Colombia is one of the world's largest producers of coffee, and yet also one of the most economically disadvantaged. According to research by the national statistic center DANE, 35% of the population in Columbia lives in monetary poverty, compared to an estimated 11% in the U.S., according to census data. This has led to a housing insecurity issue throughout the country, one which construction company Woodpecker is working hard to solve.
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Nzambi Matee is an entrepreneur with an incredible goal -- to turn plastic destined for the landfill into sustainable, strong building material. Her company, Gjenge Makers, uses the plastic waste of commercial facilities to create bricks that can withstand twice the weight threshold of concrete.
Gjenge Makers Ltd.<p>The factory is only in its beginning stages, but it has already <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-environment-recycling/kenyan-recycles-plastic-waste-into-bricks-stronger-than-concrete-idUSKBN2A211N">recycled 20 tons</a> of plastic since 2017 and created 120 jobs in Nairobi. In addition, Gjenge bricks are also one of the more affordable options on the market. They cost approximately $7.70 per square meter, as opposed to <a href="https://www.remodelingcalculator.org/concrete-calculator/" target="_blank">$98 per square yard</a> for concrete produced in the U.S.</p> <p>However, it hasn't been an easy road. <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbZKP4UAtL8&feature=emb_title" target="_blank">Matee says</a> about the founding of her company, "I jumped in, off a cliff without even a parachute. I was building it as I was falling down. But isn't that how great things are done?" </p> <p>With entrepreneurs like Matee, there is a beacon of hope for the worldwide plastic pollution crisis. To learn more about Gjenge Makers process and impact, you can visit their <a href="https://gjenge.co.ke/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">website</a> or <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCH7ahGR28JP4Gy47CGhCZTg/featured" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">YouTube channel</a>. Or, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/stop-plastic-pollution-2649324134.html">read this</a> to learn more about ways you can help fight against plastic pollution in your community. </p>
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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" data-width="1244" data-height="1244" /><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 Victoria Masterson
- Living on water is a reality for more than 100 people in Amsterdam's Schoonschip neighborhood.
- It has 46 sustainable homes across 30 water plots.
- Population density and climate change is increasing interest in alternative accommodation options, including opening up underground spaces.
This is what the floating houses look like. Schoonschip / Isabel Nabuurs<p>"Since urban areas struggle with high density, we should make better use of the space on the water," says project architect, <a href="http://www.spaceandmatter.nl/schoonschip" target="_blank">Space&Matter</a>.</p><p>"With Schoonschip we want to set the example, and show how living on water can be a great and better alternative for people and our planet."</p>
Schoonschip / Isabel Nabuurs<p>The project is small in size — just more than 100 residents live in 46 homes on 30 arks floating — but it's also designed to be self-sufficient, with minimal impact on nature.</p><p>Solar panels and heat pumps provide heating. Wastewater from toilets and showers is converted back into energy and many residents also have a green roof, where they can grow their own food.</p>
The floating Dutch community of Schoonschip is designed to be self-sustaining, including generating its own energy. Schoonschip / Metabolic
Life on Water<p>Floating communities aren't new — they've been around for generations in some parts of the world. Examples include the <a href="http://www.natgeotraveller.in/the-floating-islands-of-perus-lake-titicaca/" target="_blank">Uros people</a>, who live on floating reed islands in Lake Titicaca, Peru, and the<a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/04/bajau-sea-nomads-diving-evolution-spleen/558359/" target="_blank"> Bajau people of Southeast Asia</a>, who live on small houseboats off the coasts of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.</p><p>In more recent times, interest in water living has grown as the world seeks solutions to the twin pressures of population density and climate change causing sea levels to rise.</p>
Schoonschip / Isabel Nabuurs<p>Projects elsewhere in the world include <a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/06/flooding-homes-sea-levels-rising-floating-ocean-grimshaw/" target="_blank">modular water dwellings</a> being developed by British architect firm Grimshaw and Dutch manufacturer Concrete Valley.</p><p>These sit on a floating pontoon structure that rises with the water level to keep the home safe in the event of a tidal surge or flooding.</p><p>"With a growing global population and an increase of people living in cities, high land values are causing a shortage of affordable housing in urban areas," the designers say.</p><p>While in Denmark, end-of-life shipping containers have been used to create floating student accommodation in a design by architect firm <a href="https://www.urbanrigger.com/" target="_blank">Urban Rigger.</a></p>
Twin Challenges<img lazy-loadable="true" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNTU5NzY3NS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2MzM5ODkwMn0.Ceu0kKdBN3WstLM7mktaXrJvRIdSr4CJCjB4zv_wsxk/img.jpg?width=980" id="967a7" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="edf0b732f91576a681118457a6a79aff" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" data-width="6720" data-height="4480" /><p>More than 570 low-lying coastal cities will be threatened by sea-level rises of at least half a meter, by 2050, according to <a href="https://www.c40.org/other/the-future-we-don-t-want-staying-afloat-the-urban-response-to-sea-level-rise" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">C40 Cities</a>, a network dedicated to finding climate change solutions.</p><p>But the problem extends far beyond cities, to island nations, including <a href="https://collections.unu.edu/eserv/UNU:5903/Online_No_20_Kiribati_Report_161207.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Kiribati in the Pacific</a>, where 81% of households had been affected by sea-level rise in the decade between 2006 and 2016. Here, migration is considered the main solution.</p><p>As people move to cities to live and work, almost 70% of the world's population is expected to be <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">living in urban areas by 2050</a>, up from 55% currently.</p>
By Frank La Sorte and Kyle Horton
Millions of birds travel between their breeding and wintering grounds during spring and autumn migration, creating one of the greatest spectacles of the natural world. These journeys often span incredible distances. For example, the Blackpoll warbler, which weighs less than half an ounce, may travel up to 1,500 miles between its nesting grounds in Canada and its wintering grounds in the Caribbean and South America.
