Mexico City is sinking – and it’s going to cause some real problems

February 20, 2017 by  
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Mexico City , a scant mile and a half above sea level, is sinking. It’s a turn of events that shouldn’t surprise anyone with a rudimentary grasp of history. Established by the Aztecs in 1325, the city formerly known as Tenochtitlán occupies what was once a plexus of interconnected lakes that were first drained by the Spaniards, then paved over with concrete and steel by modern engineers. As a result, Mexico City has to dig deep—literally—to obtain fresh water for its 21 million residents. But the drilling weakens the brittle clay beds that serve as the city’s foundation, according to the New York Times , hastening the collapse even further. For Mexico City, climate change isn’t a game of partisan ping-pong. Per the Times : More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city’s collapse. In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly two million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in. Related: Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot Rising temperatures and the increased incidence of droughts and floods could send millions of Mexicans fleeing north and “heightening already extreme political tensions over immigration.” At the same time, Mexico City is facing a water crisis that prevents nearly 20 percent of its residents from getting water from their faucets each day. People have had to resort to hiring trucks to deliver drinking water, sometimes at prices 10 times higher than what richer neighborhoods with more reliable plumbing have to pay. “Climate change is expected to have two effects,” Ramón Aguirre Díaz, director of the Water System of Mexico City, told the Times . “We expect heavier, more intense rains, which means more floods, but also more and longer droughts.” If rain stops filling the reservoirs, “there is no way we can provide enough trucks of water to deal with that scenario,” he added. Mexico City could still rally some long-term solutions, but like most places, the city is roiled by political infighting. “There has to be a consensus—of scientists, politicians, engineers and society—when it comes to pollution, water, climate,” said Claudia Sheinbaum, a former environment minister. “We have the resources, but lack the political will.” Via New York Times

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Mexico City is sinking – and it’s going to cause some real problems

JFK Airport is opening a $65 million pet terminal

February 20, 2017 by  
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Traveling with pets just got a little bit easier for anyone passing through New York’s John F. Kennedy airport . The airport just gave us a first look at The ARK – a $65-million terminal for animals complete with a “Pet Oasis.” The facility will educate pet owners on any flight requirements before takeoff, provide food and water for flights, receive incoming pets and help board others on their outgoing flights, and even microchip animals who need it. Soon, the ARK plans to provide even more services. Phase 2, to be launched sometime in Q2 2017, will see the opening of the ARK Import-Export Center, with facilities for horses and an aviary. By summer, the terminal should be fully operational with a pet boarding facility, a grooming service, a veterinary clinic and a blood laboratory all open for business. Related: Man Tries to Smuggle Turtle Disguised as Hamburger Through Airport Security The ARK will be open 24-hours a day, and it will serve as a central resource for all airlines making stops at JFK. John J. Cuticelli, the CEO of ARK Development, said in a press release , “Transporting live cargo by plane can be a complex and arduous process for owners and animals alike. Our goal is to create a more efficient and safe process by reducing the need for additional travel and offering trained animal care staff immediately pre- and post-flight. The ARK provides a healthy and comfortable environment, and sets new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services.” + The ARK at JFK

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JFK Airport is opening a $65 million pet terminal

London is charging old, polluting vehicles a 10 fine to drive in the city

February 20, 2017 by  
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A new law will charge old, polluting cars a £10 fee to drive in central London. London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said that the “T-charge” will help quell the massive amounts of pollution in the central city. The fee targets vehicles that don’t meet Euro 4 standards, and it is expected to affect about 10,000 vehicles every week. “It’s staggering that we live in a city where the air is so toxic that many of our children are growing up with lung problems,” Khan told The Guardian . “If we don’t make drastic changes now we won’t be protecting the health of our families in the future. That is why today, on the 14th anniversary of the start of the congestion charge, I’ve confirmed we are pressing ahead with the toughest emission standard of any major city, coming to our streets from 23 October.” Related: London breaks legal limits on air pollution in just five days in 2017 Most of the vehicles affected by the T-charge are petroleum-fueled cars and trucks made before 2006. The new law will kick into action on October 23, 2017 and the city is launching an online service that will tell Londoners if their vehicle is affected. The fee will be in addition to London’s Congestion Charge , and a £11.50 daily charge for driving any vehicle within a certain area of the city during specified times on weekdays. That means a potential cost of £21.50 to some drivers who want to bring their vehicles into the city. If this seems extreme, keep in mind that the Lambeth’s Brixton Road area broke annual air pollution limits over the course of just five days in January of 2017. Diesel vehicles are seen as the single biggest source of the city’s air pollution. Via The Guardian Images via David Holt , Flickr Creative Commons

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London is charging old, polluting vehicles a 10 fine to drive in the city

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