Water, energy, and food form a complex system: water is needed to grow food, produce hydroelectricity, and cool thermoelectric power plants. On the other hand, food can be used to produce biofuels and generate energy; and energy is needed in agricultural production, as well as to transport and treat water. What is more, humans, animals and plants need water to survive, and we also need it for our sanitation. All of these competing demands can place strong stresses on the available water, other resources, and our and the ecosystems’ health. Therefore, when formulating policies to achieve security in either water, energy, or food, we also need to think how the other two will be affected – otherwise we might end up making things worse off for us or for future generations.
In this page you will find articles that discuss the management of our natural resources, including water, energy, food, agriculture and land.

 

Integrating Renewable Energy Part 2: Electricity Market & Policy Challenges

Written by Kasparas Spokas The rising popularity and falling capital costs of renewable energy make its integration into the electricity system appear inevitable. However, major challenges remain. In part one of our ‘integrating renewable energy’ series, we introduced key concepts of the physical electricity system and some of the physical challenges of integrating variable renewable…

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Integrating Renewable Energy Part 1: Physical Challenges

Written by Kasparas Spokas Meeting climate change mitigation targets will require rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation, which is responsible for a quarter of all U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The prospect of electrifying other sectors, such as transportation, further underscores the necessity to reduce electricity emissions to meet climate goals. To address this,…

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Carbon Capture and Sequestration: A key player in the climate fight

Written by Kasparas Spokas and Ryan Edwards The world faces an urgent need to drastically reduce climate-warming CO2 emissions. At the same time, however, reliance on the fossil fuels that produce CO2 emissions appears inevitable for the foreseeable future. One existing technology enables fossil fuel use without emissions: Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). Instead of allowing…

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The Case for Historic Buildings: Lessons on balancing human development and sustainability

Written by Isabel Morris We need quality buildings to safely house our schools, hospitals, offices, and our homes. We also live in a world with limited resources for constructing and operating new buildings, which means we need buildings that are sustainable and resilient in addition to being safe and functional. Most cities facing this challenge…

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A World Without Hunger

Written by Matt Grobis Safe, nutritious, and sufficient food, all year, for all people: the United Nation’s second Sustainable Development Goal aims to transform the world’s agriculture and distribution of food by 2030. With 800 million people suffering from hunger – more than 10% of the world’s population – food and agriculture are key to…

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Conservation Crossroads in Ecuador: Tiputini Biodiversity Station and the Yasuní oil fields

Written by Justine Atkins On an early morning boat, mist still rises off the water and the Amazonian air is thick with the characteristic dampness of tropical rainforests. We’re heading out in search of a nearby clay-lick where many parrot species congregate. In the partial slumber of any graduate student awake before 6 am, we…

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Losing the Climate War to Methane? The role of methane emissions in the global warming puzzle

Written by Dr. Arvind Ravikumar There is much to cheer about the recent climate agreement signed last December at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP 21) in Paris, France to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global temperature rise to below 2° C. Whether countries will implement effective policies to achieve this agreement is a…

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Human Impacts on Droughts: How these hazards stopped being purely natural phenomena

Written by Dr. Niko Wanders We often hear about droughts around the world including those recently in the U.S. and Brazil, which has threatened the water safety for this year’s Olympic Games. Despite their natural occurrence, there is still a lot that we do not understand fully about the processes that cause them and about how they impact our society…

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Energy Efficient Buildings: The forgotten children of the clean energy revolution

Written by Victor Charpentier The world’s population will increasingly become urbanized. In the 2014 revision of the World Urbanization Prospects, the United Nations (UN) estimate that the urban population will rise from 54% today to 66% of the global population by 2050. Therefore it is no surprise that cities and buildings are at the heart…

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