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China, India become climate leaders as West falters

Climate Central reports: Two years after the Paris climate accord, climate policies are advancing in developing countries but stalling or regressing in richer ones. Here’s a trip around the world, assessing how pro-climate and anti-climate forces are faring in key nations and regions, showing how recent developments are affecting the languishing fight against global warming.

Point of no return: How a bunch of city-dwellers got back to the basics

From The Hindu: Ten years ago Siddharth, an IIT-IIM alumnus based in Chennai, put the brakes on his corporate career, that of vice-president for a technology R&D firm. He was 35 when he picked up a shovel to become an organic farmer instead. Not a landlord who employs labour but, quite literally, a subsistence farmer.

Earthbag Diaries 3: Building our brand new home, one bag at a time

Requiring no special equipment and no special expertise, and very economical to boot, earthbagging is famous as an ‘idiot-proof’ technique, popular with first-and-only-time owner-builders the world over. Venetia Kotamraju, who moved from busy Bangalore to a farm on the Western Ghats, writes on her experiment with earthbagging. The third installment in a series of four.

Earthbag Diaries 2: Planning, material and equipment

Requiring no special equipment and no special expertise, and very economical to boot, earthbagging is famous as an ‘idiot-proof’ technique, popular with first-and-only-time owner-builders the world over. Venetia Kotamraju, who moved from busy Bangalore to a farm on the Western Ghats, writes on her experiment with earthbagging. The second installment in a series of four.

Ecologise book: You and Your Cycle: A Guide to Maintenance

To mark the bicentenary year of the bicycle, and to promote cycling among children, Ecologise Hyderabad and Ride A Cycle, Bangalore has published book on bicycle maintenance entitled ‘You and Your Cycle: A Guide to Maintenance’. The fully illustrated 40-page book is authored by Lavanya K and Shamala Kittane and is priced at Rs. 50/.

Project Drawdown: Mapping the 100 most substantive solutions to global warming

Amy Brady writes: Project Drawdown is a coalition of more than two hundred experts who have gathered 100 of the most viable ways to “draw down” carbon from the atmosphere. The result of their research is an immensely readable volume of solutions to climate change written for laypeople but informed by the world’s top experts.

Earthbag Diaries 1: Stomping mud in Sakleshpur

Requiring no special equipment and no special expertise, and very economical to boot, earthbagging is famous as an ‘idiot-proof’ technique, popular with first-and-only-time owner-builders the world over. Venetia Kotamraju, who moved from busy Bangalore to a farm on the Western Ghats, writes on her experiment with earthbagging. The first installment in a series of four.

How to form a global counter-economy

From Open Democracy: Open cooperativism is an effort to infuse cooperatives with the basic principles of commons based peer production. Here are six interrelated strategies for post-corporate entrepreneurial coalitions. The aim is to go beyond the classical corporate paradigm, and its extractive profit-maximizing practices, toward the establishment of open cooperatives that cultivate a commons-oriented economy.

Gail Tverberg: The “wind and solar will save us” delusion

Somehow, most people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion people can get along with a very short list of energy supplies. Given climate change, this short list cannot include fossil fuels, but we believe Wind and Solar can save us. Unfortunately, a transition to such alternative fuels can’t really work. Here’s why.

New study says solar panels have repaid their fossil fuel debt

Phys.org reports: The climate friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them, a study said Tuesday. Indeed, by some calculations, the so-called “break-even point” between dirty energy input and clean output may already have arrived, researchers in the Netherlands reported.

Mushrooms can save the world (and put Monsanto out of business)

EcoSnippets reports: According to Paul Stamets, one of the world’s leading mycologists, his patented ‘smart pesticides’ can provide a safe and nearly permanent solution for controlling over 200,000 species of insects – and all thanks to the ‘magic’ of mushrooms. In fact, pesticide industry executives have called it “the most disruptive technology we have ever witnessed.”

Is renewable energy really environmentally friendly?

Robin Delobel writes: The issue is rarely raised, but renewable energies have a heavy environmental impact when the total production chain and overall product life-cycle is taken into account– particularly, the stage of mining the metals needed in their production. In addition, chemical products used in the mining operations often lead to severe long-term pollution.

India’s organic rice revolution proves GMOs are unnecessary

Whitney Webb reports: Farmers in India’s poorest region are recording record rice yields by growing organically, debunking once and for all the myth that GMOs are necessary to feed the world’s growing population… In Bihar, Sumant Kumar and his family produced an astounding 22.4 tons of rice on only one hectare of land, in 2013.

India can lead the world in solving ‘problems without borders’

Navi Radjou writes: My thesis is that powerful centripetal forces are gaining great momentum and are about to usher in the Age of Convergence. This epochal shift provides India a once-in-a-millennium opportunity to assume global leadership in co-creating innovative solutions to tackle socio-economic challenges that will severely afflict the whole of humanity in coming decades.

Call for donors: Clean ocean energy project in Udupi, India

Developed by Dr. Ashok Kundapur, this project seeks to harness energy from the ocean to generate clean electric power all round the year at over 80% of installed capacity, way better than any conventional power plant burning coal or Uranium. He is seeking funds to develop a fully functional prototype, through the Milaap crowdfunding platform.

In the world’s biggest city, the past offers lessons for surviving the future

At the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868), Japan faced ecological collapse from deforestation, erosion and watershed damage. New conservation practices were introduced in response to this crisis which brought about a sustainable interaction between nature and humans. Current anxieties about the state of the world are today driving renewed interest in the Edo experience.

Video: Interview with Open Source Ecology pioneer Marcin Jakubowski

Marcin Jakubowski is one of those crazy people who has been trying to open source a civilization starter kit from the ground up. Here he talks of why he considers himself farmer-scientist and open source ecologist; scarcity; distribution and post-scarcity; the definition, goals of open source ecology; the civilization starter kit of 50 irreplaceable machines.

Video: This wind turbine costs as much as an iPhone, powers an entire house

Avant Garde Innovations, founded by siblings Arun and Anoop George from Kerala, has come up with a low-cost wind turbine that can generate enough electricity to power an entire house for a lifetime. The size of a ceiling fan, this wind turbine can generate 5 kWh/kW per day— with just a one-time cost of US$750.

How to achieve sustainable clean water for everyone

Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the one-size-fits-all approach of centralised infrastructure and instead pursue a suite of solutions tailored to local needs. Could it be possible to have water systems that have no adverse impact on the environment? Such a transformation will require new technology but also new ways for people to interact with water.

How viable (and sustainable) are solar PV systems? A debate

Post the Paris climate agreement, the world looks to solar energy more than ever to reduce carbon emissions and counter climate change, with multi-billion dollar solar programmes announced by just about every major country. But just how efficient,  and environmentally sustainable is the celebrated solar photovoltaic technology? Here’s what some leading voices have to say.

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