Rainfall prediction app helps Indonesias farmers

December 27, 2021 by  
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A new rainfall app is helping  farmers  in Indonesia’s Sumbawa Island navigate climate change. A collaboration between  Bandung Institute of Technology ,  USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance  and an international development nonprofit called  World Neighbors  is giving farmers important data on maximizing their crops. In the past, the farmers in Dompu Regency have relied on natural signs and astronomical calculations to determine the best planting times. But  climate change  is throwing off generations of traditional knowledge as weather — especially rainfall — has become less predictable. Misjudging the best planting time can lead to financial ruin. The new rainfall app, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, aims to help farmers determine the best time to plant. Related: Climate change is wreaking havoc on Italy’s olive harvests In  Indonesia , a regency is an administrative division within a province. Dompu Regency contains many small family farms, with corn being the major crop. The land is sloping, and the farmers use dryland farming techniques, which means cultivating crops without irrigation in places that usually get less than 20 inches of annual rainfall. Every drop is precious. Inhabitat talked to Edd Wright, World Neighbors’ regional director for Southeast Asia, about the development and uptake of the new rainfall app. Wright manages the Indonesian programs focusing on climate change adaptation and sustainable  agriculture . Inhabitat: Tell us a little bit about the individuals behind the development of this app. Wright:  Dr. Armi Susandi, MT. (born 4 September 1969) is an Indonesian scientist and lecturer. He is an expert on  weather  and climate who teaches at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). Armi Susandi also serves as Chair II of the National Council on Climate Change, a state institution established based on a presidential decree with the task of coordinating policies and efforts to deal with climate change. His idea to create a climate change disaster early warning technology emerged in 2002, while studying at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Colorado, United States. Armi Susandi then earned his doctorate in climate change from the University of Hamburg, Germany in 2004. Since then, he has created several  technologies  regarding early warning of climate change disasters, such as Forest Fire Management System, Flood Early Warning and Early Action System, Dynamic Management and Information Services for Fisheries, Smart Agriculture Information System, Smart Information System for Search And Rescue, amongst others. Inhabitat: How widespread are smartphones in Dompu Regency? Do most farmers have one, or access to somebody else’s? Wright:  According to  Indonesia Baik ,  smartphone  ownership in Nusa Tenggara (the province where the regency of Dompu is) reaches 45%. Based on observations, young farmers in Dompu have smartphones, while older farmers usually do not. Farmers who do not have smartphones, they will access weather information via smartphones from the agriculture extension workers, other farmers, their children or other family members. Inhabitat: What was farmers’ initial reaction to the app, and how has that changed over time? Wright:  For farmers who have never applied  rainfall  prediction (PCH), at first they doubted PCH. Many farmers have not dared to adopt PCH because they are worried that if the prediction is wrong, in the end, the farmers themselves will suffer losses. However, after a process of sharing experiences with farmers who have implemented PCH, some of these farmers finally carried out a trial planting. When this trial turned out to be good, more and more farmers followed began to trust the tools. For farmers who have used the analogue version of PCH (printed maps), there is no difficulty for them in implementing the  digital  version of PCH (app). There are only technical issues such as availability of smartphones and poor signal quality. Inhabitat: Do you have any specific stories about how farmers altered their behavior because of info gleaned from the app? Wright:  Haji Safrudin, a farmer from Karamabura Village, Dompu Regency, used to use natural signs, namely the appearance of the peak of the tamarind  tree  to determine when the planting season arrives. “In the past we used tamarind trees as an indicator of the arrival of the rainy season,” he said. “If the shoots of the leaves appear, it is a sign that the rainy season will soon come. To predict the planting season is over, we observe the kapok tree. If the kapok starts to dry, then that is a sign not to plant again.” Since the intervention of World Neighbors, Safrudin now always checks his smartphone to see the rain prediction before  planting . Sometimes he even deliberately did it in front of other farmers, so they could see for themselves. Safrudin and his friends now no longer see the peaks of tamarind trees to start planting. But the planting time is done by looking at the PCH application on their smartphones. Inhabitat: Can you describe a typical training session — where are they held, how many people attend, who are the presenters, what transpires? Wright:  Local  government  and community buy-in begins during the initial building of the tools, a process that relies on data collection on historical rainfall patterns, past hydrometeorological disasters, annual yields from multiple sources, including the Agriculture Agency and individual village governments. Based on previous experience, by the time the tools have been created and are ready for dissemination, the Agriculture Field Extension Agency will be fully on-board. Regency-level workshops involving all related government agencies are then held. These workshops introduce the tools to regency level authorities and are followed with a full training program that includes a training of trainers (ToT) targeting extension workers and local NGO partners, carried out by Bandung Institute of Technology and World Neighbors. This training covers climate change and its impact on agriculture; the importance of weather predictions in the context of climate change; understanding the modelling results; features of the climate-smart agriculture digital tools; strategies for sharing the data with farmers and  community  organizing; and preparation of follow-up plans. When extension  workers  are fully conversant in the tools, World Neighbors staff accompany them to socialize the new knowledge and skills to farmer groups. This happens in three stages. The first stage is to create a dialogue with village leaders on how their traditional knowledge and local wisdom is used in determining the start of the wet season and planting times; discussion on its suitability with the current real conditions they experience, and to then introduce them to new methods of rainfall prediction. Through this dialogue, the strengths of local wisdom and the new technologies are combined and accepted, rather than being viewed as in competition. Once there is acceptance from these leaders, the second phase is to share the tools with the farmer groups. These training sessions cover  climate change , its impact on agriculture, the importance of learning new technologies as a complement to local wisdom; and sharing the monthly rainfall prediction modeling results for the next 12 months. By the end of the training, agreements are made with the farmers who decide to commit to applying the recommendations from the modelling tools. After this initial training, the third stage is to assist these farmers in their application; continue to convince those who are still hesitant; and monitor the planting times and types of plants planted; record crop yields and compare results between adopters and non-adopters. Inhabitat: Do you plan to expand this app program to other parts of Indonesia, or for other countries in which you work? Wright:  Currently this app program is implemented in five regencies of Indonesia – Dompu, Central Lombok, East Lombok, West Lombok and Nagekeo. If  funding  allows, we plan to extend it to another four regencies in eastern Indonesia. + Edd Wright, World Neighbors Images via World Neighbors

