Terrifying new study warns of more heat-related deaths

March 9, 2022 by  
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If  global warming  increases by two more degrees Celsius, the death rate from extreme temperatures will increase significantly, according to a terrifying new study. The researchers expect heat-related deaths in summer will rocket up at a non-linear rate as the climate heats up. The  study , published in  Environmental Research Letters,  examined climate change’s impact on death rates in England and  Wales . Researchers focused on the risks of summer heat and winter cold. They predict temperature-related mortality to increase by 42% on the hottest days of summer. This would bring the death count from our current level of around 117 deaths per day to about 166 deaths on the year’s 10 hottest days. Related: Coral in the Mediterranean threatened by heatwaves “The increase in mortality risk under current warming levels is mainly notable during heatwaves, but with further warming, we would see risk rise on average summer days in addition to escalating risks during heatwaves,” said lead author Dr. Katty Huang of University College  London , as reported by Newswise. “What this means is that we shouldn’t expect past trends of impact per degree of warming to apply in the future. One degree of global warming beyond 2°C would have a much more severe impact on health in England and Wales than one degree warming from pre-industrial levels, with implications for how the NHS [National Health Service] can cope.” What if the globe heats up by 2.5°C, or even three? If the climate gets three degrees hotter, researchers predict mortality could increase by 75% during  heatwaves . The good news is that deaths from extreme cold in winter should decrease — unless there’s a bad winter storm. “As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change impacts report recently showed, it is increasingly common to examine how different levels of mean global warming raise the risk of significant harm to people and society,” said project lead Andrew Charlton-Perez of the University of Reading, as reported by Newswise. “Our study shows that because  death  rates will go up significantly if countries experience very high temperatures, limiting the average global rise in temperatures is likely to have substantial benefits for the overall health of the population.” Via Newswise Lead image via Pixabay

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Terrifying new study warns of more heat-related deaths

International Garden Festival has five new installations

March 9, 2022 by  
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The International Garden Festival announced the designers selected for its 23rd edition, with the theme being “Adaptation.” The Reford Gardens opens on June 4 this year and the festival runs from June 25 to Oct. 2, 2022. The International Garden Festival is considered the leading contemporary garden festival in North America . Founded in 2000, it has since featured more than 200 gardens exhibited at Grand-Métis in Quebec and around the world. The event exhibits conceptual gardens created by dozens of architects, landscape architects and designers on the banks of the St. Lawrence River, Canada . There are the five installations scheduled to be created for the festival. Related: Biodegradable sparks of light make up this organic firework Lichen Lichen is “a perceptive, malleable and mutable organism,” according to Designers Marie-Pier Gauthier-Manes, Chloe Isaac and Victor Roussel. “It metamorphoses in contact with the topography, humidity and ambient temperature. Like its namesake, it is sensitive to disturbances in its environment and is therefore a valuable indicator of environmental change.” Furthermore, it is created from small earthenware rings that work together to create a structure to support other plant species on the ground. This material allows for drainage and water retention. Lichen is appropriate for constant irrigation of the soil and longer moisture retention for better plant growth. Forteresses Urban Planner Eadeh Attarzadeh and Architect Lorenzo Saroli Palumbo from Montreal created the installation Forteresses. “Forteresses is an intervention within the forest , symbolizing an aggressive way to protect our flora from its greatest predator: ourselves,” said the designers. Each fortress system was inspired by organic geometries often presented in a simplified manner in nature . The geometry of each modular system is suited to the protected tree varying by height and age. The installation is meant to ask the question about how we can protect flora that can’t protect itself. Foret finie, espace infini? From a distance Foret finie, espace infini? looks like a pile of sawn and dried wood waiting to be used in a construction project. Creators Antonin Boulanger Cartier, Melaine Niget and Pierre-Olivier Demeule created the project. It is covered with plastic sheeting like a construction site, to sit in the middle of a path crossing the boreal forest. “By approaching, a section of the tarpaulin is unhooked and you are invited to slip into it,” said the designers. “Inside, a structure made of finely assembled wooden slats reveals a path modulated by a play of solids and voids. Surrounded by mirrors, the space with its elusive limits offers a thousand reflections.” More funhouse of mirrors than a traditional garden, this provocative piece asks us to reimagine the spaces around a garden, the meaning of constructing it and what the purpose and reach is of building structures. Gravity Field TERRAIN WORK’s Theodore Hoerr, Kelly Waters and Rebecca Shen created Gravity Field. It is a structure covered in sunflowers, exploring the concept of adaptation through nature’s ability to thrive in harsh environments . There is a theme of fragile balance and the frailty of sensitive species with the rapid destruction of the natural world that cannot keep up with climate change. Gravity Field explores the “robust adaptation” of plants in even extremely strenuous conditions. A floating cloud of sunflowers will transform while the installation is on display. The sunflowers are first grown upside down, but will bend up as they grow towards the sun. Les huit collines ONOMIAU’s Noel Picaper and Levallois-Perret created Les huit collines, an evolving set of structures that imagine biological spatialities. Les huit collines functions as a seating area, a micro-garden, a contemplative space and an ecological reservoir. The project’s modularity adapts to the different events of the festival. “Our desire, behind this assembly of surfaces, is to reveal the richness of a whole environment, catalyzing other forms of interactions for various living beings,” the designers said. + Festival International de Jardins Images via Antonin Boulanger-Cartier, Melaine Niget et Pierre-Olivier Demeule, TERRAIN WORK, Theodore Hoerr, Kelly Waters, Rebecca Shen, Marie-Pier Gauthier-Manes, Chloé Isaac, Victor Roussel

