Qatar unveils first-ever FIFA World Cup stadium to be built from shipping containers

November 28, 2017 by  
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Abandoned stadiums and crumbling arenas are often left in the wake of events like the World Cup and the Olympics. In a bid for more sustainable construction, Qatar has unveiled plans for the world’s first fully modular stadium ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Designed by Fenwick Iribarren , Schlaich Bergermann Partner and Hilson Moran , the 40,000-seat arena, known as the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, would be mainly built of shipping containers to allow for disassembly and reconstruction. The plans for the cargotecture stadium —the latest in Qatar’s total of eight proposed host venues for the FIFA World Cup —was revealed this week Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC), the organization tasked with delivering the infrastructure for the 2022 event. Unlike the World Cup stadiums before it, the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium will be built of modular building blocks presumably constructed in a factory with amenities, such as removable seats, concession stands, and bathrooms, ahead of on-site assembly. The modular approach results in less waste and a reduced carbon footprint, and may earn the stadium a four-star Global Sustainability Assessment System certification. Related: Arup and RFA Fenwick Iribarren Architects unveil plans for the new Qatar Foundation Stadium “This venue offers the perfect legacy, capable of being reassembled in a new location in its entirety or built into numerous small sports and cultural venues,” said SC Secretary General H.E. Hassan Al Thawadi. Qatar’s new World Cup stadium is expected to be completed in 2020 and will be located on a 450,000-square-meter waterfront site nearby a Doha port. + Fenwick Iribarren Architects Via The Architect’s Newspaper and FIFA

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Biggest grid operator in US attacks Perry’s proposal to prop up coal

October 24, 2017 by  
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Energy Secretary Rick Perry is attempting to keep coal alive under the guise of grid resiliency , but the largest grid operator in the United States called on regulators to scrap the plan. PJM Interconnection CEO Andrew Ott called Perry’s pricing proposal unworkable and discriminatory, and even said it’s inconsistent with federal law. Multiple other grid operators have also called for its rejection. Perry has urged the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to alter how wholesale power markets price electricity – so some nuclear and coal generators can recover costs, according to Bloomberg. Perry’s plan would attempt to reward power plants able to store 90 days of fuel supplies onsite. Ott told reporters, “I don’t know how this proposal could be implemented without a detrimental impact on the market.” Related: Trump administration halts study on health risks of living near coal mining sites Ott said it seems the rule targets PJM – between 2011 and 2016, they retired over 19 gigawatts of coal-fired power, according to Bloomberg. But “the PJM market is more diverse and reliable today than we’ve seen,” Ott said. PJM serves over 65 million people in over a dozen states in the Midwest to Mid-Atlantic. Bloomberg said hundreds of energy companies commented on the proposal, with firms like ExxonMobil , Anadarko Petroleum , and Devon Energy pointing to the low cost and reliability of natural gas . The Solar Energy Industries Association said nuclear and coal plants aren’t invulnerable to outages. FirstEnergy supported Perry’s plan because they said the grid will be at risk if nuclear and coal plants are retired. They operate several coal plants in the PJM market. Grid operators like the New York Independent System Operator , the Midcontinent Independent System Operator , and ISO New England called for FERC to toss out Perry’s plan as part of a coalition that also included organizations the proposal wouldn’t impact, such as the California Independent System Operator , the Electric Reliability Council of Texas , and the Southwest Power Pool . Via Bloomberg Images via Pixabay and U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

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Singapore is banning all new private vehicles from its roads

