The climate crisis could sink the UK’s economy by 2045

January 18, 2022 by  
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The U.K. is at risk of losing 1% of its economy every year by 2045 due to the climate crisis . This is according to the U.K. government’s recent assessment of the risks posed by climate change. In a five-year analysis of the climate risk, officials determined that the U.K. stands to lose even more if actions are not taken to reverse the climate crisis.   The assessment found that if global temperatures are allowed to rise above 2 degrees Celsius, more action will be needed for flood defenses, restoration of natural resources such as peatlands, and building a more resilient environment . Other areas that would cost the government include decreased food production and infrastructure destruction from extreme weather events. Flooding alone could cause a loss of at least £1 billion ($1.36 billion) each year by 2050. Related: Climate change is already affecting 85% of world population According to Jo Churchill, the minister for climate adaptation, “The scale and severity of the challenge posed by climate change means we cannot tackle it overnight, and although we’ve made good progress in recent years there is clearly much more that we need to do.” Churchill added that the government will be committing to more significant efforts in dealing with the climate crisis risks to help the country become more resilient. “By recognising the further progress that needs to be made, we’re committing to significantly increasing our efforts and setting a path towards the third national adaptation programme, which will set ambitious and robust policies to make sure we are resilient to climate change into the future,” Churchill said. Climate campaigners, on the other hand, see the U.K.’s plans as short-sighted, since they only seek to mitigate climate impacts instead of solving the problem itself. Signe Norberg of the Aldersgate Group of businesses supporting sustainability said, “Investing in a healthier natural environment is key to making the UK more resilient to the impacts of climate change and it will be critical that the government puts forward ambitious and credible targets under the Environment Act.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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The climate crisis could sink the UK’s economy by 2045

What Can You Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution?

January 18, 2022 by  
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All too often, we hear about oil spills and toxic waste sites polluting the environment…. The post What Can You Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution? appeared first on Earth911.

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What Can You Do About Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Urwahn Platzhirsch e-bike wins major sustainability award

January 14, 2022 by  
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German bike maker Urwahn has received the German Sustainability Award 2022, Europe’s biggest award for social and ecological commitment to helping the planet, for its E-Bike Platzhirsch. The Platzhirsch is a 3D-printed steel electric bike with a gorgeous matte frame. The award honors groundbreaking contributions toward a sustainable future and boosts Urwahn’s efforts to create fair conditions for people and the environment. The jury for the German Sustainability Award is comprised of leaders in the fields of design and sustainability. The E-Bike Platzhirsch was given the award this year for its steel frame, which is featured on all Urwahn bikes. The idea is that steel provides longevity as it can be repaired and recycled better than carbon or aluminum, thus reducing waste and promoting a circular economy. Related: CAKE announces new :work series of mopeds and e-bikes The E-Bike Platzhirsch has 250 watts of power, producing 40 Nm torque and up to 25 km/h support from the electric motor. This produces a range of 208 Wh, making it a great urban commuter bike . All cables are routed inside the frame, giving it a sleek and modern look. Urwahn runs short production cycles and focuses on regional sales to further reduce production waste and extra carbon from shipping. Every Urwahn e-bike is created according to the principles of lean production, on-demand, and just-in-time. CEO and Urwahn founder Sebastian Meinecke explained, “Sustainability plays a central role for us and goes far beyond production. People are always at the center of everything we do. For this reason, we have conspired to ultra individualization in order to be able to consider the needs for design , function and safety on a whole level. In addition, we pay all people involved in the value creation fairly, pay attention to regulated working hours and preserve health protection.” + Urwahn Bikes Images via Urwahn Bikes

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Urwahn Platzhirsch e-bike wins major sustainability award