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Energy Market Outlook: What to Expect in 2022 and Beyond

February 3, 2022 by  
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The energy landscape is changing quickly, and it affects every organization and every sector in countless ways. From energy prices to grid reliability to emissions, organizations must understand the major  national and regional energy trends to successfully plan for the years ahead. In Enel X’s 2022 Energy Market Outlook, our experts offer analysis for 2022 and beyond. They explore the major factors that could shape energy markets in both the near-term and the long-term. The Outlook covers a wide range of topics, among them: •             The potential effects of new federal and regional energy policies •             What’s ahead for solar, electric vehicle infrastructure, natural gas and more •             Analysis of solutions and products that can help organizations reduce emissions, including PPAs, DERs and more We also have sections on California, Texas, the Midwest, New England, New York, the Mid-Atlantic, Canada and Mexico. Download the report now!

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Extreme cold closes schools and COVID testing sites

January 12, 2022 by  
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On Monday, the New Hampshire Department of Health announced that the state’s COVID-19 would close due to extreme cold weather. The sites include Claremont, Manchester, Newington and Nashua. The announcement mirrors several other northeastern states closing schools due to subzero temperatures. According to weather experts, the Northeast can expect temperatures reaching minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. These extremely low temperatures have prompted authorities to order temporary school closures while the situation is monitored. Related: Climate change pushes US weather to extremes The Boston public school system announced the closure of all schools starting on Tuesday. As the largest school system in Massachusetts, its announcement means that thousands of students will be out of school. Reports indicate that the highest temperature in the city will be 12 degrees F, with wind chill making it feel like minus 8 degrees F. According to a National Weather Service forecast, New York City will also experience subzero temperatures. Meanwhile, Massachusetts could experience temperatures as low as minus 15 degrees F in some areas. This extreme cold could endanger school-going children, hence the school closures. Other regions expected to experience extreme cold include New England, where forecasts say temperatures could reach minus 40 degrees F in some areas. New Hampshire and Vermont may also experience sub-zero temperatures. Experts also say that these extremely low temperatures can cause frostbite. Frostbite can occur in as little as 30 minutes. As people struggle to stay warm, heating costs are rising. Central Maine Power has urged customers to weather-strip windows and open curtains to let in heat from the sun outside. In areas such as Boston, community centers have opened to provide those in need with a place to get warm.  According to a forecast from the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to rise to more comfortable levels going into Thursday. Via  HuffPost Lead image via Pexels

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England Environment Agency tells people to ignore pollution

