Anti-logging protests make history in Canada

September 9, 2021 by  
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More than 866 protesters against old-growth logging have been arrested in western Canada since April. These protests are now the biggest act of civil disobedience in the country’s history. The main issue of contention is Vancouver Island’s disappearing ancient forests. The situation on the island has been worsened by police brutality towards protestors. The police have responded to protesters by pepper-spraying, beating and dragging them. The number of arrests has already surpassed those made in the 90s during the anti- logging “War in the Woods” protests. Related: Monarch butterfly population declines due to climate change and logging Protestors have locked themselves to the logging road, chained themselves on tripod stands made from logs, suspended themselves in trees and locked their arms in devices known as sleeping dragons, which are cemented to the ground. In June, British Columbia announced a two-year logging moratorium. Protestors want a permanent ban, but the government has been reluctant to acquiesce. Jean-François Savard, one of the protestors who has been at the campsite since April, said, “We have experts in rigging, we have climbers, we have carpenters – we have all these people getting together to build amazing, beautiful things.” Savard added, “The [police] are getting very frustrated by our tenacity because we’re constantly rebuilding and coming up with new ideas. People aren’t giving up.” Police have recently been criticized for their handling of the situation. They are accused of hiding their faces and not wearing name badges. They have also barred the media from reporting on the protests despite a court ruling this unlawful. Those at the camps say that their resolve is only growing. They are determined to protect the remaining forests . One of the protestors, Warren Kimmit, said they are willing to put their bodies on the line. “The civil disobedience movement is very simple. We put our bodies on the line, we almost expect to be injured, we expect to be in a very uncomfortable situation,” said Kimmit. “Our willingness to do that is what causes the public to see our commitment to a cause, to rally them and to put pressure on the government to act.” Via The Guardian Lead image via Pixabay

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Anti-logging protests make history in Canada

Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

July 29, 2021 by  
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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton Heather Clancy Thu, 07/29/2021 – 00:01 Green construction startup Nexii first caught my attention back in the spring when the Canadian company announced a partnership with actor and Pennsylvania native Michael Keaton. The initiative — the creation of a manufacturing plant for Nexii’s “sustainable concrete” alternative Nexiite — will bring at least 300 new jobs to a redeveloped brownfield site in the “Steel City” of Pittsburgh that thrived in the era of industrialist Andrew Carnegie. “I’ve always been interested in design and construction, but I only recently learned the game-changing impact the construction industry can have in improving the environment by adoption of innovative, lower-carbon techniques,” Keaton said when the relationship was announced in April. “For me, the opportunity to marry job creation with an environmentally sustainable business is incredibly exciting.” Keaton’s involvement isn’t just money; he’s participating in a venture called Trinity Sustainable Solutions, which also includes Nexii and commercial real estate developer Trinity Commercial Development, a specialist in redeveloping brownfield sites that has done work for companies including Walmart, Rite Aid, Goodwill and CSX Transportation. The new factory will be constructed using Nexii’s composite, a material manufactured off-site into lightweight panels and then assembled where it’s needed. The building components are modeled using 3D design software; it’s like creating pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that can be pieced together. The approach reduces construction waste and speeds development times, according to Nexii’s marketing materials. If star power doesn’t impress you as a sustainability practitioner or climate-tech evangelist, the flurry of deals and alliances that Nexii has forged since that time will definitely get your attention. In June, the company announced a pact with JLL Philadelphia that is intended to help increase the ranks of Nexii certified partners from among real estate companies, developers and other companies in the building sector. More recently, Nexii created a strategic alliance with building automation technologies company Honeywell. The deal sets up Honeywell as the exclusive tech supplier for new buildings constructed by Nexii. What’s particularly notable about this arrangement is that it’s intended to encourage the use of building management software in smaller structures: Close to 90 percent of the commercial buildings in the U.S. are less than 50,000 square feet in size and lack any sort of management system, according to Energy Star data.  Nexii has also engaged a well-respected adviser from the regenerative and net-zero buildings movement as its “impact architect”: Jason McLennan , co-author of the Living Building Challenge and a Buckminster Fuller Prize winner. Nexii is living proof that entrepreneurship is alive and well and thriving outside of Silicon Valley. Founded in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, by two brothers with deep roots in the construction industry, the Vancouver company so far has raised more than $52 million in venture backing. Three-time former Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson (who made substantial updates to the city’s building codes during his tenure) is its executive vice president for strategy and partnerships, and Nexii’s board includes William McNabb, former chair and CEO of Vanguard, and Ronald Sugar, former CEO of Northrop Grumman who is also a board member at Apple and chair of Uber Technologies.  When I spoke with Robertson earlier this week, he told me that Nexii has a twofold mission: To dramatically reduce the embedded carbon associated with buildings — the sector is estimated to account for 39 percent of global emissions — while simultaneously bringing new employment opportunities to Rust Belt and Canadian industrial communities where there is a long history of manufacturing.  We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. The Pittsburgh plant is an example of that, along with a sister facility in Hazelton, Pennsylvania, and another in Louisville, Kentucky, that Nexii is planning in collaboration with Buffalo Construction, a company that has a presence in 49 states. Its specialty is restaurants, hospitality and multi-family residential structures, among other things. Nexii’s process isn’t just hypothetical. The material was used in the construction of a Starbucks drive-thru cafe in Vancouver; designed to help reduce carbon emissions by about 30 percent. Nexiite is used in the store’s wall and roof panels and assembled in just six days. More recently, the material was used to help build a Popeyes restaurant in British Columbia in less than two weeks. And it’s working with Marriott on its biggest project yet, a 172-room, 10-story Courtyard property. “We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction,” Robertson said.  Nexii isn’t the only startup espousing some element of prefabrication: Two other startups to watch are Factory OS , beneficiary of strategic investments by the likes of Autodesk and Citi; and Plant Prefab , which counts Amazon and Obvious Ventures among its backers.  Want more great insight on technologies and trends accelerating the clean economy? Subscribe to our free VERGE Weekly newsletter.  Pull Quote We are striving for that big climate impact but also competing toe-to-toe on speed and efficiency of construction. Topics Infrastructure Climate Tech Buildings Startups Carbon Removal Decarbonization Featured Column Practical Magic Featured in featured block (1 article with image touted on the front page or elsewhere) Off Duration 0 Sponsored Article Off A panel made of Nexiite is hoisted for transportation to a construction site. Courtesy of Nexii Close Authorship

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Meet Nexii, the green construction company allied with Michael Keaton

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

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