Reindeer herders in Norway take a wind farm to court

January 21, 2021 by  
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Reindeer herders of the Sámi Indigenous community have moved to a court of appeals in Norway to challenge a proposed wind power project. The Øyfjellet wind farm is one of the largest onshore wind projects in Norway and is expected to help the country move away from traditional fossil fuels. But reindeer herders have maintained that the project will negatively impact their animals and cultural practices by illegally blocking reindeer migration paths. “The Sámi people are not the ones who have contributed the most to climate change, but we seem to be the ones who have to carry its greatest burden,” said Gunn-Britt Retter, the head of the Arctic and environmental unit at the Sámi Council. “That’s not climate justice , that’s climate injustice.” Related: Hydropower demand is damaging Indigenous lands The Sámi community lives in Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia. They traditionally made their living through herding reindeer, and this practice is now protected by law. Only about 10% of the Sámi people still practice reindeer herding full-time in Norway. Even so, herding remains important to the community. Members of the community lament that if wind farms are built on their lands, the turbines will greatly affect the available area for herding the animals . “Studies and Indigenous knowledge show that reindeer don’t go near wind turbines,” said Áslak Holmberg, the vice-chair of the Sámi Council. “These areas are lost from use to the herders.” In September 2020, a court ruled against the reindeer herders, giving the project the green light. The herders have now opted to take the case to the court of appeals, with the hope of stopping the project or having some aspects revised. “From our client’s point of view, it seems that the government will go far to protect the construction of a wind power plant that has been given concession and that this trumps the rights of the Indigenous people,” said Pål Gude Gudesen, the lawyer representing the reindeer herders. Both Tony Christian Tiller, state secretary of the Energy Ministry in Norway, and Eolus, the company behind the proposed wind farm, have said they hope to see that the reindeer and the wind turbines can coexist. But the Sámi community said that both the government and energy companies are not taking Indigenous concerns into account. “It’s a paradox, really,” Retter said. “You are squeezed between the impact of climate change and the impact of green energy , which is the answer to climate change.” Via The Guardian Image via Bo Eide

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Suspended treehouses provide epic views of a fjord in Norway

January 11, 2021 by  
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Just 20 minutes from the town of Odda, through the steep Norwegian hillsides, something magical sits at the edge of the fifth-longest fjord on Earth. Two suspended treehouses are built 5 to 6 meters above the forest floor and fastened with steel collars to the individual trunks of two living pine trees. The treehouses, known collectively as Woodnest, were created by Helen & Hard Architects in response to the topography and conditions of the stunning site for a client who wanted to form a deeper connection with nature. Completed in 2020, each treehouse is connected to the ground via a small timber bridge. Each treehouse measures just 15 square meters and is carefully constructed around the central tree trunk. There are four distinct sleeping areas, a bathroom and an open kitchen and living space as well as breathtaking views across the forest, down to the Hardangerfjord water below and toward the mountains in the distance. Related: Elevated, green-roofed cabin minimizes impact on mountain in Norway According to the architects, the use of timber as a building material is inspired by the Norwegian cultural tradition of using wood in architecture along with the desire to experiment with the material’s potential. Each structure is supported by the tree trunk and a series of glue-laminated timber ribs, while untreated natural timber shingles help create a protective skin around the treehouse. As time progresses, the timber will weather, merging further with the forested surroundings. With sweeping windows that wrap around the entire building and out toward the fjord, the treehouse allows people to slow down and appreciate the true, natural beauty around them without the distractions that come from a contemporary vacation home . In this chic, minimalist treehouse, which is elevated off the just ground enough to feel as though you’ve become one with the forest, we can’t think of a better place to get away from it all. + Helen & Hard Architects Photography by Sindre Ellingsen via Helen & Hard Architects

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Suspended treehouses provide epic views of a fjord in Norway