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Mysterious tree thieves uproot unique specimen in Australia

November 19, 2021 by  
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Jeff Knispel finished planting 205 citrus  trees  on Tuesday, November 2. That Saturday, he noticed his trees had been stolen. Knispel grows citrus in the Riverland region of South  Australia , a couple of hours northeast of Adelaide. He’s joint managing director of the Nippy’s Group, a family business that has been producing fruit juice since the 1930s. Related: Trees face extinction, too. What can we do about it? The theft was obviously premeditated. “It might have been the case that preparation of this piece of land was visible for several weeks, which might have given the perpetrators a bit of a warning that trees were going to get planted,” said Knispel, as reported by ABC News Australia. It’s a big mystery. Where did the thief turn around and plant 205 trees? “They would have to be in a position where they could do something immediately with the trees because unless they’re watered or in the ground and  water , or back into pots, they’ll die in 48 hours or so.” To add to the intrigue, these weren’t ordinary citrus trees. They were a new, distinct strain developed in a  research  center and worth $6,000. The thieves probably don’t even know what type of citrus tree they’ve stolen. And Knispel is not telling. “If they plan to sell the plants at a growers’ market or a nursery and they don’t know the variety, it won’t help their cause,” said Knispel, as reported by The Guardian. “They don’t know if it’s a mandarin … or an orange. Or a Valencia or a navel.” The leaves of the purloined trees have a different shape than other citrus leaves. And their distinct DNA could be detected. But first, someone would have to find the trees. If the thieves manage to nurture a hidden grove until the trees mature enough to produce  fruit  — three to five years — the citrus will probably go untraced. The tree theft is a new one to Mark Doecke, chair of  Citrus SA , which represents South Australian citrus growers. “In my career as a grower I’ve never heard of trees being stolen, I’ve never heard of trees being stolen out of the ground, let alone after they’ve been planted,” said Doecke, as reported by ABC News Australia. “The trees themselves are worth thousands of  dollars , and a couple of years of lost production, its hard to put a number on that.” Via ABC News Australia , The Guardian

