A new iPhone application harnesses technology to keep us informed about green solutions that, ideally, aren't high-tech at all
My friend Steve Mouzon has built an iPhone application that aggregates hand-picked news and discussion about sustainable cities, towns, neighborhoods, and buildings. Check out the Original G app at the iTunes store, here.
Some places attempt to be green using advanced technology to compensate for what would otherwise be unsustainable design or circumstances. To imagine an extreme hypothetical example, what if the indoor ski slope in desert-hot Dubai (yes, there really is one) were kept cool with electricity obtained from renewable sources, transmitted via efficient lines, and precisely calibrated to match peak-hour use. There aren't many places to ski in the desert, so enthusiasts travel long distances to get there. Now imagine that they use electric cars to get there, perhaps also powered with electricity obtained somehow from renewable sources.
Other places, however, are intrinsically green because their location and design follow traditional practices that evolved from, and remain well suited to, their particular climate and geography. Imagine a house built of locally sourced materials and crafted to take maximum advantage of shade in the summer and sun in the winter, with thick walls to provide natural insulation. Now imagine a cluster of such houses in a walkable community where many daily needs can be met on foot. The community doesn't need or use as much electricity, or technology, because it takes advantage of the wisdom of the ages, which evolved before there was very much of either.