Coca-Cola is cleaning up river plastic pollution worldwide

January 13, 2022 by  
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Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup selected the C?n Th? River in C?n Th? City, Vietnam as one of 15 river locations around the world to tackle plastic pollution. The global partnership between the two organizations will implement advanced technology to intercept and clean up waste in some of the world’s major rivers. The river cleanup project is only one of many actions toward Coca-Cola’s vision for World Without Waste. The company also invested in plant-based technologies and package-less innovations to make 100% of its packaging recyclable globally by 2025. Additionally, the company plans to help collect and  recycle  every bottle and can it sells by 2030.  Related: Plastic will destroy us in nine years “This project will greatly contribute to C?n Th? City’s goal towards an ecological and modern city, imbued with the identity of rivers and the Mekong Delta, visioning by 2030,” said Mr. Nguy?n Chí Kiên, vice director of the department of natural resources and  environment  of C?n Th? City. “To get there, we are looking forward to joining hands of non-profit organizations, private sectors and C?n Th? citizens in such environmental protection projects, maintaining our position as an ‘ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City’ — one of the most remarkable titles that was honorably given to C?n Th? City.” Furthermore, Coca-Cola founded the Packaging Recovering Organization Vietnam with other leading companies, recyclers and government agencies. They work together to accelerate sustainable packaging collection and recycling processes in  Vietnam . In 2020, Coca-Cola launched its first-ever  100% recycled plastic bottle  in Vietnam for its Dasani line. Last year, Coca-Cola switched Sprite from its green bottles to a clear  PET plastic bottle  to boost local recycling. They also put “recycle me” messages on packaging labels across their line of beverages. It was also in 2021 that Coca-Cola partnered with The Ocean Cleanup. The Ocean Cleanup develops technologies that rid the world’s oceans of  plastic . The companies are achieving their goals in two approaches.  First, they developed large-scale systems to concentrate the plastic for periodic removal. Through DNV’s Chain of Custody Standard for Plastics, the plastic is tracked and certified for the integrity of plastic retrieved from any body of water. Secondly, they are cleaning up plastic that has already accumulated in the  ocean . To accomplish that feat, The Ocean Cleanup unveiled the Interceptor in 2019, a  solar-powered  robot that removes marine debris. It became the first scalable solution to prevent plastic from entering the world’s oceans from rivers. The Interceptor was launched into the C?n Th? River for testing in December 2021. It is expected to become fully operational over the next few months, where it will remove up to 110,231 pounds of  trash  per day. “The Ocean Cleanup’s mission is to rid the oceans of plastic,” said Boyan Slat, founder and CEO of  The Ocean Cleanup . “I am happy to see progress and our first steps together with Coca-Cola on the road to tackling the complex  plastic pollution  problem in the vast Mekong Delta and its sensitive ecosystems.” Additionally, Coca-Cola and The Ocean Cleanup are working with the People’s Committee of C?n Th? and the C?n Th? Department of Natural Resources and Environment. They will conduct river waste  research  to scale up the project where appropriate.   Via The Ocean Cleanup Lead image via Pexels

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Coca-Cola is cleaning up river plastic pollution worldwide

Award-winning apartment design is built 90% out of wood

January 13, 2022 by  
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SAWA, designed by Mei Architects and Planners, won the Experimental Future Projects category in the World Architecture Festival 2021. The apartment building drips with green roof and balcony plantings. It is also Rotterdam’s first 50-meter-high residential building. The design beat out seven other nominated projects for the top prize in the category. The residential building focuses on circular timber construction, biodiversity and the creation of healthy communities with ample planting space. The designers wanted to reduce CO2 emissions and help achieve national and international climate goals. Related: University under a hill in India has a green roof The building is called the healthiest building in the Netherlands. It is designed to prove that humans can live and build in a sustainable way. The plan for the building intentionally reduced the approved volume of the zoning plan model with a stepped exterior. SAWA will house about 100 apartments, with a large communal deck on the first floor plus numerous terraces. The column structure within the building allows apartments to be rearranged in the future, which helps future-proof the building for multiple uses. The apartment building is unique in preserving as much wood surfaces in the apartments as possible. Only hidden walls will be finished with plaster. In fact, SAWA is built 90% out of wood , which sets an example for future apartment building projects looking to use non-traditional materials and construction methods. In addition, the cross-laminated timber used for SAWA stores CO2 and reduces emissions while creating a warm and comforting living space. In fact, the construction time is also shorter compared to concrete construction. SAWA was built with Open Building Principles in mind. The principles focus on pillar supports, floor beams and columns to create flexible and open interior spaces. This is the sixth award for the SAWA building. The building already won first prize at the Green Good Design Awards and was also awarded the ARC20 Innovation Award. SAWA was recognized as highly recommended at the MIPIM/AR Future Project Awards. The design was awarded a Special Mention at the Architizer A+ Awards and was selected for the Iconic Awards for Innovative Architecture. + Mei Architects Images via Mei Architects

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Award-winning apartment design is built 90% out of wood