UN warns that humans will lose their war against nature

December 7, 2020 by  
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Fiction writing students learn about the handful of archetypal plots, including man versus nature . Usually that means something like 127 Hours, where a hiker in Utah gets stuck in a slot canyon, or Life of Pi, where a man and a tiger try to survive being shipwrecked together. But a plot about humans who set out to ruin the water, air, soil and planet that sustained their life would just be stupid, right? But that is exactly what we are doing, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, who issued a statement last Wednesday condemning humanity for waging war against the environment and urging people to change their ways. Related: Biden and Harris gear up for a fight to slow climate change “We are facing a devastating pandemic , new heights of global heating, new lows of ecological degradation and new setbacks in our work towards global goals for more equitable, inclusive and sustainable development,” Guterres said, speaking from Columbia University in New York. “To put it simply, the state of the planet is broken.” In case you need examples, 2020 has provided plenty: Wildfires in California and the Amazon; devastating hurricanes in Central America, the Caribbean and the southern U.S.; soaring temperatures in the Siberian Arctic, which people usually think of as cold; and record-setting temperatures in Death Valley, which most people thought was too hot already. Even Norway had a glacier-melting heatwave. The oceans are getting hotter, and sea ice is melting. Carbon dioxide levels have already rebounded from their early lockdown lows. Against this horrific backdrop, Guterres has outlined three climate priorities: achieve global carbon neutrality by 2050; align global finance with the Paris Agreement’s commitment of limiting global warming to 1.5?C; and focus money and human efforts on developing ways to adapt to the changing climate and increase resilience for future shifts in climate. “Let’s be clear: human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help solve it,” Guterres said. “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere.” Via CNN Image via NOAA

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UN warns that humans will lose their war against nature

The race to mainstream electric vehicles by 2030

December 2, 2020 by  
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The race to mainstream electric vehicles by 2030 Katie Fehrenbacher Wed, 12/02/2020 – 00:30 The world’s leading companies and policymakers are coalescing around setting targets for adopting zero-emission vehicles around a 2030 time frame. The latest — and one of the most aggressive to come from a country leader — was issued a few weeks ago by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who revealed a climate plan that includes banning the sales of new gas-powered vehicles starting in 2030 (some hybrids will be allowed until 2035). The U.K. accelerated its commitment to zero-emission vehicles from 2040 to 2035, and finally to just a decade away. The U.K. isn’t the only one. Denmark set the same goal — phase out new fossil fuel vehicle sales in 2030 — and world-leader Norway plans to make the switch in 2025. A couple months ago, in response to the California wildfires, California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order that similarly called for a ban of new gas car sales, but starting in 2035.  On the corporate front, 2030 is emerging as an appropriately aggressive but achievable goal. The Climate Group’s EV100 program , which has 92 member companies that have pledged to buy EVs and install EV chargers, features the tagline: “Making electric transport the new normal by 2030.” Why is 2030 the year for EVs to become the “new normal”? Technology advances, for one. Electric vehicles will begin to cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts between 2025 and 2029, depending on the vehicle type. The price of lithium-ion batteries, which power most mainstream EVs, has been dropping dramatically the past several years. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) says that between 2010 and 2019, lithium-ion battery pack prices fell 87 percent. In 2019, they dropped 13 percent more.  At that rate, electric vehicles will begin to cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts between 2025 and 2029, depending on the vehicle type; just in time for these targets. Starting in 2030, BNEF predicts that 26 million EVs will be sold annually, representing 28 percent of the world’s new cars sold.  Because of these increasingly attractive battery economics, and increased competition from companies such as Tesla and Rivian, big automakers are accelerating their EV production plans. Pandemic-induced austerity has ed to the world’s largest OEMs opting for EV investments over internal combustion ones. Last month, General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced an accelerated investment in its EV lineup, adding $7 billion from its initial plans announced earlier this year.  Increasing concern over the climate crisis is also driving accelerated goals. Climate scientists urge that the planet only has until 2030 to stem the most catastrophic effects of climate change. The historic wildfires that struck California this year were the catalyst that led to Newsom’s signing the executive order to ban new gas car sales.  Meanwhile, as many policymakers and companies are unifying around a 2030 time frame, others are still looking at a much longer timescale of 2050. While far-out climate goals are better than no climate goals, 2050 is just too far off for zero-emission vehicles. EVs already will have tipped into the mainstream far, far sooner than three decades from now.  If you’re helping your organization set big zero-emission transportation goals, look no later than 2030. Goals to electrify fleets, install EV chargers and charging depots, and end gas car sales, are totally doable — and in fact necessary — over the next decade. Pull Quote Electric vehicles will begin to cost the same as their fossil fuel counterparts between 2025 and 2029, depending on the vehicle type. Topics Transportation & Mobility Policy & Politics Electric Vehicles Featured Column Driving Change Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off Drivers charging their electric car at charging stations near government offices in New Delhi, India. Shutterstock Pradeep Gaurs Close Authorship

