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NextNow Collab Visualization Expert Bonnie DeVarco at Stanford Media X May 18, 2009

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 10, 2009

Bonnie DeVarco, co-founder of NextNowNetwork and the collaboratory’s visualization technology guru has worked with Dr. Katy Börner, Elisha F. Hardy and others to co-create an experience at Stanford that inspires cross-disciplinary discussion on how best to track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale. The exhibit tour and discussion will be at Stanford’s Media X on May 18; the exhibit remains until December 31, 2009.

The Stanford Press Release and a description of Bonnie’s discussion follows.  Also see Bonnie’s blog, Scale Independent Thought, for her deep reflections on the topic.

Image courtesy www.abeautifulwww.com.  Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge. Science Related Wikipedian Activity map featured in the Third Iteration of Places & Spaces by Bruce W. Herr II, Todd Holloway, Katy Börner, Elisha F. Hardy, Kevin Boyack (2007). Image courtesy http://www.abeautifulwww.com.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 8, 2009
Contact: Martha Russell, Associate Director, Media X at Stanford University: 650-723-1616.  martha.russell@stanford.edu

Art And Technology Of Science Visualizations Celebrated On May 18th At Wallenberg Hall By Media X At Stanford University

STANFORD, CALIFORNIA, May 8, 2009 — Media X at Stanford University is pleased to announce that the broadly praised international exhibition, Places & Spaces – Mapping Science, will be exhibited in Wallenberg Hall from April 20 to December 31, 2009 with a seminar, an opening reception, discussion and tour on Monday May 18th from 4 pm to 6:30 pm.

Places & Spaces highlights the rapidly growing genre of science maps based on large scale data sets. “The art, science and understanding of visualization technologies and their application have enabled new insights about complex issues to be shared with broad communities,” states Media X Executive Director Charles House.  “This new exhibit has turned Wallenberg Hall into a gallery setting that complements the world class visualization work on the Stanford campus in campus labs such as the Human Computer Interaction Lab (HCI) and the Spatial History Project.” http://hci.stanford.edu/people/  http://spatialhistory.stanford.edu/

Curated by Dr. Katy Börner, director of the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University and her colleague, Elisha F. Hardy, Places & Spaces was created to inspire cross-disciplinary discussion on how best to track and communicate human activity and scientific progress on a global scale.  According to Börner “This exhibit introduces people to the power of maps to navigate physical spaces as well as abstract spaces of our collective scholarly knowledge.”

The exhibition has two components. The physical component allows close visual inspection through high-quality prints. The online counterpart at http://scimaps.org/ provides links to a selected series of maps and their makers along with detailed explanations of why these maps work.

Each year 10 new maps are added, which will result in 100 maps total by 2014. Marking its fifth year traveling around the world, the 40 maps will be joined by the “Fifth Iteration” of the Places & Spaces exhibit. Media X at Stanford University is proud to sponsor and debut 10 new maps based on this year’s theme, “Science Maps for Science Policy Makers,” on May 18.

Media X will host a reception and tour of the Places & Spaces exhibition in Wallenberg Hall from 5 pm to 6:30 pm, immediately following a seminar on Visualization Convergence for Collective, Connective and Distributed Intelligence by Bonnie DeVarco, Media X Distinguished Visiting Scholar.  The seminar is part of the 2009 Media X Sun Microsystems Spring Seminar Series, http://mediax.stanford.edu/spring09_seminar_series.html.  Both the seminar and the reception are open to the Stanford academic community and the general public.

The reception will include a description by Stanford Computer Science Assistant Professor Jeffrey Heer of new visualization initiatives underway at Stanford, and his graduate students will present excerpts of their exciting new work in data visualization in a featured poster session.

Live teleconferences with Dr. Börner and several of the mapmakers themselves will introduce the new iteration, “Science Maps for Science Policy Makers.” The physical exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm. The full schedule of Media X Spring Seminars and workshops offered in the Summer Institute at Wallenberg Hall can be seen here:

http://mediax.stanford.edu/WSI/schedule.html

Relevant Web URLs:
•    Media X http://mediax.stanford.edu
•    Places & Spaces Exhibition http://www.scimaps.org

About Media X
Media X is a membership program of the HSTAR Institute – Human Sciences Technology Advanced Research – at Stanford University. Programs and activities of Media X bridge academic and industrial research at the intersection of people and information technologies. The Wallenberg Learning Center is the premiere international teaching facility on the Stanford campus. Housed in the Main Quad, it is equipped with multiple high-tech classrooms and lecture halls.

Directions to Wallenberg Hall: http://wallenberg.stanford.edu/top/location.html

Visualization Convergence for Collective, Connective, and Distributed  Intelligence
Bonnie DeVarco

Today’s leading edge information and  geographic visualization technologies are rapidly becoming  instruments for connective intelligence on the World Wide Web.  People can now easily travel around Earth and through space on their  computers and mobile devices with the ubiquitous tool Google Earth.  At the same time, new data visualization tools allow us  to travel through the patterns of shared knowledge and scholarship using new mapping methods that are both pragmatic and  illuminating.  Whether tracking and predicting epidemics,  making national policy decisions, or identifying emerging scientific  paradigms, these new maps and visualization methodologies are  effective tools for clear thinking and collective action.   Bonnie will survey the recent history of these tools, their networks  of users, and their current state-of-practice.  She will also  present and discuss new trends, showing how these technologies are  converging and amplifying their importance for global communication  and collaboration.

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Digital Earth, Member Event, Sustainability | 4 Comments »

Update and Save the Date: State of the World Forum in Washington D.C.

