This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

November 7, 2019 by  
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Just in time for your conscious holiday shopping, Veldt, Inc. is unveiling its newest luxury smartwatch, the LUXTURE AARDE, designed with sustainability and wellness in mind. Possibly its most interesting feature, the Climate Action Reminder is a tool that shows how global warming has quickly increased temperatures compared to just 10 years ago along with other climate-related notifications. Aimed at giving the user the ideal level of alerts at the appropriate times, this luxury watch is not designed to bombard the wearer with too much information or to groom an over-reliance on technology. Unlike other modern smartwatches, the LUXTURE AARDE watch uses a combination of LED lights embedded into the watch face, vibrations and colors to convey messages rather than words, providing a less-intrusive, more subtle approach. Related: 14 apps to help you live a more sustainable lifestyle The watch comes with alerts connected to typical apps like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp as well as notifications for emails and calls. It also includes the ability to connect up to three different calendars and customize up to five VIP contacts. Yellow lights around the perimeter of the analog indicate moon phases, and the Pomodoro timer reminds you to take breaks during your workday. Additionally, LUXTURE AARDE takes data from your smartphone to help track health indicators such as activity level and steps on the connecting app. The Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch comes in three styles: rose gold-toned with the “Birch” strap, stainless steel with the “Stone” strap and black with the “Calf” strap. Wearers will enjoy a wireless charging dock and an estimated battery life of three days. The watch connects to Bluetooth and is water-resistant as well. The collection ranges from $650 to $1,150 depending on the watch style. Perhaps the most alluring feature of the Veldt LUXTURE AARDE watch is its Climate Action Reminder. Aimed at promoting the personal well-being of the wearer, the feature offers information on UV radiation exposure, ocean wave levels and weather. The Climate Action Reminder calculates the daily average temperatures of the specific countries under the Paris Agreement. It also compares the temperature of your current location against the temperature a decade ago. This original function created by VELDT developers is directed at bringing awareness to the impact of climate change , hopefully providing the wearer with daily reminders to do their part in protecting the planet. + Veldt Images via Veldt

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This sustainable luxury smartwatch monitors climate change

Global renewable energy is projected to rise by 50% in the next 5 years, IEA finds

October 22, 2019 by  
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The International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released its Renewables 2019 market forecast, detailing analysis on renewable energy and technologies. In the report, industry trends show that the world’s total renewable-based power capacity will grow by 50% in 5 years, increasing by 1.2 terawatts. Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems shall account for 60% of that increase.   Established in 1974, under the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), the IEA is an intergovernmental organization that acts as a policy advisor to its 30 member countries on matters concerning reliable, affordable and clean energy . It was formed following the 1973 – 1974 oil crisis to help members respond to energy supply disruptions. Since then, the IEA’s mandate has expanded to include the promotion of sound energy policy and the fostering of multinational energy cooperation. Today, the IEA’s mission focuses on energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and worldwide engagement. Related:  Renewable energy surpasses fossil fuels in the UK Because of its eco-conscious stance for efficiency and for reduced impact on the environment , the IEA has been a strong proponent for renewable energy. Renewable energy, after all, helps in mitigating climate change and creating a more sustainable energy future. Solar , wind and hydropower projects have been rolling out at their fastest rate in recent years. And, they are projected to experience increased growth rates in years to come. “This is a pivotal time for renewable energy,” says Dr. Fatih Birol, the IEA’s Executive Director. “Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are at the heart of transformations taking place across the global energy system. Their increasing deployment is crucial for efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution and expand energy access.” Three major challenges face the renewable energy sector, which are “policy and regulatory uncertainty, high investment risks and system integration of wind and solar PV,” the IEA report states. “Important policy and tariff reforms are needed to ensure that distributed PV’s growth is sustainable .” Cost reductions coupled with government policy efforts can drive growth in the renewable energy market, all of which can be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The IEA’s forecast of the changing energy landscape means that utilities and infrastructure will likely need to adapt quickly, too. “Renewables are already the world’s second largest source of electricity ,” adds Birol. “But their deployment still needs to accelerate if we are to achieve long-term climate, air quality and energy access goals.” Via Reuters Image via Oimheidi

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Global renewable energy is projected to rise by 50% in the next 5 years, IEA finds

Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees

October 22, 2019 by  
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Wild bee populations in the United States face catastrophic collapse from climate change , habitat loss, shrinking food supply, disease and pesticide exposure. Of the 4,000 native U.S. wild bee species, 40 percent face extinction. To help save these vital pollinators, a Denver-based Girls Scouts day camp built miniature hotels to house and protect solitary wild bees. The sustainable endeavor was part of the Think Like a Citizen Scientist Journey initiative, encouraging young girls to create positive environmental change. Making a wild bee B&B proved to be an exciting learning experience for many Girl Scouts. “There were times it was hard because there were so many girls and lots of ideas, but we worked together, and it was fun,” explained 11-year-old Imani, one of the girls who participated in the project. “We found a way to compromise and work together to make a fun bee hotel.” Related: Girl Scouts introduces 30 new badges with emphasis on the environment and STEM As solitary insects, wild bees house themselves in fallen timber, branches and bushes. But forest fires, urban sprawl and agricultural intensification have diminished their natural habitat. Consequently, the Girl Scouts were inspired to protect these important insects by building tiny homes or mini hotels for individual wild bees, much like birdhouses are fashioned for individual birds. Materials used for the bee hotels included repurposed cardboard boxes, paper straws and toilet paper rolls. According to the Entomological Society of America, campaigns to save the bees have included installation of bee hotels in efforts to save wild bee populations and aid in their conservation . If well maintained, these bee hotels can provide a safe sanctuary for wild bees. Dennis vanEngelsdorp, a University of Maryland, College Park associate professor of entomology, added that every effort counts, and the Girl Scouts’ endeavors are meaningful. “What you’re seeing is that you need bees to survive, and so who better to be concerned than the people who are going to inherit the next generation?” he shared. “These efforts are really good because hopefully they set up a lifelong commitment to preserving biodiversity.” Those interested in getting involved with the Girl Scouts’ environmental initiatives can join or volunteer here . + Girl Scouts Via Grist Images via Girl Scouts and Maja Dumat

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Girl Scouts build bee hotels to help save wild bees

Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

September 23, 2019 by  
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An abundance of green will soon take over the heart of Paris with the transformation of the city’s old railway site, Ordener-Poissonniers, into a lush 3.7-hectare “ecosystem neighborhood.” The mixed-use masterplan will be spearheaded by Danish landscape architecture practice SLA and French architecture firm BIECHER ARCHITECTES , who won an international competition with the “Jardin Mécano” (“Mechanical Garden”) proposal for a sustainable urban development emphasizing bioclimatic design. In addition to the creation of large public parks, the neighborhood will include carbon-neutral architecture and renewable energy systems. Located in the 18th arrondissement, the new “ecosystem neighborhood” will pay homage to the former railway site by preserving its industrial heritage while injecting new functionality to the underused area. The mixed-use masterplan will include housing for 1,000 residents — half of which will be for social housing, 20 percent for intermediate and the remainder for private housing — as well as 13,800 square meters of office space, new school buildings, an industrial design incubator for SME, a nine-screen cinema complex, urban farming areas and plenty of restaurant and retail space. Related: Benjamin Fleury creates affordable, modern apartments with a low-energy footprint in Paris “The Ordener-Poissonniers project will act as a green generous gift to the city of Paris,” said Rasmus Astrup, partner in SLA. “In the transformation of the old post-industrial railway site, we have especially focused on the values and the qualities we want the new development to give back to the neighborhood. By combining the strong industrial character with innovative, nature-based designs and public ecosystem services, we create a new standard for nature in Paris — where nature is everywhere and where humans, plants and animals can live and flourish together.” To minimize the development’s environmental footprint in the long run, the buildings will be optimized for wind and solar conditions. Other sustainable features include photovoltaic panels mounted onto the roofs, planting plans that promote biodiversity and the use of natural materials and prefabricated low-carbon concrete floors. The project is slated for completion in 2024. + SLA + BIECHER ARCHITECTES Images via SLA

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Old Paris railway site will transform into a carbon-neutral ecosystem neighborhood

