Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

October 4, 2017 by  
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To mark the anniversary of the death of Saint Francis of Assisi, over 40 Catholic institutions have announced their imminent divestment from fossil fuels, the largest move of its kind by a faith-based organization. The announcement’s timing with Saint Francis’s feast day, October 4, seems fitting for a Catholic Church guided by Pope Francis . He has elevated environmentalism as a key tenet of his papal tenure and chose his title to honor Saint Francis, who is known for his love of the natural world and the poor. Although the specific amount of divestment has not been yet released, the number of participating Catholic organizations is over four times the previous record . In recent years, divestment from fossil fuels has gained in strength as a tool to combat climate change by denying financial support, through investments, to companies and organizations in the fossil fuel industry. The global fossil fuel divestment movement is estimated to be worth $5.5 trillion. “I hope we will see more leaders like these 40 Catholic institutions commit,” said Christiana Figueres, former United Nations climate chief who helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement, “because while this decision makes smart financial sense, acting collectively to deliver a better future for everybody is also our moral imperative.” Related: Nuns build open-air chapel to protest natural gas pipeline on their land The Catholic institutions that are participating in the latest divestment include the Archdiocese of Cape Town, the Episcopal Conference of Belgium and the German Church bank and Catholic relief organisation Caritas. The Italian town of Assisi, Saint Francis’s hometown, also divested from fossil fuels on the day prior to a visit from Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentolini. “When we pay attention to the environment, we pay attention to poor people, who are the first victims of climate change,” said Assisi Mayor Stefania Proietti. “When we invest in fossil fuels, we stray very far from social justice. But when we disinvest and invest in renewable and energy efficiency instead, we can mitigate climate change, create a sustainable new economic deal and, most importantly, help the poor.” Via the Guardian Images via Nicola/Flickr ,  Long Thiên/Flickr , and Christopher John/Flickr

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Catholic churches to make massive divestment from fossil fuels

Solar Vertical City is a self-contained, green-infused tower planted into the ocean floor

October 4, 2017 by  
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Resigned to the fact that rising sea levels are inevitable at this point, architects are starting to create feasible, water-based living solutions. Italian architect Luca Curci has just unveiled a design that envisions a soaring zero-energy tower infused with greenery on each level that will be planted into the sea floor, resulting in what could be the future of self-contained architecture. Curci’s proposed Vertical City tower would consists of 10 overlapping modular layers, reaching a height of 2,460 feet with 180 floors. The facade would be clad with a membrane of photovoltaic glass, which would generate sufficient energy for the entire building and then some. Related: This futuristic vertical factory feeds off a city’s waste to produce energy The tower would have 190,000 square feet of floor surface that would be used for residences, offices, services, retail space, and various facilities. The tower design would be focused on providing a healthy, vibrant environment that connects the residents and workers with nature. For example, the tower would have ample air circulation and natural light on each level thanks to numerous perforated slots throughout the tower’s exterior. Additionally, the design calls for over 66,000 feet of outdoor green space spread throughout the building, including a public open-air garden plaza on the rooftop. The massive tower’s base would be planted firmly into the sea floor. The submerged floors would house the parking and technical areas, as well as various amenities such as spas, mediation centers, a workout center, etc. A handful of luxury hotels rooms would also be completely submerged underwater, offering a unique experience as well as amazing views of marine life. Access to the Vertical City would be possible by water, land or air. The circular base would have external and internal docks as well as multiple naval entries for large and small boats. The tower would be connected to the mainland via a semi-submerged bridge for pedestrians, cars, and an electric-based public transportation system . For air arrivals, the building will be topped with a heliport. + Luca Curci Images via Luca Curci Architects

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Solar Vertical City is a self-contained, green-infused tower planted into the ocean floor

NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral goes green with new geothermal plant

March 17, 2017 by  
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When St. Patrick’s Day revelers parade past St. Patrick’s Cathedral on NYC’s 5th Avenue today, they will be celebrating not just the patron saint of Ireland, but also a renewable energy future for the famous landmark. Last month, the Archdiocese of New York announced that the historic Saint Patrick’s cathedral activated a new geothermal heating and cooling system that will reduce the building’s energy consumption by more than 30 percent and reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 94,000 kilograms – an impressive feat for the largest Catholic Gothic cathedral in the United States. St. Patrick’s geothermal plant is part of the final phase of a four-year, $177 million renovation that has been overseen by the cathedral’s architectural design team of Murphy, Burnham, & Buttrick working in partnership with Landmark Facilities Group and PW Grosser. It is the institution’s first restoration in more than 70 years (it was dedicated in 1879). Related: Futuristic power plant complex generates clean power through wind, solar and geothermal energy The geothermal heating and cooling system consists of 10 wells in terraces flanking the north and south sides of the cathedral drilled through dense Manhattan schist (a coarse-grained metamorphic rock) to a depth of up to 2,250 feet. When fully activated, the plant will be able to generate 2.9 million BTUs per hour of air conditioning and 3.2 million BTUs per hour of heating through 76,000 square feet of space. While wind and solar grab a bigger share of the renewables market and garner more media attention, the potential for both geothermal electricity and heating is huge. The global geothermal power market is projected to more than double operating capacity to 32 gigawatts by the early 2030s, according to the US and Global Geothermal Power Production Report from the US Geothermal Energy Association. Currently only 6 to 7 percent of the world’s estimated geothermal potential is being harnessed. Related: Pope’s official encyclical: “a bold cultural revolution” can halt climate change The Archdiocese of New York and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are not as interested in tapping the geothermal market as they are in heeding the call of Pope Francis to protect the planet and conserve God’s creation as written in his 2015 encyclical on the environment , Laudato Si. “A consistent ethic of life does not compartmentalize these issues. It prioritizes life and the preservation of life at every level,” said Cathedral Rector Monsignor Robert T. Ritchie. “One of the most basic ways in which we are called to do so is through responsible stewardship of our natural resources.” Images via St. Patrick’s Cathedral , MBB and Local 3 IBEW

