Environment + Culture: More closely tied then you’d think?

If I hadn’t become a journalist, I may have taken up sociology.  I’m fascinated about what makes society work; how people think and why; and how different cultures can come to very different views — or sometimes very similar ones — through different — or remarkably the same — experiences and approaches.

At the beginning of my career, I had the good fortune to spend six years in Mexico writing about everything from Mexican cinema to the country’s political elections and economic development for the Dallas Morning News and other newspapers.

This year, I’ve had a chance to reconnect with this interest in “the general assignment,” as in general assignment reporting. As the managing editor of the new Latino cultural site, Hola Cultura, I spend part of every day now focused on the arts and humanities.  Besides becoming more fluent in online video and other forms of multimedia communication, which are most certainly the future of journalism, the work has reconnected me to a past love: reporting on Hispanic culture.

While running holacultura.com is a blast, I haven’t lost interest in stories about environmental issues and their connections to most aspects of life — a web of relationships often reflected upon in art. Since it’s been awhile since I updated this site, here’s a roundup of environmental stories I’ve published in recent months:

Continue reading Environment + Culture: More closely tied then you’d think?

Zero Waste revolution?

"Empire of Dirt" By niXerKG. Creative Commons license.

After reading one too many reports that corporations were going “zero waste,” I began to wonder what this means for landfills. Could we really be headed toward a world without trash dumps and Superfund sites?

Considering that there’s possibly as much as 30 tons of industrial trash for every ton of municipal solid waste, we are talking a lot of trash; though corporations have even trashed the word and now consider their castoffs the fodder of new “profit centers.” But what happens to these newly branded “resources” after they’ve been “reduced, reused or recycled”? I learned the answer is far from straightforward. Read the story on Alternet.org.

This year’s Solar Decathlon featured green homes for less green

Stefano Paltera/U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon, creative commons license

In this year’s Solar Decathlon  wrapped up earlier this month with 19 homes – more than half of which cost less than $300,000 to build. Affordability was one of the 10 categories on which the homes are judged this year in the biannual competition pitting universities from around the United States and a few foreign countries. The new cost/affordability bar, which replaced the lighting contest, inspired the student designers to drive down the cost considerably. According to the event’s sponsor, U.S. Department of Energy, this year’s houses were about 33 percent cheaper this year than those that competed two years ago.  “Solar for less” was just one of the industry trends reflected in this year’s entries.

Read my story in Architecture Week.