Connecticut could mandate climate change education in schools

January 22, 2019 by  
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Connecticut state Representative Christine Palm, a Democrat from the town of Chester, has proposed a bill in the state legislature that would mandate instruction on climate change in public schools across Connecticut . If Palm’s proposed bill became law, the study of  climate change  in Connecticut would begin in elementary school. It would also be the first bill in the U.S. to make climate change instruction mandatory via statute. Some people don’t believe the legislation is necessary, because the state already adopted Next Generation Science Standards back in 2015. Those standards include teaching about climate change, Phys.org reported. “A lot of schools make the study of climate change an elective, and I don’t believe it should be an elective,” Palm said. “I think it should be mandatory, and I think it should be early, so there’s no excuse for kids to grow up ignorant of what’s at stake.” Related: Climate change is causing spring to come earlier in national parks The Next Generation Science Standards already make climate change studies a core of science education , but it doesn’t start until middle school. Fran Rabinowitz, executive director of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents, said that because the curriculum is already addressing climate change and educators are already teaching the standards set forth by the 2015 legislation, this new proposal isn’t needed. So far, 19 states and  Washington D.C.  have adopted the Next Generation Science Standards. However, it does leave the specific curriculum up to individual school districts and only gives indications about what the state wants students to learn. During the last legislative session, a similar bill to Palm’s was introduced, but it did not pass. Some states have also proposed legislation to either allow or require teachers to present students with alternative viewpoints about climate change and other topics. Palm believes that climate change is such an urgent and threatening matter that it should be a top priority in a child’s education. “I’d love to see poetry be mandated,” Palm said. “That’s never going to happen. That’s not life or death.” Via Phys.org Image via Wokandapix

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Connecticut could mandate climate change education in schools

Eco-friendly Brae restaurant and retreat targets net-zero energy in Australia

January 22, 2019 by  
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Sustainability is woven throughout Brae , a renowned restaurant and retreat nestled on a hillside of a 30-acre organic farm in rural Australia. Designed by Fitzroy-based studio Six Degrees Architects , Brae is best known for its seasonally inspired menu and talented chefs — the restaurant was named among the world’s 50 best restaurants in 2017 — and the idyllic establishment also boasts six eco-friendly guest suites designed to target net-zero energy consumption. Durable and recycled materials are used throughout the handcrafted buildings, which are powered with solar energy and use recycled rainwater. After Six Degree Architects completed Brae in 2013, the firm revisited the site to add a new accommodation building that would emphasize the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability and seasonality. Completed in 2016, the six guest suites are housed in a structure referencing the archetypal utilitarian rural shed and built with simple and robust materials including recycled timber and brickwork, raw steel and brass. Local builders and tradesmen built the project, and the guest suites are carefully fitted out with bespoke, engaging objects to make each room feel homey and welcoming. “The restaurant is renowned for seasonally sourcing raw produce from either the property or local region,” the architects explained. “There was a desire to bring this careful, considered approach into the crafting of the rooms and restaurant. Simple robust materials, contrasting hard and soft, and a level of intricate detailing remind you that hands have made and shaped the buildings. The project purposefully plays off the materiality and self-build nature of old rural buildings, reinterpreting them into contemporary and luxurious interiors, framing views of the working landscape beyond.” Related: Peek inside the BIG-designed garden village for one of the world’s best restaurants The guest suites are oriented for south-facing views of the landscape, while a landscaped berm to the north protects the building from view of the carpark. To achieve net-zero energy use during operation, the project is equipped with 48 solar panels that generate a daily average of nearly 44 kWh. Rainwater is harvested in two 40,000-liter tanks and reused for drinking and washing. Waste is broken down in a large worm farm. Thanks to these systems and passive thermal design, the 500-square-meter Brae guest suites have achieved a NatHERS energy rating of 7 stars. + Six Degrees Architects Photography by Trevor Mein via Six Degrees Architects

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Eco-friendly Brae restaurant and retreat targets net-zero energy in Australia

