Public Service Announcement

March 31, 2008

PSA for Ecocity World Summit, courtesy our friends at TV20.


UK’s First Planned Ecovillage Gets Go-Ahead

March 31, 2008

NOTE: This project, brought to us by Jesse Fox at Treehugger is very interesting, with a lot of comparison to be drawn to the Ecovillage at Ithaca. To learn about some of the struggles to get this project off the ground (or in the ground as the case may be) check out this excellent series of short films on Lammas. [ ]

From Jesse Fox @ Treehugger.


After having their plans rejected once by British planning institutions, a small group of families has been granted permission to build a small ecovillage in the Welsh countryside. The tiny village, to be called Lammas, is planned to cover a 74 acre site of pasture and woodland.

Planned to be completely independent of national infrastructures, water would be drawn from springs and rooftop rainwater collection. Electricity would come from local, renewable sources such as small-scale ethanol production and an existing water turbine. All houses would be built out of straw bale, earth and timber, with rammed earth floors and hemp fiber insulation, and would include compost bins and composting toilets.


The Lammas website features incredibly detailed plans regarding every aspect of the community’s existence, including site layout, architectural and transport plans, an ecological footprint assessment and detailed business plans. Closely following Permaculture planning concepts, the “low impact” village concentrates residences and compact, intensive functions in a denser core, with less intensive functions spread out along its edges. A significant portion of the community’s land will be set aside for natural woodlands, containing native plants.

Planning permission for the community became possible when the Pembrokeshire County Council implemented a “low impact development” policy, requiring a high level of self-sufficiency in local households’ use of resources. Pembrokeshire is one of two local authorities in the UK with such a policy regarding local sustainability.

For more detailed information, check out Lammas’ website at

This post is part of an ongoing series examining current and future trends in ecological city building ahead of the 2008 Ecocity World Summit during Earth Day Week in San Francisco this April.

Read more at fairsnape:

Featured Presenter: Stephen Schneider

March 28, 2008

Stephen Schneider is the Stanford University Melvin and Joan Lane professor for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, co-director at Stanford’s Center for Environmental Science and Policy, co-director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, and professor by courtesy in the Department of Civil Engineering.

Schneider’s current global change research interests include food/climate and other environmental/science public policy issues; ecological and economic implications of climatic change; integrated assessment of global change; climatic modeling of paleoclimates and of human impacts on climate, e.g., carbon dioxide “greenhouse effect” and environmental consequences of nuclear war. He is also interested in advancing public understanding of science and in improving formal environmental education in primary and secondary schools. Schneider has served as a consultant to Federal Agencies and/or White House staff in the Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. In 1998, he became a foreign member of the Academia Europaea, Earth and Cosmic Sciences Section. He was elected Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences (1999-2001) and was elected to membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in April 2002. He was a member of the scientific staff of NCAR from 1973-1996, where he co-founded the Climate Project. Schneider was honored in 1992 with a MacArthur Fellowship for his ability to integrate and interpret the results of global climate research.

In 2007, he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore as a member of the IPCC. You can read a little about this achievement at the Stanford website.

Featured Presenter: India Flint

March 26, 2008

Many of the people we’ve featured here have been professionals, government officials, academics, etc. It’s important to realize that these are not the only kind of people who think that ecocity living is the next phase of human community development, and today’s featured presenter is a great example of the broad range of people who are attracted to the concept.

India Flint

Designer, artist, writer and occasional ragbag princess India Flint was born in Melbourne, took her first steps in Montreal (Canada) and has lived in diverse localities ranging from the red dusted Andamooka Opal Fields to lush valleys in the Austrian Alps. Presently she lives on a property situated on the eastern escarpment of the Mount Lofty Ranges, an ideal location to build a textile practice embracing art, theatre, science and fashion. Her distinctive clothing is labeled with a sewn-in eucalyptus ecoprint and is available at exhibitions or as sartorial salvage by commission. Each garment is individually handmade, embellished with stitching and dyed using ecologically sustainable plant dyes (a kind of botanical alchemy). Plants for dyes are sourced from the family farm located in the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia. A flock of sheep including Leicester Longwool as well as Merino provide wool for felting as well as being delightful companions.

She’s the author of Ecocolour, a book on using natural, sustainable plant dyes.

When you think about what an Ecocity would look like, throw in some more color; courtesy of India Flint.

Featured Presenter: Eric Holt-Giménez

March 25, 2008

Eric Holt GimenezToday’s featured Ecocity World Summit presenter is Eric Holt-Giménez, executive director of FoodFirst/Institute for Food and Development Policy. Eric is the author of the latest Food First Book, Campesino a Campesino: Voices from Latin America’s Farmer to Farmer Movement for Sustainable Agriculture which chronicles the development of this movement in Mexico and Central America over two and a half decades. Eric worked with farmers, participated in their farmer-to-farmer trainings, and recorded their triumphs with his camera and pen. Eric comes to the summit from the Bank Information Center in Washington D.C. where he has served as the Latin America Program Manager.

“Successful social movements are formed by integrating activism with livelihoods. These integrated movements create the deep sustained social pressure that produces political will—the key to changing the financial, governmental, and market structures that presently work against sustainability.” – Eric Holt-Giménez


He was interviewed recently on Berekely’s KPFA, where he discussed the environmental fallacy of biofuels, and the greater impact that they have on the environment. “How did such a bad idea gain such incredible currency?” Listen and find out. (via RAN)

Interview: Biofuels Interview on KPFA

Eric also wrote a great article on the subject last June, elaborating on the biofuels myth.

The Great Biofuel Hoax

Some of his best known work was in Central America, working with farmers to lessen their dependence on banks and technology, and minimize the impact they exert on the environment.

Reflections on Sustainable Agriculture in Latin America

And finally, we have Eric speaking at a conference. (In Spanish)

Walter Hood submits landscape design

March 25, 2008

Berkeley Daily Planet

Ecocity speaker and architect Walter Hood has submitted a landscape design for a new museum to be built near UC Berkeley. Here’s an excerpt from the article. You can read the entire story here.

Wednesday night brought landscape architect Walter Hood to the Gaia Building, where he unveiled alternative visions for Center Street along the same block between Shattuck and Oxford.

Hood, who teaches at the university, was picked by EcoCity Builders and Friends of Strawberry Creek Plaza to come up with a design that would transform the block of city street into a pedestrian-friendly public space which would restore some of the creek that once flowed openly from the campus to the bay.

Kirstin Miller of EcoCity Builders, the non-profit that hired Hood in partnership with Friends of Strawberry Creek Plaza, said funds for the design have come from private donors, including a grant from the New Jersey-based Helen and William Mazer Foundation.

Pacifica Tribune: Ecocity Summit

March 24, 2008

Get ready to change the world!

Throughout Earth Day Week, April 22-26, in San Francisco, the Ecocity World Summit (7th International Ecocity Conference) will convene an international community of inspired change-makers, courageous individuals addressing problems of the world’s environment with thoughtful long-range solutions that are truly sustainable, ecologically healthy and socially just. The International Ecocity Conference Series brings together the key innovators, decision makers, technologists, businesses and organizations shaping the conversation around ecological and sustainable city, town and village design, planning and development. We intend to put these issues on the economic and environmental agenda for 2008 and beyond.

Ecocity World Summit 2008 Themes:

  • People — population, health, equity, and access.
  • Nature — protecting and restoring the planet’s living systems and agricultural lands.
  • Sustainable Development — land use, transportation, architecture and infrastructure.
  • Economies & Technologies — building the supporting markets, businesses and technologies.
  • Incentives & Support Structures — role of government, organizations, institutions and individuals.