Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

How Do We Make Sustainable Cities Sustainable Policies?

Read a sidebar on waste and recycling. Several of the region’s high-profile mayors who championed sustainability during their administrations have recently left—or will soon leave—office. This raises an important question: what will happen to the policies and programs they left behind? Incoming mayors have their own agendas and policy preferences, and sustainability initiatives—unlike crime or … Read more


National to City, Diagnosis to Funding

For too long, Latin America’s urbanization has been haphazard and chaotic. As a result, the world’s most urbanized region (with over 80 percent of its population living in cities) became associated with sprawl, waste, inefficiency, pollution, and increasing vulnerability to climate change. But a new approach to this challenge emerged on the sidelines of the … Read more

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Extreme Sustainable City Makeover: New York

Read sidebars on water management and citizen engagement. Most of us are familiar with the concept of the “ecological footprint.” Originally developed by Canadian academics Matthis Wackernagel and William Rees, the idea embodies a series of algorithms (numerous versions are available on the web) that convert a wide variety of consumption inputs into a single … Read more

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Why Sustainability Matters to the Private Sector

As a business, the EPM Group is a beneficiary of the broad municipal program of sustainability in which we participate.  A wholly owned utility company of the municipality of Medellín, we have benefited both locally and internationally from the progressive urban politics of Medellín.  Until eight years ago, we were entirely local, but in recent … Read more

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Our Cities, Our Future

Articles: Extreme Sustainable City Makeover: New York by Michael Sorkin How to make a city self-sufficient, neighborhood by neighborhood. Full text available. National to City, Diagnosis to Funding by Ellis J. Juan The IDB tackles climate change at the municipal level. Full text available. From “Make-Sicko” back to Mexico City: The Greening of Mexico’s Distrito … Read more

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Skip Traffic with EcoBici

In 1992, Mexico City was dubbed “the most polluted city on the planet” by the United Nations. Ever since, city officials have been struggling to lose that tag. One of their most innovative (and successful) ideas is a bicycle-sharing program called EcoBici. Not only is EcoBici, launched in February 2010, the largest bikeshare system in … Read more


Tropical Storms Cause Severe Damage in Mexico

Powerful Tropical Storm Manuel—which together with Tropical Storm Ingrid has already killed at least 81 people across 11 states in Mexico—was upgraded to a category one hurricane today. Hurricane Manuel has sustained winds of 75 mph (120km/hour) near Acapulco, with projections it will continue to travel northwest along the coast of Sinaloa state for the … Read more


Can Games Influence Development Policy?

Often referred to as “games for good” or “games for change,” a new generation of socially- and environmentally-oriented online simulation games aims to go beyond entertainment by raising awareness of global issues and securing funds for projects—making a real-word difference. Over 10 million people worldwide have played World Food Programme’s (WFP) “Food Force,” for example, … Read more


Ecuador’s Yasuní-ITT Initiative: The Fate of One of the World’s Most Biodiverse Regions

Deep in the northeastern part of the Ecuadorian Amazon is the Yasuní National Park, a 2.4-million acre reserve believed by scientists to be the most biodiverse place on Earth. Its location, where the equatorial divide meets the Andes and the Amazon rainforest, has made Yasuní one of the world’s most unique habitats for life. The … Read more

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The Irrelevance of Global Climate Talks

Climate change has been called the biggest global challenge of the current generation. As scientific uncertainty has diminished, climate change has emerged as an important item on the international institutional agenda. But efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and minimize the effects of human-caused climate change through binding international agreements often miss key emitter nations … Read more


The Rising Global Thermostat: What business can do to lower the temperature

The private sector has long been a key partner for the United Nations on advancing sustainable development initiatives throughout the world. Today, climate change presents one of the most urgent global challenges to sustainable development, and it will demand the support and engagement of the private sector to confront it effectively. Investing in green energy … Read more


AQ Slideshows: Natural Resource Extraction in Latin America

Award-winning photographer Nicolas Villaume accompanied Americas Quarterly to Chile, Colombia and Peru in 2012 to study natural resource extraction and its effect on social inclusion. Photographed during the AQ team’s site visits to mines in each country and meetings with stakeholders at the extraction sites and nearby communities, Villaume’s photos bring this research to life … Read more


Mining Conflict and Indigenous Consultation in Guatemala

A handful of Mayan-Q’eqchi’ men and women met with lawyers late last year in Ontario to review the details of three lawsuits filed in local courts against the Canadian mining company HudBay Minerals. They had traveled to Canada to pursue legal recourse for their claim that security personnel at the company’s Fenix Mining Project in … Read more


[i]AQ[/i] Documentary: [i]The Relocation of the Rio Rancheria in La Guajira, Colombia[/i]

Al otro lado del río: Proyecto de reubicación del Río Ranchería en la provincia de La Guajira, Colombia In one of the poorest provinces of Colombia, La Guajira, lies one of the country’s most active and more progressive coal mining companies, Cerrejón. In the early 2000s, Cerrejón estimated that 500 million tons of coal were … Read more


[i]AQ[/i] Videos: Natural Resource Extraction in Chile, Colombia and Peru

AQ traveled to Colombia, Chile and Peru in 2012 to study natural resource extraction and its effect on social inclusion, made possible with the generous support of the Ford Foundation. On each trip, the team met with mining officials, local government representatives, community leaders, and environmental activists to gain a broad, nuanced and diverse understanding … Read more

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