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Why investor Green Century has taken an active interest in fighting deforestation

December 2, 2020 by  
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Why investor Green Century has taken an active interest in fighting deforestation Julie Nash Wed, 12/02/2020 – 00:15 Jessye Waxman is a shareholder advocate at Green Century Capital Management, where she uses the environmentally responsible investment firm’s leverage as a shareholder to protect forests. Ceres talked with Waxman about Green Century’s focus on deforestation and its growing importance as a driver of climate change. It comes as deforestation  — and associated greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts — are mounting in many regions of the world. What follows is a lightly edited interview. The discussion is part of Investors Talk Deforestation, a series of interviews with influential investors and partner organizations who supported the development of the Ceres Investor Guide to Deforestation and Climate Change . The guide aims to engage investors on deforestation emissions and other related risks across their portfolios and drive more corporate action on the issue. Julie Nash: Green Century has been engaging companies on deforestation risks for many years. When did this work begin and how has the firm’s strategy evolved over the years? Jessye Waxman: We started working on deforestation in 2012. Initially, we focused on palm oil supply chains and urged companies to adopt no-deforestation policies. Eventually, we adopted a No Deforestation, No Peatland, No Exploitation (NDPE) framework. As we took a more comprehensive perspective of deforestation-related risks, we moved beyond palm oil to work on multiple forest risk commodities. In 2015, we really started focusing on a cross-commodity approach (that year we worked with [Archer Daniels Midland] to adopt a cross-commodity deforestation commitment, which was a first for the grain traders). In addition to continuing to work with new companies to adopt policies, we do a lot of work now to ensure companies update, improve and implement the policies they already adopted. Nash: Why is deforestation an important issue on multiple fronts? Waxman: Green Century is very focused on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues; so our investment strategy and shareholder engagement is driven by the evidence-backed conviction that companies that address ESG risks in their operations and supply chains may perform better in the long run.  Deforestation touches on a lot of the environmental and social issues investors are concerned about. Among other impacts, deforestation drives systemic risks like climate change and biodiversity loss that affect not just companies in agricultural supply chains, but companies throughout portfolios. These two risks, in particular, have long-term impacts, but can best be solved in the near term, making it important for investors to talk to companies about now.  Among other impacts, deforestation drives systemic risks like climate change and biodiversity loss that affect not just companies in agricultural supply chains, but companies throughout portfolios. For example, the Amazon is hugely important for precipitation patterns and food systems, both locally and globally. There’s research showing how deforestation losses in the Amazon can affect agricultural productivity as far away as the American Midwest.  Beyond these issues, deforestation has also been associated with problematic labor practices, ranging from withholding passports of migrant laborers to slave labor and child labor and land conflicts.  Nash: Can you talk about specific successes Green Century has helped achieve? Waxman:  In the past year, we’ve seen encouraging progress from the world’s second-largest meat processor, Tyson Foods, and food service giant Aramark.  After several years of pressure from shareholders, Tyson agreed last fall to undertake a comprehensive deforestation risk assessment focusing on its global supply chain for palm oil, soybeans, beef and timber and paper products. The results of the assessment will drive the company’s development of a Forest Protection Policy. The company still has a long way to go, but this is an important first step. We were also encouraged by Aramark’s commitment to develop and fully implement a no-deforestation policy across its global supply chain, including legal deforestation, by 2025. Nash: You briefly mentioned the greenhouse emissions associated with deforestation. A big ask to companies in recent years has been the setting of science-based targets (SBTs) for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and having those targets approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi). Can you speak to the importance of engaging companies to set a SBT, and why this can be challenging with regards to emissions from deforestation? Waxman:  Science-based targets are a really helpful tool for companies to understand the climate-related impact of their operations and supply chains. But we also need to realize that when you’re talking to a company about how they’re addressing their environmental- and climate-related impacts, setting a science-based target, at this point, certainly doesn’t cover everything. For many companies that use forest risk commodities, an outsized portion of their emissions come from their supply chain and from the emissions released when those commodities are produced. This means that any associated emissions would fall under Scope 3. [Scope 1 emissions are from sources owned or controlled by the company. Scope 2 are emissions released in generating electricity, heating or cooling used by a company. Scope 3 are other indirect emissions from a company’s supply chain. For most companies, emissions from agricultural production, deforestation and conversion fall under Scope 3.]  