Global warming driving mass migration of marine life

April 14, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Marine life is migrating from the equator to the tropics, according to a recent  study  published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study shows that many species known to reside in the equator’s warm waters are migrating to cooler waters. Scientists behind the study have linked this situation to global warming, saying that water at the equator has become too warm for some species.  Traditionally, the equatorial regions are known to have more species diversity than the poles due to abundant food sources and warm waters. However, with the changing climate , environments for marine life are changing, too. As equatorial waters become less hospitable, many species are migrating for better conditions. Related: Scientists search for cause of mass marine die-off in Russia Researchers warn that if the situation continues, this migration will have serious ecological effects. The authors note that such a situation happened has occurred before. For example, about 252 million years ago, this type of species migration led to the death of about 90% of all marine species. When species migrate to other regions, they can affect the area’s natural food chain and overburden the environment. In turn, this can lead to the death of weaker species.  Though global warming has not affected the equatorial regions as heavily as other parts of the globe, it still significantly impacts the area. Over the past 50 years, the equator has witnessed a temperature rise of about 0.6 degrees Celcius. While modest compared to temperature changes in polar regions, the equator’s rising temperature can be detrimental because “tropical species have to move further to remain in their thermal niche compared with species elsewhere.” A 2015  study  published in Nature Climate Change predicted that species richness would decline at low latitudes. The recent study found that species richness is greatest at around 30 degrees North and 20 degrees South. This could mean that many species are migrating from the equator to the cooler subtropics, and they may move even further if global warming continues. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pixabay

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Global warming driving mass migration of marine life

Virtual Pollinator Park shows a future with or without pollinators

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

What will the world be like once pollinating insects, like the honeybee , are gone? Alternatively, what would happen if we allowed these important creatures to thrive? The European Commission’s Pollinator Park, designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, strives to answer these questions with a stark look at what the future could look like, for better or worse. Pollinator Park is a 30-minute, virtual experience that is interactive and engaging. Pollinator Park is an educational experience that showcases good practices in land use and how pollinators can be preserved. It promotes less monocultures and toxins in agriculture . The flourishing part of this digital universe could one day become reality, if we start building toward improving the planet, rather than taking away from it. Related: Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education Most people are aware of the plight of honeybees, but there are many pollinators worldwide that are facing a dangerous future. Butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, bats, beetles and ladybugs are all pollinators. And without them, the world becomes a very, very different place. Diversity among pollinators greatly influences the biodiversity of plants. Loss of this biodiversity threatens life everywhere on Earth. According to the UN, the rate of extinction among pollinators in 2020 was 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. More than 90% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators, and about 35% of all food we consume depends on insect pollination. When you do the math, you’ll realize there are some terrifying possibilities in the very near future. This is really the message at the heart of Pollinator Park. The project is designed with biophilic architecture that represents different parts of flowering plants and encourages the natural flow of visitors. Pollinator hotels are integrated into the structures because above all, this is their home. On-site greenhouses are made with light frames of cross-laminated timber and recycled and/or recyclable materials. Timber biodomes are covered with thermal and photovoltaic solar shields; the sun shields filter the sun’s rays to provide both light and shade for the plants and pollinators. Wind chimneys and wind turbines are also woven throughout the landscape. The wind chimneys use geothermal energy to keep the greenhouses cool or hot as needed. The park was created in collaboration with Vincent Callebaut Architectures as part of the EU Pollinators Initiative. It is hoped that this project will aid the ongoing European Green Deal, a series of efforts and innovations aimed at repairing nature. + Pollinator Park + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Virtual Pollinator Park shows a future with or without pollinators

