Over 6,000 employees demand Amazon take climate change seriously

April 16, 2019 by  
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This month, more than 6,000 employees signed onto a letter  demanding Amazon distance itself from big oil companies and develop a more aggressive timeline to reduce its carbon footprint . Without acknowledging the letter’s demands, Amazon spokespersons pointed to a recent blog post promising that the company would release its carbon footprint data in 2019 and a vague plan to reach 100 percent renewable energy at data centers by an unspecified date. Amazon, one of the most profitable companies in the world, has a massive carbon footprint, because it ships millions of products throughout the world. It also maintains enormous cloud data and artificial intelligence centers, which need to be powered and cooled 24/7. According to Amazon’s website , the data services help companies like BP and Dutch Royal Shell “find oil faster” and reduce oil prices. Related: Amazon plans to reach net-zero carbon use by 2030 The employees argue that such partnerships, largely undisclosed even to the company’s sustainability team, demonstrate a disingenuous commitment to reducing Amazon’s carbon footprint. Like many tech companies, Amazon offers employees stock benefits. In an unprecedented move, the employees used their power as shareholders to develop a sustainability resolution, which garnered 6,033 signatures by April 12. Such pressure from stakeholders typically comes from outside investors and rarely from employees. The New York Times called the action “the largest employee-driven movement related to climate change to ever take place in such an influential tech company.” Rajit Iftikhar, a software engineer at Amazon, told the Times, “We want to make Amazon a better company. It is a natural extension of that.”’ Amazon’s board typically votes on proposed shareholder resolutions in April. Via New York Times Image via Robert Scoble

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Over 6,000 employees demand Amazon take climate change seriously

7 Ways to live an eco-friendly life while staying healthy

April 16, 2019 by  
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Being committed to sustainable living is all about balance. While staying healthy is a top priority, you also need to think about living as eco-friendly as possible. Balancing these two commitments can be challenging, but there are plenty of ways you can live an eco-friendly life while keeping yourself in top shape and all it will cost you is a little time and energy. From enjoying the benefits of fresh air to changing the way you eat, here are a few ways you can bring balance to your life and the environment. Take advantage of quality air This might seem a pretty obvious way to respect the environment while staying healthy, but how often do you enjoy the benefits of fresh air? If you live in an area with low air pollution, then you can pick any time of day to go on a walk around your neighborhood. If your city’s air quality is poor, you can still enjoy clean air by going on walks in the early morning hours. Related: Keep your pantry stocked with these staples for a plant-based diet Indoor air quality is also a concern. You can improve the quality of your indoor air by avoiding harsh cleaning chemicals. When painting rooms, you should stay away from paints that have ammonia and other dangerous chemicals. Not only does improving the quality of air help the environment, but it can also keep you healthy. Use alternative ways to get to work Pollution from automobiles is a growing concern for many communities. If you have the means, purchasing a vehicle that does not emit harmful toxins into the air is one way to fight the problem. But for most of us, using alternative ways to get to work can greatly reduce the amount of air pollution that gets pumps into our cities. There are plenty of ways to make your commute better for the environment and your health. If you live close to your work, start walking to your place of employment, even if it is only a few times a week. If your work is outside of walking distance, consider riding a bike. Walking or cycling to work is a great way to help the environment, plus you can always count it towards your daily workout. If riding or walking is not an option, you might try ride sharing. Carpooling to work can greatly reduce air pollution caused by automobiles and can save you gas money to boot. Switch up your diet The types of food we consume have lasting effects on the environment, both good and bad, not to mention the impact they have on your overall health. As a rule of thumb, try eating things that are fresh and locally sourced. Fresh foods generally contain less preservatives and harmful ingredients, while supporting local farmers is great for the environment and your local community. When it comes to foods that you should avoid, canned items are at the top of the list. This includes most bottled beverages. These drinks are less healthy than water and contribute to the worldwide problem of plastic waste. If you consistently drink water, consider investing in a quality water filter instead of relying on bottled water. Add some sunshine to your workouts Going outside for your workout is a great way to stay healthy and be good to the environment . Exercising outdoors helps the environment because you are not using indoor equipment that requires electricity to run. It can also be easier to workout in an outdoor setting as you are not stuck on a treadmill or bike the entire time. There are also practical benefits to working out in the sun. The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, which a lot of people lack. If you do choose to exercise in the sun’s rays, you should do it between sunrise and 10 in the morning. After that, you run the risk of being exposed to high levels of UV rays , which are not good for your skin. Spend time gardening Gardening is a great way to add more fresh air, exercise and sunlight into your daily routine. Better yet, it is also good for the environment. Gardening is ideal if you have some space in your backyard, but you can still plant a garden if you live in an apartment. Just make sure you do plenty of research before you plant anything, as certain types of plants will only grow in specific climates. If starting a garden at your house is not an option, another alternative is to join a community garden (or start one yourself). Community gardens are a great way to meet new people and share gardening ideas. The biggest benefit, of course, is that you get your own little plot to grow whatever you like, further contributing to sustainable living in your community. Via  Blue and Green Tomorrow ,  Life Hack Images via Burst , skeeze , silviarita , tookapic , raawpixel