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on May 6, 2009

NextNow Collab is joined by Club of Budapest, CSR Wire, Earth Policy Institute, EnlightenNext, EthicalMarkets, Friends of the Earth, GaiaSoft, Integral Institute, New York Open Center, Ode Magazine, Pachamama Alliance, Presidential Climate Action Project, Resilient Cities Initiative and a growing host of others in partnering to convene the 2009 State of the World Forum.  This is the launch of a 10-year plan of committed action to transform our economy, our world, and ourselves in relation to each other and the natural world.  To register, visit the website; to explore collaboration, please contact me at cwelssatnextnowdotnet.  Watch for our announcement in the upcoming issue of NextNow Collab partner Imaging Notes:

This SWF announcement will appear in the upcoming issue of NextNow Collab partner Imaging Notes

This SWF announcement will appear in the upcoming issue of NextNow Collab partner Imaging Notes

Posted in Democracy, Digital Earth, Economic Justice, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

NNC and 2009 State of the World Forum in Washington, D.C. Nov. 12-14

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on April 6, 2009

“Gaia’s main problems are not industrialization, ozone depletion, over-population, or resource depletion. Gaia’s main problem is the lack of mutual understanding and mutual agreement … about how to proceed with those problems. We cannot reign in industry if we cannot reach mutual understanding and mutual agreement based on a worldcentric moral perspective concerning the global commons.” Ken Wilber

NextNow Collab is collaborating with The 2009 State of the World Forum to inspire a global network of people and organizations committed to transforming the way we live.  Global challenges are both too systemic and too personal to be left to government and business alone; it really is time for each of us to “be the change.”  (Sorry; it’s well-worn but nothing says it better.)

The 2009 State of the World Forum will vision and launch a 10-year plan to make more sustainable both our economies and our lives by 2020, including through

  • Using Ken Wilber‘s Integral Framework as our “operating system,” allowing for organizing knowledge and action plans that recognize personal and cultural values, resulting in truly empowered action
  • Debuting Version 4.0 of Lester Brown’s Plan B
  • Drawing inspiration from action-oriented, forward-thinking organizations such as the Presidential Climate Action Project, Apollo Alliance (who gave a powerful presentation at Social Venture Network conference in October), Friends of the Earth, Global Urban Development and many others
  • Leveraging the concept of “social artistry,” as embraced by the United Nations Development Programme, towards creating real leadership for social change
  • Releasing the latest data supporting the rise of the “new progressives,” a culturally creative worldwide demographic reflecting global values
  • Demonstrating new technologies that enable us to envision, and participate in, sustainable systems.

NextNower’s that will be in the Washington, D.C. area and wish to collaborate please contact NextNow Collab.

Ken Wilber's Integral Framework

Ken Wilber's Integral Framework

Featured speakers include:

Ray Anderson, Founder and CEO, Interface Inc.
www.interfaceglobal.com

Esperide Ananas, International Coordinator, Federation of Damanhur, Italy, founded in 1975. Damanhur  is a U.N. agency award-winning sustainable society numbering 1,000 citizens; it is a member of G.E.N.; and an active supporter of the Earth Charter Initiative.   www.damanhur.org

Bill Becker, Executive Director, Presidential Climate Action Project; Project Director and Senior Consultant, National Leadership Summits for a Sustainable America; and former Director, Department of Energy, Central Regional Office. www.natcapsolutions.org

Barrett C. Brown, Co-Director, Integral Sustainability Center, organizational consultant, author, and specialist in leadership development for global environmental and social sustainability. www.integrallife.com

Lester Brown, Founder, Earth Policy Institute, World Watch Institute, author of numerous books, including Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization. www.earth-policy.org

Brian Castelli, Executive Vice President for Programs and Development, Alliance to Save Energy. www.ase.org

Michael Cox, Chair, Executive Committee, California Student Sustainability Coalition. www.sustainabilitycoalition.org

Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Chair, Integral Theory Department, John F. Kennedy University; Executive Editor, Journal of Integral Theory and Practice; co-author, Integral Ecology. www.integralinstitute.org

Morel Fourman, Founder, Gaiasoft; author Managing in the New Economy – Performance Management Habits; and The Book of Personal and Global Transformation. www.mindofmany.com

Vasilis M. Fthenakis, Senior Scientist, Head, National Photovoltaic Environmental Research Center, Brookhaven National Laboratory; Director, Center for Life Cycle Analysis, Earth and Environmental Engineering Department, Columbia University www.bnl.gov

Jim Garrison, President and Chairman of Wisdom University, a graduate academic institution that explores both ancient wisdom traditions and the wisdom culture shaping our future today. He is also founder and president of State of the World Forum, a San Francisco based non-profit institution with a global network of leaders dedicated to developing a more sustainable global civilization.

Richard Hames, Distinguished University Professor, Founding Director, Asian Foresight Institute, Dhurakij Pundit University, Bangkok, Thailand www.richardhames.com

Marilyn Hamilton, Founder, Integral City Meshworks Inc.; author, Integral City: Evolutionary Intelligence for the Human Hive.

James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Adjunct Professor, Department of Earth and Earth Sciences Division, Columbia University. www.giss.nasa.gov

Johannes Heimrath, Executive Director, Club of Budapest. www.johannesheimrath.de

Jean Houston, mythologist, philosopher and researcher in human capacities, long regarded as one of the principal founders of the human potential movement; author of 19 published books, including The Possible Human, A Mythic Life: Learning to Live Our Greater Story, The Passion of Isis and Osiris, and Jump Time. www.jeanhouston.org

Ross Jackson, Founder and Chairman, Gaia Trust, a Danish foundation which since 1987 has supported over 300 sustainability products in over 40 countries, especially in the ecovillage movement. He is also a major shareholder in the Urtekram International, the largest organic wholesaler in Scandinavia.

