Mexico City is sinking – and it’s going to cause some real problems

February 20, 2017 by  
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Mexico City , a scant mile and a half above sea level, is sinking. It’s a turn of events that shouldn’t surprise anyone with a rudimentary grasp of history. Established by the Aztecs in 1325, the city formerly known as Tenochtitlán occupies what was once a plexus of interconnected lakes that were first drained by the Spaniards, then paved over with concrete and steel by modern engineers. As a result, Mexico City has to dig deep—literally—to obtain fresh water for its 21 million residents. But the drilling weakens the brittle clay beds that serve as the city’s foundation, according to the New York Times , hastening the collapse even further. For Mexico City, climate change isn’t a game of partisan ping-pong. Per the Times : More heat and drought mean more evaporation and yet more demand for water, adding pressure to tap distant reservoirs at staggering costs or further drain underground aquifers and hasten the city’s collapse. In the immense neighborhood of Iztapalapa — where nearly two million people live, many of them unable to count on water from their taps — a teenager was swallowed up where a crack in the brittle ground split open a street. Sidewalks resemble broken china, and 15 elementary schools have crumbled or caved in. Related: Xomali House in Mexico City makes clever use of a tiny 115 square foot lot Rising temperatures and the increased incidence of droughts and floods could send millions of Mexicans fleeing north and “heightening already extreme political tensions over immigration.” At the same time, Mexico City is facing a water crisis that prevents nearly 20 percent of its residents from getting water from their faucets each day. People have had to resort to hiring trucks to deliver drinking water, sometimes at prices 10 times higher than what richer neighborhoods with more reliable plumbing have to pay. “Climate change is expected to have two effects,” Ramón Aguirre Díaz, director of the Water System of Mexico City, told the Times . “We expect heavier, more intense rains, which means more floods, but also more and longer droughts.” If rain stops filling the reservoirs, “there is no way we can provide enough trucks of water to deal with that scenario,” he added. Mexico City could still rally some long-term solutions, but like most places, the city is roiled by political infighting. “There has to be a consensus—of scientists, politicians, engineers and society—when it comes to pollution, water, climate,” said Claudia Sheinbaum, a former environment minister. “We have the resources, but lack the political will.” Via New York Times

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Mexico City is sinking – and it’s going to cause some real problems

JFK Airport is opening a $65 million pet terminal

February 20, 2017 by  
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Traveling with pets just got a little bit easier for anyone passing through New York’s John F. Kennedy airport . The airport just gave us a first look at The ARK – a $65-million terminal for animals complete with a “Pet Oasis.” The facility will educate pet owners on any flight requirements before takeoff, provide food and water for flights, receive incoming pets and help board others on their outgoing flights, and even microchip animals who need it. Soon, the ARK plans to provide even more services. Phase 2, to be launched sometime in Q2 2017, will see the opening of the ARK Import-Export Center, with facilities for horses and an aviary. By summer, the terminal should be fully operational with a pet boarding facility, a grooming service, a veterinary clinic and a blood laboratory all open for business. Related: Man Tries to Smuggle Turtle Disguised as Hamburger Through Airport Security The ARK will be open 24-hours a day, and it will serve as a central resource for all airlines making stops at JFK. John J. Cuticelli, the CEO of ARK Development, said in a press release , “Transporting live cargo by plane can be a complex and arduous process for owners and animals alike. Our goal is to create a more efficient and safe process by reducing the need for additional travel and offering trained animal care staff immediately pre- and post-flight. The ARK provides a healthy and comfortable environment, and sets new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services.” + The ARK at JFK

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JFK Airport is opening a $65 million pet terminal

World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia

January 16, 2017 by  
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San Francisco’s Seasteading Institute has signed a memorandum of understanding with the French Polynesian government that brings the world’s first floating city closer to reality. The Seasteading Institute first established in 2008 has long sought to implement their vision of self-sustaining communities that can withstand rising sea levels, partnering with DeltaSync in 2013 to build a pilot project in The Netherlands . The new agreement could see construction on a full-blown city begin in the South Pacific as early as 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tDqtOPNLwMs The Seasteading Institute’s executive director Randolph Hencken told Pacific Beat the recent agreement with the French Polynesian government comprises a major turning point for their organization. The memorandum of understanding ensures all due diligence regarding the economic and environmental impact of such a project will be undertaken. Also, over the next two years, a new legal framework will be created to protect the pioneering initiative. “Mr Hencken said the detail of political autonomy needed to be negotiated and considered under the sovereignty of French Polynesia and France, of which French Polynesia is a territory,” Pacific Beat wrote. Mr Hencken said the Pacific islands appealed to the institute because of its sheltered waters. Building in the open ocean would be possible, he said, but not economically feasible. Related: 5 Pacific islands have already disappeared because of climate change “If we can be behind a reef break,” he said, “then we can design floating platforms that are sufficient for those waters at an affordable cost.” If by the end of 2018 the floating island city remains appealing to the French Polynesian government and construction proceeds in 2019, Hencken hopes eventually hundreds of thousands of people will move there. As melting ice makes seas swell, threatening a wave of climate refugees from low-lying areas, Hencken said floating cities can provide sovereignty and resilience. “So much of the world — places like Kiribati and many of the islands of French Polynesia — are threatened by rising sea levels,” Mr Hencken told the paper . “We are planning to spin off a new industry of floating islands that will allow people to stay tethered to their sovereignty as opposed to having to flee to other countries. + The Seasteading Institute Via ABC Images via The Seasteading Institute

