Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac: ‘Every day is a chance that will not come again’

March 7, 2020 by  
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As the U.N. negotiators behind the Paris Agreement, Figueres and Rivett-Carnac have done a lot of work together. We caught up with them about their latest collaboration, a book called “The Future We Choose: Surviving the Climate Crisis.”

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Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac: ‘Every day is a chance that will not come again’

Finding a natural sense of urgency to act

February 21, 2020 by  
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In solving the climate crisis, we must find a way to survive by mimicking nature: changing quickly while establishing firm roots for long-term survival.

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Finding a natural sense of urgency to act

Dear David Attenborough: The bears are at the door

January 24, 2020 by  
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The sense of crisis is growing, along with the actual climate crisis.

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Dear David Attenborough: The bears are at the door

How can large asset owners make the most of nontraditional risks?

January 24, 2020 by  
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The new world of risk includes the physical and economic impact of climate change and the unknown path of future technology.

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How can large asset owners make the most of nontraditional risks?

Luzinterruptus turns plastic waste into Death by Plastic eco-art for COP25

January 21, 2020 by  
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Frustrated with the “ludicrous charade” of the COP25 World Climate Summit in December, Spanish design collective luzinterruptus turned to visual protest by creating the temporary guerrilla art piece, “Death by Plastic.” Made from plastic waste and transparent fabric, the glowing environmental art installation depicts a crime scene-like visual with a series of people-shaped sculptures lying on the ground. Held in Madrid, Spain in the beginning of December, the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference became the target of social unrest by protestors frustrated with the inactions of the negotiators on the climate crisis . Members of luzinterruptus also joined the protest and, disappointed by the adopted resolutions at the end of the event, wrote a statement to express their anger. Related: Archstorming announces winning proposals for a school made of recycled plastic in Mexico “The people from the Climate Summit are already leaving with bowed heads (by taxi or by plane) without having reached any significant agreements, as we all expected,” they said. “Everything was just a mirage. Few effective resolutions and big business opportunities for those who parade the flag of sustainability around. Let’s try again next year, perhaps with lengthier political speeches, but never listening to the scientific community or the citizens. And always under the sponsorship of the most polluting companies, which are always happy to take this opportunity to clean up their image. For now, the ‘climate crisis’ is officially postponed until the most environmentally unfriendly countries find a better time to deal with it. We are ashamed for having provided the scenario for such a ludicrous charade.” To further illustrate their frustrations, the artists installed Death by Plastic, an eco-art piece located near the COP25 gathering at the close of conference. Using plastic waste generated from the Christmas shopping along one of Madrid’s busiest retail areas, the artists created large-scale, people-shaped sculptures illuminated from within. The artists also drew a chalk outline around each of the plastic “bodies” to denote a crime scene. The guerrilla installation was displayed for a few hours, after which the artists removed the artworks. The art pieces have been stored away for future use. + luzinterruptus Photography by Melisa Hernández via luzinterruptus

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Luzinterruptus turns plastic waste into Death by Plastic eco-art for COP25

CRA proposes reconfigurable roads and a floating garden to revitalize Luganos waterfront

January 21, 2020 by  
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Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) and Mobility in Chain (MiC) have unveiled a technologically savvy plan to better connect the Swiss city of Lugano with the beautiful Lugano Lake. Informed by studies on mobile and traffic data, the proposed regeneration of the waterfront will introduce dynamic public spaces that can take over parts of the roads, which can be reconfigured with zero, one or two lanes at different times of the day. This new, reconfigurable road system would be combined with smart signage, responsible street furniture and even renewable energy-generating infrastructure to facilitate a greener and more pedestrian-friendly environment. Currently, Lugano suffers from a disconnect to its lake due to a busy thoroughfare along the waterfront. To visually and physically provide pedestrians with better connections to the lake, the architects propose overhauling this main traffic artery with the addition of a dynamic road system that can turn sections of the street into pedestrian-only public spaces, such as playgrounds, a basketball court or other social gathering areas. At the same time, the intervention aims to preserve the historical value of the lakefront as designed by Pasquale Lucchini in 1863. Related: CRA grows a sustainable pavilion out of mushrooms in just 6 weeks The architects have also proposed a floating, rotating island for the lake that would be accessible to the public via a series of boardwalks. A garden would be planted on the floating island to highlight and preserve the biodiversity and native flora of Lake Lugano. The dynamic waterfront would also includes smart signage, responsive street furniture, heat-absorbing renewable energy technology and a series of mobility hubs that promote shared transit. “Lugano is committed in redesigning the front lake and the city center for the future citizens, focusing on a growing attention to dynamic public spaces , the coexistence of different mobility vectors, the development of green areas, the role of the water in city life, the impact of the landscape and much more,” said Marco Borradori, mayor of Lugano. “The path began in 2018, when the municipality went public with its vision and objectives, identifying innovation as one of the key points for urban development. The next step will hopefully be an open competition to create a new masterplan for the city of tomorrow. Our wish is that the vision could soon take the form of a realized project.” + Carlo Ratti Associati Images via Carlo Ratti Associati