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Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

April 16, 2019 by  
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New research shows that European diets are linked to deforestation  in tropical countries. Scientists from Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology tracked carbon emissions that are produced from tropical deforestation and found that one-sixth of the harmful emissions are related to European diets. “In effect, you could say that the EU imports large amounts of deforestation every year,” lead researcher Martin Persson shared. Related: Cargill announces plan to reduce deforestation from cocoa Persson noted that the European Union needs to address the issue of deforestation if it wants to meet previously announced climate goals. The study showed that deforestation contributed around 2.6 billion tons of carbon dioxide over a four-year span, from 2010 to 2014. Most of the cleared land was used for crops and pastures, with cattle and oilseed farming leading the way in production. A good portion of the deforestation was driven by international demand. The researchers estimated that anywhere between 29 to 39 percent of the carbon emissions could be traced to trade, which is directly linked to consumption in several EU nations. Fortunately, some countries in the EU are cracking down on imports tied to deforestation. France, for example, initiated a plan to discourage such imports over the next 10 years. Investors have also issued warnings to companies that produce soy, criticizing them for participating in deforestation for the sake of making money. Although some countries are fighting back, Persson and his team do not believe the efforts will stop companies from clearing land. Part of the issue is that there are few regulations that actually prevent countries from importing products that are linked to deforestation. Persson also believes that nations should provide better support for local farmers who are practicing sustainability . Moving forward, Persson hopes more studies will be done that expand on his work and show stronger links between imported products and deforestation. With more data to support their conclusions, Persson believes that countries can work together to put an end to deforestation before it is too late. The study will be published in the journal Global Environmental Change in May 2019. Via Mongabay Image via Shutterstock

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Deforestation in tropical countries linked to European diets in new study

MAD Architects unveils an organic skyscraper piercing Manhattans skyline

April 16, 2019 by  
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Beijing-based architectural studio MAD Architects has unveiled an alternative vision for the skyline of New York City with the introduction of East 34th, a nature-inspired high-rise proposed near the Empire State Building. The conceptual renderings for the glass-clad building were recently released alongside the launch of the “MAD X” exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Designed as a visual counterpoint to the Empire State Building and the skyline’s hard lines, MAD’s sinuous skyscraper is “planted like a seed” and takes cues from living architecture. Conceived as a mixed-use building, East 34th is envisioned for a 5,231-square-foot site and spans nearly 120,000 square feet of floor space with a building height of 761 feet, about half the height of the Empire State Building. The high-rise would include a commercial podium at street level with retail and public amenities, while luxury residences with double-height communal spaces occupy the upper floors. In keeping with MAD Architects’ philosophy of bringing nature into all aspects of architecture, East 34th would also include a spacious multi-floor atrium with an expansive green wall as an “escape into nature” from the concrete jungle. “Located adjacent to the ‘Empire State Building’ — which held the title of the world’s tallest building for almost 40 years — ‘East 34th’ is planted like a seed, sprouting within the grid, rising with a soft, undulating surface that suggests a more organic, living architecture,” the architects explained in a press release. “Thus, the design opposes the traditional towers that demonstrate the cultural impact of power and capital in our cities. Defying the stacked floor plates and authority of a bygone industrial era that has come to characterize the city’s horizon, ‘East 34th’ softens the hard skyline and introduces a dialogue between New York’s modernist landscape and nature.” Related: MAD Architects’ curvaceous Himalayas Center nears completion in Nanjing Wrapped in a deep-colored glass curtain-wall facade, the slender and sinuous skyscraper is topped with a rounded cap. The model of East 34th is one of 12 architectural models created by MAD Architects currently exhibited at Centre Pompidou in Paris. + MAD Architects Images via MAD Architects

