Showing posts from 2015

Turn the Dimmer Down- The High Cost of Urban Light Pollution

Urban light pollution is linked to higher rates of mental illness and cancer. Over 50% of the world's population now live in cities. As this ratio grows, the problem will get worse. When you sleep tonight, reclaim the night from the light. Last week,  New York City Council studied  the details of a bill that may "limit internal and external light use in many commercial buildings when empty at night." It joins several other global cities that have moved in the same direction over the last few years. Even Paris, known as the City of Lights, hit the dimmer switch in July 2013 after  France passed nationwide legislation  that mandates a 1 a.m. curfew on over-illumination. The reasons for turning down the lights are threefold. Firstly, resulting lower energy usage cuts costs and CO2 emissions. Secondly,  night-migrating birds that rely on the moon and stars for navigation , lose their way because of the confusion that light pollution causes them, and many die on these life-su

Disruptive power: How innovation is reshaping the energy landscape

Recent gyrations in the price of oil mask longer-term shifts, driven by innovation and fresh ideas, that are altering the very structure, geographies and politics of the energy industry. The plunging prices of oil over the last half of 2014 have dramatically altered the global energy landscape. The US' successes over the last three years in tapping its (environmentally controversial and finite) resources of shale oil have  repositioned it from an importer to a potential exporter of oil . This unexpected excess coupled with reduced demand has rebalanced the supply and demand equations for carbon-based energy supplies thereby  driving down the price of oil by almost 50%  by the end of 2014. This has had cascading impacts on sectors such as  government subsidies , electricity production,  aviation , transportation and the  consumer's willingness to splurge their saved gas money on more Christmas gifts . These recent gyrations in the prices of oil mark significantly more important