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CRA proposes reconfigurable roads and a floating garden to revitalize Luganos waterfront

Taking a stand against climate change, the Golden Globes goes vegan

January 7, 2020 by  
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This weekend, the 77th annual Golden Globes, which took place at the Beverly Hilton in California’s celebrated Beverly Hills, made history by becoming the first major awards show to go vegan . Only two weeks ago, the previewed menu was set to feature the customary sea bass course, but a last-minute switch changed the course to feature 100 percent plant-based fare in an effort to “raise environmental awareness about food consumption and waste ,” according to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). “We had the menu with fish. Then we got together with the HFPA, and they wanted to make this change to send a good message,” said Matthew Morgan, Beverly Hilton’s executive chef. “It’s definitely the first Golden Globes that has gone vegan.” Related: Study shows how plant-based catering can greatly reduce events’ carbon footprints What was on the revised meatless menu? The appetizer was chilled golden beet soup with chervil and amaranth. For the new entree, king oyster mushrooms cooked to resemble “scallops” was served on wild mushroom risotto alongside roasted baby purple carrots, Brussels sprouts and pea tendrils. The dessert was a vegan version of an opera cake. Other sustainability touches were also championed by the HFPA during the Golden Globes. For instance, the HFPA has been reusing its red carpet at other events. The organization has also partnered with Icelandic Glacial, a naturally alkaline and sustainably sourced natural spring water supplier. The water was served in glass bottles, with paper straws available, to help reduce single-use plastic waste. “The climate crisis is surrounding us, and we were thinking about the New Year and the new decade. So we started talking between us about what we can do to send a signal,” explained Lorenzo Soria, the HFPA president. “We don’t think we’ll change the world with one meal, but we decided to take small steps to bring awareness. The food we eat, the way it is processed and grown and disposed of, all of that contributes to the climate crisis.” A fair share of Hollywood celebrities are already vegan, vegetarian or following raw vegetable-based diets, and they were supportive of the plant-based menu. With the Golden Globes being the first big awards show of the year, it will be exciting to see the eco-conscious precedent it will set for the rest of 2020. Actor Mark Ruffalo tweeted, “Our industry leads by example. Vegetarian food is delicious and healthy and reduces greenhouse gases about as much as driving electric cars. The HFPA should be commended for this, and all the other awards shows should follow suit.” + Golden Globes Via TreeHugger , Hollywood Reporter and Associated Press Image via Shutterstock

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Taking a stand against climate change, the Golden Globes goes vegan

Kansas City approves free public transportation for all

December 12, 2019 by  
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Last week, the city council of Kansas City unanimously voted for free public transportation via the Zero Fare Transit proposal. The program will boost ridership of city transit systems, allaying concerns about equity and the challenges of global greenhouse gas emissions and the climate crisis . Kansas City’s streetcar service is already free, and the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) likewise provides free services to veterans. But approval of the resolution is a historic move allowing for free bus and streetcar services to all. Related: When in Rome, recycle more to earn free metro and bus travel tickets “The City Council just took a monumental, unanimous step toward #ZeroFareTransit — setting Kansas City up to soon become the first major metropolitan city with free public bus service,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted. “This is going to improve the lives of so many and help fuel the local economy.” According to a 6-month study by the Citizens for Modern Transit group, which was commissioned by the Missouri Public Transit Association in partnership with AARP, Missouri’s public transportation sector in 2019 provides “an annual average of 60.1 million rides, which is equivalent to 9.8 rides per year, per Missouri resident.” That number is expected to rise with this new Zero Fare Transit program, especially in Kansas City. The rise in public transportation use can help confront the planet’s current environmental challenges. With less vehicles on the road, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced, thus improving air quality . With ride sharing through public transportation, there will be less need for many individual trips by private vehicles in dense urban areas. Plus, traffic congestion will be relieved, saving the fuel that might have been wasted in traffic gridlocks. As to concerns about the fuel use of public transportation, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the United States Department of Energy have both documented that modern buses use alternative fuels rather than diesel and gas, unlike a decade ago. Again, this emphasizes how Kansas City’s new legislation promises a smaller carbon footprint for the city. The new legislation has already garnered attention and praise outside of Missouri, with advocates in Nashville, Portland and Toronto seeking similar measures in their respective cities. Via ArchDaily Image via David Wilson

