Earth911 Podcast: WEEE Forum’s Pascal Leroy on International E-waste Day

October 11, 2021 by  
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Earth911 talks with Pascal Leroy, Director General of the WEEE Forum. October 14th is International… The post Earth911 Podcast: WEEE Forum’s Pascal Leroy on International E-waste Day appeared first on Earth911.

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Earth911 Podcast: WEEE Forum’s Pascal Leroy on International E-waste Day

Eco-friendly housing redefines Tanzanian urban architecture

October 7, 2021 by  
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The Teachers Housing for the International School of Tanganyika is a contemporary residential project by Architectural Pioneering Consultants (APC) that incorporates site-specific solutions to adapt to the vibrant tropical surroundings. Located in the rapidly growing coastal city of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , the 12-unit apartment block serves as a model for sustainable urban architecture in the region. Often, sustainability efforts in Africa focus on rural regions, despite the rapid expansion of urban areas. This results in unsustainable infrastructure that permeates growing cities. Taking this into consideration, the architects explored ecological solutions to satisfy the needs of the residents. Related: These bioclimatic student dorms use low-cost, sustainable materials The apartment block is seamlessly embedded in the site and oriented to interact with on-site foliage and maximize views of the Indian Ocean . Lush vegetation, including the flourishing fig and tamarind trees, were fully preserved during construction and shade the spaces surrounding the project. Successful eco-friendly designs for the tropics require innovative approaches to mitigate climatic factors. For this housing project, varied ceiling heights create air volumes within the interior spaces, and the façade is redefined to encase the building in a spatial membrane. Both design strategies help regulate thermal comfort by eliminating heat through reduced air temperatures , maximized airflow and dehumidified spaces, all without sacrificing aesthetics. Locally sourced materials are meticulously selected to enhance the design and create comfortable spaces. The free-standing concrete structure and elegant teakwood brise soleil allow the project to float above the ground wrapped in an intricate, patterned skin. Lightweight material choices for walls, including in-situ built structural insulated panels (SIPs) and prefabricated magnesium-oxide fiberboard, prevent heat gain by minimizing thermal mass. Besides catering to the thermal characteristics of the equatorial site, the design team incorporated water management systems to optimize abundant resources. Catchment systems harvest stormwater during the rainy season, while greywater is treated using a biogas digester plant to make it potable. By integrating various site-specific strategies with sophisticated architectural details, the architects create a distinct East African tropical modernist aesthetic that bridges local craftsmanship with international contemporary design. + APC Architectural Pioneering Consultants Images courtesy of Markus Lanz/PK Odessa and APC

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Eco-friendly housing redefines Tanzanian urban architecture

Join International Coastal Cleanup — Work With Others or on Your Own

September 16, 2021 by  
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More than 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year, polluting… The post Join International Coastal Cleanup — Work With Others or on Your Own appeared first on Earth911.

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Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India

September 1, 2021 by  
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Commuting got you down? New Delhi-based architectural practice Design Forum International (DFI) takes traffic jams out of the morning routine with a plan for a “walk to work” office tower dubbed Amtron. Proposed for development in Bongora’s Tech City in Assam, India, the project blends pedestrian-friendly design with sustainability features. In an attempt to move away from what DFI describes as “the conventional closed work environment,” the design incorporates a landscaped plaza and co-working spaces to foster an open atmosphere. Meanwhile, drop-off and pick-up points at opposite ends of the building prevent traffic jams. This combination of easy movement and an open environment helps the tower achieve DFI’s pedestrian-friendly goal. Related: Live, work and shop at this green building in France Speaking on the inspiration behind this design, a statement from DFI explains, “In accordance with DFI’s ethos of people-first design , [Amtron] is an experience that promotes meaningful interactions and pauses that awes, inspires and stays in the memory of its users.” Sustainability features such as solar panels , rainwater harvesting and green terraces show that this project keeps the environment in mind. In addition to mutual shading and sun-tracking louvers that minimize heat gain and reduce the need for artificial air conditioning, solar-reflective glazing helps regulate temperature while still allowing in natural light. Solar panels on the roof help address the tower’s energy needs. To address water needs, harvested rainwater and recycled wastewater fuel a drip-irrigation system for the landscaping full of native, climate-adaptive vegetation. Green terraces on the facade round out Amtron’s sustainable features and help prevent the heat island effect. ??As for the project’s material palette, DFI wanted to balance the modern and traditional. A reinforced cement concrete (RCC) core supports the tower, while recycled wood panels used for roofing and ceilings help “infuse regional identity.” For the cladding, zinc and aluminum protect the structure from weathering. Amtron’s predicted completion time is 18-21 months after its mid-2021 targeted construction start date. + Design Forum International Images via Design Forum International

