A telework transition won’t slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable

October 20, 2020 by  
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A telework transition won’t slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable Hannah Budnitz Tue, 10/20/2020 – 00:02 Even before the pandemic, the proportion of people working from home was slowly but steadily increasing. But COVID-19 has put the practice into hyperdrive. Down from an April peak of about 47 percent in the United Kingdom, recent reports suggest that 20 percent of those in employment still work exclusively from home, with many more continuing to do so at least some of the time. The benefits of reduced office costs — and the realization that staff are actually fairly productive at home — has led to many big tech firms encouraging their employees to keep working from home, perhaps indefinitely. Up to 90 percentof those who have worked from home during the pandemic are reportedly converts to “telecommuting,” preferring to continue remote working at least some of the time. These are only some of the bigger signs that many workers may be giving up the real commute for good, while others are expected to commute much less often. Up to 90% of those who have worked from home during the pandemic are reportedly converts to ‘telecommuting,’ preferring to continue remote working at least some of the time. So, is this seismic shift in our work culture good news for the environment? Does less commuting mean less traffic and so, less carbon emissions? Well, despite satellite images revealing rapid reductions in air pollution during lockdowns around the world, more people switching to telecommuting for good does not necessarily equate to lower carbon emissions from transport. Our research revealed that although telecommuters travel to work less frequently, they have a tendency to travel more often for other reasons. Google searches for ‘telecommuting’ in the UK, 2016-2020 How travel patterns compare We analyzed just under 1 million trips using all modes of transport recorded in travel logs filled in by over 50,000 working people in England between 2009 and 2016, as part of the government’s annual National Travel Survey . We found that those who said they usually worked from home at least once a week made 19 trips per week on average — just one fewer than regular commuters. Instead of going to work, they were more likely to take the children to school, give lifts to friends or family, do the shopping and run other errands. They also used the time saved from commuting to enjoy leisure activities more often than their regularly commuting counterparts, perhaps going to a café or a yoga class. These trips weren’t necessarily all by car, but most were. Studies found that those who work from home tend to live further away from their employer, and so clock up more mileage when they do travel to work. Previous studies have found that those who work from home also tend to live further away from their employer, and so clock up more mileage when they do travel to work. Regular telecommuters are more likely to live in smaller towns and suburbs, rather than city centers. In the U.K., such places are often car-dependent, lacking local public transport services and basic amenities within walking or cycling distance. Some of these towns and suburbs have train lines into the city, and pre-pandemic, some part-time telecommuters were likely to use the train when they did venture into work. Our research found that working remotely and commuting by train were the only two means of accessing work that were increasing in England outside of London. But most commuters still drive, and COVID-19 has meant that a fear of long stints on public transport prevent this changing any time soon. The 15-minute suburb The pandemic has accelerated not just the transition to telecommuting, but also the rush to buy homes with gardens outside of dense, urban areas and further from the head office. While the lifestyle benefits may be clear, the places people are moving to also will be further from the range of shops and services in city centers. It’s no wonder that people in the hospitality and retail sector, whose business models depend on office workers, are concerned . The ’15-minute city’ plan, where people can meet their basic needs without walking more than 15 minutes from home, also could work for towns and suburbs. High streets in smaller towns, cities and suburbs are reported to be performing rather better. Is it because they’re being visited by all the additional people working from home? If so, are there enough of these places, and are they located so that people can walk there? Do they have all the amenities that people need? Perhaps the ” 15-minute city ” plan, championed by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, where people can meet their basic needs without walking more than 15 minutes from home, also could work for towns and suburbs. Reorienting life around local amenities could help permanently reduce transport emissions.  Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash ,  CC BY-SA If increased telecommuting and reduced transport emissions is to be a silver lining of the pandemic, then our research shows that transport and land use planners need to focus more on ensuring schools, shops, parks and community and leisure centers are accessible by foot or bike for locals. Telecommuters, especially those working exclusively from home, may not have to worry about switching to a car-free commute, but if anything, they will need even more help in building a car-free lifestyle. Pull Quote Up to 90% of those who have worked from home during the pandemic are reportedly converts to ‘telecommuting,’ preferring to continue remote working at least some of the time. Studies found that those who work from home tend to live further away from their employer, and so clock up more mileage when they do travel to work. The ’15-minute city’ plan, where people can meet their basic needs without walking more than 15 minutes from home, also could work for towns and suburbs. Contributors Emmanouil Tranos Lee Chapman Topics Transportation & Mobility The Conversation Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Is working from home sustainable? Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash Close Authorship