Rilu the snow leopard has passed away due to COVID

January 11, 2022 by  
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Rilu the snow leopard, a big cat at the Miller Park Zoo in Illinois, has died from COVID-19 complications. The 11-year-old leopard tested positive for COVID on Dec. 3 alongside three other big cats at the zoo. After struggling for over a month, the endangered cat was pronounced dead in an official announcement on Thursday. Rilu was not just any snow leopard but a celebrated cat whose photos were once projected on the New York’s Empire State Building to raise awareness about endangered animals . Joel Sartore, a wildlife photographer who took the images of Rilu that were projected on the building in 2015, says that snow leopards should be protected by those who work in their environment. Related: Wildfire smoke linked to almost 20,000 COVID-19 cases last year “Snow leopards are proving extremely susceptible to the disease, and it’s often fatal. If you haven’t received a vaccination and booster yet, please do so. It’s more than just human lives that are at stake,” Sartore wrote in a post. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the spotted mountain cat has a population of a few thousand. The animals face possible extinction, though they often enjoy a long lifespan in zoos . The snow leopards usually live up to 22 years in protected environments, a situation being threatened by COVID-19. Rilu is not the first snow leopard to test positive for COVID or succumb to the virus.  Three other snow leopards  died from COVID-19 related complications at a Nebraska zoo in November. Their deaths also came about a month after the animals tested positive for the virus. “Rilu’s personality and beauty will be missed by guests and staff, but he will not be forgotten,” Miller Park Zoo said in an Instagram  post . According to the Cornell Feline Health Center, humans can infect cats with COVID-19. It is also possible for cats to spread the coronavirus to other animals. Even so, the likelihood of animals spreading the virus to humans is low. It is, therefore, the responsibility of those who interact with wild animals to protect them from infections. The other cats that tested positive alongside Rilu continue to show mild symptoms, according to a zoo representative. Via HuffPost Lead image via Pixabay

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Rilu the snow leopard has passed away due to COVID

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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England Environment Agency tells people to ignore pollution

LEED-certified apartments set highest green design standards

January 10, 2022 by  
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The initial LEED-certified project by The Procopio Companies was completed in conjunction with DMS Design as the design architecture and CUBE 3 for interior design to analyze materials for sustainability. The result is Caldwell, a high-rise, mixed-use and multi-family apartment complex in Lynn, Massachusetts with 259 units. The area sits just north of Boston, but draws in arts and culture enthusiasts from near and far Caldwell was designed to meet the highest standards of sustainable design, from minimal site impact to the interior design.  Related: Modular design helps UCLA’s Pritzker Hall earn LEED Platinum “We’re extremely proud of this impressive accomplishment, as there are few residential buildings in the state of Massachusetts that are certified LEED Platinum,” said Michael Procopio, LEED AP and CEO of The Procopio Companies. “This may be our first LEED-certified project, but it certainly won’t be our last. Our team has learned a tremendous amount through this building process, making Caldwell a benchmark for our future projects as it relates to sustainability and protecting our environment .”  Caldwell not only sets the standard for The Procopio Company and new owners The Green Cities Company, an ESG/sustainability-focused company, but for all architecture in the area and beyond. The structure was built from responsibly-sourced reclaimed wood that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  Inside, air quality is ensured through an individual ventilation system that provides continuous fresh air . Similarly, building and interior design materials were chosen for low emissions , including paint, flooring, wood and insulation. The builders aimed to focus on the future of the environment, but also to the mindset of the residents. They provided six electric car charging stations and an energy-saving automatic parking system. Of course, as a LEED-qualifying building, they also put an emphasis on energy-efficient design. Caldwell is equipped with smart thermostats and solar panels for power production. While Caldwell may not leave room for blocks of individual residential gardens, it does make use of the rooftop green space with a vegetable garden, potted plants and grassy area.  “As architects, our job is to create places to live that fight the effects of climate change and design buildings that are as sustainable as possible,” said Dan Skolski, founder and managing principal of DMS Design. “With Caldwell, we were able to design a building that prioritizes its carbon footprint and is sustainable down to the studs, from an innovative structural system to all electric heating and cooling systems. It sets a new standard in the community for innovative, green building .” + The Procopio Companies  Images via Matt Surette and The Procopio Companies 

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LEED-certified apartments set highest green design standards