Virtual Pollinator Park shows a future with or without pollinators

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

What will the world be like once pollinating insects, like the honeybee , are gone? Alternatively, what would happen if we allowed these important creatures to thrive? The European Commission’s Pollinator Park, designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures, strives to answer these questions with a stark look at what the future could look like, for better or worse. Pollinator Park is a 30-minute, virtual experience that is interactive and engaging. Pollinator Park is an educational experience that showcases good practices in land use and how pollinators can be preserved. It promotes less monocultures and toxins in agriculture . The flourishing part of this digital universe could one day become reality, if we start building toward improving the planet, rather than taking away from it. Related: Urban Beehive Project creates a buzz around honeybee education Most people are aware of the plight of honeybees, but there are many pollinators worldwide that are facing a dangerous future. Butterflies, hummingbirds, ants, bats, beetles and ladybugs are all pollinators. And without them, the world becomes a very, very different place. Diversity among pollinators greatly influences the biodiversity of plants. Loss of this biodiversity threatens life everywhere on Earth. According to the UN, the rate of extinction among pollinators in 2020 was 100 to 1,000 times higher than normal. More than 90% of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators, and about 35% of all food we consume depends on insect pollination. When you do the math, you’ll realize there are some terrifying possibilities in the very near future. This is really the message at the heart of Pollinator Park. The project is designed with biophilic architecture that represents different parts of flowering plants and encourages the natural flow of visitors. Pollinator hotels are integrated into the structures because above all, this is their home. On-site greenhouses are made with light frames of cross-laminated timber and recycled and/or recyclable materials. Timber biodomes are covered with thermal and photovoltaic solar shields; the sun shields filter the sun’s rays to provide both light and shade for the plants and pollinators. Wind chimneys and wind turbines are also woven throughout the landscape. The wind chimneys use geothermal energy to keep the greenhouses cool or hot as needed. The park was created in collaboration with Vincent Callebaut Architectures as part of the EU Pollinators Initiative. It is hoped that this project will aid the ongoing European Green Deal, a series of efforts and innovations aimed at repairing nature. + Pollinator Park + Vincent Callebaut Architectures Images via Vincent Callebaut Architectures

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Virtual Pollinator Park shows a future with or without pollinators