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MAD Architects unveils an organic skyscraper piercing Manhattans skyline

BIG unveils a sustainable floating city in response to rising sea levels

April 9, 2019 by  
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BIG and a coalition of partners have unveiled Oceanix City, a visionary proposal for the world’s first resilient and sustainable floating community for 10,000 people. Presented at the first UN high-level roundtable on Sustainable Floating Cities, the conceptual design was created as a potential solution to the perceived threat of climate change and rising sea levels. Conceived as a “modular maritime metropolis,” Oceanix City is engineered for self-sufficiency with features from net-zero energy and zero-waste systems to a sharing culture. According to UN-Habitat, 90 percent of the world’s largest cities will be exposed to rising seas by 2050. As part of UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, BIG teamed up with MIT Center for Ocean Engineering, Mobility in Chain, Sherwood Design Engineers, Center for Zero Waste Design and other partners to propose Oceanix City. This is a 75-hectare floating city  that is meant to grow and adapt organically over time — from neighborhoods to cities — with the possibility of scaling indefinitely. To that end, Oceanix City uses a modular design with two-hectare modules serving mixed-use communities of up to 300 residents centered on communal farming. Larger 12-hectare villages comprise six neighborhood modules clustered around a protected central harbor accommodating social, recreational and commercial functions for up to 1,650 residents. For a city of 10,000 residents, six villages are connected around a larger protected harbor. Construction materials will be locally sourced whenever possible, and components would be prefabricated on shore and then towed to their final site to keep construction costs low and thus permit affordable housing. Related: How the world’s first floating city could restore the environment “The sea is our fate — it may also be our future,” Bjarke Ingels said. “The first sustainable and self-sustained floating community, Oceanix City, is designed as a human made ecosystem channeling circular flows of energy, water, food and waste. Oceanix City is a blueprint for a modular maritime metropolis anchored in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The additive architecture can grow, transform and adapt organically over time, evolving from a neighborhood of 300 residents to a city of 10,000 — with the possibility of scaling indefinitely to provide thriving nautical communities for people who care about each other and our planet.” + BIG Images via BIG

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Hotel group in Rome eliminates plastic bottles for Earth Day

April 2, 2019 by  
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Rome’s Bettoja Hotels Collection is demonstrating that you may not be able to single-handedly solve the world’s problems, but cleaning up your own house — or hotel — is a significant step that anybody can take. Starting this Earth Day, the hotel group will remove all plastic bottles from its restaurants and minibars. “The elimination of plastic bottles in our nearly 500 rooms has been a great desire of ours,” said Maurizio Bettoja, president of Bettoja Hotels Collection . “We are taking action on Earth Day this year, and we hope to achieve a new sustainability goal every year.” Related: 6 fun, meaningful ways to celebrate Earth Day The group’s three hotels — Hotel Mediterraneo, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio and Hotel Atlantico — have a total of 495 rooms. If each room were occupied and each guest consumed a single minibar offering, there would be nearly 500 fewer landfill-bound plastic bottles per day, or 180,000 per year. When you consider how one good decision can influence others, the Earth Day-inspired actions of a three-hotel chain could have a much larger ripple effect through Rome, Italy and the world. The Bettoja Hotel Collections, founded in 1875, has been passed down through five generations of family ownership. Its three hotels are within walking distance of each other. The Hotel Mediterraneo, Bettoja’s flagship property, blends Art Deco style with maps and marble busts of Roman emperors. Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio boasts a collection of original paintings from the 1860s. Hotel Atlantico is known for its ancient wine cellar. In such high-end, artistic and history-focused hotels, plastic is an unnecessary modern intrusion. Guests will probably not bemoan its absence. Italy is already ahead of much of the world when it comes to recycling . It’s goal of “ rifiuti zero,” or no waste, has led to complex schedules of waste bins and pickup days. Residents sort trash into four different types — paper, compost, mixed materials and non-recyclable garbage. Many Italian buildings have sets of color-coded bins to make this easy. As more individuals and businesses ditch plastic altogether, perhaps the amount of waste, recyclable or not, will continue to shrink. + Bettoja Hotels Collection Images via Bettoja Hotels Collection

