Rio Olympics Goes For Gold In Sustainability

August 8, 2016 by  
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The Olympics are officially upon us. The medal race is on. No matter the location, putting this mega-event on is an exercise in logistics and resources.  As such, many question the general sustainability of the Olympics. You don’t think that the…

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Rio Olympics Goes For Gold In Sustainability

Winning Montreal Biodme renovation deepens visitor connection to fauna and flora

August 3, 2016 by  
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The Biodôme is part of a series of museum pavilions collectively named ‘Space for Life’ located within the Olympic Park in the East side of Montreal . Its redesign, initiated as part of a city-wide renewal plan to celebrate Montreal’s 375th birthday, is based on the idea of deepening visitor experience of the animal and plant species clustered in four ecosystems : Tropical Rainforest, the Laurentian Maple Forest, the Gulf of St Lawrence, and the Sub-Polar Regions (Arctic and Antarctic). Related: Extraordinary butterfly pavilion shelters its own artificial rainforest ecosystem The new revitalization strategy will result in reorganized spaces that make better use of the structure’s height and better focus visitor’s educational experience. A skin-like envelope will wrap around the existing building, utilizing residual spaces and offering a high level of flexibility, while new rest areas and amenities will further enhance time spent there. The Biodôme will close in September, 2016 for the construction process. + KANVA + NEUF architect(e)s Via v2com Images by KANVA

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Winning Montreal Biodme renovation deepens visitor connection to fauna and flora

United Nations climate change cover up sets off alarm bells

August 3, 2016 by  
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It should come as no surprise that Australia is feeling the effects of climate change as much as the rest of the world, but the United Nations doesn’t want people to know about it. A UNESCO report on the impact of global warming on world heritage sites suspiciously failed to mention Australia, even though an earlier version of the report did. Heavily redacted emails between the agency and the country’s government indicate a cover up . The Guardian reported on UNESCO’s report, which came from a partnership with the United Nations Environmental Programme and the Union of Concerned Scientists . An earlier version contained scientific information about Australia’s multiple sites impacted by climate change, including The Great Barrier Reef . No mention of the continent was in the final release, including mentions scrubbed from the introduction. Related: More than one-third of the coral is dead in parts of Great Barrier Reef Emails sent between UNESCO and Australian government agencies, acquired under freedom of information, are heavily redacted, as revealed by Climate Home . These suspicious communications aren’t sitting well with Australian Climate Council member William Steffen, who peer reviewed the missing sections on The Great Barrier Reef. He told The Guardian , “One would assume they would report on the science – you can do what you want with the science once it’s reported. But what gets us really concerned is when we see the science itself suppressed. That starts ringing alarm bells in scientist’s minds. That’s something that shouldn’t be happening in a western democracy.” Via  The Guardian Images via  Wikimedia , Pixabay

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United Nations climate change cover up sets off alarm bells

Airbnb takes on urban planning with communal housing project in Japan

August 3, 2016 by  
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Just about everyone knows Airbnb is a great resource for finding temporary places to live—for a night, a weekend, or a little longer. Now, the hospitality company is taking on a new challenge : design spaces that will become enduring fixtures of their communities for years to come. Beginning in Japan, Airbnb’s new division Samara will create a communal housing project in one small town as a model for future community projects in other areas of the world. The first project is intended to revitalize the town’s struggling economy by encouraging tourism in places most tourists don’t think to go. The project comprises a community center where travelers can also stay, creating a space for locals and visitors to interact while bringing in revenue at the same time. Japanese architect Go Hasegawa was tapped to design the project in the sleepy town of Yoshino, in the Nara prefecture. There, local craftsmen and abundant local building materials made it possible, if not easy, to create a new building that seamlessly integrates with the existing community. Related: Now you can rent a room in Japan’s Nakagin Capsule Tower via Airbnb The building features a communal living room on the ground floor, as well as a kitchen and a 16-foot-long dining table to encourage socialization. Guest rooms are located on the second floor. “Imagine it’s lunch time and you’re eating and at the end of the table there’s a community meeting taking place,” Airbnb co-founder and Chief Product Officer Joe Gebbia told Fast Company. “I picture Western guests walking up, stepping inside, and you’re interacting with the community from the minute you arrive. If you want to tour the sake factory, or the chopstick factory, or take a hike, the locals are right there.” Because Japanese culture already incorporates community centers and the government has goals to build more of them, Airbnb believes locals will embrace the concept—especially once they begin to realize the financial benefits. The debut project in Yoshino went even more smoothly than planners could have hoped for, since the town donated the land and local craftsmen contributed resources and labor to bring the community center into reality. The effort might not be as simple in other locations, but project leaders are hopeful they will find other small towns with residents eager to take their economy into their own hands. Where will Airbnb’s Samara build its next project? It could be almost anywhere. Since the project in Japan began, Gebbia said, “We’ve gotten calls from people in the U.K., China, Korea, Spain, France, and Italy, all with the same problem.” Via Fast Company Images via Edward Caruso Photography