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A telework transition won’t slash emissions unless we make car-free lifestyles viable

UK plans to be powered entirely by offshore wind turbines by 2030

October 12, 2020 by  
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U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson has affirmed government plans to ensure that the entire country is powered by offshore wind energy by 2030. Speaking at a virtual conservative party meeting, he reiterated his promise, saying that renewable energy will be used to power all homes in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales by the end of the decade. “Your kettle, your washing machine, your cooker, your heating, your plug-in electric vehicle , the whole lot of them will get their juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands,” Johnson said. Related: One-quarter of UK mammals face threat of extinction To fulfill this ambitious plan, the U.K. government will be required to generate at least 40GW of energy with its offshore wind turbines. In 2019, the government had committed to generating 30GW via wind energy. Johnson promised to increase that to 40GW following a party victory in December 2019 elections. While the plan to generate 100% green energy for the U.K. is positive news, the project faces various challenges. The pandemic has caused financial difficulties, but Johnson assured conference viewers that the government will invest £160 million ($207 million) to develop improved turbines to meet the goal. Johnson said the government will also deploy floating turbines to generate at least 1GW of offshore wind energy . “The government has raised the ambition for offshore wind and renewables , and our industry is ready to meet the challenge,” Hugh McNeal, CEO of trade association RenewableUK, said. According to an analysis done by Aurora Energy Research , almost £50 billion ($64.8 billion) will be required to generate 40GW of wind energy. The U.K. currently has about 10GW of offshore wind power. The analysis also shows that the government will have to install an average of 260 turbines per year over five years to meet the target. Via Engadget Image via Thomas G.

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UK plans to be powered entirely by offshore wind turbines by 2030

West 8 and Studio 44 win Tuchkov Buyan Park competition in St. Petersburg

October 12, 2020 by  
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Rotterdam-based West 8 and Saint Petersburg-based Studio 44 have won an international competition with their design for the Tuchkov Buyan Park, a new proposed waterfront park in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Over 200 teams from 50 countries applied for participation in the competition. A shortlist of eight participants were selected, including Studio 44 and West 8; a team led by Agence Ter and Philippe Rahm architectes; Bjarke Ingels Group with BuroHappold NYC; JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron with ARUP; Kengo Kuma and Associates with Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture; and a team led by Michel Desvigne Paysagiste and Meganom. The JV Vogt and Herzog & de Meuron team and local firm Khvoya were selected as finalists. Developed on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, the international competition for the Tuchkov Buyan Park in Saint Petersburg sought a design for the city’s first park with direct river access in the city’s Petrograd region. The park, which would be within walking distance of key city landmarks such as the Peter and Paul Fortress and the Rostral Columns of Vasilievsky Island, would also link the city’s green spaces with an unbroken pedestrian route . Related: Former railway yard to receive a green transformation in St. Petersburg The winning proposal by West 8 and Studio 44 conceptualizes a contemporary park with strong sculptural landscaping to not only create a buffer from the urban fabric but also provide protection from the wind and direct sightlines. In addition to sculpted topography, the Tuchkov Buyan Park comprises 12 new biotopes including a boreal forest, a mixed forest, the waterside, the park area and the Orangery to create shelter and nesting opportunities for local fauna. Year-round programming would also be provided so that visitors can enjoy the park in all seasons.  To reduce the park’s environmental footprint, energy-efficient LEDs will be used for outdoor lighting. Solar panels mounted on building roofs would also offset energy needs, while a rainwater management system that collects, transports and filters rainwater is proposed for landscape irrigation purposes. + West 8 + Studio 44 Images via Strelka KB

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West 8 and Studio 44 win Tuchkov Buyan Park competition in St. Petersburg