Blackpoll warbler. PJTurgeon / Wikipedia<p>We used this information to determine how the number of migratory bird species varies based on each city's level of <a href="https://www.britannica.com/science/light-pollution" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">light pollution</a> – brightening of the night sky caused by artificial light sources, such as buildings and streetlights. We also explored how species numbers vary based on the quantity of tree canopy cover and impervious surface, such as concrete and asphalt, within each city. Our findings show that cities can help migrating birds by planting more trees and reducing light pollution, especially during spring and autumn migration.</p>
Declining Bird Populations<p>Urban areas contain numerous dangers for migratory birds. The biggest threat is the risk of <a href="https://doi.org/10.1650/CONDOR-13-090.1" target="_blank">colliding with buildings or communication towers</a>. Many migratory bird populations have <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aaw1313" target="_blank">declined over the past 50 years</a>, and it is possible that light pollution from cities is contributing to these losses.</p><p>Scientists widely agree that light pollution can <a href="https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708574114" target="_blank">severely disorient migratory birds</a> and make it hard for them to navigate. Studies have shown that birds will cluster around brightly lit structures, much like insects flying around a porch light at night. Cities are the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.2029" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">primary source of light pollution for migratory birds</a>, and these species tend to be more abundant within cities <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/gcb.13792" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">during migration</a>, especially in <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landurbplan.2020.103892" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">city parks</a>.</p>
Composite image of the continental U.S. at night from satellite photos. NASA Earth Observatory images by Joshua Stevens, using Suomi NPP VIIRS data from Miguel Román, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
The Power of Citizen Science<p>It's not easy to observe and document bird migration, especially for species that migrate at night. The main challenge is that many of these species are very small, which limits scientists' ability to use electronic tracking devices.</p><p>With the growth of the internet and other information technologies, new data resources are becoming available that are making it possible to overcome some of these challenges. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-018-07106-5" target="_blank">Citizen science initiatives</a> in which volunteers use online portals to enter their observations of the natural world have become an important resource for researchers.</p><p>One such initiative, <a href="https://ebird.org/home" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">eBird</a>, allows bird-watchers around the globe to share their observations from any location and time. This has produced one of the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/ecog.04632" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">largest ecological citizen-science databases in the world</a>. To date, eBird contains over 922 million bird observations compiled by over 617,000 participants.</p>
Light Pollution Both Attracts and Repels Migratory Birds<p>Migratory bird species have evolved to use certain migration routes and types of habitat, such as forests, grasslands or marshes. While humans may enjoy seeing migratory birds appear in urban areas, it's generally not good for bird populations. In addition to the many hazards that exist in urban areas, cities typically lack the food resources and cover that birds need during migration or when raising their young. As scientists, we're concerned when we see evidence that migratory birds are being drawn away from their traditional migration routes and natural habitats.</p><p>Through our analysis of eBird data, we found that cities contained the greatest numbers of migratory bird species during spring and autumn migration. Higher levels of light pollution were associated with more species during migration – evidence that light pollution attracts migratory birds to cities across the U.S. This is cause for concern, as it shows that the influence of light pollution on migratory behavior is strong enough to increase the number of species that would normally be found in urban areas.</p><p>In contrast, we found that higher levels of light pollution were associated with fewer migratory bird species during the summer and winter. This is likely due to the scarcity of suitable habitat in cities, such as large forest patches, in combination with the adverse affects of light pollution on bird behavior and health. In addition, during these seasons, migratory birds are active only during the day and their populations are largely stationary, creating few opportunities for light pollution to attract them to urban areas.</p>
