Climate change is the biggest public health issue

September 7, 2021 by  
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More than 220 of the world’s top  public health  and medical journals have published a  joint plea  for the global population to reduce carbon emissions immediately. Humanity already faces irreversible public health threats, the editors wrote. We can’t wait for the pandemic to end before we face the task of reducing emissions. “Health is already being harmed by global temperature increases and the destruction of the natural world, a state of affairs health professionals have been bringing attention to for decades,” said the call for action, which was published in multiple health journals worldwide, including the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet and the British Medical Journal. “The science is unequivocal: a global increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius [2.7 degrees Fahrenheit] above the pre-industrial average and the continued loss of  biodiversity  risk catastrophic harm to health that will be impossible to reverse.” Related: Climate change is a public health issue amounting to billions in medical costs The full name of the call for action, published September 5, is “Call for Emergency Action to Limit Global Temperature Increases, Restore Biodiversity, and Protect Health.” It lists some of the health problems that higher temperatures exacerbate, such as renal function loss, pregnancy complications, tropical infections and dermatological malignancies. In the last two decades, deaths related to  heat  have increased by more than 50% in people over 65 years old. Global warming  is also threatening crop production, leading to food insecurity. Like many effects of climate change, undernutrition disproportionately affects poorer countries and poorer regions and neighborhoods within more developed countries. Children, seniors, ethnic minorities and those with preexisting health problems are especially at risk. The call to action points out that those who suffer most are often those who contributed to climate change the least. The  medical  journal editors asked for fairness, saying that the richer countries most responsible for our current crisis should do more to support lower-income countries. They suggest that funding be equally split between mitigating damage already done and adapting to avoid more. Instead of loans, the call says richer countries need to give grants to poorer countries and erase large past debts. After all, we’re in this together, and “we are globally as strong as our weakest member,” says the call to action. “The greatest threat to global public health is the continued failure of world leaders to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5° C and to restore  nature .” Via HuffPost Images via Pixabay

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ARCspace’s prefab homes are a quick and sustainable housing solution

July 26, 2021 by  
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The construction industry is responsible for considerable pollution and waste. Builders are leaning into innovative designs and material development to curb the environmental impact through sustainable architecture. ARCspace, a modular building developer, is one such business offering a solution for wasteful traditional construction, while introducing a host of other benefits. ARCspace is a division of Sustainable Building Council Ltd., located in the Los Angeles Cleantech Corridor. As a parent company, the goal of Sustainable Building Council Ltd. is to bring together experts in construction, architectural design, engineering, building, environmentalism and innovative technology who are all invested in addressing housing needs around the world, starting with the crisis in their own backyard, Los Angeles . Related: These prefabricated tiny homes are earthquake- and fire-resistant Prefabricated construction As part of this larger mission, ARCspace partnered with a variety of public and private interests to develop proprietary modular and prefabricated steel building systems. The mission is to work together to create efficient, affordable and long-lasting housing for a variety of needs that range from serving underprivileged communities to providing temporary housing. What began as a pilot program as a potential solution to the extreme homelessness crisis in L.A. has grown into several accommodation options ranging from 160 to 10,000 square feet. These units have been developed for residential and commercial use and as accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The structures are prefabricated for highly efficient and quick builds. The process also minimizes waste . In fact, the company reports the buildings are “spec-built from the ground up in 40-60% less time and cost than traditional construction.” Building materials In alignment with another Sustainable Building Council Ltd. goal to focus on sustainable architecture, ARCspace relies on high-grade steel as its primary material. Steel is a strong choice for durability, so the ARCspace units are built to meet and exceed California seismic safety requirements for protection against earthquake damage. The steel also makes them resilient in high winds and highly fire-resistant. In addition, steel won’t succumb to damage-causing bugs such as termites, and it’s a material that can be reused or recycled . Customizable tiny homes During development, the team at ARCspace collaborated with top innovators in the housing industry in order to follow the guidance of leading GreenTech companies. As a result, ARCspace units come with a variety of options customers can select during the customization process. This includes fun interior design elements like flooring, countertops, fixtures and paint. It also means optional elements that provide off-grid power and water. For example, some homes feature self-contained atmospheric water generators called Hydropanels that are grid-independent and pull a few liters of drinking water out of the air each day. Affordable solar panels are another add-on option. However, the primary supply still comes from onsite plumbing and electrical systems. The finished product provides all the comforts of home and the convenience of upsizing or downsizing with the addition or subtraction of units. Units can be linked end to end or stacked up to four units high with stairways connecting each unit. Avoiding toxins Although they look a bit like shipping containers, ARCspace pointed out critical differences. “We do not utilize or work with any form of used containers, not even 1-trip containers (those only used one time),” the company explained. “Shipping containers are manufactured with materials known to cause cancer such as LED paint, DDT wood flooring, and often have insecticide coatings, etc.” In addition to avoiding toxins in construction, ARCspace puts a focus on smart home features that are energy-efficient and healthy. The company employs a variety of sustainable technologies such as environmentally friendly, vegetable-based spray foam insulation and specialized window coatings that keep excessive heat out while allowing natural light in. It also uses recycled materials throughout, including for decking and outer cladding. Temporary shelters and emergency housing For temporary work sites or emergency housing needs, impermanent foundations mean the units can be relocated with minimal site impact . They can also be set up in as little as 24 hours once onsite with a small team using cranes to stack modules then following up with window installations. The company said, “Last year, ARCspace collaborated with Habitat for Humanity to create an Emergency Shelter Project in the San Francisco Bay area using America’s first prefabricated foundation and worked with local trade schools to help prepare a new workforce with an understanding of emerging sustainable building technology.” This quick-build housing showed the potential for ARCspace to provide affordable housing but also served as inspiration for those considering a career in green design. The ARCspace project was recently selected as a finalist in Fast Company’s 2021 World Changing Ideas Awards, a competition that recognizes “Buildings, landscapes, urban designs, and policies that make cities and living in them cleaner, more efficient, more beautiful, and more equitable for their citizens.” + ARCspace Images via ARCspace