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Hotel group in Rome eliminates plastic bottles for Earth Day

Why the environment should be a key concern for your business community

March 30, 2019 by  
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As climate change increasingly affects the world, it should also affect your worldview.

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Why the environment should be a key concern for your business community

The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

March 25, 2019 by  
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The fashion industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Having greater access to the latest trends in fashion is great, but the industry as a whole could do a lot better lessening its environmental impact on the world. Some of the biggest issues with the fashion industry are microplastics used in production, child labor violations and new disposable fashion trends— which put more waste into landfills around the world. If you are curious about how the fashion industry is affecting the environment, here’s an inside look at the industry’s biggest hidden secrets. Related: The sustainable wardrobe: it’s more accessible than you think Fashion’s Environmental Impact Mass-producing clothing items for the fashion industry has massive implications on the environment. The industry as a whole contributes greatly to water waste and has a large carbon footprint – and that is only considering production. Discarded items of clothing end up in landfills around the world, further polluting waterways and oceans. When it comes to clothing production, it takes thousands of liters of water to produce a single cotton shirt. Farms that grow cotton also use a quarter of the world’s insecticides. Around a trillion gallons of water are used to die fabrics, which further contributes to water waste . Child Labor Laws Aside from environmental concerns, the fashion industry also violates child labor laws in certain locations around the world. Areas most impacted by child labor violations include Bangladesh, Argentina, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, for example, child workers – most of whom are women – only take home around $96 every month. The country’s government, however, says that its citizens need at least $336 a month to meet basic living requirements. Given how the country has little regulations on labor and environmental practices, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Plastic Microfibers One of the biggest issues with the fashion industry is the use of plastics in garments. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are used in over 60 percent of clothing. Plastics are used in fashion because they are long-lasting, budget-friendly, pliable and light. The problem with incorporating synthetics in the production of clothing is that they leach plastic microfibers into the environment. These microfibers eventually make their way to the ocean, where marine organisms ingest them. Once eaten, the plastics can lead to digestive blockages, growth issues, problems in the endocrine system and even starvation. “One of the problems is plastic ingestion at all levels of the food chain, which may pass plastic to larger animals and humans. The question is ‘is it acceptable to us to end up eating plastic?’” Heidi Savelli, an expert with the UN Environment, explained. Discarded Clothing Fashion sales have skyrocketed over the past few decades. The industry has seen a growth of around 60 percent since 2000, which is partly because clothing does not last as long as it used to. On average, people retain a piece of clothing for about half the amount of time as they did in the late ‘90s. This trend of discarding and buying clothes has been profitable for the fashion industry, but it has led to disastrous effects on the environment. With production steadily increasing, more and more water is being used in cotton farming while excess materials are overcrowding landfills . Industry Solutions With the fashion industry causing a major concern for the environment , there are a few things it can do to become more eco-friendly. For starters, companies can make changes to the manufacturing process, which will reduce the amount of plastic that ends of polluting the environment. The primary issues in clothing are the density of the material and the length of fibers. If these two problems are addressed, then there will be a lesser chance of plastic microfibers shedding in the wash. Companies can also incorporate better finishing techniques when making clothing, which can also reduce microfiber issues. There also needs to be an improvement in the way microfibers are captured, both in efficiency and scale. There are capturing devices on the market, but they are not geared towards large-scale operations. What Can You Do? There are a number of different things you can do to lessen the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. For starters, you can repair clothing items instead of replacing them whenever possible. When it comes to laundry, washing less is the best way to reduce microfibre shedding. You should also look into investing in a front load machine, as they are better at handling plastic microfibres. If you want to go the extra mile, there are special bags that catch plastic debris in the wash and reduce these particles by over 80 percent. At the end of the day, doing your part to help curb disposable fashion will only go so far, and unless the industry makes some major changes, these environmental concerns will continue to grow. Via UN Environment , The Progressive Images via Shutterstock

