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  • The battle for a sustainable future will be won or lost in our cities. Image credit: CC license by art-dara/Flickr

    Although occupying only 2% of the Earth’s land surface, cities account for more than 60% of global energy consumption and 75% of carbon emissions. Over 3.5bn people are city dwellers today, and by 2050 that number is projected to almost double. With figures like these, it’s not a stretch to say that our battle for a sustainable future will be won or lost in our cities.

    So how do we win that battle? Early in 2012 we started exploring this very question in Citystates: How Cities are Vital to the Future of Sustainability, and last week I had the opportunity to chair a panel on the subject at Convergence Paris. Joining me were two people with a lot of experience in this area: Peter Madden from Catapult Future Cities, and Sterling Hughes from Silver Spring Networks.

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  • Earthrise

    For me, and I daresay for many working in the sustainability space, Earth Day has become an opportunity to reflect on the progress we’ve made over the past year, and to think about where we need to focus our efforts going forward….

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  • The World Health Organisation estimates that 30% of prescriptive drugs in circulation in emerging economies are counterfeit. Imagine you live in the developing world, and you depend upon regular medicine to keep you healthy enough to feed your family. There is roughly a one in three chance that each pill you take is at best ineffective, and at worst dangerous. Other than swallow and hope for the best, what can you do? …

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  • “We’re here to put a dent in the universe.” Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs has passed away at the age of 56, having transformed the way we use and think about technology. Those of us working toward a more sustainable world would be wise to pay attention to how he did it.

    I was working in the mobile phone industry in January 2007, when Jobs stood up on stage and revealed the iPhone to the world. Many of my colleagues looked on unimpressed – sure it looked good, but it was too expensive, too big, too slow for internet browsing, too hard to type on… in fact too just-about-everything. The consensus seemed to be that Jobs, as an ‘outsider,’ just couldn’t understand the complexities of the mobile landscape we all inhabited. What my colleagues missed was that Jobs wasn’t looking to find his own place in that landscape; he was planning to terraform it. And terraform it he did. Five short years ago very few people outside the industry had ever heard the term “smartphone,” but now it seems that every other handset you see is either an iPhone or an imitation of it.

    What does all this mean for the business of sustainability? Well, Apple may not be known as a leader on environmental or social issues, but its winning formula serves as a great model for those who aspire to be. Jobs built an organisation that actively sought to shatter the status quo in every market it entered. The iPhone is just one of a number of successess – Macintosh, iTunes, iPad, and so on – that prove how a single company can really change the game if it thinks differently.

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  • Nokia's fall from market dominance provides important lessons for today's leaders.

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