How Citigroup has gamified employee engagement

January 30, 2017 by  
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“Sustainability has been so focused on impacts to the environment… and lost in the conversation are the people in the building — the occupants,” said Steve Avadek, Director of Sustainability for Citi Realty Services.Avadek sat down with GreenBiz at VERGE 16 to talk about Citigroup’s ambitious green building record and its employee engagement initiatives.

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How Citigroup has gamified employee engagement

How Does Recycling Cell Phones Affect Chimpanzees?

January 24, 2017 by  
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In the Congo Basin live many of Africa’s most iconic animals — elephants, hippos, mountain gorillas and buffaloes. Additionally, 1,000 types of birds and 700 kinds of fish call this their home, coexisting with the people who’ve…

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How Does Recycling Cell Phones Affect Chimpanzees?

This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels

January 15, 2017 by  
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Through his quest to reconnect to his roots, Barnes isolated several traditional strains of seeds that fell to the wayside when his ancestors traveled to what’s now Oklahoma in the 1800s . Through years of selective growing , Barnes grew corn that looks bejeweled, creating a colorful celebration of native heirloom varieties of corn. Related: Plant a Wish Restores Native Plant Habitats Around America Barnes didn’t hoard the wealth, however, sharing corn seeds with Native American tribe elders and other growers he encountered. According to SeedBroadcast , “…he was able to reintroduce specific corn types to the elders of those tribes, and this helped their people in reclaiming their cultural and spiritual identities. Their corn was, to them, literally the same as their blood line, their language, and their sense of who they were.” One such grower was Greg Schoen. The two became friends in the early ’90s , and Schoen took the rainbow corn to a new level, creating hybrids by planting the rainbow corn next to typical yellow corn. Schoen eventually passed the seeds to the non-profit organization Native Seeds/SEARCH , who now sell the seeds online . They also protect the seeds in a bank containing around 2,000 rare varieties . Native Seeds/SEARCH began during a project to design sustainable food sources with Native Americans. They continually heard that people wanted to plant the seeds their grandparents did , so the organization started to protect ” endangered traditional seeds ” and the diversity of plants present specifically in the American Southwest. The fabulous corn kernels possess an outer layer tougher than most , which means they aren’t the best for backyard corn-on-the-cob chomping, but they can be either ground for cornmeal or popped like popcorn. You can purchase a packet of the seeds for $4.95 here , and profits go right back to the organization to continue their conservation efforts. Via My Modern Met and Lost At E Minor Images via Glass Gem Corn Facebook

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This all-natural native corn is bejeweled with brilliantly colored kernels

It’s finally illegal to own wild animals in the UAE

January 6, 2017 by  
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In a move sure to please animal rights advocates around the world, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has now completely banned the private ownership of wild animals. This is big news, as owning exotic animals as pets is a sign of status in the Middle East country. Al Jazeera reported on Wednesday that the new law outlaws both dealing in and ownership of all kinds of wild, domesticated and dangerous animals. This includes wild cats such as cheetahs, which have reportedly been domesticated in the UAE and other nearby countries. While not necessarily related, the new law comes on the heels of a video featuring an excursion with five tigers on a beach near Dubai’s Al-Arab hotel that went viral on social media, and other videos of people driving around with lions. According to Gulf News , these kinds of animals can now only be housed at zoos, wildlife parks, and circuses, along with breeding and research centers. Related: China makes it illegal to eat endangered species Gulf news also reports that anyone who breaks the law by taking any kind of exotic animal “out in public” will be slapped with as much as six months in jail and a fine or $136,000 USD. Al-Ittihad , an Arabic daily paper adds that people who use such animals to “terrorize” other people will be faced with a jail term along with the stiffer financial penalty of about $180,000 USD. Needless to say, a law like this is a breath of fresh air for animal rights activists, including El Sayed Mohamed. The regional director of the International Fund for Animal Welfare in Dubai said this new law sets an example for not only other Arab countries, but also the world. “We welcome and congratulate the UAE Government in taking this important initiative, which we wish to be a milestone for the rest of the countries, not just in the region, but also in the world,” he told the The National , an Abu Dhabi newspaper. This adds to more good news in the animal rights world, where China made it illegal to eat endangered species last year. Via Al Jazeera Images via Mukul2u and Cecil , Wikimedia Commons

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It’s finally illegal to own wild animals in the UAE

Living on the brink of resilience

December 24, 2016 by  
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If not for the well-being of all of the people and all of those to come, what is an economy for?