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New Toyota Financial Services Center completed in Arizona

November 19, 2021 by  
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The newly completed Toyota Financial Services (TFS) Experience Center West is an architectural masterpiece that answers to the needs of modern working space. Designed and developed by the award-winning developer Ware Malcomb, the center will consolidate 29 locations into three experience centers for Toyota customers. The completion of the outstanding center was made public on October 26 by Ware Malcomb. The center is in prime locations to serve customers from regions in the west, central and east. Toyota Financial Services West is a 56,219 square foot establishment, organized into several workspaces. The establishment sits in a prime neighborhood that supports unique employee workstyles. Related: Toyota is testing a new Prius model that runs on solar power According to the designers, the aim was to create a working environment that corresponds to the needs of modern dynamic employees. With the TFS, Ware Malcomb focused on providing focus zones, including formal and informal meeting points and collaboration spaces. The center also provides spaces for traditional working groups such as closed-door offices and open-plan offices. With an employee seating capacity of 300, it was necessary for the designers to feature open and exposed ceilings and workspaces . These enable workers to concentrate and feel the free breath of air even when working on tight schedules. Another key aspect of the design that Ware Malcomb thought about is minimizing disruptions for the employees. To ensure that all workers enjoy maximum concentration, the center has acoustic wall treatments and sound-reducing 3form claro clouds. Ware Malcomb utilized natural materials to prevent the introduction of foreign matter to the location. To attain the center’s beauty, natural stones , wood and greenery were added into the space. These aspects were instrumental in creating a connection between people and nature . For the West center, the designer worked with Verde, a sustainability consultant. The end result minimized waste and energy while maximizing efficiency and prioritizing the health of employees and guests. Such high standards have been earned the west center LEED v4 ID+C: CI, Gold Level certification. “We are honored to partner with Toyota Financial Services as they strategically consolidate their United States footprint ,” said Mary Cheval, principal at Ware Malcomb. “The company’s commitment to sustainability and customer service excellence is woven into their DNA and is especially visible in the new experience centers.” + Ware Malcomb Photography by Benny Chan, Fotoworks

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New Toyota Financial Services Center completed in Arizona

Smart flower LOTUS moves in response to light

November 19, 2021 by  
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The recipe for this art display includes a dash of intrigue, a measure of intelligence and a full serving of “WOW” factor. LOTUS is a nature-inspired smart material that mirrors how flowers act when greeted by the sun .  The story of LOTUS begins in 2010 with curiosity and a deep dive into smart materials . The design team at Studio Roosegaarde was looking for a material that not only looked like something that came from nature, but actually responds to stimuli in real time.  Related: Los Angeles art show features historic Barnsdall olive wood With that, the LOTUS family of smart flowers was born. In the past decade, the assorted art installations have changed in scope and shape, yet all are LOTUS flowers that open in response to light. LOTUS OCULUS is the most recent release. “LOTUS OCULUS pays homage to the grandeur of the Pantheon and continues this legacy by creating an organic architecture of movement and shadows,” the artists comment. “This dynamic dialogue is what Daan Roosegaarde calls ‘Techno-Poetry.’” It’s easy to see why. When you view the art in motion, it seems to breathe in the atmosphere around it. Upon closer inspection, it becomes obvious the larger form is actually composed of many smaller panels of the material, each of which curls into a flower shape when stimulated.   Taking a step back, the entire exhibit comes to life as the parts fold and unfold in response to the changing environment . The result is an interplay of light and movement throughout the space. LOTUS OCULUS was commissioned by Bulgari and was placed in the Modern Art Gallery in Milan. The unique and interactive design was awarded the A’Design Gold Award and Media Architecture Award Denmark. The material takes a different shape as LOTUS Maffei, which is part of the permanent art collection of Palazzo Maffei Museum in Verona, Italy . That’s no small cast credit in the company of notable works by Lucio Fontana, Pablo Picasso and Gerrit Rietveld.  In a focal point for the 17th-century Sainte Marie Madeleine Church in Lille, France, the material was shaped for what is known as the LOTUS DOME . ?This striking exhibition draws the visitor in, enticing them to move around the dome, bringing the LOTUS petals to life in the process.  Roosegaarde describes this tangible connection between light and material as “a metamorphosis of nature and technology . In search of a new harmony between people and the environment, LOTUS is a work of art and a pilot for a more organic architecture.” + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Daan Roosegaarde

