Egyptian pavilion proposal for 2020 Venice Biennale targets climate change

February 3, 2020 by  
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According to the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency, climate change and poaching are putting approximately 70 animal species in the country at risk of extinction. In a bid to highlight Egypt’s biodiversity crisis and environmental threats, international design collective Cosmos Architecture submitted a climate change-focused design proposal to the Egyptian Ministry of Culture’s design competition for the Egyptian pavilion at the 2020 Venice Biennale. The project was selected as a runner-up in late December 2019. Cosmos Architecture’s Egyptian pavilion proposal comprises a small entry area in the front, an open-plan main exhibition space, a screening area and storage space. The minimalist pavilion explores two main topics: the negative aspects of the Anthropocene, the proposed geological epoch defined by human influence, such as climate change and deforestation; and case studies of current technologies and solutions that aim to “balance ecological diversity in Egypt … and create a new symbiotic urban environment.” Related: Immersive, dystopian exhibit shows what life could be like post-climate change The architects have dubbed the case study projects and proposed environmentally friendly solutions “watermarks” and propose projecting some of these example projects inside steel mesh installations that hang from the ceiling to educate pavilion visitors. The case studies cover a range of topics, from conservation of natural habitats to the sensitive adaptive reuse of post-industrial sites. “The case studies that were examined to represent the good watermarks in Egypt were done so with the intention of researching how different places are reacting and responding to the effects of Anthropocenic climate-related phenomena (i.e. loss of habitat , scarcity of farmable land from overgrazing, species extinction and industrial scars),” explained the project team, which comprises Mohamed Hassan El-Gendy, Sameh Zayed, Pietro Paolo Speziale, Juan Martinez, David Sastre and Nader Moro. “What the selected case studies will tell us is that designing for climate change comes in many different forms.” + Cosmos Architecture Images via Cosmos Architecture

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Egyptian pavilion proposal for 2020 Venice Biennale targets climate change

What the ‘world’s loneliest tree’ tells us about humanity’s impact on Earth

February 21, 2018 by  
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Over 170 miles away from a single other tree , the ‘world’s loneliest tree’ rests on Campbell Island. New Zealand governor Lord Ranfurly planted the Sitka spruce on the island around 400 miles south of the country sometime in the early 20th century, and researchers now believe it holds clues about the Anthropocene Epoch . After completing a thorough analysis of the tree, researchers have set a potential start date for the geological age in which humans are the dominant influence on the environment . In a piece for The Conversation , Chris Turney and Jonathan Palmer of the University of New South Wales and Mark Maslin of University College London shared work revealing how the world’s loneliest tree might help us determine a potential start date for the Anthropocene. The wood of the tree recorded the radiocarbon generated by above-ground atomic bomb tests, and its layers reveal a peak in 1965, according to the scientists. Related: New report shows humans change climate 170 times quicker than natural forces The spike in radioactive elements generated from those thermonuclear bomb tests has been a contender for defining the Anthropocene’s beginning, according to the scientists, but until now most of the records have been collected in the Northern Hemisphere. They said, “To demonstrate a truly global human impact requires a signal from a remote, pristine location in the Southern Hemisphere that occurs at the same time as the north.” The world’s loneliest tree helped provide that signal. Detailed study of the tree’s year-by-year growth reveals a spike in radioactive elements between October and December 1965. The scientists said, “This spruce has demonstrated unequivocally that humans have left an impact on the planet, even in the most pristine of environments, that will be preserved in the geological record for tens of millennia and beyond.” In other words, according to this research, the Anthropocene officially began in 1965. The journal Scientific Reports published the research online this week; scientists at institutions in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Germany contributed. Via The Conversation Images via Turney, Chris S.M., et al./Scientific Reports

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What the ‘world’s loneliest tree’ tells us about humanity’s impact on Earth

Humanity’s footprint is weighing down the planet with 30 trillion tons of junk

December 6, 2016 by  
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Everyone knows that humanity has an enormous footprint on the planet – but few of us have thought to ask just how much our collective impact weighs . A new study published in The Anthropocene Review examines exactly that question, and has found that the so-called human “technosphere” is bogging down the planet with a staggering 30 trillion tons of infrastructure, development, and manufactured products. To understand the sheer volume of our impact on the planet, it’s important to recognize what’s being included in the tally. The paper includes all of the structures people have built or modified, as well as all of the gadgets and junk we’ve created – that means everything from farmed land to smartphones is being counted in that estimate. It includes all of our buildings, factories, roads, and trash, “active urban, agricultural and marine components used to sustain energy and material flow for current human life, and a growing residue layer.” Related: Scientists say that we are entering a new geological epoch thanks to human activity The mass of all the technosphere was estimated using an interesting method – basically, the authors compiled information on the area, thickness, and density of our cities , roads, croplands, and other structures worldwide. This is just one more piece of evidence that the Earth has entered a new geological era, what some are calling the “ Anthropocene ” epoch. In order to declare the current era its own geologic epoch, scientists need to be convinced that our footprint will last throughout the planet’s history, -even if our species fades away – as part of the fossil record. It’s hard to argue against the theory – after all, many of our structures will never decompose and may be preserved into the far future. But where previous epochs have been marked by the evolution of new life, our era will be marked in history by “techno-fossils” – the structures and trash we leave behind. Via Gizmodo Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Humanity’s footprint is weighing down the planet with 30 trillion tons of junk

