3 reasons clean energy is poised to take off in developing cities

September 1, 2017 by  
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Move over, Vancouver. A full slate of cities in fast-evolving countries are ramping up renewable energy.

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3 reasons clean energy is poised to take off in developing cities

Re-manufactured bikes and beyond: Circular design in action

September 1, 2017 by  
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Three ways designing for the circular economy is getting real.

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Re-manufactured bikes and beyond: Circular design in action

Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging

June 29, 2017 by  
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Vancouver , Canada wants to become a zero-waste city – no easy feat for an area with over 600,000 people. But as part of its Greenest City Action Plan , the city is exploring options to limit single-use packaging, like all those coffee cups, plastic bags and foam take-out containers littering our landfills . This summer they’re launching a pilot program to allow restaurants to fill take-out orders in reusable containers brought by patrons. Vancouver is teaming up with Vancouver Coastal Health to allow retailers and restaurants to fill orders in customer-brought containers. They pointed to container share programs in San Francisco, New York City, and Portland as examples of alternatives to the single-use waste issue in the past. Vancouver Coastal Health will work to ensure food safety and health for the program. Related: Insidious single-use coffee pods banned in German city Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a statement, “Vancouver is on track to be the greenest city in the world by 2020, and taking these next steps to reduce coffee cups, Styrofoam , and plastic bags from our landfills will take our environmental leadership to the next level.” He called for city residents to weigh in on reducing single-use packaging waste. If you live in Vancouver, you can find out about zero waste events or sound off on your ideas here . Even though Vancouver is taking large strides towards becoming a zero waste city, they’ve got a long way to go. According to city officials, 2.6 million coffee cups are tossed into the garbage every single week there, while around two million plastic bags end up in the trash. They also frequently find foam in Vancouver shoreline cleanup projects. But the effort to prioritize a zero waste future is a positive step, as the city encourages its citizens to shift their thinking on waste . Via the City of Vancouver ( 1 , 2 ) Images via Wikimedia Commons and Takahiro Sakamoto on Unsplash

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Vancouver on track to kill wasteful single-use packaging

We have just 3 years to ward off climate change – new report

June 29, 2017 by  
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The year 2020 could be a huge turning point for our planet. According to a new report, if we don’t limit carbon emissions by that date, we won’t meet the goals of the 2015 Paris Agreement . That leaves just three years – but six leaders and scientists laid out a six-point plan for meeting the most pressing deadline in human history – regardless of who’s in the White House. Christiana Figueres, convener of Mission 2020 and Executive Secretary for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change between 2010 and 2016, led the group who wrote a piece for Nature outlining their vision for how we can lower emissions and meet the Paris goals. They targeted six sectors: energy , finance, land, infrastructure , transport, and industry. They said their goals may be “idealistic at best, unrealistic at worst” but they feel setting high goals will inspire people to innovate to meet them. Related: How former NYC mayor Bloomberg is filling Trump’s climate change vacuum For example, the authors said at least 30 percent of global power supply needs to be sourced from renewable energy . It’s not impossible, considering we obtained 23.7 percent of electricity from renewables in 2015. They highlight low carbon practices for the other sectors too, like reducing deforestation and increasing use of clean vehicles . The authors also laid out three steps to avoid delaying. First, base policies and action plans on science . Second, scale up existing solutions quickly. And third, be optimistic. “There will always be those who hide their heads in the sand and ignore the global risks of climate change ,” said the authors. “But there are many more of us committed to overcoming this inertia. Let us stay optimistic and act boldly together.” Numerous scientists, politicians, business leaders, analysts, and faith leaders co-signed the Nature article, such as California governor Jerry Brown and climate scientist Michael Mann . + Mission 2020 Via Nature Images via Wikimedia Commons and David Nuescheler on Unsplash

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We have just 3 years to ward off climate change – new report

Researchers discover 14,000-year-old Canadian village, one of North America’s oldest