A lot of companies that should be looking much more closely at their supply chains and upstream impacts may not be required to have a target to reduce those emissions. Currently, SBTi only requires approved targets to include Scope 3 emissions if those emissions are in excess of 40 percent of the company’s total emissions. Beyond that, as of now, SBTi doesn’t have a methodology for measuring emissions associated with deforestation and land-use change in its supply chains, so the vast majority of companies that have set science-based targets are failing to include a significant part of their emissions in their goal setting. In other words, a lot of companies that should be looking much more closely at their supply chains and upstream impacts may not be required to have a target to reduce those emissions, and may therefore be less motivated to address their suppliers’ exposure to deforestation and other agricultural practices. Nash: Do you think the way investors are thinking about issues like deforestation and climate change is evolving? Waxman:  There’s certainly a growing awareness among investors about deforestation as a climate risk. In the past, agriculture’s role in driving climate change has often been overlooked, with a lot of the focus being on the energy and transportation sectors. But, as the new Ceres Guide clearly illustrates, a firm can’t say that it is comprehensively addressing climate risk if it’s not also addressing agriculture and deforestation. A recent shareholder vote at Procter & Gamble (P&G) suggests that not only is awareness growing among investors, but investors might finally engage on the issue. The shareholder resolution on deforestation and forest degradation that Green Century filed with P&G received the support of 67 percent of the votes cast at its annual meeting. This is almost three times what other deforestation resolutions have averaged over the last few years, so I’m hopeful this might signal a turning point for how the financial community approaches forest-related risks.  Nash: Related to Scope 3 emissions and supply chains, are smallholder producers something you’re focusing more attention on? Waxman: Yes. The smallholder conversation is especially relevant in palm oil supply chains where considerable supplies — as much as 40 percent  — are coming from farmers who own small amounts of land. As market expectations regarding sustainability have shifted, many larger producers have started to improve some of their practices to meet these heightened expectations. Subsequently, smallholders are becoming bigger drivers, proportionately, of deforestation in the palm oil supply chain. Both from an ecological perspective and sustainable development perspective, working to incorporate smallholders into sustainable supply chains is really important. In part due to increasing pressure from investors and other stakeholders, we’ve seen more companies working directly with smallholders, including efforts to get groups of smallholders certified by the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Kellogg’s is one such company that is helping thousands of smallholder farmers, many of them women and many of them palm oil growers in Malaysia and Indonesia, on these kinds of issues.  Nash: Are there other ways that investors should be thinking about deforestation risks that we have missed? Waxman: It’s important for investors to recognize that deforestation, like climate change, poses risks at both the company-specific and portfolio level.  Climate change and its associated physical and transition risks may affect every industry and every company. Similarly, deforestation also creates portfolio-level risks, in part because of its large contribution to climate change, but also because of its impacts on global agriculture and biodiversity.  When we talk to companies about risks in their supply chains, the solutions need to not only address the risks to the companies but also help advance systemic change. Removing deforestation out of one company’s supply chain only to have it appear in a different company’s supply chain doesn’t help the problem. As long as deforestation is still occurring, the risks to companies, industries, investors and the environment persist. The good news is that because many people have been working on deforestation for a long time, there are best practices out there, such as those outlined in Part 5 of the Ceres Guide, that are recognized as helping to comprehensively mitigate risks from deforestation. As investors engage with companies, they should look not just at how a company is managing these risks at a high level, but whether it is implementing recognized best practices that help advance systemic changes in their industry. Pull Quote Among other impacts, deforestation drives systemic risks like climate change and biodiversity loss that affect not just companies in agricultural supply chains, but companies throughout portfolios. A lot of companies that should be looking much more closely at their supply chains and upstream impacts may not be required to have a target to reduce those emissions. Topics Corporate Strategy Finance & Investing Deforestation Ceres Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A palm oil plantation in Southeast Asia. Shutterstock Rich Carey Close Authorship

