Christopher X J. Jensen
Associate Professor, Pratt Institute

What can be made by mimicking biological “assemblies”?

Posted 09 Apr 2016 / 0

A student in my Ecology for Architects course sent me the link to this TED Talk by Neri Oxman about some of her projects at the intersection of design and biology. I think that my student meant for me to watch it, and perhaps might have been interested in my thoughts, but the talk struck such a Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Architecture, Closed Loop Systems, Fashion, Film, Television, & Video, MSCI-271, Ecology for Architects, Science in Art & Design, Sustainability

Science & Sustainability at the Green Meadow Waldorf School

Posted 22 Mar 2016 / 1

On Monday, March 21st I had the pleasure of visiting the Green Meadow Waldorf School in Chestnut Ridge, New York to discuss the role that science plays in helping people to achieve the goal of a sustainable society. In a talk entitled “Pulling Humanity Back Inside the Boundaries: How Science Serves Sustainability“, I gave students some Read More

A Major Post, Belief, Biodiversity Loss, Climate Change, Closed Loop Systems, Community Ecology, Conservation Biology, Ecology Education, Economic sustainability, Economics, Ecosystem Services, Eutrophication, Food, Habitat Destruction, Hypothesis Testing, Methods, Philosophy, Pollution, Public Outreach, Public Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Resource Consumption, Science (General), Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture, Sustainable Energy, Sustainable Harvesting, System Stability, Teaching, Water Supply, Wild Foods

If sloths endure costs to maintain closed-loop agricultural systems, why can’t we?

Posted 05 Feb 2014 / 0

The New York Times “The Sloth’s Busy Inner Life” This is a great story about how paradoxical behaviors can be understood through appreciating mutualisms. If you don’t understand the benefits of algae to sloths and sloths to algae,  you can’t understand this behavior. But you also need to understand how sloths directly benefit moths and how Read More

A Minor Post, Adaptation, Articles, Behavior, Behavioral Ecology, Closed Loop Systems, Coevolution, Community Ecology, Composting, Mutualism, Predation, Quantifying Costs and Benefits, Tropical Forest

TurnUp seeks to turn excess art materials into treasure, not trash

Posted 04 Feb 2014 / 0

TurnUp is an entrepreneurial material repurposing project supported by Pratt’s Design Incubator. If it works, it should save a lot of students some money, decrease the impact of consumption, and save a lot of materials from going to the landfill.

A Minor Post, Center for Sustainable Design Studies, Closed Loop Systems, Economic sustainability, Economics, Pratt Institute, Resource Consumption, Sustainability

Concentrated factory farming of livestock massively alters the phosphorus cycle

Posted 25 Jan 2014 / 0

NPR Morning Edition “How Mass-Produced Meat Turned Phosphorus Into Pollution” This short feature provides a clear example of how human agricultural practices massively modify nutrient cycles, decoupling what used to be inseparable: where animal feed is grown and where animals are raised. This separation means that we no longer have closed-loop agricultural systems. I would suggest Read More

A Minor Post, Closed Loop Systems, Composting, Economics, Ecosystem Ecology, Eutrophication, Food, Pollution, Ponds & Lakes, Public Policy, Radio & Podcasts, Rivers & Streams, Soil Ecology, Sustainable Agriculture, Vegetarianism

NPR piece suggests that economics are pushing us towards nutrient recycling

Posted 10 Apr 2013 / 0

NPR All Things Considered “Cities Turn Sewage Into ‘Black Gold’ For Local Farms” This is a really interesting piece because it suggests that the costs associated with properly disposing of human waste are beginning to incentivize municipalities to repurpose this waste as fertilizer. As this feature indicates, landfilling and (even worse) incineration have been in Read More

A Minor Post, Closed Loop Systems, Economic sustainability, Pollution, Radio & Podcasts, Sustainability, Sustainable Agriculture

Quantifying the climate value of that 40-acre woodlot

Posted 07 Feb 2013 / 0

The New York Times “Tree Power“

A Minor Post, Articles, Climate Change, Closed Loop Systems, Public Policy, Quantitative Analysis, Sustainability, Temperate Rainforest

Charlotte Douglas International Airport employs worms to close the loop on airport waste

Posted 18 Dec 2012 / 0

NPR All Things Considered “One Airport’s Trash Is 2 Million Worms’ Treasure“

A Minor Post, Closed Loop Systems, Composting, Decomposition, Radio & Podcasts, Resource Consumption, Sustainability

Envirolutions students release Trash Tetris video to promote recycling bin launch

Posted 01 Nov 2012 / 0

The students in the Pratt Envirolutions club have worked tirelessly to get a set of recycling bins placed on campus. Please join these students and President Schutte for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on November 6, 2012 in front of the Engineering Building lawn @ 4 PM. Free food provided by CulinArt!

A Minor Post, Closed Loop Systems, Envirolutions, Pratt Institute, Resource Consumption, Sustainability


Posted 03 Jan 2010 / 0

I just finished re-reading William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s book “Cradle to Cradle”. For those not familiar with the 2002 book, it has become the “go-to” spiritual reference for sustainable design. I say “spiritual” because the book reads more like a manifesto than a set of instructions; if you are looking for a how-to guide Read More

A Major Post, Books, Closed Loop Systems, Life Cycle Analysis, Resource Consumption, Reviews, Sustainability