When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative Marilyn Waite Tue, 04/13/2021 – 02:00 The engine behind green business is the same as any business: capital. And while social, human and natural capital are all critical, financial capital is the one form that systemically fails the companies and leaders working on the most impactful solutions for the Sustainable Development Goals. Venture capitalists decide who gets to be a billionaire and what solutions reach billions in market penetration. Real asset investors choose what critical infrastructure is built, where it’s built and who benefits from it. Fixed-income investors are able to drive how much of the bond market is green, or better yet, which bonds adhere to the 17 Principles of Environmental Justice . Public equity asset managers drive what kinds of companies are valuable and thus have the capital to grow, to what industries retirement savings flow by default and what companies can achieve a scale that affords them outsized political and policy influence. Needless to say, investment managers and financial advisers are powerful. And as is the case with many axes of power, financial professionals across asset classes are disproportionately male and white. In a 2019 study , the U.S. National Academy of Sciences found evidence of racial bias in the investment decisions of asset allocators, including rating white-led funds more favorably than Black-led funds at similar strong performance levels. Granular, industry-wide data is hard to come by — even after the national awakening brought by the Me Too and Black Lives Matter movements. In 2020, when the Diverse Asset Managers Initiative (DAMI) surveyed the 30 largest U.S. investment consulting firms to gain insights into gender and racial representation, only 16 responded . Here’s what we do know: in the United States, partners in venture capital firms are only 4.1 percent female , with those women being 67 percent white, 16 percent East Asian, 7.7 percent South Asian, 4.8 percent Black and 3.5 percent Latinx. Mutual fund, hedge fund, private equity and real estate fund managers are collectively 98.7 percent white male-led. ESG funds, including those focused on climate change mitigation, do not fare better. According to a 2019 survey , white staff represents 79 percent of the employees of U.S. SRI/ESG mutual funds. It’s important to increase the asset allocation in women- and BIPOC-led climate funds because they are acutely concerned and engaged in climate-related financial risks and impacts, they are the ones disproportionately affected by and thus uniquely positioned to make wise investment decisions in solving climate change, and they are key sources for driving innovation. A recent survey by PRI illustrated that globally, women are more engaged on climate-related issues than men, especially for people 35 and older. Another recent study by the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication and the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found that Black and Hispanic communities in the U.S. are also more concerned and willing to engage on climate issues than white communities. Using six categories, ranging from “Alarmed” (most concerned about climate change and most supportive of climate policies) to “Dismissive” (reject the reality and threat of climate change and oppose taking action), they found that Hispanics/Latinos (69 percent) and African Americans (57 percent) are more likely to be “Alarmed” or “Concerned” about global warming than white Americans (49 percent), as well as more willing to join a campaign to convince elected officials to take action to reduce climate change. This heightened concern logically would lead women and BIPOC fund managers to perform climate-related diligence on investment deals and have a climate-forward approach to their portfolio. Climate change makes virtually all aspects of the economy and society, especially existing inequalities, worse. Climate impacts, including heatwaves, droughts, rising sea levels and extreme flooding, disproportionately affect women and people of color. Yet, due to their local knowledge and leadership in climate change solutions, such as sustainable resource management , and their responsiveness to community and consumer needs, women and people of color are uniquely essential in solving climate change. [ Marilyn Waite is a featured mainstage speaker this week during GreenFin 21 . ] In the United States, race is the No. 1 indicator for the placement of toxic facilities, including climate-polluting ones. This reality also means that Black and brown financial leaders have on-the-ground knowledge of transitioning from dirty to clean and the types and structures of investments that will bring retail and institutional investors risk-adjusted returns. Knowledge and information, including local knowledge, are core to what investors use to outperform peers, indices and allocator expectations. For example, HSBC’s investment policy states, “We look to deliver quality and value through a robust risk management framework that leverages our global capabilities and local knowledge to drive better investment decisions across a wide range of investment strategies.” Lastly, diversity drives innovation. Study after study shows diversity, including gender and racial diversity, leads to a better return on investment, return on equity and revenues. As Katherine Phillips put it , “Diversity jolts us into cognitive action in ways that homogeneity simply does not.” In investment, why pay for an asset management firm if you can just buy every stock in the market and fare the same? Why pay venture capital fees if you can just, as the industry says, “spray and pray” in a suite of startups as an angel investor? Part of the value proposition of fund managers is that their investment teams have specialized knowledge and perform the diligence that the asset owner or allocator does not have or cannot otherwise implement. Climate investing is no exception. Given climate change is such a pervasive and entrenched problem, it will take novel thinking and new investment approaches, which will be missing without such gender and racial diversity. One hypothesis that VC Include (VCI) will start to test this year is if and how diverse-led climate funds lead to diverse green business ownership, leadership and workforce opportunities in climate-impacted communities. To that end, VCI is launching a Diverse Climate Fund Manager initiative to engage and financially support women and BIPOC emerging managers that are addressing climate change in their strategy. Why aren’t asset owners allocating capital to women- and BIPOC-led climate funds? As Rachel Robasciotti of Adasina Social Capital states , “The problem lies in how the asset manager evaluation process exacerbates existing inequities in financial services, while also failing to account for real impact and diversity outcomes.” These barriers include needing to have at least $200 million in assets under management, or AUM (which starts with personal wealth that women and BIPOC leaders seldom hold), a three-year track record and laborious questionnaires (some with over 1,000 questions). Although it’s important to not conflate emerging managers with diverse managers (not all diverse managers are new and vice versa), women- and BIPOC-led funds are disproportionately newer and may not meet the three-year track record threshold. For example, 73 percent of women-led asset management firms were founded in the last five years. The Due Diligence 2.0 Commitment outlines nine ways forward for a more equitable asset allocation and investment sector, as follows: consider track record alternatives; expand what it means to work together; reassess AUM as a risk metric; respect BIPOC time; contextualize fees, including historically unrecognized risks; be willing to go first; offer transparency about remaining hurdles; and provide detailed feedback. There is a generic diverse asset manager directory run by Emerging Manager Monthly , providing information on minority, women, veteran and disabled-owned firms where you can filter by asset class/investment strategy. Hannah Davis of Techstars and I put together this list of women and BIPOC climate fund investment advisers and asset managers. This list is primarily intended to help retail and institutional asset owners allocate capital to diverse-led climate-friendly funds. Other uses include syndicating with women- and BIPOC-led funds and finding diverse investors for a company’s growth. To add to the list, please fill out this form. Topics Finance & Investing Social Justice Diversity and Inclusion GreenFin 21 Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock Fizkes Close Authorship

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When it comes to climate investment funds, diverse management is imperative