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Why investor Green Century has taken an active interest in fighting deforestation

Fram Museum extension is dedicated to environmental education

November 25, 2020 by  
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Norway- and Denmark-based architecture firm Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter has won an invited competition for the new extension of the Fram Museum, a museum in Oslo dedicated to the stories of Norwegian polar exploration. Dubbed Framtid — Norwegian for ‘future’ — the museum extension stands out from its sharply angular neighbors with its church bell-shaped gable and fully glazed end wall that allows views into the building and out toward the water. The timber-framed building will also be engineered with environmentally friendly considerations as part of the firm’s vision “that architecture exemplifies how we care for our environment.” Inaugurated in 1936, the Fram Museum was primarily built to honor the three great Norwegian polar explorers — Fridtjof Nansen, Otto Sverdrup and Roald Amundsen — and is named after the original wooden exploration vessel Fram that sits at the heart of the museum . Although the new curved extension will be visually distinct from the museum’s A-frame buildings, the modern structure will also take cues from the existing layout with its long form set perpendicular to the water. Related: RRA unveils mountain-inspired ski resort that emphasizes nature and community The new Framtid wing will expand the footprint of the museum with gathering spaces, exhibition spaces, a café with an exterior amphitheater and an auditorium. The light-filled café and gathering spaces will be located at the north side of the building for optimal views of the water and easy access to the boat shuttle. The shore, which is currently private, will be made publicly accessible with these new spaces. Framtid’s exhibition spaces will be placed farther back into the building and be equipped with full light controls to create sensory experiences; passageways connect the new exhibition spaces to the museum’s other three wings. “An important aspect of polar expeditions was research on climate and the environment,” the architects noted. “Like the crews of Fram, Gjøa and Maud, the museum’s guests will be inspired to seek knowledge on environmental education in regard to current climate change and sustainable solutions.” + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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How the digital wave is contributing to the rise of sustainable fisheries

