Climate change is destroying Indigenous rock art

November 17, 2021 by  
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Indigenous  rock  art has survived tens of thousands of years. But global warming might be the death of it. As extreme weather events like fires, cyclones, floods and erosion intensify, rock art fades and disappears. A report at a recent symposium declared the damage is now irreversible. The symposium was held Tuesday at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia , spurred by a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to the report, the global temperature is likely to rise above the 1.5 degrees Celsius target of the Paris Agreement. Expect more extreme, rock art-damaging weather. Related: 12 sustainable, Indigenous-owned brands to support Rock  art  sites are found around the world and consist of paintings, engravings, drawings, stencils, prints and carvings. They’re found inside caves and on boulders, on cliff walls and rocky overhangs. The imagery has lasting aesthetic and spiritual power and can provide insight into the lives of Indigenous groups around the world. Australia and Africa each have at least 100,000 rock art sites, some stretching back 28,000 years. India, China, Siberia, Mexico and France are just a few more of the places where rock art endures. Dr. Jillian Huntley, an archaeological scientist at Griffith University, studies Australasian rock art. Her focus stretches from Australia up into  Indonesia , with an emphasis on Sulawesi. Huntley has noticed that changing weather is making salt crystals expand and contract, causing rocks to collapse. Some of the world’s oldest paintings are threatened.  “Those temperature increases are felt at a rate three times the rest of the world,” Huntley said, as reported by The Guardian. “A 2.4C warming would be a 6C warming in the tropics, which would be absolutely catastrophic.” And there’s no time to wait. “Not net zero by 2050,” she said. “Net zero as soon as possible.” Natural disasters, weather and climate fluctuations are nothing new. But this time, human technology is rocketing the planet — including its  Indigenous  rock art — toward disaster. “Today, we’re in sort of a critical situation or critical juncture,” said Daryl Wesley, an archeologist at Flinders who has studied destruction wrought on rock art by one of Australia’s worst tropical cyclones. Via The Guardian , Getty Museum Lead image via Pixabay

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Climate change is destroying Indigenous rock art

Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum

November 17, 2021 by  
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There’s no better place to ensure a healthy physical and mental environment than at a university undergraduate program for psychology. So when UCLA received $30 million in funding from the Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, it used the money to renovate the former Franz Hall into the modern and now complete Pritzker Hall.  Pritzker Hall is an eight-story building for students and staff involved in the psychology program. Originally built in 1967 by notable architect Paul Revere Williams, the structure has recently been updated through a collaboration between CO Architects and Tangram Interiors for a vibrant, modern, efficient design that earned LEED Platinum certification for  energy efficiency  and sustainability. Related: Portland State University’s new hall qualifies for LEED gold The team decided to refurbish the building, saving as many usable parts as possible. However, the new design expanded the lobby for an open feel that funnels in abundant  natural light . Due to the height and location, the building was also upgraded with seismic safety improvements. This was achieved via consultation from the university’s engineering department to develop 40 purpose-built dampers that act as shock absorbers for the above-ground floors. Classrooms, spaces to collaborate and research areas were all modernized for ADA accessibility while keeping elements such as the original structural waffle slab on the second floor and  natural materials  such as damaged marble walls and terrazzo flooring that were worked around instead of destroyed.  Throughout the building, energy-efficient LED lighting supplements study and lecture areas. The team incorporated other thoughtful touches like the addition of drought-tolerant  plants  and interior design elements by Tangram, such as student-focused furniture selections. Many of the primary spaces were designed with a modular and flexible design to suit the need for growth and change as the program expands.   “UCLA Psychology students and faculty alike are humbled by the thoughtfully designed Pritzker Hall renovation project,” said Victoria Sork, Dean of Life Sciences. “CO Architects together with Tangram, were able to honor the building’s history while providing the needed cutting-edge facelift. From the collaborative spaces throughout to the newage research labs, the innovative furniture and overall execution of design gives our program renewed confidence as one of the top psychology departments in the United States.” According to a press release, “Pritzker Hall was awarded the Westside Urban Forum Merit Award in the public /institutional category. The project was recognized for its emphasis on collaboration between students and faculty, while elevating the program’s candor and highly sought after psychology programs.” + Tangram Interiors Images via Tangram Interiors

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Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum

Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade destroying the environment?