Here’s how companies should prepare for new human rights regulations

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Here’s how companies should prepare for new human rights regulations Alice Pease Tue, 04/13/2021 – 01:30 This article originally was published in the BSR Insight . Governments are increasingly scrutinizing human trafficking and forced labor abuses in private sector operations. In addition to the moral imperative to address these abuses, businesses should be on alert given the significant disruptions in supply chains that government regulation may cause, resulting in potential economic, legal and/or reputational harm. Apparel, food and beverage, technology and financial services companies in particular should closely monitor and prepare for global regulatory developments.  1. Companies should expect more active involvement from civil society organizations in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Withhold Release Order process The situation: The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has used Withhold Release Orders (WRO) to suspend the importation of goods at a U.S. port of entry when the agency has reasonable evidence of the use of forced labor in the manufacturing or production of a good entering the U.S. supply chain. The onus is then on the importer to demonstrate to the U.S. government that the good was not made with forced labor. In the last two years, the CBP has ramped up its use of this enforcement tool, issuing 13 WROs across multiple industries in 2020 alone. While the CBP has welcomed the public to submit information on merchandise that could be considered for a WRO, there has been limited visibility on submissions until now. In February, anti-trafficking organization Liberty Shared submitted two petitions to the CBP concerning the use of forced labor in the supply chains of the apparel industry in Leicester, U.K. and of Boohoo, PLC.  What business can do: Companies which have identified forced labor as a supply chain risk should be conducting ongoing human rights due diligence to identify, assess and mitigate potential or actual risks of forced labor, engage in meaningful dialogue with rights-holders and ensure their grievance mechanisms are working. 2. Companies should prepare for increased regulation and withholding of products sourced or manufactured in Xinjiang, China The situation: Reports have described the mass internment and surveillance of over a million ethnic Muslim minorities in Xinjiang, China. News sources detail how Uyghurs and other minorities are being forced to work in factories that produce raw materials and goods which are shipped throughout China and around the world. Reports also have documented the capital provided to Chinese technology companies by financial institutions and private equity firms to support the mass surveillance of Muslim minorities. Industries implicated in these reports include food and beverage buyers, pharmaceutical companies, apparel brands and technology and renewable energy companies. In response to these findings, the U.S. , Canada  and U.K . have published advisories for companies doing business in or with links to Xinjiang. The U.S. also has passed a Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act, issued sanctions and banned the entry of goods allegedly produced by forced labor in Xinjiang. The EU is considering implementing sanctions as well.   What business can do: Companies should map business activities and business relationships with suppliers, customers and end users of products in China and conduct due diligence on business relationships to ensure that they are not working with entities involved in aiding human rights abuses. With business challenges related to Xinjiang unlikely to disappear in the short term, companies should work with third parties such as NGOs, industry associations and business associations to better understand the human rights situation, and they also should craft and pilot traceability measures in collaboration with peers. See guidance from the CBP on best practices here .  3. Companies should begin planning for more stringent modern slavery disclosure requirements The situation: In response to calls from business leaders, civil society and legislators to strengthen the U.K. Modern Slavery Act, the U.K. government in September announced proposals that would require businesses to report against each of the six reporting areas and would make approval and sign-off requirements more stringent. In September, the New South Wales government signaled its intent to enact a Modern Slavery Act (NSW MSA), which would include a provision to require more entities across Australia to submit a modern slavery statement by lowering the national reporting threshold from $76 million to $38 million. In addition, the NSW government indicated its position to levy financial penalties for breaches of the Act. A modern slavery disclosure bill also was introduced to Canada’s Senate in October. While sharing similarities with Australia, California and the U.K.’s disclosure legislation, Canada’s bill could be the first to allow personal liability for directors and officers for non-compliance.  What business can do: Businesses subjected to the U.K. Modern Slavery Act should be prepared to report against the proposed requirements. Companies that are not captured under an existing legislative scheme should at minimum understand where human trafficking risks may be present in their supply chain and proactively take prevention measures. As more governments enact modern slavery acts, more robust legislation on supply chain due diligence is on the horizon .  4. Companies should be aware of heightened scrutiny of illicit financial flows linked to human trafficking The situation: There have been some signals suggesting that companies with weak compliance systems to capture proceeds associated with human trafficking may be the subject of future attention by government authorities. For example, in July, Deutsche Bank was fined $150 million by the New York State Department of Financial Services for failing to maintain an effective and compliant anti-money laundering program related to client Jeffrey Epstein, his sex trafficking enterprise and correspondent banks. In September, Australia’s financial intelligence agency, AUSTRAC, reached a $1 billion settlement agreement with Westpac Banking Corporation for facilitating transactions that enabled child exploitation in the Philippines. What business can do: Financial institutions should integrate indicators of human trafficking into their compliance systems to capture financial flows that may be connected to human trafficking. In addition to facing fines, financial institutions face potential criminal liability through the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act and U.K. Criminal Finances Bill. Financial institutions should assess their links to human trafficking and forced labor holistically through their lending portfolios, core business operations, platform and business relationships. Guidance from the FAST initiative and FinCEN on identifying and reporting human trafficking may be a good start. Contributors Shubha Chandra Mark P. Lagon Topics Human Rights Policy & Politics Supply Chain Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Businesses should be on alert given the significant disruptions in supply chains that government regulation may cause. Shutterstock Jimmy Tran Close Authorship

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Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine

