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CH2M pushes UAE Masdar as model PRT

In writing about the recent PPSBN Sustainability conference, I failed miserably to highlight the keynote speaker Nancy Tuor, who represented CH2M Hill as a model green corporate citizen. Ms Tuor, the "Group President and Executive Sponsor for Sustainability" at CH2M Hill, had headliner status at the conference because she is Program Manager on the MASDAR ‘Green’ City development in the United Arab Emirates, a smoke and mirrors project if ever there was, and it's smoke from burning oil. According to the program for this week's conference in Colorado Springs: CH2M HILL is the delivery partner for the first phase of the MASDAR development, a carbon-neutral and zero-waste sustainable city nestled in the heart of Abu Dhabi—the first major hydrocarbon producing nation. First, a sustainable city built on income generated by fossil fuel is an oxymoron. Second, UAE's efforts appear to be centered on securing the technological rights to new sources and practices before their monopoly on oil expires. MASDAR is a comprehensive Abu Dhabi government program to address the issues of sustainable energy sources and environmental practices. The program is focused on developing and commercializing advanced and innovative technologies in renewable, alternative, and sustainable energies. In other words, their definition of sustainable is much like the military's, they want to sustain their profits. Minneapolis Confidential's Ken Avidor contacted NMT about another outlandish aspect of CH2M's green charade in Masdar. It relates to an announcement which Nancy Tuor made at the conference: MIST delays impact PRT schedule. At a sustainability conference in Colorado Springs on November 3, 2009, Nancy Tuor, CH2M Hill’s program manager for the MASDAR ‘Green City’ in the United Arab Emirates, announced that the personal rapid transit (PRT) system will open to public use in about six months. It seems a central showpiece of the Masdar development is a Personal Rapid Transit system which always fails to materialize. As Avidor writes: You may have seen blog posts and news stories about a "sustainable" city in the United Arab Emirates called Masdar. One of the supposed "green" features of the Masdar project is a "Personal Rapid Transit" (PRT) system. It turns out the PRT system is a joke... but what do expect from a country where a prominent royal family member tortures people and has it all documented on video. One of Avidor's astute readers makes the point that the US tortures people, and documents it on video as well. So much for that dig at UAE, but Avidor's central criticism stands. PRT projects worldwide are being lauded with out merit, but of critical relevance, PRTs are being used as stalking horses to thwart the finite budgets which metropolitan regions have for mass transit. Interestingly, Avidor's blog posts are being dogged by two detractors who can't sing praises enough for PRTs. Maybe they're new technology freaks who want to see Jetsons fantasies in their lifetimes. Maybe they believe the argument against mass transit, that contemporary man doesn't want a community experience when he commutes. If they aren't PRT industry shills,

Sustainability catch phrase for profiteers

COLORADO SPRINGS- At Rosamund Naylor's CC lecture "Where's the Beef?" about the basic unsustainability of beef, whether corn or grass fed, we discussed three facets of the sustainable equation: biophysical, economic and social. The Southern Colorado Sustainability Conference taking place today and tomorrow is more interested in a fourth: military sustainability, or how to sustain its mission. The PPSBN event is a green wash for area businesses, primarily weapons industry contractors, and Fort Carson, to claim for example, that setting aside land for a firing range will ameliorate urban growth. Their keynote speaker this year is Nancy Tuor of CH2M Hill, one of the top war profiteers in Iraq and Afghanistan, implicated among the disaster profiteers of Hurricane Katrina. A sustainable army is a very, very small one. There is no sustainable offensive capability, nor even as deterrence. A big stick is only sustainable as a plowshare. A blimp-neck military type's concept of sustainability is fertilizing the status quo. But a word about Rosamund Naylor's lecture. Gates Common room was overflowing with students and locals who seemed already very much up to speed about the grass-fed versus industrialized beef agriculture. I was almost completely impressed by the caliber of the students, when a tangle-haired student seated in front of me posed this question: "Could developments with GMO grasses produce greater yields which in turn could make grass-fed beef more feasible?" Naylor answered that GMO development was unlikely for perennial grasses because where's the profit for Cargill? But the boy defended his question, as if Naylor's answer had come from a Luddite, and the little innocent reaped back slaps from his friends all around.

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