Simple, sustainable DIY Halloween decor

October 12, 2020 by  
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Fall has arrived, and the holiday season is right around the corner, making for the perfect time to get creative with Mission Fall Decor 2020. While you might find inspiration walking through the local home improvement or craft store, dedicating yourself to DIY decor saves you money, adds a personal sense of accomplishment and presents the opportunity to recycle or select materials that are sustainable and environmentally-friendly. Use products of the season  Autumn is the season for apple and pumpkin  everything, which launches a starting point for your seasonal decorating. Select glass bowls to fill with apples or gourds for an easy table centerpiece. Similarly, carve out the tops of apples or pumpkins and place a candle inside. To fill the house with the smell of cinnamon and apples, cube or slice an apple, add a cinnamon stick and some nutmeg and top with water. Allow the mixture to simmer on the stove, and keep an eye on the water level so it doesn’t boil dry. Related: DIY fall decor using upcycled items from thrift stores To add a cozy feel, grab a flannel blanket and drape it over a hay bale near the door to welcome guests. Top with a few pumpkins and give it a backdrop of corn stalks. After the season, everything except the blanket can go into the compost pile. Now with your scene set, put on your crafty hat for some additional decorations easily made from home-sourced supplies. Twig wreath Walk into a craft store this time of year, and you’ll likely see an assortment of wreaths, including a basic design with nothing more than twigs glued together. Instead of doling out the cash, make your own using  natural materials . Bundle up the kids and head out for a stick-collection party. With your selections back home, scrape the sticks free of moss and dirt. Overlap them and adhere with a hot glue gun, creating a circle as you work. After completing the first layer, add additional layers for depth. Once the twigs are securely attached, you can keep the ultra-natural look or spraypaint the wreath black or even orange for a bolder display. Add a burlap bow, or glue berries, mini pumpkins or dried apples on if you desire. You can check out this tutorial from  Ernest Home Co.  for more guidance. Metal Jack-O-Lantern luminaries Of course, a very popular fall holiday inspires specific witchy and graveyard appeal. To get started on your Halloween Decor 2020, hang luminaries with a Halloween theme, or use them to line a walkway up the driveway or through the garden. To make, select clean, dry cans from the waste pile and remove the lids. Watch for sharp edges. Depending on the look you want, you can use anything from a large coffee can down to a tuna can (although the latter might work better with a floating candle). Spray-paint your cans black or orange. Use the opposite color of poster board to cut out a variety of facial features such as eyes, noses and mouths. Cut up those thin marketing magnets that seem to accumulate from mailings and the front of phone books, then glue a piece to the back of each poster board cutout. You can then mix and match the faces to the front of the cans. Using a drill, create holes around the can in a random pattern. This will allow light to glow through. Place a candle or LED light inside the can so you can enjoy spooky or funny Jack-O-Lantern faces during the day and luminaries when the sun goes down. Visit  Fun Cheap or Free  for a peek at what the end product will look like. Fabric pumpkins Small, large, orange, cream or black fabric pumpkins are easy to make by recycling fabric you already have around the house. Dig through your sewing box for a basic needle with a large eye. Use whatever thread, string, yarn, ribbon or jute you already have. If using a piece of fabric, start by creating two panels and connecting them on two sides. A shortcut and wonderful way to upcycle is to use a shirt, sweater or sweatshirt for the fabric. With either source of material, roughly gather and sew closed the bottom of the pumpkin. The gathering technique helps to form the rounded bottom. Next, stuff the pumpkins with other discarded clothing, fabric, cotton, newspaper or any other material you’d like to reuse. Gather the fabric around the top of the pumpkin, cutting off the rest of the shirt parts if needed, and tie off with burlap strips or jute. You can make these pumpkins in a variety of sizes for a display. Reclaimed wood-painted blocks and signs If you enjoy  wood crafts, you likely have an assortment of wood pieces laying around just waiting for the right project to match. Use or create blocks out of 1x1s or 4x4s. Paint them using freehand techniques or stencils. You could also use a wood burner or router to sculpt a design. For longer boards, make some ghoulish signs to greet, or deter, your guests. Guide them towards the warm cookies in the kitchen or the scary graveyard in the front yard. Bat Mobile No, this isn’t a Batmobile, but a mobile, like the decorations that hang above a baby’s crib. To make, simply create bat cutouts from poster board or cardboard. Spray-paint them black and attach them in a series of heights using string or yarn. Attach the top of each strip to a round hoop, then add strings that connect the hoop to a central hook for hanging. Images via Pexels and Shutterstock