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Walk to work at this eco-friendly office tower in India

International Day Against Nuclear Tests

August 24, 2021 by  
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Most people are opposed to the use of nuclear weapons, but fewer are concerned about… The post International Day Against Nuclear Tests appeared first on Earth911.

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Those Olympic anti-sex beds? Theyre actually for recycling.

July 21, 2021 by  
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Among all the news about the Tokyo Olympics, you might have heard one particularly wild story about the beds in the Olympic Village. These beds got an unforeseen amount of press coverage when American runner Paul Chelimo joked that the cardboard material was used to discourage “intimacy among athletes.” While the idea of an ‘anti-sex’ bed design captured peoples’ interest, this story is merely a joke gone wild. But there’s still a good reason to talk about these cardboard beds — they’re recyclable .  Many outlets, from the New York Post to Sports Illustrated , have covered the Olympic ‘anti-sex’ beds. Beyond this myth, the truth behind the design raises poignant concerns about the Olympics and the environment. Designed for easy recycling, the beds represent an attempt to make the notoriously eco-unfriendly Olympics more sustainable. Related: Tokyo’s Olympic medals will be made from recycled phones From displacing communities to using immense amounts of resources to construct facilities that will rarely be used outside of the games, the Olympics aren’t known for being sustainable — no matter how hard the International Olympic Committee (IOC) tries to prove itself . While recyclable cardboard beds and green buildings seem like strong, eco-conscious efforts, it can be difficult to judge how useful these attempts are in minimizing the Olympics’ environmental impact. To address this issue, a 2021 publication in Nature detailed a nine-indicator model researchers developed to determine how sustainable past Olympic Games were and to make predictions for the Tokyo Olympics. As the study explained, “The Olympic Games claim to be exemplars of sustainability, aiming to inspire sustainable futures around the world. Yet no systematic evaluation of their sustainability exists.” The nine indicators fall into three categories: ecological , economic and social. A few key measures within these categories include new construction, visitor footprint, event size and long-term viability. According to this model, the study found “that the overall sustainability of the Olympic Games is medium and that it has declined over time.” While the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics ranked as most sustainable, both Sochi 2014 and Rio de Janeiro 2016 earned low scores. Even more troubling is that no Olympic Games scored in the model’s top category. These results seem to suggest that despite the IOC’s efforts, cardboard beds included, Olympic sustainability efforts simply aren’t winning the gold. Via Sports Illustrated Lead image via Pixabay

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Those Olympic anti-sex beds? Theyre actually for recycling.

Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

July 21, 2021 by  
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The best architecture tells a story. It honors tradition and culture. It speaks to history. Although it doesn’t require onlookers to understand the heritage behind the design, it does require the architect to have a deep understanding of the traditional elements that define the style. Such is the case with Cloudy Courtyard, a residence and hotel in Shiguan Xiang, Anqing Yuexi, Anhui. Architectural firm One Take Architects recently completed the project, which began with an idea and developed through the study and replication of “traditional houses in west Anhui.” The result is a series of spaces that are intertwined and connected by courtyards . Inside and out, these spaces connect to nature, not only with the use of varying colors and textures but with focused and generalized views of the surrounding area. Cloudy Courtyard is located at the meeting point between Anhui, Jiangxi and Hubei at the end of a rural road in a town called Yuexi, a place well-acclaimed for its architectural richness. Related: Solar Trees Marketplace honors nature, technology and Chinese culture “Yuexi has been on the main road of Hakka immigrants since ancient times. In the early Ming Dynasty, a large number of immigrants from the Poyang Lake Basin in northern Jiangxi moved from Waxieba to Anqing Mansion and elsewhere. And immigration factors made Anqing a subculture area of Jiangxi culture,” the architects explained of the significance and design influence of the location. The rural setting has a backdrop of mountains that further inspired the free-flowing but organized design elements, with an emphasis of framing the vast, countryside and mountainous views from inside the house and in the tranquil inner courtyard. The property sits at a high elevation, contributing to the use of natural ventilation as a result of carefully planned patios and shade-providing plants . The blueprint of the project consists of multiple residences with continuous patios and courtyards. The stepped gable roofline borrows elements from the Ma Tau Wall in Huizhou architecture. Using natural materials from the land around them, the owner and designers sourced pebbles from the mountain stream for use at the base of the wall. They also contracted the cutting down of bamboo from the mountain forest nearby to build the fence. Throughout the project, the architects relied on stone, sand, steel, cement and gravel to replicate the contrasting drama and peace of nature with the goal to make “the architecture symbiotic with the land instead of just building on the land.” + One Take Architects Photography by Wang Shilu (Ranshi Studio) and Nan Xueqian via One Take Architects

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Cloudy Courtyard is crystal clear in its historical inspiration