April 13, 2017 by  
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The discovery of a 14,000-year-old ancient village in Canada could forever alter our understanding of early civilization in North America. Researchers estimate the settlement is way older than the Giza pyramids, and have found artifacts dating all the way back to the Ice Age . The village is one of the oldest human settlements we’ve ever uncovered in North America – and lines up with the oral history of the Heiltsuk Nation. Researchers from the Hakai Institute and University of Victoria , with local First Nations members, unearthed revealing artifacts on Triquet Island, around 310 miles northwest of Victoria, Canada. They’ve found fish hooks, spears, and tools to ignite fires. Thanks to the discovery of the ancient village last year, researchers now think a massive human migration may have happened along British Columbia’s coastline. Related: World’s oldest fossils discovered in Canada – and they’re 4 billion years old According to IFL Science, archaeologists once thought humans might arrived in North America via a land bridge between Russia and Alaska, and then moved forward on foot. But the recent discovery suggests people moved down the coast possibly in boats instead; the coastal route likely came before the inland route. University of Victoria PhD student Alisha Gauvreau, who was part of the excavation, told CTV News Vancouver Island, “I remember when we get [sic] the dates back and we just kind of sat there going, holy moly, this is old. What this is doing is just changing our idea of the way in which North America was first peopled.” The find fits right in with the oral history of a First Nations government in British Columbia, the Heiltsuk Nation. For generations they’ve told stories of ancient coastal villages. William Housty of Heiltsuk Nation told CTV News Vancouver Island, “To think about how these stories survived all of that, only to be supported by this archaeological evidence is just amazing.” Via CTV News Vancouver Island , The Independent , and IFL Science Images via screenshot and Hakai Institute Twitter

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Researchers discover 14,000-year-old Canadian village, one of North America’s oldest

Green roof flows into a lush living wall on this modern Vancouver home

April 13, 2017 by  
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Texture and hand craftsmanship are king in this beautiful modern home in Vancouver . Design studio Measured Architecture completed the Rough House, a single family home and laneway project that skillfully combines a myriad of patterns, colors, and texture for visual interest without looking at all cluttered. With beautiful details to be found in every corner, the carefully constructed home is a delight for the eyes and even boasts lush green roofs and living wall. The 3,600-square-foot Rough House comprises two narrow structures, the main home and the smaller, detached laneway house, slotted into a tight urban lot in a way that still allows room for side yards and light wells. Carbonized cypress clads the primary residence while board-form concrete and repurposed white boardroom boards cover the smaller building. Large windows cut into the volumes frame views of the garden using Japanese principles of shakkei, or “borrowed view.” Related: Vancouver home built almost entirely with former building’s materials “Fundamental to the success of this project is the separation of the home from its neighbours in a tight urban condition through the narrowing of building to support increased side yard landscape edges and exterior light well circulation, displaced green space to regain connectivity to yard in an increased densification, and finally a play of textures to increase an intimacy between materials and occupant,” wrote the architects. The firm’s success can be seen in the outdoor patio, built like an extension of the indoor living space, that’s partly bookended by a lush living wall. The vertical garden appears to seamlessly connect with a green roof on the laneway house, a smaller version of the landscaped roof atop the primary residence. + Measured Architects Via Dezeen Images via Measured Architects

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Green roof flows into a lush living wall on this modern Vancouver home

Electra Meccanica reveals the all-electric 250-mile-range Tofino roadster

March 30, 2017 by  
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If you’ve never heard of the Canadian Electra Meccanica , hold on for an exciting ride. It appears the Vancouver-based automaker may finally get the attention it deserves with the debut of a new electric roadster, the Tofino. Electra Meccanica, the electric division of Intermeccanica, has turned the firm’s conventional roadster into an affordable two-seater all-electric sports car . On the outside, the Tofino looks like a retro two-seater roadster, but underneath the powertrain is anything but retro. The chassis and body are made of a lightweight aerospace-grade composite and the Tofino is capable of traveling up to 250 miles on a full charge. The Tofino’s electric motor packs enough punch to give it a top speed of 125 mph and a 0-60 time under 7 seconds. Related: Meet SOLO, an affordable electric three-wheeled commuter vehicle for one The roadster will be available in five colors including Titanium Silver, Electric Red, Raven Black, Arctic White, and Bionic Bronze with a price starting at $50,000 Canadian (~$37,000 USD). Deliveries are expected to start in 2019. While we will have to wait at least two years until the Tofino arrives, Electra Meccanica is getting ready to start deliveries of its single-seater 100-mile range SOLO electric car . To raise hype for the SOLO, Electra Meccanica has revealed a high-performance version of the SOLO, called the SOLO R. + Electra Meccanica All images @Electra Meccanica

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Electra Meccanica reveals the all-electric 250-mile-range Tofino roadster