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Simple, sustainable DIY Halloween decor

ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

August 26, 2020 by  
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In a bid to bring greater green space to Barcelona, local architecture firm ON-A has proposed converting the city’s Camp Nou football stadium into a 26-hectare forested park. Dubbed Nou Parc, the design blankets the Camp Nou stadium and surrounding facilities with an undulating green roof strong enough to support a forest of trees. The architects estimate that the resulting park space could produce 15,000 kilograms of oxygen per day and absorb 25,000 kilograms of carbon dioxide daily. Opened in 1957 as the home stadium of FC Barcelona, the 99,354-seat Camp Nou football stadium is the largest stadium in Spain and Europe. According to the architects, less than 10% of the stadium grounds have been allocated to green space, which results in an urban heat island effect and also creates a divide between the neighborhood of Les Corts from the University Area. When the stadium is not in use for sports events or private functions, the massive area is typically disused.  Related: ZHA gets the green light for world’s first all-timber soccer stadium in England The Nou Parc proposal aims to bring greater functionality to Camp Nou with a publicly accessible green and leisure space that would not only better link the nearby neighborhoods but also improve urban air quality . The new park would be created in collaboration with tech company Verdtical so that the undulating green roof blanketing the buildings would be controlled by sensors and artificial intelligence capable of minimizing water consumption. Rainwater would also be collected and stored in two onsite lakes for irrigation of the park.  “Renaturing cities and gaining quality space for citizens is no longer just an interesting idea, it is a necessity,” said Jordi Fernández, co-founder of ON-A Architecture. “We are aware that cities must be re-naturalized, and that green provides unquestionable benefits for health, but the issue is not only green, the debate revolves around blue as well: the water . We cannot be green if that implies an excessive use of resources. The technology for the control of water consumption has come a long way and allows us to innovate and optimize green areas in urban spaces.” + ON-A Images via ON-A

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ON-A wants to renature Barcelona by greening the Camp Nou stadium

Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

August 26, 2020 by  
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People around the world have watched with increasing horror as Amazon forest destruction has accelerated in recent years. Now,  U.K.  officials have proposed a law to make large companies operating within the U.K. comply with environmental laws and show where their products originate.  The new law would cover  soy , rubber, cocoa, palm oil and other commodities. According to a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) survey, 67% of British consumers want more government oversight on companies, and 81% think businesses should be more transparent about product origin. Related: Indigenous Amazon communities use tech to protect the forest “This consultation is a welcome first step in the fight to tackle the loss of our planet’s irreplaceable natural wonders such as the Amazon and in the pursuit of supply chains free from products that contribute to deforestation ,” said Ruth Chambers from the Greener UK coalition. Additionally, this law could require businesses to publish purchasing details for commodities like soy and  palm oil , to prove the resources were produced following local laws protecting natural ecosystems. Failure to do so would incur fines. Critics say the plan needs ironing out, especially regarding details on penalties. Though delayed, the COP26 climate conference will occur in Glasgow in 2021. In the meantime, the U.K. works to show international leadership on environmental and climate concerns, including deforestation. About 10% of the world’s known species make their home in the  Amazon , which is the largest rainforest and river basin in the world. Already 20% of the Amazon biome has disappeared, and matters are getting worse. At the current rate of deforestation, WWF estimates that more than a quarter of the Amazon biome will be treeless by 2030. The new U.K.  law  remains in the planning stage. Emphasizing the law’s significance, Chambers said, “The evidence linking deforestation with climate change, biodiversity loss and the spread of zoonotic diseases is compelling. A new law is an important part of the solution and is urgently needed.” Via BBC and WWF Image via Pexels

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Proposed UK law pushes accountability for Amazon products