Al Gore meets with Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump to talk climate change

December 6, 2016 by  
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Rumors have been flying that Ivanka Trump may focus on the issue of climate change in her role as First Daughter. Yesterday Ivanka met with climate advocate Al Gore at Trump Tower – and President-elect Donald Trump joined in. While a spokesperson initially said the President-elect would not be present at the meeting, Gore later said he did talk with Trump, and that Ivanka is “very committed” on climate policy . Trump spokesperson Jason Miller told the press that Ivanka would meet with Gore to discuss climate issues, although the spokesperson said he didn’t know exactly what they would discuss. Miller said the President-elect would not be present during the meeting. Related: Al Gore reaches out to work with Donald Trump on climate change But some members of the press said Trump did indeed meet with Gore. Wall Street Journal deputy bureau chief Tim Hanrahan quoted Gore as saying “I had a very lengthy and very productive session,” after the Trump Tower meeting, and “It was a sincere search for areas of common ground.” NBC Nightly News editor Bradd Jaffy quoted Gore as saying , “The bulk of the time was with President-elect Donald Trump. I found it an extremely interesting conversation and to be continued. And I’m just going to leave it at that.” After campaigning for Hillary Clinton , Al Gore said he would be willing to work with Trump and the new administration on the issue of climate change. He wrote that as Trump said he’d like to be a president for all, Gore hoped Trump would “work with the overwhelming majority of us who believe that the climate crisis is the greatest threat we face as a nation.” While Trump continues to pursue actions that negatively affect the environment, such as the Dakota Access Pipeline , his meeting with Gore may offer some hope. In addition, Ivanka’s meetings with climate advocates have led some people to wonder if the First Daughter will advocate for progressive climate change policies. Ivanka has apparently already met with climate advocate Leonardo DiCaprio . Aides for Ivanka and DiCaprio said they met to talk about the environment, with DiCaprio gifting her a copy of his documentary Before the Flood . After referring to climate change as a hoax, Trump seems to be backpedaling – he told New York Times reporters there is “some connectivity” between humans and climate change. Let’s hope both the President-elect and his daughter are willing to listen to the science backing up climate change. Via CNN Images via Michael Vadon on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Al Gore meets with Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump to talk climate change

Modern low-maintenance cabin is a seamless extension of the Puget Sound landscape

December 6, 2016 by  
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This modest yet stunning cabin overlooking beautiful views of Washington’s Puget Sound is a triumph of modern, environmentally sensitive design. Seattle-based MW works designed the Case Inlet Retreat for clients who had hiked, camped, and paddled on the 20-acre site for years and wanted a home that would forge a strong relationship with the land. The low-maintenance cabin beautifully delivers on the clients’ requirements and has since won several American Institute of Architects awards, including a 2016 National Honor Award. Tucked away on a forested slope along the eastern edge of the Case Inlet, the compact retreat is a quiet and low-maintenance sanctuary that blends into the landscape with large glazed surfaces and a natural materials palette. A weathered cedar -clad volume anchors the building in the north and houses the master bedroom en suite with the bath located in a wood-lined, light-filled room overlooking views of the outdoors—a space the homeowners describe as their “favorite spot to enjoy a glass of wine at [the] day’s end.” A stairway next to the bathroom leads to the basement, where a guest bedroom, bathroom, mechanical room, and storage room are located. Related: Element 1 is a modern prefab island retreat that frames views of Puget Sound In contrast to the mostly opaque sleeping volume, the living spaces are wrapped in glazing for a transparent effect. A concrete cantilever juts out over the edge to the west, projecting the open-plan living room, kitchen, and dining area towards panoramic views of the tree canopy and water. The kitchen sits on an Ipe wood deck that seamlessly extends the building footprint beyond sliding glass doors and into an outdoor meadow bathed in afternoon light in the south. A broad timber-clad flat roof, accessible via a staircase, tops the cabin and offers homeowners the chance to immerse themselves in the evergreen canopy. + MW works Images via Jeremy Bittermann

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Modern low-maintenance cabin is a seamless extension of the Puget Sound landscape