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Living on the brink of resilience

Plugin Tower is a new low-cost modular home with no foundation

December 7, 2016 by  
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Plugin Tower is a modular multi-story home in Shenzhen, China that circumvents strict planning approval for permanent structures by eliminating the need for foundations. Chinese multidisciplinary studio People’s Architecture Office (PAO) , known for their temporary architectural solutions, conceived the design as a low-cost alternative to current housing solutions that can be easily packed up and moved. Requiring no underground foundations, the design circumvents planning approvals and provides utmost flexibility to home-owners. Thanks to its modular nature, the house can also be expanded to include more units, which can be easily inserted into the three-dimensional steel frame . This also allows for endless variations in design and configuration. Related: Tricycle House and Garden Offer Off-Grid Living for China’s Landless The firm used their proprietary Plugin Panel system of modules , which incorporate insulation, wiring, plumbing, interior and exterior finishes. The prefabricated panels are attached with integrated locks and easily installed by a couple of unskilled workers using only a hex wrench. + People’s Architecture Office (PAO) Via Archdaily Photos by Hannah Wu / People’s Architecture Office

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Plugin Tower is a new low-cost modular home with no foundation

Irish town plans to plant world’s largest giant redwood grove

November 11, 2016 by  
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Lookout northern California ; a small town in central Ireland is vying for the title of most-populous giant redwood grove . Birr plans to plant and grow as many as 3,000 of the massive trees, and you can buy one of your very own. According to the Irish Times, the trees are planned for planting on 20 acres of land at Birr Castle Estate, near the town of Birr in County Offaly. The estate’s owner Lord Rosse, also known as Brendan Parsons, wants to plant a grove of the world’s largest living organisms, which grow to be over 300-feet tall. Redwoods thrive in northern California’s year-round temperate client, but Birr is known to be so cold in the winter that jokes are made about its name. Despite the climatic disparity, Parsons feels his plan is a solid one. “We are experimenters by nature,” the 80-year old lord told the Irish Times. “Trying new things in Birr is an old tradition. It’s absolutely cut out for Birr, this. We never do what other people do. The redwood grove will add a fantastic new dimension to Birr Castle Demesne, in line with the project we already have going on here – and also because of the new concept of a different sort of diaspora, an arboreal diaspora.” Related: Poachers are destroying California’s giant redwood trees According to Parsons, the “arboreal diaspora ” concept comes from the fact that giant redwoods once grew in Ireland – roughly two or three ice ages ago. So he wants to give them another shot at taking root in Irish soil en masse once again. And he is already apparently having some success. “At the moment, we have nine redwoods growing in ones and twos across the demesne: four of one species, five of the other,” he notes. “They were probably planted around the time of the third earl’s death, in the 1860s.” He says the coast redwoods seem to be doing the best, particularly those planted in the wettest places. What with redwoods being an endangered species and all, such a project can’t be cheap to undertake. So Parsons is offering folks an opportunity to participate by sponsoring trees at a cost of 500 Euros (about $540 US) per tree as a tribute to family members who are either living or have lived abroad. You can get yours today by visiting www.giantsgrove.ie . Via Irish Times Images via Kirt Edblom and IceNineJon , Flickr Creative Commons

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Irish town plans to plant world’s largest giant redwood grove