October 24, 2017 by  
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The government of Singapore , one of the densest countries in the world, has announced that the number of private cars on its roads will be frozen next year, even as the number of vehicles used for public transit are expected to increase. The rate of growth for all passenger cars and motorcycles will be decreased from the current 0.25 percent per year to effectively zero percent starting in February 2018. In going forward with this move, Singapore, one of the wealthiest countries in Asia , is building on its past successes related to its vehicle growth caps, such as its prevention of monstrous traffic jams that plague other cities in the region. Singapore is already one of the most expensive places to purchase a personal vehicle in part because of a requirement that vehicle owners acquire a “certificate of entitlement,” which is valid for only 10 years and has an average price tag of US$37,000. Even a relatively standard sedan can cost up to four times as much as it would cost in the United States . For this reason, there are only around 600,000 private cars in Singapore, which has a population of over 5.5 million people. Related: Green-roofed desalination plant is world’s first to treat both fresh and saltwater In making the growth cap announcement, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) stated that more than 12 percent of Singapore’s land area (only 277.6 square miles) is already taken up by roads and there is very little room left for the expansion of private vehicle ownership. To compensate for the decrease in private vehicles on the road, the Singapore government will invest Sg$28 billion over the next five years to develop and improve its public transit system . This includes Singapore’s metro rail, which, like many rapid rail systems in major cities , has been suffering from significant delays. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation donates $20M to support environmental causes

September 20, 2017 by  
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The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) just announced their biggest portfolio of environmental grants ever given. LDF is giving $20 million to organizations working for conservation , climate solutions, and indigenous rights , to name a few. DiCaprio made the announcement yesterday during the Yale Climate Conference hosted by John Kerry , former Secretary of State. LDF CEO Terry Tamminen said, “With a lack of political leadership, and continued evidence that climate change is growing worse with record-breaking heat waves and storms , we believe we need to do as much as we can now, before it is too late.” LDF will give over 100 organizations grants across six categories: wildlife and land conservation; marine life and ocean conservation; indigenous rights; climate change; innovation, technology , and media; and LDF’s California program, targeted to help local communities transition to sustainable infrastructure, energy , and food . Related: Leonardo DiCaprio launches a new fund to save the lions In his speech at yesterday’s conference, DiCaprio called for people to get involved in tackling climate change. He said people can do three simple things: first, vote in the midterm elections next year for candidates who believe climate change is one of the most important issues the United States must address. Second, buy from environmentally friendly companies, and boycott those funding climate deniers or offering products that hurt the environment. Third, support charities and non-governmental organizations working for climate solutions. DiCaprio said, “I still believe that the United States has the potential to lead the world on this issue. We can only hope that the President begins to see it too…Time is up. The current events are a global wake-up call that must be heard all the way from you, to the private sector, to Washington, D.C. It is too late for any of us to be too timid or too ignorant or too silent. We must all take action together now.” + Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Via the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation Images via screenshot

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Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation donates $20M to support environmental causes

Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson says Trump is wrong about climate change

January 12, 2017 by  
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In a startling statement, Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of State Rex Tillerson publicly disagreed with the President-elect’s position on climate change. While Trump has stated he wants to withdraw from the Paris agreement, and has characterized climate change as an anti-American “hoax,” Tillerson told Congress , “I think it’s important that the United States maintain its seat at the table on the conversations around how to address the threats of climate change, which do require a global response. No one country is going to solve this alone.” Tillerson’s position is an interesting one, considering that he’s the former CEO of ExxonMobil, a company that’s been accused of misleading the public on the existence of climate change since the 1960s . In fact, the company continues to fund climate-denial research to this day. Despite this, Tillerson insisted that he believes the “risk of climate change does exist” and that the consequences could be serious enough to “warrant action.” Related: Americans don’t trust climate change science because of fossil fuel industry’s disinformation While Tillerson has said Trump is aware of his views and he would be willing to advise the administration to take climate change seriously (perhaps with a bit more caution than environmentalists would like), it’s unclear if this could actually change Trump’s approach in any way. The administration’s other nominees have come out firmly against the very concept of climate change – including Rick Perry, Trump’s proposed head of the Department of Energy , and Scott Pruitt, the pick for head of the Environmental Protection Agency . Although Tillerson appears to grudgingly accept the reality of climate change, that’s no reason for the American public to let our guard down. The would-be Secretary of State did not address whether he believes climate change poses a threat to national security – an opinion held by the nation’s foremost military expert. He also refused to discuss ExxonMobil’s longstanding war against scientific research on the subject, and he would not give a firm answer on whether he would suspend US funding to the UN Green Climate Fund. There’s also the troubling matter of the former exec’s troubling ties to Vladimir Putin , which critics fear could compromise his ability to perform his duties effectively. Via Mother Jones Images via William Munoz and Wikimedia Commons

