestEnergyNews.com article headline states: Benefits of state renewable energy policies far outweigh costs.