Jurriaan Kamp, President, Editor-in-Chief, Ode Magazine
www.odemagazine.com

Chuck Kutscher, Principal Engineer/Group Manager, Thermal Systems Electricity, Resources, and Building Systems Integration, National Renewable Energy Laboratory www.nrel.gov

Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder/artist of the International Cheemah and Mari Monument Projects, which are dedicated to environmental sustainability, cultural diversity and societal transformation. www.ospreyoriellelake.com

Ervin Laszlo, President, The Club of Budapest; Founder and University Chancellor, The Institute at GlobalShift University. www.clubofbudapest.org

Pierre-Yves Longaretti, Theoretical astrophysicist, Astrophysics Laboratory of Grenoble, France. http://www-laog.obs.ujf-grenoble.fr/~pyl/

Amory Lovins, Chairman and Chief Scientist, Rocky Mountain Institute; focuses on transforming the hydrocarbon, automobile, real estate, electricity, water, semiconductor, and several other sectors toward advanced resource productivity. He has authored or co-authored twenty-nine books and hundreds of papers, and consulted for scores of industries and governments worldwide. www.rmi.org

Hunter Lovins, President and Founder, Natural Capitalism Solutions. She is currently a founding Professor of Business at Presidio School of Management, one of the first accredited programs offering an MBA in Sustainable Management. www.hunterlovins.com

David Martin, Executive Chairman, M∙CAM, Fellow, Batten Institute, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia. www.m-cam.com

Peter Merry, Founding partner of Engage! InterAct; Chair of the Board of the Center for Human Emergence; author, Evolutionary Leadership. www.engage.nl

Caroline Myss, Author of five New York Times bestselling books, including Sacred Contracts, The Interior Castle, The Anatomy of the Spirit; founder, Caroline Myss Education Institute. www.myss.com

Karen O’Brien, Chair, Global Environmental Change and Human Security Project Professor, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo  http://www.iss.uio.no/instituttet/ansatte/karenob.xml

Mary Otto-Chang, Consultant, UNICEF Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, Children and Climate Change; UN Secretariat for the International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (2003-2007); UN Development Program, Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery (2000-2003).  UNICEF and UNICEF in Latin America and the Caribbean

Rajendra Pachauri, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate (2007); Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Director, Tata Energy Research Institute; author of over twenty books and numerous articles on ecology, climate change and technology.  www.climatescience.gov

Sandra Postel, Director, Global Water Policy Project and Center for the Environment at Mount Holyoke College.  www.globalwaterpolicy.org

James Quilligan, Economic development policy advisor and writer for many international politicians and leaders, including Pierre Trudeau, François Mitterand, Jimmy Carter, Edward Heath, Julius Nyerere, Olof Palme, Willy Brandt, Tony Blair, and His Royal Highness Prince El Hassan bin Talal.  www.global-negotiations.org

Sally Ranney, CEO, StillWater Preservation LLC.
www.stillwaterpreservation.com

Paul Ray, Sociologist; Director, Institute of the Emerging Wisdom Culture, Wisdom University; author, The Cultural Creatives.  www.wisdomuniversity.org

Jerome Ringo, Chairman, Apollo Alliance; Associate Research Scholar “ Yale University; former Chairman, World Wildlife Fund.  www.jeromeringo.com

Rustum Roy, Evan Pugh Professor of the Solid State Emeritus; Professor of Science Technology and Society Emeritus, Pennsylvania State University
www.rustumroy.com

Robb Smith, CEO, Integral Institute; Chairman, CEO and co-founder, Integral Life. www.integrallife.com

Richard Tarnas, author of The Passion of the Western Mind and Cosmos and Psyche; Professor of Philosophy and Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies. www.cosmosandpsyche.com

Marc Weiss, Founder and CEO of Global Urban Development.
www.globalurban.org

Herman Wijffels, Member, Office of the Executive Director, World Bank, representing Armenia, Bosnia and Herzengovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Israel, Macedonia, Moldova, Netherlands, Romania and Ukraine; former Chairman of Rabobank; Chairman, Economic and Social Council of the Netherlands. www.clubofbudapest.org

Ken Wilber, Author of 25 books translated into some 30 foreign languages, he is the most widely translated academic writer in the United States. Ken is the internationally acknowledged originator of Integral Theory and co-founder of Integral Life.  www.kenwilber.com

Michael Zimmerman, Director, Center for Humanities and the Arts, and Professor of Philosophy, University of Colorado, Boulder; co-author, Integral Ecology.  www.colorado.edu

Ken Zweibel, former Program Leader for the Thin Film Photovoltaic Partnership Program, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and is often credited with the success of thin film photovoltaics in the U.S. Zweibel also cofounded a thin film CdTe PV start-up, PrimeStar Solar and became the founding Director of the Institute for Analysis of Solar Energy at George Washington University. He has written two books on photovoltaics and co-authored a Scientific American article (January 2008) on solar energy as a solution to climate change. solar.gwu.edu

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Democracy, Digital Earth, Economic Justice, Member Event, Social Tech, Sustainability | 3 Comments »

Digital Earth and Re-Engineering for Green (Imaging Notes/Foresman)

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on April 3, 2009

We missed a few, but here’s the latest Imaging Notes commentary from NextNower and NextNow Collab/ISDE5 team lead Tim Foresman, courtesy of NextNower and Imaging Notes publisher Myrna Yoo of Blueline Publishing (thank you, Myrna!):picture-20

Infrastructure Stimulus: Green Economy and Green Jobs

A new era is upon us, with palpable tension for 2009.

Citizens in Washington and around the country appear to have focused, finally, on seriously working our way out of the mess we have gotten into. And what a mess it is. Al Gore’s message on global warming is now being accepted as reality by most citizens at a time of competing crises and economic implosions that simply boggle the mind. Our saving grace appears to be that intelligent leadership, under the Obama administration, is ready to take charge and tackle the litany of challenges and issues facing our nation and the world.

Spatial data and decision support systems will serve a crucial role in re-engineering a green and sustainable society.

Rome was not built in a day, but it was built by engineers. And we can expect to see a lot of green and sustainable engineering projects at state and local levels working to rebuild America while providing new impetus for the creation of green-collar jobs. Aligning and funding The Green Jobs Act (passed in 2007) with the Infrastructure Stimulus Package, and perhaps tying mortgage refinancing schemes with energy conservation retrofits, would help to educate, empower, and engage a whole generation of young citizens, leading them into productive green collar careers.