November 12, 2020 by  
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How the digital wave is contributing to the rise of sustainable fisheries Myisha Majumder Thu, 11/12/2020 – 02:03 World fish consumption has almost doubled between the 1960s and now, and some estimates suggest fish contributes to at least 50 percent of total animal protein intake in developing nations. Despite higher demand for seafood and fish, world reserves have not kept up, and aquaculture is becoming more common as a result. Aquaculture uses techniques of breeding marine species in all types of water environments as a means to supplement seafood demand. The practice comes with many advantages, including reducing the dependence on wild-caught species, but also raises environmental concerns, which some industry experts are trying to address with up-and-coming technologies such as analytics, blockchain, artificial intelligence and the internet of things. Jennifer Kemmerly, vice president of global ocean initiatives at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, said a focus on sustainability is necessary in the field, as 3 billion people rely on seafood, and 60 million people rely on the seafood industry for their livelihood. But this demand comes with noticeable problems, Kemmerly observed during a breakout session during VERGE 20 in late October. “There’s a lot of overfishing, or depleted fish stocks on the wild side of capture fisheries. There is illegality and mismanagement traceability back to the source of where the seafood is coming from, even whether it is farmed or wild… There are environmental issues and concerns that need to be dealt with,” she said. Kristina Furnes, global communications manager for Grieg Seafood, an international seafood company in Norway, British Columbia and Shetland specializing in fresh Atlantic salmon, said fish farming is complex. “It actually takes between 2.5 to three years to farm salmon, [which is] quite a long production period compared to, for example, chicken, which maybe takes like one or two months,” she said. Part of this farming process occurs in freshwater facilities on land and the other part occurs at sea. The process becomes even more complex with the introduction of sustainable practices, as fisheries strive to reduce impact on nature and improve fish welfare. “We have to cut carbon emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, and we have to find new ways to think more in line with the circular economy,” Furnes said. Data and digital technologies can play a big role in helping out the process, said Furnes and her fellow VERGE 20 panelists. At Grieg Seafood, data analytics are being used to reduce the company’s feed conversion ratio, typically the amount of feed given over the amount of weight gained by the livestock, she said. One operational center can support all the different farms in that region, and with them, decision-making support as we call it, so we don’t think that digital tools will ever replace the fantastic guys on the farm. Although technological advances can assist in making fishery practices more sustainable, Furnes emphasized the importance of long histories of fishing communities. She believes that well-established farmers who have “grown up with the ocean” have had the experience-based learning crucial for decision-making. Furnes does not see technology as a way to replace humans in the process, but rather to assist, through the creation of operational centers in the Grieg Seafood infrastructure. “One operational center can support all the different farms in that region, and with them, decision-making support as we call it, so we don’t think that digital tools will ever replace the fantastic guys on the farm. But the idea is that it will help them to make better decisions,” she said. Among the sources of information Grieg uses to inform decisions include sensors and cameras to gather environmental data and monitor equipment on the farms. Another area where data analytics can be used to help fisheries is through early detection of potential damages. Furnes offered the example of harmful algae blooms that can damage the salmon by decreasing levels of oxygen. In Grieg Seafood’s British Columbia center, the company uses machine learning models to predict the probability of algae blooms. If the model warns of such an event, the company puts into place protective barriers through use of upwelling systems, which is simply taking water from further down in the ocean and increasing the overall height. Blockchain also could play a role in supporting the sustainable evolution of aquaculture, said Espen Braathe, head of blockchain transparency efforts in Europe for IBM, who believes IBM’s preexisting blockchain network for the food market in Europe can be implemented in some way. Braathe said data analytics about the condition of fish farms is appealing to consumers as well. “We expect information to be at our fingertips and we expect to have the truth about food… You want to feel good about you know the food that we eat, and we want to make sure it’s healthy right for us as well,” he said. In Braathe’s opinion, consumers are looking for the connection that once ago existed between the consumer and the farmer. It is possible to recreate this relationship through digital connections, he said. Although it is clear that usage of data can benefit the sustainability of fisheries, the industry will need to overcome certain barriers, according to the panelists. “The data is there, it resides in silos, but the quality of the data is not always to the point where you can actually use it [for analytics],” Braathe said. Furnes echoed this statement, and said some sort of streamlining across the industry and within individual companies is necessary to efficiently use the large amounts of data gathered. “There is a need for a standard in the industry on how you actually collect data… Ensuring that you actually have quality data that you are collecting that you can actually use for something and compare is really big,” she said. Adopting such practices hopefully will come with time, as global consumption of seafood likely will continue to rise and have an impact on the surrounding climate and environment. Kemmerly sees great potential in the role of technology in the solutions. “The challenges are not insurmountable. Technology has proven it can play a powerful role in enabling the sustainability and improved management of both fisheries and aquaculture,” she said. Pull Quote One operational center can support all the different farms in that region, and with them, decision-making support as we call it, so we don’t think that digital tools will ever replace the fantastic guys on the farm. Topics Oceans & Fisheries VERGE 20 Digitalization Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off

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Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

September 28, 2020 by  
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An old logistics port and ferry terminal in Bergen, Norway has been reimagined into an inspiring zero-emission district where nature-based climate adaptation, a community-based sharing economy and renewable building materials will take center stage. Copenhagen-based architecture studio Tredje Natur (Third Nature) is the mastermind behind this grand vision, a 40-hectare mixed-use development known as the future Dokken. The design follows principles of a regenerative city, from the emphasis on public transportation and pedestrian-friendly spaces over car-oriented transit to the inclusion of low-carbon construction strategies, such as adaptive reuse and building with renewable and reusable materials. Developed for the Bergen Municipality in close collaboration with Entasis, Matter by Prix and MOE, the future Dokken regenerative city concept seeks to fulfill the goals of the Paris Agreement . Located along the water, Dokken is continually being expanded upon with surplus materials, such as granite rubble, from infrastructural works around the city. The architects aim to better connect the area’s enlarged footprint with two primary elements: a new urban “allmenning,” a climate streetscape that builds on Bergen’s existing urban fabric with unique public spaces, and an all-encompassing, nature-based loop that would create a new 4.5-kilometer coastline. The coastline would introduce a massive, publicly accessible green space connected to the natural harbor-front. Related: Futuristic eco-city powered with renewable energy is unveiled for the Maldives To inject new life into the area, the first phase of the Dokken development would include The Sea Quarter, which comprises the Institute for Marine Research, the Directorate of Fisheries and the new Bergen Aquarium housed within the old Harbor Warehouse; The Sugarhouse Square, a new public space; and Under the Bridge, a place for experimental urban interventions and grass-roots initiatives located under the Puddefjord Bridge. New housing would be built of renewable and reusable materials, while car parking would be tucked underground to create a pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly area with close access to light rail. In total, the urban development encompasses 535,000 square meters of mixed-use, cultural and civic buildings.  “Creating a regenerative city is about integrating sustainability into all the discrete parts if the city, great or small,” the architects said. “In a sustainable future, everything — from our everyday consumer habits to the total ecological footprint of the city — must work together in circular processes, which won’t destroy our nature and climate. The sustainable city must correct the sins of the past by recreating lost narratives and reuniting separate areas and processes — and, in the case of Dokken, by creating new connections and reuniting Bergen with the water.” + Tredje Natur Images via Tredje Natur