April 13, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green, Recycle

Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine Deven Patten Tue, 04/13/2021 – 00:05 This Earth Day, you might be thinking, “Hey, there’s a pandemic. Let’s sit this one out.” Probably no one would blame you. But journey back with me to last year, at the beginning of COVID-19, when the roads were clear and the air was pristine. If you were like me, it might have been the very first time you saw your city not wrapped in smog. That vision of what our earth could be inspired me, and if it inspired you, too, then don’t sit this one out: Make this Earth Day a chance to level up your commitment to our gorgeous planet. Without access to office recycle bins and other on-site programs, this is a perfect time to foster new habits with your employees that they can use at home. Here are a few tips to make this Earth Day engaging and transformational and instill lasting habits with your employees, even if life looks a bit different right now: Educate As many employees are accustomed to living their work lives online, this is the perfect time to develop trainings and virtual events around sustainability. At Young Living, we have developed several internal trainings to help educate employees about how to properly sort and recycle materials common in neighborhood recycling programs. These interactive trainings helped to define what is collected in mixed waste, metal, glass and organic recycling bins and where employees should place different materials. These trainings also help employees to understand that “wish-cycling” — throwing items in the recycle bin when unsure and hoping they will be recycled — is actually very harmful to the recycling process. You’ll likely find your employees will welcome a break from thinking about calendars and tasks to hear ways they can incorporate the values of Earth Day every day. These virtual events should be fun and light-hearted and useful. Even something like a virtual training on how to repair clothing and other items around the house to increase their longevity is useful. Reuse Encourage employees to adopt reusables into their lifestyles and boost morale while doing so with fun rewards such as branded gifts — from water bottles to shopping bags. Providing employees with a sustainable gift is a fun way to get employees more involved while at home. Some departments at Young Living have adopted reusable notebooks that allow the user to transform their notes into a PDF and erase the page once it is full. You can consider holding sustainability-themed contests, such as who can recycle the most soda cans or which family can throw away the least amount of waste during a week or who’s found the most creative way to reuse a non-recycling item. We also have contactless recycling at our headquarters, so employees can drop off even hard-to-recycle items such as batteries. Move Your employees can’t meet together in person, but that doesn’t mean they can’t take advantage of this day. Encourage them to get out and enjoy nature or try something new and start a compost bin. Give them gift cards to a local nursery to plant native plants that help pollinators or start a plogging (picking up litter while jogging) Slack channel where your employees can show off their cleanup adventures. At Young Living, we also give employees one floating PTO day per year to use on a day of their choosing for performing service in their communities. We encourage employees to find activities that restore the environment or help to protect it. Employees have performed a variety of services, including planting trees in parks, communities and other areas of the state, cleaning up trails and parks, removing invasive species and other restoration projects.  We’ve created a Global Stewards team internally to engage and brainstorm with passionate employees on topics of sustainability. The team is open to any that are interested and is used as a platform to proof ideas, look for new opportunities, survey opinions and share information. If your C-suite is still hesitant about making a concerted effort to become greener, real change isn’t likely to occur. Change has to begin at the top. If you have to, map initiatives back to the bottom line. Incorporating environmental sustainability projects makes sense from every angle, from cost to risk mitigation to reducing turnover and increasing loyalty. If your C-suite doesn’t know where to start, there are many organizations that can help. Utah, for example, has a Sustainability Business Coalition, where many competing businesses join together to work toward a common goal. That short experience I had at the beginning of the pandemic seeing what our environment could be like really changed me. I want clean air. I want to see the mountains not covered in smog. I want insects and cooler temperatures and healthier food. If companies take the lead, that could become a reality. Amid the tragic circumstances, this time away from normalcy is a gift in that it has given us a chance to reevaluate ourselves and reimagine the possibility of a future with a clean earth. Topics Corporate Strategy Employee Engagement Earth Day Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Young Living employees volunteer at one of the company’s lavender farms prior to the pandemic.

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Celebrating Earth Day — even during quarantine