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Kansas City approves free public transportation for all

Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threatens global supply of freshwater

December 11, 2019 by  
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A study recently published in Nature found that glacier-based freshwater systems are highly threatened by climate change. Called “mountain water towers,” they supply water to communities in the downstream basin by generating and storing vast quantities of water from their high-elevation rain and snow. Unfortunately, ice melt is becoming more pronounced and precipitation patterns are disrupted, in turn placing these water towers’ storage capacity at critical risk. The study warns that the depletion of freshwater supplies and severe water shortages will become more evident, especially as “water stress, governance, hydropolitical tension and future climatic and socio-economic changes” put these natural water towers at risk. Narratives on climate change must shift to include discussions on mountain ice melt and loss and not just revolve around sea level rise. Related: IPCC landmark report warns about the state of the oceans, polar ice content and the climate crisis The research, authored by 32 scientists across the globe, recognized 78 mountainous regions as crucial water towers primarily found in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Based on the study, Asian water towers were the most vulnerable, particularly the Indus water system. “The study quantified for the first time both the natural water supply from the mountains as well as the water demand by society and also provided projections for the future based on climatic and socioeconomic scenarios,” said Tobias Bolch of the University of St. Andrews’ School of Geography and Sustainable Development. “The projected loss of ice and snow and increasing water needs makes specific densely populated basins located in arid regions, like the Indus basin in South Asia or the Amu Darya basin in Central Asia, highly vulnerable in the future.” Reliance on these water towers means these mountain ecosystems must be safeguarded. Jonathan Baillie, executive vice president and chief scientist at National Geographic Society, explained, “This research will help decision-makers, on global and local levels, prioritize where action should be taken to protect mountain systems, the resources they provide and the people who depend on them.” + Nature Image via Ashish Verma

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Climate change-induced melting of mountain ice threatens global supply of freshwater

Great Barrier Reef outlook decreases from ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’

September 3, 2019 by  
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Conditions at one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, is declining, and coral bleaching caused by climate change is to blame. The world’s largest coral reef, where 400 types of coral as well as about 10 percent of the world’s fish live, has gone from “poor” to “very poor.” The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) that manages the reef released a five-year study of the reef and stated, “Significant global action to address climate change is critical to slowing the deterioration of the reef’s ecosystem and heritage values and supporting recovery.” Related: University of Queensland wants to drop “bommies” on the Great Barrier Reef Located off the northeastern Australian coast , the reef is a major tourist attraction, bringing in around AU$5-6 billion (about $3.3-4 billion USD) yearly to the country’s economy. But if things don’t improve, the reef might not be around to enjoy for much longer. While coral bleaching and climate change are the main concerns, the report suggested the 1,400-mile reef has “multiple, cumulative and increasing” problems including run-off from agriculture , coastal land clearing and crown-of-thorns starfish that eat the coral. Another possible factor hindering the reef’s growth could be the increased use of coal mining in Australia. Statistics show that Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions have been on an upward climb for four years and counting. As reported by Deutsche Welle , a 2012 study said that since 1985, the Great Barrier Reef has lost more than half its coral cover. Five years later, the journal Nature said 91 percent had been bleached at least once in the last 20 years. Those concerned by the GBRMPA report have gone as far as asking UNESCO to quash the reef’s standing as a World Heritage site, which could humiliate the Australian government. In early 2019, the government did say it would spend AU$380 million to try and reproduce stronger coral. + Great Barrier Reef Via EcoWatch and Deutsche Welle Image via Robert Linsdell

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Great Barrier Reef outlook decreases from ‘poor’ to ‘very poor’

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