If you haven’t already, I suggest you read Van Jones’ book, The Green Collar Economy, along with a series of reports by the Center for American Progress (www.americanprogress.org), to delve more deeply into the economics involved in creating a blueprint for green-engineering our way out of city decay and social pathos. Positive thinking for the New Year: The good news is that the remote sensing and GIS communities recognize the credible and crucial roles they must play in this new era of green hope.

Green engineering encompasses a wide range of civil engineering and public works operations. Improved building codes for new construction seen in U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) and LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards are often viewed as the poster children for green buildings. However, significant work is required immediately to retrofit existing homes and other buildings for energy conservation to save money and reduce energy loads from fossil-fuel-driven electric grids (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1 Satellite imagery-based spatial information system used for inventory and field survey assessments for Waynesburg, Pennsylvania (courtesy of JMT).

Over two decades, research and operational experience have proven that remote sensing with infrared scanners is a cost-effective approach to assessing thermal losses in residential and industrial facilities. Integrating thermal loss imagery with GIS parcel and district databases can be used to investigate energy audits and to assess options for engaging industry and homeowners with conservation and retrofitting campaigns. Retrofitting campaigns will require large labor pools of caulking and insulation workers, as well as people trained in solar panel installation.

Currently, energy audits are being conducted throughout the state of Maryland and the City of Baltimore using utility billing information combined with computational models and selected onsite instrumentation. Spatial data information systems and aerial measurements can provide a more meaningful and quantitative approach to energy audit initiatives.

Transportation is another green engineering domain that has a document history of applied remote sensing and GIS technology. The challenge is to accelerate the use of spatial data and information systems to help design and re-define environmentally sound and sustainable transportation systems. Bikeways and pedestrian pathways, given short shrift in the past, are increasingly being considered serious options for reducing CO2-polluting car miles and for promoting healthy and sustainable lifestyles in urban centers. The $4-dollar-a-gallon experiment in the summer of 2008 demonstrated a significant and continued increase in ridership on mass transit buses and trains.Increased application of aerial coverage and spatial analysis is required to work with the planners and communit-ies to find new alternatives for moving the masses. From impervious surface assessment to hydraulics to National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) reporting, transportation engineers and planners require more remote sensing and better integrated spatial database systems to do their jobs more effectively.

Figure 2 VAIO field data collection recorders for house-to-house survey and inventory (courtesy of JMT).

Tree planting, biological corridors, waste water and water systems, landscape architecture, airports and harbor construction, wetlands protection, and community planning are all components of the new green engineering enterprise philosophy that is required to design and construct a healthier and more sustainable world around us. Remote sensing and GIS are paramount for both creating and integrating the spatial information technology framework for engineers.

Importantly, these spatial technologies are critical for engaging decision-makers and other citizens in visualizing and comprehending the scope and magnitude of green engineering operations. Citizen support is mandatory to maintain comprehensive infrastructure re-building. Scientific visualization, using remote sensing and GIS, was credited by Maryland’s Governor Glendening for the historic passage of the Smart Growth legislation. We know it works. Now is the time for this community to unabashedly promote spatial technology for the new green engineering revolution. President Obama’s Infrastructure Stimulus package will require nothing less to succeed.

Increased application of aerial coverage and spatial analysis is required to work with the planners and communit-ies to find new alternatives for moving the masses. From impervious surface assessment to hydraulics to National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) reporting, transportation engineers and planners require more remote sensing and better integrated spatial database systems to do their jobs more effectively.

Tree planting, biological corridors, waste water and water systems, landscape architecture, airports and harbor construction, wetlands protection, and community planning are all components of the new green engineering enterprise philosophy that is required to design and construct a healthier and more sustainable world around us. Remote sensing and GIS are paramount for both creating and integrating the spatial information technology framework for engineers.

Importantly, these spatial technologies are critical for engaging decision-makers and other citizens in visualizing and comprehending the scope and magnitude of green engineering operations. Citizen support is mandatory to maintain comprehensive infrastructure re-building. Scientific visualization, using remote sensing and GIS, was credited by Maryland’s Governor Glendening for the historic passage of the Smart Growth legislation. We know it works. Now is the time for this community to unabashedly promote spatial technology for the new green engineering revolution. President Obama’s Infrastructure Stimulus package will require nothing less to succeed.

Posted in Digital Earth, Economic Justice, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

Imaging Notes: Political Footprints on the Planet

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on October 31, 2008

This is the quarterly editorial by NextNow member Tim Foresman in Imaging Notes, a premier Digital Earth publication.  Many thanks to Myrna Yoo, NextNow member, collaborator on ISDE5 and Publisher of Imaging Notes.

Timothy W. Foresman, Ph.D., is President of the International Centre for Remote Sensing Education. He has been director of United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment (Nairobi, Kenya) and national program manager for NASA’s Digital Earth (Washington, D.C.). He is editor of The History of Geographic Information Systems, 1998, Prentice Hall. Dr. Foresman was the Director-General for the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth (www.isde5.org) and is author of the children’s book, The Last Little Polar Bear:  A Global Change Adventure Story.

“A new administration will be upon us after the results are tallied for the November presidential elections.  One way or another, the seating arrangements in the U.S. government will change, and a new set of political party affiliates will become entrenched for a four-year tour of duty at the helm of one of the world’s most influential nations. In pondering this peaceful transfer of power, one of the U.S.A.’s most civilized behaviors, we might reflect on the impact of the 44th presidential election on the earth, and the current conditions and trajectories of that impact.

Those who are acute observers of the state of the planet will undoubtedly agree that regardless of who the victor is, the political footprint will be measurable and will affect us all. We might easily be distracted by economic chaos and Wall Street chicanery, or by military adventurism or by obdurate Russian leaders who appear to be singing ‘It’s a rainy night in Georgia’ while casting kerosene onto the international bonfire of vanities.  However, the bottom line on preserving our biodiversity and coping with climate change remains paramount for our survival as a civilized species.