Harmful algal blooms release "Very Fast Death Factor" into air

April 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A new study published in the journal  Lake and Reservoir Management has found that a dangerous toxin known as anatoxin-a (ATX) could be airborne around bodies of water with algal blooms. The toxin could be released from scum found on ponds and lakes into the surrounding air. Also known as the “Very Fast Death Factor”, ATX has many negative effects on fish, other animals and ecosystems at large. The study was conducted on a pond in Massachusetts after scientists suspected that the toxin, produced by cyanobacteria and found in harmful algal blooms, could spread into the air. Related: Botswana elephant deaths caused by cyanobacteria ATX can affect humans and animals in various ways. The most common symptoms include lack of coordination, respiratory paralysis and muscular twitching in humans. It has also been linked with the death of waterfowl, livestock and dogs that drink this water. Besides the direct effects of the toxin, the algal blooms that produce ATX can also affect water quality. When the algae die and sink below the lake or pond surface, the decomposition process drains oxygen from the water, leading to the death of fish. While ATX has been produced in water for a long time, the rate at which the toxin is being produced has increased in recent years. The toxin is produced by cyanobacteria, which can grow exponentially when fertilizer runoff from farms finds its way into bodies of water. Rising temperatures also provide ideal growing conditions. “ATX is one of the more dangerous cyanotoxins produced by harmful algal blooms, which are becoming more predominant in lakes and ponds worldwide due to global warming and climate change ,” said study lead author James Sutherland of the Nantucket Land Council. Sutherland and his colleagues are warning people who live around bodies of water to be watchful. They said if a person inhales or comes in direct contact with the toxin, there is a possibility of serious health risks. “People often recreate around these lakes and ponds with algal blooms without any awareness of the potential problems,” Sutherland said. “Direct contact or inhalation of these cyanotoxins can present health risks for individuals, and we have reported a potential human health exposure not previously examined.” + Scimex + Lake and Reservoir Management Image via Aerial Associates Photography, Inc. by Zachary Haslick / NOAA

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Harmful algal blooms release "Very Fast Death Factor" into air

An airy multigenerational home shows adaptive reuse done right

April 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Vienna-based architecture firm OEOOO has transformed and expanded a disused farmhouse into the Hehl Tenne House, a warm and inviting multigenerational home wrapped in timber inside and out. Located in the rural outskirts of the Lower Bregenzerwald (Bregenz Forest) village of Lingenau, the original agricultural building had sat empty after the family farm shut down decades ago. The adaptive reuse project presented the perfect opportunity to not only revive the underutilized site for the next generation but also celebrate the region’s agricultural history. Designed as a home for living and working, the Hehl Tenne House has repurposed the ground floor of the former barn into a joint workshop that shares space with the building service equipment. Work areas are also integrated into the other parts of the home, from the first-floor living/dining area to the sleeping zones on the top floor. The common areas, located where hay was once stored, feature tall ceilings and seamlessly connect to the outdoors via a covered terrace to the southwest. Related: An old farmhouse becomes a hotel focused on indoor-outdoor living “The aim was to take up the unused spatial qualities of the former economic tract of a typical Bregenzerwald farmhouse and to identify the building in the sense of a multi-generational house,” the architects explained in a project statement. “In the generous cubature of the former threshing floor of the house, a compact, comfortable living space was created by means of replacement construction, which is closely related to the exterior space and the local building tradition.” The “replacement construction” was built with a single-shell exposed concrete base and timber-frame construction insulated with wood wool . The environmental footprint of the home is reduced with the use of a wood log heating system that heats the entire home and is supplied with timber felled on the property. The roof is equipped with a solar hot water system. + OEOOO Photography by Lukas Gaechter Photography via OEOOO

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An airy multigenerational home shows adaptive reuse done right