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First regenerative turkeys in California are from Cream Co.

November 18, 2021 by  
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Regenerative farming is the current zeitgeist in the fight for sustainable farming practices. It provides both a connection with the deep history of land management and a template for sustainable food production for the future. California meat distributor Cream Co. Meats is setting a new standard for the meat that lands on our tables, including California’s first ever regenerative farm-raised turkeys. With Thanksgiving and other upcoming holidays in our thoughts, Cream Company has partnered with PT Regenerative Farm to source broad-breasted white turkeys . The date to receive the birds through shipping has passed, but there are still a few pick up dates available if you order by November 22. Turkeys are expected to sell out.  Related: We need to talk about farming, agriculture and emissions This isn’t Cream Co.’s first dive into collaboration with regenerative farms . In fact, it’s been the focus of the company for the past five years. “We source meat and forge partnerships that value quality over quantity, flavor over convenience and transparency at every step,” Cream Co. said. It recognizes that the current practices in mass producing meat is unsustainable. It’s bad for the environment in many ways, including sucking up resources, releasing high levels of methane and stripping the soil.  Cream Co. maintains a focus on transparency as they build relationships with the supply chain on one end and consumers on the other. They work directly with regenerative ranching operations throughout California, Oregon and Washington. They are well-established as a source for providing quality meats across the consumer marketplace. “As the only 100% natural-or-better USDA processor in the metropolitan Bay Area and the largest supplier of sustainable and regenerative meats on the West Coast, Cream Co. is dedicated to revolutionizing a highly commoditized industry by creating new opportunities for people to enjoy meat responsibly,” Cream Co. said. “[We] are invested in every aspect of [our] partners’ operations, from the art of heritage breed and feed selection, through to the logistics of humane slaughter and efficient distribution.” In addition to focusing on progressive land management, Cream Co. sees the value of supporting independent ranchers and ensuring ethical treatment of animals. Investing in the benefits of regenerative ranching allows Cream Co. to provide quality meat to restaurants, markets and butchers. Now, it also directs to the public with the regenerative turkeys this fall season. In support of this mission, Cream Co. has grown to become the largest processor and distributor of sustainable and regenerative meat in California. The meat sourced through Cream Co. is high quality because of the way the ranches are managed. Regenerative farming and ranching is a technique that creates a sustainable ecosystem on each ranch. Take, for example, the turkeys from PT Ranch, which were raised feeding on native grasses . With the needs of the animals and the land naturally supported by regenerative farming techniques, the birds were raised without the need for antibiotics, hormones, GMOs or additives. Plus, they are free range birds so they were not subjected to unsanitary and overcrowded living conditions. “We are excited to partner with PT Ranch, as their focus on soil health is aligned to our values,” said Cream Co.’s Founder Cliff Pollard. “PT Ranch implements rotational multi-species grazing, cover cropping, no-till farming, compost application and agroforestry to sequester carbon in the soil. Healthier soil increases the health of the animals and creates delicious, nutrient-dense food. We want you to feel good about the meat you are consuming, and discover how the choices you make can nourish your family, the environment and our precious West Coast food web.” PT Ranch spans 500-acres a few hours from San Francisco in the Sierra-Nevada foothills. The third generation land is taking new form for first time farmers Emily and Ned Taylor. In their efforts to embrace sustainable farming techniques, they’ve ditched traditional methods in favor of new land management strategies. In order to claim the label of a regenerative farm, the couple works with the Savory Institute to record changes in the soil and overall ecosystem on the farm. They’ve committed to a 10-year study that will verify how the land management is effectively improving the soil and biodiversity on the land.  PT Ranch has earned the certification as an Ecological Outcome Verified Ranch. Land to Market Ecological Outcome Verification (EOV) is a breakout classification as the world’s first verified regenerative sourcing solution for meat, dairy, wool and leather. The assessment includes a comprehensive study of soil makeup, the health and development of biodiversity and an evaluation of how the ecosystem functions as a whole.  As regenerative farming and ranching practices continue to take hold, with a focus on the benefits to the land and the animals, products from Cream Co. set a new standard for meat consumption that is healthy without harm to humans or the environment. The mission-driven company is out to prove there is a way to provide nourishing food without harsh impacts on the land.  Via Cream Co. Meats Images via Cream Co. Meats