These are the world’s top vegan cities

January 22, 2019 by  
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If traveling is a top priority for you in 2019 and you follow a vegan diet , there are some cities that are more vegan-friendly than others. Vegan website Happy Cow has compiled a list of the 10 most vegan-friendly cities in the world based on the number of fully-vegan restaurants, the number of vegan-option restaurants and their impression of overall vegan-friendliness. London At the top of the list is London, because the number of vegan restaurants in the city has exploded over the past year. It was the first city on the list to hit 100 completely vegan restaurants. A recent survey showed that more than a half million people are following the vegan diet in Great Britain. Related: Veganism on the rise, record number of sign-ups for Veganuary Berlin Because its vegan scene continues to grow, Berlin comes in at No. 2. There are now 65 vegan restaurants in the German city and 320 additional vegan options at restaurants within a 5-mile radius. New York City Many people consider the Big Apple to be the international food capital of the world, and its vegan scene is flourishing. There are now 64 vegan restaurants in NYC that range from fast food to upscale dining. Portland Veganism is a way of life in Portland , and that means the city has a wide variety of plant-based food options. You can easily find a vegan burger and a variety of vegan artisanal cheeses. There are also a number of vegan food carts and even a vegan bed and breakfast. Tel Aviv With an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the Israeli population being vegan, the country has the highest percentage of vegans in the world. The 31 vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv serve a variety of cuisines from Israel, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Some also have a Western influence. Rounding out the top 10 are Los Angeles, Warsaw, Toronto, Prague and Paris . + Happy Cow Image via 12019

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These are the world’s top vegan cities

Lyft’s Jody Kelman on collaborating to launch autonomous vehicle technology

November 5, 2018 by  
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Self-driving technology providers were looking for riders — and Lyft had a network of customers looking for rides. The collaboration made sense to Jody Kelman, director of self-driving platforms at Lyft, which has launched trials in cities across the U.S. Collecting research on the space, the decisions necessary and implementing them has been a collective effort, but one that’s driving a “revolution.” “We really want to be pushing people into these shared electric self-driving cars, not advancing another generation of individual car ownership,” she said.

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Lyft’s Jody Kelman on collaborating to launch autonomous vehicle technology

Financing the future to scale the clean economy

November 5, 2018 by  
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Complementary perspectives from across the finance ecosystem explain how they are helping to accelerate the clean economy — from clean energy technologies to sustainable transportation infrastructure to equitable community development. The panel will also discuss how to tap into the various financial sources, unlock these options as a business or a local government, and what it will take to scale clean economy growth.

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Financing the future to scale the clean economy

Costa Rica to abolish fossil fuel use in a bid to be the world’s first decarbonized country

May 10, 2018 by  
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Could Costa Rica become the first decarbonized country in the world? That’s one of the goals of new president Carlos Alvarado. The Independent reported during his inauguration that he said, “We have the titanic and beautiful task of abolishing the use of fossil fuels in our economy to make way for the use of clean and renewable energies .” 38-year-old Alvarado, a former journalist, rode a hydrogen-electric bus to his inauguration ceremony, where he spoke of plans to ban fossil fuels in the Central American country. Alvarado said, “Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first.” Thousands of people attended the ceremony. Related: Costa Rica celebrates 113 days of 100% renewable energy (and counting) The Independent reported Alvarado said last month that Costa Rica would start carrying out a plan to stop the use of fossil fuels in transportation by 2021, which marks the 200th year of the country’s independence. Alvarado said in a victory speech, “When we reach 200 years of independent life we will take Costa Rica forward and celebrate…that we’ve removed gasoline and diesel from our transportation.” The country generates over 99 percent of its electricity via renewable sources, The Independent said. But experts said rapidly reaching zero carbon transport could be tricky. Vehicle and Machinery Importers Association president Oscar Echeverría told The Independent, “If there’s no previous infrastructure, competence, affordable prices, and waste management we’d be leading this process to failure. We need to be careful.” University of California, Berkeley energy researcher Jose Daniel Lara told The Independent it may be unrealistic to fully cut out fossil fuels in a few years, but the plan could pave the way for speedier action, saying, “A proposal like this one must be seen by its rhetoric value and not by its technical precision.” Via The Independent Images via Depositphotos and Wikipedia

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Costa Rica to abolish fossil fuel use in a bid to be the world’s first decarbonized country

The Trump Administration just ended the program that lets us monitor carbon emissions

