3 takeaways from that failed Amazon employee shareholder resolution on the climate crisis

May 24, 2019 by  
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This issue isn’t going away for the e-commerce giant — and other industry leaders should consider themselves on notice.

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3 takeaways from that failed Amazon employee shareholder resolution on the climate crisis

The hidden relationship between the plastics industry and fracking in the US

May 24, 2019 by  
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Plastic production runs on natural gas — and both pose dangers to the public.

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The hidden relationship between the plastics industry and fracking in the US

Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

April 16, 2019 by  
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New research shows that European diets are linked to deforestation  in tropical countries. Scientists from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology tracked carbon emissions that are produced from tropical deforestation and found that one-sixth of the harmful emissions are related to European diets. “In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year,” lead researcher Martin Persson shared. Related: Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa Persson noted that the European Union needs to address the issue of deforestation if it wants to meet previously announced climate goals. The study showed that deforestation contributed around 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide over a four-year span, from 2010 to 2014. Most of the cleared land was used for crops and pastures, with cattle and oilseed farming leading the way in production. A good portion of the deforestation was driven by international demand. The researchers estimated that anywhere between 29 to 39 percent of the carbon emissions could be traced to trade, which is directly linked to consumption in several EU nations. Fortunately, some countries in the EU are cracking down on imports tied to deforestation. France, for example, initiated a plan to discourage such imports over the next 10 years. Investors have also issued warnings to companies that produce soy, criticizing them for participating in deforestation for the sake of making money. Although some countries are fighting back, Persson and his team do not believe the efforts will stop companies from clearing land. Part of the issue is that there are few regulations that actually prevent countries from importing products that are linked to deforestation. Persson also believes that nations should provide better support for local farmers who are practicing sustainability . Moving forward, Persson hopes more studies will be done that expand on his work and show stronger links between imported products and deforestation. With more data to support their conclusions, Persson believes that countries can work together to put an end to deforestation before it is too late. The study will be published in the journal Global Environmental Change in May 2019. Via Mongabay Image via Shutterstock

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Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

MAD Architects unveils an organic skyscraper piercing Manhattans skyline

April 16, 2019 by  
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Beijing-based architectural studio MAD Architects has unveiled an alternative vision for the skyline of New York City with the introduction of East 34th, a nature-inspired high-rise proposed near the Empire State Building. The conceptual renderings for the glass-clad building were recently released alongside the launch of the “MAD X” exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Designed as a visual counterpoint to the Empire State Building and the skyline’s hard lines, MAD’s sinuous skyscraper is “planted like a seed” and takes cues from living architecture. Conceived as a mixed-use building, East 34th is envisioned for a 5,231-square-foot site and spans nearly 120,000 square feet of floor space with a building height of 761 feet, about half the height of the Empire State Building. The high-rise would include a commercial podium at street level with retail and public amenities, while luxury residences with double-height communal spaces occupy the upper floors. In keeping with MAD Architects’ philosophy of bringing nature into all aspects of architecture, East 34th would also include a spacious multi-floor atrium with an expansive green wall as an “escape into nature” from the concrete jungle. “Located adjacent to the ‘Empire State Building’ — which held the title of the world’s tallest building for almost 40 years — ‘East 34th’ is planted like a seed, sprouting within the grid, rising with a soft, undulating surface that suggests a more organic, living architecture,” the architects explained in a press release. “Thus, the design opposes the traditional towers that demonstrate the cultural impact of power and capital in our cities. Defying the stacked floor plates and authority of a bygone industrial era that has come to characterize the city’s horizon, ‘East 34th’ softens the hard skyline and introduces a dialogue between New York’s modernist landscape and nature.” Related: MAD Architects’ curvaceous Himalayas Center nears completion in Nanjing Wrapped in a deep-colored glass curtain-wall facade, the slender and sinuous skyscraper is topped with a rounded cap. The model of East 34th is one of 12 architectural models created by MAD Architects currently exhibited at Centre Pompidou in Paris. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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MAD Architects unveils an organic skyscraper piercing Manhattans skyline

Architects create light-filled home extension clad in cork walls inside and out

April 16, 2019 by  
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London-based firm, Nimtim Architects have unveiled a beautiful and unique home extension to a family’s modest Victorian home located south of the city. Working closely with the home owners, the architects created a rear extension that is almost entirely clad in cork. Blending in nicely with the existing home’s brickwork on the exterior, the unique cork cladding provides a strong insulation while on the interior, the cork absorbs noise, is breathable, free from harmful materials and completely recyclable. The architects designed the building in complete collaboration with the family who were looking for additional living space. To create a seamless connection between the existing structure and the new extension, the designers created a simple box-like structure with a pitched roof and an extra large pivot door that frames an uninterrupted view of the garden. Subtle in its volume, the design managed to be both practical, sustainable and slightly whimsical– thanks to its interior and exterior cork cladding . Related: Two energy-efficient cork homes are elevated off the landscape in northern Spain Sustainable, chemical-free and recyclable, cork is a practical building material in that it is also naturally water resistant, something important in this particular design considering London’s wet climate. Additionally beneficial, cork naturally absorbs sound and is also thermally efficient, meaning that no additional insulation was necessary. In addition to its sustainable qualities , using cork allowed the new building to find its place without overshadowing the existing home. Project runner Allie Mackinnon told Dezeen , “The form is a playful response to the roof, openings and levels of the existing house. The materials were also chosen to respond to the existing house as a subtle counterpoint to the original brickwork. The pitched elevation needed a consistent material and the cork provided an unbroken, textured surface.” On the interior of the new building, the space is flooded with natural light , from the large windows to series of skylights on the roof. A two-level structure, the kitchen holds court on the top floor over an ample dining space and informal seating area. Throughout the space, dark cork walls contrast with the all white ceiling to create a modern, fresh aesthetic. + Nimtim Architects Via Dezeen Photography by Megan Taylor