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Vertical farm building in China feeds 40,000 people

November 18, 2021 by  
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Carlo Ratti Associati have released the design of an office tower in Shenzhen, China whose entire façade will be a vertical hydroponic urban farm. The Jian Mu Tower was designed to fill the last real estate open in Shenzhen’s Central Business District. It was also entered in Chinese supermarket chain Wumart’s building design competition. “Small-scale urban farming is happening in cities all over the world – from Paris to New York to Singapore,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “Jian Mu Tower, however, takes it to the next level. Such approach has the potential to play a major role in the design of future cities as it engages one of today’s most pressing architectural challenges: how to integrate the natural world into building design. In addition to producing food , the Jian Mu Tower’s farm helps with solar shading – a key issue in tall buildings.” Related: A mini rainforest thrives in the Nanbo Bay Reception Center The tower is 218 meters tall and dedicates 10,000 square meters of its surface to growing space. A vertical farm in such a space could produce an estimated 270,000 kilograms of food per year, which would feed 40,000 people. Cultivation, harvest, sale and consumption of the food is intended to take place all within the same building to cut down on supply chain waste and pollution. The tower will also house offices, a food court and a supermarket. “Jian Mu” is a mythical Chinese tree that reaches to heaven. To reflect the Chinese traditional belief that heaven is round while earth is square, the Jian Mu Tower is designed to slowly morph from a rectangular base to a tubular rounded top. It is full of green spaces that also intended to be beautiful. Outdoor landscaped terraces fed by sustainable irrigation on various levels will hold lychee fruit, water lilies and ferns. Interior gardens will be open to office spaces inside the building. Workers will be able to use a phone app to adjust micro-climates within their offices, which lead on to two-story green spaces created to minimize the need for air conditioning. + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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We need to talk about farming, agriculture and emissions