Scientists to seek ‘line in the rock’ marking new man-made Anthropocene epoch

August 22, 2016 by  
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Scientists are about to embark on a global hunt for a “golden spike,” a physical point in the geological record marking the shift from one epoch to another. In a quest to convince skeptics in the geology community that humanity’s impact on the planet has been so profound that we have actually left the Holocene epoch (entirely recent) that began 11,500 years ago after the last major ice age, the researchers are looking for the marker that will enable them to formally declare a new epoch known as Anthropocene (from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new”). In recent years there has been an increasing push among some geological scientists to officially declare a new epoch. They cite man’s harmful impact on the climate system, marine and terrestrial ecosystems, habitats, biodiversity and plant and wildlife. A working group of experts was set up to investigate possible evidence of a new epoch. They will present their findings to the 35th International Geological Congress (IGC) in Cape Town, South Africa, which runs from August 27 to September 4. The group then plans to look for a “line in the rock” that would mark the beginning of the Anthropocene. There could be a formal declaration that we are living in the Anthropocene by the International Union of Geological Sciences in just two years. Related: China’s coal use peaks in a ‘real turning point’ for the fight against climate change Scientists say the Anthropocene likely started in the mid-20th century, specifically July 16, 1945 , the date of the Trinity test of the world’s first nuclear weapon. Since the end of World War II, carbon pollution from the burning of fossil fuels increased dramatically. The Earth has naturally alternated between cold and warm periods throughout the planet’s geological history, but the Anthropecene would mark the first time in Earth’s history that humans have altered global average temperatures through our relentless pumping out of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. In the past, climate change occurred because of natural oscillation, Dr. Colin Waters, secretary of the Anthropocene Working Group, told The Independent. “But really in the last century we have had such a huge impact that we’re actually taking the planet away from that natural oscillation and changing the trend for global temperatures from what should have been a cooling trend to a warming trend.” + Working Group on The Anthropocene Via The Independent  Images via Pexels and Public Domain

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Scientists to seek ‘line in the rock’ marking new man-made Anthropocene epoch

Climate change could be driving U.S. tornadoes southeast

August 22, 2016 by  
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The world’s weather has become more unpredictable as global temperatures rise – and new research shows that U.S. tornadoes have been shifting southeast over the last few decades. The trend shows natural disasters moving away from Tornado Alley and towards Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee. A recent study in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology detailed twisters over a period of 60 years. Two groups were studied: tornadoes taking place during the cooler temperatures of 1954-1983 and the warmer decades of 1983-2013. The researchers found that tornados are increasingly shifting out of Tornado Alley, which encompasses northern Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska to what is called Dixie Alley. Related: Physicist wants to build 1,000-foot walls to prevent tornadoes from destroying the midwest The new region includes Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Tennessee – which experienced that most significant increase in tornado days between the two time periods. Is it a coincidence that this shift is taking place during a huge, climate change-fueled, global temperature spike? Scientists aren’t sure, but they suspect there is a link. Rising sea temperatures lead to faster surface evaporation, which, when paired with rapidly rising air, creates more likelihood of thunderstorms . These more frequent summertime storms can naturally lead to more tornadoes. The closer you get to the warm coastal waters, the more damp, rising air you will encounter, which could account for the southeastern migration of twisters over time. More research is needed to say this with certainty, but it certainly adds up. Via IFLScience Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 )

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Climate change could be driving U.S. tornadoes southeast

China’s coal use peaks in a ‘real turning point’ for the fight against climate change

July 27, 2016 by  
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A new study reveals that China’s coal use peaked in 2014, marking a “real turning point” in the fight against climate change . Economists at China’s Tsinghua University and the London School of Economics said this peak is likely a permanent trend – which is significant, as China produces more emissions than any other country in the world. Between 2000 and 2013, China’s coal consumption tripled. During those years, the country produced billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide. Since then, coal production and coal burning have fallen for several reasons. For starters, China’s economy has moved from heavy industry towards technology, and there’s been a greater emphasis on energy efficiency . Further, the Chinese government has turned its attention to dealing with water and air pollution. Related: China on track to reach Paris climate goal way sooner than expected Lord Nicholas Stern of the London School of Economics, co-author on the paper, told The Guardian “I think historians really will see [the coal peak of] 2014 as a very important even in the history of the climate and economy of the world.” The economists said the peak could be a breakthrough in the Anthropocene Era , or the geological period in which human influences alter the environment. Stern said other nations might be influenced by China’s shift, bringing the world closer to goals set in the Paris agreement . The New Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Patricia Espinosa described the peak as a “very positive development.” She said, “It underlines how ambitious and deliberate policies to shift away from highly polluting fuels to cleaner energy sources can deliver global climate benefits and national improvements in health and indeed in people’s lives.” + Nature Geoscience Via The Guardian Images via Wikimedia Commons ( 1 , 2 )

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Scientists say that we are entering a new epoch thanks to human activity

January 14, 2016 by  
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New research indicates that the Earth has entered a new geological epoch , and it’s due to human activity. Scientists looked at the scale and rate of environmental changes in the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and wildlife-which other recent reports indicate is at an unprecedented high-and compared them to changes during previous time periods. In every category, the consequences of human activity reflect enough change to justify the official designation of a new geological epoch, researchers say. Read the rest of Scientists say that we are entering a new epoch thanks to human activity

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Scientists say that we are entering a new epoch thanks to human activity

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