The Viridian Design Movement

Viridian Note 417: Live from Croatia

Key concepts
Rocky Mountain Flats, involuntary parks, PlaNetwork, Center for Sustainable Development, Geobacter, (C)lamp by Bruce Sterling, other oddities.
Attention Conservation Notice:
I'm in Croatia trying to clean up a backlog of files. Not too well organized, but, well, I've been busy elsewhere.


PlaNetwork's got a wiki.

Meanwhile, back in distant Austin:

Center for Sustainable Development

The Sustainable Design program at the school of architecture

UTSolarD – a student group competing in the US DOE sponsored Solar Decathlon competition

The PreFab Lab

The single-celled microbial joy that is Geobacter.

Matthew Rubenstein (email* remarks:

"I just got a 'new' BMW (1989 325i; 9.7 tons:year of CO2), and I'm searching for engine chips that I can reprogram, as you mentioned in a Viridian Note. Where's the car chipper user community? I want to get the most fun out of these 'combustion' relics, while they last. Then, pop in a replacement engine that runs on pure chi!"

Department of Homeland Security proposes making Environmental Impact Statements secret. (((I've got an even better idea; why not declare the sky a secret? Then climate change will vanish magically!)))

How much is climate change already costing the insurance business?

Lookah this – I actually designed something. Wow, I'm a designer! At last!

Next stop – the natural glory that is Colorado, for the High Ground Design Conversation.


"Former site of weapons production in Colorado opens as wildlife refuge


"COMMERCE CITY, Colorado (AP) A chunk of the former Rocky Mountain Arsenal, where defense workers produced deadly sarin nerve gas, mustard gas and napalm for four decades, opens this weekend as a national wildlife refuge.

"Rolling prairie that once was the most contaminated 1 square mile in America is now home to more than 300 species, from white pelicans to foxes to bald eagles. (((Every story along this line seems to trot out bald eagles. Bald eagles are the signature bird of American involuntary parks.)))

'Interior Secretary Gale Norton, preparing for Saturday's opening of the first phase of the refuge, said the project will serve as both a habitat and an oasis of open space in the increasingly urban Denver suburbs.

''It is a wonderful legacy,' Norton said Friday.

"Not everyone is convinced opening the site to the public is a good idea. (((Oh, quit spoiling the fun! Just try not to mistake an involuntary park for actual wilderness, and for heaven's sake don't eat anything that you poach there. Oh wait == are you a poacher? Then go ahead and eat that!)))

"The arsenal is a Superfund site, still undergoing a cleanup expected to cost $2.2 billion.

"Ten small ((("small"?))) sarin gas bombs were found during cleanup in 2000 and 2001, four years after historic tours of the facility had begun. Six weeks ago, a canister designed to hold sarin in a weapon called an Honest John rocket was found; it contained only water.

"'That site should never have been and should never be open to the public,'' said Adrienne Anderson, a University of Colorado professor and environmental activist. (((Oh knock it off you big baby.)))

"Sandra Horrocks of the Sierra Club said it may be too early to open the refuge.

"'We are worried. I think it just doesn't make sense to have people near a hazardous waste cleanup site while the cleanup is going on,' said Horrocks, chairwoman of the arsenal committee for the Colorado branch of the Sierra Club. (((First, we're ALL near hazardous waste cleanup sites, and second, it's kind of marvelous that the Colorado Sierra Club has an "arsenal committee.")))

"Some environmental groups support the conversion.

"Stephen Torbit, director of the Rocky Mountain Resource Center of the National Wildlife Federation, said eagles and other wildlife are the ecosystem's best barometer. 'And they are doing just fine,' he said. (((Well, yeah, at least till climate change gets 'em.)))

"'Our assessment is that this is the best and highest use for that land == a wildlife oasis in the middle of the concrete jungle of Denver,' said Torbit.

"The arsenal sits on 17,000 acres (6,800 hectares) of grassland 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of downtown Denver. Perched at the foot of the Rocky Mountains with commanding views of the city, the area is dotted with small manmade lakes. Deer amble across empty roads and tumbleweeds roll past. (((Most of the American West could look like that if they get enough water shortages.)))

"Officials noted more than 500,000 people have been through the area, without problems, on controlled public tours since 1996. Dean Rundle, who manages the refuge for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, said the area had been closely studied by experts, who even compared 1938 photos of prairie dog towns with current photos to look for signs of contamination.

"'I'm just really confident we are not going to have any issues with chemical agents,' Rundle said. (((Unless we truck in a few ourselves.)))

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