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ARCspace’s prefab homes are a quick and sustainable housing solution

London considers banning wood-burning stoves to tackle air pollution

October 2, 2017 by  
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Wood-burning stoves could be producing up to one third of London’s fine particle pollution , according to figures cited by the city’s mayor, Sadiq Khan . A ban on the stoves could help address the air pollution plaguing the capital; last week, Khan triggered the emergency air quality alert for the seventh time in 13 months. Wood-burning stoves have recently been popular in Britain – The Guardian reports 1.5 million have been sold in the country. 16 percent of households in southeast England have the stoves, compared to five percent nationally. But somewhere between a quarter and a third of fine particle pollution in the capital could arise from domestic wood burning. And King’s College London research indicates during very high air pollution in January, domestic wood burning yielded half of the emissions in some parts of London. Related: London breaks legal limits on air pollution in just five days in 2017 Khan said, “Non-transport sources contribute half of the deadly emissions in London, so we need a hard-hitting plan of action to combat them similar to moves I am taking to reduce pollution from road vehicles. With more than 400 schools located in areas exceeding legal pollution levels, and significant health impacts on our most vulnerable communities, we cannot wait any longer.” In a letter to Environment Secretary Michael Grove, Khan requested London’s environment department amend a Clean Air Act to set up zero-emission zones where people won’t be allowed to burn solid fuel from 2025 on. Khan also called for tougher enforcement on emissions restrictions for construction machinery like diggers and bulldozers, and for greater powers to tackle emissions coming from Thames River traffic. In a statement , the London government said half of toxic emissions come from cars and other road vehicles, and that the second-largest source of PM 2.5 particles is construction machinery. Via The Guardian Images via Pixabay and Joshua Newton on Unsplash

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Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake

