By Victoria Masterson
Using one of the world's problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up's mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic.
Sustainable Homes<p>UN-Habitat says an <a href="https://unhabitat.org/un-habitat-aims-to-use-plastic-waste-to-support-housing-for-all" target="_blank">estimated 60% of people living in urban areas of Africa are in informal settlements</a>. At the same time, between 1990 and 2017, African countries imported around 230 metric tonnes of plastic, "which mostly ended up in dump sites creating a massive environmental challenge," the agency adds.</p><p>UN-Habitat deputy executive director, Victor Kisob, said the aim of the partnership with Othalo was to "promote adequate, sustainable and affordable housing for all."</p>
Artist's impression of an Othalo community, imagined by architect Julien De Smedt. Othalo<p>Othalo's process involves shredding plastic waste and mixing it with other elements, including non-flammable materials. Components are used to build up to four floors, with a home of 60 square metres using eight tons of recycled plastic. A factory with one production line can produce 2,800 housing units annually.</p><p>Following successful laboratory tests, Othalo's factory in Estonia has started producing components to build three demonstration homes for Kenya's capital, Nairobi; Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon and Dakar, the capital of Senegal.</p><p>Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti has been developing and testing the technology since 2016 in partnership with <a href="https://www.sintef.no/en/" target="_blank">SINTEF</a>, a 70-year-old independent research organization in Trondheim, Norway, and experts at Norway's <a href="https://en.uit.no/startsida" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">University of Tromsø</a>.</p>
Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti. Othalo<p>Almost <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank">seven out of every 10 people in the world are expected to live in urban areas by 2050</a>. More than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.</p><p>"In the absence of effective urban planning, the consequences of this rapid urbanization will be dramatic," UN-Habitat warns.</p><p>Lack of proper housing and growth of slums, inadequate and outdated infrastructure, escalating poverty and unemployment, and pollution and health issues, are just some of the effects.</p><p>Mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization need to change for the growth of cities and urban areas to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind, UN-Habitat says.</p>
Pioneers of Change<p>Reimagining cities and communities for greater resilience and sustainability was a key topic at the<a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020" target="_blank"> World Economic Forum's Pioneers of Change Summit 2020</a>.</p><p>The digital event brought together innovators and stakeholders from around the world to explore solutions to the challenges facing enterprises, governments and society.</p><p>Opening the summit, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020/sessions/opening-plenary-8f731cbc65" target="_blank">Stephan Mergenthaler, the Forum's Head of Strategic Intelligence and a member of the Executive Committee</a>, said: "We need to change the way we produce, the way we live and interact in our cities to make this transition to net-zero emissions a reality…</p><p>"And as this year has illustrated so dramatically, we need to make every effort that we keep populations healthy, if we want to avoid jeopardizing all this progress."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/un-africa-recycled-plastic-housing/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649069252#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Many people shop online for everything from clothes to appliances. If they do not like the product, they simply return it. But there's an environmental cost to returns.
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Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.
Charlotte's Web<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDcwMjk3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0MzQ0NjM4N30.SaQ85SK10-MWjN3PwHo2RqpiUBdjhD0IRnHKTqKaU7Q/img.jpg?width=980" id="84700" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a2174067dcc0c4094be25b3472ce08c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="charlottes web cbd oil" /><p>Perhaps one of the most well-known brands in the CBD landscape, Charlotte's Web has been growing sustainable hemp plants for several years. The company is currently in the process of achieving official USDA Organic Certification, but it already practices organic and sustainable cultivation techniques to enhance the overall health of the soil and the hemp plants themselves, which creates some of the highest quality CBD extracts. Charlotte's Web offers CBD oils in a range of different concentration options, and some even come in a few flavor options such as chocolate mint, orange blossom, and lemon twist.</p>
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By Andrea Germanos
A new report released Tuesday details the "shocking" state of global land equality, saying the problem is worse than thought, rising, and "cannot be ignored."
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Around 50,000 farmed salmon swam free on Monday after a fire melted part of their enclosure off the coast of Tasmania.
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By Bret Wilkins
In a year in which the United States has already suffered 16 climate-driven extreme weather events causing more than $1 billion in economic damages, and as millions of American workers face loss of essential unemployment benefits due to congressional inaction, a report published Monday reveals the Trump administration has given fossil fuel companies as much as $15.2 billion in direct relief — and tens of billions more indirectly — through federal COVID-19 recovery programs since March.
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By Amol Mehra
Set against rising calls for action to combat growing inequality and the climate crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the importance of the key drivers of industry and economic reform: workers, communities and the environment.
