We buy and abandon costly, tantalizing, resource-intensive gadgets with remarkable speed. One way to break free is to rethink not only an object’s design but also how we use it. Example? Hand-crank your cell phone.
Changing the Battery
As the world goes wireless and gears up for an all-electric roadway, the demand for lithium, crucial to all things mobile, could get dangerous—at least for the flamingos of Bolivia. But the future may hold a better, kinder battery—or maybe no battery at all.
The Efficiency Catch-22
Some experts say that energy efficiency can slash carbon emissions at bargain prices. Others say, not so fast. The more energy we save, the more we use.
To Build a (Better) Fire
A kind of hippie Manhattan Project in rural Oregon tackles climate change, air pollution, and deforestation by bringing together the best minds in the field to invent cheap, durable, clean-burning stoves for 3 billion people.
Building on the Fly
Could the bizarre, decentralized logic of insect architecture provide a blueprint for revolutionary and sustainable human habitat?
Biofuels Déjà Vu
Lured by dreams of “green” fuel, could we end up trampling biodiversity in the name of saving the planet?
Are We Putting Tigers in Our Tanks?
The connection between biodiesel, land use, and habitat loss isn’t easy to pin down, but it isn’t easy to ignore, either.