Green House Effect

Floating a solution to rising sea levels

For those of you worried about our eventual loss of land due to global warming— Robert Correll, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, estimates the mighty ocean could rise six feet by the year 2100—this development should soothe your anxiety: the Lilypad. Its architect, Vincent Callebaut, calls it “a floating ecopolis for climate refugees.”

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Urban locavores might get food from vertical farms

The CSAs that serve my Brooklyn neighborhood are long sold out—I’m on a waiting list for next summer, and even then, who knows if I’ll make it in? Point being, there’s a mad rush to embrace local food in this city, as in many others, a demand currently outweighing supply.

One way to solve that conundrum: the vertical farm. Columbia University professor Dickson Despommier (that last name is so close to meaning “of the apple”) has been working on these skyscraper agricultural outposts with grad students since 1999, but recently he’s gotten a nod of approval from a high ranking official (albeit one with very little actual power): Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

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Branson's uber eco island getaway

Rich guys have it so hard—such pressure to conquer a new superlative at every turn. So it’s not enough that Richard Branson, one of the world’s richest men (and maybe the happiest)—sorry, that’s Sir Richard Branson—and founder of the Virgin brand, owns the world’s most expensive private island; now he has to own the greenest private island, too.

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Affordable green housing for foster youth

Leave it to Oakland—the city that brought us the first green homeless shelter—to push the envelope on affordable green housing. This week, the city will welcome a new green building, this one aimed not just at folks who need shelter; this is green housing specifically for foster youth.

Madison Street Apartments holds 79 units of affordable housing, from studios to three-bedrooms, twenty of which are held for a program called First Place for Youth. “Aged-out” foster youth—those who are getting too old for foster care but aren’t quite ready for independent living—go through an economic literacy course (with valuable tidbits on how to handle money) and receive a subsidy to pay for their apartments, just a block from the lovely Lake Merritt district. Services are included—case workers and job training and such—in order to curb the common outcome: Foster kids are three times more likely to end up homeless without such help.

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Making carbon-nuetral buildings mainstream by 2030

What’s with the year 2030? Characters in the movies Back to the Future and Time Machine stop by in MMXXX, and 52-year old Ted from How I Met Your Mother reflects on his past love life from the vantage point of 2030, the year the song Happy Birthday will enter the public domain.

But the reason 2030 is the new 1999, the year embodying our aspirations and anxieties, and, as a result, our policies, hardly relates to mass culture. Our population should edge over eight million by then. Eighteen percent of our coral reefs will have been put to death by climate change. Some ice caps and glaciers will have disappeared.

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Issue 25

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