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NYC’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral goes green with new geothermal plant

7 unique Halloween costumes to spread environmental awareness

October 19, 2015 by  
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Highly poisonous yellow-bellied sea snake found in California for first time in 30 years

October 19, 2015 by  
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Here’s something else to add to the long list of unexpected side effects of global warming: an influx of highly poisonous snakes off the shores of California . Sounds like something out of a horror film, right? Instead, it’s one of those times when reality imitates art. The increasing warm waters caused by El Niño are bringing the venomous sea snakes to the West coast for the first time in 30 years. Read the rest of Highly poisonous yellow-bellied sea snake found in California for first time in 30 years

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Highly poisonous yellow-bellied sea snake found in California for first time in 30 years

BF+DA Positive Impact Awards honor Ecouterre managing editor Jasmin Malik Chua

October 19, 2015 by  
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We’re brimming with pride today as we announce that our very own Jasmin Malik Chua has been recognized with a Pratt Institute/BF+DA Positive Impact Award for her daily coverage of sustainability news as the managing editor of Inhabitat sister site Ecouterre.com . The BF+DA , a one-of-a-kind hub for ethical fashion entrepreneurs, will be honoring Jasmin and 14 other leaders who are paving the way for the future of fashion at a celebration of its one-year anniversary on November 16. The event will be open to the public so put on your (ethically made) dancing shoes and join in on the fun by getting your tickets here . + Pratt Institute/BF+DA Positive Impact Awards + Ecouterre .

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BF+DA Positive Impact Awards honor Ecouterre managing editor Jasmin Malik Chua

Pope Francis urges Americans to fight climate change in his first address to the country

September 23, 2015 by  
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Click here to view the embedded video. Pope Francis paid a visit to the White House today and, during his first ever address to the United States, he urged Americans to start acting on climate change with the sense of urgency that it deserves. “It seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation,” he said in a no-holds-barred speech. Later this week, Francis will take his message to Congress in a message that many expect will implore lawmakers to make meaningful steps to protect our “common home.” Read the rest of Pope Francis urges Americans to fight climate change in his first address to the country

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Pope Francis urges Americans to fight climate change in his first address to the country

Pastor builds impressively detailed LEGO Vatican from over half a million bricks

September 20, 2015 by  
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A Philadelphia pastor is welcoming Pope Francis’ upcoming visit to the city with a very special surprise. The Reverend Bob Simon of St. Catherine of Siena Church spent the past 10 months building an enormous LEGO replica of the Vatican . The work of art is incredibly detailed, and includes true-to-scale representation of everything from St. Mark’s Basilica and Square to the hordes of tourists. READ MORE>

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Pastor builds impressively detailed LEGO Vatican from over half a million bricks

Pope Francis chastises Ecuador’s president in call for environmental protection

July 9, 2015 by  
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Ecuador is rich in natural resources and Pope Francis encouraged the country’s residents to keep it that way. Calling for the protection of the Amazon rain forest and indigenous people, Pope Francis said resisting short-term gain was essential. In so doing, he rebuked the current plans of Ecuador president Rafael Correa. Read the rest of Pope Francis chastises Ecuador’s president in call for environmental protection Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Amazon oil exploration , amazon rainforest , ecuador , ecuador president rafael correa , environmental encyclical , oil expansion in amazon , Pope Francis , president correa

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Pope Francis chastises Ecuador’s president in call for environmental protection

Pope’s official encyclical: “a bold cultural revolution” can halt climate change

June 18, 2015 by  
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This morning, the Vatican released the official version of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate change. The final draft skewers climate change skeptics and demands global cooperation of people and governments in order to take care of the Earth and the poor. Although the Vatican had warned earlier this week that the leaked draft did not represent the final version of the Pope’s missive, it seems now that the draft was highly accurate. Read the rest of Pope’s official encyclical: “a bold cultural revolution” can halt climate change Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , combating climate change , encyclical , laudato si , papal document , papal encyclical , papal statement , Pope Francis , vatican , Vatican City

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