Why climate and sustainability professionals need to take the next step in our evolution

November 25, 2019 by  
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Sustainability professionals need to demonstrate the value they can bring to the highest levels of their organization. Simply put, we’re not there yet.

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Why climate and sustainability professionals need to take the next step in our evolution

These 21 projects are democratizing data for farmers

November 25, 2019 by  
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On fields across the world, phones, tablets, drones and other technologies are changing how food is grown. Through these devices, artificial intelligence (AI) — technology able to perform tasks that require human intelligence — may help farmers use the techniques they already know and trust on a bigger scale. And big data — data sets that reveal telling patterns about growth, yield, weather and more — may help farmers make better decisions before crises strike.

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These 21 projects are democratizing data for farmers

Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

October 22, 2019 by  
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Dutch Design Week , the largest design event in Northern Europe, is back once again this October to show how pioneering designers around the globe are changing the world for the better. Spread out across nine days with over a hundred locations in Eindhoven, the annual event will host a wide array of exhibitions, lectures, festivities and more — including the first-ever public presentation of a Biomaterials Archive , where attendees can see, touch, smell and even taste innovative materials made by students from organic and recycled materials. Held this year from October 19 to 27, Dutch Design Week is an annual showcase of futuristic design that covers a wide breadth of topics from sustainable farming to artificial intelligence and robotics. Every year, more than 2,600 designers are invited to present their pioneering work — with a focus given to young and upcoming talent — and more than 350,000 visitors from the area and abroad flock to Eindhoven to see how design has the potential to improve the world. Creative proposals for reducing waste and addressing other timely environmental topics, such as climate and biodiversity crises, have also been increasingly highlighted in recent years.  One such example of forward-thinking design by young designers can be found at the Biomaterials Archive, a multi-sensory exhibit open to the public all week at Molenveld 42 | Downtown. Hosted by Ana Lisa, the tutor for Design Academy Eindhoven’s Make Material Sense class, the exhibition will feature #ZeroWaste and #ZeroBudget material samples created by second-year BA students. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with proposed alternatives to materials such as leather, plastic, marble, cotton and MDF. Related: Colorful People’s Pavilion in Eindhoven is made from 100% borrowed materials “It unveils how these young designers are taking matter into their own hands by farming organisms on the Academy’s shelves or recycling what’s being trashed at home, school’s canteen, city or farms,” reads a statement on the DDW website, which references biomaterials made from old bread, lichen, acorn-MDF, coffee grounds, kombucha , cow manure and even vacuum dust. “While they close some loops and make new, shorter life-span materials that forge new paths into design and architecture.” + Biomaterials Archive Images via DDW

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Biomaterials Archive debuts at Dutch Design Week 2019

Leaked footage shows brutal animal abuse at Fair Oaks dairy farm

June 7, 2019 by  
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One of the largest dairy farms in the U.S. is under fire as leaked footage shows graphic animal abuse by farm workers at Fair Oaks. The farm and popular agriculture tour site was infiltrated by activists who were hired as workers and recorded the brutal treatment of calves. Founder and owner Mike McCloskey has pledged to fire remaining workers, improve animal welfare training and allow live streaming of the calves in the “Adventure” area, where about 500,000 annual visitors and school groups tour the farm every year. Related: How to choose the healthiest, most sustainable milk alternative Despite his promises, Fair Oaks has received considerable attention and backlash, including calls for boycotts and removal from shelves in Chicago and Indiana. However, it remains to be seen how much the massive corporation will clean up its act , and how many consumers will remember to spend their dollars elsewhere. According to McCloskey, the problem was bad employees who did not follow the animal welfare training guidelines. In a video statement , he said, “That was a terrible judgment on my part. The way I have to look at this is that as hard as we try, you can always end up with bad people within your organization, and this is what happened to us.” The video depicts workers kicking, punching and burning calves as they stuffed them into trucks or piled their dead bodies just out of sight of school field trips. “The difference between the Fair Oaks Farms Dairy Adventure and the reality of the dairy industry is night and day,” said Richard Couto, the founder of Animal Recovery Mission. “Everything is a lie.” The local police department is currently investigating the cases of animal abuse , and Fair Oaks’ founder has promised to increase video surveillance and hire a private auditor to make unannounced visits. While many are calling for a boycott of Fair Oaks and its associated Fairlife brand, some lawmakers and agriculture industry advocates argue that this was an isolated incident and that the boycott will cause people to lose jobs. + Animal Recovery Mission Via Journal and Courier Image via Shutterstock

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Leaked footage shows brutal animal abuse at Fair Oaks dairy farm