FaulknerBrowns Architects proposes to reinvigorate a Victorian villa

August 25, 2020 by  
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International architectural practice FaulknerBrowns Architects has submitted a proposal to England’s Newcastle City Council for sensitively preserving the Ashfield Towers — a magnificent, Victorian villa — by transforming the grounds into a contemporary residential development. Located in the affluent Gosforth district in Newcastle upon Tyne, FaulknerBrowns’ Ashfield Towers proposal calls for a mix of residential typologies housed within the restored Victorian villa along with a renovated late 19th century coach house and new, contemporary buildings. Originally built as a private residence, Ashfield Towers has been previously adapted into a workplace and most recently as the school building for the Westfield School for Girls. In 2018, Union Property purchased the 1.4 acre site to allow the school to consolidate its estate to its senior site. The Westfield School for Girls bid farewell to Ashfield Towers in the summer of 2019. Related: This tiny Victorian cottage on a wildflower meadow belongs in a fairytale Working closely with the local planning authority as well as conservation , landscape and urban design officers, FaulknerBrowns created a site-sensitive proposal that includes seven apartments within the Victorian villa, a single dwelling inside the renovated, late 19th century coach house and three new homes and three new apartments in the contemporary new buildings. The new construction would feature pre-cast concrete elements and hand-molded bricks to complement the mix of existing honed and chiseled stone, while the new color palette of light blue and peach tones take cues from the conservation area and complement the existing yellow sandstone of the original buildings. “Ashfield Towers has given us a fantastic opportunity to revive a beautiful piece of Gosforth’s heritage, returning the site to its original, residential use,” explained Jane Redmond, associate at FaulknerBrowns. “The rich context of the conservation area continues through to the proposed shared gardens while the new architectural elements are inspired by the language of their Victorian neighbour, but with a restrained form and simple material palette that brings forward a varied mix of elegant new homes.” + FaulknerBrowns Architects Images via FaulknerBrowns Architects

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Berkshire Residence targets Passive House standards

August 6, 2020 by  
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Brooklyn-based design studio Of Possible recently completed the Berkshire Residence, a 3,600-square-foot contemporary home that the designers describe as a “marriage of spatial poetry and building science.” Built by Massachusetts company Kent Hicks Construction , the home blends traditional New England construction with sustainable and cutting-edge building science principles to ensure the home’s longevity and to meet Passive House Institute standards. Located in Sheffield, Massachusetts, the Berkshire Residence was commissioned by a client who wished to combine elements of his childhood home — a two-story colonial dwelling surrounded by an apple orchard, barn, horse corral and a variety of landscapes — with contemporary and sustainable design. As a result, the house not only takes cues from traditional New England construction with its gabled form and muted, natural palette, but it also follows a contemporary design aesthetic with its clean and minimalist form. Related: Award-winning passive tiny house is insulated to combat New Zealand’s weather “The result is a home where every window and door is a floor-to-ceiling picture frame of the spaces of memory throughout the property,” the architects explained. “The architectural finishes are a sober palette chosen to enhance the effect of these frames against the ever-changing seasonal New England landscape. Moving through the home over the course of the day, one is drawn from the inside spaces to the outside landscape. This is a home for creating new memories and honoring old ones.” Although the Berkshire Residence is not Passive House certified, the house follows Passive House Institute standards with its focus on energy efficiency and a small carbon footprint. Materials were also sourced regionally and selected for durability. Field stones and boulders, for instance, were salvaged onsite and from local construction sites to create landscape retaining walls. The airtight home and its energy-saving systems make Berkshire Residence net-zero-ready ; the homeowners can reach energy self-sufficiency with the addition of a small, ground-mounted solar array.  + Of Possible Photography by Justina via Of Possible

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Berkshire Residence targets Passive House standards

