Category: resilience/sustainability

why kids should map places

Middle school kids in Nashville Tennessee have been successful in getting new bike infrastructure because of their mapping efforts.  Araz Hachadourian, reported in YES! magazine  that ‘Nashville Teens Mapped Their Daily Routes—And Got a New Bike Lane as a Result. In Nashville, Tennessee, and Chicago, city planners are responding to demands for better neighborhood mobility and bicycling infrastructure.

Photo by Gabriela Aguirre-Iriarte

And it makes sense that planners would respond more strongly to kids…and I bet they’d respond even more strongly to younger kids who get involved in mapping the needs of their neighbourhoods and towns.


road paved with solar panels

Where’s one place that we have a lot of available flat space? Road surfaces. A village in France is experimenting by putting solar panels on their roads. The solar panels are supposed to be tough enough to drive on. The village experiment will determine how tough these solar panels really are. (reported in Inhabitat). The 1km of road paved with solar panels should power streetlighting for the village.

Waterway solar panel road surface

The road is by a French company called Wattway. The company says:

The world’s 1st ever photovoltaic road surface
Wattway is a patented French innovation that is the fruit of 5 years of research undertaken by Colas, world leader in transport infrastructure, and the INES (French National Institute for Solar Energy).

How sunflowers turn their heads


Sunflowers; Marcel Sigg 2013

I saw a news item over the summer that stayed with me, and now that it’s getting colder here in England, just looking at sunflowers is warming. It turns out sunflowers are able to follow the sun because they grow ‘unevenly.’ During the day one side of the stem grows, and then during the night the other side grows. See the article from University of California Davis:

What’s your Decarbonizer?

I read about a new report on “deep decarbonization,” describing top priorities for reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

In some ways it’s a ridiculous title. But Decarbonizer sounds kinda cool, like a secret weapon or some sort of superhero.

I like the fact that we can all have decarbonizers –maybe some secret—in our lives.  Here are few of my personal decarbonizers:

THE SIDEWALK! (or “Pavement” as they say in British English)

Since I do most grocery shopping by foot, this TROLLEY is also one of my key decarbonizers, I don’t care if people think I look like a grandma, although this was one of the most stylish and large-wheeled I could find…



Another big Decarbonizer  in our household is this CHANA DAL and other legumes that we eat instead of meat. Reducing the amount of meat in the global diet could be a significant source of decarbonization, according to the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.


The Deep Decarbonizaton report tells us what we probably already know. Those of us in developed/high consumption/industrialized countries need to get cracking with carbon reduction efforts and especially energy efficiency, renewable energy (to decarbonize electricity!) and replacing carbon-based transport fuels with alternatives.

These decarbonizers are also featured in our book, Bicycle, Airships and Things that Go. It’s a funny story about a family journey that happens to be powered by renewable energy and other decarbonizers. We just hadn’t though about it that way before.

So what is your secret, or not so secret, decarbonizer? What are the best kid decarbonizers?