November 17, 2021 by  
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Thanksgiving is a day full of family and national traditions. The turkey goes into the oven, family and friends gather and the football lineup is noted. And on televisions across the country, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade streams on the TV. An event that large takes copious planning and coordination, but while it brings an uplifting spirit to the holiday , does it do the same for the planet? Helium Balloons The massive balloons that adorn the parade are a major undertaking. They require nearly 100 handlers each to keep them under control, and they’re not part of the parade during windy days. While they need to be controlled, the balloons are kept afloat by a massive amount of helium. Helium is a completely non-renewable resource, so the natural supply is always on decline. In fact, some estimates say we’ll run out in the next 50 years. During a helium shortage, the parade was put on hold during World War II, missing 1942 to 1944.  Related: Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s to be fur-free by 2021 Recognizing helium is a limited resource, special consideration is given to the gas at the end of each parade. Yet, it’s questionable whether the organizer’s efforts to recapture and recycle the helium after the event is effective. Having said that, even at an extraordinary price tag, the amount of helium used equates to a small percentage of usage for a single day in the country.  As for the material of the balloons themselves, they’ve received an environmental upgrade from the original rubber to a polyurethane fabric that can be upcycled in a variety of ways. However, it’s unclear if this actually happens when a balloon is retired.  Of course, durability is an important factor too. As there are one or two new character balloons added each year, some of them have been in service for decades with no aspirations for retirement.  Environmental awareness has increased over the years and is witnessed in changes throughout the history of the event. For example, balloons used to be released into the air at the end of the parade — a practice that was squashed in the 1930s with consideration for the environment , pilots and the public.  The balloons weren’t always part of the parade. In fact, early on, live animals were borrowed from the local zoo to participate in the festivities. Lions, tigers, bears… Oh my! Really though, speaking strictly from an environmental standpoint, live animals were less impactful than balloons. Yet, they were uninvited from the party after a few years, likely due to safety concerns. Scared children, clean up and inconvenience to others in the parade were other likely contributors in the decision.   Transportation There’s an unavoidable consequence of gathering large groups of people together. After all, just transporting three million people into the area will leave a carbon footprint . Then there’s the trucks required to haul the floats. Fortunately, the warehouse where the floats are built is a short distance from the parade route, so transport emissions remain low there. Not only that, but the location Moonachie, New Jersey was specifically chosen in 2011 and has housed the floats and supplies for the past ten years in the state-of-the-art and LEED-certified facility. Interestingly, this location adds a restriction to the float design. As part of the route into New York City, the floats must be transported through the Lincoln Tunnel. Inasmuch, floats must be no larger than 8.5 feet wide. However, many floats are designed to collapse in order to fit the restriction.  To counterbalance the big trucks in the parade , there are plenty who travel pedestrian style, leaving zero-impact in their wake. For example, there are only twelve bands chosen for the honor each year, all of which walk the entire route.   Macy’s sustainability practices It’s no surprise the organization continues to evolve the parade in alignment with the needs of the planet. Reducing waste and being energy-efficient is engrained in the company mission. The transition has been gradual, but the updates are continual. For example, the company relies on solar energy for many stores and has upgraded to energy-efficient LED lighting throughout most locations.  In the store and through the mail, Macy’s also pays attention to waste , using 100% recycled paper for their shopping bags and minimizing packing materials in the standardized packing cartons that improve transport efficiency, using less trucks and ensuring trucks are full before heading out. Marketing materials are also nearly 100% recycled, and the company is moving to e-bills to cut back paper consumption.  To put it simply While the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is unquestionably integrated into the very fabric of the holiday, no event that large can be completely sustainable.  Overall, considering the number of people involved, the overall impact is miniscule. If you add in the efforts at a corporate level to streamline everyday operations, Macy’s is a company to put on the yes list for eco-conscious shopping. Knowing the effort it puts into maintaining low transport emissions, energy reduction and plastic-free packaging, Macy’s is clearly balancing business with the needs of the environment.  Via Better Homes & Gardens and Earth 911 Images via Unsplash

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Is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade destroying the environment?

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