Month of May, 2008

IMAGINE A WORLD by Amory Lovins (presented at RMI's 25th Aniversary Gala August 2007)

May 09, 2008 - 11:37:42 AM

RMI25 Gala ALovins SpeechLet me tell you a story...

In the early 1950s, the Dayak people in Borneo had malaria. The World Health Organization had a solution: spray DDT. They did; mosquitoes died; malaria declined; so far, so good. But there were side effects. House roofs started falling down on people's heads, because the DDT also killed tiny parasitic wasps that had previously controlled thatch-eating caterpillars. The colonial government gave people sheet-metal roofs, but the noise of the tropical rain on the tin roofs kept people awake. Meanwhile, the DDT-poisoned bugs were eaten by geckoes, which were eaten by cats. The DDT built up in the food chain and killed the cats. Without the cats, the rats flourished and multiplied. Soon the World Health Organization was threatened with potential outbreaks of typhus and plague, and had to call in RAF Singapore to conduct Operation Cat Drop — parachuting a great many live cats into Borneo. (See: "How Not to Parachute More Cats")

This story — our guiding parable at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) — shows that if you don't understand how things are connected, often the cause of problems is solutions. Most of today's problems are like that. But at RMI we harness hidden connections so the cause of solutions is solutions: we solve, or better still avoid, not just one problem but many, without making new ones, before someone has to go parachuting more cats. So, join me in envisioning where these linked, multiplying solutions can lead if we take responsibility for creating the world we want.  READ MORE »


posted in:

Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia

May 09, 2008 - 10:31:59 PM


May 2, 2008: The Buckminster Fuller Institute is pleased to announce that “Comprehensive Design for a Carbon Neutral World: The Challenge of Appalachia”, submitted by Dr. John Todd, has been selected as the winner of the 2008 Buckminster Fuller Challenge.

Buckminster Fuller often pointed out that, “one of the most important facts about spaceship earth is that it didn’t come with an operating manual”. Dr. Todd’s pioneering work and vision represents an essential chapter of the operating manual Humans must urgently complete. His profound understanding of biological systems will revolutionize the way we think about our place on the planet and our connection to the land and its resources.  READ MORE »


Agro Housing -- To Dwell is to Garden

May 31, 2008 - 01:59:59 PM

Agro HousingAgro Housing

Knafo Klimor Architects of Israel - Winners of the 2nd International Architecture Competition for Sustainable Housing. China 2007

Conceptual Approach
According to a UN report, in 2010 about 50% of the Chinese population will reside in cities. This huge migration from rural regions to new urban megalopolises will create a dramatic cultural and social crisis, a loss of existing traditions and considerable unemployment. Massive urbanization will form random communities, severely deplete natural resources, exhaust urban infrastructures and transportation systems, and will increase air and soil pollution.
The concept of Agro-Housing is a new urban and social vision that will address problems of chaotic urbanization by creating a new order in the city and more specifically, in the housing environment.
Agro-Housing is a program that combines a high-rise apartment complex with a vertical greenhouse within the same building.
The idea behind Agro-Housing is to create a close to home space where families can produce their own food supply according to their abilities and choices. This will allow the citizens more independence, freedom, and additional income.  READ MORE »