Tackling sustainability in sporting events

February 19, 2020 by  
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At the recent Super Bowl, the NFL focused on sustainability more than in past years with its Ocean to Everglades (O2E) initiative throughout South Florida. Efforts included education on invasive species, beach cleanups, food recovery and recycling initiatives. These conservation efforts are part of a larger trend internationally to shrink the carbon footprints of major sporting events. “Sports is one of the few avenues which can unite people of all different races, creeds and social status,” Matt Jozwiak said in an interview with Inhabitat. Jozwiak was a chef at swanky New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park before founding Rethink Food NYC . His organization feeds 2,000 New Yorkers a day by repurposing leftovers from restaurants and food companies in the tri-state area. Jozwiak is a big proponent of more sustainable sporting events. “The industry literally has the power to make drastic sustainability changes. When a sporting team comes out in favor of a cause, people listen.” He acknowledges there may be growing pains when adopting unfamiliar behaviors. “But eventually, fans will go along with the new changes.” Sporting events step up to sustainability Fans traveling to one European Cup match can generate almost 5,600 tons of carbon dioxide, according to the World Economic Forum. But now, many sports are taking a closer look at how to be more responsible. Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Games are a leading example of organizers prioritizing sustainability in their planning. For example, builders will use locally sourced wood to construct the athletes’ village, and hydrogen fuel cells will power the event vehicles. Organizers plan to generate solar power onsite and recycle 99 percent of everything used during the event. With the exception of drinking water, they’ll use recycled rainwater for all Olympic water needs. Paris is hoping to be even more sustainable during its turn to host the 2024 Olympic Games. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones Some European cities have given their football (soccer to Americans) stadiums an eco-makeover by installing seats made from recycled plastic. In Amsterdam, fans bought the old seats as souvenirs. The stadium in Pontedera, Italy boasts seats made using plastic from local waste. Meanwhile, in England, the Forest Green Rovers have won the title of world’s greenest football club by powering its grounds with solar, recycling water and serving an entirely vegan menu to players and fans. At the 2019 Helsinki International Horse Show, 135 tons of horse manure powered the electricity. A company called Fortum HorsePower enlists 4,300 Finnish horses to generate energy for electrical grids. Stadium food waste Jozwiak takes a special interest in food wasted inside stadiums. He’s found that stadiums are among the hardest places from which to rescue food, because they tend to only have games periodically and throw the food away afterward. Much of that food quickly spoils or gets soggy and unappetizing, like hamburger buns and pretzels. Stadiums should rely on freezers more, Jozwiak said. “Instead of purchasing food all the time, bulk purchase and immediately freezing can cut down a lot on the waste for sporting arenas. Proper refrigeration strategies can expand the lifecycle of food and reduce food waste.”  He also recommended a fire sale strategy for avoiding waste. “Implement a plan where spectators can purchase the remaining food to take home,” he advised. “A lot of food ends up in landfills . So if sporting arenas can provide the options for the fans to either buy or provide for free the remaining food, it would cut down on waste drastically.” One by one, stadium directors of operations need to craft individual action plans to become more sustainable, Joswiak suggested. In addition to avoiding food waste, he recommended conserving water and offering healthier food options with more vegetables and less meat . Stadiums should only contract with vendors who can manage recycling. New buildings should work to be LEED-certified. Joswiak suggested hosting a climate-related event for fans to explain and support all of these green changes. If fans could be convinced to bring their own reusable utensils, that would be great, too. Eco-travel to sporting events Of course, while the football match or the golf tournament is the main event, fans and players still have to travel to the game and may require overnight housing. According to Solar Impulse, 5 million people converged on Russia in 2018 to watch the FIFA World Cup. Their travel and accommodations generated about 85% of greenhouse gas emissions from this event, totaling about 1.6 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Related: Green-roofed Copenhagen sports center is open to the public 24/7 Some major governing bodies in sports are embracing carbon offset projects around the world to atone for their contribution to emissions. FIFA managed to offset 1.1 million tons of carbon emissions since the 2014 World Cup . The governing body for European football is promising to offset fan-generated emissions for the EURO 2020 competition. It has also collaborated with the 12 host cities to offer free public transportation to fans with tickets on the days of the matches. This should cut down on emissions and road congestion. Via World Economic Forum and Solar Impulse Images via Shutterstock

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Tackling sustainability in sporting events

Can protecting land promote employment?

October 4, 2019 by  
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In New England, the answer is yes.

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Can protecting land promote employment?

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