75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order

March 30, 2017 by  
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This week President Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing climate action regulations like the Clean Power Plan and promoting a misguided – and likely unattainable – goal of making coal great again. But 75 United States city mayors aren’t letting Trump stand in the way of their climate action . The Climate Mayors – who represent over 41 million people in both Democrat and Republican-dominated states – published an open letter affirming their cities’ commitments to work towards the goals of the Paris agreement . Current Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti and former mayors of Philadelphia and Houston started the Climate Mayors, or the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda, to inspire mayors to work together to reduce greenhouse gas emissions on a local level, and support efforts for climate action policy at a national and global level. Mayors from New Orleans to Chicago to Austin and Fayetteville, Arkansas are involved. Related: Trump’s new executive order to undo Obama climate action The mayors wrote an open letter to the president, objecting to his recent moves to once again favor the fossil fuel industry over the environment. The Climate Mayors described climate change as the country’s single greatest threat – and its greatest economic opportunity. For those reasons they affirmed commitments “to taking every action possible to achieve the principles and goals of the Paris Climate Agreement, and to engage states, businesses, and other sectors to join us.” The mayors included some statistics to back up their statement, saying one in 50 American jobs are in the solar sector, which they said is more than employment in oil, gas, and coal extraction put together. “Texas is once again experiencing an energy boom – this time, with wind power . In fact, the majority of wind jobs in the U.S. are in congressional districts that voted for you,” the mayors wrote in their letter. They urged Trump to join them, but in the meantime, they won’t stop working towards a cleaner future. Via the Climate Mayors and Curbed Images via Gage Skidmore on Flickr and Mayors’ National Climate Action Agenda on Facebook

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75 American mayors affirm climate goals even after Trump executive order

London and Paris mayors announce new emissions monitoring system for vehicles

March 30, 2017 by  
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Just a day after U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order that aims to bring back smog-inducing coal power, the mayors of London and Paris are acting to cut air pollution in their cities. Reuters reports that Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and London Mayor Sadiq Khan have announced a new system for monitoring vehicle emissions in their respective cities, with the aim of combating the air quality problems that have plagued both national capitals. Their plan would enable a system that identifies real-life emissions readings from cars, which would give people more information about how much theirs emit. Each car’s score for the air pollutants it puts out would be based on road and “real-world” testing using emissions analytics and the International Council for Clean Transportation . “We should be able to set up a reliable scoring system which will be put to all our citizens and allow them to know what emissions are coming from which vehicles in reality,” Hidalgo said at an international conference on air pollution, according to Reuters . “This new scheme will put an end to the ‘smoke and mirrors’ that has been employed and provide Londoners and Parisians with an honest, accurate and independent evaluation of the emissions of vehicles on our road,” Khan added. Related: California defies trump with tough emissions rules According to French media, emissions monitoring devices will be put in place on the streets of Paris and on various kinds of vehicles in the next few weeks. Seoul also plans to try the monitoring tactic to get a handle on air pollution in the South Korean capital. 9,000 people die per year in London, as a result of pollution. In Paris, about 2,500 die annually. The mayors intend to fix that. Via Reuters Images via dbakr and zongo , Flickr Creative Commons

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London and Paris mayors announce new emissions monitoring system for vehicles

Rainforest Retreat is a nature lovers escape with minimal building impact

November 10, 2016 by  
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Hidden away in the British Columbia rainforest, the 825-square-foot cabin enjoys privacy and its many windows offer carefully framed views of the landscape. The building is handsomely clad in locally milled Douglas Fir and Red Cedar, which lend the cabin a sense of warmth, while helping it blend into the surroundings. The use of timber is repeated in the interior, where it is complemented by large white surfaces for a clean and contemporary appearance. Shade from the trees and cross-breezes naturally cool the building. Related: Modern timber-framed cabin is hidden high among the tree canopy of a Swedish island “The client’s wishes for simplicity, gentle exterior appearance, a small footprint, and abundant natural light set the stage for an open sculptural form,” writes Agathom. “Great effort was taken to minimize the building’s impact on the site, resulting in a long, slim structure. Slightly twisting two main blocks of the plan, and overlapping those shapes, made a building modest in area ever expansive and full of unexpected depth.” Custom lighting enhances forest views in the dark and a periscope light was installed to guide the client when outdoors. The Rainforest Retreat was this year’s Architizer A+ Awards winner in the Popular Choice category for Private House XS. + Agathom Via Dezeen Images via Agathom

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Rainforest Retreat is a nature lovers escape with minimal building impact

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