Archive for the ‘Uncovering & Evaluating Sources’ Category

“The Original Green” is Steve and Wanda Mouzon’s book/website/blog/email list project conveying their “proposition of the Original Green,” which, in their terms, means that “before the Thermostat Age, the places we made and the buildings we built had no choice but to be green. The Original Green is holistic sustainability, and broader than Gizmo Green.” As they write:

    Many people now agree that achieving sustainability is a bigger challenge than just buying more efficient devices. Steve Mouzon coined the phrase “Original Green” several years ago to describe the sustainability that existed before the Thermostat Age. . . . Steve is the founder of the New Urban Guild in Miami . . . a group of architects, designers, and other New Urbanists dedicated to the study and the design of true traditional buildings and places native to and inspired by the regions in which they are built.

Steve Mouzon’s book The Original Green and the Mysteries of True Sustainability (Miami: The New Urban Guild Foundation, 2010). To support this project, the Mouzon’s also have created the following:

The Canadian Oral History Association (COHA) recently published a special issue of their journal Oral History Forum d’histoire orale titled “Talking Green: Oral History and Environmental History.” This special issue is available for free public access (one does not need to be a member of COHA or a journal subscriber to access the articles).

The journal is also available in electronic form through the PSU Library. The journal’s table of contents:


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I’ve recently been alerted to the existence of an online journal devoted to issues related to sustainability, Mother Pelican: A Journal of Sustainable Human Development.

Mother Pelican is a product of The Pelican Web, whose mission it is “to collect, organize, and disseminate knowledge on sustainable development, with especial focus on human development; and to publish the monthly, free subscription, open access Mother Pelican, a journal on sustainable human development.”

The Pelican Web website contains links to resources and also provides an outline of the organization’s research agenda:


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A special issue of the journal Science as Culture (19:4, Dec. 2010) is focused on “nature’s accountability” and provides some insights into the historical development of sustainable practices.:

    The past three hundred years has seen a rise of scientific measures to account for the human uses of nature. These measures have monitored, recorded and visualized nature, its uses and over-uses. From early concepts of sustainability in the 18th century, to models of sustainable fisheries of the late 20th century, accounting measures have always involved economic and political accountability. They are exercises of power, norm-setting and sanctioning. Such measures highlight some aspects of human involvement, while obscuring others.

    This special issue explores how nature has been taken into account for maximizing sustained yield and producing sustainable quality in forestry and agriculture through cosmopolitan science in the context of capitalist development. Contributions develop an interdisciplinary, historical perspective on sustainability as a concept and practice.

Chapters include:

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The Portland State University (PSU) Institute for Sustainable Solutions hosts Solutions Seminars every Wednesday from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., at PSU’s Shattuck Hall Annex (1914 SW Park Ave.). These seminars “explore visionary and desirable solutions to the environmental, economic, and social challenges of our time.”

PSU’s journal Solutions: For a Sustainable and Desirable Future helps sponsor this series. Learn more about the Solutions Seminars series at the Solutions website here.

Past speakers have included:

    Robert Costanza, PSU professor of sustainability, director of the ISS, and co-founder and editor-in-chief of Solutions. He spoke on “Solutions for a Sustainable and Desirable Future.”

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Old AM radio tuner, photographer Claudio Divizia, 123RF Stock Photos (www.123rf.com)

Oregon Public Broadcasting’s Think Out Loud radio program this morning was on the topic “Sustainable Oregon and Iraq.” This program featured discussion of two recent developments in regional sustainability efforts. The first was on the five-year agreement that Oregon State University and the government of Iraq entered into help Iraq’s universities in developing sustainable engineering and design programs. The second topic of discussion was on “EcoDistricts,” a new and evolving urban planning concept that seeks to coordinate various existing environmental, equity, and economic strategies in a particular neighborhood to foster cohesive, mutually-reinforcing positive outcomes.

This program this morning got me interested in reviewing other segments of two regional radio programs that I’ve found highly informative over the years, OPB’s Think Out Loud and KUOW’s Weekday. See below the fold for this list.


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In his post “Future City: Portland & Networked Urban Sustainability,” Alex Aylett provides a look “at some of the hits and misses of climate change policy in Portland (OR).” He sought to provide more than “just a summary of one city’s programs” to identify evidence of what he sees as “an important shift in the way cities are pursuing sustainability.”

Aylett finds that many cities in throughout the world are entering a new era of implementing sustainable practices, an era in which “retrofitting City Hall is nice, but the real game revolves around how we plan and travel through our cities, how we build and run our buildings, and how we make and use energy.” This “new phase of urban sustainability” is one in which the low-hanging fruit has been harvested (so to speak) and “cities are being pushed to tackle the really tough issues.”

Portland, according to Aylett, is “one of a handful of American cities that is really embracing the challenges of networked sustainability,” as evidenced by a number of organizations and projects in the area, including: Clean Energy Works Portland (CEWP); Green Building initiatives to achieve LEED certifications; and ecodistricts & the Portland Sustainability Institute (PoSI).

Readers interested in learning more about Portland or modern urban environments broadly are encouraged to read Aylett’s blog “openalex: cities & sustainability: reinventing the good life,” navigate to his article cited above, and to peruse as well his the other Portland-specific articles he has written, including:

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I just learned about a book of relevance to the SHP that is soon to be released:

This book is “a collaborative exploration of how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive.” This exploration involves “Fifty-one small-business people from Portland” who “share their experiences with implementing sustainable practices in their companies.” The collaborative effort to create the book involved crowdsourcing. As the book’s website identifies:

    The difference between crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific other body. The difference between crowdsourcing and open source is that open source production is a cooperative activity initiated and voluntarily undertaken by members of the public. In crowdsourcing the activity is initiated by a client and the work may be undertaken on an individual, as well as a group, basis.

Mercy Corps Northwest is hosting a free-of-charge book release party for Portland Bottom Line on Wednesday, November 10, from 5-8 pm (with a program at 6) at Mercy Corps HQ, 45 SW Ankeny St., Portland.

The book’s website provides some sample chapters and a forum for other regional business professionals to share their stories.

** Updated soon after posting, with information from the editors. Thanks, editors!

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Portland area regional map, from Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies, http://www.pdx.edu/ims/regional-map

A critical first step in any study of regional sustainability is determining what has already been done. This post will be the first on this website to begin to gather such links. The information below complements the “Links of Interest” on this website, and also provides some insight into questions raised in the SHP post “On the history of sustainability in the Pac NW.”

This post highlights the work of the Institute of Portland Metropolitan Studies at Portland State University, and The Diggable City PSU Master of Urban and Regional Planning workshop.


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This quarter, I asked the students to compose blog posts highlighting what they felt to be the most important elements from their Reading Response 1 and 2 assignments.

As part of Reading Response 2, I asked students to pair an article I had selected with something from their own discipline or area of interest that addressed the broad scope and meaning of sustainability in this discipline. Below is a list of sources that students found themselves to complement the articles I assigned.


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