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Sectional view of sand dam
Sand dams. Drought is the most serious natural hazard facing Eastern Africa in terms of severity and frequency of occurrence. The most seriously affected areas are Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALS) that face frequent reduction of water or moisture to significantly below the normal or expected amount Pastoralists and agro pastoralists who occupy this vast region barely meet basic water requirements. Consequently they suffer from livelihood losses, hunger, diseases, conflict and internal displacements. The worst affected are women and children who may have to walk all day long in search of water.

Due to limited and unreliable rainfall most rivers are ephemeral seasonal sandy bed streams and only experience heavy water run-off for short periods of time after rain. During such periods of high flows, large quantities of sand are transported downstream while others get trapped on the upstream sides of rocks ledges along the stream. Such sand traps form natural aquifers that are capable of providing clean adequate water if well harnessed. Using appropriate technologies this can be exploited for water storage in the form of sand dams.

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Wild Chick Farm

Recent winners of the $25,000 Economic Fuel award. Wild Chick Farm pecks ahead on local sustainable chicken raising.

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Every designer's dirty little secret is that they copy other designers' work. They see work they like, and they imitate it. Rather cheekily, they call this inspiration.

Aaron Russell
Bicycle wheel
Transport. According to the Appropriate transport manual, sustainable transportation is a strategy for the flow of people and goods across the Earth that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Transportation accounted for 32.6% of US green house gas emissions in 2005. In addition to the widely publicized environmental consequences of driving automobiles, it is also socially and economically costly:
  • Land use: Parking and roads use valuable land resources.
  • Transportation equity: Driving, with all of its expenses, costs the average U.S. household $7,000 per year per vehicle.
  • Economics: Most of the money spent on driving leaves a local economy, weakening it.
  • Community: Travelers outside of their cars interact more with their physical environment and each other.
  • Safety: The presence of pedestrians and cyclists make our neighborhoods safer from crime. Conversely, 42,000 Americans are killed in car accidents every year.
  • Health: Increasingly, Americans are suffering from weight-related illnesses. This is partly attributable to the decline in active transportation use and availability.

Building and encouraging alternatives to the single-occupant vehicle, or, for short "alternative transportation," is imperative. Some alternative transportation advocates have taken to using the term, sustainable transportation, instead of the previous, widely-used "alternative transportation" term to avoid sidelining their interest from the mainstream.

Many efficient, practical, and inexpensive sustainable transportation technologies already exist, meaning activism, policy work, and planning research is most often more crucial to developing sustainable transportation than technology development.

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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Spring 2010: World Shelters: One lab of the Spring 2010 semester of Engineering 215 worked worked with World Shelters to design and improve upon structures by leveraging the resources of Haiti and World Shelters.

Spring 2010 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - World Shelters
Simple Square
Reduces the amount of unique connecting pieces needed to construct World Shelter's JAS Shelter  
Rock Roots JAS
JAS Shelter retrofits to withstand a Class One hurricane  
Make it Complete with Papercrete
Inner wall system incorporates the use of papercrete, a weatherproof and fire resistant material  
Rubble to Resource
Rubble trench foundations utilize rubble to rebuild Haiti  
Bags of Shelter
Earthbag shelter designed for use as a transitional shelter  
Titanium Sun Shield
Primer and topcoat application over the polypropylene exterior of a WorldShelters temporary structure  
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