California voters pass Proposition 64 to legalize recreational marijuana

November 9, 2016 by  
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Yesterday, California voters passed Proposition 64, legalizing recreational marijuana use in the state. While law enforcement expressed displeasure, other people think the legalization could help shake up California’s criminal justice system in a positive way. California’s legalization move could also pave the way for other states to legalize the drug. Instead of treating marijuana possession and recreational use as a crime, California law will now regulate and tax marijuana as it does alcohol. Under Proposition 64, Californians can buy, possess, transport, and use as much as one ounce of cannabis . They can also cultivate as much as six cannabis plants. The measure applies to adults 21 and older. There will be a 15 percent tax on marijuana sales in retail stores, and California fiscal analysts think the criminal justice system in the state might save $100 million every year under the measure. Related: Legal Marijuana More Popular and Profitable than Smartphones in the U.S. California Police Chiefs Association President Ken Corney said his organization was disappointed the proposition passed and would look for “legislative solutions” to what they see as flaws in the measure like “lack of prosecutorial tools for driving under the influence of marijuana.” California legalized medical marijuana about 20 years ago, and the legalization of recreational marijuana could significantly change how many people are imprisoned in California. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons , 46.4 percent of federal inmates in the United States are in prison for drug offenses. Drug Policy Alliance State Director Lynne Lyman said in the past the prohibition of marijuana “disproportionally impacted communities of color.” California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom told the Los Angeles Times, “I think it’s the beginning of the end of the war on marijuana…I think it will have repercussions internationally, particularly in Mexico and Latin America. And there are a million people who tomorrow can begin the process of clearing their records.” Nevada and Massachusetts voters also legalized marijuana, and it appears Maine voters will too. Arizona voters rejected a measure to legalize marijuana. Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota, and Montana voters passed medical marijuana measures. Via the Los Angeles Times Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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California voters pass Proposition 64 to legalize recreational marijuana

Dakota Access Pipeline protesters raise over $1 million on GoFundMe

October 31, 2016 by  
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Back in April, North Dakota Access Pipeline protesters started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for basic camp needs like blankets and food. Now the crowdfunding campaign has raised over $1 million. As the camp prepares for the cold North Dakota winter , when temperatures often hover below freezing, they’re asking for supplies like winter clothes and sleeping bags. Protester Howaste Wakiya started the official Sacred Stone Camp GoFundMe page on April 19 on behalf of one of the camp founders, LaDonna Brave Bull Allard. He wrote, “This is a prayer camp movement to save our sacred land and water and has been entirely supported by the people and the campers.” Related: Armed police arrest 141 protesters over Dakota Access Pipeline Donations began to roll in as the camp grew. Wakiya reported in an update on the GoFundMe page two months ago that the camp swelled from 50 people to 2,000 people in just a week. As law enforcement arrested protesters, funds gathered on the page also began to go towards bail and court costs. About a month ago, Wakiya wrote an update saying that as the camp readies itself for winter, they needed supplies like wood stoves and teepee liners. The camp has been able to use some wind and solar power , but according to the Sacred Stone Camp website have only limited means of generating such clean energies. Just this week Wakiya requested 40 additional solar panels. The camp is asking for firewood as one of their ” biggest winter needs .” Sacred Stone Camp has an Amazon wishlist which includes items like a snow thrower, log splitter, and wind turbine generator kit. There’s also a FundRazr page to raise money for legal defense. Over 15,000 people have contributed over $800,000 out of a goal of $1 million. + Sacred Stone Camp GoFundMe + Sacred Stone Camp Images via Tony Webster on Flickr and Sacred Stone Camp Facebook

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Dakota Access Pipeline protesters raise over $1 million on GoFundMe

5 Responsible Tourism Tips

September 13, 2016 by  
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When we travel, our most memorable moments are of the beautiful places we see and the people we interact with. But have we made those people’s lives better by visiting them? Did our visit have a positive impact? Socially and environmentally…

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5 Responsible Tourism Tips

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