November 11, 2021 by  
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Many plant-based activists claim that leaders at  COP26  aren’t paying enough attention to methane emissions from agriculture. They say that a global change in diet toward veganism could help slow climate change. Animal agriculture contributes about 20% to human-caused climate change. The need for grazing land also drives  deforestation . But the two-week climate talks in Glasgow lumped talk about agriculture into a themed “Nature Day” last Saturday, along with land and ocean management. Related: COP26’s meaty menu sparks controversy over emissions “The scale and speed of the shift that is needed to halt and reverse the climate damage caused by livestock demands world leaders to take decisive action,” said Sean Mackenney of the Humane Society International, as reported by CBC. “COP26 has been framed as a Race to Zero. But in its refusal to set ambitious targets and strategies to meaningfully reduce the kinds of impacts of animal  agriculture , it is more like a gentle Sunday stroll,” he said. Activists brought their point to the skies, flying four huge inflatable animals outside the Glasgow talks despite strong winds. Their symbolic choices were a 40-foot cow representing  methane  emissions, a fish for microplastics, a chicken for health and COVID and a pig representing obesity. Farming , of course, is a complicated issue and ranges from giant operations to small family farms that produce about a third of the world’s food. Activists propose a range of solutions, from full veganism to a world of lab-grown meat to modifying farmland to create more wetlands and forests. There’s also the question of subsidies and whether farmers should be exempt from carbon taxes. “The scale and speed of the shift that is needed to halt and reverse the climate damage caused by livestock demands world leaders to take decisive action,” said Sean Mackenney of the Humane Society International, as reported by CBC. “COP26 has been framed as a Race to Zero. But in its refusal to set ambitious targets and strategies to meaningfully reduce the kinds of impacts of animal agriculture, it is more like a gentle Sunday stroll,” he said. Activists brought their point to the skies, flying four huge inflatable animals outside the Glasgow talks despite strong winds. Their symbolic choices were a 40-foot cow representing  methane  emissions, a fish for microplastics, a chicken for health and COVID and a pig representing obesity. Farming, of course, is a complicated issue and ranges from giant operations to small family farms that produce about a third of the world’s food . Activists propose a range of solutions, from full veganism to a world of lab-grown meat to modifying farmland to create more wetlands and forests. There’s also the question of subsidies and whether farmers should be exempt from carbon taxes. In terms of individual choices, cutting  meat  consumption is one of the most effective ways for people to reduce their carbon footprints. But people have a strong gut reaction to anyone trying to take away their meat — kind of like if you made them get vaccinated during a public health crisis or pried their guns out of their hands. A comment on the CBC website summed up people’s feelings about individual rights versus global survival: “My right to choose whatever diet I think to be best for myself and my own health is something I am willing to use whatever force may be required to defend.” If agricultural emissions are to be reduced, it’s likely going to take mandates from on high, rather than enough individuals deciding to do the right thing. Via CBC , The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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We need to talk about farming, agriculture and emissions

Global warming is threatening the iconic Georgia peach

October 28, 2021 by  
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Researchers are in a race against time to salvage Georgia peaches as global warming worsens. The fragile fruits are synonymous with Georgia, but that relationship may end if scientists don’t find a workable solution soon. For a plant that relies on hundreds of chill hours to fruit, climate change can be devastating. Peaches were first introduced in Georgia by a Franciscan monk in 1751. Since then, the fruit has thrived in the state, thanks to its favorable climate and soil profile. All that could change as climate change threatens its existence. Related: SCAD students fight food insecurity in Georgia with organic farming and beekeeping Since the 1960s, Georgia and the South overall have experienced a 5 degree Fahrenheit rise in average temperatures. With the trend expected to continue, peach farming is in danger. There are different types of peaches, but they all require some amount of chill weather to be fruitful. On average, Georgia peaches need 650 to 800 chill hours each year to fruit well. The Elberta variety, among the most popular options, requires 800 chill hours each year. If the internal temperature of peaches is lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, the plant becomes dormant. Nothing can awaken a peach until it has enough chill hours. Once temperatures rise above 45 degrees Fahrenheit, sap begins to flow, allowing the plant to make fruits. In 2017, a very warm winter led to the destruction of 85% of peaches in Georgia due to a lack of sufficient chill hours. Between 1980 and 2016, an average of 1,100 chill hours was recorded in central Georgia. However, chill hours dropped to about 600 in 2016 and 400 in 2017. These fluctuations often mean losses for farmers, a situation that may not be sustainable for the long haul. Farmers are now in a dilemma, divided between planting varieties that only require a few chill hours or those that need more time. If they choose the former, it would be exposed to rust after bloom and lead to fruit destruction. If they choose the latter, they may fail to bloom entirely. Scientists are working to find a solution. For now, Georgia’s agriculture sector remains busy, given its favorable soil and climate. Further, global warming has been slower in southern states than in western ones. Via Dave’s Garden Lead image via Pexels