September 25, 2017 by  
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A 7.1 magnitude earthquake recently rocked Mexico , and in Mexico City , 15 dogs came to the rescue. But few are quite as beloved as Frida, a 7-year-old Labrador who achieved Twitter fame. The Internet at first thought she’d found 52 people after the earthquake, and while that figure isn’t correct – she’s found 52 over the course of her whole career – it’s hard not to fall in love with a rescue dog in blue boots and goggles. Hit the jump to hear more about her tale. Frida is part of the Mexican navy’s Canine Unit. According to the Los Angeles Times, she has helped to find 52 people after disasters over the course of her career – 12 of whom have been alive. Around two weeks ago, she detected the body of a police officer following an earthquake in Oaxaca. Now she’s on the hunt for people in Mexico City, after a 7.1 earthquake killed at least 300 people across five states in Mexico. According to Al Jazeera , rescue operations halted on Saturday following a new aftershock. Related: 12 comfort dogs dispatched to grief-stricken Orlando Su valiosa ayuda y amor por el ser humano, hacen que de su máximo esfuerzo para salvar vidas #perrosrescatistas pic.twitter.com/jpidngFREV — SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) September 21, 2017 Frida, who’s named after famed Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, has been searching for people after suiting up in a harness, protective goggles, and boots on her four paws. She was sent to the Enrique Rebsamen school last Tuesday, where other emergency workers found 25 people dead and 11 alive. Her handler, Israel Arauz Salinas, said usually two other Belgian Malinois dogs, Evil and Echo, enter collapsed structures first, since they’re younger than Frida, each at a year-and-a-half old. If they detect someone, Frida goes in to confirm the find, typically taking no more than 20 minutes. According to Salinas, the dogs clue in rescue workers they might have found signs of life by barking. The dogs have had to hunt in spaces under 20 inches high. They’ve been able to crawl into places deeper than human rescue workers. Ella es #Frida , #OrgulloNaval que ha logrado salvar 52 vidas en distinto desastres naturales a nivel Nacional e Internacional pic.twitter.com/icYKDofDd7 — SEMAR México (@SEMAR_mx) September 13, 2017 Frida doesn’t just come to the rescue in Mexico. Salinas said Frida also helped after an April earthquake in Ecuador last year. Via the Los Angeles Times and Gizmodo Images via screenshot ( 1 , 2 )

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Frida the rescue dog helps search for survivors after Mexico’s deadly earthquake

Flesh-eating bacteria in Australia might be spread by mosquitoes

September 25, 2017 by  
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Cases of infections from a flesh-eating bacteria seem to be increasing in Australia . The bacteria Mycobacterium ulcerans can bring about Buruli ulcers, non-healing sores that slowly grow bigger. The ulcers are already a huge health issue in West Africa , and now Australia seems to be experiencing more cases. Scientists aren’t quite sure how humans get infected – though they suspect either possums or mosquitoes . Victoria, Australia saw 89 reported cases of Buruli ulcers in 2014. In 2015, that number increased to 107, and in 2016 it was 182. Already, as of this month in 2017, there have been 159 reported cases, according to Allen Cheng, professor in infectious diseases epidemiology at Monash University , who wrote an article on the flesh-eating bacteria for The Conversation. Related: This billboard imitates human sweat to snare mosquitoes 32 countries in West Africa have seen cases of Buruli ulcers, which grow larger usually on arms or legs for weeks or months. Advanced infections sometimes result in amputation, and in the past people thought surgery was necessary to treat the ulcers. Now, most cases in Australia can be cured with antibiotics , and there’s a trial in Africa testing treatment with antibiotics. It’s not clear how people get infected, although Cheng said circumstantial evidence seems to point towards mosquitoes. The bacteria can be found in the insects, and infections often occur on exposed areas of the body where mosquitoes bite. But researchers also discovered possums, and their feces, seemed to be infected where there have been human cases. Cheng also pointed out that infections happen in areas of the world with different animal and mosquito species. He said early diagnosis is key; the infection is easier to treat before it spreads, but does grow slowly. He recommended asking a doctor about unexplained sores or lumps, especially if they persist for a long time. And even though we can’t say for sure if mosquito bites do spread the bacteria, Cheng recommended mosquito repellents and covering up skin as a way to try and prevent infection. Via The Conversation Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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6 ways you can help people affected by Tropical Storm Harvey

