Saturday Links for the Week – April 14, 2007

food supply chain

What it All Means This Week:

Relocalization Movement Gains Momentum…: The Post Carbon Institute has created a global relocalization network with a substantial toolkit and speakers’ group behind it. They’re thinking way ahead of the curve, and their program is daunting, as this one-hour video by the network’s founder reveals. Thanks to Elisabeth Frankish of the network’s Karamea NZ chapter for the link.

…And There’s a New Wiki for Those Trying to Make the World a Better Place…: Appropedia is the site for collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development. Thanks to my friend Lugon of the Fluwiki for the link.

…And Entrepreneurship Has a Role to Play Too: A new study by SustainAbility (free registration required to download report) says social and environmentally responsible, sustainable enterprise is on a roll. The report is encouraging, a good summary of what’s happened so far and worth the read, but it’s devoid of imagination and innovation, with too much preoccupation on getting funding and political support. Just as we need to stop thinking of ‘the environment’ as something apart from human culture, we need to stop thinking of ‘social entrepreneurs’ as a separate, altruistic class of entrepreneurs. There is no reason why leading-edge socially and environmentally responsible, sustainable enterprises can’t be joyful, profitable, natural ways to make a living. Thanks to Innovation Weekly and Joel Makower for the link.

Chronic Auto-Immune Diseases and Oxidative Stress: The medical community is starting to learn approaches to complex system issues. In a recent Canadian-Iranian study, researchers have found a strong correlation between inflammatory bowel diseases (Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis, which I suffer from) and oxidative stress. If the oxidative stress is a cause, then anti-oxidants might be a preventative or treatment, but what causes the oxidative stress? And if it’s just a symptom, what’s the cause and why is oxidative stress a consequence? You know my hypothesis (illustrated above), and this is an encouraging sign that it’s plausible.

Selecting Compact Fluorescent Bulbs: Popular Mechanics rates ’em all and finds them better made than incandescents as well as more energy efficient. Best buy: Philips Marathon at $3. Strategy: Buy in bulk, and as each old incandescent gives out, replace it with a compact fluorescent. The old magazine is looking a lot greener these days: Here’s their advice on weaning your lawn off artificial, toxic chemicals.

failed states index

Failed States Index:
The map above shows the Fund for Peace’s failed states index scores for 2006. The site has full details of the methodology, which gauges political and economic stability, but arguably not environmental/energy sustainability. If Canada were listed as ‘sustainable’ on that score, we’re all in big trouble. Thanks to Dale Asberry for the link.

Join Us Thursday April 26 for the Innovation Bloggers Virtual Forum

I’m one of eight bloggers in Jeff De Cagna’s annual online Innovation Forum. Here’s the line-up:

Morning Forum Roundtable (11 am EDT)
Renee Hopkins Callahan, IdeaFlow
Chuck Frey, InnovationTools
Jeffrey Phillips, Innovate on Purpose
Dave Pollard, How to Save the World

Afternoon Forum Roundtable (2 pm EDT)
Dominic Basulto, Endless Innovation
Sanjay Dalal, Creativity And Innovation Driving Business
Mark McGuinness, Wishful Thinking
Joyce Wycoff, Heads Up! on Organizational Innovation

This is a really extraordinary group, and I’m honoured to be a part of it. If you’d like to listen in, e-mail me or say so in the comments below, and I’ll send you the dial-in details. Also, let me know if you’re going to the SLA Conference in Denver in June. The best stuff at these conferences happens at the edges.

I Need Some Technical Help: I’ve been trying to import my Thunderbird E-mail Address Book into my Google Mail account. I’ve vetted every line of the .csv file I created but Google still rejects it, without telling me why. Anyone grappled with this? Anyone actually exported their entire Thunderbird inbox to Google Mail? And… I notice a lot of bloggers have added Snap (snapshots of their link pages when you scroll over) to their sites — anyone know what would happen to page load time if I added it to my pages with a 400+ line blogroll?

Thought for the Week: From my work colleague Marie Muir: Spanish Flu is only Spanish if you’re not.

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8 Responses to Saturday Links for the Week – April 14, 2007

  1. aweb says:

    I fear for Canada because we are so sustainable (in comparison to others). Close off the borders, and we have a huge amount of clean water, oil (mostly tar sands), uranium, very little population, arable land. Left to our own devices, Canada can probably keep the modern world living style fantasy going on longer than anyone else. Especially since we don’t have any particular destabilizing political/econoomic forces. Now, this time frame might be 30 years, rather than 10 or 5 (or none), it’s not as though we a lot of time left before things go to hell on our current course. But denial is a powerful state of mind, and I fear we’ll settle into observing others’ difficulties and convincing ourselves we don’t have to do much to avoid them.

  2. Pearl says:

    Glad to hear sustainability is creating momentum. That’s the asterisks missing in nutrition tables, what ground the particular item of food came from. btw Dave, I’ve given you a nod as the thinking blogger.

  3. Pearl says:

    And congrats about the conference.

  4. etbnc says:

    The failed states index is intriguing. Thanks for featuring that.As far as Snap: What problem would it solve for you?To me it appears that Snap’s underlying assumptions about readers’ behavior is opposite my own reading behavior in pretty much every way possible. I have yet to feel that a Snap pop-up has added value to my web reading experience. That’s just one anecdote from a random reader, of course. And to the question, what problem does Snap solve? I might add, is it a long-term solution or a short-term novelty?Cheers

  5. says:

    Should we really be “selecting compact fluorescent bulbs” ? I have been trying to figure out if I am helping or hurting things when I purchasing them. I know Walmart wants to sell 100M of these this year, but as your link says “According to the EPA, CFLs contain an average of 5 milligrams of mercury.” I am not a chemist, but if I recall correctly, mercury is a terribly toxic substance and extremely small amounts can ruin very large bodies of water. Many sources seem to say this: The mercury in one thermometer (half a gram) can turn 670 gallons of water into hazardous waste, and can detectably pollute 5 million gallons.OK, so after I realized that these new “green” bulbs contain mercury, I realized that I would need to dispose of them properly. So I researched how I can recycle them.Unfortunately, I live in Central Illinois. If I were to wish to recycle these mercury containing lightbulbs, I would need to drive 114 miles to Chicago to do so. While it is very possible that someone like myself might be organized and patient enough to collect and make occasional trips to avoid this environmental hazard — I have serious reservations as to how many of the 100 million bulbs a year will make it to a certified mercury recycler.Since they will likely end up in landfills across the country, it is almost like we are salting our fields with mercury. I would greatly appreciate feedback on this quandry from someone who is more versed in the science. Is the power saved worth the mercury fallout?Or perhaps the better idea is to require all Walmart to offer to collect back and recycle all the mercury it is helping to slowly dump on the environment? I have 3 Wal-marts within 10 miles of my house.I look forward to learning more…

  6. Dave Pollard says:

    Thanks everyone. aweb: I fear you’re right. sagefool: excellent point — thanks for the education, and I hope when we grapple with recycling batteries we include light bulbs in the program (as they do in Europe, I’m told). And I’m still looking for help with my Google Mail transition.

  7. Jeff Caterer says:

    Hi Dave,I have never used this tool, but I’ve been told it works well importing emails from various programs into gmail. It’s called gmail loader:

  8. says:

    Dave, on the topic of mercury — just found this article: it doesn’t do much to reassure me.

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