5 themes for a capital week

April 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

5 themes for a capital week Joel Makower Mon, 04/12/2021 – 02:11 GreenFin 21 takes place this week (April 13–14), a fact that I hope has not been lost on you. We’ll be livestreaming the daily 75-minute plenary sessions on GreenBiz.com, starting promptly at 11:30 a.m. Eastern / 8:30 a.m. Pacific, although you’ll need to register to partake in the dozens of breakout, roundtable and networking sessions that will follow both days. It’s such an exciting time in green finance, with significant news and developments happening at a whirlwind clip. In just the past week, for example, Bank of America announced a goal of deploying $1 trillion to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy; BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, said it would peg the interest rate of a $4.4 billion line of credit to its performance on such metrics as female leadership in the company and its employment of people of color; Invesco, a global investment manager with about $1.3 trillion under management, set a goal of integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics into all of its investments by 2023; and JetBlue announced it would tie senior leaders’ compensation to a series of ESG metrics, including reduced emissions per available seat-mile and efforts to engage and work with minority- and women-owned businesses. That’s a mere sampling of what seems to be taking place every week lately. It’s such an exciting time in green finance, with significant news and developments happening at a whirlwind clip. But enough about the past. Let’s talk about this week. Here are five themes you’ll be hearing at GreenFin 21 — and, presumably, beyond — that help define this moment in sustainable finance and corporate sustainability reporting. In no particular order: 1. The rise of sustainability in corporate finance. The above headlines demonstrate the rise of ESG on the investor side, but there’s plenty happening on the corporate site. For the first time, chief financial officers, corporate treasurers, chief investor relations officers and other corporate leaders are leaning into ESG metrics, since these things have become important to lenders and investors. And that’s driven the sustainability agenda up the ranks, all the way to the board of directors. Of course, merely reporting data to investors and banks doesn’t necessarily equate to the kinds of things that matter to people and the planet: drastically reducing carbon emissions, turning waste streams into circular value, creating jobs, ensuring environmental justice and more. So, there’s also increased attention — by activists and regulators, as well as investors — to corporate greenwash, in which a company’s actions doesn’t match its proclamations. 2. The revolution in social finance. The “S” in ESG is also rising. There are new investment funds targeting women, people of color, rural communities and others who haven’t historically had sufficient access to capital. And, as noted above, companies are being assessed by investors and credit-rating agencies in part by their attention to diversity, especially in the higher echelons of company leadership. Social justice issues are another growing field for companies, including ensuring access to healthcare and education, protecting human rights and fostering employee well-being. Still another area that’s gaining traction are company investments in local businesses. In the past, that has been difficult for big firms to do at scale — there’s just too much due diligence and risk for most corporate appetites. But innovative social enterprises are finding ways to funnel tens of millions of big-company dollars to lend to women- and minority-owned local businesses, potentially enabling these companies to grow and thrive, along with their communities. 3. The need to simplify ESG data and reporting. This has been festering for years, but suddenly there’s hope. The recent rapid rise of ESG in finance circles seems to be spurring global efforts to consolidate and harmonize the many reporting standards and frameworks. The past year saw a relative flurry of activity by nonprofit and professional organizations to align and harmonize their frameworks. SASB, GRI, CDP, TCFD, et al. — the whole alphabet soup of corporate reporting seems to be coming together. The big kahuna, though, is a relative newcomer to the sustainability space: the IFRS Foundation, which sets global accounting standards. It is moving — slowly, but ever so surely — toward a unified set of sustainability reporting metrics. Meanwhile, in the United States, the Biden administration’s Securities and Exchange Commission is moving toward mandatory climate-risk reporting, joining its European counterparts. That would likely accelerate the standardization of reporting, moving everyone forward. 4. A growing menu of financial products. We’ve been covering the world of green bonds and sustainability-linked loans for a while now, so it should be no surprise that these and other financing mechanisms are on the rise. Issuance of sustainability-related bonds — green bonds, blue bonds, sustainability bonds, social bonds and more — are among the fastest-growing products offered by financial institutions. Each quarter seems to set a new record in the issuance of such bonds and loans as the demand by investors seems to show no end, leading some to predict a green-financing bubble. Many of the bond issuances have been oversubscribed — meaning investor demand exceeds supply — by five or ten times. What’s also significant is how these bonds and loans are aligning the interests of corporate finance and sustainability departments, which historically rarely ventured into the other’s territory. (See theme No. 1, above.) 5. Financing the just transition. In some ways, the focus on ESG is the least interesting part of the sustainable finance arena. The standards and language will eventually sort themselves out, and ESG reporting will become humdrum routine. The much, much bigger question is how to find and deploy tens of trillions of dollars globally to fund the transition to a clean and just economy. For my money, this is one of the most exciting and dynamic challenges the world will face in the coming decades. There’s roughly a quarter of a quadrillion dollars available globally — yes, quadrillion with a Q — according to a study by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. Whether and how that money can be used to finance clean energy, electrified transportation, sustainable food production and other parts of the clean economy represents perhaps the biggest economic opportunity in human history. That’s just a taste. I hope you can join us this week at GreenFin 21. There’s still time to request an invitation . I invite you to  follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter,  GreenBuzz , and listen to  GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote It’s such an exciting time in green finance, with significant news and developments happening at a whirlwind clip. Topics Finance & Investing Leadership GreenFin 21 ESG Banking GreenFin 21 Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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5 themes for a capital week