The old axiom that all politics is local is an apt focus for the fact that all environmental impacts are also local to someone, albeit shared with the rest of us one way or another. Therefore, we might take the opportunity to look at the two major political parties and—with careful attention to objectivity and non-partisanship—differentiate which policies, as espoused by the campaign platforms and Web pages, will likely leave the greatest ecological footprints in the coming years.

Energy Policy

Both parties’ proclivities are to salve the citizens’ fears of higher energy prices with a clever mix of more domestic oil drilling combined with increased nuclear energy, a minimum level of conservation, and investment into alternatives or renewables. While the McCain team has led the charge to ‘drill now,’ the Obama team has acquiesced to that strategy and also has offered the strategic oil reserve to further lower gas prices: blatant political pandering by both camps as they seek to protect the voting public from increased gasoline prices.

The oil industry’s geophysicist, Dr. M. King Hubbert, calculated almost fifty years ago the fact that peak oil usage would impact the nation and world about right now. Experts increasingly accept the reality that we are heading on the down slope of this finite resource. Domestic oil drilling will not yield the results being claimed by both parties. We are running out of oil and the gas pump prices will continue to rise, while neither political candidate is willing to broadcast this new reality. Continued burning of oil will further damage our severely polluted atmosphere and exacerbate global warming. Neither campaign is willing to place this issue against the stark reality of citizens’ behaviors and chart a 180-degree shift in national policy that would demonstrate real change and real international leadership. Pain at the pump will be a legacy until renewables alter the equation.

The other hot topic endorsed by both campaigns is clean-coal technology. This is neither cheap nor truly clean. Mountain-top removal is but one startling dimension of any ambitious coal energy policy. Solar, hydroelectric, tidal electric, wind, non-cereal biomass, and geothermal are requisite priorities for an energy policy that does not further damage the Earth.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change

Parity on the issue of climate change among the political campaigns is a given. Senator McCain has been a student of climate change science for over a decade and Senator Obama has been consistent in his aligned opinions. The two sides to the coin are (1) reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and (2) adaptation strategies for the impacts of global warming. Timely action on (1) may reduce the costly actions necessary for (2). Two quotes below highlight the critical nature of this issue and the stated urgency required to begin addressing our national and global challenges. Unfortunately, neither campaign appears ready to place the urgency of this issue front and center before the voting public, especially with our collective habit of watching feel-good news and entertainment.

‘There is still time to avoid the worst impacts of climate change if strong collective action starts now.’ – Stern Review, ‘The Economics of Climate Change,’ 2006.

‘Humanity must act collectively and urgently to change course through leadership at all levels of society.  There is no more time for delay.’ – Sigma Xi and United Nations Foundation Report, ‘Confronting Climate Change: Avoiding the Unmanageable and Managing the Unavoidable,’ 2007.

McCain’s camp suggests that a ‘cap and trade system would encompass electric power, transportation fuels, commercial business, and industrial business – sectors responsible for just below 90 percent of all emissions. The cap-and-trade system would allow for the gradual reduction of emissions [emphasis added].’ Their goal for 2050 is 60% below 1990 levels (66% below 2005 levels).

Obama’s camp suggests that they will ‘implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.’ Neither campaign represents fast-track action. Neither camp appears to embrace the concept of ‘urgency’ on this topic, and both are inclined to follow the cap-and-trade system that was used for acid rain reduction to protect sensitive lakes and historic statues. Urgency would imply the kind of attention that paramedics face when deciding whether to stop bleeding or assist breathing on an accident victim. And because all aspects of urgent action are intricately tied to economic, social, and environmental dimensions of governance and international trade, it is unlikely that any political actions will be categorized as urgent. Meanwhile, the victim still lies on the ground.

Space Technology Program

What emphasis is being placed on our capacity for Earth observation at a time of climate change, biodiversity loss, over-fishing, and other impacts? McCain’s campaign offers to ‘ensure that space exploration is top priority and that the U.S. remains a leader,” to “maintain infrastructure investments in Earth-monitoring satellites and support systems.’  Earth-monitoring satellites will compete with missions to the Moon and to Mars, as space exploration is top dog for these space enthusiasts. This does not bode well for Landsat data continuity missions.

Obama’s campaign articulates a comprehensive space exploration agenda, but it too holds no safety net for the competition between space explorers and Earth monitors and is loaded in favor of space exploration.  Perhaps star gazers for both parties should join the rest of us to look at what is happening beneath their feet. After 50 years, NASA and the nation should figure out that Mission to Planet Earth is still the best idea it has ever had.

A host of other areas could, and should, be examined to see if Spaceship Earth will receive the kind of care and maintenance it must have to successfully continue our journey through the cosmos. These areas include: green jobs, smart growth, transportation, international treaties (e.g., Law of the Sea and Kyoto), U.N. support, economics/trade, weapons sales, and population control. For everyone’s benefit, let us hope that real change for the better does occur from the party that takes over leadership of the U.S. and that the winner accepts the challenge of saving the planet in an urgent and collaborative manner.’ –Tim Foresman

Imaging Notes / Fall 2008 / www.imagingnotes.com

Posted in Democracy, Digital Earth | Leave a Comment »

Digital Earth and Social-Environmental Justice

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on August 20, 2008

Summer 2008 Volume 23 No. 2

Thanks to Myrna Yoo, NextNow member, collaborator with NNC on ISDE5 and Publisher of Imaging Notes, tonight’s post is an advance online posting of “Earth Scope,” Tim Foresman’s column in the Summer issue.

The column references what for me was one of the most emotional presentations during ISDE5 on mountaintop mining in the Appalachian Mountains, and on how digital earth technologies create shifts in awareness, facilitate collaboration and fortify communities pursuing social-environmental transformation.

