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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Amit Chatterjee: How to Make a City Sustainable

July 2, 2010, 12:00 AM
Amit Chatterjee, the CEO and founder of Hara Technologies, consults with companies all across the country about how to go green. He stopped by Big Think recently to talk about his work on the city of Palo Alto, California, in which he helped make the 60,000 resident municipality to more sustainable—and saved them a substantial amount of money in the process.

What were some of the changes implemented? Chatterjee says that Palo Alto's chief of police looked at his department and zeroed in on the air conditioning in the Canine Unit. "He realized that if I could turn off the HVAC and put on fans, the dogs would see no change, but I would no longer have to be reliant on HVACs to cool that system." According to Chatterjee, because of Hara's improvements, the city of Palo Alto has seen between $600k-$800k in savings each year.

Chatterjee also talks about the idea of a tax on carbon, and what questions we should be asking ourselves before endorsing the idea. "The first is: is it actually a meaningful proxy for natural resources consumed? Secondly, what’s the emotional tie to it? And thirdly, whether it's feasible. Whether or not organizations should be able to deal with it."

Amit Chatterjee: How to Mak...

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