Edenkeeper Talks Walden Pond and Spirituality

Throughout Thoreau’s philosophy one can see a sort of neo-Taoism, specifically a way of understanding “higher” thought, spiritual and otherwise, through his reverance of nature: “It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium through which we look, which morally we can do. To affect the quality of the day,…

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Cars Are Not Welcome in Zurich

Zurich wants tourists to know that they’re welcome to the beautiful, historic city. They’re welcome to walk its streets, bicycle through its lanes, and enjoy its excellent, state-of-the-art public transportation system while they visit the city’s shops and restaurants. They’re welcome to do just about anything, in fact … except bring their cars. Like Amsterdam, Zurich has become something of a leader in urban planning, bike advocacy, and walkability- and it did so way back in the 1990s by taking…

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NYC’s Next Car Free Zone: Central Park Loop

In the coming weeks, there will be a vote on a bill that will see the city of New York close the Central Park Loop to all automotive traffic for three months in a bid to determine the impact a car-free Central Park would have on NYC’s car, bike, and foot traffic. “Currently, the Central Park loop is packed with cars, cyclists, and runners all vying for limited space; removing cars from the loop will dramatically reduce the risk of…

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Liquid Metal Batteries Promise to Transform the Grid

MIT Professor of Materials and Chemistry Donald R. Sadoway believes that a massive shift in the world of energy is coming, and it’s not a new, massive grid. Instead, Sadoway believes that sustainable energy sources like wind and solar can work together with advanced, liquid-metal batteries to reliably, dependably deliver power to local energy grids at a price point that- soon- will be lower than fossil fuels. Made from common-Earth elements (as opposed to rare-Earth elements), Sadoway’s liquid metal batteries…

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Chicago Turns Light Poles into Data Mines

They may look like ornate bits of sculpture, but the curled metal bits at the top of the street lights on Chicago‘s Michigan Ave. are actually a system of advanced sensors that will measure the city’s air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation and wind. That’s all good- but the sensors will also count people, measure wireless signals, and probably not in any way be a “Big Brother” type of intrusion into personal privacy. That’s the promise- but let’s…

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Vertical Gardening Gets Real in Australia

When news broke two years ago that Sydney, Australia would be home to the world’s tallest and largest urban/vertical gardening project, I had some doubts- and I would have bet money that it was vaporware. It was a scam, I was sure- a thing that was so awesome that it was not ever going to happen. Thankfully, I was wrong: it’s real, and it’s spectacular. The One Central Park residential tower in Sydney was designed by French architect Jean Nouvel,…

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Helsinki Has a High-tech Plan to Ban Cars by 2025

The city of Helsinki wants to completely remove privately owned and driven cars from its roads by 2025, replacing them with a high tech system that combines mobile phone apps, ride sharing, bike rentals, and public transit on a level that hasn’t yet been seen in the Western world. If it works, it could establish a precedent that would, eventually, be adopted in Spain, the UK, and other European countries. What do you think, readers? Is a city planning to…

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More Benches = More Closely Knit Communities

A movement calling itself the Benches Collective (Bankjes Collectief, actually- but you get the idea) believes that more outdoor benches help to create stronger, more closely knit communities, and their efforts are helping to turn the streets of Amsterdam into, what the group calls, the largest outdoor café in the world. That big, street side cafe is now a monthly happening- which is alright by event organizers. “A (shared) bench on the sidewalk invites spontaneous conversations with neighbors and makes…

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Cermak to Become Greenest Road in America

The city of Chicago is many things to many people, but it doesn’t have the “green” mental associations that, say, San Francisco or Portland have. That’s starting to change, however, and the plan to introduce smog-eating pavement to Chicago’s famous Cermak Rd. (which began back in 2012) could a big difference in the way people think of the Windy City. From storefront to street, the city of Chicago is installing light-colored pavement (which reduces the energy use of the street’s…

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