Also check out The International Journal of Digital Earth, concerned with a wide range of interests, but the principal topics are: Digital Earth Framework, Digital Earth Applications, Digital Earth Architecture and Standards, Digital Earth and Earth System, Geoinformatics, Geo-spatial Science, Mobile Mapping System, Visualization and Numerical Simulation, Visible and Microwave Earth Observation, Data Fusion and Integration Algorithm, Data Mining and Artificial Intelligence, Data Processing, Earth System and Global Databases, Remote Sensing – GIS – GPS, Global Environmental Change, Discrete Global Grids. Click here for full aims and scopes.

ARTICLE:  Appalachian Voices and Satellite Eyes:  Winning Tools for Social-Environmental Justice

If you aren’t tuned in to the spectacular mass decapitation of 470 summits along the Appalachian Mountains in West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee, and Kentucky, you are really missing out on one of the most dramatic changes in the American landscape . The coal industry has determined that this action is necessary to access the underlying coal.  Unfortunately, accompanying this shearing off of the rough mountainous topography are the fantastic losses of endemic and remnant ecosystems that have survived along these rugged terrains since long before the arrival of European settlers. And to add further injury to insult and injury, the mountain top mass is shoveled into the mountain drainage ravines and stream beds. Since 1985, according to scientists investigating this social-ecological blitzkrieg, 1200 miles of streams have been irreparably harmed, inflicting excessive pollution from waterborne toxins impacting both human and environmental health (EPA, 2003). Not since Manhattan was paved over to create New York City has an American landscape shifted so radically, but this devastation has occurred in a much shorter period of time. The image of a single mountain top removal area at the West Virginia Hobet Mine Complex transposed as a red overlay over N.Y.C. provides a hint at the aerial magnitude of the coal industries’ ecological footprint.

This red area is the actual size of the Hobet Mine Complex, overlaid on a satellite image of New York City to show the magnitude.

A Cry In The Wilderness

Appalachian Voices (www.appvoices.org) is an organization whose members are crying in the wilderness – real Americans with real concerns about the rampant destruction by the coal industry of their treasured natural resources and their impacted communities. This David-versus-Goliath challenge has been blessed with the advent of remote sensing and its prowess on the Internet with Google Earth visualization platforms, where it is a layer within Global Awareness on all versions of Google Earth. The sling that is rocking the coal industry is the audacity of the puny locals to use satellite imagery of the landscape desecration to stir up the affected population. “In the beginning, we used to take people up in airplanes to show them what is going on just over the next ridge,” says Mary Anne Hitt, Appalachian Voices founder. “People were shocked at the magnitude. But now, we simply use satellites, remote sensing, and virtual globes to get the message out and let our neighbors view these ravaged mountains. The proof is in the image. A 3-D view has really transformed this issue and that wakes people right up. This is one of the most powerful tools ever for our effort.” This visualized villainy of the Appalachian landscape has raised a clarion call to action as area residents see one mountain top after another sliced off to quench the country’s insatiable appetite for coal in the generation of electricity. Appalachian Voices and increasing numbers of collaborating groups and individuals have banded together to find solace and strength in their common cause for sanity while working to define a sustainable path for the future.

This diagram shows the clear link between poverty and strip mining in the area.

Making the Connections

Environmental justice and a host of social-economic-environmental issues are intertwined with the Mountain-Top Removal (MTR) saga. When we turn on the lights in McLean, Virginia, we are supporting the coal industry pipeline and providing the finances for MTR. “We show people how they are connected to MTR,” explains Mary Anne Hitt. “Using the virtual globe technologies, we can show the connection of mining operations to the delivery of electricity into people’s homes.” And assessing the links to social-economics for these areas being bulldozed over is another requirement to ensure environmental justice to the poorest of our citizens.

The energy deciders held secret meetings in the White House from 2001 and launched a new set of liberal policies for MTR. Whether they will ever have to explain their actions to the citizens of ravaged landscapes is a political question (Union of Concerned Scientists, 2008). But it is increasingly important that all citizens become educated as to the direct and indirect impacts that MTR is having throughout the Appalachians. It is everyone’s business to become concerned with the connections we all have to the policies and lifestyles that result in the horrific desecration of our precious natural resources.

Remote Sensing Contributions

Appalachian Voices does not have a staff of scientists with expertise in remote sensing, landscape ecology, or other critical disciplines that are needed in the MTR drama. What better class project or Master’s thesis could there be than to focus on one of the many areas that have been destroyed, or better yet, to pre-position the imagery and environmental analysis to head off further losses? Hitt points out, “We are going to be doing a lot of looking at mountains that are standing but threatened. We need modelers to help us look at the spread of MTR and modelers to study the extent of pollution along rivers and communities. We are working with Sky Truth and would certainly welcome help from the remote sensing community.”

This red area is the actual size of the Hobet Mine Complex, overlaid on a satellite image of New York City to show the magnitude.

John Amos’ team at Sky Truth (www.skytruth.org), led by Dr. David J. Campagna (Adjunct Professor in West Virginia University’s Remote Sensing Lab in the Department of Geology and Geography), has been a pioneering partner in helping Hitt and her colleagues assess and communicate the disturbing images of mountain destruction.  “We are working to determine and map the areas most likely to be mined in the near
future,” explains Amos. “We are launching the Web-based Adopt-A-Mountain tool to enable average citizens to help us with ground-truth and field verification prior to the destruction,” he adds, “and are looking for talented GIS and remote sensing professionals.”

It would appear that these true heroes of America’s landscape could use a lot of help. It seems patently unfair to place the continued battle against MTR on their shoulders alone. I wonder what our talented and capable remote sensing community can do to help this chorus of Appalachian Voices.

