Editorial

  • Could the old adage “Seeing is believing” have it backwards? Increasingly, we’re learning that we humans see our world through a paradigm, as Donella Meadows reminded us in her seminal article, republished in the first issue of Solutions. A paradigm boils down to our “great big unstated assumptions,” she wrote, “or deepest set of beliefs […]

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Feature

Perspectives

  • Can the aviation industry ever be sustainable? Aviation may only be responsible for 2 percent of global CO2 output,1 but that’s 13 percent of the world’s transportation fuels each year,2 or 670 tonnes (metric tons) of CO2 annually.3 It would take roughly 23,680,000 trees planted per month to offset all the aviation carbon produced each […]

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  • We know what we need to do to mitigate climate change; we have known for decades. The challenge is not one of technology (although we will need to invent new technologies), nor is it one of workable policy options. In fact, the best way to address climate change would be through one of the simplest […]

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  • In a world that worships economic activity, doing right by the earth is often more time consuming and expensive—either in actual dollars or opportunity cost—than succumbing to our manifest destiny. The same rule applies when conserving land: if it’s not financially advantageous, it often doesn’t happen. The question, then, is how to make open …

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  • In Africa, poverty and environmental degradation are inextricably linked. If we want to talk about long-term sustainable solutions, we cannot address one without the other. I live in an area of rural Kenya where people cut down indigenous trees to process and sell as cooking charcoal. Every morning, I see men riding into town on […]

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On the Ground

Solutions in History

  • Have you taken a good look at American children lately? They’re pudgy. Indeed, nearly 20 percent of them are obese.1 They watch a lot of television and play a lot of video games—over seven and a half hours of electronic entertainment a day if they’re between ages 8 and 18 (infants and toddlers watch about […]

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Envision the Future

  • A new very advanced virtual reality system just released reminds me of a holodeck on Star Trek. The “reality” it simulates is generated by a cross between a real-time systems simulation model of the biophysical environment, an agent-based personality simulator (a super-Sims), and an advanced “future search” consensus-building system. …

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Interview

Media Review

  • A low- or zero-carbon world without nuclear power: is it possible? Perhaps the most qualified person to address this issue is Arjun Makhijani of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Takoma Park, Maryland. He (together with Alan Lichtenberg) conducted one of the first bottom-up studies comparing energy use between countries; …

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  • Water and energy are inextricably linked: it might as well be water flowing through the overhead power lines and electricity dripping from our faucets. Much of our energy is produced with hydro turbines, and energy is required to purify and transport water. The Institute of Electronics and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) examines this complicated …

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  • As foreign news bureaus continue to shrink—or disappear entirely—the blogosphere is changing the way news spreads. Global Voices, at the forefront of this change, is an international team of over 300 bloggers and translators that aggregates, translates, and explains the best blog posts worldwide. Global Voices’ stories are written by local …

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  • Much of the human population still goes hungry, yet both public and private investment in agricultural development have reached historic lows. To raise awareness and to direct available funds effectively, Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project is working to assess global agricultural innovation, from farming methods and …

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  • It begins with two birds in a maple tree rooted atop a glass building. The camera pulls quickly back, passes below a monorail, ascends, and pans to capture a strangely tranquil, computer-generated cityscape. Birds chirp. Popular Science magazine has never been short on creativity, and this, their urban vision of the future—“the Green Mega …

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Noteworthy

  • In 2000, the HealthStore Foundation built its first 11 micropharmacies in central Kenya. Today, the network has expanded to include 48 basic medical clinics and 17 micropharmacies. Over these ten years, the HealthStore Foundation has served roughly two million low-income patients in central Kenya. The HealthStore Foundation is an example of a …

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  • At one of Raziq Fahim’s first Youth Forums in Baluchistan, Pakistan, a young man sat in the audience, planning to detonate a suicide bomb. But as he engaged in the conversation that was taking place, he changed his mind. He realized that the participants and organizers were working to find solutions for his community. Today, […]

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  • The aurochs, a giant wild ox, dominated the Eurasian landscape before humans settled the region. About ten thousand years ago, people began domesticating this formidable bovine—at six-and-a-half feet at the shoulders, it stood head and horns above its diminutive domestic descendants—and hunting out its wild ancestors. The last aurochs died in …

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  • The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations estimates that investing $30 billion annually could eradicate global hunger and meet many of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals in the third world. Two-and-a-half billion people depend directly on agriculture, including 800 million who are smallholder farmers. Seventy-five …

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  • Even without a climate bill from Congress this year, the United States can be a leader in slowing and reversing global climate change. That’s the conclusion of the Presidential Climate Action Project (PCAP) in its latest recommendations to the Obama administration. In August, PCAP sent the White House a five-step plan for presidential climate …

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Text Boxes

  • As the New York Times recently reported, the microfinance business is going through something of an identity crisis.1 Microloans—small amounts of money lent to the world’s poor, including on the Indian subcontinent—have traditionally been conceived of as instruments for social justice campaigns, allowing impoverished individuals to build …

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  • Climate alterations are already making several areas of the globe increasingly inhospitable to continued human occupation, and environmental refugees are becoming a measurable fraction of the world’s displaced populations. Despite the clarity of the data, mitigation strategies around climate change have been difficult to implement. At the same …

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