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Airbnb takes on urban planning with communal housing project in Japan

Experts to Rio Olympic athletes: Don’t put your head underwater

August 2, 2016 by  
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This Friday marks the opening ceremony for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro , but what the athletes and onlookers may not know is just how dangerous and filthy the city’s surrounding water has become. A 16-month study by the Associated Press found water samples so badly contaminated that biomedical experts are advising Olympians: “don’t put your head underwater.” Ingesting just three teaspoons of the water could make someone violently ill and, in rare cases, lead to heart and brain inflammation. Raw sewage can be seen floating on Rio’s waters – and it’s absolutely teeming with bacteria and viruses that put the public at risk. The AP took adenovirus readings at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon, where rowing events will take place. While adenovirus numbers in the thousands per liter would send a state like California into damage control mode, the Lagoon’s 248 million viruses per liter is making scientists’ heads spin. Even more shocking is the 1.7 billion viruses per liter that were collected in June of last year. Attempts to prevent raw sewage from reaching Gloria Marina were futile, as the numbers grew from 26 million per liter to 37 million in a little over a year. The situation is so bad that even the sand on beaches is contaminated. Related: Anti-microbial suits will protect athletes from bacteria at the Rio Olympics Some Olympic athletes have started taking antibiotics in preparation for the games, but this won’t protect them from viruses. Also, tourists who aren’t used to such high levels of pollution are at high risk from spending even one afternoon at the beach. The local Olympics organizing committee spokesperson says athlete health is their “ first priority ,” yet the last year has shown the city has not done enough to make its beaches and waterways safe. Mario Moscatelli, a biologist who has flown a helicopter over the area monthly for 20 years stated, “The Guanabara Bay has been transformed into a latrine.” Via Yahoo! Sports Images via Wikimedia 1, 2 , Wikipedia

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Experts to Rio Olympic athletes: Don’t put your head underwater

INFOGRAPHIC: The real environmental impact of the 2016 Rio Olympics

July 27, 2016 by  
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The 2016 Olympics in Rio will begin in just over a week and despite several ongoing catastrophes , the games will go on. In light of this monumental event, we thought we’d take a closer look at its environmental impact and the solutions in place. Check out this thought-provoking infographic from Green Match for an inside look. Graphic via Green Match

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INFOGRAPHIC: The real environmental impact of the 2016 Rio Olympics

Rio Olympic Village with exposed wires and blocked plumbing is unfit housing, delegates complain

July 27, 2016 by  
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The preparations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the upcoming Summer Olympic Games have been anything but smooth . The city has suffered a financial crisis and a police strike, contributing to major setbacks in the enormous construction project of the Olympic Village. With less than two weeks remaining before the opening ceremonies, the 31-building complex opened Sunday to welcome athletes from Australia, but the Olympic hopefuls found the conditions unfit for occupancy, with exposed wires and blocked plumbing among the many complaints. Rio’s Olympic Village is comprised of 31 separate 17-story towers, and more than half of the buildings have yet to pass safety inspections. When the Australian Olympic delegates arrived on Sunday, they were rather displeased with the first impression of their accommodations. “We felt that our building was not safe, because of a combination of plumbing and electrical issues,” the Australian Chef de Mission Kitty Chiller told the press. The group refused to take up residence in the Olympic Village, opting to stay in hotels until the problems are resolved to their satisfaction. Related: Body parts wash up on Rio beach just weeks before the Olympics The Olympic athletes from Argentina have also checked out and refused to move into the village, citing many of the same concerns. “While the apartments look finished outside, and even inside, when we started testing them, we found some problems that have to do with plumbing and electricity,” said Gerardo Werthein, president of the Argentine Olympic Committee. With the Summer Games set to kick off August 5, Rio de Janeiro officials have little time to remedy the problems, but they aren’t giving up. Luckily, they have some help. The Italian National Olympic Committee has actually hired its own electricians, plumbers and masons to finish repairs on the Olympic Village building designated for their use. It’s clear nobody wants to take any chances, given the series of challenges Rio has already faced in the weeks leading up to the opening ceremonies. Via CNN Images via Rio 2016