Trees and Pavement<p>We found that tree canopy cover was associated with more migratory bird species during spring migration and the summer. Trees provide important habitat for migratory birds during migration and the breeding season, so the presence of trees can have a strong effect on the number of migratory bird species that occur in cities.</p><p>Finally, we found that higher levels of impervious surface were associated with more migratory bird species during the winter. This result is somewhat surprising. It could be a product of the <a href="https://www.epa.gov/heatislands" target="_blank">urban heat island effect</a> – the fact that structures and paved surfaces in cities absorb and reemit more of the sun's heat than natural surfaces. Replacing vegetation with buildings, roads and parking lots can therefore make cities significantly warmer than surrounding lands. This effect could reduce cold stress on birds and increase food resources, such as insect populations, during the winter.</p><p>Our research adds to our understanding of how conditions in cities can both help and hurt migratory bird populations. We hope that our findings will inform urban planning initiatives and strategies to reduce the harmful effects of cities on migratory birds through such measures as <a href="https://www.arborday.org/programs/treecityusa/index.cfm" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">planting more trees</a> and initiating <a href="https://aeroecolab.com/uslights" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">lights-out programs</a>. Efforts to make it easier for migratory birds to complete their incredible journeys will help maintain their populations into the future.</p><p><em><span style="background-color: initial;"><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/frank-la-sorte-1191494" target="_blank">Frank La Sorte</a> is a r</span>esearch associate at the </em><em>Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Cornell University. <a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/kyle-horton-1191498" target="_blank">Kyle Horton</a> is an assistant professor of Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology at the Colorado State University.</em></p><p><em></em><em>Disclosure statement: Frank La Sorte receives funding from The Wolf Creek Charitable Foundation and the National Science Foundation (DBI-1939187). K</em><em>yle Horton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</em></p><p><em>Reposted with permission from <a href="https://theconversation.com/cities-can-help-migrating-birds-on-their-way-by-planting-more-trees-and-turning-lights-off-at-night-152573" target="_blank">The Conversation</a>. </em></p>
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Carrie Golden believes the only reason she's diabetes free is because she has access to fresh, locally grown food.
A few years after the Boston resident was diagnosed with prediabetes, she was referred to Boston Medical Center's Preventative Food Pantry as someone who is food insecure. The food pantry is a free food resource for low-income patients.
The world's most iconic skylines are going green. Nineteen city leaders from the C40 coalition signed the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Declaration on Thursday to ensure all new buildings operate with a neutral carbon footprint by 2030.
The mayors of Copenhagen, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York City, Newburyport, Paris, Portland, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Toronto, Tshwane, Vancouver and Washington, DC also pledged to ensure all buildings in the cities—old or new—will meet net-zero carbon standards by 2050, according to a press release. The cities are home to 130 million people combined.
Vertical farms have been touted as a way to feed a rapidly urbanizing world population (I've waxed poetic about them myself.) Critics of the trending technology, however, contend that these energy-intensive hubs are too costly and perhaps impractical to maintain.
Sure, the naysayers have a point, but what if vertical farms did more than just feed mouths? In Stockholm, Sweden, the Plantagon CityFarm located in the basement of the iconic DN-Skrapan building in the Kungsholmen district has a whole other purpose besides nourishing the office workers on site—the farm also recycles its heat to warm the offices above.
Denver is the latest city to mandate rooftop gardens or solar installations on new, large buildings, joining San Francisco, New York, Paris, London and other cities around the world with similar green roof measures, the Associated Press reported.
The Colorado capital ranks third in the nation for highest heat island and eighth in the nation for worst ozone/particulate pollution, according to the Denver Green Roof Initiative, a grassroots group that advocated for the city's green roof ordinance, Initiative 300.
The Tesla Tiny House is currently being towed on the back of a Model X around Australia to exhibit the company's products and to teach the public how to generate, store and use renewable energy for their own home, according to Electrek.
Late last year, the tiny house community celebrated a watershed moment—an official appendix in the 2018 version of the International Residential Code, the model building code used by most jurisdictions in the U.S.
"There are many things that are monumental in the adoption of tiny house construction codes by the IRC," cheered Thom Stanton, the CEO of small space developer, Timber Trails. "Among them, that architects, designers, builders, community developers and (maybe most importantly) zoning officials have a means of recognizing tiny houses as an official form of permissible dwelling."
The largest vertical garden in the world looks like a living, breathing green giant in Bogotá, Colombia's densely populated capital.
The climate crisis is a problem caused by humans that can be solved by humans. These three cities are proving it.
While a lot of media coverage around the crisis is doom and gloom, cities around the world are coming up with powerful solutions on the local level. Here's how a Canadian city, an American city and a Chinese city are taking on climate action.