The Built Environment<p>The built environment – the physical places and structures that we inhabit – is a huge potential change agent in this regard. Buildings and construction account for massive amounts of energy usage and about 40% of global CO2 emissions, providing a clear pathway to shift current consumption and production pathways.</p><p>The construction sector accounts for around <a href="https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Capital%20Projects%20and%20Infrastructure/Our%20Insights/Reinventing%20construction%20through%20a%20productivity%20revolution/MGI-Reinventing-Construction-In-Brief.pdf" target="_blank">13% of the world's GDP </a>and<a href="https://iloblog.org/2020/05/11/the-construction-sector-can-help-lead-the-economic-recovery-heres-how/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> for 7.2% of the global workforce</a>. Many of the jobs linked to these sector have a negative history of labour rights, especially with respect to <a href="https://laborrights.org/issues/migrant-labor" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">migrant laborers</a>. As <a href="https://iloblog.org/2020/05/11/the-construction-sector-can-help-lead-the-economic-recovery-heres-how/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">experts have noted</a>, the scale of the industry and its relative impacts on labour markets and the environment make it a prime agent of transformation of the broader global economy.</p><p>By prioritizing approaches that focus on decarbonization and the promotion of labor rights protections, we can create economic opportunities that promote healthy, regenerative structures. Efforts are starting to seed in this regard, with <a href="https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2020/1/15/21058051/climate-change-building-materials-mass-timber-cross-laminated-clt" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">increased attention</a> being placed to mass timber and other wood products in construction, as well as the use of natural materials in buildings.</p><p>At the same time, leading human rights organizations are looking more closely at promoting <a href="https://www.ihrb.org/focus-areas/built-environment/commentary-linking-climate-human-rights-built-environment-lifecycle" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">rights-based approaches</a>.</p>
Not all industries are equal. ourworldindata.org
Fashion<p>But this isn't the only sector with transformative power. The fashion sector produces <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/fashion-industry-carbon-unsustainable-environment-pollution/" target="_blank">nearly 10% of the world's carbon emissions and is the second largest consumer of the water</a>, all while employing between <a href="https://www.ilo.org/global/industries-and-sectors/textiles-clothing-leather-footwear/lang--ja/index.htm" target="_blank">60 and 70 million</a> workers in garment supply chains.</p><p>While there have been laudable innovations in recent years towards adopting circularity and increasing the use of organic materials, there is still huge potential to promote transformative change in protections for workers.</p><p>Workers in the sector are often left without social protections, exposing them to vulnerability. In recognition of this need, the International Labor Organization, business actors and labor rights leaders have <a href="https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---ed_dialogue/---dialogue/documents/statement/wcms_742371.pdf" target="_blank">committed to take</a> action to protect garment workers' income, health and employment, and to work together to establish sustainable systems of social protection for a more just and resilient garment industry.</p><p>This "Call to Action" launched in April 2020 and now needs steady implementation. The effort should seek to cast a wide tent, bringing in other industry players and leveraging development actors as well.</p><p>What's clear from the examples above is that critical, much needed efforts are starting to emerge and that these efforts need to be encouraged and accelerated. As social movements, consumers, investors, regulators and businesses themselves start to realize the value of transforming practices, the momentum will increase for other sectors to follow suit. This domino effect will spur the economic transformation that is so desperately needed to ensure that the environment, and the people who inhabit it, can live in a healthy, just society.</p><p>There can be no doubt: transformation of our economic system is imperative. The moment is now for businesses, and the industries they are part of, to seize it.</p>
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A coalition launched the Zero Emission Transportation Association on Tuesday with plans to push for 100% EV sales across all sectors by 2030.
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By Julia Conley
Climate action campaigners applauded Monday after 47 faith institutions from 21 countries announced they would divest from fossil fuels, marking the largest-ever joint divestment by religious leaders in history.
<div id="9fc4f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="01a8829cd51fcdca1a5618e4a8da75bd"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1328331527726501889" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Huge news: 47 major faith institutions from 21 countries divest from fossil fuels!! This wave keeps building! Thank… https://t.co/iZ83l2Tjlt</div> — Bill McKibben (@Bill McKibben)<a href="https://twitter.com/billmckibben/statuses/1328331527726501889">1605533890.0</a></blockquote></div>
<div id="65fa5" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="87e1e1f1aeaf53fe7349a848b7370c50"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1328246546580852737" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Catholics, Protestants, and Jewish people unite for a better future. Today, 47 faith institutions from 21 countries… https://t.co/ITVio1uKpK</div> — 350 dot org (@350 dot org)<a href="https://twitter.com/350/statuses/1328246546580852737">1605513628.0</a></blockquote></div>
Enbridge's aging Line 5 pipeline may finally be forced into retirement.