January 11, 2022 by  
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England’s Environment Agency doesn’t have enough  money  to investigate low-impact pollution incidents. So it’s decided to ignore them. The agency categorizes incidents from one to four, with one being “major, serious, persistent and/or extensive impact or effect on the  environment , people and/or property.” Category 3 and 4 incidents, which cause minor, minimal or no impact, will no longer be investigated, according to leaked documents. But this doesn’t mean agency officials are happy about the strategy. The documents say the agency’s leadership has “made it clear to government that you get the environment you pay for,” according to The Guardian. Related: Scotland’s plastic ban may fail due to UK’s internal strife “We cannot keep trying to do what we are not funded to do; we do not have the money or resources,” the Environment Agency stated in a presentation. “We are in an  unsustainable  position. Our incident responders feel under growing pressure, and this is affecting staff resilience and wellbeing.” The Guardian also reported on  data  discrepancies on the number of incidents investigated. The Environment Agency claimed to respond to more than 70,000 incidents each year. But the National Incident Recording System indicated that the agency attended to only 8,000 of 116,000 reported incidents. The leaked guidance said that staff should ignore category 3 and 4 incidents unless they relate to a regulated site or a  water  company. But one official anonymously warned The Guardian that the initial categorization may change once agents investigate. “A lot of category 2 incidents start off as 3s until they are attended,” they said, giving the example that a category 3 could be a “2km spill of oil or sewage in a river.” Members of  river  groups and NGOs are angry about the leaked document. “The obscenity is that the Environment Agency has reduced its own staff to nothing more than political pawns in a cheap game of Whitehall politics,” rivers campaigner Feargal Sharkey told The Guardian. “It’s unwarranted, it’s unjust, it’s incompetent.” Via The Guardian , Environment Agency Lead image via Pixabay

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Call for climate action issued by Christian leaders

September 13, 2021 by  
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Christian leaders have petitioned officials worldwide to take action to address the climate crisis. In an unprecedented move, heads of several Christian denominations released a joint statement to encourage climate action ahead of key environmental conferences. The heads of the Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, and Eastern Orthodox Church issued a  joint statement  last week, calling on global leaders to address two key issues: social inequality and climate change. The statement, seemingly directed toward the upcoming COP26 U.N. climate summit, sums up the current climate crisis . The statement urges leaders to take action to avoid a much worse scenario in the future. Related: Leaked report details what must be done to stop climate change “Today, we are paying the price,” the statement said. “All of us—whoever and wherever we are—can play a part in changing our collective response to the unprecedented threat of climate change and environmental degradation …. Our children’s future and the future of our common home depend on it.”  The statement points out that those most affected by the climate crisis are the poor, saying, “the people bearing the most catastrophic consequences of these abuses are the poorest on the planet and have been the least responsible for causing them.” In contrast, the people most responsible for environmental damage are the wealthy. In November, Pope Francis will attend the COP26 U.N. Summit in Scotland. He has appealed to Christians to pray for world leaders to make courageous choices at the meeting. Church support could play a key role in climate negotiations. There are also plans to host major world religious leaders and scientists at the Vatican to forge a “common stand” on climate issues. Still, the community has its skeletons in the closet. Archbishop Justin Welby of the Anglican Commission, a co-signer of the statement, has been criticized for his contribution to carbon emissions . Welby, a former oil executive, hasn’t divested his Church of England from fossil fuel companies. He claims the church may hold more sway in changing the industry as an investor. Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pixabay

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The climate is changing. How are central banks responding?

September 10, 2021 by  
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From the Bank of England to the People’s Bank of China, monetary authorities of the world’s largest economies are gauging how climate change could rock the financial system.

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The climate is changing. How are central banks responding?

England plans single-use plastic ban

August 30, 2021 by  
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England has announced a planned ban on polystyrene cups and single-use plastic cutlery and plates. But frustrated activists say the government is moving way too slowly. This autumn, the English government will start coming up with a plan to curtail single-use plastic and polystyrene perhaps within a couple of years. Meanwhile, the  EU  banned these same items in July. Related: 4ocean and Poralu Marine present BeBot, the beach cleaning robot The English government has a firmer plan for a plastic packaging tax, which will go into effect in April 2022. Companies that use plastic with less than 30% recycled content will have to pay a tax of £200 per ton of plastic. This measure seeks to encourage the use of  recycled  material. “We’ve all seen the damage that plastic does to our  environment ,” said George Eustice, environment secretary, as reported by The Guardian. “It is right that we put in place measures that will tackle the plastic carelessly strewn across our parks and green spaces and washed up on beaches. We have made progress to turn the tide on plastic, now we are looking to go a step further.” England has already successfully limited some plastics. Since supermarkets started charging for plastic bags in 2015, their use has dropped by 95%. In 2018, England banned plastic microbeads from use in washing products. In 2020, it was goodbye to plastic  straws , drink stirrers and cotton swabs — or cotton buds, as they’re called in England. However, England is still lagging on charging deposits on plastic bottles, which probably won’t happen until 2024 or 2025. Americans and British people lead the world in per person plastic  waste . According to British ministers, the average person uses 37 single-use forks, knives and spoons and 18 disposable plastic plates each year. Plastic litter is blamed for killing more than 100,000 sea mammals and turtles and 1 million birds annually worldwide. Vegetable and fruit stickers, PVC cling film, teabags,  plastic  coffee pods and crisp packets may also find themselves forbidden in the future. Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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England plans single-use plastic ban