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Rio Olympic Village with exposed wires and blocked plumbing is unfit housing, delegates complain

Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

July 26, 2016 by  
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Who would even want to win a gold medal when you could have a golden electric car? Some gold medal winners at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games hosted in Brazil will also take home a special prize from Nissan : a shiny gold Leaf EV . The gilded electric cars will be offered to any of the 16 athletes sponsored by the automaker’s British office, provided they earn a gold medal in their sport first. At the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro starting in just a few weeks, Nissan is already providing a fleet of 4,200 vehicles , including the Leaf and the new SUV model Kicks . Once the games begin, scores of athletes from around the world will compete for a shot at the gold, silver, or bronze medals traditionally awarded at the Olympics. Nissan’s British office is sponsoring ten Olympic and six Paralympic athletes in this summer’s games, and hopes the added allure of a shiny gold electric car will be enough to help them bring home the gold (medal, that is). The car is subtly emblazoned (if that’s a thing) with the words “Rio 2016 Gold Medalist” on the hood, both sides, and the rear bumper, so that passersby from every angle will know who is at the wheel. Related: New 2016 Nissan Leaf can travel up to 107 miles on a single charge The Leaf EV is Nissan’s answer to the affordable electric car. First introduced in 2010, the Leaf quickly became the world’s all-time best selling highway-capable all-electric car. As of April of this year, nearly 220,000 Leafs have been sold worldwide, and it’s no wonder. The EV has an impressive 107-mile range and an MSRP under $30,000. Combined with federal and state tax credits, the Nissan Leaf represents a great deal on a zero emissions vehicle. Via Carscoops Images via Nissan

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Nissan is gifting gilded Leaf EVs to winning Olympic Athletes

Dangerous super bacteria found in Rio waters before Summer Olympics

July 2, 2016 by  
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Two new academic studies shared with Reuters news show that scientists have found drug-resistant “super bacteria” off Rio de Janeiro beaches – some of which will be hosting Olympic events in August. These deadly microbes, normally only found in hospital settings, have been turning up in the waters near some of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. Though city officials are blaming illegal dumping for the contamination, it more likely has something to do with the fact that Rio pumps literal tons of raw sewage into the ocean with only minimal treatment for safety.

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Dangerous super bacteria found in Rio waters before Summer Olympics

Body parts, police protests, and financial strain plague Rio just weeks before Olympics

July 1, 2016 by  
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A little more than a month from now, Olympic volleyball players will be spiking balls in the sand on the famous Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Preparing the city to host the 2016 Summer Olympic Games is no simple task, but a series of unfortunate and embarrassing events have added to the skepticism about the fate of the massive international event. Yesterday, a beachgoer discovered a dismembered foot as well as another unidentified body part on the shore , washed up with the tide. The police investigation is underway, but this most recent development has critics wondering whether Rio can ever be ready to host the Games. Embed from Getty Images Upon initial investigation, police suggest the body parts may belong to a woman or a young adult, but no identification has been made as of this report. Although the discovery is ominous on its own, it compounds the recent string of ‘bad news’ in Rio de Janeiro , which is now just a few weeks away from the Games’ opening ceremonies. The problems are numerous, and widespread, leading many to wonder whether Brazil’s second largest city was a good choice for the epic sporting event. Related: Soldier kills a jaguar used in Rio 2016 Olympic torch relay Two days prior to the shore discovery, the acting governor of the state of Rio de Janeiro warned that the event might be a “big failure” due to the state’s insufficient finances. “I am optimistic about the games, but I have to show the reality,” Francisco Dornelles told Brazilian newspaper O Globo . “We can make a great Olympics, but if some steps are not taken, it can be a big failure.” Embed from Getty Images The economic situation is so bad that police and firefighters are protesting against the government over unpaid wages, warning visitors that their safety may be in jeopardy. Public demonstrations were held as recently as Monday over unpaid wages, and graffiti has popped up around the city related to the conflict. On an even broader scale, health officials are concerned about the still-present Zika virus and warning pregnant women to avoid the events and the city entirely, due to the high risk of severe birth defects associated with contracting the mosquito-borne disease. Despite these events, there has been little discussion about altering the plan for the Games. Via CNN Lead image via Eric Steffen/Flickr

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Body parts, police protests, and financial strain plague Rio just weeks before Olympics

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