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?