Explore the Saltbox Passive House’s sweet sustainable design

August 20, 2021 by  
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The Saltbox Passive House is located in Bromont, Quebec , and is a residence for a family of four. The 3100-square-foot home sits in a meadow at the edge of a 2.5-acre wooded plot. Its design combines elements of the local context with energy-efficient strategies to enhance sustainability while maintaining a modern aesthetic. Through the efforts of the architects from Atelier l’Abri, the contractor Construction Rocket and consultants from the Passive House Institute U.S. (PHIUS), the building has obtained LEED Platinum and PHIUS 2018+ certifications, making it the third certified passive house in Quebec. The architects employed an L-shaped plan with two different roof slopes that mirror the topography of the landscape. The name of the house stems from the architectural language of saltbox buildings, a form of vernacular architecture from New England . The primary characteristic of saltbox houses is a gable roof over the main section of the building with a single-pitch roof over the lower section, making them easy to identify at first glance. Related: Passive House-certified residence frames ski resort views in Utah The Saltbox Passive House comprises three levels, of which the bottom two are tucked into the mountain along the rear retaining wall. The basement level serves as a workshop and houses a garage. The ground level includes shared spaces for the family. This includes living and dining spaces, which are organized around a double-height volume encompassing the kitchen, pantry, mudroom and powder room. This volume extends to the top level and is adjacent to the passageway that leads to the private spaces, including the three bedrooms and a home office. Throughout the design process, the architects collaborated with consultants to ensure that the project met Passivhaus Institut standards. Established in the early 1980s in Germany, the institute promotes buildings that consider occupant comfort while maintaining high levels of energy efficiency. This is often achieved through the use of well-insulated interiors, extensive heat recovery from mechanical ventilation systems and conscious design of openings for thermal comfort. Several design choices were made to ensure high performance without compromising comfort and aesthetics. The house incorporates south-facing, triple-glazed UPVC openings to capture sunlight and frame views of the lush landscape while serving as a means of passive solar heating. Close attention to materiality has further reduced the building’s carbon footprint. Cellulose insulation, excavated stone for the retaining wall and cedar cladding are all readily available in the region and aid in keeping the house thermally insulated. Though the building is connected to public electricity systems and utilities, its enhanced environmentally friendly measures reduce dependence on these facilities. + L’Abri Photography by Raphaël Thibodeau

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Foster + Partners Bloomberg HQ opens in London as worlds most sustainable office building

October 25, 2017 by  
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Bloomberg’s new European headquarters—billed the “world’s most sustainable office building”—opened yesterday in London. Designed by Foster + Partners , the 3.2-acre Bloomberg HQ achieved a BREEAM Outstanding rating with a 98.5% score that the architects say is the “highest design-stage score ever achieved by any major office development.” The nine-story headquarters is estimated to save 73 percent in water consumption and 35 percent in energy consumption when compared to typical office buildings. Clad in nearly 10,000 tonnes of English sandstone and bronze, the massive Bloomberg HQ mitigates its size by carving out a public pedestrian arcade between its two buildings, while bronze fins give the buildings human scale and also allow for natural ventilation and protection from solar gain. Located between the Bank of England and St. Paul’s Cathedral, the city block-sized development is also meant to blend in with and respect its historic surroundings. In addition to the pedestrian Bloomberg Arcade, the building features three public plazas and ground-floor restaurants to engage the urban fabric. Site-specific art installations, from artists like Cristina Iglesias and Olafur Eliasson , punctuate the development. Related: Bloomberg’s new London HQ rated world’s most sustainable office “From day one, we talked with Mike Bloomberg about creating an elegant stone building that responds to its historic setting yet is clearly of its own time and which would be a good neighbour in the City of London in every sense of the word,” said Lord Foster, Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners. “We wanted the building to have an integrity and continuity of expression both inside and out, creating an inspiring, innovative, dynamic and collaborative workplace for Bloomberg that embodies the core values of the company. Above all, we had a shared belief with Bloomberg that we should provide the highest standards of sustainability and wellbeing for its occupants, as well as create major new public spaces at ground level, making a significant contribution to the daily life of the City of London and its inhabitants.” + Foster + Partners Images via Foster + Partners , photos by Neil Young

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