The ‘tipping point’ has arrived as temperatures rise in 70 US counties

August 16, 2019 by  
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The heat is on this summer as sweltering temperatures are felt throughout the U.S., all thanks to the “tipping point”— a warning once echoed in the 2015 Paris accord. The “tipping point,” a 2 degrees Celsius of warming above pre-industrial levels that was forewarned in 2015, has arrived and hit the U.S. with extreme climate change , leaving 34 million people living in areas that are rapidly heating. Related: Climate change will push 120 million into poverty The fastest state to experience such extreme warming is Alaska , a state where summer temperatures generally range from 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, has seen a recent increase of heat waves and wildfires . Other areas of the Northeast, including New Jersey, Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, who was the first state to pass the 2 degree Celsius, have also seen climes beyond normal. According to the Washington Post, most regional increases were due to warmer winters rather than summer heat waves. Less snowfall and ice mean those areas aren’t as likely to reflect solar dispersion during the winter months, ultimately feeding into a warming period. Although scientists can’t figure out why the Northeast is warming so rapidly, some experts believe the 2-degree Celsius hotspots are a glimpse into our future. Aside from the higher than average regional temperatures, there are also other factors that pose a threat to U.S. communities such as cold, heat, flooding, drought and even rising sea-levels. Four of the top five cities with the “lowest degree of readiness” are in Southern California alone (Anaheim, San Bernardino, Santa Ana and Riverside) and have all reached between 1.8 degrees Celsius and 2.1 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial levels. While it may be summer in the U.S., some communities have experienced a real climate crisis , signaling climate change needs to be addressed now. Via Grist, Washington Post Image via Isengardt

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The ‘tipping point’ has arrived as temperatures rise in 70 US counties

Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court

August 2, 2019 by  
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Plants from around the world are flourishing in four curved greenhouses in an unexpected place — directly behind the spectator stands of the new Simonne Mathieu tennis court at Roland-Garros, home of the French Open. Designed by the Paris-based studio Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés , the 5,000-seat sunken tennis court not only offers a strikingly modern space for the annual tournament but also offers a visual extension of the Jardin des Serres d’Auteuil botanical garden, where the stadium is located. The steel-and-glass greenhouses were built to reference the historical hothouses of the 19th century but feature a modern, energy-efficient design built to the highest technical specifications. Named after the famous tennis player who played at the Roland-Garros in the 1930s, the Simonne Mathieu tennis court is a new venue for hosting the international tennis championships hosted every year in Paris. Taking inspiration from Auteuil’s greenhouses designed by Jean Camille Formige in 1898, Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés introduced new public space around the partially sunken tennis court in the form of four modern, steel-and-glass greenhouses that are visible from the spectator stands. Related: Solar-powered aquaponic greenhouses grow up to 880 lbs of produce each year “These new greenhouses form a glass backdrop, a case within which plants from four continents can flourish,” the architects explained. “They refer to the design of the nearby hothouses and are inspired by, without imitating, architecture in metal that, since the construction of the Crystal Palace in London in 1851, still stands, with its delicate relationship between light and structure, as the perfect model of airiness and economy.” Sheathed in double-pane glass for superior insulation, these curved greenhouses feature flora from the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. A meandering paved pathway traverses each greenhouse. Because the greenhouses are a new addition of public space, they will be accessible to visitors throughout the year, even outside of the two-week French Open tournament. + Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés Via ArchDaily Photography by Erieta Attali via Marc Mimram Architecture & Associés

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Energy-efficient greenhouses surround the new French Open tennis court

Weekly climate disasters give new urgency to resilience

July 9, 2019 by  
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Somewhere in the world, there is a climate disaster unfolding every week. According to the leading disaster risk reduction adviser for the United Nation’s secretary general, climate related disasters are affecting thousands of people every week, whether or not they get media coverage. The U.N.’s adviser, Mami Mizutori, told reporters that governments need to adjust their policies to not only prioritize but mandate disaster-resilient infrastructure immediately. According to Mizutori, a 3 percent budget increase for all new infrastructure projects could cover the additional cost of making such projects resilient to storms, floods and other climate-related crises. That 3 percent rise in spending equates to a total of $2.7 trillion USD by 2040. While anything in the trillions might seem like a lot of money to the average person, when it is spread around the world’s nearly 200 countries across 20 years, the price tag is actually quite modest. In comparison, the U.N. estimates that these climate disasters cost the world at least $520 billion USD every year, so it seems logical to invest a little into reducing not only that cost but also the loss of lives. Related: Disaster-resilient housing saves lives and dollars “Resilience needs to become a commodity that people will pay for,” warned Mizutori. “This is not a lot of money [in the context of infrastructure spending], but investors have not been doing enough.” Most of the discussion about climate change at the international level revolves around reducing carbon emissions per nations’ Paris Climate Agreement commitments. While mitigation is important, curbing future emissions to reach a target and limit global warming does nothing to reduce the suffering of those impacted yesterday and today. According to the World Bank, there will be 143 million people displaced by climate-related incidences by 2050, and that’s only counting those from Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Low-cost, nature-based adaptation strategies are promising, such as restoring mangrove forests that protect coastal residents from sea-level rise, erosion and flooding. In order to adequately address the scale of these disasters though, a combined natural and built infrastructure approach will be necessary. According to Mizutori, these resilient solutions will require not only international collaboration but unlikely partnerships within governments as well. For example, most governments have separate departments for the environment and for infrastructure, but progressing toward resilience will require unprecedented collaboration at a scale that matches the unprecedented threat of climate change. Via Eco News and The Guardian Image via Jim Gade

