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Reaction Housing is not the only attempt to make post-disaster housing better, or at least less expensive, than the infamous FEMA trailers. A charity called ShelterBox in Lakewood Ranch, FL, fills boxes with everything a family or group of up to 10 people needs, including a heavy-duty tent, bedding, and kitchen supplies, in order to survive after a natural disaster. (Here's an interview video I shot in 2010 about ShelterBox.) Exo, ShelterBox or any one of dozens of other emergency housing alternatives are good to have around, ready to go, for the next Katrina, Sandy or Tsunami. High tech? Not necessarily, but technology has obviously made emergency housing faster and easier to erect than the "earthquake shacks" that were built in San Francisco to house people made homeless by the 1906 earthquake.
But for the first time in nearly half a century, that synchrony between economic growth and energy-related emissions seems to have been broken, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, prompting its chief economist to wonder if an important new pivot point has been reached — one that decouples economic vigor and carbon pollution. The IEA pegged carbon dioxide emissions for 2014 at 32.3 billion metric tons — essentially the same volume as 2013, even as the global economy grew at a rate of about 3 percent. Whether the disconnect is a mere fluke or a true harbinger of a paradigm shift is impossible to know. The IEA suggested that decreasing use of coal in China — and upticks in renewable electricity generation there using solar, wind and hydropower — could have contributed to the reversal.