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The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

March 25, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

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The fashion industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Having greater access to the latest trends in fashion is great, but the industry as a whole could do a lot better lessening its environmental impact on the world. Some of the biggest issues with the fashion industry are microplastics used in production, child labor violations and new disposable fashion trends— which put more waste into landfills around the world. If you are curious about how the fashion industry is affecting the environment, here’s an inside look at the industry’s biggest hidden secrets. Related: The sustainable wardrobe: it’s more accessible than you think Fashion’s Environmental Impact Mass-producing clothing items for the fashion industry has massive implications on the environment. The industry as a whole contributes greatly to water waste and has a large carbon footprint – and that is only considering production. Discarded items of clothing end up in landfills around the world, further polluting waterways and oceans. When it comes to clothing production, it takes thousands of liters of water to produce a single cotton shirt. Farms that grow cotton also use a quarter of the world’s insecticides. Around a trillion gallons of water are used to die fabrics, which further contributes to water waste . Child Labor Laws Aside from environmental concerns, the fashion industry also violates child labor laws in certain locations around the world. Areas most impacted by child labor violations include Bangladesh, Argentina, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, for example, child workers – most of whom are women – only take home around $96 every month. The country’s government, however, says that its citizens need at least $336 a month to meet basic living requirements. Given how the country has little regulations on labor and environmental practices, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Plastic Microfibers One of the biggest issues with the fashion industry is the use of plastics in garments. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are used in over 60 percent of clothing. Plastics are used in fashion because they are long-lasting, budget-friendly, pliable and light. The problem with incorporating synthetics in the production of clothing is that they leach plastic microfibers into the environment. These microfibers eventually make their way to the ocean, where marine organisms ingest them. Once eaten, the plastics can lead to digestive blockages, growth issues, problems in the endocrine system and even starvation. “One of the problems is plastic ingestion at all levels of the food chain, which may pass plastic to larger animals and humans. The question is ‘is it acceptable to us to end up eating plastic?’” Heidi Savelli, an expert with the UN Environment, explained. Discarded Clothing Fashion sales have skyrocketed over the past few decades. The industry has seen a growth of around 60 percent since 2000, which is partly because clothing does not last as long as it used to. On average, people retain a piece of clothing for about half the amount of time as they did in the late ‘90s. This trend of discarding and buying clothes has been profitable for the fashion industry, but it has led to disastrous effects on the environment. With production steadily increasing, more and more water is being used in cotton farming while excess materials are overcrowding landfills . Industry Solutions With the fashion industry causing a major concern for the environment , there are a few things it can do to become more eco-friendly. For starters, companies can make changes to the manufacturing process, which will reduce the amount of plastic that ends of polluting the environment. The primary issues in clothing are the density of the material and the length of fibers. If these two problems are addressed, then there will be a lesser chance of plastic microfibers shedding in the wash. Companies can also incorporate better finishing techniques when making clothing, which can also reduce microfiber issues. There also needs to be an improvement in the way microfibers are captured, both in efficiency and scale. There are capturing devices on the market, but they are not geared towards large-scale operations. What Can You Do? There are a number of different things you can do to lessen the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. For starters, you can repair clothing items instead of replacing them whenever possible. When it comes to laundry, washing less is the best way to reduce microfibre shedding. You should also look into investing in a front load machine, as they are better at handling plastic microfibres. If you want to go the extra mile, there are special bags that catch plastic debris in the wash and reduce these particles by over 80 percent. At the end of the day, doing your part to help curb disposable fashion will only go so far, and unless the industry makes some major changes, these environmental concerns will continue to grow. Via UN Environment , The Progressive Images via Shutterstock

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The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

Is coastal tourism in danger of going underwater?

March 20, 2019 by  
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In late 2018, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientists released a startling report about the impending impacts of rising temperatures. On our present track, the world is predicted to warm by 2 degrees Celsius compared to preindustrial levels by 2040.For the coastal tourism industry, a 2-degree Celsius rise in temperatures would be catastrophic.

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Is coastal tourism in danger of going underwater?

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