We decide how tomorrow will be by what we create today

April 12, 2021 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

We decide how tomorrow will be by what we create today Chris Gaither Mon, 04/12/2021 – 01:15 The other morning, for the 100th consecutive day, I wrote three pages in my notebook. No specific agenda. No writing prompt. Simply three pages, handwritten with my Bic ReAction No. 2 mechanical pencil, about whatever came to mind. One hundred days in a row. Honoring the practice. These morning pages, as they’re known, have become an essential part of my daily ritual, a way to get past the run-of-the-mill observations, gripes and worries that make me very human. Because underneath all that stuff flowing across the surface of my conscious mind lies a deep reservoir of creativity. In that reservoir of creativity, answers emerge: how to nourish myself, cultivate gratitude and joy, contribute solutions to the problems that call me, make the impact I dream of. You, too, have this reservoir of creativity. Creativity is an act of leadership, and practice is all we can control. You might be tapping a hardy vein of it right now. Or, if you’re like most people I know, you’re only plumbing a fraction of your possibility. Your creativity might be buried beneath your worries, your busyness, your to-do lists or your idea that you’re not a creative person. It might be bottled up by burnout, or by the very natural clenching our bodies are doing in response to these troubled times. But it’s there. It’s rich. And the world needs it. Your well of creativity is where solutions to our deeply interconnected challenges live, waiting to emerge and play and meld with other people’s ideas. Daily practices help us open these creative reservoirs. I first learned of morning pages in 2017, when I was longing to rekindle my extinguished writing practice. A friend asked if I’d heard of “The Artist’s Way,” by Julia Cameron. I leafed through his copy of the book, bought my own and surrendered to its simple recipe for creative awakening. “The morning pages will teach you to stop judging and just let yourself write,” Cameron says. “So what if you’re tired, crabby, distracted, stressed? Your artist is a child and it needs to be fed. Morning pages feed your artist child.” And I have, for three years, with some breaks along the way. My stacks of completed morning pages — black and white marbled composition books, blue National Brand Chemistry notebooks, thin beige Muji journals — contain some of the dullest details you can imagine. The kind of cereal I’m eating. How I prefer that Red Bay Coffee blend over this one. Trees I can see through the window. How my pencil is leaving a callused dent in my ring finger. Whether three pages in this new journal counts the same as three pages in the larger journal I’ve just filled. My morning pages also contain descriptions of my suffering. Physical aches and pains. Heartbreak from the end of an 18-year-marriage. Confusion about how to live and parent during a global pandemic. Fears that our planet will be intolerably hot in just a few decades. And, importantly, my morning pages both celebrate my growth and enable it. I said yes to poetry and meditation classes in my journals before I signed up. I dreamed of deepening my romantic relationship with my partner before I allowed it to happen. I imagined creating programs to support climate and social-impact leaders before I created them. They also shifted my sense of identity. Because I write every day, I can say that I am someone who writes every day. Most of the time, I don’t notice any specific outcomes from the practice. The pages are filled with blah-blah-blah. I have to trust that pouring my thoughts onto the page will open space for the deeper ideas to come out later, like creating more room for oxygen between logs so the fire burns hotter. And some days, as my hand flows across the page, magic happens. The observing part of my mind calls out, “Hey, that’s a good analogy for an essay.” Or, “Wouldn’t those words be fun to explore in a poem?” Or, “You should totally try that idea in your business.” I find things I otherwise wouldn’t have found, I pluck them from my pages, I create and, in large or small ways, I share what I create. Marketer Seth Godin argues that making and sharing creative work is an act of leadership. It’s our effort to bring change to the world. Yet, he says in his most recent book, “The Practice,” we can’t control the outcome. We can’t control whether people like our work, or whether it actually changes anything. All we can control is the process. All we can control is our practice. “There’s a practice available to each of us — the practice of embracing the process of creation in service of better,” he writes. “The practice is not the means to the output, the practice is the output, because the practice is all we can control.” My hundred-day run began Dec. 22. Each time I complete my morning pages, I check off the task in a habit-tracking app, which keeps me motivated to keep the streak going. During these 14 weeks, I completed morning pages at my kitchen table in Oakland, in my partner Abby’s apartment in Sausalito, in a Salt Lake City hotel room, in the passenger seat of my car as she drove us toward Colorado, and at the dining table of our rented home in Crested Butte. How did I celebrate reaching my hundred-day milestone? I took a screenshot of my habit-tracker. I texted a party face emoji to the friend who’d introduced me to “The Artist’s Way.” And I wrote this essay — another act of creativity that came from my practice. Then, the next morning, I wrote another three pages. Day 101. Because I’m not done creating. You aren’t either. Each day, the world asks us to invent it anew. We decide how tomorrow will be by what we create today. So, remember that creativity is an act of leadership, and practice is all we can control. Let’s get started. Pull Quote Creativity is an act of leadership, and practice is all we can control. Topics Leadership Featured Column Sustainable You Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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We decide how tomorrow will be by what we create today

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