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World’s first floating city one step closer to reality in French Polynesia

The fhlo bottle keeps you hydrated and helps get water to those in need

March 29, 2016 by  
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The fhlo bottle is a reusable water bottle designed to keep you hydrated and make an impact. Every purchase of a fhlo bottle  helps keep well water flowing for those in need through The Adventure Product, which creates jobs and restores wells in developing nations. The design is a modern take on the fuel canisters used to transport water back and forth from the wells in developing nations. The opening clasp is a cam style latch and the transparent front allows you to keep tabs on your liquid levels. It features a 1/3 volume indicator reminding you when its time to fill up and representing the broken wells you’re helping restore. The bottle is designed to be unique so it can act as an iconic symbol that can get the conversation started about getting water to those who need it. + Support fhlo on Kickstarter The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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The fhlo bottle keeps you hydrated and helps get water to those in need

Solar-powered FlipFlic transforms ordinary blinds into self-adjusting smart windows

March 29, 2016 by  
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If you want to make your home more comfortable, livable, and energy-efficient, home automation is for you. One fantastic and affordable example of home automation is the FlipFlic , a solar-powered device that adjusts your window blinds based on sunlight, temperature , or customized app settings. Small and elegant, the FlipFlic is easy to install and can be attached to any existing window blinds—vertical or horizontal—and is outfitted with sensors that automatically respond to changing conditions. The device also comes with a smartphone app so that you can open or close your blinds instantly with just a tap of a finger. Want to get your hands on FlipFlic? Head over to their Kickstarter campaign where you can get a FlipFlic at a special early-bird price. + FlipFlic The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Solar-powered FlipFlic transforms ordinary blinds into self-adjusting smart windows

Bambú Social educates and helps people build affordable green housing using local resources

March 2, 2016 by  
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TU Delft’s Bambú Social is an educational and construction project with the goal of sharing knowledge and expertise about the use of local resources for sustainable and affordable social housing. In El Rama, BAMBÚ SOCIAL set up a ‘Sustainable Construction’ course, together with the local university and the municipality, to create a sustainable and dignified alternative to social housing. This building method can be practiced in a completely local manner, with the integration of a decentralized, low-tech, natural water purification and storage system in order to provide clean drinking water for the inhabitants of the house. The constructed model house is the base for the design of an affordable social home, and the manual – ‘Un manual de construcción sostenible’,  – explains the entire process with step by step drawings. The model house has been donated to the local university and currently functions as a library, but the knowledge shared can help the community for a lifetime. + TU Delft The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link. Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Bambú Social educates and helps people build affordable green housing using local resources

Mini Gabion Parklet pops up in a Brazilian neighborhood

March 2, 2016 by  
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Parklets are hands down one of our most favorite types of urban interventions, and they’ve started to catch on down south in Brazil as well. Brazilian architecture studio Quadra Estúdio recently installed the Gabion Parklet, a new mini-park in the Belo Horizonte neighborhood of Pampulha. Likened to an “urban balcony,” this mini meeting area is inexpensively constructed from sturdy gabion walls and recycled timber from OSB boxes. The design was originally developed for Casa Cor , the country’s largest architecture exhibition. + Quadra Estúdio The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Mini Gabion Parklet pops up in a Brazilian neighborhood

Pyramid-shaped superyacht rises above the waves for a smooth high-speed ride

March 2, 2016 by  
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Your personal bill for fossil fuel use is 12,000 dollars

September 16, 2015 by  
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We ought to be thanking our lucky stars that Mother Nature isn’t a debt collector, because we’re all in it pretty deep when it comes to the cost of each person’s carbon emissions on the planet. Researchers have revealed new data  that shows that if we were to get a bill for America’s output between the years of 1990 and 2013, an even split among citizens would result in about a $12,000 balance each. Ouch. Read the rest of Your personal bill for fossil fuel use is 12,000 dollars

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Your personal bill for fossil fuel use is 12,000 dollars

The surprising way air pollution levels in the Middle East are affected by years of conflict

August 24, 2015 by  
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A new study has revealed significant changes in air pollution levels in the Middle East, with economic crisis, humanitarian catastrophe, and war being contributing factors. High resolution satellites have been collecting data from major cities since 2005 and the results have flown in the face of previous predictions of the region’s emissions. Read the rest of The surprising way air pollution levels in the Middle East are affected by years of conflict

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