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Coffee prices spike, thanks to climate change

October 1, 2021 by  
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If melting polar ice caps and a deforested Amazon seem too far away to be real, many consumers may soon get an up-close and personal taste of climate change in their coffee cups.  Coffee  bean prices are about to spike. It’s kind of like that story of a butterfly flapping its wings having far-reaching consequences. But in this case, it’s a cold snap in  Brazil , piling on top of droughts, mixed with COVID-19 supply chain issues — and before you know it, the price of coffee could hit $4.44 per kilogram. A very unlucky number, indeed. In July, a bout of cold weather in a major arabica coffee-producing part of Brazil ruined a third of the coffee crop. Related: San Francisco coffee shop opens right by Golden Gate Bridge While frosts frequently happen in summer, this year coffee producers in part of Minas Gerais state were surprised by the severity of freezing temperatures driven by an unprecedented Antarctic front. Climate change seems to be driving the extreme weather in Brazil — and around the world. Coffee farmers are worried that Brazil will never get back to its normal seasons. The country has been plagued by a series of  droughts  and hasn’t had a typical rainy season for more than a decade now. “Most farmers have never seen anything like it,” said Brazilian ex-pat and coffee merchant Andre Selga, as reported by The Guardian. “Frost in that area is normal but not at that intensity and not at that altitude. I’ve heard of farmers that lost everything. All the plants . They’re waiting now to see if some of them can recover. They’ve lost their whole livelihood.” The price of the beans Selga imports has risen 60%. But he’s more worried about  climate change  than about the price tag. “It’s bigger than the cost of freight, it’s structural,” Selga said. “Climate change, a few years back, was something to be discussed by higher management and politics . But it seems now it’s come down to our level and ordinary people are having to deal with those things.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pexels

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French school is a model for clean-air learning environment

October 1, 2021 by  
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Completed in summer 2020, the Simone de Beauvoir School in Drancy, France placed an architectural focus on spatial aspects, function and sustainability. Architects from Bond Society and Daudré-Vignier & Associés collaborated on a brand new elementary school, including 10 classrooms, gathering spaces, a restaurant and playground. The design placed an emphasis on natural lighting and a continual flow throughout the spaces. This open concept includes fixed furnishings, storage and benches, but eliminates narrow passages or copious walls to confine the space .  Related: New Day School by MMXVI makes use of existing residential building Architects prioritized the health of the students and the planet through careful material selections. They used the RT 2012 thermal and environmental objectives as their guide. With this in mind, they used wood as the primary building material, which is not only a natural material, but reduces the need for concrete and supports the local forestry industry. Wood is also a renewable resource and acts as a sponge for CO2. In the areas where stone was used, materials were sourced nearby from the Vassens quarries in the Aisne. Located in a dense residential neighborhood, the Simone de Beauvoir elementary school shares commonalities with the nearby Jacqueline Quatremaire kindergarten and the municipal La Farandole nursery school. Although nearby, Simone de Beauvoir creates a natural and manmade separation from the adjacent schools through fencing and plants . The building itself is oriented towards the inner courtyard to create an isolation from the surrounding distractions. However, the courtyard also loosely connects to the kindergarten to form a familiarity for children transitioning from one school to the other while keeping the areas separate.  Inside there is a reception hall, administrative center, food service area and teaching facilities. Another of the four hubs in the design is made up of the leisure center, which acts as a dividing line and simultaneously a connection point to the existing nursery school. The space also incorporates a multi-purpose room, storage room and an open-air garden used as a tool for education and for a healthy, clean-air learning environment.   + Bond Society and Daudré-Vignier & Associés Photography by Charly Broyez 

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