How the climate crisis will crash the economy

September 14, 2020 by  
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How the climate crisis will crash the economy Joel Makower Mon, 09/14/2020 – 02:11 The chickens are coming home to roost. Even before the western United States became a regional inferno, even before the Midwest U.S. became a summertime flood zone, even before an annual hurricane season so bad that the government is running out of names to attach to them, even before Colorado saw a 100 degrees Fahrenheit heatwave swan dive into a 12-inch snowstorm within 48 hours. Even before all that, we’d been watching the real-world risks of climate change looming and growing across the United States and around the world. And the costs, financially and otherwise, are quickly becoming untenable. Lately, a steady march of searing heat, ruinous floods, horrific wildfires, unbreathable air, devastating hurricanes and other climate-related calamities has been traversing our screens and wreaking havoc to national and local budgets. And we’re only at 1C of increased global temperature rise. Just imagine what 2C or 3C or 4C will look like, and how much it will cost. We may not have to wait terribly long to find out. It’s natural to follow the people affected by all this: the local residents, usually in poorer neighborhoods, whose homes and livelihoods are being lost; the farmers and ranchers whose crops and livestock are withering and dying; the stranded travelers and the evacuees seeking shelter amid the chaos. And, of course the heroic responders to all these events, not to mention an entire generation of youth who fear their future is being stolen before their eyes, marching in the streets. So many people and stories. But lately, I’ve been following the money. The financial climate, it seems, has been as unforgiving as the atmospheric one. Some of it has been masked by the pandemic and ensuing recession, but for those paying attention, the indicators are hiding in plain sight. And what we’re seeing now are merely the opening acts of what could be a long-running global financial drama. The economic impact on companies is, to date, uncertain and likely incalculable. The financial climate, it seems, has been as unforgiving as the atmospheric one. Last week, a subcommittee of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) issued a report addressing climate risks to the U.S. financial system. That it did so is, in itself, remarkable, given the political climes. But the report didn’t pussyfoot around the issues: “Climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the U.S. financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy,” it stated, adding: Climate change is already impacting or is anticipated to impact nearly every facet of the economy, including infrastructure, agriculture, residential and commercial property, as well as human health and labor productivity. Over time, if significant action is not taken to check rising global average temperatures, climate change impacts could impair the productive capacity of the economy and undermine its ability to generate employment, income and opportunity. Among the “complex risks for the U.S. financial system,” the authors said, are “disorderly price adjustments in various asset classes, with possible spillovers into different parts of the financial system, as well as potential disruption of the proper functioning of financial markets.” In other words: We’re heading into uncharted economic territory. Climate change, said the report’s authors, is expected to affect “multiple sectors, geographies and assets in the United States, sometimes simultaneously and within a relatively short timeframe.” Those impacts could “disrupt multiple parts of the financial system simultaneously.” For example: “A sudden revision of market perceptions about climate risk could lead to a disorderly repricing of assets, which could in turn have cascading effects on portfolios and balance sheets and therefore systemic implications for financial stability.” Sub-systemic shocks And then there are “sub-systemic” shocks, more localized climate-related impacts that “can undermine the financial health of community banks, agricultural banks or local insurance markets, leaving small businesses, farmers and households without access to critical financial services.” This, said the authors, is particularly damaging in areas that already are underserved by the financial system, which includes low-to-moderate income communities and historically marginalized communities. As always, those least able to least afford the impacts may get hit the hardest. This was hardly the first expression of concern about the potentially devastating economic impacts of climate change on companies, markets, nations and the global economy. For example: Two years ago, the Fourth National Climate Assessment noted that continued warming “is expected to cause substantial net damage to the U.S. economy throughout this century, especially in the absence of increased adaptation efforts.” It placed the price tag at up to 10.5 percent of GDP by 2100. Last month, scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said that while previous research suggested that a 1C hotter year reduces economic output by about 1 percent, “the new analysis points to output losses of up to three times that much in warm regions.” Another report last month, by the Environmental Defense Fund, detailed how the financial impacts of fires, tropical storms, floods, droughts and crop freezes have quadrupled since 1980. “Researchers are only now beginning to anticipate the indirect impacts in the form of lower asset values, weakened future economic growth and uncertainty-induced instability in financial markets,” it said. And if you really want a sleepless night or two, read this story about “The Biblical Flood That Will Drown California,” published recently in Mother Jones magazine. Even if you don’t have a home, business or operations in the Golden State, your suppliers and customers likely do, not to mention the provenance of the food on your dinner plate. Down to business The CTFC report did not overlook the role of companies in all this. It noted that “disclosure by corporations of information on material, climate-related financial risks is an essential building block to ensure that climate risks are measured and managed effectively,” enabling enables financial regulators and market participants to better understand climate change’s impacts on financial markets and institutions. However, it warned, “The existing disclosure regime has not resulted in disclosures of a scope, breadth and quality to be sufficiently useful to market participants and regulators.” An analysis by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure found that large companies are increasingly disclosing some climate-related information, but significant variations remain in the information disclosed by each company, making it difficult for investors and others to fully understand exposure and manage climate risks . The macroeconomic forecasts, however gloomy, likely seem academic inside boardrooms. And while that may be myopic — after all, the nature of the economy could begin to shift dramatically before the current decade is out, roiling customers and markets — it likely has little to do with profits and productivity over the short time frames within which most companies operate. Nonetheless, companies with a slightly longer view already are considering the viability of their products and services in a warming world. Consider the recommendations of the aforementioned CFTC report, of which there are 20. Among them: “The United States should establish a price on carbon.” “All relevant federal financial regulatory agencies should incorporate climate-related risks into their mandates and develop a strategy for integrating these risks in their work.” “Regulators should require listed companies to disclose Scope 1 and 2 emissions. As reliable transition risk metrics and consistent methodologies for Scope 3 emissions are developed, financial regulators should require their disclosure, to the extent they are material.” The Financial Stability Oversight Council “should incorporate climate-related financial risks into its existing oversight function, including its annual reports and other reporting to Congress.” “Financial supervisors should require bank and nonbank financial firms to address climate-related financial risks through their existing risk management frameworks in a way that is appropriately governed by corporate management.” None of these things is likely to happen until there’s a new legislature and presidential administration in Washington, D.C., but history has shown that many of these can become de facto regulations if enough private-sector and nongovernmental players can adapt and pressure (or incentivize) companies to adopt and hew to the appropriate frameworks. Finally, there is collaboration among the leading nongovernmental organizations focusing on sustainability reporting and accountability. And there’s some news on that front: Last week, five NGOs whose frameworks, standards and platforms guide the majority of sustainability and integrated reporting, announced “a shared vision of what is needed for progress towards comprehensive corporate reporting — and the intent to work together to achieve it.” CDP , the Climate Disclosure Standards Board , the Global Reporting Initiative , the International Integrated Reporting Council and the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board have co-published a shared vision of the elements necessary for more comprehensive corporate reporting, and a joint statement of intent to drive towards this goal. They say they will work collaboratively with one another and with the International Organization of Securities Commissions, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, the European Commission and the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council. Lots of names and acronyms in the above paragraph, but you get the idea: Finally, there is collaboration among the leading nongovernmental organizations focusing on sustainability reporting and accountability. To the extent they manage to harmonize their respective standards and frameworks, and should a future U.S. administration adopt those standards the way previous ones did the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, we could see a rapid scale-up of corporate reporting on these matters. Increased reporting won’t by itself mitigate the anticipated macroeconomic challenges, but to the extent it puts climate risks on an equal footing with other corporate risks — along with a meaningful price on carbon that will help companies attach dollar signs to those risks — it will help advance a decarbonized economy. Slowly — much too slowly — but amid an unstable climate and economy we’ll take whatever progress we can get. I invite you to follow me on Twitter , subscribe to my Monday morning newsletter, GreenBuzz , and listen to GreenBiz 350 , my weekly podcast, co-hosted with Heather Clancy. Pull Quote The financial climate, it seems, has been as unforgiving as the atmospheric one. Finally, there is collaboration among the leading nongovernmental organizations focusing on sustainability reporting and accountability. Topics Finance & Investing Risk & Resilience Policy & Politics Climate Change Featured Column Two Steps Forward Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Shutterstock