August 28, 2017 by  
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Tropical Storm Harvey is battering the Houston area, affecting over 6.8 million people . With so many people and pets displaced and suffering, you may be wondering how you can help. Whether you live close to the disaster area or on the other side of the world, here are a few great ways you can support people hit by the devastating storm . Donate to a food bank or another charity There are several charities out there you can support financially as they work to help Tropical Storm Harvey victims. Food banks can also use donations in the aftermath of Harvey. You can donate online to the Central Texas Food Bank . Or donate to the San Antonio Food Bank ; according to SBNation, some displaced Houston locals will be relocated to San Antonio. SBNation has a list of more local charities here . Related: INFOGRAPHIC: How social media can save lives in a disaster Donate to the Salvation Army The Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services is on the ground to help out both first responders and locals. The organization is offering shelter at Salvation Army locations in the area, and as of earlier this week had served over 3,000 meals, drinks, and snacks via their mobile kitchens. You can help out right now by texting STORM to 51555 or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY. You can donate online here or send donations to The Salvation Army, PO Box 1959, Atlanta, GA 30301. Open up your home through Airbnb If you live in Texas and can share your space, Airbnb has a page for urgent accommodations in the wake of Harvey. They waive service fees for those impacted, and allow locals to list their homes so people can find a place to stay for free. You can find shelter or list your space here . Donate blood You can donate blood to help people affected by the crisis as well. South Texas Blood & Tissue Center has been calling for blood donations – you can get in touch with them at 210-731-5590. They also posted a list of locations to donate on their Facebook page, including addresses and donation hours. According to the post, Houston is asking for more than 2,000 units of blood from blood centers, so if you live in South Texas, consider finding a place to donate blood. Donate the use of your boat If you live in the area, you can help by volunteering the use of your boat. Get in touch with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office by calling 713-881-3100. Help rescue furry friends Let’s not forget the animals and pets impacted by the disaster. You can donate to the Houston SPCA , which is providing animal rescue and relief. Donate online here . Call 713-869-7722 if you need help. Austin Pets Alive! (APA!) is another Texas-based organization that’s been helping shelters in the path of Harvey to transport animals to APA! As of the weekend, they’d brought more than 235 animals to their facility. If you live in the Austin area, you can help by fostering animals or donating supplies like cat litter, leashes, or brooms. You can also donate online here . APA!’s address is 1156 West Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78703 and their phone number is 512-961-6519. Images via Harris County Sheriff’s Office Facebook , Salvation Army , Lars Plougmann on Flickr , Connect for Life Facebook , Austin Pets Alive! Facebook , National Guard Photo by Lt. Zachary West , and

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Whole Foods prices just dropped by as much as 43%

August 28, 2017 by  
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Until recently, few people could afford to shop at Whole Foods regularly. Now that Amazon has bought out the grocery chain for $13.7 billion , however, big changes are underway. On its first day, the internet giant slashed some of the store’s prices by up to 43 percent. The goal is to upend the way customers shop and ensure more people have access to affordable, healthy food. The first step to addressing the store’s reputation for being overpriced (which has led some to call it Whole Paycheck) was to mark down the prices of food. Bloomberg reports that at the Whole Foods store on East 57th Street in Manhattan , organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49. Similarly, organic rotisserie chicken fell to $9.99 from $13.99 and organic avocados changed from $2.79 each to $1.99. All of the marked-down items have orange signs reading, “Whole Foods + Amazon .” The sign also lists that there is “More to come.” “Price was the largest barrier to Whole Foods’ customers,” said Mark Baum, a senior vice president at the Food Marketing Institute. “Amazon has demonstrated that it is willing to invest to dominate the categories that it decides to compete in. Food retailers of all sizes need to look really hard at their pricing strategies, and maybe find some funding sources to build a war chest.” 60-year-old Simon Salamon couldn’t be more pleased by the marriage between Amazon and Whole Foods . He said, “It reminded me why I shop at Amazon. Ninety-nine percent of the time they have the best prices and their return policy is great. With the prices lower, I think we’re more likely to shop here every day.” While Walmart has invested billions into lowering prices all around, it’s Costco that might be Whole Foods’ biggest competitor. The chain has a slate of organic items that are priced about 30 percent cheaper than Whole Foods, according to Sanford Bernstein. Prices can remain low, as Costco charges membership fees and sells bulk-sized goods to customers. Related: Whole Foods reveals the bleak future of dessert without bees Now that the deal is done, only time will tell if the organic grocery chain will be successful at changing its reputation and, in the process, serving a wider clientele. Via Bloomberg Images via Whole Foods , Pixabay