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Architects create light-filled home extension clad in cork walls inside and out

The global VP of sustainability at Mars, Inc., Kevin Rabinovitch, on launching a renewable thermal project

November 6, 2018 by  
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A third of global energy demand is coming from heating and cooling, and often, renewable energy initiatives are only addressing electricity use rather than total energy use.That’s not the case for Mars, Inc., as Kevin Rabinovitch, the global vice president of sustainability, explained. When Mars, Inc. helped launch the Renewable Thermal Connective to address the issue, corporates and municipalities jumped on board, but as renewable electricity has grown, renewable thermal progress has been a bit slow. 

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The global VP of sustainability at Mars, Inc., Kevin Rabinovitch, on launching a renewable thermal project

Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of

January 31, 2017 by  
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Scott Pruitt should send a shiver down your spine, even if your idea of environmentalism is reusing the same cup for your soda refill. At his confirmation hearing for head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency a week and a half ago, Pruitt was unable to name even a single EPA regulation he supported. It showed a breathtaking, if perhaps unsurprising, amount of contempt for not only one of the nation’s most vital offices but also the very post he aspires to hold. During his tenure attorney general of oil- and gas-fueled Oklahoma, Pruitt sued the agency 14 times for anti-pollution regulations that he said were “inconsistent with its constitutional and statutory authority.” Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group , said that Pruitt could be the “most hostile EPA administrator toward clean air and safe drinking water in history.” When Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee asked Pruitt to name “one Clean Air Act regulation—not a voluntary or grant program—on the books today” that he approved of, Pruitt hedged. “I firmly believe that the EPA plays an important role, especially as it relates to cross-state air and water pollution, but EPA must do so within the bounds of its legal authority as provided by Congress,” he said. “Regulations that are not on solid legal foundation and that cannot survive judicial review will not result in environmental protections.” While Pruitt disagreed with President Donald Trump’s assertion that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese government, he stopped short of declaring that human activity was to blame. “I do not believe that climate change is a hoax,” Pruitt told Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) at the hearing. Later, when pressed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to explain his position, Pruitt demurred by calling the issue “subject to continuing debate and dialogue.” In response to a query about whether “removing lead from gasoline was an important and successful EPA rulemaking,” Pruitt tersely said that he had “not evaluated this issue.” Lead cast a particularly large shadow at the hearing. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) asked Pruitt if he believed there was any safe level of lead in the human body, particularly for children and adolescents. “That’s something I have not reviewed nor know about,” Pruitt replied. “I would be very concerned about any level of lead going into the drinking water or obviously human consumption, but I’ve not looked at the scientific research on that.” Related: Trump’s EPA pick put industries before federal environmental policies According to EPA there is “no safe level of exposure to lead,” although an extremely small amount is allowed in pipes and plumbing fixtures. Equally alarming, Pruitt dodged senators’ questions about his ties with energy companies and other potential conflicts of interest by directing them to file open-records requests not once but 18 times. “Pruitt’s directive to senators to file Oklahoma open records requests is the political equivalent of saying ‘go pound sand,'” John Walke, Clean Air director at the Natural Resources Defense Council , said on Thursday. Suffice to say, none of this went down well with the committee. In a follow-up letter , Sanders, Markey, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) took Pruitt to task for what they dubbed his “troubling evasions.” In addition to calling out Pruitt’s murky public reporting of any political and legal conflicts of interest he may have as EPA administrator, not to mention his history of undermining environmental protections, the senators also condemned his “erroneous statements concerning well-established science.” “You did not know there is a safe level of lead in the human body,” they said. “You refused to repudiate statements you made that question the health impacts of mercury pollution. You refused to acknowledge that carbon pollution from human activities is widely recognized as the largest drive of climate change. These statements raise significant questions about whether instead of embracing science, you will be embracing ‘alternative facts.'” Perhaps most tellingly of all, Charles and David Koch , a.k.a. the Koch Brothers , are backing Pruitt’s power grab. Prognosis? Good for polluters, bad for everyone else.

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Scott Pruitt can’t name a single EPA regulation he approves of

Imagine a future where you can literally buy a piece of celebrity skin

March 12, 2016 by  
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Technology is advancing faster than we can answer the moral questions being raised. Take, for instance, the L’Oreal labs, which grow enough human skin in the lab each year to cover an entire cow. Tina Gorjanc wanted to critique bring attention to the issue with her shocking “Pure Human” project, which asks, where do we draw the line when it comes to tissue-engineering technology? And would you want to live in a world where you could buy a piece of Nicole Kidman’s skin?  READ MORE>

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Imagine a future where you can literally buy a piece of celebrity skin

Earth911TV: What NOT to Put in the Blue Bin

September 24, 2015 by  
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Did you know that when you put the wrong material in the wrong recycling bin, it can literally ruin the entire batch at the recycling center? In some cases, it can shut down the plant until a repairman can fix the issue. That’s because each…

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Earth911TV: What NOT to Put in the Blue Bin

Why are CEOs struggling to prove sustainability value to investors?

December 4, 2013 by  
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A new study reveals mounting challenges in quantifying the impact of green initiatives. But there are ways to overcome the issue.

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Why are CEOs struggling to prove sustainability value to investors?

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