Energy

MIT Professor Sheila Kennedy's solar-energy-producing textiles. Courtesy Sheila Kennedy.

Six visionary designers who are planning for our post-oil future

A new generation of designers propose products and buildings that are energy efficient and elegant Rick Mercer’s quip during the Copenhagen climate conference last December summed it up best: “So [Stephen] Harper flew to Copenhagen to have a club sandwich and hide in his room?” The post-Copenhagen doldrums were still bringing us down when Thomas… More »

Volunteers building a wall as part of an August, 2009 strawbale building workshop. Creative Commons photo by CSLP.

How to build an eco-village in five easy steps

Ever wanted to live in a truly green town, full of energy-efficient homes and people working together for the environment? Then follow the lead of Craik, Sask., and start up an eco-village. Located halfway between Saskatoon and Regina, the town of Craik (population: 450) is reinventing itself and attracting new residents from as far away… More »

Biochar.

Could farm-friendly 'biochar' suck up a fifth of the world's carbon emissions?

The Claim Proponents believe that biochar—a fine charcoal produced when biomass is burned without oxygen—could dramatically cut our carbon emissions while improving soil productivity. The Investigation Here’s how it works: When organic matter decomposes, it releases carbon back into the atmosphere. This naturally occurring breakdown contributes a whopping 220 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide to the… More »

Google Earth detail showing part of the Athabasca tar sands mining operation. The tar sands is both the most carbon- and capital-intensive project on earth. Photo via Flickr user Skytruth.

Four world records Canada should be ashamed to hold

Nothing brings out patriotic pride like the Olympics. But before we get busy reading about gold medals and new heights of athletic glory, let’s take a few moments to reflect on a few shameful Canadian records that you likely won’t be hearing about during any Olympic broadcasts: 1. The Alberta tar sands hold two shameful… More »

Gwyneth Cravens. Illustration by David Anderson.

Interview: Power to Save the World author Gwyneth Cravens

She changed her mind about nuclear power—and she wants to change yours, too Novelist, journalist, and former anti-nuclear activist Gwyneth Cravens spent 10 years researching and writing Power to Save the World: The Truth About Nuclear Energy. She tells us why she now favours nuclear. This: How did you become an advocate for nuclear power?… More »

Cape Breton conservationists at odds with wind power plan

Nuclear power has always been controversial, but even green power sources like wind and hydro meet resistance from locals. When Nova Scotia entrepreneur Luciano Lisi unveiled a plan to blow 250 megawatts of wind-power into his province’s coal-based grid, he didn’t expect it to be this controversial. But his proposed wind-hydro hybrid project, involving 44… More »

Protesters demonstrating Canada's tar sands development outside the Canadian High Commission in London. Photo by Zoe Cormier.

Postcard from London: On climate change, new message is "Blame Canada"

I was pretty sure I knew what the Canadian flag, held upside down, was supposed to represent. But I had to ask anyway. Last Monday afternoon, standing outside the Houses of Parliament in London in Parliament square, I held my cell phone aloft with a hundred other protesters, taking part in a “climate flash mob,”… More »

Think we never went to Iraq? Think again.

Hostile takeover: Canada's outsourced war for Iraq's oil riches

In March 2008, when the invasion of Iraq by George W. Bush’s “coalition of the willing” marked its fifth anniversary, Canadian media outlets were in a self-congratulatory mood: “Canada isn’t involved” there, one reporter wrote. “The further we get away from the actual date, the better Canada’s decision to not get involved with the U.S…. More »

How to get local produce in the city? Look up. Illustration by Peter Mitchell.

Is a 60-storey skyscraper the farm of the future?

Canadian architecture student Gordon Graff attracted worldwide interest when he designed SkyFarm, a 59-storey farm for downtown Toronto. What inspired you to design a vertical farm? Sometime in 2006, when I was first working on my masters at the University of Waterloo, I knew I wanted to focus on how to turn a city like… More »

Could wind turbines like these be harmful to your health? The scientific consensus is far from clear.

Could "Wind Turbine Syndrome" be harmful to your health?

We love it when health concerns are taken seriously… The last time you talked to your doctor about a strange set of symptoms, he or she probably didn’t write a book about it. But when Dr. Nina Pierpont of New York State got wind (pun intended) of dozens of residents living near wind turbines who… More »