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How to Design for the Future

September 9, 2020 by  
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How to Design for the Future How do we design for the future amid the disruptive present? In this closing plenary session, Lauren Phipps, director and senior analyst for the circular economy at GreenBiz, speaks with Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO, about how to design for the future. For example, how do you reconcile incremental change and the need to change more quickly to meet needs and goals? The COVID-19 pandemic has showed how quick change can happen. Now and in the future, organizations need to continue working together to develop better systems.   “We need to move toward the future with energy and enthusiasm and not just fear,” Brown says during the discussion. Holly Secon Wed, 09/09/2020 – 13:17 Featured Off

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How to Design for the Future

Gangnams answer to Central Park will pop up in the heart of Seoul

November 2, 2017 by  
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Dominique Perrault Architecture has been tapped to design the Gangnam International Transit Center, a gargantuan and nature-filled transit terminal that aims to alleviate congestion in the heart of Seoul . The $1.15 billion project will span 160,000 square meters with six underground floors topped by a 30,000-square-meter public plaza described by the architects as a response to New York’s Central Park and London’s Hyde Park. A crystalline glass roof will bring natural light and air deep into the subterranean levels, and gives rise to the project’s name, Lightwalk. Introducing a mammoth complex into the heart of the capital is no easy task. In hopes of advancing Seoul’s agenda toward pedestrian friendly development, the architects created a subterranean transit terminal with the upper two levels dedicated to public and commercial purposes including an exhibition hall, a museum, a library, and a shopping mall. The remaining four floors will be used as parking lots and as bus, subway (for lines 2 and 9), train transit and transfer centers. Over 600,000 transit passengers are expected to use the underground terminal daily—roughly twice the number of visitors to Seoul Station. Aboveground, the landscaped plaza, called The Green Land, will be ringed by a double line of high canopy trees, while pocket parks and large grassy areas allow for a wide variety of activities, from private picnics to food festivals. A wide glass roof, called the Light Beam, runs the length of the plaza to bring natural light to the underground floors and will be supplemented by solar light pipes. The transit terminal will also house an underground park covered in greenery and illuminated by natural light from the light beam. Related: MVRDV wins bid to design Seoul’s High Line-inspired park “It is a minimalistic, yet incredibly powerful gesture, which marks the presence of a new major integrated public transportation station for the city of Seoul,” write the architects. “Spanning between the two main road of the Gangnam district, Bongeunsaro and Teheranro, the Lightwalk creates a landscape intervention linking the two axis and acts as an orientation mark from all sides. Rooted in the ground, it is the symbol of a renewed Seoul, which aims to become more pedestrian friendly, a landmark for all underground infrastructures worldwide, where users can experience natural light and air, deep into the ground, in the Groundscape.” Construction is expected to begin in 2019 with a tentative completion date in 2023. + Dominique Perrault Architecture Via ArchDaily

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