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Secondhand Clothing Sales Are Booming – and May Help Solve the Sustainability Crisis in the Fashion Industry
By Hyejune Park and Cosette Marie Joyner Armstrong
A massive force is reshaping the fashion industry: secondhand clothing. According to a new report, the U.S. secondhand clothing market is projected to more than triple in value in the next 10 years – from US$28 billion in 2019 to US$80 billion in 2029 – in a U.S. market currently worth $379 billion. In 2019, secondhand clothing expanded 21 times faster than conventional apparel retail did.
The Next Big Thing<p>The secondhand clothing market is composed of two major categories, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/20932685.2019.1684831" target="_blank">thrift stores and resale platforms</a>. But it's the latter that has largely fueled the recent boom. Secondhand clothing has long been perceived as worn out and tainted, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/0959396032000101372" target="_blank">mainly sought by bargain or treasure hunters</a>. However, this perception has changed, and now many consumers consider secondhand clothing to be of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/20932685.2019.1576060" target="_blank">identical or even superior quality</a> to unworn clothing. A <a href="https://www.cosmopolitan.com/style-beauty/fashion/a31085526/how-to-sell-clothes/" target="_blank">trend of "fashion flipping"</a> – or buying secondhand clothes and reselling them – has also emerged, particularly among young consumers.</p><p>Thanks to <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/17543266.2017.1346714" target="_blank">growing consumer demand and new digital platforms</a> like Tradesy and Poshmark that facilitate peer-to-peer exchange of everyday clothing, the digital resale market is quickly becoming the next big thing in the fashion industry.</p><p>The market for secondhand luxury goods is also substantial. Retailers like The RealReal or the Vestiaire Collective provide a digital marketplace for authenticated luxury consignment, where people buy and sell designer labels such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès. The market value of this sector <a href="https://www.retail-insider.com/retail-insider/2020/3/the-rise-of-pre-owned-luxury-fashion-marks-shift-amid-sustainability-movement" target="_blank">reached $2 billion in 2019</a>.</p><p>The secondhand clothing trend also appears to be driven by affordability, <a href="https://www.marketwatch.com/story/covid-19-propels-an-already-surging-secondhand-clothing-market-2020-06-23" target="_blank">especially now, during the COVID-19 economic crisis</a>. Consumers have not only <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/insights/economy/spotlight/economics-insights-analysis.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reduced their consumption of nonessential items like clothing</a>, but are buying <a href="https://www.mckinsey.com/~/media/McKinsey/Industries/Retail/Our%20Insights/The%20State%20of%20Fashion%202019%20A%20year%20of%20awakening/The-State-of-Fashion-2019-final.ashx" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">more quality garments</a> over cheap, disposable attire.</p><p>For clothing resellers, the ongoing economic contraction combined with the increased interest in sustainability has proven to be <a href="https://www.marketwatch.com/story/covid-19-propels-an-already-surging-secondhand-clothing-market-2020-06-23" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a winning combination</a>.</p>
More Mindful Consumers?<p>The fashion industry has long been associated with <a href="https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/a-new-textiles-economy-redesigning-fashions-future" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">social and environmental problems</a>, ranging from poor treatment of garment workers to pollution and waste generated by clothing production.</p><p>Less than 1% of materials used to make clothing are currently recycled to make new clothing, a <a href="https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/a-new-textiles-economy-redesigning-fashions-future" target="_blank">$500 billion annual loss for the fashion industry</a>. The textile industry produces <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/putting-brakes-fast-fashion" target="_blank">more carbon emissions than the airline and maritime industries combined</a>. And approximately <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/story/putting-brakes-fast-fashion" target="_blank">20% of water pollution across the globe</a> is the result of wastewater from the production and finishing of textiles.</p><p><a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/solitairetownsend/2018/11/21/consumers-want-you-to-help-them-make-a-difference/#efe999c69547" target="_blank">Consumers have become more aware</a> of the ecological impact of apparel production and are more frequently demanding apparel businesses <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/pamdanziger/2020/05/10/coronavirus-will-force-fashion-to-a-sustainable-future/#6973567f5292" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">expand their commitment to sustainability</a>. Buying secondhand clothing could provide consumers a way to push back against the fast-fashion system.</p><p>Buying secondhand clothing increases the number of owners an item will have, extending its life – something that has been <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ijcs.12354" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">dramatically shortened in the age of fast fashion</a>. (Worldwide, in the past 15 years, <a href="https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/publications/a-new-textiles-economy-redesigning-fashions-future" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the average number of times a garment is worn before it's trashed</a> has decreased by 36%.)</p>
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