Timothy W. Foresman, Ph.D., is President of the International Centre for Remote Sensing Education. He
has been director of United Nations Environment Programme’s Division of Early Warning and Assessment (Nairobi, Kenya) and national program manager for NASA’s Digital Earth (Washington, D.C.). He is editor of The History of Geographic Information Systems, 1998, Prentice Hall. Dr. Foresman was the Director-General for the 5th International Symposium on Digital Earth (www.isde5.org) and is author of the children’s book, The Last Little Polar Bear:  A Global Change Adventure Story.

References:

EPA, 2003.  Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on Mountaintop Mining.  III.K-47.May 2003

Union of Concerned Scientists, 2008.  Mining Agency Buries Streams and Science.  http://www.ucsusa.org/scientific_integrity/interference/mountaintop-mining.html

Posted in Digital Earth, Sustainability | Leave a Comment »

Origo Invites NextNow Collab to Meet 2007 Tech Laureates

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on November 8, 2007

The Tech Museum Awards Origo, the social entrepreneurship consultants and institutional partner of NNC, co-sponsored a private reception for the winners of the 2007 Tech Awards. Each year The Tech Museum in San Jose honors 25 Laureates worldwide for their innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. These Laureates are acknowledged for their brilliant accomplishments in addressing some of the most critical issues facing our planet in the areas of Environment, Health, Education, Economic Development and Equality. It was a real privilege to meet the innovators themselves–including Matt Flannery of Kiva (“Loans that Change Lives”) and Nick Yeo of TakingITGlobal–and to consider ways we might be able to collaborate to help further their missions. It was also great to meet other guests and run into friends like Robert Schingler from NASA Ames who we consulted with on our ISDE5 Digital Earth project in June, and who, as someone involved with NASA’s Colab, we look forward to engaging with as a partner in our “collaboratory of collaboratories.” (That’s more of a mouthful than “network of networks.”)

Here’s a summary of the winners in the individual categories, and a short description of their philanthropic or social/environmental enterprise. The Tech Museum website offered a link to the awards ceremony which was being streamed last night. PLEASE VISIT THEIR WEBSITES; they’re fascinating and beautiful.  (Speaking of fascinating and beautiful, at The Tech right now are 2 amazing features:  the BodyWorlds2 exhibit and the IMAX movie, “Human Body,” also well worth checking out.)

2007 Intel Environment Award

Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron (EZVI) Team, Jacqueline W. Quinn, Cherie L. Geiger, Christian Clausen III, Kathleen B. Brooks, and Debra R. Reinhart: EZVI was created by placing zero-valent-iron particles into a stabilized, biodegradable water-oil emulsion to reduce environmental contamination risks when cleaning rockets in NASA’s space program.

Fundacion Terram: The Integrated Salmon-Seaweed Cultivation project attaches algae to a salmon-net pen to absorb nutrients from the salmon to clean the environment. This technology reduces the demand for natural seaweed using an environmentally and socially integrated approach.

Marc André Ledoux, Consortium SudEco Industrie: Ledoux combined two technologies to transform harmful aquatic plants into new cooking fuel. A floating grappling is used for fast and easy removal of the plants, which are then compressed, dried and turned into pellets for cooking fuel.

Joe David Jones, Skyonic Corporation: Skyonic Corporation addresses the significant issue of greenhouse gas emissions through the mineralization of CO2 as carbonate compounds. It removes heavy metals and acid gases to address both the current problem with carbon capture and the future as demand increases.

Solar Sailor: Solar Sailor created solar sail and hybrid marine power which is suitable for a wide range of applications from small unmanned vessels to large tankers including ferries, cruisers and yachts. Vessels using this technology have higher fuel savings, unlimited range, passenger comfort and are environmentally friendly with zero emissions.

2007 Accenture Economic Development Award

Anil Chitrakar, Babu Raja Shrestha and Prachet Kumar Shrestha, Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness: Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness and Centre for Renewable Energy turned Nepal’s 300 annual days of sun into a safer light source and an economic opportunity by developing a solar-powered Tuki—originally a kerosene lamp that is both costly and emits toxic fumes—and by offering microfinancing and training for people to make, sell, and service the lamps.

Association La Voute Nubienne: In sub-Saharan Africa, the Association La Voute Nubienne promotes the construction of vaulted, earth brick houses which are environmentally friendly, affordable and comfortable using the Voute Nubienne (VN) technique. The VN technique is a simplified, standardized adaptation of traditional construction methods from Egypt’s Nubian region and is relatively unknown in the Sahel and West Africa.

blueEnergy: BlueEnergy provides a low-cost, sustainable solution to the energy needs of marginalized communities through the creation of hybrid wind and solar energy systems. By manufacturing wind turbines locally, energy costs are kept low, servicing is made easier and jobs are created in disparaged communities.

CellBazaar, Inc.: Kamal Quadir founded CellBazaar, which provides an electronic marketplace that can be accessed through mobile phones. Product sellers can list their items on CellBazaar where they are visible to 15 million rural and urban mobile phone users in Bangladesh.

Kiva: Kiva allows users to browse through profiles of qualified entrepreneurs on the Kiva website and make a small loan of $25 or more. Kiva pools money from individual users and transfers it to a finance corporation that will administer the loan. Journal updates allow lenders to see how their money makes a difference in the lives of the entrepreneur.

2007 Microsoft Education Award

Canal Futura: Canal Futura uses television communication to achieve sustainability by providing free information, education and entertainment representing a country’s diverse culture. It is watched 24 hours a day by 33 million people and has trained 420,000 educators from social institutions and public schools.

Elluminate, Inc.: Fire and Ice/Elluminate Live! is a real-time virtual classroom software product used for highly interactive live online classes, lectures, demonstrations and meetings. This product helps organizations increase student understanding, productivity and access to instructors. Whether on dial-up or broadband, Elluminate Live! offers equal, collaborative experiences amongst different cultures.

Institute for the Study of Knowledge Management in Education: OER Commons is a teaching and learning network whose purpose is to expand educational opportunities for all by increasing access to high-quality open educational resources. It is the first comprehensive network where teachers and students can access course materials and share their own ideas and strategies.