May 10, 2018 by  
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While the news media focuses its attention on the withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and the scandals related President Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen, the Trump Administration quietly ended the Carbon Monitoring System (CMS). With a $10 million annual budget and administered by NASA, CMS served to track the flow of Earth’s carbon, a particularly important mission as the United States and other nations confront climate change. “If you cannot measure emissions reductions, you cannot be confident that countries are adhering to the agreement,” Kelly Sims Gallagher, director of Tufts University’s Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, told Science . Gallagher described the administration’s decision to end the program as “a grave mistake.” Much of the work done by the CMS since 2010 has focused on forests and the carbon that they contain. One such project involved a collaboration between NASA and the US Forestry Service, in which the organizations created an aircraft-based laser imaging device to quantify forest carbon stocks. “They’ve now completed an inventory of forest carbon in Alaska at a fraction of the cost,” CMS science team leader George Hurtt told Science . The CMS has also used its capacity to support other countries in their efforts to preserve and study their forest stocks, particularly in tropical locations. Related: Even NASA isn’t quite sure how to explain these holes in the Arctic Sea’s ice Though disheartening for those who work to combat climate change, the Trump Administration’s decision to end CMS fits with its previous policy making on climate change . However, this decision, like others, puts the United States outside of the global climate mainstream. “The topic of climate mitigation and carbon monitoring is maybe not the highest priority now in the United States,” said Hurtt. “But it is almost everywhere else.” The work of carbon monitoring will continue in Europe , though the United States has ceded leadership in the process. “We really shoot ourselves in the foot if we let other people develop the technology,” president of the Woods Hole Research Center Phil Duff told Science . Via ScienceAlert Images via IIP Photo Archive/Flickr and Joshua Meyer/Flickr

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The Trump Administration just ended the program that lets us monitor carbon emissions

Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

January 22, 2018 by  
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The four pavilions of the Naked Gallery resort in China were built using a combination of locally available natural and recycled waste materials. Xiaohui Designer Studio designed the complex as an eco-friendly space that “includes 75% of sustainable and renewable materials , 75% recyclable materials, and 75% of work by local craftsmen.” The designers utilized locally available stones, the soil excavated from the other sites in the resort, and bamboos abundant at the foot of Mount Mogan where the resort is located. The materials of the formwork and the joists of Naked Gallery are collected from the waste materials from other structures, which helped reduce the generation of waste and alleviate the influence of the architecture on the natural environment. Related: Luscious eco-resort design in China inspired by the Silk Road The resort consists of four pavilions. Local craftsmen built the complex using traditional building techniques which helped cut construction costs and increase construction efficiency. In fact, the transportation fees and construction waste were both cut by 90% during the building process. + Xiaohui Designer Studio Via Archdaily Photos by Youkun Chen    

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Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials

Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ

September 30, 2016 by  
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It’s no secret that Mercedes-Benz is planning on expanding its electric car lineup beyond the current B-Class and Smart ForTwo. This week the automaker is giving the world a preview of its next-generation of electric cars with the debut of the Generation EQ concept at the Paris Motor Show . Just like BMW, Mercedes-Benz is going to create a sub-brand for its electric cars, which will be called “EQ,” which stands for “Electric Intelligence.” The Generation EQ concept previews an electric SUV that will go head-to-head with models like the Tesla Model X and upcoming Audi Q6 e-tron. It will then be followed by a range of electric cars that will all feature the EQ name with a third letter to signify its positioning in the lineup, like EQS and EQC. Even though there will be several new electric models, they will be based on the same modular platform that places the battery in the floor of the vehicle and an electric motor at one or both of the axles. Related: VW’s new electric car goes further and costs less than the Tesla 3 or Chevy Bolt The Generation EQ concept is powered by two electric motors that deliver a combined output of around 400 horsepower and 516 lb-ft of torque. Since there are two motors, the concept is essentially an all-wheel drive electric vehicle and Mercedes-Benz expects a 0-60 mph time of less than 5.0 seconds. The concept’s large 70 kWh lithium-ion battery will give it a driving range around 300 miles on a single charge. Beyond the electric powertrain , the Generation EQ concept also previews new technology on the inside that we may see in the not too distant future, like OLED displays in the steering wheel and a 24-inch high-definition wide-screen display that presents relevant information, such as speed, range, driving data or navigation and map details. The driver and passengers will also enjoy the four individual seats that provide a feeling of floating in space. The avant-garde seat upholstery features side bolsters that are covered in light-white leather, while perforations with a pixel rain look reveal a view of particles in rose gold. Speakers are also integrated into the head restraints, and TFT monitors for rear-seat entertainment are integrated into the front backrests. Mercedes-Benz hasn’t announced when the first EQ models will be introduced, but the first models are expected by the end of the decade. + Mercedes-Benz All images @ Mercedes-Benz

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Mercedes-Benz unveils latest Tesla Model X rival – the Generation EQ

What’s holding green products back?

January 20, 2016 by  
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Seventh Generation Founder Jeffrey Hollender and green chemistry pioneer John Warner weigh in on impatient investors, toxic ingredients and lagging innovation.

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What’s holding green products back?

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