May 2008

Monthly Archive

More Monitoring

Posted by on 31 May 2008 | Tagged as: energy efficiency, green building


A few weeks ago I wrote about Agilewaves, and today CNet has a great overview of more than a dozen ‘dashboard’ technologies ranging from simple wall plug adapters that offer a kw reading for individual devices, to a half dozen startups competing in the whole-house market – including Greenbox which was founded by the co-creators of Flash. (My background is in software distribution and Internet publishing, so its great to see former compatriots leveraging their tech skills into sustainability. Some others switchers are noted in this listing of 25 who “ditched infotech for cleantech.”)

Challenging Ideas

Posted by on 30 May 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry

The UK’s Daily Telegraph offers up a series titled “Challenging Ideas” to help Honda launch their new Accord. Here’s an excerpt from the first in the short six-part series titled “Natural Leaders”:

‘Biomimicry introduces an era based not on what we can extract from organisms and their ecosystems, but on what we can learn from them,’ Janine M Benyus, the author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, says. ‘This approach differs greatly from bio-utilisation, which entails harvesting a product or producer, as in cutting wood for floors or wild-crafting medicinal plants. It is also distinctly different to bio-assisted technologies, which involve domesticating an organism to accomplish a function, for example, bacterial purification of water or cows bred to produce milk. Instead of harvesting or domesticating, biomimics consult organisms; they are inspired by an idea, be it a physical blueprint or a process step in a chemical reaction.’ Continued…

(I normally wouldn’t write a post linking to ‘advertorial“, but this is a useful short read. Here’s to more advertising that makes a genuine effort to inform.)

Showcasing Ideas from Nature

Posted by on 30 May 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry

According to Janine Benyus and Gunter Pauli, co-creators of the upcoming Nature’s 100 Best project:

Life solves its problems with well-adapted designs, life-friendly chemistry, and smart material and energy use. What better models could there be?

This week Pauli unveiled the project at Ninth Conference of Parties to Convention on Biological Diversity. A book showcasing their work, titled Nature’s 100 Best, will be published in May 09 and further content will be made available via

Biomimicry Applications

Posted by on 27 May 2008 | Tagged as: biomimicry

A great overview of varied biomimetic solutions for some of our most pressing problems is offered by Australian energy blog The Oil Drum, including Australian startup BioPower and local (to San Francisco bay area) Pax Scientific (founded by an Australian). Clever folks those Aussies!

Peak Oil + Climate Change: Scenarios

Posted by on 26 May 2008 | Tagged as: research & reports

peak oil and climate change logo

David Holmgren (futurist and the co-originator of the permaculture concept with Bill Mollison) explains the issues and points to scenarios in this fascinating site/paper: presents an integrated approach to understanding the potential interaction between Climate Change and Peak Oil using a scenario planning model. In the process I introduce permaculture as a design system specifically evolved over the last 30 years to creatively respond to futures that involve progressively less and less available energy.

Continued at

Read on and I’m sure you’ll find it simultaneously frightening, and enlightening.

How to Get Started in the Slow Food Movement

Posted by on 18 May 2008 | Tagged as: food

Nothing is more fundamental to sustainability than food. Thanks to a link passed on by my friend Ben de Vries, I recommend checking out the growing Slow Food movement:

Slow Food is good, clean and fair food. We believe that the food we eat should taste good; that it should be produced in a clean way that does not harm the environment, animal welfare or our health; and that food producers should receive fair compensation for their work.

Every day presents multiple opportunities to slow down and taste real food. Try it today!

Green Books

Posted by on 08 May 2008 | Tagged as: books

DK logo

I’ve always liked the look and feel of those richly illustrated and thoughtfully produced Dorling Kindersley books, so I was pleased to read about their efforts to be a little greener:

UK book publisher Dorling Kindersley has created an imprint that aims to ‘green’ an industry whose dependence on dead trees doesn’t necessarily make it an eco frontrunner. So far, four titles have been released under the company’s Made With Care brand. All deal with eco-aware topics such, including green baby care and organic gardening. …continued at Springwise.

Posted by on 08 May 2008 | Tagged as: video

We’ve probably all wasted more time on YouTube than we’d care to admit. But there are alternatives!

There are brilliant ideas, expressed everyday in public discussions and events, all over the world.

Don’t miss them. delivers discourse, discussions and debates on the world’s most interesting political, social and cultural issues, and enables viewers to join the conversation. It provides deep, unfiltered content, tools for self-expression and a place for the interactive community to gather online.

Check out this great interview with Bill McKibben.

Energy Farms

Posted by on 07 May 2008 | Tagged as: research & reports

As the price for staples like corn and rice escalate rapidly attention has focused on the (mis)use of food crops for fuel. Energy Farms Network is working on solutions:

Using science, proven tools, and evolving methodologies the Energy Farm Initiative seeks to demonstrate systems of agriculture that can sustain both farms and communities in the face of climate change and peak oil. This program weaves threads of the Relocalization vision into a fabric of local currency, local food and biofuel systems, revitalization of local industry, and community cooperation.

Energy Farms Network is a program of the Post Carbon Institute.

CleanTech Gets $500 million Boost from Kleiner Perkins

Posted by on 04 May 2008 | Tagged as: financial

In a line reminiscent of this blog’s mission, KPCB Partner John Denniston launched a new VC fund with these words: The world has embarked on the next industrial revolution.

Kleiner Perkins’ new Green Growth Fund will invest $500 million over the next two to four years in established companies that demonstrate progress in delivering clean-technology innovations, said partner John Denniston, who will co-manage the fund.

At the same time, clean-tech start-ups may join counterparts in information technology and life sciences to seek funding from Kleiner Perkins’ new $700 million KP XIII fund – the 13th in the firm’s storied 35-year history.

The Green Growth Fund comes less than six months after former Vice President Al Gore joined Menlo Park-based Kleiner Perkins as a partner.

Press Release

KPCB partner John Doerr was talking up the opportunity a year ago at TED stating that green “may be the biggest economic opportunity of the 21st century.”

This kind of money and business building methodology stands in stark contrast to my previous post on open sourcing enabling tools and technologies…but maybe not. Open source leader MySQL was acquired by Sun in January for $1B. If there ends up being a business in giving away the ‘secrets’ to sustainability, all the better!

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