Robert Shelton, Stephanie Smith, and Terry Hodgson, NASA Johnson Space Center Learning Technologies Team: MathTrax is an accessible education software tool to help blind and sighted students learn and understand math and science. It describes information in three ways – using “smart” text, non-verbal sound and custom graphics descriptions.

TakingITGlobal: TakingITGlobal.org, is a free multilingual online platform that employs Web 2.0 community tools supporting youth creating change in their communities and around the world. Online community users can create their own blogs and engage in discussions, access opportunities and launch their own multimedia expressions.

2007 SanDisk Equality Award

Counterpart International: Counterpart Data Warehouse, is a tool created in response to deadly crises such as the Asian Tsunami that will increase the effectiveness and transparency of international aid. It allows users to address humanitarian needs by designing projects, acquiring donated items, managing their shipment and following up with recipients.

Devendra Raj Mehta, Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti: Mehta helped create the Jaipur Foot/Limb, a simple and extremely efficient prosthesis that utilizes innovative technology and materials. The Jaipur Foot/Limb allows normal walking, running, sitting, climbing and other daily activities. Since 1975, nearly 1 million people worldwide have been fitted for the Jaipur limb.

Grameen Shakti (GS): Dipal Chandra Barua has developed an integrated approach to renewable energy technologies designed to reach rural people in Bangladesh through the installation of Solar Home Systems (SHSs), which are stand alone systems suitable for providing renewable energy to remote areas outside the reach of grid electricity. GS is also helping to promote biogas technology and Improved Cook Stoves in the communities it serves.

Innocence Project: Innocence Project provides direct representation and critical assistance to prisoners that may be exonerated by DNA testing. Their ground-breaking use of DNA technology has been used to free innocent people wrongfully convicted due to systematic defects.

Tropical Forest Trust: Indigenous Peoples Voice Programme developed computer mapping tools incorporating iconic software and automated GPS recording processes for use by illiterate indigenous communities. This technology supports forestry operations that identify and respect local religious, cultural and resource sites.

2007 The Swanson Foundation Health Award

Diagnostics Development Unit, University of Cambridge & Diagnostics for the Real World: Uses Signal Amplification System (SAS) technology as a diagnostic format to greatly increase the sensitivity of lateral-flow based rapid tests. This technology has already translated into three new diagnostic tests for the detection of Chlamydia, trachoma and hepatitis B.

Donald O’Neal, HELPS International: Guatemala Cookstove Project addresses the respiratory deaths of 1.6 million women and children each year by reducing the amount of required firewood by 60-70 percent. It was designed and verified using computer technology to monitor carbon monoxide and emission of carbon particles.

PATH: Applied indicator technology for the Vaccine Vial Monitor which is a small chemically active sticker that adheres to the vaccine vial and changes color over time as the vaccine is exposed to heat. The Vaccine Vial Monitors allow health workers to recognize and replace expired vials that would not save lives or reduce illness.

P&G’s Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program: PUR Purifier of Water is an in-home system delivered to families in developing countries. The system provides precipitation, coagulation, flocculation and residual chlorination for 10 liters of water.

Vaxin Inc.: Vaxin, Inc. is developing a rapid-response bird flu vaccine that can be manufactured without the requirement of chicken eggs. Side effects and other problems associated with the current bird flu vaccine will be reduced or eliminated when this current version is released on the market

Posted in Digital Earth, Economic Justice, Social Tech, Sustainability | 2 Comments »

NextNowCollaboratory collaborates with the Eikosphere Project

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on November 1, 2007

www.eikosphere.org

Details soon.

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Met(t)a-Earth

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on September 10, 2007

The Meta-Earth Confluence project is really a Met(t)a-Earth project, as pointed out by NextNow member Catherine Cunningham who reminded us that metta means “loving-kindness” in Sanskrit. However, rather than the complete absence of self-interest that defines pure metta, (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/buddharakkhita/wheel365.html), Met(t)a Earth is about enlightened self-interest, where the self-interest of the individual is tempered by and continuously negotiating with the needs of the whole, so that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

From Barbara Marx Hubbard: “Here is what we learn by examining the principles of evolution. When nature hits limits and crises that cannot be resolved by doing more of the same, she innovates and transforms. The key method of transformation is to foster synergy and cooperation.

As evolution biologist Elisabet Sahtouris tells us, when young species are over populating, polluting, and competing, they either learn enlightened self-interest, negotiation, cooperation, and synergy or they become extinct. The same seems to apply to us. The only difference is that we are conscious of our situation, that we can destroy or evolve ourselves. This is a great step forward in evolution.

In order to get through this set of interrelated problems quickly enough, we need to cultivate SOCIAL SYNERGY, the coming together of separate groups, initiatives, and ideas to form a new whole system different from and greater than the sum of our parts.”

NextNow Collaboratory is about unleashing the social synergy in the NextNow Network of networks and the broader community, and leveraging it for the greater good, embracing the definition of metta as the philosophy and practice of universal love; love in action.

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NextNowCollaboratory collaborates with Global Coherence Initiative

Posted by NextNow Collaboratory on August 31, 2007

From the Global Coherence Initiative (more information on the actual site). Details soon.

WELCOME to the Global Coherence Monitoring System Home Page

The Institute of HeartMath and internationally renowned astrophysicist and nuclear scientist Elizabeth Rauscher are partnering to build an elaborate monitoring system to measure and explore fluctuations in the magnetic fields generated by the earth and ionosphere. Among the project’s goals are determining whether the earth’s field is influenced by or reflected in human heart rhythm patterns or brain activity and whether this field can indicate earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other planetary events.

The Monitoring System will examine the energetic resonance between the earth’s magnetic field and the rhythms of human heart and brain activity. It will also explore whether the magnetic field is influenced by collective human emotional resonance resulting from major events and whether the emotional energy generated by the collective intuition about major future events is measurable in this field.

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