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Third Nature imagines a zero-emission regenerative city district in Bergen

Going plastic neutral: Footprints, credits and offsets

September 14, 2020 by  
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Going plastic neutral: Footprints, credits and offsets What does it mean for companies to go “plastic neutral” and what will it take to scale, track and standardize effective plastic-offsetting infrastructure? From Norway to Microsoft, companies and countries alike have been making headlines with sweeping commitments to go carbon neutral. But what about going “plastic neutral”? Much like carbon neutrality, its plastics counterpart will require a significant reduction of outputs. But as companies work to shift supply chains and develop infrastructure to achieve ambitious plastics-reduction goals, offsets could offer a near-term approach to lightening a company’s plastic footprint. From tools to calculate plastic footprints, to a standardized system for plastics credits, to on-the-ground projects and partnerships with informal waste workers, several organizations are developing critical elements of an effective and impact-oriented plastic-offsetting system. Learn how these trailblazers are partnering to establish a market for plastic waste, and how your company can support their efforts while advancing your plastic reduction or neutrality goals. Speakers Kristin Hughes, Director, Global Plastic Action Partnership, Member of the Executive Commit, World Economic Forum Svanika Balasubramanian, Co-Founder & CEO, rePurpose Julianne Baroody, Director, Standards Development, Verra Nick McCulloch, Senior Manager, Sustainability, Rubicon Global Holly Secon Mon, 09/14/2020 – 11:23 Featured Off

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Painting wind turbines may reduce bird collisions and deaths

August 27, 2020 by  
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A new study published in the journal Ecology and Evolution shows that painting one blade on a wind turbine black may reduce bird deaths at wind farms by up to 70%. For a long time, organizations, such as the Royal Society For The Protection of Birds (RSPB), have been championing for more care when it comes to setting up wind power plants to avoid the deaths of birds through collisions. This study could reveal a simple solution. Although wind farms provide one of the cleanest sources of energy , they are tainted by the effects of the turbines on birds. It is common for birds to collide with the turbines and die on the spot. The study now shows that if the blades of turbines are painted black, the rate of accidents could greatly decrease. The study was conducted off the coast of Norway; the location is home to the Smøla plant, where six to nine white-tailed eagles are killed annually. Related: US and Canada in drastic crisis with 3 billion birds lost since 1970 According to Roel May, researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Nature Research and one of the authors of the study, wind power negatively impacts wild bird populations. “Collision of birds, especially raptors, is one of the main environmental concerns related to wind energy development,” May said. The main purpose of the study was to find out if there are any mitigating measures that could reduce the collisions. The researchers found that if one of the main rotor blades is painted black, it reduces the motion smear, making the blades visible to birds when they are in motion. While the findings are promising, the study authors warn that more research still has to be done. The new study provides a platform for more studies to explore the possibility of reducing bird deaths at renewable energy plants. “Although we found a significant drop in bird collision rates, its efficacy may well be site- and species-specific,” May explained. “At the moment there exists interest to carry out tests in the Netherlands and in South Africa.” Further studies will need to be carried out in diverse locations to determine the viability of such a move in different areas and on specific bird species. Members of RSPB are also championing for establishing wind power farms in safer locations, where there are no large populations of birds. + Ecology and Evolution Via BBC Image via Matthias Böckel

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