June 2009 Archives

Rising Tides

I just ran across the Rising Tides design competition, "an open international design competition for ideas responding to sea level rise in San Francisco Bay and beyond" sponsored by San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission. Submissions are due by June 29.

Per their website:

"Nearly every day, we learn more about sea level rise - one of the most critical impacts of global warming. Individually and collectively, people are seeking solutions to this climate challenge. The issue of sea level rise is clearly of global importance, and both simple and complex design interventions will be needed to sustain quality of life, preserve the environment and ensure continued economic vitality of shoreline communities throughout the world. Challenges include:

  • Rethinking how to build new communities in areas susceptible to future inundation
  • Retrofitting valuable public shoreline infrastructure
  • Protecting existing communities from flooding
  • Protecting wetlands
  • Anticipating changing shoreline configurations

At the intersection of rising seas and our coastal human settlements, your ideas are needed. The Rising Tides ideas competition is open to everyone. All are encouraged to bring forward their vision of a future estuarine shoreline that is applicable to San Francisco Bay and beyond."

There's a raging debate around climate change and intellectual property, and the planet's fate may be linked to the way we think about patent protectionism.

G77 countries at the Bonn climate conference were been demanding access to green technology intellectual property, as a requirement for moving ahead. Industrialized countries have been stonewalling, arguing that greentech IP is private, and can't be shared. G77 countries have come back with a proposal where developed nations would pay into a pool that would buy access to greentech IP, to be shared with developing nations, which has been worrying US politicians advocating for stronger IP rights. This is one of several important threads involved in international climate negotiations, but has been substantially underreported on in the American IP reform community.

I'm particularly interested by India's comparison of greentech IP to essential HIV/AIDS drugs, framing their current demands in light of a widely understood battle over patent protection vs. humanitarian access. I'm hoping to see more folks pick up on this angle, and see where the comparison works, and where it doesn't.

Depressing news from the Daily Californian:

"An April 7 draft report released by the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission predicted that the sea level in the Bay Area will rise 16 inches by mid-century and 55 inches by 2100, flooding areas of the Berkeley Marina and a few blocks of West Berkeley." (read more...)

For more details, look at the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (SFBCDC) climate change planning site.


Anirvan Chatterjee is a San Francisco Bay Area tech geek and bibliophile.


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