These bags are made with Fairtrade Certified organic cotton

January 7, 2022 by  
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Each travel, duffle, shopping and computer bag that hits the stores adds to the ongoing use of synthetic fibers, environmental pollution and waste. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be that way. Terra Thread has taken that idea to heart with a line of bags that are sustainably and ethically produced. In fact, the mission of the company “is to create the best Fairtrade certified organic cotton bags by always being sustainable , ethical, traceable and transparent.” Related: Cariloha luxury textiles use organic, sustainable bamboo Its approach towards this goal is multifaceted, starting with the materials sourced for its product line. Terra Thread products are made using Fairtrade Certified Organic Cotton. This is cotton from farmers that are guaranteed fair pricing for their product. The farms are small and mostly family or community-owned. Rainwater is the primary source for watering the cotton plants so it requires few resources to produce, which means a small impact to the planet.  Fair Trade also ensures safe working conditions, gender equality and other benefits. In addition, the cotton is organic, so it’s grown without chemicals. This is not only good for the skin it touches, but also for the environment, soil health and wildlife .  Terra Thread products are certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) too. This means that not only is the material organic, but the process of turning it into bags is also fair and ethical. GOTS certification ensures a safe standard throughout the spinning, knitting, weaving, dyeing and manufacturing of the bags. It’s important to Terra Thread founders, a father-daughter duo, to be transparent in the supply and production chain.  Terra Thread products are made in a Fair Trade USA Certified Factory . In addition to the materials being Fair Trade Certified, the factory conditions are also evaluated to ensure fair wages, safe working conditions and a voice for workers within the work environment. With the focus on safe, fair and eco-friendly material sourcing and production, Terra Thread bags also produce less waste . In contrast to bags made with petroleum-based materials, when Terra Thread bags hit the landfill at the end of life, they won’t leach chemicals into the soil or stick around for generations.  Terra Thread understands the process of making any goods results in some carbon emissions, so the company is committed to investing in carbon offsets in order to remain carbon neutral overall. For example, Terra Thread invests in a reforestation and afforestation project that plants trees in order to sequester carbon from the air and improve degraded land. So far, the project has contributed to reforestation for over 12,000 farmers in India. This not only improves the land, but also provides an economic livelihood for the farmers. Terra Thread also supports a solar energy project in Rajasthan, India, which generates clean and renewable electricity. Food insecurity is an issue close to the heart of co-founder Vik Giri, so together with his daughter and co-founder Vizan Giri, the company contributes to Feeding America’s campaign to end hunger in the U.S.  Terra Thread offers a selection of bags that include backpacks, gym and duffel bags and laptop sleeves. It produces different sizes and provides several color options. The description of each product includes an impact section so you can see the effect your purchase has. For example, the Earth Backpack results in the donation of meals to children and families in need, 268 days of drinking water saved, three miles of reduced driving emissions and the support of 66 square feet of pesticide-free farmland.  Personal Review Terra Thread sent me its Earth Backpack in black for review. The package arrived quickly. It’s based out of California even though the materials and production are sourced from India, so there was no international travel to get the product to me in Oregon.  The packaging was minimalistic and plastic-free. Just the way I like it. Even the sweet note inside was printed on recycled paper. Product tags are also sourced from natural materials and the bags are colored with GOTS-certified dyes.  The first impression of the backpack is its durability. It’s a thick canvas material that’s heavy to the touch. The buckles, zipper and stitching all speak of quality. Unless something unforeseen happens, this bag is built to last. It’s also equipped with thoughtful features such as a generous outside pocket with zipper closure and drink holders above either hip. Inside, the backpack has a built-in pouch for smaller items and a full-depth section for a small laptop. The central area of the bag is large enough for a change of clothes or several large books.   The company also provided a canvas cosmetic bag called the Honua Pouch. This bag compresses flat for efficient storage but expands to hold a fair amount of makeup or other goods. The two-tone coloring is striking and the quality matches the backpack.  I really can’t say enough about the fortified edges and attention to reinforcements around high-pressure areas of both bags. Durability is one aspect of sustainable production and I see both of these bags being around for a very long time. + Terra Thread  Images via Terra Thread Editor’s Note: This product review is not sponsored by Terra Thread. All opinions on the products and company are the author’s own.

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These bags are made with Fairtrade Certified organic cotton

House in Ecuador is hidden in a forest of carob trees

January 7, 2022 by  
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The Kaisen House by Rama Estudio in Ecuador is placed in a grove of carob trees in the middle of a slightly sloping landscape. It is intended to influence the natural environment in a minimal way. The designers explained, “[We] took advantage of the benefits of the shade thrown by each of the existing trees.” Kaisen House is a timber construction combined with a traditional local building style called bahareque, with air circulation built in and ample windows looking out on the surrounding natural environment . The house is designed with a minimal depth to create the smallest footprint and best views of the forest , as well as to affect the carob trees in the least amount possible. The house is implemented as a bar shape that is 7.50 meters wide and 24 meters long. Related: This prefab home expansion in Ecuador enjoys gorgeous views It’s shaped a bit like a shipping container home, with second-story balconies situated on top of doorways that open onto the grounds. Inside, the views from every angle of the house redirect the individual to look back to the outdoors at every chance. There are two wings to the house: service and family wings. In the family side of the house, the kitchen and the dining room are connected to a deck through a sliding screen that opens to the forest. A social area is connected through a deck with the dining room, encouraging outdoor use of the space and enhancing air circulation . In this wing there is also a multifunction room that connects to another patio. “On the second floor, under the same logic, there is an area with two bedrooms that open to the best view and a family area that is in complete relationship with the front forest,” the designers said. The traditional building technique called bahareque inspired the building’s enclosure by cane-style wood slats to create air circulation indoors. Materials used include laminated wood and metal, which was molded for use as a staircase, for balcony railings and floor plates. Kaisen House is at once completely modern and completely traditional in its layout and style. From every angle, it’s a fresh air experience. + Rama Estudio Photography by JAG Studio

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House in Ecuador is hidden in a forest of carob trees

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