New York could become the first state to ban cat declawing

June 7, 2019 by  
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On Tuesday, New York lawmakers voted to ban cat declawing. If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the bill, cats may be packing their little suitcases and moving to the first state to protect their claws by law. “Cat declawing is a horrific, yet often practiced surgery that leads to a lifetime of pain and discomfort for thousands of cats,” Democratic Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal of Manhattan told NPR . “Today, though, every cat and kitten in New York state lands on its feet as we prepare to make New York the best state for cats to live in the United States.” When cats are declawed, the vet removes part of the cat’s toe bones as well as the claws. Usually the surgery is only performed on the front feet, but sometimes claws are removed from all four paws. Pet owners often order this painful surgery to protect their furniture, and many command declawing as a requirement if the cat wants to live indoors. Adverse effects from declawing include back and joint problems, personality changes and litter box issues due to painful paws. Once their claws are removed, cats are unable to defend themselves nor to climb trees to escape predators, so they must stay inside forever. If the bill becomes law, the declawing procedure will still be performed for medical issues including injuries or infections. While many people and most cats were jubilant at the NY news, the bill is not without controversy. The New York State Veterinary Medical Society opposed the bill, arguing that pet owners who are diabetic, hemophiliac, immune-compromised or on immune suppressing medication are at great medical risk from cat scratches. They might be forced to relinquish their cats if declawing becomes illegal. According to the American Humane Society, about 71 percent of cats that enter shelters are euthanized. However, many other vets supported the bill, which passed on June 4, the annual New York State Animal Advocacy Day . This annual event is described on its Facebook page as “a bi-partisan event to further protect our companion pets from cruelty.” People who care more about couches than cats might consider adopting a pet rock instead. Via NPR Images via Teresa Bergen / Inhabitat and Flensshot

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New York could become the first state to ban cat declawing

Kengo Kuma suspends a cocoon-like timber dwelling for minimal site impact

February 27, 2019 by  
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Prolific Japanese architecture firm Kengo Kuma and Associates recently worked its magic in the tiny Swiss village of Montricher at the foot of the Jura Mountains. There, the architects designed a contemporary family home that’s partly suspended from an existing concrete canopy and wrapped with timber inside and out. Created for the Jan Michalski Foundation, the cocoon-like dwelling — named Suspended Forest — is meant to further the organization’s mission of fostering literary creation and the practice of reading. Set close to the forest, the 120-square-meter abode takes inspiration from its nearby surroundings with an abundant use of timber. The architects collaborated with a local craftsman for the roof and facade system, which combines traditional techniques with contemporary style. Using locally sourced oak and larch, the architects cut out rectangular shingles of varying sizes and arranged them in a checkered pattern with an organic and random appearance to create an eye-catching exterior that doubles as a screen. The wood was left untreated so as to develop a natural patina over time. “It was our intention to organically relate the different spaces of the house,” the architects explained in a project statement. “We designed a cocoon-like, gradual and continuous space containing all the functionalities. A corridor runs from the entrance to the main living space, where the floating balcony connects the interior with the surrounding environment. Then, lateral apertures let the light come into the house.” Related: This spiraling sculpture can absorb the emissions of 90,000 cars An outdoor staircase, also suspended off of the main building, leads to the entrance, which opens up to a long hallway branching off to the home office, bedroom, technical room, master bedroom and finally the living area in the rear. The cocoon-like sensation created by the exterior cladding is echoed in the interior through the use of angular larch panels covering the ceilings and walls. Large windows let in plenty of natural light and views of the outdoors. + Kengo Kuma Photography by CAPimages via Kengo Kuma

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Kengo Kuma suspends a cocoon-like timber dwelling for minimal site impact

Danone North America dishes about how to be B Corp

January 22, 2019 by  
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The certification is a decision-making lens across the organization.

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Danone North America dishes about how to be B Corp

3 ways cities can help accelerate the circular economy transition

January 22, 2019 by  
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Energy, water, food, materials, nutrients enter urban ecosystems and leave as emissions and waste. Here’s how can cities turn this situation around.

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3 ways cities can help accelerate the circular economy transition

Can Big Chemical end plastics pollution?

January 22, 2019 by  
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Dow, BASF, ExxonMobil, Chevron Phillips and DSM have pledged to fight plastic waste across the value chain.

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Can Big Chemical end plastics pollution?

How the Field Museum accelerated sustainability

September 27, 2018 by  
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Looking to the future became key to preserving the past. Plus, three holistic actions your organization can take.

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How the Field Museum accelerated sustainability

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