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Trumps pick for Secretary of the Interior is an environmental disaster

December 9, 2016 by  
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President-elect Donald Trump is expected to nominate Washington representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers as his Secretary of the Interior, a position that involves protecting federal land like the National Parks and conserving natural resources. Environmental groups have been quick to slam McMorris Rodgers for her environmental record – in the past, she’s voted to open public lands to drilling, mining, and logging, and in 2011 she co-sponsored a bill to sell off 3 million acres of public lands. And, like way too many members of Trump’s incoming administration, she’s a climate change skeptic. Looking at McMorris Rodgers’ voting record is a bit disturbing. The League of Conservation Voters gives her a lifetime environmental score of just 4%. Out of more than 250 votes on environmental bills, the group considers only 10 of her votes to be pro-environment. In the past, she’s voted to allow drilling in vulnerable parts of the Arctic. If she goes on to head the Department of the Interior , she would be in control of 500 million acres of public land, accounting for a massive 20% of the US landmass. The department manages energy development on federal lands, as well as our national parks , wildlife refuges, and outer continental shelf – all of which could be threatened by McMorris Rodgers’ pro-fossil-fuel agenda. Related: Donald Trump taps fossil fuel-funded climate denier to head EPA While the Trump administration has not yet revealed when her nomination will be announced, a member of the transition team has confirmed the President-elect’s choice to the media. House Republicans are reportedly already laying the groundwork to replace her as GOP Conference Chair. “Trump is throwing American leadership out the window–especially on climate change–by nominating U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers to be Secretary of the Interior. She will open our public lands and natural resources to Big Oil and Big Coal, and put our parks, wilderness and endangered species at risk. We cannot allow that to happen. We will dig in and fight harder than ever to ensure that Trump and Rep. McMorris Rodgers cannot advance their dangerous policies—and we must start by demanding the Senate defeat this nomination,” says Tom Steyer, President of NextGen Climate . Via USA Today Images via Wikimedia Commons

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Squat your way to a free subway ride in Mexico City

October 22, 2015 by  
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A little daily exercise could earn strap-hangers a free ride in Mexico City. Since the beginning of 2015, the city’s Secretary of Health has boosted a campaign offering up free subway rides for riders willing to do a mini workout of ten squats. The health stations in subway and bus stops are a city wide effort to curb obesity in Mexico City , which is a rampant issue in both the city and the country. Read the rest of Squat your way to a free subway ride in Mexico City

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Compact container Kiosque can be assembled in three hours flat

October 22, 2015 by  
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HUD Launches $1 Billion National Disaster Resilience Competition

September 18, 2014 by  
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The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is partnering again with The Rockefeller Foundation to help communities become more resilient in the face of increasingly severe weather from a changing climate. Building upon the successful Rebuild by Design competition, new HUD Secretary Julián Castro and Rockefeller President Dr. Judith Rodin on Wednesday launched a $1 billion National Disaster Resilience Competition . The 67 eligible applicants at the state and local level can now begin applying for funds. Read the rest of HUD Launches $1 Billion National Disaster Resilience Competition Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Climate Change , extreme weather , housing and urban development , HUD , Julian Castro , National Disaster Resilience Competition , Rebuild by Design , Rockefeller Foundation , severe weather

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Activists Deliver 2 Million Public Comments Opposing Keystone XL Pipeline to Secretary John Kerry

March 7, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Activists Deliver 2 Million Public Comments Opposing Keystone XL Pipeline to Secretary John Kerry Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: barack obama , Delivering Our National Interest Determination , Energy Action Coalition , Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement , john kerry , Keystone XL Pipeline , state department        

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