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Weekly climate disasters give new urgency to resilience

Paris bans up to 60% of cars amidst record heat wave

June 28, 2019 by  
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As France suffers through a record heat wave, air pollution rates intensify. The solution? A Parisian car ban for less eco-friendly automobiles — as much as 60 percent of total vehicles in the city — until the hot weather breaks. The car ban has been creeping up on Parisians since 2017, when Paris issued a system of “Crit’Air” colored stickers with numbers ranging from 0 to 5. The worst polluters, diesels made in the year 2000 or earlier, get the 5 ranking and have been banned from central Paris since July 2017. This July, the ban extends to cars with level 4 stickers: diesel cars registered from 2001-2005, pre-2004 motorbikes and trucks from 2006-2009. These vehicles aren’t allowed within Paris’ A86 ring road area weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Related: Amsterdam announces plan to ban all polluting cars by 2030 But during this hot weather, level 3 vehicles are temporarily banned from A86. This affects 60 percent of Parisian drivers. Only hydrogen or electric vehicles, petrol cars registered after 2006 and diesels from 2011 or later can legally drive during the heat wave. Hydrogen and electric cars warrant a green sticker with the coveted 0 ranking. Many drivers are upset. Some are risking the fines — €68 for cars and motorbikes and up to €135 for trucks. “You have to face reality, which is the increase in air pollution when there is a heat wave, like the one we are experiencing at the moment,” France’s Minister of Ecological Transition, François de Rugy, told the French press. Other anti-air pollution measures include offering more free residential parking to encourage public transport usage and significantly reducing speed limits on motorways. Christophe Najdovski, deputy transport director for the city of Paris , told the French press, “The quality of the air is improving in Ile-de-France, but we want to speed up the process. It’s a question of public health .” Via Reuters Image via Pedro Szekely

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Paris bans up to 60% of cars amidst record heat wave

These cities in red and blue states are accelerating clean energy

June 5, 2019 by  
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Movement from Albuquerque to Orlando is making an impact despite U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

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These cities in red and blue states are accelerating clean energy

Study estimates sea level rise two times worse than worst-case scenario

May 22, 2019 by  
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Sea level rise is a serious threat, but a new report argues that it may be far worse than even the current worst-case estimates. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Monday, estimates that there is a 5 percent chance the sea level will rise between 2 feet and 7.8 feet within the next century. This is more than twice what was recently predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Although 5 percent might seem like a small probability, the researchers are quick to point out that is a one in 20 chance, and this should not be ignored by governments and infrastructure planners. Scientists focused their research on predicting the impact of ice melting in Greenland and Antarctica if the world warms by 5 degrees. Under the Paris Agreement, 185 countries pledged to limit global warming to just 1.5 degrees Celsius, but radical changes would have to be made and sustained in order to come close to this ambitious goal. “We should not rule out a sea-level rise of over 2 meters if we continue along a business-as-usual emissions trajectory,” Jonathan Bamber, lead author from the University of Bristol,  told USA Today . According to the researchers’ predictions, such a rise in sea levels would be globally catastrophic. Coastal cities like Miami and New York are especially vulnerable, as are major agricultural areas like the Nile Delta. Small islands in the Pacific and Caribbean would be devastated, and an estimated 187 million people would be displaced. To put this into perspective, about 1 million people have been displaced by the Syrian refugee crisis. Bamber said , “What we decide to do collectively as a species politically, globally, over the next decade is going to determine the future of the next generations in terms of the habitability of the planet and what sort of environment they live in.” Via EcoWatch , CNN and USA Today Image via NASA

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Study estimates sea level rise two times worse than worst-case scenario

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