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Whole Foods prices just dropped by as much as 43%

IKEA builds replica of real Syrian home inside flagship store

November 9, 2016 by  
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https://vimeo.com/190261411 Nestled between IKEA’s plush and modern furnishings, the unexpected and tiny 25-square-meter Syrian home offered a sobering glimpse inside the life of Rana, a refugee woman and her family of nine. The installation was based on Red Cross footage of Rana and her two-bedroom apartment in Damascus built from rough concrete blocks and sparsely furnished with a few thin mattresses and plastic window coverings. IKEA’s iconic posters and price tags were used to tell the stories of refugees and the struggles they face, and also offered instruction on how to help through donations. Related: IKEA Unveils Solar-Powered Flat Pack Shelters for Easily Deployable Emergency Housing In an interview with AdFreak , POL art director Snorre Martinsen said his agency strived to replicate Rana’s home as accurately as possible. The installation was on display from October 17 to October 31, 2016. Around 40,000 people are estimated to have visited the Syrian home replica weekly. The campaign successfully raised 22 million euros for the Red Cross’ efforts in Syria. + POL Via AdFreak Images via POL

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IKEA builds replica of real Syrian home inside flagship store

Russia is building nuclear bomb shelters and warning residents of imminent attack by US

October 20, 2016 by  
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Russia has been all over the headlines of American news media lately (did you catch the Presidential debate last night?), and it’s now come to light that the country is preparing for war – or so it says. The  country’s Ministry of Emergency Situations wants to turn a giant half-constructed stadium just outside St Petersburg into a nuclear fallout shelter . The Ministry sent a demand letter to the managers of the Zenit Arena, which is currently being build for World Cup 2018, calling for the establishment of an emergency shelter. Reportedly, this move is just one of several ways Russia ’s leaders are gearing up for nuclear war . The letter describes the stadium as being in the potential “zone of war destruction and radiation fallout” should a nuclear attack occur. Recent Russian state-run television broadcasts have warned the public that nuclear war with the US is “imminent,” accompanied with reminders to learn the location of the nearest bomb shelter. Video tours of fallout shelters also aired, giving the public a glimpse at how life after nuclear war might look. Russian authorities also report that 40 million people recently participated in a drill, complete with crowds of children evacuating schools and donning gas masks. Russian leaders have warned that the threat of nuclear attack will increase, should Hillary Clinton win the presidential election next month. Related: President Obama visits Hiroshima, speaks out against nuclear weapons It’s been 20 or so years since Russian leaders were last heard talking this seriously about preparing for a nuclear attack. Yet, despite the increase in discussions about nuclear attacks inside Russia’s borders, most analysts elsewhere in the world don’t believe there is any particular threat. In fact, many say it’s more likely that Russia is using the age-old tactic of fear mongering in order to control its people. Among the television broadcasts was an interview with a retired colonel “showing several possible scenarios of the catastrophe” on a map. That map, apparently, was lifted from an American video game, and not a real representation of any planned military action. Via The Daily Beast and ABC Images via Kate Brady/Flickr and NTV via screenshot

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Russia is building nuclear bomb shelters and warning residents of imminent attack by US

INFOGRAPHIC: What you need to know about Sea Level Rise

June 16, 2016 by  
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We know that sea levels are rising and we know that many coastal cities struggle regularly with resulting flooding, but how much do we know about where we are headed? Which cities are taking action to protect themselves and which are not doing enough? Who will be hit the hardest and how much will the damage from sea level rise cost us? To help us understand the impacts, Eastern Kentucky University’s Safety, Security and Emergency Management Program put together this infographic, which discusses in detail the causes, victims, and solutions for sea level rise. Lean more about what’s in store below.. + Eastern Kentucky University The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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